We must choose : Permanent War or Revolutionary Peace !

This September 11 is a tragic anniversary : marking both twenty years since the terrorist act against the US, the world’s greatest imperialist power, which killed more than 3,000 people, and twenty years since the launch of the ‘War on Terror’. Twenty years after, it's time to take stock.

This September 11 is a tragic anniversary: marking both twenty years since the terrorist act against the United States, the world’s greatest imperialist power, which killed more than 3,000 people, and twenty years since the launch of the ‘War on Terror’ which caused hundred of thousands of deaths, led to the destruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, and unleashed a chaos at the international level the end of which is far from sight.

Time to take stock 

Do we live in a world of peace as promised by the doctrinaires of anti-terrorism? No.

Is the world more dangerous today than before September 11? Yes.

While the necessity of the ‘War on Terror’ was universally agreed upon by leaders of all western liberal democracies, France, following the United States’ lead, demonstrated an exceptional bellicosity. It launched into a campaign to ban ostentatious religious symbols, rehabilitated its colonial past, redeployed the army in its former African colonies, secured its international interests to the detriment of local sovereignties, and actively fought to maintain its power against its favorite adversary, the United States, but also in the face of merciless competition from other states attempting to gain dominance: China and Russia. The arms industry’s profits continued to rise, with France becoming the third largest exporter of arms on the planet. These arms serve to shore up authoritarian regimes, crush the revolts of peoples of the Global South, and enforce the colonial-racial order in ‘overseas’ territories.

The last twenty years saw in France, not only the reinforcement of its imperialism in all its forms, but also the unprecedented economic crisis of 2008 that threw tens of thousands of workers on the scrapheap and threatened the social stability of the white middle class which had been relatively sheltered to this point.

However, also over the last twenty years, major political phenomena occurred which have not adequately been taken account of by mainstream leftist formations, whether reformist or revolutionary, although they have changed the dimensions of the struggle. These are:

  • Political antiracism
  • The revolt of the Yellow Vests (Gilets jaunes).

The first of these, which expresses the demands of those among the lowest stratum of the proletariat, develops a materialist analysis of racism by shining light on the relations between capitalism and racism, imperialism and the nation-state, nation-states and whiteness, and is opposed to moralistic antiracism. Its adversary is state racism and the new forms of imperialism. This form of antiracism is vehemently opposed today, the tools employed including propaganda against so-called ‘Islamo-leftists’ and meetings organized for racialised people alone (non-mixed meetings), the forced dissolution of the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) and of the Muslim NGO Barakacity, the threatened dissolution of the French National Union of Students (UNEF), civilizing feminism, and the demonization of central figures within political antiracism.

A key driving force behind this onslaught of propaganda was the prominence of the second major political phenomenon, the Gilets jaunes that represent a non-negligible part of the white proletariat. Their movement precipitated an anxiety among the ruling class because they directed their anger against it rather than against the neighborhoods populated by the racialised poor (les quartiers populaires) or against Muslims. This cast fear into the heart of the bourgeois bloc!

Worry turned to panic when political organizations and trade unions largely took up the causes of the Gilets jaunes, of the families of the victims of police violence, in support of Muslims and against Anti-Blackness. The idea of a political reorganization around an antiracist, social bloc unleashed an unprecedented panic. It is against this backdrop that the overexploitation of the horrific assassination of Samuel Paty needs to be understood. This had the dual effect of removing the focus from the government’s appalling handling of the health and social crisis unleashed by the pandemic and of creating a perfect scapegoat in the Muslim community. The effects of this strategy were to immediately isolate and repress the most precarious among the proletariat – non-whites – and ensure the collaboration of the white proletariat by rattling the sabre of ‘radical Islam’. While there has been a vague attempt on the left to oppose the so-called ‘global security’ law because it expands infringements on civil liberties, this has not been matched by any effort to fight the anti-separatism law, which targets the inhabitants of the banlieues.  

This counter-revolution has unfortunately triggered the fracture of political antiracism.

The main reasons are:

  1. Clever marketing strategies of assimilation have been developed, whether coming from the state with its attempts at tokenistic representation and image building within its institutions, or from private enterprise that sell emancipation and freedom as the right of all to luxury consumption. Taking advantage of the gap opened by the legitimate desire of long despised and subjugated populations for recognition and its lack, this individualistic and narcissistic celebration of race as a new libidinal and aesthetic product of capitalism aims to thwart the profoundly transformative social dynamics while sprinkling some rewards to mask exponential structural inequalities. The effects of this approach have been immediately felt: competition among racialised people, infighting, and the rejection of political antiracism, which is now cast as irrational and counter-productive. The politics of respectability, the well-known weapon of racism, are once again the, highly successful, order of the day.
  2. The resurgence of a European anti-Semitism instrumentalised as a question of the truth or falsity of French culpability inherited from the collaborationist Vichy regime, as well as from much longer and ever-vigorous anti-Judaism. The instrumentalisation of the Jewish genocide of the twentieth century not only justifies the foundation of the colonial state of Israel, it also leads to the amalgamation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism! Designating the Arab and/or Muslim community responsible as a whole for anti-Semitism and for ‘importing the conflict’ creates a divide between those who refuse this instrumentalisation and those who entertain it.
  3. A consensus regarding French intervention overseas, justified by the fight against terrorism, has created public indifference to the militarization of foreign politics and encouraged the idea that France must remain a global power. Around this idea, an objective alliance emerged with the reformist left which then focuses its critique on North-American imperialism. Added to this is the coloniality of solidarity, a leftist tropism that means giving support only with those who agree with the French universalist ideology. Further, the replacement of anti-imperialism by corporate philanthropy re-legitimizes the figure of the white savior. War has become so normalized that the enlisting of young people into the army is no longer shocking and the recycling of feminism and antiracism by the military in its newfound attention to diversity and gender equality has become par for the course.

