The breaking and dehumanization of human institutions and human lives, now triggered by crack cocaine, is nothing compared to what European passion for sugar did in the 17th — 18th centuries. Some may say that the initial stages of cocaine production is characterized by something like slave, bonded labor. The only difference is that this is not slavery, which is sanctioned by deceitful priests and is openly recognized as corrupt, although legitimate, governments. Another point should be noted: modern drug trafficking, no matter how disgusting it may be, has nothing to do with abduction of children, their export and the destruction of entire populations, as was done in order to increase sugar production.
True, the roots of slavery in Europe stretch far inland. In the Golden Age of Athens since the time of Pericles, as many as two thirds of the city’s permanent residents were slaves; in Italy since the time of Julius Caesar, probably half the population was slaves. Under the rule of the Roman Empire, slavery became increasingly unbearable:
slaves had no civil rights, and in court proceedings their testimony was taken into account only if it was obtained under torture. If the slave owner died suddenly or under suspicious circumstances, then all his slaves, both those guilty and those not guilty, were immediately put to death. It is fair to say that this pillar of the empire on the institution of slavery should temper our reverence for Ancient Rome, which we may have experienced. In truth, his greatness was the greatness of a pigsty, disguised as a military brothel.
Slavery died away with the collapse of the empire, when all social institutions dissolved in the chaos of the beginning of the dark ages. Feudalism replaced slavery with serfdom. Serfdom was, to some extent, better slavery: a serf could at least have his own home, start a family, farm and take part in the life of the community. And most importantly, perhaps, in the fact that the serf could not be removed from the ground. When they sold the land, the serfs almost always went with it.
In 1432, the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator, who was more a manager and an entrepreneur than a researcher, founded the first commercial sugarcane plantation in Madeira. Sugar cane plantations were created in the other eastern Atlantic possessions of Portugal more than 60 years before communication with the New World was established. Over a thousand people, among them insolvent debtors, convicts, unconverted Jews, were brought from Europe to sugar works. Their position was semi-Arabic – akin to a contingent of “penalty box” and employees who settled in Australia and some of the mid-Atlantic American colonies.
In his book , The Seeds of Change, Henry Hobhauz writes about the beginning of the enslavement of Africa. In 1443, one of the captains of Prince Henry, who returned to their homeland, brought news of the seizure of a crew of black Arabs and Muslims to the sea.
These people, who were of mixed Arabian-Negro origin and professed Islam, said that they were of a proud race and were not suitable slaves. They argued that in the depths of Africa there are many healthy black, children of Ham, who become excellent slaves and whom they can turn into slavery in exchange for their freedom. Thus began the modern slave trade – not yet the transatlantic, but its prior trade between Africa and southern Europe.
Next, Hobhouse describes slavery related to sugar production in the New World.
“Sugar” slavery is of a completely different kind. This was the first since the days of the Roman latifundia large-scale use of slaves for growing crops for sale (not for food). And also for the first time in history, one single race was chosen for the role of slaves. Spain and Portugal themselves abandoned the enslavement of the population in the East Indies, from the fact that the Chinese slaves, the Japanese or the Europeans worked in both Americas.
The slave trade itself was a kind of pernicious addiction. The initial importation of African slaves for servitude to labor in the New World was pursued only by one goal — the maintenance of an agricultural economy based on sugar. Sugar fashion was so tenacious that the millennial treatment of people with Christian ethics did not lead to anything. It was an explosion of human cruelty and atrocities of unbelievable proportions, which were encouraged by sophisticated society.
Let it be perfectly clear to us that sugar is absolutely not needed for human nutrition; before the advent of industrial cane and beet sugar, humanity completely did without refined sugar, which is almost pure sucrose. Sugar does not give anything that could not be obtained from some other, easily accessible source. This is just a light stimulant, and nothing more. And for his sake, the European culture of dominion was ready to change the ideals of the Enlightenment by its collusion with slave traders. In 1800, virtually every ton of sugar imported into England was produced by slave labor. The ability of an ego-dominated culture to silence such a truth is simply amazing.
If it seems to someone that too much anger is poured on sugar addiction, it is only from the fact that addiction to it in many respects seems to be a kind of mixture of all the erroneous positions that are inherent in our opinion regarding narcotic drugs.