tv Book Discussion on Paul Robeson and Confronting Black Jacobins CSPAN May 15, 2016 1:30pm-2:46pm EDT
in 2008 and 2012 in terms of messaging, donald trump is that the 40,000 level. very punchy. concept only. doesn't necessarily offer a detailed substance behind it, but he talks about my commitment i'm going to make this work and when and people are responding to that in the primary. it's interesting to see how that will work out of donald trump is the nominee, does he switch to a ground game of the type that is described in going red or does he try to stay at the thousand foot level and see if he can bring in people through just sheer messaging and status alone. it would be an interesting task. >> host: at morrissey's new book is called going red, the voters who elect the next resident and how conservatives can win. this is the tv on c-span2.
>> tonight's event is going to be a double-click event. talking about confronting, but also the revolutionary life of paul robison. his birthday was actually a week ago. this guy, horne is a brilliant scholar, brilliant historian and i want you to give a round of applause and welcome him here. [applause] >> all night, all day. we are going to be fighting for freddie gray. all night, all day, we are going to be fighting for freddie gray.
first of all, let me say that it's an honor and pleasure to be back here to read and not. i was here months ago to introduce two other new books that i've written and i can iterate to be quite an honor that they've invited me back again. for those who may not be familiar, freddie gray was the young black man who had a fatal encounter with the police in the city of baltimore. and he is in a long list of such young but people who have had fatal encounters with the authorities. i'm thinking of khmer rice in cleveland and eric garner in staten island, new york and michael brown and ferguson and sandra blandon prairie view, texas. hopefully what i am going to be talking about this evening, that is to say these events that span
the period from the onset of the haitian revolution in 1791 up until the death of paul robison in 1976 will shed light i would hope on why in north america we've had this stuck out a layer rise and surge of police killings and other kinds of misdeeds that have been visited upon black people in particular. first of all, with regard to the haitian revolution in 1791 to 1804, that rare event, a successful revolt of the lay of, you cannot begin to expand the haitian revolution in some ways as a sequel to the revolt against british rule in north
america in 1776 that led to the formation of the slaveholding republic still known as the united states of america. that is to say as i argued in my book, the counterrevolution of 1776, contrary to this broadway musical that use the hip-hop form such as hamilton and contrary to what is routinely taught in schools from the atlantic to the pacific, the foundation of the united states of america in 1776 took place in no small measure because it was revolt against incipient abolitionism and london. that is to say some of the best case in june 1772 seem to be said chastain that slave property, which even then in north america was worth and the millions might be headed for the death then at history as i explained in some detail in the
book. in the state now known as zimbabwe, then known as southern rhodesia revolted against british rule in 1965 because they thought london was moving towards decolonization and one person, one vote many of the african majority rule and rather than accept that, they try to continue their white racist majority were shamed by setting up this new state of rhodesia. they said at the time that they were walking in the foot depth of 1776 here that is to say that 1776 was an attempt to escape the logic of abolitionist slavery in november 1965 in southern africa was an attempt to escape the logic of decolonization and one person, one vote in african majority rule. therefore, you cannot begin to understand the travail of the tribulation and the trials experienced by people of african descent in north america unless
you understand by several orders of magnitude, they fought against the formation of the united states of america. they sided with london in its attempt to crush the slaveholders rebellion, just like the africans did not accept the establishment of the new state of rhodesia in november 1965. and when you fight a war and lose, you can expect to be penalized and pulverized forevermore unless and until you are able to turn the tables against your oppressors. one of the ways we were able to turn the tables against our oppressors was through the haitian revolution. 1791-1804, which follows quickly upon the footsteps of the formation of the u.s. constitution and the first convening of congress. in some ways it was a rebuke and a reputation of this new
slaveholding republic and is why we start the book with u.s. president george washington expressing reservations of the haitian revolutiorevolutio n of what was to be known as the haitian revolution. in any case, what happens is that the africans in the islands known as hispaniola were able to succeed again the french military, one of the most powerful examples of valor and fortitude known to history to this point, and establish this independent lack republic in 1804. but as you might have surmised, there was grave consternation in the slaveholding republic about the success in the big tree at the haitian revolution. you may recall that if you look at many of the major slave revolt barack north america in the period leading up to the u.s. civil war, circa 1800,
denmark benefits while circa 1821, 1822. not terser while circa 1831 in virginia, they all had the fingerprints of haiti all over them, particularly girls revolt in virginia in 1800 takes place at the same time as the haitian revolution is unfolding and also the revolt recalled the denmark fc and charleston, south carolina was a seafarer and purportedly part of his amen ambition is to not only revolt against slavery and escape with numerous formerly enslaved, but perhaps even to sail on to freedom in the island then rolled by africans. that is to say, haiti.
now, what is interesting about many of these revolts as they are not unlike other revolts taking place within the hemisphere in which there is a very inspiration by the haitian revolutionaries for direct instigation by the haitian revolutionaries. in fact, the argument they make in this book is that they haitian revolution ignited a general crisis of the entire slave system that can only be resolved with the systems collapse. if you are trying to understand why slavery collapsed in north america, you should not only look within the four corners of north america, but you should look to haiti. as i've said in the previous book, you should also look to the inspiration is not the instigation of british abolitionists in london. what is interesting as well is that the u.s. slaveholding republic did not accept benignly this haitian revolution.
