Haiti : C. L. R. James The Black Jacobins By ASHLEY SMITH

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by SeekingMaat, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. SeekingMaat

    SeekingMaat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    C. L. R. James The Black Jacobins By ASHLEY SMITH




    THE HAITIAN Revolution was the first and only successful slave revolution in human history. The slaves’ struggle produced heroic leaders, especially Toussaint L’Ouverture. He and his revolutionary army of self-emancipated slaves defeated the three great empires of the eighteenth century—Spain, England, and France—and finally won independence after a decade of struggle in 1804.
    While historians have written tomes on the eighteenth century’s other great revolutions—the American, and French—the Haitian Revolution has been buried under calumny or simply suppressed. Why? Our rulers of course minimize the role of revolution in history, even the ones that brought them to power, for fear of highlighting the fact that fundamental change comes from social revolution. But they hold a particular animus toward the Haitian Revolution. In its time it directly threatened the slave empires in the new world. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it offered hope of insurrection for independence to the colonies subject to the European empires. It has always been a challenge to liberals and their counsel of piecemeal reform and gradualism, which rarely if ever delivers change, and instead promises a counter-model of class struggle and revolution.
    Even on the left, the Haitian Revolution does not get the recognition it merits. For example, most left-wing histories of the French Revolution, often marred by a Stalinist French nationalism, fail to understand the centrality of the Haitian colony and slavery in the development of French capitalism and the consequent strength of the bourgeoisie to overthrow the absolutist monarchy.1
    C. L. R. James’s brilliant book, The Black Jacobins, rescues the Haitian Revolution from repression. James wrote it in 1938, making this year the seventieth anniversary of its publication. As he composed it, fascism swept Europe, Stalin imposed slave labor in his gulag, and Europe held the peoples of Africa and Asia in colonial bondage.2 James’s history both celebrates the triumph of Toussaint and the slaves and also uses it as a beacon call for national liberation and international proletarian solidarity against imperialism.
    Like Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution, on which James modeled his book, The Black Jac?obins is not academic history, but one written by a proletarian revolutionist using theory and history as a guide to revolutionary struggle. Throughout his book he highlights the dialectical interaction between the revolutions in France and Haiti, particularly the interaction between the Parisian masses, the sansculottes, and the slaves. For James that inter?national solidarity is the secret of both revolutions’ success, and necessary for human emancipation.

    Capitalism, colonialism, and primitive accumulation
    James opens The Black Jacobins by surveying the European conquest of the New World and their occupation of the island that would become Haiti:

    The Spaniards, the most advanced Europeans of their day, annexed the island, called it Hispaniola, and took the backward natives under their protection. They introduced forced labor in mines, murder, rape, bloodhounds, strange diseases, and artificial famine (by the destruction of cultivation to starve the rebellious). These and other requirements of the higher civilization reduced the native population from an estimated half-a-million, perhaps a million, to 60,000 in 15 years (4).3
    This plunder of the New World was part of what Marx called the “primitive accumulation” that fertilized European capitalism within the womb of feudalism. In Europe, the process was marked by the expropriation of peasants from their land, creating a “free” population that would form the basis of a wage working class. Meanwhile in the early colonies, merchant capitalists turned to chattel slavery to work the plantations that produced commodities and surplus for the system back in Europe. The emerging capitalist classes amassed fantastic fortunes and power that brought them into conflict with the feudal regimes, triggering the great bourgeois revolutions of the eighteenth century.
    Spain, England, and France battled over control of Hispaniola as part of this plunder and exploitation of the New World. Finally in 1679, France and Spain agreed to divide the island between themselves. Spain retained control of the eastern side of the island and called it San Domingo, while the French won control of the eastern half and named it San Domingue. In the space of one hundred years, French merchants and planters turned San Domingue into a site of boundless horror and seemingly limitless profit that fueled French capitalism.
    At the time, France was ruled by an absolutist monarchy, which represented the feudal nobility but also facilitated the emerging capitalists. The lesser nobles, squeezed by the centralizing dynamics of the absolutist state, looked for new sources of wealth and became planters in the colony. The monarchy gave French merchants a monopoly on trade, the infamous exclusif. The merchants used the trade and consequent profits to develop the port cities, the heart of early French capitalism, like Nantes, Bordeaux and Marseilles that would generate many of the early leaders of the French Revolution.

    more here http://www.isreview.org/issues/63/feat-blackjacobins.shtml
     
  2. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

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    "But they hold a particular animus toward the Haitian Revolution. In its time it directly threatened the slave empires in the new world. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it offered hope of insurrection for independence"

    The game never changes. It is for this exact same reason that the 2nd Seminole War, where Black Seminoles instigated the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history, is never told. Our children don't know about this war. Most of us adults know nothing about this war. If pressed, we will say it was a war between the U.S. Army and Native Americans of the Seminole tribe. The reason for the war - the kidnapping of the 100% African wife of the great Seminole war chief, Osecola - is unknown to us, and to almost everyone of every race and ethnicity. In the words of OP, "they hold a particular animus toward the 2nd Seminole War." A war, I might add, that many historians refer to as "the NEGRO war." It was all about black people - who were identified with the Seminole tribe in Florida. That the Black Seminoles went to plantations around the state, instigating planation slaves to rise up and fight with them, is NEVER discussed in so-called historial circles (or rarely, at any rate). 400 (conservative estimate) to 1,000 slaves rose up, burned the whites' plantations to the ground and under the aegis of John Horse of the Black Seminoles, fought the U.S. Army to a standstill. To end the war, the U.S. granted freedom to ALL the black Seminoles. Plantation slaves that surrendered, unlike with Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Prosser, or even the white man, John Brown, were NOT hung until they were dead. NONE were killed.

    So, yes. With the Haitian Revolution, it is not surprising the animus whites have against reporting it in all it's terrible black glory. Why the "minimize" it's impact on world history. Both DEFEATED on the battlefield whites (as with the U.S. Army) and modern-day whites who agree that BLACK ignorance is bliss (for their continued mastery of the world). In other words, the message to blacks yearning to throw off the yoke of then-slavery/now-racism is: Don't try/can't win.

    Which goes totally contrary to what the black slaves in Haiti achieved (guess someone forgot to tell them!) as well as the Black Seminoles in the U.S.
     
  3. Kadijah

    Kadijah Banned MEMBER

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    Another connection the west refuses to make: The Louisiana Purchase. The reason the U.S. aquired Louisiana from the French was because Napoleon depleted the French treasury in his fight against Toussaint and Dessalines and the Haitian people. Thus, in taking on the best fighting men in the world at that time - the French army - and beating their butts!, Haiti paved the way for the U.S. to acquire Louisiana at rock bottom prices!

    Which is why I grin whenever I hear that it was "Waterloo" that sent Napoleon on his downward spiral. No, sweet cheeks, it was Haiti. :) Another reason to "minimize" the importance of that Black Revolution.


    Btw, all the OP's b.s. talk of "dialetctical" "proletarian" is just that - :bs: The Haitian Revolution and C.L.R.'s HISTORY of it has nothing to do with any commie crap. Toussaint, Dessalines and the Haitian people's fight was for FREEDOM from white oppression, not any "international solidarity" found in a dead white Jew's manifesto.
     
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