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Posts tagged with: James C.L.R.

C.L.R. James steeds actueler

Geboorten van literatuur 9

In een reeks opstellen, verschenen tussen 1977 en 1982 in de Amigoe, behandelde criticus B. Jos de Roo de geboorte van de Caraïbische literatuur. Caraïbisch Uitzicht herdrukt graag deze reeks, zodat die een tweede leven kan krijgen. Vandaag C.L.R. James van Trinidad.

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Over een derde vorm van slavenverzet

[Eerder verschenen in het tijdschrift Kristóf III-6. In een actueel nawoord gaat de auteur in op de actualiteitswaarde van dit artikel voor de discussie over straatnamen voor Antilliaanse verzetsschrijvers. ]

door B. Jos de Roo

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For an antidote to today’s identitarian leftism, look to old-school radicals like CLR James

by Benjamin Schwarz

In the interests of efficiency, I’ll start by asserting — not arguing — some propositions: In their discussions of cultural life and of societal trends, the organs of American educated opinion (the New York Times, NPR, the New Yorker, et al.); the faculty and students at our elite prep schools, colleges, and universities; and the members of the metropolitan class who read those publications and emerge from those institutions, frequently and increasingly assert, rather than argue, a set of vaguely interlocking propositions and slogans concerning (I’ll spare the scare quotes) white privilege, social justice, systemic racism, diversity, inclusivity, microaggressions, and the intellectual and cultural heritage — irrelevant at best, baneful at worst — of dead white males. read on…

Les Empires de l’Atlantique (XIXe – XXIe siècles)

Figures de l’autorité impériale dans les lettres d’expression européenne de l’espace atlantique

sous la direction d’Yves Clavaron et Jean-Marc Moura
éd. Les Perséides, coll. « Le Monde Atlantique »
Les empires coloniaux de l’Atlantique (britannique, espagnol, français, néerlandais et portugais) ont suscité voire déterminé une somme impressionnante de textes littéraires qu’il reste à envisager avec les instruments critiques contemporains. À partir de l’âge des Découvertes et jusqu’à l’ère contemporaine, notamment avec la colonisation, l’esclavage puis la décolonisation, les relations entre les trois continents, Europe, Afrique et Amérique, n’ont cessé de se renforcer et l’Atlantique a de plus en plus joué le rôle d’un pont favorisant les processus d’interaction et de convergence entre les sociétés qui le bordent. Depuis plus d’une vingtaine d’années, l’« Atlantic history » s’est affirmée au sein de l’historiographie anglo-saxonne. Ce paradigme interprétatif présente le monde atlantique comme un espace intercontinental intégré et unitaire. Il livre ainsi une clef de lecture de l’expérience culturelle et littéraire à l’époque moderne, qu’il reste à mettre en œuvre collectivement, pour les lettres d’expression européenne. Avec le concept d’/histoire littéraire atlantique/, il s’agit de proposer un cadre théorique adapté aux dynamiques intellectuelles contemporaines, afin de déterminer puis d’analyser les circulations, échanges et migrations littéraires entre Europe, Amérique et Afrique, non plus donc en termes régionaux (concentré sur l’un des trois pôles) ou linguistiques, mais dans les relations complexes, traversant cultures, régions et langues, établies dans l’espace atlantique.
Jean-Marc Moura : « Les empires et le projet d’une histoire littéraire de l’Atlantique »
Yves Clavaron : « L’autorité des empires de l’Atlantique à travers quelques emblèmes : le triangle, le vaisseau, le gouffre et… le foot »
David Murphy : « Du communisme international au nationalisme panafraicain et transatlantique ? L’anti-colonialisme de Lamine Senghor (1889-1927) »
Charles Forsdick : « Histoires transatlantiques: Les Jacobins noirs de CLR James »
Micéala Symington : « Littérature irlandaise contemporaine et pouvoir. La figuration de l’autorité impériale dans la poésie irlandaise contemporaine »
Mélanie Potevin : « Parodie et démesure dans la réécriture de l’Histoire transatlantique chez Roberto Bolaño et V.S. Naipaul »
Marie-Isabelle Vieira : « Capitaines et Généraux d’Avril : figures paradoxales du maintien et de la chute de l’empire portugais »
Danièle Dumontet : « Les écritures migrantes au Québec ou comment les auteurs haïtiens modifient le système relationnel dans l’empire atlantique »
Thorsten Schüller : « La ‘‘traduction’’ du primitivisme européen dans les avant-gardes latino-américaines »
Barbara Dos Santos : « Brésil-Afrique : l’influence du modernisme brésilien dans les littératures angolaise et mozambicaine »
Véronique Porra : « Amour, colère et folie de Marie Chauvet. Réduplication des structures d’autorité et destin tragique d’une prise de parole indésirable »
Évelyne Lloze : « L’Écrire en pays dominé de Chamoiseau »
Crystel Pinçonnat : « Une femme blanche et un homme noir. Deux auteurs paradoxaux de l’Empire »
Kathleen Gyssels : « L’ancêtre Oayapock dans Hoofden van de Oayapok! (Albert Helman) et Black-Label (Léon Gontran Damas) »
Anton de Kom, @ Nicolaas Porter
Kim Andringa : « Nous, esclaves du Surinam. Une critique surinamienne du capitalisme colonial néerlandais »
Jean-Claude Laborie : « L’empire du Brésil dans l’écriture romanesque de J. Machado de Assis »
Florence Paravy : « D’un Empire à l’autre : l’imaginaire Roi de Kahel »
Odile Gannier : « L’empire fantôme des Indes : L’Ancêtre de Juan José Saer »
Myriam Suchet : « Le sujet du texte hétérolingue n’est pas un empire dans un empire – ou «je» est-il maître dans son propre texte ? »
23 x 15 cm- 308 pages avec index, bibliographie,
jaquette de couverture illustrée, 26 €
Cet ouvrage est commandable dans toutes les librairies. Vous pouvez également
vous le procurer directement auprès de l’éditeur, en envoyant un chèque de 24 €
(prix de lancement) à l’adresse suivante :
Editions Les Perséïdes
5, rue du Faubourg Bertault
35190 Bécherel
(envoi franco de port)