you may recall that in the 18 finance you had a massive movement of the so-called free negro population, especially the free negro baltimore in haiti. they were moving to haiti not only to escape the persecution that they routinely encountered in north america, but they also were intended to bolster and fortify haiti amid this independent black republic can play a key role in terms of keeping the independent republic of float. you should also note that once escaping to haiti, they did not forsake him forget their brothers and sisters here in north america. there were abolitionist societies on the island of haiti, which were very much involved hoping to stir up anti-slavery sentiment in the
united states of america itself. that leads to the second half of this story, which is that the united states circa 1844 hopes to instigate the splitting of the revolutionary island of haiti recall that this small island in the caribbean is not occupied by tuesday, haiti and the dominican republic. it was an 1844 that the u.s. secretary of state, john c. calhoun, from slaveholding south carolina, helped to engineer one of the first successful covert actions of u.s. foreign policy in helping to fund a succession of split on the island leading to the formation of the dominican republic. this led to incessant and persistent conflict between these new states. that is to say haiti on one side of the island and the dominican republic on the other side of the island. in fact, in one of the rare
instances in the history of colonialism, the dominican republic as the united states civil war was about to be ignited circa 1860 invite the formal colonial power back to the island to re-colonize the dominican republic's. that is to say most nations struggle assiduously again colonialism. that because of the so-called black scare in this purification bowl and haitian domination on the eastern side of the island invited madrid to come back and take over. but this rather pernicious event was quickly overtaken by the onset of the u.s. civil war and the united states which had not recognized haiti, finally found out who his real friends and enemies were because spanish cuba -- cuba was then controlled
by spain if you recall, was leaning towards diplomatic support of the so-called confederate eighth of america. and as we all know, the british abolitionists were barely able to prevent london for monday and diplomatic support to the so-called confederate states of america. but it was haiti that stood foursquare in favor of the united states government as it fought this death match against the slaveholding confederate states of america. by the way, april 15, 2016 marks the onset of emancipation of the enslaved and neighboring washington d.c., which is being marked as we speak. in any case, no good deed goes unpunished. as a result of haiti hoping to support the united states of america during its hour of need, during this u.s. civil war that
led to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of u.s. nationals because of this traitorous revolt against abolition in the united states of america. you might ask yourself parenthetically how and why it is that a failed regime, the confederate states of america, which revolted against the united states government and led to the slaughter of thousands probably have more monument in many states of the united states of america and the folks who were victorious. it is very strange and unusual when those who lead a revolt in her squashed and defeated wind up somehow have a more monument than the people who helped to squash them. i think you can now begin to understand this conundrum unless you understand that those are revolted against washington in 1861 thought that they were
walking the footsteps of those who revolted against london in 1776. that is to say revolting in order to continue that insidious institution known as slavery. in any case, after the u.s. civil war and permit the united states government looks around its neighborhood, notices can do is under british rule. cuba is under spanish rule. most of the caribbean, barbados, trinidad is under british rule. do you have these two independent states. that is to say revolutionary haiti in the dominican government, which has been able to oust the spanish after they had been invited back in 1860 by the dominican government with the able assistance of haiti. so the idea washington under president ulysses s. grant was to annex the island for at least the dominican republic and
ultimately haiti is self and then deport the newly freed enslaved population in mass to the island that particular scheme was barely defeated in the u.s. congress. otherwise a person like myself might not be sitting here speaking english, but be sitting and speaking creole and french. that is where this particular book ends, but sadly enough that is not where the travail of the island ads. i'm sure you recall approximately 100 years ago there was a u.s. military occupation of both haiti and the dominican republic. we know that the u.s. occupation of haiti didn't end until the administration of franklin delano roosevelt circa 1934. we also know that in the dominican republic, there was ample support for the date tater, rafael trujillo who ruled
for decades until he met his maker in his assassination attempt that may have had u.s. complicity. what is interesting about the dr over its entire historical period is the color phobia the process and exists in the dr. that is to say you might recall in 1930s the dominican government under trujillo massacre. you might have seen the photos of the dominican slugger, sammy sosa, who was one of the top home run hitters in the u.s. baseball history. but after he retired, somehow magically his color was transformed and transmuted to my shade until the shade that perhaps resembles the face of madonna, for example. not necessarily a peculiar idiosyncrasy of sammy sosa.
