What the Haitian Revolution Might Tell Us about Development, Security, and the Politics of Race Print

International Relations, Victoria University of Wellington


Conquest, it is affirmed, creates historic links. The new time inaugurated by the con- quest, which is a colonialist time because occupied by colonialist values .. . will be endowed with an absolute coefficient.. .. The history of the conquest, the historic devel- opment of the colonization and of the national spoliation, will be substituted for the real time of the exploited men.
——Frantz Fanon1
There was a time when Western political science was somewhat sensitized to the historical perspective from which “exploited men” might view the making of modern world order. During the Cold War, and with the rise of the Non-Aligned Movement especially, debates in the Western Academy made regular reference to what might be called the “development/security nexus.” Many political scientists claimed that the peculiarities of “Third World” development could engender security threats for the “First World.” But it was further acknowledged that Third World politicians (especially at the Bandung Conference in 1955) could see their post-colonial development threatened by a West that, still exhibiting racial hierarchies domestically, might wish to retain these hierarchies internationally.2

As time has passed, however, mainstream analyses of the development/secur- ity nexus have turned to increasingly atomized and ahistorical understandings of Third World development, preferring instead an ideal typology of the “failed” state. And the threat to First World security emanating from such failure has come to be understood overwhelmingly in terms of social ills arising from the

Acknowledgments: My thanks to George Lawson, Brian Mabee, Justin Rosenberg, and especially three anonymous CSSH reviewers and the editor for their extremely helpful comments and suggestions.
1 Fanon 1967: 158 – 59.
2 While recognizing the increasing difficulties in employing these terms as faithful represen- tations of core divisions in the world, I use them in this article as heuristic devices designed to fore- ground the organizing influence of race in the making of modern world order.


pathology of state failure rather than in terms of a politics of race. One crucial consequence of this shift has been a resurgence of foreign-policy prescriptions that promote neo-trusteeship or benign imperialism but that legitimize these pre- scriptions as non-racist, technical fixes to failures of governance.
Nevertheless, a countertrend exists both in the social sciences as a whole, and in international relations in particular, to return investigations of the develop- ment/security nexus back to historically and sociologically holistic accounts of the relationship between the First and Third Worlds. This scholarly project holds the potential to fundamentally question the mobilization of the “failed
state” ideal type to inform contemporary foreign policy making.3 The
problem is that the most influential of “historical sociology” approaches—neo- Weberian and historical materialism—have consistently rehearsed grand narra- tives that have been ill-equipped to elucidate the politics of race, especially, as I shall focus on in this article, the formative influence of slavery as a foundational constituent of the contested making of modern world order.
My purpose is two-fold. Firstly, I seek to contribute to the project of de-pathologizing and re-politicizing the development/security nexus by return- ing the co-constitutive relationship between First and Third Worlds to a macro- political—but historically and sociologically informed—account of the making of modern world order. Secondly, I seek to critically underscore the limits of using the most influential historical sociological approaches to achieve this return, due to their under-theorization of the politics of race. The purchase of the argument is, perhaps, most immediate for macro-political debates in inter- national relations over security and development, especially regarding the concept of the “failed state.” Yet, and as I shall elaborate upon shortly, it necess- arily speaks to the critical intent of those who pursue focused social and cultural historical inquiries.
In this article I investigate the Haitian Revolution and its protracted aftermath for a number of reasons. The first—and conceptual—reason is that in order to address the inadequacies in historical sociology regarding the politics of race, it is useful to follow Fanon’s prompt and move the focus of narration away from the European metropolis in order to engage, in as much as it is possible, with the experiences of colonial peripheries. The second—and substantive—reason is that in establishing the first post-colonial post-slaveholding independent state of modern times, the Haitian Revolution remains a pivotal episode for any investigation of the historical relationship between development, security, and the politics of race.
Since the U.S.-led intervention in 1994, Haiti has become symbolic of the failed state phenomenon in Washington foreign-policy-making circles.4 In

3 For programmatic statements in international relations, see Ayoob 1995; Bilgin and Morton
2002; Barkawi and Laffey 2006; and Hobden and Hobson 2002.
4 The Fund for Peace 2007 Failed States Index ranks Haiti in eleventh position.

2004, the bicentennial year of Haitian independence, an article in the National Review “celebrated” two hundred years of failure to build a democratic Haitian society.5 Against these anachronistic readings of Haitian history, I argue that the Haitian Revolution gains its contemporary analytical importance by virtue of
the fact that the issues and objects encapsulated in the first chapter of the story of modernity, so to speak, are those that tend to become analytically pri- vileged and expressive of the whole story. Interpolating the Haitian Revolution within the start of the grand narrative therefore brings to the fore the conten- tious, often ignored, and generally under-theorized relationship between
slavery, race, and modernity.6 And while there now exists a rich literature in
social and cultural history that grapples with particular dynamics within the Haitian Revolution, there have, as yet, been insufficient attempts to directly mobilize these dynamics to problematize grand narratives of the making of modern world order.
By positioning an article with such purposes in this journal I do not wish to
reclaim the moral high ground of historical inquiry for the grand narrative, nor do I wish to present an essentialist or monolithic idea of “race.” Instead, I submit that in our contemporary age, where neo-trusteeship or benign imperi- alism can be successfully legitimized and implicitly endorsed by many in the Western academy as non-racist technical fixes to failures of governance, there exists an urgent responsibility for critical social and cultural historians to orient inquiry toward direct problematization of the new imperialist ideol- ogies. Historians do not necessarily need to plead their case personally in the halls of power. But one crucial task of critical historical inquiry is to think about how new “micro-histories” might collectively challenge macro-political grand narratives. Shedding critical light upon these narratives is an important task not in and of itself but because it is at the macro-level of inquiry that his-
torical illumination of the ahistorical assumptions of the present is most direct.7
This article contributes to this task by mobilizing various historical accounts of the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath in order, firstly, to reveal how the development/security nexus is constituted through a politics of race, and sec- ondly to argue that adequately exploring this nexus—so as to assess the integ- rity of concepts such as the “failed state”—requires us to pierce the veil of “colonialist time.”
At this point it is perhaps helpful to position my argument by making some short comments on existing debates over the relationship between slavery and capitalist-industrialization and/or “modernity.” One of the most important aspects of this debate has been the attempt to show that New World slavery

5 Bandow 2004.
6 See especially Fischer 2004: 11 – 24; see also Beckles 1997.
7 One of the best examples of this mobilization of historical inquiry is Sidney Mintz’s 1995 dis- cussion of the 1994 U.S. intervention into Haiti.

was not a pre-modern relic, but rather integral to the rise of industrial capital- ism.8 Here, we may think of Eric Williams’ heavily debated thesis on the super- profits of slavery promoting British capitalist industrialization, but we might also include attempts by world systems theorists to link the un-free labor of the periphery to the free forms of labor found in the capitalist core.9
However, most participants have placed their explanatory focus on the effect/ affect of New World slavery upon European capitalist industrialization. Again, this relationship, viewed from the perspective of “exploited men” (in Fanon’s terms), is considered of secondary or derivative importance.
Nevertheless, some scholars have attempted to push this perspective to the fore. For example, a central claim made initially by C.L.R. James, forwarded by Sidney Mintz and also supported by Robin Blackburn is that the New World slave system actually displayed the impersonality and functional logic
akin to modern forms of social organization.10 For Mintz, the Caribbean
expressed a precocious modernity, where, displaced from their cultures, Carib- bean subjects learned a non-valuative openness to cultural variety and recog- nized their relative lack of power in the face of rapid and ongoing change. However, if such facets of “modernity” are usually organically linked to the rise of industrial capitalism in Europe, such a direct linkage is problematic to
maintain regarding the development of the plantation system in America.11
This, then, still leaves the question open as to what specific processes of social change can account for the cultivation of modernity from within the slave-owning world, and how we might understand these processes as part of modern world development as a whole.
While I do not here intend to resolve these debates, I do propose to dwell upon the persistent ambiguities that they display regarding the relationship of slavery to capitalism and to modernity.12 Hence my starting assumption is that there might be a specific experience of “modern” social transformation
from slavery that cannot be reduced to—or derived from—“European” experi- ences of capitalist transformation, and neither from a singular understanding of “modernity,” precocious, “proto,” or otherwise. In this spirit, I take the politics of race to provide an analytical challenge to historical sociology approaches in two ways. Firstly, that slavery existed as a—perhaps the—world system of the modern age requires us to take the spatialized ordering of political authority through the category of race as constitutive of and not merely additive to, or a relic within, the making of modern world order. Secondly, the racialization

