Abolitionist editor Elijah Parish Lovejoy was murdered by a pro slavery mob in Alton, IL on November 7, 1837. Memorials in Alton relate the story of one courageous opponent in the face of a global movement that had to end. The power of a few abolitionists is worthy of respectful remembrance in our Anthropocene age (when humans are the dominant force) as we are enslaving the planet and causing massive extinction among non-human creatures.
Can Elijah Lovejoy inspire others to transform a rapacious economic system that is leading our canoe dangerously close to the edge of an environmental waterfall? Once our boat gets too close to the edge, there is no turning back.
Historians point out how European nations – Belgium, England, France, Denmark Holland, Germany , Portugal, Spain, during the “Age of Expansion” set forth to colonize our Mother continent Africa, Asia, Central and Latin America. Slavery was a shameful, lucrative enterprise intertwined with colonization of non-European countries.
Governments in the 21st century attempt to eliminate “Trafficking” of exploited, impoverished people, a degradation that continues in our century. Children and young adults are bought and sold for financial gain. No legitimate government among nearly 200 nations would openly grant support to such deplorable practices.
While searching for existence of colonies in this century, references to “collapsing bee colonies” appeared. Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands remain under “British influence”. The Argentine name for Falklands is Malvinas, the islands that were captured in a 1914 battle with the German navy. Ironically, Argentine residents of the Falklands in this century prefer to remain under British control.
No European colonies remain in Asia. Abolitionists brought down apartheid in South Africa. Hong Kong and Macau were returned to China in 1997.It was my privilege to live in Hong Kong (1970-1982) during the twilight of British colonialism. After my decision to leave the colony, Chan Siu Sing, a HK university student at a farewell gathering asked my reason for doing so. “I am tired of living in a colony,” was my curt reply. The perceptive student quickly responded in Cantonese Chinese, “The entire world is a colony.” Mr. Chan’s worldview remains seared within my consciousness decades later.
We are indeed subjects of a global profit system that ignores laws of nature. The entire planet is enveloped by an omnipotent Carbon Combustion Complex (CCC) that exceeds historical power and control exhibited by colonialism and slavery of former centuries.
The dominant economic power today is exercised by energy corporations and their symbiotic twin, automobile companies. The Military Industrial Complex protects an unjust system.
Among the present dozens of environmental organizations and hundreds of grass roots resistance groups, are there more courageous examples like Elijah Lovejoy who will pursue liberation from global domination by insatiable corporations?