GUIDANCE ON LOBBYING YOUR MP OR OTHER ELECTED OFFICIAL

‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) guidance on lobbying your MP or other publicly elected officials such as Councillors

 

 

 

In a way, lobbying is something that ordinary people do all the time, it is part of human nature to advocate for a certain need or purpose. But in this context, we refer to lobbying as the act of attempting to influence the actions or policies or decisions of public officials as well as local and central government by pressuring them to do what you want them to do.

Lobbying is an essential aspect of the SMWeCGEC’s work, in implementation of the aim of aim 2 of the campaign which is “to gather evidence of the continuing impact of the Maangamizi as part of the process towards establishing the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament as well as the Ubuntukgotla Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ)”.

When you assist in this lobbying, you help us in the SMWeCGEC raise the profile of the campaign and its demands as well as contribute to a participatory reparations process. These are some of your human and people’s rights under international law.

Please note, you do not need previous lobbying/campaigning experience as this guide is designed to assist you regardless if you are a beginner or more experienced action-learner or campaigner.

 

Find out who is your MP or other publicly elected official such as Councillors

We all have the power to shape and influence government policy through lobbying our Members of Parliament (MPs). Members of Parliament are elected to represent the views of the electorate in the House of Commons, particularly their own constituents and respond to their concerns, even if the MP doesn’t agree with their point of view. An MP can help influence the UK Parliament and government in many ways.

If you do not know who your MP is you can find out via the constituency location service at www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/ or www.parliament.uk You can search by postcode, name or constituency.

Councillors are people that are elected by their local community in order to make decisions about local services on your behalf. The primary role of a councillor is to represent the interests and concerns of their ward and the people who live in it to the local council. Whilst some local government wards are represented by one councillor, some will be represented by as many as three councillors. You can contact one or all. Councillors are not just interested in the council-wide relevance of what you are requesting, but also the local perspective and implications of the requests that you will make for their ward and how local constituents are also affected or the implications for them.

Finding an empathetic councillor if cultivated can be useful in a number of ways including:

Providing inside information about what is happening in the local council, and where pressure points are;

• Representing your concerns to the council and in relevant committees;

• Influencing a decision which is about to be made or changing a decision that has already been made;

• Local political party influence;

• Influence over council officers.

 

Contacting your MP or Councillor

The easiest way to contact your MP is to write to them at the House of Commons, London SW1A OAA. It is recommended that you send this postcard/letter recorded delivery so that you have proof of postage. Alternatively, you can email them at their office – both the websites above have the email address of all MPs. You can also phone your MP’s office at the Commons by calling the switchboard (020 7219 3000) and asking to be connected.

Another route is to contact the MP’s local constituency office. Details of these and advice surgery times are printed in local papers and telephone directories. Many (but not all) MPs have their own websites – these are usually linked to www.epolitix.com.

You can meet your MP either at the House of Commons or at their surgery. Details of the time and location of the surgery will be available from their local party office/local libraries/local newspapers or via their website. Surgeries are often held in town halls, libraries or church halls. Some MPs insist on appointments and others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. It is sensible to find out in advance what you need to do to secure a meeting.

Be aware: for lobbying purposes, your MP can be either where you work, where you live or both.

Find out if your MP has any special interests relevant to the numerous points raised by the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and the wider SMWeCGEC. You can do so by checking www.theyworkforyou.com. The site also records MP’s speeches and how they have voted. You can also check out your MPs website and their page on www.wikipedia.org to find out more about them.

You can find out who your local Councillors are by visiting the ‘your Council’ area on the local council website or by contacting the council’s helpdesk. You can also visit www.theyworkforyou.com or www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council.

 

 

Writing to or emailing your  MP or other publicly elected official

MPs and other elected officials regard postcards, letters and emails as an important barometer of public opinion and take notice if there are lots of postcards/letters on a particular issue.

Take the time to personalise the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard or template letter by also including references to how you, your family, or community group etc. are personally affected by the Maangamizi or Maangamizi denial. Include statements which speak to your own experience.

MPs appreciate brevity – try and stick to no more than two sides of A4 paper two at the most. You should always include your full address as there is a parliamentary convention that prevents MPs taking up cases for non-constituents.

The above information is also applicable to making contact with local Councillors. Whilst you can also make telephone contact, we advise written correspondence so there is an audit trail of your attempts to contact officials and any responses you may receive.

