My Email to the Local Labour Party about the False View that only White Europeans Were Responsible for Slavery

I had an email from my local branch of the Labour party in Bristol this morning informing that they will be out this weekend canvassing people about the issues that matter to them. I wish them the very best of luck. Twelve years of Tory misrule have just about wrecked this great country and are forcing millions of ordinary, hardworking Brits into poverty. Not to mention the continued exploitation and impoverishment of the disabled and unemployment through benefit sanctions, work capability tests and all the rest of the welfare reforms that they have pushed through to enable them to stop paying benefits to people, who genuinely need it, all on the flimsiest of pretexts.

But one issue in Bristol that particularly concerns me is the way the slave trade is represented in exhibitions, the media and in education. Bristol was one of the major cities in the UK slave trade, along with London, Liverpool and I think Glasgow in Scotland. Although the slave trade was banned in 1807 and slavery itself abolished in 1837, it still casts a very long shadow over the city, just as it does the country generally. This was shown three years in the BLM riot that brought down the statue of Edward Colston and in a motion passed by the city council calling for reparations to be paid to the Black population. What concerns me about this is that it seems to me that a distorted image of slavery has arisen, in which White Europeans and Americans are seen as uniquely responsible and culpable for it. I am worried about the apparent lack of awareness that it existed right across the world and long before Europeans started enslaving Black Africans for labour in the plantations of the New World. It also appears that the BBC is determined to push this distorted image, as detailed by the group History Reclaimed and their document identifying the bias in twenty BBC programmes, several of which were about slavery. These included the edition of The Misadventures of Romesh Ranganathan when he went to Sierra Leone and Enslaved, presented by Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson. I therefore sent a reply stating my concern about this issue and the way it was handled by the local council. This runs

‘Dear Neil,

Thank you for your email letting me know that the party will be out this Saturday canvassing people in Bedminster about the issues that matter to them. I am afraid that long term illness prevents me from attending. However, apart from the continued cuts to public services forced on the mayor by central government cuts, there is one local issue that is of deep concern to me. This is the presentation and public knowledge of the history of slavery. Slavery has existed since antiquity and across the globe. Some of the earliest records come from the ancient near eastern town of Mari, which detail the sale of slaves and other properties. You can find lists of slaves on noble estates from ancient Egypt. Slavery also existed in the Muslim world, India and China. It also existed in Black Africa long before the emergence of the transatlantic slave trade. In some African societies, the proportion of the population that was enslaved varied between 30 to 70 per cent. By and large the slaves acquired by White European and American merchants were purchased from Black African slavers. Duke Ephraim, the king of Dahomey, had an income of £300,000 a year from slaving. There are records of British merchants to Africa being offered slaves Black chiefs. After abolition some of the slaving tribes attacked British trading posts in order to make us resume purchasing their human wares. Britain also paid compensation to former African slaving nations after abolition. In the 1850s we also fought a war with Dahomey in order to stop them enslaving the other local peoples.

But I am afraid I find little awareness of these issues in Bristol and among people generally. I am worried that this is creating a false view of the trade in the public, in which slavery, and particularly Black enslavement, is wholly the fault of Whites. This includes a lack of awareness that White Europeans, including British people and Bristolians, were also enslaved during the Turkish conquest of the Balkans and the Barbary pirates from Algiers and Morocco from the 16th century on till the French conquest of Algeria in the 1820s. I feel very strongly that this is creating an ideological motivated demonisation of Whites, especially if coupled with Critical Race Theory, which holds that all Whites are racist and will remain so.

I also feel this situation has been exacerbated locally by the motion passed a year or so ago calling for the payment of reparations for slavery, introduced by Green councillor Cleo Lake and seconded by Deputy Mayor and head of Equalities Asher Craig. This called for funding to be given to Black organisations rather than individuals, so that they can create sustainable, prosperous Black communities. This is obviously a noble aim, but the stipulation that the money should cover all Afrikans, as councillor Lake styles all Blacks, in the context of reparations means that Britain has accepted a moral responsibility for compensating people,. who were never enslaved by us, and which includes the vary African nations that committed the raiding and brutality that supplied the slaves. It also has nothing to say against the celebration in some African countries of these slavers, like Efroye Tinobue in Nigeria. It also erases from history the White victims of slavery.

I sent emails last year to Mdm. Craig and Councillor Lake pointing out these defects. I regret that I never received a reply. But this issue still has a particular urgency in Bristol. In previous correspondence, Asher Craig informed me that the local government was planning a new, ‘One Bristol’ curriculum for schools, which would foreground Black people. I have absolutely no qualms about Black Bristolians receiving the educational help they need, nor being included in our city’s history. But I am afraid that this curriculum will place the blame for slavery solely on White Bristolians and that this will lead to further racial division and prejudices.

I would very much like the local council to ensure that whenever slavery is taught or exhibitions on it mounted, its antiquity and the fact that other peoples, such as Black Africans, Arabs, Indians and so on were also involved, and that Whites were also the victims of the trade. This need not be an extensive treatment, but it should be there.

I hope you will take on board these concerns and recommendations, and wish you and the other party members all the best campaigning on Saturday.

Yours faithfully,

David Sivier’

I’ll let you know if I get a reply.