 

It is time to make a choice between permanent war and revolutionary peace.

The disaster that was September 11 and its horrific aftermath, the destruction wreaked by the western bloc in Afghanistan, the growth and spread of crisis in all its forms across the globe – economic, social, ecological, and in terms of health – but also the persistence of popular resistance forces us to rethink the strategic dimension of our struggles. The threat of wars and civil wars for which the chief military powers are preparing should be a cause for major alarm and should motivate us to paint a new utopian horizon and to reappropriate the language of peace too often abandoned to the enemy. An urgent, necessary, and vital peace. This peace cannot be co-opted by the wagers of war because it would be anti-liberal, antiracist and anti-imperialist. In sum, we demand a decolonial and revolutionary peace.

Signed by :

Gilbert Achcar (Great-Britain, professor international relations), Kader Attia (Algeria-France, artist), Omar Barghouti (Palestine, human rights activist), François Burgat (France, political scientist), Enrique Dussel (Mexico, philosopher), Bernard Friot (France, economist), Imhotep (France, singer, group IAM), Andreas Malm (Sweden, lecturer in human geography), Olivier Marboeuf (Guadeloupe, author, curator, film producer), Pascale Obolo (Cameroun, France, filmmaker, artist), Djamila Ribeiro (Brazil, philosopher, black feminist), Jean-Marc Rouillan (France, activist, writer), Abdourahmane Seck (Senegal, scholar), Aminata Dramane Traoré (Mali, author, former minister, Forum for another Mali), Maboula Soumahoro (France, Black History Month), Françoise Vergès (Reunion-France, political theorist, decolonial feminist, activist), Cornel West (USA, philosopher)

And in France:

Norman Ajari, philosopher

Yazid Arifi, antiracist and anti-capitalist activist

Simon Assoun, National coordination of UJFP (French Jewish Union for Peace), educator for children

Thamy Ayouch, university professor, psychoanalyst

Sandeep Bakshi, Paris University

Philippe Bazin, artist

Yessa Belkhodja, Collective of Defense for the Youth of Mantois

Omar Benderra, activist in non-profit association

Judith Bernard, director

Daniel Blondet, activist in the Anti-War Collective

Rachel Borghi, scholar, researcher, activist, Sorbonne University

Amzat Boukari, historian, Pan-African activist

Houria Bouteldja, decolonial QG (Quartier Général)

Youssef Boussoumah, decolonial QG (Quartier Général)

Ismahane Chouder, antiracist feminist

David Démétrius, student and assistant-curator

Eva Doumbia, writer, author, theater director

Ali El Baz, activist in immigration association

Fabiana Ex-Souza, artist and researcher

François Gèze, editor

Malika Hamidi, writer, sociologist

Eric Hazan, editor

Yazid Kherfi, bearer of hope

Marianne Koplewicz, editor  

Léopold Lambert, editor-in-chief The Funambulist

Baptiste Lanaspeze, editor

Didier Lestrade, activist, writer

M’baïreh Lisette, decolonial activist

Franco Lollia, Anti-Negrophobia Brigade

Yamin Makri, editor

Miguel Marajo, artist

Carpanin Marimoutou, professor, Réunion University

Soued Merniz, unionist, CGT

René Monzat, writer, activist for laïcité

Selim Nadi, QG Décolonial

Yvan Najiels, communist activist

Dominique Natanson, antiracist Jewish activist

Adrien Nicolas, Collective No War/ No State of War

Ahmad Nougbo, Pan-African activist

Pascal Menoret, anthropologist

Karine Parrot, teacher-scholar of law

Axel Persson, CGT Railway Worker, Trappes

Philippe Pignarre, editor

Lissell Quiroz, professor, Cergy-Paris University

Gianfranco Rebucini, anthropologist, CNRS

Malika Salaün, Decolonize

Renaud-Selim Sanli, editor

Raphaël Schneider, Hors-Série

Michèle Sibony, activist UJFP (French Jewish Union for Peace)

Melissa Thackway, teacher, researcher

Mirabelle Thouvenot, activist

Chantal T. Spitz, writer, Tahiti

Ghislain Vedeux, administrator CRAN (Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires), Vice-President European Network Againt Racism

Christiane Vollaire, philosopher, scholar and researcher CNAM, Paris

Wissam Xelka, “Paroles d’honneur”

