The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Tubman versus Jackson on $20 Bill

May 27, 2019

Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently announced that a plan to put a likeness of Harriet Tubman on $20 bills starting in 2020 would be delayed until at least 2028!

Tubman was the slave who escaped to the North from a Maryland Eastern Shore plantation and then repeatedly returned to plantation territory to help hundreds of slaves escape to the North. She was an abolitionist who helped John Brown plan his raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia–an action that Brown hoped would lead to a revolutionary uprising of the slaves that would end the whole slavery system.

Is the Trump administration’s decision a surprise? No.

In 2016, Trump said during his campaign that he was opposed to the Tubman plan. He said Andrew Jackson–whose likeness is now on $20 bills–was a great man who was a hero of his. Jackson was a wealthy slave-holding president of the U.S. who is perhaps best known for brutally driving all Native Americans out of the Eastern U.S.

Racist slave owner versus a leader of slave revolts? Who do you think the rich and powerful bosses of this society and their political flunkies choose to identify with? Of course, it is Jackson, a man who was a leader of their system, a defender of their wealth, who put his boot on the necks of people they enslaved, as well as workers, women–to protect and expand what today are their fortunes.

Capitalism in this country was built on capital accumulated from slavery–and is now accumulated from the exploitation of what Karl Marx called “wage-slaves”–that is, from us, the workers of the world. And disgusting as this is, the bosses have no intention of having it any other way.