Lessons from the African Revolution of Ayiti: The African poor and working class must lead

The African Revolution of Ayiti is the greatest example of colonized and oppressed African people uniting as one to overthrow our colonial, white power imperialist oppressors.

Enslaved Africans made the necessary struggle to free ourselves from the greatest crime ever committed against humanity—the genocide and enslavement of our African nation.

We understood very early on that there are no redeeming qualities about a system that exists at the expense of the lives and livelihood of colonized and oppressed people. We understood that freedom will not be handed to us and that it is to be fought for.

We believed in having a united and organized resistance under revolutionary leadership.

Two of the most notable leaders of the African Revolution of Ayiti were Toussaint L’Ouverture and his principal lieutenant, General Jean- Jacques Dessalines.

The main difference between these two revolutionary leaders is a perfect example of the class struggle that takes place within the struggle for national liberation:

Toussaint L’Ouverture, in all of his revolutionary brilliance, was amongst the African intelligentsia class. His class interests were not always aligned with the poor and working class.

Jean-Jacques Dessalines, on the other hand, was amongst the most oppressed sector of the plantation and the most oppressed sector of the African Nation.

Dessalines remained illiterate until his death, but he was one of the sharpest revolutionary leaders and brilliant minds the world has ever known.

Carry the torch of Jean- Jacques Dessalines against white power imperialism

It remains unclear whether Jean-Jacques Dessalines was born in West Africa, captured and brought to Ayiti, or if he was born enslaved in Northern Ayiti. However the case, he was given the name Jean-Jacques Duclos after his first colonial enslaver, Henry Duclos.

Jean-Jacques Duclos was subjected to the most brutal of conditions a human being could ever experience. His body was full of deep scars from the horrendous treatment he received.

Not only was he enslaved on a French colony, where the French were known for using the most extreme measures of torture against the Africans they enslaved; he was a worker on sugarcane plantations, which was amongst the worst kind of labor an enslaved African could do across all plantations.

In his early 30’s, he was sold to a freed African man named Dessalines, which is when Jean-Jacques Duclos’s name was changed to Jean-Jacques Dessalines. He kept the name thereafter.

He eventually escaped his new owner’s plantation to join in on the early uprisings taking place on the island of Ayiti.

Dessalines joined the first organized uprising against the colonizers on the island.

He eventually met Toussaint L’Ouverture, who had become a leader of what was now a revolution. Dessalines was one of L’Ouverture’s principal lieutenants and was appointed into higher positions by Toussaint L’Ouverture, because of his trustworthiness.

Dessalines had a clear understanding of the colonial enslavers and a non-liberal approach to dealing with them, unlike L’Ouverture who was often blinded by his own class interests.

For example, when the French invited L’Ouverture to a parley on a French ship, Dessalines warned him not to accept it.

L’Ouverture, however, thought he was seen as “equal” in the eyes of the French due to his military rank and trusted that the so-called meeting with the French would actually be just that. He did not heed Dessalines’ warning and met the French on the ship anyway.

Dessalines proved to be right once the French sailed away with L’Ouverture taking him to his eventual death.

An infuriated Dessalines immediately rose up as the leadership of the revolution and led it forward to completion and victory!

Jean-Jacques Dessalines believed in the total destruction of the system. His motto “Koupé Tèt! Boulé Kay!” instructed the Africans to “Cut Heads! Burn Houses!” of all the colonial enslavers.

The African Revolution of Ayiti was won in late 1803, after 12 years of the Africans waging a serious war against our colonial enslavers. On January 1, 1804, Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Ayiti free and independent!

Wage an anti-colonial struggle for African independence and self determination

In the January 1, 1804 Act of Independence, titled “Liberty or Death,” General- in-Chief Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared that he had all of his generals “to forever renounce France, and to die rather than live under its domination; to fight until our last breath for the independence of our country.”

Named Saint-Domingue by the French at the time, Dessalines made it very clear that he wanted Ayiti to have absolutely no associations with those who colonized and enslaved us.

He said, “The French name still darkens our plains: every thing recalls the remembrance of the cruelties of that barbarous people.

“Our laws, our customs, our cities, every thing bears the characteristic of the French. Hearken to what I say! The French still have a footing in our island!

“And you believe yourselves free and independent of that republic, which has fought all nations, it is true, but never conquered those who would be free!”

Dessalines said that “the generals, imbued with these sacred principles, after having with one voice given their adherence to the well manifested project of independence, have all sworn before eternity and before the entire universe to forever renounce France and to die rather than live under its domination.”

