Download Arise Ye Starvelings: The Jamaican Labour Rebellion of 1938 by Ken Post (auth.) PDF

By Ken Post (auth.)

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Additional resources for Arise Ye Starvelings: The Jamaican Labour Rebellion of 1938 and its Aftermath

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We may begin to develop this idea by first deriving a view of structural contradiction from a fonnulation by Marx and Engels which, although very early and despite its Hegelian language, was one of their best. Proletariat and wealth are antitheses. As such they fonn a whole. They are both formulations of the world of private property. What concerns us here is to define the particular position they take within the opposition. It is not enough to say that they are two sides of a whole. Private property, as private property, as wealth, is forced to maintain its own existence and thereby the existence of its opposite, the proletariat.

By 1890 their share was about thirty-nine per cent 42 The first phase of this movement took the form of an attempt to organise 32 THE SOCIAL FORMATION AND ITS CONTRADICTIONS the settlement of ex-slaves in so-called 'Free Villages'. This was the work of the Baptist Church, inspired by its leader, William Knibb. The Baptists, active in missionary work since 1814, had had the closest contacts with the slaves of any of the Christian churches 43 Their emancipationist views before 1834 had roused the white plantation owners to paroxysms of rage, but the 'Free Village' movement was not in fact a deliberate attempt to destroy the economic basis of sugar by depriving the plantations of labour.

In fact, of course, the interests of the North American colonists never did neatly complement those of the West Indian planters or of the government at Westminster. 13 They were not content to serve merely as suppliers of food, timber and other raw materials to the islands in return for sugar, rum and molasses; from an early date, for example, they insisted on payment in bullion for much of what they supplied. When this and other contradictions led to rebellion in the thirteen colonies and then to the independence of the new United States of America, the first British imperial system began to collapse; a dramatic sign of this was the death of an estimated 15,000 Jamaican slaves from famine in the period 1780·1787 because of the loss of American food supplies.

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