it is more a reflection of a culture not unlike the culture of the united states of america that tends to privilege white supremacy intends to downgrade and degrade those who happen to be dark skinned. that is a peculiar legacy of the history of slavery and i daresay that if you want to understand how i began my remark with a shout out to freddie gray and the other victims of police terror, if you want to understand the recent report from the chicago authorities -- show how the chicago police department is riddled with anti-black racism in terms of the disproportionate number of black people who are slain by the police, not to mention misused and abused by the police. even if you want to understand something that may not be as grave as the controversy about the oscars being so white. you have to understand the
history of slavery and the united states, its legacy, but more than that you have to take another stab and understand how the united states was formed in a revolt against the abolition of slavery. if you understand not, you may be able to understand why in 2016 we may be staring down the barrel of a president cruz or president tromp or even a worse alternative than that. with that, let me turn to this book, someone. paul robeson was born in new jersey in 1988, died in philadelphia in the 76. in between those two dates, and he excelled at rutgers university. he excelled as an athlete, an all-american football player but
his university, baseball catcher, forward in basketball. he played for a while in the national football league. but he achieved worldwide renown as a cultural worker, as a singer and as an actor. it is not an exaggeration to suggest that at the apex of paul robeson's career, he was the best known african on planet earth and may have been one of the best-known nationals in the world because of course his records were sold in profusion all over the world and his movies also were broadcast all over the world as well. but paul robeson did not find that particular renown to be ultimately satisfying because he knew that despite his own personal attainment and achievement languishing in in
the that was jim crow, were his brothers and sisters particularly in dixie were striking about paul robison as well and striking about a number of black cultural workers, particularly musicians is fact he found his initial fame and fortune not here in this country, but overseas. that is a repetitive pattern whereby a black americans and the artistic gaffes are recognized more about the link outside of the united states than inside the united states. in paul robeson's case it was his moving to london in the early 1920s that allowed him to climb the ladder of personal success, allowing him to hobnob with the great and the good in london, allowing him to achieve what was one of his initial stellar accomplishments, which was played the role in the well-known shakespearean play and also to excel in movies, initially in london, although of
course he did make his mark in hollywood nonetheless. but a turning point for paul robeson's life comes in the early 1930s when he is on his way to germany he confronts face-to-face the bared teeth of germany and the shakes them up tremendously and he goes on there to the former soviet union where he encounters a friend from harlem speaking of the late black lawyer, william l. patterson, a name you may recall because it was william l. patterson who led the charge in the case, the scottsboro case, the case of scottsboro nine that arrived in dixie in the early 1930s involving nine black youths accused falsely of molestation of 2-year-old american women.
the case is important because under patterson's leadership in under the leadership of the international labour defense with which he was affiliated, the scottsboro case turned into an international call, not unlike what happened to apartheid south africa in 1980s. it was that external pressure that was the first stage in the successful challenge to jim crow, which obviously reaches a big tori is crescendo in the 1950s in the 1960s with the brown v. board of education desegregation case in 1954, the rise of rosa parks, martin luther king, et cetera. but in many ways, the first chapter of the case was struck under the leadership of william l. patterson. william l. patterson happened to be a communist -- a black communists. he in fact had been trained to a degree in russia, in the soviet union. he spoke some russian. he knew paul robeson because william l. patterson had been a
lawyer in harlem at the same time paul robison was in harlem. they reignited their friendship in the soviet union in the 1930s and it was patterson's proselytizing along with robeson's own experience and helped to push robeson to the left. or not point he transpired. you may recall that robeson goes to the front lines are the special brewer 1936 to 1935, one of the first chapters in terms of the attempt by the fascist under adolf hitler to achieve world conquest, the spanish republic is overthrown because of this ample assistance provided by fascist germany. paul robeson tries to keep the spanish republic afloat, but to no avail.
paul robeson probably would've stayed in london to the end of his life, but for the onset of august 1939, fearing for his family he decides to pack up and move back to his homeland. that is to say the united states of america. the united states of america is the negation into a debate about world war ii and the u.s. role in it. parenthetically, you should know that in the run-up to the bombing of pearl harbor, december 7, 1941, that is to say the bombing of japanese forces of pearl harbor for hawaii and the pacific that japan had made a very sustained and not unsuccessful effort to woo black americans. the beauty beta boy, booker washington, marcus garvey and many others had contradictions between and amongst them, but all were united around this idea
of pro-tokyo sentiment to a greater or lesser degree. so when japan bombed pearl harbor in place in black america was this infrastructure of pro-tokyo support that paul robeson began to chip away at it that is to say that paul robeson was able to convince many black americans that their destiny and fate should razz for solidarity with washington in this death match with japan, italy and germany rather than succumbing to tokyo. you should also go parenthetically -- about the cat out of the bag to say that the next book i published a b. on the pro-tokyo sentiment in black america, which was quite strong and quite resonant and like many intriguing chapters of u.s. history, somehow has disappeared into the rabbit hole of a niche. paul robeson was able to chip away at that kind of sentiment
in getting them to enlist in great numbers in military where they played a pivotal role in the ultimate devastation of the fascist powers and particularly japan. but again, no good deed goes unpunished. after the end of world war ii, you have the onset of the cold war. paul robeson was considered to be treacherous by washington because of his close friendship with moscow. it's very teen is the united states stays the current line with moscow is that it's okay to be pro-moscow between june 22nd, 1941 when hitler's forces invade russia with the soviet union on september 1, 1945 when world war ii concludes. it's okay to be pro-moscow then. the only people i know who tend
to question that line are the late u.s. president herbert hoover and some of his writings in your homeboy, pat buchanan down the road in washington d.c. but paul robeson's position was at washington could ally with moscow to defeat his antagonist, it would not be beyond the bounds of reason for robeson and his comrades to ally with moscow to defeat their antagonists. the washington would have none of it. a turning point takes place in 1946 when he confronts face-to-face but then u.s. president harry s. truman and wags his finger and denounces harry s. truman for his lethargy and pursuing lynchers throughout that point for mutilating and committing mayhem against black people, including black soldiers in uniform.
according to reports coming harry truman's face was turned purple as the blood rushed to his temples as he suffered the fusillade. i was a turning point for his life because you're not point you begin to see an increase persecution. that is to say his passport was taken, which took away the lifeblood of his career because he may have been more popular abroad than he was in the united states of america. his income plummeted from the six figures to the four figures, a concert that he held in peak school, new york in december december 1949 was assailed and assaulted by a murderous mob according to reports upon physically mutilating paul robeson is not doing away with them altogether. this is a benefit concert for the organization led by william
a-alpha patterson, who was by that time that the north america leading the civil rights congress on a so-called communist front that was in the forefront of pursuing the lynchers to their grave. paul robeson was barely able to escape with his body intact, but his travails and tribulations did not end there. you may recall in 1950, 1951, paul robeson and william paterson filed a petition with the united nations, charging the u.s. authorities with genocide against black people. ..
