Saturday, August 30, 2008

Buffalo Story Re-posted for an Odd Reason.

I'm posting this story agian, not as a summer re-run but because of all my posts, this one seems to be accumulating spam. I'm not sure why, how, or for what reason because a majority of it seems to be in Chinese. I'm deleting the original to see what will happen next.

In my last post, I identified four broad categories of financially poor individuals. This time, I’d like to concentrate on those that have little money because they have little use for money. This group generally consists of communities that are mostly self-sufficient and barter among themselves. Whether ancient or modern, technologically simple or complex, large or small, this factor is a common thread. Money becomes another commodity in these cultures, not the one-and-only means of exchange. This subculture is less susceptible to threat and coercion, and is therefore seen as a competitor, or threat, to any hierarchy seeking complete control of the general population.

In 1800, most of the land West of the Mississippi River was considered “Indian Territory”. France and Spain had a claim on it, but those governments hadn’t done much with the real estate. Meanwhile, the fledgling United States had begun a steady push westward of Native American tribes and nations. This was done by treaties obtained by any means. That there was never any intention of honoring any of these treaties is easily demonstrated. In 1803, the US purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. In 1804, a treaty ceding all Fox and Sac land East of the Mississippi River, and Some areas West of that line was signed and enacted. That the four signers had no authority to broker this deal was immaterial.

"Quashquame, Pashepaho, Ouchequaka and Hashequarhiqua were sent by the Sacs to St. Louis to try and free a prisoner who had killed an American. The Sac tradition was to see if the Americans would release their friend. They were willing to pay for the person killed, thus covering the blood and satisfying the relations of the murdered man. Upon return Quashquame and party came up and gave us the following account of their mission: On our arrival at St. Louis we met our American father and explained to him our business, urging the release of our friend. The American chief told us he wanted land. We agreed to give him some on the west side of the Mississippi, likewise more on the Illinois side opposite Jeffreon. When the business was all arranged we expected to have our friend released to come home with us. About the time we were ready to start our brother was let out of the prison. He started and ran a short distance when he was SHOT DEAD! This was all they could remember of what had been said and done. It subsequently appeared that they had been drunk the greater part of the time while at St. Louis. This was all myself and nation knew of the treaty of 1804. It has since been explained to me. I found by that treaty, that all of the country east of the Mississippi, and south of Jeffreon was ceded to the United States for one thousand dollars a year. I will leave it to the people of the United States to say whether our nation was properly represented in this treaty? Or whether we received a fair compensation for the extent of country ceded by these four individuals?" - Autobiography of Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, or Black Hawk. J. B. Patterson, 1882.

One year later, in 1805, the US signed a treaty with a different group of tribes establishing the boundary of US and Indian Territories in the middle of what is now Ohio. The point is, there was never any attempt to create a uniform boundary, and enforcement of the terms of any of these treaties was one-sided. Through the 1800s several Nations had treaties granting hunting rights in the Great Plains. As long as there was large herds of bison, the Native American population could sustain a lifestyle largely independent of Western-style banking and commerce.

“Bison herds, so vast that they could be 50 miles wide and take 5 days to pass a fixed point. This species had such a broad distribution that in 1612 they were observed grazing along the Potomac at the site that would become our nation's Capitol.” Bird

By 1900, the bison were almost extinct. This was not accidental. The herds were destroyed simply because they were free for the taking. It is hard for me to sell you a side of beef if you can walk out your front door and shoot a bison. If you are, for example, part of the Sioux Nation, and I take away your means of supporting yourself, I can then force you onto reservations where you become part of the lowest tier of my Western hierarchical pyramid, the Charity Cases. Church leaders can hold you up as a shining example of “the heathen” that needs to be “saved”, and the “savage” that needs to be “schooled”. All kinds of money will change hands as people are convinced that you have to be matriculated. You can escape the wastelands and lands of zero opportunity where you have been barracked, but the only way out is through the levels of the Western Culture Pyramid, all nice and neat. The bison had to go for other reasons too. The railroad had been given vast rights of way across the plains. The idea was to sell off land to settlers and create towns that would, in turn, create demand for the services of the railroad. Never mind that it wasn’t vacant land, it wasn’t owned either, and free land cannot be taxed. Bankers cannot underwrite mortgages on public land. The whole thing had to be chained up, fenced off, and the bison had to go. Killing them for food wasn’t fast enough, so a fad was created for Buffalo Robes. Anybody who was anybody, or who wanted to be mistaken for anybody, had to have one. Then too, the animals could be shot for the sport of it, and left to rot. And that’s the story of how one group of independent people were subdued and forced into place in the Nuevo-Feudal system that is the modern Western corporate-capitalist hierarchy. It’s also the story of how one example of the bounty of the Americas was systematically destroyed to make sure that someone, somewhere, would have to pay the going rate for almost every meal consumed. Why am I telling this story? Because there are modern trends that suggest that we are all being herded into reservations, so to speak. All who aren’t doing the herding that is.

