Kathleen Cleaver and Black European Solidarity
Another step forward and an another interesting find at the Vereniging Ons Suriname archive / New Urban Café / black library... After installing the first bookshelves for the collection of books and archives I randomly opened one of the dusty boxes with a folders with old papers. After turning a few pages I found a letter signed by Kathleen Cleaver on behalf of the Black Panther Party to the European Black Panther Party Solidarity Committee from 1970. Scrolling through the papers I found letters of correspondence between the Surinamese students union and the Trinidadian writer CLR James who wrote among others "the Black Jacobins" about the Haitian Revolution. Apparently he had several speaking engagements in Amsterdam and the Hague.
We found a lot of letters and documents condemning American imperialism through the Vietnam war and American multinationals in Surinam. We found invitations and letters of correspondence between the Surinamese students, Antillean students and African student unions in London, Ghana and Ethiopia mentioning how assissination of Lumumba and how western powers tried to destabilize the Decolonizing countries. And we found lots of telegrams with expressions of solidarity with different movements such as a hunger strikes in Mexico in the 50s and 60s...
Again its amazing to see how connected these Surinamese students were with other oppressed people across the world. The fact that their hand written notes are still here 50 years later shows how organized they were and their revolutionary mindset become apparent from the letters and activities they were engaged in. So it strikes me that much of this history has remained hidden in dusty boxes on this attic...
Guess its time to bring this history and these stories into the present again cause it was already inspiring for us to see these documents which prove that former generations already had the spirit of resistance and revolution...as CLR James once wrote:
"The process of revolution is essentially the process of people finding themselves."
By Mitchell Esajas
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