Please note where you see different spellings of Afrikan this is because we in the SMWeCGEC use the spelling of Afrikan with a K but have preserved the spelling of African with a C when that is used by others.
Today we in the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and our educational arm the Maangamizi Educational Trust were participating stakeholders to the historic establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations (APPGAR) which was launched in the British Houses of Parliament (via an online AGM) at 10.30am this morning, Wednesday 20th October 2021. The APPGAR is chaired by Bell Ribeiro-AddyMP, the Vice Chairs are Marsha De Cordova MP and Caroline Lucus MP, the Assistant Secretary is Sir Peter Bottomley.
On behalf of the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign, the Maangamizi Educational Educational Trust will be sharing the running of the Secretariat for the APPGAR. Other organisations who will also be part of running the secretariat are the Glocal Afrikan Reparations Forum of London, (GARFOL) and The African Foundation for Development, (AFFORD).
The APPGAR will be officially launched on 27th October 2021.
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust and Coordinator General of the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign who was honoured to speak at the AGM made the following speech:
My name is Esther Stanford-Xosei and I speak as the Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust (MET) which is the charitable arm of the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC). Because of the historic importance of the AGM of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations (APPGAR) today, the MET/SMWeCGEC has agreed a written speech from which I shall read.
First of all, we would like to acknowledge countless generations of Afrikans in the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) on whose shoulders, struggles and sacrifices we stand, whom since the mid-1700s in the UK specifically, have advocated for holistic reparations. In this regard, we particularly highlight the role of people like Ottobah Cugoano and other members of the Sons of Africa.
This idea for the APPGAR comes out of the campaigning efforts of the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and our charitable educational arm, the Maangamizi Educational Trust. Maangamizi is the Kiswahili term for the continuum of chattel enslavement, colonialism and neocolonilaism.
We see the establishment of the APPGAR as a continuation of the world of the late Bernie Grant MPwho was the first member of the British Houses of Parliament to take up the issue of Afrikan Reparations following on from the ‘First Pan-African Conference on Reparations for Chattel Enslavement, Colonisation & Neocolonisation’ which took place in Abuja, Nigeria in 1993 and resulted in the establishment of the organisation known as the African Reparations Movement UK as well as the Abuja ProclamationEarly Day Motion 1987. It is in continuity of this work that we in the Maangamizi Educational Trust and the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign take our duties within the secretariat of the APPGAR very seriously. For this parliament has played a major role in legalizing, historical and contemporary injustices against Afrikan people worldwide including the passing of the Slave Compensation Act of 1837, which compensated our enslavers rather than Afrikan people. It has been very instrumental in legalizing our dehumanization, and continues with justifications being provided by this government for the discriminatory impacts of its extractivist policies in the Global South to supposedly avert the climate and ecological crises.
In terms of our MET/SMWeCGEC vision of the APPGAR, we see its purpose as: “bringing together parliamentarians, campaigners, communities and other stakeholders to examine issues of African Reparations; explore policy proposals on reparations and make recommendations to Parliament on how to redress the legacies of African enslavement, colonialism and neocolonialism today“. In this regard, a key objective of the APPGAR being to facilitate, work towards establishing the UKAll-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) which is a key demand contained in the Stop The Maangamizi Petition and forms one of the main purposes of the ‘Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans’ motions being passed by local and city councils.
People of Afrikan Heritage have been denied their right to be heard on what we mean by reparations, and what solutions we are already working on as part of Community Self-Repairs so that is what we are calling for a mechanism which can facilitate the dialogue between Afrikan Heritage Communities and the British State and society; which for us is the APPCITARJ. We therefore see this APPGAR as an important step in the process towards establishing such a mechanism of such vitally necessary dialogue. For it is only then that we can truly make appropriate policy and other programmatic types of redress by way of remedies to repair ourselves here in the UK and extending into the Afrikan Heritage Communities globally; and in the process also catalyze the repair of the entire British society and of course, of all peoples and societies, within and beyond in the UK.
It is necessary for the APPGAR to invite people to honest dialogue on this issue of Afrikan Reparations, because this struggle to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice, like all our struggles, begins with the need for, as advocated by Professor Karenga, a clear conception of what we want, how we define the issue and explain it to the world and what is to be done to achieve it. However, on this we should be guided by Afrikan Heritage Communities and the movements they have created to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice which have been operational over centuries.
We in the MET/SMWeCGEC want to emphasize that the grassroots of our Afrikan Heritage Communities across the world should be driving this work. It is up to this APPGAR to demonstrate that there is a leadership that will be of service to our communities at this time when there are big questions about what kind of leadership we have and even some of the state and non-state actors active on issues of reparations, being heavily scrutinised in terms of their credibility and commitment to our people in what some see as a tendency to want to make elitist deals under the guise of reparations which do not benefit the masses of the people. We should all be clear that Afrikan Heritage Communities have a right to participate in reparations programme and policy development and must be in the driving seat of such processes best summed up in the mantra: Nothing About Us Without Us for Anything About Us Without Us is Against Us. Furthermore, participation rights are individual and collective human rights under customary international law. They are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and further established in states’ legal obligations as spelled out in the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(ICERD) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP).
That is why for us in the MET/SMWeCGEC, the emphasis should be on Afrikan Heritage Communities Self-Repairs as was recognised in the Bristol ‘Atonement and Reparations’ motion which states: reparative justice should be driven by Afrikan Heritage Communities experiences, voices and perspectives to ensure that advocacy messages not only reflect but also respond to the real needs of the community in order to recognise inequalities. Also, that Afrikan Heritage Communities in collaboration with wider stakeholders, should be supported to develop their own glocal ‘reparations plans‘ to tackle issues of community disrepair as a result of the Maangamizi, locally, nationally and internationally. These issues of disrepair rooted in conquest, dispossession, structural racism as well as intergenerational oppression and trauma include in the UK: gun and knife crime among young people, kidnapped and missing children, the discriminatory impacts of the criminal justice system, the education system and the issue of Afrikan heritage maternal death-rates and inequalities of primal health of people of Afrikan heritage and ancestry etc as a result of the continuing impacts of the Maangamizi.
Research of people like Professor Carlton Waterhouseshows that much of the reparations policy-making, scholarship and public discourse pays little attention to the quality of past reparations programmes implemented around the world and whilst the emphasis is placed on former and contemporary wrongdoers to make apology, recompense, or other types of restitution, very little attention is paid to results, the end result of any reparations process should be the restoration and recovery of those that have experienced enduring injustice and harm, as well as the critical role that communities and individuals suffering from past abuses should play in establishing those programmes in order to re-establish their personal well-being and societal standing. Similarly, a lot of attention gets placed on state initiated reparations programmes; but this is based on a false and outmoded notion of international law as just being about the law of nation-states or governments rather than peoples and/or affected communities.
As much as this APPGAR has been centuries in the making, we must also recognise the context within which this struggle to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice is unfolding as historian Professor John Henrik Clarke advocated, we must be conscious of what political and cultural time of day it is given our locations as Afrikan people on the map of human geography. At a time when the extent of the Maangamizi is now imperilling all life on Planet Earth and some of us are threatened with literal extinction; an approach to effecting and securing holistic reparatory justice is required which brings about Planet Repairs which means: when safeguarding the rights of past, present and future generations; the need to proceed from a standpoint of Pluriversality that highlights the nexus of reparatory, environmental and cognitive justice in articulating the impetus to repair holistically our relationship with, and inseparability from, the Earth, Environment and the Pluriverse. Such an approach recognises there is urgent need for us all to compel the stopping of the Maangamizi of Neocolonialism and its inbuilt manifestations of genocide and ecocide and for Afrikan Heritage Communities to engage in deep and transformative adaptation given the certainty of intensifying climate and ecological crisis which is already impacting all life support systems as we know it rapidly-changing Planet Earth; doing so in ways and means that repair and transform our existing failed institutions in all spheres of people activity, locally, nationally and internationally. Such repair and transformation being anchored in the ancient Afrikan ethical imperative of Serudj ta, i.e., healing, repairing and remaking the World, making it more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
For these reasons, an essential part of our communities self-defence is transformative adaptation which is also about us beginning to make Pempamsiempangos, an Adinkra symbol, which encapsulates the necessity to knit and sew together in readiness for our community self-repairs; these are Glocal Afrikan Reparations Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression being drawn up locally, nationally, internationally as well as globally. Alternative Progression plans become necessary given the contested nature of currently dominant processes of globalized development as highligted in Pluriverse: A Post Development Dictionary, given its structural roots in the Maangamizi, modernity, capitalism, state domination, and exclusively masculinist values which have often ended up being instead maldevelopment.
Finally, it is important to note that we who have been struggling to effect community self-repairs over centuries have built up an extensive knowledge base about the kind of system-change reparatory justice policy and programmatic measures are required. It follows that reparations education and conscientisation is part of the preparation for effecting and securing reparatory justice and this requires the APPGAR to also facilitate intense study about this issue as well as recognising that there is such a thing as reparations ethics. In this regard to acknowledge the INOSAAR Principles of Participationwhich promote equity between the knowledges produced by Afrikan Heritage Communities on Reparations and all other stakeholders.
We in the MET and the SMWeCGEC commit to disciplined, proactive work in the APPGAR secretariat and in fulfilment of this vision and we are keen to work equitably with partners who recognise the principles of Afrikan agency in determining what is best for our people.
We thank Bell Ribeiro-Addy for taking up this challenge by taking this historic step in initiating this APPGAR and agreeing to chair it and of course also to all of you who have agree to be the other executive officers.
We look forward to supporting and working with you all in the APPGAR.
The orginal proposal for the APPGAR as proposed by the MET can be found here.
“Accepting our responsibility and obligation to our Ancestors for ensuring that the African identity is proclaimed, maintained and developed; and that Africa is restored to its rightful place at the centre of world politics; call upon all people of African origin in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere to support the movement for reparations and join forces with a view to forming a strong united front capable of exposing, confronting and overcoming the psychological, economic and cultural harm inflicted upon us by peoples of European origin.”
Birmingham Declaration, Africa Reparations Movement (UK), 01/01/94
“Reparations is a process of the repairing and remaking of a people who are in the process and practice of repairing, renewing and remaking the world”
Professor Maulana Karenga, Black Power Encyclopaedia: From “Black is Beautiful” to Urban Uprisings, 2018
On the 1 May 2021, Pan-Afrikan youth commemorated the anniversary of the 1 May 1820 legal lynching of William Davidson, through the British courts of the enslavers of his Afrikan people, resulting in his murder by hanging and subsequent beheading by the British State, by launching a class-action to redress such harms of the Maangamizi with a historic case of Reparatory Justice for Planet Repairs utilising Law as Resistance known as the Global Majority Vs the UK Government Campaign.
