None of the primary crops grown by slaves–sugar, tobaccco, coffee–is necessary to sustain human life. Slavery is a very early biproduct of consumer goods that bring us pleasure, but not sustenance.
By the time Europeans started importing Africans into the Americas, Europe had a long history of trading slaves. The European slave trade began after the 4th Crusade in 1204, "the crusade you will remember as the crazy one." Italian merchants imported thousands of Armenians, Circassian, and Georgian slaves to Italy. Many worked to process sugar."
Green's thoughts on the sugar trade being supported by slavery echo the words of ethnobotanist Terence McKenna in a 1996 interview (Click 'Shamans of the Amazon' below more of Luc Sala's interview with Terence).
Terence McKenna: To my mind, human history is the story of one substance after another distorting or transforming human values and society. A perfect example would be sugar. Most people don’t even think of sugar as a drug and yet, we may think that cocaine distorted moral and political values in Latin America, but sugar brought back slavery.
See: Shamans of the Amazon: Ayahuasca, Politics, & the War on Drugs (1999) McKenna, Shulgin
Slavery actually died with the Roman Empire. Nobody worked agricultural products with slaves in the Middle Ages. It wasn’t until the early 1400s that the Portuguese began producing sugar and they used up Jews and prisoners and so then they started buying human beings from African -- from Arab traders. And the pope was in on the deal and everybody was in on the deal. I mean this is drug corruption of the central institutions of society on a massive scale.
Luc Sala: But, that has gone on ‘til our days. We have alcohol, we have tobacco.
2010 Texas Textbook Buffoonery
@OAWoww condemns hate politics
based on "defending the Constitution."
Terence: Well, this is my very point, that every society chooses a small number of substances – no matter how toxic – and enshrines them in its cultural values then demonizes all other substances and uses -- and then persecutes and launches witch hunts against those users whenever some political pretext requires witch hunts and persecutions. So, it’s an old game and it’s been played in many places.
How does it happen that American Conservatism, that used to stand for a free-market economy and a Laissez-faire attitude toward life becomes instead the purveyor of the most Draconian and invasive approach to social management ever conceived of (Drug War)
- Living and Dying (Jobs, McKenna, Huxley, Ram Dass)
- When did you learn about Terence?
- Artist Perspectives: Do You Still Believe in the Goodness of Humans?
- Quotes from Terence McKenna's tenure at the Esalen Institute
- Address to the Jung Society
- Hallucinogenic Enema: Appalachian Tradition or Amazon Myth?
- Why Our Culture Is Making People Unhappy...
- Sacred Plants As Guides: New Dimensions of the Soul
- The One, the Good, the True, and the Beautiful (Plato, von Balthasar, McKenna)
- Minnesota Public Radio Interviews Ethno-Pharmacologist Dennis McKenna
- Nature Loves Courage
- Our Need for a Sense of Unity
- Is Consciousness the Only Savior for a Changing America? Meditation Has People Believing.