but Americans celebrates Thanksgiving. It is reserved by
history and the intent
of “the founders” as the supremely white American holiday, the
most ghoulish event on the national calendar. No Halloween of
the imagination can rival the exterminationist reality that was
the genesis, and remains the legacy, of the American Thanksgiving.
It is the most loathsome, humanity-insulting day of the year – a
pure glorification of racist barbarity.
We at are
thankful that the day grows nearer when the almost four centuries-old
abomination will be deprived of its reason for being: white supremacy.
Then we may all eat and drink in peace and gratitude for the
blessings of humanity’s deliverance from the rule of evil men.
is much more than a lie – if it were that simple, an historical correction
of the record of events in 1600s Massachusetts would suffice
to purge the “flaw” in the national mythology. But Thanksgiving
is not just a twisted fable, and the mythology it nurtures is
itself inherently evil. The real-life events – subsequently revised – were
perfectly understood at the time as the first, definitive triumphs
of the genocidal European project in New England. The near-erasure
of Native Americans in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, from
most of the remainder of the northern English colonial seaboard
was the true mission of the Pilgrim enterprise – Act One of the
American Dream. African Slavery commenced contemporaneously – an
overlapping and ultimately inseparable Act Two.
last Act in the American drama must be the “root and branch” eradication of all
vestiges of Act One and Two – America’s seminal crimes and formative
projects. Thanksgiving as presently celebrated – that is, as
a national political event – is an affront to civilization.
America embraced Thanksgiving because a majority of that population
the fruits, if not the unpleasant details, of genocide and slavery
and feels, on the whole, good about their heritage: a cornucopia
of privilege and national power. Children are taught to identify
with the good fortune of the Pilgrims. It does not much matter
that the Native American and African holocausts that flowed from
the feast at Plymouth are hidden from the children’s version
of the story – kids learn soon enough that Indians were made
scarce and Africans became enslaved. But they will also never
forget the core message of the holiday: that the Pilgrims were
good people, who could not have purposely set such evil in motion.
Just as the first Thanksgivings marked the consolidation of the
English toehold in what became the United States, the core ideological
content of the holiday serves to validate all that has since
occurred on these shores – a national consecration of the unspeakable,
a balm and benediction for the victors, a blessing of the fruits
of murder and kidnapping, and an implicit obligation to continue
the seamless historical project in the present day.
The Thanksgiving story
is an absolution of the Pilgrims, whose brutal quest for absolute
power in the New World is made to seem both religiously motivated
and eminently human. Most importantly, the Pilgrims are depicted
as victims – of harsh weather and their own naïve yet
wholesome visions of a new beginning. In light of this carefully
nurtured fable, whatever happened to the Indians, from Plymouth
to California and beyond, in the aftermath of the 1621 dinner
must be considered a mistake, the result of misunderstandings – at
worst, a series of lamentable tragedies. The story provides the
essential first frame of the American saga. It is unalloyed racist
propaganda, a tale that endures because it served the purposes
of a succession of the Pilgrims’ political heirs, in much the
same way that Nazi-enhanced mythology of a glorious Aryan/German
past advanced another murderous, expansionist mission.
is quite dangerous – as were the Pilgrims.
Rejoicing in a cemetery
The English settlers,
their ostensibly religious venture backed by a trading company,
were glad to discover that they had landed in a virtual cemetery
in 1620. Corn still sprouted in the abandoned fields of the Wampanoags,
but only a remnant of the local population remained around the
fabled Rock. In a letter to England, Massachusetts Bay colony
founder John Winthrop wrote, "But for the natives in these
parts, God hath so pursued them, as for 300 miles space the greatest
part of them are swept away by smallpox which still continues
among them. So as God hath thereby cleared our title to this
place, those who remain in these parts, being in all not 50,
have put themselves under our protection."
