In March 1962, after eight years of armed, diplomatic and mass struggles, the National Liberation Front (FLN) compelled the colonial leadership in Paris to commit to relinquishing its control to an Algerian Provisional Government (GPRA), overturning 132 years of French imperialist domination. The FLN and its allies were able to defeat the colonial regime in France setting an example for other states throughout the African continent who were then waging a revolutionary guerrilla war against settler-colonial and imperialist-backed European regimes. This victory against French imperialism was a Pan-African project bringing in newly independent governments such as Tunisia, Morocco, Ghana and Mali. Dr. Frantz Fanon, a Martinique-born French-trained psychiatric physician went to Algeria to work on behalf of the colonial regime when he shifted his allegiance to the FLN becoming an ambassador and contributing editor to a leading journal (El Moudjahid) allied with the national liberation movement.
At midnight on Tuesday, November 30, Barbados, an island nation in the Caribbean, declared itself a republic. Sandra Prunella Mason was promoted from governor general to president after by Parliament. In a formal ceremony, attended by Prince Charles representing Queen Elizabeth II, the country ceased to be a constitutional monarchy, removing the queen from her position as head of state. The country, however, will remain part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
“Clear Differences Remain Between France and the U.S, French Minister Says,” is the headline to a remarkable piece appearing in the New York Times. The Minister, Bruno Le Maire, is brutally frank on the nature of the differences as the quotations below Illustrate. (Emphases in the quotations are jvw’s.) In fact, they amount to a Declaration of Independence of France and EU from the U.S. It is not surprising that the differences relate to China after the brouhaha over the sale of U.S. nuclear submarines to Australia and the surprising (to the French) cancellation of contracts with France for submarines. Mr. LeMaire, sounding very much like a reproving parent, characterized this as “misbehavior from the U.S. administration.”
The concept of Pan-Americanism has been a contested space since the early nineteenth century between the Bolivarian project of uniting the newly independent states of Latin America against foreign interference, on the one hand, and Monroeism, which has sought to establish the Americas as a protectorate of the U.S., on the other. The idea that the U.S. has the historic mission of leading a process of Pan-American unity against any European incursion contains the contradiction of introducing a new process of colonization, with all its multiple hierarchies of domination (race, class, gender, culture), but this time by Washington, in the name of regional autonomy and mutual assistance.
Two hundred years ago, on 24 June 1821, the forces of Simón Bolívar trounced the Spanish royalists at the Battle of Carabobo, a few hundred kilometres west of Caracas, Venezuela. Five days later, Bolívar entered Caracas in triumph; the Spanish fortresses of Cartagena and Puerto Cabello had been seized by the Liberator’s armies, making a return to power for Spain impossible. In Cúcuta, a congress assembled to draft a new constitution and to elect Bolívar as the president. Bolívar, now the head of the Republic of Gran Colombia (today’s Colombia and Venezuela), would not rest. He got on his horse and rode south towards Quito, where Spain’s forces remained and would eventually be defeated on 24 May 1822 at the battle of Pichincha. It would take two more years to eject Spain from the hemisphere, but the trend was inevitable.
U.S. representatives have introduced two bills that would finally end Puerto Rico’s subordinate Commonwealth status. But continued colonial rule may be the only option Congress seriously considers.
One of the things often taken for granted by the independence and socialist movement is knowing when to claim a victory. As a consequence of suffering so many blows throughout its history, the movement has become reflexively cynical when having to assess some kind of partial victory or progress. Let’s recall, among other signature chapters, in 1976 the Puerto Rican Independence Party received 80,000 votes, which, when combined with those of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party, equaled nearly 100,000 votes. Or the founding and progress of the Workers United Movement (MOU), which managed to bring together the country’s top unions and mobilize a sizable radical movement.
