American Myths of Thanksgiving Holiday


Thanksgiving is an opportune moment to look at many myths around the origins of this cherished American holiday. It is supposed to celebrate first successful harvest by Pilgrims, in some joyful symbiosis with a native American people, I think called Wampanoag tribe. This sweet, mostly family, tradition is a myth. Thanksgiving tradition does not trace back to 1621 in Plymouth but was created much later, in the first half of the 19th century. There were not even any turkeys, or sweet potato and that sort of stuff. Even the claim that "Pilgrims" were after religious freedom is a myth. If people bothered to check proper history sources, they would have found out that the Pilgrims were against religious freedom! They were religious zealots. Historians show that in the USA, the religion has been often used to discriminate others and to kill "heathen" natives as well as "heretics".  

It is nice to give thanks for all the good things in life but Americans should also remember that "Thanksgiving" happened on the back of the plight and de facto genocide of American native people - sanctioned by the governments, on the back of numerous atrocities, massacres, slaughter and their continuous discrimination. These should not be conveniently forgotten.

Myths in American history: American historical narrative is full of myths. Starting with the American Revolutionary War or the American War of Independence which is still used as an excuse for the American exceptionalism. With all its romantic narratives of oppressed colonists
bravely overturning the British monarchy. But in fact, there was very little of popular movement in the Revolutionary War, it was mostly male and whites and it was about expansionism and dominant values of capitalism. Plus already mentioned genocide of native people and

Then there is also the myth of the American Civil war, another commonly misunderstood part of the USA history: people believe that its aim was to ended slavery. In reality, the aim of the Republicans at the start of the war was to restore the country to its pre-secession states, including slavery.

I am not an expert on this but it seems to me that all American wars are based on some myths one way or another. From the Cold War, the Vietnam war to the most recent ones in the Middle East and North Africa, in Afghanistan. American military is always projected as liberators while all we can see are millions of slaughtered and displaced civilians in all places the Americans have invaded and wages wars on.

This whole American political narrative of "freedom and democracy" is a myth and a lie and total travesty. It is said that you cannot understand politics, unless you also understand economy and military-industrial complex. This is for a good reason, especially in the USA with is interlinked military and financial oligarchy.

Now, to this massive military-industrial complex we can add massive surveillance capacities of the US intelligence apparatus.

Which leads to the third common myth: American myth of freedom of speech! People wrongly believe that freedom of speech is absolute in the USA and is some sort of pinnacle of American democracy. This is a total nonsense. There are many instances in which freedom of speech can be
restricted under the US laws and is often restricted indeed.

A prime example of this is the case of Wikileaks! We can add to that many cases of whistleblowers, and many  people critical of the government or corporations or other powerful institutions. There so many examples, I do not even know where to start. 

It is a myth to claim there is freedom of speech in the USA if critical voices and whistleblowers are ostracised and prosecuted and punished. If freedom of information is limited under spurious claims of national security. If people Julian Assange are kept arbitrarily detained and smeared with made up accusations and are subject to frequent ad hominem attacks. If the mainstream press is in cahoots with the political establishment and corporations.

More importantly, this time and age, we are showed all over again that speech is and never will be free if it is not freedom from capital.

Just this week, I am so angry at FCC revealing plans to kill net neutrality.

I am so angry at Eric Schmidt of Alphabet/Google and Facebook announcing that they will pro-actively delist certain sites and information to fight alleged "foreign propaganda".

There is so much evidence that these companies are restricting access to leading progressive and anti-war sites. And now they are confirming they will step up these efforts.

There is no free speech in the USA if companies (and governments) track and monitor all our online activities. There is no free speech i if these companies (and governments) tell us what we can access online, what we can read and debate.

Now, there are so many myths that influence our lives on daily basis. The question is what we can do about  them. Thanksgiving (unlike New Year) is meant to be time for reflection. So I encourage all Americans to make an effort to learn their true history and present politics. To learn from it. And to do something to change the current state of affairs.