Parliamentary Action on Afrikan Reparations: Guidance & Recommendations
On behalf of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi:We Charge Genocide Ecocide‘ Campaign Team (SMWeCGE Campaign Team), it is not recommended that the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Petition, its campaign and its supporting formations; which include the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), the Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) and the Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) among others, which are distinct but complimentary organisational and network formations, are officially represented in the grossly inadequate proposals such as merely going to lobby Parliament without adequate preparatory ISMAR-building groundwork. Such groundwork being necessary to ensure that as many as possible publicly elected officials, at all levels, are compelled to recognise our people’s power flexed through the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, individual organisations and members represented on the AEDRMC, the ARTCoP, the MBC and within the SMWeCGE Campaign Team are free to participate in such lobbies, as deemed appropriate, in their own individual or organisational capacity.
The SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign already have a parliamentary and extra-parliamentary strategy that have distinct goals, which may be confused in a general lobby of Parliament, the terms of engagement or proposed outcomes, which we have not had a role in shaping or been consulted to influence.
The SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign forms a companion project with the AEDRMC and is therefore a positive action step of Afrikan reparatory justice campaigning which seeks to:
- Increase recognition of and educate people about the Maangamizi, its causes, contemporary manifestations and consequences;
- Gather evidence of the continuing impact of the Maangamizi as part of the process towards establishing the All Party-Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament as well as the Ubuntukgotla Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice;
- Mobilise petition signers/supporters as a community of advocates for ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as a force within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations, (ISMAR);
- Catalyse the development of such a force into an integral part of the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’, prevent its recurrence as well as effect and secure measures of reparatory justice from the ground-up;
- Utilise the process of mobilising towards the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March to amplify the voices of communities of reparatory justice interest who are engaged in resistance to the various manifestations of the Maangamizi today.
Similarly, the first 4 aims of the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March are as follows:
- To draw attention to Afrikan peoples’ global determination to not let the British State and other perpetrators get away with the crimes of the Maangamizi (Afrikan hellacaust of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial enslavement);
- To raise consciousness about the fact that all the attacks on us, in both individual and collective instances, amount to Genocide/Ecocide in Maangamizi continuity necessitating reparations;
- To increase awareness of the necessity to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ and its current manifestations such as austerity, attempts to recolonise Afrika, mentacide and deaths in police, psychiatric and prison custody;
- To demonstrate Afrikan peoples’ strength, capacity and determination to speak to and challenge establishment power with our growing grassroots power to effect and secure reparations (reparatory justice) on our own terms.
Hence why the SMWeCGE Postcard campaign makes the following requests for Parliamentarians to take action to:
These are the various interconnected aspects of the strategy to progress action on the goals of the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaigning goals; some of these actions can take place simultaneously.
- Initiate ‘Education is Part of the Preparation for Reparations’ popular educational programmes, through action learning, which includes educating the Afrikan heritage and wider public in a structured way about the ISMAR, the PRIM and directing people into a more effective methodological approaches to the HOW? (applicable methodology) of effecting and securing reparatory justice.
- Initiate programmes and processes which increase overstanding of the signing of the SMWeGGE Petition in a ‘Soulsquestathon’ as meaningful only when a signatory proceeds, not only to promote the diligent comprehensive study of its contents to encourage participatory mass education,’ but also the use of the contents for the glocal practical training and rehearsal of court proceedings in his/her home, workplace, spaces of worship, leisure sites, etc., on our Global Afrikan Family Case for Holistic Reparatory Justice as it ought to be heard by the future Ubuntukgotla, Peoples’ International Tribunal for Global Justice (PITGJ). As the Abuja Proclamation states: …”the pursuit of reparations by the African peoples in the continent and in the Diaspora will itself be a learning experience in self-discovery and in uniting experience politically and psychologically.“
- Encourage local Afrikan Heritage Community constituents to do family research and gather evidence of the Maangamizi as it impacts them and their family/community of interests by documenting various violations of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights, they are or have encountered.
