Tuesday, February 12, 2008

End Of Slavery In Europe & USA

Haiti - First Slave Independence

14th August 1791. St Dominque. A black slave overseer killed a pig. And that signaled off the world's first successful slave uprising.

Boukman Dutty, a Voudou N'Gan (oungan, houngan, voodoo priest), killed a pig as a part of an African tribal ritual Bwa Kayiman, dedicated to his ancestors and Ogoun, god of fire, ironBoukman Douty - Revolution In Haiti and war. Ogoun and Erzulie Dantor (Ezili Dantor), a Vodou l'wha (loa) a warrior spirit, responded to this call to protect these slave warriors.

25th August. Night of Fire.

50,000 slaves rose in revolt. More than 1000 sugar and coffee plantations were put to fire. Flames could be seen as far as Bahamas. From 31st December 1803, to 1st January, 1804, liberation brought about by vengeance was celebrated, and independence was declared.

St. Dominque, now called Haiti, was a French colony with 800 sugar plantations and 4,00,000 slaves from Niger and Dahomey (now Benin) in West Africa. Haiti, the jewel of French colonies, accounting for 40% of French GDP in 1700s, was the largest market for slaves in Atlantic trade. It was the largest producer of sugar in the world and competed with British colonies (like India) for indigo production and had thousands of coffee plantations.

Christopher Columbus was the first European who came to Haiti and started the exploitation of Haiti. What happened to the original population of Haiti? An estimated 1.3 million, may have been 3-4 million (admittedly not white, but nevertheless) people. Done to death by forced labour in silver mines over 10 years.

Imperial Opportunism

After the revolution in Haiti, Spaniards and the British rushed in to take advantage of this opportunity and to re-enslave the rebels. The newly freed slaves time and again beat back the new British and Spanish enslavers. "The army failed. Five years and more than 12,000 British deaths later, the redcoats withdrew. An army of rebel enslaved Africans had defeated the army of the world's superpower, and the largest slave-trading nation. The humiliation of this defeat sent a shock wave through the British establishment and, indirectly, strengthened the forces in parliament that voted to abolish the slave trade in 1807." (from William Wilberforce: The Real Abolitionist? By Adam Hochschild)

The Haitians, initially led by Boukman Douty, re-grouped under Toussaint Louverture, Georges Biassou, Jean Jacques Dessalines and Henry Christophe. On January 1st, 1804, Haiti declared themselves free and a republic. It was world's first black republic.

Haiti, (unlike today's Israeli Jews) supported liberation movements. Haiti's successful revolt and the defeat of the Spanish and British armies encouraged other colonies of South America to demand and fight for Independence. This fight was led by Simon Bolivar - after whom Bolivia is named.

After being expelled from Venezuela, it was Alexandre Petion, the Haitian President sheltered Simon Bolivar in 1815, who supported Simon Bolivar with arms, ammunition , a printing press and other aid - after a clear promise that all the freed countries of the South America would abolish slavery. This was a promise that Simon Bolivar did not keep - until significant pressure was put on him. In spite of winning freedom with the help of Black people, the newly freed countries of South America discriminated against the very Blacks who helped them get freedom. Moreover, in 1826, at the Congress of American States, under US pressure, Simon Bolivar did not invite Haiti.

Shivas dun mai spoiwne

Haiti's developments stampeded Europe and USA. Afraid that US slaves will follow the Haiti example, US did not recognise Haiti, till November 1864 - 60 years after Haiti declared Independence.

Restrictions on slavery were wereOriginal Document Photograph - GOP Blog discussed all over Europe and USA. The US placed restriction on import of slaves - which increased the price of existing slaves in the trade market. But slave traders like Jean Laffitte soon ran rings round this by smuggling slaves from Cuba. Jean Laffitte became a 'folk hero' in New Orleans for flouting restrictions against import of slaves (cheap slaves that white southerners needed). Merchants and traders protested against Jean Laffitte's smuggling of other products which finally closed Jean Laffitte's smuggling operations in 1821 - 14 years of successful slave smuggling. But it was 'patriot outlaw' image which got him his following. He was ostensibly seen as aiding the government during the 1812 war with the British - which was decided on the basis of his business interests.

Britain & Abolition Of Slavery

Britain technically abolished slavery in 1807, after the Haiti experience - and replaced slavery with indentured labour. Indentured labour was only slightly more expensive (initially) was far more cheaper in the long run. Indentured labour also came fewer issues related to capture, transport, trade and maintenance of slaves - with a veneer of respectability that was needed for propaganda purposes. Also, Britain had India - a huge colony to fall back on for indentured labour.

