Negros cimarrones

Discussion in 'Honoring Black Ancestors' started by dustyelbow, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Touam Bona Dénètem | Journaliste

    [​IMG]
    Parisian, of Central African father and French mother, takes part regularly in cultural projects and collaborates with webzines. It works, within the framework of the faculty of philosophy of Paris 8, with a test on the marronnages. Another publication, test: “Racial hygiene Nazi” in Funny of time n°10.

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    “Negros cimarrones 1”
    Cultural resistance and ground secession of slavery
    Dénètem Touam Bona, [email protected]
    published the 21/07/2005

    We are in 1455, some share off the African coasts, in one of the many Portuguese archipelagoes of the Atlantic Ocean: “(…) in Sao Tome the slaves revolt, take refuge in the mountains from where they operate true raids on the plantations a few years after the installation of this mode of culture” (1). The marronnage was born! It will be from now on indissociable slavery of “Draft”.It is of course in Americas - the slave system main part - which this form of life and resistance will know its greater rise, until becoming the matrix true “companies marronnes”. The marronnage - the phenomenon general of the escape of the slaves - can be occasional or final, individual or collective, discrete or violent oneThe marronnage - the general phenomenon of the escape of the slaves - can be occasional or final, individual or collective, discrete or violent one; it can feed a banditism (cow black servant boys of Far West, cangaceiros of Brazil, black pirates of the Caribbean, etc.) or to accelerate a Revolution (Haiti, Cuba); it can resort to the anonymity of the cities or the shade of the forests. Difficult to return account in a concise way of a phenomenon which extends on nearly four centuries and as vast and varied territories as those to the “New world”. Also we will limit ourselves primarily, in this test, with a specific form of marronnage: the “secession marronne”. By “secession” (2), we understand the cutting off in forest of fugitive slaves in the form of rebellious communities.

    As of the 16th century, in the interstices of the colonies of America, the communities of “rebellious Negros” are born: their representatives often negotiate, of equal to equal, with the European colonial authorities. Sometimes, after years even of the decades of guerrilla, these new companies obtain the official recognition of the autonomy of their territories. Far from the traditional imagery of the flexible slave, painting above introduces three Marrons chiefs to us in official visit with Quito (Peru): they must ratify there a peace treaty with the Spaniards. Capes, flanges, hats of lords of the Rebirth and Amerindian gold jewels testify to the consideration (titles of “Gift” on the table…) from which these chiefs then “Afro-Americans profit”, as well near the colonists as near the Amerindians.

    The community marronne is born from resistance to slavery and nourishes in return this resistance. Vis-a-vis the apparatus of capture of the Slave state, the “secession marronne” arises from the start like a machine of disappearance: the collective organization of fugitive is worked out, initially, starting from a series of strategies of against-captures. Let us take the case of the Profit (3): in the space of a few decades, starting from some bands of fugitive slaves, in a hostile Amazonian forest, a permanent state of war, a complex company will be born. The escape and the guerrilla will constitute the matrix of a form of singular life whose supreme virtues will be autonomy and the furtivity. But the Boni warriors are not guerrillas: in their perpetual motion of withdrawal and attack, accompany them, support them, take part in the engagements, of the women, the children, old and the spirits. It is initially, also fragile is it, this common life of the men and the women, Kongo and Ashanti (diversity of the African cultures of fugitive), of alive and deaths, which produces the community: a religious and political organization, agricultural techniques and of construction, an art and a pharmacopeia, in short a complete culture. The secession marronne is the ultimate result of a cultural resistance to the slave order.

    The “city rebels” (4)

    “(…) we advanced to the entry of a beautiful ripe rice field, which formed a rectangle, to the end of which the rebellious city [Gado saby] appeared in amphitheatre. It was guaranteed heat of the sun by the foliage of several high trees; and the whole offered the most romantic aspect and more the enchanter which one can have the idea. ” (…) “The activity of these negros, when they are quiet in the forests, is larger; by means of skilfully practised trap doors and high tides, they abundantly take game and fish which they make dry with smoke to preserve them. Their fields are covered with rice, manioc, yams, plantains, etc (…) They could nourish pigs, poultry, and draw up dogs for hunting ; but they fear that the cries of these animals, and especially the song of the ****, that one can hear by far in the forest, does not make discover the place of their retirement. ”

    The question of the community marronne fits in that, more general, of the fights of “colonized”; those of the Amerindians and the Afro-Americans in particular. These resistances inevitably do not take the form of violent revolts, they are defined before just like cultural practices: they always suppose the maintenance and the “D-invention” of traditions vis-a-vis the amnesia which tries to impose the colonial capacity. From where importance of the dance, the song, the rate/rhythm, the ritual monk (interdicts by the colonial capacity) in the genesis of the black and Indian insurrections. That they are of the Pacific, of Americas, of Asia or Africa, colonized never resigned themselves to play a part of simple victim. Those which one perceived a long time like “savages”, thus denying to them any form of action and political life, have their own Utopias, their own spiritualities (5).

    Zoology of the man

    With orée of the 16th century, the first colonists of the island of Hispaniola (Santo Domingo) adopted the term “cimarron” (6) to indicate the fugitive cattle. It is thus in reference to the indocility of some their domestic animals that the Spaniards baptized “Negros cimarrones” (“Negro chestnuts”) the black slaves escaped in wood. From 1530, peaceful coast of Americas (Peru, Panama, etc) in the islands of the Indian Ocean (Reunion, Maurice islands, etc), while passing by the archipelagoes of the North Atlantic (the Canaries, Cap Verde, etc), the use of the “maroon” term was spread in the whole of the slave colonies. With each form of slavery counteracts a singular creepage distance. Return of a domestic animal (the slave) to the wildlife (life in wood), the creepage distance of the marronnage is a line of “die domestication”.

    The exodus of the people of Brace through the desert as well as the Roman epopee of Spartacus testifies some, the history of the men is marked out escapes and rebellions of slaves. But only Africans and their descendants (creole, maroon…) had to face the “slave system”; a all the more frightening company of control as it was based on the development of capitalism, the experimentation of disciplinary techniques and a massive process of colonization. “The desire to transform men into animals is the most powerful spring of the extension of slavery” (7). Because modern slavery is directly connected on the “Draft négrière”, the animalisation of the men combines with it narrowly with their marchandisation. The slave system already constitutes, in oneself, a true “capitalist system”: the capital ensures it the universal convertibility of the beings and the things, the men and the animals. If the slavery of the Blacks is a slavery of “Draft”, it is precisely because it rests mainly on the circulation and the conversion of important flows: financial capital of Holland or Italy, “drink ebony” of the African coasts, produced colonies (sugar, indigo, cotton…), machines of England (industrial cycles of sugar, cotton…), etc the massive and genocidary character of the Draft proceeds, partly, of its integration pushed in the international trade.


    Extracted the gazette of Santo Domingo “American Posters” (April 1784) (8)


    “- With the sale (…) a beautiful party of 18 heads of negros and let us négrillons made with the country, a Negress about to be confined, a mulatto excel wig maker, fifteen sheep, six mules, seventeen goats, plus a solid claw penguin but and well done (…).

    - Due to departure, on sale approximately or in detail a workshop of 80 negros as well male as female.

    - To sell a domestic mulatto, a mule of stretcher and a whole horse.

    - Sale of stray negros: it will be sold with the bar of the Royal Head office of Léogane a negro new, dumb, without apparent stamp, having the wrist eaten by irons, (…) Victoire and her two years old child, creole mulatto, having the two cut ears, (…) a blind negro having dwarf with the left foot…

    - In marronnage, a horse anglois hair chestnut horse without stamp (…). A negro bossal…. ”

    If one refers to the Black Code (1685), the code governing slavery in the French colonies, the slave divides the same legal statute as the cattle: it is a “movable” property. Once the stamped chest, marked with the red iron of initial of the Master, the slave is compared to the cattle of the plantation. In the small advertisements of the colonial newspapers, one passes thus without transition, helped in that by the etymology (9), of the sale of a mulatto to that of a mule, marronnage of a horse to that of a negro. The sale of the “heads of negros” is done approximately or in detail, separately or not of the other “pieces of furniture” of the exploitation, due to departure, for payment of debts. As for the “stray Negros”, the blind men, estropiés, émasculés, the old men and other waste of slaves, they are sold with the ton, are given to the monks or are transferred with the sea. The wreck…, it is often all that remains of the Negro after the “crossing of the medium” (the Atlantic), after the fatal accident with the mill, the mutilations and torments. Survivor of the process of animalisation of slavery, the stray Negro is a figure of the “human reject” (10) as well as the mutilated and missing humanity of Freaks (Film of T. Browning): dwarves, Siamese twins, “alive chests”, counterfeited creatures of the travelling circuses of the 19th century.