8 See especially Blackburn 1997: 374.
9 For overviews see Drescher 1997; and Santiago-Valles 2005, respectively.
10 James 2001; Blackburn 1997: 10; Mintz 1996.
11 See, for example, Mark Smith’s fascinating discussion of time-work discipline in the Amer- ican South (1996).
12 This is acknowledged by many key participants in the debates. See, for example, Blackburn

of this spatiality must be understood as a condition upon which and through which modern transformations of political subjectivity proceed in a contested manner. Again, racialized socialites are constitutive of and not merely additive to, or a relic within, the making of modern political identities.
In fine, I argue that the politics of race problematizes the assumption of a singular dynamic of social change through which and by reference to which we can incorporate slavery and its historical effect within existing grand narra- tives of modernity.13 Focusing upon the Revolution and its protracted after-
math, I argue, against the neo-Weberian position, that the logic of geopolitical contestation between colonial slaveholding and anti-colonial anti- slaveholding powers cannot be made sense of by reference to an apparently generic logic derived from the “internal” geopolitical dynamics of European state formation. And against the historical-materialist position I argue that the internal contestations of Haitian development was driven far less by the dia- lectic of capital and labor—that is, the modern politics of class—and far more by what might be described as the dialectic of master and slave—the politics of race.
I proceed by firstly tracing key currents in the academic investigation of the
development/security nexus, and I examine the problems of resisting these cur- rents by turning to the dominant historical sociological narratives of modern world development. Then I construct an historical narrative of the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath up to the 1840s by highlighting the politics of race. I conclude by outlining the challenges posed by this investigation to con- temporary projects of re-historicizing and re-socializing the development/ security nexus.

In the 1960s, a number of political scientists turned against the prevailing con- sensus that Third World development was necessarily a (belated) carbon copy of First World development. The compression of hundreds of years of develop- ment into decades, the demonstration effect exhibited by already modernized states, and the colonial legacy wherein indigenous elites had inherited an arbi- trarily delineated territory composed of heterogonous social groupings, were all unique variables that academics such as Samuel Huntington believed gave the military a leading role in the modernization of the Third World, a role that had
(apparently) been the obverse in the First World.14

13 Slavery is a foundational, but not the only, historical source of modern politics of race. The specifics of the argument presented below will require further critical investigation to determine the global extent of its salience and applicability.
14 See for example Pye 1962; Janowitz 1977 (originally published as a shorter 1964 essay); and
Huntington 1968.

Lurking behind most of these analyses was a concern for the disordering effects experienced when traditional societies modernized, and the possibility for this disorder to provide an opening for communist infiltration of the Third World. Yet this threat to the security of the First World was just as
much associated with a politics of race as with communist expansion.15 Thus
many American political scientists pointed out that, although never a colonial power in the European sense, the United States was perceived in the Third World as a Western power, and one that still exhibited domestic racial stratifica- tion. Moreover, if, because of this, U.S. world leadership could be interpreted as an extension of the old European project for racial supremacy, the search for meaningful independence might lead Third World elites toward the communist
bloc.16 Accordingly, there developed a trend to investigate the racial dimension
of world politics, with many authors turning towards W.E.B. DuBois’ famous notion of the “color line” as a useful heuristic device through which to draw a fundamental organizing principle of twentieth-century world affairs.17
However, during the 1980s and 1990s, academic investigations of the devel- opment/security nexus fell under the influence of a general shift in U.S. policy articulated in the Washington Consensus. The Consensus effectively de-politicized the Development project by marginalizing the central role of the state in favor of the invisible hand of the market. And although a post- Washington Consensus has re-embraced the importance of the state for develop- ment, it has done so by extending micro-economic principles into the content and investigation of politics. In recasting “modernization” as a series of technical
fixes to governance, the new consensus has analytically weakened and severed the historically intertwined development trajectories of the First and Third World.18
Unsurprisingly, debate of the development/security nexus in international relations also fell under this influence. Beginning in the early 1990s, a concern for the phenomena of “failed” states,19 a purely ideal type of governance, gave rise to a tendency to analytically de-historicize and atomize the international (and imperial) context within which Third World state building took place.20
This idealization of the optimum form of political development was but- tressed by the infiltration into social science of what has been termed the “new racism.”21 Gaining ground under the New Right politics of Thatcher

15 See especially Jones 2005; see also Lauren 1996; Vitalis 2000; and Bull 1984.
16 See for example, the “godfather” of American Realpolitik, Hans Morgenthau 1960: 37 – 42,
132 – 42, 306 – 10. In general, see Borstelmann 2002.
17 See Isaacs 1969; Preiswerk 1970; Lemelle and Shepherd 1971; Tinker 1977; and Vincent
1982. Not all of these authors use the “color line” heuristic.
18 On these shifts, see Leftwich 1994; Fine 1999; and Soederberg 2004.
19 See, for example, Holsti 1995.
20 Bilgin and Morton 2002. A good example of this shift is King and Zeng 2001. It must be said, however, that some initial investigations at least still noted the permissive context of colonialism in the making of failed states (e.g., Helman and Ratner 1993).
21 On the new racism see Barker 1981; Balibar 1991; and Ansell 1997.

and Reagan, this quasi-intellectual ideology rendered “culture” (usually con-
flated with “ethnicity”) through the same ontology that allowed liberal thought to construct an autonomous and atomistic individual as human nature. In short, the new “state of nature” was understood to be composed of cultures rather than individuals, all sharing a radical equality that produced the potential for a war of all cultures against all. The increasing popularity of this ontological standpoint has effectively ruled out serious investigation of the political construction of hierarchical differences among proscribed social groups, an issue that the politics of race addressed explicitly. In this way, the post-cold war destabilization of societies in exotic areas of the globe, especially Africa (but also the “intimate other,” the Balkans) are now taken to be examples of the destructive power of the cultural “state of nature” if it is allowed to exist unconstrained by (Western-dominated) international institutions. Those fleeing this state of nature—Third World migrants and refugees—are now considered security threats in their capacity to act as conduits through which the social ills that thrive in the breeding grounds of Third World disorder, disease, poverty, and terrorism travel to the First World. And to deal with this security threat emanating from Third World state failure requires the First World to pursue a
militarized humanitarianism.22
Through all these related intellectual shifts, not only has the development/ security nexus become ahistorical and atomized, but the very politics of this nexus—the politics of race—is now understood as a pathology of the cultural “state of nature.” Most importantly, in presenting Third World “nation- building” as a project that can only be pursued successfully with the paternal- ism of First World powers, it is now possible, using terms such as “neo-
trusteeship” and “postmodern imperialism,”23 to speak of a “civilizing
mission” of technically improving governance, but one bleached of the racia- lized hierarchy it had consistently upheld in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Uncovering the obfuscation of the “color line” in terms such as the “failed
state” has been a crucial and positive contribution of critically minded scholars in development studies, especially.24 But such insights then beg the question of how to incorporate the politics of race into historically and sociologically informed accounts of the development/security nexus and its role in the
making of modern world order. However, the most popular historical- sociological accounts of the making of modern world order—neo-Weberianism and historical materialism—elements of which underpin a majority of grand

22 For examples of this discourse see, especially, Robert Kaplan’s works 1993 and 1994. See also Rotberg 2002; and Krasner and Pascual 2005.
23 Fearon and Laitin 2004; and Cooper 2002, respectively.
24 For example, Duffield 1996; Richards 1996; Lentin 2005; and the collection of essays edited by Kothari 2006.

narratives, critical and otherwise, are seriously ill-equipped to deal with this challenge.
During the 1970s Weber’s sociology of the state was deployed as an antidote
to the marxist assumption that the political sphere was simply an arena for socio-economic struggle.25 Scholars selectively used Weber’s writings to help conceptually establish the state as a political actor in its own right, wherein the ensemble of governing institutions exhibited a unique form of
agency, namely, the monopolization of the means of violence. Added to this was the influence of Weber’s contemporary, Otto Hintze, from which was derived the claim that the state also developed through addressing security con- cerns to the extent that it existed in geopolitical competition with other states.26
Probably the most influential proponent of this neo-Weberian framework has been Charles Tilly, with his claim that war made the state, and the state made war.27
Simply put, the neo-Weberian grand narrative of modernization focuses on the centralization of state power. In order for kings to protect lucrative financial networks across an un-pacified countryside they had to invest in a more ration- alized and efficient military force. This, however, required fiscal resources, and thus more tax revenues (and later even conscription) from the rural population, which in turn required an expansion of the extractive power of political auth- ority as well as an intensification of its social control. At the same time, the increased centralization of administration and the means of violence charged diplomatic relations in the geopolitical milieu of the old European-Christian empire with more tension. For the continual revolution in military organization and capacity created a comparative pressure among state rulers to emulate the most innovative transformations of the means of violence, to be tested, ulti- mately, through war. Modernization was therefore driven by the (geo)political struggle over the means of violence, rather than by an economic struggle over
the means of production.28
In terms of the present argument, the problem with this grand narrative is that although it provides a historical-sociological sensitivity to the relationship between security and development, it does so from a perspective that implicitly
transposes European inter-state development to a global dynamic.29 The neo-
Weberian approach holds that the social sources of this dynamic can be

25 It should be noted that in extracting a narrowly formulated Weberian ideal-type of the modern state from Weber’s voluminous writings, such scholars arguably did great violence to Weber as a critical intellectual. Left behind, for example, is the way in which he made sense of his historical sociological project via his writings on the vocations of science and politics, and his philosophical engagements with Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and the neo-Kantians.
26 See especially Skocpol 1985; Mann 1993; Giddens 1985.
27 Tilly 1992.
28 Aside from Tilly, this general thesis is deployed, in various ways and with various emphases, by Giddens 1985; Mann 1993; McNeill 1983; and Brewer 1989.
29 For example, Rasler and Thompson 1985.

found in the fact that coercion is the social relation that works for power best.30
It is this “social logic” that underpins both the development dynamic within society and the security dilemma that is the effect of this dynamic in the geo- political realm. All political communities are therefore assumed to be like-units wherein the elites are driven by the same imperatives to compete over the accumulation of socio-political power. Indeed, if European imperialism is included in neo-Weberian narratives, its analytical importance is usually under- stood as a further instance of the coercive logic of intra-European state devel-
opment with its attendant geopolitics.31 Nevertheless, as a number of authors
have pointed out, Third World elites had to negotiate, around colonialism and slavery, access into an already-existing system of European great powers.32 And what is more, independence struggles emanating from the colo- nies were mediated through a development/security nexus the social logic of
which was fundamentally racialized, both in terms of the spatiality of develop- ment processes, and the nature of elite coercion of the peasantry. “Coercion”— the generic and singular dynamic in the neo-Weberian narrative of the making of modernity—could well turn out to have a different social logic in the colo- nial world.
Alternatively, historical materialism centers its narrative of modern world development upon “primitive accumulation”—the violent, coercive political project of separating the bulk of producers from direct access to their means of social reproduction by privatizing property rights. For many historical mate- rialists, this privatization is taken to be that which inaugurated a differentiation of political functions into their modern form: distribution, production, exchange and even the extraction of surplus labor came to be pursued in a puta- tively “economic” sphere. Concomitantly, the defining task of the “political” sphere became to uphold and re-produce the institution of private property
through law, and if necessary through direct coercion.33
“Primitive accumulation” also refers to the transformations in sociality and political identity accompanying this separation of the political and the econ- omic. Prior to capitalism, social reproduction was constituted through commu- nal and localized relations of personal dependency wherein production was organized through locally binding, hierarchical, and differentiated political rights and duties. Primitive accumulation transformed this “mode of life” radi- cally by creating “free” workers in a double sense: positively, workers were no longer politically constituted as means of production themselves as they had been in slavery and serfdom; but at the same time, negatively, workers no longer

30 Tilly 1992.
31 To be fair, this lacuna, if left unresolved, does not always go unnoticed. See, for example, Giddens 1985: 191, 251. See also Hobson and Sharman 2005.
32 Ayoob 1995: 22 – 28. See also Sørensen 2001; and Lustick 1997. Thies 2004 accepts Tilly’s framework, but with caveats.
33 Wood 1981.

possessed direct access to the means of their reproduction (e.g., common land). Once reconstituted as commodities—as hands for hire—personal dependencies were purged from the constitution of the new worker. The impersonalized free and equal individual of liberal law therefore finds its genesis in the core process that drove modern state development: the violent uprooting of relations of com- munal and personal dependency on behalf of securing the reproduction of private property.
For the purposes of this article, the main problem with the historical materi- alist grand narrative is that it takes as its center-ground a notion of “primitive accumulation” that was almost exclusively developed by reference to the his- torical experience of one society—Britain. Certainly, since Marx, many have attempted to mobilize the concept of primitive accumulation to explain both the inauguration and continued propulsion of global capital accumulation, noting especially the increased social insecurity that results for populations
in the Third World.34 Such effects are even made sense of by reference to
Marx’s scant remarks, in his discussion of primitive accumulation, on the “slavery” of workers in Europe being dependent on slavery in the New World.35 Nevertheless, in Marx’s account, slavery was not the immediate relation of personal dependency that was transformed, via “primitive accumu-
lation,” into the capital relation. Might the inherited conditions of slavery have formed a qualitatively different basis to feudalism or absolutism upon and through which modern state development proceeded? If this is so, then the modern form of a politics of race might not be adequately explained by refer- ence to its emergence as part of a modern politics of class.
Turning to the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath, I now further expose these lacunae by reference to the racialized nature of the struggles to construct the first post-colonial, post-slavery society of modern times. In doing so, and following Fanon’s prompt, I interrogate the security/development nexus from the “real time of the exploited men [sic].” That is to say, I examine the threat to Third World development emanating from the First World. This is a necess- ary change of perspective in order to adequately capture both the historical and colonial co-constitution of the First and Third Worlds in the security/develop- ment nexus and the racial dimension of the politics involved. Specifically, I draw out the politics of race in the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath by focusing on the internal contestation between black peasantries, the black elite, and the mulatto elite over the means and ends of black freedom and inde- pendence. I show how the dynamics of this contestation are progressively framed by (a) the socio-political contestation between post-slavery develop- ment projects, namely smallholding farming versus the militarized plantation system; (b) the geopolitical contestation between post-slavery Haiti and the

34 For example, de Angelis 2001; Harvey 2003; and Bakker and Gill 2003.
35 For example, Hardt and Negri 2000: 256 – 58; Caffentzis 1995: 19.

slaveholding great powers, especially how the latter presented a threat to the security of the former; and (c) the drawing of an international “color line” through both these contestations via the inauguration of a black nationalism.36

It was the plantation, as a system of production, which made the colony of Saint Domingue extremely valuable to the French crown, and its defense and expan- sion informed the prime mandate of colonial politics. Although the relations of personal dependency through which the slave experienced social life in the plantation were often not directly formed through regular contact with the master, they were formed through the proxy of the slave driver and overseer. During the eighteenth century, with the expansion of the plantation system, the locally binding, hierarchical, and differentiated nature of political rights
and duties of slavery were upheld with increasing brutality by these proxies.37
Of crucial note for the present argument are the existing resources from which the slave population in Saint Domingue drew their understanding of their (lack of) rights and duties in the reproduction of the plantation system. Two-thirds had been born in Africa, so among the slaves African political phil- osophies, especially Kongolese, provided the main interpretation of the
meaning of the metropolitan revolution.38 Increasingly, pamphlets from and
hearsay about the rising tensions in the metropolis circulated amongst the slaves who interpreted these political contestations through Kongolese political philosophy. This syncretism rendered political freedom as the right to limited autonomy granted by a non-despotic, virtuous king.39 The large size of planta- tions gave such philosophies room for development,40 and in the plantation context the domain of autonomy was mapped onto smallhold farming within the slave family’s kitchen garden, with the corresponding sociality of this autonomous communal domain codified through the Vodou religion.41

36 The use of this phrase might appear as anachronistic and there is no space here to fully explore the term. More justification is provided in Shilliam 2006. However, it is important to affirm the absolute contemporaneity of the Haitian and French revolutions, their co-constitution, and the mod- ernity of both of them. If C.L.R. James’ classic work might be showing its age nowadays, he was entirely right, in this particular sense, to speak of both French Jacobins and Black Jacobins. For the influence of the Haitian Revolution on the cultivation of African-American black nationalism see Fanning 2007.
37 Blackburn 1988: 21. See for example, the decreasing influence of ecclesiastical intervention
in the slave relation; Hall 1971: 51.
38 Thornton 1993: 183 – 85; Fick 1990: 25.
39 The sources of slave thought on freedom are a heavily contested topic. On the African sources, see for example Thornton 1993; on the circulation and appropriation of enlightenment ideas amongst slaves see, for example, Dubois 2006; and for the same amongst elites, see Arava-
mudan 1993. My use of syncretism best approximates the spirit of Dubois’ 2003 discussion of the meaning of Royalism.
40 Blackburn 1988: 21.
41 See Fick 1990: 32.

Deriving their military organizational skills, also in the main, from their African past life,42 slave militias launched a battle to secure this autonomy.
By the summer of 1792, with the colony effectively in civil war, a French armed force and a civil commission headed by Le´ger Fe´licite´ Sonthonax was dispatched charged with reestablishing republican sovereignty over the island. Beleaguered with only six thousand men, and with Spain and Britain maneuvering for colonial spoils, Sonthonax proclaimed the emancipation of all slaves in the north of the colony on 29 August 1793 in order to attract slave militias to his side. The emancipation proclamation encouraged an exist- ing trend of ex-slaves abandoning the plantation system for smallholdings in the hills. (Concomitantly, coffee and not sugar became the representative crop of the ex-slave because it required far less intensive capital and labor,
and could be grown in the marginal lands of the hilly interior.43) Yet for Sontho-
nax, it was sugar and the plantation system that gave Saint Domingue its con- tinued value to the republican metropolis. He therefore initiated an attempt to reconcile emancipation to the continuation of the old slave economy by tying laborers to the plantations through annual contracts enforced by military
This contestation over the form of post-slavery structures of social reproduc- tion was inherited and exacerbated by Toussaint L’Ouverture, who had by 1801 consolidated his position as governor general for life of Saint Domingue. Tous- saint believed that in order to secure the de facto independence of Saint Dom- ingue as a de jure colony of the Republic, the plantation economy remained crucial. Not only was a wealth-producing colony the best argument for its rela- tive autonomy vis-a`-vis the metropolis; it was also the only viable large-scale agricultural system the produce of which could be exported on the world market in exchange for the military equipment needed to defend the rule of the black elite against slaveholding interests. To this effect Toussaint’s 1801 constitution formalized the militarized plantation system haphazardly erected during the preceding decade.
Toussaint’s challenge, inherited from Sonthonax, was to retain the centra- lized and extensive form of plantation agriculture, but also, so as to substitute for the coercive nature of slavery, to militarize its organizational structure. Land sales were generally prohibited as was the parceling out of the land, army offi- cers moved in to rent the large estates from the state, and it was decreed that all managers, foremen, and cultivators were expected to conduct themselves “as if they were officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers.” This, of course, necessitated a stringent surveillance and control of the ex-slaves who, if not sol- diers or possessing a legitimate trade, were automatically compelled to work in

42 Thornton 1991.
43 Dupuy 1989: 54 – 55.
44 Lacerte 1978: 450; Lundahl 1992b: 226. See also Stein 1985.

the plantations. Workers could not leave without a permit, and a rural police force was charged with seeking out vagabonds.45
Yet the plantation economy not only required massive amounts of capital, labor, and technology, much of which had been decimated in the war. Addition- ally, its very reproduction had always been entirely dependent upon the metro- polis export market. Thus Toussaint could never bring himself to disavow the fecundity of the metropolitan culture, and he invited French white planters back to the island, to bring with them, of course, their capital, expertise, and metro-
politan contacts for the rejuvenation of plantation agriculture.46 Even more
strikingly, Article 17 of Toussaint’s constitution allowed him to take “appropri- ate measures to encourage and favor [an] increase in arms”—in effect, to even dabble in the African slave trade in order to solve the lack of agricultural labor.47
Inevitably, a stratification of the black elite from a peasant mass began to develop. The militarization of the plantation system had allowed a selection of generals to accumulate considerable fortunes and property while workers remained impoverished.48 On top of this, Toussaint encouraged discrimination
against the mores and values of the “African” masses by embracing French culture as well as French planters. For example, in his 1801 constitution Cath- olicism, rather than a backward and uncivilized Vodou, was made the official
religion.49 Mass uprisings against Toussaint in 1801, to which a number of
the black military elite were at least sympathetic, expressed the serious misgiv- ings over all these issues.50
When the French returned in force in 1802, led by Napoleon’s brother-in-law Charles Leclerc, Toussaint was captured and spirited away to France. However, it was the bands of black insurgents, still fighting a guerrilla war for their “African” form of agrarian autonomy, rather than the black elite (many of whom were Creole in origin) that made it impossible for Leclerc to disband
the ex-slave army and thus re-introduce slavery.51 Only when slavery was rein-
troduced into Martinique and then Guadeloupe did the black generals, led by Jean Jacques Dessalines, rebel again, re-join forces with the militias, and drive the French out for good. Dessalines proclaimed the independent state of Haiti on New Year’s Day of 1804.
It is useful at this point to assess the degree to which neo-Weberian and his- torical materialist grand narratives can account for the militarization of the plantation system. In the neo-Weberian schema this development project

45 Lacerte 1978: 452 – 53; Lundahl 1993: 6 – 7.
46 Langley 1996: 125 – 26.
47 Constitution of 1801. See also Dupuy 1989: 64; Lundahl 1993: 6.
48 Including Toussaint; Dupuy 1989: 60. See also Langley 1996: 128.
49 Constitution of 1801: Article 6; see also Dupuy 1989: 63.
50 Langley 1996: 128; Dupuy 1989: 65; Beckles 1993: 498.
51 Fick 1990: 248 – 49.

could be understood as a modern process of centralizing the fiscal and military apparatus of state. Each district was controlled by a military commander with responsibility for both agriculture and defense, and reporting to Toussaint. At the same time, currency was equalized across all districts, and a uniform tax
on property and manufactured goods was established.52 With the proceeds
from this centralized extraction apparatus Toussaint sought to open trade agree- ments with Britain, and the United States especially, and thus procure the war materials needed to defend the gains of the revolution.53
However, the social logic of coercion that informed Toussaint’s policies sprung from a source not present in early modern European geopolitics: at issue in post-slavery Saint Domingue was not just life and death on the battle-
field, but more so political being or non-being. That some kind of logic of coer-
cion obtained in the centralization of political power and informed the development/security nexus of revolutionary Saint Domingue is hardly contest- able. Yet this was no generic (European) logic, for neither was Saint Domingue, as a political entity, a like-unit to European states. Saint Domingue had existed as a plantation economy, the racialized spatial and political organization of which was already spanning the Caribbean periphery and European metropolis. To create a centralized sovereign integrity in Saint Domingue was at the same time to radically undermine the racial and hierarchical organization of the Atlantic world order itself.
Therefore, the purpose of coercion in the militarized development of the Saint Domingue economy was not only an instrumental one, to centralize power for the aggrandizement of a specific elite. The purpose was at the same time, and congenitally so, an ethical defense of a radical and novel pol- itical subjecthood shared by both elites and masses who together, to the
outside, posed a singular threat to the present slaveholding world order.54 In
short, the social logic of coercion in Saint Domingue, unlike the neo-Weberian logic extrapolated from intra-European politics, contained not just an instru- mental elite interest but at the same time a principled and abiding ethical stance over radical transformations in the racialized nature of political being in the Atlantic world order.
The militarization of the plantation system might also be understood in his-
torical materialist terms as a process of “primitive accumulation.” In this respect, one thing must be emphasized: militarization was designed as a

52 Lundahl 1993: 7.
53 Ibid.: 3, 7; Dupuy 1989: 54. Toussaint bought as many as thirty thousand guns from U.S. mer- chants with which to arm his black workers; Langley 1996: 127.
54 Neo-Weberians, such as Michael Mann (1986), do employ a variant of Weber’s “switchman of history” argument to claim that at critical moments in crises, ideational forms of power relations
can supersede material interests in reshaping society. However, the argument I am making here about centrality of the politics of race far exceeds this purely conjunctural kind of explanation. My thanks to George Lawson for pointing this out to me.

substitute for the rule of slavery. Historically, however, emancipation usually replaced slavery with other forms of coercive labor, and therefore what changed in this moment has to be examined in terms of the radical reframing of the rights and duties accordant to the political subject. In revolutionary Saint Domingue this process crystallized around the changing meaning of citi- zenship presented in the various constitutions from 1801 onwards, and especially the difference between the political subject as a racialized dependent
being versus a (paradoxically) racialized free and equal individual.55
In this sense, the preexisting rights and duties ascribed to the slave/master relation by the code noir (promulgated by Louis XIV in 1685 and modified at various points in the following century) can be seen to hold only descriptive similarity with Toussaint’s rural decrees and the revolutionary constitutions. In the code, the slave was degraded as a non-legal body, but this degradation was justified as a paternal benevolence of the king because only through enslave-
ment could the African soul come to know the Christian god and be saved.56
Against this contradiction of paternalism/degradation in the framing of the slave as (non-)political subject, Toussaint’s constitution posited a new contra- diction of individual political freedom/political coercion. Specifically, Tous- saint’s constitution guaranteed the freedom of each individual to be upheld by the impersonal rule of law. However, at the same time, these new freedoms were formally codified as a specific duty, namely, the securing of independence
against colonial and slaveholding impingement.57 Moreover, this “freedom”
was one that demanded a re-separation of peasants from the direct access to their means of reproduction that smallholding farming had so far fleetingly afforded. In other words, and mirroring the transformation in sociality under- stood by “primitive accumulation,” the project of the black elite had trans- formed not just the slave mode of production narrowly speaking, but had also re-framed its associated sociality away from personalized coercive auth- ority towards an encoding of individual freedom and equality framed
through an impersonalized rule of law.58
If we were to take the generic meaning of the term from historical material- ism, then a class of black expropriators had begun to form around a new exploi- tative mode of plantation production. And yet, this class was not pursuing a privatization of property in order to inaugurate capitalist social relations, inten- tionally or otherwise. Rather, the militarization of the plantation system was a project prompted most immediately by the geopolitical imperative of defending the emancipation of colonial slaves against colonial slaveholding powers (and

55 For an overview of these issues, see Cooper, Holt, and Scott 2000. On the constitutions see especially Fischer 2004: chs. 11 – 13.
56 For this reading of the code noir, see Garraway 2005: 159 – 64.
57 See Constitution of 1801: Articles 3 – 5, 12 – 13 42 – 43, 64 – 65.
58 This is not to deny the paternalistic and patriarchal elements of the Haitian constitutions. See
Fischer 2004: chs. 11, 12.

through this, of course, the new authority of the black elite). In other words, the re-separation of producers from direct access to their means of production arose directly out of, and sought to directly transform, the worldwide stratification of political authority and social reproduction that underpinned the slaveholding plantation system. This historical episode of “primitive accumulation” was driven, quite literally, by the master/slave relation rather than that of capital/ labor.

Unlike Toussaint, Dessalines saw the French solely as a threat to Haitian inde- pendence. Indeed, he believed that the remaining French presence on the island might constitute a potential beachhead for the return of metropolitan forces. This was by no means a paranoid delusion because Napoleon had by no means given up on the possibility of rekindling a French Caribbean empire, and had launched a vigorous and successful diplomatic campaign amongst the slave-owning powers to cut off commercial and political links with the
black elite.59 Nevertheless, Dessalines accepted that he could not export the
revolution to the rest of the Caribbean without attracting back to Haiti a com- bined metropolitan military force. Therefore he proclaimed a foreign policy of non-intervention.60 Still, the vulnerability of the Eastern flank, where Santo Domingo was still formally claimed as a French colony, haunted him greatly.61
Forthwith, Dessalines performed two crusades that, if necessary to secure independence from France, would come at the price of confirming Haiti as a “pariah” state in the international system. Firstly, he organized a massacre of the majority of whites who had remained, and in the 1805 constitution
forbade any future white ownership of Haitian land.62 Secondly, he launched
an unsuccessful invasion of Santo Domingo where a diminished French mili- tary force had reestablished itself. The massacre, combined with Dessalines’ reneging of the principle of non-intervention, heightened the sense of a “black fear” that had been created from the first stirrings of insurrection back
in 1791.63 This fear was felt by political elites and businessmen in France
who shared direct interests in keeping slavery in Haiti alive, as well as by plan- tation owners of all nationalities to whom Haitian independence was a danger- ous example to their slave populations.64 Indeed, Dessalines’ acts undermined

59 Beckles 1993: 496.
60 Lundahl 1992a: 178. This should not be interpreted to mean that upon independence Haitian leaders foreswore the universalism of an anti-slavery revolution and practiced, instead, realpolitik.
For the “revolutionary universalism” implicit and explicit in Haitian thought and practice, see
Fischer 2004: chs. 11, 13; and Munro and Walcott-Hackshaw 2006.
61 See Lundahl 1992a: 177; Beckles 1993: 496.
62 Constitution of Haiti 1805: Article 12; Nicholls 1985: 91. Foreign merchants were allowed to operate only in the ports, not the interior.
63 Langley 1996: 127; Matthewson 2003: 123 – 24; Maingot 1996.
64 Stinchcombe 1994.