William Davidson was the son of a formerly enslaved Afrikan woman born in Jamaica and the Scottish Attorney General of Jamaica. At the age of 14, against his mother’s wishes, he was sent to Glasgow to study law. He rose to become one of the pioneering leaders of not only the Trade Union Movement but also the Spencean wing of the emergent Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Movement for the transformation of Britain and its Empire into a true commonwealth of emancipated nations pursuing agrarian revolution that would seize back all stolen lands, redistribute them to everyone and thereby transform the world. Such land redistribution and agrarian repairs were intended to be done in such ways of environmental justice as would result in what today we refer to as ‘Planet Repairs as the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) brought into conceptualising highlighting the interconnections between reparatory justice, environmental justice and cognitive justice.
According to Esther Stanford-Xosei and Dr Nicola Frith, in a co-produced paper for a project known as REPAIRS; Planet Repairs refers to the need to proceed from a standpoint of pluriversality that highlights the nexus of reparatory, environmental and cognitive justice in articulating the need to repair holistically our relationship with, and inseparability from, the earth, environment and the pluriverse giving due recognition to indigenous knowledges in contrast with western-centric Enlightenment ideals that separated humanity from nature and thereby justified exploitation for capital accumulation.
Choosing to open the Afrikan Liberation Awareness Month activities from the 1st May 2021 with a Pagya strike of positive action and also to highlight the two year anniversary since the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency, three young people, Adetola Onamade, 24, Marina Tricks, 20 and Jerry Amokwandoh, 22, two of whom are from our Afrikan heritage Communities, working with the climate litigation charity Plan B and ourselves in the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign (SMWeCGEC), served legal proceedings on the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak and the Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, over the Government’s failure to honour its Paris Agreement commitments. The terminology of Planet Repairs is used by Claimants Adetola Onamade and Jerry Amokwandoh in their witness statements and publicity materials about the Global Majority case.
The following statement was issued by the Claimants:
Today we filed our claim as people of the Global Majority in solidarity with all communities resisting and suffering the violence of UK and Euro-Amerikan imperialism.
Today also marks the inauguration of Afrikan Liberation Awareness Month as well as International Worker’s Day. While the UK continues to claim international leadership in global justice, its inaction on the climate of injustice, its financial support of corporations responsible for our trajectory of genocide and ecocide, and the continuation of the Maangamizi, make us all complicit in the destruction of the Global South, colonised peoples everywhere, and the marginalised workers of the Global North. The UK must now respond to its criminal failure to safeguard our rights and the rights of our families in the Global South.
We demand the implementation in domestic law of the Paris Agreement. The domestication of international law obligations. Stopping the harm and funding repair in order to uphold Global Majority rights to life, family, self-determination, and the internationally recognised right to remedy and reparation.
All Afrikan Lives Matter, Global Majority Rights Matter.
This must include the killing of BOTH bills, the end to the selling of weapons of mass destruction, no more billions in Nuclear Weapons, and funding people led initiatives for community and Planet repairs.
Follow and support our action to stop the harm and fund repair.
The Government will have to reply by June as the battle continues
Aluta continua Blessings, love, and guidance
The following video explains the rationale for the case by the Claimants
What is the role of the SMWeCGEC in the Global Majority Vs UK Govt case and campaign?
Our role as the SMWeCGEC in this collaboration is to apply our expert knowledge and practical organisational experience in indigenous Afrikan knowledge, culture, concepts, symbols, methods and traditions of justice, in harmony with critical legal praxis, to the law as resistance development of the Global Majority V UK Government case and campaign. Our modus operandi entails utilising our scholar-activist expertise of guerrilla-intellectualism in ensuring that this legal action develops law as resistance, in its Pan-Afrikan revolutionary perspective, to support using action-learning experiences from the centuries of rebellion against genocide and ecocide by Afrikan and other Global South Communities of Resistance in link with Communities of Resistance throughout the Global North; doing so in defence of Human, Peoples and Mother Earth rights. The SMWeCGEC will also ensure that such extra-legal efforts of law as resistance harmoniously complements the conventional legal aspects of the case, in terms of advocacy in the courts.
Since the 2003 Black Quest For Justice Campaign (BQJC) legal & extra-legal Strategy of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice supported by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), the Black United Front (BUF), the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) [between the years 2002-2003], and the International Front for Afrikan Reparations (IFAR), there has not been a reparations case initiated in the UK. The Global Majority case and campaign builds on the BQJC-led one by seeking to hold the British Government to account for the the crimes of genocide and ecocide that it is perpetrating and complicit in today as a key aspect in compelling a cessation of violations and guarantees of non-repetition of what we in the SMWeCGEC recognise as being the Maangamizi; all of which are necessary prerequisites for holistic repairs that will fruitfully result in our victorious building of MAATUBUNTUMAN in UBUNTUDUNIA*. The Claimants are very clear this is not just about what they and their immediate families are experiencing here in the UK, but also the harms that are being meted to their extended families and communities worldwide, especially in Afrika, Abya Yala, Asia and other parts of the Global South (read their witness statements linked below). This is a reparations case with a difference; it combines the struggles for holistic reparatory justice as a result of the impact of the Maangamizi on Afrikan Heritage and other communities with that of environmental and cognitive justice.
The Claimants have innovatively utilised law as resistance which seeks to hold the UK Government to account for its failure to honour its international obligations to implement the Paris Agreement; arguing that such failure violates their rights to life and to family life, which are protected by Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Claimants further argue that while the UK Government’s climate failures threaten us all, they as young people, with families in the Global South are exposed to disproportionate and discriminatory impacts and risks pointing out that the UK Government’s complicity in the climate crisis also breaches ECHR Article 14, the prohibition of discrimination.
The case recognises that we cannot just seek to be compensated, outside of a wider strategy to stop the harms of the Maangamizi, redistribute ill-gotten gains and resource the self-repairs that our communities all around the world are working on. This approach takes into consideration the SMWeCGEC’s aim of catalysing the mobilisation and self-organisation of advocates for ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as a force within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations, (ISMAR) as the first step to redressing the crimes and repairing the harms of the Maangamizi.
THE SMWeCGEC also has the role of liaising between the Global Majority Vs the UK Government campaign and the emergent formation of support for its case called the MAATUBUNTUSAFO Pan-Afrikan Global Network of Communities of Resistance which includes the MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), the ABLODEDUNOVISIHA Gbetowo Global Union for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration, the KIZEZEMEGBA LIKPORKPEKPE of the Kideame of Avatime, the HEDZOLEHEWAMI GaDangme Association for Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration, the POLONIACOWAWYA Network of Abya Yala, among others.
SMWeCGEC Guidance by Way of a Call to Action
Despite the fact that the courts are becoming a critical site of resistance against climate breakdown and ecocide, we in the SMWeCGEC believe that it is equally important to wage this fight for governmental accountability in the international courtroom of public opinion. Upon hearing about this case and campaign, the natural question is, so what has this case got to do with me and what can I do to assist the progress of the campaign? The simple answer is, become an International Court of Opinion Advocate for the Global Majority Vs UK Government campaign, this simply means studying particularly, the extra-legal work on the case, engaging in law as resistance action-learning with the support of the Maangamizi Educational Trust and encouraging others to do the same.
This will also lead to you learning how to demystify law to others and assist them to raise their own legal consciousness to enable them to actively play their global citizenship role in exercising their right to be the actual makers of domestic and international law. Furthermore, you can be actively engaged, in which ever country you reside, in the creation and advancement of domestic and international law, for example, particularly in pressurising to ensure the criminalisation of ecocide and the outlawing of eco-fascism, defending our collective (group) rights to Self-determination and protecting our geopolitical interests as Afrikans. It is important for us to organise within our communities glocally to be the reparatory, environmental and cognitive justice changes we wish to see in terms of Afrikan Heritage Communities taking responsibility for leading in the development of a participatory democratic PEMPAMSIEMPANGO Glocal Reparations Action Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression (PEMPAMSIEMPANGO-GRAPPRAP). Such plans can be developed locally, regionally and internationally through joining or seeking advice to create, wherever you are, units of the PEMPAMSIESAFO Pan Afrikan Reparatory Justice Special Task Action Research Forces (PEMPAMSIESAFO-PARJSTARFs). Your unit can contribute its work to developing, in your own locality, proceedings towards the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ). By the time the APPCITARJ is established it is expected that the Pempamsiempango(s) will form part of the proposals for redress and repair which the UK Government will be compelled to adhere to, according to the dictates of how well we can harness and deploy our own Afrikan People’s Power glocally.
Now, the process itself of developing the Pempamsiempango needs to be one in which Afrikan Heritage Communities of Resistance are able to collectively organise to develop by way of consensus-decision making as part of the institutionalisation of MAATUBUNTUMI Pan-Afrikan Assemblies of Peoples Power (MAATUBUNTUMI-PAPPs) feeding into Global Citizens Assemblies of Peoples Power. These organising mechanisms are ways of contributing to organisational repairs in redressing Afrikan Peoples disempowerment and advancing Substantive Afrikan Representation by way of governance and political repairs that are necessary for the geopolitical restoration of our Afrikan People’s Sovereignty; doing it in such ways that will enable us to deliver to ourselves, as a global superpower, the victorious building of MAATUNTUMAN IN UBUNTUDUNIA.
Developing such mechanisms will redress the democratic deficit and creatively foster self-governance and forms of autonomy which Afrikans within and beyond the UK are self-actualising in their campaigning for Pan-Afrikan Reparations to win Planet Repairs in its Global Justice meaningfulness. This is being done in accordance with the Blackprint of the Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah; with emphasis upon the Pempamsiempango planning for Glocal Pan-Afrikan Community Regeneration, by our own People’s ‘Black Power’, of our Community Resistance Zones such as ‘Maatubuntujamaas‘ (Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination) in the Diaspora, indivisibly linked organically to ‘Sankofahomes‘ inside our indigenous Afrikan Communities of Resistance throughout the continent of Afrika.
In this regard, that is why we are also utilising pertinent lessons from The Art of War by Sun Tzu, in order to advance in Freedomfighting without physical weapons, under the Spearhead Leadership of our own grassroots community-embedded valiant Pan-Afrikan Organic Revolutionary Guerrilla Intellectuals, both old and young, including the “Beautyful Ones” that are being born, steeled and tempered inside the Pagya of our Ogyataana furnaces (forever-burning flames in Twi) of ever raging Soweto Fire, such as the new breed of eco-warriors emerging from the Global Majority Versus the UK Government court case and campaign.
