The Balfour Declaration: 1917-2017 100 years of colonialism/100 years of resistance

Aya Ramadan & Selim Nadi

On November 2d 1917, Arthur Balfour (1848–1930)—former Prime Minister of Britain and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—wrote a Letter to Lionel Walter Rotschild in order to explain his sympathy with the Jewish Zionist project: “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object.”

This promise toward the Zionist movement became way more concrete with another project: the San Remo Conference (in 1920) that made Palestine part of the British Empire. Nevertheless, the Balfour-Declaration of 1917 not only was a sort of “first step” toward the creation of the Zionist State in 1948. It was also part of a wider treason of European’s power towards Arab nationalists. Indeed, one year earlier, in 1916, the Sykes-Picot Agreement between the UK and France defined several “sphere of influences” in order to control a whole part of the Ottoman Empire after its defeat during World War I. Hence, Balfour’s sympathy toward the establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine paved the way for the Zionist colonial project. And indeed, one year later, there was a parade in Jerusalem by some Zionist groups in order to celebrate the first anniversary of this declaration.

No wonder that 100 years later Zionists still want to use this anniversary in order to legitimize the colonial system that Israel is. This is why, in several countries, anticolonial activists are organizing events in order to remember this declaration in another way: through the racist and colonial project it represents and how it fits perfectly with European colonialism. Hence, some anticolonial voices have responded to the call of Palestinians in order to denounce the celebration of the Balfour-Declaration by the Zionists and their accomplices. This is why we call all the Friends of Palestine to meet in the Parisian region on November 5 in order to commemorate rather than to celebrate the centenary of this declaration. Indeed, on November 5, at the Bourse du travail from Saint-Denis, the voices of the resistance toward colonialism will be heard through 4 speakers:

  • Ilan Pappe: Professor at the University of Exeter and author of, among other books, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006).
  • Joseph Massad: Palestinian Professor of History at Columbia University and author of The Persistence of the Palestinian Question (2006).
  • Rabab Abdulhadi: Palestinian Professor of Sociology at the University of San Francisco and head of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Initiative.
  • Alain Gresh: French journalist and specialist of the Middle-East and the author of Israel, Palestine: Truths of a Conflict (2007).

This event is a very important one since France is probably one of the most loyal accomplice of Zionist colonialism. During the 75th commemoration of the raid of the Vel d’Hiv in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron invited Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahou and declared that Antizionism is the “reinvented form of Antisemitism”. This fallacious attempt to delegitimize any antizionist effort is not very new. The consequences of this logic, that has shaped the French policy toward Israel for several years, had an devastating impact on the anticolonial movement with the criminalization of the BDS Movement. This political context poses with increasing urgency the necessity of continuing to resist despite the attempt to silence anticolonial voices in France.

The meeting of November 5th is organized by decolonial organizations and Immigrant organizations — like the Parti des Indigènes de la République, the Association des Travailleurs Maghrébins de France, the Fédération des Tunisiens pour une citoyenneté des deux rives – and some organizations from the French radical Left, like NPA, Ensemble, Attac. Hence, this common work has permitted us to organize, on a national scale, against the racist and colonial celebrations of the Balfour-Declarations that want to erase any anticolonial voice from the French political Landscape. But the organization of such an event in France is just a part of a more global organization of antizionist forces who are trying to show their support to the Palestinian people. The anticolonial bloc that has resulted from this anti-Balfour project will continue to support Palestine after November 5th. This meeting is part of a broader attempt to organize against colonialism and racism on an international level with every single force that shares our aim to raise our voices against the racist and colonial system that underlies the Zionist project since more than 100 years.

Sources

IHRC has complied the following sources on the Balfour Declaration.

