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Burning Spear News

The first Workers’ Revolution in the world was the African Revolution in Haiti!

May 14, 2020
Elikya Ngoma, Haiti Editor


Illustration of the November 18, 1803 “Battle of Vertières,” (Kreyol: Batay de Vetyè) the final battle in the 13-year-long revolution!

 

HAITI—Plain and simple, the first Workers' Revolution in the world took place on the island of Ayiti, the true name of the land that makes up both Ayiti (Haiti) and the Dominican Republic.

Before there was the brilliant Chairman Mao Zedong and the people of China, Ho Chi Minh and the courageous people of Viet Nam, or even Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks, there was Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the African Revolution in Ayiti!

The African Revolution in Ayiti was the first and only successful revolution of enslaved people against colonial slavery and the first revolution of workers against “bosses” and other such oppressors.

For the first time in history, enslaved [African] people rose up against those that enslaved us and eradicated the social system of colonial slavery.

For the first time in history, workers were successful in our fight for us to have power over our own lives to exercise our right to self-determination.

And for the first time in history, the world’s economic and social system of capitalism, which requires, as the basis of its existence, the parasitic relationship between imperialist “bosses” and colonized workers, was fundamentally threatened.

We must always remember that this threat was first made by the African workers of Ayiti. The African Revolution of Ayiti inspired highly coordinated African resistance around the world, including inside the U.S.

Charles Deslondes, an African born and enslaved in Ayiti and transported to Orleans Territory after the Haitian Revolution, led the 1811 German Coast uprising.

This was one of the largest “slave rebellions” in the U.S., where 200-500 enslaved Africans organized to overthrow the slave-masters.

The Africans burned five plantations, sugar cane mills and crops, and killed two colonizers!

Nat Turner started a powerful insurrection in Virginia on August 21, 1831, the 40th anniversary of the start date of  Ayiti’s Revolution. Although it only lasted two days, Africans killed at least 51 colonizers!

Denmark Vesey planned an organized rebellion in Charleston, South Carolina where the Africans would rise up against the slave-masters and then sail to Ayiti for refuge.

The victory of our African people in Ayiti also inspired the worldwide movement of Marcus Mosiah Garvey in the 1920s, which is held in the highest revolutionary esteem by the African People’s Socialist Party and our Chairman, Omali Yeshitela.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines understood the need for self-determination

Under the initial leadership of Toussaint L’Ouverture and later Jean-Jacques Dessalines who led us to victory, Africans who had been stolen from different parts of our national homeland and dropped off in Ayiti came together in a powerful army to overthrow three European superpowers: the British, Spanish and finally the French, who were known as the world’s greatest military.

The Revolution took place from August 21, 1791 to December of 1803. Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Ayiti a free land on January 1, 1804.

In Dessalines’ New Year’s Day Declaration of Independence, he proclaimed:

“We have dared to be free, let us be thus by ourselves and for ourselves. Let us imitate the grown child: his own weight breaks the boundary that has become an obstacle to him. What people fought for us? What people wanted to gather the fruits of our labor? And what dishonorable absurdity to conquer in order to be enslaved. Enslaved?... Let us leave this description for the French; they have conquered but are no longer free”.

Dessalines and the Africans under his leadership understood clearly that overthrowing colonial slavery was key to ending the parasitic relationship of “enslavers gathering the fruits of the labor of the enslaved” or “bosses” enjoying the benefits of the production made by workers.

The 1804 Worker’s Revolution of Ayiti set the example for what would later become the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution of Russia, the 1945 Worker’s Revolution in Viet Nam and the 1949 Chinese Worker’s Revolution. It remains the shining example for the worldwide African Revolution we are engaged in building today.

Work is essential to the production of life

2020-05-14-haiti-02-620x350A group of Africans pose for a picture in front of a stand built for the 2016 Festival of Agriculture and Workers in Haiti. The signs reads “Agriculture and work are the wealth of our country.” (Jacmel, Haiti)

There is a proverb from Ayiti that states “work is freedom!” (Kreyol: “Travay se libète!”). This quote exists because African people have always understood that work is what moves production, society and, our main objective, life forward.

Workers are the social force that produce all of the value in a society and in the world. Without workers there is no production and without production there is no forward motion. Work and workers are both essential to life and the forward motion of life.

African people had already been workers, long before the first European ever stepped foot on our homeland. We were producing life for ourselves, our communities and our entire African nation.

This reality was stolen from us at gunpoint when we were kidnapped and enslaved, forcibly dispersed around the world and forced to work, forced to produce life, for the colonizer nation.

We no longer had the ability to produce for ourselves and our people. Instead, everything produced by the African nation, on the Continent and abroad, was for the benefit of Europe and European people. This is the same contradiction we are faced with today.

We have, however, always been fighting to overturn this oppressive relationship. We are fighting today to continue the work initiated by the worker’s revolution of Africans in Ayiti.

African people are the “essential workers” of the entire world

The question of workers and essential workers is one that currently dominates every discussion taking place during this period of dealing with the colonialvirus known as coronavirus and COVID-19.

Many have taken to social media to thank all of the “essential workers” for making the necessary “sacrifices to help society” during this virus.

Some posts accurately acknowledge that it is the essential workers ourselves who are most susceptible to contracting and being gravely affected by this virus.

Many have expressed on social media that all workers are essential workers and deserve far more that what we have received up until this point.

A point that we cannot allow to go unmentioned, however, is that African people are and have always been the “essential workers.” We have always been doing what has been characterized as making the necessary “sacrifices to help society” in any given time.

The undeniable truth is  there is no such concept as “workers in general;” there are workers of the colonizer nation and workers of colonized nations.

African people are the social force that produces all of value in the world, while

being exploited for our labor and receiving just enough to make it to the plantation the next day.

The workers of the colonizer nation are “workers” who still remain on top of this pedestal. They are still recipients of the value produced by African workers.

Chairman Omali Yeshitela and the theory of African Internationalism have explained the true nature of the “working class.” In “An Uneasy Equilbrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism,” Chairman Omali says:

“We have always said that those who saw the fundamental struggle in the world as existing between the minority white workers and bosses of the world were mistaken.

“We have always said that the essential class struggle in the world does not exist between the white workers and the white ruling class but is actually concentrated in the struggle  against colonialism and economic dependency.”

African Socialist International leads the Worker’s Revolution of African people

The African Socialist International (ASI), made up of African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) organizations around the world, understands that African people must achieve a worldwide revolution that will free us from the parasitic boss-worker relationship, everywhere we are, for good.

At the center of all of our work are the interests of the African poor and working class.

Article 3.0 of our Constitution states:

“The aims and objectives of the APSP-USA are to lead the struggle of the African working class and oppressed masses against U.S. capitalist-colonialist domination and all the manifestations of oppression and exploitation that result from this relationship.

“The Party recognizes that the particular character of the oppression of African people within U.S. borders is domestic or internal colonialism. Leading the struggle to end the system of domestic colonialism and smash the U.S. capitalist-colonialist state is the immediate task of the African People’s Socialist Party-USA and the African working class in the U.S.”

We are working to complete the African Revolution kicked off by Ayiti.  We invite all Africans who want to live in a world where “essential workers” are able to live off of our own production to join this revolutionary organization.

All workers from other nations should unite with the struggle for African national liberation and have a stance of solidarity with the African poor and working class.

Long Live the Worker’s Revolution of Haiti!
Long Live the African Revolution of Ayiti!
Uhuru!

Join the African People’s Socialist Party! APSPUhuru.org

 

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