Celebrate ‘Indian arrival’ or ‘Indian deliverance’? (2)

by Chaman Lal

The second largest contingent of Indian indentured labour went to now called Guyana from 1838 to 1916. First ship Hesperus with Indian labour arrived in Demerara on May 5, 1838 and total of 238,909 Indians arrived in ships. Trinidad & Tobago was the third country to receive large numbers of Indian labour from May 30, 1845 onwards and here 147,596 Indians came as per Sat Balkaran Singh. First ship to arrive in Trinidad was Fatel Razack from Calcutta, a total of 154 ships undertook 320 voyages from Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, to bring Indian indentured labour up to 1917. Out of these only 20 per cent or so, went back to India after indentured system was abolished.


South Africa also started receiving Indian labour, mostly Muslims from Gujarat 1860 onwards. Here the first ship Truro with Indian labour arrived from Madras on 16th November 1860. South Africa received 152,184 Indian labourers in indentured act period. French and Dutch colonisers also made agreements with British Indian Government to recruit Indian indentured labour with similar agreements as issued by British colonisers. Thus French colonialists recruited Indian indentured labour for French Guyana, Martinique, Guadalupe etc. Dutch colonisers got Indian indentured labour for Dutch Guyana, now named Suriname from 1873, the first ship Lala Rookh from India arrived here on 5th June 1873 and a total on 34,304 Indians arrived here till 1916.
Fiji under British regime was the last to recruit Indian indentured labour, where the first ship Leonidas arrived on 14th May 1879 and it got 60, 995 Indians till 1917. Other countries to receive Indian indentured labour in this period were, Jamaica-36, 412, East Africa, including Kenya and Uganda-32000, mostly Sikhs from Punjab, for building Uganda-Kenya rail link; Reunion-26, 507, Seychelles-6315, St Vincent-2472, St Kitts-337, St Lucia-4350, Grenada 3200 etc. A total of nearly 1.2 million or 12 lakh Indians travelled to different parts of the world during this period. In all countries, Indian indentured labour went through hell, a lot of sufferings and Indian newspapers reported about these cruelties on Indian labour.

