On December 10th 2017 Venezuela carried out its 24 election since 1998. The Western media who had vilified the Bolivarian forces in Venezuela did not report on these elections. Here is a report with an analysis of the results.
Houria Bouteldja, leader of the Parti des Indigénes de la République (PIR), has been consistently attacked by the French press. DIN makes an evaluation with her on these attacks.
DIN: It is not the first time that you are the target of slanderous attacks coming from the right and from the left, but the current attacks are particularly violent. Could you come back on the reason of the attacks you have to face currently?
HB: The previous attacks, that we can analyze retrospectively as a test, happened last June. Its main actors were Danièle Obono, Jean Birnbaum from Le Monde, the French secular and islamophobic sphere and myself. Its culmination was a press box of supports, signed by intellectuals and published in Le Monde. This press box was a catalyst for further attacks. The watchdogs pounced on it like a pack. Some of the people who signed, were traumatized by these media attacks. Right now, we came across a similar campaign but of higher intensity: it lasted 3 weeks without interruption, a real woman hunt, and it all started with the word “comrade” on which I should briefly come back since it contains all the resorts of this case.
First, the word “comrade” makes me respectable and does not marginalize me like what is done with the PIR. If I am recognized now, by the main left-wing force (France Insoumise), it is not only a success of political antiracism but also of its most demonized figure. Hence it goes against this demonization since its purpose is to isolate me. Indeed, since Macron’s election for the French presidency, it is the national-republican camp, that goes from Valls to Fillon, that has lost. Macron sticks to an ultra-liberal line but not on the same ideological resorts as neoconservatism. For its enemies, he is almost our ally – which is, of course, a gross error. However, they are right to see Danièle Obono as a real expression of the progress of political antiracism, because even if she is required to take distance with us, she comes from the struggles against state racism and imperialism. And what makes them crazy is both the fact that Macron did not use identity issues and the fact that new figures, who are not entangled in Mélenchon’s national republicanism, are entering the French parliament.
The current offensive against me has worked since Danièle Obono has clearly differentiate herself from the PIR. We are witnessing a white fall back: the France Insoumise, who tried an opportunistic appeal during the presidential elections, comes back to its gravity center: national republicanism.
DIN: How do you explain what appears as an inability to read your texts, whether it is from activists, journalists or academics? It seems that your texts are rarely read – even if it is on this base that you are often attacked.
HB: I would answer both yes and no. Some politicized colonial subjects and a whole part of the radical Left are reading my texts. Let’s look at this in a methodical way, starting by explaining that the decolonial thought is revolutionary and the PIR has played an important role in developing it in the framework of the worldwide colonial counter-revolution and in the specific context of French republicanism. This political thought shakes the traditional categories of the left. We are questioning the dogmas of the progressive thought without breaking with a strategic aim, which is to build an alliance with the left. In other terms, we did not just produce a political thought but we transformed it into practice. Indeed, we achieve, with all our brothers and sisters from the sphere of political antiracism, with, against and separately from the left. The secret of this dishonest reading of our texts lies here:
- The left has gone from failures to failures since the 1980s.
- The only big success from these ten years is Mélenchonnism who has to sacrifice the French banlieues and put forward a false universalism in order to rally its social basis on a republican and social project. Regarding the most radical wing of the left, they are stuck in a very traditional view of the class struggle. The deep logic of these two tendencies (Mélenchonnism and the radical left) is to unify their basis, their big fear is the risk of division in a context in which the Lefts are particularly weakened and in which fascism becomes more and more a possible perspective.
In this context, political antiracism, both participates to the rebuilding of the Left and puts it in crisis. It is through the risk of division and the panic it creates that one should understand the hysteria around the texts of the PIR, and particularly mine.
DIN: What is the purpose of the antisemitism accusations you have to face?
HB: To put a line between the bad guys and the good ones. In this situation, the Jewish question is widely instrumentalized to the profit of the good white conscience. I think that people do not give a damn about Jews and the irony of all this is that we are the only ones to really care, I mean consequently. This is why we want to put the history of the Jewish genocide back in the long history of colonial (and capitalists) crimes. We are among the few who give a political sense to the famous words “never again” who cannot be understood without an understanding of whiteness and white power.
DIN: The left seems particularly sluggish on the attacks you have to face. How do you explain that, despite the progress of the anti-racist struggle these last years – and the role played by the PIR in events like the demonstration for Palestine (2014), several conferences against islamophobia, the two Marches for dignity, etc. – your support are extremely rare in organizations that reclaim themselves from the fight against racism?
HB: Because there is an intellectual terrorism in the left. As soon as I am constructed as an anti-Semitic demon, every single person who comes close to me is, mechanically, marred. The French left has, for a long time, abandon historical materialism and has become religious and moral. The French left works through principles. Its priority is that it is more concerned with respectability than with the building of a balance of power with French colonial subjects.