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16 Responses to “My Email to the Local Labour Party about the False View that only White Europeans Were Responsible for Slavery”

  1. trev Says:

    People seem to forget that Britain was at the forefront of the abolition of slavery and was one of the first countries, if not the first, to abolish.

    • beastrabban Says:

      The first to abolish slavery were the Danes, I think. But I feel part of the problem is that some Black activists have gotten tired of being told about Britain’s great efforts to stamp it out, and so are insisting that we remember how we were involved in it in the first place.

  2. Mark Pattie Says:

    We were one of the first countries to abolish slavery, in I think it was 1834. However, that didn’t stop the Empire from kidnapping Indians to be “indentured labourers” on Fiji and Trinidad until around 1910. I hope Bristol Labour don’t think you’re a Ukip or Reclaim stooge.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Hi Mark – you’re right about the kidnapping of Indians, though there were laws intended to prevent this in the 19th century. The contract had to be explained to them in their native language, there had to be opportunities to remit wages and keep in touch with their families back home and after fights over women, there was the stipulation that a third of all such emigrants had to be female. But yes, it went on and the suffering of some of the indentured labourers was horrendous. There’s a history of the coolie trade, ‘A New System of Slavery’, by Hugh Tinker, published by one of the Indian presses.

      As part of the crackdown on the kidnappers, police raided the slavers’ warehouses in India and in the Chinese cities and there was diplomatic correspondence on the issue between the British authorities and the Chinese police.

      As for Labour wondering whether I’m a Reform or Reclaim stooge, that’s a risk I’m prepared to take.

      • Mark Pattie Says:

        Would you ever consider voting *against* Labour if there were, say, a socially conservative/anti-woke but anti-Brexit (FBPE) party standing in your constituency? Unfortunately all those conservative parties (Reform, Reclaim, SDP) are hard-Brexiteers who tend to block FBPE’s!

      • beastrabban Says:

        I wouldn’t, as although I’d no doubt agree with some aspects of their social conservatism, I wouldn’t trust them with the welfare state, the NHS or the economy.

  3. Brian Burden Says:

    You refer to “a BLM riot which brought down Colston’s statue”. The reports I saw suggested that it was an orderly and systematic procedure, with the police standing aloof. Do you, as a Bristolian, have a different narrative? Plus, has there been any judicial vengeance on those concerned which the wider world hasn’t heard about, comparable to the overkill inflicted on that unfortunate individual who anointed Farage with a milkshake?

    • beastrabban Says:

      Okay, perhaps riot isn’t quite the right word to describe it, Brian. But it was mob action. Yes, the police kept back, and I’m very glad they did because I think there are people there who would have liked to have turned it into a riot. As for Farage and the milkshake, yes, that certainly was overkill and definitely shows how nasty Farage actually is.

      • gillyflowerblog Says:

        Not even mob , just a group of people, even though the authorities tried to turn it into unlawful action. You really need to use care with some of your word choices

      • beastrabban Says:

        No, it’s more than just a group of people, Gillyflower. It was a large crowd of obviously angry people, who were intent on damaging public property. I’m not saying their anger wasn’t justified, as there had been a long campaign in Bristol to take the statue down.

  4. Mark Pattie Says:

    Speaking of slavery, how is it that so many right-wing men have come to “celebritise” Andrew Tate (who is basically a modern-day slave-master!)? They’re generally the same sort of men who idolise Tommy Ten Names as well, but hate the African immigrants who’ve come over here escaping Shitterati like Tate- or at least whatever the Somali equivalent thereof is.

    • beastrabban Says:

      I can’t answer that question, Mark, as I’ve little idea who Andrew Tate is. All I know about him is that the Romanian police arrested him on charges of slavery and human trafficking after he had some kind of spat on Twitter with Greta Thunberg. There are rumours going round that these are trumped up charges, or that it was some kind of publicity stunt by Tate. There’s also some kind of controversy about him supposedly converting to Islam. If you wanted me to guess, I suppose he’s seen as standing up for traditional western values and masculinity against immigrants and the feminazi. Ditto with Tommy Ten Names. Robinson’s a thug, but he knows how to exploit publicity and the grooming gang scandal has given him more than ammunition, especially as there is reluctance on the left to call it what it is – racism – or march to denounce it as they would other forms of racism against ethnic minorities.

      • gillyflowerblog Says:

        Oh, so you’re agreeing with a man who has attacked others physically. So now traditional Western values include such behaviour. I suggest you investigate him and his ilk further before espousing such views

      • beastrabban Says:

        Where did I say I agreed with Tate or Tommy Robinson, Gillyflower? I didn’t. The question was why right-leaning men might idolise them. This is why I think they do.

  5. trev Says:

    Slavery still persists in the West in varying forms, in UK we have Wage Slavery, the same old choice in effect between cannon fodder or factory fodder, and slavery for the unemployed in the form of conditions being attached to Social Security claims, unpaid work (‘Workfare’) for your State Benefits, mandatory participation and attendance of Back-to-Work schemes run by Private companies under threat of Sanctions. People forced to spend 35 hours per week doing Jobsearch, 5 hours per day, 7 days per week, nonstop, all logged on a computer for the virtual prison system that is Universal Credit.

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