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E n G ori c o n tra jo m atrim o n io con u n a m u ch ach a de origen tan hum ilde com o el suyo: E k aterin a, la h ija del siervo G ueorgui G ueladze, de la ald ea d e G am bareuelli. P o r entonces 1 F. Yaroslavsky, op. T rotsky. Barcelona, , p. L a p rim e ra es casarse con u n esclavo; L a segunda, ser m a d re del h ijo del esclavo; L a tercera, obedecer al esclavo h asta la m uerte. Y todas estas terribles desgracias A gobian a la m u je r d e la tie rra rusa.
Por lo g eneral fue u n o d e los m ejores alum nos, y a veces el m ejor, de su clase. Soselo es el dim inutivo» equivalente a Pepito. L as canciones y los cuentos populares n a rra b a n las aven tu ras de los fam osos bandoleros caucasianos. T o d o este folklore no estaba m uy alejad o d e la realidad.
Apcndicc, pp. Yarotlavsky, op. L a suerte de los georgianos fue sim ilar, en algunos aspectos, a la de los polacos. O tro de ellos fue la in fluencia c u ltu ra l rusa en G eorgia. F ren te a G eorgia, R usia rep resentaba a E u ro p a. C ita d o del ensayo de G. El destacado m arxista georgiano F. E n el pasado, nosotros los rutos — y estoy hab lan d o com o un g ran ruso de la m is p u ra sangre—.
I, pp. D u ran te la g u erra de C rim ea los com andantes rusos se m ostraron m uy desconfiados d e la actitu d de los siervos caucasianos. T rotsky, S ta lin , p. D zhugashvili fue so rp ren d id o leyendo el m encionado lib ro e n las escaleras d e la capilla. Yaroslaviky, op. C hjeidze y G. A rkom ed, op. Estos e ra n S asha T sulukidze y L a d o K etsjoveli.
Su otro am igo-m aestro, K etsjoveli, no e ra h o m bre d e letras. M ajitrudzc, T ru d y , etc. Sus esfuerzos eran recom pensados p o r la h a la g a d o ra conciencia d e su p ropio ad elan to. E sta e ra u n a doble v id a en un doble sentido. El no deseaba convertirse e n u n a ca rg a p a r a su m ad re, y la id ea de ganarse la v id a com o obrero in d u strial o com o oficinista tam p o co e ra atray en te en m odo alguno.
D zhugashvili es g en eralm en te irrespetuoso y desconsiderado con las personas investidas d e a u to r id a d ,. Y aroslaviky, op. E n la Iglesia h u b ie ra llegado a ser, a lo sum o, o tro A bashidze. Stalin se hace oficinista en el O bservatorio de T iflis, S ta lin sale de T iflis y se dirige a B a tu m , During the final editing of this volume we received the sad news that Pablo Arco Pino, one of our contributors, suddenly died.
We feel to dedicate this volume to his memory. Cavallo, ed. At the beginning of the 19th century, the slave revolution in French Saint-Domingue strongly affected the Cuban economy and the political future of the Spanish colony.
The collapse of sugar production in the black republic of Haiti meant the consolidation of a plantation economy in Cuba, which became the number one producer of sugar in the world. At the same time, the image of the Haitian revolution less than fifty miles from the Cuban coast aroused a sense of fear among Cuban whites surrounded by a growing number of slaves. On the other hand, voices of slave victory in Haiti stirred among Cuban slaves the feeling that freedom was possible.
In this section, Ada Ferrer brings fresh insights to existing historiography1 by showing how Cubans had access to detailed news on Haiti and that several contacts existed between the dying slave society of the French Saint-Domingue and Cuban society in which slavery was becoming more solid. Ferrer argues that, far from being vague, both the fears and the hopes that Haiti aroused were based on real experiences of Creole elites and Cuban slaves.
Just as many Spanish American colonies had fought for and achieved independence by and slavery was abolished in the British Caribbean David B. Geggus, ed. One significant example of how slavery had become the most controversial issue in Cuba before is the public Cuban debate over the Spanish project of sending Cuban freedmen, emancipados, to the African colony of Fernando Po.
This relatively unknown example, discussed by Irene Fattacciu in this section, sheds light on the competing and contradictory colonial policies that Spain imposed upon its first African possession and its last American one. The case of Fernando Po is also rather telling of Cuban creoles attitudes towards freedmen: they were perceived as dangerous examples of what slaves could follow. Unlike the United States where the white elite obtained the independence and shaped the institutions of the new country by maintaining slavery and racial inequality, and unlike Haiti where slaves achieved independence and the white planter class was forced to leave, the ideal Cuban nation would be a raceless and socially egalitarian country.
