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This was originally published in 2006 on the New Afrikan Black Panther Party’s website.

The economic nature of racism is not simply an aside… Racism is a fundamental characteristic of monopoly capitalism.”
George L. Jackson, 1971


Many people believe that racism – indeed the very concept of race itself – develops automatically when groups of people with different complexions, hair, and body types are brought together.  This is not so!  Actually, the concept of race is barely 500 years old.  The common people have been programmed into accepting “race” as a normal and natural thing, to prevent them from questioning, investigating, and challenging the ideas and roots of race and racism. Race and racism are the inventions of a specific social class, and devised to serve a specific social purpose.  The creators are the oppressor capitalist ruling class, and the purpose is to divide the laboring class that the capitalists exploit against themselves.  This is because, if united, the workers pose the single greatest threat to the capitalist class monopoly over social wealth, power, and control. A dispassionate study will show that in every situation where race has arisen to become a sharp dividing social factor, the hands of the capitalists can be seen pulling the strings, and it is only they who benefit from the conflicts.

George Jackson clearly recognized this.  He pointed out that while white racism, the dominant form of racism in Amerika, expresses itself as:

“…the morbid traditional fear of Blacks, Indians, Mexicans, [and] the desire to inflict pain on them when they began to compete in the industrial sectors.  The resentment and the seedbed of fear are patterned into every modern capitalist society. It grows out of a sense of insecurity and insignificance that is inculcated into the workers by the conditions of life and work under capitalism.  This sense of vulnerability is the breeding ground of racism.  At the same time, the ruling class actively promotes racism against the Blacks of the lower classes.  This programmed racism has always served to distract the huge numbers of people who subsist at just a slightly higher level than those in a more debased condition (in the 1870’s the strikes frequently ended in anti-Chinese or anti-Black lynchings)…Racism has served always in the U.S. as a pressure release…”

The sole concern of the capitalist class is to secure and increase their profits and power. They do not care whom or what they damage or destroy to accomplish this, nor do they care what nationality or complexion the people are whom they exploit, only that they keep the exploited workers unable to unite and mobilize against their conditions of exploitation.  Racism has been the capitalists’ most effective method of accomplishing this. Here in North Amerika, the game began in the late 1600’s.


The first laborers exploited in North Amerika under British colonialism consisted of Afrikan, European, and Indian slaves and indentured servants.  The concept of ‘race’ did not exist then. The laborers were all equally oppressed and exploited of their wealth-producing labor by the capitalist plantation owners and thus saw each other as equals. They lived, labored, loved, suffered, bred, bled, escaped, and died together. They also repeatedly rebelled and revolted together. But because they lacked a unifying leadership and vision or control over resources, they were unable to come together en masse to wage a united revolution to overthrow the plantation elite and the British colonial government that served and backed the elite. This all changed in 1676 when Bacon’s Rebellion occurred.

The leader of the rebellion, Nathaniel Bacon, was a young plantation owner. He had left England to settle in the British colonies in 1673, and was appointed to the Council of British Colonial Governor William Berkeley. The colonial government’s principal concern (as with any capitalist government) was to maintain stability in the colonies while protecting and expanding the holdings and wealth of the ruling class. To achieve this, Berkeley promoted developing trade relations and peace with the Indians who lived on surrounding lands. Bacon, however, promoted running the Indians off their land to expand the colonial settlements. In defiance of Berkeley’s policies, Bacon independently organized and led poor farmers who lived on the outskirts of the colonies (most of whom were recently freed indentured servants), on murderous terror raids against nearby Indian communities.  But instead of fleeing, the Natives responded with counter-raids against their attackers. Bacon, unable to match the Indian counter-attacks, sought but was denied military support from Berkeley.

Bacon then turned on the established colonial ruling class and Berkeley’s government. He armed and organized the colony’s Afrikan and English slaves with promises of freedom, and in 1676 led them in revolt against the colonial rulers. The revolt succeeded in overthrowing the colonial ruling class and government, and captured the capitol at Jamestown, Virginia.

However, six months into the revolt, and at the height of his power, Bacon died of influenza.  Bacon’s Rebellion, deprived of its leader and organizer, collapsed, and the colonial ruling class and Council quickly regained control, though not without a determined last stand by the core group of rebels, principally composed of Afrikan slaves. It was at this point that the plantation elite and their reinstated government realized the immense danger and power of a unified working class. Consequently they decided to ensure that no united revolt like Bacon’s Rebellion occurred again.  Their solution was to split the lower class by permanently enslaving one sector while winning the loyalty of another sector, inciting its fear and contempt against and using it to police the enslaved sector. To divide, agitate, and rule was the plan. This they accomplished by inventing the concept of race and dividing the lower class along racial lines.

Laws were immediately passed that established the categories of “negro” (Spanish for “black”), and “white” as distinct racialized social statuses. In 1682 legislation was enacted that made slavery a permanent and hereditary status for all “Blacks,” and over the next several decades slavery and indentured servitude of ‘whites’ were phased out. Further laws were passed that forbade and penalized positive social interactions between the races, particularly escapes, marriages, and procreation.

The poor white men made up the body of the colonial militias and, beginning in 1727, were conscripted into manning slave patrols under fines and other penalties if they refused. This plantation police force was the forerunner and grandparent of today’s urban police forces that continue to be concentrated against people of color to repress them across Amerika with violence and terror. In most areas, the slave patrols came to outnumber the black slaves.  A variety of minor privileges were also granted to the poor whites, including tiny plots of land to live on – at the Indians’ expense – a musket, the authority to kill rebellious Blacks, tax exemptions, and other benefits for manning slave patrols, greater leniency in the eyes of the law than Blacks, voting privileges, etc.

By inventing the social category of “white,” and granting the lower class Europeans a share in power over the super-exploited and enslaved Afrikans, the capitalists created a scheme that caused the poor Europeans a false sense of privileged class unity with, and a confused loyalty toward the ruling class which was the source of all of the lower classes’ poverty and misery.  By selling out their own class interests to the elite, the poor whites made a deal with the devil that saw them focus their frustrations on Blacks instead of the capitalists, and thus ensured that they would remain an impoverished and exploited class, just a step above the Blacks.

To ensure the dedication of the slave patrols, and whites in general, in repressing and containing the black slaves, the ruling class generated a paranoid fear of slave revolts and especially of “Negroes with guns.” From every pulpit, and every center of white social gathering and influence, Blacks were depicted as always plotting to revolt with the aim of murdering all whites indiscriminately (men, wimyn, and children), molesting white wimyn, and subverting  ‘good’ white Christian civilization with Black “heathenism.”  Both the political and religious institutions were, and remain today, proponents of racism and white fear of Black revolt.

The church hierarchy, which was tied in with the ruling elite, also added fuel to the fire of racism by theologizing the myth of white racial superiority over all other races, claiming that whites were the Creator’s “chosen people” destined to rule over all others as a divine right, and that slavery was a punishment ordained by the creator for Blacks as the “Curse of Canaan.”  It was through these combined methods that “white supremacy” and the very concept of the “white” and “black” races were born and spread, and remain today normalized concepts that divide the lower class to further the interests of the wealthy elite.

The capitalists found race and racism such effective tools for manipulating and undermining the working class that appeals to race and racism, (overtly and subliminally), have been their generalized method of subverting working class struggles and manipulating workers to serve as mercenaries and mindless cannon fodder in fighting capitalist wars. To solidify lower class support, the capitalists who were struggling to break free of British control appealed to poor whites to fight the Amerikan Revolutionary War (1775-1783), to achieve an independent “white nation.” The Declaration of Independence expresses this in its statement “When…it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another.”  Because of the racialized identity of “whiteness,” the colonists had come to identify themselves as a different “people” than the English.

From such wealthy elite notables and “Founding Fathers” as Benjamin Franklin (in 1751 to John Jay), James Madison, Jedediah Morse (to Andrew Johnson in 1864), they all emphasized in public and in private letters that Amerika was to be a “white nation.”  (See Steve Martinot, The Rule of Racialization, 2003). This was specified in one of the first legislative acts of the independent Amerikan government – the Naturalization Act of 1790 – that stated that the U.S. was to be a “white republic.” The “White” racialized identity which had its origins in the Virginia colony, was subsequently adopted into European thinking and served as it had in North Amerika, to rationalize European colonization of people of color in Asia, Afrika, Australia, and elsewhere, and to alienate the European working class from uniting with the super-oppressed peoples of color.

The Amerikan capitalists used the same device to justify their brutal and genocidal seizure of Indian and Mexican lands to expand their agricultural empire. They won the allegiance of the poor whites by promoting these actions as white “Manifest Destiny,” as the duty and calling of whites to conquer “inferior” peoples, and by giving out free land grants. These same appeals are used today in pursuit of U.S. conquest and repression of people of color, only the concept of white supremacy and” Manifest Destiny” have become so ingrained and normalized in the collective white Amerikan mind, that they need not be explicitly stated.  Moreover, to do so is politically incorrect and unwise in today’s world where people of color have proven unwilling to accept overtly expressed racist oppression, (witness the national independence struggles of the 20th century against European colonialism that swept Asia and Afrika; the urban uprisings, civil rights, and New Afrikan, First Nation, Mexican, and Puerto Rican liberation struggles in Amerika, the worldwide opposition to South Afrikan Apartheid, etc.).

Therefore, the white supremacist appeal today is made and pursued more clandestinely and with greater sophistication, using such code words as “spreading democracy,” “fighting terrorism,” “fighting crime,” “preventing the spread of Communism,” etc.  But any objective analysis quickly reveals that these policies, backed by extreme state violence, and demonizing labels such as “criminal,” “terrorist,” etc., are consistently applied to non-white peoples, and it’s the white U.S. population that’s appealed to in order to back these policies. That the national identity of Amerika remains that of a white nation is revealed by its population being still classified by race, with panic arising anytime the elites claim some ‘other’ race like Latin Amerikan immigrants are threatening to overrun the “white majority,” or that Blacks are a danger to the stability and moral integrity of Amerika.

White racism caused many whites, (especially of the lower class), to become so consumed and intoxicated with the myth of their racial superiority, their right to repress and contain Blacks and others’ ambitions, and the idea that their own poverty and lack of power was somehow the fault of Blacks, that they’ve resorted to confused, fundamentalist reactionary violence to subvert every effort of Blacks to improve or challenge their own conditions.  Thus, Black political and economic struggles and gains have frequently been followed by reactionary white violence, or the rise of far right-wing white terrorist groups, like the Ku Klux Klan and Knights of White Camellia for example, the white mobs that attacked Blacks in Massachusetts (1850) and Philadelphia, Boston, and Cincinnati (1830’s) to repress the Black vote; the frequent lynchings during Reconstruction (1865-77), white riots against Blacks communities when Blacks moved in large numbers to Northern and Western cities to fill industrial jobs in the early 1900’s, mob attacks and violence to repress civil rights struggles in the south during the 1950’s and 60’s, etc. This reactionary fanatical racial violence and conflict occurs always upon incitement of the ruling elite, to divert and neutralize the danger of revolt of any sector of the working class against their class exploitation and political impotence.


The divide and rule scheme was further refined based upon the claimed proposals of a Caribbean slave owner, Willie Lynch, to a gathering of plantation owners in Virginia in 1712.  Lynch proposed not only instigating sharp division between Blacks and whites, but among the Black slaves as well, by playing on minor differences between them to generate envy, fear and distrust.  He proposed that the “black slaves should trust no one except the plantation elite.  That they should be hostile toward themselves and that hostility should be maintained between them and the lower class whites.  Lynch put it this way:

“Gentlemen, I greet you here on the banks of the James River in the year of our Lord 1712. First, I shall thank you, the gentlemen of the Colony of Virginia for bringing me here. I am here to help you solve some of your problems with slaves.  Your invitation reached me on my modest plantation in the West Indies where I have experimented with some of the newest and still the oldest methods for control of slaves. Ancient Rome would envy us if my program was implemented. As our boat sailed south on the James River, named for our illustrious King, whose version of the Bible we cherish, I saw enough to know that your problem is not unique. While Rome used cords of wood as crosses for standing human bodies along its old highway in great numbers, you are here using the tree and the rope on occasion.

“I caught the whiff of a dead slave hanging from a tree a couple of miles back. You are not only losing valuable stock by hangings, you are having uprisings, slaves are running away. Your crops are sometimes left in the fields too long for maximum profit, you suffer occasional fires, your animals are killed. Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems, however, I am here to introduce you to methods of solving them.

“In my bag here, I have outlined a number of DIFFERENCES among the slaves, and I take their differences and make them bigger. I use FEAR, DISTRUST, and ENVY for control purposes. These methods have worked on my modest plantation in the West Indies and it will work throughout the South. Take this simple little list of differences, and think about them. On top of my list is “AGE,” but it is there because it starts with an “A”; the second is “COLOR” or “SHADE”, there is INTELLIGENCE, SIZE, SEX, STATUS ON PLANTATION, ATTITUDE OF OWNERS, WHETHER THE SLAVES LIVE IN THE VALLEY, ON THE HILL, EAST, WEST, NORTH or SOUTH, HAVE FINE HAIR or COARSE HAIR, or is TALL or SHORT. Now that you have a list of differences, I shall give you an outline of ACTION – but before that I shall assure you that distrust is stronger than trust, and envy is stronger than adulation, respect or admiration.

“The Black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self-refueling and self-generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.

“Don’t forget you must pitch the OLD BLACK MALE vs. the YOUNG BLACK MALE, and the YOUNG BLACK MALE vs. the OLD BLACK MALE. You must use the DARK SKIN SLAVE vs. the LIGHT SKIN SLAVE and the LIGHT SKIN SLAVE vs. the DARK SKIN SLAVE. You must use the FEMALE vs. the MALE and the MALE vs. the FEMALE.

“You must also have your white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks, but it is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect, and trust ONLY US.

“Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them. Never miss an opportunity – if used intensively for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful. Thank you, gentlemen.”

These methods of dividing slaves and Blacks versus poor whites can clearly be seen still in operation today, and the effects still remain with us – the distrust, fear, and envy. While the lower classes have come to love, emulate, and depend on the predatory capitalist class, its wealth, luxury, and artificial prestige, are all obtained through the labor, powerlessness, and poverty of the working class. Yesterday’s chattel slaves are today’s wage slaves: only the slave class today has grown to include all races and nationalities.


