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In Haiti former slaves cast off their chains. Mankind: The Story of All of Us X: Revolutions, History 2012
In 1791 the French Revolution inspired slaves in the French West Indian colony of Haiti to rebel against their masters. Gary Beadle, The First Black Britons, BBC 2005
The exterminators, to continue their trade, came to rely increasingly on the slave trade from Africa. Between 1500 and 1800, 30 million slaves were taken by force from Africa to work the plantations of the West Indies and of North America. They were captured by violence or trickery, forced to row their death ships across the Atlantic, starved and beaten into submission by white Christian gentlemen, most of whom were British.
By 1789 Hispaniola had been divided and renamed. The eastern half, Santo Domingo, destitute and desolate, was still governed from Spain. The population was 125,000 of whom 15,000 were slaves. The western half, Sain-Domingue, was run by France. It was heavily populated. In 1789 there were 30,000 whites in Saint-Domingue, 40,000 mulattoes of mixed race, and half a million black African slaves.
... The whole of this vast surplus was entirely dependent on slave labour. The lucky slaves were the ones who died in the boats. In the fields they worked an 18 hour day from 7am until 2am. The rules that they should be fed by their owners were almost everywhere ignored or flouted. Most slaves got no food at all, and had to spend their few precious hours of ‘free time’ cultivating vegetables.
Childbirth was not encouraged among the slaves. It wasted time which was better spent in the field. Religion was banned, except only for baptism which was allowed as long as it was done collectively and quickly. The Roman Catholic Church happily accepted this fleeting chance to make new converts. In exchange the church agreed to shut up about slavery.
The slaves were allowed no education, no independent thought, no rights of any kind. This was a savage, brutalised society, held together by fear and sadism. When the liberal French writer, Baron de Wimpffen, went to St Domingue in 1790, he marvelled at the beauty of his hostess at one of the interminable banquets. He was less impressed when she ordered her cook, who had annoyed her with some message about the food, to be thrown into the oven alongside the next dish. Such atrocities were not the exception. They were the rule.
... It broke out on 14 August 1791 in a plantation in the north. In a great wave of savagery, slaves slaughtered their masters and burnt their mansions – and were slaughtered in return. By the end of the year a huge leaderless slave army had established itself in the mountains of the north.
... The slave revolt, which lasted more than 12 years, was inextricably intertwined with the French Revolution. In September 1792, as the revolution shifted to the left, the new convention sent three commissioners and a new general, Laveaux, to St Domingue. The commissioners declared before they left that they had ‘no intention of freeing the slaves’ – so they remained Toussaint’s enemies ...
This is perhaps one of the most remarkable stories in all human history, but because it turns history upside down it is not told in history books. The story of Toussaint L’Ouverture is almost entirely obliterated from British (and even French) culture. There is a film about Spartacus – he lost, after all – but none about Toussaint. There is a wonderful book by C L R James – The Black Jacobins – which is reinforced now by Robin Blackburn’s comprehensive history: The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery. In general, though, important people everywhere have been reluctant to disclose too much about Toussaint L’Ouverture and his army lest some rather obvious lessons might by learnt – and acted on.
... William Wilberforce did not abolish slavery. The slave army of Toussaint L’Ouverture started the process – which was not finished until the slaves of America had to join white people in the North and fight a civil war to abolish slavery. The emancipation of the slaves was fought for and won by the slaves themselves. Paul Foot, article July 1991, ‘Man’s Unconquerable Mind’
For the third time in the last hundred years, the US has invaded and occupied Haiti. Working behind the scenes the US conducted a destabilization campaign aimed at toppling the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This is a message to the rest of the region: If you don't obey, the US will impose sanctions, overthrow your government, install a client regime, and support death squads to crush any resistance. Ashley Smith
Every time there has been an effort by the Haitian people to overcome the misery and poverty that comes from 200 years of bitter attacks, really bitter, the US steps in and blocks it. Noam Chomsky
Woodrow Wilson: the most honoured and arguably the most vicious and brutal of the Nobel Prize laureates: his invasion of Haiti for example killing thousands … restored virtual slavery, left much of the country in ruins … sending the marine in to disband parliament at gunpoint … allowed US corporations to buy up the country … once the richest colony in the world … now maybe the symbol of hopelessness and despair. Noam Chomsky, lecture MIT December 2009, ‘History of US Rule in Latin America’
In February 2004 the two traditional torturers of Haiti – France and the United States – combined to back a military coup and send President Aristide off to Africa. The US denies him permission to return to the entire region. Noam Chomsky
The two main criminals are France and the United States. They owe Haiti enormous reparations because of actions going back hundreds of years. If we could ever get to the stage where somebody could say, ‘We’re sorry we did it,’ that would be nice. But if that just assuages guilt, it’s just another crime. To become minimally civilized, we would have to say, ‘We carried out and benefited from vicious crimes. A large part of the wealth of France comes from the crimes we committed against Haiti, and the United States gained as well. Therefore we are going to pay reparations to the Haitian people.’ Then you will see the beginnings of civilization. Noam Chomsky, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World
When Woodrow Wilson invaded Mexico and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) – where his warriors murdered and destroyed, reestablished virtual slavery, demolished the political system, and placed the countries firmly in the hands of US investors – these actions were in self-defence against the Huns. Noam Chomsky, Deterring Democracy
The US-backed military government had suppressed the scheduled elections by violence, the widely predicted consequence of US support for the junta. ibid.
The Reagan administration continued to certify the progress of ‘democratic development’ in Haiti as President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier invoked still more repressive legislation in 1985. ibid.
Putting a blockade around Haiti is of course totally in violation of international law. Noam Chomsky, lecture 25th October 1993
We have to put ourselves forward as the great lovers of democracy. ibid.
The military in Haiti are destroying what they called Haiti’s remarkably advanced popular political organisations. ibid.
Major demonstrations continue to rock Haiti as protesters demand that US-backed president Jovenel Moise step down from office … Inside of holding new elections or stepping down he is just staying put. Abby Martin & The Empire Files: Haiti’s Century of US Coups, Invasions & Puppets, Youtube 8.47, Abby Martin online 2021
How the American empire has determined the destiny of Haiti for generations. ibid.
In 1915 US marines invaded Haiti … The Haitian masses fought back against this new colonial rule. ibid.
The US supported the dictatorship with aid and protection. ibid.