Event Report - An Evening with Houria Bouteldja

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IHRC were privileged to welcome Houria Bouteldja from the Parti des Indigènes de la République (PiR). in France to speak about her work as a decolonial activist and thinker.  Her topic, ‘Decolonising France’ presented the history of PiR, as France’s first decolonial political party and the challenges they have faced in standing up to Eurocentricism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism and Zionism.

The party itself was set up in 2010 but the movement that preceded it began in 2005.  Bouteldja argues that the discourse around integration for minorities is a powerful one which must be resisted because it is ultimately a disempowering one.  The struggle for justice, she argued should be informed by thinkers from the South so as to break the cycle of Eurocentric knowledge production which simply replicates unequal power relations between peoples.  Principally, whilst acknowledging that people of colour in the North are victims of racism and Islamophobia, Boutledja argued that we also benefit from the privilege created by living in the North and as such we are complicit in the oppression of the South.

The floor was opened up to a lively question and comment section, with questions not just from the audience at the IHRC Bookshop but also from the on-line audience who watched the event live on-line.  Topics discussed included the problematique of the so-called Arab Spring and its various contradictions for those committed to strive for justice.  Other issued discussed included inspirational figures from previous struggles in France; sources of inspiration from the South; the definition of ‘political’ and of ‘militant’; and finally what benefit will a decolonial future have for those in power, and what incentive for those who crave integration to switch track.

Simultaneous translation was provided by Alvin Mabushi.  The entire talk and Q&A is available to watch below.  A summary of Houria's presentation can e found here.

PiR is part of Decoloniality Europe together with IHRC and many movements.  For more links on this topic please visit the links below, or join us for the next set of Decolonising the Mind courses to be held in September this year in the UK.  Watch this space for more information.

More work by Houria Bouteldja