Friday, February 16, 2024

Otra vez, José Martí y la tricotomía del negro en Cuba

Martín Morúa Delgado es el opuesto al trascendentalismo cubano, pero en ello mismo una figura contradictora; lo que le hace tan idealista como ese trascendentalismo, al relacionarse con este en la contradicción. Juan Gualberto Gómez tiene en cambio la capacidad mediadora que falta a Morúa, participando de ese idealismo; al que incorpora el pragmatismo de su negritud, semejante al de Morúa pero con la flexibilidad de que carece este.

Tan paradójico desarrollo se debe a su paradójica circunstancia, participando de ambas naturalezas; de la negra, que le impide la extrema sublimación de Martí con la realidad de su origen, en la esclavitud pero libre; y de esa misma sublimación martiana, tanto por formación como por su exposición al republicanismo francés. Gómez y Martí comparten la sublimación trascendental, pero Gómez la modera como no lo hace Martí; porque sus propias referencias son existenciales y no intelectuales como en el otro, que se acompaña de arquetipos en vez de realidades.

A Martí lo acompañan los ángeles que lo apadrinan, en la amistad y el mentorado de Mendive y Valdés Domínguez; pero ambos le aportan esa sublimación, sobreponiéndolo a su propia realidad, haciéndolo puramente idealista. Contrariamente, la formación de Gómez es costosa, desde los padres esclavos que le compran la libertad; y no sólo la compran, sino que se mantienen en una vigilancia activa, que no le permite cortar el vínculo.

De este modo, cuando el padrinazgo de los dueños de sus padres llueve sobre él, todavía lo hace a través de ellos; mientras el caso de Martí es opuesto, nacido libre de padres libres, disolviendo su pobreza en ese patronato. No debe olvidarse eso, la referencia liberal de Gómez es la tercera república francesa, álgida y filosófica, no ideológica; mientras que la de Martí, condicionada por el absolutismo restauracionista, semeja al posthegelianismo alemán.

De todo eso, puede ser la negritud el elemento más interesante de Gómez, dándole ese carácter existencial; por el que puede proyectarse en el mismo trascendentalismo del otro, pero moderarlo en una mayor eficacia política. De ahí que el pragmatismo de Gómez, siendo menor que el de Morúa sea más eficaz también, por esa flexibilidad; que no le permitirá tampoco el absurdo martiano de que el cubano sea más que negro o blanco; porque su comprensión no es empática sino existencial, partiendo de su propia experiencia, no su ideología.

Por eso, Gómez no encuentra su referente para un pragmatismo político en Morúa Delgado, que lo rechaza; sino en el controversial acomodo de Booker T. Washington en Estados Unidos, con quien intercambia correspondencia e intereses. Gómez encarga su mayor interés —que es su hijo— a Washington, como una vía para el asociacionismo negro; que se frustrará sólo por la algidez de los contrarios —que son Morúa y los Independientes— en Cuba, ignorando su flexibilidad.

No hay dudas de que esto hace de Juan Gualberto Gómez la figura más interesante de la historia cubana; en el sentido de que puede corregir el centro fundacional de la misma, desplazando la centralidad de Martí. Esta importancia en principio sería propia de Morúa Delgado, pero sólo por esa oposición directa al trascendentalismo; que sin embargo no sería suficiente para sostener una realidad, sino sólo para fundarla, no darle la consistencia.

Eso es lo que hace Gómez, corrigiendo incluso el defecto de Morúa, que es todavía negro por default; es decir, en el sentido del aporte efectivo de lo negro a la cultura cubana, sino sólo de justicia política. En este sentido, la justicia que aportaría Gómez es antropológica, acorde a la naturaleza propia de la sociedad; no social, como la pretendían los Independientes de color, ni política, como buscaba el pragmatismo de Morúa; sino exactamente antropológica, corrigiendo la cosmología cubana como occidental, en la centralidad del negro.


Friday, February 2, 2024

Was it this Sekere that own slaves later called the itsekiri people?

“Ajele” was how old Yorubas called a rule that compels Host kingdoms to accommodate slaves or immigrants, who are willing to work for the kingdom, to assimilate and become protected members of a clan in the kingdom. Under this context came a group of people who wouldn't assimilate, due to huge cultural differences, and didn't want to settle as a third-class citizen; in return they worked for safe passage or piece of land on the outskirts, to settle. Thats how the Yorubas came up with the word “oni Ise kiri" for the group, which later became a clan of Yoruboids, living on the southward outskirts of Yoruba settlements.