Articles

  1. The Balfour Declaration: Palestine’s British and Zionist Colonial Legacy – Hatem Bazian
  2. The Balfour Declaration Destroyed Palestine, Not the Palestinian People – Ramzy Baroud
  3. Israel simply has no right to exist – Faisal Bodi
  4. Balfour at 100: A legacy of racism and propaganda –  Dan Freeman-Malloy
  5. Remembering Balfour: empire, race and propaganda – Dan Freeman-Malloy

Videos

  1. Independent Jewish Voices: 100 Years After Balfour FULL FILM (24 min)
  2. David Cronin discusses his book Balfour’s Shadow at IHRC (1 uur en 20 min)

BOOK (PDF):

Towards a New Liberation Theology – Reflections on Palestine  – eds Arzu Merali and Javad Sharbaf

 

Furthermore, there are two new books that are interesting for decolonial thinking.

ON THE SOCIOLOGY OF ISLAM: http://shop.ihrc.org/on-the-sociology-of-islam-ali-shariati-3

AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM, EUROCENTRISM AND OTHERISATION OF MUSLIMS: http://shop.ihrc.org/american-exceptionalism-eurocentrism-and-otherisation-of-muslims-saied-reza-ameli

Decolonizing Dutch colonial historiography

The Dutch government has funded a project of 4,3 million Euro’s to rewrite the Dutch colonial history in Indonesia in the period 1945-1949, the period in whic the Dutch sent its army to crush the liberation struggle of the Indonesian people. Rather than acknowledging this crime their colonial historians put a framing based on the concept of “extreme violence”, implying that both parties committed extreme violence.

Activists in Holland are mobilizing against this colonial project. On October 20th Histori Bersama organized a meeting to discuss Decolonizing Dutch colonial historiography. Click  here for English language videos of the meeting.

See the English introduction of Ethan Mark of Universiteit Leiden for critical analysis of the project.

Activists consider the possibilities to set up an alternative research project into colonial violence in the whole period of Dutch colonization of Indonesia.

 

Venezuela does not bow down to anybody …we are born anti-imperialists

Jesus Chucho García

Maintaining our sovereignty during these eighteen years of the Bolivarian process has not been easy. Even with all our failures, we have broken, after Cuba, the record of independence and anti-imperialist sustainability,in Latin America and the Caribbean.

We have refused to be the United States backyard or chess piece from the ultra-right sector of the European Union.

We dared, under the leadership of President Chávez, to change the geometry of power in our America, including to the people of the United States showing our solidarity to more than two million impoverished people in that country with our policy of giving it warmth in winter time through the mixed company CITGO.

Sovereignty has a very high political cost as it has been demonstrated by Haiti in the eighteenth century, when it dared to be the first Republic of the African diaspora to achieve its independence from French and American imperialism, and then it was blocked. The same would do Bolivar following the Haitian example and also suffered blockade of Europe and the United States. Then, they also blocked us in 1902 with the government of President Cipriano Castro, and we already know the history of Cuba with more than half a century of blockade and there is with his head high 90 miles from the empire.

The history of any country in our America that has dared to fight for its true autonomy, without military bases in its territories, without obeying the mandates of the great club or the whims of the pentagon or the fascist leaders disguised as democrats in Europe , have run the risk and we continue to run the risk of being a perfect target of blockades, media manipulation, isolation of international bodies, asymmetric wars, covert operations of the CIA, Israeli intelligence, in order to create a climate for military intervention as might happen in Venezuelaon the part of countries with miserable governments such as that of Santos in Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, among others that have been pronounced against the legally constitutional government of the current president Nicolas Maduro that until July 27th called the opposition to sit down to dialogue, but this one with its historic and bourgeois hatred and the feeling of being supported by the extreme right Internationally refused to dialogue despite the prayers of Pope Francis, as they would say in my land Barlovento….. they have the devil on the shoulders (they heated the electoral situation using violence facts). IF THEY ACCEPT THE CONSTITUENT ; THEY WILL GET FUCK UP.

