The United States of America as it stands is and was founded as a white supremacist settler-colonial state that could not exist without the almost total genocide of the original inhabitants of this land and the enslavement of those with Black skin. To literally and figuratively whiten it’s image and history it has adopted legends surrounding itself which are no more than moral and ideological justifications for Empire. We see this with it’s narrative of Plymouth Rock and the Puritan zealots in their plight to escape oppression, to Thanksgiving where the indigenous people and colonizers sat down together to enjoy a shared meal, to Columbus Day where Christopher Colombus “discovered a continent”. Nothing is mentioned about the fact that he had died thinking this was Asia, and nothing about the fact that people had already been living here for thousands of years and that had cities more vastly populated than anywhere in Europe at the time. Far from being a day of celebration, Christopher Columbus represents one of the darkest chapters in the history of this continent, it represents a chapter full of genocidal murder, human trafficking and unimaginable brutality against the native people of this continent.
For oppressed people of color Columbus Day is a constant reminder that many of our ancestors and their suffering did not matter. In extension we do not matter as well. The schools, the media and the government utilize these days in such a manner to indoctrinate themselves and those they oppress to accept their lot. While lionizing the image of the colonizers and omitting and failing to mention the history of those who resisted the invasion of this world, we are taught to look up to people who look like them and to hate ourselves.
Even among supposedly progressive narratives we are given an image of indigenous people as cattle lining up for the slaughter or that they didn’t exist at all. The truth is that their descendants are still fighting and resisting this unwarranted aggression to this day. From Agüeybaná, to Oscar López Rivera, from Nat Turner to Malcolm X the oppressed have always resisted their oppressors. No symbolic overtures will erase this history of popular resistance and even as cities around this country, including the city of Lawrence, KS have abolished Columbus Day, the First Nations along with other oppressed nations are still being murdered disproportionately by an occupying imperialist police force, they are having their treaties violated in the name of capitalist accumulation and “development” all over this side of the planet. These symbolic gestures mean nothing when this is a reality for First Nations and other oppressed peoples. So while a day of acknowledgement is nice, what happens the next day and the day after that? In the United States Columbus Day is every single day of the week, of the month, of the year.
We must begin to not look at the settler-colonial state for solutions to stop this onslaught and transgression but instead look inwards. It is only when the oppressed begin to see themselves as oppressed, and see who benefits from that, as well as unite with those with similar plights in spite of their differences, that they can begin to form a mass movement. A mass movement that would exist to challenge the current conditions that subject millions of people in this country. Not only to position ourselves into a position of defense but an offensive stance as well. We must actually contest a great power with our own power, we must fight to take control of our own institutions in our communities. We must not be afraid to demand the impossible out of cynicism but rather demand what is necessary!
End Columbus Day Every Day!
Demand The Impossible! Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!