My letter to FYEG: A politics of principle.

Dear FYEG,

I write this with a heavy heart.

When I first engaged in politics as a young teen in Malaysia nearly a decade ago, I made it my mission to fight for the oppressed and the voiceless. A politics of principle – of honesty, integrity, inclusivity, solidarity, and ultimately of humanity. A compass that has guided me ever since, and a promise I made to myself of principles I would never abandon.

Upon moving to Europe in 2019, that flame burnt ever stronger. Fighting for the oppressed meant fighting for change in whatever way I could – organisational, societal, institutional, systemic. It meant making use of the opportunities I had to deepen my knowledge on racial justice, on decoloniality, on intersectionality, and so much more. It meant challenging the systems of oppression against the Global South and the racialised Other in the Western world.

It meant learning from, platforming the voices of, and fighting for the rights of the racialised Other – for a decolonial imaginary. It meant making my voice heard, and with it striving for a politics of the marginalised made central. A politics of principle.

It was this message of unapologetic, radical racial justice and inclusion with which I am ever grateful that our Member Organisations (MOs), all of you, elected me to the Executive Committee (EC) in 2022, and even more resoundingly so in 2023.

It has not been easy to fully strive for this over the past year, in an organisation that is unfortunately still so unfamiliar, even unwelcoming, to people like me. But the past two weeks has been especially challenging and hurtful.

As the crisis in Gaza unravelled and continues to unravel, as it became increasingly clear that Israel is inflicting a genocidal retaliation against the Palestinian peoples, the prioritisations of my fellow EC went against everything I stand for.

Instead of discussing the condemnation of genocide, apartheid, and settler-colonialism, amongst other crimes, of Israel – the EC was preoccupied with discussing the political optics and consequences criticising Israel would have on Grüne Jugend, the German Young Greens.

Instead of listening to and addressing the concerns of racialised peoples, especially of affected peoples – appeals from the Racial Justice Task Force, various young greens of colour, and myself were ignored and disregarded over the concerns of the German Young Greens.

Instead of amplifying the voices of the racialised and affected peoples and strongly standing in solidarity against all forms of colonialism, imperialism, and oppression – the EC chose to focus first on finding ways to not have a statement to prevent upsetting the German Young Greens, and then to repeatedly water down the statement until it would appease them, before allowing their exclusion from it altogether.

The procedure with which we have handled the statement on Gaza has led to the gross reproduction of power imbalances and unfair favour towards the German Young Greens – a double standard that we yet again only apply to them and not to any of our other MOs. One that reproduces the very same power imbalances in Europe we supposedly criticise. Despite the overwhelming consensus of all our MOs on acknowledging the past and ongoing oppression of Palestinians by Israel, we have de facto given the German Young Greens a veto on human rights, but also on various other issues in the past.

Our Federation is built on dialogue and functions on democratic majorities. We have managed to pursue strong stances and resolutions no matter how difficult or contentious, guided by our shared principles. To repeatedly and only allow one MO to disengage from these processes that shape the Federation, is to go against the spirit of this Federation. If the values of the German Young Greens do not align with these principles of justice, equality, inclusion, and respect for human rights at the core of this Federation and its MOs, it is not us that must compromise for them – it is them who must reform or leave this Federation. Ultimately and crucially, human rights are uncompromisable and non-negotiable: there can be no veto.

As it is, as a Federation that claims to be founded upon principles of equality and respect for human rights and dignity; that claims to stand for fairness, especially towards all our MOs; that claims to advocate for decoloniality, justice and the platforming of marginalised voices; that claims to fight for system change; we have failed in all these regards.

I stand here yet again feeling unheard, ignored, if not silenced in this Federation. I must thank my fellow EC member Benedetta Scuderi and the MOs that believe in me for their support through this, but much work must be done collectively to ensure inclusion, racial justice, and decoloniality are not simply buzzwords for us to campaign on. If we truly are antiracist, we must start internally. A politics of principle. At this time, I do not see that being possible within this EC or the Federation in its current state.

Effective immediately I will be distancing myself from the EC for the foreseeable future whilst still carrying out all my responsibilities to the fullest degree as we undergo external mediation, and until comprehensive structural changes are made into how we make decisions to ensure our core principles and the voices of affected peoples are truly platformed over unfair political interests and the reproduction of power imbalances. I urge the EC to pursue these changes or to otherwise make use of article 3.5.1. of the IRPs to dismiss me.

I will not be stepping down, but instead using my voice through the mandate you elected me upon to keep fighting for radical racial justice and inclusion in this Federation. Nothing about us, without us.

For you, for us, for FYEG,

Srishagon Abraham.