The Movement of the Indigenous of the Republic in France, PIR, began in 2005 in the context of the ludicrous calls for introducing a positive focus of colonial history in the French educational system and general rethinking of France’s colonial legacy. It was also a product of the mini-Intifadas that erupted in the banlieues in 2005 in response to police violence and systematic racism against the youth. Both moments constitute the founding events of the movement, although this cannot be understood without the disappointing positioning of the French left vis-à-vis racism and especially the self-deceiving projection of its secular ‘laı̈cité’, which effectively means a betrayal of those at the bottom of society. The initial movement challenged the political scene by turning into a political party to challenge the electoral system.
‘Indigènes’ is clearly a reference to the subjects of the French colonial and capitalist history and empire turning the tables and talking back. It is composed principally of French youth of African, Arab, Muslim, Maghrebian and Caribbean origin in France that live the experience of colonial racism and its consequent social marginalization and exploitation. As a systematic voice against Islamophobia they have spoken out against Charlie Hebdo’s Islamophobic cartoons: this is why they are now targeted as guilty by association in the violent attacks on the newspaper. This is a stigmatising and dangerous accusation that we condemn.
This statement first appeared on the website of the Parti des indigènes de la république.
No to the “national union” backing imperialists! Yes to an anti-racist and anti-imperialist “political union”!
This violent charge against the PIR and also against the “Y’a Bon Awards” is clearly intended to eliminate the few political spaces left that speak to immigration, as we know that the latter will defy the injunction to display “national unity” and will continue to fight against Islamophobia, with much of the anti-racist forces—a struggle that is beginning to bear fruit both nationally and internationally. In that regard, Christophe Ramaux’s stupid and hateful amalgam in the pages of Le Monde is extremely transparent. In a pitiful way, he declared: “How is it that leaders of Attac, of NPA, journalists from Politis and others—all having organized, with the Indigenous People of the Republic and Mediapart, a Day Against Islamophobia on December 13, 2014—have been able to feed this infamy? How is it that some show hosts working for the Économistes atterrés have rejected Charb’s collaboration pretexting that he was Islamophobic?”
As is the case when Ivan Rioufol “demands,” on the airwaves of RTL, that Rokhaya Diallo “disengage” publicly from the attack because she is Muslim, we are permanently subjected to the racist injunction to prove the clarity of our position. Yet, like most Muslim organizations, we have condemned in the strongest terms the deadly shootout against Charlie Hebdo, in the same way that we mourn the five new victims of this blind folly.
The statements of Ms. Bougrab are not improvised and meet the expectations of those who, far from having pondered the tragedy of Charlie Hebdo, far from seeking political solutions, are the very ones who set the stage in which it unfolded. Deep inside them, they are well aware of this truth: it is they who, by their excesses and their encouragement to Islamophobia, have fueled this unhealthy climate for many years, while, conversely, we kept warning against fatal outcomes of this sort. In pointing a finger in our direction, they hope to keep people looking away from their responsibility or their passive complicity. In other words, they are hitting early, so they will not have to account for the heavy consequences of a policy in which they are deeply involved.
Thus, we affirm that the fight against Islamophobia and State racism should not suffer from this event but on the contrary should be strengthened by it.
Is it necessary to recall that for years, across the country, dozens of mosques have been desecrated every year? Is it necessary to recall that dozens of Muslims, and especially Muslim women, simply guilty of being themselves, are victimized day after day not only in their property but also in their flesh? They are insulted, threatened, physically assaulted and even killed, as was the case with the young Maroua in Germany and also in France when, in Argenteuil, two years ago, a young pregnant Muslim woman was hit by skinheads and lost her child. Is it necessary to recall that throughout Europe, neo-Nazi groups mobilize massively against Muslims and that they now represent a political threat associated to a sinister historical moment? Finally, we must remember that Muslims and many places of worship were targets of crime in response to the attack against Charlie Hebdo.
As far as we are concerned, the fight against State racism, imperialism and Zionism remains our priority. Neither Bougrab nor Fourest nor Le Pen nor Sarkozy nor Hollande—who have now found an opportunity to buy themselves a conscience by participating in a new Western “Sacred Union”—will succeed in making us deviate from this path.
In Europe, we have to face the fallout of imperialist advances in the world and, in particular, of racism and social relegation in the Middle East. It is imperative that we disengage from the depoliticizing and moralizing solutions that ignore the social and political conditions creating and continually feeding violence. This is an opportunity to put on trial a system that only knows how to produce horror.
We have the honor of being in line with Frantz Fanon, Aimé Césaire, René Vautier, Angela Davis, Abdelkrim El Khattabi, Lalla Fatma N’Soumer… who have always taken their responsibility when the bad winds were blowing. We are in line with those who do not give way when facing threats or bleating humanism. The new popes of “national unity” are trying to wipe out the possibility of a political solution and to continue the “declared war” they pretend to denounce.
As far as we are concerned, we will not participate in the Sunday, January 11th demonstration because we do not answer any summons and do not walk behind agents of the colonial counter-revolution, the instigators of social and political disorder including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko (friend of neo-Nazis in his country), Netanyahu the criminal and representative of the Zionist State, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Our mind is lucid enough to avoid the mirage of an emotional “all together” and the political regression it will generate (which threatens our resistance and the whole political field), while our heart is big enough to take part in the widest possible front with all the forces that will be uncompromising with the murderers but will continue the struggle against racism and imperialism, and for justice: the forces that will never submit to the agenda of States that aim to dominate the planet. Let’s generate political options, let’s create collective hope!
Paris, January 10, 2015.
Translated from french by Geneviève Rail.
Decoloniality Europe has put out an international call in support of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic.