The Foundation of Servitude
"There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one's own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. Robbery!" Franz Oppenheimer, 1922
Anybody knows that a house cannot be built without a foundation. For most of my life I've labored in the construction fields, mainly as a crew leader that frames residential homes, and I can assure you that every house I framed was built on a foundation. No foundation - no house. The same is true of servitude. The house of servitude cannot exist without its foundation. So what is that foundation?
In the Institutes of Justinian, we read: "So, too, he who has the use of a slave, has only the right of himself using the labor and the services of the slave; for he is not permitted in any way to transfer his right to another. And it is the same with regard to beasts of burden."1
In 1847, during the tariff discussions, Abraham Lincoln said: "In the early days of our race the Almighty said to the first of our race, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread'; and since then, if we except the light and the air of heaven, no good thing has been or can be enjoyed by us without having first cost labor. And inasmuch as most good things are produced by labor, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. But is has so happened, in all ages of the world, that some have labored, and others have without labor enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor, or as nearly as possible, is a worthy object of any good government."2
Albert Taylor Bledsoe was one of the people who contributed to the writings in Cotton is King and Pro-Slavery Arguments. This book was last published in 1860 and was designed to prove both the legality and necessity of slavery back then. After the southern states succeeded from the Union, Bledsoe was chief of the Bureau of War and the assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Here's some of what he had to say: "Can a man, then, have a right to the labor or obedience of another without his consent? Give us this right, and it is all we ask."3 Bledsoe and the other slaveholders of the South tried to convince those who were arguing against slavery that the slaves were not property in the same sense as oxen and other beasts of burden. Bledsoe said that "the master claims only a right to the labor and lawful obedience of the slave, and no right whatever to his soul."4 Hence, according to the slaveholders, the argument that slaves were brutes had no real foundation. All they wanted was power over the labor of the slaves. Bledsoe sums it up by saying: "But, as we have seen, a limited property, or the right to the labor of a man, does not deny or annul all his rights, nor necessarily any one of them. This argument need no further refutation. For we acknowledge that the slave has rights; and the limited or qualified property which the master claims in him, extending merely to his personal human labor and his lawful obedience, touches not one of these rights."5 In the Introduction to Cotton is King, E.N. Elliott, who was the president of Planters' College, Mississippi back then, gave a brief definition of slavery in the southern states back then. Read these words and think.
"Slavery is the duty and obligation of the slave to labor of the mutual benefit of both master and slave, under a warrant to the slave of protection, and a comfortable subsistence, under all circumstances. The person of the slave is not property, no matter what the fictions of the law may say; but the right to his labor is property, and may be transferred like any other property, or as the right to the services of a minor or an apprentice may be transferred. Nor is the labor of the slave solely for the benefit of the master, but for the benefit of all concerned; for himself, to repay the advances made for his support in childhood, for present subsistence, and for guardianship and protection, and to accumulate a fund for sickness, disability, and old age. The master, as the head of the system, has a right to the obedience and labor of the slave, but the slave also has his mutual rights in the master; the right of protection, the right of counsel and guidance, the right of subsistence, the right of care and attention in sickness and old age. He also has a right in his master as the sole arbiter in all his wrongs and difficulties, and as a merciful judge and dispenser of law to award the penalty of his misdeeds. Such is American slavery, or as Mr. Henry Hughes happily terms it, Warrenteeism."6 (my emphasis)
From reading this, we can see that the slaveholders had a social security system for their slaves. So let's ask a question: Since slavery necessitates social security, does social security necessitate slavery? Another slaveholder who contributed to Cotton is King was J.H. Hammond. Hammond served as governor of South Carolina and was also a U.S. Senator in pre civil war times. He said that it was the duty of masters "to clothe, feed, nurse, support through childhood, and pension in old age, a race of slaves."7 This made perfect sense. After all, slaves did not receive an equivalent of their labor, but only an allowance. This deprived them of the ability effectively care for themselves and their children. For example, if the force of law took, for example, two-thirds of your labor (wages) away from you, how could you afford to make provisions for your old age? How about supporting a family? How about sickness? How about injuries and time lost from work? How about merely affording the basic necessities of life? Hence, the masters provided these things; and in return the slave was cared for from the cradle to the grave. It would be a cruel system indeed that took two-thirds of your labor away and left you to fend for yourself. Such a system would be aptly described as "labor cannibalism," or just plain "cannibalism" for short, because the labor of working people would be nothing more than a great feast and the masters would retain all of their wealth because all of the responsibilities of masters would be passed off on those whom they had enslaved. I thought this an appropriate title for this type of slavery after reading a book entitled Cannibals All! - or Slaves Without Masters that was written back the 1850's by a Virginia lawyer named George Fitzhugh. Fitzhugh knew that it was not necessary to buy somebody first before you could enslave them, and he labeled this type of slavery as "cannibalism." All that is required is that the law grants power over labor to the ruling powers. An example of this type of slave system would be the Nazi system under Hitler. People were enslaved by the millions with the masters not having to pay one penny for the rights to the labor of the slaves. It was a theft of labor on a massive scale. To learn more about Nazi thievery, I recommend the book Pack of Thieves, by Richard Z. Chesnoff. Two other books that I'd recommend that were written by victims of Nazi slavery are diaries. One is entitled I Will Bear Witness - A Diary of the Nazi Years, by Victor Klemperer; and the other is The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniakow. Klemperer was a Jew from Dresden, and it was the bombing of Dresden that saved him from being sent to the death camps. Czerniakow was the Nazi sponsored Mayor of the Warsaw ghetto. He committed suicide after realizing that he was being used to gather his people up to be sent to their deaths - the expulsion order also applied to children. He refused to sign this order and committed suicide the next day. So if you don't think that cannibalistic slavery can degenerate into a hateful tyranny, think again. Hopefully they won't come after you if it does.
