Afro-Asian solidarity is the basic idea that people from these backgrounds have struggled together against white supremacy and colonialism. This can be expanded to how both have influenced each other culturally in terms of music, food, and clothes.
I have felt this takes on a particularly important dimension in the United States where race/class tensions have existed between Asians and Africans. This has been most notably recognized in popular media through the Asian shop owner pitted against the Black community. Hopefully these dynamics will be explored in the upcoming months on the blog, but to frame that discussion properly we need to start from a seemingly distant point.
Here are some notes on Aijaz Ahmad’s chapter on “Three Worlds Theory” from his book, In Theory. While Aijaz explores the relationship of literature, socialism, nationalism, and anti-colonialism, I will primarily focus on the latter three. I am specifically trying to explore the relationship of “Afro-Asian solidarity” to Three Worlds Theory (When people say “third world” the underpinnings go back to TWT.), the Bandung Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement. I am not saying they are the same thing, or that they originate from the same historical moment or people. I am trying to connect and separate concepts in the hopes of achieving some clarity. Fundamentally, I believe the question of Afro-Asian solidarity is about the class nature of such solidarity.
I believe this is important as in the last decade a host of works by Bill Mullen, Vijay Prashad, Robin Kelley and Fred Ho revive a legacy of African and Asian solidarity. I believe this attempt is vital, but has been underdeveloped theoretically and politically. Most notably it has taken on Stalinist and Maoist politics. I have taken Aijaz’s chapter as a key place to start thinking about the problems of any discussion on Afro-Asian solidarity. My interest is in thinking about Afro-Asian solidarity ‘from below’ from a class perspective. In this light Mullen’s connection of CLR James and Grace Lee Bogg’s collaborative efforts is vital. There is much more that can be explored from ‘from below’ recoveries in the context of national liberation and communist movements.
If my notes on Aijaz do not make 100% sense right now, my upcoming notes on the Darker Nations should clarify why Aijaz is so vital in the discussion of Afro-Asian solidarity. I believe that Vijay Prashad’s work is a long lament or tragic drama on why the national bourgeoisies did not have time or resources to develop the nation; or that they were not pushed to the left far enough; among other excuses justifying a history of national liberation and neo-colonialism rooted in the national bourgeoisies as the determining agents of social change.