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Idris Ishaq

To buy a Black person in Cuba

Buy or sell persons may sounds crazy today, but not in the perspective of postmodern capitalism; because Black people are even cheaper now than ever, in that sense of intellectualism, as the capital of new slavery. The difference is in the nature of capital, not in its transactional power, but in the ability to buy or sell; and that’s what has changed, from those times of classical slavery to this of ideologies and intellectualism.

In this sense, people even become slave to pay political debts, like that legitimacy of liberalism; which bought its capital over the Black people, fighting their rights over themselves to the old slave owners. This is what explains the dissolving of a movement like that of the Niagara, to favor the whiteness of NAACP; and worse still in places like Cuba, where people are so depauperate that only have its representation for the class in power.

In a way, that’ the same situation of Black people in United States, but without the political complexity; because there’s not such thing as political complexity in Cuba, but a general state of poverty for the whole country; in which Black people lacks special resources to alleviate its burden, due their political dependence. This is what makes Black people so cheap to buy, as long as they are intellectually dependable; since this is how they can return some profit to their buyers, as political legitimacy of their liberalism.

Of course, the buyers are intellectuals and universities, like the corporations of postmodern capitalism; in that form of ideological strength, which needs task forces for their political transactions. The market is so alive and ferocious, that Black Cubans even organizes to the sell themselves; forming a kind of cabildos —like the Aponte Society— to expose their own virtues to the American bidders.

At a times it’s scandalous, because they proudly bear the name of maroons, just to secure a selling; since that tag is going to strengthen ideological legitimacy, which is what that capital is about. That means they will not do that to raise their prices, in what would be a legitimate market strategy; but just to secure the selling, which is what they so desperately need, in order to secure the transaction.

That of course makes them a kind of beggars, although disguised as proud maroons and Africanists; but nobody can talk about that, because those knowledge corporations dominate the market. Let’s be clear, the price is as low as an invitation from a university, even without a decent stay in a hotel; just a few coins to buy trinkets, and the stay in the house of the host, to easy the transaction to the buyer.

Some of them manage to get better agreements, like a scholarship including money for lodging; but that’s the exception and not the rule, as they try to save that money, to makes their lives better in Cuba. It’s hard to criticize them, because they are just trying to survive as slaves in intellectual plantations; but it’s amazing how far can go the hypocrisy of politics, making their profits with their poor lives.

Of course, they may choose to leave that way of life and live the normal lives of normal people; but they are cheap for a reason, and they know that outside Cuba they’ll need to work for more substantial transactions. At the end, Unite States is full of Black people with real problems, and that’s some hard competence; while in Cuba they can rely in their criticism of Capitalism, not matter their poverty, so shameful as its voluntary.


Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Morúa’s Enigma, an introduction

El enigma Morúa Delgado is not limited to the historical problems surrounding this character, but goes within his reach; thus, it is more of an anthropological analysis of the historical determinations of politics in Cuba than of this politics in itself. Even in this sense, treating Cuba as the specific context in which Morúa Delgado relates to the Western culture; so it is also an anthropology of than Western culture, expressed in the political contradictions of its development.

That is why, for example, he compares —in appendices— the development produced by the Greek political singularity; but not in relation to the latest political processes in the West, but to their parallel in another exceptionality, African. The book is full of these contrasts, as the one proposing an understanding of history other than dialectics; with an introduction to trialectics, as proper to reality, which in turn would be the nature of the historical.

That is why, despite not being a long book, it gives the impression of being digressive, in its thematic expansion; with appendices as dense —sometimes denser— than the body of the book, trying to break down their topical implications. In this sense, it can be a book as difficult as the subject, struggling to establish an audience of its own; for postulating against the conventional understanding of history, it is as specialized as that very convention.

However, this difficulty is inescapable, even if it means postponing in time the impact of the book; because it is precisely another step in the development of a New Black Thought, like another tradition. Especially important in this sense, then, it seeks to correct the anthropological axis of national culture; moving it from his founding myth to a more practical understanding of these historical determinations.

Morúa Delgado, in short, was the one who postulated a pragmatic and non-moral argument against the autonomic solution; which thus allows for a more realistic establishment of the independence culture, and thus a more functional of these determinations. That’s why its importance is anthropological rather than political, even if its expression is inevitably political; and this in turn as a contradiction, which explains the instability of the republic, leading to its constant implosion.

Another interesting aspect of this approach to Morúa, is based on its same anthropological nature; which in this understanding of history, places it at one of the trico and non-dichotomous extremes of contradiction. The other two extremes would be that of Estenoz —overshadowing the angular function of Ivonet— and Juan Gualberto Gómez; and beyond them, those of Fidel Castro and Toussaint L'Overture, narrowing the Caribbean and displacing the centrality of José Martí.