We entered definitively in the circular delirium of disrespect of a group of countries of our region blindly obeying the script of some ultraright congressmen of the United States, to express that if President Maduro did not paralyze the constituent we fuck, saying it popularly. Look, we do not have nuclear arsenal as in the case of Iran, we do not have a conflict as it exists between the United States and North Korea, we do not have the international conflict as Mexico has with more than fifteen thousand assassinated in the last five months or the selective murders of more than one hundred Colombian leaders, after the signing of the peace treaty. It is not enough that they have made Luis Almagro look ridiculous this week when he again asked for the intervention of the OAS in our affairs, and he only got thirteen votes out of thirty-four he was looking for, it was not enough that Caricom did not allow himself to be blackmailed by the United States in its last assembly to vote against Venezuela and even more he failed despite the efforts of the indecent president Macri and the coup Temer in their attempts to make that Mercosur, censored Venezuela. In the ground of the international organisms these options have been rejected against our country. Now they have no choice but to issue sanctions on the part of the United States and on the other hand to call the violent outcome of the radical and racist sector of the opposition. But the Venezuelan people will not bend their sovereignty or their decision to be anti-imperialist and independent.

C.K. Raju: decolonizing science

Prof. C.K. Raju in Cape Town South Africa on Decolonizing the hard sciences.

See another video on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uct.src/posts/1605143072870270

For an impression at the university of Kwazulu-Natal:

His talk at Kwazulu-Natal is here.

See the panel discussion here

Here are the sildes of a lecture on decolonizing mathematics that Raju gave in Amsterdam: http://ckraju.net/papers/presentations/critical-collective.pdf.

The lecture and discussing in Amsterdam is here.

And here is the lecture in Berlin on decolonizing time:

Decolonial Summer Schools in Spain

Decolonial Summer Schools in Spain

Dialogo Global, a Center of Study and Investigation for Decolonial Dialogues, is a non-profit and non-governmental organization promoting research, knowledge-making, education. Dialogo Global organizes two Summer Schools in Spain.

In Barcelona the Summer School is on “Decolonizing Knowledge and Power”. The Summer Schools looks into questions of epistemology, activism, decolonizing the mind and power.

In Granada the Summer School is on Critical Muslim Studies: Decolonial Struggles and Liberation Theologies. Critical Muslim Studies is inspired by a need for opening up a space for intellectually rigorous and socially committed explorations between decolonial thinking and studies of Muslims, Islam and the Islamicate. Critical Muslim Studies does not take Islam as only a spiritual tradition, or a civilization, but also as a possibility of a decolonial epistemic perspective that suggests contributions and responses to the problems facing humankind today. It offers an opportunity to interpret and understand Muslim phenomena in ways that does not reproduce Eurocentrism, Islamophobia or takfiri exclusivism.

In the framework of SISUMMA and in collaboration with the Critical Muslim Studies Summer School, the Euro–Arab Foundation hosted the conference “Debates on “Critical Muslim Studies” in Granada (July 2017), video provided by SISUMMA

Video: Hatem Bazian (UC-Berkeley)

Video: Salman Sayyid (Leeds University)

Interview with Salman Sayyid at the Critical Muslim Studies Summer School, Granada

Video: Claire Lienart (Journalist/France)

Interview with Houria Bouteldja at the Critical Muslim Studies Summer School, Granada

 

Preface of Cornel West in Houria Bouteldja’s book

Houria Bouteldja is a French-Algerian political activist and writer focusing on anti-racism, anti-imperialism, and Islamophobia. She serves as spokesperson for the Parti des Indigènes de la République (Party of the Indigenous of the Republic), a member organization of the Decolonial International Network (DIN).

Houria has published a book in French titled: Les Blancs, les Juifs et nous: vers une politique de l’amour révolutionnaire. It is now translated in English and will be published at MIT press in November 2017 under the title: Whites, Jews, and Us – Toward a Politics of Revolutionary Love.

For more information see: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/whites-jews-and-us

Cornel West, philosophy professor at Harvard and Princeton, public intellectual and activist, wrote a preface. This is the preface.

