Does a Guadeloupian people exist?

Issue 

The article below is an abridged translation of the resolution adopted by the General Union of Workers of Guadeloupe (UGTG) at its 12th Congress, April 2-5, 2008. The UGTG republished the resolution on March 8.

To this question, the French constitution replies "no", considering that we, the sons and daughters of slaves and others who have come from various continents, are but a population, a component of the French people, thereby integrating its last colonies within the French bosom; in a word, the red, green, yellow [colours of Guadeloupe], a component of the blue, white, red [colours of the French flag].

And yet, we Guadeloupians, we have a history, a language, a land, beliefs, social and cultural practices. All indicators that make us a people.

The response of the French state cannot be different from what it is, for Guadeloupian society is built on relations of colonial domination in accordance with a "natural" order established for centuries: at the top of the scale, the whites, and at the bottom, the Blacks.

"Department", "Mono-departmental region", "French department of America", "Ultra-peripheral region", "Overseas department", "Ultramarine regions" — so many terms to try to hide a glaring reality: Guadeloupe is just a colony of France, a country occupied by the French state.

And a colony lives, survives only in order to serve the metropolis.

In this situation, what should we do? Let it be and disappear, or fight for the right of self-determination of the Guadeloupian people?

An inalienable right, constantly reaffirmed and perpetually denied and invalidated by the various French and European policies through laws for adaptation and re-adaptation, orientation and programming, with the criminal complicity of the elected politicians.

The dynamism of the social movement and the political and symbolic implications of the demands, demonstrate the rejection of submission, of capitalist and colonial exploitation, the right to respect to all of its potentialities, including that of creating new social relations in a new, more just and more equitable society.

We Guadeloupians are, along with the Martiniquais and the Guyanais [the people of Martinique and La Guyane], colonised and dominated, not through some curse or twist of fate but as the consequence of imperialist strategies that systematically attempt to dominate us.

The Guadeloupian people have the right to self-determination. The right of the Guadeloupian nation to full sovereignty and national independence is undeniable.

The interests of the working class, of the Guadeloupian producers and creators, will be preserved only through their engagement in the struggle for the national liberation of our country.

The UGTG is and remains a class and mass organisation convinced of the need to transform social relations for the purpose of achieving a more just society, securing for everyone his or her right to work, to health, to education, to culture, to life.

More than ever, we proclaim our adherence to the patriotic option, and we enshrine our style, methods, principles, values and conceptions within the perspective of affirming the Guadeloupian identity.