Right: Indians arriving in Mauritius

Since Mahatma Gandhi was invited in South Africa as a lawyer to defend the rights of Indian business men there, the other countries also came into focus. In 1909, Mahatma Gandhi spent few days in Mauritius on his way back to India through sea journey. Dr Mani Lal, a young advocate, who was later married to the daughter of Dr Mehta, a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi, was sent to Mauritius in 1907. Dr Mani Lal started a paper, Hindustani, from Mauritius in Gujarati and English, Hindi replaced Gujarati soon. Mani Lal spent few years till 1910 in Mauritius and defended Indians rights. Later Dr Mani Lal played a similar role in Fiji, where he went in 1912; he was treated very harshly by British colonial authorities in Fiji and was made to leave the country in 1920.

Sufferings of Indian indentured labour are well documented in the creative Hindi literature of Mauritius and Fiji. Abhimanyu Anat (left) is most celebrated Hindi writer of Mauritius and he through his many novels like Lal Pasina (Red Sweat), the introduction of its French translation was written by French Noble Laureate Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, depicted the horrible sufferings faced by Indian indentured labour at the hands of sugar planters, mostly Europeans and their Indian agents, colonial police and other officials. Same way Joginder Singh Kanwal in his novels like Savera and Karvat depicted the hardships and struggles of Fiji Indian labour.

Munshi Rehman Khan (right), writing in Hindi and Urdu, did it for Suriname Indian labour. Unfortunately Trinidad and Guyana Indian descent people lost their languages as well and their sufferings in these countries were depicted in English language much later, when their second or third generation became well versed in the language. Peter Jailall from Guyana wrote about Indian indentured labour’s sufferings in his English poetry collection of recent times under the title Sacrifice-Poems on the Indian Arrival in Guyana. V S Naipaul did not focus much on Indian indentured labour’s sufferings in Trinidad & Tobago, though he was born and brought up there, but had references to the sufferings in his classic novel A House for Mr Biswas.

In India also people like C F Andrews, who visited almost all countries, where Indian labour migrated, at the behest of Mahatma Gandhi, Benarsidas Chaturvedi, Hindi writer and journalist, Lakshman Singh, husband of celebrated Hindi writer Subhadra Kumari Chauhan and member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) wrote plays like Coolie in Hindi, basing on Indian labourers sufferings in Fiji, the play was immediately proscribed by British authorities. Tota Ram Shandilya, who returned from Fiji, wrote My Twenty One Years in Fiji, in Hindi, which is translated in English and now an important reference book in Fiji. In these countries freedom struggles against British colonialism started, which were mostly close to Indian National Congress in India, like movement by Shiv Sagar Ramgoolam in Mauritius, who became the first Prime Minister of independent Mauritius.

Dr Cheddi Jagan was one of the most important organisers and leaders of freedom struggle in British Guiana as leader of People’s Progressive Party, a party with Marxist ideas. In Kenya, Comrade Makhan Singh, a Communist, fought alongside Jomo Kenyatta and his other colleagues for the freedom of Kenya. Monuments of struggles by Indian indentured labourers, along with other communities are found in many countries. In Guyana, where Hesperus, first vessel from Calcutta brought 156 souls on 5th May 1838, out of 170 boarded, 14 died on the way by sickness and drowning.

There have been conflicts, rebellions in 1872, 1903 and 1912, 1913, 1924. Walter Rodney, one of the brilliant radical scholars of Guyana, depicted the conditions of Indians and other countries indentured labour emigration to Guyana in books like Lakshmi out of India. Rodney was assassinated in the young age on 13th June 1980 and Guyana national archives are now named after him. In Trinidad & Tobago, massacre of Jahazis, as the east Indian indentured labour were called, as they came on ships, took place in 1884 at the time of holy Eid.