    “Zombification”

    Beyond the bodies, these are the hearts that the machine of slavery mutilates. Heart of the negro, the Master tries to cut off the spirit, the memory, the personality: what the Haitians call good angel “Ti” (principle of individuality in Vodou). Because a vegetative heart opposes much less resistance. “Dénerfler” the negro for better reducing it to the beast of burden. On the mythological level, the zombi represents the ultimate slave: the “death-alive one”. In Hadriana of all my dreams, Rene Dépestre us brushes the clinical portrait of it: “(…) under-negro, personality in spare parts, without memories neither vision of the future, needs neither dreams, roots to bear fruits nor of good testicles to bandage, object wandering with the kingdom of the shades, salt and of spices and freedom. (…) One recognizes them in their vitreous eyes, with the nasal intonation of their word, their air absent, the fog which wraps their thoughts and their words: with their way jerked to go, by looking at right in front of them, aboulic with people, the animals, the things and the plants (…) ”. (11) On both sides of the Atlantic, of the coasts of Angola to those of Haiti, the zombi incarnates the phantasm even of slavery: production of a pure body, an absolutely flexible body. The “zombis were considered on the coast of Loango alive people with which a wizard withdrew one of the vital principles and which work without slackening in mysterious ships or camps to increase the richness of their Master” (12). The zombi, it is the memory of the large Blanc wizard transforming the Blacks into cattle of plantation. The American films of horror abound in zombis but almost none of them returns at the origins of the myth, slave violence: “With least inclinations of insubordination on behalf of a zombi, gash to him the skin, écrabouillez to him the flesh, break to him the bones, crush to him the head, until most complete pulverization. Then, you of its blood refresh. ” (13)

    In a certain way, the practice of slavery is only the feed-back effect on the men of domestication of the animals. Slavery always obeyed animalist models: “It must y have right from the start two very different types of slaves: ones attached separately to a Master like a domestic dog, others gathered as herds with the pasture” (14): ones “Negro servants”, other “Negros of ***”… Elias Canetti suggests the existence of an intimate relationship between slavery of mass and genesis of the State: “As soon as men had succeeded in having groups of slaves as many as the animals of their herds, the State and the exercise of the power had found their base (…) ” (15). Empires of Egypt and Mésopotamie to the Polishes Greek, the emergence of the State (whatever the form which it takes) always seems to have had dependent part with the institution of slavery, of forms of control more or less alienating. Also chestnut bands and communities will be always instituted they against the apparatus of capture of the State.

    Headless cruelty

    In the “wild” companies which surround sometimes the plantations, the body is surface of writing: the “primitive” culture plows the bodies for better incorporating itself in it. The cruelty of the rites of torture has as a function to register with same the body, once and for all, the law of the “equality”: “The law that they learn how to know in the pain, it is the law of the primitive company which says to each one: You are not worth less than another, you are not worth more than another. ” (16) Just like the war or the “potlatch” (the consumation of the surpluses) (17), “primitive” torture aims at entreating the domination: formation of a hierarchical capacity which, detached of the community, could be turned over against it, to fix its members with a Master. The Amazonian companies pose the enigma of a cheffery without capacity: “If the wild chief is without being able, it is because the company does not accept that the capacity separates its being, that division is established between that who orders and those which obey. ” (18) From where the fright of the first colonists who saw in these small communities - without King thus without Foi nor Law - quasi-animal forms of life. Headless character (19) - “anarchistic” (without separate authority of capacity) - Amerindian communities is translated in the accounts of the explorers by recurring descriptions people without head: “Ewaipanoma (…) have the eyes in the shoulders, the mouth in the middle of the chest and a long hair their growth between the scapulas” (20).

    Aspects of the political organization Profit (Chestnuts of Guyana)
    “Europeans tend to believe that it [the maroon chief] order the tribe in the way in which a colonel orders a regiment (…). Large the man does not have about any temporal power. The morals of the Taken refuge Blacks knows indeed only obligations of a social and religious nature. For all that relates to the material life, each one has the absolute right, one could even say the duty, to act as good seems to him, insofar as it does not injure anybody. (…) One practised no form of trade on their premises, this activity being obviously related for them to the idea of exploitation of others. (…). An essential principle of the social life of the Taken refuge Blacks is that any citizen carries in him the law. ” (in Africans of Guyana, Jean Hurault, p. 20-22, ED. Sheep, The Hague/Paris, 1970.)

    Like the Amazonian companies, the community marronne is carried out fully only when it entreats in its centre “the risk of a separate capacity of itself”, the risk of the return of the Master. The cheffery Boni is rather close to the Amerindian cheffery described by Clastres: the chief has of other to be able instituted only his prestige. Its field of competence is limited to the report/ratio with the crowned powers and the arbitration of the litigations. The Profit developed a series of mechanisms preventing the accumulation of the capacity and the richness. The equality between the members of the community must always be maintained. As at the Amazonian ones, one finds at the Profit the principle of the “incorporation” of the Community law: “any citizen carries in him the law”. This principle has as a consequence equalizes it participation of the individuals in the political life. Thus, the equality marronne fits initially in the bodies. The “archie” (Greek arch: principle, capacity, command) marronne is anarchy because it is pulverized, equally, in a plurality of autonomous and insubordinate bodies. The multitude marronne of the furtive bodies opposes the One of Léviathan: the “body-machine”, the large automat of the State. The setting in marronnage of the body-slaves starts with the reactivation of the rates/rhythms and memories of resistance.

    Rates/rhythms of resistance

    In the African traditional companies, Amerindian or océaniennes, events of the history and phenomena natural are perceived only starting from one vision of the world “animist” (each river, each mountain, each animal, each tree “is animated” by a spirit, by an invisible force, a “mana”), of an order of singular mythological explanation (search of the “Earth without evil”, makes an attempt return of the Gods, obsession of died of the sun, etc). And all that makes exception to this “rational” order presents at once like the irruption in the daily world of invisible forces, of supernatural powers. As Nathan Wachtel underlines very well it, if Moctezuma sees in the arrival of the Cortes the return of the “Plumed serpent” (Quetzalcoatl) it is surely not by naivety: “it acts contrary to an effort of rationalization: Moctezuma uses the tools mental of its company, it has, to only include/understand the event: it calls upon the traditional myths to integrate into its vision of the world of the amazing facts for him. ” (21) In the same way, it is starting from their own grid of reading symbolic system that the African slaves interpreted the slave order like the order even of sorcery, like the order of the “zombification”.

    Principal target of the machine of slavery, the body of the Negro will be the first face of resistance. The insane race of chestnut falls under a continuum of body practices, in an insurrectionary culture of the body: body with body of the revolt, body slowed down (braking of work), bodies committed suicide, bodies dancing, singing, vibrating, had bodies. Although black resistances appear initially in the report/ratio with the body, they do not constitute of them less cultural practices with whole share. These resistances take direction indeed only starting from the design of the world which animates them. Thus, for the slave who devotes himself to it, the suicide with the significance of a return to the country of the ancestors. Even the way of giving death obeys cultural designs, with sometimes secular practices such as mysterious art to swallow its language (mentioned in the letters of colonists).

    “Marks of the country” (22)


    - “a new negro having two signs on the stomach in the shape of heart”

    - “three congos having marks of the country to the face forming a square”

    - “Congo having the pointed teeth and of the marks of the country forming a cross on each centre”

    - “Negresses having marks of arada on each temple”

    - “a ibo having a mark in the snail shape”

    - “two negros mandingues having the belly cizelé with the mode of their nation”

    The colonists call “marks of the country” the indelible reasons which the bodies of the Africans present at their arrival in the Caribbean. These scarifications are the only visible traces that the “naked migrants” (23) preserve of their native soil. Into Africa, beyond its aesthetic function, the marking of the body translates the membership of the individual at the community. Scarification thus represents the first obstacle with the setting with naked, with the dispossession of slavery. A scarified body constitutes from the start a “body-memory”, a surface where the singular writing of people is spread: “marks of arada”, “marks of Congo”, “marks of ibo”. But with the writing with sharp of the ritual scars is juxtaposed a more intimate, operative marking with the junction of the heart and flesh: the rhythmic marking of the African bodies. “To incorporate” the law of the African community is to incorporate its rates/rhythms bus of the synchrony of the individual rates/rhythms is born the collective harmony. “To have the rate/rhythm in the skin”, it is not to have it in blood: that requires a long training which begins as of the first steps from the new-born baby and continues throughout the life, in a constant preoccupation with a perfection. A pilot French of a “calenda” (ritual dances in Saint-Domingue) thus noted, in 1790, that in the dance “each nation depicts its character and, glorious to support of it the importance, one sees each individual aspiring to the votes of the spectators in favour of the character of its nation” (24). That it is in the register of the dance, the music or the sculpture (repetition of the reasons), the rhythmic language always announces the membership to a culture: Ashanti, Haoussa, Loango, according to the style of the execution.

