A conference at Tate Modern looked at the histories of solidarity movements and liberation groups
The event broke down the large topic of the 1960s and 70s liberation movements into navigable pathways, drawing out themes such as conferences, like those at Bandung and Bamako; journals and magazines, by which groups disseminated information and activated disparate publics; and the aesthetic means, from posters to cinema, in which political ideologies took shape.
Highlights ranged from the great Pakistani-British intellectual Tariq Ali’s opening address, in which he protested the closure of public space and the criminalization of solidarity, to the young Indonesian researcher Brigitta Isabella’s paper on bringing global migrant labour into contemporary discussions of cross-national exchange.
Ala Younis spoke about her work Enactment, which connects histories of violent struggle with those of performance art, and Nada Shabout, Russell Rickford, and others discussed the Palestinian liberation movement and the solidarities it evoked.
The conference was driven as much by academic attention towards this historical moment as by contemporary manifestations of it, such as Black Lives Matter in the US and the anti-globalisation protests worldwide.
How those struggles connect to each other, and to historical labour and independence organizations, remains the question going forward.