It is recommended that you provide further background information on a separate briefing note of no more than two sides of A4 including summary of the meaning of reparations according to the UN Framework on a Right to a Remedy and Reparation as well as an introduction to the United Nations International Decade of People of African Descent.

 

Meeting an MP or other publicly elected official

Prepare for the meeting by doing local research on the MP or other elected official and finding out what their priorities and interests are. In particular, try and find out where they stand on the issues that you will be raising. Party political allegiance and personal empathy will probably influence this. The leanings of MPs, Councillors and other elected officials can be gauged from their public pronouncements, by writing to them or attending public meetings or MPs/Councillors surgeries.

When lobbying councillors, find out as much as you can about the council or local authority’s past decisions on Maangamizi legacy/reparations related issues. Lots of information is freely available to the public such as minutes, agendas from meetings, for assistance contact the relevant department of your local council.

 

Before meeting your MP or other elected official, it is worth rehearsing your arguments and thinking about how you respond to these three questions:

1. Why you are visiting them;

2. Why the issue matters to you and your community e.g. how you/ and your community are impacted by the Maangamizi or Maangamizi denial;

3. What you want them to do about it e.g. take action on the asks in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ postcard or template letter;

• don’t be intimidated, be aware of your own power as a voting constituent – your MP or other publicly elected official has a duty to listen and take official note of your issues/concerns;

• ascertain how much time you have and ensure key points get raised in the time you have;

• be concise, clear and persuasive, your job is to persuade elected officials who may not have hardly given Maangamizi- counteraction and redress or reparations, any serious thought or who may have very strong views about the efficacy of reparations on the basis of their most likely limited understanding and knowledge;

• introduce yourself, (if it applies, you may link this to the GAPP idea of Maatubuntuman if you see yourself as an aspiring member of the Maatubuntujamaa – Afrikan Heritage Community for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSD) say why you have visited him or her, (you may have to initially write your reasons for visiting MP or other elected official on a record-sheet if you are attending a local surgery);

• very early on in your discussion explain the holistic meaning of reparations and be prepared to enlighten and increase MP or other elected officials understanding. Don’t’ make general demands of ‘support reparations’ and giving a shopping list of measures. Please note that in many cases starting with the ‘how much money is owed’ ‘pay me’ argument shuts down dialogue so be prepared for this;

• speak their language and make your case in terms using examples they understand and also in relation to issues concerning your own personal and community development;

• explain the Maangamizi highlighting its relevance to Afriphobia as the specific form of racism you suffer as a person of Afrikan heritage and the need for redress by way of holistic reparations. Point out that this necessitates wholesome repairs including cessation of violations, restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, guarantees of non-repetition and also compensation according to the tenets of international law;

• explain the specifics asks in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard and/or letter, the MP may be unaware of the issues, in this regard have some documentation with you that helps explain. For example, the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ and ‘Repay our Taxes Paid to Compensate Enslavers’ petitions and the response received from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2017 to the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition;

• give a few examples about how you, your family and community are affected by the Maangamizi. Personalise your briefing and make links to local data, issues, experiences, concerns or campaigns and how this interconnects with UK-wide and/or Pan-Afrikan/international concerns. As part of your preparation you should write down key points and hand over this document to your MP during your discussion;

• be prepared to talk about the issues contained in the postcard/letter as they relate to your local area, other constituents of Afrikan heritage as well as others e.g. what implications do the issues in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition have for young people, neighbourhood centres, schools and service provision locally;

• ask the MP or other elected officials his/her thoughts and comments on what you have said and then ask whether they are willing to support the SMWeCGEC asks in the postcard/letter and precisely what it is they will do to assist;

• make a note of what the MP or other elected official says; this will enable you to report-back to the SMWeCGEC and also follow-up on any promises or commitments that were made;

• be prepared for MPs or other elected officials asking what you know about any other MPs etc. taking action on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and the wider campaign objectives;

• at the end thank the MP or other elected official for their time and recap on follow-up actions;

• follow-up with the MP or other elected official by writing or emailing to thank them for meeting and remind him/her of any agreed-follow-up actions that were agreed;

• be persistent, well-briefed, positive and professional. Remember, when lobbying you have an ambassadorial role on behalf of the SMWeCGEC and also as a constituent of the Afrikan heritage community of reparatory justice interest!

