Viewing page 4 of 26
It looks like you're using a mobile device. We recommend using a physical keyboard for transcription entry.
rubber and become independent of their British rivals. This hunt for a rubber base marked the beginning of Liberia's enslavement to American finance-capital. President Hoover was at that time the American Secretary of Commerce. It was he who organized a conference of the automobile manufacturers of America and advised them to turn their attention to Liberia, the only territory except Abyssinia in Africa not yet stolen by the European imperialists, and which offered a means of solving the rubber problem then confronting the American capitalists. With the assistance of Hoover and the Department of State, the Harvey Firestone Rubber Co., one of the biggest manufacturers of motorcar tires and rubber goods in America, secured a concession in Liberia of one million acres of land at the price of one cent per acre for the purpose of developing rubber. In return for this great concession, the Firestone Co. made a loan of 5 million dollars to the Liberian Government, which, however, the Liberians never received, for the Firestone Co. stipulated special terms to the effect that the money had to be spent in developing railroads, roads, and building a harbour in Monrovia by American engineers. The Liberian Government under pressure from Washington was also forced to agree to supply labour to the Firestone plantations. This agreement was completed in 1925. Since then, Liberia has become an economic colony of American imperialism; and the peasantry, the slaves of the Government and the Firestone Co. [[image]] Firestone and Ex-President King in conference over the sell-out of Liberia Slavery and Forced Labour. The conditions of the working class in Liberia, especially those in the interior, and the agricultural labourers on the American plantations and big farms owned by the native officials, are so disgraceful that an investigation had to be conducted this year. The commission which carried out the investigation was composed of three men, one by the name of Dr. C. Christy, an Englishman, representing the League of Nations, Dr. Charles S. Johnson, a Negro college professor, representing the United States Government, and Edwin Barcley, Secretary of State in Liberia, who has since become president. The commission discovered that slavery and forced labour were widespread throughout the country. The report pointed out that, most of the Liberian officials, known as Americo-Liberians, who control the Government, and were the very ones who made the agreement with the Firestone Co. in 1925, were forcing thousands of poor native peasants to work without wages under the most terrible conditions. But as to be expected from a commission which represented imperialist interests, it reported that Firestone did not use forced labour. This, however, is a lie. Every honest Liberian and West-African knows that thousands of natives are being robbed and ruthlessly exploited on the Firestone plantations. In this way the handpicked commission tried to whitewash the crimes of Firestone and his gang, and discredit the already corrupt Americo-Liberian officials, thereby, justifying the American imperialists with the tacit connivance of the League of 6 Nations, to openly annex the only remaining independent Negro country in West Africa. The Negro Judasses. The Negro workers in Africa, America, and the West Indies must realize that the enslavement of Liberia has not only been organized and carried out by the American imperialists and their white agents, but that the so-called "big" Negro leaders both in America and Liberia have been some of the most active tools of Firestone in helping to oppress the toiling masses of this "independent" republic. This has openly been revealed by the fact that the American Government, which supports the policy of Firestone in Liberia, did not select a white official to represent the United States on the international commission as is its usual policy. On this occasion, the politicians in Washington departed from their traditional policy and appointed a Negro lackey, Dr. Johnson, to play the role of a Judas in covering up the crimes of the white American capitalists and help make it appear that only President King and his officials were guilty of extorting forced labour out of the indigenous masses. This is nothing strange. It merely shows to the Negro workers that despite the fact that the Negro capitalists are members of the same race as themselves, the truth is, these people are always prepared to betray the interests of the toiling masses of their own race for the benefit of their white imperialist masters. Therefore, we must not only expose the connivance of Firestone, but we must brand these so-called educated Negroes as the greatest traitors of the working class. The conduct of Dr. Johnson is not an isolated case. His part in the subjugation of the black workers and toiling poor of Liberia is being repeated by hundreds of other Negro middle-class elements in America, Africa and the West Indies, day after day. Everywhere we see black lawyers, doctors, preachers, editors, chiefs and politicians openly going over to the side of the white oppressors. As the capitalist crisis becomes more and more acute, the Negro capitalists, landlords, and phrase-making reformists are revealing themselves more and more before the hungry, overtaxed and unemployed Negro masses as their greatest enemies. Their acts of deception, betrayal and surrender of the national liberation struggles at this time clearly show that such scoundrels are incapable of leading the movement of the Negro peoples for freedom and social emancipation. Only the Negro working class in unity with the workers of other countries and races can fight the imperialists to a victorious end. These are the only sincere anti-imperialist elements whom the capitalists cannot corrupt and bribe. Mr. Schuyler Exposed. It is important for every Negro worker to take note that, whenever the American and other white capitalists have some dirty task to perform in connection with Negro countries like Haiti and Liberia, they always secure the services of some black lickspittle who is supposed to be a "big" leader of his race, pay him a few dollars or give hime [[him]] some petty office and thereby get him to do the job for them. The usual policy in America is to have the President take his photo with the Negro in question or have a glass of tea, and the whole betrayal is settled. While in the British Empire, the King on the recommondation [[recommendation]] of the colonial governor confers some title upon the Negro lackey, and he will be prepared to surrender his people and country to the imperialists. France also pursues a similar policy as in the case of Blaise Diagne, the Senegalese Under Secretary for the colonies. 7
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.