12.19.2016 Day in History

boat ship mayflowerHalf a decade more than eighteen centuries ago, Publius Septimius Geta foretold Machiavelli, when with at least some collusion from his family, he faced assassins, having left his bodyguard behind; a half decade shy of fourteen centuries forward in spacetime, in 1606, the three oceangoing vessels that inaugurated England’s presence and profit and plunder in North America disgorged their inhabitants and cargo to establish the outpost of empire at Jamestown; precisely sixty-nine years later, in 1675, to the North in New England, the soldiers of said plunder, and defenders of their new homes in their new land, managed to slaughter enough of the previous inhabitants to win the conflict at the Great Swamp Fight; a hundred one years past that bloody passage, in 1776, another upshot of that epic looting and imperial imprimatur, the sublime genius of Thomas Paine, expressed itself in the publication of the first essays that would serially delineate The American Crisis; two hundred three years back, the estimable founder of McGill University delivered his final lecture; fifteen years thereafter, in 1828, slaveocrat defenders of the genocidal trade in and draconian exploitation of flesh in South Carolina initiated a conflict that might easily have ‘dissolved the Union,’ the so-called ‘Nullification Crisis,’ an imbroglio that in substance predicted the coming war between the states in all of its bloody horror and glory; two additional decades en route to now, in 1848, part of a trio of creative sisters, Emily Brontë, lived out

CC BY by Yuri Fassio

her final day; exactly thirteen years subsequent to that exit, in 1861, the baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as in some senses the ‘poet laureate’ of the new Italian nation, Italo Svevo; fourteen years onward from that, in 1875, another male child bounced into the world on the other side of the Atlantic who would grow up as the thinker and incisive social critic, Carter G. Woodson; thirty-two years henceforth, in 1907, in nearby Pennsylvania, the mine at Darr experienced a catastrophic explosion and accident that killed close to 250 colliers and consigned over 70 of them to a common grave, contributing to the deadliest month in the deadly primitive accumulation of capital that mine owners willingly accepted; a thousand ninety-six days more in the direction of today, in 1910, the baby male started out life who would soon enough transform himself into critic, writer, and playwright Jean Genet; half a decade past that fortunate entry, in 2015, the German thinker and

By Allan Ajifo
By Allan Ajifo

neurology genius Alois Alzheimer, after whom we named a prevalent disorder of the present pass, breathed his last, and in next-door France, a baby girl was born who would sing for her supper and her nation as Edith Piaf; a mere five years yet nearer to the here and now, in 1920, the infant boy first cried out who would grow up to be the crooner and lyrical country star Little Jimmy Dickens; seven years afterward, in 1927, Britain’s imperial rulers in the subcontinent oversaw the execution of a trio of rebellious activists for the ‘crime’ of wanting radically to liberate their homeland; in a telling choice of a title of entitlement, five years further along, in 1932, the British Broadcasting Corporation began the production and distribution of the BBC Empire Service, which in time evolved into the more politically correct BBC World Service; exactly eight years more proximate to the present point, in 1940, the baby boy entered the world in standard fashion who would grow up to sing and write as the beloved and tragic Phil Ochs; half a dozen additional years on time’s relentless march, in 1946, the Indochinese conflict assumed the form of a war that would over the course of three decades unify and liberate Vietnam; fifteen years hence, in 1961, India also further deconstructed, albeit without anything like the same bloodshed, imperial oversight of the subcontinent when Delhi annexed the former Portuguese possessions of Daman and Diu; eleven years more on the approach to today, in 1972, the final contingent of extraterrestrial travelers in the National Aeronautics Space Administration Apollo program, who had just been to the moon, returned to Earth; seven hundred thirty days further down the pike, in 1974, an equally dramatic if less exemplary development in American history transpired as the scion of oil and plutocracy, Nelson Rockefeller, became the Vice President of the United States, under Gerald Ford, in the morass of ‘regime change’ that ended Richard Nixon’s sitting as prime potentate of capital; nine years subsequently, in 1983, striking Greyhound bus drivers across America accepted steep cuts in wages and benefits in order to retain their jobs in a strike that included the death of a picketing transport worker union member whom a scab trainee ran down with his car; the very next year, in 1984, the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China set the date for the transfer of control of Hong Kong back to the Chinese, and a mine disaster in Utah killed thirty-six hewers of coal in that state’s worst instance of a mining accident that as always would’ve been much less likely if not preventable if human lives were as important as profits; eleven years yet later on, in 1995, the United States belatedly restored some rights and perquisites of status and ownership to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi tribe in the upper Midwest part of the country; three years even closer to the current context, in 1997, the Chicago blues crooner and songwriter Jimmy Rogers sang a swan song; a single year forward on the trek to the here and now, in 1998, the House of Representatives mustered the votes necessary to impeach the President Bill Clinton for perjury; a thousand four hundred sixty-one days in even greater proximity to the present moment, in 2001, hundreds of thousands of Argentinians noisily and staunchly protested the neoliberal austerity that their countries ‘leaders’ agreed to impose on the Argentine people for the benefit of international finance capital; one more year later still, in 2002, the aged witness to Nagasaki and chronicler of modern America George Weller lived out his final scene; a decade past that in 2012, voters in the Republic of Korea elected a former president’s daughter as that nation’s first female president, who is now grappling with the legislature’s impeachment.