While slavery was supposedly abolished in 1807, trade in slaves continued. Slave ships and traders had to pay a fine of GBP100 per slave, if caught. The law was not seriously implemented. In the few cases where slave ships and traders were caught, slaves were simply thrown overboard.

Finally, further rebellions in Barbados (1816), Demerra (1823) and Jamaica (1831-32) forced the British hand. Freedom to British slaves came finally in 1833 after the British Government passed yet another law, to outlaw slavery, Slavery Abolition Act in 1833 - and paid 'compensation' to slave owners. An egregious and glaring example was the 'compensation' to the Bishop of Exeter and his partners of GBP12,700 to 'compensate' them for the 'loss' of 665 slaves in 1833.

How could the British afford to buy indentured labour? Bought with new gold discoveries in Canada and Australia.

Beggar Thy Neighbour

It was also economic warfare. Based on immediate colonial interests, promises were to American slaves by Britain. During the American War Of Independence, British Colonial forces, promised Black slaves to run away from their White masters. Property was promised to them in Canada and Sierra Leone. Some were sent to London. Based on these promises, an estimated 75,000-100,000 slaves abandoned their White American owners.

The key to Haiti's wealth - slave labour. Hence, the British efforts to ban slavery - as a part of their beggar-thy-neighbour strategy. Haiti was contributing major surplus to the French - and Britain had to undercut French economic gains from Haiti. The French efforts to get back into India against Britain through Tipu Sultan (during the Mysore Wars) had made life difficult for Britain - and hence they needed to undermine French economic resources.

It had nothing to do with human rights. While slavery was being abolished, the same Britons were committing genocide in Australia, New Zealand, and Africa.

The Rise Of Cuba

Spain took up the slack that the fall of Haiti created. Cuba within the next 50 years became the centre of Carribean trade. After the fall of Haiti, by 1860, Cuban production grew to 500,000 tons of sugar - nearly 1/3 of the world's production. Under Spanish rule from 1511, the indigenous population was annihilated and the island was populated by imported African slave labour. What did the 'statesmen' from the land of the free do? Henry Clay, Secretary Of State, in President John Quincy's administration,was clear that "This country prefers that Cuba and Porto Rico remain dependant on Spain ..."

In 1844 Cuban slaves revolted unsuccessfully. 10th, October 1868, Carlos Manuel de CĂ©spesdes released his slaves and El Grito de Yara War, (a 10 year campaign) against Spain started. General Valeriano Weyler, "The Butcher," was sent to stamp out the independence movement. He created modern history's first concentration camps. Hundreds of thousands of men women and children were put into concentration camps.

Modern Concentration Camps

In Havana city, 52,000 people died. The peasants retaliated by burning down vast Spanish owned sugar plantations. Weyler was recalled to Spain in 1879. October 7th 1886, slavery was finally abolished. Spain continued to rule Cuba - with greater repression.

"Seventy-five percent of Latin America's exports to the United States came from Cuba and half of the Latin American imports from the United States went to Cuba in 1894. The United States had well entrenched itself in the Cuban economy and did not want to lose a valuable market so close by. Spain clung to its remaining claim. Cuba was caught in the middle in the mid-1890's when the United States reduced sugar imports with the Wilson-Gorman tariff and Spain restricted United States imports to Cuba. Proponents of annexation and independence divided Cuba's population." by Brad Williford in The Cuban Revolution of 1895-98

The American Civil War

From 1861-1865, the American Civil War was started. Lincoln's War, after all was more about economics than about slavery. American propaganda states that this war was fought to free the American Slaves. But for the next 100 years, there was little change.

Yes, people could no longer be bought or sold, could not be captured or kidnapped. But in the land of the free, the Black man was still used - and abused. There was one use of the free Blacks. They were used to kill the Red Man - who called these Black Soldiers as Buffalo Soldiers.

Imperial Ambitions

125 years after Independence, US was developing colonial ambitions. The 'Monroe doctrine' was used to create colonies in the American backyard. "Yellow Journalism" was invented to whip up public sentiment. On April 25th 1898, the US Congress declared war. For the next 4 months, the US fought the Spanish American War.

On August 12th, 1898, Spain signed the peace treaty. On December 10th 1898, the treaty of Paris was signed. USA 'bought' Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico and paid Spain US$2,00,00,000. Of course, the 'inferior' populations of these countries - Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico were unfit for inclusion in the Paris negotiations about their future.

