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 The position of the super-rich ruling class in Haiti is untenable

 

 

Books on the Caribbean

Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Doscourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet's Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)

 

Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.  Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)

David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.  University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Jean-Bertand Aristide. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization

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The Struggle in Haiti

By Aduku Addae

Several days ago Lil Joe made the observation, in passing, that the drama unfolding in Haiti, in which Aristide has copped the role of “leading man,” is really a shoving match between the Democrats and Republicans of the USA. In accordance with the script of this schoolboy tiff between the major political clans of America, it is the role of the Republicans to topple Aristide and the role of the Democrats to re-install him. This is a remarkably acute and beautifully simplistic summary of the game being played with Aristide at center-stage. By focusing on Aristide both parties play to their respective constituencies. The Republicans play to their 'white' and religious bases and the Democrats play to their liberal constituency and, secondarily, to the Negro polity. Race becomes the issue and the workers are duped and distracted from the more pressing bread and butter issues which devolve into class politics of the kind now simmering just barely beneath the surface in Haiti (NYTimes).

The experience of Haiti is pressing those who preach race politics into a very uncomfortable position. The questions assailing them are these: How do they explain the role of Colin Powell in the unseating of Jean-Bertrand Aristide? Again, how do they explain the role of Guy Philippe in the shenanigans orchestrated by the US and EU? And, above all else, how do they explain the role of the AFRICANS in the Central African Republic (whose melanin is untainted) in this assault on the "democratically elected president" of the first BLACK republic in this special year of its 200th anniversary? These are very disconcerting questions which are leading hitherto astute men (and women) to make utter fools of themselves in identifying all sorts of psychological 'causes' for the actions of these folks who have so resolutely renounced their brotherhood in black humanity in favor of wealth and status and a common class interest with rich ‘white’ people.  To speak of betrayal, even in the biblical sense, seems patently inadequate and even the die-hard racialists are reaching for other, “less simplistic”, explanations.  Some folks have called for "a healing" and "a recovery" from the scourge of "white supremacy." Of course, some of us have come to know, through long and painful experience, that retreating into the "balm yard" is naught but escapism born of impotence. Unfortunately this is where melanin-based politics leads – to political impotence and escapism! 

As Haiti's mass of BLACK workers and peasants rebelled against the BLACK president, whom they themselves elected to office, the black luminaries world-wide have taken to adopt the language and attitudes of the "white supremacists" that they have decried for so many years. They have taken to referring to their “black brothers” as "thugs" and “hoodlums” and have chastised them, in the same language as the white supremacists, for harboring the intent to orchestrate a “coup” against the "democratically elected" head of state. How soon they forget that they are bonded by the pigment in their skin! (www.iol.co.za)

It is instructive to note the speed with which these black luminaries descend to accuse their rebellious black brethren of being the dupes of white men. It is revealing, indeed, that as soon as the black  workers and peasants demonstrate independence of mind, resoluteness, and political initiative the black elite begin to despise them as “mindless creatures”. The independent action of the BLACK Haitian workers and peasants has in effect exposed black luminaries as white supremacists!

But that is the least of what this independent worker and peasant action has done. This revolt has revealed the relative strength and weaknesses of the contending forces in the Caribbean. It has revealed to the world that the position of the super-rich ruling class in Haiti is untenable. It has revealed the fact that only US military intervention and an American-backed colonial-style regime can prevent the workers and peasants of Haiti from seizing the productive forces and realizing the egalitarian society that they have been striving towards since January 1804 (heritagekonpa.com).

The rebellion foreshadows the impending doom of the Caribbean political bureaucracy. It has revealed these agencies of national oppression to be caught in the pincer-grip of the American and European political agenda from above and the swelling tide of worker and peasant rebellion from below. Interestingly, this is inducing frenzy among the politicos of the Caribbean and breeding in them sentiments that are shaping up to be patently anti – American (and for that matter, anti-French), to use terms that are in vogue. According to veteran Jamaican journalist John Maxwell, in an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! broadcasted 03/05/04, the CARICOM politicos are deathly afraid that what has happened to Aristide could happen to them at any time. Here is how he puts it: “... I imagine that they are very much aware that if it can happen to Aristide, it can also happen to them or any other small country.”   This unhappy prospect is forcing the petty tyrants of the Caribbean to forge regional compacts designed for mutual protection, which effectively propels them to the “federation” they have so mindlessly resisted since the late 1950s. Federation at last, then! (trinidad express; trinidadexpress; democracynow).