Kwame Nkrumah observed that the same game of racial divide and rule was played when capitalism took root in Afrika:

“The close links between class and race developed in Africa alongside capitalist exploitation. Slavery, the master-servant relationship, and cheap labor were basic to it. The classic example is South Africa, where Africans experience a double exploitation – both on grounds of color and of class. Similar conditions exist in the U.S.A., the Caribbean, in Latin America, and in other parts of the world where the nature of the development of productive forces has resulted in a racist class structure. In these areas, even shades of color count – the degree of blackness being a yardstick by which social status is measured.

“…[A] racist social structure…is inseparable from capitalist economic development.  For race is inextricably linked with class exploitation; in a racist-capitalist power structure, capitalist exploitation and race oppression are complementary; the removal of one ensures the removal of the other…

“The effects of industrialization in Africa as elsewhere, has been to foster the growth of the bourgeoisie, and at the same time the growth of a politically-conscious proletariat. The acquisition of property and political power on the part of the bourgeoisie, and the growing socialist and African nationalist aspirations of the working class, both strike at the root of the racist class structure, though each is aiming at different objectives. The bourgeoisie supports capitalist development while the proletariat – the oppressed class – is striving towards socialism.

“In South Africa, where the basis of ethnic relationships is class and color, the bourgeoisie comprises about one-fifth of the population. The British and the Boers, having joined forces to maintain their positions of privilege, have split up the remaining four-fifths of the population into “Blacks,” “Coloreds,” and “Indians.” The Colored and Indians are minority groups, which act as buffers to protect the minority whites against the increasingly militant and revolutionary Black majority. In the other settled areas of Africa, a similar class-race struggle is being waged.

“A non-racial society can only be achieved by socialist revolutionary action of the masses. It will never come as a gift from the minority ruling class. For it is impossible to separate race relations from the capitalist class relationships in which they have their roots.

“South Africa again provides a typical example…It was only with capitalist economic penetration that the master-servant relationship emerged, and with it, racism, color prejudice and apartheid…

“Slavery and the master-servant relationship were therefore the cause, rather than the result of racism. The position was crystallized and reinforced with the discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa, and the employment of cheap African labor in the mines. As time passed, and it was thought necessary to justify the exploitation and oppression of African workers, the myth of racial inferiority was developed and spread.

“In the era of neocolonialism, ‘underdevelopment’ is still attributed not to exploitation but to inferiority, and racial undertones remain closely interwoven with the class struggle.

“It is only the ending of capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism and the attainment of world communism that can provide the conditions under which the race question can finally be abolished and eliminated.”

Kwame Nkrumah, Class Struggle in Africa, 1970


World War I (1914 -1918) was a competition between the European imperialist countries for access to and control over the abundant natural resources and markets of the Third World colonies. The war generated a boom for the war industrialists, particularly the Amerikan steel and manufacturing industries that were producing and selling weapons, machinery, and spare parts needed by the European elite to supply their armies, (which were manned by the working class of course). When the U.S. entered the war in 1917, the mandatory draft created a large shortage of white industrial workers. Laborers were needed. With promises of plenty, southern Blacks were drawn by the industrialist’ job recruiters into the Northern and Western cities to fill the vacant jobs. The poor migrant Blacks were also a welcomed replacement, since they would accept work at much lower wages than the white workers would tolerate, thus increasing the capitalists’ profits by lowering labor costs.

The war’s end in 1918 saw the return of the whites in need of employment.  A strong working class movement was already underway in the U.S., which had the capitalists in a panic. They feared working class revolution, like the one that had just succeeded in overthrowing the capitalist class in Russia in 1917. To offset a united radical struggle of the working class poor, capitalist agents within the trade union movement incited the whites against the Blacks, diverting their attention away from challenging capitalist class oppression and toward the Blacks who’d “stolen” their jobs and were driving down wages.

This appeal to reactionary race hate to channel the anger of white workers away from challenging working class exploitation provoked racial violence against Blacks, which culminated in widespread white race riots in the “Red Summer” of 1919. These riots saw over 20 incidents of white mobs converging on Black neighborhoods to gang rape Black wimyn and girls, and murder and maim Black men, wimyn, children and the elderly indiscriminately.

Fast-forwarding to today, we now see an identical situation of competition over jobs along racial lines taking place between Blacks versus Mexican and Latin Amerikan migrants. Under centuries of colonial and neo-colonial policies, U.S. capitalists with government backing have robbed the fertile land and resources and crushed the economies of their countries, imposing imperialist policies that have violently driven millions upon millions off their native lands and into complete insecurity, poverty and beggary. In desperate need of jobs to provide for their families, many are forced to migrate to Amerika, to fill jobs that pay starvation wages or deprive them of benefits enjoyed by ‘legal’ workers. Their predicament duplicates that of Blacks who were forced to migrate to the northern and western cities from the south in search of employment upon being pushed off the land by Klan terror, and being otherwise compelled to live in impoverished servitude.

But instead of struggling alongside these migrant workers today, Blacks have been incited by imperialist agents and propaganda to assume much the same repressive role as the white workers during the early 1900’s. We perceive these migrants to be “stealing” “our” scarce jobs, government benefits and housing, and driving down wages. Consequently a virtual war has been taking place between Black versus Mexicans and Latin Amerikans on the streets and inside U.S. prisons. Much of the violence, which begins inside the prisons where these ‘races’ are forcibly confined in miserable close quarter, spills over into society.

In just 2005, over 300 race riots occurred in the California prison system alone, mostly between Black versus Mexican and Latin Amerikan prisoners. These conflicts have been exposed repeatedly as incited by the imperialist controlled prison guard unions. So, once again, the capitalists, whose greedy ambitions are the cause of massive poverty, job shortages, land theft, and forced migrations of both Blacks and the Native peoples of this region of the world, (who must risk their lives to cross borders created by the capitalists and white racism), have the commonly oppressed people, who are all victims of class and national oppression, warring amongst themselves.


The game of racism was not only created and used to play working class whites against people of color. It was also used between whites, and with the same purpose of undermining working class struggles against capitalist class exploitation. Indeed it was the principal method of whipping up mass hysteria in support of fascism in Western Europe during the early 1900’s. And contrary to popular deception, the U.S. capitalist elite and government supported its purpose and function, which was to suppress working class revolution. There is an extensive although repressed record in proof of this.

The tendency in mainstream circles and of the ruling class propaganda industry has been to paint German Nazism, for example, as a sort of odd latent German anti-Semitism, which was brought to the surface by a “mad” leader (Hitler), who by luck and guile found himself in power. This, however, runs counter to the actual fact that the German and Amerikan capitalists consciously and deliberately financed and pushed Hitler into power to suppress a working class revolution that was threatening to take power. The capitalist Great Depression had disillusioned the workers across Europe about the promises of capitalism, and they were looking with hope to the example of Russia, (Socialist Russia being independent of the imperialist countries was not affected by the Depression). The capitalists also feared that the destabilized middle class would join forces with the lower class workers to overthrow their economic and political control. They opted to play the race card.

By inciting “Aryan” racism – blaming non-Aryans for Germany’s economic crisis, which was actually caused by the capitalists – the Nazis won over the confused German middle and lower class and youth to subvert the working class movement and re-channel its momentum toward attacking sectors of German society that were classified as non-Aryan (“inferiors” and “degenerates”). Violent repression was thus targeted against the German Communists and radical youth, who were leading and organizing the workers’ struggle, and the Jews, Slavs, Poles, Gypsies, gay and disabled people. Overt fascism, like pure racism, was a desperate political strategy of capitalist class control.

Just as the method of allying the majority white Amerikan working class to back the capitalist class’s designs has been, by rallying them under the banner of a racialized “white nation,” so too did the German capitalists do the same using the Nazis to rally the German workers’ support under the banner of a racialized “Aryan nation.” And as intended, this incitement of racist sentiments divided a once united working class against itself, whipped up hysterical and irrational mass support for the ruling class’s designs to smash working class struggle and to back the capitalists’ aims to expand and colonize other nations, in this case not only nations of colored people but Europeans as well. Under the spell of a purely invented racism, the German masses proceed to back the Nazi war machine that saw them kill and die by the millions and carry out acts of the most savage brutality recorded in history – and all by and against white working class people.  As said, the U.S. government and business community supported Hitler and Mussolini before World War II. See for example:

  1. Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the Twentieth Century. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995. pp. 46-64;

  2. David Schmitz, Thank God They’re On Our Side: The United States and Right Wing Dictatorships, 1921-1965, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1999, Chapters 1 and 3;

  3. David Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1988;

  4. John P. Diggins. Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1972.

U.S. government internal documents explain the class-based reasons for the warm Amerikan business support for fascism that are detailed in these books. In 1937, for example, a report of the U.S. State Department’s European Division described the rise of fascism as a natural and commendable response of “the rich and middle class, in self-defense” when the “dissatisfied masses, with the example of the Russian revolution before them, swing to the Left.”  Fascism, thus, “must succeed or the masses, this time reinforced by the disillusioned middle classes, will again turn to the Left.” The report also stated that “if Fascism cannot succeed by persuasion [in Germany], it must succeed by force.”  (See Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, p. 140).  U.S. Ambassador to Russia, William Bullitt “believed that only Nazi Germany could stay the advance of Soviet Bolshevism in Europe.” (Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace: The Origins of the Cold War and the National Security State, Boston, MA: Houghton-Mifflin, 1977, p. 26).

The Amerikan charge d’affaires in Berlin wrote to Washington in 1933 that Amerika should back the Nazi Party as the hope for Germany. He stated that Nazi policies “appeal to all civilized and reasonable people.” Amerikan Ambassador Frederic Sackett noted that “it is perhaps well that Hitler is now in a position to wield unprecedented power.” (See Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, pp. 174, 133, and Chapter 9).

U.S. corporations like Ford Motor Company were totally approving of fascism; financed and profited from the Fascists states, and participated in plundering Jewish assets under Hitler’s Aryanization programs.

“Many U.S. companies bought substantial interests in established German companies, which in turn plowed the new money into Aryanizations or into arms productions banned under the Versailles Treaty. According to a 1936 report from Ambassador William Dodd to President Roosevelt, a half-dozen key U.S. companies – International Harvester, Ford, General Motors, Standard Oil of New Jersey, and DuPont – had become deeply involved in German weapons production…

“U.S. investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power, despite the Depression and Germany’s default on virtually all of its government and commercial loans. Commerce Department reports show that U.S. investment in Germany increased some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in continental Europe. U.S. investment in Great Britain…barely held steady over the decade, increasing only 2.6 percent.”

Christopher Simpson, The Splendid Blonde Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the Twentieth Century, supra, p. 64.

The U.S. government did not in fact unanimously declare European fascism an avowed enemy until it attacked U.S. interests. And even then Amerikan business interests still backed the Fascists. In fact, Prescott Bush, (grandfather of George W. Bush), and his father-in-law, George Herbert Walker, were the Nazi’s financers and traders through periods of the Jewish Holocaust, after their attacks on Britain and France, and even after the bombings of Pearl Harbor in 1941. It took the seizure of their Union Banking Corporation by the U.S. government in October 1942, under the Trading with the Enemies Act, to stop Bush and Walker.

Prior to WWII U.S. support for Italian Fascism was much the same. In December 1917, the Wilson administration expressed that the rising labor movement posed, “the obvious danger of social revolution and disorganization.”  Mussolini’s Black Shirts solved the problem with violence, referring to Mussolini’s October 1922 march on Rome, which smashed Italian democracy. The U.S. Ambassador noted with approval that the Fascists carried out “a fine young revolution.” With government backing, the racist thugs bloodily repressed working class agitation. The U.S. embassy noted, Fascism was “perhaps the most potent factor in the suppression of Bolshevism in Italy.” In a February 1925 report, the embassy also approvingly observed that the Fascists had smashed the workers struggle through “restricting the right of free assembly, in abolishing freedom of the press and in having at its command a large military organization.” It was also stated that “between Mussolini and Fascism and Giolliti and Socialism, between strong internal peace and prosperity and return to free speech, loose administration and general disorganization, Peace and Prosperity were preferred.” (See Schmitz, See Schmitz, The United States and Fascist Italy, 1922-1940, pp. 76-77). These approving pronouncements are as undemocratic as one could get. It should also be remembered that when these official champions of capitalism talk about “disorder,” and “peace” and “prosperity,” they’re speaking about these things from the perspective of their capitalist bosses in containing, repressing, and controlling the exploited workers, and against the workers’ struggles to gain control over the society’s economic and political institutions and power.

The U.S. business press spoke openly in support of Fascism. Fortune magazine, for example, devoted a special issue to Fascism in July 1934, and in its article “The State: Fascist and Total.” It commented approvingly that “the purpose and effect of Fascism is to un wop the wops,” and any views by Amerikan people that the Italians should resent Fascism, “is a confusion, and we can only get over it if we anesthetize for the moment our ingrained idea that democracy is the only right and just conception of government.”

The rise of counter-revolutionary racist Fascism in Europe was accompanied by an attendant rise of far right-wing racist counterrevolutionary elements in Amerika. The Klan for example saw a resurgence, and its membership swelled as never before in the 1920’s.

Clearly when any struggle arises from within the ranks of the working class, the capitalists incite a corresponding rise of racist elements to divide and counter the up-thrusting masses and their challenge to capitalist domination. In essence, racism, and its most fundamentalist political and military form (namely fascism) are purely counter-revolutionary tools of the capitalist class used to sabotage working class struggle by dividing, inciting and turning the working class against itself.


Racism has also been used to divide exploited Blacks against themselves to further imperialist interests. One outstanding example occurred among the people of Rwanda and resulted in the genocidal war of 1994, which saw hundreds of thousands murdered while the imperialists sat by and watched. Until the Belgians entered Rwanda with imperialist aims in 1916, the Rwandans were a united people. The various ethnic groups shared the same language and had for centuries cooperated, supported, and sustained each other. The Hutu were 85%, the Tutsis 14%, and the Twa 1% of the population. The Hutu raised crops, the Tutsis tended herds. Economic relations between them were based upon the Hutu exchanging their surplus of vegetables for surplus Tutsi livestock. Their economies also sustained each other in that the Hutus set aside land for the Tutsis to graze their animals on. The manure of the animals in turn provided fertilizer for the Hutu crops.

