Friday, 20 May 2016

Revolution from the Margins - Saluting Toussaint L'Ouverture

We're just under two months away from July 14, the official anniversary date of the French Revolution.  I honour the Revolution, with all its dialectical complexity.  As with most revolutions - even that Irish 'revolution' which we've been marking in this country recently - it was characterised by a bewildering variety of actions, sentiments, ideas, political theories and cultural forms. 

The French Revolution, and the radical Enlightenment which preceded it and which fed also into the American Revolution, produced echoes in many places, including Ireland.  But perhaps most notable and tumultuous of those echoes, or indeed parallel revolutions - a revolution within or at the edge of the Revolution - was the great San Domingo slave uprising, led by Toussaint L'Ouverture.  The most famous history of the slave revolt is CLR James's masterpiece, The Black Jacobins, a great text of 'postcolonialism' written long before Edward Said or Gayatri Spivak were even heard of.  Today is Toussaint's birthday, and it's marked by Verso with an excerpt from a volume of his writings, which I post here:

Happy Birthday Toussaint L'Ouverture



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