The rebellion in Haiti is also spurring the leaders of CARICOM to do something which shall prove devastating to their hold on political power. Fear of being deposed is causing them to whip up the regional population (workers and peasants) to a fighting frenzy against the capitalist behemoth from the north. The irony is that these ‘conjure men’ of Caribbean politics dare not resort to their trademark politics of the skin and identify the “enemy” by race. This would only focus the wrath of the black masses on the brown and white masters right there in the Caribbean. No, they do not have the race option this time! They will have to cry “Imperialism” and “Capitalism.”   Pragmatism will lead them to speak the empty, showy, language of the American “left.” But this in itself is dangerous, for, the Caribbean workers will give this rhetoric their own practical interpretation (Seattle Times). 

The rebellion in Haiti is a flash point. Two hundred years after Dessalines’ citizen soldiers found the Republic the revolution has been brought to the threshold, the teetering edge, so to speak. Yonder the last defenses of the capitalist brigades (US Marines and French gendarmes). Thither the teeming masses of Haitian workers and peasants - desolate, hungry, tattered, with nothing to lose but their chains. It is though the script is being rehearsed for the awful battle that is pending on a world-wide scale. --- End.   

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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World 

Reviewed by Mimi Sheller

The slave revolution that two hundred years ago created the state of Haiti alarmed and excited public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. Its repercussions ranged from the world commodity markets to the imagination of poets, from the council chambers of the great powers to slave quarters in Virginia and Brazil and most points in between. Sharing attention with such tumultuous events as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War, Haiti's fifteen-year struggle for racial equality, slave emancipation, and colonial independence challenged notions about racial hierarchy that were gaining legitimacy in an Atlantic world dominated by Europeans and the slave trade. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World explores the multifarious influence—from economic to ideological to psychological—that a revolt on a small Caribbean island had on the continents surrounding it.

Fifteen international scholars, including eminent historians David Brion Davis, Seymour Drescher, and Robin Blackburn, explicate such diverse ramifications as the spawning of slave resistance and the stimulation of slavery's expansion, the opening of economic frontiers, and the formation of black and white diasporas. Seeking to disentangle the effects of the Haitian Revolutionfrom those of the French Revolution, they demonstrate that its impact was ambiguous, complex, and contradictory.Publisher, University of South Carolina Press

David P. Geggus is a professor of history at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a former Guggenheim and National Humanities Center fellow. He has published extensively on the history of slavery and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on the Haitian Revolution. He is the author of Slavery, War and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 1793–1798 and an editor of A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean. Geggus lives in Gainesville.

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Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804

A Brief History with Documents

By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

This is the most succinct, convenient and accurate history of the Haitian Revolution currently available. It fills a significant gap in the historiography between monographs and general histories on one side and novels and creative literature on the other. The authors have produced an intelligent and highly useful collection of documents, many virtually inaccessible, and conveniently translated them for the English-speaking audience. Their ability to contextualize the events of the revolution briefly is simply exemplary.' - Franklin Knight, Johns Hopkins University, USA 'This is the most amazing document collection I have ever read. It is emotionally gripping, intellectually stimulating, morally provocative, action-packed and full of points of comparison to histories of slavery and freedom everywhere. It has a terrific narrative flow and inherent pathos. . . .This is a wonderful achievement for which all sorts of teachers will be most grateful.—Evan Haefeli, Tufts University

This volume details the first slave rebellion to have a successful outcome, leading to the establishment of Haiti as a free black republic and paving the way for the emancipation of slaves in the rest of the French Empire and the world. Incited by the French Revolution, the enslaved inhabitants of the French Caribbean began a series of revolts, and in 1791 plantation workers in Haiti, then known as Saint-Domingue, overwhelmed their planter owners and began to take control of the island. They achieved emancipation in 1794, and after successfully opposing Napoleonic forces eight years later, emerged as part of an independent nation in 1804. A broad selection of documents, all newly translated by the authors, is contextualized by a thorough introduction considering the very latest scholarship. Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus clarify for students the complex political, economic, and racial issues surrounding the revolution and its reverberations worldwide. Useful pedagogical tools include maps, illustrations, a chronology, and a selected bibliography.—Publisher, Bedford/St. Martin's

 

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African Revolutions

       By  Mukoma wa Ngugi

Her womb pressed against the desert to bear the parasite

that eats her insides like termites drill into dry wood. 

He is born into an empty bowl, fist choking umbilical cord. 

She dies sighing, child son at last.  He couldn't have known,

 

instinct told him - always raise your arm in defense of your

own -Strike! Strike until they are all dead! Egg shells

in your hands milk bottle held between your toes,

you have been anointed twice, you strong enough to kill

 

at birth and survive.  You will want to name the world

after yourself but you will have no name- a collage of dead

roots, tongues and other things.  You will point your sword

to the center of the earth, duel the world to split into perfect

 

mirrors after your imperfect  mutations but you will be

too weak having latched your self onto too many streams

straddling too many continents, pulling patches of a self

as one does fruits from an from an orchard, building a home

 

of planks with many faces. How does one look into a mirror

with a face that washes clean every rainy season? 