Yet, as Loredana Giolitto shows in this section, formal equality coexisted with racial prejudice and discrimination. See: Louis A. Ferrer Chapter 1 Cuba in the Age of the Haitian Revolution At the end of the eighteenth-century, the island of Cuba witnessed a transformation both internal and external. Externally, the new changes brought the island into unprecedented commercial engagement with the world.
Dating such transformations is always somewhat artificial, but we can name, for example, the opening of the slave trade as the opening move. To understand this moment of transformation and this particular encounter of Cuba with the world at the end of the eighteenth century, an encounter that would profoundly shape Cuban society in nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we must place those changes in the context of the sweeping revolutionary transformations that engulfed the region in the same moment.
Then, in the small but prosperous colony of French Saint-Domingue, less than fifty miles from the Cuban coast, a world built upon slavery, colonialism, and racial hierarchy was turned upside down. This new society, born of a process never contemplated before, stood right in the middle of the Caribbean sea, a short sail from islands ruled by European governors and inhabited, sometimes overwhelmingly, by enslaved Africans1.
In Cuba, sugar planters and colonial authorities saw the devastation of their neighboring colony and looked at their own society with fresh eyes. Publicly and privately, they professed fear and terror that the scenes of the Haitian Revolution would be repeated in their own territory. But, for the most part, the men with the power to decide the future course of the Spanish colony resolved to live dangerously. They imported an ever-growing number of Africans and amassed greater and greater wealth in sugar.
They sought, in other words, to emulate Saint-Domingue, but to contain Haiti. In Cuba, however, the example of Haiti was hard to contain. The distance between the two islands was short and well-travelled. Early in the revolution, slave owners from the French colony arrived by the thousands, carting slaves, seeking refuge, and telling stories of black vengeance and physical desolation. Throughout the conflict, French forces defeated by former slaves evacuated through Cuba, as local residents watched with great interest.
In the decades that followed Haitian independence, Cubans heard repeated rumors about imminent Haitian invasions into Cuban territory. Cuban plantations increasingly resembled those in pre-revolutionary Saint-Domingue. Slaves were subjected to increasingly brutal labor and disciplinary regimes and sometimes responded by envisioning risings like the ones of their counterparts in Haiti. Here, the example of black revolution and the rise of black enslavement unfolded in the same context and at the same time.
This essay takes the simultaneity of these two developments as its starting point, and attempts to tell the multifaceted story of the entrenchment ti: The Saint-Domingue Revolution from Below Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, ; and, of course, C. Grounded in Cuba, the study tacks back and forth between the two islands, to tell the overlapping stories of freedom and slavery being made and unmade — simultaneously and each within view of the other.
To understand the transformation of Cuban slavery occurring in the shadow of the Haitian Revolution I contend that we need to explore the social and intellectual history of the idea of Haiti in Cuba. How was the violent destruction of slavery by the enslaved themselves understood and discussed in a society where a similar model of slavery was taking root? What news of the Saint-Domingue revolution circulated in Cuba?
Through what specific points of contact? Among whom? With what language and images? And with what resonance? Asking such questions allows us to better understand questions about the material and cognitive encounters and connections between the simultaneous destruction and expansion of slavery in the nineteenth century.
An Unlikely Source, An Impossible Alliance Material daily links between the Haitian Revolution and Cuban society produced distinct streams of information or news that traveled from one colony to the other. In this paper, I will examine three such sources of Haitian news in depth. I chose these three in particular because they highlight on the one hand how rich and detailed was the information about the revolution that arrived in Cuba and — on the other — the capacity of that information to reach different social sectors in Cuba.
The first source of information I will analyze involves the movement of people between the scenes of the Haitian Revolution and Cuban society. Tens of thousands of French refugees left the turbulence of revolution in Saint-Domingue to resettle in Cuba. But rather than focus on this migration, I focus instead on movements in the other direction. People in Cuba actually traveled to the scenes of revolution and brought back first-hand accounts of revolutionary events in which they themselves were directly implicated.
When Spain declared war on France in February , that war came quickly to the island of Hispaniola, where these two countries shared a border that had already been a hot zone since the start of the revolution in Saint-Domingue. These forces came to be called the black auxiliaries; they retained their own internal organization, but now received arms, provisions, and orders from the Spanish military administration. As a result of this pact, by mid, almost every major slave and former slave leader was fighting for Spain against France.
