Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Get active against slavery; pressure for stronger penalties for pimps

Maryland allows convicted pimps to keep what they've stolen You can demand that the State Legislature prevent pimps from profiting. Change the laws so that those victimized receive reparations from their victimizers.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Start Anti-Slavery Societies

An Occasional Publication of Historians Against Slavery,
Originally published in Salem Ohio, 1845-1861 by Marius Robinson,
Abby Kimball and others.

We’re Spreading the Message: New Antislavery Societies Springing Up All Over.




To Begin:

Thanks to those of you who have already responded with announcements of your plans and activities.

You are rapidly moving our cause forward—Where?----  in the old abolitionist “burnt-over district” of upstate New York---- on the old abolitionist frontier of central/northwestern Illinois--- in the once harshly proslavery, now emphatically antislavery “Nutmeg State,” Connecticut---- The land of Quaker conscience and complicity, Rhode Island-- Individually or in collaboration, colleges, universities, libraries and historic sites in each of these places (and others) are in the process of building antislavery societies.

Emulate the example of the folks at Western Illinois University:


Hi Fellow Historians Against Slavery!

We are planning to establish an antislavery society here on the Western Illinois campus. Macomb, IL was a stop on the underground railroad, as has been documented by scholarship, and was the site of the murder by proslavery assailants of a U.S. federal marshal, William Randolph, who died attempting to enforce the Civil War draft. Macomb is also near the interracial town, now archaeological site, of New Philadelphia, founded by the former slave "Free" Frank McWorter. We hope to involve several departments and community groups in our society. We would be delighted to host Fatal Promises this year or next, and hope to organize a public subscription of $1/person to raise money for its hosting here, which will really surprise many people and drive home in a compelling way the sobering "linkages" between American history and today's global society. Please let us know if you would like additional information.

Best wishes,

Tim Roberts and Barclay Key
WIU Department of History

Since college and university cultures vary widely, individual antislavery societies will doubtless emphasize different things.

Still it seems reasonable that antislavery societies ought to one extent or another include these characteristics:

1)      Personal Action: Individuals committed as abolitionists are urged to develop abolitionist ways of living and to make abolitionist considerations prominent in their personal choices. NOT FOR SALE, HAS's partner offers a wealth of opportunities for living out an abolitionist commitment, not only in personal choices, but also through numerous opportunities for personal involvement and self-education. If we begin living like abolitionists, we’ll empower ourselves to act like abolitionists. 

Example: NOT FOR SALE http://notforsalecampaign.org/ offers detailed information on which producers of everyday consumables are “clean” and which are not so that people can make antislavery personal choices. And that’s just one of several examples.

2) Community Action:  Antislavery Societies need to become informed about local initiatives to combat slavery and then support that work directly. HAS’s partner, NOT FOR SALE http://notforsalecampaign.org/ provides specific information on antislavery action in local communities and state-wide It is most important to be taking direct action. The challenge of slavery needs our direct response. Otherwise its enormous size and scope can disempower us. We need to know that we’re making a difference

Example: Minnesota ranks in the top five states in the nation as a site of sex trafficking. Our state laws allow “johns” prosecuted for exploiting children and young adolescents to pay 250$ fines rather than facing charges as sexual predators. Women are kidnapped as sex slaves by men working the great lakes ore boats. Several groups fight against these atrocities. Macalester’s antislavery society will support them and learn from them.

3) Curriculum : Antislavery Societies need to encourage faculty to integrate the study of modern slavery whenever appropriate into courses, into academic majors and into interdisciplinary programs. The HAS website serves as an on-line library of recommended books, web-links, syllabi and curriculum designs that supports such efforts. http://historiansagainstslavery.org/

Example: A member of HAS is designing a course titled “Slavery Since Emancipation: 1865-2010.”  It will trace the survival of African American slavery in southern prisons and convict lease systems into the modern “prison industrial complex,” address the development of (so called) “white slavery” and the enslavement of Latino farm laborers and Asian and Philippine miners and domestic workers since the late 19th century. The course will conclude with consideration of slavery today. When this syllabus is ready, you will find it on the HAS website

4)      Scholarship: Faculty members should consider applying the methods of their disciplines to address the problem of slavery in their scholarship. NOT FOR SALE has developed a center for modern antislavery scholarship at the University of San Francisco. Other affiliated scholarly venues include the Wilberforce Center (Hull University, UK) and Denver University Center for the Study of Modern Slavery. These are venues where serious peer-reviewed scholarship is being produced and promoted.