The enslavement of the Jews in the Lodz ghetto of Poland during World War II is a good example of cannibalistic slavery. This district of Poland was under the rule of Nazi Lord Authur Greiser. Laurence Rees, in his research into the Nazi system said the following about Greiser's rule:
"Greiser was happy with the proposal that the ghetto become a generator of wealth because he had arranged to pocket the profit from the scheme himself. The Jews are going to be providing labor at a set rate,' says Professor Browning, 35% of that is going to go to the Jews themselves so that they can buy food, 65% is going to go into a special account of Greiser's, one that he controls, his slush fund.'"8
Greiser, by the way, was convicted of war crimes at the Nuremberg trials and was hung on June 20, 1946.
"Crowds gathered wherever they could, climbing fences and trees, all striving to find the best place to witness the much-anticipated hanging of Arthur Greiser, former Nazi ruler of the Polish Warthegau. Anna Jeziorkowska had taken a friend along: I can only say that at the moment when Greiser was hanged from the gallows, people were so overjoyed, so overcome by enthusiasm that they were kissing one another, jumping up and down, shouting, bursting into songs.' Anna walked home rejuvenated. After one has had to endure such suffering,' she says, then one is looking for some form of satisfaction, isn't one?'"9
According to the Institutes of Justinian: "Status is the position in which a personaoccupies in the eyes of the law."10 In the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford, which, as I've already pointed out in the Introduction, was decided in the 1856 term of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Curtis describes what the status of slavery means in the eyes of the law.
"The status of slavery is not necessarily always attended with the same powers on the part of the master. The master is subject to the supreme power of the State, whose will controls his action towards his slave, and this control must be defined and regulated by the municipal law. In one State, as at one period of the Roman law, it may put the life of the slave into the hand of the master; others, as those of the United States, which tolerate slavery, may treat the slave as a person, when the master takes his life; while in others, the law may recognize a right of the slave to be protected from cruel treatment. In other words, the status of slavery embraces every condition, from that in which the slave is known to the law simply as a chattel, with no civil rights, to that in which he is recognized as a person for all purposes, save the compulsory power of directing and receiving the fruits of his labor. Which of these conditions shall attend the status of slavery, must depend on the municipal law which creates and upholds it."11 (my emphasis)
So it should be clear that the foundation of servitude is power over labor. It was Lincoln who said that "free labor has the inspiration of hope."12 This does not mean that people who labor for their bread receive whatever allowance a group of masters decides to give them. William Channing, who was a Boston minister in pre civil war times and founder of the American Unitarian Association, said that a slave's "earnings belong to another. He can possess nothing but by favor."13 Channing also said that the slave "has a right to an equivalent for his labor."14
Power over labor is nothing new. It is old - very, very old. It is the most sought after power when it comes to human governments. Political rulers who advocate a free labor system are few and far between. We shall see as this book progresses that, in the United States, a free labor system existed from the end of the Civil War in 1865 until 1936. Once again we see power over labor being exercised on a massive scale. I fail to see what good will become of this cannibalistic servitude. But how did this come about? How have we gone from a system where working people received the equivalent of their labor to one where they only receive an allowance? This will be examined in the next chapter.
"That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles - right and wrong - throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it.' No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle."15
1. The Institutes of Justinian, pg. 132
2. The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, The Tandy-Thomas Co., N.Y., 1905, Volume I, pp. 306-7
3. Cotton is King and Pro-Slavery Arguments, Pritchard, Abbott & Loomis, Augusta, Ga., 1860, pg. 313
4. Ibid., pg. 314
5. Ibid., pp. 315-16
6. Ibid., pg. vii
7. Ibid., pg. 647
8. The Nazis - A Warning From History, Laurence Rees, The New Press, N.Y., pg. 159 (The book is a companion to the award winning History Channel BBC Documentary.)
9. Idid., pg. 125
10. The Institutes of Justinian, pg. 14
11. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 19 How. 393, 624-25
12. The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume II, pg. 185
13. The Works of William E. Channing, American Unitarian Association, Boston, 1873, Volume II, pg. 47
14. Ibid., pg. 35
15. The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume V, pg. 65