Ireland and Slavery: Framing Irish Complicity in the Slave Trade – CounterPunch

The first instalment in this two-part series, which focused on dismantling the ‘Irish slaves’ myth, made three critical assertions: first, that the attempt to draw equivalence between Irish (and British, Scottish) indenture and African chattel slavery was “untenable, and callous in the extreme” and “almost always deliberately concocted at source through flagrant manipulation of numbers and chronology”; secondly, that the narrow channels in which the ‘debate’ has been confined obscure important developments in the evolution of ‘race’ and ‘race-making’ in the plantation societies of the Americas; and third, that although indenture and racially-based slavery for life were not “comparable in terms of scale or importance in generating the economic foundations that would launch global capitalism,” it was also mistaken to regard them as ‘galaxies apart’: they were “distinct but related forms of exploitation at the birth of the modern world”.

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