    Aristote saw in the heart the principle of life of the body: “animated” (the heart) is animated body, body in act. The rate/rhythm “afro” (African and Afro-American), the “afrobeat” it is precisely the spirit of a culture converted in theory of movement. Vis-a-vis amnesia that the Masters try to impose to them (so that they interiorize their condition of slave), the naked migrants will mobilize all the resources of their split up memories, their breakings of traditions, their “traces” of Africa. And the body will be the first support of this cultural response, of this counter-culture “Afro-American”. With the zombification of slavery, the “N****rs” will counter-attack by the “drunk person music”, by the spiritual “reanimation” of the rate/rhythm. Brazilian macumbas with phrased ragor of Free Jazz while passing by the derailments of the Blues (“music of the devil”), the spirit of black dissidences was always incarnated in rhythmic dissonances.

    In Nigeria, the “afrobeat” incarnated a true artistic and political dissidence. Cracked, its charismatic apostle (creative of a worship néo-Yoruba) and panafricanist, went until defying the dictatorship of the Generals while proclaiming at the beginning of the years 1970 the secession of “Kalakuta Republic”. “Kalakuta”, it was the name of the cell where Fela was imprisoned for the first time. Like his/her friends Black panthers (cf the revolt of Attica: http://www.interdits.net/2001nov/attica.htm), Fela carried the political struggle until the interior of the prisons. Located in the suburbs of Lagos (on the family ground of Cracked), the “Republic of Kalakuta” was invested on several occasions by the armed forces Nigerians…

    To follow…
    Click here for reading “Negros cimarrones 2”
    Click here for reading “Negros cimarrones 3”

    Another text of Dénètem Touam Bona, the metamorphoses of the marronnage, will appear in the next number of the cultural review Lignes (to dir. Michel Surya, & ED. Lines express) envisaged for the end of February. This text will belong to a file devoted to “Anarchy”.
    1. Slavery with wage-earning, Yann Moulier Boutang, p. 133, ED. PUF, Current coll Marx, Paris, 1998.
    2. Feel first of the secession term: “to withdraw itself” (Latin secedere).
    3. The history of the Profit (or Aluku) starts in Surinam with the insurrection of fugitive African bands. It is only after the two wars (of 1776 to 1793) which opposed them to the Dutch forces colonial that they folded up on French banks of the Maroni river. Today, with Paramaka, Ndjuka and Saramaka, the Profit represent more than 20% of the population of the “department” of Guyana. Cf Return of Maroni http://www.africultures.com/index.asp?menu=revue_affiche_article&no=3276
    4. Extract of the account, by one of its Captains, of Dutch forwarding (1772-1777) against the Profit: Narration off Five Years Forwarding against the Revolted Negroes off Surinam, G. Stedman, J. Hopkins University Near, 1992.
    5. They never waited to revolt to be lit by the ideals of the French revolution…
    6. “Maroon” constitutes the French deterioration of Spanish “cimarron” (linguistic root Indian: Taïno).
    7. Mass and power, Elias Canetti, transl. R. Rovini, p. 407, ED. Gallimard, coll NRF, Paris, 1966.
    8. Chestnuts of freedom, Jean Fouchard, p.15-21, ED. The school, Paris, 1972
    9. Zoology of the interbreeding: mulatto returns to the mule, chabin with the russet-red sheep, caper with the goat, etc
    10. cf chapter “Figures of the human reject” in Humanimalités, Michel Surya, ED. Léo Scheer, Paris, 2004.
    11. Hadriana of all my dreams, p. 140, ED. Gallimard/Folio, Paris, 1988.
    12. King de Kongo and superstars, Luc de Heusch, p. 384, ED. Gallimard, coll NRF, Paris, 2000.
    13. Pangs of a challenge, Frankétienne, p. 9, ED. J-M. Place, Paris, 2000
    14. Mass and power, Elias Canetti, p. 407, ED. Gallimard, coll NRF, Paris, 1966.
    15. Id., p. 407.
    16. Id., p. 159.
    17. The “primitive war” is the means of a fine policy: “Refusal of the unification, refusal of separated, company against the State. ” in Archaeology of violence, P. Clastres, p. 87, ED. The paddle, Paris, 1999.
    18. Id., p. 55.
    19. Feel 1st “headless” term: “Without chief, head. Headless government. ” in the New Petit Robert.


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    Zambo chiefs of Esmeraldas, Andrés Sanchez (Amerindian painter), 1599.

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    “Kokoti”: scarifications at the chestnuts Profit of French Guiana. Sketch and photographs of the ethnologist Jean Hurault carried out in 1952 on Maroni.

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    Metropolis, film of Fritz Lang (1927). “The myth of the zombie, death-alive, is a myth of work and not of the war. ” (Deleuze)

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    “Kokoti”: scarifications at the chestnuts Profit of French Guiana. Sketch and photographs of the ethnologist Jean Hurault carried out in 1952 on Maroni.

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    “Kokoti”: scarifications at the chestnuts Profit of French Guiana. Sketch and photographs of the ethnologist Jean Hurault carried out in 1952 on Maroni.
     
  2. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    “Negros cimarrones 2”
    Cultural resistance and ground secession of slavery
    Dénètem Touam Bona, [email protected]
    published the 21/07/2005

    Haiti, a “Country outwards”…
    “The men advanced on line. They felt in their arms the song of Antoine, the precipitated pulsations of the drum like a burning blood. (…) A rhythmic circulation was established between the beating chorus of the drum and the movements of the men: the rate/rhythm was as a powerful flow which penetrated them to deep their arteries and nourished their muscles of a renewed strength. ”

    (Governors of the dew, J. Rumanian, ED. The Time of cherries, p. 17-19.)

    In the dull ones of Haiti, it is through the rate/rhythm that was transmitted and perpetuated, in new forms, the tradition of the African companies of work. These groupings of peasants rest on principles of reciprocity and equality: one cultivates the ground of next which, in its turn, will cultivate yours. Work is not paid but is not exchanged. In the case of the Haitian “squad”, eight farmers work together all the year on the respective grounds of each member: each “accomplice” profiting from the work of all the others one day per week. It is an extremely levelling system: that which orders the squad is the owner of the field. The rotation of the fields thus involves the rotation of the “command” (which is never authoritative).

    By ensuring the synchrony of the gestures, the regular rate of the efforts, the choreographic alignment of the bodies, the rate/rhythm produces the fraternal community of the “Governors of the dew” (Haitian peasants in the novel of Rumanian Jacques). The operation of the “coumbites”, “squads”, “drudgeries” and other Haitian companies of work attests the importance of the rate/rhythm in the institution and the incorporation of the Community law (see 1st part of “Negros cimarrones”). This tradition of danced and sung work took in the south of the United States the form of Worksongs, the matrix of the Blues. To work together, it is to marry a collective pulsation, to vibrate in unison, communier in the same song. The coumbite celebrates in the rate/rhythm the coupling of the “accomplice” (the peasant) and of the ground. In the Haitian rural world, the rate/rhythm represents a principle of social organization with whole share: “This company refuses the social structures as soon as they can lead to structures of being able (…). (…) it found in the rate/rhythm the ideal tool to make emerge spontaneous and immediate modes of organization enabling him to control as well the material production as crowned. (Creoles - Bossales, G. Barthelemy, ED. Red ibis)” the rhythmic organization of the coumbite is opposed to all the hierarchies, with all that could break the synchrony of the individual rates/rhythms.

    Today still, the powerful one hululement of the lambi (conch marinates) - old signal of rallying of chestnuts - continues to resound, from one valley to another, on the steep slopes of the mountains of Haiti. With the rhapsody of the songs of work, the palpitation of the drums, the hammering of the hoes, it makes country world a musical and mystical landscape. The come night, the companies of the “before-day” (companies of work) are transformed sometimes into brotherhoods vodous: the diurnal labour then succeeds night fright. Coumbites with the mystical ceremonies, it is same rhythmic which is propagated, and with it the same spirituality Afro-American: a design of the world which is opposed, point by point, with the values of the capitalist system (personal property, search of the profit, etc). The random dispersion of the habitat, the extreme mobility of the farmers, the crowned report/ratio of the man to the ground, a whole series of elements make Haitian country culture a formidable response with the system of the plantation. Far from being reduced to practices of “black magic” or to superstitions, the vodou constitutes a religion with whole share, the matrix of a metaphysical “agriculture”: to inherit a field, it is indeed to inherit the “Loas” (vodous spirits) which live it. “Coming from Africa by subsoil waters, the spirits are supposed being only the true owners of the ground, thus establishing the vaudouisants in a report/ratio of alliance with nature. (Laënnec Hurbon)”. The vodou, it is the mystical trinity of the Earth, the Family (ancestors) and Loas.