>> this puts enormous pressure on the united states to do something about jim crow. and it's not surprising that if you look at the briefs, particularly the brief filed by the u.s. state department in brown v. board of education decision which reverses the plessy v. ferguson decision of the 1890s which has said jim crow was legal and constitutional -- brown v. board of education decades later reverses that particular charge -- you cannot begin to understand why brown v. board of education took place without understanding the international situation, without understanding the role of the left which had
international alliances because i dare say that if you look at the history of settler colonialism -- and, of course, the united states is exhibit a in terms of settler colonial regimes -- what's striking about these settler colonial regimes, particularly those in north america and those in southern africa, that if you look at the devolution of their regimes of oppression be it jim crow and slavery in the united states or apartheid and its predecessors in south africa, you cannot begin to understand them without understanding the external pressure. for example, you can't understand the democratic elections in south africa in april 1994 without understanding the role of cuban troops who defeated the apartheid military on the battlefield of southern angola, leading to the liberation of south african-occupied namibia next door to south africa. and then, of course, floating in the ether was the idea that is
the apartheid authorities did not negotiate reasonably with their opponents, then the cuban troops might not be satisfied with just kicking their butts out of southern angola. they might march all the way to pretoria and forcibly object these races from power. and that helped to induce sweet reason into the negotiating team of the apartheid authorities. so once again, back to north america, you cannot begin to understand how jim crow, this system of iniquity, was able to be forced from its hold on north america without understanding international situation, the reliance, alliances with the left-wing forces, etc. and paul robeson was the exemplar of that kind of movement. and as a result, he paid a very heavy price. finally, in 1958 the united
states authorities yielded to the global pressure, returned paul robeson's passport. he immediately left, returned to london which -- and, by the way, paul robeson always said that if you want to understand his attraction to socialism, rather than looking to moscow, you should look to london. that is to say that he was very close to left-wing forces in london even though he reportedly told the investigating authorities in the united states that he was not a member of the u.s. communist party. i speculate that he may have been a member of the british communist party because he was very close to the british communists while he was living in london in the 1920s and 1930s. so he returns to london, resumings his acting career -- resumes his acting career playing o them low to thunderous applause. he also begins to travel all throughout europe.
he overdoes it in terms of his travel and his attention to adoring audiences, etc. his health had been deteriorating very various reasons, not least the kind of pressure that he was under while under virtual house arrest in the united states of america. and so after his wife passes away in 1965, and his spouse had not only been one of his closest comrades, but also in many ways his business manager and his confidant, he returns to the united states. he moves into a working class community in the the city of philadelphia and becomes a virtual recluse because of his deteriorating health. although it's fair to say that the rising forces, anti-jim crow forces in the united states, they knew what side of the bread
their bread was buttered on, because they paid homage to paul robeson repeatedly. that is particularly the case for the shock troops of the civil rights movement, the student non-violent coordinating committee and their then-leader, james foreman. but also coretta scott king and andrew young, one of king's closest associates, also paid homage to paul robeson during his declining years in philadelphia. finally, in january 1976, the man who was born in new jersey in 1896 passed away, but his passing, i don't think, squelched the causes to which he gave his life. the cause of socialism which i hope and believe is having something of a resurgence in the united states in 2016, the cause of anti-racism, the cause of
liberation of africa, the cause of progressive humanity. because one of the keynotes of paul robeson's life was his almost maniacal study of foreign languages. he reportedly could realize dozens of languages. he sung in dozens of languages, and he spoke, of course, german and russian and french and spanish and english and studied african languages as well. and this was all part of a political project. because from robison's point of view, i humanity was one. humanity, as one we're all marching towards the same goal, that is to say socialism; albeit at different speeds. and he felt that in terms of communicating more effectively with global audiences that he should be able to speak in the tongue of virtually any audience that he encountered. a noble project, indeed.