Relying on the services of these black auxiliaries, Spain came to control a large swath of territory formerly held by France and, in , even appeared poised to take the capital city of Le Cap, surrounded by what had been — and many hoped could be once more — the richest sugar country in the world. There, these men from Cuba became intimately enmeshed in the revolution that would turn Saint Domingue into Haiti. They complained that former slaves seemed to flaunt their newfound power and Spanish vulnerability.
In the language and tone of written communication between black leaders and Cuban commanders, this sense of role inversion shows up clearly. White officers wrote to former slaves addressing them as friends and exuding deference.
New black officers wrote letters incessantly requesting supplies of all kinds, stamping their missives with images of trees of liberty topped with crowns sustained by naked black men3. The inversion of roles was given material form and official sanction in military ritual and ceremony. Armona says the stamp was used on a letter from Biassou, which he received on the 12th of that month, and which he forwarded to the Captain General.
For a discussion of slave royalism and the on-the-ground compatibility of royalist and republican motifs, see Dubois, Avengers, At the ceremony, it was the officers of two Cuban regiments who awarded the medals. Men from the Cuban regiments, who gathered to witness the concession of this highest honor, played the military music, paraded with the medal recipients, and joined the two black officers in a lavish two-hour meal prepared in their honor4.
The encounter between the Cuban officers and the rebel slaves represented a clear inversion of roles, and everyone who witnessed and participated in it seemed to see it as just that. Just as palpable as this inversion of roles, however, was the struggle of these same Cuban commanders to apprehend and in a sense classify the novel political, military, and social landscape that lay before them.
Confronted with a large army of rebel slaves only nominally under Spanish command, Armona and others had trouble figuring out how to approach and address them. Armona, for example, routinely recorded such discrepancies. He mentioned that they referred to themselves as generals, brigadiers, and lieutenants. He seemed about to record a difference in the way the Spanish named these same leaders, but then added, sheepishly almost, that he and his colleagues called them that, too.
Here the documents produced out of the routine and material contacts between slave rebels and white commanders reveal the traces of competing ways of naming the history represented by this revolution. The alliance between the slave rebels and the Cuban officers reminds us that the contact between colonial Cuba and revolutionary Saint-Domingue involved significantly more than Haitian news passively making its way to Cuban ports.
What we have here is rather something much more sustained and meaningful. The Marquis de Casa Calvo, for instance, came from one of the wealthiest sugar families in Havana. There, he acquired slaves to ship back to his plantations in Cuba; he purchased sugar-making equipment from French plantations being destroyed by his allies, and sent that back to Havana as well. These Cuban officers and soldiers had contact with slave insurgents and leaders, corresponding with them, sometimes eating and celebrating with them, and eventually — after Toussaint broke with the Spanish and allied with the French — suffering military defeat at their hands.
After taking part in those unprecedented events, they returned to Cuba. Other soldiers and officers returned to Cuba bringing with them slaves purchased or taken from Saint-Domingue. All came back with stories and memories they might have felt eager to share freely in a society they hoped was the antithesis rather than the precursor of the revolutionary upheavals they had just witnessed.
Through these Cuban officers and soldiers the world of the Haitian Revolution met the world of the sugar revolution in Cuba, that is, the ascendancy of slavery and the slave trade, and of sugar and large scale plantation agriculture.
The Circulation of Haitian News in Black Havana But in the world of burgeoning slavery in Cuba, there were other ways to hear and learn of revolutionary Saint-Domingue. Sometimes it is possible to discern the specific routes of transmission; other times we can only see See Ada Ferrer, The Making and Unmaking of Slavery: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution, manuscript in preparation, chapter 3.
Just two weeks after the start of the Haitian Revolution, in early September , authorities in Havana grew alarmed when they learned that people of color in the area were sacrificing pigs in honor of the slave insurgents. The prospect raises the possibility that Havana was home to some version of a Bois-Caiman ceremony, the famous if disputed ritual beginning to the revolution, in which Haitian conspirators took blood oaths and sacrificed a black pig as preparation for the war they were about to commence7.
Whether or not such ceremonies were taking place in Havana, as authorities feared, the prospect alone makes it very likely that just days after the turmoil erupted in Saint-Domingue, people in Cuba — and specifically people of color — knew about those events and were thinking and digesting them actively. Indeed, in casual street encounters between free urban blacks and local whites, in confrontations between masters and slaves, in heated exchanges between black suspects and white interrogators, Cuban people of color regularly referred to the Haitian Revolution as something they knew about and perhaps hoped to emulate.
