Wait just a goddamned minute here: Echoes of Willie Lynch

There has been a lot of tension in the plant lately. The high corporate seniority people are pissed about being on the line with us lowly stepchildren. The second-tier people are pissed because these folks are acting shitty. Everyone is pissed cause we’re stuck in there with no say over anything. The complaints are all legitimate. If first and second tier workers don’t figure it out, we’re all gonna be in the bread line. It benefits only the company, only the bosses, to have us fighting one another. Who remembers Willie Lynch?  He was a slave owner who worked out the most foolproof method of controlling a “workforce” that the world has ever seen. Here is his famous speech. We can do better, we can be better. For our own sakes, for our families. For everyone.

In Solidarity,

Stepchild in the Promised Land


I greet you here on the bank of the James River in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and twelve. First I shall thank you, the Gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia, for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves. Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program is implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King James, whose bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that your program is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along the old highways in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away, your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed, gentlemen…you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them.

In my bag here, I have a fool-proof method for controlling your black slaves. I guarantee everyone of you that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least 300 years. My method is simple, any member of your family or any overseer can use it.

I have outlined a number of differences among the slaves, and I take these differences and make them bigger. I use fear, distrust, and envy for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies, and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little test of differences and think about them. On the top of my list is “Age”, but it is there because it only starts with an “A”; the second is “Color” or shade; there is intelligence, size, sex, size of plantations, attitude of owners, whether the slaves live in the valley, on a hill, East, West, North, South, have fine or coarse hair, or is tall or short. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of action–but before that, I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect, or admiration.

The Black Slave, after receiving this indoctrination, shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

Don’t forget, you must pitch the old Black vs. the young Black male, and the young Black male against the old Black male. You must use the dark skinned slaves vs the light skinned slaves, and the light skinned slaves vs. the dark skinned slaves. You must use the female vs. the male, and the male vs. the female. You must also have your servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect, and trust only us.

Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control, use them. Have your wives and children use them. Never miss opportunity. My plan is guaranteed, and the good thing about this plan is that if used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.


About Stepchild in the Promised Land: Notes from a Tier-Two Autoworker

A third-generation Detroiter, Wayne State grad, mother and tier-two autoworker.
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5 Responses to Wait just a goddamned minute here: Echoes of Willie Lynch

  1. darius says:

    Please consider and understand,

    Ignore the letter’s obvious fakery.
    Ignore the intended bitter racial bias.
    Ignore references to the recent history of slavery.

    The ‘letter’ at it’s core shows what slavery is:
    * Slavery has existed as long as man has.
    * Slavery is a part of the human heritage.
    * Slavery does not require color.
    * Slavery uses distinctions between people to make one ‘inferior’ and the other ‘superior’.

    Slavery requires one person or group of people subverting that person or persons, then using that person or group of people to achieve their goals; be it economic, social, or religious.

    In this country, it has been for economic gains. Same can be said about any country on the planet. So I ask, what is the difference between a field and a cubicle? What is the difference between then and now when it comes to being in control of our economic and personal destinies?

    The Willie Lynch letter is a historical forgery. Yet turn it over and examine the truth about slavery in context of today.

    Consider the effects of mass media, marketing, advertising, politics, and corporations on the lives of the ‘consumer’.

    Are we free of slavery, or has slavery been broadened to become a form of equality we all share?

  2. canoelac says:

    Not true that slavery has existed in all human history. Not until productivity of labor was high enough to support a privileged class, and treat other people as property not blood kin, did slavery enter the picture. Primitive kin-based societies lasted 200,000 years for species Homo sapiens, 2.5 million years if you count the entire genus Homo. Earliest evidence for slavery is Code of Hammurabi about 1760 BC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery).
    If you would say slavery has existed for all human CIVILIZATION then you would be correct, since civilization depends on a surplus produce beyond bare subsistence, and the arising of a system of PROPERTY OWNING classes coincides with the arising of such civilization. It’s practically a definition. When human labor could produce from the earth more food than was immediately necessary for survival, then slavery became a possibility; not before.
    I don’t like using fake documents to oppose exploitation because our cause then gets tarred as a fake as well, too flimsy to stand on its own account.

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