On this 4th of July, Trump goes to Mount Rushmore to set off fireworks on Indian land even though the tribal leaders have asked him to stay away and fireworks have been banned in the area due to a drought. He speaks at Mount Rushmore where statues have been carved of 4 white presidents designed by a supporter of the KKK. The building of Mount Rushmore was a desecration of the Black Hills, sacred land of the Lakota Sioux people. It stands only 75 miles from Wounded Knee where US troops massacred hundreds of unarmed Sioux women, children, and men. Can the Native people truthfully celebrate freedom on this 4th of July?
On this 4th of July, Black people and their allies are in the streets asserting that “Black Lives Matter.” Independence in 1776 did not bring Black people freedom; they remained enslaved. Tens of millions were killed in slavery and in the Atlantic crossing. Blacks are still being killed in the streets and it took a mass upsurge in over 2000 cities and towns in the US and in cities around the world for this country to even start to make some concessions by taking down some statues of slave owners and supporters of slavery. It took a mass upsurge for there to begin a discussion of ending racist policing and for the democratic right of the Black community to control the police and other institutions in their communities. Blacks are dying from COVID-19 in numbers far greater than their proportion in the population due to the structural racism that deprives Black people the resources needed to live a healthy life. Can Black people truthfully celebrate freedom on this 4th of July?
On this 4th of July, the US, with little more than 4% of the world’s population has about 25% of the world’s prison population. On this 4th of July there may be as many as 100,000 prisoners in solitary confinement in the US, some for decades while the UN says that any more than 15 days in solitary confinement is torture. Can the victims of mass incarceration, majority blacks, Latinx and Native American, truthfully celebrate freedom on this 4th of July? Can the world’s most renowned and innocent political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal celebrate the 4th of July when an overtly racist judge ordered a virtually all white jury to hurry their July 3 deliberations to convict Mumia in order to go home to celebrate July 4?
On this 4th of July, can the migrants and refugees who are imprisoned, many separated from their children at the borders or the 11 million undocumented, threatened with deportation celebrate freedom on this 4th of July?
On this 4th of July, the US has troops in around 172 foreign countries. The US has 20 times the number of foreign military bases as all other countries in the world combined. In 1776, it was British imperialism that was opposed by the first American Revolution but today it is the US that is the main imperialist power in the world and people throughout the world are fighting for their own self-determination and independence from US imperialism and its puppet regimes.
On this 4th of July, people have had to isolate in their homes, or are forced to work in their low paying “essential” jobs while being exposed to a deadly virus as trillions of dollars are given to the rich and the corporations to bolster a failing economy so the wealthy can maintain their obscene life-style and wealth.
Do any of us have anything to celebrate this 4th of July? UNAC believes we do not.