Slaves recruited others to conspiracy by urging them to do as their counterparts had done in St. While the regular invocations of Haiti by slaves and free people of color leave no doubt that they learned and used knowledge of revolutionary events, on their own they do not tell us how and from what sources they acquired that knowledge.
There were, of course, many sources: from the stories told by escaping refugees, sea captains, and crews, to the official reports by French officials which spawned rumors and vivid talk among the local populace.
But among the many possible sources, some are potentially surprising. One such source is the Gaceta de Madrid, the official newspaper of the Spanish government in Madrid. According to Captain General Someruelos, this posed a significant problem. Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies, A transcription of the letter also appears in Someruelos to Sec.
Here were stories of the revolutionary terror in Paris, of abolitionist debates in Britain, of war in Europe. And in regular snippets and sometimes in longer pieces taken mostly from French, British, and US newspapers, the story of the Haitian Revolution unfolded in incredible and dense detail, from the first article on the attacks of August to the repeated installments about black military victories in Indeed, by the end of the conflict, the Gaceta was even publishing articles and reprinting translated documents that gave significant insight into the ideas of the black insurgents.
It published the words of the emerging Haitian leadership. The issue of the gazette that had prompted the complaint by the Captain General, in fact, contained two translated proclamations by Haitian leaders. In both documents, the black leaders invited refugees who had fled the colony to return and live peacefully under the new system.
But their invitation also entailed a very clear and explicit threat. The God who protects us, the God of free men, commands us to extend towards them our victorious [vencedores] arms. But those who, intoxicated with a foolish pride, […] [those who] think still that they alone form the essence of human nature, and who pretend to think that they are destined by heaven to be our owners and our tyrants, [we tell them] never to come near the island of Santo Domingo, because if they come, they will find only chains and deportation These words made manifest the power of new black leaders, who forbade the return of Saint-Domingue to its colonial ruler and who were willing to admit only those refugees who deigned to live under a government of former slaves and in a society without slavery.
Just one week after Someruelos penned his attack on the publication and circulation of this document, a new proclamation appeared in the pages of the gazette. This time it was the Haitian declaration of independence, signed by Dessalines on January 1, , and published in the gazette six months later on June We know that other copies of the Haitian declaration of independence had already reached Cuba aboard French ships and that authorities on the island had done their best to have them confiscated, and then translated and sent to Madrid But in spite of the attempts to limit its circulation, in June the declaration was translated, published, and Gaceta de Madrid, 23 de Marzo de Gaceta de Madrid, 1 de Junio de Thus, we know that people of color in Cuba were able to read the Haitian declaration of independence, a proclamation of former slaves who had vanquished their masters by force of arms.
It was not only that people of color learned of Haitian news-according to the gazette itself: there was not one black person who did not already know them by memory. It was also that with repetition and circulation, the example acquired more and more substance. What circulated, however, was not just vague examples or even rich narratives of retribution and justice. With the publication and circulation of such declarations, it was also the very intellectual production of the revolution that circulated.
That critique was read with appetite and fascination and urgency by men of color who gathered around Havana to hear and talk of it. There is, of course, no way to answer this kind of question with any degree of certainty. But asking it is important. If we think of the history of slavery globally, we see that its destruction in SaintDomingue as a result of revolution coincided temporally with the entrenchment of slavery precisely in places like Cuba, southern Brazil, and parts of the United States South.
In Cuba, slaves living through and embodying that entrenchment heard news of revolutionary Haiti and appear to have thought about it in relation to their own enslavement and their own prospects of freedom. In this final section of the paper, then, rather than focus on routes of transmission for revolutionary news, I experiment with thinking about the ways in which enslaved people in Cuba consumed and invoked the Haitian Revolution. To examine how slaves might have understood the Haitian Revolution, we have a valuable resource in the thousands of pages of judicial testimony taken from enslaved men and women in moments of suspected or actual 13 The Spanish gazette does not appear to have published the Haitian Constitution of , even though it was published by several international gazettes and newspapers.
When conspiracies were revealed or suspected, and when rebellion erupted, planters and authorities collaborated to find answers. They brought before them men and women, guilty and innocent, and asked them question after question. Witnesses answered, and scribes paraphrased those responses in the third person. The testimonies from any number of such incidences amounts easily to thousands of pages, some with surprising insights into Cuban slavery precisely at the moment of its expansion and precisely at the moment in which the Haitian example circulated.
