Monday, September 29, 2014

Haiti and the fear of a Black Superpower.

The Napoleon Complex
"My decision to destroy the authority of the Blacks in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) is not so much based on considerations of commerce and money, as on the need to block for ever the march of the Blacks in the world."

Napoleon Bonaparte

In our increasingly perilous world, it would behoove us to understand the Haitian freedom Revolution of 1791-1804; and its modern day relevance.

As we know, many of our contemporary world hotspots have sprouted from seeds sown from past geo-political struggles.

Haiti is no different.

The public discourse regarding Haiti is usually about poverty, disease, natural disasters, corruption and hunger. To be frank, independent Haiti has encountered one debilitating crisis after another. Haiti seems to be the little engine that can't.

Perception isn't always reality.

But to truly understand Haiti, one has to understand the racial caldron that birthed Haiti's independence from an European super-power -- France. The above Napoleon quote underscores the Eurocentric (and American) sentiment of the last 600 hundred years:

White European supremacy at all costs.

In fact, when Haiti eventually achieved freedom, the American and European governments -- especially the southern slave owners -- implemented and enforced a strategy to keep Haiti weak and poor.

Webster University historian, Bob Corbett writes:


After the revolution which concluded in January, 1804, Haiti became the second free country in the Western World (after the United States), and the first black republic. However, the United States was still a slave nation, as was England. While France had freed the Haitian slaves during the revolution, France and other European nations had slaves in Africa and Asia. The international community decided that Haiti's model of a nation of freed slaves was a dangerous precedent. An international boycott of Haitian goods and commerce plunged the Haitian economy into chaos.

It is difficult to measure the exact impact of this international conspiracy. Here was a nation of ex-slaves trying to rise to democratic self-rule, rising to run an economy in which the masses had only served as slaves before. The international boycott of Haitian products at this time was devastating for Haiti's long-term economic development.


The Haitian governments were extremely anxious to be recognized by France and the Europeans. But France would not recognize Haiti unless indemnities were paid for lands of former slave owners taken over after the revolution. Finally, in 1838 President Boyer of Haiti accepted a 150 million franc debt to pay this indemnity. This debt plagued the economy of Haiti for over 80 years and was not finally paid until 1922. In the meantime Haiti paid many times over 150 million francs in interest on this debt. It is difficult to measure the incredible harm which this did to the Haitian economy, but by the most conservative measures it was extremely significant.  source

The last throes of White Supremacy?

Today, in the United States, we see an astounding playbook repeat of the Napoleon complex.

The GOP, with all due diligence, conspired to derail and destroy the authority of President Obama. They cared neither about economic recovery nor commerce. They offered no bi-partisan unity in helping US out of the Great Recession (that happened on their watch).

Coupled with their personal insecurities and the knowledge that most of their constituents were offended by the mere presence of  black man in charge, the GOP -- well financed by billionaire right wingers -- unleashed one of the most politically partisan wars since, perhaps, the Civil War era congress.

Anyone that declares that the differences were rooted in policy is not facing reality. Time after time, when Obama adopted GOP policy or ideas they would reject their own ideas for the purpose of defeating all things Obama.

Globally speaking:

The world is continually shifting from the European/American hegemony of the past. As Latin American, Asian and African nations emerge as players on the scene, countries like France, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Portugal have to share seats at the proverbial Thanksgiving adult table with these nations.

And as American women become more empowered and our nation continues the browning trend, the questions emerge:

How will GOP whites react to the browning of America?

Will they be able to overcome their Napoleon Complex?

No comments:

Post a Comment