but i would say just in conclusion that once again if you are trying to understand the tribulations and trials and tremendous vails of black -- travails of black people in north america over the centuries, particularly post-1776, you have to understand in the first place the reality that the united states of america was established as a slave-holding republic on though i can understand why lawyers as a rhetorical device will often speak warmly of the founders and their noble documents, the declaration of independence and the constitution and how they were so flexible that they were able to be expanded to all of the rest of us who were initially excluded. i understand that as a rhetorical argument. but the reality of the matter is, is that the founders did not have people like myself in mind when this country was established just like they did not have cattle or furniture in mind when this so-called republic was established. we were considered on the same
level as cattle and furniture. but we have been able to fight a glorious struggle to overcome those anti-diluvian points of view. but once begun we were able to fight that glorious struggle not least because we had support in the international community. and for those in the black lives matter movement, for those in the anti-police terror movements, until and unless you ingest that basic lesson -- that is to say that international solidarity is a prerequisite in order to achieve some success and victory in the united states of america -- you'll be left sprawling in the dust. because i think that one of the lessons that the trump and cruz campaigns are telling us is that there is this stunning array, this stunning cross-class coalition within the
euro-american community that encompasses the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy. and in many ways, that particular coalition of 2016 replicates the kind of coalition that helped to subdue and subjugate a continent dispossess the native americans and enslave the african-americans. when i hear that phrase again, it makes me recall -- just to go back to this book -- that in the island of martinique, in the so-called french caribbean or, that at one point slavery was abolished, but then it came back. and i think that if we're not careful, perhaps slavery will not come back, but perhaps something even worse will return. thank you very much for your attention. [applause]
>> any questions or comments, come up to the mic. any questions or comments -- [inaudible] >> mr. horne, i'd simply like to thank you for your mountain of work and your continued commitment to the facts and to truth. it's just an honor to be in your countenance, sir. keep writing. [applause] >> hi. my question more you is -- for you is that given that you argue in your book confronting black jacobins that the haitian revolution precipitated the abolitionist slavery in the united states, what is your opinion on violence as protest and a vehicle for change, excuse
me, in today's political climate? for example, the riots that resulted after the murder of freddie gray or prison uprisingsing as a response to mass -- uprisings as a response to mass incarceration. thank you. >> i guess everybody heard the question? well, i find myself in strange agreement with u.s. secretary of state john kerry who, during his visit to hiroshima -- the site of the first and, hopefully, only use of atomic weapons -- was compelled to say that he saw war as the last resort that should be arrived at. and he did not exclude war altogether, he just said it should be the last resort arrived at. and i would say something similar with regard to that very probing question that was just posed.
that is so to say -- that is to say that i don't think that given the coalition of forces in north america with many of our folks not being armed, only armed with strong lungs to yell in protest, and given the militarized nature of the police and the militarized nature of these police guards who, by the way, in places like california and new york have very strong unions who make political contributions to politicians and, therefore, are helped to entrench -- help to entrench their power even further, given the correlation of military forces, i don't think that violence should be our first option with regard to pushing them back. however, if you push people into a corner and if you brutalize them as has happened in this city of baltimore and if you have these examples like freddie
gray where a person enters into the custody of the police alive and leaves dead, it's perfectly understandable why there are forces in this city who refuse to accept that in a supine fashion. and i think that's reasonable. because they are trying to understand the lessons of history as well. and they recognize that unless you give a forceful rebuff to that kind of violence, then you are guaranteed to have a slew of freddie grays going forward which i find wholly and totally unacceptable. >> anybody else have any questions? if you don't want to stand up -- [inaudible] >> i'd like to really thank you for your insight on mr. robeson. i have a question. during the time that gray area
from 1941 to 1945, you expounded on an area in which we did not focus on the communistic situation. can you ec pound more -- expound more on that? >> sure. well, as you know, the war in europe begins in august, late august 1939 with hitler sweeping through europe. at that particular time, there was a kind of ambivalence even amongst progressive forces as to how and whether the united states should enter that particular conflict because the lesson of world war i was quite fresh. recall that world war i, 1914-1918, and it was truly a world war because one of the reasons that britain was able to prevail was that they were able to conscript thousands upon thousands of africans to fight on their behalf, not to mention
indians and south asians. and the united states, of course, enters the war belatedly after selling, fundamentally, to both sides. and then there was this propaganda put forward by the racist u.s. president, woodrow wilson. recall there was a debate at princeton university as to whether his name should be removed from various entities at that ivy league institution. wilson responsible for the restoration of jim crow in washington, d.c. helping to drive numerous black families into poverty. but during world war i, he put forward this idea that this was going to be a war to make the world safe for democracy, that puppies and ice cream would emerge if people would only make a blood sacrifice during this war. many -- or some -- on the left fell for this nonsense. even many black american leaders fell for this nonsense. so this was fresh in the minds when world war ii was erupting.
and and particularly after december 7, 1941, when japan bombs pearl harbor which pushes united states into the war because, as noted, there was a fair amount of pro-tokyo sentiment amongst black americans. so if you look at world war ii, you'll find that the united states was yanked into an alliance with moscow to confront germany. and, in fact, if you look at the casualty list in terms of who made the largest sacrifice during world war ii, well, in terms of the allies -- the united states, britain, france, etc. -- it's by far the soviet union. in many ways it was the soviet union that broke the back of fascism. and the united states, of course, had this dilemma because they had sent their people this steady diet of anti-communism and anti-sovietism, and then they had to reverse field. now, an earlier book i wrote in
my biography of john howard lawson, i talked at length about how president franklin d. roosevelt was with encouraging hollywood to make pro-stalin movies, pro-soviet movies. mission to moscow, for example, is exhibit a in that regard which presents stalin as this benevolent leader, much beloved by his people. takes an anti-trotzky line, at sword's point with stalin at that time. and it's interesting is that after the war, of course, many of these filmmakers -- [laughter] were hauled before congressional committees and grilled about their pro-soviet productions during world war ii. and congress did not want to hear that in many ways they had been encouraged and enticed to do so by roosevelt himself. it would be as if sylvester stallone -- do you recall one of
the rambo movies which presents an osama bin laden character as a kind of hero because the united states was then in the same trench with the religious zealots, fighting moscow in the 1980s in afghanistan? a rather strange alliance that has given rise to this explosion of religious zealotry which we face on a regular basis throughout the world. it would be as if sylvester stallone was called before congress in 2016 and grilled about making a rambo movie that seemed to glorify an anti-- excuse me, an osama bin laden-type character. couldn't he just say that was the line, i was just following the line. why are you grilling me now? go back and read the newspapers about what washington thought about afghanistan in the 1980s. well, it was a like situation with regard to world war ii. that is to say that washington/moscow alliance was something that was accepted in
broad circles at that particular moment because it was seen as the difference between life and death. because the german war machine was quite formidable. and it was not preordained that washington would prevail over this war machine, but for the ample assistance of the red army surging out of moscow. so that's part of the context for my remarks with regard to robeson and anti-fascism and the changing line in the united states with regard to moscow, etc. >> hi, gerald, thank you. so much for your talk. i just had kind of a quick question. so what we're seeing with both books confronting black jacobins and with paul robeson, we're seeing black internationalism really an articulation of a tradition propelling forward these pair dimematic shifts.