I would be way more supported if I would bow down before progressive ideas. I would if those ideas were politically efficient, but they are not if one wants to analyze the contradictions racism introduce in social relationships. The assertiveness from the PIR towards all its detractors, white and non-white (and they are a lot of non-white detractors of the PIR) is not a caprice but a must in order to link the new French colonial subjects to mainstream politics.
DIN: The ideas you develop and defend are discussed in the whole world; your book (Whites, Jews and Us) was translated into English but also in Spanish and Italian; you were invited in important universities in the US, Spain, Germany or Australia. Nevertheless, in France research (from activist or academics) seems pretty much hermetic towards your writings. What is, in your opinion, the reason for this paradox?
HB: We should not idealize other countries because their “Houria Bouteldja” are also demonized. If I am welcomed in US, Spanish or Australian universities because I criticize France, what about their own decolonial activists? I am not sure that black leaders in the US or Latin-American leaders in Spain are appreciated in their countries.
If I am welcome in those universities, it is also because they like seeing France felling from its pedestal. There is also a certain curiosity for complex and dialectical ideas. Thus, I am seen as a voice that should be respected. Cornel West’s foreword to the English translation of my book is very significant from this point of view.
Individualized attacks against PIR representative Houria Bouteldja have been systematic and have grown to an unprecedented level of violence. Despite all evidence to the contrary, this campaign hinges on a deceitful triptych: that of the antisemitism, homophobia and ‘reverse racism’ of which Houria Bouteldja is supposedly guilty. However, nothing in her speeches or written works supports these serious accusations.
These very virulent attacks come from diverse media-political areas which benefit from near monopoly of the public forum in France. Insults and slander are relayed complacently by media platforms to which Houria Bouteldja is never invited, whether it be to their columns or to their sets. This is a matter of pure defamation, intended to demonize and muffle her political discourse.
This rampage is dangerous, as it offers up an easy target to all the French racist spheres that have specifically rallied in an uninterrupted islamophobic offensive for several years.
Faced with French politicians’ failure to act, and against these threats, it is of the utmost importance to offer this decolonial activist, and political antiracism, international support and attentive protection. Supporting and defending the values of freedom of speech, which are objectively being called into question in France by an increasingly oppressive State, is an emergency and a priority, as, behind Houria Bouteldja, the whole of the decolonial movement is being targeted, and with it, all the hope it inspires.
Notes to editors:
The full text of the letter can be read here
For more information please call +44 7958 522196 or email email@example.com.
In December across Europe events are being organized on islamophobia.
In the United Kingdom two events have been organized.
On Friday 8 Dec 2017 from 6:00pm to 9:45pm SACC will host an event in Edinburgh. A recent survey by Samena Dean found that more than half of Muslim school students interviewed in Edinburgh had experienced Islamophobia. Anti-Muslim racism is commonplace and growing. It is reflected in hate crime, unlawful discrimination, discriminatory and hostile social attitudes and institutional racism. Schools, colleges and universities are not immune to this trend.
Islamophobia has assisted and driven the growth of other forms of xenophobia that are now being felt across the UK by EU citizens threatened by Brexit. It has paved Donald Trump’s path to the White House. Across Europe it is fuelling the growth of far-right parties that, once empowered, threaten Jews, LGBT people and disabled people.
Our educational institutions are uniquely well-placed to shape social attitudes and community relations in tomorrow’s Scotland. It is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss. If you care about education, whether as an educator, a student or a member of the wider community, please come along to the conference. It’s a chance to learn about the experiences of others and discuss the way forward.
There are two parallel workshops from 6-7 pm.
A: “Can we talk about Islamophobia” – workshop mainly for young Muslims, but open to everyone
- “Radicalising anti-racism” – round-table discussion on how to move towards radically anti-racist education
There is a break for food from 7.00-7.20pm followed by two plenary session:
7.20-8.30pm: Plenary I. “What is Islamophobia?”
8.40-9.45pm: Plenary II. “Decolonising Education”
Speakers include: Arzu Merali (co-founder and head of research, IHRC, and leading member of DIN), Tasneem Ali (MWAE), Richard Haley (SACC), Sofiah MacLeod (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign) and Yahya Barry. Chaired by Zahid Ali.
The event is at Augustine United Church, 41-43 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH6 4BY. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.
On December 10 IHRC, member of DIN, will host an event to discuss the rise of islamophobia.
Last year’s Islamophobia conference discussed the creation of a police state in the UK. While the policies aimed at surveilling, criminalising and extraditing Muslims, refugees and migrants have continued unabated, we have seen alongside this the alarming growth of nativism in the UK and around the world.
Nativism is the political policy of promoting the interests of “native” inhabitants against those of “immigrants”. It is racism masquerading as patriotism.