 

 

Be specific about what you want the MP to do, for example:

• write a letter to the relevant minister;

• ask a parliamentary question;

• sign an early day motion;

• raise Maangamizi/reparations related issues during a parliamentary debate;

• invite your MP or other elected official to attend a local SMWeCGEC reparations-related meeting of members one lunchtime/evening;

• invite your MP or other elected official to a glocal (local and global interconnections) session a trial APPCITARJ hearing which you should be prepared to assist convening with the support of the SMWeCGEC;

• ask your MP or other elected official to support an Afrikan heritage community self-repairs initiative, programme or activity you are involved in;

• ask the MP or other elected official to do press, publicity with your group in support of the SMWeCGEC;

• ask your MP or other elected official to keep in contact and to send you copies of any letters, responses, parliamentary questions etc. done on your behalf;

• ask the MP or other elected public what else he or she could do to help the SMWeCGEC (e.g. publicity, introductions to other groups and networks);

• ask MP or other elected public how you can best keep them informed of developments;

• If one course of action fails, write or email again to make sure they pursue an alternative;

• after you have lobbied an elected official, tell your friends, family members and colleagues to also get lobbying, talk to other people in your area and find like-minded individuals so that you can work together. Remember, elected officials want to get re-elected! So, the more people you can get in your community to take similar action, the greater likelihood the elected official will listen;

• Never give up, the realisation of holistic reparatory justice and the specific campaign goals of the SMWeCGEC can only get stronger and receive more support if we can demonstrate the impact we are making in achieving the building blocks to securing the APPCITARJ!

 

Local Councillors can also:

• contact the relevant department about the issues you raise;

• raise your concerns with the relevant cabinet member;

• refer an important issue to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee;

• raise your concerns at a full council meeting.


MPs and councillors of opposition parties are often keen to question the decisions of the ruling party. You can use this to your advantage when campaigning about an issue.

 

Other ways to lobby your MP or Councillor

• Organise a mass lobby of Parliament or the Council, but before attempting this we recommend you reading this SMWeCGEC parliamentary guidance.

• Organise a mass lobby of your local council where everyone turns up on the same day to meet councillors. For maximum impact, however, it is best however to speak to your council and councillors to organise this.

• Attend a council meeting. Local constituents can attend certain council meetings and may have a chance to speak at them. Watch out for Maangamizi counteraction/ reparations relevant cabinet meetings, full council meetings and committee meetings.

• Deputations – or speaking at council meetings are a way of lobbying the council to let them know about a concern that you have that is shared with people who you live or work near to. Most councils have arrangements for ‘receiving deputations’ usually at the start of full council meetings where a number of people (deputation) including a nominated spokesperson can make a short presentation directly to members of the council at the council assembly, the cabinet and other council meetings.

 

 

 

Each one teach and learn from many!

Finally, share your action-learning (learning through doing) by joining a wider group of reparations action-learners, that we in the SMWeCGEC can put you in touch with. Please also keep us updated about any progress you make and also challenges you may encounter. We are developing a page to identify Maangamizi desecrators and deniers so are interested to know if you encounter any public officials that can be characterised as such.

Feel free to also contact us if you need support with preparation for meeting your MP or other publicly elected official.

If you have any ideas on how better to lobby MPs or other elected officials which we could add to this guidance feel free to contact us.

 

Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC) 

aedrmc logo

 

This statement has been prepared in response to the following video:

Xtra History IDPAD 2015-25 Back Story and Reparations By Kwaku’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2Sa156jYlM&feature=youtu.be

Since originally posting these comments under the video on 14th December 2016, when the youtube link was checked yesterday 15th December 2016, the comments mysteriously became unavailable despite them being viewable for some hours when the comments were initially posted. The original comments are now available again for viewing under the you tube video. This video has been shared on many social media platforms. Since the video is publicly accessible and has been widely circulated, so must this public response be made available too.

ED ESX DELEGATION

Having watched this video, it would have been better if the recording of the whole discussion on the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March was posted to get a full sense of what the discussion was that proceeded the interventions from Glenroy Watson in the Q & A session (from 20 mins of the recording) in relation to the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March specifically. These comments I am making are therefore in response to the discussion in the above video pertaining to the 1st Mosiah (August) Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March. This video recording is available for the public to view and has been circulated across many social media platforms.

