Why does a given oppressed group sometimes revolt and take to the streets, while other times it does not? This is a question that is never easy to answer. It requires a detailed examination of its history in a given context (here, France), the conditions and means for self-organization, the forms resistance takes, the struggles for hegemony within this social group to impose a group definition, what should comprise its struggle for emancipation. This article is an attempt to question how the revolt against slavery in Libya, after its presentation in a CNN video, was politicized by black people in the French context. We pay attention to the fact that the outrage exceeded frontiers of political organization and took the form of a mass revolt, under the “black” banner. But it has also shown limits in terms of translating this indignation into a political project of emancipation. To our understanding, those limits take root in the weakness of materialist analysis of race and migration as historical processes within a capitalist system, which cannot be understood solely in terms of ideology.
“Free Our Brothers!”: On the Politicization of Slavery in Libya within the French Context
João Gabriell is a pan-African activist and writer originally from Guadeloupe. After several years in Paris, he lived in Marseille, where he received a political education from the FUIQP (United Front of Immigration and Working Class Neighborhoods), an organization for immigrants and the working class. In 2018 he joined the Panafricain-Umoja League, a political organization based in different West African countries, in the Caribbean and Europe. He writes a blog, “Le blog de João,” where he addresses topics on (neo)colonialism and it effects on African people and people of African descent living the West. He is also interested on how African emancipation can also include gender liberation. He is now relocated in the United States to do a PhD in history at Johns Hopkins University on prison privatization in France.
João Gabriell; “Free Our Brothers!”: On the Politicization of Slavery in Libya within the French Context. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2019; 118 (3): 686–693. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-7616260
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