". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Monday, May 19, 2008


So this is how the book appears to be shaping up in terms of subject and theme, very much a volume 2 about the history New Orleans, though it also includes our personal memoir of it, from which earlier history branches off as we investigate questions to which we look for answers, and find these answers in historical conditions:

[ The failure of Reconstruction, which is with us still, is a story of more than 75 years of oppression (let's date it from 1876 to 1963). And that the 60s were a bright moment, when enough people chose collective advancement over individual betterment. But the reaction to that transformed the politics of the country, culminating in a far-right dirty-tricks party based on a solid southern base that culminated in Hurricane Katrina. ]

It is going to make a large swath of New Orleanians furious.

The book is still our personal memoir of living in NO. The earlier history branches off our investigation into questions that come up between us, to which we looking for answers, and we find these answers in historical conditions, again with the inevitable vision of the shadow of slavery still stretched across the city and the region.

One of these historical branches is story and history of Mardi Gras, how it began, in the 1850's just before the Civil War, the connection of the krewes's membership to the military coup that took over NO in the early years post Civil-War, the spread of the mummers' clubs and krewes throughout the south, culminating with the founding of another 'k' secret society in Tennessee, known as the Ku Klux Klan. For us personally it began with the question of 'how can they do this?' upon seeing the blatant racist contempt of the krewe of Bacchus's parade, that begins every year with 3 floats of: Daddy Kong, Mommy Kong and Baby Kong. And nobody except us remarks on it, and when we do think we're cranks. Except for our black friends, who get it just fine, and it hurts like hell too.

Another way this story is being told, well this made us both cry last night, tweaking a section on a black man in prison, reading his letters to his family, we both just broke into tears."Thanks that the money order was sent, even though it means you're short on the rent." The reality of the lives of so many.


Renegade Eye said...

But the reaction to that transformed the politics of the country, culminating in a far-right dirty-tricks party based on a solid southern base that culminated in Hurricane Katrina. ]

That part bothers me.

The Democratic Party is competitive, and is becoming NO's dominant party. The post is blaming the GOP for everything. The system is both parties. Compare NO to how Cuba handles such emergencies. The Democratic mayor, gave the call, everybody for themselves.

Graeme said...

One needs to look no further than New Orleans if they have the mistaken belief that class and race are no longer issues in the US. (i know, that sounds crazy but i actually run into people who think this)

Foxessa said...

Ren -- I've been studying ante-bellum, Civil War, Reconstruction, Jim Crowe, Civil Rights and post eras of the South and U.S. history for many years, along with the history of the slave trade, slavery, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

It is amazing how the very same rhetoric shows up in every catastrophe that is part of this nation's regional divides, and the evil bs always comes out of the same damned states.

There are rhetorics of certain circumstances that are always the same: want to start a war that your people are reluctant to fith? Raise that bloody baby on the bayonette, works every time. Sometimes it's the Jews killing babies for secret rituals, sometimes it is preemies pulled of life support in Kuwait, sometimes its the Huns throwing babies on bayonettes, but raise that bloody baby, baby! and you get your damned war.

Infidelity -- same songbook througout the centuries throughout the world of betrayer, other person and the betayed. It never changes, no matter the language.

Just like with love.

When comes to hatred of the poor, hatred of government, hatred of expansion of liberty and hatred of inclusion for those with rights, it always comes out of the South, whether the Revolutionary era or now. Though now the South has expanded into the heartland and much of the west. Just about exactly the same boundaries of the Louisiana Territory, that Jefferson bought and hoped to expand the slave trade throughout, for the wealth creation of himself and his fellow upper south planters.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

Ren -- Another way to put it, very short, very simple: yhe Dems had nothing to do with the unfunding of the maintenance of the levees. That was rethugs all the way. It is the neoCon plan, part of starving/shrinking government to the size they can drow it in a bathtub. The first bathtub was Lake Ponchartrain, which waters drowned NO as collateral damage, and incidently moved out the Dem voting base, and has since kept it from returning.

Love, C.

politiques USA said...

1963 for slavery abolition? Try 1964 at least, and still, if we definitively want to abolish slavery, we need to get rid of capitalism, we are in a 2-speed economy here.

Foxessa said...

The other dimension of this, is, for instance, other hate groups objecting to abolition, who were in the North? They were often immigrant groups with NO power in D.C., no representation either (these are very different from the Copperheads who were at best sympathetic to the Confederates, and at worst actively worked to sabotage the Union army and Union work).

However, their expression of hatred took other forms, like the 1863 so-called draft riot in NYC --mostly Irish -- that went on for days, leaving BLACK PEOPLE dead, lynched, burned and hacked to death, including children in an orphanage.

There was an influx of former and escaped slaves into NYC during the Civil War, competing then, with the immigrants for work.

My neighborhood was filled with former and escaped slaves who came up to the city back then. The Ear Inn, arguably the oldest, in continual operation, bar in the city, then known as the James Browne Inn, catered to this population, back then -- though it was older than that even then.

Love, C

Foxessa said...

Your point, politiques usa, is ....?

For that matter slavery has resurged all over the world in the last decade, and very much so in the U.S. too.

Sex slavery as usual is the largest segment of it, but labor slavery is also huge.

Love, C.