In 1918 the European imperialist League of Nations “awarded” Rwanda to Belgium as a colony. This Afrikan country presented a source of great wealth to the Belgian King Leopold, in the form of vast forests of rubber trees. Rubber was in high demand in the industrial countries due to the recent invention of the inflatable tire. Like the agricultural capitalists of Amerika, the Belgians needed a local slave class to work the rubber plantations and a local middle level force to police them. The colonial Belgian government, along with the Catholic Church played the race game to produce the desired result. They opened mission schools to only the Tutsi and forbade the Hutu from receiving an education.  In the schools, Rwandan history was rewritten to project the Tutsi as the racial superior of the Hutus. The myth was taught that the Tutsi were a partly Caucasian Hamitic people because of their having taller statures, thinner features, and lighter complexions than the Hutu. Identity cards were issued which classified the entire society as Hutu, Tutsi, or Twa.

The Belgians treated the Hutu with the most savage brutality to enforce their submission. Millions upon millions resisted and were massacred, while millions more had ears, noses, and limbs cut off. Tutsi chiefs were appointed by the Belgians over the Hutu to serve as agents to this brutality. The Tutsi, like whites in Amerika, were pleased to be identified as allies of the ruling powers and to believe the myth of their racial superiority. Consequently, the Tutsi also lived in perpetual fear of Hutu revenge if the Hutu ever came together in revolt.

When the national independence struggles against European imperialism began to sweep across Afrika in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the educated Tutsis took notice and agitated for Rwandan independence. In turn the Belgians backed the Hutu to repress the Tutsi. Rwanda still won independence from Belgium in 1962, but this saw the Hutu take control of the upper levels of government. The Tutsi remained in the lower ranks, continuing to control the educational system, church, and livestock. The Hutu however took much of the Tutsi land upon taking power. Many of the Tutsi fled.

A 1973 coup saw a new Hutu government take power which changed the status of the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa from racial to ethnic groupings, and sought to democratically restructure the ethnic groups within social institutions according to their numbers. This meant a larger share for the Hutu in the economy, church, and educational institutions. Thousands of Tutsi lost their jobs and fled the country. A few years later the government turned sour, state property was privatized, and the economy collapsed. In addition to droughts and famines, the imperialist International Monetary Fund imposed a neo-liberal structural adjustment program that totally devastated the country. The Tutsi were repressed and another wave fled Rwanda, to refugee camps in Uganda.

The genocidal war of 1994 was the result of the exiled Tutsis returning and seeking to regain power in Rwanda. The imperialists, including Amerika, were fully aware of preparations for the genocide before it began, but sat by as events unfolded. This “race” war, like many other race based conflicts, saw “respectable” people engaged in the murderous frenzy: teachers, doctors, nurses, journalists, and clergy. Husbands killed wives, friends killed each other, gang rapes were frequent, etc. Such is the result of race hate, racism, and the violence they spawn. Over 500,000 were killed in a matter of just a few months.

The entire “racial” division in Rwanda was, like that here in Amerika, created by a ruling capitalist elite, whose power and profits were served by dividing a previously united people along racial lines, granting one sector a share of relative power and elevated social status, and a sense of racial connection to the ruling elite, so to use it to repress and control the other sector that is super-exploited by the ruling capitalist class. While in reality the entire divided people are collectively exploited by the ruling capitalist class.


For a people, like Blacks in Amerika, who have endured centuries of brutality, degradation, disrespect, indignity, powerlessness, and being labeled “inferiors” based solely upon skin color, the desire for respect became and remains very strong. This desire for respect has left many Blacks vulnerable to the appeals of reverse racism. Reverse racism is here defined as a belief in Black superiority and white inferiority. But, for Blacks in Amerika, who have no independent access to or control over any institutions of power or productive wealth, the features of reverse racism take place primarily in their minds, as they lack the means to exercise any dominant or comparable power over those they claim to be their inferiors, namely whites.

Reverse racism first took root on a large scale with the teachings of Marcus Garvey, who preached the beauty and high culture of Blacks. In colonizing Afrika, beginning in the late 1800’s, the European imperialists used racism to alienate their country’s own oppressed working class from the super-exploited Afrikans, and to rationalize their brutal colonial oppression of Afrikans. To give a scientific gloss to their racism doctrines, the imperialists commissioned novelists and intellectuals to develop theories to support their claims of European racial superiority and African racial inferiority. These European and Amerikan writers claimed that Afrika, when discovered by the white man, was a land of backward, ignorant savages upon whom they had bestowed the benefits and blessings of Christianity and white civilization.  Garvey reversed these false and degrading European histories and views of Afrikans. He countered that ignorant, murderous, pillaging European savages attacked Afrika out of jealousy over our power, prosperity, and having achieved the highest level of civilization yet known. Neither version was objectively true. However, Garvey’s teachings had an electrifying effect on Amerikan Blacks. In only a few years millions of Blacks joined his universal Negro Improvement Association, supporting his “back to Afrika” movement. Garvey’s teachings offered Blacks a new basis for pride, self-esteem, self-confidence, and respect, all tied into a messianic notion of Black racial superiority. By turning the teaching of white supremacy on its head, Garvey brought together the largest Black organization in U.S. history.

Following his arrest and exile, and the collapse of his UNIA, Garvey’s doctrine and its Black capitalist underpinnings became the common doctrine of Black organizations that sought a large following. Most notable was the Nation of Islam, which was founded three years after Garvey’s deportation. Indeed, the NOI absorbed many who came under Garveyite influences, including some of the NOI’s most influential leaders like Malcolm X whose parents were Garveyites. The NOI, however, enhanced and gave a theological twist to Garvey’s doctrine, (much as the white church had done with white racism), by posing Blacks as the Creator’s chosen people and whites as spawns of the Devil. The NOI’s teachings were enhanced even further by its excommunicated member Clarence 13X, in his youth-based Nation of Gods and Earths, (formerly the 5% Nation), which promotes the Black man as god and whites as the actual devil.

Another proponent of subjective reverse racism was Dr. Khalid Muhammad, another excommunicated member of the NOI, who led the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) up until his death in 2001. Dr. Muhammad steered the NBPP far away from the class-based ideological and political line of the original BPP and in the direction of race-based anti-white politics, the NBPP’s present path.

The New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) distinguishes itself from such race-based politics as promoted by the NBPP, as we are proponents of class struggle and the revolutionary nationalist liberation struggles of those oppressed by imperialism. We recognize that the capitalists created and use race divisions to perpetuate conflict within the oppressed lower class sectors, and that racism and the race blame game serves the interests of the oppressor class and undermines the interests of the oppressed. This is proven historical fact. Furthermore, as revolutionary New Afrikan nationalists, we realize that there is a contradiction between race and nationalism, and moreover, that there is no nation composed of a single race. All existing nations, like the Indian Nations here in North Amerika, include whites and mixed bloods, even though there are contradictions. It was the policies of white colonialism created by the ruling class that produced these contradictions, and indeed the New Afrikan Nation. In this regard, we say all people of Afrikan heritage, regardless of skin tone, are part of a single Afrikan- New Afrikan Nation…A Pan-Afrikan Nation. Indeed most “Blacks” in Amerika are mixed bloods, mixed with white and/or Indian bloodlines.

We therefore move beyond the black and white dogmatism – Native Americans have always done this in adopting any “race” of people into their nations who embrace and respect their heritage and culture. All non-chauvinistic nations have done this. We also accept that nationalities can overlap and are not merely an either/or situation. People the world over embrace multiple nationalities, and so can New Afrikans. One can be Venezuelan and New Afrikan, or Lenape and New Afrikan, etc. This concept becomes practical revolutionary internationalism that has all oppressed nationalities struggling for both national self-determination and united multi-national anti-imperialist cooperation.

In the context of national liberation, we must remember that nationality is itself a temporary form of social organization and identity. It is a means to an end and not an end in itself. The nation is a product of social-historical development, and will wither away in time. Our orientation as genuine revolutionaries is to the whole of humynity and the future classless and nation-stateless society. Getting from here to there involves national liberation struggles and security issues. As Mao Tse Tung observed, “Proletarian nationalism is applied proletarian internationalism.” It involves uniting all who can be united at each stage of the struggle. From our point of view, the key question is building alliances between the oppressed nations within the U.S. and abroad and the multi-national proletariat.


World suffering and oppression, poverty, and want are not caused by race, but by national and class exploitation and oppression at the hands of the monopoly capitalist class. However, as repeatedly pointed out above, race and racism have been a principal tool and weapon of this class used to keep the oppressed workers of the world divided and warring among themselves, to  divide, agitate, and rule. Toward the end of their lives, both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. came to realize that basing struggle against oppression on race without challenging capitalist economic exploitation was a losing battle. And it was at that point when they began to agitate to have their followers struggle against capitalism, imperialism, and colonial oppression instead of exclusively focusing on race, (merely struggling against white oppression), that they were murdered.  George Jackson pointed this out:

“It’s no coincidence that Malcolm X and M. L. King died when they did.  Malcolm X had just put it together…You remember what was on his lips when he died, Vietnam and economics, political economy. The professional killers could have murdered him long before they did. They let Malcolm rage on Muslim nationalism for a number of years because they knew it was an empty ideal, but the second he got his feet on the ground, they murdered him.”

Fred Hampton, Sr. summed it up perfectly in his November 1969 speech delivered at the University of Northern Illinois and aptly entitled “It’s a Class Struggle Goddammit!” Fred stated:

“You know a lot of people have hang-ups with the [Black Panther] Party because the Party talks about a class struggle. And the people that have those hang-ups are opportunists, and cowards, and individualists and everything that’s anything but revolutionary. And they use these things as an excuse to justify and to alibi and to bonify their lack of participation in the real revolutionary struggle. So they say, ‘Well, I can’t dig the Panther Party because the Panthers they are engrossed with dealing with oppressor country radicals, or white people, or hunkies, or what have you.’  They say, these are some of the [reasons] why I am not in the struggle. We got a lot of answers for these people. First of all, we say primarily that the priority of this struggle is class. That Marx, and Lenin, and Che Guevara, and Mao Tse-Tung and anybody else that has ever said or knew or practiced anything about revolution, always said that a revolution is a class struggle. It was one class – the oppressed – against the other class, the oppressor. And it’s got to be a universal fact. Those that don’t admit to that are those that don’t want to get involved in a revolution, because they know as long as they’re dealing with a race thing, they’ll never be involved in a revolution. They can talk about numbers; they can hang you up in many, many ways…

“[We] never negated the fact that there was racism in Amerika, but we said… the by-product, what comes off of capitalism, that happens to be racism. That capitalism comes first and next is racism. That when they brought slaves over here, it was to make money. So first the idea came that we went to make money, then the slaves came in order to make that money. That means that ‘through historical fact, racism had to come from capitalism. It had to be capitalism first and racism was a by-product of that.”

Like Malcolm X and MLK, and not even a month after giving this speech, Fred Hampton was assassinated, shot in the head while asleep in bed, by Chicago police (in collaboration with the FBI), in a well-orchestrated hit.  Coincidence?

The imperialists’ hired guns made no pretenses about murdering Fred. No attempts were made to conceal their involvement by using puppets or agents. They used forces in government uniform, and a Black cop pulled the trigger at that. So what made Fred so threatening that the capitalists’ guns would go to such open extremes to neutralize him? It was because Fred proved to be a much greater danger to the ruling class than all other leaders of the Black Movement combined. He was not only an exceptional organizer and inspirational leader and teacher of New Afrikans, but he could turn the most reactionary of white workers into revolutionaries.

It was Fred’s work that led to the formation of the Young Patriot Party (YPP), a revolutionary party of poor redneck white Appalachian youth whose symbol was a confederate flag with a red star emblazoned on it. Fred’s approach was to appeal to class instead of being sidetracked by race. He walked into a redneck Hillbilly bar in Chicago when they asked, “What are you doing here?” he said, “I’m here to organize the Niggers.” They said, “No Niggers come in here,” and were ready to fight. He said, “Oh yeah?  Well the way I see it, they work y’all like Niggers, treat y’all like Niggers, and make y’all live like Niggers. So that makes y’all niggers in my book, and I say it’s time to get organized and deal with this shit!”

In another 1969 speech Fred pointed out:

“We got to face some facts. That the masses are poor, that the masses belong to what you call the lower class, and when I talk about the masses, I’m talking about the white masses, I’m talking about the Black masses, and the Brown masses, and the Yellow masses, too. We’ve got to face the fact that some people say you fight fire best with fire, but we say you put fire out best with water. We say you don’t fight racism with racism – we’re gonna fight racism with solidarity. We say you don’t fight capitalism with no Black capitalism; you fight capitalism with socialism…

“We have to understand very clearly that there’s a man in our community called a capitalist. Sometimes he’s Black and sometimes he’s white. But that man has to be driven out of our community, because anybody who comes into the community to make profit off the people by exploiting them can be defined as a capitalist. And we don’t care how many programs they have, how long a dashiki they have. Because political power does not flow from the sleeve of a dashiki…”

From within the Chicago chapter of the BPP, Fred was the leader of a growing multi-racial, multi-national, anti-imperialist united front that included the BPP, the Puerto Rican Young Lords Party, the Students for a Democratic Society (before the Weathermen faction took over), and the Revolutionary Youth Movement II.  He even worked to politically develop apolitical street gangs. The imperialists realized, as did the southern plantation owners, in the wake of Bacon’s Rebellion, that the greatest threat to their power is the united resistance of all elements of the oppressed laboring class. “In order for capitalism to continue to rule, any action that threatens the right of a few individuals to own and control public property must be prohibited and curtailed whatever the cost in resources…whatever the cost in blood…The national repressive institutions (police, National Guard, army, etc.), are no less determined.” (George Jackson).  It was because of the genuine threat that Fred’s revolutionary practice posed in bringing together the divided “races” into a united movement to combat imperialism that he had to be liquidated.


The position on race presented here is not to say that New Afrikans or “Blacks” should abandon or hand over our liberation struggle to the initiative or control of whites, nor that our struggle in this regard should depend or wait upon the cooperation of those who identify as “white.” Quite the opposite: We are our own liberators!

