Demonstration in Barcelona against the slavery and genocide of Africans in Libya and Worldwide

Demonstration in Barcelona against the slavery and genocide of Africans in Libya and Worldwide
by Matthew Jacobson PhD.


LIBIA:Contra el genocidi i l’esclavitut negra, ni un pas enrere.

A civilization that proves incapable of solving the problems it creates is a decadent civilization.
A civilization that chooses to close its eyes to its most crucial problems is a stricken civilization.
A civilization that uses its principles for trickery and deceit is a dying civilization.
The fact is that the so-called European civilization – “Western” civilization – as it has been shaped by two centuries of bourgeois rule, is incapable of solving the two major problems to which its existence has given rise: the problem of the proletariat and the colonial problem; that Europe is unable to justify itself either before the bar of “reason” or before the bar of “conscience”; and that, increasingly, it takes refuge in a hypocrisy which is all the more odious because it is less and less likely to deceive.
Europe is indefensible.
Apparently that is what the American strategists are whispering to each other. That in itself is not serious.
What is serious is that “Europe” is morally, spiritually indefensible.
Aimé Cesaire.
Discours sur le colonialisme
by Editions Presence Africaine, 1955.


On December 3rd hundreds gathered to rally and demonstrate for a stop to the continual exploitation, genocide and slavery of Africans in Libya and in the entire African continent. They also gathered to address the exploitation and racist barriers that African immigrants and migrants face everyday in Catalunya, Spain and all over the world. Speakers from the PanAfrican movement  here in Spain called for continued action and education to stop the violent exploitative practices of governments and corporations on the African continent and the slave trade polices and economic exclusion that Africans face in Europe and Spain.

Any superficial analysis of the colonial history of Africa demonstrates the simple fact that European, Asian and American power has and continues to exploit and extract wealth at any cost from the African continent. Although Europeans are dismayed by the death of over 3,000 deaths in 2017 of African migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea, little is done other than to fund rescue efforts. These efforts are critical but hardly a response that addresses the core problems which produce these deaths.

The fact is that every Western country is responsible for the polices and practices that continue to exploit the African continent and the racism that is integral to African migrants problems in receiving countries. One has to look no further than the tourist streets of Barcelona to see colonial racism alive and well. Wealthy European tourists pass to stroll and bargain along the walkways with black African migrants who lay out their products which the carried bundled in massive white sheets while having to constantly be afraid of the white Catalan and Spanish police who will ticket them for selling illegally. Although the city government attempts programs to provide some form of access for these migrants, the results are minimal and superficial in relation to the problem. Like many forms of exploitation and oppression the reality is that those in power take advantage of the precarious and vulnerable positions of those they exploit. They will not give this up, it has to be taken. White power historically only reacts when non-white power fights back, that is the story of Martin Luther King, Malcom X and the anti-slavery movement, or the civil rights in the United States.

The Spanish government signed an agreement to bring in over 17,000 refugees into Spain by the end of  2017, in reality it has provided protection to those from the Middle East in small numbers and little to nothing for African refugees who now increasingly flood the Southern Borders near the closest crossings in the Strait of Gibraltar. Spain continues to refuse to accept refugee and immigrant claims for asylum and full rights.

Another historical record was also broken: according
to Eurostat, throughout 2016 the (Spanish) government granted
some form of international protection to 6,855 people.
Nevertheless, it only recognized 355 as refugees, most
of them from Syria, Pakistan, Eritrea and Palestine. This
means only 3.4% of the people saw their applications
approved; a very different percentage from that of
Germany (41%) and France (21%).
Two realities are fundamental to gain a perspective on racism in terms of African migrants in Spain. One is that poverty, war and economic devastation of the continent has always and continues to occur in part through Spain and Europe´s corporate, military and political exploitation of the continent. Secondly, and related, the fundamental issues of racism and the exploitation of African (or other migrants) migrants is never addressed because Europe and Spain are aggressively still making profits off the continent. If Spain and Catalunya were to address its own racist and exploitative practices on the African continent it would have to confront the very economic system that it’s Capitalism is built on. Opening borders does not occur because Spain would face the voices and people it now exploits. It would have to confront how it relates to Africa and African´s, and there is no possible justification on any moral or ethical grounds. Spain continues to exploit Africa and its people and then distance itself from its own immorality and aggression, this is the story from over the past 500 years since the Europeans set sail to ´discover´the non-white world.
The threat of migration
When people are desperate, migration is impossible to stop, border closings or border police just lead to more deadly routes, a higher ‘blood tax’,  but it doesn’t stop the flood because the pressure is building, not decreasing. The good news is that with more African migrants in Spain it is harder for white Europeans on the Iberian Peninsula to deny and ignore reality, reality can be found in the voices of those who have arrived or lived here from the African continent or other parts of the non-white world. If they care to listen, they can educate themselves, if not, then the lessons come harder, but either way those who have lived on the other side of European colonialism are here to stay.