The significance of the 1976 Soweto Uprising to the Global Majority Campaign is that this generation of Claimants are doing Sankofa and going back to take the rebellion torch of Soweto fire forward.
If you would like to know and discuss more about the contents of this article and the types of action that we ourselves can be taking, please contact the SMWeCGEC Spearhead Team as follows: Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Tel- + 44 (0) 7956431498.
* Pan-Afrika, and not Eurafrica, should be our watchword, and the guide to our policies” – OSAGYEFO KWAME NKRUMAH, Africa Must Unite , 1963.
MAATUBUNTUMANis the name and concept being popularised for the envisaged future Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities by various organisations, networks and campaigns associated with the AMANDLA Global Assemblies of Afrikan People’s Power (AMANDLA-GAAPP), based in Accra, Ghana. Coined from the conjunction of “Maat” (the holistic Justice concept from Kemet, Ancient Egypt), with “Ubuntu” (the Bantu concept of the Communion of Humanity from Southern Afrika) and “Oman” (the Akan concept of egalitarian Polity from West Afrika), MAATUBUNTUMAN is meant to promote the concept of a global Afrikan polity (“Oman”), which is an organic embodiment of “Maat”, and therefore practices “Ubuntu” in relation to her own citizens and the entirety of Humanity, Mother Earth and the Pluriverse. Upon the initiative of the Pan-Afrikan Forum of Ghana (PAFOG) in conjunction with the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) and adopted by the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) and the MAATUBUNTUMITAWO – Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC), it has been adopted as one of the key rallying objectives of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
UBUNTUDUNIA (Ubuntu+dunia) is a combined Nguni & Kiswahili word which means a Multipolar World of Global Justice.
To call on Councillors, the Mayor or the Chief Executive as appropriate to:
1. Write to the Speakers of both Houses of the UK Parliament, Chair of the Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, and Chair of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee to express Bristol City Council’s view that they should consider establishing, and seeking UK Government support for, an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry. The purpose of this unprecedented commission would be to work on the scope of how reparations may be delivered and may also include for example raising concerns about how tax payers were until 2015 paying back compensation paid to enslavers.
The ISMAR’s glocal Afrikan Reparatory Justice process driven by the SMWeCGEC is now advancing with our partners, foremost among them the MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-GAFRIC) on the Continent of Afrika as well as the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC).
Bristol is the best demonstration, thus far, of the combined ground-up and top-down approach working together in equity. The Bristol process has included meetings with Afrikan Heritage Communities, Afrikan Heritage Community elected officials and Afrikan Heritage representatives of Bristol-based institutions, as well as allies. There were also 72 statements received from members of the public in support of the motion and nearly 200 statements received last year when the motion went before the Council as a silver motion.
The passing of this motion is indeed a cause for celebration as now more than ever we have collectively been able to demonstrate that a radical agenda for change, (in the sense of tackling Maangamizi injustices from the root), can win.
There are however two key additions in the motion which surpass the original motions in London passed so far, and that is the inclusion of the following sections:
2. Support Afrikan Heritage Community (AHC) organisations in Bristol to galvanise support for the emerging Bristol AHC led ‘Reparations Plan’ from, and in collaboration with, wider stakeholders including institutions, city strategic leaders, corporate leaders, key strategic programmes/initiatives and cross-party politicians.
4. Recognise that reparative justice should be driven by Afrikan Heritage Communities experiences, voices and perspectives to ensure that advocacy messages not only reflect but also respond to the real needs of the community in order to recognise inequalities.
Of note, is the motion referencing what we in the SMWeCGEC refer to as the PEMPAMSIEMPANGO Glocal Reparations Action Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression (PEMPAMSIEMPANGO-GRAPPRAP), which is a ground-up reparations planning process where our Afrikan Heritage Communities are organised and spearheaded by Pempamsiesafo – Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Special Task Action Research Forces (PARJSTARF) to carry out as a matter of study and applied knowledge-production on the complexities of Afrikan Reparations. Although the passing of this motion is a stepping stone in an emerging participatory reparatory justice Afrikan Heritage Communities-led process, it is a huge leap forward and a vindication of the position of some of us in the SMWeCGEC took to championing such an approach on behalf of our people and were derided by both state and civil society actors for it.
The above resolutions constructively address the concern some of us in the SMWeCGEC have expressed about the top-down CARICOM Reparatory Justice Initiative known as the Ten Point-Plan, where appointments and disappointments are made to national reparations committees/councils by neocolonial CARICOM state bureaucracies. See here and here for further info about ISMAR position papers on such CARICOM Reparations initiatives. We are glad that lessons from our insights and advocacy in support of the right of the masses of Our People to participate in and steer reparations processes, from the ground-up, have not only been learned but also applied in Bristol.
It is truly laudable that Mayor Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig have been in dialogue with campaigners from the ISMAR and acted in ways which have supported and enabled Afrikan Heritage Communities’ grassroots leadership of this glocal participatory reparations process, rather than seek to hijack leadership of the ISMAR. By so acting, they have contributed immensely to strengthening our prospects for the ultimate victory of our Afrikan People at Home and Abroad in ensuring that reparations results in our Planet Repairs winning of MAATUBUNTUMAN in UBUNTUDUNIA as the true guarantees of non-repetition out of which all other reparations gains can be effected and secured as a continuation of the liberation visions of our Ancestors, not only for present, but also future generations.
The full Bristol Motion can be found here. 47 Councillors voted for the motion, 12 voted against, there were 0 abstentions and 4 apologies. You can read the ACC statement of thanks and call to action following the passing of the Bristol Atonement and Reparations Motion here.
“You must not abandon discussion out of tact . . . There should be no concession where there is a question of establishing a scientific truth . . . Remember we are focused on a quest for truth and not on a sacrosanct idol we must avoid debasing”
Cheikh Anta Diop quoted in ‘Great African Thinkers: Cheik Anta Diop’ by Ivan Van Sertima, (1968) p.13
“If you do not understand white supremacy (racism) what it is and how it works everything else you know will only confuse you.”
Neely Fuller, Jr. in The United Independent Compensatory Code/System/Concept (1984)
“If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it” Zora Neale Hurston
The battles of the future, whether they be physical or mental, will be fought on scientific lines, and the race that is able to produce the highest scientific development, is the race that will ultimately rule Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act!
As a campaign tackling issues of genocide and ecocide, we in the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC) cannot fail to recognise the importance of the debate raging on vaccines for COVID-19 in particular, and vaccines in general, for Afrikan Heritage Communities across the world. We need to make our position clear, more so in the light of two prominent figures, whom we consider friends, in the United Kingdom (UK); Dr Patrick Vernon OBE and Professor Kehinde Andrews openly advertising and encouraging our people to take the COVID-19 vaccine; and also recognising what is driving some vaccine hesitancy initiatives in response to the weaponisation of COVID-19 and other pandemics. Clarification of our SMWeCGEC position may also help to ascertain what our standpoint is for engagement with emergent coalitions, such as the International Coalition Against the Coronavirus and other Pandemics for African Development based in Lomé, Togo on the Continent of Afrika and the recently announced proposal for an Afrikan Coalition Against Genocide in the UK.
We of the SMWeCGEC consider ourselves as critical friends of both Patrick and Kehinde together with whom we hope we share in common a desire to see the best interests of our Afrikan Heritage Communities advanced everywhere, and therefore choose to make this response and publicly communicate it to all in order to contribute, at this dangerous time, to raising critical consciousness within and beyond our Global Afrikan Family; for the purpose of better comprehending the fact that this emergency period of the escalating climate and ecological crises demands of us all the very urgent need to be far more careful than ever before about our thoughts and actions particularly those that are shared on social media.
Indeed, we of SMWeCGEC are striving to ensure in everything that we do that not only do we raise critical consciousness, but work our hardest to advance its progression into critical legal consciousness. We do so to enable us to learn together, to better express, enlighten, and more boldly act out the will of our Afrikan People glocally to become the power of law everywhere; so that we can compel all of humanity to respect, abide by and enforce our Global Afrikan collective will to safeguard legitimate Human, Peoples and Mother Earth rights. Accordingly, we hope Patrick and Kehinde will take our constructively critical observations for what they are meant to promote: iron sharpening iron in the critical engagement best Black Radical intellectual traditions of our Afrikan Heritage Communities throughout the world.
In these times when some Afriphobic racists are louder demanding depopulation, targeting Afrikans, as a means to redressing the climate and ecological crises, Black intellectuals have a duty to stand with their community, to identify with their fears and concerns and support them to test the genuineness of this case for a vaccine and to then use their academic, and in the case of Patrick, health care knowledge to clarify matters in this case. The examples of Kehinde and Patrick as leading public figures taking the Covid-19 vaccine will be cited across Commonwealth countries; so they themselves must become more conscious of the global role they are playing in advocating for these vaccines in what has been referred to (in January 2021) as a “great experiment” by US based Dr Don J. Tynes who works at the Benton Harbor Health Center in Michigan, see news report below.
Although Dr Tynes speaks as a Black medical professional, he is also very clear on the fact that this experiment is one more example of the series of attempts to misuse Afrikan people for experiments that result in genocide and he particularly highlights the role of Black professionals who act as ‘sell-outs’ in seducing, enticing and coercing their own people into such murderous processes of science and technology, (e.g.“…and not trust a Black face, Black faces [also] harm the Black Race”). This is the kind of exemplary truth-telling standpoint in the best interest of our Afrikan Heritage Communities that we wished the likes of Kehinde and Patrick were taking here in the UK.
If Kehinde is serious in his assertion of being concerned about the racism of the Covid-19 pandemic, then the vaccine hesitancy of Afrikan Heritage Communities locally, nationally and internationally must be evaluated from an glocal anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and as someone who constantly advocates revolutionary change, one would have thought also a ‘revolutionary medical’ standpoint.
The motives of anyone who, contrary to the historical and contemporary experiences of their people, advocates that their people should just cast aside their fears and concerns and #TakeTheVaccine, should definitely be questioned. For what is the evidence base and factual knowledge to say it is safe for your people to take a Covid-19 vaccine?; especially when there has been no ‘repair’ of the healthy mistrust that Afrikan Heritage Communities across the world have of establishment medicine which has in many instances been used against them for nefarious purposes. If Afrikan Heritage Communities are to trust any vaccine, we ourselves must be able to prove that it is good for our people by doing our own independent investigations into the efficacy and safety of vaccines and establishing an Afrikan Heritage Communities led independent peer-review mechanism. This is even more urgent given the fact that the speed of the development of these vaccines means that the long-term consequences on those that take the vaccine from Afrikan Heritage Communities are not known. Of equal concern and alarm is the fact that in the UK, and around the world, vaccine producers have been given immunity from civil liability and so individuals are in effect taking full unmitigated responsibility for the potentially serious effects of a vaccine because there is currently is no adequate recourse to remedy in the event of any complications developing.