diligent to claim their own advantages as God’s will, the Pilgrims thanked their
deity for having “pursued” the Indians to mass death. However,
it was not divine intervention that wiped out most of the natives
around the village of Patuxet but, most likely, smallpox-embedded
blankets planted during an English visit or slave raid. Six years
before the Pilgrim landing, a ship sailed into Patuxet’s harbor,
captained by none other than the famous seaman and mercenary
Smith, former leader of the first successful English colony
in the New World, at Jamestown, Virginia. Epidemic and slavery
followed in his wake, as Debra
Glidden described in IMDiversity.com:
1614 the Plymouth Company of England, a joint stock company,
John Smith to explore land in its behalf. Along what is now
the coast of Massachusetts in the territory of the Wampanoag,
Smith visited the town of Patuxet according to "The
Colonial Horizon," a 1969 book edited by William Goetzinan.
Smith renamed the town Plymouth in honor of his employers,
but the Wampanoag who inhabited the town continued to call
following year Captain Hunt, an English slave trader, arrived
It was common practice for explorers to capture Indians,
take them to Europe and sell them into slavery for 220 shillings
apiece. That practice was described in a 1622 account of
happenings entitled "A Declaration of the State of the
Colony and Affairs in Virginia," written by Edward Waterhouse.
True to the explorer tradition, Hunt kidnapped a number of
Wampanoags to sell into slavery.
common practice among European explorers was to give "smallpox blankets" to
the Indians. Since smallpox was unknown on this continent
prior to the arrival of the Europeans, Native Americans did
not have any natural immunity to the disease so smallpox
would effectively wipe out entire villages with very little
effort required by the Europeans. William Fenton describes
how Europeans decimated Native American villages in his 1957
work "American Indian and White relations to 1830." From
1615 to 1619 smallpox ran rampant among the Wampanoags and
their neighbors to the north. The Wampanoag lost 70 percent
of their population to the epidemic and the Massachusetts
lost 90 percent.
of the Wampanoag had died from the smallpox epidemic so
when the Pilgrims
arrived they found well-cleared fields which they claimed
for their own. A Puritan colonist, quoted by Harvard University's
Perry Miller, praised the plague that had wiped out the Indians
for it was "the wonderful preparation of the Lord Jesus
Christ, by his providence for his people's abode in the Western
have since speculated endlessly on why the woods in the region
resembled a park to the disembarking Pilgrims in 1620. The reason
should have been obvious: hundreds, if not thousands, of people
had lived there just five years before.
In less than three
generations the settlers would turn all of New England into
a charnel house for Native Americans, and fire the economic
engines of slavery throughout English-speaking America. Plymouth
Rock is the place where the nightmare truly began.
is not at all clear what happened at the first – and only – “integrated” Thanksgiving
feast. Only two written accounts of the three-day event exist,
and one of them, by Governor William Bradford, was written
20 years after the fact. Was Chief Massasoit invited to bring 90 Indians with
him to dine with 52 colonists, most of them women and children?
This seems unlikely. A good harvest had provided the settlers
with plenty of food, according to their accounts, so the whites
didn’t really need the Wampanoag’s offering of five deer. What
we do know is that there had been lots of tension between the
two groups that fall. John Two-Hawks, who runs the Native
Circle web site, gives a sketch of the facts:
did not begin as a great loving relationship between the pilgrims
and the Wampanoag, Pequot and Narragansett people. In
fact, in October of 1621 when the pilgrim survivors of their
first winter in Turtle Island sat down to share the first unofficial
'Thanksgiving' meal, the Indians who were there were not even
invited! There was no turkey, squash, cranberry sauce
or pumpkin pie. A few days before this alleged feast
took place, a company of 'pilgrims' led by Miles Standish actively
sought the head of a local Indian chief, and an 11 foot high
wall was erected around the entire Plymouth settlement for
the very purpose of keeping Indians out!”
is much more likely that Chief Massasoit either crashed the
party, or brought enough
men to ensure that he was not kidnapped or harmed by the Pilgrims.