Cornel West

This book is a courageous and controversial act of revolutionary love. Houria Bouteldja’s bold and critical challenge to all of us—especially those who claim to be leftists or progressives—builds on the rich legacies of Malcolm X, Jean Genet, Aimé Césaire, Audre Lorde, James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, and Chela Sandoval. This challenge consists of a powerful intellectual case against imperial innocence and a poignant cry of the heart for an indigenous revolutionary politics—a politics that is unapologetically anti-patriarchal, anti-capitalist, and anti-imperialist grounded in the doings and sufferings of colonized peoples. It comes as no surprise that our present moment of escalating neo-fascist regimes, tightening patriarchal practices and neoliberal free-market ideologies have thrown the left and progressive voices into a panic. And such a panic makes it difficult to have a robust and painful dialogue about whiteness, Zionism, patriarchy, and empire.

Does not the end of imperial innocence entail the rejection of social democracy or neoliberal politics—with their attendant “white good conscience,” top-down feminism, bourgeois multiculturalism, and refusal to target a vicious Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and people? Do not the precious lives of hundreds of thousands of Muslims killed by U.S. and NATO Armed Forces (including immoral drone strikes) have any moral weight in how we understand the ugly forms of xenophobia spilling out of control in the US and Europe? What does a candid and compassionate indictment of Zionist practices on the West Band and Gaza look like that avoids anti-Jewish hatred and contempt? How does a “decolonizing internationalism” proceed in the face of entrenched nationalisms or neoliberal cosmopolitanism? Can a “decolonial feminism”—with its echoes from the work of the visionary bell hooks in the very belly of the US imperial beast—lead toward a “concrete emancipation” that resists patriarchal religions and elite feminisms? As the “genocides, ecodisasters, and ethnocides” continue to surface, “wedded to new secular hierarchies,” either a new “great We of a decolonized majority” rooted in visions beyond empire, capitalism, whiteness, and patriarchy and grounded in a revolutionary love can guide us or we all succumb to the “ancient forces of human greed and violence.” These questions and issues demand the best of who we are—and none of us have a monopoly on the truth and justice they require and solicit. There is a genuine humility in this book—and its sense of urgency and dire emergency behooves us to wrestle with its rich contents.

Paroles d’honneur: interview with Louisa Yousfi

Louisa Yousfi is a decolonial journalist and activist. For the past 7 months she has been hosting the online broadcast Paroles d’honneur (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTth6-5ZiCD_CUJ6xOMug_w).

First, would you mind tracing back the emergence of the show?

The idea of this show emerged in a specific context; the presidential campaigns were coming up and we knew it would be painful as usual for postcolonial and poor neighborhood populations. We knew that the media mechanisms that frame the political discourse would prevent the rise of an autonomous voice that would take into account this special category of the population ; this of Blacks, Arabs, Muslims and poor neighborhood residents. This phenomenon engenders a situation that might be comical if It did not hold drastically negative consequences; while we are omnipresent in the media, endlessly debated in « expert » mouths as objects of study, of both fascination and repulsion, we are however never really present as producers of discourse and meaning.

The presidential campaign is a time where these media processes become exacerbated, where the main TV channels struggle to hide the propaganda dimension of their editorial line. Some would debate it as the « Ideological apparatus of the State ». But it is a fact; we are the ever-absent members of the party, and absent people are always wrong. The show thus takes its origins from the activists of the « political antiracist » or decolonial movement, from journalists and intellectuals who chose to answer an ambitious challenge. They are striving to give visibility to this activist, political and social reality that blossoms, struggles, thinks and moves strategically forward within the French political space, while holding for sole media projection a deforming mirror that only mutes it or demonize it to discredit its existence. Yet we are convinced that we have often more to say about our dominant themes such as racism, imperialism, police violence than professionals of public speech, but also on a wider array of societal themes. That is why our slogan is « by us for all ». It makes a clear statement in regards to our lens on the history of the immigration struggles while targeting the rest of society that wishes to join or to be confronted to a new way to debate politics in France. In sum, it is a new form of radicalism, an opportunity to invent a new political space. That space materialized perfectly within that café called “La Colonie” where we film our shows, which was created by Franco-Algerian artist Kader Attia, himself acquainted with decolonial issues. That highly symbolic space was inaugurated on Oct. 17th 2016 in memory of the Algerian victims of Oct. 17th 1961. During the first and second round of the French elections, it quickly became a true “decolonial headquarter”; in other words a space where those who do not find resonance in the current political offer can hear about original and off the beaten track analyses, and openly react to issues that remain little debated. Close to 300 people were present during both electoral nights, and almost 50 000 others watched live the online videos we posted, demonstrating that we guessed right! Undoubtedly Paroles d’honneur answers a real need of thoughts reflection and confrontation in a respectful yet frank framework.