5)      Campus Education; Antislavery Societies promote campus-wide awareness and action by sponsoring lectures, film series etc. HAS supports such efforts by identifying visiting speakers, recommending documentary films and providing contacts and consultations between antislavery societies 

Example: Several Members in Connecticut are collaborating on a “Fatal Promises film presentation (We give matching funds, if you need them.) Several others have just done so in New York City. Other recommended films for inaugurating antislavery societies include “The Dark Side of Chocolate,” Sugar Babies” and “The Price of Sugar” Websites for each available with previews on Google

6)      Spiritual Grounding: Where and when appropriate campus-based antislavery initiatives should direct their efforts to involving local communities of faith, and to encourage and respect those who combat slavery as their religious vocation.

Example:  Two active churches are within a one minute walk of Macalester College. Five more are within a five minute drive. Doesn’t community outreach make obvious sense?

A Practical Four Step Guide to Starting Your Antislavery Society

1) Identify like-minded colleagues—not just fellow faculty, but also staff  who serve students- Internship Office, Community Outreach Programs, Chaplain(s) etc  

That makes a critical mass- Circulate the HAS website http://historiansagainstslavery.org/ . Explain our mission. Consult in person.

2) Identify a serious local abolitionist problem (inevitably there is at least one). Find out what it is, who is working on it and how a campus antislavery society might become constructively involved. There needs to be something immediate that promises constructive action. Consult with community people BEFORE going further.

3) Contact academic programs and student groups predisposed to social justice issues. Appear in a few classes and student group meetings to explain the problem of slavery and your intent to found an antislavery society. Get names and emails of interested parties.

4) Hold a big meeting.
Invite everyone that you’ve identified.
Serve pizza.
Present the big picture of slavery and focus on addressing the local issue.
Introduce the HAS website. Encourage everyone to join up.
Introduce NOT FOR SALE. http://notforsalecampaign.org/ Encourage everyone to join up
Decide what else you want to undertake—Film series? Outside lecturers? Contacting places of
worship. Identify local resources and issues.
Find a Faculty Adviser and students to do the day-to-day implementation                
            Make an electronic mailing list

Keep in mind that:

It is critical to address modern slavery whenever appropriate in the courses you’re offering next year. If you represent a historic site or library, plan an exhibit—collaborate.
The HAS website is full of material to get you started-- syllabi, web-links, curriculum packages, scholarly articles, personal testimonies. http://historiansagainstslavery.org/

A film series really is a superior way to begin organizing an antislavery society. Remember our “Fatal Promises” film tour offer (film and its producer on campus for $250) and consult with HAS about other high-impact documentaries like “The Dark Side of Chocolate” The Price of Sugar, “Sugar Babies” and others.

Finally, Valuable websites and documentaries on modern slavery  you might have missed

I) Coalition of Immokalee Workers
How the “old” slavery lives on in the “new.’ These are amazing activists with a compelling struggle to tell us about.

II) CNN Freedom Project:
Very general and comprehensive. Pitched to a mass audience . Very good basic information and stunning images.

III) Worldwide Supply Chains and Slavery: How the Global North Exploits the South:
(This highly useful site mapping global slavery, South to North, is sent on courtesy of a smart, thoughtful HAS member—How about you? Do you have a site to pass along?)

IV) Fight Against Child Enslavement in Gold Mining: Learn and Act!

V) Two Other Excellent Films: Latin American and Cambodian Perspectives on Slavery

Trade (http://www.tradethemovie.com/), directed by Marco Kreutzpaintner; explores human trafficking into the United States across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Redlight (http://www.redlightthemovie.com/%29, directed by Guy Jacobson and Adi Ezroni; child sexploitation in Cambodia.

Thank you, patient reader. We at the A-S Bugle aspire to insure that you find your time with us rewarding. It will have been if you now feel yourself a better informed, more fully empowered abolitionist, more fully equipped and ready to advance the goals of our movement.—the editors.