Babylon at the Movies-Aaron Briggs and The HMS Gaspee: The Truth About Slavery at Brown University


We are going to start a new weekend column here that will make movie suggestions for your viewing pleasure over the weekend. The selection is going to be based around the content being engaging and original as opposed to ideological or political purity. First up is a documentary Andrew Stewart made several years ago.

I have an entire website for this film, including a film makers account as well as educational resources, set up at TinyURL.Com/HASCBriggsWeb, meaning I don’t think it is a productive exercise to repeat myself by saying things here that interested folks can read via that website.

I will say, however, that this is why I am so antagonistic to liberals and the Democratic Party. For me, this is a very visceral and very tangible instance where New England liberalism and also progressivism is shown to be a complete hypocritical farce. The slave trade is exactly why I have zero patience for the whole Bernie Sanders phenomenon and his boosters in the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

Let me explain: Brown University’s endowment is based off of money accrued from slavery. Even the institution admits that. Ergo this is a very simple notion here, dissolve the endowment to finance reparations for the descendants of those who were held in captivity by the Brown family. Easy enough.

But Brown navigates itself successfully out of those crosshairs by presenting itself as a bastion of progressive multiculturalism. They have affirmative action enrollment efforts, they give scholarships to minority and low-income students, and have been a major finishing school for progressive career politicians within the Democratic Party. By presenting themselves in such a fashion, they make it seem that the well-being of minorities and particularly African Americans, women, and LGBTQIIA+ folk will qualitatively and quantifiably impacted negatively were Brown not to exist anymore.

Of course, here is the real hypocrisy: Brown is a nonprofit and one of the largest property owners in Providence. The city is currently operating under a regime of fiscal austerity in part because Brown takes so many multi-million dollars off the tax rolls through their nonprofit status. This means that the poor and particularly African Americans are subjected to the absolute worst forms of systemic economic degradation caused by lack of services and supports. While Brown and the Democrats claim to be a socio-political vanguard for left-ish politics, they are in reality one of the most reactionary organizations by maintaining their very existence.

At this point, African American descendants of slavery should be given substantial reparations for this genocide against their forebears. And it should be funded by the dissolution of Brown’s genocidally-accrued endowment. Anything less than this is making the problem worse.

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