This racism reared its ugly head during the Brexit debates. Anti-immigrant sentiments were fanned to ensure a victory for the leave camp. Since then, incidents of racism and Islamophobia have been on the rise. Following the vote, people were attacked on the streets and told they now had to leave the UK since the leave vote was successful. The ‘leave’ result has further legitimised the environment of hate we already exist in.
The election of Trump in America has allowed nativism to enter mainstream politics. He branded Mexicans as lazy and as rapists, Muslims as terrorists and imposed a ‘Muslim Ban’. His anti-immigration stance and his plan for a wall on the Mexican border has resonated with people who feel they have been marginalised and silenced by immigrants, foreigners, the ‘other’ who are destroying their way of life. Trump’s rise to power mirrors a rise in hate crimes against minorities. Black communities continue to struggle against systemic violence, as well as racism from their fellow citizens, while Trump publicly undermines any criticism voiced by black communities. Trump’s presidency has emboldened Nazis to openly march on the streets again, galvanised the so-called alt-right and fractured community relations across America.
Across Europe we see a similar trend; the rise of the far-right has been fuelled by nativist sentiments. Ideas of foreigners taking over, of destroying indigenous cultures and imposing their own alien way of life have been the main talking points for the likes of the Afd in Germany, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Recent elections in Germany, Austria, France and the Czech Republic saw major electoral gains for far-right parties / candidates. Europe’s shift to the right signals a new era of nativist policies, and foreshadows a future of uncertainty and instability for minority communities.
Location: P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton St, Kings Cross, London NW1 1JD (nearest stations: Kings Cross St. Pancras / Euston / Euston Square).
Date and time: December 10, from 10.30am – 4.30pm
- Dr Luis Manuel Hernandez Aguilar
- Arzu Merali
- Amrit Wilson
- Hatem Bazian
- Phil Miller
- Martjin de Koning
In Madrid, Spain, Kale Amenge, member of DIN, and uMMA in collaboration with Bruselles Pantheres will host an event to confront the growing racism in the Spanish context and to build a Roma-Muslim alliance to fight together both islamophobia and anti-gipsyism as forms of structural racism in the Spanish state. The event will be held at La Enredadera de Tetuán, C/ Anastasio Herrero 10, Madrid on December 10 2017 (start 17.00 hr).
In France a coalition of organizations are organizing an event on December 10th in Saint-Denis. The coalition consists of the following organizations: AFD International, Association Commission “Islam & laïcité”, CCIF, CFPE, CCI, Femmes plurielles, Fondation Frantz Fanon, Identité plurielle, IJAN, NPA, PIR (member of DIN), PSM, UJFP.
This years conference is entitled “Macron or the permanent state of emergency”.
There are three plenary sessions :
1st plenary session: 9.30 a.m. to 12: Are antiterrorist law efficient in the fight against terrorism?
2d plenary session: 1.30 p.m. to 3 p.m.: The identity attack against public liberties: attacks from everywhere.
3d plenary session: 3 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.: Silencing political antiracist activists: the other face of the identity attack.
The are followed by two workshops from 4.45 p.m. to 5.30p.m.
- The struggle against discriminations on the workplace and the consequences of the labor law.
- Stigmatisation of territories: from Saint-Denis to Molenbeek
A fourth plenary session from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. concludes with a discussion on the perspectives for the future.
The location is : Bourse du Travail, 9 rue Genin, Saint-Denis (France).
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/243921642807102/
A three day conference in Sweden will present a decolonial analysis of islamophobia.
The conference aims:
- To create a space for dissemination of decolonial knowledge ;
- To raise the question of islamophobia and discuss it on local, national and international levels ;
- To create awareness of Morayma, member of DIN, and facilitate networking between organizations and activists.
- Friday Dec 15th (evening) – Workshop, 2 hours
- Saturday Dec 16th – Conference, 6 hours
- Sunday Dec 17th – Workshop/lecture, 2-4 hours
Speakers are : Ramon Grosfoguel, Hatem Bazian and Sandew Hira.
The conference will be held in Götenborg, Sweden.
Registration : www.morayma.se
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.
IHRC has complied the following sources on the Balfour Declaration.
- The Balfour Declaration: Palestine’s British and Zionist Colonial Legacy – Hatem Bazian
- The Balfour Declaration Destroyed Palestine, Not the Palestinian People – Ramzy Baroud
- Israel simply has no right to exist – Faisal Bodi
- Balfour at 100: A legacy of racism and propaganda – Dan Freeman-Malloy
- Remembering Balfour: empire, race and propaganda – Dan Freeman-Malloy
- Independent Jewish Voices: 100 Years After Balfour FULL FILM (24 min)
- David Cronin discusses his book Balfour’s Shadow at IHRC (1 uur en 20 min)
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
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.
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.
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
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