He has an identity for every occasion - here he is Lenin

 there Jesus and yesterday Marx - inflexible truths inherited

 

without roots.  To be nothing to remain nothing, to kill

at birth - such love can only drink from our wrists.  We

storming from our past to Jo'Burg eating wisdom of others

building homes made of our grandparent's bones.  We

 

gathering momentum that eats out of our earth, We standing

pens and bullets hurled at you, your enemies.  Comrade, there

are many ways to die. A dog dies never having known

why it lived but a free death belongs to a life lived in roots,

 

roots not afraid of growing where they stand, roots tapped all over

the earth. Comrade, for a tree to grow, it must first own its earth.

Source: Zeleza

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Ancient African Nations

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The Slave Ship

By Marcus Rediker

In this groundbreaking work, historian and scholar Rediker considers the relationships between the slave ship captain and his crew, between the sailors and the slaves, and among the captives themselves as they endured the violent, terror-filled and often deadly journey between the coasts of Africa and America. While he makes fresh use of those who left their mark in written records (Olaudah Equiano, James Field Stanfield, John Newton), Rediker is remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women, from whom we have no written accounts, and of the common seaman, who he says was a victim of the slave trade . . . and a victimizer. Regarding these vessels as a strange and potent combination of war machine, mobile prison, and factory, Rediker expands the scholarship on how the ships not only delivered millions of people to slavery, [but] prepared them for it. He engages readers in maritime detail (how ships were made, how crews were fed) and renders the archival (letters, logs and legal hearings) accessible. Painful as this powerful book often is, Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants, from African traders to English merchants.— Publishers Weekly

Marcus Rediker is professor of maritime history at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (1987), The Many-Headed Hydra (2000), and Villains of All Nations (2005), books that explore seafaring, piracy, and the origins of globalization. In The Slave Ship, Rediker combines exhaustive research with an astute and highly readable synthesis of the material, balancing documentary snapshots with an ear for gripping narrative. Critics compare the impact of Rediker’s history, unique for its ship-deck perspective, to similarly compelling fictional accounts of slavery in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Charles Johnson’s Middle Passage. Even scholars who have written on the subject defer to Rediker’s vast knowledge of the subject. Bottom line: The Slave Ship  is sure to become a classic of its subject.—Bookmarks Magazine  

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Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues

                                                         By Ida Cox


I hear these women raving 'bout their monkey men
About their fighting husbands and their no good friends
These poor women sit around all day and moan
Wondering why their wandering papas don't come home
But wild women don't worry, wild women don't have the blues.

Now when you've got a man, don't ever be on the square
'Cause if you do he'll have a woman everywhere
I never was known to treat no one man right
I keep 'em working hard both day and night
because wild women don't worry, wild women don't have no blues.

I've got a disposition and a way of my own
When my man starts kicking I let him find another home
I get full of good liquor, walk the streets all night
Go home and put my man out if he don't act right
Wild women don't worry, wild women don't have no blues

You never get nothing by being an angel child
You better change your ways and get real wild
I wanna tell you something, I wouldn't tell you no lie
Wild women are the only kind that ever get by
Wild women don't worry, wild women don't have no blues.

 Born Ida Prather,25 February 1896 in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia, United States. Died 10 November 1967 (aged 71) Genres Jazz, Blues Instruments Vocalist.

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Guarding the Flame of Life / Strange Fruit Lynching Report

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The State of African Education (April 200)

Attack On Africans Writing Their Own History Part 1 of 7

Dr Asa Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and accounting for their own history.

Dr Hilliard is A teacher, psychologist, and historian.

Part 2 of 7  /  Part 3 of 7  / Part 4 of 7  / Part 5 of 7 / Part 6 of 7  /  Part 7 of 7

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John Henrik Clarke—A Great and Mighty Walk

This video chronicles the life and times of the noted African-American historian, scholar and Pan-African activist John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998). Both a biography of Clarke himself and an overview of 5,000 years of African history, the film offers a provocative look at the past through the eyes of a leading proponent of an Afrocentric view of history. From ancient Egypt and Africa’s other great empires, Clarke moves through Mediterranean borrowings, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history.

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Hunger for a Black President  / Introduction I Write What I Like

Biko Biosketch   Biko Speaks on Africans

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues


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Enjoy!

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  /  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 6 May 2010

 

 

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