Whilst we accept, there maybe a case that can be made for some type of vaccine, it is fool hardy to uncritically advocate the use of vaccines produced by a historically anti-Afrikan system, more so by its notorious capitalist pharma-medical industrial complex known for seeking profit at all cost over and above decent values and principles. So where such vaccines become necessary, Afrikan Heritage Communities and our tested and trusted allies should be able to supervise the process of vaccine development, manufacture, culturally safe clinical trials and administration from start to finish; as has also been advocated by Dr Nevers Mumba, a politician in Zambia. Outside such a process controlled by duly representative, trustworthy and accountable organs of the masses of Afrikan People, then it is sheer agent-provocateurism to insist that Afrikans accept and take vaccines made for them by others.
Cultural Safety: An approach that considers how social and historical contexts, as well as structural and interpersonal power imbalances, shape health and health care experiences.“Safety” is defined by those who receive health services, not those who provide them.
By agent-provocateurism we mean, consciously or unconsciously provoking our people into taking courses of action, seemingly radical but actually premature and/or erroneous and therefore not well prepared to succeed, and so more likely to be to the counterinsurgency benefit of our enemies rather than the masses of our Afrikan People in the long-term; therefore bringing overwhelming backlash in the more likely event of failure, to cause huge losses even deaths and more atrocious persecution, demoralisation and reversals of previously won gains, so setting back our clock of advancement to victorious total liberation. Furthermore, those genuinely interested in our Afrikan People’s healthcare and wellbeing should be willing from a Reparatory Justice perspective, to release resources from the accumulated wealth of our past and present generations that they have in their possession so we, as part of our Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs, can utilise them for our needs; as for example to fund proper research that will enable us to design, produce, freely distribute, monitor, evaluate and constantly improve such vaccines of our own making; combining our own indigenous medical knowledge and expertise with modern technological processes.
We can draw inspiration from the attempts by scientists and health professionals in Madagascar who prompted their government to support their initiative in creating their own home based organic remedies and other Afrikan medical solutions from what they have in their own environment to address Covid-19 and the threat of pandemics. This is a good example of how Afrikan professionals can take the initiative in ensuring governments support their own Afrikan solutions to problems affecting our Afrikan Heritage Communities within and outside Afrika. We note the good leadership example, in this particular matter, of President John Magufuli of Tanzania who on the 27th January 2021, speaking at a ceremony on the opening of a public forest in Chato in the Geita Region in Tanzania echoed the sentiments of many Afrikan Heritage Communities when he said: “The ministry of health should be careful, they should not hurry to try these vaccines without doing research, not every vaccine is important to us, we should be careful. We should not be used as ‘guinea pigs“. There is also exemplary leadership in the Afrikan Diaspora on this vaccine question from Minster Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.
This issue of our people being targeted as guinea pigs for experimental vaccines and the heightened need for biosafety is a globally shared Afrikan Heritage Communities concern since Covid-19 vaccines has been produced in a system which continues to perpetrate acts of genocide and ecocide against Afrikan people and our environments. It is also the case that the history of disease and warfare are interwoven and not only does the potential exist, but contemporary facts demonstrate, as is currently happening in the foreign orchestrated wars being imposed upon Iraq, Syria and Yemen, that genetic engineering can be applied for biological warfare or bioterrorism purposes, which in itself is the weaponisation of biochemistry for war crimes of genocide.We cannot critically examine and analyze Covid-19 vaccines or indeed vaccine hesitancy without a knowledge of the historical and geopolitical climate in which they are being produced.
Accordingly, we recommend the following points of action:
1. Noting that right now in the current situation of a climate and ecological crisis where depopulation is the eco-fascist solution being popularised for execution against Afrikans and other undesirable colonised peoples of the world, we must recognise that the question of taking or not taking any kind of vaccine is a life and death matter for our peoples across the world. Rather than just focus on the disproportionate impacts of symptoms, we should be courageous at tackling the root causes of such zoonotic viruses and diseases as Covid-19 and other pandemics, as well as building peoples power and community self-defence capabilities to resist and avert the proliferation of genetic engineering and synthetic biology technologies, especially given the lack of legal protection that people have against the iatrogenic harms of vaccine companies.
2. We invite all those interested to join us of the SMWeCGEC in setting up an international working group of the PEMPAMSIESAFO Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Special Task Action Research Forces (PEMPAMSIESAFO-PARJSTARF) to work on addressing Afrikan Heritage Communities concerns about vaccines and pandemics.
PEMPAMSIEASAFO – Afrikan Heritage Communities Self-Repairs forces that are ‘sewing in freedom-fighting readiness’ for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice victory. Asafos are community militia formation to which everybody belongs for community self-defence in some indigenous communities in West Afrika.There are similar formations within Afrikan communities throughout the Continent and the Diaspora of Afrika.
3. We invite all those who are interested to join us in critically exploring, debating and counteracting the role of agent-provocateurism in our Pan-Afrikan Liberation endeavours particularly highlighting its counterinsurgency role for seeking to derail the rising wave of our Afrikan Heritage Community organisation, particularly disciplined glocal movement-building and its necessarily diligent scholar-activist spearheading towards strengthening the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM).
5. Contact us to learn more, including how best you can participate from a Pan-Afrikan Liberatory Perspective highlighting holistic Reparatory Justice, in the ‘Battle of Ideas’ raging on issues such as pandemics, vaccines and depopulation. Under the international law reparations remedy of rehabilitation, collective reparations for the long-term consequences of the Maangamizi, both past and present, can be expressed through public health objectives that aim to stop medical/pharmaceutical wrongs and eliminate lingering racialised health disparities. The ‘Battle of Ideas’ is an important ideological tool in the struggle to transform minds and hearts in support of or against a cause. Within a space where a number of ideological positions struggle for supremacy – reflective of national, ethnic, class and gendered tensions within society – the ISMAR as a revolutionary international social movement should not neglect the importance of winning hearts and minds and mobilising society around a common Reparatory Justice vision that presents a credible political, social and economic narrative around which the movement seeks to transform minds and hearts to support, with all credibility, an alternative to that of the dominant white supremacy racist, capitalist, imperialist, sexist class.
Project Coast: Apartheid’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Programme, Chandré Gould and Peter Folb, edited by Robert Berold (2002)
“Let’s talk about Reparatory Justice with City Institutions”?
About this Event
Many people are joining together to walk the path of racial justice and healing. Whilst it is important to do some deep introspection about how those of us from the Afrikan diaspora relate to each other and seek to heal from the racial wounds of the past and indeed the present. This healing cannot take place until we connect with others on the path towards reparatory justice.
“Lets talk about Reparatory Justice with City Institutions” is the 2nd in a series of 3 discussions on Bristol’s Conversation on Race & Reparations, following on from the 1st meeting held on the 14th January with and between Bristol’s Afrikan Heritage Communities, which started to explore the meaning of Reparations and the specific UK and international demand for An-All Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice.
You will also hear from Lambeth Borough Council, the first council in the UK to pass a Reparations Motion. What happens after the motion is passed? Find out how Lambeth are supporting the reparations movement locally and nationally.
The above is the response by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on behalf of the UK Government to a second question asked by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green Party Life Peer regarding the UK Government’s intentions on establishing the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ).
As one can see, the result is no more favourable than the first response received from Lord Ahmad on behalf of the UK Government to the first question asked by Baroness Bennett contained in the following Stop the Maangamizi Campaign Briefing Note.
These type of responses are why the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign in association with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee declared the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Rebellion in 2020; because our people are not being listened to or taken seriously regarding our reparations social-movement demands for the UK Government to establish the APPCITARJ.
If these demands for a community engaged participatory reparations process such as the APPCITARJ are not made, and concretely acted upon by the masses of our people and bringing pressure to bear on elected officials of local and central government, as well as state institutions, then of course we will continue to de disregarded, ignored and disrespected. At the level of popular mobilisation we in the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign continue to advocate the signing, sharing and reasoning through the content of the Stop the Maangamizi Petition as well as lobbying elected officials to support the work of self-repair which you are engaged. Such lobbying in can be done in a variety of ways. We also advocate the development of local, national and international community-owned reparations plans, which we refer to as Pempamsie Plans, such as the process unfolding in Bristol. Pempamsie is the Adinkra symbol for sewing together in readiness -preparatory actions for reparatory justice. building our future out of our principled operational unity despite our diversity. Indeed, part of the repair process is about Afrikan heritage communities developing our own community capacity and power-base as well as our own Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs plans.
Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs are the self-determined efforts that need to be made in building our own power, in such a way, that Afrikan heritage communities are able to identify and enhance ongoing work towards stopping the contemporary manifestations of the Maangamizi, which are putting the individuals, families and other social groups that make up our communities into a state of disrepair; as well as reasoning and consciously carrying out the alternative solutions for glocally rebuilding our power base as communities, in such a way that that they are eventually transformed, in accordance with the principles and programmatic demands of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
The key thing is what more are you and the groupings that you are part of prepared to do to further Afrikan people’s sacred cause of effecting, securing and taking reparatory justice?
“Unless our struggle for Reparations leads to the Pan-Afrikanist revolutionary consientization, organization and mobilization of the broad masses of Afrikan people throughout the Continent and the Diaspora to achieve first and foremost, their definitive emancipation from the impeding vestiges of colonialism and the still enslaving bonds of present-day neocolonialism, to smash the yoke of White racist supremacy and utterly destroy the mental and physical stranglehold of Eurocentrism upon Afrikans at home and abroad, delinking Afrika completely from imperialism of any sort whatsoever, we shall have no POWER to back our claim for restitution and to give us the necessary force of coercion to make the perpetrators of the heinous crimes against us to honour the obligations of even the best fashioned letter and spirit of International Law.”
Kofi Mawuli Klu, ‘Charting An Afrikan Self-Determined Path of Legal Struggle for Reparations’: A Draft Paper for Presentation to the 11th December 1993 Birmingham Working Conference of the African Reparations Movement – UK Committee
This press release contains the full text of the motion as follows:
“This Assembly is committed to eradicating and ending racial injustice and anti-Black racism. In our pursuit of these aims, the London Assembly is passing this motion to recognise formally and mark the United Nations International Decade for peoples of African Descent running from 2015-2024.
This Assembly recognises the work undertaken by the Mayor of London in promoting diversity and inclusion, and celebrating Black Londoners through Black History Month activities, the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, and working with the Black Curriculum to provide relevant education resources and to review the London Curriculum.