    The heart of the ground

    “The nanm [heart, spiritual force] of the plants is conceived in a way more personal than that of the other objects. The “doctor-sheets” [healers] benefit from the moment when they believe them engourdies by the sleep to approach some and to gather them all gently in order not to startle to them nanm. By tearing off them, they murmur: “Rises, rises, will cure a patient. I know that you sleep, but I need you.” They have care to deposit with the foot of the stem some under which represent the wages offered to the heart for the effort which will be required of him. (…) The logger who is on the point of cutting down a tree will strike the trunk of the reverse of his axe in order to inform the heart which lives it and to give him time from to go away. (…) Beside the “great heart of the ground” (gâ nâm you) each field is animated by a spirit which, acting on the plants, ensures the fertility of it. The heart of the ground is not immaterial. The farmer who, in full midday, works his field, can feel his presence as a breeze on his face and see his shade being profiled behind him. ”

    Haitian voodoo, Alfred Métraux, p. 137, ED. Gallimard/Tel.

    In Governors of the dew, Rumanian Jacques clarified well the utopian range of the Haitian companies of work of which it dreamed, a time, to generalize the political and social model with the whole of his country: “us [peasants] let us not know yet that we are a force, only one force (…). One day, when we include/understand this truth, we will rise of a point to the other of the country and we will make the general assembly of the governors of the dew, large the coumbite of the workers of the ground to clear misery and to plant the new life. (p. 72)” The “governor of the dew” it is the “Master of watering” (“lawouze puts”), that which is in charge in the country community of the distribution of water and the distribution between the peasants of the irrigation work. This character incarnates an ideal of justice, equity, solidarity and harmonious life with nature (to control the dew is also to take care of the trees which retain the ground and water). Because it supposes an autonomous and levelling organization, contrary to the disciplinary measure of the plantation, the rhythmic mystic of the coumbite will have contributed to the genesis of Haiti marronne: “country outwards” (“péyi year déyo” in Haitian Creole)… What summarizes very well the Haitian writer Gary Victor: “As the Haitian State built itself on the exclusion of the mass of “new free” (former slaves), I think that it is very Haiti, in particular the country world, which was organized in company marronne. The expression “Country outwards” by which one indicates the rural world expresses this secular exclusion well. All the farming community, the majority of the Haitian population, was organized out of pocket of resistance vis-a-vis a State vampire: it was thus organized with its religion, its culture, its own way of life. That of which still testifies to the forms of collective organization of work like the coumbite, the drudgery or the escouad… That also feels in the everyday life: as soon as a peasant comes into contact with a townsman, all its attitude becomes an attitude of chestnut: of trick, dodging, dissimulation… This is why in Haiti the verb marronner is a verb very running. All the Haitian culture is impregnated by the marronnage. The company is marronne bus since its constitution the Haitian State incarnates the new figure of the “Master”…” (in “Writing” Haiti…, D. Touam Bona, on line on Africultures).

    The expression “Country outwards” reveals us something of essence about the marronnage. Marronner, it is less to flee which to create a “outside”, a “zone frank”, such a reduced alternative space, such a transitory this space is it. For the former slaves of Santo Domingo, the fold in the heights of dull, far from the plantations of the new black Masters and mulattos, was not that the prerequisite of one “unfolds” later: deployment of a new way of life, a new culture, a “Country outwards”. Today, this “Country” (“Ayiti divided into volumes”) is nothing any more but the shade of itself. The “anti-vodou” campaigns of the Church, the violence of the American occupation (1915-1934), the succession of the ubuesques dictatorships, the catastrophic cycle of the deforestation and erosion, a whole series of factors social, economic, political, ecological have seriously to attack the vitality and to the balance of one of the richest cultures of the Caribbean. An accelerated rural migration feeds from now on shantytowns more populated often than the large cities of which they constitute the “outside” pauper.

    “Outburst” of the bodies


    The memory of the body is not a static storage, it is a memory driving, dynamic, which are brought up to date only in gestures, postures, mimicry, in a whole series of body practices such as the dance, work, the music. In the African cultures, these body techniques are regulated by at the same time mythical and rhythmic models. Each African rate/rhythm corresponding to a myth, the rate/rhythm of the body is directly indexed on the rate/rhythm of the universe. With the origin, the African rate/rhythm thus merges with the repetition even myth, with its ritual actualization. That whose the ceremonies testify to candomblé Brazilian where each “divinity has its reasons played by the drums, repeated indefinitely and who constitute like a kind of Wagnerian leitmotiv of this African mystic. ” (1) Through rhythmic tattooing their bodies, it is a whole design of the world which the naked migrants brought with them in the hold of the slave trader. Roger Bastide sees in the incarnated thought that the source of a true “African mysticism is the rate/rhythm”. To this “negro” mystic who enracine in resonances of the body, Bastide opposes the Christian mystic who supposes, contrary, the extinction of this last: “while [the Christian mystic] forwards itself to the fusion of the heart as a God, by a slow rise through the night of the directions and the night of the spirit, [the African mystic] consists of a descent of the gods who come to have the heart (…). ” (2)

    In “African fright”, had is regarded as the horse of the gods. Out of ground of slavery, this body technique revêt with start a deeply subversive dimension: the time of a ceremony, the condition of slave is suspended, denied, reversed. Crossing the cycle of the mystical metamorphoses, the negro passes from slavery to the Epiphany of the gods: “The face is metamorphosed: the entire body becomes the show of the god. ” (3) Fright is an art of the metamorphosis, a technique of multiplication of flows: the body is not any more collection of bodies but vibratory wave. The metamorphosis occurs through the rhythmic pulsations of a “crowned erotism”. The had body is a carnavalesque body, a body where the permanent subversion of the identity, the marital status, the binary machine of the kinds takes place. Fright implies from the start a “trans-sexuality” because Loas assemble Ounsi (initiated) independently of their sex. Ride by Ogun (warlike god), frailest of the girls will hold up in the air a machete as a sword, will affect a language of roughneck soldier, will claim and strong rum high and will run after the underskirts of the assembly. Had by Erzili Freda (equivalent of Aphrodite), most athletic of the men will make up itself with application, will forsake the trousers with the profit of the dress: and balancing the hips, throwing languorous winks, it will saunter among the men in search of a kiss or a caress. Because they transgress the traditional social order daily, because their way of life even supposes already a kind of metamorphosis, transvestites and homosexual occupy a place privileged in the vodou (see excellent documentary men and Gods of A. Lescot and L. Magloire) (4). Metamorphoses of fright to the carnavalesques transformations, one finds the same phenomena of inversion of the roles, of inversion of the hierarchies, parody of conformisms and the capacities. Orfeu negro (5), the film baroque of Marcel Camus, precisely exploits the proximity which exists between candomblé Brazilian and European popular carnival.

    In Haiti, it is undoubtedly in the appearance of the “Guédés”, the spirits of the cemeteries, that appears best dimension carnavalesque and subversive of the vodou. Conversely, the bands of “Raras” reveal the vodouisant character of the Haitian carnival. The vodouisants had by Guédés (often spirits of former slaves) are disguised as undertaker's assistants, as morticians: they raise top hats or melons, old frock coats or tail coat, and especially black glasses. Although incarnating death, their appearance in the assistance is always accomodated with joy because they bring with them the laughter devastator (the language betiz, the parody, obscene) and regenerating fruitfulness. Spiritual experiment where the body becomes place of initiation and “konesans”, the fright of the worships Afro-Americans (Vodou, Candomblé, Santeria) provides the model general of the “outburst” of the body of the slave.