so where can we locate these movements of black internationalism, of the black radical tradition and international solidarity in -- against the wars of imperialism right now in southwest asian ya and the -- asia and the neo-colonization of africa? >> well, there is a peace movement, as you know, in the united states of some strength. and as you know, as we speak there's a democracy spring up folding in washington, d.c -- unfolding in washington, d.c., a very courageous effort by activists of various ages to confront the war makers. of course, one of their key issues is campaign finance, but i think that they emerge in the wake of other efforts of activism. recall conference that code pink had in washington, d.c. just a few weeks ago focusing on saudi arabia which in many ways is a country that should be focused on. when you're trying to unravel, for example, the proliferation
and profusion of wars. not only because of their direct intervention in yemen across the red sea from ethiopia, an intervention in which washington is assisting, but also if you look at the the explosion of religious zealotry throughout africa, i think you'll find the hand of the house of suad in determine -- saud including nigeria where the boko haram religious zealots have been wreaking havoc. we're approaching the second anniversary of the kidnapping of the teenage girls in northern nigeria, and who knows what ghoulish fate has awaited those teenage girls, although we have credible reports that indicate that some of them have been turned into suicide bombers, and some of them have been sex slaves. and we also know that this has been too much even for president
obama who in his recent revealing interview in the atlantic magazine with jeffrey gold be berg issue -- goldberg issues a somewhat veiled criticism of his so-called saudi ally which, i think, helps explain why he's headed to saudi arabia shortly. because saudi arabia plays an outsized role in the global political economy. not only as the major swing producer of oil -- and you may be able to point the finger of accusation at saudi arabia when you try to unravel how and why it is that the barrel of oil in 2014 was about over $100, and now it's hovering at the $30 level which may be good for you who buy gasoline at the pump but has been devastating for an intriguing list of countries including venezuela, iran, nigeria and russia. and i think that what i'm saying
with regard to casting a critical eye upon u.s. imperialism, u.s. foreign policy, the alliances that the united states is now ensnared in including with the medieval regime of saudi arabia, that i am not the only person who has this kind of critical outlook. although if i were forced to be honest, and i will try to do so, i do think that our movement, our peace movement, our solidarity movement, our anti-imperial movement needs some renewal. it needs newer forces. it needs deeper study. it needs more militant protests. because i'm sure that you're paying attention to some of these hot spots across the globe, the fact that this tension in the south china sea between the united states and
chinese forces, the fact that pentagon chief ash carter was is just in new delhi as part of this encirclement of china strategy thames that john kerry -- at the same time that john kerry, secretary of state, was in japan. you know that u.s. bases in the philippines are being revived, northern australia also targeting china. that president obama himself will be headed to vietnam rather shortly, and you may recall that despite the fact that these are two, quote, communist regimes, unquote, they fought a rather bitter war shortly after the vietnam war. and by the way, if you're trying to understand the rise of china in recent decades to the point where now it's adjudged by many to have an economy larger than that of the united states, you have to understand once again this fixation and obsession with moscow that not only led to an alliance with the religious zealots which has then exploded all over the world, but also this alliance with china which
in return for china, for example, waging war against vietnam, it was able to attract inward direct foreign investment from the united states which has now created this juggernaut which now the united states is trying to corral. and i dare say that either this corralling will not work, or just like the attempted corralling of the soviet union, it will have the unintended consequence of creating a new sort of behemoth. i'm speaking of the alliance between india and japan which stretches back to the founding of buddhism 2500 years ago. you may recall that during world war ii just like there was pro-tokyo sentiment among black americans, there was a fair amount in india as well. a leader of anti-colonial forces in india probably second to knew rue and gandhi -- nehru and gandhi, of course, fought shoulder to shoulder with japanese forces against the allies. so the united states has this
penchant, this proclivity for getting ensnared in these alliances but not thinking through all of the possible downstream consequences. and then people like us wind up paying the price. and i think that one of the many reasons why we end up paying the price is pause not enough of us -- is because not enough of us are energized, not enough of us are sufficiently informed. and there's this comforting notion, which i'm well aware of since i teach teenagers for a living, that what we're attaining today will not be the sentiment tomorrow. that allows you to sleep tonight, but sadly and tragically, history does not often allow for such a pleasing result. things can change. but let us hope that we will be able to muster the intelligence and the energy to insure that these doomsday scenarios will never have the opportunity to
unfold. >> anybody else have any questions? comments? >> oh, here's one. >> so i wanted to know if you wanted to comment on what's happening now between the u.s. and the dominican republic and haiti, particularly the expulsion of haitians from the dominican republic and also the role of particularly the united states' ngos since the earthquake and role in the u.s. in terms of haiti's internal affairs -- [inaudible] >> well, as you probably know, the latter point -- that is to say, the u.s. role since the january 2010 earthquake -- is getting considerable attention. not least because of the presidential run of secretary of state hillary hillary clinton wa pivotal role in the, quote, restoration, unquote, of haitiment her spouse, foremanner u.s. president bill clinton, was a kind of viceroy in haiti.