New Afrikans are an oppressed and colonized nation within Amerika. As such, reforms cannot secure racial and social equality for us. Nor can whites identify with and recognize the conditions we suffer under – no one knows our oppression, the forms it takes and the liberation we desire like we do. We are a people with a history, a culture, and an identity that is our own, and was forged over centuries of common experience and oppression. It is therefore our place and no one else’s to claim those things as uniquely our own and develop them to their highest potential as a people. In order to have any security as a people and not be dependent upon the whims of any other sectors, we must contest the basic means of our survival and governance. If we are not able to defend our own destiny and selves, we are not free.  And if we do not break free from the conditions of our colonization, we leave ourselves open to further colonization under any number of reformed conditions and methods.

Merely joining up with Amerikan whites cannot ensure this because our oppression exceeds theirs. We must be able to assert and protect our economic and political rights whether whites support us or not. Self-determination is the essence of our achieving liberation, and it is our right and duty to run our own organizations and liberation struggle. As the victims of racism only we know best how to resist it. But overall, we are oppressed as a nation and must free ourselves as a nation. In doing so we will destroy the basis of our colonized condition within the Amerikan Empire.

In aid of our struggle, the advanced sectors of white Amerika should work to destroy the notion of white skin privilege and white national chauvinism, which are the underlying national identity of Amerika. They must aid us in protecting our democratic rights and the democratic right of all peoples, including their own. In turn, we must join up with the entire multi-ethnic, multi-national, and multi-racial working class, radical youth, and progressive elements in a United Front Against Imperialism, to smash the overall imperialist system.

Imperialism is capitalism is colonialism. The defeat of imperialism requires the liberation of the colonized and neo-colonized nations on which imperialism feeds. But we must also remember that imperialism is capitalism, capitalism on a global scale that enslaves and profits off not only the workers of the non-industrialized nations and oppressed nationalities across the world, but also the workers of the industrially advanced capitalist countries. To defeat capitalism we must join together in a united struggle of the entire working class of all nations, ethnicities, and “races” in a United Front Against Imperialism, and to ultimately overthrow the capitalist political economy and its ruling class’s power, privilege, and domination over social labor and wealth. Without a repressed working class under its thumb, capitalism cannot exist. Therefore, the entire working class must deny the capitalists its labor power.

Political forms of organization to lead the whole working class are necessary, and we support them. The advanced and anti-imperialist whites must also struggle against the fanatical and backward white supremacist elements like the Klan, Neo-Nazis, etc. These elements represent overt fascism in embryonic form, who will be backed by or handed state power to suppress and divide any working class and national independence struggle that arises to challenge monopoly capitalism, as the elite are wont to do, (and Western Europe in the early 1900’s stands as a glaring example), when their power is threatened from below. They will move the most rabid racists into positions of political and military power to attack and smash revolutionary and progressive elements and incite and engage in a divisive race war. They will certainly also incite the fanatical Black reverse racists to turn on and attack Black revolutionary elements. They will justify such actions with claims that those who collaborate with any whites are “sell-outs.” To them all whites are the enemy, as they have no concept of class struggle and will back dictators and sub-fascists like Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier and the Congo’s Joseph Mobutu, so long as they have black skin.

To the reverse racists it’s all about a racial contest, and their backward thinking enables them to be used as imperialist agents to attack and kill the revolutionary elements. This is how Amilcar Cabral was assassinated in 1973.  Cabral was Afrika’s leading revolutionary, a Pan-Afrikan and anti-imperialist theorist and fighter of the 1960’s and 1970’s.  He effectively led the people of Guinea Bissau against the greatest odds, in a successful national independence struggle against Portugal’s colonialism.

Cabral emphasized that race must not be the basis of his country’s independence struggle; that he did not confuse imperialism and colonialism with the color of people’s skins, but desired to see economic, political, and military power in the hands of the working people so to free his country of all oppressive forces, be they white or black. In fact, his position and showing of solidarity with the white workers of Portugal generated a general uprising of the lower classes in Portugal that nearly saw a revolutionary overthrow of power there. He was also able to turn other white nations against Portugal’s colonial policies in his country. It was this uprising and international support coupled with the political and armed liberation struggle of the people of Guinea Bissau that ultimately forced the Portuguese military and colonial administration to abandon Guinea Bissau and return to Portugal to suppress the revolt there.

In turn, Portuguese agents inside of Cabral’s party assassinated him. Those Black agents, Cabral’s fellow countrymen, were opponents of his class-based struggle and were incited to murder Cabral because of his collaboration with “whites” and his being of mixed Afrikan and Portuguese blood. The Portuguese imperialists used proponents of reverse racism to kill the man who had led Afrika’s greatest national independence struggle, freed his people from a savage and brutal colonial existence, and even offered his country’s support to the struggles of New Afrikans here in Amerika. There are valuable lessons to be learned here.

The imperialists have used reverse racists many times in attempts to derail many other revolutionary movements of people of color and to assassinate key leaders. Such racialist elements were used to murder Malcolm X.  The FBI used such elements as the United Slaves Organization to assassinate key members of the BPP, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and Jon Huggins in January 1969. Indeed in many cases, such as during the national independence struggles in Angola and Mozambique during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the elements who promoted anti-white ideology ended up becoming open collaborators with and agents of the very “white” imperialist powers they were supposed to be fighting. For example, Holden Robert’s UPA/FNLA (Uniao das Populacoes de Angola/Frente Nacional de Libertacao de Angola), became open agents of U.S. imperialism in Angola, and Jonas Sivimbi’s Unita became open agents of the Portuguese imperialists in Mozambique. These groups became agents of their imperialist sponsors and turned their arms away from fighting the colonial forces and declared war for them against their own people’s revolutionary forces, namely the MPLA (Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola) and Frelimo (the Liberation Front of Mozambique).

At no time and in no place has playing the race card or the racial blame game ever won any people freedom from oppression. But what it has done is generate most every known major genocidal war that has occurred over the past several centuries, from the genocidal extermination of tens of millions of Native Amerikans to the genocidal attacks on Afrikans by Arabs in Southern Sudan today. The racial game produces only a back and forth cycle of bloodshed, carnage, and misery between competing racial groups. For its blind participants, racism offers nothing positive except a subjective and superficial sense of belonging to a group which professes to be “superior” to another group and the destruction of the natural compassion and sanity that would otherwise prevent humyns from brutalizing and massacring innocent people. And it’s a double-edged sword: one “race” victimizes another and is in turn victimized, or another “race” becomes the target of the victim. The complicity of many Jews today in Anglo-Zionist race-oriented genocidal policies against Palestinians and other Arabs is an outstanding example of a people who were once victims of racial violence in turn victimizing another innocent people in the name of race and claims of “God-given” right. And all to advance the wealth and power interests of a capitalist elite.

For white and Black supremacists here in Amerika, a race war would not prove beneficial to either “race!”  It would only produce a cycle of mutual slaughter of members of both races. No one would be “liberated” as a result, but multitudes of loved ones, friends, and colleagues on both sides would be brutalized, butchered, maimed, massacred, and displaced. In the race hate game no one wins – there is simply no way for a sane mind to romanticize it. But in a unified struggle of the oppressed classes and nationalities against imperialism, the very source of world suffering, misery, and racism itself can be uprooted and power turned over to those who can be trusted to use it properly, namely the oppressed masses.

In the fevered minds of racists, their fanatical howlings about violent repression or annihilation of “inferior races” sounds like fun: that is until the bloodshed begins and they find themselves on the receiving end of counter-violence that quickly spins out of control. To many racist southern whites, the brutal enslavement of New Afrikans seemed like a fun enterprise: that is until revolts like Nat Turner’s turned the guns back on them. At that point a massive Black and white abolitionist movement sprang to life to end slavery. There are simply no superior and inferior races. Indeed the very concept of race is an invention. A comrade put it this way in a letter to me:

“Racism is the spawn of colonialism and is based on lies. The technological edge the Europeans took advantage of came late in the game. Much of it was borrowed from other cultures like gunpowder from China, or the lanteen sail from Afrika, and potatoes from South Amerika. The combination of these elements and the ability to use them to establish global hegemony created the illusion of white supremacy.

“In reality, we’re all pretty damn equal. Even the difference between smart and dumb people is not so great. No one of us is really all that smart. Is capitalism smart? We let the nastiest men run the show by the nastiest means and hope that it will work out alright for the rest of us. Is that smart? We’ve got all these gadgets running, but the sum of it is we’ve burned a hole in the atmosphere and the ice caps are melting.

“Even the idea of Communism is not so brilliant. It is just common sense. Ants work together for their common welfare. The genius lies in overcoming our own stupidity to do what is necessary to survive, and this will be a big struggle and one we could lose. There is a time factor in our getting our collective act together.

“The good news is that all the elements necessary for our survival as a species are present. We just have to sort out our political-social organization, and deal with the nasty men.”

Even mainstream sources now admit that the concept of race is today a scientifically unsustainable concept. That the “theories” invented centuries ago to validate the idea are invalidated by today’s science. The Merriam Webster Collegiate Encyclopedia (2000) defines and dismisses the notion of race thusly:

“Race: Term once commonly used in physical anthropology to denote a division of humankind possessing traits that are transmissible by descent and sufficient to characterize it as a distinct human type (e.g. Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid). Today the term has little scientific standing, as older methods of differentiation, including hair form and body measurement, have given way to the comparative analysis of DNA and gene frequencies relating to such factors as blood type, the excretion of amino acids, and inherited enzyme deficiencies. Because all human populations today are extremely similar genetically, most researchers have abandoned the concept of race for the concept of the cline, a graded series of differences occurring along a line of environmental or geographical transition. This reflects the recognition that human populations have always been in a state of flux, with genes constantly flowing from one gene pool to another, impeded only by physical and ecological boundaries. While relative isolation does preserve genetic differences and allow populations to maximally adapt to climatic and disease factors over long periods of time, all groups currently existing are thoroughly “mixed” genetically, and such differences as still exist do not lend themselves to simple typologizing. “Race” is today primarily a social designation, identifying a class sharing some outward physical characteristics and some commonalities of culture and history.”

This same text goes on to admit that racism is a creation and tool of colonialism:

“Racism:  Belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that some races are inherently superior to others. More broadly, the term refers to any racial prejudice or discrimination throughout the era of European colonialism, the British viewed imperialism as a noble activity (“the white man’s burden”) destined to bring civilization to the benighted races, while the French invoked the notion of mission civilistrace, their duty to bring civilization to backward peoples. An influential modern proponent was the Comte de Gobineau, who held that the so-called Aryan was the supreme race. His most important follower was Houston Stewart Chamberlain, whom Adolf Hitler credited with supplying the “scientific” basis of the Nazi’s racialist philosophy, used to justify the persecution of Jews and other non-Aryans. South African society was built on the principle of apartheid, or racial “separateness.” Today the general trend is away from racism, though the problem of racist thinking remains intractable.”

Although this mainstream reference work totally avoids pointing out what social-economic class invented the entire racial concept and its birth and role here in North Amerika, it does make clear that both “race” and “racism” are today proven to be scientifically baseless and live on solely as psycho-social concepts. So why then do the Amerikan political and economic rulers still classify Amerikan citizens by race? It is obviously because they desire to maintain its role as a divisive undercurrent to be appealed to and whipped into hysteria when their power and privilege are threatened from blow. Thus, the national identity of Amerika remains that of a “white nation.”

The concepts of race and racism, like a deeply ingrained backward superstition, are so deeply embedded in the social psyche and are so deeply influential on social attitudes and behaviors, that they cannot be simply ignored. The oppressed “races” must collectively struggle against racial oppression and domination, while the conscious members of the oppressor races must struggle to conquer the myth of racial superiority within their own “racial” groups. Reverse racism must also be countered. In confronting racism we must be aware of its counterrevolutionary nature and the forms it takes in the minds of those who embrace it consciously or subconsciously. George Jackson gave an insightful analysis on this point. He stated:

“Racism is a matter of ingrained traditional attitudes conditioned through institutions. For some, it is as natural a reflex as breathing. The psychosocial effects of segregated environments compounded by bitter class repression have served in the past to render the progressive movement almost totally impotent.

“The major obstacle to a united left in this country is white racism. There are three categories of white racists: the overt, self-satisfied racist who doesn’t attempt to hide his antipathy; the self-interdicting racist who harbors and nurtures racism in spite of his best efforts; and the unconscious racist, who has no awareness of his racist preconceptions.

“As Black partisans, we must recognize and allow for the existence of all three types of racists. We must understand their presence as an effect of the system. It is the system that must be crushed, for it continues to manufacture new and deeper contradictions of both class and race. Once it is destroyed, we may be able to address the problems of racism at an even more basic level. But we must also combat racism while we are in the process of destroying the system.

“The self-interdicting racist, no matter what his acquired conviction or ideology, will seldom be able to contribute with his actions in any really concrete way. His role in revolution, barring a change of basic character, will be minimal throughout. Whether the basic character of a man can be changed at all is still a question.”

As Comrade George pointed out, our struggle demands that we acknowledge and recognize the three categories of racists. However, we must also acknowledge and recognize that the reverse racists also fit into these three categories. And in answer to George’s question whether there is a possibility of changing the basic character of the “self-interdicting racist,” we think yes. The Marxist recognizes that there is a dialectical relationship between our social practice and how we think. That reactionary thinking can be corrected through revolutionary social practice. But that practice must also in turn be guided by and committed to correct ideology.

Our Comrade Tom Big Warrior analyzed the process very well in a discussion we had some time ago concerning a New Afrikan brother with whom I was struggling to break out of a deeply ingrained hatred of whites. This brother’s views had been imbedded in him at a very young age by a now deceased grandfather, whose memory he held with the highest respect. While he could not refute my arguments against race-based hatreds, he also felt powerless to change his feelings. Here is Tom:

“I understand what you’re talking about with the brother who has deeply rooted hatred of whites. I’ve got brothers in my nation who have the same issues regarding Blacks, particularly among the hillbillies of mixed white-Native heritage. It was bred into them from a very young age and reinforced by their social practice (or lack of it) with Black folks.

“Hell, everybody in Amerika has been brainwashed on race. I know I have been affected by it, but I’ve got the advantage of both a theoretical understanding and a lifetime of positive social interaction with people of all ethnic backgrounds (and particularly Black Comrades), so I can identify and throw away feelings that come from racist programming as they come up.

“I think the key with this brother is to get him to see that his feelings are part of the slave mentality he (and his grandfather) were programmed to have to keep Black people from throwing off their oppression. If you can’t inspire meek submission and self-deprecation, you can inspire hate and fear, (which is the next best thing), and this leads to alienation and division.

