Interview with Professor Gerald Horne, historian at Huston University

On Sunday Jan 15 -2012 I met Gerald Horne, historian, writer and professor of Huston university at his hotel in Down town Toronto

Professor was very energetic and friendly who answered all of my questions in regard of US History, freedom of speech, president Obama, US foreign policy and Iran. .

He said he watched three movies from Iran, the latest one, separation, Professor Horne was in Toronto to launch his latest book. Some of his books are

The End of Empires: African-Americans and India (Temple University Press, 2008).

The Final Victim of the Blacklist: John Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten (University of California Press, 2005).

Black & Brown: Africans and the Mexican Revolution, 1910-1920 (New York University Press, 2005).

Race War! White Supremacy & the Japanese Attack on the British Empire (New York University Press, 2003).

Fire This Time: The Watts Uprising and the 1960s (University of Virginia Press, 1995)

Saeed Solktanpour: Thank you professor for having us.

G.H.: It is my pleasure.

S.S: why you say we have to “re- write” US history?

G.H.: There is a lot of mythology about U.S. history in our school which general accepted around the world. For example, in 1776 there was grand revolution against British rule in North America by a grate man behind the ideas who created the grate republic. But there are some problems such as African slavery and seizure of Indigenous people land by force. With these two problems the revolution still is grate.

I am rewriting the history because I think that is difficult to reconcile that particular narrative about the grand revolution with subsequent event. The increase of became the trade of African slaves. For example I have book on Brazil.

Brazil has more African decent than US does and more than any other country in the world except Nigeria. Because in 19 century, US citizens going to Angola and Mozambique seizing African. and Brought them as slaves through Atlantic to Brazil.

The same US nationals did with Cuba in 1840 to1862 bringing slaves to Cuba which has the large number of black population. I can go on this vain.


The other nations has to re write their history, too ? For instance Iran, Middle East

G.H.: obviously it needs some re write there, too it has been rewriting such as the coup against Mosadegh. Regime, and the interference of US Imperialism in the M.E.. Also, in regard state of Israel which has been a lot mythology about it that needs for exploration.

S.S.: when going back to US History and black slavery is USA in a right direction to eliminate racism ?

G.H.: ( laughing ) You must joking.!

S.S.: You are black and I am an ethnic Canadian. it looks government in Canada is addressing the racism although the population of black inmate is 20% while their population is 3%.,

G.H: Even in US the rate is worse than Canada. The black population is 13% of USA of 312 million.. the black inmates rate is more than 50%. The rate of black inmate in the death row is much higher particularly in State of Texas which I Reside.

There has been a furious counter reaction to the progress of black situation in 1960 ‘s. . the writing of historian such as me suggested that the progress 0f 60s was substantially driven by international currents. At those days US was at cold war with Moscow and it was difficult to charge Moscow for his human rights record because of the racism in the US.

that dynamic led to some retreat state sanction racism of US. but then after the collapse of soviet union, external pressure was removed. now, it is pressure to get back what people got on those days.


But US choose a black as a President. President Obama still looks ok to many American.


major reason was collapse of wall street in sep 2008. The shock wave which still experiencing. that shock basically wrote off confident of some of Obama opposition segment of republican party.

2- Mr. Obama was elected because of his reputation of Iraq War. which at that time was not popular. when his opponent ( senator John McLean ) was supporting the war.

3- White American population for the last 50 years have mostly voted consistently for republican. %57 to % 43. it has not changed in 2008. What has been changed in the US

was demographic. the composition of electoral. The stunning increase of youth among Latin American in California, and Texas, Mexico and Arizona. There was a substantial increase of Asian decent population particularly in California and N.Y.

Republican generally run either implicit or explicit racists campaigns. Aim on most white population while The number of white population is shrinking. That’s why in 2012 the race still is so close spite the fact that the unemployment is high and involve in another war with Libya perhaps Iran.

S.S.: What is your evolution of President Obama?

G.H.: Evolution of Mr. Obama is separable from evaluation of US. I think, historically US has been a country that came to be exploration of native land which helped to generate a culture of violence. This cultural intensify violence intensify with African slavery. Then Native American sublimated after 19 century

The US imperialism expanded to Hawaii – Philippine, Thailand and future explosion

20 century with neo colonialism, Iran- Guatemala, Cuba. The list is on.

Mr. Obama is presiding on an empire; It is difficult to say that Mr. Obama could do better.

my sharp criticism comes to Mr. Obama on Libyan war which was Crime against Humanity, against Africa.

It was a splitting in US on the war. He could not close down the Guantanama Bay which he promised.

Right wing at congress blocked him, you can say it is Ok but for Libyan war, No.

S.S: the history of US shows that no matter who is elected, the Washington is dictating the policy. For instance, the Obama health insurance law for 60 million American was rejected by Republicans.

Some opponent said “Obama is a communist. “What do you think? The Health care is a principal in Canada.

G.H.: I wrote a book on Hawaii which is 2000 miles off north of the US land which is 51 state.

Mr. Obama writes at his memorial that Frank Dvais, friend of Obama’s Father, who was a black American who was a communist. the right wing published a book ” Obama ‘s communist ties ” !!!

The right wing in US is getting hysterical which is good sign. It shows they are nervous about the rise of China. The Rise of Brazil in Latin hemisphere. they should be nervous.

Because I think the history does not smile on them.


Constitution of US is one of the admirable one in the world for its freedom of expression but President signed a law on eves of New Year to arrest people and hold without court order. ?


As You know there is one word on document and one in action. Certainly

there are some noble word in US constitution. But remember the constitution is embed in the 18 century. T he constitution telling about happiness, and all man created equal while they were slaving African. As a matter of fact, Africans were 3/5 of human being.

With regard to civil liberty in USA today, you have to look at legal expression and look at actual reality. The fact of matter is every body has a freedom of speech. The same as freedom of trade between Granddad and US, which sounds equality. Which is not one size for both side of trade? Like wise, these corporation like Time Warner controlling CNN..or fox that have a megaphone but I do not have one.

S.S :. you are right but alternative media can say what ever that they want. they can not compete with CNN but they exist.


Sure. I will be the last person to say that US Bourguva democracy in formal term is without merit. For sure this democracy is better than fascism.. NO argument for that. but the same time we have to say there is certain deficiency about the system existing in US.


S.S. You mentioned about cold war, US president said that they spent billions of dollars for the collapse of Soviet Union. Now we see the cracks in the capital system However, if there was freedom of speech in that block, they could survive. What do you think?

G.H. This is I would say, there is strength system in the US. Historically some kind of Bourgeoisie democracy for European decent, and fascism for African Decent, Apartheid. Idea of freedom of speech is limited for some people such as me. I have to be careful when filing tax retune, driving a car. Make sure you license plate is up-to-date. I am heading to N.Y. I shall be to be careful. because police looking to arrest you as a black. It is a kind of democracy but racially limited. Also, I have to say if the same economic misery in Eastern Europe happened 1980 s helped them to push those countries to the edge I think if happened here US, were more chaotic. as it was 20years ago. Because people have more gun. Having gun is a right. By the way there is a debate in Texas for the right of students to bring the gun into the class room. Saeed: it that right. G.H. Yes. (laughing) . G.H. (Laughing). Then a reprimands student pulls the gun and shoots the teacher. Power balance in the class room will be changed. Saeed : then professors have to go to the class by bodyguards. G.H. May be. It is interesting that I was searching for my book, in Virginia in 1730s they passed a law that when a white want to go to church has to take a gun because African choose Sundays as a revoke. ( laughing ) going to church with gun. !!! Saeed : so the rosy pictures of US showing the world is different than reality ? G.H. it is fairy tales for children the second part of interview will be posted soon.

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