Jailbreak Out of History: The Re-Biography of Harriet Tubman and "The Evil of Female Loaferism"
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In Jailbreak Out of History, revolutionary Amazon theorist Butch Leeshows how the anticolonial struggles of New Afrikan/Black women werecentral to the unfolding of 19th century amerika, both during and"after" slavery.The book's title essay, "The Re-Biography of Harriet Tubman", recountsthe life and politics of Harriet Tubman, who waged and eventually leadthe war against the capitalist slave system. As Lee explains, "HarrietTubman was a radical political figure, someone totally involved as aplayer in the great political ideas and military storms of her day. Shewas a guerrilla. Someone who lived and taught others to live by thecommunal and working-class New Afrikan culture that her people hadplanted in this difficult ground, and a Black Feminist to the end."At the same time, Lee exposes how the white supremacist patriarchy hasdistorted the truth of Harriet's life, by both trivializing andexceptionalizing her. Countering this disinformation, "The Re-Biographyof Harriet Tubman" surveys the reality of struggle before and during theu.s. Civil War, showing how New Afrikan women were repeatedly taking upthe task of smashing the slave system that confined them, on their ownterms. Lee shows how what was special about Harriet was not that she wasunique in resisting, but rather because of her military skill - "She wasone of the most brilliant professional practitioners ever at the art ofwar. As a guerrilla, so elusive that she could strike fatal blows andnever be felt. Lead battles and go unseen. As an Amazon, she conductedwarfare in a zone beyond men’s comprehension. But her blows still fellon point."Jailbreak Out of History's second essay, written in 2014, picks up thestory where The Re-Biography leaves off, showing how New Afrikan women'slabor and resistance remained central to how the global class struggleplayed out in the united states after the white men's Civil War came toan end."The Evil of Female Loaferism" details New Afrikan women's attempts towithdraw from and evade capitalist colonialism, an unofficial butmassive labor strike which threw the capitalists North and South into apanic. The ruling class response consisted of the "Black Codes", JimCrow, re-enslavement through prison labor, mass violence, and ... theestablishment of a neo-colonial Black patriarchy, whose task was to makeNew Afrikan women subordinate to New Afrikan men just as New Afrika wassupposed to be subordinate to white amerika.