Relative to our ability in the US to live without total dependency on the multiply-taxed monetary system:

In 1497, John Cabot returned [from his voyage to the New World] with stories of the Grand Banks, where cod appeared so thick that a person "could walk across their backs." That news opened the North West Atlantic fishery, which helped feed the world for centuries to come. – Historica Minutes

The entire Eastern Seaboard has been practically fished out. It is maintained in this near-exhausted state by the enlightened indifference of the respective governments that will not discourage factory fishing that destroys habitat. This course of action ultimately ruins small, independent fishermen that can no longer make a living. Meanwhile, as long as the corporate factory boats can cover their costs, they scoop up what remains and destroy the competition at the same time. Now the independent fishermen must work for the corporation, or move on. Either way, his earning power is diminished. Small farming communities often lived with minimal cash outlay by trading goods and services among themselves. Today, the small farmer has been practically wiped out in many places in the country. The truck farms are now growing condos, or they have been chained together in huge corporate combines. This did not help:

“Bartering occurs when you exchange goods or services without exchanging money. An example of bartering is a plumber doing repair work for a dentist in exchange for dental services. The fair market value of goods and services exchanged must be included in the income of both parties.” - IRS Topic 420, and part of the Tax Code.

I can’t find the actual tax code entry, but I seem to remember that this was either amended, or came into greater enforcement during the late 1970s. With this alteration in the Code, the government is not just taxing the use of money, but actually taxing labor, demanding a share of what would otherwise be even exchanges of value.

In other news:

“The EPA recently announced one in three lakes and 25 percent of rivers are polluted by mercury and other harmful substances. So much so that the government issued a warning to children and pregnant women that serious health problems can come from eating too much fish. The warning level is the highest ever reported by the EPA, partly as a result of more measures taken to monitor for mercury. A 2003 survey found contamination evident in 14 million acres of lakes and 850,000 miles of rivers, the latter being up by 65 percent since 2002. The EPA said the warning does not apply to grocery stores and restaurant fish because such a small percentage of it is caught from inland bodies of water. The problem also is not associated with deep-sea fish” – USA Today August 25, 2004

If you want a meal in this country, these days you must buy it or beg for it. Either way, welcome to your planned existence. The photo was taken in 1870. It is a mountain of bison skulls. I found it here.

Original Comments:

concerned citizen said...
Would you stop! I'm having a hard time being my cheerful optimistic self reading this... & could you explain Nuevo-Feudal system?I have a germ of an idea that keeps running through my mind. It's the idea that the Law meant to protect us is the Law that will ultimately oppress us. Where can i find literature about that?
9:06 AM

breakerslion said...
Explaining what I mean by Nuevo-Feudalism is turning into my next post. Sorry, but you'll have to wait.Law has always had an opressive component. This comes about primarily when we let someone else decide what "for your protection" means. Did the White people of the South really need the "protection" that the Jim Crow laws bestowed on them?I recently saw a rerun of a South Park episode where "The scene in which Randy Marsh craps out his mouth has been edited for your protection." Three similar scenes were likewise replaced by a similar placard. Somebody decided that I had to be protected from the sight of a cartoon turd coming out the mouth of a cartoon. What a sad, stupid world we live in. Meanwhile, in Darfur... real life-threatening problems!
5:26 PM

concerned citizen said...
i wasn't thinking about literature like South Park, gee wizz! More Machiavelli type stuff.
7:14 PM

angelsdepart said...
The fact that we are being herded concerns me. Even if you are aware of it, what can you really do about it?


At 7:02 PM, Blogger Kalanchoe542 said...

This makes me want to cry all over again. I just listened to an audio book entitled "Ishmael". It addresses exactly this sort of issue. It would be my suggestion that you listen to it. Not the greatest work of literature ever, especially after abridging for the audio version, but the message is plain.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Romeo Morningwood said...

Absolutely great posting BL..very interesting...and disconcerting.

I have always been appalled by the near perfect eradication of the American Bison..disgusting. No wonder the First Asians held the white eye in such low regard..what a complete bunch of asshats.

That winner takes all mindset is still heralded as the American Way...we certainly haven't made much progress in the last hundred years.

It would be really cool if somebody provided lists of individuals in Corporate America who made the decisions that keep f*cking us left, right, and centre.

So and so at Chase Manhattan or whtashisface over at Shell ordered this__________ policy today...and then have an e-mail address.
Wouldn't that be cathartic!

At 6:19 AM, Blogger Rita said...

aka concerned citizen
Well, since your original post I've read & studied Machiavelli. Most of the same shit will still apply, when all is said & done.
Those of us who want to preserve the moral sphere will survive, though. Idealism is a shining star.

I would like to see the great native American hero philosophers like Crazy Horse, get more credence.
Our celebrated form of capitalism, as illustrated in your picture, seems to of stamped them out.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

kalanchoe542: I promise to get to that. I am intrigued.

donnnnn: Thank you. The capitalist drive to eliminate competition seems to always crush the small and semi-independent players first. The world portrayed in Soilent Green might be closer than we think.

handmaiden: I learned quite recently of your alter-ego. I might have known, but I wasn't paying attention. Thanks for the follow-up. Some things never change, including, "History belongs to the victors." It is unfortunate that a lot of alternative thinking is lost this way.


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