Cease and DESIst – FOIL’s Call for Organizing Against US Imperialism

In the November 2005 issue of Ghadar, the mouthpiece of FOIL, issued a for a coalition of like-minded Communist/Marxist South Asian comrades along with Palestinian and Arab organizations to rally “against the rabid imperialism being practiced by the United States and its allies, incensed by the fascist voices that claim to speak for [them] and [to help] build this coalition and developing its anti-imperialist vision and campaign, and specifically in taking urgent action.”[1]  Thus, Cease and DESIst was a call for anyone interested in anti-American activities that showcased the United States as an imperialist oppressor.

Interestingly, the meeting to build this coalition was just “hours prior to and across the street from a panel entitled Self Determination in South Asia”[2].  This panel was organized by FOSA and featured Vijay Prashad and Angana Chatterji, as discussed in Chapter IV.  Thus, FOIL members joined FOSA in the meeting to advocate for separation of Kashmir from India, as the first activity of this newly formed coalition.

Who were the members of this coalition?  “The Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA), and Friends of South Asia (FOSA) are part of this coalition”[3], according to the article.  DESIst also hints at the possibility of other organizations that may be a part of the Coalition but cannot be a “[vehicles] or the impetus for the building of a radical anti-imperialist South Asian anti-war movement”[4].  At the least, DESIst reached out to “a multitude of bay area South Asian listservs (sic) and activists”, namely “AID [Association for India’s Development], ADP [Association for Development of Pakistan, as listed on FOSA’s website[5]], ASATA, FOSA, CAC [Coalition Against Communalism], SACA [South Asians for Collective Action, as listed on EKTA’s website[6]], PBN [Progressive Bengali Network[7]].”[8] Also, the contact information for anyone interested in joining DESIst is given as “DESIST[at]southasianprogressive[dot]org.”[9]  That email address belongs to South Asian Progressive Collective (SAPC).  One of the few activities listed on the website is a 2004 Conference.  The list of organizers included: 3rd I Films; Alliance for South Asians Taking Action; American Muslim Voice; Association for India’s Development [AID], Bay Area; Association of South Asian Political Activists; Coalition Against Communalism; Ekta; Friends of South Asia; Maitri; Narika; Organizing Youth; South Asian Development Alternatives Network; South Asian Sisters; Trikone[10]  Furthermore, the conference was organized at the California Institute of Integral Studies[11], which is associated with FOIL member Angana Chatterji. Hence, DESIst appears to be a project of SAPC, which in itself is a coalition of FOIL and its affiliated organizations.

Curiously, the dubious nature of this conference is evident from the announcement about the agenda of the conference. The conference used a “flexible form of facilitation where most of the agenda for the gathering will be created by those who come that day.”[12]

[1] “Cease and DESIst: An Experiment in (re)claiming a Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist Space in South Asian America”, Ghadar, a publication of the forum of inqualabi leftists, Vol. 9, November 2005, http://ghadar.insaf.net/November2005/MainPages/desiST.htm, accessed July 26, 2011

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.[1]

[4] Ibid.[1]  see the Reference section

[5] FOSA recommends ADP as a good NGO doing developmental work in Pakistan and urges donors to contribute money to ADP.  http://www.friendsofsouthasia.org/events/SAquake/donate.html, accessed July 26, 2011

[6] http://www.ektaonline.org/, accessed July 26, 2011

[7] http://www.bengali.net/pbn/, accessed July 26, 2011

[8] Ibid.[1]

[9] Ibid.[1]

[10] See right Sidebar with heading: “Conference organized by”, http://www.southasianprogressive.org/2004/,  accessed July 26, 2011,

[11] As mentioned in the conference venue announcement at http://www.southasianprogressive.org/2004/,  accessed July 26, 2011

[12] Ibid.[1]


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