In these testimonies, enslaved men and, much more rarely, women sometimes invoked the Haitian Revolution with great regularity, sometimes not at all. When Haiti came up, it did so in three ways, all of which reflected the ways in which slaves in Cuba not only knew about the revolution, but also used it to think about their own enslavement and to engage the political currents of their time.
First, Cuban slaves talked about the Haitian Revolution in very general terms, which highlighted a strong sense of admiration and, often, a desire to emulate the bold move of their Haitian counterparts. This was, of course, the fear of both planters and authorities.
The words of captured slaves, then, were not entirely comforting. Haiti was for their servants clearly an example to hold up. The leaders of the conspiracy were three enslaved men. The first was a Saint-Domingue-born slave who allegedly boasted to others that he had participated in the revolution; another was a Cuban Creole who could read and write; the third a Congolese man, perhaps recently arrived.
Some of the enslaved questioned in connection to the plot, confessed to telling others that, if they rose up, killed the whites, and took the fort in town, they would be free like their counterparts in Haiti, who had taken back the land from the whites. Sometimes this kind of invocation became a sort of dare: if the French slaves could do it, why not them?
For these slaves, Haiti signified not only the murder of whites or the end of slavery, but a more general victory as well: the forceful taking of the land and the exercise of total mastery. The second type of Haitian invocation in the slave testimonies is a biographical one, when slaves talked about specific Haitian leaders they admired. Part I — The Making of the Cuban Republic 33 black revolutionary leaders resounded among the population of color in Havana like the names of well-known conquerors.
The testimony of slaves would seem to prove him right. Haiti also came up in third form. In many of these alleged conspiracies and rebellions, the accused made regular reference to aid coming directly from Haiti. This claim — present not only in Cuba but elsewhere in the Atlantic World — was not a vague expression of sympathy or admiration for Haiti or Haitian leaders, as we have seen in some of the examples above, but rather a concrete if generally unfounded assertion that they believed that this society which they so much admired stood ready to commit money, arms, and forces for their own liberation.
Sometimes the alleged aid was in the form of a ship waiting off the coast with men and munitions. Sometimes it was in the form of emissaries of Haitian leaders bringing proclamations of freedom for local slaves. Such assertions in the testimony allow us to glimpse a potentially strong sense of solidarity, in which enslaved people in Cuba or elsewhere might imagine themselves to be, on the one hand, emulators of Haitian rebels and, on the other, objects of Haitian benevolence and of active Haitian foreign policy.
One instance in which claims about Haitian aid gathered considerable momentum was during the Aponte rebellion, the most widespread and ambitious conspiracy in Cuba in this period Its leader was a free black carpenter who recruited slaves and free people showing potential rebels a book of pictures he had made, which included images of scenes and people from Saint-Domingue.
Others who were implicated appear to have seen or carried printed pictures of Henri Christophe, the revolutionary leader who became president and later king of the northern part of Haiti in Conspirators thus drew bold and explicit links between their efforts and both the history and present state of Haiti. But they also went further, asserting that this link was reciprocal: they emulated Haiti, yes, but Haiti itself stood behind them, prepared to aid them in their endeavor. Several key witnesses testified that there were 5, Haitians waiting either in the hills of Monserrate Havana or on boats off the harbor ready to swoop in and fight for the freedom of Cuban slaves as soon as the rebellion began.
Even more witnesses asserted that there were one, two, or several Haitian officers in Havana with orders from King Henri Christophe to negotiate and, if necessary, fight for their freedom Seemingly fantastic claims about Haitian assistance emerge, in fact, in many slave conspiracies and rebellions across the Americas. Some historians have accepted such claims and incorporated them into narratives about an unwavering Haitian commitment to an expansive New World freedom, despite a glaring lack of evidence.
Others, to the contrary, have dismissed them as spurious, as products of either overactive imaginations or of loose or drunken talk. Rather than focus on the question of the reality of Haitian assistance, it may be more fruitful to explore when, why, and under what specific circumstances, Cuban or other slaves believed Haitian assistance was imminent.
What might have enslaved and free people of color in Havana had in mind when they spoke of Christophe sending delegates or troops on behalf of their own freedom? Might such claims have referred to anything specific? First, while there were no formal political relations between Spain or its colonies and independent Haiti, just two years before the rebellion, Christophe and the Governor of Havana had had sustained communication about the possibility of exchanging delegates or representatives.
