Event-scene 46 by Hakim Bey
is part of Notes for CTHEORY
in CTHEORY: THEORY, TECHNOLOGY AND CULTURE, VOL 20, NO 1-2, 23 July 1997, edited by Arthur and Marilouise Kroker,
Bey's note on "Eugenics" includes a brief account of another historical instance of Red-Black Solidarity--the Ben Ishmael tribe.
The following note is quoted from event-scene 46
by Hakim Bey:
In the late 18th or early 19th century a group of runaway slaves and serfs fled from Kentucky into the Ohio Territory, where they inter-married with Natives and formed a tribe - red, white & black - called the Ben Ishmael tribe. The Ishmaels (who seem to have been Islamically inclined) followed an annual nomadic route through the territory, hunting & fishing, and finding work as tinkers and minstrels. They were polygamists, and drank no alcohol. Every winter they returned to their original settlement, where a village had grown.
But eventually the US Govt. opened the Territory to settlement, and the ~official~ pioneers arrived. Around the Ishmael village a town began to spring up, called Cincinnati. Soon it was a big city. But Ishmael village was still there, engulfed & surrounded by "civilization." Now it was a ~slum~.
Hasn't something similar happened to the Internet? The original freedom-loving hackers & guerrilla informationists, the true pioneers of cyberspace, are still there. But they have been surrounded by a vastness of virtual "development," and reduced to a kind of ghetto. True, for a while the slums remain colorful - one can go there for a "good time," strum a banjo, spark up a romance. Folkways survive. One remembers the old days, the freedom to wander, the sense of openness. But History has gone... somewhere else. Capital has ~moved on~.
Incidentally, in the late 19th & early 20th century the Ishmaels were discovered by the Eugenics movement, which declared them to be racial mongrels & degenerates. The Ishmaels were targeted for extinction; those who did not flee & disappear were institutionalized or even sterilized. The old slum was cleared & built over, and the Ishmaels were forgotten.