CLR James, the radical Marxist scholar-writer of Trinidad & Tobago had focussed upon Black and East Indian indentured labour conditions in his writings and during March 1970 Black Power movement in Trinidad, there were banners and calls for Indo-African unity, though some people tried to scare Indians with rumours that Blacks would attack East Indians, to counter it Black Power movement took a massive march in Caroni sugar plantation area and home of large number of Indians, who did not join the march, but showed warm hospitality to the marchers, thus frustrating the designs of those, who wanted to turn this most progressive movement as a Black-Indian conflict.

Strangely Trinidad & Tobago has no monument in memory of Black and Indian sufferings in the country, whereas neighbouring Caribbean countries-Guyana and Suriname have number of monuments for both communities’ sufferings in their countries. In Suriname there is a monument in memory of 16 Indians and Indonesian indentured labour, who was martyred at sugar factory site, struggling for better wages and living conditions. At suicide hill site in Mauritius, now stands a grand monument in memory of those poor indentured labourers, which died due to the worst cruelties inflicted upon them by colonial authorities and sugar barons. In Fiji, workers struggled in February 1920, even after the abolition of indentured labour system and Fijian authorities in revengeful manner crushed workers strike and forced Dr Mani Lal out of the country.

Struggles in these countries and pressure by the national movement in India in favour of this struggling migrated Indian labour, British Government had to finally abolish ‘indentured labour’ system in 1917, through legislation to this effect, as they had to do in case of slavery in 1834/38. Indentures system was also given lease/transition till the end of 1919 and from 1st January 1920, indentured Indian labour system came to a complete stop. So 1 January 1920 was hailed as Deliverance day, as was end of slavery was hailed as Emancipation Day by Africans.

Irony is this that Indians in these countries never focussed upon Deliverance Day, which is much more historic day of their life, particularly of present generation people of Indian descent in Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname and Fiji, than so called Indian Arrival Day, which is the day to mark the beginning of untold sufferings, deceit, as most of Indians recruited for this scheme of indentured labour, were recruited by agents by telling all kinds of lies, like they are being taken to the countries of goldmines and they will become rich with gold, once they are there, or lies like Mauritius is a country of Ramayana character Marich, trapping innocent but poor, needy Indian rural folk into their trap of prolonged suffering for them.

[from The Guardian, 24-10-2011]

[wordt vervolgd]

Curaçao in Caraïbisch kunstboek

Fundashon di Artista is zeer verheugd over de publicatie Curating in the Caribbean die in de loop van dit jaar zal verschijnen. Het boek bevat essays van twaalf curatoren die in het Caribisch gebied verantwoordelijk zijn voor de selectie en interpretatie van Caribische kunst. De Curaçaose curator en kunsthistorica Jennifer Smit levert een bijdrage over Curaçao.

Curating in the Caribbean wordt dit najaar gepresenteerd maar kwam al aan de orde tijdens het Black Diaspora Visual Arts congres dat onlangs in achtereenvolgens Barbados en Martinique werd gehouden. Kunstenaars en kunstcritici uit de regio spraken daar over de invloed van belangrijke schrijvers als Aimé Césaire uit Martinique en Cyril James uit Trinidad. “Daaraan gekoppeld was er een soort proloog van de curatoren die vertelden over hun voorgenomen bijdrage aan Curating in the Caribbean,” aldus Smit, die was uitgenodigd voor een voordracht over haar ervaringen als curator op Curaçao in de afgelopen twintig jaar.

Een driedimensionaal kunstwerk van Tirzo Martha;
foto @ Michiel van Kempen

Uit de bijdragen van Smit en de andere curatoren bleek dat de kunst die in de regio gemaakt wordt heel divers is en per eiland en cultuur wezenlijk verschilt, ondanks de overeenkomsten die er ook zijn. Verder bleken curatoren in de regio zich met veel meer taken bezig te houden, dan hun collega’s in andere delen van de wereld, vaak door een gebrek aan fondsen voor de stimulering van de kunst. In Curating in the Caribbean wordt hier ongetwijfeld verder op ingegaan.