“”The greatest threat in the South was unity between the Blacks and poor whites, who had common class interests. So the big landlords played them against each other by promoting blind hatred and racism.

“If he can grasp that his feelings are chains upon him causing him to act against the interests of Black people and working people in general, (that he is falling into the role of a “Nigger” set for him by “Mr. Charlie”), he will see that it must be overcome so he can be a “true Black Warrior” and a genuine revolutionary.

“We feel the way we feel because we think the way we think. Changing our thinking changes how we feel.  In fact our feelings expose how we think at the deepest levels. Sometimes we think we have something all sorted out and understood, but then a feeling pops up to show us that we are still in process, and we have to keep struggling to grasp the idea more firmly.

“If the brother wants to be a revolutionary, he can’t be liberal with himself. He has to recognize that white people must be won to support Black liberation and make proletarian revolution. Unless this is done, Black people will continue to be oppressed, and the imperialists will keep running the show.

“He has to decide if he wants to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The MC5, the house band of the White Panther Party, had a song where the singer shouts out, “It takes 5 seconds to decide and determine your purpose here on the planet, 5 seconds to decide if you are going to be a part of the problem or you are going to be a part of the solution – KICK OUT THE JAMS MOTHERFUCKER!”

“This is just what they were talking about – this mental/emotional programming that jams up our ability to make revolution. Ain’t nothing to do but kick it out, get rid of it, to get to what needs to be done.

“When you reason with him he says, “Yeah, yeah you’re right, Brother,” because you can’t reasonably argue for racism. But he’s not willing to let go and backslides right back into it. As if counter-revolution was his purpose on the planet.

“It’s time to invoke the 5 second rule. Time for him to make a commitment and stop being liberal with himself. The world can’t wait for us to get serious about revolution.

“If he really wants to honor his grandfather’s memory, he shouldn’t let the wounding that was done to him and other Blacks go on another generation. You can’t play the blame game and win.

“The pigs didn’t kill Fred Hampton because he was good at organizing Black people, but because he could turn redneck Hillbilly crackers into Red revolutionaries, which he did with the Young Patriot Party – that’s true history.

“He was a better revolutionary than Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Eldridge Cleaver put together, and he is the one we should measure ourselves and our praxis by.

“It is our practice that determines our thinking, but there is a dialectic between theory and practice called praxis, in which theory becomes the determining factor.

“This is different than idealism, which Marx was struggling against. This is what Mao was talking about when he said ideological and political line will determine everything. It is the difference between Utopian socialism and our Scientific socialism.

“We begin with a concrete analysis of concrete conditions and from this developed theory, then apply our theory to practice, then sum up our practice to strengthen and advance our theory, then go back to practice, over and over getting sharper and sharper. That’s praxis.

“That’s how a bush-wah intellectual, or a peasant or a lumpen can transform into a proletarian revolutionary without working in a factory or even ever seeing one. It doesn’t happen spontaneously, it takes struggle.”

When we truly recognize that the capitalists are at the root of racism, that it is a tool and weapon invented and used by them to preserve their power and privilege and to keep the lower classes divided, oppressed, miserable, and powerless, then we must also recognize our revolutionary duty to rise above racist and reverse racist programming.  This is a difficult task that demands concrete practice.  It is because of the depth of race-conditioning that the liberation struggle of New Afrikans and other oppressed nationalities cannot be dependent upon white cooperation, however, that cooperation should be sought and developed in process to build a United Front Against Imperialism. True liberation from national oppression compels destruction of the imperialist system. Otherwise, the monopoly capitalists will continue to derail independence struggles by allying themselves with racialist and comprador elements within the bodies of the oppressed nationalities and races, push them into positions of power, and then use them to subvert the liberation struggles and bring the masses back under imperialist control. This is the essence of neocolonialism and the method used by the imperialists to undermine most all of the national independence struggles of the last century.

In that it’s the capitalist institutions that create, perpetuate, and benefit from racism, (indeed they need to preserve it to maintain their elevated power and status), they will assuredly mobilize resistance against all genuine efforts to build class-based racial solidarity. They will use the most rabid of white racists, and incite many New Afrikans, Natives and other people of color to fall out on the reactionary side, and the more intelligent reactionary, (reverse racist and comprador), leaders will encourage this. Our movement must be prepared to confront and counter such measures. We must set an example of promoting class unity and solidarity. It will also occur that some people will vacillate between the revolutionary and reactionary sides and that the dividing line won’t be static and clear-cut. The task of winning people politically will ultimately decide victory.


It should be clear by now that those of us who play into racism act as agents of our own imperialist oppressors, (whether consciously or not), and we aid in continuing our own oppression and want. In fact, we increase and intensify our own oppression and misery by inciting and perpetuating hatred, humiliation, insensitivity, and violence not only against the other race(s), but also in turn against our “own” race. It’s a cycle that no one benefits from except the oppressor class that sits at the top laughing at what fools we are, while their power and wealth remain secure form any real challenge. It is on this basis that the New Afrikan Black Panther Party – Prison Chapter promotes, unites with, and supports the White Panther Organization and all anti-imperialists of all nationalities and all oppressed peoples in a common struggle against imperialism. We welcome the WPO as fellow comrades and Panthers within the democratic centralism of our aspiring Vanguard Party.

All Power to the People!

Anthem 4 Rappers Wrapped in The Flag

Anthem 4 Rappers Wrapped in The Flag

Oh Jay Can U C
By the dawn of Imperialist greed
They will eat u 2
After they fatten u up to deceive
U took the bait
So they call u great
The white man’s oldest trick in the book

Oh Jay can u c
We got them on the ropes
But u given em hope sellin that dope
Marcy project style
We should’ve known then
you’d sell out kin
Does it pay enough?

Oh Jay can u c
A rapper wrapped in the Flag
Is a Bum B Clot rag
That don’t rap for the people no more

Oh Jay can U C
The league is the draft for the volunteer Army
Check the commercial breaks
Be all U can Be

Ain’t that what they say J  Z?

U rocking the twist now but don’t get it twisted
Smith and Carlos did it two fisted
Kap took a knee
Mahmoud did it in prayer
Yet you dare
To obscure the collective anti-imperialist message because their Imperialists feed your capitalist greed

Oh Jay, by capitalism’s dimming light, u gotta C the trap

Or is Rock Nation part of it?


Colin Kaepernick Shows that Amerikan Innocence is a White Supremacist Sport

by Danny Haiphong


Colin Kaepernick Shows that American Innocence is a White Supremacist Sport
Colin Kaepernick Shows that American Innocence is a White Supremacist Sport

The Black struggle for dignity and self-determination will forever be criminalized as a problem by the white elite and their hirelings in the Black misleadership class.

“We must hold Black servants of the American Empire accountable.”

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played an NFL game in more than three seasons. The 32-year-old quarterback was banished from the NFL in 2016 for his protest of police brutality during the pre-game national anthem ceremony. In mid-November, Kaepernick was invited to a workout in Atlanta by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell offered the workout in exchange for a signed waiver that would have prevented Kaepernick from taking future legal action against the NFL.  The NFL further demanded that Kaepernick participate in the workout without the presence of the media.

Kaepernick understandably rejected the proposal. He instead opted to hold the workout at a self-selected location. Kaepernick invited the media to his workout and threw to receivers of his own choosing. Only a fraction of the owners invited to the NFL’s original workout showed up to the alternative arrangement. After a stellar workout performance, Kaepernick demanded that NFL ownership “stop running” from him.

The latest chapter in the ruling class effort to keep Kaepernick out of the NFL has opened the floodgates for mainly Black corporate sports analysts to carry the torch of white supremacy. FS1 and ESPN analysts condemned Kaepernick for the workout debacle. Pundits such as Stephen A. Smith  claimed that Kaepernick’s actions have proven once and for all that he doesn’t want to play another game in the NFL. Other commentators such as Shannon Sharpe posited that Kaepernick did not handle the situation “professionally” and even mocked him for wearing a Kunta Kinte shirt.  In lock-step unity, the corporate sports media slandered Kaepernick’s character and demonstrated why the presumed innocence of the American Empire is nothing but white supremacist sport.

“FS1 and ESPN analysts condemned Kaepernick for the workout debacle.”

The ruling class has deployed the Black misleadership class to attack Kaepernick with a heavy dose of American innocence. American innocence portrays the oppressive conditions of the Empire as mistakes, one-offs, and aberrations rather than inherent features of the system. The same analysts who once rhetorically supported Kaepernick’s protest when it was convenient for them have since forgiven the NFL for its ongoing effort to exclude him from employment on a political basis. Their treatment of Kaepernick sends a stark message to Black athletes and Black Americans more broadly. The crimes of the thoroughly white supremacist American Empire are easily forgiven, but the Black struggle for dignity and self-determination will forever be criminalized as a problem by the white elite and their hirelings in the Black misleadership class.

Kaepernick’s true crime was always the use of his multi-billion-dollar platform to expose the white supremacist relationship between the police and Black America. Black Americans are beaten and killed by police and law enforcement agencies  of all kinds on a daily basis. When Black Americans escape death, they often find themselves thrown into the Black incarceration gulag. What Michelle Alexander calls “The New Jim Crow” is a tool of social control directed mainly at the Black poor. It is a project devised not only by the white oligarchs that rule the United States but also by a Black misleadership class whose political privileges and career opportunities depend upon unwavering loyalty to the ruling class’ agenda. James Foreman Jr.’s incisive work, Locking Up Our Own , analyzes in great length how prominent members of the Black misleadership class such as Maxine Waters, Eric Holder, and Jesse Jackson hitched their political sympathies to the War on Drugs’ narrative of Black criminality to justify tough-on-crime measures. These measures laid the groundwork for the American prison system to become the most populated and racist “criminal justice” institution on the planet.

“James Foreman Jr.’s incisive work analyzes how prominent members of the Black misleadership class hitched their sympathies to the narrative of Black criminality.”

NFL owners, like all capitalists, have accumulated vast super profits from the labor of Black American players. In many ways, the NFL demonstrates how Black capitalism is every bit of the myth that E. Franklin Frazier described in Black Bourgeoisie. White American capitalists never could stomach the thought of sharing their wealth with the broad masses of Black Americans, and they never will. As Roberto Sirvent and I explain in our book , the NFL is but another branch of American apartheid. There isn’t a single Black president or CEO to be found in the NFL. Meanwhile, Black Americans make up nearly seventy percent  of all players in a sport that is widely considered to be the most dangerous and detrimental to human health.

American innocence minimizes and erases the variety of ills imposed on Black America by the American Empire. Even worse, the ruling class utilizes American innocence in a broader white supremacist sport where the mass torture, oppression, and murder of Black Americans is consumed and enjoyed by white society. White supremacy, then, is as much of a cultural system as it is a political and economic system of power. Black corporate sports analysts like Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe are players in the game of American innocence and are coached by their bosses in the white corporate media. Their principle role is to normalize the suffering of poor Black Americans and render it obsolete and tolerable.

“The NFL is but another branch of American apartheid.”

The media reaction to Colin Kaepernick is only one instance where the Black misleadership class has used its position in the corporate sports industry to dehumanize Black America. In 2014, Stephen A. Smith defended NBA owner Mark Cuban for stating that he would cross the street if a young Black male in a hoody was walking toward him. Smith defended Cuban by chastising Black Americans for their cultural inferiority and, in Bill Cosby-like fashion, demanded that young Black men speak proper English and pull up their pants. In last year’s NBA Eastern Conference Finals, Shannon Sharpe compared Kawhi Leonard’s defense on Giannis Antetokounmpo as akin to being “locked up” in Pelican Bay prison.  Sharpe didn’t mention to his massive viewership that Pelican Bay’s SHU organized prisoners by race as recently as 2013  or that the practice of prison isolation, otherwise known as solitary confinement, is an internationally recognized form of torture. He also ignored the fact that forty-five percent of the 80,000 prisoners subjected to solitary confinement in the United States are Black men.

To do so would challenge the very class interests that provide Black pundits such as Sharpe and Stephen A. Smith their privileged positions within the Disney-owned sports media. Kaepernick’s treatment by the corporate media is a product of the capitalist class’ fear of the Black uprising that arose out of the police murder of Michael Brown. The repression of the Black Lives Matter movement in the form of the FBI’s policy to neutralize “Black Identity Extremists” is a historical phenomenon. The Black struggle for self-determination in the U.S. has always been met with white supremacist political backlash meant to galvanize popular support for state terror. Dog-whistles to the innocence of the NFL ownership and the lack of “appreciation” on the part of Kaepernick serve the same function. They tell Black Americans to not only accept the racist exclusion of Kaepernick from the NFL but also the material conditions which propelled Kaepernick into protest in the first place.

“Kaepernick’s treatment by the corporate media is a product of the capitalist class’ fear of a Black uprising.”

Malcolm X’s remark that the newspapers will have us hating the oppressed and loving the oppressor remains a fact of life under the American Empire’s dictatorship of capital. Black rebellion has been portrayed as a blight on the exceptionalism and innocence of the American Empire since the inception of its colonial project on the North American mainland. Colin Kaepernick is no different. The corporate media has attempted to discredit Kaepernick as a spoiled, high-paid athlete who should be grateful for the fruits of racism, capitalism, and imperialism. Yet his struggle is an outgrowth of Black freedom struggles dating back to the chattel slave system and into the era of mass incarceration.

The white supremacist sport of American innocence has real consequences for the oppressed. Colin Kaepernick lost his job. Mumia Abu-Jamal lost his freedom. Malcolm X lost his life. Their example teaches us that the presumed innocence of the American Empire must be rejected, whatever the cost. And we must hold Black servants of the American Empire accountable for their allegiance to a system which super exploits Black workers in the United States and around the world. Real justice for Colin Kaepernick, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the legacy of Malcolm X depends on it.


Kamala Harris Embodies the Most Dangerous Myth of Amerikan Exceptionalism

Kamala Harris Embodies the Most Dangerous Myth of American Exceptionalism 
Kamala Harris Embodies the Most Dangerous Myth of American Exceptionalism

Harris loves apartheid Israel and throwing Black people in prison, which makes her a perfect Black corporate Democrat.

“Diversity preserves the architecture of empire by painting it with an ebony hue.”

