Burning Spear News
Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ 1805 Constitution of Hayti: the progressive and anti-oppressive character of the African nation
"Bourgeois Blues" (left) and "Stories For Boys" (right) by danny.hammontree is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
HAITI—General Jean-Jacques Dessalines of the African Revolution of Ayiti (Haiti) was a great example of the profound brilliance of the poor and working class sector of the African Nation.
Dessalines’ revolutionary politic was far ahead of his time. His leadership inspired the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), who, along with Dessalines, inspired the most remarkable leader of our time, Chairman of the African Socialist International (ASI), Omali Yeshitela.
Dessalines brilliance did not stop at the end of the African Revolution of Ayiti. Every single official statement made by Jean-Jacques Dessalines reveals why only the African poor and working class is suitable to lead the struggle to completely overthrow colonialism.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ 1805 Constitution of Hayti remains one of the most humane and democratic documents to ever exist. The entire Constitution was filled with straight-to-the-point, self-explanatory, transparent and non-confusing articles that spoke to the aims of any free people: justice, equality and self-determination. This was unlike any other Constitution.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines defined “Blacks” as anti-oppressive forces
The Preliminary Declaration portion of the Constitution defined the Haytian people, our identity and our rights.
Article 1 stated: “the people inhabiting the island formerly called St. Domingo, hereby agree to form themselves into a free state sovereign and independent of any other power in the universe, under the name of empire of Hayti.”
The 1805 Constitution of Hayti was the first Constitution in the world to state plainly and clearly that “slavery is forever abolished,” (Article 2) making Ayiti the very first country in the world to abolish colonial slavery.
Article 4 of the Constitution stated that “the law is the same to all, whether it punishes, or whether it protects.”
In Article 9, Dessalines declared that “No person is worth being a Haytian who is not a good father, good son, a good husband, and especially a good soldier.” This is followed by Article 10 which stated “Fathers and mothers are not permitted to disinherit their children.”
The last few Articles in the Preliminary Declaration section of the 1805 Constitution of Hayti, Dessalines addressed the question of Haytian land ownership and the classification of Haytians.
He stated that “No whiteman of whatever nation he may be, shall put his foot on this territory with the title of master or proprietor, neither shall he in future acquire any property therein.” (Article 12)
He followed-up stating that “the preceding article cannot in the smallest degree affect white women who have been naturalized Haytians by Government, nor does it extend to children already born, or that may be born of the said women. The Germans and Polanders naturalized by government are also comprized (sic) in the dispositions of the present article.” (Article 13)
“All acception (sic) of colour among the children of one and the same family, of whom the chief magistrate is the father, being necessarily to cease, the Haytians shall hence forward be known only by the generic appellation of Blacks.” (Article 14)
Dessalines classified the Germans and “Polanders” (Polish) on the island as Haytians, because they helped the Africans defeat the French after first being sent by the French to fight against the Africans.
Dessalines first declared that all Haytians would be called “Blacks,” which meant those Germans and Polanders were now Black
Dessalines’ declarations prove that not only did Jean-Jacques Dessalines understand that the struggle between the oppressed versus the oppressor when making a revolution, but he defined black identity as an anti-oppression identity.
According to Dessalines, to be black means to be anti-oppression and to be anti-oppression is to be black! This expression of anti-oppression is prevalent throughout Dessalines’ entire 1805 Constitution of Hayti.
The African Socialist International defines the African Nation as an anti-colonial nation
Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s Political Report to the 2017 Plenary of the African People’s Socialist Party’s, titled “Putting Revolution Back on the Agenda!” includes a section titled “What will liberated Africa look like?
Chairman Omali states that “liberation under the leadership of African Internationalist-informed workers, organized in the African People’s Socialist Party will mean the end of economic exploitation, and once the imperialists and African petty bourgeois neocolonialists have been crushed, the end of all exploitation.”
The Chairman uplifts Dessalines’ 1805 Constitution of Hayti with the statement that “the APSP follows in the footsteps of the African Revolution of Haiti, whose victory in 1804 produced a progressive constitution that for the first time in history abolished all notion of an ‘illegitimate child’ and pledged a commitment to the nurturing and protection of every child.”
Chairman continues to say “the African Internationalist liberation and unification of Africa and Africans worldwide will be the major blow to destroy the entire capitalist system that was an outgrowth of colonialism. It will be the fundamental instrument in the emergence of world socialism, providing the defining direction for the world economy.
The African Socialist International and our African People’s Socialist Party organizations stand to create the kind of freedom Jean-Jacques Dessalines envisioned for the Africans of Ayiti and the freedom we know the entire African Nation deserves to experience again and for all.
All progressive, freedom-loving Africans must join the African People’s Socialist Party, the sole vehicle that will lead our people to a life of freedom, independence and self-determination.
Long Live Jean-Jacques Dessalines!
Long Live the African Revolution of Ayiti!
Join the African People’s Socialist Party!