Source – jstor.org
– “…He unites the past with the present, forgotten ordeals with the current battles and struggles for truth, justice, survival, in a world increasingly dominated by corporate forces, backed by military might, cloaking themselves in a veil of legality, as they continue to plunder mental, physical, financial, geographical, cyber-space frontiers”
Earth into Property: Colonization, Decolonization, and Capitalism – By Prof. Anthony J. Hall
Earth into Property is the second book in a series, the first being The American Empire and the Fourth World: The Bowl With One Spoon, which together are the magnum opus of Professor Hall, coordinator of Globalization Studies at the University of Lethbridge. Both books are epic journeys, odysseys into world history, but especially the history of the Americas, after Western contact and conquest. There are stories within stories, themes within themes that weave the immense tragedies, details, lives, narratives, ideas into comprehensible patterns, in the hopes of sorting fact from fiction, truth from deception, wisdom from insanity, possibility from despair.
Review: Worth the Time and Effort- A Transformative Journey – By Carol Liane Brouillet
I am awed by the research and thought that has gone into both volumes, the discoveries, treasures unearthed by Professor Hall. At the same time, these are not just an accumulation of facts, lost history for students trying to understand the complexities of modern life, and how we came to this moment in time. “Tony” inserts himself, his life, his journey, into his quest. He unites the past with the present, forgotten ordeals with the current battles and struggles for truth, justice, survival, in a world increasingly dominated by corporate forces, backed by military might, cloaking themselves in a veil of legality, as they continue to plunder mental, physical, financial, geographical, cyber-space frontiers.
…By synchronicity, Chapter One of Earth into Property opens with a vivid description of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the “New World.” At that time, American “exceptionalism” reigned, along with the notion of “Manifest Destiny.” Hall returns to the theme, outlined in The American Empire and the Fourth World that the major difference between Canada and the United States in their early formation was that the US was born out of a rebellion against King George to create a vehicle which allowed the colonists to seize native lands and eliminate the “savages.” In Canada, the British monarch recognized aboriginal rights and acknowledged the native people as allies to militarily defend their territories against the aggressions of the US. The U.S. permitted the growth and expansion of corporations into the transnational entities that they have become today which continue to turn Earth into property at great human and environmental expense. Genocide was the modus operandi of the expanding US empire.
I also had the challenging experience of witnessing Professor Hall, along with Canadian Barrie Zwicker, struggle to write a Declaration of Accountability with two American writers, as the Americans fought to make the document palatable for Americans, and Professor Hall valiantly tried to make it more inclusive, International and push forward the visionary ideals that comprised his life’s work. In hindsight, I now understand more clearly Professor Hall’s point of view, and I wish his view had prevailed against those “dominating American women.” Sadly, the American ignorance or blindness to International Law and susceptibility to the myth of American exceptionalism, the corporate colonization of the mind, is one of the biggest obstacles to those working on social change.
In September of this year, I organized a rally on the theme of “Reclaiming Gandhi’s 9/11” remembering that Satyagraha or “Truth Force” was born on September 11, 1906, to challenge racist laws in South Africa. One of the speakers, an indigenous man, began his speech with “Welcome to the reservation…” echoing the theme, recurrent in Earth into Property, that the US treatment of the “savages” has been extended to other continents, throughout the world, and is now being refocused upon the American middle class, who are losing their lands, homes, lives, in the latest financial heist. Professor Hall does include some excellent descriptions of the history of fraudulent events used to catapult public opinion in favor of war, as well as the history of the emergence, merging of the intelligence agencies, Wall Street, the terror and war economies.
As I was reading Earth into Property, I had to prepare a presentation, and go to Chicago where I attended the 6th Annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference, where I spoke on “Strategy for the Monetary Reform Movement.” I quoted the 1892 Populist Party platform and recognized that the best historical parallel to today’s struggle against corporate power was the Populist Movement. Other people also spoke about the Populists, and the global struggle against parasitical financial institutions, continually trying to write rules, laws in their favor, at odds with morality, reality, and justice
I believe it is far easier to identify problems than to offer solutions and Professor Hall courageously plunges ahead to suggest a path forward in the last chapter of his book, building upon the work, ideas, vision of those he most strongly admires. Perhaps, if those making decisions about the future of General Motors read Earth into Property, that vision could be realized. Part of the biggest challenge we face collectively, is slowing down enough to think deeply about the problems we are facing, researching their roots, their history, opening ourselves to the wisdom, insights of others, and figuring out how to work together cooperatively for the good of all. It is rare to find that sort of leadership in governments, corporations, or any massive organizations.
I believe that our best hope lies in popular education. Whether you happen to be the President of the United States, an auto worker, a CEO, a school teacher, a mother, child, or amongst the multitude of the unemployed, Earth into Property is a fruitful exploration of the past, the present, and possibilities for a future we have yet to create. The journey is worth the time it takes, every step along the way.
Anthony J. Hall is professor of globalization studies at the University of Lethbridge. He is the author of The American Empire and the Fourth World, which introduces the series The Bowl with One Spoon. Earth into Property is the second volume of the Bowl project.