Recent developments in the Democratic Party’s ongoing effort to neutralize its left-leaning base have exposed the most dangerous myth of American Exceptionalism. This myth is embodied in the electoral campaign of Kamala Harris and assumes that the Democratic Party is the engine of diversity and inclusion in America. Diversity and inclusion are prominent buzz words in the Democratic Party milieu, especially within major universities and non-profits organizations. They preserve the architecture of empire by painting it with an ebony hue or the hue of whichever oppressed and exploited sector of society requires “representation” within the existing structures of the system. Such representation, however, comes without the power necessary for oppressed people, especially Black America, to determine their own destinies and transform the miserable conditions imposed upon them by the very forces directing the diversity regime.

The politics of diversity and inclusion were a response to the Black liberation movement and the radical movements of the 1960s and 70s. As a counterinsurgency measure, diversity fights racism not by fighting for political and economic power but by legitimizing the institutions of oppression through the development of “inclusive” leaders servile to corporate power. The presence of such leaders, we are told, makes the U.S. an exceptional nation capable of correcting the most heinous examples of racism and oppression, mainly on a rhetorical basis. Kamala Harris is the most dangerous example of the con of diversity in the 2020 Democratic Party primary race. Her record as a committed servant to Wall Street and the mass incarceration state is well-documented yet her opportunistic references to diversity have only strengthened her position within the Democratic Party establishment.

“Diversity fights racism by legitimizing the institutions of oppression.”

According to Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford, the con of diversity began after the wholesale dismantling of affirmative action in the Bakke supreme court case of1978. This case established that institutions of higher education could no longer institute “quotas” for Black admission and essentially stripped the federal government of the power to enforce affirmative action toward Black uplift. Diversity replaced affirmative action as a corporate-led movement to legitimize the careers of individuals such as Kamala Harris, leaving the majority of Black America behind.

Diversity and inclusion have been employed by the ruling elite to erase history and steer leftists to an ideology devoid of class struggle. The mission is to make U.S. imperialism aesthetically pleasing and ensure that the masses will forgo any demand for socially transformative justice. Diversity and inclusion should not be conflated with progressive efforts to defend Black teachers from layoffs and privatization. It is also no antidote for existing discrimination, especially of the racial variety. Rather, the con of diversity perfects white imperial power and makes the U.S. “exceptional” in its ability to concede “safe spaces” for a minority of Black Americans and other oppressed sections of society within the halls of power. But these halls not only maintain their oppressive character but also become more effective in the oppression and exploitation that they doll out to the masses of people.

Diversity replaced affirmative action as a corporate-led movement to legitimize the careers of individuals such as Kamala Harris.”

Kamala Harris is the most dangerous example of diversity and inclusion at work. This was made explicitly clear in the recent dust-up between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the “gang of four:” Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayana Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. Pelosiattacked the four and AOC in particular, claiming their numerical weakness and unwillingness to toe the party line on Twitter were offenses worth condemning. After Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rightfully criticized the attack, Kamala Harris immediately came to Pelosi’s defense. Harris stated on The Breakfast Club radio program that Pelosi supported and respected women of color without question and denied the legitimacy of any claims to the contrary.

Harris and the rest of the Black misleadership class, as the beacons of diversity, are always ready to defend the corporate oligarchs who provide the patronage for their existence. The Republican Party and president Donald Trump make their lives easier by throwing racist red meat into the fire whenever a crisis arises. This time, Pelosi’s attack threatened to further expose the real policy fissures within the Democratic Party. These fissures are based upon the fact that over eighty percent of the Democratic Party base want a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and living wage jobs to become the priority of the Democratic Party. Nancy Pelosi, who has made a fortune busting unions, supporting privatization, and peddling wars, has no interest in improving the conditions of poor people, especially the Black poor, in the United States.

“Harris immediately came to Pelosi’s defense.”

Kamala Harris and Nancy Pelosi are two sides of the same corporate coin, yet Donald Trump’s racism gives them a pass whenever they run into real political trouble. The same week that Trump came to Pelosi’s defense by demanding that the “gang of four” go back where they came from, Kamala Harris attempted to match the xenophobia of the president by stating that Colin Kaepernick’s protest against racist policing “wasn’t a thing.”According to Harris, Russian bots spread the Kaepernick story to Black Americans to undermine the Democratic Party. To Harris, Black America is nothing but a dupe of Russiaand anti-racist protest a conniving project of the Russians to implant Trump in the White House. Both Pelosi and Harris’ political behavior should be enough to raise popular objection. Yet all that occurred was a symbolic vote in the House condemning Trump’s comments as racist. Pelosi and Harris were taken off the hook for attacking the left-leaning representatives of their party.

Diversity is an anti-Black political project of the ruling elite designed to revive the exceptional character of the U.S. imperial nation-state. The project is mainly governed by the Democrats to reproduce the class relations of an empire in decline in a more effective manner than Trump and the Republicans. Kamala Harris embodies the dangers of the diversity trap better than any political candidate in the 2020 election race. While understandable critique should be leveled on the Trump administration’s Justice Department for failing to bring federal charges to Eric Garner’s murderer in blue, few have mentioned that it was District Attorneys and Attorney Generals such as Harris who have worked hard to ensure that police murders of Black Americans are not properly investigated and punished. On the international front, Harris has exploited the Civil Rights movement in a pledge of her undying loyalty to the apartheid state of Israel.In 2018, a transcript of Kamala Harris’ remarks to AIPAC revealed that the California Senator and presidential hopeful equated the struggle for Zionist supremacy in Palestine to the Black struggle against the Klan and white supremacy, despite the fact that Israel has imposed a racist system of colonialism on the Palestinian people for well over half a century.

“To Harris, Black America is nothing but a dupe of Russia.

The ruling class hopes to use diversity and inclusion to kill the Black left’s influence in the 2020 election. Either Kamala Harris will be anointed the Democratic Party nominee or Joe Biden will use his connections on Wall Street and with the Black political class to secure it for himself. Either way, the bankrupt leadership that the con of diversity has helped create will play a decisive factor in who gets to challenge Donald Trump for the next term in the oval office. The legacies and politics of Black liberation movement leaders such as Mumia Abu-Jamal; who is currently going blind in prison due to medical neglect, and the exiled Assata Shakur will be drowned out by the Democratic Party. Democratic Party elites claim to be the engine of diversity in America yet refuse to allow democratic socialists such as Bernie Sanders and AOC to implement policies popular with over eighty percent of the voting base of the party.

Diversity is a sham, and a murderous one at that. Legitimate criticism does not need to fall into the trap of “identity politics” or other right-wing screeds. What is most important to expose is how the so-called enlightened ruling class aligned with the Democratic Party has used diversity to promote a more exceptional America, one where the questions of class, empire, and white supremacy must never be uttered or addressed. As diversity has become more prominent, so too have the conditions of mass Black incarceration, endless war, and permanent austerity. Leaders like Kamala Harris have exploited the contradictions of capitalism and imperialism to further their careers and can only survive so long as the Black left is neutralized, both ideologically and politically. And no matter how unpopular they may be, the likes of Harris will continue to feast on the blood of the oppressed until we let go of the narrative of diversity and begin developing a movement that makes internationalism and class struggle a priority instead of an afterthought.


Collateral White Skin

Painting by Biko Eisen-Martin. Young black boy shackled to a pick, figure in background looking on from a porch.


San Francisco had its prison walls all picked out; prepared to unveil its latest awkward interpretation of imperialism. Two police officers exit a squad car.

The United States power structure does not dialogue with us, it dialogues with our potential for resistance. And we receive the red and blue lights of its spokespeople as best as our political, spiritual, and psychic commitments permit.

The first time I was frisked by police, it was alongside my younger brother. I was an especially thin wrist’d nine. He was seven. I have been enjoying my poetry being proven right ever since.

Photograph of young black boy shackled to pick with man in background looking on, seated on a porch.


What this present moment, and what the past few centuries all teach us is that the primary reality of an oppressive system is its military reality. Before the determination of economics, institutions of socialization, and culture, there is a foundation of violence (organized, monopolized, and sponsored). An empire has to slaughter people in order to set up shop and enforce cultural hegemony. A slave owner is not someone who does not pay people for their work, as much as they are someone who will maim or kill people if they do not work (let alone, yet especially, revolt). And this equation continues into this modern era with hyper militarization of police, mass internment of Brown and Black people, permanent imperialist invasions around the world, and masses who practice whiteness (as it was designed by past U.S. ruling classes), not as a privilege, but rather a deputization.

In the United States, or really as a hallmark for all imperialist projects past and present, the foot soldier of the empire, both those literally sworn in and trained or those who just live regular corporation-determined lives on the various postindustrial, service economy roads to nowhere, stewing in confusion—for all foot soldiers, practicing violence is the only way that they can prove to themselves that they actually exist. This identity both extends and is extended by the deep feeling that war is the only way that they can be sure that their country exists.

This is where we enter daily as poets. And it is with respect to this reality that we must intervene.

Poetry (or art of any discipline) exists in the same part of the mind that produces revolutionary intention. Somewhere among flickers of stray phenomenal constructs are the stray building blocks of praxis asking to be gathered, expanded, and clarified by study and practice. Poetry is every step of the way from idea to practice. Our revolutionary (or counterrevolutionary) praxis and our art subtitle each other. Both evolve or atrophy together.

We garden praxis with critical conversation and vigilant (though ideally gentle) upkeep of detail and nuance.

In that biosphere of phenomenal engagement, we nurture, restore or postpone our humanity.

Poetry is a play on perception. It is the opportunity to see what your mind can do moment to moment; specifically, what your mind’s capacity for and use of language can manufacture when you don’t have to follow the bounds of physical and/or social reproduction. This perception, as catalyzed by the opportunity for de-crystallizing hegemonic identity, is where liberation begins.

What is the reality of power in the United States?

At nine years old, under duress and with an interrupted sugar high, the mapping of my repression was violent and ceremonial; especially ceremonial, was my mandate not to fold to these occupying troops. I remember their military-aided body language. I was engaged by the system as a have-not, but this was not a dream of the wallet. This was not a matter of privilege. This was a protein of the true nature of contradiction in the United States: that of violence.

I wonder if it is a rite of passage for a police officer to detain a non-white child.

Poetry occupies the strangest place in reality. A convergence of paradoxes where reality can simultaneously only be perceived and only be produced; where one line is both a universe unto itself and at the same time completely devoid of any individual register or self-contained existence; where there is only evidence and simultaneously no evidence of a creator. All proof of the fact that the system is not immortal nor invincible, but rather the aggregate of coercion and consent.

Poetry is the half step between the realms of cosmic unity and one million dualities. The poet creates an image by pulling these realms towards each other. A process of healthy insanity or within an insanity free of self-absorption. The poet creates an image by relaxing into the emotive math of language. In poetry, there is no ideal state. In poetry, there is no ideal style. There is no ideal reader. There is no ideal audience. There is only a torrential continuum of language through which we chase liberation. All proof that any poet (regardless of their respective talents and obsessions) can become a revolutionary.

How do we define a poet’s power in the United States?

Armies water themselves with children; therefore, a poet must have a revolutionary praxis. Armies water themselves in your mother’s living room; therefore, a poet is only either a tool of the oppressor or tool of the oppressed.

What is a busy Saturday sidewalk of bystanders in the United States?

Police searched skinny children for weapons and the crowd did not intervene. They stopped. They gawked. They reasoned with their hegemony-ridden internal compasses. They mostly kept walking. They mostly ganged up against God.

Which poet are you in the preceding scene?

I wonder if I am too severe or if the individual beliefs of a person not immersed in a revolutionary praxis are no more than phrases etched onto a horse bit.

The police left us on the street to digest the theatre of whiteness we just survived. Their military strut had no instrumental beyond my nine-year-old heart rate. Their metronome versus mine. Bystanders moved along without any consequences for their U.S. induction. We were all participating now in history.

Two boys meet imperialism.


Originally Published: June 4th, 2019

The Ebb And Flow Of Freedom: Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica in the Age of Bourgeois Revolution


by Zach Medeiros

The power of the Haitian Revolution reverberated across the planet, but the revolution made its most profound and lasting impacts on the neighboring slave societies of the Atlantic world. In the nearby colonies of British Jamaica and Spanish Cuba, enslaved people, free people of color, and white settlers were forced to adjust-materially and ideologically-to an unprecedented, explosive event that upended life as they knew it. In Cuba, the colonial government and the planter class sought to “emulate Saint-Domingue and contain Haiti,” doubling-down on slavery to supplant the former as the economic jewel of the colonized Caribbean while working to ensure the latter would not be duplicated. In Jamaica, which was home to the largest concentration of enslaved people in the region outside of Saint-Domingue, the revolution helped facilitate the slow crawl of British abolitionism, despite the sturdiness of the Jamaican slave regime. In both cases, free and enslaved people of color seized upon the new possibilities cracked open by the unmaking of Saint-Domingue and forging of Haiti. Far off imperial governments, colonial administrators, ruling elites, slaves, poor whites, and free people of color jostled for political space, sometimes in conjunction with one another, sometimes in bloody competition, all grappling with the coexistence of a resurgent slave power along with its antithesis.

Just as the victory of the revolution in Haiti did not translate into full-fledged freedom for the Haitian people, it did not produce linear, straightforward results in Cuba and Jamaica. This paper will show that despite geographical proximity and certain similarities common to any colonial, slave-holding society in the Atlantic, the impacts of the Haitian Revolution on Cuba and Jamaica were drastically different, entrenching slavery in the former while speeding its demise in the latter. Human agency and structural imperatives heightened these differences as the revolutionary masses in Haiti moved towards independence, ensuring that all three countries would chart distinct but linked paths throughout the 19 thcentury.
Saint-Domingue on the Eve of Revolution

The wealth Saint-Domingue produced was matched only by the savagery inflicted on the people who produced it. Shortly after Europeans arrived in the Caribbean in the late 15th century, disease and the brutal working conditions they brought with them killed most of the Indigenous population of Hispaniola, ground zero for the colonization of the Americas. To make up for this labor shortage, the Spanish and Portuguese, and later their French and British rivals, began to import large numbers of enslaved Africans to the region. [1]

At first, the number of slaves were limited; only 15 percent of Hispaniola’s population was enslaved at the end of the eighteenth century. The ongoing decimation of Indigenous peoples, the influx of pirates, and conventional colonial expansion ensured the growth of plantations and European settlements, which in turn meant a growing demand for workers. [2]Although many of them would be taken elsewhere, given the often loose boundaries of the colonized Atlantic world, modern studies show indicate that between 850,000 to a million slaves were taken to Saint-Domingue from its foundation as an illegal settlement to the abolition of slavery in 1793. Some 685,000 of those people were brought to the colony in the eighteenth century alone. [3]

The brutal nature of the work imposed by their masters, particularly sugar harvesting and refinement, meant that the mortality rates were extraordinarily high, and replacement labor was always needed. 5-6 percent of slaves on the colony died each year, while the birthrate was only 3 percent. Nearly half of all slave children died on some plantations. [4] For the masters, it was simply cheaper to kill slaves off and find new ones. The cool language of economic rationality, with all its tables, charts, and figures often masks the universe of horrors that capitalist development requires. Over 70 years ago, C.L.R James described the terrors inflicted on enslaved Africans bound for the Americas and trapped on Saint-Domingue, and his haunting prose has scarcely been surpassed since. [5] In many ways, Saint-Domingue was a fitting microcosm for all of modern Western civilization: an island of unimaginable wealth, floating on a sea of skulls.