Today, we announce the formation of our Provisional Government of West Papua. We are ready to take over our territory, and we will no longer bow down to Jakarta’s illegal martial rule. From today, December 1, 2020, we begin implementing our own constitution and reclaiming our sovereign land. On this day in 1961, the elected West New Guinea Council raised the Morning Star flag in Jayapura. Our national anthem and name, West Papua, were accepted. Diplomats from Australia, the Netherlands and the UK, and a delegation from colonised Papua New Guinea had already witnessed the formation of the Council on April 5, 1961.
Historians have long grappled with the contradiction of a revolution under the banner of "all men are created equal" being largely led by slave owners. Once free of England, the U.S. grew over the next 89 years to be the largest slave-owning republic in history. But the July 4th 1776 Declaration of Independence (DI) was in itself a revolutionary document. Never before in history had people asserted the right of revolution -- not just to overthrow a specific government that no longer met the needs of the people, but as a general principle for the relationship between the rulers and the ruled: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.--That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government..."
The COVID-19 epidemic has exposed the privatized US healthcare structure’s woeful incapacity to cope with a general health emergency, as well as the failings of Europe’s austerity-shrunken public health care systems. Although Donald Trump’s actions, inactions and idiotic blatherings have added immeasurably to the death toll, a major medical and economic catastrophe was inevitable once the virus was loosed on a defenseless U.S. public. Trump didn’t create the conditions that made the United States so vulnerable to a killer virus. That’s one of the many crimes of capitalism, which at its late stage is methodically starving what’s left of the public sphere and privatizing every conceivable human enterprise for the ultimate benefit of the Lords of Capital – the ruling oligarchy.
Activism and protests marked West Papua’s 50th anniversary last year of the so-called Act of Free Choice, which formalised Indonesia’s control over the territory, with the region’s people once again demanding independence from Indonesia. In January 2019, West Papuan activists delivered a petition to the United Nation (UN) demanding a referendum on West Papuan independence.
On most days, Barcelona is noisy, its air toxic. But this Friday, most of the city was quiet and breathable, traffic arteries blocked, cruise ships rerouted and flights canceled. Briefly, and partially, Barcelona felt like a climate-compatible city of the future, even if its engines had been shut down for other reasons altogether. The noise and smell, normally everywhere, had been focalized by mass demonstrations, riot police and swerving helicopters, and as night fell, burning barricades. Catalonia has now had four days of multitudinous marches, of rioting and blockades. Hundreds of thousands have marched, and equal numbers have participated in a social general strike blockading highways and thoroughfares, picketing shops and supermarkets. Everybody expected the Catalan uprising.
Madrid - Spain’s Supreme Court plans to convict and sentence Catalan separatist leaders to a maximum of 15 years in prison over a 2017 bid for independence, a judicial source said on Saturday. The most prominent of the 12 Catalan leaders on trial would be found guilty of charges of sedition and misuse of public funds but none would be convicted and sentenced for the more severe charge of rebellion, the source told Reuters. The decision was taken unanimously by the seven members of the top court, the source added. The verdict is expected to be signed by the judges and made public next week, most likely on Monday, the source said. The trial’s top judge, Manuel Marchena, declined to comment on the media leaks. However, he added that “everything is open (because) a ruling will not be completed until it is signed by every single judge.”
Puerto Ricans have long accepted the imposed opinion, first by the Spaniards and then by the Americans, that they were a peaceful people who abhorred violent confrontation and welcomed authority. It played well during the Cold War, but after Hurricane María Puerto Ricans discovered something about themselves: that they could do anything. Left to rot, they rediscovered community and strength through unity. They realized that, perhaps, the Americans really did not give a damn about them after all. And while they tried to bury that realization behind a comfortable masquerade of normality, it never worked. The spell was broken. The arrests proved that they were indeed living a lie, and the revelations of that Telegram chat proved to be too much. This rage, this new reality, has proven that the Puerto Rican will is strong, fiery, and founded on resistance, and resistance breeds determination. Determination breeds bravery. And when a population that has been crushed for centuries discovers its inner bravery, well, that’s when history is made.