Week 4: Independence or continued subjugation?

the narrative of independence is a diverse and complicated subject. Dawson’s three narratives are an interesting way to look at the process of independence.  His “stories of freedom” address the uprising led by Tupac Amaro II, and the lasting influence that it had. He mentions that in the eyes of many his rebellion set the stage for Independence and struggle against further oppression. He also speaks heavily to the role of slaves in the struggles for independence. I’d never heard of Haiti’s slave rebellion before and was rather surprised at their success as most of the rebellions i’ve learned about were brutally crushed.  I also found it very interesting that at one point they joined the French ranks on the promise that they would gain their freedom. Dawson’s two aspects of his “Tradition” narrative seemed rather contradictory of each other.  First he speaks to indigenous struggles to hold on to their traditions; The right to land, Legal practices, autonomy, and resource rights. Secondly, he claims that the protection of slavery was a main element on the way to independence in countries such as Brazil. These are two very different claims to tradition. The first is a very legitimate cause for rebellion(among the million others). Yet, the second doesn’t sound like a claim of tradition, but of simple economic greed. Slave ownership to me isn’t a traditional or a cultural practice, but a pure economic practice that subjugated millions to many horrors. In the narrative of “nationhood” it is interesting to think that Creollos often identified as Latin American rather than European. Although, I guess it makes sense. They were born there, and perhaps they  even felt that they had a greater claim to the land than the Peninsulares. This seems like the most common narrative to me; Creollos became dissatisfied with their second class status, already had relative power and were able to gain more, and rebelled against their oppressors(for lack of a better word. It seems to be that From the eyes of the Creollos( and some Mestizo’s), independence was achieved. They were no longer second class citizens, had gained power across the region, and began to build their own history( As bolivar would put it). However, from the perspective of the historically oppressed members of the region, was independence achieved, or was it simply that a new system of oppression was established?


The essay Written by Jose Marti was one of the densest readings i’ve done, although once i began to understand it, it was rather interesting. But the most interesting thing to be was how some of his claims still stand true. For example he says that “The scorn of our formidable neighbor who does not know us is our America’s greatest danger. And since the day of the visit is near, it is imperative that our neighbor know us, and soon, so that it will not scorn us. Through ignorance it might even come the lay hands on us. Once it does know us, it will remove its hands out of respect.” Speaking about the U.S., it seems that he was correct in a way. They did “lay their hands“ on the region, interfering heavily throughout the 20th century . Yet it seems that they never learned to have  the respect towards them that they should have. Also, his statement on “race” stands true,” There can be no racial animosity, because there are no races….

The soul, equal and eternal, emanates from bodies of different shapes and colors. Whoever foments and spreads antagonism and hate between the races, sins against humanity”.

2 thoughts on “Week 4: Independence or continued subjugation?

  1. Audrey Valerio K Valerio

    I also found that the quote “soul, equal and eternal, emanates from bodies of different shapes and colors” stood out to me. Martí’s elegance for maneuvering words in a social-revolution context is impressive and helps his sentiments stick, and perhaps the grandeur of his words and phrases help them to be more relevant and memorable for readers today to relate to events and ideas of today.

  2. Leobardo

    I agree with you, Marti’s reading was my favourite, it semed difficult in the beggining but later on i could read it relatively easy and understand what he meant. I loved how in a few pages he did transfer his own feeling (at least to me).


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