Angela Davis in Paris: Anti-Racism Solidarity with Leonard Peltier and Palestinians
From Christine Prat in Paris
Committee in Solidarity with American Indians, CSIA
Transcription/French translation of a speech Angela Davis gave in France at the beginning of this month, in solidarity with Leonard Peltier and the Palestinians. The French translation is at the beginning, English transcription under. It is by Aurélie Journée, CSIA, of Committee in Solidarity with American Indians.
Angela Davis, former Black Panther in Paris, May 2018
"I would like to thank the International Decolonial Network and specifically Houria Bouteldja and Ramon Grosfoguel for inviting me to participate in this historic conference Bandung du Nord which has as his announce goal of the creation of a decolonial international. I am honored to join all of these speakers and participants as you reflect on ways to generate relations of solidarity against racism, xenophobia, heropatriarchy, colonialism, militarism, and every present threats of global capitalism.
The Bandung Conference in 1955, made of heads of states from Asian and African countries, still looms large in our historical memory. More than anything else, it represents promises of global solidarities among people who have suffered the violence and injustices of slavery and colonialism. It was a gathering of heads of states representing people who in the words of Black American writer’s Richard Wright were quoted as the despised, the insulted, the hurt, the dispossessed and showed as the under dogs of the human race.
Other Black American intellectuals and activists attempted to but in two cases passports were des-authorized by the government. From the vantage point of the US, the Bandung conference not only represented a promise of global anti-racist and anti-colonial solidarities but also a challenge to the hegemonic politics during the McCarthy area that threatened to eliminate the radical communist voices from the public sphere.
One may argue that the conference itself did not produce the lasting effects that one might want to project on retrospectively project onto that this historical moment. But at the same time, it produced a collective learning for global anti-racist solidarities and what was known as the "Third-World", eventually came to be known as the global South. At the same time, the period of the Bandung conference represents this historical moment when activist movements were emerging to call for an end to the continuing effects of slavery and colonization.
In the United States, what we have come to refer to as the mid 20th century Civil Rights Movement that was inaugurated by the Montgomery Bus Boycott took place in the same year as the Bandung conference in 1955. This was what we now refer to as the second abolitionist movement. Since it was dedicated to the disestablishement of white supremacist institutions grounded in slavery, what failed to be taken up in the aftermath of the abolition of slavery had come to ahead by the middle of the 20th century.
At the same time in South Africa in August of the following year 1956 women rose up to protest the including the extension of the pass law to women. We mark this moment by remembering the proclamation of Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Rose Joseph, and thousands of others who said during that demonstration ; « now that you have touch the women, you have struck a rock, you have dislodged a boulder, and you will be crushed ».
And we also remember the life and contribution of Winnie Mandela. More than a half century later, we gather here in Paris to reflect on and strategies about a 21st century radical decolonial challenge to global racism intertwined as it is with capitalism, racial capitalism indeed, and with misogyny that emanate both from the institutions of capitalism and also from actions of heart and actions of comrades. We ourselves often perpetuate that, which we see ourselves to be dismantling.
It is appropriate, I think, that this conference is taking place in Paris, in France, after the elections of...what his name ? (laughts) and in the aftermaths of the election of Macron it is especially important to remember that France has simultaneously offered us the most beautiful slogans of democracy and some of the most enduring and most tenacious forms of racism under the guise of democratic strategies, including the biased notions of secularity that are clandestinely included in judeo-christian epistemology that produces forms of islamophobia that are articulated with sexism and misogyny.
And so as we approach the third decade of the 21st century, the world is discovering that empty muslim racism reinforces the anti-Black, the anti-Asian, the anti-Latino and the anti-Indigenous racisms. It helps to new expressions of antisemitism as it can be seen through the Charlottesville attack and recent displays of white suprematist violence.
Racist violence inflected with misogyny is specially dangerous. Marielle Franco life was claimed by forces in Brazil that want to further erase the movement to gender class and sexual equality. The same forces assumed that the arrest and imprisonment of Lula can arrest the movement of history. We need, we need a decolonial international so that we can join hands around the planet and that our defense of racial, gender, sexual, and economic justice can powerfully echo around the world.
More than a half century ago, more than a half century ago, very few women were present at Bandung. We now know that the failed to address the most of subjugation half the planet the the human population change. Racism, militarism, and capitalist exploitation -- there can be no Racial Justice. There can be no peace, there can be no economic justice, unless we insist on gender justice.
This is not an historical accident. The movements against racist violence, the movement for black lives, the immigrant rights movement, the defense of the earth and its environment led first and foremost by indigenous people, were reinvigorated precisely in time to dispute the assumption made by the president, president of the US (I can’t remember his name) that the historical clock needs to be turned forward and backward.
Struggles against institutionalized police violence in the US are related to similar struggles in Europe, in Australia, and indeed also in Latino America, in Africa, in Asia and in the Middle East. We, in the US, have indeed learned how to value the solidarity of Palestinian activists who tenaciously continue the struggle against the Israeli occupation, and help to spark an international solidarity for protesters in Ferguson Missouri some four years ago which in turn invigorated the Black Lives Matter movement. It is today difficult to imagine the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement without the assistance of the Palestinians.
We in the North who are committed to purging our societies of racial violence have to guarantee that the call for justice for Palestine echos through out our struggles and that the BDS movement achieves the status of the anti apartheid boycott in the 80s.
Our connection with Palestine has told us that if we recall for abolition of prisons, we must also seek to abolish the shaping of our quotidian life by new forms of casuality. Our struggle against police violence we have learned can’t not be won simply by calling for the prosecution of individual police people but rather by questioning the questioning of the very possibility that the police can be entrusted with the security of our communities. We call for the freedom of Mumia Abu Jamal, of Leonard Peltier, of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, we have learned to say "abolish the prison," "abolish the police," or rather imagine a world in which we no longer need to depend on the police and incarceration as the garant tool of security in our societies.
And so as we force solidarities for struggles in Palestine, in Brazil, in Syria, in Turquie, we also reflect on solidarity with connections among antiracist, anticapitalist movements in the global North. The great challenge of our time is to render understandable the migrations of our area as linked to persisting colonialities and the result of racism of our time and to welcome those who have been displaced by war, by capitalist economic restructuring by near colonial corruption to leave their homes and to cross borders in search of a more habitable living space.
Another great challenge of this area is to recognize that the problem of our time exceed the capacity of the nation state to solve them. And that, and that we can no longer think in the narrow and discriminatory terms of documented citizenship. A decolonial approach to internationalism calls for a reconception of global connexions that precisely discenters the nation and imagines future possibilities of a planet in which the nation state is no longer regarded as the most appropriate form of human community.
It is there for up to us to model new relations and to create new forms of solidarity even as we struggle to overcome the old relations. Thank you very much".
Angela Davis, african-american activist, antiracist, feminist, and ex member of the Black Panthers, scholar at the University of California.
Transcription : Aurélie Journée (CSIA-Nitassinan / Groupe de soutien à Leonard Peltier en France, affiliated to the ILPDC)
Thank you Christine Prat for continuing to share your hard work and dedication with Censored News, with translations, articles and news.