This Assembly calls on the Mayor of London to recognise formally and mark the UN’s Decade by embedding in policies where possible, the UN’s General Assembly resolution on the International Decade for People of African Descent. The Mayor’s work should reflect the following requests from the Programme of Activities for the Implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent:
Work with schools and community organisations to ensure that the educational histories and narratives of Black people are properly taught and celebrated in schools across London all year round;
Work on reviewing and reworking policies that continue to have a discriminatory effect on peoples of African descent across London;
Consider establishing policy directives to mainstream equality and non-discrimination considerations in all policy-making, including measures to ensure the equal enjoyment of rights and opportunities for people of African descent; and
Ensure that the end of the decade is marked in 2024, celebrating progress made in moving towards racial justice.”
Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon, Dr Sahota seconded the motion.
London Assembly member Caroline Russell, one of two Green Party representatives on the Assembly and a councillor for Highbury East within the Islington North constituency moved an amendment to the above motion which included the following text:
“The Assembly also notes that the UN International Decade for People of African Descent2015-2024 calls on those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims, and therefore asks the Mayor to support calls for the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice.”
The amendment was also seconded by Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry, the only Green Party councillor on Camden Council, representing Highgate
See below for the recording of the debate about the motion:
The full text of Caroline Russell’s speech is as follows:
Thank you chair.
I am so glad that Assembly Member Arnold has brought this motion – it is something we discussed last summer so I am pleased to hear it today.
However, I am proposing an amendment, not to detract from this motion or water down its aims – but to make it more inclusive of the asks of campaigners – and those are the voices I am bringing to the Assembly today.
This motion recognises the UN’s International Decade for Peoples of African Descent and asks that the Mayor’s work reflects some of the actions listed in the Decade – it rightly highlights celebrating Black history, improving education, and anti-discrimination policies.
However, we on the Green Group believe there is a serious omission in this motion and that is the issue of reparatory justice.
The UN International Decade for People of African Descent also has under the programme of activities for the justice theme the text:
“Inviting the international community and its members to honour the memory of the victims of these tragedies with a view to closing those dark chapters in history and as a means of reconciliation and healing; further noting that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and calling on all those that have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so and, to this end, appreciating those countries that have done so.”
In London we owe so much to Africans and People of African descent – and not just here in this city, but in all our connections and communities all over the world.
Let me remind everyone listening here today that it was only in 2015 that our Government stopped paying off the debt they took on to “compensate” businesses and people “forced” to stop trading in human lives.
And over the last 200 years the equivalent of £17 billion pounds in today’s money has been paid out.
This so-called “compensation” went the wrong way.
I spoke with the Stop the Maangamizi campaign just yesterday, a group co-led by the extraordinary legal expert Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu.
She told me that the first thing her campaign group is asking for is to be heard.
For us to hear about the impact of intergeneration harm, for us to hear about what communities are doing to prevent this harm, and for us to hear about how they are healing from this harm.
She asked me to tell you that real reparations mean not just addressing historical enslavement and the money made in human suffering,
But real reparations means recognizing the critical future role that communities and individuals who continue to suffer have to play.
It is vital that communities from the African diaspora are at the heart of the process of any investigation into reparations. Their voices, their stories, their solutions, should be the driving force.
But even working out how to do that starts with establishing a commission to study the impact and legacy of our country’s involvement in slavery and what reparatory justice means.
This is why the amendment I have brought to you today calls on the Mayor to support the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice.
I hope you will vote for this amendment.
Despite the amendment adding teeth to the motion, it fell because only the two Green Party members voted for it. There was value however in raising the arguments and challenging Assembly members to go further than they were clearly prepared to in responding to a global unifying clarion call of Afrikan Heritage Communities to implement their right to remedies and reparations. Nevertheless, this struggle continues unabated!
The GLA motion, which passed unanimously, did not reference or focus on the following key aspects of the IDPAD Programme of action under the justice theme pertaining to reparatory justice:
Ensuring that people of African descent have full access to effective protection and remedies through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions against any acts of racial discrimination, and the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination;
Acknowledging and profoundly regretting the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of men, women and children as a result of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies, noting that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed, and calling on those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims;
Inviting the international community and its members to honour the memory of the victims of these tragedies with a view to closing those dark chapters in history and as a means of reconciliation and healing; further noting that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and calling on all those that have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so and, to this end, appreciating those countries that have done so;
Calling upon all States concerned to take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices, bearing in mind their moral obligations.
All contributors to the dialogue are *Afrikan Heritage representatives from the bodies facilitating this event. You will hear from range of speakers about the context that has led to this point in the Reparations conversation, explore the meaning of Reparations and what that means for the city and globally, seek your support for the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign initiated call for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ), as referenced in the Stop The Maangamizi Petition which will form the main proposals within the ‘Reparations and Atonement’ motion that Afrikan Heritage Communities are invited to comment upon before it is brought to a future Full Council meeting for discussion and approval.
It is really important that the debate is shaped by the whole community, both in terms of the concept itself, the work done to ready the city for a discussion and ensuring there is a shared understanding. This is the first of 2 conversations, the second conversation will be held with wider city stakeholders and the views of the city’s. Afrikan Heritage Communities (AHC) will be fed into this wider event to be held in early February 2021.
*Afrikan Heritage Communities are a diverse group who may also identify or describe themselves as:African, Caribbean, African-Caribbean, Nigerian, Jamaican, Ghanaian, Trinidadian, Black British, or of a dual heritage including African etc.
Please note that this initial meeting is open ONLY to the communities of interest as expressed above.
Stop the Maangamizi Campaign Briefing Note On UK Government Response to Written Question on the All Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) Asked by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green Party Life Peer 
This briefing, which has been shared with members of the Green Party, is our Stop the Maangamizi Campaign position informed by the ‘Law Repairs’ perspective of reparatory justice pertaining to the Law as Resistance strategy we utilise in our critical legal praxis. This comes from the school of jurisprudence to which our critical legal scholar-activists of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) belong and is also informed by a social movement-lawyering approach.
One definition of movement lawyering put forward by University of California legal expert Betty Hungis a practice which “supports and advances social movements as the building and exercise of collective power, led by the most directly impacted, to achieve systemic, institutional and cultural change”. Movement lawyers maintain a sustained commitment to social movement goals and collaborate with mobilised social movement groups and organizations over time to achieve them; in ways which support grassroots organising and help build the power of the people to bring about forms of redress and solutions to the issues and challenges they face.
The SMWeCGEC was consulted on the following question pertaining to the establishment of the APPCITARJ asked by Baroness Bennett (Green Party) in the House of Lords.
United Nations: Peace Keeping Operations – Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UIN HL10267, tabled on 12 November 2020
Re: Response from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
The ‘Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law’ (hereafter referred to as the Basic Principles) has alternatively been referred to as the UN Framework on Reparations in Green Party documentation. The Basic Principles encapsulate international best-practice standards on reparations at domestic and regional levels. Both international humanitarian law and human rights law are the product of treaties and customary international law, as well as of general principles of law – all of which are sources of international law.
The preamble to The Basic Principles state:
Emphasizing that the Basic Principles and Guidelines contained herein do not entail new international or domestic legal obligations but identify mechanisms, modalities, procedures and methods for the implementation of existing legal obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law which are complementary though different as to their norms.
It is the view of the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign that Afrikan Heritage Communities have been and continue to be victimised by the legacies of Afrikan enslavement, colonisation and neocolonialism and recognise the position of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its ‘Approach To Reparations’ (2001) that:
…The descendants of a victim of human rights abuse should also be able to pursue claims of reparations. That is, the right to reparations should not be extinguished with the death of the victim but can be pursued by his or her heirs.”
Accordingly, the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign has developed its campaign for accountability cognisant of the HRW Position:
For these practical reasons, when addressing relatively old wrongs, we would not base claims of reparations on the past abuse itself but on its contemporary effects. That is, we would focus on people who can reasonably claim that today they personally suffer the effects of past human rights violations through continuing economic or social deprivation.
HRW go on to state:
A group’s ability to identify a wrong to its ancestors would not in itself be enough to claim reparations (although under traditional human rights law its members could pursue claims for abuses against themselves). The group would also have to show continuing harm to itself from those past abuses. This focus on contemporary effects, in our view, provides a firmer and more appealing moral footing for discussions about reparations for old abuses…this approach concentrates on those people who continue to be victimized by past wrongs and seeks to end their victimization.
Re: Lord Ahmad’s statement:
As implied by its title, this addresses reparation for individuals for gross or serious violations of human rights law or international humanitarian law.
The preamble to the Basic Principles also state:
Noting that contemporary forms of victimization, while essentially directed against persons, may nevertheless also be directed against groups of persons who are targeted collectively.
Art. 8 of The Basic Principles state:
Victims are persons who individually or collectively suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that constitute gross violations of international human rights law, or serious violations of international humanitarian law. Where appropriate, and in accordance with domestic law, the term “victim” also includes the immediate family or dependants of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims in distress or to prevent victimization.
The Basic Principles therefore relate to individual and collective victims in that the notion of ‘victim’ includes individual (direct and indirect victims), their families and communities.
Whilst a significant amount of international human rights bodies have utilised reparations jurisprudence pertaining to victimisation directed at individuals, it is also recognised that victimisation may be directed against groups of persons who are targeted collectively and therefore have the right to seek collective redress. Moreover, International law recognises the rights of individuals to exercise certain rights in community with others.
A different concept from that of rights of ‘groups as collective entities’ are the rights of ‘groups of individuals’, such as in the case of international treaties and declarations concerning ‘minorities’. Art. 3(1) of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities  states that: “Persons belonging to minorities may exercise their rights, including those set forth in the present Declaration, individually as well as in community with other members of their group, without any discrimination”.
However, it should be clarified that not all international or regional human rights systems have exactly equivalent definitions of the term victim of human rights violations and persons entitled to reparation. Indeed, in some cases, while a person is not considered a victim, he or she may nevertheless have suffered harm and be entitled to reparation. Also, persons who have suffered harm may be considered victims in one system while not in another, but be entitled to reparation in both. In other words: the notion of victim may be narrower than the notion of persons entitled to reparation. This is reflected in Article 41 ECHR and Article 63 ACHR, which, for the purpose of reparation, do not speak of ‘victims’ with regard to this particular obligation of reparation, but of ‘injured party’. The differentiation is not reflected in Principle 8 of the UN Principles on Reparation, which defines victims from the perspective of those entitled to reparation, thus adopting a wide definition of the term victim.
Re: Lord Ahmad’s Statement:
These bodies of law are not retroactive.
Art. 6 & 7 of the Basic Principles state:
IV. Statutes of limitations
6. Where so provided for in an applicable treaty or contained in other international legal obligations, statutes of limitations shall not apply to gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law which constitute crimes under international law.