semi-sympathetic constituencies in the United States where the southern states now managed to capture congress and meet Napoleon’s demands to enforce a total embargo of arms and subsequently all trade.65 Even if American traders systematically violated this embargo,66 one could still claim that the forging of Haitian independence produced perhaps the original clear-cut “color line” in modern geopolitics.
With this line drawn, Haiti remained, by necessity, an utterly militarized society. Detailed plans were drawn up to mobilize the whole population, upon invasion, to destroy the cities and retreat to interior strongholds,67 and the regular army was kept at between 15,000 – 37,000 men strong.68
However, the costs of the wars of independence had been extreme: perhaps up to 140,000 people had died over the years, vast swathes of the countryside had been literally torched, and exports had fallen catastrophically to a small trickle.69 The means to secure black independence in a hostile world order
were therefore inadequate from the start. To meet the threat to Haitian indepen- dence emanating from the slaveholding powers, Dessalines turned to Tous- saint’s development project—the militarized plantation system.
Crucially, Dessalines attempted to arrest the reorganization of social repro-
duction by the peasantry towards their own “African” articulation of freedom: smallhold farming.70 The one-quarter tax on export crops was shifted to target coffee instead of sugar (coffee remained the crop of small- holders, and sugar the crop of the new elite71). The tying of workers to the plan- tations continued, as did the attempt to secure extra labor on the world market: Dessalines tried to arrange with the U.S. government extraditions of Haitians who had moved abroad during the wars, and he even opened the ports to slave ships.72 But most importantly, Dessalines intensified the centralization of state control over agricultural production. All former French land was natio- nalized and the leases apportioned out to the military hierarchy, and local and national government offices remained staffed by military men.73 To prevent plots, Dessalines further centralized control of the means of violence, outlawing any regional general from communicating laterally between regions.74
In fine, the restructuring of geopolitical contestation through a “color line” led, symbiotically, to an intensified contestation between the peasantry and the generals over the means and ends of Haitian development. What is more,

65 Langley 1996: 141; Lundahl 1992a: 185; Matthewson 2003: 125 – 26.
66 Stinchcombe 1994: 17.
67 See for example, Lundahl 1992a: 175. See also Constitution of Haiti 1805: Article 28.
68 Lundahl 1992a: 176.
69 Lundahl 1993: 3 – 4; Lundahl 1992a: 179; Lundahl 1992b: 229.
70 Dupuy 1989: 77 – 78; Lundahl 1992a: 182.
71 Trouillot 1990: 60.
72 Lundahl 1992a: 177.
73 Lacerte 1978: 455 – 56; Laguerre 1993: 26; Beckles 1993: 496.
74 On this anti-localism see especially Laguerre 1993: 34 – 47.

the racialization of geopolitical contestation through a stark color line now demanded Dessalines to deal with the domestic relationship of the mulattos to the black masses and black elites.75
Mulattos had always held a liminal position as an elite within slave society. By virtue of their white inheritance they had enjoyed certain freedoms in Saint Domingue, including a limited right to own property. And, by their part-cultural affiliation to the metropolis, mulattos were differentiated, and differentiated themselves, from both the mass of slaves and the handful of black affranchis. However, the increasing numbers and commercial successes of these gens de couleur led to a reaction by the planter class in the decades leading up to
1791. This took the form of a re-entrenchment of the hierarchical standing of the political subject within a graduated scale of intermixture of black blood.76 Against this, the mulattos protested by creatively making the French enlightenment language of reason and natural rights speak to the colonial context, an activity that extended into the revolution and beyond.77 The mulat- tos therefore used their liminality—derived from the international organization of plantation slavery—within newly independent Haiti to defend and maintain
their elite status. Only they could serve as interlocutors with the colonial slave- holding powers, and as acceptable faces on the international stage secure much needed foreign capital and technology.
But for Dessalines, the liminal position of the mulatto elite was a source of
insecurity for Haitian independence. Mulattos had amassed property during and after the wars, and Dessalines could not be sure that mulatto property holdings would not form a conduit through which their French fathers might return.78
His solution was to forcefully subsume the mulatto elite within the black elite through the creation of a black nationalism that was henceforth to frame—both practically and ideologically—the means and ends of Haitian development.79 Practically, as part of his nationalization of property, Dessalines issued a decree abolishing sales of land by e´migre´s to Haitians and requiring
verification of land deeds to determine ownership, thus effectively undermining a significant amount of mulatto claims to property.80 On the ideological front, Dessalines compelled the mulatto elite to reject the French graduated hierarchy

75 See Dupuy 1989: 81.
76 See especially Garrigus 1996; and Dayan 1995.
77 See Fick 2000: 13 – 15. See also Geggus’ fascinating discussion on the mulatto input into the naming of Haiti (2002: 207 – 18).
78 Many French white planters had in fact signed over their leases to their “sons” for temporary
safe keeping. Dupuy 1989: 79.
79 On Dessalines’ black nationalism see especially Beckles 1993: 499; and Trouillot 1990: 45. This episode prompts us to think about how the appellation of a racial identity was never framed
only by personal attribute, but just as much by socio-economic status. Within the politics of race this factor has always tended to produce an “overspill” of the subject of rights beyond any strictly biological delimitation. For my own reading of this, in the Haitian context, see Shilliam 2006.
80 Lacerte 1978: 455 – 56.

of political status on the basis of inter-mixture upon which slavery had been defended but also within which mulattos had struggled to occupy a position of relative privilege. He did this by placing the responsibility for drafting the
1805 constitution in mulatto hands, and commanding them to collapse any formal political differentiation between “yellow” and “black”: “All acception [sic] of color among the children of one and the same family, of whom the chief magistrate is the father, being necessarily to cease, the Haytians shall
hence forward be known only by the generic appellation of blacks.”81
Previously, the slaveholding plantation system had been organized—both within colonies and between metropolis and periphery—through a hierarchy of political subjecthood determined, in principle, by the gradation of skin color caused by intermixture of blood. At one end of this hierarchy was auton- omy and freedom, at the other dependency and subordination. Dessaline’s black nationalism drew a principled color line through this hierarchy and pre- sented—both in terms of political subjectivity and in spatial organization, and especially in terms of property ownership and persons—an independent black
collective will in categorical opposition to collective white domination.82 This
is why Dessalines’ black nationalist politics could brook no internal racial differentiation within the Haitian development project.
The ire of the peasant masses over elite stratification had been especially directed toward the rise of mulatto power, and for his intra-elite contest to be successful Dessalines required the support of the black masses.83 Thus, the
1805 constitution stated that no religion held predominance in Haiti, thus relax- ing the Catholic-French supremacy over Vodou-African mores.84 However this rapprochement of elite and peasant sociality could not extend to the core sub- stantive issue: the means of securing black freedom in Haiti. In a hostile inter-
national milieu, Dessalines rigorously upheld the centralization of social reproduction through the militarized plantation system. And, inevitably, maroo- nage of the peasantry steadily increased and thus threatened the substantive
power bases of all elites, “yellow” and “black.”85 Furthermore, if Dessalines
economically enfranchised the higher ranks of the military, the rank and file hardly benefited any more than the agricultural workers whom they were tasked with disciplining. They remained badly clothed, badly paid, and were subject to the same kind of harshness from their officers that they were expected
to visit on the workers.86

81 Constitution of Haiti 1805: Article 14.
82 This is not to say that no ambiguities existed within this black nationalism regarding the social substance of being “black.” See n. 83.
83 Langley 1996: 136.
84 Constitution of Haiti 1805: Articles 50, 51.
85 Lundahl 1992a: 195 – 96; Beckles 1993: 500.
86 Lundahl 1992a: 196; Dupuy 1989: 77.

Having inevitably alienated both peasantry and soldiers with his black nationalist project, at the same time as he had forced an intra-elite showdown between black and mulatto generals, Dessalines was ambushed and murdered shortly after the outbreak of insurrection in the south and west encouraged by the mulatto elite and led by Alexandre Pe´tion. Pe´tion supported the new presi- dency of the black general Henri Christophe, but by controlling the national
assembly he succeeded in limiting his term of office to four years.87 With
the tension between black and mulatto elites now at a head, a civil war ensued that in 1807 divided Haiti, until 1820, into a mulatto-run republican south under Pe´tion, and a black-run kingdom of the north under Christophe.

The French Restoration in 1814 did not end the pariah status of both north and south in the international system. Rather, lobbying by the old planter class for a return of the plantations, combined with an article in the peace settlement per- mitting Louis XVIII to regain his Caribbean possessions, threw both Haitian governments into a renewed bout of defensive actions. And perhaps their “para- noia” was not entirely irrational: a secret article in the settlement signaled out
Haiti as a “French colony.”88 The geopolitical threat from slaveholding powers
directly informed the development imperatives on both sides of the civil war. That is, the means for defense required an engagement with the enemy in order, especially, to secure military equipment through export trade. Christophe and Pe´tion attempted to negotiate this dilemma through radically different development policies, but one ultimately carried the day.
Christophe retained the militarized plantation system and, upon proclaiming himself King in 1811, even intensified the control of labor under a new rural code, the Code Henry. Moreover, Christophe’s endorsement of the peasantry’s “African” mores was far more ambivalent than was Dessalines’. Catholicism was to be the only recognized religion, although others were to be “tolerated”
if practiced privately.89 Ultimately, by retaining and extending the militarized
plantation system, Christophe intensified both physically and spiritually the alienation of the mass of peasantry from the black elite. And this alienation was compounded by his abrogation of Dessalines’ black nationalism in his attempt to lubricate the export side of the plantation system by opening inter- national trade as much as possible. For in an effort to encourage foreign invest- ment, Christophe omitted from his constitution Dessalines’ ban on the white

87 Beckles 1993: 500.
88 See Lundahl 1993: 2; Matthewson 2003: 133; Langley 1996: 144.
89 Constitution of Haiti 1807: Article 30. This clause was probably designed primarily to cover protestant missionaries and British abolitionists. I thank one of the CSSH reviewers for clarifying this for me.

ownership of land.90 This fundamental breaching of the color line in order to secure the continued viability of the plantation system was not even attempted by the mulatto Pe´tion in the south, and after Christophe’s death would only be repeated in very different circumstances under U.S. occupation in 1915. But in the meantime, neither the Haitian peasantry nor the U.S. and European political elite could, or would, erase this line.
Alternatively, Pe´ tion had initially intended to secure the interests of the
mulatto elite and to this effect he started to return properties taken by Dessa- lines.91 However, from 1807 Pe´ tion’s intentions were significantly con- strained by a peasant insurrection that grasped large inland areas of the south and west. The insurrection led to a quasi-peasant state across many areas, which would not be fully dismantled until 1819.92 Thus, after initially attempting to retain the militarized plantation system, Pe´ tion enacted land reforms to pacify the peasantry: he guaranteed proprietorship to anyone so long as the land was actively cultivated; he granted smallholdings to veterans
of the wars of independence; and he even unofficially patronized this redistri- bution so that some of the lowliest of soldiers were enfranchised with a plot of land.93 Concomitantly, work discipline was relaxed, and laborers enjoyed relatively more mobility than that accorded by the Code Henry. Furthermore,
military supervision and corporal punishment were done away with and land- owners were even charged with providing some basic medical care to their workers.94
Christophe’s treasury was full at the end of his reign,95 yet his centraliza-
tion of the fiscal and military state apparatus had necessitated an opening up of property ownership to elites (and even whites), while Pe´ tion’s republic, if near bankrupt, had opened up property ownership to the masses. Black pea- sants from the north, attracted by the possibility of autonomy arising from Pe´tion’s smallholding reforms and repelled by the lack of freedom under the Code Henry, migrated south to such an extent that Christophe was
forced to close the borders.96 Having alienated not only the peasantry but
also the rank-and-file soldiers, Christophe in 1819 attempted reforms similar to Pe´ tion’s, but they were too little and too late.97 Elements of Christophe’s army rose up against him in 1820, and soon after the king committed suicide. Thus, Pe´ tion, even if in an attempt to retain mulatto

90 Nicholls 1985: 91.
91 Dupuy 1989: 89.
92 Lundahl 1992b: 228; Dupuy 1989: 88. On the long history of peasant rebellions in the south and west, see especially Fick 1990.
93 On these land issues, see Lundahl 1992b: 227; Nicholls 1985: 93; Lacerte 1978: 456; and
Dupuy 1989: 90.
94 See Dupuy 1989: 90; and Lacerte 1978: 457.
95 Langley 1996: 142.
96 Beckles 1993: 501.
97 Dupuy 1989: 88; Lacerte 1978: 458.

leadership, had still effected a shift in the meaning and substance of Haitian independence towards the “African” articulation long promoted by the black peasantry.
This historical episode can be inserted into the neo-Weberian grand narrative only by excluding the very substance of the politics involved—a politics of race. The advantage of neo-Weberian historical sociology is that it seeks to explain state development as an historical process rather than comparing real, existing states to static and ideal-typical forms of political authority. However, by reference to the social logic of coercion that the neo-Weberians extrapolate from intra-European politics, Pe´tion’s “triumph” would have to be understood in terms of a failure: a short-term populist gain that arrested long- term successful modern state development. But this is an out-of-context judg- ment that fails to understand the racialized nature of the domestic and geopo- litical politics informing post-revolutionary Haitian development.
The centralization efforts of Dessalines et alii cannot be understood as simply a development process prompted by geopolitical threats from more suc- cessful developers. Rather, Haitian development posed a fundamental threat to the very form of geopolitics that upheld a slaveholding world order. For fear of a disintegration of this present world order, the slaveholding powers had been adamant that Haiti should be denied sovereign independence. This had been the case during the revolution as well as in its aftermath when Haiti was received as an alien and dangerous political entity. True, Haitian elites did try to play the neo-Weberian game of competing for power geopolitically through develop- ment projects of centralization. But what was really at stake for the Haitian elite was not just the accumulation or loss of political power, but the loss of political being if the gains of the revolution could not be defended from the still-existing domestic and international racial hierarchy that the slaveholding powers wished to maintain.
The contested meaning of modern black subjecthood was therefore always implicated in the logic of coercion, not just vis-a`-vis the slaveholding powers, but just as much vis-a`-vis relations with the ex-slave masses within Haiti, and, of course, vis-a`-vis intra-elite contestations between mulatto and black. The logic of coercion emanating from elite-led development strategies necessarily included a practical and ethical contestation over the means and ends of this development framed by what “freedom” meant for ex-slaves exist- ing in a slaveholding world order. It was this specific logic that informed the struggle to transform the racialized nature of political existence in the Atlantic world order from the hierarchy and gradation associated with slavery to the new stark color line drawn by black nationalism. To be clear, there remains no easy or definitive way to judge the long-term “success” of the Haitian Revolution from the standpoint of contemporary Haitian society. But the point is that one cannot even begin to adequately consider this judgment if one frames the success and failure of state development by reference to a singular logic

of instrumental coercion derived from an intra-European model of geopolitical competition.

The turn toward smallholding was disastrous for the rural elites who now pro- ceeded to move their power base away from the extraction of agricultural surplus and into the skimming of profits from mercantile and financial pursuits in the towns.98 More importantly, the decomposition of the plantation system
signaled the death knell for a centralized fiscal and military state apparatus, and with that, the ability to procure arms to secure black independence in a white slaveholding international system. Pe´tion’s mulatto successor, Jean Pierre Boyer, still had the problem of defending a pariah state in an unforgiving slaveholding geopolitical milieu. When a political movement proclaimed inde- pendence for Santo Domingo in 1821, Boyer launched an invasion of the east of the island for fear that independence from the Spanish crown would invite
French occupation.99 More tellingly, Haiti was not included under the “protec-
tive” umbrella that the Monroe Doctrine afforded to the newly independent Americas from European dominance: President Monroe himself claimed that black nationalism was a form of sovereignty that operated on an exclusionary logic ill fitting for an international society.100
His options drastically curtailed, Boyer led Haiti back to France. In order to open up the channels of investment and trade, he accepted in 1825 an ordinance issued by Charles X requiring payment of an indemnity of 150 million francs for loss of the colony. Fourteen French warships rested off Port-au-Prince to ensure that Boyer sign the document, which also demanded French trade
receive a one-half reduction of duties paid by other trading states.101 But
even with the indemnity agreed, and with black nationalism now formally con- strued as a politics of theft, much of the international community extended only partial recognition. Neither the British Parliament nor the U.S. Congress wished to further antagonize their planters.
Ironically, such international recognition as there was, while easing the geo-
political threats to Haitian independence, intensified the contestation between peasant, mulatto, and black elites over domestic development. To pay the indemnity within five years, as agreed, Boyer had no choice but to resurrect the militarized plantation system. Thus familiar steps were taken to halt the increase in small farms and the sale of national lands, outlaw cooperative own- ership and, with the 1826 rural code, tie workers back to the plantations. The military were tasked, again, with disciplining the work force, and under

98 Lacerte 1978: 457; Dupuy 1989: 91; Trouillot 1990: 75.
99 Stinchcombe 1994: 10.
100 Langley 1996: 141.
101 For the full story, see Lacerte 1981: 501 – 3.