    Secret societies: the night alliance of the “Wizard” (6) and of Chestnut

    Extract of the official bulletin of Santo Domingo (7) (1797)

    “Commission, informed that dangerous, known gatherings under the name of Voodoo (8), continue in spite of defenses which had been made by the authorities made up: Considering that this dance seems to have for goal to point out dangerous ideas under a republican government: (…) that dreadful oaths, whose achievement can compromise public safety, are lent between the hands of those which govern these orgies (…). The commission adopted and adopts what follows: Art 1. The gatherings known under the name of Danse of the Voodoo are severely defended. (…) ”

    It is in the call to the gods of “Guinea” - the mobilization of a composite African memory - that popular resistances Afro-Americans draw their force, their inspiration. In “Wood Caiman testifies” (1791), the ceremony “vodou” where was sealed in blood the conspiracy of the slaves and insurgent chestnuts of Santo Domingo. Whether the event founder of the Haitian Revolution is real or fictitious imports little. “Wood Caiman” appears a mechanism general: the outburst of the great revolts of slaves always engages on the outburst of the powers of crowned. Any insurrection, any collective escape, any action of scale requires the help of the ancestors and the gods of Africa. What radically distinguishes the Haitian from French revolutions and American Revolution, it is precisely the way in which it is worked in-depth by a spirituality “Afro-American”. It is during night meetings of the “Calendas” and “Voodoos” that diffuses subversion, that networks of dissidents are organized, that are tied secret solidarity and engagements. “The secrecy is not at all a concept static or immobilized, there are only the evolutions which are secret, the secrecy has to become (Deleuze, Thousand plates). ” The marronnage, it is precisely the secrecy like “secretion”, like forms life, like procedure. The marronnage starts in the recourse to the night (temporal equivalent of the forest) when, benefitting from the shade, the slaves dodge “dwellings” (plantations and boxes) for communier in dances, prayers, secret oaths. The mystical families (9) which are born at the time of these night meetings constitute as many secret microcosms: parallel companies which, surreptitiously, do not cease working, to infiltrate, subvert the slave order. Whatever the form of dissidence considered, the secrecy always plays a creative and dynamic part there. And this creativity of the secrecy passes by a practice of the secrecy (“passwords”, figuring, etc), by an experiment of the secrecy (often an experiment of crowned, the secrecy constituting a prohibited knowledge), by a community of the secrecy (that of entreated that the secrecy binds). In the slave context, religions and secret societies constituted privileged forms of popular resistance: they were used indeed as unifying cement to the slaves and chestnuts.

    “The secret societies constituted through the history of Haiti an expression of popular resistance vis-a-vis tyranny and the disorder of the State. Appeared during the colonial period, re-appearing at the beginning of the 19th century (…), they continued the spirit of the marronnage and fitted in imaginary vodou. (Misery, religion and policy in Haiti, Andre Corten, p. 62, ED. Karthala)” It is in the secret society that ties itself in Haiti, in a privileged way, the alliance of the marronnage and of the vodou. Bizango, Chanpwèl, Zobop, vlanbindingue, and other strange groupings of initiates - perceived today like bands of wizard and wolves-garous “métamorphes” - are the direct heirs to the African secret societies: “man-leopards”, “man-hyenas”, “man-buffaloes”: brotherhoods of warriors, healers or blacksmiths who opposed a savage resistance to European colonization (dissidence of “Mau Mau” in Kenya, of the “Bregbo” in Ivory Coast, the “Mani” in Azandé country).

    Of course, neither the vodou nor the secret society constitute in themselves a force of release: they always can, one and the other, being recovered by the capacity. It was in particular the case under the dictatorship of François Duvalier who infiltrated, mainly, the network of the secret societies vodous (and the network of the catholic churches) in order to ensure its influence on the Haitian rural world. By taking the title of “Dad Doc.” (honorary title vodou) and by instituting the “Uncles macoutes” (militia armed with its service taking again the model with the traditional secret societies), it been able to mobilize with its profit all imaginary of the sorcery (10) which was used as a basis for a policy of terror, suspicion and generalized denouncement. Before even the Declaration of Independence of 1804, this authoritative drift of the Haitian State was started. In the Track of the magic spells, through the glance of maroon warriors, Gary Victor the treason of the mass of the farmers “bossales” (African coldly unloaded) by the new creole elite evokes: “It was in June 1801. Me and my men, three hundred and fifty Mandingues valiant, decided not to submit to us to this traitor who had proclaimed governor general of the island - I speak you of course about All Saints' day Louverture -, we knew the most difficult moments of our fight of free Blacks. Continued by the henchmen of All Saints' day - this last wanted to reinstate us on the plantations where it had instituted a discipline even more terrible than that of the white colonists -, we had to fold up ourselves until the Morne top what is called today with Kids” (11).

    The resurrection of the ancestral Gods


    The creepage distance of chestnut is often combined with the line of “beyond” of the wizard: one beyond the visible one and of the layman. “Inside this total dispute that is the marronnage, the quimboisor [the wizard healer in Martinique] is to some extent the ideologist, the priest, inspired. It is in theory the agent of a great idea, that of the maintenance of Africa, and, consequently, of a great hope, that of the return to Africa (the West-Indian Speech, E. Slipping, p. 181, ED. Folio). ” The history of the Amerindian revolts presents certain similarities with that of the revolts Afro-Americans. In the companies précolombiennes, the Spanish Conquest caused an amazing collective traumatism: the “death of the Gods”, the fall and the crack of the Sun, nonsense of the existence. Also the great Amerindian revolts always began they by resurrection from the Gods and the abjuration of the Christian faith (that the colonists tried to impose). Thus in 1541 burst in the north of Mexico, on the grounds of the nomads Chichimèques, one of the most terrible Amerindian rebellions than knew the Spanish empire: the “war of Mixton”. It had as leaders of the “wild” wizards who “announced the arrival of “Tlatol”, accompanied of all the ancestors ressuscities” (12). In the same way, it is by ressuscitant Ogoun, Changô, Legba, Dambalha and by inventing new divinities that slaves and chestnuts gave a spirit to their fights and their dissidences: “What they did initially, it was to enter the hearts and the heads of their sons, insufflating in their throats the cries war of their ancestors, Ochossis more deafening, Changôs most irresistible, each one not feeling neither fear nor pain, all combatant like the wind which makes bend grasses. ” (13)

    A revolt is never reduced to a simple instinctive reaction like would like it the traditional interpretation of the “indigenous” insurrections. In the movement even of refusal of the Western domination, Indians and Africans positively express the attachment with the culture by which they are defined. Resistances to slavery and colonization in general always suppose the mobilization of traditions. But one should not see the report/ratio of resistance to the memory like a report/ratio of conservation. While being used as support with resistances, the “memories” are transformed by the action even which tends to save them: they are included in an original direction, absolutely new, that of the revolt against the order of colonization. The “memories of resistance” are mythologies, fictions, creative Utopias: they are brought up to date in phenomena as fright (that it is that of the shaman or that of the babalorixa), the rites funeral, the coumbite, the carnival, etc

    Metamorphoses marronnes


    It is the epopee of Mackandal which symbolizes best anchoring mythico-monk of the marronnage. Around 1750, lasting nearly twenty years, this fugitive African sows terror among the colonists of Santo Domingo by organizing a systematic poisoning campaign and revolts: “The Mackandal penguin, become houngan of the rite Split, fallen in possession from several major Gods and of this invested fact of extraordinary capacities, was the Lord of the Poison. ” (14) the terror which the poison inspires is directly related to the secret character of its mode of action. Invisible, it can take all the forms, it is “métamorphe”: its “secretions” are instilled as well into food, drinks, spices as one introduces that into the rivers where one refreshes oneself. Because it is propagated through a vast network of complicities (negro of hoes, commanders, servants), the poison strikes like the plague: it contaminates, corrompt, corrodes the colonial company until in its bases. Terrorism “empoisonnor” of Mackandal will have carried to their maximum the tensions between Masters and slaves, thus preparing the way with the general insurrection of Santo Domingo.

    What there is of attractive at Mackandal, it is that it joins together in a single character figures of the stray Negro, Chestnut and the Master of the metamorphoses: “Endowed with the capacity to transform into animal with shoes, bird, fish or insect, Mackandal made frequent visits with the dwellings of the Plain to supervise its faithful and to know if they still relied on its return. Of metamorphosis in metamorphosis, the penguin was everywhere: it had recovered its body integrity under the clothing of animals” (15). Reject of the machine of slavery, estropié slave, it is “under the clothing of animals” that Mackandal covers its body integrity with free man. It is thus, paradoxically, by borrowing a “become-animal” (Deleuze) that the Chestnut die-animalise, die-domestic, is freed from the “animalist capacity” of the Master. The genesis of the Boni clans testifies to this become-animal of Chestnut: “Before constituting tribes, the rebels lived in small groups near the plantations of which they were escaped prisoners: these groups of composite origin were indicated by the word lo which wants to say: troop, band: one employs the same word to indicate a band of animals. ” (16) To become animal, it is to proliferate in the forms of bands, hordes, of packs of wolves, it is to marry the cat-like race of the jaguar, the fluid snaking of the snake, the mimetic disappearance of the chameleon.