By the eve of the revolution, Saint-Domingue had been transformed from something of a backwater for buccaneers to the world’s richest and most profitable slave colony. By 1789, it was the world’s largest producer of sugar and coffee; its plantations produced twice as much as all of the other French colonies put together; and its trade accounted for more than a third of France’s foreign trade. [6] The French state, and more importantly, the colonial elite and French bourgeoise, grew fat on the suffering of black slaves. Much like India would be for the British in later centuries, Saint-Domingue was the jewel in the crown of the French Empire. To nearly all white eyes, it stood tall as the epitome of what colonialism and slavery could achieve in terms of material prosperity and a seemingly untroubled racial hierarchy, where nearly half a million slaves could be ruled by a handful of white settlers and free people of color. In nearby colonies like Cuba and Jamaica, colonial officials and planters looked on with a mixture of envy and awe.

But as James once observed, “economic prosperity is no guarantee of social stability. That rests on the constantly shifting equilibrium of the classes…with every stride in production the colony was marching to its doom.”[7] This production was only possible through the hyper-exploitation of hundreds of thousands of people concentrated on a small landmass, deprived of nearly every aspect of life that makes human existence bearable. Despite the totalitarian aspirations of their overseers, they had established a distinct and powerful culture of their own, and understood that the whites had far more to lose than they did. Driven by the mass leadership of countless enslaved women and men, Saint-Domingue was poised to explode into a new existence as Haiti, and when it did, the shockwaves would reach far outside the plantations of Hispaniola.
Emulating Saint Domingue, Containing Haiti: Cuba and the Haitian Revolution

Prior to the last decades of the eighteenth century, Cuba was more a society with slaves than a slave society. [8] According to the sociologist Arthur L. Stinchcombe, a slave society is “a society in which very many of the familial, social, political, and economic relations are shaped by the extensive and intensive deprivation of slaves of all sorts of rights to decide for themselves” and whose “pervasive purpose in many kinds of social relations between more and less powerful people is to keep the others (slaves) from deciding or being able to decide.” [9] In other words, a slave society is not one where slavery merely exists, but where slavery is essential. For Stinchcombe, the degree to which any slave society can be classified as such depends on 1) “the degree to which an island was a sugar island,” 2) “the degree of internal social and political organization of the planters,” and 3) “political place of the planters in an island government and of the island government in the empire.” [10] In other words, slave societies are at their strongest when sugar is booming, when the planter elite is unified and organized as a class, and when planters enjoy relative autonomy from metropolitan interference. [11]

While some 60,000 African men and women had been brought to the island as slaves from its founding as a Spanish colony in 1511 to the middle of the eighteenth century[12], Cuba could not be described as a slave society until the eve of the Haitian Revolution. Most importantly, Cuba lacked the economic qualifications. Far from being a major source of sugar and other export crops intimately tied to slavery, much of Cuban agriculture was geared towards internal consumption, and in the mid-eighteenth century, only four sugar mills had more than a hundred slaves. Many enslaved people worked in towns and cities or on small farms on urban outskirts, while most of those in the countryside worked in “relatively small concentrations (by Caribbean and later Cuban standards)” on modest tobacco or sugar farms, or sizable cattle ranches with a majority of “free” laborers. [13]

International and domestic developments in the latter half of the 1700s helped set the stage for a true slave society in Cuba. While Cuba was more racially diverse than past scholars have thought, thanks to extensive links between the island and British slave traders, the British occupation of Havana in the Seven Years’ War accelerated and intensified pre-war trends. During the eleven-month long occupation, the British authorities monopolized the slave trade even more severely than the Spanish had, as the military governor conspired with the Havana cabildo for their mutual enrichment. Cuban slave imports increased slightly during the occupation, but the most lasting impacts came with the reassertion of Spanish control. By the time Spain retook Havana, the events of the war had helped fuel the modernization drive within the Spanish empire-with Cuban planters playing a leading role.[14]

The economic boon for the planter class was immediate, with the export of sugar in the five years after British intervention averaging more than 2,000 tons a year, compared with a mere 300 tons in the 1750s. [15] The independence of the United States, and the subsequent passage of a limited free trade agreement between the US and Cuba, provided another opportunity for Cuban planters seeking commercial expansion. [16] Pedro Rodriguez, Conde de Campomanes, noted jurist and economist, and later president of the Council of Castile, as well as other influential reformist voices within Spain and across the Spanish world, argued that the future of the Spanish empire depended on a large degree on trade liberalization and the development of tropical commodities, which would necessitate the mass import of enslaved workers. Campomanes “gave Cuba pride of place” in this vision of a more lucrative Spanish colonial project, “arguing that by cultivating large-scale tobacco and sugar industries, Cuba would be capable of competing with the most prosperous French islands.” [17]

Mainland Spaniards had their influence over colonial debates, but it was the members of the developing Cuban planter class that proved the main and most effective advocates for the expansion of slavery in Cuba. In 1780, barely a decade out from the uprising in Saint-Domingue, Havana’s planters petitioned the king to open up the slave trade, in order to maximize Cuba’s economic potential and give Spain an advantage over France and England. To compete with Saint-Domingue, the blood-soaked jewel of the French colonial empire and the envy of its imperial rivals, the Cuban ruling class had to drastically transform Cuba, making it into a true slave society.

The trajectory of the wealthy creole lawyer and planter Francisco Arango y Parreno was emblematic of this process of transformation. After traveling to Madrid in 1787, he became the apoderado (empowered representative) of the Havana city council, and called on the king and his ministers to implement “an absolutely unrestricted slave trade-” a call which they heeded, already convinced by the changing commercial landscape and the pressures exerted by earlier reformist elites in Spain and the colonies. While the Crown’s decree of February 28, 1789 was initially valid for only two years, subject to further review, it quickly boosted the legal slave trade in Havana, and signified Spain’s commitment to sugar and slavery in Cuba and other Spanish colonies in the Americas, as well as the rising power of the Cuban planter class. The Crown’s subsequent efforts to regulate the behavior of slaves and masters, and relatively temper the power of the latter over the former, floundered on the rock of planter resistance, and in 1794 Madrid suspended the execution of those laws. [18] Even as the enslaved masses of Saint-Domingue prepared to rise up against their own masters, Cuba was acclimating to its new role as a bastion of the Slave Power.

Arango’s influence did not end there. In the days following the outbreak of the revolution in Saint-Domingue, Arango was in Madrid preparing for the Council of State’s final vote on the extension of the open slave trade. When news of the uprising reached the capital, he quickly composed an essay on the roots of the revolt (as he saw them) and their implications for Cuba and Spain’s rulers, which he was able to put into the hands of the Council. In his influential treatise, Arango argued that the rebellion of the slaves was a logical side effect of the rebelliousness of their French masters, but that the superiority of the Cuban-Spanish system meant that there was no risk of the conflagration spreading. [19] Critically, Arango made the case for an unparalleled opportunity, writing ” it is necessary to view [Saint-Domingue] not only with compassion but also from a political perspective and…announce to the best of kings the opportunity and means by which to give our agriculture on the islands the advantage and preponderance over the French.” [20]

In the opening salvo of an unprecedented slave revolution, opportunism dominated the immediate response of the Cuban elite to the misfortune of their French counterparts. Though this would shift as the revolution spread and deepened, the initial reaction of the Cubans and the Spanish state was that of vultures, ready to swoop in and pick the bones clean rather than maintain class solidarity with their fellow slaveowners. While this approach ultimately benefited the slaves of Saint Domingue, who could take advantage of the divisions among the masters, it did not bode well for the tens of thousands of African women and women who would suffer under a resurgent and emboldened Cuban slave regime.

A thwarted uprising in 1812 illustrates the lingering aftereffects of the Haitian revolution in Cuba. Documented in over 6,000 pages of court testimony, the Aponte Rebellion-named for its alleged ringleader, the free moreno (black) artisan José Antonio Aponte-is significant here not so much because of its achievements, which were limited to a few torched plantations and dead colonists, but for its symbolic power: for black Cubans and white Cubans. Shortly after Aponte was arrested on March 19, the authorities’ interrogations led them to his home. Inside, they found an item several of the arrested conspirators had described: a book of drawings, containing maps of streets and garrisons throughout Cuba, illustrations of black soldiers defeating whites, images of George Washington, Aponte and his father, and King Carlos III, portraits of black kings from Abyssinia, and most shockingly of all, portraits of the Haitian revolutionary leaders Henri Christophe, Toussaint Louverture, Jean François, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, all of which Aponte produced or replicated himself. Officials later discovered that Aponte regularly showed this book to fellow free black militiamen and others during meetings at his home.[21]

While some of the defendants in the trial claimed ignorance about the meaning of the images, either to themselves or Aponte, and Aponte himself frequently gave innocent explanations for them, the importance of revolutionary and African iconography to free and enslaved people of color in this period (not to mention the exigencies of testifying under threat of more torture and likely execution) puts their words in a different light. [22]

More importantly, the fact that Aponte apparently took the time and energy to replicate images of Haitian revolutionaries, likely knowing full well the repercussions if they were ever discovered, and regularly showed them to his friends and comrades, is telling. At this time, rumors of Henri Christophe as a liberating monarch and anti-slavery bogeyman were rampant across Cuba, as well as other colonies like Puerto Rico. Many slaves and planters alike believed that the king and other Haitian revolutionaries planned to not only inspire revolt through example, but through material and organizational aid.[23] One of the leaders involved in the Aponte rebellion actually claimed to be the famed (but quite dead) Haitian rebel Jean-Francois, known to Spanish speakers as Juan Francisco. However, Christophe’s relatively conservative foreign policy, which severely constricted Haitian intervention in foreign slave regimes, suggests that rebels and the authorities alike exaggerated the role the Haitians truly played for their own purposes. [24]

Regardless of where Aponte first saw those drawings, such a stark tribute to the Haitian revolution should not be downplayed. For Aponte, and perhaps for many of the people he shared them with, these images served as a powerful reminder that only a short distance away, slaves and free blacks had led a successful revolution, toppling not only their masters, but multiple white armies, and abolishing slavery once and for all in the process. Even for a free black Cuban like him, this must have been tremendously important. For white Cubans, who had so quickly embraced a reenergized slave system and adopted the mantle of the leading counterrevolutionaries in the Caribbean, the fact that a free black man in the middle of Havana not only had these images in his possession, but actively used them to inspire slaves and free people of color to revolt, must have been terrifying. Even in the heart of regional Slave Power, all was not well. Although Aponte and the other supposed plotters were executed by the state and turned into a public example, the ghosts of Toussaint, Dessalines, and Juan Francisco-indeed, the living specter of Haiti itself-continued to haunt 19th century Cuba.
Jamaica and the Haitian Revolution

Unlike Cuba, the British colony of Jamaica was a longstanding slave society on the cusp of the Haitian revolution. In fact, it had a great deal in common with Saint-Domingue, the only European colony more profitable than Jamaica in the late eighteenth century. [25] Like Saint-Domingue, sugar dominated the Jamaican economy. As Julius Scott noted, by 1740, the planters had contained the elite factionalism and black rebelliousness of earlier years enough to attract more white settlers, clear and cultivate new land for plantations across the island, and purchase hundreds of thousands of African women and men to work it. [26] Following Stinchcombe’s model, the Jamaican planter class was politically unified, sugar was ascendant, and metropolitan control over day-to-day colonial affairs was not stringent at this time. As with Saint-Domingue, the labor demands of the burgeoning new sugar economy meant that the “demographic balance between black and white Jamaicans shifted decisively in favor of the African population.” This shift was so decisive that “by the eve of the American Revolution almost ninety-four percent of the population of the island was of African ancestry.” [27] The demographic tensions inherent in this situation facilitated a sense of defensiveness among the planters, which would come to a head with the beginning of the revolution in Saint-Domingue.

Free trade policies inadvertently encouraged these tensions in Jamaica. While white settlers were perturbed by the growing numbers of French, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese seamen, merchants, and commercial agents that began to arrive after Jamaica opened its first free ports in 1766, the threat posed by black and brown foreigners was even greater. In 1782, for example, Jamaica’s Grand Jury of the Quarter Sessions called on the legislature to compel foreign Blacks to carry “tickets to be produced on demand, or, better, that ‘they should have a label round their necks describing who and what they are.'” [28] In the eighteenth century Caribbean borders and other boundaries were often more fiction than fact, and in Jamaica as much as its neighbors, the colonial authorities could not easily abide large numbers of mobile “masterless” people, particularly of unknown origin, and particularly in uncertain times.