Boyer’s presidency it reached its peak size of up to forty thousand regular sol- diers.102 Moreover, to sidestep the now institutionalized peasant resistance to the militarized plantation system, Boyer attempted to establish Haiti as an alternative destination to Liberia for those blacks who sought to leave the
United States. However, this scheme attracted around six thousand (mainly lighter-skinned) blacks, who proceeded to assimilate with the mulatto elite and establish themselves in the towns103: no substitute labor force for the Haitian black peasantry arrived forthwith. By attempting in these ways to
resolve the dilemmas emanating from the development/security nexus, Boyer’s presidency was received more and more in terms of a counterrevolu- tion by agricultural workers as well as rank-and-file soldiers.104
By this point, Boyer could not even count on the automatic support of his mulatto elite, because in the process of shifting their power base to mercantile and financial pursuits in the towns, the mulattos had effectively positioned themselves in the contest over Haitian political authority via a liberal political project. Articulated through the Society for the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, liberal mulattos demanded more freedom of the press and public debate, and attacked Boyer’s increasingly autocratic regime. But even here, it is still hard to identify, in terms of an historical materialist narrative, a dynamic of development rooted in a bourgeois class pursuing a liberal political project of prizing open the peasant hinterland for the free market and capitalist accumulation. Although the domination of the hinterland was certainly on its agenda, the liberal opposition was primarily galvanized by the normative claim that Boyer’s policies were creating a new form of slavery—a dependency on foreign (and colonial/slaveholding) finance. Influential mulatto intellectuals, such as He´rard Dumesle, now questioned whether the black nation could con- tinue to exist if its economy—a future mulatto-run economy—was mortgaged
to France.105 Invoking the memory of Dessalines and his black nationalism,
such intellectuals even pressed for the creation of an elite, authentic Haitian identity to replace the standard Francophilia. Thus, a new intra-elite contesta- tion between liberal and autocratic principles, given urgency by the weight of the French indemnity, arose from the continuing dilemmas produced by the development/security nexus, but it was still rooted in and propelled forward by a politics of race.
By the 1840s, this politics had produced many of the conditions that today, in ideal-typical terms, would be considered dangerous “pathologies” of the failed Haitian state. For example, there had developed a rural/urban split in the

102 See Sheller 2000: 96; Lundahl 1992b: 235; Nicholls 1985: 94 – 95; Dupuy 1989: 95 – 96. On the size of the military, see Laguerre 1993, 44; and Sheller 2000, 98.
103 See Langley 1996: 139; and Matthewson 2003: 144.
104 Dupuy 1989: 96.
105 Nicholls 1985: 98; Dupuy 1989: 97; Sheller 2000: 121.

economy accompanied by a “predatory” state elite that enjoyed no legitimacy among the mass of peasants. Civil wars, fought by elites to capture tax spoils, consistently destabilized development projects. By the 1870s, state elites had substituted foreign loans for the tax incomes of a developmental domestic agrarian base, and these too became spoils of war. Plagued by this instability, Haiti’s only integration into the world economy was in the form of growing
indebtedness.106 By the early twentieth century the National City Bank of
New York had taken over as chief investor in the Haitian national bank. And concern for the security of this investment, combined with increasing German naval activity in Haitian waters, led to U.S. occupation in 1915.

It would be trite to claim that the Haitian Revolution can directly shed critical light on the present-day neo-trusteeship of “failed states.” But what the revolu- tion might reveal to us is just how deeply the making of modern world order has been driven by a struggle between First and Third Worlds over development and security, a struggle foundationally constituted (though not, of course, exclusively so) through the politics of race. Ultimately, if we were to write a grand narrative of the making of modern world order by placing to the fore the issues arising from the politics of race discussed above, we would interro- gate the dynamics of this story differently from other stories.
In general, we would work from the assumption that the politics of race, at
least regarding its origins in slavery, was not superceded by modern political struggles, nor was it a later effect of these. Rather, the politics of race was con- stitutive of the very transformations associated with modern world develop- ment, and as part of this process, itself transformed—in the Haitian case from the gradations of intermixture in the slave system to the stark black nation- alism of post-slavery. In short, and to use an entirely appropriate metaphor, the politics of race “colored” the hue of modernity itself. And this coloring extended into the construction of modern political identity itself, framing the means and ends around which political order has been contested, from “above” as well as “below.”
Furthermore, it would not be necessary to dispute that the capitalist world market became increasingly implicated in the politics of race; it certainly did, and heavily so, from the 1840s onwards in Haiti, if via usury and debt more than production. Nevertheless, it would be necessary to claim that the stratification of the modern world economy through a “color line” was not in the first instance an effect of capitalist class conflict, nor ever subsumed under such conflict, but was already produced by and transformed through con- testations over the master/slave relation, rather than that of capital/labor.

106 See Trouillot 1990: 57.

Certainly the Revolution led to a new “class” of black exploiters embarking on a primitive accumulation, but not a primitive accumulation of capital. Nor would it be necessary to dispute that a politics of race always felt the exigencies toward a centralization of the state apparatus especially transmitted through geopolitical contestation. Yet one would have to consider that modern geopo- litics have never been driven by a singular logic of coercion, but rather from (and between) qualitatively different and contending articulations of the prac- tical means and ethical ends of state building colored by a racialized inter- national construction of political being.
Such are the challenges derived from the Haitian Revolution that prompt a serious rethinking of the relationship of slavery to capitalism to modernity for macro-political narratives of the making of modern world order. Foremost amongst these challenges is the possibility that social transformations out of slavery cannot necessarily be reduced to—or derived from—“European” experiences of capitalist transformation, and neither can these transformations be extrapolated from a singular understanding of modernity, “precocious” or otherwise. It behooves us to seriously rethink and attempt to re-narrate macro- political narratives that are sensitive to the politics of race and respectful of the possibility that the time of the colonizers and the time of the exploited tell different stories of the same struggle.
To their credit, some American policy-making elites who considered the
nature of the threat emanating from Afro-Asian solidarity at Bandung in
1955 at least acknowledged this possibility, no matter how skewed their purpose was. They recognized that the gaze of the First World upon a develop- ing Third World could be returned through a different optic because the devel- opment/security nexus had a racial dimension. But this insight needs to be recaptured and significantly deepened in current attempts to restore the devel- opment/security nexus to historical and sociological holism. In other words, it is not enough to critique the abstraction, atomization, and pathologization of world politics that produces the “failed state” ideal-type, along with its associ- ated calls for action in the form of neo-trusteeship and liberal imperialism. At the same time, the politics of race must be restored to critical analyses and nor- mative debates on the way in which the relationship between First and Third Worlds has been historically constituted through the development/security nexus.
Within this task, new social and cultural histories of race and slavery play a
crucial role. However, such histories must also be placed under a critical spot- light by exploring how they might—or might not—speak to predominant macro-political narratives that either ignore, implicitly buttress, or explicitly encourage imperialist ideologies and practices of the present. In Fanon’s language, this process would compel intellectuals (critical and otherwise) to recognize traces of the colonizer’s time in their own narratives and to proble- matize this historical consciousness by engaging with the time of exploited

subjects. Only then might we arrive at an adequate, historically informed cri- tique of contemporary foreign policies that speak of imperialism but do not speak of race. And that, in its widest register, is how the Haitian Revolution speaks to the present-day nexus of development and security.

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