Category Archives: News

Fly the flag: don’t forget Palestine

Islamic Human Rights Commission, a founding member of the Decolonial International Network based in London, has taken the initiative to express solidarity with the Palestinian people in the times of Covid-19.

The aim of this initiative is to create a space of solidarity in the times of Covid-19 that acknowledge the fact that Palestinians have been quarantined for decades by brute military force, while the rest of world experience being quarantined for health reasons.

DIN supports this initiative and calls upon people across the world to join this sea of solidarity.

The essence of the initiative is to express a message of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The expression can take any form you wish:

  1. You can use your social media account to convey your message of solidarity. You can use the official flag of Palestine. You can download it here. You let your friends know that you have not forgotten the suffering of the Palestinian people and ask them to join you in this effort in your own language. You can add the flag to your social media profiles
  2. You can use any means of messaging: a text, a visual (image, video), a song, a poem etc.
  3. You can print the flag and out it where people can see and join. Take a photo and twee it to @ihrc #FlyTheFlag #AlQudsDay2020 or send us an email: info@ihrc.org.
  4. If you are part of an organization, ask your organization to sign the call by IHRC.

A large part of the Palestinian population are Muslims. This year Ramadan falls between April 23rd and May 22nd. Every year on May 15 Palestians commemorated the Nakba their holocaust.

This year we call upon people to express their solidarity messages in during Ramadan

Be creative in times of Corona and show your solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine.

See an example of the message of DIN-coordinator Sandew Hira.

A Decolonial International?

What is the ultimate aim of social movements?

The classical answer for social movements to this question was articulated long time ago in de socialist movement. Mankind is heading towards the abolishment of capitalism, the foundation of a socialist society with collectivization of the means of production, the establishment of a planned economy, a political system based on workers and peasant councils, a cultural system based on scientific knowledge, the abolition of non-scientific thinking (religion) and a working class culture, and international system of sister- and brotherhood in which the nation-state is replaced by a socialist international.

The socialist movement provided the instrument to achieve this society: a scientific theory (Marxism-Leninism) and the concept of a vanguard party: a party of full time revolutionaries that is rooted in the working class (trade unions) and other mass organizations (youth, women, peasants). The party has two central tasks. First is cadre formation of the revolutionaries to prepare them for the second task: taking over state power in a revolution, destroying the capitalist state and start building the new socialist society. Cadre formation took place on an international level during the era of the Communist International, where revolutionaries were trained to establish and support Leninist vanguard parties in different parts of the world.

The Marxist theory teaches us capitalism is a system that is characterized by periodic economic, political and social crisis. The party should be ready to lead the masses during such a crisis to a revolutionary situation in which they can take state power. The essence of cadre formation to train revolutionary cadres for this task.

The Marxist movement was not able to fulfill this promise. The decolonial movement came to the fore because of the failure of Liberalism and Marxist as theories of liberation of mankind. Many social movements have arisen that go beyond both paradigms.

The international experience

The socialist movement has a tradition of international organization. In 1864 First International – the International Workingsmen Association – was founded. It lasted for 12 years. Thirteen years later, in 1889, the Second International was established as an association of socialist parties. It was dissolved in 1916 due to differences on the First World War. After the Russian revolution of 1917 the communist parties formed the Third International in 1919 that lasted until 1943. There have been many more attempts ate international coordination and cooperation between socialist movement.

Outside the socialist movement there were also attempt to form international organizations and networks. In the African Diaspora the first conference on Pan-Africanism was organized in London in 1900. There were followed by several other conferences. The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League founded by Marcus Garvey had a mass following of about a million members across the world. In the Islamic World pan-islamist movements have united religious communities across Sunni and Shia lines in different parts of the world.

All these movements have a long history of political thought and analysis for hundreds of years. The decolonial movement is very young. After the demise of the Soviet Union we see movements with the banner of decolonial thought that go back to different philosophies in the world: the indigenous thought in Latin America, the black thinkers from the Caribbean, Brazil, USA and Africa with notion of the colonized mind and Islamic scholars who develop the idea of Islamic Liberation Theology are some examples of how social movement develop theories of liberation. In the academia this is reflected in discussion on decolonizing the educational system. There are two major characteristics of this movement. Historically speaking it is very young. And theoretically speaking it is very diverse and not as coherent as the Marxist philosophy of liberation.

Yet, modern technology has made possible the establishment of international networks (formal and informal).

A decolonial international?

DIN is one of the many networks that is dedicated to developing decolonial theory and practice. Our contribution is modest, but consistent.