It is impossible to know the extent to which this back 17 See, for example, the careo judicial confrontation between Aponte and Ternero, in ANC, AP, leg. On Christophe sending agents to meet Part I — The Making of the Cuban Republic 35 and forth about potential emissaries of Christophe would have circulated beyond the governor and his immediate circle. It is interesting to think about a possible connection here, but we are still a long way from understanding a certain origin for the assertions about Haitian assistance for Cuban slaves.
During their several-month sojourn in Havana they appear to have had contact with local people of color, who, according to the testimony of the sojourners, displayed great interest in their military uniforms. Haiti, in the testimony, was a state that carried the promise of emancipation to slaves like themselves in other colonies of the region.
What might have made witnesses so sure that Haiti was engaged in a policy of international anti-slavery and that they themselves would be its beneficiaries? Early in , news began arriving in Havana about new and daring acts by Christophe in the north, who was intercepting slave ships bound for Cuba, liberating the Africans on board, bringing them to Haitian soil as free men and women, and sending the crews and empty ships on their way. If the news circulated, we can be sure that one of its key points of transmission would have been the docks, where the arrival of empty slave ships, whose original human cargo had been taken to Haiti, would have found a most attentive audience.
As is well known, many of the figures questioned in association with the Aponte conspiracy were men who frequented the docks, as workers or simply as residents of a bustling port city. Many further testified to having heard news of the current conspiracy and of Haiti itself at the docks. It was in fact at the docks were Haitian artifacts and images circulated from hand to hand. The fate of the Santa Ana, which was taken to the port of Gonaives, may be linked to the history of the famous village and ritual center of Souvenance, a few miles from that city.
In oral and popular history, the origins of the place are associated with a slave ship whose human cargo was liberated and taken to that area in roughly this period. To my knowledge, no one has worked on the Haitian capture of slave ships, and it is thus impossible at this point to know how widespread or rare the practice was, whether it affected other slave holding powers, the extent to which such acts were carried out by north or south, or the fate of those Africans aboard the ships captured.
Years later, Christophe, in correspondence with British abolitionist Thomas Clarkson, appears to deny involvement in such practices, writing on March 20, , «Though it is only with the greatest grief that I can bear to see Spanish vessels engaged in the slave trade within sights of our coasts, it is not my intention to fit out ships of war against them». See Leslie Griggs and Clifford Prator, eds.
Conclusion If we return to our original question of how the Haitian Revolution was apprehended in a Cuba that was just making the transition to full-fledged slavery, we see now how insufficient it is to speak simply about vague notions of fear and hope. Whatever sense of fear or hope may have been sparked in Cuba by the Haitian Revolution would have likely drawn on ample raw material, on detailed narratives, and suggestive stories available to residents of Cuba regarding those events.
Likewise, the oft-repeated assertion that Creole elites feared that any attempt at political independence would awaken the population of color, perhaps makes more sense when we know that some of that elite had first-hand experience with unsuccessful attempts to mobilize and then contain former slaves in support of elite political goals. Cuban men deployed on the Saint-Domingue-Santo Domingo border had been defeated by some of those slave forces in Cuban residents had opportunities to witness defeated whites evacuate the French colony and then to read the proclamations of their black victors.
The fears or hopes allegedly inspired by the Haitian Revolution would have been shaped by these very concrete contacts and experiences. But what of the enslaved and free people of color specifically? Undoubtedly, the example of the Haitian Revolution gave local resistance, conspiracy, and rebellion new momentum. Even though no rebellion came close to assuming the proportions of the Haitian example, and even though in most cases actual rebellion was thwarted, it is clear that the Haitian Revolution, and Haiti itself, became part of the cognitive world of the enslaved, who engaged it as possibility and goal and invoked it as metaphor for freedom or radical change.
But for them clearly it was more than just a symbol, Haiti was also a living, active agent, a viable state with the potential to have an impact on their own lives. They consumed and thought about the most current information available to them, developing and sharing interpretations with one another about the meanings of the Haitian Revolution in relation to their own world. The traces of this intellectual process are audible in the voluminous slave testimony.
In this light, slave testimony about Haiti emerges less as vague abstraction or groundless hope. Fattacciu Chapter 2 Cuba and Fernando Po in the Second Half of the 19th Century [The Cubans] could have taken this island from the Spaniards if they had tried […] but there was no organization among them at all, and so little caution that everybody knew their escape plan1.
