Last night, or should I say, early this morning I finished the book ‘The Black Ship’. As I have said much of the book contained detailed facts about the pirates themselves, the secret weapon the writer had was a man called Ken Kinkor a historian, who called himself a piratologist.
“One of the most important areas of research for kinkor was the dicey subject of the pirate crew’s racial mix. Many black activists in the Boston area were upset that so much had been made of the Whydah, especially since she had been a slave ship. I thought it might please them to know that many of the crewmen were slaves who had been freed by the pirates and worked as equals on the ship. To my surprise, this news seemed to infuriate them even more.
Most vocals was State Representative Byron Rushing, who for ten years had directed Boston’s Museum of African -American History.
“I think you should tell the story of black people in New England, but I’m not sure if I would start with gangsters, which is what pirates were” – “To me, that’s like telling the history of blacks in the 1990s and starting with drug dealers. Sure it is part of the story, but it’s not everything and not where you start.”
“Many would see pirates as scoundrels, pure and simple,” said Kinkor. “I take a different approach. If we look at the pattern of European society of the period, we are compelled to conclude that these men were not simple robbers, rather they were acting against social grievances.”
Kinkor, published a major paper in American Vision magazine entitled “Black Men Under the Black Flag.”
By studying the historical record, he found that as much as 25 per cent of Bellamy’s crew was black. Further research revealed that as many as 30 per cent of all pirates during the years 1715 to 1725 were of African descent. The reason, he felt, was that escaped slaves could be counted on to fight to keep their freedom. He even found two entirely black crews, with the exception of a single white man apiece.
“Piratical racial tolerance did not proceed from an idealistic vision of the fundamental brotherhood of man,” wrote Kinkor “instead, it sprang from a spirit of revolt against common political, economic, and social oppression. The shared experience of oppression was thus a solvent that broke down social barriers within a pirate crew. Shared feelings of marginality meant that the primary allegiance of pirates was given to their brethren. It is hardly surprising that so many blacks – confronted with far worse prospects by staying put within the European or American social order – chose piracy.”
To me, this was so profound. For as it was then, as it is now. The fight for freedom and social equality has been going on since the dawn of man’s understanding, and just as it was for the pirates of old, it is for us today in Scotland. They try to cover it in a veil but that veil is being parted and the people of Scotland are peeking into a world from which they have been excluded. kept in poverty, to protect the few they are fed a diet of deceit by politicians and their propaganda machine the National Media.
They cry out when overloaded rubber boats arrive on the shores of England, but who were the cause of these people risking everything to arrive on their shore, the British government and a disastrous foreign policy. It was they that went to war, destroying the infrastructure of countless countries, they made the mess, clean it up or suffer the consequences. Illegal migration does not have a solution here in The UK but in the countries from which the migrants are coming. The UK’s solution, end Foreign Aid, aye right.
They cry out as the reoffending rate in our prison increases, (reoffending in Scotland is three-time that of our worst European neighbour). The cure is not ‘bigger and better prisons’ where many are young offenders, let down by the education system. A high percentage of people in prisons and young offenders institutions have the literary skills of a primary school pupil. Without any hope of being allowed the privileges of a well-paid job or the privileges that come with a good educated they, like the pirates of old, turn to crime. The prison population will not decrease or that of reoffending until you tackle the cause, not the symptoms.
Poor wages, poor diet, homelessness, food banks, poor health, lack of housing a rising prison population, poor education…………. Are all products of choices by the government, most of the problems that exist in our society lye squarely at their door, of the Scottish government. And the cure – well, if they do not change tack soon Nicola, I suspect REVOLUTION, and your job on the line.