We define the goal of DIN as a long term project: The Decolonial Internationl Network aims to bring about a transformation of the current colonial world civilization into a new world civilization that is based on a pluriversal concept of civilization. A pluriversal concept of civilization means the acknowledgement that there are more than one legitimate way to set up social, economic, political and cultural institutions as the foundation of society. The West claims that there is only one valid system based on the European Enlightenment. Its social system is based on individuals. Its economic system on capitalism. Its political system on the parliamentary democracy and its cultural system on positivist science. Outside the West there is a wide variety of experiences and ideas that challenges this universalism. The decolonial movement develops a decolonial theory and practice that is based on pluriversalism. One important element in the constitution and maintenance of Western supremacy is the colonization of the mind. DIN promotes the decolonization of the mind.

After years of informal meetings we have established a formal entity: the DIN Foundation.

The DIN foundation was founded on December 3, 2018 as a non-profit foundation in Holland with the following board members:

  1. President: Ramon Grosfoguel
  2. Secretary: Sandew Hira
  3. Financial secretary: Massoud Shadjareh
  4. Member: Arzu Merali

The aim of the foundation is NOT to guide the decolonial movement, but to facilitate individuals and organizations who develop decolonial theory and practice to engage in constructive dialogue and cooperation.

We have set up this website and publish a monthly newsletter. We develop an international database of individuals activists and academics and organizations who devote their time and energy on decolonial theory and practice.

We are setting up an international cadre school where people can share theoretical ideas and practical experiences. The first cadre school will be held in May in Amsterdam. The foundation is dedicated to develop a social and technical infrastructure to promote international cooperation between academics, activists and decolonial organizations.

These are first steps in a long process that eventually might lead to a Decolonial Internation. We don’t know how it will look like, but we wille certainly take into account the experience of other philosophies of liberation that promoted the idea of an international movement for liberation.

We have a long road ahead, but as Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu said: a journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.

 

Sandew Hira, The Hague, 3-3-2020

 

Guillermo Barreto: analysis of the situation in Venezuela

Guillermo Barreto gave an excellent analysis of the situation in Venezuela in the context of how an economic boycott has led to the death of 40.000 people. Barreto is director of International Centre for the Study of Decolonization in Venezuela and former Vice-minister of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Popular Power for University Education, Science and Technology.

His presentation followed by discussion is now on video. See: https://www.handsoffvenezuela.nl/index.php/2020/02/02/genocide-memorial-day-2020-amsterdam-thema-venezuela-economic-boycott-video/. Many thanks to George Jansenz for all the work.

Support Bruxelles Panthères against racist attacks

A socialist mayor from a small Walloon town (Lessines) filed a complaint against Nordine Saïdi, a founding member of Bruxelles Panthères, a Belgian political antiracist organization which is part of the DIN – Decolonial International Network.

What is the complaint about? It is actually about an e-mail sent by BP to the mayor and his town council back in September 2018 that was requesting that the local authorities take all the necessary actions to remove the BLACK FACE part of their traditional annual carnival which take place in “Les Deux Acres”, a part of the previously mentioned town, Lessines. The local authorities considered and still consider today that this racist show known as “the Negro parade” is a harmless folklore that has no racist roots.

Long story short, even if they keep denying the racist character of their party, the letter sent by Nordine Saïdi and BP had the positive effect to push the carnival organisation committee to cancel the traditional racist “Negro parade”.

Nevertheless, if they surprisingly cancelled that part of their show, they also filed a complaint against the e-mail’s author.

Following the work that we accomplished against Belgium BlackFace traditional practice, some politicians, as the socialist Bourgmestre of Lessines in the present case , are trying to put an end to our denunciation of racism by having a politically use of the Justice.

We are calling on you to support us, to pay the lawyer fees by making a donation via Paypal : https://paypal.me/pools/c/8lEEZW69Zk

Houria Boutledja: analysis of race, class, gender and sexuality

Houria Bouteldja, Member of the Parti des Indigènes de la République (PIR) and a founding member of DIN, has published an article in which she provides a decolonial analysi of the relationship between, race, class, gender and sexuality.

She argues that progressive, neoliberal morality, dependent on a linear vision of history stripped of any form of political materialism, only serves to resolve the contradictions of class, gender, and sexuality among whites, to reinforce their unity at the expense of non-whites.

