Queen Nanny and The Maroons: Counter-Economic pioneers

Resistance to imperialism on the North American continent can be found in the histories of three important peoples: white colonists, Native Americans, and black slaves. We all have much to learn from one another.


The Daily Attack

August 6th marks the day Jamaica gained its independence. However, the quest for independence on the Island country goes back centuries before when the UK finally granted approval in 1962.

By the 18th century, when British colonists had replaced the Spanish conquistadors as the rulers of the land, ex slavers were forming their own settlements in the mountains of Jamaica. These ex slaves and their descendents would be historically known as the Jamaican Maroons. Lead by those such as Queen Nanny and her brothers, the Maroons became a serious opposition to British forces even to the point of forcing the British into a treaty.

The Maroons engaged in both guerrilla warfare and counter-economic activity to achieve their goals of independence from the British Empire. Attacking the plantations and freeing slaves by night, and engaging in subsistence farming and other means of community self reliance by day. Sustaining themselves through an economy that was based on their needs but forbidden by the Imperialists was center to their well-being.  The skirmishes between British plantation owners and the different Maroon settlements resulted in the First Maroon War.  Tactics the Maroons utilized ranged from hiding in caves evading discovery to disguising in camouflage from local shrubbery and ambushing British soldiers.

The Maroons proved to be quite an opposition and decisively beat the British in battle.  The treaty after the First Maroon War, however, demanded that Maroons assist in capturing and returning slaves in return for the British not attempting to attack their settlements. Several (but not all) Maroon communities complied, but this wouldn’t stop a Second Maroon War where the British finally managed to defeat the Maroons.  Nanny Town, where Queen Nanny lead from, would be destroyed by 1734.

And unfortunately, the Jamaica that stands today is under the iron fist of IMF policies, not looking much different from the plantation economy that the Maroons resisted against.

But the type of resistance displayed by the Maroons was one of the finest and efficient examples of true counter-economics, human interaction that is forbidden by the State, done in a revolutionary way against state capitalism.

Read the rest at The Daily Attack.


About Vince

I am a Tlingit, born and raised in Tlingit Country, and a proud member of the Tlingit Nation.
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