It is likely that as you’re reading this, I am marching on behalf of a bank in NYC’s Columbus Day parade. I’m doing this through my temp agency, and I’m getting paid $180 for it. So in case anyone was wondering, that’s how much it takes to buy my principles; in this case, principles regarding banks & finance and our recognition of Christopher Columbus. In order to atone for my meagerly priced sins, I’ve written this and set it to publish while I’m at work.
Regarding banks: they’re one of the chief institutions behind the inordinate concentration of capital at the top of the food chain in the US. They hold a reprehensible amount of influence over our elected officials. They are above the law because they define the law. Finally, they deal in an artificial system created by man which subsequently enslaved him. Hey, speaking of slaves…
Christopher Columbus was a fool, a racist, and a slaver. He was a fool because he thought, contrary to every professional geographer of the time, that the Earth was a fraction of its size. Scientists have been accurately measuring the circumference of the Earth since before Jesus was born, starting with the ancient Greeks. Had Columbus not stumbled into the West Indies, he and his crew would have died on a voyage that would have lasted three years. As it was, he insisted that the land he “discovered” (odd to discover a land mass filled with people, but anyway) was in fact India and spent the rest of his life looking for the Ganges River among the islands of the Caribbean. When confronted directly with facts—that he was not in India and that he was grossly incorrect in his calculations of the size of the planet—he clung to his errors and found fantastical explanations to maintain his ideas. He ventured so far as to think perhaps the planet was shaped like a pear and he lucked into sailing across the narrow part. He threatened to hang anyone on his crews who claimed they were not in India. And just as a footnote on how much of a dick Columbus was, he’d initially offered a yearly pension as a reward for the first man to see land. A sailor named Rodrigo saw it on October 12th, but Columbus claimed to have seen a light the night before and took the reward for himself.
He was a racist because he thought the people he found living in the land he discovered* were not his equals, or equal to those he’d left behind on the Continent. He immediately began seeking ways to subjugate them to his will in order that he may find and use the riches he thought promised him by his god. He was a slaver because, well, that often follows, doesn’t it? From his journal: “They would make fine servants…With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” He later sent a report to his financiers the king and queen of Spain, of whom he asked for a little help in return for “as much gold as they need…and as many slaves as they ask…Thus the eternal God, our Lord, gives victory to those who follow His way over apparent impossibilities.” Apparently his lord god saw fit to reduce the native peoples of the Caribbean by overwhelming numbers, what would result in a true genocide of a people within decades of their introduction to Europeans.
We don’t teach our children that on the first boats sent back to Queen Isabella were humans being treated as worth less than the shiny rocks in the chests next to them. No, we teach them that people thought Columbus would fall off the side of the flat Earth but he, knowing better, persevered into unknown territory and discovered the land that all our ancestors could peacefully settle into over the coming centuries. Why teach them these myths? Why not tell them the truth? Why name a day after a man like this? Why build a country on such a rotten, filthy foundation?
Sources: Coming of Age in the Milky Way by Timothy Ferriss, and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I highly recommend them both.
*Again, explain the use of that word in this context?
Colin Fisher is many things to many people, but mostly he’s an actor and writer.