For the first time Black Canadians are preparing to officially celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1, 2021 to coincide with the British Imperial Act of 1934. Interestingly, organizers have spent over 25 years trying to secure this proclamation from the government; the time spent should be a reminder to black people that white people don’t want to give you anything.
We should in fact be focusing on emancipating ourselves mentally and economically. We need to understand that the new slavery chains are the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), and sanctions and political interference from the US and other western powers.
The Haitian revolt began on 22 August 1791, and ended in 1804 with the former colony’s Independence. This military victory challenged long-held European beliefs about alleged black inferiority and about slaves’ ability to achieve and maintain their own freedom. The “rebel’s” organizational capacity and tenacity under pressure shocked and frightened slave owners, who rightfully worried that the revolution would inspire other enslaved Africans to do the same. That is the reason why the Western powers maintain its economic stranglehold on Haiti to this day.
Venezuela has been in limbo before the Congress of 1810 when civil war ensued between supporters of the juntas and the royalists who wished to stay with Spain. Finally, the royalists were defeated and in 1813 and Simon Bolivar proclaimed the restoration of the Venezuelan Republic and his supreme leadership of it.
Hugo Chavez angered America when he called on the American government to end “the massacre of the innocents in Afghanistan… Terrorism cannot be fought with terrorism.” Chavez promoted the redistribution of wealth; land reform, and democratization of economic activity via workplace self-management; creation of worker-owned cooperatives; shortening of the work week; a constitutional recognition of Afro-Venezuelans; and the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
More recent, a group of former Venezuelan troops, who had fled to neighboring Colombia, trained and prepared for a mission to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The plan anticipated that Maduro would be captured, and that Maduro’s forces would join the rebel cause and stand down. American helicopters would then transport Maduro to the US where he would be jailed on trumped-up drug trafficking charges. The US puppet, Juan Guaidó, would then become President, the plot did not succeed.
In Cuba, Fidel Castro overthrew the American supported dictator Fulgencio Batista on January 1, 1959 and established a revolutionary government. America opposed the government and developed a plan to invade Cuba. The plan was launched from Guatemala and the Brigade landed at the Bay of Pigs in 1961. The invaders were defeated in 2 days by Cuban armed forces under the direct command of Castro.
The common thread in these three countries is that they defeated white supremacy military forces that promote capitalism and installed revolutionary governments for and by the people. America and other Western capitalist’s governments are determined that these fledging “socialists” countries must not survive and have used their political, economic and military assets to ensure their destruction.
The Atlantic newspaper, in the US, wrote that Black Lives Matter (BLM) was repeating communist officials when it blames the uprising in Cuba on the US. To put it bluntly, The Atlantic is wrong and is doing exactly what capitalists newspapers do – support capitalism and whatever capitalists do to ensure that cheap labor is available globally.
The Atlantic claimed that the recent street demonstrations are the result of systemic denial of rights to the people, poor material conditions, lack of mobility and inequality, especially Afro-Cubans. America has placed economic sanctions on Cuba since 1959, causing the poor material conditions, and lack of mobility. I have been to Cuba, and the shelves are not full of supplies, but I have never met a happier people and I felt safe everywhere I ventured.
An international study ranks Cuba 30th among the healthiest countries in the world, and a UNESCO report states that Cuba ranks first place in all subjects, and that Cuban students have twice the knowledge and skills of the average Latin American student. Most importantly, Cuba has developed five Covid-19 vaccines since the outbreak despite the shortages caused by the US embargo.
As expected, President Biden is following the old white supremacist script. He recently called Cuba a “failed state” and refused to re-establish relations that Obama had implemented with Cuba. In Haiti, he rejected his advisors’ plea to reject President Moïse and push for a legitimate transitional government to help Haitians determine their own future. He has adopted Trump’s policy of sanctions against Venezuela and regime change.
The whole world is experiencing the worst economic crisis in its history as a result of Covid-19. The people of Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti are in the streets they are saying: ‘we want medicines, we want food’ and America offers sanctions that prevent these items from being imported to the countries. Instead, Francis Suarez, mayor of Miami, suggested the US government consider airstrikes.
The old white supremacists’ playbook is alive and well, supporting puppet dictators who will advance American’s or Western interests, and pauperizing its inhabitants.
This is the state of Black and Brown people today. Whether we win our freedom or negotiate our freedom, white supremacists have decided that we will not be free and that we must be subservient to them. They will name “Emancipation Day” so you can dance and sing its observance but they know you are still slaves. They will ensure that qualitative changes are not secured.
Current conditions bring to mind the song by Solomon Burke: “None of us are free, None of us are free, if one of us is chained, none of us are free.” I commend the advocates in Canada for their efforts in getting this day on record, but we must focus on the prize of real emancipation.
Emancipation means being set free from legal, social, or political restrictions, in effect total liberation. My concern is that while we celebrate emancipation, we are not free, like the United States (US) Constitution, the Emancipation proclamation is an ideal that has yet to be achieved.