Posted on: February 28, 2009

After 3 weeks of intense struggle in Guadeloupe —one of the French overseas “departments” in the Caribbean—during which one activist was shot dead and several others wounded, the LKP (Liyannaj Kont’ Pwofitasyon, or Collective Against Outrageous Exploitation) seems to have gotten the upper hand in their hard-fought battle. The  most talked about point was the demand for an immediate 200 euros salary raise, but the complete list had 120 demands. Among them one complaint that can be levelled across the board at the French Parisian centralized regime concerns the need for essential consideration of  Guadeloupe’s culture and language in the media. In fact, all regional cultures in France suffer from this neglect: my fellows Occitan activists  know this all too well.
Anyhow, our sisters and brothers in Guadeloupe (and let’s not forget  the people of Martinique, Reunion and Guyana  who are also fighting to end profitation) have been a serious inspiration.
In only a few weeks the people of Guadeloupe have managed to rally over 40 organizations, from various “greens” to several Trade Unions, to consumer rights activists & many others (including even a few right wingers!) under the LKP umbrella. Their leader is Elie Domota (on the video above it is him speaking in his native tongue). He is clearly serving the  common cause of the moment here, but he doesn’t hide his personal independantist leanings. I heard him give a very good interview on the radical French radio show Las-Bas Si J’y Suis. If you are francophone I highly recommend this truly radical radio show (also available on France Inter, you can download it as a podcast ) . The French government has good reasons to be freaked out, the atmosphere in metropolitan France is already pretty volatile as little president Sarkozy has only around 35% approval.
In solidarity, nine intellectuals from the region (Ernest Breleur, Patrick Chamoiseau, Serge Domi, Gérard Delver, Edouard Glissant, Guillaume Pigeard de Gurbert, Olivier Portecop, Olivier Pulvar, Jean-Claude William) published a manifesto entitled Manifeste pour les “produits” de haute nécessité”. This refreshing manifesto calls for human emancipation more than for revolution, and its concerns are sustainable change through responsibility and a desire  to make a poetics prevail over the prosaic. It is a true 21st century manifesto
and opens with a quote by Gilles Deleuze and another by  Aimé Cesaire from a letter he wrote to Maurice Thorez. I haven’t yet found an English translation — if you know of one, please let me know. This text should be taught in schools.
The struggle and the suffering of the people of this region kept under yoke one way or another, has been intense for centuries (none of this is talked about in French high schools!). I immensely enjoyed getting more familiar with their beautiful language and especially with the word : PWOFITASYON, PROFITATION.

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