    “In order to pursue the fugitive Indians and the maroon Blacks, one invented in the island [Cuba] a superb machine to be raked and exterminate: the sleuthhound assassin. Its fame extended through all the territory and soon one exported some in great number towards the south of the United States, where they were known under the name of Cuban hounds. ” (First gleams of the day in the Tropics, Guillermo Will pull up Infante, p.18). The fugitive slave and molosse form an indissociable couple, as well in the imaginary one as in the reality of slavery (see painting “driven out Slaves”). The experienced Spaniards, stockbreeders, provided all the Caribbean one in hunters of man. As of their youth, the mastiffs were thorough with haïr the sight, the odor, the taste of the black flesh. One regularly exerted them on “alive negros” (17)… In the old slave man and molosse, Patrick Chamoiseau describes the subterfuges whose a chestnut uses to escape the tracking from a sleuthhound: “My care, during my race, was to thwart its sense of smell. (…) I coated ants-santi which populated the soft lianas, and of the large termitières living of dead roots. I used the sheets of the vetiver, of the nests of manicou, hot muds which felt the mystery. (...) I hoped to dissolve in this vegetable heart. ” The Chestnut, it is the invisible man (18) par excellence…

    In Mass and power, Elias Canetti sees in the escape a universal figure of the metamorphosis: “The escapes which are used to escape an enemy, are universal. One finds them in myths and tales spread on all the ground. ” Most common of the “metamorphoses of escape” is that, linear, of hunting: “A being is with the continuation of the other, their distance decreases, and at the time when the first will be seized it is metamorphosed and escapes. Hunting continues or rather starts again. (…) The attacker approaches more and more, perhaps even succeeds in it seizing its prey. Then it is metamorphosed, in something of other this time, and still escapes from the last moment. ” (19) Following the example fright, the escape always inaugurates a cycle of metamorphoses. It is by modifying its form, its to appear, while becoming itself show, by producing lures, that the Negro absconder manages to escape his adversaries to even overcome them. To escape its enemies, it is to produce his own disappearance: embusquer, to scramble the tracks, to do it dead, to disappear for re-appearing at once. The thousand and one variations marronnes form the screen of a true art of the running away.

    To follow…

    Click here for reading “Negros cimarrones 1”
    Click here for reading “Negros cimarrones 3”

    Dénètem Touam Bona, [email protected]

    1. Images of mystical Nordeste in black and white, Roger Country house, p. 53, ED. Southern acts/Babel, Arles, 1995.
    2. Candomblé of Bahia, Roger Country house, p. 53, ED. Plon, coll human Ground/pocket, Paris, 2000.
    3. Id., p. 220.
    4. To also see “incarnated Love, sex and kind: does the spirits of the Haitian voodoo”, E. McAlister, in A what dream Haiti? , Africultures n°58
    5. A cinematographic second reading of the myth of Orphée in the context of Rio, its Carnival and its Candomblés: the “voyage” of Orphée at transitory deaths and its meeting again with Eurydice proceed under the old people's homes of Ialorixa (a priestess of candomblé).
    6. By “wizard”, we in general indicate that which treats with the invisible one; that he is healer, priest, soothsayer, wizard waterfinder, shaman or.
    7. Chestnuts of freedom, p. 360
    8. The worships vodous of the colonial time in common have few things with their contemporary forms.
    9. The initiates of candomblé are considered in Brazil wire and girls of the Gods.
    10. On the question of the relationship between imaginary and capacity in Haiti, to refer to the maintenance with Lyonel Trouillot in “Writing” Haiti: “(…) there is a violence exerted by the capacity on the imaginary social one whose symbols are disguised. Aristide and Duvalier, often operated one and the other inversions of symbols. ”
    11. The Track of the magic spells, p. 87, ED. Winds besides, 2002
    12. Vision of overcome, Nathan Wachtel, p. 279, ED. Folio, Paris, 1999.
    13. Live the Brazilian people, Joao Ubaldo Ribeiro, ED. The Plumed serpent, p. 381
    14. The Kingdom of this world, Alejo Carpentier, p. 36, ED. Gallimard, coll Folio, 1999, Paris.
    15. Id., p. 41.
    16. Blacks taken refuge Profit of the French Guiana, Jean Hurault, IFAN, Dakar, 1961.
    17. Extract of the report/ratio of a Polish officer during the insurrection of Santo Domingo (1802-1804): “Three days ago, one brought here [in the Cape] two hundred dogs (…) tomorrow we let us hope for of them 400 more (…). They [of the Spanish specialists engaged to draw up the dogs] exert them the every day on alive negros that the dogs tear pitilessly and devour…” Chestnuts of freedom, p. 280.
    18. In recognized chestnut, a text questioning the impact of the marronnage in the history and the Haitian culture, the anthropologist Gerard Barthélemy devotes a paragraph to invisibility like strategy marronne: “Disappearance or the invisible man”… In Conjunction n°203 (1998), Re-examined free-Haitian of the French Institute of Haiti, Port-with-Prince.
    19. Mass and power, Elias Canetti, p. 363, ED. Gallimard, coll NRF, Paris, 1966.

    [​IMG]
    Beginning of a small ceremony vodou in the dull ones of Haiti. In the center, Vèvè, a notation symbolic of Loas. Traced with flour, Vèvè delimits a mystical space time. Landing strip for spirits and divinities vodous, it left establishes a bridge between profane world and crowned world, between visible and invisible. To the foreground, under the direction of Oungan, the percussionnist proceeds to the call of the “Gods of Guinea”. With this rhythmic call the fright of Ounsi will answer later, the initiate “overlapped” by the called upon spirit
    © Dénètem

    [​IMG]
    Guédés are certainly the spirits of slaves, but one can also see them like transcendence of the mawon (maroon), which use the kind to reject the social order until in its bases. “(Does E. McAlister, in A what dream Haiti? , Africultures)
    © Chantal Regnault: Guédé, Brooklyn (the USA)

    [​IMG]
    Drums “speaking” apinti about the Profit (Chestnuts of Guyana) having the capacity to call the yorka (hearts) ancestors.
    © Jean Hurault, in Africans of Guyana (1952-1957)

    [​IMG]
    Woman Profit gone up by a busunki (god of water). The white kaolin powder supports the communication with the spirits
    © Jean Hurault, in Africans of Guyana (1952-1957)

    [​IMG]
    Driven out slaves
    © Richard Ansdell, 1861
     
  3. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Translated from French

    “Negros cimarrones 3”
    Cultural resistance and ground secession of slavery
    Dénètem Touam Bona, [email protected]
    published the 21/07/2005

    Variations marronnes

    The marronnage can take the most various forms according to the areas (Meeting, Cap Verde, Panama, etc) and the times (between the beginning of 16th and the end of the 19th century) where it occurs. The escape of the black slave can be occasional or final, individual or collective, discrete or forces: it can feed a banditism (cow servant boys black of Far West, cangaceiros of Brazil, pirate black of the Caribbean, etc) or accelerate a Revolution (Haiti, Cuba): it can resort to the anonymity of the cities or the shade of the forests. One cannot thus lock up “the” marronnages in a single definition. Each form of marronnage, each creepage distance marronne constitutes the resultant of a multitude of variables among which one can quote:

    Great geographical areas: Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, Portuguese Atlantic archipelagoes, isthmus center-American, south of the United States, Amazonia, etc

    Times: Rebirth, traditional Age, beginning of the industrial era.

    Natural environments: mountains, marshy deltas, arid plates, dense forests.

    Respective importance of the various categories of population: Europeans, Amerindians, Negro “bossales” (African coldly unloaded), Negro “Creoles” (on the spot born), mongrel.

    Cultures and religions of the colonists: Protestant woman, catholic, Anglo-Saxon, Iberian, etc Each one of these cultures, among which the French culture occupies a median position, will tend to support either the interbreeding of the populations (favourable with the integration of fugitive in a “creolized” colonial company) or their segregation (favourable with the location of chestnut, especially when the white population is in a majority).

    Geopolitical configurations: conflicts and treaties between rival colonial powers. The periods of political instability and war support the marronnages, certain powers are combined with communities marronnes against their rivals (case of England in Jamaica who will be combined in the “Maroons” to overcome the Spaniards).

    Types of exploitation: mines, plantations, fisheries, carriage of the goods, domesticity, hiring of “negros with talents” (carpenters, wig makers, coachmen, masons…).

    Beyond this multiplicity of the forms of marronnage two principal models emerge: the “marronnage of clandestinity” and the “marronnage of secession”. As for the occasional escape, it constitutes only one minor form of marronnage, a kind of absenteeism: the slave flees for a short lapse of time in order to find close relations or fear of a punishment.