7. Domestic statutes of limitations for other types of violations that do not constitute crimes under international law, including those time limitations applicable to civil claims and other procedures, should not be unduly restrictive.
Morally speaking, one cannot impose a statute of limitations on a claim for reparations when the British Government has impaired the ability of victimised Afrikan Heritage Communities to pursue a claim or when the said government continues to deny the claims and rights of Afrikan Heritage Communities to reparations. In this regard, the response received in 2018 by the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign  from Lord Ahmad, on behalf of the British Government (“We do not believe reparations are the answer”) is instructive here.
The fact of the matter is, irrespective of the intention of those framing international laws such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and negotiating UN agreements such as the Basic Principles, it is the right of all groups and communities to self-determinedly apply law in their own interests, in consonance with the best interests of all humanity.
The breaking of treaties and other agreements made by colonising authorities in various ways with Indigenous communities which trample upon the rights of these communities and violate law, order and justice as designed for themselves in exercise of their sovereign right to self-determination, must also be given recognition. Such long overdue recognition, in the light of cognitive justice, demands acceptance as legitimate parts of international law in all its forms, the self-designed systems of law, order and justice of Indigenous communities; meaning communities that have suffered colonisation and still have various forms of neocolonialism subjugating them, at present, to settler occupation, robbery of sovereignty and denial of their independent peoplehood. This is what we in the ISMAR regard as the ‘Law Repairs’ of holistic reparatory justice.
On Gross and Serious Violations
According to the Practitioners Guide for ‘The Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Gross Human Rights Violations’:
The Basic Principles do not define either ‘gross violations ofinternational human rights law’ or ‘serious violations ofinternational humanitarian law’. Although not formally defined in international law, ‘gross violations’ and ‘seriousviolations’ denote types of violations that affect, in qualitative and quantitative terms, the most basic rights of human beings, notably the right to life and the right to physical and moral integrity of the human person. It is generally assumed that genocide, slavery and slave trade, murder, enforced disappearances, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged arbitrary detention, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and systematic racial discrimination fall into this category. Deliberate and systematic deprivation of essential foodstuffs, essential primary health care or basic shelter and housing may also amount to gross violations of human rights. In international humanitarian law, ‘serious violations’ are to be distinguished from ‘grave breaches’. The latter refers to atrocious violations that are defined in international humanitarian law but only relating to international armed conflicts. The term ‘serious violations’ is referred to but not defined in international humanitarian law. It denotes severe violations that constitute crimes under international law, whether committed in international or non-international armed conflict. The acts and elements of ‘serious violations’ (along with ‘grave breaches’) are reflected in article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court under ‘war crimes’.
It is also important to highlight the fact that these crimes against humanity, including crimes of genocide and ecocide, committed by state and corporate bodies of European imperialism were recognised as crimes not only by Afrikan people but also by peoples of conscience within European countries and their overseas settler colonial communities. In addition, these crimes were resisted. Such resistance resulted in mass movements, like the abolitionist and anti-colonial movements in Europe and other parts of the Global North in solidarity with and involving Indigenous and other communities of resistance throughout the world. That is why it is incorrect to say that such crimes against humanity represented the national will of peoples in Europe. It is noteworthy that this national will reflecting the conscience of the majority in these countries often denounced the genocide and ecocide crimes of the minority ruling classes who abused state power to perpetrate such crimes that stained the national honour of these countries as dissenting voices in these societies have always pointed out.
On the Human Rights Act
Re: Lord Ahmad’s Statement:
If a UK citizen’s rights are violated, they have recourse to remedy and reparation through the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), which gives further effect to the European Convention on Human Rights. In particular, section 8 HRA states that “In relation to any act (or proposed act) of a public authority which the court finds is unlawful, may grant such relief or remedy, or make such order within its powers as it considers just and appropriate”. There are no plans to establish an inquiry into section 8 HRA.
The Human Rights Act 1998 aims to “bring rights home”, so that Convention rights can be enforced in the UK courts rather than having to go to Strasbourg. However, narrow interpretations of the Human Rights Act which are in contravention of the letter and spirit of the Act itself, must not be used to defend the indefensible. What is being requested is for the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ), not an inquiry into section 8 of the HRA.
The Stop the Maangamizi Petition reiterates the point that the demand for the APPCITARJ is necessary “to advance the process of dialogue from the ground-upwards, with the British State and society on Reparatory Justice”.
Art. 11 of the Basic Principles explains:
Remedies for gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law include the victim’s right to the following as provided for under international law:
(a) Equal and effective access to justice;
(b) Adequate, effective and prompt reparation for harm suffered;
(c) Access to relevant information concerning violations and reparation mechanisms.
The European Court has held that the failure to conduct an effective investigation into credible allegations of human rights violations may violate the right to an effective remedy of the victim and/or their relatives.
Suggested Follow-Up Question
From this briefing we in the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign suggest Baroness Natalie Bennett can pose a follow-up question along the following lines:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, will it now, in connection with the International Decade for People of African Descent, recognise the importance of an inquiry into reparatory justice for tackling the legacies of Afrikan Enslavement such as Afriphobia, colonisation and neocolonialism, with holistic measures, including redressing the climate and ecological crises in ways that ensures that the voices of Afrikans and their descendants are properly heard and Planet Repairs delivers global justice to all.
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator General, Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
There are two ways of seeing and interpreting international legal transformation – from above as most lawyers do when they focus on formal sources, judicial opinions, and treaties exclusively – or from below when we focus on the lived experience of ordinary people with international law when they encounter international institutions, frame their demands in international legal terms, and network for influencing international or domestic policy.
Balakrishnan Rajagopal, International Law From Below, 2005
This article was updated on 07/08/17, 27/06/18 and 17/10/20 from when it was originally published in 2015
“The damage sustained by the Afrikan peoples is not a thing of the past, but is painfully manifested in the damaged lives of contemporary Afrikans from Harlem to Harare’ in the damaged economies of the Black World from Guinea to Guyana from Somalia to Suriname.”
Abuja Proclamation of the First Conference on Reparations for Enslavement, Colonisation & Neocolonisation, 1993
No exact template or model exists for the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) in that it will have to be shaped in a way that meets the needs and aspirations of Afrikan Heritage Communities that have been enslaved, colonised or otherwise oppressed by the British Empire and/or the current British State. However, our vision is that the APPCITARJ will consist of British and European Parliamentary Commissions established with representation from the political parties in these parliaments and thy will hear our submissions as Afrikan Heritage Communities who have been impacted by the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust of chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement). This is an example of the revolutionary use of reform in that we are tactically seeking to use establishment institutions and some of their processes to achieve some of our revolutionary objectives for reparatory justice social change and transformation.
For us in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC), this is not about taking our individual and collective cases to parliamentarians for those parliamentarians, on their own, to decide on the merits of our individual/family/people’s case and to make final judgements about what the outcomes should be. In our view, this adjudication function can best be achieved by the establishment of the Ubuntukgotla – Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (PITGJ) in which representatives of our people and other peoples who have experienced European colonialism, enslavement and genocide become the judges using law from our various people’s legal traditions. Rather, the establishment of the APPCITARJs, at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament, are a tactic to facilitate widespread evidence gathering which reveal facts about the magnitude of the Maangamizi and for the public dissemination of that evidence as part of the battle to win hearts of minds and influence public opinion to support our people’s cause.
It is therefore important for the proposed APPCITARJ to seek an appropriately weighted balance between an individualized approach that places victims and perpetrators at the centre of the process and recognising as well as redressing the impact of the Maangamizi on whole collectivities. However, this requires a focus on tackling the systemic aspects of the Maangamizi and examining the role of institutions, structures of legitimisation and governance in its continuance. In this regard, we are keen to ensure that the systemic aspects of the Maangamizi are no longer hidden from scrutiny or public accountability.
Dissemination of such evidence in the arena of the British public will compel the majority of the British public to agree with us that there is an overwhelming case for their criminal ruling classes to answer. In effect, we want our people to have a ‘hearing’ and to speak to the public, (court of public opinion) through the British Parliament. This entails exposing the evidence to the glare of the public and utilising various forms of media who will be reporting on the proceedings to influence public support for our cause of Afrikan Reparatory Justice. According to the 2005 United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to A Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, an essential aspect of reparations include, among other measures: investigation of the facts, official acknowledgement and apology, receipt of answers; an opportunity for victims to speak in a public forum about their experiences and to have active involvement in the reparative process. We are therefore seeking to ensure that our people’s testimonies will bring to light all the gory details that the British public has not been allowed to hear; has been denied true education about; and that we too have not been allowed to narrate on platforms with official legitimisation.
This parliamentary and extra-parliamentary process will create the opportunity for a diverse collectivity of Afrikan voices, from all over the world, to speak to the Maangamizi crimes of the British Empire, the British State and its ruling classes, by providing public testimony about our family and people’s case, as we see it. Once these testimonies of ordinary people, as well as the various research and other forms of documentation of the Maangamizi that exists, are being heard over and over again, clarity will dawn on the British public.
Ultimately, we are seeking to ensure that our combined evidence, voiced, recorded and reported from the UK and European Parliaments, paints the horrific truth of the culprits crimes. This is an opportunity we have never been given. Once the British public have heard the whole truth, it will be easier for us to win them over to our side; to publicise who the main culprits are ; and elucidate the harm that their deception over the years has done not only to Afrikan Heritage Communities, but also to the British people as a whole. This spark-rippling process will in itself compel the majority of those conscientious members of the British people to join us all in movement-building to stop the harm and repair the damage being done to themselves, and to others, in their name. So what will be a just retribution in terms of holding such perpetrators to account? One form of retribution is to strip the criminals of their ill-gotten wealth and status (“Expropriate the Expropriators!) and reclaim our wealth for Reparatory Justice Redistribution.
A large part of our people’s case for compensation is that this is unjustly obtained intergenerational wealth includes the wealth that which we as Afrikan Heritage Communities, are historically owed and have been denied, in addition to what is being stolen from and owed to our contemporary generations. We therefore advocate that we must have out of that redistributed wealth, all that we need to repair our own selves i.e. Afrikan Community Self-Repairs*. Although, we concede that the majority of British people deserve some of that wealth from their ruling classes in terms of wealth that has also been stolen from them over the years. Practically, this is how we see that external compensation in the form of the just redistribution of our people’s wealth will be secured.