Cubans were nominally declared free but with many conditions. In 1915, again the Monroe doctrine was invoked to invade Haiti. In the 1960s-70s, Chedi Jagan and his struggle to break from (in the Caribbean) was sabotaged.

Black Freedom

In America, opposition to slavery was about race. What if the Black slave population in the American South became like Haiti? Just before independence, against a population of 400,000-500,000 Black Haitians, there were about 25,000 whites and 40,000 mulattos. What if the Black Population in the American South (nearly 80% at the start of the Civil War) rose to say, 150%. 4 million Blacks compared to 5 million whites in the American South at the start of the Civil War.

Another Haiti would have very well happened in Southern American South too. A truncated USA was a real fear - if not a certainty. None other than "Benjamin Franklin said with alarm that importing slaves had "blacken'd half America" ...

So, what did the white fathers do? They set up in Africa, Israel's predecessor - Liberia (another land of the free?) and the successor of the British black deportation to Sierra Leone. In 1816, the USA decided to colonise Africa. An artificial situation was created, where escaped, freed Blacks were sent to Liberia. The local population were of no consequence - like latter day Palestine.

From 1860-1960

Little changed in the next 100 years after the Civil War - except the matter of 25 million missing Blacks. At the start of the Civil War, the White Population of North and South was 22 million. And Blacks was 5 million. By 1960, the White population had grown by nearly 800%, to 160 million. The Black population in the meantime had grown by only 400% - from 5 million to 20 million.

What happened to the missing 400% of Black population growth? Apologists (and defenders) use white immigration to explain away some of the difference. But that further compounds the problem - because there was also about 1 million of Black immigration from Haiti, Jamaica, Africa and other countries. Nett, nett - there are about 20-25 million Blacks missing - due to deprivation, poor health care and indifference.

Mortality amongst Blacks due to AIDS is higher than for Whites - 60,000 higher Black deaths every year. The New England Journal Of Medicine states."Among patients infected with HIV, blacks were significantly less likely than whites to have received antiretroviral therapy or PCP prophylaxis when they were first referred to an HIV clinic".

But rights and equality is something else

Black emancipation in the USA is a 1970s phenomenon, 30+ years ago event - and not 200 years ago as this article in New York Times seems to make out.

It took non-violent protests (Martin Luther King, inspired by Gandhiji) and violent threats (Malcolm X) for some kind of real emancipation and equity to come in. In the Cold War scenario, under international media glare, during the Little Rock School stand-off, Eisenhower (a Southerner himself) reacted. Reluctantly,in 1954, he sent in the National Guard to Little Rock, Arkansas for some kind of de-segregation. The Mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas closed down the school rather than de-segregate. The eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation during the Kennedy years produced the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Demonise, Massacre and Apologise

Now that there are a few Red Indians and aborigines left (they serve as tourist attractions), there is the ritual of regret and apology about their role in the genocidal past. Since, the "Jewish Problem" was solved by Hitler (there are hardly 1 million Jews left in Europe and 5 million in USA), the West and USA has no problems, anymore with the Jews.

In fact, Jews today serve a useful purpose to the West. After the Anglo-Saxon led alliance broke up the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, the Israelis are the Western cat's paw. They been suborned to the job of keeping a lid on the simmering oil rich, Middle East, and keeping it in check. What is the real cost to the USA- an inflated arms bill. What does it cost Israel - millions of precious Jewish lives, lost in the fight to keep the Anglo Saxons in luxury.

The demonisation (Shakespeare joined in with his anti-Semitic Merchant Of Venice) of the Jews has now been replaced by demonisation of Islam. Without taking responsibility for the destabilisation of the Islamic World by the liquidation of the Ottoman Empire after WW1 - perpetrated by Anglo Saxon countries and the French.

Splendid Isolation

Fear of success or opposition, in country after country of the Americas and Pacific, the USA has been involved in destabilisation and intervention. One time USA allies are now hot beds of terrorism.

The Greatest Suffering

The Blacks in the USA and Europe have seen some justice - as they were an important constituency in the Cold War. USA propaganda was on the verge of losing Africa to Soviet Russia. The Jews have been very persistent and they have not let the world forget - or the perpetrators rest in peace.

The forgotten lot is that that of the Romani Gypsies. This one segment based in Europe and USA continues to remain on the fringes and discriminated. They have been hunted (like forest animals), their children kidnapped (to end their race and social system), they have been gassed (by Hitler along with the Jews), they have been galley slaves, In fact there was a time when they could be killed, if found alive!

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