Free times are on the way; If you and I agree; To share the world and all it holds. A sane society.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James

An interesting historical account, The Black Jacobins, by C.L.R. James, examines the Haitian (San Domingo) Revolution of 1791-1803. Throughout the book, James takes an original look at revolution by analyzing revolutionary potential and progress according to economic and class distinctions, rather than racial distinctions.

James intriguingly interweaves the goings on of the French Revolution with the Haitian Revolution, and relates the events and influences of each to one another. San Domingo is the ultimate French colony, and also the focal point of the African slave trade for the French empire. Because of this, France's struggles with the United States, Britain, and within its own varying social classes, invariably affect the progress of the revolution in San Domingo. Because, for James, class distinctions are stressed over those of race, he sees the French Revolution as not only a background, but a heavy influence on the Haitian Revolution as well. Events such as the proletariat uprisings and the taking of the Bastille have heavy impacts on the Slaves of San Domingo.

For the full review and dialogue see here:

See also wiki:

My thanks to Marcos at world socialist movement forum for the links

CLR James

1 comment:

  1. i have been asked to research the links between CLR James' work on the part ordinary black citizens played in the Hatian revolution and the part of black people in the Civil Rights movement in America. I have found this work inspiring and camnnot believe 'the Black Jacobins' is not widely read. It marked the beginning of black history as it is currently understood...