Finally, I must admit having particular affection for this format that we call “Great debates”, in which I invite philosophers (Etienne Balibar, Tristan Garcia, Norman Ajari) to converse on issues at the crossroads of philosophy, politics and other human sciences. We have, among others, organized debates on “political dignity” or on “universalism”. These are beautiful high-level debates that have the capacity to bring another level of abstraction and intelligibility to social movements. This is certainly less accessible and less fitting to the general public, but not less important. This is where we are able to develop, enrich and experiment the intellectual production of postcolonial topics, in contact with other thoughts from a different political culture. Knowledge also entails a stake of power. We need to invest it without shame, to occupy all fields that produce meaning and systems of truth. In other words, at Paroles d’honneur, we are home everywhere!

Why did you create a specific show instead of imposing decolonial issues into more “traditional” media?

Because that space is a minefield for us! Traditional media mechanisms are so locked that the rare television appearances of those from our ranks are systematically set up as trials. Their arguments are either discredited on account of irrelevance because not fitting the national republican model, or they are required to defend themselves from a list of accusations made up for the occasion. They are almost never invited to contribute to the debate but rather turn into the popular scapegoat. For instance, I am thinking about the intervention of CCIF (Group against islamophobia) ex-president Marwan Muhammad on the stage of the Salut Les Terriens show. While he was officially invited to present his upcoming book, he was instead freely insulted by Lydia Guirous and Sonia Mabrouk. Let us contemplate in the meantime the orchestrated set up that consists in placing Arab women who represent the quintessence of integration to face an Arab man and unapologetically call him an islamist, a communautarist, a manipulator, etc. Have we even talked about the content of his book? Of course not! Same record for Houria Bouteldja and Maboula Soumahoro when they got invited on the stage of Ce soir ou Jamais. Thomas Guénolé did not engage any debate, he simply prevented any opportunity to do so by pouring down dishonest and preposterous accusations that hit the nail on the head to an audience little acquainted with decolonial theses. How do you make your voice heard in such conditions? That is why it is important for spaces like ours to exist in order to bring back meaning to debates. That being said, I completely respect those who have the courage to carry a different voice and remain uncompromising amidst traditional shows. It is an ambitious strategy that demonstrates a slight evolution of power dynamics into our favor, but which also seems insufficient to me if it is not accompanied by the appearance of new independent media such as Paroles d’honneur.

What conclusions can you draw from this first season?

A very positive result! On all accounts! First and foremost, I sincerely believe that few shows in France can praise themselves on such quality in terms of political content and in depth reflection. Guests who accepted to come to the show all brought an original, audacious and informed point of view. Among them you could find intellectuals, activists and artists such as Françoise Vergès, Farida Alamazani, Olivier Le Cour Grandmaison, Norman Ajari, Nacira Guénif, Na Boakye, Marwan Muhammad, Amal Bentousi, Danièle Obono, Ulysse Rabaté, Omar Slaouti, Étienne Balibar, Tristan Garcia, Laurent Lévy, Maboula Soumahoro, Michèle Sibony, Michelle Guerci, Stella Magliani-Belkacem, Patrick Simon etc. Besides, thanks to the format of the “QG” show that privileges free speech without time constraints -some shows lasted up to 3 hours-, guests were able to carry out their meaning to its conclusion and develop it without any presenter threatening them to turn off the microphone. The latter always mutilates the complexity of the discourse, and thus its richness and relevance. As far as I am concerned, I have always found exasperating that habit of TV hosts to systematically interrupt their guests when they are barely starting to develop their argument. “Time is running out”, yes, but we end up wondering what was the point of organizing a debate altogether if none of the guests was given enough time to explicit the argument they are there to make. I have thus tried to set up a more flexible, less conventional style but with an interactive dimension where members of the audience can intervene at any point and ask questions to our guests. It works a little like in the show Droit de reponse from Michel Polack, which brought fresh air into the French media landscape. The result is conclusive in many regards, but I am quite proud of what we were able to accomplish with so little means.

