Billie Holiday’s song, “Strange Fruit” is not for the faint of heart. It’s about the lynching of Black Americans, hanging from trees:
The final verse, “Here is a strange and bitter crop,” ought to echo in your minds whenever – if ever – you contemplate China’s peculiarly ghoulish reduction of Humans to mere things, objects, commodities.
There has long been a ghastly interdependency between eugenics, “Planned Parenthood” and the industrial-age reduction of Man from (to paraphrase the Catholic Bernanos, with whom the atheist Karl Marx might partially agree on this point) a “spirit among things” to a “thing among things”. American slaves were regarded as mere commodities, commercial objects; their descendants hanging from the lynching-trees were similarly reduced to objects. Their open enemies, the slave-traders and other commodifiers of Man, are well known even to those who know little else about history. What is not so widely known is that the American – and later, worldwide – “Planned Parenthood” movement founded by Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist movement, whose purposes included, inter alia, the reduction of America’s Black population and other pseudoscientifically designated “unfit” populations, principally the poor and the working class.
One excellent source of information about the American eugenics movement – by which Nazi eugenics was directly inspired and to some extent assisted – is the book, War Against The Weak by Edwin Black. The author (unlike me) is in fact a (perhaps reserved) admirer of Sanger, but does not shrink from documenting her, and her movement’s dedication to eugenics and to the elimination of the “unfit”.
Well now. What does this ghoulish, nauseating history have to do with today’s China, and its “economic miracle” in which Westerners, and especially Americans, are interdependent?
Yes, as some of our readers might have begun to infer, Catherine and I are putting together for you some pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, piece by piece, beginning at the edges. By the end of this continuing series, we will leave the last few pieces for our readers to find and place in the picture. But for now, this week’s pieces to contemplate are the song, “Strange Fruit”, the history of using Human bodies as commodities, and the word, “harvest.”