- Empower members of the Afrikan Heritage Community to creatively utilise the SMWeCGE Petition Soulsquestathons to establish MAATZOEZADUARAs (Maat Training Practice Rings) within their homes and community settings as Grassroots Afrikan Reparatory Justice Action Learning Praxis Exercising Rings (GARJALPERs) of the Ubuntukgotla; Mindful of the fact that individual family and other group cases need to be made in organic connection to our Afrikan people’s reparatory justice case in its glocal dimensions.
- The MAATZOEZADUARAs should also be utilised to very well prepare, by way of rehearsals and other training and educational practices, “SoulTruth Barings” and other kinds of presentations in preparations for the parliamentary commissions of inquiry at local, national and international levels by Afrikan Heritage Community groups and individuals, as well as interested others from diverse communities, who desire the truthful public telling of their own germane personal, family and community stories relating to the Maangamizi to the entire world.
- Participate in mobilisations for the 1st August March and in this connection, by practicing arguments and engaging in open discourses and debates on reparatory justice case presentations in the lead up to the annual People’s Open Parliamentary Session on Reparations (POPSOR) which take place as part of the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
- Get local area Outreach Teams actively promoting the SMWeCGE Petition as a companion project to the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March as well as disseminating relevant reparations-related educational and promotional materials.
- Out of such Outreach Team public engagements to identify and nurture dynamic and highly-motivated Reparations Action-Learners, Community Advocates and Champions who can effectively advocate for the cause of ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as a prerequisite to effecting and securing holistic reparatory justice. These are some of the actions that such Reparations & SMWeCGE Action-Learners, Advocates and Champions can take at the local level.
- Build a local support base of such Reparations and SMWeCGE Action-Learners, Advocates and Champions who will take up this issue and do sustained lobbying of local MP’s, consciousness-raising and local mobilisation with their various communities of interest on the matter of holistic reparatory justice.
- Lobby MP’s and other publicly elected officials in one’s local constituency to take action on the SMWeCGE Petition as outlined in the SMWeCGE Postcard campaign. Make the focus of lobbying MP’s and other publicly elected officials three-fold in terms of the 3 demands on the SMWeCGE Postcard as above. However, explaining to such elected representatives the consequences of the Maangamizi, and the negative impact it has had on one’s family, extended family or community of interest will help to illustrate the key issues contained within the SMWeCGE Petition.
- Invite such MP’s to attend and support local meetings and events promoting the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign.
- Mobilise Reparations & SMWeCGE Action-Learners, Advocates and Champions to document progress on tasks initiated to advance the SMWeCGE Petition campaigning goals, feed-forward info to the SMWeCGE Campaign Team on the outcomes and impact of meetings with local MPs and publicly elected officials, as well as actions that such officials have agreed to undertake.
- Where necessary, Reparations & SMWeCGE Action-Learners, Advocates and Champions to follow-up with MPs and other publicly elected officials when the actions they take or responses given to requests to take action/s to advance the cause of reparatory justice are insufficient.
- Reparations & SMWeCGE Action-Learners, Advocates and Champions to contribute to local documentation of actions undertaken, through audio-visual records, pictures etc.
- Get to a state of affairs, where as many as possible MPs and other publicly elected officials, are familiar with the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaigning goals.
- Identify a named individual in every local constituency that wins recognition from the local MP and all other publicly elected officials as the ISMAR combat-post server for the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign, (this can be from among Reparations & SMWeCGE Action-Learners, Advocates and Champions).
- Once the ground-work has advanced, to the required degree of glocal effectiveness, then mass lobbies of Parliament, and other organs and institutions of state, become productively feasible.
- Such lobbies will include among other things, requests of MPs to ask parliamentary questions, ask questions of the Prime Minister and other Ministers, to table or sign Early Day Motions and/or to initiate parliamentary debates etc., in addition to taking other necessary steps to mainstream our grassroots case for reparatory justice in parliamentary and other activities of the entire British State and civil society.
The SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign goals aligned with the aims of the 1st August Reparations March promote tactics of engagement which advance the struggle for total Pan-Afrikan liberation in terms of: increasing recognition that we are currently in the neo-colonial phase of the Maangamizi, (which is a continuum from the past chattel and colonial phases); and that the Maangamizi needs to be stopped in order for the repair of ourselves and every aspect of our societal lives to take place, in harmony with Mother Earth Rights, to be effected in the Sankofa attainment of holistic reparatory justice. For example, this pursuit of holistic reparatory justice needs to embody restitution, reclamation and also moving forward. Therefore there needs to be creativity in going beyond simply restoration of even the best of the past.
Taking the lessons from the past, including that of previous organisations such as the African Reparations Movement (ARM-UK), we also have to be mindful of the political terrain and recognise that action will not be taken on the cause of reparatory justice by MPs unless there is sustained pressure from below in the local constituencies of parliamentarians. This can best happen through the ground-up dissemination of the SMWeCGE Petition, consciousness-raising and education for mobilisation and local outreach as the AEDRMC in particular is already engaged in .
A calculated assessment is being made that the demands of the SMWCGE Petition are, most likely, to be taken up under a Labour Government, with Jeremy Corbyn leading it, i.e. if sufficient pressure is applied. Jeremy Corbyn has indicated in more ways than one that he is interested in hearing what “the proposals are and what the discussions are” for reparatory justice. Hence why members of the AEDRMC & ARTCoP (e.g. Esther Stanford-Xosei, Toyah RBG) and Kofi Mawuli Klu respectively) have prioritised building the Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC). Esther Stanford-Xosei is the acting Co-Chair of the Interim Steering Committee of MBC and Toyah RBG is the Leadership Co-Facilitator of MBC Youth Wing, likewise Kofi Mawuli Klu of the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) is a member of the Interim Steering Committee of the MBC.
“The MBC was formed in December 2015 with the express purpose of connecting, through Momentum, the Black Power politics of Black communities of resistance, in and Beyond Britain, into the progressive politics of the wider Labour Movement and society within and beyond the United Kingdom.
Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) is an independently self-organising, autonomous and self-determining Black Power constituency within the network of people and organisations to continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. We are committed to advancing Black Power perspectives on the 10 priorities that Jeremy Corbyn has identified as his own standpoint.”
In their founding document the MBC state:
“For us, the promises upon which we shall insist the Labour Party delivers in government must include demands from our Black Power agendas of anti-racism, intersectional equity, reparatory justice and all other elements of holistic global justice.”
At the MBC Launch on 2nd April 2016 in Birmingham attended by John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (also Jeremy Corbyn’s Right Hand man), Esther Stanford-Xosei, on behalf of MBC directly requested action from John McDonnell MP for support on this issue. Follow-up work is currently occurring on this. Click here to read the speech Esther Stanford-Xosei made at the MBC Launch here.
Esther Stanford-Xosei & Toyah RBG at launch of MBC, 2 April 2016
After this speech, MBC decided to take up the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign for All-Party Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) in both the UK and European Parliaments. MBC also committed to join the programme of activities for the 1st August 2016, Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparation March.
Support for the SMWeCGE Petition was again reiterated in this MBC ‘Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn.‘ Of course, the door is open for all political parties to make overtures to act on the SMWeCGE Petition and its campaigning goals or other matters of reparatory justice.
Accordingly, the aforementioned reasons better explain why it would be problematic for the SMWeCGE and its campaign, the AEDRMC, ARTCoP or indeed the MBC to be drawn into premature lobbies of Parliament where members of the Afrikan Heritage Community turn up and make various unstructured, and perhaps at times conflicting demands, of their MPs. More so, without having built themselves up into the required glocal ISMAR force, that compels respect from a significant number of MPs and other publicly elected officials, on the cause of reparatory justice and the specific goal of establishing an APPCITARJ.
