More about the book I'm reading: "Gone to Croatan." You know, I've been thinking that, in a certain way, all of early America's voluntary immigration was about going to Croatan: about finding greater freedom from the oppressions of Europe, China, and in particular, Iberia (Inquisition) (Can't say as much for Africa, because I don't know enough yet.) There was a tremendous amount of utopian thinking about the New World on the part of disaffected Europeans. Like most people, however, they couldn't get past their own problems and world-view, and hence rode rough-shod over the native peoples here. By the way, I've found out just recently that my mother's ancestors were among the First Contact indigenous peoples - that means those who made the first contacts with the European interlopers.
Anyway, I should say a little more about the enigmatic title of this book. Some of the earliest English colonists and their servants and slaves 'disappeared' in the Chesapeake Bay region, and when a ship finally came from England to belatedly support them, they found only an enigmatic word scrawled on a tree: 'Croatoan.' It was decided that either everyone had perished, or perhaps they had gone off with the local Indians, who were at that time called the 'Croatoans' (now called the Lumbees). So, the expression 'gone to croatan' means 'gone native,' or 'have chosen an alternative lifestyle.'
Apparently many early Americans wanted to choose a form of democratic government in which power was 'vested in the people,' not just vested in the representatives of the people. I don't much about this, but I believe it may have been the position of the Whig party. Around the time of the Revolutionary War, many Americans were living a lifestyle that was a kind of mix of European farming/homesteading and Native American hunting/gathering, and these folks were very independent. Not only did they favor independence from England, but independence from many other aspects of government as well. It seems to me these people are alternately praised and denigrated in our American folklore, and that, to a certain extent, the split still exists among us. Although many of the people who now choose to 'live outside the law' are actually people who have been barred from participating in lawful society in any kind of meaningful fulfilling way, but who are nevertheless being 'controlled' by the law and living, often, in incarceration. Anyway, there was indeed a great deal of disagreement during the Revolutionary Period as to just what kind of 'government' the 'United States' was going to have. If you want to read more about this, from a very different-from-the-usual perspective, yet in a serious, historically well-researched way, I recommend this book, Gone to Croatan.
Part of the problems that confront our country are indeed rooted in these earlier problems, and especially in the legacy of colonialism and slavery. Not just black slavery either, but immigrant-slavery generally. In immigrant-slavery, immigrants take on the most menial, low-paying, and dangerous jobs with the chance to make it to a higher socio-economic level, just as many of the early European and African indentured-servants/slaves did. (Black slavery, after something like 1640, meant life-long indenture, with no hope for chance of betterment, and was obviously much more brutal and inhuman in nature. But you could be worked to death as an indentured servant as well, having no rights during the time of your indenture.)
Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia gave me a lot of hope that maybe this, to my mind, colonial pattern can still change. What could America be like?
The answer still lies in the question of Labor, and this is not just America's question. Who is going to do the s--t-work? Reading more about the history of Labor is a very enlightening activity. Changing our attitudes toward Labor is really what is called for. There must be alternatives to Marxism on this subject. If anyone would like to recommend some reading to me, I would much appreciate. Please make it well-written and not too dry.