The memory and language of colonial marronage shape the zeitgeist and the wider history of Haiti as nation. This essay takes as its point of departure the recent use of small boats by armed gangs in Haiti to revisit the shipboard dimensions of marronage and the country’s history of “picaroon” warfare. Attempting to consider the condition of instability and ungovernability and the current crises of Haiti in light of Maroon histories poses the question of whether the concept of “social banditry” has any value when generalized banditry comes to permeate an entire country amid the widespread breakdown of society itself.

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