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  He reluctantly accepted a series of severe IMF structural adjustment plans, to the dismay

of the working poor, but he refused to acquiesce in the indiscriminate privatisation

of state resources, and stuck to his guns over wages, education, and health.

 

 

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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Why They Had to Crush Aristide

Haiti's elected leader was regarded as a threat by France and the US

By Peter Hallward

 

Jean-Bertrand Aristide was re-elected president of Haiti in November 2000 with more than 90% of the vote. He was elected by people who approved his courageous dissolution, in 1995, of the armed forces that had long terrorised Haiti and had overthrown his first administration. He was elected by people who supported his tentative efforts, made with virtually no resources or revenue, to invest in education and health. He was elected by people who shared his determination, in the face of crippling US opposition, to improve the conditions of the most poorly paid workers in the western hemisphere.

Aristide was forced from office on Sunday by people who have little in common except their opposition to his progressive policies and their refusal of the democratic process. With the enthusiastic backing of Haiti's former colonial master, a leader elected with overwhelming popular support has been driven from office by a loose association of convicted human rights abusers, seditious former army officers, and pro-American business leaders.

It's obvious that Aristide's expulsion offered Jacques Chirac a long-awaited chance to restore relations with an American administration he dared to oppose over the attack on Iraq. It's even more obvious that the characterisation of Aristide as yet another crazed idealist corrupted by absolute power sits perfectly with the political vision championed by George Bush, and that the Haitian leader's downfall should open the door to a yet more ruthless exploitation of Latin American labour.

If you've been reading the mainstream press over the past few weeks, you'll know that this peculiar version of events has been carefully prepared by repeated accusations that Aristide rigged fraudulent elections in 2000; unleashed violent militias against his political opponents; and brought Haiti's economy to the point of collapse and its people to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.

But look a little harder at those elections. An exhaustive and convincing report by the International Coalition of Independent Observers concluded that "fair and peaceful elections were held" in 2000, and by the standard of the presidential elections held in the US that same year they were positively exemplary.

Why then were they characterised as "flawed" by the Organisation of American States (OAS)? It was because, after Aristide's Lavalas party had won 16 out of 17 senate seats, the OAS contested the methodology used to calculate the voting percentages. Curiously, neither the US nor the OAS judged this methodology problematic in the run-up to the elections.

However, in the wake of the Lavalas victories, it was suddenly important enough to justify driving the country towards economic collapse. Bill Clinton invoked the OAS accusation to justify the crippling economic embargo against Haiti that persists to this day, and which effectively blocks the payment of about $500m in international aid.

But what about the gangs of Aristide supporters running riot in Port-au-Prince? No doubt Aristide bears some responsibility for the dozen reported deaths over the last 48 hours. But given that his supporters have no army to protect them, and given that the police force serving the entire country is just a tenth of the force that patrols New York city, it's worth remembering that this figure is a small fraction of the number killed by the rebels in recent weeks.

One of the reasons why Aristide has been consistently vilified in the press is that the Reuters and AP wire services, on which most coverage depends, rely on local media, which are all owned by Aristide's opponents. Another, more important, reason for the vilification is that Aristide never learned to pander unreservedly to foreign commercial interests. He reluctantly accepted a series of severe IMF structural adjustment plans, to the dismay of the working poor, but he refused to acquiesce in the indiscriminate privatisation of state resources, and stuck to his guns over wages, education, and health.

What happened in Haiti is not that a leader who was once reasonable went mad with power; the truth is that a broadly consistent Aristide was never quite prepared to abandon all his principles.

Worst of all, he remained indelibly associated with what's left of a genuine popular movement for political and economic empowerment. For this reason alone, it was essential that he not only be forced from office but utterly discredited in the eyes of his people and the world. As Noam Chomsky has said, the "threat of a good example" solicits measures of retaliation that bear no relation to the strategic or economic importance of the country in question. This is why the leaders of the world have joined together to crush a democracy in the name of democracy.

Tuesday March 2, 2004 The Guardian / Peter Hallward teaches French at King's College London and is the author of Absolutely Postcolonial  peter.hallward@kcl.ac.uk 

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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World 

Reviewed by Mimi Sheller

Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804

A Brief History with Documents

By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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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 / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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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  4 February 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: Amnesty International on Haiti  Why They Had to Crush Aristide  Washington and Paris overthrow Aristide  Haiti's Murderous Army Reborn   

Dialogue between Two   Haitians  In Defense of Aristide  Aristide Under Lock and Key   Freed rights abusers back in the streets  Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin  Maxine Waters to Colin Powell