Haitian Independence Day

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To Preserve Their Freedom by African American artist Jacob Lawrence           from his series the Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture

 

January 1, 1804 the Haitian revolution succeeds. To learn more about Haitian history, Progressive Pupil suggests The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James and The Uses of Haiti by Paul Farmer.  What are some of the biggest misconceptions we have about Haiti today?

The Chinese-African Connection

Funded by the China National Mechanical and Equipment Corporation, the Imboulou Dam in the Republic of Congo is a 120-megawatt power plant that will double the DRC's national production of electricity and bring light to a large part of the country. Photo courtesy of Time Magazine/Paolo Woods.

Funded by the China National Mechanical and Equipment Corporation, the Imboulou Dam in the Republic of Congo is a 120-megawatt power plant that will double the DRC’s national production of electricity and bring light to a large part of the country. Photo courtesy of Time Magazine/Paolo Woods.

On the anniversary of Ghana’s independence, we wrote a blog piece about Former Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah‘s Pan-African ideology and how important it is to be aware of neocolonialism — the use of economic, political, and cultural pressures to influence other countries. While the definition of neocolonialism generally refers to the exploitation of former colonies, China’s recent economic boom has led to an increased investment in the many resources that makes Africa a literal and figurative goldmine.

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Are Reparations the Path out of Colonization?

Members of the "From Colonization to Reparations" panel. From left to right: Jean-Jacob Bicep, the interpreter and Mireille Fanon-Mendès

Members of the “From Colonization to Reparations” panel. From left to right: Jean-Jacob Bicep, the interpreter and Mireille Fanon-Mendès

Day three of the World Social Forum gave us the opportunity to participate in a meaningful discussion about colonization and reparations hosted by the Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires de France (Representative Council of Black French Associations, or CRAN) and the Fondation Frantz Fanon (Frantz Fanon Foundation). While many of the panel and audience members were native French speakers – from France, Tunisia, Algeria, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Quebec, Canada – the Forum had a translator who helped break down the language barrier and enabled us to participate fully. Engaging with people throughout the diaspora about colonialism is helpful to our grassroots organizing in the United States because it showed us that there are international successes and obstacles that we can learn from.

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From Ghana, a Vision of True Independence

Development is measured by the political and socioeconomic status of a nation. As this map highlights, the “development gap,” as it is commonly known, is also divided on geographical lines. It is no coincidence that the nations that are considered “developed” have a long history of exploiting the natural and human resources of so-called “undeveloped” nations.

The effects of imperialism are still clearly visible in the 21st century. One only needs to glance at this map to see this clearly. Today in 1957 Ghana won independence from British rule and yet over 5 decades later, the United Kingdom is remains one of the world’s economic super powers  (ranked 7 GDP) while Ghana’s economy falls largely behind (ranked 85 GDP).

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