Dr. Tingba Apidta, in his “Black
Folks’ Guide to Understanding Thanksgiving,” surmises that
the settlers “brandished their weaponry” early and got drunk
soon thereafter. He notes that “each Pilgrim drank at least
a half gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water.
This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford,
to comment on his people's ‘notorious sin,’ which included
their ‘drunkenness and uncleanliness’ and rampant ‘sodomy.’”
after the feast the brutish Miles Standish “got his bloody prize,” Dr.
went to the Indians, pretended to be a trader, then beheaded
an Indian man named Wituwamat. He brought the head to Plymouth,
where it was displayed on a wooden spike for many years, according
to Gary B. Nash, ‘as a symbol of white power.’ Standish had
the Indian man's young brother hanged from the rafters for
good measure. From that time on, the whites were known to the
Indians of Massachusetts by the name ‘Wotowquenange,’ which
in their tongue meant cutthroats and stabbers.”
is certain is that the first feast was not called a “Thanksgiving” at the
time; no further integrated dining occasions were scheduled;
and the first, official all-Pilgrim “Thanksgiving” had to wait
until 1637, when the whites of New England celebrated the massacre
of the Wampanoag’s southern neighbors, the Pequots.
The real Thanksgiving
The Pequots today
own the Foxwood
Casino and Hotel, in Ledyard, Connecticut, with gross gaming
revenues of over $9 billion in 2000. This is truly a (very
belated) miracle, since the real first Pilgrim Thanksgiving
was intended as the Pequot’s epitaph. Sixteen years after the
problematical Plymouth feast, the English tried mightily to
erase the Pequots from the face of the Earth, and thanked God
for the blessing.
subdued, intimidated or made mercenaries of most of the tribes
the English turned their growing force southward, toward the
rich Connecticut valley, the Pequot’s sphere of influence.
At the point where the Mystic River meets the sea, the combined
force of English and allied Indians bypassed the Pequot fort
to attack and set ablaze a town full of women, children and
the former Governor of Plymouth and one of the chroniclers
of the 1621 feast, was also on hand for the great massacre
that escaped the fire were slain with the sword; some hewed
to pieces, others run through with their rapiers, so that they
were quickly dispatched and very few escaped. It was conceived
they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful
sight to see them thus frying in the fire...horrible was the
stink and scent thereof, but the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice,
and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so
wonderfully for them, thus to enclose their enemies in their
hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and
insulting an enemy."
rest of the white folks thought so, too. “This day forth shall be a day of celebration
and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots," read Governor
John Winthrop’s proclamation. The authentic Thanksgiving Day
Most historians believe
about 700 Pequots were slaughtered at Mystic. Many prisoners
were executed, and surviving women and children sold into slavery
in the West Indies. Pequot prisoners that escaped execution
were parceled out to Indian tribes allied with the English.
The Pequot were thought to have been extinguished as a people.
According to IndyMedia, “The
Pequot tribe numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but
disease had brought their numbers down to 1,500 by 1637. The
Pequot ‘War’ killed all but a handful of remaining members
of the tribe.”
But there were still
too many Indians around to suit the whites of New England,
who bided their time while their own numbers increased to critical,
head on a pole
the 1670s the colonists, with 8,000 men under arms, felt
strong enough to demand that the Pilgrims’ former dinner
guests the Wampanoags disarm and submit to the authority
of the Crown. After a series of settler provocations in 1675,
the Wampanoag struck back, under the leadership of Chief
Metacomet, son of Massasoit, called King Philip by the English.
Metacomet/Philip, whose wife and son were captured and sold
into West Indian slavery, wiped out 13 settlements and killed
600 adult white men before the tide of battle turned. A 1996
issue of the Revolutionary Worker provides an excellent
their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide
against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts
government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian
scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be
sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any
Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The "Praying
Indians" who had converted to Christianity and fought
on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting
into the treetops during battles with "hostiles." They
were enslaved or killed. Other "peaceful" Indians
of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek
refuge at trading posts – and were sold onto slave ships.
is not known how many Indians were sold into slavery, but
in this campaign, 500 enslaved Indians were shipped
from Plymouth alone. Of the 12,000 Indians in the surrounding
tribes, probably about half died from battle, massacre
King Philip's War, there were almost no Indians left free
in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from
Manhattan's New York colony: "There is now but few
Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful.