there have been many reports about what happened to the all the money that was contributed by many u.s. nationals and nationals from all over the world to haitian relief and what happened with regard to the kind of housing that was going to be built for haitians, many of whom are still in very poor conditions. secretary clinton is receiving quite a grilling from certain audiences as we speak, and i think deservedly and understandably so. and i would assume that in the runup to the primary in maryland where i assume she'll be campaigning, that many of you will be raising probing questions to secretary of state hillary clinton about her role and the role of her spouse with regard to the ongoing devastation of haiti. now, or with regard to the human rights catastrophe that's unfolding on the border between haiti and the dominican republic, in many ways this is of a piece the what i mentioned
in my opening remarks. that is to say, the conflagration that erupted on the border between haiti and the d.r. in the late 1930s at the instigation of the d.r. dictator in which thousands of haitians were massacred. there's this idea in the d.r., sadly enough, that even if you're born there, even if you're born there and generations of your family were born there -- not unlike, say, a person who you can reasonably suspect has roots in africa such as myself, but given my accent and other kinds of cultural aspects, you can assume that i have family roots in north america -- well, what's happening in the d.r. is that these people are adjudged not to be d.r. nationals. particularly if they do not have adequate paper documentation. but even if, perhaps, they do
have adequate paper documentation. it's like people in the united states nowadays who are being asked for identification when they go to vote or they're asking for a birth certificate when they go to vote when you know in the rural south particularly for black people, you don't necessarily have a birth certificate or able to get one. it was a similar sort of situation in the d.r., and so what's happening is that the d.r. government has been expelling these people. many of them are living in terrible conditions along the border. this has been accompanied, according to credible press reports, by a kind of reign of terror exacted against these people who are thought to be haitian. and by the way, what helps to account for one being thoughting to be haitian often times is having a sufficient quotient of melanin, for example. slavery being identified with african, etc. fortunately, there have been
many protests against this outrage. not only protests at the d.r.'s legation at the embassy in d.c. and the consulate, but also the writer junot diaz, as i understand it, has been protesting along, of course, with a number of writers of haitian origin as well. so i'm reasonably confident that sufficient pressure will be placed upon the d.r. government in order to insure that this human rights outreach is ended sooner rather than later. >> we'll take two more questions if you've got them. >> thanks for the talk. it's really, really excellent. i wonder if you can situate your book on haiti in the context of what seems to be a kind of reemergence, resurgence of interest in haiti and the
haitian revolution over the last ten years or so? fifteen years? i'm wondering if you can situate your book. do you see it as intervene anything that resurgence of interest in haiti and also the classic text by c.l.r. james. >> well, the last point first. the questioner is referring to the book by the trinidadian intellectual who approximately 70 years ago wrote a book called "the black jacobins," and, obviously, my book is seen as something of an homage to that book. although i should mention that, obviously, the passage of years allows, hopefully, for more documentation to emerge and, hopefully, for more insight. for example, if you look at james' book, he takes a more jaundiced view of london than i do in my book. he takes a more positive view, i would say, of washington, of the united states than i do in my
book. i think that he takes the traditional line of united states is this revolutionary country engaging in solidarity with revolutionary hispaniola where, obviously, i'm taking a different point of view. and, obviously, being a british subject, born in trinidad & tobago, a former establish colony, that obviously he has a bone to pick with london. and being born here in north america with my jaundiced view of the rotten fruits of 1776, i'm taking a jaundiced view of this particular country, the united states of america. but in any case with regard to your earlier point, i'm speaking at a forum in a few days by a newly-formed haitian studies institute at the city university of new york. which i'm quite optimistic about what it'll be able to do. and i think it, too, the formation of this institute reflects the interest in haiti that you're making reference to, because i think that once again
those of us whose ancestors suffer the travails of slavery recognize that institutioning might have continued -- institution might have continued to persist but for the heroism of the haitian revolutionaries. and so we all owe an enormous debt of gratitude to haiti which many of us are trying to repay. and one of the points that i'm going to mention at the institute formation meeting is that after doing research in haiti, the archive in haiti -- like many buildings in haiti -- it was devastated by the earthquake. but at the same time, when i was there a few years ago, i noticed that they had been able to achieve, get foreign aid and were rebuilding this archive. and it's a tremendous archive. and one of the flaws, i think -- and i'll choose my words carefully. much of the right in north america focuses on the revolution.
