Challenging the Lifeline of Imperialism: Reassessing Afro-Asian Solidarity and Related Activism in the Decade 1955–1965

Katharine McGregor, Vannessa Hearman

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    At the 1955 Asia-Africa conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, Indonesian President Sukarno actively promoted the concept of Afro-Asian solidarity. Until he was ousted in 1966, Sukarno was a leading figure in efforts by developing nations to chart a third way in the polarisation of the Cold War. Sukarno suggested postcolonial nations would be a new and important voice in world politics and would become the foremost critics of imperialism and global inequities. Although there is a growing literature on the Bandung conference (Mackie 2005, Tan & Acharya 2008, Finnane & MacDougall 2010), scholars are only beginning to examine the connections formed across Asia and Africa in the 1950s and 60s beyond the level of elites (see Lee 2010). Perhaps due to the contemporary emphasis on regional blocks and the tendency to study national history the new networks forged during the critical decade of 1955-65 between political activists from Asia, Africa and Middle Eastern committed to full decolonization and opposition to imperialism have not been fully appreciated. In this paper, we re-examine the ideals of Afro-Asian solidarity articulated at Bandung and trace how the conference inspired renewed grassroots campaigning for decolonization. Drawing on interviews and archival research, we analyze how organizations founded in the wake of Bandung, such as the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organization and its affiliates, took up the ideals of Afro-Asian solidarity and the involvement of Indonesians in these organizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBandung, Global History, and International Law
    Subtitle of host publicationCritical Pasts and Pending Futures
    EditorsLuis Eslava, Michael Fakhri, Vasuki Nesiah
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    Number of pages16
    ISBN (Electronic)9781316414880
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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