Later, in the same document, Dessalines referred to the free Africans as “Natives of Haiti,” which was the first mention of Africans reclaiming the name given to the land of Ayiti by the indigenous Taino inhabitants.

Renaming the entire island Haiti was the greatest expression of solidarity and honor towards the Taino people of Ayiti that Dessalines could have done.

Dessalines also made a profound declaration about not conquering the neighboring islands. “Let us, at the same time, take care, lest a spirit of proselytism should destroy the work.

“Let our neighbors breathe in peace. Let them live peaceably under the shield of those laws which they have framed for themselves.

“Let us beware of becoming revolutionary fire-brands; of creating ourselves the legislators of the Antilles; of considering as a glory the disturbing the tranquillity of the neighboring islands.

“They have not been, like the one we inhabit, drenched with the innocent blood of the inhabitants.

“They have no vengeance to exercise against the authority that protects them. Happy, never to have experienced the pestilence that has destroyed us, they must wish well to our posterity.”

Dessalines was incorrect in his statement that other islands were not “drenched with the innocent blood of the inhabitants,” as all of the other islands were indeed drenched in the blood of the indigenous inhabitants and the enslaved Africans who were brought there.

His statement, however, reveals the true character of the African poor and working class. Not only do we have no interest in maintaining a system that oppresses our people, we have no interests in oppressing others!

2020-10-05-Haiti-Jean_Jacques_Dessalines-620wGeneral Jean-Jacques Dessalines

The African People’s Socialist Party seeks to overthrow the capitalist-colonial domination of African people

Through the revolutionary theory of African Internationalism, the theory of the African poor and working class developed by the African People’s Socialist Party’s (APSP) Chairman Omali Yeshitela, we are able to accurately sum up that the only sector of the world that can overthrow colonialism and define freedom for the oppressed is the most oppressed sector of the world, ourselves.

Chairman Omali Yeshitela has not only developed the theory of African Internationalism, he also founded the instrument through which the African revolution will be successful: the African People’s Socialist Party!

The APSP is the anti-colonial political party of the African poor and working class and the leading organization of the international African revolution!

We believe wholeheartedly in the leadership of the African poor and working class to lead the African nation to freedom and the overthrow of colonial terror.

Article 3.1 of the African People’s Socialist Party— USA’s Constitution states:

“3.1 The aims and objectives of the APSP-USA are to lead the struggle of the African working class and oppressed masses against U.S. capitalist-colonialist domination and all the manifestations of oppression and exploitation that result from this relationship. The Party recognizes that the particular character of the oppression of African people within U.S. borders is domestic or internal colonialism. Leading the struggle to end the system of domestic colonialism and smash the U.S. capitalist-colonialist state is the immediate task of the African People’s Socialist Party-USA and the African working class in the U.S.” The African poor and working class must lead!

Long Live the African Revolution of Ayiti!

Long Live Jean- Jacques Dessalines!

Koupé Tèt! Boulé Kay! Viv Ayiti!v


Join the African People’s Socialist Party! APSPUhuru.org


- Advertisement -spot_img

Support African Working Class Media!

More articles from this author

Chairman Omali on Tucker Carlson’s show: “The attack on my right to speak is also an attack on the right of the people to...

The following is a transcript from Tucker Carlson’s interview with Chairman Omali Yeshitela broadcasted on Mar. 22.  Tucker Carlson: The details of the story are...

The U.S. government assaults the First Amendment using the case of the Uhuru 3

These are summarized notes from Chairman Omali Yeshitela’s presentation discussing the First Amendment at a Hands Off Uhuru webinar hosted on March 30, 2024. In...

Uhuru 3 legal counsel declares, “We’re building a bullet-proof defense!”

Leonard Goodman - National Lawyers Guild conference, Chicago, IL, April 14, 2024— I want to appreciate the National Lawyers Guild for having us and...

Similar articles

The Party’s Cadre Intensive School kicks off the new year, uniting our theory with practice

On January 7, 2024, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) initiated a virtual Cadre Intensive school for its membership, conducted by the Department of...

The Biden Administration desperately seeks confidence of African people of Haiti—we seek African self-determination!

HAITI—On Friday, June 2, 2023, the United States state department published a press release written by secretary of state Antony J. Blinken announcing the...

Hands Off Uhuru! Hands Off Africa! Defense Campaign goes to Cuba

This is part one of a series of articles that will highlight the events and outcomes of the May 2023 delegation to Cuba. From April...