but much of the research is done in france, understandably, because it's the colonial power, and the documents are easier to gain access. some people find it more pleasant to be in paris than in port-au-prince. but i think that if we are to do justice to haiti, we're going to have to rebuild and reconstruct this haitian archive. and one of the points i'm going to make is that in the kinds of research that i've been doing in recent years, i've noticed in going to various countries hike if you go to singapore, you'll find that as a part of foreign aid various governments, like the united states government, will microfilm documents relating to singapore and then turn them over to singapore. and i think that one of the initiatives i'm going to press on the haitian studies institute is that the haitian studies institute or authorities in haiti go around the world and sweep up documents relevant to
the haitian revolution. for example, in my book i talk about the role of russia in the haitian revolutionary process. or, actually, in the post-revolutionary process. and i dare say that if you go to russia, you'll probably be able to sweep up some documents that will be quite revealing. the thing about haiti, it's an independent country, so it has diplomats all over the world. that's one of the ways it was able to lobby on our behalf. because haiti saw itself as the spokesperson for dispossessed africans all over the world. and in the 19th century, at least the first half of the 19th century, we were exhibit a in terms of dispossessed africanings. [laughter] and they had diplomats in london and st. petersburg and madrid, etc. and i think we need to gain access to all of those documents so we can reconstruct a truer history of haiti. and i think that there is also another consequence of that kind
of outreach which is that it can help to bring haiti more attention. and, hopefully, it helps to bring haiti more allies in the international community. >> last question. >> hi. so i just want to continue on your thoughts around haiti. so my brother said to me a couple years ago, he said that haiti was never forgiven globally for successfully liberating itself and setting the stage for what happened around the world with africans. and i want to know -- i mean, it always stuck with me. and given your wealth of knowledge, do you think it's plausible? >> well, just look at the cover of this book. which reverses the usual narrative of what's happening in the first few decades of the 19th century. that is to say you have africans who were involved in executing their punitive oppressors or punitive european oppressors.
it's interesting that you mentioned this idea of haiti not being forgiven -- >> [inaudible] economically and financially relative to a lot of other caribbean countries it's remained just one of the poorest countries in the world. and so that's what i'm -- >> well, you may recall that during a presidential election a few years ago a well-known e evangelist was saying that haiti was being punished for various neb lens reasons. -- nebulous reasons. i was talking to a friend from detroit who was saying the same thing about detroit because detroit-michigan -- detroit, michigan, had one of the strongest left-wing movement in the first few years of the 1950s. it had a strong black liberation movement and still does to a certain degree.
and the idea he put forward is that detroit has never been forgiven for being so audacious as to house a left-wing movement based in unions and a black liberation movement. and i think that there's something to both of these statements. recall that in terms of reparations that under gunpoint haiti was compelled to pay reparations to their former colonial occupiers and enslavers in paris. in fact, you would not be remiss if you suspected that part of the reparations that haiti paid to france trickled into north america. recall that during the antebellum period, the period before the u.s. civil war, that the city of new orleans may have had the most millionaires per capita than any other u.s. city.
recall as well that many of the former enslavers in hispaniola had fellowed helter-skelter to not only savannah and wilmington, north carolina, and or norfolk, virginia, but also to new orleans. and so the united states, to a certain extent, has been a beneficiary of the sweat and toil of the poor folks in haiti. i've already made reference to haiti's attempt to fight off being annexed by the united states of america. making reference, i've made reference to the to occupation by the u.s. authorities -- of the occupation by the u.s. authorities. after 1959 the united states endured another bout of hysteria and, as a result, was very concerned about the rise of radicalism in haiti which helps to shed light on u.s. backing for these maniacal anti-communist regimes that
arose in haiti including the duvalier regimes post-1959. and you can see this as part of this continuing pulverizing, this continuing penalizing of haiti which has the gumption to kick out the slave masters. but on the other hand, recall that haiti became independent in 1804, the united states recognized haiti diplomatically in 1862 during the height of the u.s. civil war, 58 years. speaking of cuba, the cuban revolution was 1959. barack obama made overtures to cuba that reached fruition in 19 -- in 2014. that's 55 years. so in some ways we're having progress in the united united ss with regard to recognizing revolutionary regimes. that is to say it took 58 long years to recognize the haitian
revolutionary process, only 55 years to recognize the cuban revolutionary progress. so, obviously, we're making steady progress. and on that note, forward ever, backward never, all night, all day! we're going to fight for freddie gray! thank you very much. [applause] >> we thank everyone for coming, and i think it was excellent, very erudite, very, very on point. we're open until 11 today, and the kitchen will close at 10:30. you're welcome to come holler at me if you want to buy a brook, and i'm sure gerald horne will be signing them. thanks. [inaudible conversations]
>> here's a look at some books that are being published this week. in broken but unbowed, texas governor greg abbott discusses how getting perillized at the age of -- paralyzed at the age of 26 helped him overcome obstacles. the emperor of all maladies looks at the history of the gene in his latest book. princeton historian sean will elements examines partisanship in the politicians and the egalitarians. also being released this week, mark kerr land sky's exploration of the history of paper and its changing role in the digital age.
in the book drive, lawrence goldstone looks at the birth of the automobile new the lives of the innovators, marketers, attorneys and engineers who created the industry. and jill la por investigates the life of joe gould, an eccentric who was widely believed to be writing the longest book ever written. after he died in 1957 in a mental hospital, people began to question whether the manuscript -- which was never found -- was only a negativement of gould's imagination. look for the titles this coming week and watch for the authors in the future on booktv. >> book passaging is honored to welcome new york times' best selling author dr. david kessler and his new book, "capture: unraveling the mystery of mental suffering." why do we think, feel and act in ways we wish we did not? in his new book, our author explores this question.