Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Ill-Gotten Gains"

I used to think that this did not make sense - the idea that restitution should be paid by institutions that capitalized on slavery. But in the political climate that we have - with a government which has no intention of trying to level any playing fields - which let the rich keep larger portions of their money - dead or alive - I've been rethinking my position.

When you have to have capital to get much done - when "old money" allows some people to live very well (and to start new businesses) - based on money that has been capitalized off of the labor and ownership of people 150+ years - it makes sense to have some kind of payback. Since neither the slaves nor their descendents were then nor since compensated. And yet other people keep profiting.

Corporate America's Uncashed Check: Disgorging the Ill-Gotten Gains of Slave Labor

On September 27th in a federal courthouse in Chicago an appellate panel will hear argument in the first case that seeks to hold major American financial institutions liable for their role in financing, underwriting and profiting from slavery in the United States.

Many groups have received reparations for past atrocities and historical injustices, but never African-Americans.

This recent lawsuit marks a new departure in the battle for reparations. Rather than seek to hold the government responsible for the general historic wrongs of slavery, this litigation targets the companies that specifically profited – often illegally – from slavery. The plaintiffs are descendants of slaves upon whom these financial institutions profited...

Institutions mentioned include: JP Morgan Chase , Bank of America, Brown Brothers Harriman, Aetna

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