Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Luk√°cs

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Who abolished the slave trade?

Toussaint L'Ouverture - Haitian revolutionary hero.

I promise at some point to mark next month's 200th anniversary of the formal abolition of the British slave trade with a proper post, but in the meantime I thought I would just highlight some articles for people to read to be going on with. The first appeared a month or so ago in the Guardian, and was by the historian Richard Gott - 'Britain's vote to end its slave trade was a precursor to today's liberal imperialism'. The title speaks for itself, but it is a useful contextualisation of the 'pioneering achievement' of the British. Another useful antidote to the modern tendency towards 'Wilberforce worship' comes from Louis Proyect in a film review. Finally, those with time on their hands and a love for historical fiction could do far worse than track down Madison Smartt Bell's trilogy about the Haitian Revolution All Souls' Rising, Master Of The Crossroads and The Stone That The Builder Refused, reviewed by John Newsinger here.

Edited to add: Peter Linebaugh 'An amazing disgrace' - another Marxist review of the film on Wilberforce on Counterpunch

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