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(en) France, UCL AL #318 - Pan-Africanism, born of the Haitian Revolution (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 17 Sep 2021 08:22:47 +0300


In Bois-Caïman, in August 1791, Africans invoked their divinities before launching the uprising that would make Haiti the birthplace of Pan-Africanism. Giving full meaning to the motto "unity is strength", the rebels confronted Spanish, British and French troops, and unilaterally imposed the abolition of slavery from August 1793, playing on imperialist divisions. and the balance of power. ---- In 1938, CLR James published The Black Jacobins , often touted as the first history book of Pan-Africanism. He summarized in his preface how Haiti triggered a historiographical revolution: "I was tired of reading or listening to what we wrote or said about Africans: persecuted and oppressed in Africa, on the Atlantic, in the United States and throughout the Caribbean. I decided to write a book in which Africans - or their descendants in the New World - instead of being constantly the object of exploitation and the ferocity of other peoples, would take action on a grand scale. , and would shape their destiny, and that of other peoples, according to their own needs."

Far from being a revolution in the French Revolution, the independence of Haiti is a decolonial rupture: the abolition of slavery, the first decolonization in the history of France and the reinstatement of the dignity of the original peoples through the very name of Haiti. For the first time, men and women born in Africa are liberating themselves and founding a state outside the continent. This gives Pan-Africanism a geopolitical basis from which to look at international relations under a subversive eye. And this inevitably leads to the neocolonial reaction: embargo of the united Western powers, imposition in 1825, by France, of a debt to compensate the former owners, and finally a division which leads to the final partition of the island between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in 1844.

Despite adversities, Haiti supports the liberation of the Spanish colonies by Simon Bolivar, thus giving Pan-Africanism its internationalist nature. A whole Haitian intelligentsia revalorizes the African identity and fights against racism, making this country, in the words of Aimé Césaire, the one "where negritude stood up for the first time and said that it believed in its humanity".

By giving history to many figures such as the statesman Anténor Firmin or the journalist and activist Bénito Sylvain, Haiti, the first black republic, thus assumes its role as a breeding ground for Pan-Africanism.

Amzat Boukari-Yabara

Beninese historian, author among others of Africa Unite ! A History of Pan-Africanism , La Découverte, 2017.

https://www.unioncommunistelibertaire.org/?Le-panafricanisme-ne-de-la-Revolution-haitienne
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