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On this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, with speak with author, organizer, and people’s historian, Modibo KadalieIntimate Direct Democracy: Fort Mose, the Great Dismal Swamp, and the Human Quest for Freedom. We are also joined by Andrew Zonneveld, who wrote the book’s introduction.
From the book’s description:
From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, many African people who were enslaved in North America emancipated themselves and fled into vast swamplands and across colonial borders, beyond the reach of oppressive settler-colonialism and the institution of slavery. On the peripheries of empire, these freedom-seeking “maroons” established their own autonomous, ethnically diverse, and intimately democratic communities of resistance.
In this new volume, Modibo Kadalie offers a critical reexamination of the history and historiography surrounding two sites of African maroonage: The Great Dismal Swamp in Virginia and North Carolina; and Fort Mose in Florida.
In these communities of refuge, deep-rooted directly democratic social movements emanating from West Africa converged with those of indigenous North Americans. Kadalie’s study of these sites offers a new lens of “intimate direct democracy,” through which readers are invited to re-examine their notions of human social history and the true meaning of democracy.
Together we discuss how global capitalism rose out of racialized slavery in the so-called Americas, how the plantation system created a political, racial, and ecological model which clashed with Indigenous forms of life, and we map out the rise of resistance communities in the forms of maroon societies that included both runaway slaves, Native people, and poor whites.
We end by discussing what an autonomous approach to archeology and people’s history looks like and what the lessons of the Great Dismal Swamp are for today’s anti-colonial and anti-capitalist struggles.
More Info: On Our Own Authority publishing, Intimate Direct Democracy, various talks with Modibo
photo: Wikipedia Commons