*Afrikan Community Self-Repairs are the self-determined efforts that need to be made in building our own power, in such a way, that Afrikan heritage communities are able to identify and enhance ongoing work towards stopping the contemporary manifestations of the Maangamizi, which are putting the individuals, families and other social groups that make up our communities into a state of disrepair; as well as reasoning and consciously carrying out the alternative solutions for glocally rebuilding our power base as communities, in such a way that that they are eventually transformed, in accordance with the principles and programmatic demands of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
“The inheritance of rich people’s wealth by their children should stop. The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated and redistributed“
So for us, the strategic purpose of the APPCITARJ is to divorce the masses of the British public from aligning with their ruling classes in order that they can once again be on the right side of history (as were many of their abolitionists); in collaborating with us to strip their ruling classes of their ill-gotten wealth and other gains and collaborate with us to secure its redistribution.
One of the greatest challenges for transformative reparatory justice change processes and mechanisms is addressing not only the histories of acts of Maangamizi dispossession and violence, but also those of structural violence, where power relations are manifest through the systematic and collective violation/s of economic, social and cultural rights. In many contexts, racialised and otherwise marginalised populations, particularly those of Afrikan heritage, are often systematically excluded from community development initiatives as well as often being denied full participation and substantive Afrikan Heritage Community representation in social, economic and political life. So the way other commissions of inquiry or truth commissions have interacted with ‘victims’ of these harm causing violations; such as receiving testimony, writing histories of victimization in such a way that assists such groups to recover their agency, and recommending reparative approaches – can be replicated with Afrikan Heritage Communities as a collective victim.
The 2014 Instance de la Vérité et Dignité (IVD, Commission for Truth and Dignity) in Tunisia pointed the way, by seeking to address the broad range of demands that the Tunisian Revolution made, including not just for truth, but also threats to dignity including issues such as the lack of graduate jobs and the often extreme geographical inequalities that came to the fore in Tunisia under the Ben Ali regime. To address the issue of the collective and structural violence of social exclusion; and for the first time in the history of truth commissions; the IVD defined and implemented the concept of a collective victim as including: “any person who suffered harm following a violation…, be they individuals, or groups of individuals” (Organic law on Transitional Justice).
To maximize the impact of collective reparations for Afrikan Heritage Communities requires that such reparations not only address harms, but also the structures and institutions underpinning such harms, and ensure that the such reparations transform the circumstances of unjustly impoverished and marginalised victims. Such transformation occurring in such a way as to address contemporary injustice in its multiple dimensions, (i.e. historical, ethnic, social, political, cultural, religious, sexual, epistemic and ecological). Such injustice being underpinned by ‘cognitive injustice’ which is the failure to recognise the plurality of different knowledges by which Afrikan Heritage Communities give meaning to their existence. It is only by pursuing global cognitive justice that holistic and transformative reparatory justice can become a reality. Hence why in our approach to developing the APPCITARJ, we are cognizant of the need to also adopt approaches, processes, mechanisms and initiatives that incorporate the legal cosmovisions (Indigenous worldviews), ideas and claims of Afrikan people. This in itself, requires a more complete set of tools for building alternatives to the present system of legalized injustice.
“Always remember that the people do not fight for ideas, for the things that exist only in the heads of individuals. The people fight and accept the necessary sacrifices. But they do it in order to gain material advantages, to live in peace and to improve their lives, to experience progress, and to be able to guarantee a future for their children. National liberation, the struggle against colonialism, working for peace and progress, independence – all of these will be empty words without significance for the people unless they are translated into real improvements in the conditions of life.”
Amilcar Cabral, Guinea-Bissau: A Study of Political Mobilisation, 1974, p.91
Among the challenges facing reparations for Maangamizi resistors and survivors, is to differentiate between reparations and the requirement that a state deliver basic public services. Reparatory justice measures will not be secured from others outside of a comprehensive and holistic Afrikan Heritage Community Pempamsie (sewing together) Community Self-Repairs Plan and related policies, which must accompany and shape it. This is why we in the SMWeCGEC, in partnership with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), its allied organisations and other formations within and beyond the UK such as the MAATUBUNTUMITAWU-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council in West Afrika, are mobilizing and supporting others to self-organise year-round building on the 2017-2018 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March theme of ‘Promoting the reparatory justice change that we are organising to bring about’ as a key aspect of advancing the 2020 declared Reparations Rebellion which continues into 2021 organising around the theme: Defeating Neocolonialism with Afrikan Autonomy: All Roads Must Lead to Our Sacred Cause of Reparations.
Pempamsie Adinkra symbol
The beginnings of such a Pempamsie Plan were documented in the 2003 Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) legal & extra-legal Strategy for Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice; and were included in its legal action supported by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), the Black United Front (BUF), the then newly formed Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) and the International Front for Afrikan Reparations (IFAR).
Characteristics of Commissions of Inquiry with Truth Commission Functions:
“In recent decades, the truth commission has become a mechanism used by states to address historical injustices. However, truth commissions are rarely used in established democracies, where the commission of inquiry model is favoured. I argue that established democracies may be more amenable to addressing historical injustices that continue to divide their populations if they see the truth commission mechanism not as a unique mechanism particular to the transitional justice setting, but as a specialised form of a familiar mechanism, the commission of inquiry. In this framework, truth commissions are distinguished from other commissions of inquiry by their symbolic acknowledgement of historical injustices, and their explicit “social function” to educate the public about those injustices in order to prevent their recurrence.”
Abstract, Kim Pamela Stanton (2010), pii
To get a sense of what we are envisioning for the APPCITARJ, it is best to understand what a truth commission is.
• Truth commissions are generally understood to be “bodies set up to investigate a past history of violations of human rights in a particular country -which can include violations by the military or other government forces or armed opposition forces.” Priscilla B. Hayner, in ‘Unspeakable Truths’ delineates four main characteristics of truth commissions:
1. First, they focus on the past and its impact. The events may have occurred in the recent past, but a truth commission is not an ongoing body akin to a human rights commission.
2. Second, truth commissions investigate a pattern of abuse over a set period of time rather than a specific event. In its mandate, the truth commission is given the parameters of its investigation both in terms of the time period covered as well as the type of human rights violations to be explored.
3. Third, a truth commission is a temporary body, usually operating over a period of six months to two years and completing its work by submitting a report. These parameters are established at the time of the commission’s formation, but often an extension can be obtained to wrap things up.
4. Fourth, truth commissions are officially sanctioned, authorised, or empowered by the state. This, in principle, allows the commission to have greater access to information, greater security, and increased assurance that its findings will be taken under serious consideration. Official sanction from the government is crucial because it represents an acknowledgment of past wrongs and a commitment to address the issues. Furthermore, governments may be more likely to enact recommended reforms if they have established the commission.
Goals of Truth Commissions Include:
• Making recommendations for redress suffered by victims and survivors • Recording and educating about the past • Identifying perpetrators • Formulating policy proposals and recommendations on rehabilitation and the healing of Maangamizi resistors, survivors, their families and the community at large • Providing the victims/survivors with different forms of support to ensure that the commission of inquiry/truth commission process restores the victims’ dignity • Preventing repetition of aspects of the Maangamizi • Forming the basis for a new pluriversal democratic order • Promoting reconciliation • Creating a collective memory.
You can see a list of some previous truth commissions here.
Characteristics of Commissions of Inquiry with Truth Commission Functions:
They are non-judicial mechanisms but can complement judicial mechanisms;
They are commissions of inquiry whose primary function is investigation of human and people and Mother Earth rights violations and violations of humanitarian law, unlike courts or tribunals which deal with adjudication;
They focus on severe acts of violence or repression;
They are victim-centred bodies focused on victims ideas, views, needs, experiences and preferences as primary focus as opposed to elite witnesses or perpetrators;
They formulate recommendations to guarantee the non-repetition of past crimes and reform state institutions involved in the commission of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights violations.
Truth Commission Activities
Investigations/ documentation of violations/ research
Interview/ public hearings
Events and programmes to promote intra and inter community cohesion, reconciliation and conciliation
Advantages of the APPCITARJ:
It will delegitimize Maangamizi denial;
It will rebut misrepresentations of the old order through investigations, public hearings and detailed reports;
It will spur significant national debates on repairs and redress;
It will help governments to take corrective/reparatory actions and develop reparatory policies;
It will provide a measure of accountability for the legacies of past and present atrocities and violations/abuses of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights through its findings.
There are many factors that will determine the composition and mandate of the APPCITARJ including how much we are able to bring pressure to bear on relevant decision-makers and institutions. There has already been some thinking, analysis, research and consultation on what the purpose of the APPCITARJ should be, although this is an evolving process.
Elements of a Participatory Reparations Process
Building direct channels of communication with affected communities, in order to raise awareness of the justice process and promote understanding of the measure. Outreach is therefore central to the mandate of the APPCITARJ, as it is a crucial means for the justice programme to engage with and impact the public.
Outreach activities should work not only to disseminate information to the public, but also to create forums for two-way communication through dialogues, consultation, and participatory events at all stages of the APPCITARJ process.
There should be a dedicated budget for outreach, outreach materials should be culturally appropriate.
Thus far, truth commissions have rarely moved into the more empowerment types of participation (such as decision-making concerning how interviews take place or concrete reparation recommendations), usually remaining more non-dispositive.
To address this, the APPCITARJ must facilitate meaningful inclusion and participation in the early phases, to give a voice to victim needs and concerns and provide some sort of decision-making, such as determining the best methods for reaching communities, taking statements or understanding the statements in a given situation.
The APPCITARJ mandate will set out its goals and objectives, designates the violations and time period under investigation, and specifies a timeframe for completion of work. The mandate will also specify the acts that the APPCITARJ will investigate.
Negotiating an appropriate mandate is key for the APPCITARJ to be able to explore social and environmental justice issues and the broader contours of the legacies of enslavement (The Maangamizi).
The APPCITARJ will Seek to:
Redress global inequalities caused by the Transoceanic Trafficking of Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA). These include, but are not limited to, social, economic and ecological harms;
Acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of the imposition of the Maangamizi, i.e. Afrikan chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement within and beyond the British Empire;
Examine the health, social, environmental and climate impacts of neocolonialism as it impacts on Afrikan Heritage Communities;
Examine Afriphobia and subsequent de jure and de facto racial and socio-economic discrimination against Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent, including their gendered impacts and consequences;
Examine how Afrikan enslavement, colonialism and neocolonialism have directly benefited societal institutions, both public and private, including higher education and other public sector organisations, corporations, as well as religious organisations;
Make recommendations to Parliament and similar bodies at local, national and international levels, including the European Parliament, and;
Determine appropriate methods of dissemination of findings to the public within and beyond Britain for consultation about proposals for supporting initiatives of Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs, Planet Repairs and designing other forms of redress and repairs.
On the Importance of Speaking our Grassroots Power of Truth to Establishment Power
“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim… he or she has become a threat.”
James Baldwin, ‘The Devil Finds Work’, 1976
In providing testimony, the so-called victim/survivor becomes an agent, and his/her narrative is especially threatening because it dares to expose violations and violence when others declare that such oppressions do not exist.