It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by
the hand of God, since the English first settled in these
parts." In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a "day
of public thanksgiving" in 1676, saying, "there
now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians]
but are either slain, captivated or fled."
years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had
destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring
tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head
was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung
on display 24 years later.
is not thought to be a fit Thanksgiving tale for the children
of today, but
it’s the real story, well-known to the settler children of
New England at the time – the white kids who saw the Wampanoag
head on the pole year after year and knew for certain that
God loved them best of all, and that every atrocity they might
ever commit against a heathen, non-white was blessed.
a good term for the process thus set in motion: nation-building.
Roots of the
British North American colonists’ practice of enslaving Indians for labor
or direct sale to the West Indies preceded the appearance of
the first chained Africans at the dock in Jamestown, Virginia,
in 1619. The Jamestown colonists’ human transaction with the
Dutch vessel was an unscheduled occurrence. However, once the
African slave trade became commercially established, the fates
of Indians and Africans in the colonies became inextricably
entwined. New England, born of up-close-and-personal, burn-them-in-the-fires-of-hell
genocide, led the political and commercial development of the
English colonies. The region also led the nascent nation’s
descent into a slavery-based society and economy.
an apologist for Virginian slavery made one of the best,
early cases for
the indictment of New England as the engine of the American
slave trade. Unreconstructed secessionist Lewis Dabney’s 1867
Defense of Virginia” traced the slave trade’s origins all
the way back to Plymouth Rock:
The planting of
the commercial States of North America began with the colony
of Puritan Independents at Plymouth, in 1620, which was subsequently
enlarged into the State of Massachusetts. The other trading
colonies, Rhode Island and Connecticut, as well as New Hampshire
(which never had an extensive shipping interest), were offshoots
of Massachusetts. They partook of the same characteristics
and pursuits; and hence, the example of the parent colony
is taken here as a fair representation of them.
first ship from America, which embarked in the African
slave trade, was the Desire, Captain Pierce, of
Salem; and this was among the first vessels ever built
in the colony. The promptitude with which the "Puritan
Fathers" embarked in this business may be comprehended,
when it is stated that the Desire sailed upon her
voyage in June, 1637. [Note: the year they massacred the
Pequots.] The first feeble and dubious foothold was gained
by the white man at Plymouth less than seventeen years
before; and as is well known, many years were expended
by the struggle of the handful of settlers for existence.
So that it may be correctly said, that the commerce of
New England was born of the slave trade; as its subsequent
prosperity was largely founded upon it. The Desire,
proceeding to the Bahamas, with a cargo of "dry fish
and strong liquors, the only commodities for those parts," obtained
the negroes from two British men-of-war, which had captured
them from a Spanish slaver.
the trade of which the good ship Desire, of Salem,
was the harbinger, grew into grand proportions; and for nearly
two centuries poured a flood of wealth into New England,
as well as no inconsiderable number of slaves. Meanwhile,
the other maritime colonies of Rhode Island and Providence
Plantations, and Connecticut, followed the example of their
elder sister emulously; and their commercial history is but
a repetition of that of Massachusetts. The towns of Providence,
Newport, and New Haven became famous slave trading ports.
The magnificent harbor of the second, especially, was the
favorite starting-place of the slave ships; and its commerce
rivaled, or even exceeded, that of the present commercial
metropolis, New York. All the four original States, of course,
Revolution that exploded in 1770s New England was undertaken
by men thoroughly
imbued with the worldview of the Indian-killer and slave-holder.
How could they not be? The “country” they claimed as their
own was fathered by genocide and mothered by slavery – its
true distinction among the commercial nations of the world.