Looking back, I would say that the first two “QG” shows were important because they offered a real visibility to the decolonial political field at a time where a true electoral catastrophe was taking place. But the following show entitled “Mélanchon est il notre pote?” (Is Mélanchon our friend?) came out as a real upgrade in quality. This is when we managed to come out from the “decolonial inner circle discourse”. This show was far from being consensual and allowed the expression of real political and strategic disagreements, mostly thanks to the presence of representatives of the “France insoumise” (unsubmissive France) movement such as Danièle Obono and Ulysse Rabaté, who had the courage to come defend their perspectives on a field where they knew they would not be done any favor. We wish to pursue our mission towards this type of debates, by inviting people who do not necessarily share the decolonial political lens, but who have the courage to question and confront it “fairly” as I like to say.

Could you tell us more about this second season?

We already have several topics and themes: Does French soccer wash whiter? Is rap universal? Can we politicize treason? And so many other ideas that we will soon expose. They will share the fact to be sensitive, very rich and all crossing decolonial issues in some way or another. We will not forget to touch at topics that will be dictated by current political updates of the coming year.

Paroles d’honneur claims to be a 100% autonomous media; how is the show funded?

Paroles d’honneur is a pure activist product. It does not depend on any public or any obscure funding. It mostly relies on the free volunteering work of a few committed persons who dedicate a significant amount of their energy and time to move things forward consistently with their political ideals and convictions. This is a very important aspect because it demonstrates how Paroles d’honneur does not emerge from the middle of nowhere, but from the struggles from which it gets its legitimacy and its moral and intellectual integrity. However, the technical quality of our shows induces expenses. We need to pay for material, technicians, the floor manager, the sound engineer and cameramen. All of that combines into a consequent sum that we have precisely determined in the funding campaign we started a few days ago on the Kiss Kiss Bank Bank platform. We fixed a first security cap of about 13 000 euros, but that cap would only allow to fund three shows. In reality, we hope to double that sum to fully secure a full season of shows. That is why we are calling for financial support to all those who recognize themselves in the claim of decolonial politics. By that, we mean those who support it, those who love it, those who doubt it but give it legitimate existence in the media, those who wish to better know it, frame it, join it, tweak it here and there or clearly challenge it without consciously maintaining misunderstandings. Finally, we address our call for support to those who care for real debates and for a real and honorable exercise of politics.

Interview by Selim Nadi

Translation by Aude Chesnais

Afro-Descendants before and after Bolivarian process

Jesus Chucho Garcia, Fundacion Afroamerica y de la Diáspora Africana

In these 19 years of the Bolivarian process, Afro-Descendant Venezuelans have been dignified in an unprecedented way in Venezuelan history.

The process of social transformation with which Venezuela has experimented in the past 18 years has not only been an economical, but also a political process, where president Chavez played an essential ideological role as the leader of this humane option, of solidarity and participation.

The Afro-Descendant communities of Venezuela have benefitted in ways never before seen under previous socio-political processes. Before, the land of Afro communities was in the hands of latifundistas and agrarian bourgeoisie. One the worst cases of discrimination was reflected in the Farriar municipality, where Cuban supporters of Batista, with the help of the [pre-Chavez] government, dispossessed thousands of hectares of ancestral land, including Cañizos, Palo Quemao, Farriar, Palmarejo, and El Chino. Numerous witnesses tell of how the Batista supporters hired armed bands to assault community inhabitants at night, threatening them and burning their cane crops. This lead to persecutions, and a youth was murdered when people protested these events.