The APPCITARJ will not substitute a judicial process and is not designed to let perpetrators off the hook. Hence the need for the APPCITARJ to evolve in conjunction with the PITGJ. The organising processes towards establishment of the APPCITARJ, including the mobilisational role of the SMWeCGEC, will also galvanise grassroots work towards establishing glocal sittings of the PITGJ, as part of a series of actions which will put a full stop, by way of holistic and transformative reparations, to all acts of Genocide/Ecocide against Afrikan people.
Begin Preparing Yourself for the APPCITARJ & PITGJ
You can prepare yourself for the APPCITARJ by beginning to do family and community research on how we and our immediate families each have suffered, continue to suffer and have also challenged the various crimes of the Maangamizi. In this regard, see the aims of the SMWeCGEC.
Afrikans in the UK and Europe organising towards establishing commissions of inquiry for truth and reparatory justice and local, national and international people’s tribunals to hold the governments of Britain, and other European countries to account. If you are able to gather such evidence you can assist us to arrive at a comprehensive assessment and a full picture of what our journeys and experiences of the Maangamizi have been across the Diaspora, as well as on the continent of Afrika.
Each person and representative of families and their communities have to become our own advocates and experts on your own situation and then we can bring all these experiences together as part of us becoming ‘reparations enforcers’ who are building the power and capacity to hold to account all those who are continuing to profit from the ill-gotten gains of the Maangamizi and are also complicit in its perpetuation today.
See the video below from the documentary ‘Freedom Summer’ for some APPCITARJ lessons from our Shero Fannie Lou Hamer.
Hamer’s testimony had such a huge impact upon the government and public in and outside the USA, and was so powerful, that President Lyndon B. Johnson called an impromptu press conference to get her off the air. This is a recording of the full testimony and also a transcript of that testimony. Her testimony provides an example of what we envisage could be the impact similar ISMAR-coordinated grassroots testimonies by our Afrikan Survivors, Resistors and Challengers of the Maangamizi, from all over the World to the APPCITARJs in the UK Parliament of Westminster and the European Parliament. We surmise that the ‘holding to account’ referred to above can best be done in a collective way by supporting the establishment of the Ubuntukgotla, court of peoples humanity interconnectedness, otherwise known as the Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ), which we encourage you to support the development of. This can be done through hosting sittings of the tribunal, locally, nationally and internationally.
As part of the rationale for this approach, it is important to have a better sense of the historical antecedents of the SMWeCGEC in the UK, see these historic recordings from 2003 of Esther Stanford-Xosei, former legal advisor to the BQJC speaking about the BQJC legal & extra-legal strategy for reparations; the need for a UK commission of inquiry to address the legacies of the Maangamizi; and the commencement of the UK version of the ‘We Charge Genocide Petition and campaign’ under the auspices of then then Black United Front-Parliament (BUF-P). The second set of videos where Stanford-Xosei is interviewed, precedes in order and time the first video where she speaks to camera.
Set up a Family or Community Group Maatzoedzaduara
You can set up a MAATZOEDZADUARA (i.e. Maat action-learning circles or ‘Maat Training Practice Rings’) which is a reparatory justice circle of Maat practitioners who learn to be the self-repairs change at the levels of their person, home, family, neighbourhood, workplace, school, places of leisure and worship, etc. These Maat Training Practice Rings encompass a number of families and lineages, across geographical boundaries and generations. For example, a home or family based Maat Training Practice Ring will entail getting a selected number of people in your family interested in unravelling family histories and using this knowledge to recognise and gather evidence of the harm that has been done to you as a family.
The Practice Rings will also explore how such harms have been passed down throughout the generations, resulting in increasing levels of disrepair. We are looking for case studies of some of these family stories documenting family member’s lived experiences of the Maangamizi and resistance to it. This unravelling of these stories is part of the process of repairing the harm and continuing damage being done and passed down intergenerationally within our own families.
You can also creatively utilise SMWeCGEC Petition Soulsquestathons (SMWeCGEC-PS), which are literally a collection of souls, for spark-rippling MAATZOEZADUARAs. The aim is to link chains of MAATZOEZADUARAs together encompassing a number of families, across geographical boundaries and generations, all over the place, as Grassroots Afrikan Reparatory Justice Action Learning Praxis Exercising Rings (GARJALPERs) of the PITGJ. This means that they will share their stories and practice not only testifying with these stories but also putting their cases through trial rehearsals. The key point about the Soulsquestathons is that the various participants connect to, compare and contrast their self-repairs reparatory justice work as families within these MAATZOEZADUARAs. Basically, these are intergenerational connections, not only of family members of the present, but also the past. It therefore becomes necessary for us to keep records about and bring the lives and work of our revered Ancestors into our everyday lives of the present.
If you would like to know more about how to get involved with the APPCITARJ/U-PITGJ or you would like support with setting up a Maatzoedzaduara please contact PARCOE on email@example.com or 07751143043.
Share Your Story!
One of the roles of the APPCITARJ will be to gather statements from Maangamizi resistors, survivors and anyone else who feels they have been impacted by the Maangamizi and its legacies.
It is our intention to coordinate the collection of individual statements by written, electronic or other appropriate means such as audio-visual recordings with regard to providing a safe, supportive and sensitive environment for individual/collective/group statement taking/truth sharing.
If you would like to begin with compiling your story as a case study or indeed to make a statement about the impact of the Maangamizi, you are invited to contact us to discuss how best this can be done.
1. How best people can be involved and participate in the APPCITARJ? 2. Aims, hopes and fears for the APPCITARJ? 3. Mandate, terms of reference, powers and structure of the APPCITARJ? 4. What are the other ways to deal with the legacies of the Maangamizi and enforce accountability?
4.Participate in the quarterly Ubuntudunia Reparations Rebellion Action Reasonings (URRARs);
5.Contact the M.E.T. to learn about and participate in the APPCITARJ Matemasie Action Learning Test Hearings (APPCITARJ-MALTHs).
It is important that you let us know how you get on with your local MP or other publicly elected officials so that we can keep a record of progress or where there is a need for more focused lobbying. Here are the contact details for the SMWeCGEC. Please also see this guidance on Guidance on Proposals for Parliamentary Actions.
Volunteer Researchers are Required to Contribute to a People’s History-Making Process of Securing Reparatory Justice!
If you are a law or politics student or have other relevant skills and experience and you are interested in using your knowledge and skills to support Afrikan people’s struggle for holistic redress and secure Afrikan Reparatory Justice, you can become a volunteer researcher. We are looking for volunteer researchers who would like to join the SMWeCGEC research team in preparations for establishing the APPCITARJ and the PITGJ. If you would like to get involved, please contact: Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) on firstname.lastname@example.org or the M.E.T.
Support from Movement Lawyers is Welcome!
If you are a social justice advocate, legal practitioner or cause lawyer and would like to offer pro-bono advice or support to this community-led initiative; are willing to build equitable relationships with people and organisations challenging historical and contemporary injustice; and are prepared to respect the approach of social justice/community lawyering,*please also get in touch as above.
*Community lawyering has many variants: collaborative lawyering, community, lay lawyering, cause lawyering, social justice lawyering, political lawyering, critical lawyering, rebellious lawyering, movement-lawyering etc. The common thread among them is that the clients, not the lawyers, play a central role in resolving the issues that have an impact on their opportunities to succeed. It is: lawyering that is community-located, community-collaborative, community-directed and based on the collaboration of lawyers, clients and communities in which they live; and transforming law and lawyering to address the inequalities experienced by subordinated and underserved groups. The legal system in the UK and other Westernised countries is very individualistic. It tends to atomise and depoliticise disputes, which work against a community organising model. Furthermore, the facilitation of individual rights has not benefited the long-term needs of communities, especially impoverished communities, especially where such impoverishment is as a result of intergenerational injustice. The Sargent Shriver National Centre on Poverty Law (USA) defines “community lawyering” as a “process through which advocates contribute their legal knowledge and skills to support initiatives that are identified by the community and enhance the community’s power.”
Similar to the different schools of thought in community organising, community lawyering has many different strains. However, what sets lawyers who adopt community lawyering apart from each other boils down to their answers to the following three questions: Who do you work with? What do you do for them? And how do you work together? Similar to community organising, the answers to these questions vary depending on the political orientation of the lawyer and the theory of social change they ascribe to. By combining legal recourse and community organising, it is possible to utilise “community lawyering” as a social change strategy.” This approach engages lawyers who are prepared to de-emphasise litigation as the primary tool for advancing social justice. Instead, community lawyering encourages such lawyers, in collaboration with communities, their groups, activists and organisers, to critically and creatively examine non-traditional forms of advocacy such as facilitative leadership, institution-building, community organising, collective action and other grassroots actions including strategic litigation, media events, community education workshops and public demonstrations. This is done as a way of addressing the legal and non-legal problems of their clients. Community lawyering can also be described as a more participatory process that fosters collaboration between lawyers and their community (group) clients, rather than fostering—if not perpetuating—the dependency that most clients have on their lawyers to solve their legal problems in a conventional lawyer-client relationship.
The role of a “community lawyer” entails working in partnership with one’s community clients and utilises multiple forms of advocacy, to address their individual as well as systemic problems. Community lawyering practitioners recognise that their clients are partners—not just in name—but in leadership, control and decision-making. Through collaboration, lawyers can support Afrikan Heritage Community groups in building their own resources and community capacities to advance their own interests in effecting and securing reparatory justice in a self-determined and self-directed manner.
Another critical component of community lawyering is creating race-conscious cultural competence—a set of beliefs, values, and skills built into a structure that enables one to negotiate cross-cultural situations in a manner that does not force one to assimilate to the other. The goal of race-conscious community lawyering is to support lasting structural and systemic changes that will bring about holistic reparatory justice for racialised groups.
Movement-lawyering is a specific form of community lawyering. It is rooted in the truth that legal work or even legal victories alone cannot win meaningful change. Throughout OURSTORY, lasting change has only come when social movements, grounded in grassroots activism community organizing that builds the capacity, power and solidarity of people experiencing injustice, become strong enough to shift power dynamics in our societies.
Movement lawyers work to support communities fighting injustice, enabling those most harmed by intersectional forms of oppression to lead the fight for transformative change. This lawyering recognises that community members and organisers have expertise that should be valued. In fact, movement lawyers should also be engaged in a process of political study and growth collectively with organisers that are aligned with particular community struggles. Here are some tips for lawyers that are aligned with movements and are particularly relevant to how lawyers can best support communities, their activists and organisers who are engaged in reparatory justice struggles as part of the ISMAR.
 Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths. New York: Routledge, 2001, p. 14.