And these men were not ashamed, but proud, with vast ambition
to spread their exceptional characteristics West and South
and wherever their so-far successful project in nation-building
might take them – and by the same bloody, savage methods that
had served them so well in the past.
the moment of deepest national crisis following the battle
of Gettysburg in 1863,
President Abraham Lincoln invoked the national fable that is
far more central to the white American personality than Lincoln’s
battlefield “Address.” Lincoln seized upon the 1621 feast as
the historic “Thanksgiving” – bypassing the official and authentic
1637 precedent – and assigned the dateless, murky event the
fourth Thursday in November.
Lincoln surveyed a
broken nation, and attempted nation-rebuilding, based on the
purest white myth. The same year that he issued the Emancipation
Proclamation, he renewed the national commitment to a white
manifest destiny that began at Plymouth Rock. Lincoln sought
to rekindle a shared national mission that former Confederates
and Unionists and white immigrants from Europe could collectively
embrace. It was and remains a barbaric and racist national
unifier, by definition. Only the most fantastic lies can sanitize
the history of the Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts.
Thanksgiving holiday fable is at once a window on the way
that many, if not most,
white Americans view the world and their place in it, and a
pollutant that leaches barbarism into the modern era. The fable
attempts to glorify the indefensible, to enshrine an era and
mission that represent the nation’s lowest moral denominators.
Thanksgiving as framed in the mythology is, consequently, a
drag on that which is potentially civilizing in the national
character, a crippling, atavistic deformity. Defenders of the
holiday will claim that the politically-corrected children’s
version promotes brotherhood, but that is an impossibility – a
bald excuse to prolong the worship of colonial “forefathers” and
to erase the crimes they committed. Those bastards burned the
Pequot women and children, and ushered in the multinational
business of slavery. These are facts. The myth is an insidious
diversion – and worse.
cannot tolerate a 21st Century superpower, much of whose
the world through the eyes of 17th Century land and flesh bandits.
Yet that is the trick that fate has played on the globe. We
described the roots of the planetary dilemma in our March 13
commentary, “Racism & War,
The English arrived with criminal intent - and brought wives
and children to form new societies predicated on successful
plunder. To justify the murderous enterprise, Indians
who had initially cooperated with the squatters were
transmogrified into "savages" deserving displacement
and death. The relentlessly refreshed lie of Indian savagery
became a truth in the minds of white Americans, a fact to be acted upon by every succeeding generation of whites. The settlers became
a singular people confronting the great "frontier" -
a euphemism for centuries of genocidal campaigns against
a darker, "savage" people marked for extinction.
necessity of genocide was the operative, working assumption
of the expanding American nation. "Manifest Destiny" was
born at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown, later to fall (to paraphrase
Malcolm) like a rock on Mexico, the Philippines, Haiti, Nicaragua,
etc. Little children were taught that the American project
was inherently good, Godly, and that those who got in the way
were "evil-doers" or just plain subhuman, to be gloriously
eliminated. The lie is central to white American identity,
embraced by waves of European settlers who never saw a red
a century ago, American soldiers caused the deaths of possibly
a million Filipinos
whom they had been sent to “liberate” from Spanish rule. They
didn’t even know who they were killing, and so rationalized
their behavior by substituting the usual American victims. Colonel
Funston, of the Twentieth Kansas Volunteers, explained
what got him motivated in the Philippines:
fighting blood was up and we all wanted to kill 'niggers.'
This shooting human beings is a 'hot game,' and beats rabbit
hunting all to pieces." Another wrote that "the boys
go for the enemy as if they were chasing jack-rabbits ....
I, for one, hope that Uncle Sam will apply the chastening rod,
good, hard, and plenty, and lay it on until they come into
the reservation and promise to be good 'Injuns.'"
week in northern Iraq another American colonel, Joe Anderson
of the 101st Airborne
(Assault) Division, revealed that he is incapable of perceiving
Arabs as human beings. Colonel Anderson, who doubles as a commander
and host of a radio call-in program and a TV show designed
to win the hearts and minds of the people of Mosul, had learned
that someone was out to assassinate him. In the wild mood swing
common to racists, Anderson decided that Iraqis are all alike – and
of a different breed. He said as much to the Los
don't understand being nice," said Anderson, who helps
oversee the military zone that includes Mosul and environs.