When Chavez arrived, on an episode of “Alo, President” filmed in Palmarejo (January 2004), he declared himself Afro-descendant, and handed over 11 thousand hectares along with agriculture credits. He decreed the land communal property of the Afro-Descendants of Yaracuy. In other words, the sacrocracia (owners of the cane growers) were expropriated in defense of the defenseless.

Additionally, in the subregion of Barlovento, thousands of hectares were in the hands of the cacaocracia (cacao plantation owners) who had turned our grandfathers and grandmothers’ into hunchbacks from bending over to sow the riches of the hacienda owners. They would pay them a hundred times less what each basket of cacao was worth. Today in Barlovento we are experimenting with the socialist cacao companies and the chocolate manufacturers to work with cacao derivatives. And the six autonomous municipalities of Barlovento have voted in favor of the Bolivarian hope. In the Southern area of Maracaibo Lake (Bobures, Gibaltar, El Batey, and San Jose de Hera) people placed their faith in substantial change, in the hopes of eradicating the latifundio of the cane fields owned by the Brillemburg.

This is why it doesn’t occur to us to join the guarimbas (street barricades) like they are doing in Altamira or in upper-class areas of Caracas and some inland cities. The Afro-Descendants of this country have achieved a dignity without precedent in Venezuelan history.

The Gods Are with Peace and Dignity

We used the internet to make some inquiries about the climate of destabilization in our country. The Revolutionary Afro-Descendant Youth (JARAV) directed by Freddy “Pollito” Blanco, has been strongly against the “commotion” fomented by the bourgeoisie to return to power: “We have already publicly shared our position about  the racist and fascist uprising. We have participated actively in the manifestations in Barlovento and those convoked on a national level, especially by the Youth Ministry.”

The pastor of the evangelist church La Voz de Dios, of San Jose de Barlovento expressed to us via internet: “God wants peace, he does not want more violence generated by an anarchic sector of our society. It is necessary to consolidate the advances in our Barlovento that Chavez left us with. The evangelists are people of peace… we ask that violent people control themselves, as they will find it difficult to find peace in their souls in the face of the damage they are inflicting upon the country.”

From Yaracuy, Williams Sequera and Gustavo Suarez said that the “havoc caused by a sector of the opposition is causing them to close themselves in…We ask them to come to consult with us on the mountain of María Lionza to withdraw the racist, terrifying, imperialist spirits from them.”

José Chucho Garcia is an educator and founder of the “Miguel Acosta Saigne” Center for Afroamerican Studies at the Universidad Cental de Venezuela (UCV). He is also the editor of the magazine AFRICAMERICA and the author of several books.

Email: jesuschuchogarcia@gmail.com.

A decolonial critique of the racist case for colonialism

A white racist scholar, Bruce Gilley, from Portland State University, Oregon, USA, published an article in Third World Quarterly with the title “The case for colonialism”. Third World Quartely is a monthly academic journal published by Routledge. The article begins with the following sentence: “For the last 100 years, Western colonialism has had a bad name.”

It was widely discussed on the internet. For people who have been the victim of colonialism and for civilized people in general the title and the first sentence contains a shocking insult, as is the rest of the article.

Imagine an article with the title: “The case for Hitler and Nazism” and the first sentence being: “For the last 80 years, Hitler and Nazism have had a bad name.

Sandew Hira has written a decolonial critique of Gilley. Read his critique here.

Venezuela Solidarity Campaign: a profile

I am Dr Francisco Dominguez, National Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign and also Head of the Latin American Studies Research Group at Middlesex University.

Below is a sketchy presentation of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (VSC), a UK-based organization of which I am the National Secretary.

The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign was established in May 2005 in order to develop a broad based solidarity movement with the central aim of defending Venezuela’s right to self-determination and her national sovereignty, which is constantly threatened by the United States and its allies. The statement below, which is on our website, sums this up: The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign brings together a wide range of people and organisations who are against external intervention and support self-determination for Venezuela and the nations of Latin America more broadly. Within this broad coalition, people have a wide range of views with regards to political developments within the country itself. Articles on this website represent the view of the author only, unless otherwise stated.