Tarik Yaquis, QG décolonial

Hèla Yousfi, Lecturer, Paris-Dauphine University

Louisa Yousfi, QG décolonial

Dominique Ziegler, writer, director

Amina Zoubir, filmmaker, artist

 

 

International:

 

 

Sadia Abbas, associate professor of literature, Rutgers University, USA

Ariella Aicha Azoulay, Brown University, USA

Cristina Alga, co-founder Ecomuseum "Mare Memoria Viva", Palermo, Italy

Amanj Aziz, founder Nyans-Muslim, Sweden

Paola Bacchetta, professor Berkeley University, USA

Hatem Bazian, academic, USA

Omar Berrada, writer and researcher, Morocco

Natalia Brizuela, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Film and Media, Berkeley Univeristy, USA

Ali Calderón Farfán, Universidad Autonoma de Puebla, Mexico

Safa Chebbi, decolonial antiracist activist, Canada

Anna Daneri, independent curator, Italy

Allan Da Silva Coelho, PPGE-USF, Brazil

Liryc Dela Cruz, filmmaker/artist, Philippines-Italy

Romina de Novellis, performance artist, researcher, Domus Artist Residency founder, Italy

Francesca De Rosa, activist, researcher, Italy

Boaventura De Sousa Santos, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Binta Diaw, artist, Italy

Fatima el-Tayeb, Yale University, USA

Godofredo Enes Pereira, architect and researcher, Head of Program for the MA Environmental Architecture and the MA City Design, Great-Britain

Antonia Anna Ferrante, activist, researcher, Italy

Daniela Festa, activist for the commons, professor, Bologna University, Italy

David Theo Goldberg, UCHRI, California, USA

Paco Gomez Nadal, journalist, editor, activist, Spain

Ramon Grosfoguel, professor, Berkeley University, USA

Muriam Haleh Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Sari Hanafi, sociology professor, American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Shah Mahmoud Hanifi Professor of History, James Madison University, USA

Samia Henni, historian, architecture theorist, USA

Sandew Hira, Decolonial International Network, Holland

Mouloud Idir-Djerroud, political scientist, Canada

RA Judy, Professor of Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Pittsburgh, USA

Laleh Khalili, Queen Mary University, London, Great Britain

Azeezah Kanji, academic, journalist, Toronto, Canada

Adrian Lahoud, Dean of the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, Great Britain

Alana Lentin, academic, Australia

David Lloyd, Distinguished Professor of English, University of California Riverside, USA

Laura Lomas, Professor of English, Rutgers University-Newark, USA

Ilaria Lupo, artist, Italy

Nelson Maldonaldo Torres, philosopher, Rutgers University, USA

Luis Martinez Andrade, sociologist, Mexico, Belgium

Jamila Mascat, Utrecht University, Holland

Joseph Massad, professor, Columbia University, USA

Graham McGeoch, Faculdade Unida de Vitoria, Brazil

Qalandar Memon, Naked Punch review and Forman Christian College, Lahore, Pakistan.

Marc-Aziz Michael, scholar, American University Beirut, Lebanon

Minoo Moallem, professor, Berkeley University, USA

Ana-Marcela Montanaro, Institute of Human Rights Universidad Carlos III, Spain-Costa Rica

Marie Moïse, activist, Italy

Valeria Muledda, artist, Italy

Flávio Munhoz Sofiati, Universidade Federal de Goiás, Brazil 

Muna Mussie, artist, Italy

Nikolay Oleynikov, artist, activist, Russia

Jaime Ortega Reyna, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco, Mexico 

Camille Penzo, Astro-physician, Italy

Victor Hugo Pacheco Chavez, decolonial activist, journal Intervención y coyuntura, Mexico

Giusi Palomba, activist, writer, Italy

David Palumbo-Liu, Stanford University, USA

Alessandra Pomarico, independent curator, activist, Italy-USA

Dante Ramaglia, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina 

Silvia Rodriguez Maeso, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Sara Riggs, poet, filmmaker, USA

Carla Maria Ruffini, activist "Non Una Di Meno", Italy

Raza Rumi, Director Park Center for Independent Media, Ithaca College, USA

Nordine Saidi, decolonial activist, member Brussels Panthers, Belgium

Racha Salti, curator, scholar, Lebanon

Guendalina Salini, visual artist, Italy

Marco Sallusto, activist, Italy

Panagiotis Sotiris, journalist, Greece

Shela Sheikh, Goldsmiths, University of London, Great Britain

Camilo Andrés Useche López, Investigador Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Colombia

Mariangela Vitale, cofounder Festival Fuori Visioni, activist, Italy

MichelWarschawski, anti-colonialist activist, Jerusalem

Jini Kim Watson, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature, New York University, USA

Gary Wilder, Professor, Ph.D. Program in Anthropology, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, USA

  

A meeting is planned for the beginning of December 2021, in Paris. Details will be announced shortly.

To sign:

https://chng.it/GVvcbTKJ

Contact: onzeseptembre20ansapres@gmail.com

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