Suriname in world history

This video is called Anton de Kom – Black is Beautiful.

Suriname was subject to oppression and exploitation ever since the sixteenth century. First by Spanish colonialists; then by English; then by Dutch. Still in the second half of the twentieth century, Surinamese schoolchildren had to learn that the river Rhine entered their country at Lobith [a village in the eastern Netherlands].

One of the means which the Dutch colonial government used against critics was exile from Suriname. In the eighteenth century, this was used against Elizabeth Samson.

In the twentieth century, it was used against Anton de Kom, child of a slave, for trying to organize workers. In exile in the Netherlands, De Kom wrote Wij, slaven van Suriname; a history of slavery in Suriname. He also wrote for communist publications, and continued to do so after 1940, when the nazi occupiers of the Netherlands banned the communist party. Though opposing Dutch oppression in Suriname, now when the people of the Netherlands suffered from a somewhat similar oppression by Hitler, he took their side against that oppression. In this, he was similar to the Indonesian students organization in the Netherlands: anti Dutch colonialism, but joining the Dutch anti nazi resistance. The nazis killed De Kom in concentration camp Neuengamme.

Another well known person from Suriname in the twentieth century political left was Otto Huiswoud. A printing worker, a son of a slave, he emigrated to New York City in 1910. He joined the Socialist Party of America. He was in its left wing, which became the Communist Party. That party put him up as a candidate for the executive of the Communist International. The International congress did not elect him then; but it did elect him as alternate executive member four years later.

Huiswoud was active against discrimination of black people in the USA. Also internationally, like in Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Inprovement Association; where he criticized Garvey for lack of understanding of capitalist vs. worker issues.

He was jailed in Belgium in 1934. Later, in Suriname by the colonial authorities. The infamous hardline Governor Kielstra, who had exiled De Kom as well, had the anti fascist Huiswood jailed in between racist members of the Dutch nazi party NSB during World War II.

After the war, Huiswoud moved to Amsterdam, where he founded Ons Suriname, the organization of Surinamese living in the Netherlands.

3 thoughts on “Suriname in world history

  1. Pingback: Dutch-Surinamese artist Nola Hatterman | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dutch seventeenth-century art about Brazilian animals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Amsterdam streets named after anti-slavery, anti-colonialism fighters | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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