It is important for viewers to know that the organising of the Reparations March is part of a broader strategy that has legal, extra-legal, parliamentary, extra-parliamentary as well as community organising and mobilisation dimensions. Whilst critical discussion, dialogue and debate about the efficacy of specific strategy and tactics is part of the battle of ideas in arriving at the best way forward, I am somewhat concerned by the inadvertent impression that the conversation pertaining to the March by the speakers in the above recording cultivates. Viewers could be left with the limiting and incorrect impression that grassroots activists and leading organisers involved in developing and implementing reparations strategy and tactics pertaining to the March and its related activities, are not thinkers or strategists; lack the intelligence and cognitive wherewithal to be strategic, develop critical conceptual tools on the best methodologies for effecting and securing reparatory justice social change or fashion imaginative policies regarding implementation of what they are organising to achieve; or indeed that they are not engaged in their own creative processes of activist learning, knowledge co-production, research, critical debate and discussion or even aware of the strengths and limitations of the tactics they embark upon at particular points in our reparations-movement-building processes. Furthermore viewers are denied proper analysis of the context of ordinary people’s leadership and for a significant number, their involvement in the March organising and mobilising processes being interpreted as forms of ‘direct action from below’ that stem from the active resistance  and opposition of ordinary people to the continuing impact of the Maangamizi in their lives.

A further impression may also be created that the best way forward is for some elite group of ‘professionalised’ civil society experts or lobbyists who are unaccountable to Afrikan Heritage Communities, our specific Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest and our autonomous community organisations and institutions, are the ones who should be speaking, representing and negotiating for everyone else in terms of lobbying and other similar tactics etc. Furthermore, that what is required and more likely to be ‘successful’ is a more watered down, ‘liberal’ set of visions, demands and declarations Indeed, such assumptions, perspectives and views reveals some of the often obfuscated national and class politics, interests and struggles within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR). In addition, such assumptions, perspectives and views are in danger of reinforcing the notion that ordinary people are powerless, lack agency should just be spectators in the contemporary process of emancipation from the modern-day Maangamizi, which is part of the means by which power to Afrikan people will be restored making it more likely that reparatory justice can be effected and secured.

 

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The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March is not just a March, it is organised as an action-learning participatory March where Afrikan Heritage Communities led from the ground-up,  collectively learn how to better fight injustice and unjust systems of power as well as build on the powerful insights they gain about structures and systems of power oppression and exploitation and how to build counter-power to help advance reparations social movement-building with various constituencies within the Afrikan Heritage Communities in general and specific Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest. For many, it is in the processes of marching and engaging in allied programmes and activities of the March, including through its partnership with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Campaign (SMWeCGE), that participants co-facilitators and organisers enhance their ability to think, act, theorize and imagine “outside of the box”. Priority is given to mobilising Afrikans people’s individual and collective agency and ‘power to’ effect and secure reparatory justice through community organising, reparations social movement-building and alternative institution-building. Social movement-building is the long-term, coordinated effort of individuals and organised groups of people to intentionally spark and sustain a (reparations) social movement from the ground-up. Part of which is by sustaining the March and other organizing processes that build collective power by organizing  constituencies of Afrikan Heritage Communities and our Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest, to build a change agenda and engage in joint actions to access and implement our human, peoples and Mother Earth rights, entitlements and responsibilities, challenge and change ideologies of injustice and social inequity and seek to transform social power relations in our people’s favour.  It entails:the creation of movement infrastructures required for sustained organising and mobilisation, including social relationships, organisational networks and capacity, affective solidarity, as well as movement-related identities, frames, strategies, skills, and leadership.”

It is publicly known, and well known to Glenroy Watson, that the March has never been just about marching for a day. In the first year (2014) the Reparations March was also a vehicle for delivery of a reparations petition and in the second (2015) and third years (2016) of the annual March the ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ Petition got handed in to number 10 Downing Street, Office of the UK Prime Minister as part of the programme of activities of the March.

The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC,) which Glenroy Watson knows facilitates the organising and mobilizational processes towards the annual Reparations March, are well aware that Parliament is closed on the 1st August. The 1st of August was originally chosen in the first year of the March as the day of the March because it is the officially commemorated “Emancipation Day”, marking the passing of the Slavery Abolition Act in the British Empire, on 1st  August 1833. Furthermore, the significance of 1st August 1833 is that it is the date that after all the years of resistance by chattelised Afrikans, torn away from the Motherland, Britain and its fellow European enslaver-nations of Afrikan people were compelled to recognise that they could no longer continue to enslave us without severe consequences. It therefore represents a symbolic day highlighting Afrikan people’s refusal to accept enslavement, in every manner, including its present-day manifestations.