Zionist Attack on Genocide Memorial Day

In 2010 Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a founding member of the Decolonial International Network organized the first Genocide Memorial Day. It is a day focused on remembering man’s inhumanity to man. It takes place on the third Sunday of January each year. For the GMD project, the act of remembrance is not limited by the background of either the victims or the perpetrators of any of the genocides.  It aims to raise awareness of genocide in order for new generations to understand the causes and recognise the warning signs of such atrocities.

IHRC has developed education material that can be used by teachers who want to educated students on genocide. There is a list of twenty genocides committed during the last centuries. It includes the Nazi Holocaust and the Zionist assault on Gaza. There is a lesson plan for the age group 10-12 years specifically on remembering the Holocaust. It comes with an instruction manual for teachers.

The material has been used in some schools in the UK. The Zionist news website The Jewish Chronicle has published an article that distorts the nature of the educational material, because the suffering of the Palestinians are included in the slides. It now calls upon the UK government to stop the distribution of the material.

DIN has endorsed a letter to IC protesting this move. Below is the text of the letter. If you want to support this protest by signing the letter, send an email to gmd@ihrc.org.

 

Open Letter to the Jewish Cronicle

We, the undersigned, are writing to condemn in the strongest possible terms your article dated 22 January 2020 headlined “Government pledges to act over teaching material that compares Gaza to the Holocaust”.

We attach the three resources you specifically attack here, here and here.

The article is slanted, misleading, unfactual, racist and Islamophobic. In fact it so greatly distorts the actual situation that it is hard to see the piece as anything other than the lowest kind of gutter journalism.

By misrepresenting and undermining Genocide Memorial Day, the article also displays a staggering level of insensitiveness, effectively belittling the suffering of millions of victims of genocides past and present including and especially the victims of the Holocaust, whom you treat as a political football.  It is deeply offensive to all those who have worked on and supported GMD including the Jewish participants in the project, including those who are Holocaust survivors or children or close relatives of survivors.

As usual it appears the cause of your ire is IHRC’s support for justice and equality for Palestinians, but more particularly the GMD project’s listing of other genocides and genocidal acts before and after the Holocaust. 

The Jewish Chronicle is free to support Israel in whatever it does, including its violations of international law.  However your abuse of Holocaust memorialisation and teaching in this way to attack an organisation and a project which specifically works on genocide awareness and prevention, is a new low.

We await some sort of editorial leadership offering in the very least an apology and retraction of the article. 

 

 

Decolonizing ecology

On December 16, 2019 Islamic Human Rights Commission organizes an event titled “Decolonizing ecology”. Professor Ramón Grosfoguel, a leading decolonial scholar, and Sandew Hira, the co-director of the Decolonial International Network, will discuss how issues of decoloniality need to be considered in conversations and activism around climate change.

Click here for more information.

The struggle against Blackface in the Netherlands

The annual Sinterklaas Festival in the Netherands has become a testing ground for the status of ethnic minorities and their attempts to influence what it means to be Dutch. The festival is based on a legend that every December, St. Nicholas travels to the Netherlands from Spain with an army of helpers or “Black Petes”, clownish and acrobatic figures dressed in Moorish page suits. to reward or punish children. In recent years people of colour have pushed back against the racist, colonial vestige with encouraging results.

In the journal The Long View Sandew Hira made an analysis of the movement against Blackface in The Netherlands. He goes into the history of the Sinterklaas festival with the character of Black Pete, the social forces behind the anti-Black Pete movement and the question of strategy and tactics of the anti-racist movement.

The Long View is a quarterly magazine published by Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in London.

Arzu Merali and Faisal Bodi (eds.): The New Colonialism: the American Model of Human Rights

In February 2018 the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) in London held a conference titled: The New Colonialism: The American Model of Human Rights. The nine contributions from scholar-activists looking at how human rights as theory and practice are now published in a book.

As a human rights research, campaign and advocacy organisation NGO working for over 20 years from its base in the UK, IHRC has had to negotiate the dilemma of dealing with not only institutionalised racism in local, national, regional and international organisations and regimes, but a Eurocentric discourse of rights and justice referencing largely the Enlightenment but compounded with the idea that this lingua franca of rights, though deemed universally applicable, is both the sole provenance of the ‘West’ and at the same time is immutable and unquestionable.  The papers presented problematize perceptions of the US as anything other than a violent and rapacious colonial power. Arguably this is the grassroots perception of the US around the world, and even within its own borders there are significant numbers who eschew the self-perception of the country as a leader in freedom and democracy. They speak of the civil rights and indigenous rights movements whose very existence exposes these claims as fictitious.

The book is launched on January 20, 2020 in London. Click here for information about the launch. Click here for order information. ISBN 978-1-909853-04-1