Franz J.T. Lee, November, 2004
Global Slavery and World Emancipation
What is classical slavery? Before we define our concept of "slavery," let us first delineate what commonly is being understood by "slaves" or "slavery." The "Dictionary of the English Language," Fourth Edition (2003), scientifically gives us very precise definitions.
1. The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household.
2. a. The practice of owning slaves.
2. b. A mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force.
3. The condition of being subject or addicted to a specified influence.
4. A condition of hard work and subjection: wage slavery."
Hence, in general, "slavery" concerns the following concepts: bondage, thralldom, thrall, subjection, subjugation, bonded labor, serfdom, serf-hood and vassalage. They are related to heavy work, to toil, done under severe conditions for little or no pay, especially to "productive work! (that is physical work done for wages); this is a type of labor that does not require a great deal of skill. Slavery concerns Work, Labor, Production ... the process of "History."
Jack London, in "The Iron Heel" told us that "primitive communism, chattel slavery, serf slavery, and wage slavery were necessary stepping-stones in the evolution of society."
After the Nazi barbarism in Europe, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 4) guaranteed that 'No one shall be held in slavery or servitude, slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.' More recently, ever since May 18, 1998, in a conference held in Geneva, the definition of slavery was extended even more.
According to the "Baltimore Anti-Slavery Society": "The modern definition of slavery has been expanded by conventions signed by almost all countries in the world to include trafficking in women and bonded labor."
According to it: "slavery is not dead. It continues to be reported in a wide range of forms: traditional chattel slavery, bonded labor, serfdom, child labor, migrant labor, domestic labor, forced labor and slavery for ritual or religious purposes."
documents can be located at the United Nations
Human Rights Documentation Research Guide).
Forms of modern slavery: Historically, in the 19th century, in the inexorable forward march of capitalism, the "Emancipation of the Slaves" was simply the logical, necessary conversion of obsolete slavedom and serfdom into modern "free" wage-slavery.
In any case, slavery ... of whatever form ... concerns the ruling class ownership and the physical and mental control over another's life, violent coercion and the restriction of movement of labor forces. A classical example of this type of modern slavery was practiced in Apartheid South Africa, across the whole 20th century.
In Asia, various forms, like "debt bondage," are still being practiced. In some parts of modern India and Nepal, for example, the caste system still makes human subjugation socially acceptable. Like in many parts of the "Third World," unscrupulous Mafiosi are organizing huge begging industries; they mutilate Indian children and then transports them to Saudi Arabia and other Mideast countries to beg for money outside Muslim mosques.
In spite of the current American brutal "witch-hunting" of Arab "demons," and the obvious lies of the international mass media, yet, for the sake of the truth, of scientific subjectivity and objectivity, some cruel forms of modern slavery in Africa also merit to be mentioned here.
Although we cannot verify this contention, yet the director of "Equality Now," an international women's rights organization, claimed that real slavery still exists in the Sudan. This claim is being supported by the United Nations and other independent human rights organizations. Some groups in southern Sudan regularly raid villages and take captives at random, who are then forcefully employed as unpaid workers unless they are bought back by their families.
We also know that in the past, In Ghana, according to the trokosi tradition, young girls were declared "slaves of the Gods." Whether this custom is still rife today, we have no evidence. Similarly there are many claims of traditional, 18th century-style slavery in West Africa.
According to some sources, in totally impoverished countries like Togo and Benin, children are being seized from villages and sold into domestic servitude in countries like Nigeria or Gabon.
Modern corporate imperialist slavery: Of course, modern slavery is not the exclusive, devilish prerogative of "uncivilized Third World" countries. On the contrary, apart from brutal, cultural traditions, modern slavery in Africa or Asia is the direct social consequence of colonialism and imperialism, of world market wage-enslavement of "under-developed countries".
For example ... according to reports ... in the very USA, in a California garment sweatshop in 1995, Thai workers were found confined to a compound behind razor wire.
In the 2nd US Annual Trafficking in Persons Report, the US Department of State itself had explained what modern slavery is all about. According to the report:
"Women and children make up the overwhelming majority of victims, typically being sold into the international sex trade for prostitution, sex tourism and other commercial sexual services, and into forced labor situations in sweatshops, construction sites and agricultural settings. In other forms of servitude, children are abducted and forced to fight for government military forces or rebel armies, and to act as domestic servants and street beggars."
A while ago, concerning this, in a commentary on "The Big Lie of Human Trafficking in Venezuela," we stated that:
"at least Secretary of State Colin Powell had the objective decency to report the following about the Euro-US Mafiosi which is very much occupied with global human trafficking:
"that some 50,000 women and children are trafficked annually for sexual exploitation into the United States. "Here and abroad," said Powell, "the victims of trafficking toil under inhuman conditions -- in brothels, sweatshops, fields and even in private homes."
We also mentioned that "over the last decades, in Europe ... the trafficking in women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation was (and still is today) a huge profitable industry. In Western Europe alone, the International Organization for Migration estimates that around 500,000 women per year are being trafficked from poorer regions in the world." That is, from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America."
Concerning the above, the Baltimore Anti-Slavery Society gave us more examples of modern slavery in the very USA itself: "In the United States, immigrant rings trafficking in undocumented aliens operate within their cultural systems, as is the case with the Mexican networks placing trinket-sellers in New York and California. The plight of deaf Mexicans discovered in Queens, New York in 1997, (The New York Times, July 26, 1997) crowded into apartments and monitored at work in the subways by enforcers of the smuggling ring that brought them here are another recent example of forced labor. More deaf immigrants in bondage were discovered in North Carolina (The New York Times)."
Of course, the worst forms of modern slavery in the USA affect the "aliens": "The more oppressive forms of slavery affect migrant laborers rendered vulnerable because of language and other cultural barriers which make them easy targets for exploitation. Worldwide, the victims of contemporary forms of slavery are characterized by their poverty and by their vulnerability."
Global Slavery and World Emancipation: Finally, like Hitler Nazism, the mode of production of slavery, was not a historical accident of human "barbarism", was not a singular, isolated event of human egoism or avarice, e contrario, both were the logical development of the labor process, of the unilateral, perverse non-relation between Man and Nature. In clear text, both were and still are the direct results of human arrogance, ignorance and belligerence.
Both were generated by inhuman economic exploitation, political domination, social discrimination, genocidal militarization and human alienation, generated by barbaric, global "master-slave" universal non-relations, by money- and thing-relations on planet Earth.
Slavery is inherent in all ruling class societies, in all elitist, social "cultures" and "civilizations", that systematically exploit mutilated Nature and subjugated Man, that politically dominate and socially discriminate both, that ... like in the genocidal massacres of Fallujah, My Lai, Sharpeville, Guernica, Oradour, Babij Jar, Katyn, Lidice, Workuta, Auschwitz, Treblinka, etc., etc. ... annihilate Mankind, Humanity itself.
Orwell said it: Current "Freedom" is "Slavery." To get rid of this North American and European "Freedom," we still have to realize the real, true, pending, global Emancipation of the Slaves.