As climate and tropical diseases made colonization difficult, the colonial administration decided the Afro-Cuban population would have a better chance of adapting to the weather and helping to develop the cultivation of cane and cacao there2. This was the first contact between the two Spanish colonies, and it would not be the last. In and , the Spanish government renewed its request to Cuban authorities for another group of emancipados to be sent to the island.
However, for reasons to be explained below, the project was never realized. Subsequent expeditions from Cuba to the African island, in and , would no longer carry emancipados but instead political prisoners involved in the battle for independence3. A study of the relations between Fernando Po and Cuba in the late 19th century suggests different reflections regarding the historiography of the John Holt, The Diary of John Holt, Liverpool: Young, ,
He called for free elections, freedom of criticism, and freedom of the press. While the Communist Party would benefit most from this open atmosphere, it would no longer possess a monopoly on power. As long as political parties did not try to restore capitalism, they could operate, recruit, and compete for power. Trotsky imagined a restored involvement of workers in economic policy.
Science and the arts might flourish once more. Credit: Gunther Schenk. Stalin not only hunted Trotsky but anyone close to him from country to country. Klement was kidnapped, presumably by GPU agents. They seized him and left his food on the table untouched. A few weeks after he vanished, a body, missing its head and legs, washed up on the Seine.
It was not enough to just kill Klement; decapitation and dismemberment were required to incite extra terror. Despite a difficult relationship with his father, Leon worked tirelessly for him in Paris. When Sedov checked himself into a private clinic in Paris run by Russian emigres complaining of an appendicitis, the Soviets knew. He died there under mysterious circumstances in February , five months before Klement disappeared. To this day, the cause of death has not been conclusively determined.
In a moving tribute to his son, Trotsky told of the terrible grief he and Natalia felt. That did not save him. He vanished and, it is believed, was shot in October Kirov was gunned down in December Likely, Stalin himself was responsible for the assassination. The murder gave him the pretext for systematically and publicly purging the Communist Party. Old Bolsheviks, such as Zinoviev and Kamenev, stood accused of conspiring against the Soviet government.
Following their death sentences, several successor trials ensued through Trotsky knew that a combination of torture, threats to family members, and promises of freedom, if confessions were given, allowed the travesties to occur. The violence swept away both supporters and opponents of Stalin and Stalinism. Radek and Rakovsky, former allies of Trotsky who later submitted to Stalin, were killed. Others were murdered in labor camps, the infamous Gulags, or in prisons.
The secret police put him to death in January In this period, the Soviet Union was perhaps the most dangerous place in the world for independent-thinking Marxists, an astounding thing to say, given the records of the fascist regimes. From the Show Trials, ever more outlandish tales about Trotsky were spun. The stories relayed by the accused placed him at the center of a massive, worldwide anti-Soviet conspiracy. Turning his calls for an anti-Stalin revolution against him, Vyshinsky pilloried Trotsky, the inveterate adversary of fascism, as the master fascist, as the string-puller and puppet-master.
Yet Trotsky fought back vigorously. Its aim was to provide a revolutionary alternative to the Moscow-led Third or Communist International Comintern. This Fourth International would bolster radical, anti-Stalinist working-class parties and unions around the world. When it came to repudiating the preposterous charges raised in the Show Trials, he received considerable help.
Similar organizations were founded elsewhere. Only one of the members, Alfred Rosmer, a syndicalist and early supporter of the October Revolution, could be described as a Trotsky supporter. Traveling to the Mexican capital, the Commission held thirteen sessions in April Trotsky, speaking in his quite imperfect English, responded to every accusation leveled by the Stalinists.
He cast a powerful impression on those present, including the liberal Dewey, no admirer of his politics. In September , the Commission issued its findings, clearing Trotsky of all the charges. The following years were dark, awful times for Trotsky, Natalia, and their inner circle. Losing two sons and innumerable comrades and friends to Stalin did not break his spirit, but the losses threw a shadow over everything he had done. With the Japanese in China, Hitler moving into Austria, and threatening Czechoslovakia, and Mussolini dreaming of a Roman Empire in the Mediterranean, the prospect of a new world war soon overtook him.
Following the Munich Agreement of September , Trotsky expected the Soviet government to seek an agreement with Hitler. Whatever anti-Nazi sentiments issued from the Kremlin, Trotsky thought, were not worth the paper they were written on. In the aftermath of the Show Trials, he believed an even more important reason would drive Stalin to come to an agreement with Berlin: survival. The Stalin regime was too despotic and unpopular to weather the storm of total war. According to Trotsky, a settlement with Nazi Germany might secure some stability for the dictatorship.
When Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet foreign minister, and Joachim von Ribbentrop, his German counterpart, signed a Non-Aggression Pact between the two nations on August 23, , Trotsky was scarcely surprised. In a steady stream of articles and interviews, he condemned the role of the Soviet Union, a state that, at least in its rhetoric, had sided with the colonized against imperialism.
The betrayal of the principles of Red October had reached a new level of treachery. Perhaps Stalin, Trotsky surmised, now seemed content with partitioning Eastern Europe with the German fascists. The Soviet attack on Finland in November , the beginning of the Winter War , made him wonder how far Stalin was willing to go to create a sphere of interest for himself.
While he again damned Soviet aggression, Trotsky, at the same time, despised Marshal Mannerheim, the right-wing Finnish leader rallying his people. This was a huge dilemma for Trotsky. How could one support social revolution in areas under Soviet control without giving any ground on his anti-Stalinism?
An even bigger problem posed itself. Trotsky had no doubt Hitler would do so at the earliest opportunity. His answer was absolutely unequivocal. Socialists and workers everywhere must rally to the defense of the Soviet Union.
The achievements of the Bolshevik Revolution had to be defended. This position, which alienated many of his adherents, coexisted with another claim—the new world war would mean the end of the Stalin regime. Trotsky predicted that the workers and peasants of the USSR, their revolutionary energies revitalized, would put an end to the Stalinist bureaucracy.
The revolution he outlined in The Revolution Betrayed would itself form part of a gigantic wave of revolutionism engulfing the Axis powers and the capitalist democracies. Like Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini would meet the severe justice of the proletariat.
The latter, in turn, would form part of a World Federation of Socialist Republics. This would have amounted to the greatest geopolitical revolution in human history with socialism becoming a truly global societal form. Trotsky held to this radical perspective even as Stalin signed a commercial agreement with Hitler in February , then seized Bessarabia and Bukovina from Romania, and annexed Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
At the end of February, Trotsky wrote a final testament, fearing death was near. It was led by the painter David Alfaro Siqueiros, once a friend of Rivera, but now a convinced Stalinist. Miraculously, Trotsky and Natalia survived. There was an immediate outpouring of grief across the nation, and those in the Communist party vowed to carry on his ideology. The truth was, he was recovering from a serious illness at a special medical center. Crucially, Stalin had purposefully given Trotsky the wrong date of the funeral, causing him to miss it and allowing Stalin to take the spotlight throughout the funeral.
The battle for succession had begun. Leon Trotsky working at his desk , , via welt. When he was a young man, Trotsky moved to the city of Mykolaiv, where he quickly became caught up in the Communist revolutionary movement and became a devoted Marxist. His devotion led him to London, where he worked for the exiled leader of the Russian communists, Vladimir Lenin. Trotsky and Lenin worked on Communist pamphlets and became close friends. However, ideological differences drove them apart as the Communist Party of Russia split into two factions: the radical Bolsheviks and the less hard-lined Mensheviks, with Lenin and Trotsky on either side, respectively.
When Russia was overcome by the Revolution in , both Lenin and Trotsky joined forces to lead the Bolshevik party to power, with Trotsky renouncing his Menshevik political views. When the nascent Soviet Union was faced with the prospect of a Civil War, Trotsky organized a new Red Army overnight and led them to victory against the establishment. There he lived a quiet life before joining the Bolshevik cause, for which he performed their illegal but necessary work of bank robberies and kidnappings to raise funds.
In , when Lenin triumphantly returned from exile in Switzerland to lead Russia towards a Bolshevik revolution, Stalin slipped out of the spotlight. During these early years, Stalin worked in the background of party meetings, forming alliances and gathering intelligence that would benefit his cause to one day lead the Bolshevik party. Trotsky, riding an armored train emblazoned with a Red Star, was an impeccable military leader and successfully led the Soviet army to victory over the Tsarist loyalist forces.
While Trotsky fought on the front lines against the White Army, Stalin busied himself on administrative tasks, such as recruitment, promotion, and gathering information on other party members. Alexei Rykov was instead voted in as the first minister. In , the Politburo, the bureaucratic administration of the Communist Party and the Soviet Union, requested Trotsky resign from his position as head of the Soviet army.
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