On April 18-24, 1955, delegates from 29 nations from Asia and Africa came together in Bandung, Indonesia for the Konferensi Asia-Afrika. This conference was a gathering of independent nations to discuss issues of sovereignty, racism and colonialism, and became known simply as “The Bandung Conference.”
Chronicling Resistance Fellows Katherine Antarikso, Brother Tommy Joshua Caison, Lan Dinh and muthi reed came together to talk about the Spirit of the Bandung Conference on April 24, 2021, on the same date as the final day of the Conference. Sixty-six years later, we talked about its significance; what we can learn about Afro-Asian solidarity; the current moment; and what our vision for Afro-Asian solidarity can look like in Philadelphia. Unedited audio of our conversation is below.
More about the Conference:
The five organizing countries were Indonesia, India, Burma, Ceylon and Pakistan; participating countries included Ethiopia, Lebanon, Libya, and Egypt among others.
President Sukarno of Indonesia, the host country, proclaimed it “the first international conference of colored peoples in the history of mankind.”
The African American writer Richard Wright wrote an account of his time at the conference in The Color Curtain and why he was interested in the conference:
“A stream of realizations claimed my mind: these people were ex-colonial subjects, people whom the white West called “colored” peoples….Almost all of the nations mentioned had been, in some form or other, under the domination of Western Europe; some had been subjected for a few decades and others had been rule for three hundred and fifty years…”
At the end of the conference, the delegates outlined their ten principles of co-operation also known as the Dasasila Bandung:
- Respect for fundamental human rights and for the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
- Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.
- Recognition of the equality of all races and nations large and small.
- Abstention from intervention or interference in the internal affairs of another country.
- Respect for the right of each nation to defend itself singly or collectively, in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Abstention from the use of arrangements of collective defense to serve the particular interests of any of the big powers, abstention by any country from exerting pressure on other countries.
- Refraining from acts or threats of aggression or the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any country.
- Settlement of all international disputes through peaceful means, such as negotiation, conciliation, arbitration, or judicial settlement as well as other peaceful means of the parties’ own choice in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations.
- Promotion of mutual interests and cooperation.
- Respect for justice and international obligation.
The Bandung Conference was a pivotal moment, many of the nations that participated in the conference were newly independent, and sought to be free from the influence of the United States and the Soviet Union, and the term “Third World” started to grow in significance. These independent nations met to forge new ways of cooperation with each other and eventually led the way to the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Copyright 2021 by Katherine Antarikso, Brother Tommy Joshua Caison, Lan Dinh and muthi reed. All rights reserved.