In addition, it was determined that we as Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage should March in protest at the fact that it was in the passing of the above piece of legislation; one of the most unjust passed in the recent history of Afrikan people’s resistance to the Maangamizi. Please note the full title of the act: ‘Act for the Abolition of Slavery throughout the British Colonies; for promoting the Industry of the manumitted Slaves; and for compensating the Persons hitherto entitled to the Services of such Slaves commencing on 1st August 1834’. In this act, the British Parliament legislated that enslaved Afrikans in the Caribbean would be forced to pay more than 50% of the cost of their own so-called emancipation. In 1833 the British Parliament determined that the 800,000 enslaved Afrikans in the Caribbean were deemed to be chattel and to have a market value of £47 million. This same Parliament provided the sum of £20 million in grants to our people’s enslavers which was deemed to be fair compensation to them for the loss of their so-called human chattel. This same British Parliament determined that the remaining £27 million would be paid by the enslaved people to their enslavers, by means of a 4-6 year period of unjustly extorted free labour known as ‘Apprenticeship’. It was expected that all people over six years would work for 60 hours per week as apprentices to their so-called former enslavers, 45 hours of which were extorted by their enslavers.

This recording quite graciously includes the flyer with the aims of the Reparations March and any basic comprehension of the March aims makes it clear that the aims are not expected to be realised by simply marching for one day. The aims also include recognition and a profiling of Afrikan people’s varied demands, programmes and initiatives for securing reparatory justice in recognition of the diversity of strategy and tactics being deployed by various constituencies within the ISMAR. This is why the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee adopted 9 blocs (i.e. Ancestors, Global Afrikan Family, Community, Repatriation, Interfaith, Artists, Trade Unionists, Students, Non-Afrikan Allies) as part of the mobilising process towards the annual Reparations March and to carry on the process of contributing to and strengthening reparations social movement-building, community, mobilising and organising after and between Marches.

See here for more info about the organising blocs of the March:

http://www.reparationsmarch.org/international-social-movement-for-afrikan-reparations-ismar/

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/aedrmc/

Since the 2016 1st August March the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee has held two public evaluation meetings which have provided information on the strategy that the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee are working to.  For your information, the Co-Chairperson of GACuk, Abu Akil was in attendance at the last public evaluation meeting on 20th November 2016, where a hard copy of the following progress report was handed-out to all present:

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/2016/11/19/progress-report-work-done-since-the-2016-reparations-march/

In addition, a copy of the following form on how people could get involved with and contribute to the various mobilisation and organising processes of the March, (which is available on the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March website www.reparationsmarch.org ), was also handed out at the same public evaluation meeting:

file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/What%20Can%20You%20Contribute%20Form%20(1).pdf

It would not be unreasonable to expect that Glenroy Watson, (GACuk Secretary) would have also been aware of this information at the time this video was filmed on 28th November 2016 as he does mention not being at the “last evaluation meeting” (at 20 mins 30 of the recording).

To clarify, the aims of the March are as follows:

  1. To draw attention to Afrikan peoples’ global determination to not let the British State and other perpetrators get away with the crimes of the Maangamizi (Afrikan hellacaust and continuum of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial enslavement);
  2. To hand in the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide petition calling for an All-Party Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice in order to raise consciousness about the fact that all the attacks on us, in both individual and collective instances, amount to Genocide/Ecocide in Maangamizi continuity, necessitating reparations;
  3. To increase awareness of the necessity to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ and its current manifestations such as austerity, attempts to recolonise Afrika, mentacide and deaths in police, psychiatric and prison custody;
  4. To demonstrate Afrikan peoples’ strength, capacity and determination to speak truth to, and challenge establishment power, with our growing grassroots power to effect and secure reparatory justice on our own terms;
  5. To highlight Afrikan people’s grassroots demands and initiatives for effecting and securing reparations.

