The following talk was given by Ameth Lô in a French-language panel, “L’aurore de notre libération,” in Montreal on May 20, 2018, at “The Great Transition: Preparing a World Beyond Capitalism.”
The centenary of the October 1917 Russian revolution, a world-shaking historic event, was an occasion for celebration throughout the world.
Many diverse interpretations are advanced as to its success in achieving a radical transformation of society, both in terms of its history and its overall impact. Nonetheless, there is no denying that this event altered forever the course of history.
For Black peoples, this revolution arrived just over a century after the victory in Haiti in 1804. That event was the first massive and successful revolt of Black slaves, and an important step toward the long-overdue abolition of slavery worldwide.
The establishment of the first Black republic in the Northern Hemisphere emerged from an extended process of resistance to oppression, marked by massive slave revolts on the plantations of Jamaica, Brazil, and elsewhere. Even today, Haiti continues to pay the price for its audacity and steadfastness, for which it has never been forgiven by proponents of the slave system. This dramatic breakthrough later contributed to achievement of a collective consciousness among Blacks.
Indeed, these events demonstrated that freedom comes only through struggle. That is how Blacks laid the foundations for pan-Africanism throughout the…