African-Americans Discuss Defense of Culture at Intellectuals’ Conference in Venezuela

Intellectuals and artists from around the world, including the Smithsonian Institute's Director of Culture, James C. Earley, and U.S. actor Danny Glover, discussed proposals on how to protect and promote culture within the context of globalization.

Caracas, December 4, 2004–Intellectuals and artists from around the world, including the Smithsonian Institute’s Director of Culture, James C. Earley, and U.S. actor Danny Glover, discussed proposals on how to protect and promote culture within the context of globalization.  
Actor Danny Glover and Simthsonian Institute’s Culture Director James Earley
Credit: Robin Nieto
Earley proposed three concrete actions plans for delegates from around the world, who were gathered in Venezuela`s capital, to discuss strategies on how to defend the world’s cultures in the face of increasing corporate monopolization of cultural forms, the media, and the process of globalization through global organizations such as the World Trade Organization. 
Earley, a long time defender of African-American and Latin American cultures in the U.S., suggested the following proposals for a final action plan:
  1. to identify existing organizations that protect and promote culture in order to create a network of networks. 
  2. to create a minimal secretariat to keep organizations within this network in constant communication with each other.  This secretariat was proposed to be created in the host country of Venezuela.
  3. for each delegate to contact their Ministers of Culture and to identify their cultural policies and to determine what kind of links exist with the Ministers of Finance who attend WTO meetings
Earley clarified that the U.S. is not a monolithic empire.  It is a nation that includes Indigenous people, African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.  “There are more Latin American professors on Latin American culture in the U.S. than in all of Latin America.  They are citizens of the U.S. and citizens of Latin America,” Earley said. 
Earley said that looking at the U.S. without a social and cultural analysis means that those allies living in the U.S. will be ignored.  Earley quoted Samuel P. Huntington, author of “The Clash of Civilizations and the remaking of World Order,” who accoring to Early recenly wrote that “the greatest threat to the Anglo Protestant creed in the United States are the Spanish speakers.”
Danny Glover, African-American actor who has starred in more than a dozen box-office hit movies is currently chairman of the TransAfrica Forum, an organzation dedicated to educating African-Americans on the effects of U.S. foreign policy on Africa and the African diaspora, explained the importance of trade unions in the U.S. as allies in the development of a new idea of culture.
“There is a movement in the U.S. of trade unions that is comprised of people that are primarily immigrants. These unions are not only connected to the political framework of the U.S. but they are also connected by virture of families and cultures.  We have to look at these places as well if we are going to  understand the role we have to play in terms of cultural identity,” Glover said.