This article analyzes the topic of dictatorship, political violence, and popular struggle in two recent works that treat the rise and fall of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide: Alex Dupuy's The Prophet and Power: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the International Community, and Haiti and Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment. In discussing these works, I interrogate the extent to which traditional categories of liberal political analysis, democracy, national sovereignty, consensus, popular struggle, rule of law, as well as their putative opposites, dictatorship and terror< must be seen as situated categories, at best only relevant to the conditions of the United States and Europe, and, at worst, part of ideologies that justify the continued global economic and political dominance of the West. Taking Dupuy and Hallward1s books as two case studies, I show the ways that these authors1 disagreements over Aristide1s relationship to violence and popular struggle are inseparable from the methods and categories that each applies to his subject.

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