A Brief History of US Concentration Camps

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    • #81627
      Ohio Barbarian
      Moderator
      • Total Posts: 21,777

      This is a lengthy Black Agenda Report piece on the history of American concentration camps of all types, beginning with Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson(Trump’s hero), up to the present. The history it talked about with which I am familiar is accurate, and I learned a couple of things myself, so I’m sharing it here. From the article:

      (snip)

      Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has ignited a firestorm of criticism, from both the left and the right as well as the mainstream media, for calling US immigrant detention centers “concentration camps.” To her credit, Ocasio-Cortez has refused to back down, citing academic experts and blasting the Trump administration for forcibly holding undocumented migrants “where they are brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.” She also cited history. “The US ran concentration camps before, when we rounded up Japanese people during World War II,” she tweeted. “It is such a shameful history that we largely ignore it. These camps occur throughout history.” Indeed they do. What follows is an overview of US civilian concentration camps through the centuries. Prisoner-of-war camps, as horrific as they have been, have been excluded due to their legal status under the Geneva Conventions, and for brevity’s sake.

      (snip)

      Thousands of men, women and children died of cold, hunger and illness in camps and during death marches, including the infamous Trail of Tears, of hundreds and sometimes even a thousand miles (1,600 km). This genocidal relocation was pursued, Jackson explained, as the “benevolent policy” of the US government, and because Native Americans “have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits nor the desire of improvement” required to live in peace and freedom. “Established in the midst of a… superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority… they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and long disappear,” the man who Donald Trump has called his favorite president said in his 1833 State of the Union address.

      (snip)

      During both world wars, thousands of German nationals, German-Americans and Germans from Latin American nations were imprisoned in concentration camps across the United States. However, their race and relatively high level of assimilation saved most German-Americans from internment, and conditions were much better than they had been in previous US camps. Japanese-Americans weren’t so lucky. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, under which all people of Japanese ancestry living on the West Coast were rounded up and imprisoned in dozens of civilian assembly centers (where they were often forced to sleep in crowded, manure-covered horse stables), relocation centers, military bases, and “citizen isolation centers” — harsh desert prison camps where “problem inmates,” including those who refused to pledge allegiance to the United States, were jailed. Conditions varied by camp, but overcrowding, lack of indoor plumbing, fuel shortages and food rationing were common. Many of the camps were located in remote, scorpion- and snake-infested deserts.

      (snip)

      During the early years of the Cold War, Congress passed the Subversive Activities Control Act of 1950 over President Harry Truman’s veto, which led to the construction of six concentration camps that were meant to hold communists, peace activists, civil rights leaders and others deemed a threat in the event the government declared a state of emergency. The act was upheld by the Supreme Court during the McCarthy/Red Scare years but in the 1960s the high court ruled  that provisions requiring communists to register with the government and banning them from obtaining passports or government employment were unconstitutional. The camps, which were never used, were closed by the end of the decade.

      Full article here.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

    • #81747
      GZeusH
      Participant
      • Total Posts: 4,267

      One possible upside to FDR’s order 9066 is that there weren’t any Japanese-American communities around which could turn into scenes of race riots.   WWII patriotism didn’t keep good old American racism from engaging in the 1943 Detroit riots (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1943_Detroit_race_riot

      ), and one could conjecture that if there were Japanese-Americans on the streets of major cities, they would have been targets too.  Why, right after 9/11, people wearing turbans (Sikhs, not Muslims) were attacked and murdered just for looking like foreigners.

       

      Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed.

      • #81999
        Ohio Barbarian
        Moderator
        • Total Posts: 21,777

        You know, my first kneejerk reaction was to vehemently disagree with you on the lines of “two wrongs don’t make a right” and “the government had a duty to protect its own citizens from racism, hatred, and greed.” But I can’t. This was the 1940s, after all. Jim Crow ruled the South, and de facto segregation ruled nearly all of the rest of the country.

        It is entirely possible that, had he not been sent to a concentration camp, that George Takei may have been killed in some race riot and never grown up to be Lieutenant Sulu of the Starship Enterprise. That’s just reality, and I cannot deny it.

        Now, however, I’m sure you’ll agree that the same argument cannot be used to justify separating Central American children from their parents and throwing both into concentration camps. 2019 is not 1941 or even 2001. The Guatemalans did not just bomb Pearl Harbor. The Hondurans did not just hijack airliners and fly them into tall buildings in New York. What Trump and his Administration are doing to those people is an evil for which there is no moral justification.

        It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

        You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton

        • #82008
          GZeusH
          Participant
          • Total Posts: 4,267

          Hell of a choice, isn’t it?  Would you rather go to a concentration camp, or take your chances that some crazy nationalists/racists/white supremacists won’t blow you away?  Apparently, being left alone to live your life is not on the menu.

          Corporate America consists of totalitarian entities laser-focused on short-term greed.

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