Racial equality and anticolonial solidarity: Anténor Firmin’s global Haitian liberalism

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This article recovers Anténor Firmin’s contribution to anticolonial political thought by excavating his liberal worldmaking project of global racial equality and anticolonial solidarity. I assess Firmin’s contrast between “true” and “false” liberalism in Haiti, reconstructing his understanding of true Haitian liberalism as committed to the core ideas of historical progress, national regeneration, and rehabilitation of the Black race globally. I contextualize his Equality of the Human Races in metropolitan Paris during his first exile, arguing that his critique of anthropological racism should be seen as integral to his commitment to Haitian liberalism. I then situate his discussion of what he called “European Solidarity” in wider legitimating languages of French colonialism. This recovers Firmin’s neglected critique of colonialism as a reciprocal system of economic exploitation and discursive domination, and his attempt to rescue the universal ideal of solidarity from its truncated expression in languages of racial inequality and practices of colonization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Early online date13 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2023


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