    Clandestinity
    The “marronnage of clandestinity” returns to a primarily creole marronnage (slaves born and having grown in the plantation) because its success depends on a good knowledge of the slave company. The “invisibility” of chestnut proceeds here of its control of the languages European and creole, its faculty to be played freed or the slave in committee, of the exercise of a trade, its capacity to mobilize networks of relationship (what of course impossible for the fugitive ones was born in Africa). “For the slaves who lived around the Cape or of the Port-with-Prince, the populeux districts, the markets placed at the entrance doors of these cities, the anonymous crowd of the ports made it possible to circulate more or less freely, by playing with insurance the free part of negro, in the middle of portefaix, pacotilleurs, slaves in committee (…). ” (1) the clandestine chestnut does not escape from the slave company, on the contrary, it tries to be integrated into it as a free individual. Work on appearance, dressing-up of the identity, official paper counterfeits, nomadism: by means of various subterfuges, the “clandestine one” is made pass for one “freed” (slave released officially by its Master): it only aspires to disappear as “a chestnut” not to appear more but as “free legal”. Through the practice of clandestinity, this chestnut defector joined here the contemporary figure of the “clandestine immigrant”, of “without papers”, of “débouté of the right of asylum”, from “abroad” seeking by all the means to leave the shade and its dangers. In colonies like Santo Domingo, a whole labour market, a whole parallel economy develop on the basis of this clandestinity: and that in relation to networks of smuggling which short-circuit the colonial capacities. The “clandestine ones” form an intermediate class of negros “freed without being”, lower to it than that of “freed truths, [sometimes] owners of caféteries in the dull ones, of provided dwellings with slaves. (…) Neither the Administration nor the colonists had interest to regularize the statute of “freed without being it”. ” (2) For many contractors they represent an abundant labour then, corvéable at mercy (a kind of proletariat), of which they have neither to ensure maintenance nor to pay the tax (tax by “head of negro”). It is seen, the question of the statute and from the regularization of “clandestine” does not go back to today…

    Secession

    With the origin of the “marronnage of secession”, there is often a collective escape (which can take the form of a revolt) within a workshop even of a whole plantation. This type of marronnage is before all the fact of “bossales” (African coldly unloaded) which disappears in the neighbouring forests. Initially, these forest escapes lead to the formation of bands marronnes. Then, in the second time, on the foundation of a durable community starting from the coalition of several bands. In a case as in the other, one can speak about secession because these “néo-African” bands and communities can be born only starting from one cutting off in “forest”. It is necessary to return to the direction first of the secession term: “to withdraw itself”. The “secession marronne” is not an instrument but, quite simply, the movement of collective withdrawal which inaugurates the sudden appearance of a furtive community: “Quilombos” and “Mocambos” of Brazil, “Palenques” and “Cumbes” of Hispanic Americas, “Dokos” of Haiti, etc It is the forest fold which opens the possibility of a “released zone”, of a “different space”, of a “hétérotopie” (3) durable escaping the slave reports/ratios of domination. Although they introduce also a rupture into these reports/ratios, the “mystical” space times of Vodou, Santeria or Candomblé remain transitory hétérotopies.

    “Mocambo”: bantou term meaning hiding-place. “Quilombo”: bantou term indicating the companies and camps of warlike initiation. “Palenques”: Spanish term indicating initially the piles and, by extension, the fortified camps from chestnuts protected by an enclosure, a palisade of piles.

    Generally, the “maroon” term evokes the individual escape of a isolated slave. One imagines then a kind of vagrant, constrained with the petty thieving, living from day to day and the fear with the belly: image of a hopelessly passive and sterile escape. By focusing the attention on the individual, the expression “Negro chestnut” thus tends to occult the cultural creativity suitable for the marronnage (in particular that of Bossales). From where interest of the Brazilian terms Quilombo and Mocambo or the Hispanic term Palenque which return directly, by their etymology even, with the territorial and cultural dimension of resistance marronne. Because they evoke the war (Quilombo), the fold in a hiding place (Mocambo) or the defense of fortified camps (Palenque), these terms reveal the character secessionist of the communities marronnes.

    Machine of furtive war

    The “escape” of the slaves seems a passive phenomenon only if there is a reducing design of resistance, that if one confuses resistance and confrontation. Just as the battle is only one particular method of the war, the face-to-face discussion is only one particular method of resistance. The guerrilla - privileged tactics of the nomads, chestnuts, all the minorities - presents himself explicitly as “not-battles” (raids, traps, escapes and attacks flashes). One can restore all the range of the marronnage only starting from one strategic design of resistance. “(…) slavery is not a report/ratio of being able when the man is with irons (it is then about a physical report/ratio of constraint), but precisely when he can move and in extreme cases to escape. ” (Said and written, T. IV, Foucault, p. 238). When the report/ratio of the forces is unequal, to seek the face-to-face discussion perhaps only suicidal. The best tactics remain the “die-catch then”: to oppose the vacuum to very taken, any apparatus of capture. The marronnage is less one escape that a strategic withdrawal: a jump out of the space of the plantation which opens the possibility of a later offensive against an enemy, with the departure, more powerful. It is a question of being extirpated of a report/ratio of domination (main/slave) and not of reversing it. Because the revolutionary inversion does nothing but renew the “dialectical one of the Master and the slave” (4).

    With the secession marronne, resistance to the slave system (sabotages, suicides, poison, etc) theatre of operations changes. It is a “territorial” resistance: it forms a unit with a labyrinthian territory of which the meanders and accidents constitute as many natural allies for the rebels. The Chestnut does not flee, it is dodged, concealed, disappears: and through its fold, it is metamorphosed and creates for itself a “outside”: Quilombo, Palenque, Mocambo, Kampu, the “péyi year déyo” (cf “Negros cimarrones 2”)… The machine marronne is a machine of war only insofar as it is a machine of disappearance. And the forest constitutes the privileged space of this disappearance. If the hétérotopie marronne can occur only apart from slave space, this outside remains however a relative outside. It is that such a precarious company (considering the brutality of its genesis and the weakness of its manpower) cannot be maintained without maintaining a minimum relations (raids, barters, abductions of women, treaties official) with the inside of which it traces the creepage distance. Although it falls under a report/ratio of continual negociation with the colonial capacity (5), the company marronne do not remain about it less, in its principle even, a “Company against the State”.

    The secession can be peaceful only for restricted and very discrete groups the fugitive ones, or for communities marronnes alive in areas forsaken by the colonizers (Panama, Belize…). For the other communities, inevitably located at one time or another by the machine of slave capture: null possible secession without American Civil Wars. The microphone-wars of Chestnuts - ambushes, traps, raids and other tactics of guerrilla - do not constitute therefore the “wars of independence” in the classical sense of the term: they do not aim “to form a distinct State or to meet in another” (6). On the contrary, it is not only a question of fighting the Slave state but of entreating the principle even of the State. That the Master, whose State constitutes the figure par excellence, can never make return within the company marronne.

    However one should not see in the companies marronnes autarkical companies, folded up on themselves, which would have developed only starting from their only African heritage. In order to exploit and to control the best possible their new environment, the fugitive Africans systematically sought to weave relations with the Amerindian companies which surrounded them (when, of course, they were not exterminated or were not drawn up against them by the colonists): their thus borrowing, mainly, their pharmacopeia, their techniques food and agricultural, their techniques of fishing and hunting. One cannot generalize, but there was often a series of reciprocal influences between these two groups, including in the conflicts which opposed them (territorial litigations, abductions of women, etc) the proximity of their types of company (worship of the ancestors, animism, restricted size of the communities…) as well as a common experiment of escape and rebellion against the European colonist the exchanges between Indiens and Blacks supported. From where appearance in Americas of afro-Amerindian companies such as Garifuna (the “black Caribbean”) or Misquitos of Central America.

    Invisible borders

    That it marries the straightness of a geometrical line or the winding of a river, that it is fixed or moving, that it has the materiality of a wall or the spirituality of an invisible relay of forces (spirits remaining in the trees, rivers crowned, etc), a border constitutes a political and cultural operator: it operates the space inscription of a human community in a given territory. Because it founds and delimits a territory, a hétérotopie négatrice of the slave order, the secession marronne produces necessarily borders. But those are maintained only in their own obliteration. The border marronne must code the territory of the community without leaving taken with the location of the machine of capture. Far thus inaugurating the official birth of a new State, the secession marronne devotes the “become-furtive one” of a community of rebels. To camouflage the community, it is to extend the cover of the forest. The place of life, camping much more than village, represents only one of the variables of a gigantic hide-and-seek which is played on area scale vast: ravines and hills precipice, forests wet and touffues, misty marshes. Even when a community marronne remains a long time in the same place, it remains fugitive by its capacity to escape the glances, with the catches of the external forces:

    “This establishment was very strong: a wide marsh surrounded it of all shares and an island formed some. One could arrive there only by covered paths of water, only known rebels (…). ” (7) the Stedman Captain describes us here Buku, one of the fortified towns of the rebels Boni (8). The latter could make so well profitable the accidents of their natural environment, that the location and the catch of their fortified town required Dutch colonial troops of long months of tracking, seat and skirmishes.

    “The recourse to the forests”

    “One cannot imagine at which point the famous forests most wild, most inhospitable, are populated by beings of all kinds and any origines, which are able refuge and of subsistence there (the crossing of Europe by the forests, Alain Fleischer, p. 30). ” In the majority of the cultures, the forest symbolizes the refuge. The interlacing of the foliations above the men offers surest of the shelters: a cover and a collective shade which protect from the sun, the rain, the elements and, of course, of the enemies. To the civilized life of the cities, whose countryside represents the complement, the primitive life of the forest is opposed. The first explorers of the New World transfer in Amazonia a counterpart of the garden of Eden. “Virgin” character of the forest in fact a preserved place of the defects and hypocrisies of the company: a place of authenticity and resourcing. In Walden or the life in wood, David Thoreau presents his immersion prolonged in the American wild sylve like an experiment of examination, like a search of oneself.