He doesn't hide his irritation after months dedicated to restoring
the city: "We spent so long here working with kid gloves,
but the average Iraqi guy will tell you, 'The only thing people
respect here is violence…. They only understand being shot
at, being killed. That's the culture.' … Nice guys do finish
Anderson personifies the unfitness of Americans to play a
major role in the world,
much less rule it. "We poured a lot of our heart and soul
into trying to help the people,” he bitched, as if Americans
were God’s gift to the planet. "But it can be frustrating
when you hear stupid people still saying, 'You're occupiers.
You want our oil. You're turning our country over to Israel.'” He
cannot fathom that other people – non-whites – aspire to run
their own affairs, and will kill and die to achieve that basic
does this have to do with the Mayflower? Everything. Although
their wishes, the Pilgrims hosted the Wampanoag for three no
doubt anxious days. The same men killed and enslaved Wampanoags
immediately before and after the feast. They, their newly arrived
English comrades and their children roasted hundreds of neighboring
Indians alive just 16 years later, and two generations afterwards
cleared nearly the whole of New England of its indigenous “savages,” while
enthusiastically enriching themselves through the invention
of transoceanic, sophisticated means of enslaving millions.
The Mayflower’s cultural heirs are programmed to find glory
in their own depravity and savagery in their most helpless
victims, who can only redeem themselves by accepting the inherent
goodness of white Americans.
these cognitive cripples in their madness, just as it is designed
began this essay by saying that “the day grows nearer when the almost four centuries-old
abomination [Thanksgiving] will be deprived of its reason for
being: white supremacy.” We firmly believe this. The wired
world works against the Bush men’s insane leap to global hegemony,
while creating the material basis for (dare we say the words)
brother- and sisterhood among humankind. It becomes clear that
the fruits of millennia of human genius cannot be captured
and packaged for the enrichment of a few for much longer – and
certainly not by a cabal that cannot see beyond the bubble
of its own, warped history. The dim outlines of a new and more
democratic world order can be seen in the often tentative,
but sometimes dramatic actions of movements and nations determined
to construct a fairer way to live. As the world witnesses the
brutality, stupidity and sheer incompetence of the Pirates
currently at the helm of the United States, the urgency of
a common, alternative human project becomes apparent to all. The “end
of history” that the Bush men triumphantly announce is really
the end of them, through a process they have accelerated
with every deranged action and delusional strategy they have
undertaken since 2001.
They are like men
in quicksand. White racism as a global scourge will sink with
them, and eventually whither to a mere prejudice rather than
a world-threatening menace.
We at are
thankful to be alive in the knowledge that a new world is just
over the horizon, close enough to sense, even if we never see
are optimistic about our struggle in the United States – if
not, we would never encourage anybody to fight for anything.
We are even grudgingly
thankful for Senator Orrin Hatch, who has served his only good
purpose in life by introducing us to tens of thousands of new
We are deeply thankful
for Rev. Al Sharpton who, although he stumbled in the most
human of ways earlier this month, had the courage to step up
to the plate, and can hopefully still swing a heavy bat in
have grown thankful for Howard Dean for becoming a repository
of the hopes of many
progressives in labor, Black and anti-war circles – and who
will hopefully become a captive of his supporters.
We are thankful for
Dennis Kucinich for being the real thing, a genuine social
democrat pushing the envelop in civilized directions.
We are thankfully
confirmed in our confidence in Black voters, who continue to
resist being bamboozled by Republicans and Trojan Horse Democrats
like the wretched Mayor of New Orleans.
are tickled as well as thankful at Philadelphia Mayor John
to turn an FBI probe into a political plus.
We are so thankful,
it makes us hungry. So pass the pie, but not the pumpkin, please.