The VSC has a democratic structure with a 30-strong Executive Committee (EC) that is elected at the VSC’s Annual General Meeting by its membership. Among the EC there are national leaders of the most important trade unions, journalists, activists for the Caribbean, lawyers, student activists, and many others. About 20 of the largest trade unions in the UK are affiliated to VSC, among which there are UNITE, UNISON, GMB, CWU, etc.

In fact, the 2017 AGM will take place on October 7th this year: http://www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk/vsc-agm-2017-registration/.

The VSC also seeks to tell the truth about Venezuelan developments and events primarily to drum up support for that nation’s national sovereignty and self-determination. It is also countering the intense media demonization the Bolivarian government is subjected to by informing about the myriad dimensions of social progress that has been taking place since the onset of the Bolivarian process with the coming to office of Hugo Chavez Frías in 1999.

VSC produces briefings about Venezuela. Key VSC activists write informed articles about Venezuela developments and make regular appearances on TV (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQx1C_5MgjA) and Radio (https://store.counterpunch.org/dr-francisco-dominguez-episode-92/). VSC publishes statements signed by the great and the good in support of Venezuela in the mainstream press. VSC activists regularly travel up and down the UK to speak at public meetings. It hold shows of videos relevant to Venezuelan contemporary reality.

VSC plays a key role in the organization of the national conference of solidarity Latin America 2017 Adelante! which is normally held in Congress House at the British TUC’s HQ in London. This event normally attracts over 600 activists and deals with issues related to all the Latin American nations. Latin America Adelante! has become the biggest solidarity event with Latin America in Europe: https://latinamericaconference.wordpress.com.

To spread the message VSC uses its own website (http://www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk/), Facebook and Twitter (VSC (@VenSolidarity), video talks and other means. Below, I include a small sample of the kind of material VSC has produced in order to fulfil its commitments.

Pamphlet Venezuela: how democracy and social progress are transforming a nation (http://www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/vsc-pamphlet-june-2012-free-to-download.pdf). Right Wing Majority in Venezuela’s National Assembly: The Constitutional and Political Stakes (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-francisco-dominguez/right-wing-majority-in-ve_b_9069350.html).

Venezuela’s Right Wing Confesses to 17 years of Political Delinquency: The Amnesty Bill (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-francisco-dominguez/venezuelas-right-wing-con_b_9401644.html).

Venezuela’s Rightwingers Are No ‘Beleaguered Democrats’ (https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-fc5c-Venezuelas-rightwingers-are-no-beleaguered-democrats#.WcDVea2-JBw).

Left Labour And Socialists Slam Media Bias Against Venezuela’s Government (https://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-2661-Left-Labour-and-socialists-slam-media-bias-against-Venezuelas-government#.WcDV662-JBw).

And, finally a key recent briefing on the National Constituent Assembly (http://www.venezuelasolidarity.co.uk/q-a-the-national-constituent-assembly-in-venezuela/).

And this on Cuba, We will keep faith with your legacy, Comandante Fidel Castro! (https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/francisco-dominguez/we-will-keep-faith-with-your-legacy-comandante-fidel-castro-0).

We think it is very important to tell the truth about Venezuela in English and we believe that it would be fruitful to collaborate and, where possible and appropriate, jointly circulate and distribute specific articles, briefings and other material that can help towards this objective in the English-speaking world. In this regard, collaboration with friends in the Caribbean is indeed important.

Finally, people may be interested in the more academic material that as an academic I have published in the recent period.

https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/right-wing-politics-in-the-new-latin-america/

https://www.prruk.org/13-may-launch-event-for-transform-a-new-journal-of-the-radical-left/#prettyPhoto

https://www.lwbooks.co.uk/soundings/66/trump-latin-america

https://www.amazon.com/Perspectivas-Asiáticas-Portuguese-Marcos-Costa-ebook/dp/B01NCQ1B6C  (article on China- Latin America relations)

There is, of course, much more, but the above will give an idea of the kind of organization we are. If you were to need any further information, please do let us know

Email: Francisco Dominguez: depaula_frank@hotmail.com

Decolonial International Network