Het Black Diaspora Visual Arts congres en de publicatie Curating in the Caribbean zullen een belangrijke bijdrage leveren aan de bekendheid en waardering van de Curaçaose kunst. De aanwezigen waren in ieder geval erg enthousiast over de kwaliteit van de door Smit getoonde selectie van werken die eerder op de overzichtstentoonstelling Antepasado di Futuro in het Curaçaosch Museum was te zien. “Men wist niet dat er op Curaçao zulke interessante kunst van zo’n hoog niveau wordt gemaakt.”

Fundashon di Artista is vol vertrouwen dat hiermee een nieuwe mijlpaal wordt bereikt voor de erkenning van Curaçao als een toonaangevend land voor Caribische kunst.

Curating in the Caribbean wordt uitgegeven door de Duitse uitgeverij The Black Box.

Opening Out the Way(s) to the Future

Call for Papers: Special Issue of EnterText on Caribbean Literature and Culture

“We can orient for the future only by comprehension of the present in the light of the past,”(i) observed the Caribbean philosopher, C.L.R. James. In his view, the arts and culture could provide direction and offer alternatives to present horizons. The “supreme artist,” he argued “summed up the past and […] opened out the way to the future.”(ii) In the Caribbean context, the need to envision alternatives to present horizons has taken on a new sense of urgency, particularly given the many challenges facing the Caribbean today, such as the exploitative dimensions of global capitalism, ecological risk, natural and health disasters – as in recent events in Haiti and St. Lucia – gender discrimination, sex tourism, labour exploitation, drugs and violent crime.

We invite scholars and creative writers of the Caribbean and its diasporas to explore present horizons and the (re-)envisioning of the future through an engagement with the past. More generally, this special issue on the Caribbean is concerned with questions such as: how can the creative and critical potential of the arts, social sciences, and humanities be harnessed to open out the way to the future? What insights do different experiences of lived time and space offer to contemporary historical and political perspectives? How do non-Western notions of time relate to revolutionary dreams and resistance movements, and visions of the Caribbean’s role in the global order? How do Caribbean artists, writers, historians, leaders, and philosophers represent the uses of the past? What are the perils and possibilities of looking to the past as a resource for navigating an uncertain future?

We particularly welcome revised versions of papers initially presented at the 35th Annual Society of Caribbean Studies Conference, Liverpool, 2011. Topics for the special issue include, but are by no means limited to:
• Liverpool and the Caribbean
• The Fall of the Plantation Complex
• Museums and Caribbean Histories
• Slavery, Commemoration, and Representation
• Ports and Cities
• Health, Social Policy, and Disability
• Environment and Natural Disasters
• The Challenges of Democracy
• Childhood and Education
• Theatre, Dance, and Performance
• Food and Material Culture
• Colonial Governance and Decolonisation

We also welcome creative writing submissions related to the topics of this special issue.
Editors of the special issue are Sandra Courtman and Wendy Knepper
Deadline for submission April 15, 2012
Length for scholarly articles: 5000-7500 words
Please address questions, proposals and submissions to s.courtman@sheffield.ac.uk.

(i) C.L.R. James, “The American People in ‘One World’: An Essay in Dialectical Materialism,” (New
International, July 1944) in C.L.R. James and Revolutionary Marxism, Scott McLemee and Paul Le Blanc (eds.) Atlantic Highlands, Humanities Press, 1994, p. 168.
(ii) C.L.R. James, ‘The Artist in the Caribbean’ was delivered as part of Open Lecture series at the University College of the West Indies, Mona, (1959-1960), cited in C.L.R. James, ‘Two Lectures by C.L.R. James’, Caribbean Quarterly, 54:1 (March-June 2008): 179-187.

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