This powerful text written by panafrorevolutionary collective Cases Rebelles is a shortened version of the one they delivered on July 3, 2019 in Paris for the event “Black Political Imaginaries” that launched The Funambulist’s 24th issue — the other guest was historian Robyn Spencer.
“[The imaginary] works in a spiral: from one circularity to the next, it encounters new spaces and does not transform them into either depths or conquests […]. The imaginary becomes complete on the margins of every new linear projection. It creates a network and constitutes volume.” (Édouard Glissant, Poetics of Relation, 1990)
Our political imaginaries have been shaped by our early break from the concept of the French nation, through transnational imaginaries, pan-Africanism and a panafrorevolutionary approach — a term we coined to describe our political stance. We decided long ago that we weren’t French despite what our IDs said. Our personal histories plus daily occurrences of racism had made it impossible for us to identify as French and kept us at a healthy distance from national belonging and citizenship.
Some of us are of Guadeloupean descent and grew up at the time of the youth organization Bijengwa, of the Revolutionary Caribbean Alliance carrying out bombings, of the rise of local unions like the Union of Agricultural Workers (UTA), the General Union of Guadeloupean Workers (UGTG), the Popular Union for the Liberation of Guadeloupe (UPLG), which were completely independent from the old colonial power. We were born after the infamous Mé 67 (May 1967) brutal repression of a massive worker’s strike, and the revolutionary fight of the Guadeloupe National Organizing Group (GONG). The independence struggle as well as our deep connection with Guadeloupean popular culture, particularly Gwoka music, demanded that we refuse the idea that Guadeloupe was a part of France.