I am not known as a fan of capitalism, but i must say that i am thrilled by the announcement that Harriet Tubman’s picture will be the new face of the $20 bill. There is a special irony in her picture replacing that of Andrew Jackson.
Andrew Jackson who oversaw wars of aggression against Native Americans; broken treaties with Native Americans; and then ordered the notorious Trail of Tears expulsion of Native Americans from the southeastern United States. Added to this, Andrew Jackson became the ideological founding father of the conservative populism that we have lived with ever since. The conservative, and frequently right-wing populism, that insists that the USA is a white republic that must look out for the common (white) man. This is the right-wing populism that we see in full display in the Trump and Cruz campaigns at the national level, as well as any number of local candidacies. Good-bye, President Jackson!
For sure, Harriet Tubman’s picture is symbolic and does not represent a fundamental defeat of right-wing populism, nor a recognition on the part of the USA of its crimes against Native Americans. It also does not represent an apology for slavery. But its symbolism is, nevertheless, important, and as such is a victory in the battle to redefine US history, removing the myths that we have been sold since 1783.
Harriet Tubman is the revolutionary face that we need on the currency today and the revolutionary face we will need on the currency when there is a a fundamental, and progressive social transformation of this territory known as the United States of America.