It is therefore a complex vision of a phenomenon, that is already very complex, without reducing it in its determinations; and hence its contradiction, of avoiding conventional specialization, but with its own specialty, as emerging. Its index of complementary readings, apart from the direct bibliography, is just as apparently random and contradictory; but imposing with it its own object, on the transcendent determination of the real and its comprehension.

This is what makes this book so extremely complex, in that functional centrality of Morúa Delgado; as an elusive topic in current discussions of history and politics, which also now extends to philosophy. Hence the cardinal function of these appendices on Hegel's inconsistencies in relation to dialectics, for example; starting from the same contradiction about the Dasein, which he himself lacked, given his cultural hyper-specialization.

This is the contradiction correctable by black culture in its emergence, but distancing itself from all conventionality; even if through that thick thicket of true marronage, outside the domestic realm of academia. That’s why this approach aims to solve the so-called black problem, but undoing its artificiality; which is why this personality of Morúa Delgado is so central to the history of Cuba, as its capital correction.

This edition is accompanied by  that of Morúa's own Political Essay,  from which his anthropology is extracted; as that understanding of the ontological determinations of the Cuban, at the basis of a true national tradition of thought. With the subtitle of Cuba and the Race of Color, this essay by Morúa is one of his most and worst cited sources; with biased readings, which dissolve into specific data the scope of his very original systematization of the racial problem.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The Kingdom of That World, Carpentier, and the Haitian Problem in Cuban Culture



Literature does not determine the cosmology —as a hermeneutic— of a culture, but projects it into its specialization; because its intermediate status, in the economic structure of society, provides it with the resources to do so. It doesn’t make this determination precisely because this specialization, in which it distances itself from the existential priorities of culture; which, stablished by the primary needs of the people, are not politically specialized, but basic and proper to their popular base.

This determination is the made by the religious practices, because it is this what organizes this relationship with the reality; and just to the extent that it specializes politically, as an intellectual class, it would also lose this capacity. That popular base is ultimately what creates capital, as the set of resources with which that culture develops; and this is why, as it specialized as a political state, it loses this immediate relation to reality; and with it, its ability to reflect it above his political projections, as his own existential necessity.

That is why literature can explain, as anthropology, the understanding of special phenomena by culture; and in the case of Cuba, both the complexity of its racism and —for example— its perception of the Haitian problem. In this sense, racial prejudice is given by the omnipresence of the Negro as a passive object of the interest of the white; who acting as an active subject will have the perception of it, on his enlightened and modern parameters of rationality.

That is logical, if American societies in general are modern, and achieve maturity at the height of the Enlightenment; making the critical artificiality of rationalism and its romantic contradiction its very nature, as the culture. This allows the perverse comprehension of the Haitian question in Cuba, even as an anthropological value; as shown by Alejo Carpentier with his crude reductions —also for example— in The Kingdom of This World.

Obviously, as art, Carpentier only reflects the perception of the problem by Cuban culture, it does not determine it; but with a distancing that is not found in The Age of Enlightenment, but relatively in The Resource of Method; as in The Lost Steps, with its reduction of the indigenous to a savage goodness, from his hyper-rationality. The good savage is a recurring theme in modern aesthetics and obeys an intuition about transcendentalism; but only as a dialectical —not trialectic— contradiction of rationalist insufficiency, since Romanticism.

This does not allow an effective understanding of reality, no matter that transcendentalism, which is so Kantian; because it is actually an immanentist reduction, based on the conceptual nature of thought as an absolute value. Carpentier also has that romantic intuition, rescued by the Surrealist revolution —from Romanticism— as a new convention on art; which, by emphasizing its reflexive capacity, always ends up subordinating it to a discursive function, because of that conventionality.

That is why, more than conventional as enlightened, Carpentier is contradictory, as well as Cuban; and that is why he explores in this same sense the transcendent exceptionality of marginality, as an incomprehensible (savage) power. Hence the certainly recurring figure of the old black man in Journey to the Seed, which explains the existential dilemma of The Lost Steps; but Carpentier – like Sartre – is a communist, and yields to the conventionalism of his enlightenment, disbelieving in the magical in The Kingdom of This World.

Remember how Carpentier ignores the complex process of Haiti, reducing it to the reign of Henry Christophe; treating him as buffoonery, after excluding the apotheosis of Loverture, the black Napoleon that Napoleon feared; and moving from MacKandal's failure as a leader, to the superficiality of the wife of the general delegated by France. The Kingdom of This World is a literary fiction, but it projects a special understanding of the conflict by the Cuban elite; which is important, because it refers to the perception of it by the Cuban culture in this intellectual elite that represents it.