Touam Bona Dénètem | Journaliste 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. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “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. Zambo chiefs of Esmeraldas, Andrés Sanchez (Amerindian painter), 1599. “Kokoti”: scarifications at the chestnuts Profit of French Guiana. Sketch and photographs of the ethnologist Jean Hurault carried out in 1952 on Maroni. Metropolis, film of Fritz Lang (1927). “The myth of the zombie, death-alive, is a myth of work and not of the war. ” (Deleuze) “Kokoti”: scarifications at the chestnuts Profit of French Guiana. Sketch and photographs of the ethnologist Jean Hurault carried out in 1952 on Maroni. “Kokoti”: scarifications at the chestnuts Profit of French Guiana. Sketch and photographs of the ethnologist Jean Hurault carried out in 1952 on Maroni.