Please note for historical accuracy, one of the very public priorities of the March that the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee is working to is utilising the March to hand-in the’ Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ (SMWeCGE) Petition in partnership with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ Campaign. The SMWeCGE Petition is one of the campaigning tools of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) for mobilising Afrikan people’s power to exert upon the British Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament towards establishing All-Party Commissions  of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJs) and other actions necessary to advance the process of dialogue from the ground-upwards, with the British and other European states and society on the ‘how’ of securing Reparatory Justice. Accordingly, the annual Reparations March accompanies strategic lobbying to establish APPCITARJs at the levels of the UK and European Parliaments with various other endeavours taking place in between in different European countries. Such a goal is part of a demand being made on the British and European states to honour the need and right of the descendants of the Afrikan enslaved to speak in a public forum, provide testimony and evidence of how the legacies of enslavement are resulting in continued human and peoples’ rights violations, impaired quality of life and the ensuing destruction of the essential foundations of life for Afrikan people today.

By way of emphasis, please note the SMWeCGE Petition is delivered as part of the multiple programme of activities of the March which takes place all-year round. Such information was omitted from the commentary posted on the Reparations March, if indeed it was mentioned at all by anyone who contributed to the discussion in the above video.

The 2016 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March saw the introduction of the POPSAR (People’s Open Parliamentary Session on Afrikan Reparations) which took place at Parliament Square, (opposite the British Houses of Parliament), developed in association with the SMWeCGE Campaign:

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/category/popsar/

The POPSAR is a mass conscientisational forum for public debate and discourse on Afrikan Reparations as a matter of critical social importance. The purpose of the POPSAR is to engage participants and public audiences in action-learning on participatory democratic parliamentary debate on critical issues such as Afrikan Reparatory Justice. Each year a different reparations related motion will be debated and people are encouraged to engage in practical rehearsals in preparation for the annual POPSAR on 1st August which takes place as part of the programme for the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March. So yes, the British Houses of Parliament are closed, but our people hold our own ‘People’s Open Parliamentary Session’ on this date as part of our demonstration of “Afrikan peoples’ strength, capacity and determination to speak truth to, and challenge establishment power, with our growing grassroots power to effect and secure reparatory justice on our own terms!

See the following for further information

The SMWeCGE Petition can be found here:

https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-maangamizi-we-charge-genocide-ecocide

European language versions of the SMWeCGE Petition can be found here:

https://engoccar.wordpress.com/smwcge-petition/

You can find out more about the Reparations March here:

http://www.reparationsmarch.org/

You can find out more about the SMWeCGE Campaign here:

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/

Please read the following to find out a progress report on the activities of the March in association with the SMWeCGE Campaign and other partnerships.

‘Our collective reparations work is about much more than marching for one day!!!’ (Published in November 2016)

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/2016/11/19/progress-report-work-done-since-the-2016-reparations-march/

‘As we approach the 3rd year of marching: what has been achieved?’ (published in July 2016)

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/2016/07/13/approaching-3rd-year-of-marching-what-has-been-achieved/

Please see the SMWeCGE Campaign ‘Guidance on Parliamentary Actions’ (published in May 2016):

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/2016/05/11/guidance-on-proposals-for-parliamentary-actions/

Please also see the lobbying tool of the SMWeCGE Campaign which is supported by the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee and is handed out publicly as part of the outreach being led by the Grassroots Reparations Education & Outreach Teams (GREOTs) in London and Bristol which do public mobilisation and organising work all year-round.

https://stopthemaangamizi.com/2016/01/11/stop-the-maangamizi-postcard-campaign/

Part of the purpose of the GREOTs include:

  1. Teams being action-learning exemplars of the dictum ‘Education is Preparation for Reparations’ by becoming advocates for the cause of ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as part of the process effecting and securing Reparatory Justice;
  2. Teams promoting the role of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March as part of the ‘street column’ of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR).
  3. Teams being the first point of contact in the education and mobilisation of Afrikan people and the general public in relation to the March – it’s aims and intended outcomes.
  4. Teams providing the general public with information about the ‘Stop the Maangamizi Campaign (SMWeCGE), its petition, the SMWeCGE Postcard’ and the annual March, (in addition to its associated events), which takes place on 1st Mosiah (August), which is also known as Maangamizi Awareness Month. Part of the purpose of the GREOTs include: 1. Teams being action-learning exemplars of the dictum ‘Education is Preparation for Reparations’ by becoming advocates for the cause of ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as part of the process effecting and securing Reparatory Justice.

 

 

A thorough reading, digestion and overstanding of the information contained in the above documentation will demonstrate that the March is more than a one day event and most certainly does not stand alone!!!

