International Symposium
All Power to the People!

With Stephanie Archangel, Jared Ball, Kathleen Cleaver, Jessica De Abreu, Emory Douglas, Juan Pablo Fajardo, Rosalba Icaza Garza, Baruch Gottlieb, Carl Haarnack, Alden Kimbrough, Firoze Manji, Seada Nourhussen, JeanPaul Paula, Valika Smeulders, Simone Zeefuik and The Black Archives
28.11.2018 — 29.11.2018
The struggle of the Black Panthers is alive today. It is a struggle for political recognition and representation, for equal rights and emancipation from systemic oppression and persistent exploitation. The Black Panthers were not ambivalent about their goals, theirs was an internationalist, socialist, abolitionist program.

For many activists today, the slavery paradigm has not ended but has merely transformed into the prevalence of prison labour and institutional racism. The slaveowners have been liberalised, the new masters are faceless corporations run for the benefit of disparate financial interests. Black liberation has not been achieved, and this is why we are seeing a new generation of activists who call themselves the ‘new abolitionists’.

This symposium takes place in the context of the work of Emory Douglas. As cultural minister of the Black Panthers’ Party, Douglas understood that the systemic transformation demanded by the decedents of american slaves would require an international solidarity network and generations of struggle to achieve, such a network could not be built and sustained by politics alone, it required a cultural dimension which could coalesce and sustain the movement through the challenges.

The violence and vitriol in Emory Douglas’ works express a desperate urgency which could not be sustained, but laid the groundwork for activists today. The rise of protest culture against the Vietnam war opened up a crack in the interminable subjugation of black Americans. They claimed their full birthright under the 2nd amendment, took up arms and publically declared their political ambitions to transform their own country. The image of fully-empowered black citizen openly carrying guns in the streets of the United States proved to be epochal. It changed forever the way black people were seen by the rest of the US and around the world, and even more importantly how they perceived themselves and their political prospects. It was a profoundly transgressive image, rendered even more powerful by the fact that it depicted something that was totally legal in principle yet, until that moment, unthinkable in practice. Like the revolution they hoped to bring about, that image showed our whole perception of what was and what wasn’t possible could change in a moment.

The symposium weaves together three strands:
1. From slave revolts to Black Lives Matter and new abolitionism: the struggle for civil rights and economic justice in the african diapora in the US and in The Netherlands.
2. The role of art in catalyzing political solidarity, communicating to the base and to the general public and sustaining revolutionary struggle.
3. International solidarity and the new pan-africanism: addressing structural disparities in global wealth and opportunities, persistent colonialism and imperialism.

Systemic transformation require international solidarity networks and generations of struggle to achieve. Such networks can not be built and sustained by politics alone, they require a cultural dimension which can sustain the movements through the challenges. Another world is possible, and not only possible, it is immanent.

Through the insights of our discussants, this symposium brings actors from the cultural, academic and activist sectors from The Netherlands and around the world to catalyse concerted action to energizing a political movement for international solidarity.