When word of the revolution arrived in Jamaica, less than two weeks after the start of the uprising (and probably sooner for the island’s black majority, whose networks of illicit communication often outpaced those of the more “literate” settler society, in Jamaica as elsewhere across the region), whites reacted with much less confidence than in Cuba. Governor Effingham wrote to the British Secretary of State about the “Terrible Insurrection of the Negroes” in Saint-Domingue, which compelled French emissaries to plead for assistance from the Jamaica Assembly. William Dinley, a surgeon trying to secure passage back to England, wrote to a Bristol merchant of “rebellion…in some of the French Settlements,” and how “the Negroes had killed a great many white people.” Given the conspicuous absence of sustained or detailed references to the revolution in public media at the time, Julius Scott argues that “there appears have been an effort on the part of Jamaican whites to suppress discussion” of events in Saint-Domingue. Even as the government prepared open defensive measures to prevent the spread of the rebellion, whites in Jamaica seem to have agreed on a “conspiracy of silence.” [29]

Jamaican slaves did not share their reticence. While it is difficult to locate the direct voices of enslaved people, unmediated by elite or white interpreters, there is significant indirect documentation of how enslaved black men and women responded to events in Saint-Domingue. Writing on September 18th, 1791, the commander of the British garrison on the island observed that “many slaves here are very inquisitive and intelligent, and are immediately informed of every kind of news that arrives. I do not hear of their having shewn any signs of revolt, though they have composed songs of the negroes having made a rebellion at Hispaniola with their usual chorus to it.” Two months later, the situation had evidently not improved, since the same commander wrote “[The slaves are] so different a people from what they once were … I am convinced the Ideas of Liberty have sunk so deep in the minds of all Negroes that whenever the greatest precautions are not taken they will rise.” [30] Other authorities made similar reports. In Kingston, “slaves were said to be ‘perfectly acquainted with every thing that has been doing at Hispaniola,'” while parish magistrates in Clarendon arrested several “head Negroes of some of the Plantations” for speaking “very unreservedly” about the rebellion. The prisoners also confessed their hope that a sister uprising would soon happen in Jamaica.[31] For enslaved Jamaicans, the revolution in San Domingue was a harbinger of hope, even when it was by no means clear that it wouldn’t be crushed like so many other acts of slave resistance had been and would be in the future.

In Britain, the ruling class and their representatives in the press responded to news out of Saint Domingue with a mixture of mild concern and scarcely concealed glee. In a report published in The Times of London on October 28, 1791, the paper blamed the uprising on the reckless pursuit of racial equality by the French National Assembly, with all the timeless blind arrogance of white racism. Pointedly, the author(s) allege that “it is most certain that the inhabitants [of Saint-Domingue] will invite some foreign power to come and take possession of them” if the rebellion grows more serious. That power, in the unbiased opinion of The Times, should be Britain. In the meantime The report goes on to chastise the more excitable British capitalists who, falling prey to “the apprehensions which timid minds are apt to entertain where there is only the appearance of danger,” caused some disturbances on the stock market.[32] Speaking as a leading voice of British imperialism and capital, the Times took a stance not unlike that of the Cuban elite in the early days of the revolution: mild concern, subsumed under excitement at the chance to snatch victory from the jaws of someone else’s defeat. Although the report makes a passing reference to the declaration of martial law in Jamaica, the overwhelming sense of confidence is common among many European observers in the first weeks and months of the revolution. They could see something was coming, but they mistook a hurricane for a squall.

Back in Jamaica, white settlers could not enjoy this spirit of entrepreneurial complacency. Shortly after the revolution began, French planters began to flee to Jamaica, bringing their slaves with them. Other slaves from Saint-Domingue came to the island after liberating themselves in the chaos. White Jamaicans reacted harshly to these so-called “French Negroes,” who they feared would contaminate their own with rebellious ideas, particularly republican. Governors Effingham and Williamson ordered that authorities do everything in their power to prevent communication between slaves from Saint-Domingue and English slaves, while a royal proclamation issued in December 1791 prohibited “free people of color and free negroes” from settling in Jamaica unless two whites could testify on their behalf.[33] The Jamaican Assembly attempted to track the names, whereabouts and permits of all French-speaking blacks and mulattoes in the colony, and passed a law in 1792 setting strict guidelines on the purchase or hiring of any foreign slaves brought to Jamaica after the rebellion in Saint-Domingue began. These restrictions were regularly violated by slaveowners and employers, not to mention slaves themselves. [34] On the island’s north side, historically a hotbed of insurrection, whites established inter-parish safety committees and raised the local militias for the first time in nine years. Numerous reports confirmed that slaves in the area were well-informed about what was happening in Saint-Domingue, thanks in part to foreign small traders and sailors who traveled to Jamaica.[35] In the late 18 th century Jamaica, like much of the Atlantic world, rumors and other forms of information traveled fast and furious, especially among slaves, and masters could do little to stop it.

The feverish early responses of British Jamaica to the Haitian revolution contrast sharply with later events. After the National Convention abolished slavery in 1794, the French began to see emancipation as a tool of imperialist maneuver, with Jamaica as a main target of French expansionism. French ministers of the navy and other state officials urged attacks on Jamaica in the late 1790s, and the French commissioner Phillipe Roume plotted with the mixed-race general Martial Besse and the noted Jewish abolitionist merchant Isaac Sasportas to invade the British colony and abolish slavery there once and for all. [36] Unfortunately, Toussaint Louverture didn’t share their priorities. Striking a secret agreement with the British general Maitland, Louverture promised not to attack Jamaica or encourage rebellion there, in exchange for an end to the British blockade of Saint-Domingue.

Furthermore, Louverture requested that British slave traders import more African workers to Saint-Domingue to make up for wartime losses, and encouraged other forms of trade. [37] In the ever-shifting Age of Revolution, politics made for even stranger bedfellows than normal. The white elite in Jamaica may have hated the revolution, but they and the metropolitan British could break bread with someone like Louverture, as long as their interests were assured. Negotiations between Haitians and the British in Jamaica did not end with Louverture’s secret deal. More radical than Louverture, Jean Jacques Dessalines nevertheless continued his predecessor’s diplomacy with the British in the spring of 1804. Though Jamaican governor George Nugent and his envoy were unable to secure British dominance over Haitian trade or a military base on the island, Dessalines’s stringent defense of Haiti’s sovereignty did not prevent him from promising non-intervention in Jamaican affairs. [38] While the elite bargained behind the scenes, the people had other ideas. In his 1807 History of Jamaica, Robert Renny writes that the following song was frequently heard in the streets of 1799 Kingston: ” One, two, tree, All de same; Black, white, brown, All de same: All de same.” [39]

More so than in Cuba, where the colonial ruling class enjoyed more autonomy from Madrid and exerted a greater impact on imperial policy, the impact of the Haitian revolution on Jamaica can be best understood as a process of negotiation. Despite their position as the premier global slave traders and their staunch opposition to republicanism, the British could see the writing on the wall, and decided that détente with Haiti, however unsteady, was the wisest course of action. To this end, they struck bargains with the Haitian government; these agreements did not give Britain the level of control over Haitian affairs that they desired, but they did ensure that Jamaica and other Caribbean colonies would be safe. At the same time, Haiti continued to act as a source of inspiration and refuge for self-emancipating Jamaican slaves, who often made the short journey by boat to take advantage of Haitian free-soil asylum policies. In the Jamaican slave imagination, Haiti stood tall as an ideological and physical source of salvation, however complicated Haitian politics could be. Slavery in Jamaica would not be abolished until 1834, spurred on by post-Haitian slave uprisings and the incremental developments of British parliamentary politics, but the possibilities that the Haitian revolution created could not be easily controlled.

The Haitian revolution was an international milestone. For the first time in history, slaves had led a successful revolution, one which produced the world’s first black republic and abolished slavery years before most countries did. The symbolic and material weight of this act, which shook the global order, cannot be underestimated. It inspired fear, hatred, and hope in equal measure, among whites and people of color, free and enslaved people alike.

In Cuba, which had only recently begun to transform itself into a true slave society, the outbreak of the revolution provided a clear and unparalleled chance for the colony to supplant Saint-Domingue as the wealthiest in the world. Indeed, the destruction of much of Saint-Domingue’s plantation economy, the disruption of legal and illegal trade, and the sheer loss of human life in the colony meant that the Cuban planters were ideally positioned to realize their dreams. Paradoxically, then, the victory of the slave uprising in Haiti meant the retrenchment of slavery a stone’s throw away in Cuba. Cuban slavery would not be abolished until the royal decree of 1886.

In Jamaica, which had been a slave society far longer than Cuba and contained nearly as many slaves as Saint-Domingue, white society’s initial response to the revolution was much more fearful. While the British ruling classes in the metropole did not share their trepidation, the Jamaican planters were much closer to the front lines, and vast demographic disparities engendered a sense of insecurity for them white Cubans couldn’t understand. As the revolution progressed, and it became clear that Toussaint L’Ouverture and to a lesser degree Dessalines were figures the British could compromise with, political, social, and economic exigencies would push white Jamaicans into a stable status quo with the Haitians. In another seeming paradox, the world’s leading slave trader would be the first European power to come to terms with Haiti. Slavery in Jamaica would eventually be abolished in 1834, a fact that was due as much to fears of another mass slave rebellion and the declining economic benefits of the system as it was the Damascene conversion of the British Empire.

In Cuba and Jamaica as in Haiti, history was made through collective and individual human agency but shaped by structural factors. The paths Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica took during and after the revolution were marked not by a steady march forward, but movement in fits and starts, in several directions at once. Freedom and slavery, bondage and emancipation, could and did exist simultaneously. There was no firm division between an essential Slavery and Freedom, whatever the rhetoric of abolitionists and slavers or the strictures of legal codes. Freedom was, in most cases, better understood as a practical set of possibilities, or a spectrum instead of a hard category. Slaves could be more or less enslaved under different conditions, while “free” people could be more or less free. [40] In the world of the Haitian revolution, slaves, free people of color, and whites discovered a new range of possibilities, made feasible by the collective leadership of the enslaved Haitian masses.

These possibilities would often prove contradictory in practice. In Cuba, the counterrevolution established a firmer foothold, but the revolution continued to inspire insurrectionary plots like the Aponte Rebellion. Beneath the surface of a resurgent slave power, dreams of another Haiti stirred. In Jamaica, the British and the colonial planters would come to terms with the Haiti government, and the threat of further slave revolts would help propel the slow process towards abolition. But the end of slavery hardly translated into freedom or democracy for the black Jamaican majority, as the imposition of direct rule from Westminster later in the nineteenth century showed. Stage-managed abolition did not bring true liberty.

In the end, the Haitian revolution rippled outwards in ways that only seem obvious with the benefit of hindsight. Even the most astute observers, regardless of race, could not hope to fully grasp the ramifications at the time, since no one can truly understand a revolution in the midst of it. For some in Cuba and Jamaica, the fall of Saint-Domingue and the rise of Haiti was an apocalypse. For others, it meant freedom was on the horizon. For still more, it was a new opportunity to be navigated and exploited as best as they could. The story of the Haitian revolution’s impact is the story of all of those experiences, the story of how an unprecedented event produced unpredictable results.

Primary Sources

Francisco de Arango, “Discurso sobre la agricultura,” 1792.

Arango, “Representacion heca a Su Majestad con motive de la sublevacion de escavlos.”

“Popular Heroes in Cuba, 1795” from The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History

“Greed and Fear in Cuba” from The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History

Robert Renny, “Jamaican Song, 1799,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014).

The London Times , “Danger and Opportunity: The British Press, 1791,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014).

Unknown, “Jamaican Slaves, 1791,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014).

Unknown, “Aponte’s Rebellion, Cuba, 1812,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014),

Secondary Sources:

Julia Gaffield. “Haiti and Jamaica in the Remaking of the Early Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World.” The William and Mary Quarterly 69, no. 3 (2012).

Julius S. Scott, The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution(London/New York: Verso, 2018).

Phillipe Girard, “Did Dessalines Plant to Export the Revolution,” in The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context, and Legacy , edited by Julia Gaffield (Charlottesville/London: University of Virginia Press, 2016).

Matt D. Childs, The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle Against Atlantic Slavery (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

Mimi Sheller, Democracy After Slavery: Black Publics and Peasant Radicalism in Haiti and Jamaica(Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2000).

Ada Ferrer, Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Sugar Island Slavery in the Age of Enlightenment: The Political Economy of the Caribbean World (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995).

Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).

Elena A. Schneider, “”La Dominación Inglesa”: Eleven Months of British Rule.” In The Occupation of Havana: War, Trade, and Slavery in the Atlantic World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018).

C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1989).

Sibylle Fischer, Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution(Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).

[1] Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004 ), 15-17.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Dubois, 39-40.

[4] Ibid.

[5] C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 1989), 6-15.

[6] Julius S. Scott, The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution(London/New York: Verso, 2018), 6.

[7] James, 55.

[8] Ada Ferrer , Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 17.

[9] Arthur L. Stinchcombe, Sugar Island Slavery in the Age of Enlightenment: The Political Economy of the Caribbean World (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1995), 3.

[10] Ibid, 130.

[11] Mimi Sheller, Democracy After Slavery: Black Publics and Peasant Radicalism in Haiti and Jamaica(Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, 2000), 31.

[12] Ferrer, 18.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Elena A. Schneider, “”La Dominación Inglesa”: Eleven Months of British Rule.” In The Occupation of Havana: War, Trade, and Slavery in the Atlantic World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018), 163 -216.

[15] Ferrer, 19.

[16] Ibid, 21.

[17] Ibid, 22.

[18] Ferrer, 25-28.

[19] Ferrer, 33-34.

[20] Arango, “Representacion heca a Su Majestad con motive de la sublevacion de escavlos, ” quoted in Ferrer, 34-35.

[21] Matt D. Childs, The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle Against Atlantic Slavery(Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 4-6.

[22] Unknown, “Aponte’s Rebellion, Cuba, 1812,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014), 189-190.

[23] Childs, 162-165.

[24] Phillipe Girard, “Did Dessalines Plant to Export the Revolution,” in The Haitian Declaration of Independence: Creation, Context, and Legacy, edited by Julia Gaffield (Charlottesville/London: University of Virginia Press, 2016 ), 147-148.

[25] Sheller, 42.

[26] Julius S. Scott, The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution(London/New York: Verso, 2018), 4.

[27] Scott, 5.

[28] Scott, 48-49.

[29] Scott, 142-143.

[30] Unknown, “Jamaican Slaves, 1791,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014), 185-186.

[31] Scott, 144.

[32] The London Times , “Danger and Opportunity: The British Press, 1791,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014), 190-192.

[33] Scott, 144-145.

[34] Scott, 145-146.

[35] Scott, 151-153.

[36] Girard, 142-143.

[37] Girard, 146 and Dubois, 223.

[38] Julia Gaffield. “Haiti and Jamaica in the Remaking of the Early Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World.” The William and Mary Quarterly 69, no. 3 (2012): 595-598. Girard, 145.

[39] Robert Renny, “Jamaican Song, 1799,” in The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, edited and translated by David Geggus (Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 2014),188.

[40] Sheller, 43-44.




source: The Ebb And Flow Of Freedom: Haiti, Cuba, and Jamaica in the Age of Bourgeois Revolution