I’m joined by Davarian Baldwin, who is Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Trinity College, to talk about his new book In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities. Davarian’s book helped a lot of ideas about the university and where it’s been headed click in my mind, and I think our discussion will be of interest to people who work at or around universities or are affected by these institutions in some way. Understanding the agendas at play and the divergence between ideals and reality is increasingly important in universities as it is elsewhere.
General Jacob Smith was reprimanded for his order to commit atrocities in the war against the Philippine Republic, but he was not alone in giving such orders. The US war in the Philippines set the stage for more than a century of counterinsurgency, atrocities, and pretexts like the civilizing mission and the responsibility to protect. Using Renato Constantino’s work, also talk about some of the amazing characters on the Filipino side, like Bonifacio and Aguinaldo.
A complex multinational megaproject with layers of government corruption and massive government funds. A separatist movement created and sponsored by the US. A chunk of territory carved out of an existing country for imperialist use. Workers exploited to death. And a shining imperialist possession at the end. We talk about the creation of Panama and the Panama Canal, another prototypical imperialist operation that offers many warnings for the next 120 years.
Through their own efforts, Puerto Rican revolutionaries won a charter of autonomy from Spain and were on their way to winning independence. Then Spain handed its colony over to the US, and the US has colonized it ever since. We talk about how the US invented the concept of “odious debt” to avoid paying Spain’s colonial debt, then promptly saddled Puerto Rico with an odious debt of its own.
We tell the story of Cuba’s movement for independence from Spain following the remarkable career of Jose Marti from his teenage years to his unlucky demise. We pick up the story of the Spanish American War in Cuba from the USS Maine incident (“To Hell With Spain! Remember the Maine!”) and the possibility that it was faked. Part 3 of our series on Yankee Imperialism.
At the end of the 19th century the US acquired a substantial overseas empire – Hawaii, Samoa, Guam, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba, as well as imperialist relations all around the world. In this miniseries we look at this Yankee Imperialism, focusing on the Spanish-American War. But first, the post-Reconstruction domestic situation in the US – the robber barons, the violent strikes, and the racial apartheid that fueled the American system. We use two books that are two sides of the same people’s history coin: Dave reads from Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States; Justin from J Sakai’s Settlers.
By 1885, the Indian Act was in place, most Indigenous people were forced onto reserves, and the nadir of Canadian colonialism (so far) was set. Part 3 of 3 our series on Canada takes us through the residential school system and the racialist ideologies openly expressed throughout this phase of Canadian history.
In 1865, Paul Bogle led an uprising in Jamaica that was repressed with extreme violence by the British, led by Jamaica’s Governor Eyre. The reaction was disproportionate and the story was big news in Britain, leading to a committee questioning Eyre’s brutality and a counter-committee forming to defend him. Both committees have some big names from Britain’s past: Darwin and Mill on one side, Dickens and Tennyson on the other – and many more.
We conclude our 4 part series on the American Civil War following WEB Du Bois’s book Black Reconstruction in America, talking about the brief, glorious moment of potential for genuine racial equality in the United States. In some ways, despite the gains made a century later, we still live with the consequences of the fall of Reconstruction. In the Civilizations Resources page I show how WEB Du Bois divided his bibliography.
Maria Victor and I talk about the December 6 legislative elections in Venezuela. Turnout was low at 31%, but that’s normal for legislative elections* in a pandemic (Romania had around the same turnout on the same day, as others have pointed out). We talk about the electoral system in Venezuela, why it’s more fair than you’ve been led to believe, the disgraceful role Canada continues to play in trying to foment a coup in Venezuela, and what the new legislature is likely to do.
*Correction: Maria refers to the previous legislative elections in Venezuela as having a turnout of 25% – the 2015 legislative elections actually had a turnout of 75%. The 2005 legislative elections, however, had a turnout of 25%.