    Located in tropical zones, the large plantations are often surrounded by wood dense and impenetrable, of a maze of marshes and mangroves, the dull ones escarpés with the vegetation touffue: and all these hostile extents constitute as many spaces of disappearance. The “forest” - the whole of the natural environments which cover the man with a vegetable lattice - thus offers to chestnuts a refuge, a citadel, a privileged place of life. The Chestnuts of Guyanes indicate themselves like the “Bushinengués” (9): “men of the forest”… Like Waldgänger (10) (proscribed Scandinavian of the Middle Ages), the Chestnut has recourse to the forests to conquer its freedom. The mare in wood makes of him an outlaw, a man in rupture of round of applause, a gangster. Ernst Jünger sees in the “recourse to the forests” the inaugural act of any resistance: “The recourse to the forests maintains with freedom the connections closer than all the armaments: in him the will first of resistance survives” (11). The recourse to the forests is resistance par excellence recluses and minorities. It is the action of the rebel, his manner of diverting conformisms and controls, which produces forest space. The “urban jungle” with its thousand and one interstices (waste grounds, waste lands, squats, catacomb, subway, sewerage systems) can it also become space of disappearance and dissidence.

    “The visibility is a trap” (Foucault). Art of the metamorphosis, ethics of ensauvagement (die-domestication), the marronnage is more than ever of topicality. To escape the monitorings and controls. To thwart the targetings, shapings, the tracings marketing and police officers: to disappear from the data bases (banking, medical, biometric, etc): to extend the shade of the forest the space of an event, a short-circuit, an act of piracy: the hétérotopies marronnes are to be come and reactivate…

    END

    Dénètem TOUAM BONA
    [email protected]

    Click here for reading “Negros cimarrones 1”
    Click here for reading “Negros cimarrones 2”


    1. Chestnuts of freedom, Jean Fouchard, p. 341-343.
    2. Chestnuts of freedom, p. 341-343.
    3. “(…) kinds of Utopias actually carried out in which the real sites that one can find inside the culture are at the same time represented, disputed and reversed, of the kinds of places which are out of all the places, although however they are indeed localisables. ”, Mr. Foucault, in Said and written, volume IV, p. 755, ED. Gallimard, coll NRF, Paris, 1994
    4. The Haitian Revolution reverses the Slave state only to inaugurate a new colonial State: the elite, the “Grandons” (great landowners) and the army will as many constitute for the mass of the farmers “bossales” (the 2/3 were born in Africa at the moment from independence) oppression, exploitation, occupying forces.
    5. The wars opposing colonial forces and rebels ended sometimes in the ratification of peace treaties (devoting the autonomy of the maroon territories) on the occasion of which the colonial authorities began to provide an annual tribute to the chestnuts (various weapons, tools, goods…) and the latter to bring back for the growers all new fugitive slave…
    6. “Latin secessio, of secedere “to withdraw itself”. Action by which part of the population of a State separates, in a peaceful way or forces, the whole of the community, in order to form a distinct State or to meet in another. ”, the Petit Robert
    7. Captain in Suriname: “Account of a five year campaign against the Rebellious Negros”, Gabriel Stedman.
    8. The Profit, otherwise called Aluku, constitute the oldest community marronne of French Guiana. Their history starts in Surinam with the insurrection of bands of fugitive slaves of the area of Cottica. It is only after the two wars (of 1776 to 1793) which opposed them to the Dutch forces colonial (nearly 2000 men) that they folded up on French banks of the rivers Maroni, Sparouine and Lawa.
    9. The term “Businenge” comes from deterioration from the Dutch words “boss” (forest) and “negers” (negro).
    10. Literally, the German term Waldgänger results in: “that which from goes away in forest”.
    11. Treaty of the rebel: “or the recourse to the forests”, p. 118, ED. C. Middle-class, coll Points, Paris, 1981.

    [​IMG]
    Creepage distances ", Photo Dénètem (closed down railway bridge, Nantes)
     
  4. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Oh yeah let me not forget if it feels a bit choppy, I translated it from French.
     
  5. I-khan

    I-khan Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    :roll: :roll: :roll: :welldone: :welldone: :welldone: :bowdown: :bowdown:


    thanks for the translation!!
     
  6. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Yes,

    Enslaved Africans who decided to escape the rigors of being considered property and left the plantation on their own 'free' will were called.

    English - maroons

    French - cimarrones

    Spanish - cimarrons

    I think this is exciting because even if we get an incomplete story in English of our enslaved ancestors there is still French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, etc sources to draw from. Even pre Columbus people have tales to tell about our enslaved ancestors.

    I am trying to learn as time allows because the Internet may go down at a drop of a hat and this knowledge will disappear with it.

    Some definitions

    http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache...nes&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=7&client=firefox-a

    * Ferguson Papa D say Cimarron means wild in Spanish.
    * Laguerre--V. and Politics says it means monkey
    * Sherlock says cimarrons were wild horses and cattle which lived in the
    mountain near the summits (cima), thus the term.

    Price: p. 1 note 1. "The English word 'maroon,'like the French 'marron,' derives from the Spanish 'cimarron.' As used in the New World, cimarron originally referred to domestic cattle that had taken to the hills in Hispanola
     
  7. dustyelbow

    dustyelbow Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This one I particularly studies

    Aspects of the political organization Profit (Chestnuts of Guyana)

    “Europeans tend to believe that it [the maroon chief] order the tribe in the way in which a colonel orders a regiment (…). Large the man does not have about any temporal power. The morals of the Taken refuge Blacks knows indeed only obligations of a social and religious nature. For all that relates to the material life, each one has the absolute right, one could even say the duty, to act as good seems to him, insofar as it does not injure anybody. (…) One practised no form of trade on their premises, this activity being obviously related for them to the idea of exploitation of others. (…). An essential principle of the social life of the Taken refuge Blacks is that any citizen carries in him the law. ” (in Africans of Guyana, Jean Hurault, p. 20-22, ED. Sheep, The Hague/Paris, 1970.)

    Like the Amazonian companies, the community marronne is carried out fully only when it entreats in its centre “the risk of a separate capacity of itself”, the risk of the return of the Master. The cheffery Boni is rather close to the Amerindian cheffery described by Clastres: the chief has of other to be able instituted only his prestige. Its field of competence is limited to the report/ratio with the crowned powers and the arbitration of the litigations. The Profit developed a series of mechanisms preventing the accumulation of the capacity and the richness. The equality between the members of the community must always be maintained. As at the Amazonian ones, one finds at the Profit the principle of the “incorporation” of the Community law: “any citizen carries in him the law”. This principle has as a consequence equalizes it participation of the individuals in the political life. Thus, the equality marronne fits initially in the bodies. The “archie” (Greek arch: principle, capacity, command) marronne is anarchy because it is pulverized, equally, in a plurality of autonomous and insubordinate bodies. The multitude marronne of the furtive bodies opposes the One of Léviathan: the “body-machine”, the large automat of the State. The setting in marronnage of the body-slaves starts with the reactivation of the rates/rhythms and memories of resistance.

    Morals without a BIBLE. Understanding the role of a community without a BIBLE. Understanding there are UNIVERSAL LAWS that ensure survival and prosperity without a BIBLE. CHECKS and BALANCES of POWER without a BIBLE.

    As you can see as soon as the Maroons escaped into the interior, they IMMEDIATELY set up villages, social organization, and farming ways. And it worked and their population grew and they traded with pre Columbus peoples instead of destroying them and the land like the MASTER who had the BIBLE.

    Also imagine YOU HAVE Africans from DIFFERENT TRIBES OR PEOPLES, escaping together or at different times and ORGANIZING EVERYTHING IN THE HURRY A WAY OF LIFE TO HIDE DEFEND and LIVE without a BIBLE.

    What better example of African people know how then this.

    They even knew LOUD ANIMALS such as ROOSTERS were not welcomed into the village because they would alert the MASTER of their whereabout.

    That requires SOPHISTICATED INTELLIGENCE especially if your on the RUN and CANNOT think like most of US today.

    Imagine today we have BLACK WHITE ASIAN HISPANIC coming together escaping a WAVE of NATURAL DISASTER and set up a HIERACHY of WHO would be the LEADER. "Naturally" it would be "ruthless" WHITE who would be calling the shots.

    I am not prepared to let some body determine my fate who havent shown any form of JUSTICE.
     
  8. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Hotep!
     
  9. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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