To get a fuller perspective of the contributions being made by the March, its related activities and those of the SMWeCGE Campaign, to reparations social movement-building, it would be useful to compare and contrast these initiatives of the UK contingent of the ISMAR with other reparations related actions taking place within the UK and other countries with Afrikan Diaspora populations.

It is unfortunate that no one from the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, or its campaigning partner, the SMWeCGE Campaign, were invited to provide information or clarification or even answer to the critiques of the March. Such a biased discussion, being publicly circulated pertaining to the Reparations March could reasonably lead to the conclusion that there is an attempt to deny the Black/ Afrikan ‘Radical Imagination’, rationale, collective thought-processes and praxis of those engaging in tangible reparatory justice activism as part of ISMAR-building in the UK from the ground-up. People who say they are for reparations should also practice Reparatory Justice Ethics (RJE). The conversation started by Professor Maulana Karenga on reparations ethics is something we should all pay serious attention to and help develop in order to know how best to deal with each and with the issues involved in ISMAR-building.

Please see Karenga’s article on the ‘Ethics of Reparations: Engaging the Holocaust of Enslavement’ here:

http://www.ncobraonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Karenga-THE-ETHICS-OF-REPARATIONS.pdf

The PARCOE article: ‘On Matters of Integrity, Ethics and Representation Within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations’ is also relevant

http://On Matters Of Integrity, Ethics And Representation Within The International Social Movement For Afrikan Reparations

We must all endeavour to be seen to be doing true justice to our sacred cause of Afrikan reparatory justice.

 

In Service & Struggle

 

Esther Stanford-Xosei

Official Spokesperson, Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC)

Coordinator-General, ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGE)

16/12/16

 

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“Progressive social movements do not simply produce statistics and narratives of oppression; rather, the best ones do what great poetry always does: transport us to another place, compel us to relive horrors and, more importantly, enable us to imagine a new society. We must remember that the conditions and the very existence of social movements enable participants to imagine something different, to realize that things need not always be this way. It is that imagination, that effort to see the future in the present, that I shall call “poetry” or “poetic knowledge.” I take my lead from Aimé Césaire’s great essay “Poetry and Knowledge,” first published in 1945. Opening with the simple but provocative proposition that “Poetic knowledge is born in the great silence ofscientific knowledge,” he then demonstrates why poetry is the only way to achieve the kind of knowledge we need to move beyond the world’s crises. “What presides over the poem,” he writes, is not the most lucid intelligence, the sharpest sensibility or the subtlest feelings, but experience as a whole.” This means everything, every history, every future, every dream, every life formfrom plant to animal, every creative impulse—plumbed from the depths of the unconscious. Poetry, therefore, is not what we simply recognize as the formal “poem,” but a revolt: a scream in the night, an emancipation of language and old ways of thinking…”

Robin D.G. Kelly, ‘Freedom’s Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination’, (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002), pp.9-10)

What are today’s young activists dreaming about? We know what they are fighting against, but what are they fighting for?… the most powerful, visionary dreams of a new society don’t come from little think tanks of smart people or out of the atomized, individualistic world of consumer capitalism where raging against the status quo is simply the hip thing to do. Revolutionary dreams erupt out of political engagement.”

Robin D.G. Kelly, ‘Freedom’s Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination’, p8

“Unfortunately, too often our standards for evaluating social movements pivot around whether or not they “succeeded” in realizing their visions rather than on the merits or power of the visions themselves. By such a measure, virtually every radical movement failed because the basic power relations they sought to change remain pretty much intact. And yet it is precisely these alternative visions and dreams that inspire new generations to continue to struggle for change.”

Robin D.G. Kelly, ‘Freedom’s Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination’, Preface

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RESPONSES TO THE 2016 SMWeCGE PETITION

This is the covering letter delivered to the Office of the UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May, MP on 1st August 2016 as part of implementation of the aims of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March:

SMWeCGE OPEN LETTER TO TERESA MAY-page-001SMWeCGE OPEN LETTER TO TERESA MAY-page-002SMWeCGE OPEN LETTER TO TERESA MAY-page-003

This is the initial response received from the Correspondence Office at No 10 Downing Street dated 2nd August 2016.

Please note that the text concealed on the top left hand corner of the letter of acknowledgement is the home address of SMWeCGE Coordinator-General, Esther Stanford-Xosei. When one submits an application to hand in a petition via the Downing Street Liaison Office, one is required to also include a return address for receipt of acknowledgement, as per the requirements of Form 2103- Petition to Downing Street.

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image