Image: Pauulu Kamarakafego
As we have explored in previous programs, in fact, as we have attempted to unpack in every program, Black internationalism is an intentional disruption; a radical intervention in the global terms of order [nod to Cedric Robinson].
In order to understand Black internationalism as a critical disruption, a radical intervention, we must unpack it. The concept, international, as understood in dominant discourse [opposed to discourse on the periphery, discourses from below] is related to the creation and forced imposition of the nation-state, birthed from a European historiography/historicity as the dominant mechanism that organizes human life. The imposition of mechanisms, such as colonialism and chattel slavery, for instance, rooted in a specific epistemology was necessary to structure institutions and forms of knowledge that [re]conceptualized what it means to be human as the justification for and maintenance of the idea private property. Being so, international indicates a relationship at various levels of communities of people across [artificial] boundaries.
It is from here, Black international/ism, then, is understood as a radical disruption of these systems and institutions. What must not be lost in this praxis, is the fact that this radical disruption is simultaneously a clear articulation and theorization of Black Power.
Cedric Robinson asserts that “[Physically and ideologically, and for rather unique historical reasons, African peoples bridge the decline of one world order and the eruption (we may surmise) of another. It is a frightful and uncertain space of being.] If we are to survive, we must take nothing which is dead and choose wisely among the dying. [The industrial nations are self-destructing. Others, too, of course, will be affected]” [Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition ), 316].
This assertion is certainly true on many levels but requires a simultaneously developed alternative foundation to build upon, as the wise choices must be planted into something.
Today, we explore the ideas and argument in, Pauulu’s Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice as presented by Quito Swan.
Properly situated, we can see Pauulu's Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice presents a framework for that alternative. The possibilities of inventing the future.
Pauulu’s Diaspora is a mapping of Black internationalism across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Ocean worlds, through the life and work of twentieth-century radical Pauulu [Powlu] Kamara-kafego.
In this work, Dr. Quito Swan is disrupting and challenging limited conceptualizations and understandings of Black Power by situating it, properly, in an international context. Dr. Swan offers us a map on how Pauulu was following in the long tradition of those who came before. A genealogy of Black internationalism’s praxis of resistance.
Quito Swan is Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he directs the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture. He is a historian of Black internationalism, global Black Power and the Black Pacific. Dr. Swan is the author of many articles as well as, The Struggle for Decolonization: Black Power in Bermuda.
Our show was produced today in solidarity with the native, indigenous, African, and Afro-descended communities at Standing Rock; Venezuela; Cooperation Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi; Brazil; the Avalon Village in Detroit; Colombia; Kenya; Palestine; South Africa; and Ghana; and other places who are fighting for the protection of our land for the benefit of all people.
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