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Forums > Politics & Religion > Debunking a Myth: The Irish Were Not Slaves, Too
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Reply #30 posted 09/05/19 9:44am

2elijah

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jaawwnn said:



2elijah said:


jaawwnn said:


Generally because the Irish slaves myth is used by racists in America to talk down chattel slavery, as if indentured servants and slaves were the same thing. Irish people generally aren't huge fans of Irish-Americans for that very reason. We're embarrassed for them.



What about the book ‘To Hell or Barbados’ I believe I read that they were slaves in North America and many were sent to Barbados, and they were worth less than African slaves in America back then. I need to find the part in that book where I read that. Not sure now if any of that is true now since I ran across Hogan’s article. In another book I read they weren’t warmly welcomed to the New World as immigrants, and some of them took jobs as bounty hunters, to catch former African slaves of the south who escaped to the north to be free. Many did it to appease/be accepted by other Europeans in the North who were classified as White. [Edited 9/4/19 18:24pm]

Well I haven't read it but my understanding is that it's generally considered to be a best selling fraudulent piece of work. There's no doubt that the Irish were treated badly and that life as an indentured servant was far from nice but it's still a world of difference to being a slave. Not to mention the unpleasant fact that many Irish who left for America were or became slave-owners themselves.


To Hell or Barbados is a work that is riddled with basic errors and there is not enough space nor time to enumerate and expose them all. It is a book about an important and traumatic period in Irish history that is utterly ruined and discredited by flights of fancy, a compulsive need to conflate indentured servitude or forced labour with the experience of the chattel slave. Despite the large number of fallacies that this work promotes, it has had a considerable and disturbing influence on Irish public memory of the Cromwellian conquest. Thus an important question needs to be asked, how did such a flawed work gain a prominent position in Irish culture, inspiring numerous documentaries, novels, articles and even songs and albums? How was this work, which appropriated the horrific punishments meted out to enslaved Africans across the Anglo-Caribbean, being continuously and uncritically absorbed by thousands of people each year?

Firstly, O’Callaghan’s book focussed on what was then a relatively overlooked piece of Irish history and it was in turn universally lauded by a number of leading national newspapers in Ireland. It was described as a “fascinating read” (The Sunday Tribune), “wonderful” (The Irish Times) and “essential reading” (The Irish Examiner). Notably none of the reviewers were historians of slavery, or the Early Modern Period, and so they simply did not have the knowledge to recognise the archive of errors within.



[Edited 9/5/19 5:11am]


Thanks for responding. I actually believed the contents of the book when I read it. It’s been around for a while selling what I thought was true.
[Edited 9/5/19 9:45am]
“Uncomfortable conversations creates change” — Anonymous
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Reply #31 posted 09/05/19 10:12am

jaawwnn

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2elijah said:

jaawwnn said:



[Edited 9/5/19 5:11am]

Thanks for responding. I actually believed the contents of the book when I read it. It’s been around for a while selling what I thought was true. [Edited 9/5/19 9:45am]

No problem, i'd be the same if that guy wasn't doing his work.

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Reply #32 posted 09/05/19 2:03pm

IanRG

jaawwnn said:

2elijah said:

jaawwnn said: Thanks for responding. I actually believed the contents of the book when I read it. It’s been around for a while selling what I thought was true. [Edited 9/5/19 9:45am]

No problem, i'd be the same if that guy wasn't doing his work.

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The issue here, as I see it, is one of definitions and political agendas.

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There are those who seek to whitewash the trans-Altantic slavery by conflating chattel slavery with indentured servitude as if they are equal. They are seldom equal for all the reasons Laim Hogan raises in the review you linked to. The multi-generational, whole of family enforced debt based servitude in India today shares a lot of the characteristics Liam identifies.

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But then there are those who seek dismiss slavery in forms other than chattel slavery. This is against the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 4:

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Article 4.

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

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Indentured servitude is one of these prohibited forms of slavery.

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As discussed in other threads here, the enslavement of Native Americans was by three different forms: chattel, convict and indenture. That one maybe more evil than another does not make the other not evil. The Native Amercans enslaved by indenture had their land and ability to fend for themselves removed and became indebted then indentured as slaves just to survive. The point just raised by 2elijah on people held in the Deep South as slaves entrapped by debt well into the 1960s (and to this day based on other studies of modern slavery) cannot be excused just because there was and is worse forms of slavery elsewhere.

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As Laim says:

"[The Irish] were sold as indentured servants, not racialised perpetual hereditary chattel slaves. This was similar and brutal but not the same. So even though [he had to trawl] back to the 1650s to justify his tweet, his analogy does not fit. The exploitation and dehumanisation of African people by Europeans in the Americas has no analogy in Irish history and this fact should be respected."

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This lesser similarity should not be used to conflate chattel slavery with other forms, but, equally it should not be used to dismiss the similariies, especially as modern slavery is more likely to be in the indentured form than the chattel form. When we seek to end slavery, we cannot do it by restricting the definition of slavery.

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Reply #33 posted 09/06/19 2:59am

jaawwnn

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Yeah sure but the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights didn't exist circa the 1800's or Ireland and every other colony would have had to put the entire of England in prison wouldn't they?

The point being raised here is that many people use "the Irish were slaves" as a racist talking point today and their justification is this historically inaccurate book.

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Reply #34 posted 09/06/19 4:16am

IanRG

jaawwnn said:

Yeah sure but the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights didn't exist circa the 1800's or Ireland and every other colony would have had to put the entire of England in prison wouldn't they?

The point being raised here is that many people use "the Irish were slaves" as a racist talking point today and their justification is this historically inaccurate book.



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Totally agree about the book and its eroors and misuse for a political agenda.
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Reply #35 posted 09/06/19 5:21am

hausofmoi7

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Slavery and British indentured servitude was not the same.
And that is reflected throughout all the colonies.
Including Australia and America and so on with how the difference in how slaves were denied capital and land unlike the indentured labourers.
Not only that it’s insulting because you are denying something that money can’t buy, you are denying the element of dignity that a slave was not given. You are denying racism.

I think class should be abolished.
And the treatment of the Irish by the British. And their struggle for independence after the English decided it would oppressively subjugate the Irish.
Either way I don’t like class and support some form of anarcho-communism like something similar to the zeitgeist.

Going off topic a bit I suppose; the elites in Britain now want Brexit.
From what I gather it’s has to do with corporations and privatisation in England.
And apparently these corporations are doing this under the guise of sovereignty.
Which is ridiculous because I’m sure Britain’s elites have no intentions of decolonizing Australia or any other colonies that has resources. Or colonies that now have u.s military bases occupying its land.



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[Edited 9/6/19 7:20am]
“It means finding the very human narrative of a man navigating between idealism and pragmatism, faith and politics, non- violence, the pitfalls of acclaim as the perils of rejection” - Lesley Hazleton on the first Muslim, the prophet.
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