The disadvantages of participating in such premature lobbies of Parliament include:
- It is unlikely that significant numbers of MPs will turn up without the necessary local ground-work and premature lobbies of parliament on Afrikan Reparations will in effect be a few community based speakers and organisations talking mainly to themselves in a room in Parliament, in the absence of most of the Parliamentarians who are necessary to make such lobbies worthwhile.
- The strategy outlined above runs the risk of losing its distinctness, efficacy and impact in a cacophony of voices that will be explaining reparations in different ways, and making various demands including for financial compensation that do not go the substantive Pan-Afrikan liberation heart of the matter of our collective strategy for holistic reparatory justice.
- The SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign goals in accordance with the aims of the 1st August Emancipation Day Reparations March will be swallowed up, and be confused with general unstructured ideas on “pay us reparations”. Currently masses of people are not highly conscientised enough to go beyond the simplistic message of pay reparations or reparations now. Reparatory justice must first of all be about stopping the continuum of harm as part of the process of total Pan-Afrikan liberation, highlighting the Sankofa winning our right to collective group Self-determination and Sovereignty.
- The SMWeCGE Petition and its campaign, the AEDRMC, ARTCoP and MBC risk having their substantive message of reparations as total liberation in a mish-mash of different voices and demands on reparations which ultimately plays into the hands of our adversaries whom are quick to seize upon such mish-mash of ideas to stoke up confusion and discredit our cause among MPs, all other publicly elected officials and the general public.
- Without such ground-work the SMWeCGE Petition, its campaign the AEDRMC, ARTCoP and MBC collectively runs the risk of our principled insistence on the correct strategy and tactics of fighting for true reparatory justice being misconstrued as contributing to further disunity among pro-reparations forces.
In summary, the SMWeCGE Petition, its campaign and members of the AEDRMC who are involved with MBC are building connections with the Labour Party and the wider Labour Movement.
In terms of engagement with other political parties that is the importance of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Afrikan Heritage Communities Legacies of Enslavement which is mentioned on the SMWeCGE Postcard.
Accordingly, the ‘Stop The Maangamizi’ Campaign Team further reiterate, we recommend that the AEDRMC does not officially participate or represent the Interests of the SMWeCGE Petition in any proposals for premature lobbying of parliaments and other organs and institutions of the British state.
However, individual organisations and members represented on the AEDRMC, the ARTCoP, the MBC and within the SMWeCGE Campaign Team are free to participate in such lobbies, as deemed appropriate, in their own individual or organisational capacity.
SMWeCGE Campaign Team
 The demands we are making are not just for us. They are also for generations of the past, the present and the future, bound together in a spiritual unity rooted in reparatory justice ethics. This means taking a Sankofa journey through our ancestries, because our ancestors are no longer with us in physicality; they have become souls. So when we are making demands that relate to them, we have to grasp the spiritual aspects of the education of reparatory justice education and how that then interconnects between generations of the past, the present and the future. It follows that our reparatory justice work, and the demands we make, have to be done with an understanding of their spiritual quintessence in terms of the connections, between the generations and the great responsibility we have to act in accordance with the principles necessary for upholding the ethics of reparations.
As descendants of Afrikans who were enslaved, we are mindful of our ancestral responsibility to ensure that when we speak in their names we do not allow the enslaver’s visions of justice to prevail in advocating what are considered to be adequate reparations. The discourse on reparations has to move beyond merely calling on the name of our ancestors as justification for the genesis of our entitlements to redress today, to truly recognising the personhood, worldviews and visions of justice of the Afrikans that were enslaved in Afrika, and the so-called Americas, including the Caribbean.
 Action-Learning Circle within which we educate ourselves and others to practice Maat in relation to effecting and securing reparatory justice. For example, if you are a family, you can sit in a circle, discuss the issues contained within the SMWeCGE Petition, rehearse the arguments for reparations and the opposing arguments one anticipates they will encounter; and debate with each other about the impact of the Maangamizi on your family, extended family or community of interest. In these family/community circles everybody has something to learn and something to teach. Since the impact of the Maangamizi has affected everyone differently, it is important for everyone to have their say.