▶ Slavery in Brazil, A Tragic History

English: Slavery in Brazil, by Jean-Baptiste D...
English: Slavery in Brazil, by Jean-Baptiste Debret (1768-1848). Español: La esclavitud, de Jean-Baptiste Debret Deutsch: Sklaverei in Brasilien, Jean-Baptiste Debret (1768-1848). Português: Escravidão no Brasil, Jean-Baptiste Debret (1768-1848). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was surprised to find that slavery in Brazilian history was quite likely to have been more savage and more laden with death and torture than American slavery. Blacks couldn’t catch a break in either North America or South America.

James Pilant

From around the web.

From the web site, Latin American Musings.


Today in 1888 (121 years ago) Brazil officially abolished its slave trade – the last nation in the Western Hemisphere to do so.

Slavery and the slave trade dealt exclusively with Africa and
persisted for nearly 400 years. Brazil lasted longer than any other
Western Hemispheric nation, although the US South had the highest
concentration of slaves that the world has ever seen – 6 million on the
eve of the Civil War in 1860. Brazil never reached those heights, but it
used slaves in the same fashion as white southerners did. Not only was
slavery economically essential to parts of Brazil, but it also created
castes of human beings that persist today.


Internet Freedom Slipping

Internet Censorship Scenario in Europe
Internet Censorship Scenario in Europe (Photo credit: Analectic.org)

This is very bad news indeed.

Much of the media in the United States is not to be trusted or not doing their job. And because of this the Internet while infested with danger is the new media that carries the weight of intellectual and significant thought and story telling.

The government and corporate power do not like a free internet. It is very sad indeed to see the United States with its claims of being a great free society establishing a truly incredible surveillance operation covering every aspect of the internet.

They have usurped Americans’ privacy with no penalty and little oversight.

But America is a great nation and we can hope the wheel turns round and that there will be change.

But the current crisis is important to business ethics for without an open internet, one avenue of corporate accountability is foreclosed. There are not enough counterweights to corporate wrong doing. Losing this one could be devastating.

James Pilant

Internet freedom in ‘global decline,’ report finds | Al Jazeera America


Internet freedom in countries around the world has declined sharply in the past year despite a pushback from activists that successfully blocked some governments’ repressive laws, according to a new report.

The study, by advocacy group Freedom House, looked at online trends in 60 countries, evaluating each nation them based on obstacles to access, limits to content and violations of user rights. It found that in 35 of the countries monitored, governments had expanded their legal and technical surveillance powers in regards to citizen’s online activities.

“Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content and growing arrests of social media users drove a worldwide decline in Internet freedom in the past year,” the authors of the report concluded.

Of the countries included in the research, Iceland came top in terms of giving its citizens the highest level of freedom. China, Cuba and Iran were listed as the most restrictive for a second consecutive year. The report noted that declines in online freedom in three democracies – Brazil, India and the United States – were “especially troubling”.

Revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have ignited a global debate about the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance activities, and the report says the changes in U.S. online …

(Please go to the site and read the whole article.)

via Internet freedom in ‘global decline,’ report finds | Al Jazeera America.

From around the web.

From the web site,


I participated today in a panel discussion at Voice of Russia London, on freedom of Web speech – the future of the Internet, possible restraints, what is and isn’t currently allowed. My angle was that on the unintended effects of censorship, based on research I have done in the last few years.

You may remember our ICCU (Internet Censorship and Civil Unrest) study, which I started with Antonio A. Casilli
during the summer 2011 English riots. We looked at the potential
effects on civil violence of restrictions to access to the Internet
–considered, though eventually not implemented, by the government.
Leaving aside issues of technical feasibility and legal and ethical
acceptability, would net censorship work? Would it stop the violence?

We show
that it wouldn’t. Its effect would be to interrupt coordination of both
unlawful agitation and community pacification efforts, if not even
policing: so neither “positive” nor “negative” social influences, so to
speak, would display their effects. Censorship doesn’t reduce the level of violence, but changes its pattern.
Specifically, it generates a steadily high level of violence, while its
absence produces only “picks” of violence, with periods of social peace
between them.

We conclude that Internet censorship is
ineffective and inefficient: its social cost (in terms of giving up
freedom of speech) is too high for such meagre results.

Is Slavery A Thing Of The Past – Not Yet

It appears that there is still a need for cheap plantation labor, enough demand and enough profit to reinvent slavery.

From the BBC

The Brazilian authorities say they have rescued 95 farm workers who were being kept in slave-like conditions in two south-eastern states, the official Agencia Brasil reports.

Forty-four workers at a sugar-cane plantation in Rio de Janeiro state were not registered and had no clean drinking water or safety equipment.

But that’s more the tip of the iceberg than a major step – From the BBC in 2004 –

At least 25,000 people are working as slave labourers in Brazil, according to a new report obtained by the BBC.

The study, carried out on behalf of the International Labour Organization, says workers are living in conditions unfit for animals.

The bulk of them are working in the Amazon region, clearing forest so the land can be used for cattle and crops.

The as yet unpublished report says members of the political elite are among the landowners responsible.

As we see over and over again, political elites use their influence to flout the law. Read this

The report does praise efforts by Brazil’s left-wing government to tackle the issue, but it says a culture of impunity persists where politicians and judges are among the landowners responsible for perpetuating slave labour.

This kind of injustice is dangerous for all free men. The profits that can be made off slave labor are enormous and the vicious mind set it produces in the privileged class bleeds over into the press, the schools and the government.

James Pilant