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.
These notes were produced for the purposes of a reparations WhatsApp action-learners group that I a part of. I have decided to share these notes more publicly. They were originally written on 19/04/2018.
“I Is a Long-Memoried Woman“
“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 Ivan Van Sertima, 1986: 13]
“…and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid
So, it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive”
Audre Lorde, A Litany for Survival, 1978
Greetings Reparations Action-learners!
I am offering some, more thoughts for the purpose of this group and reparations action-learning. I am interested in feedback on the viewpoints I am sharing in the spirit of Maatian ‘reparations dialogue’.
Taken whilst working at the Barbados High Commission, (London) Esther Stanford-Xosei & her father, the late Courtney Stanford
First of all, let me say that I am of the Caribbean to some degree in that I was raised by parents, who were born in the region and continued to maintain links with the countries of Barbados and Guyana where they were born. Despite the fact that my Mother came to the UK in the late 1950’s and my father in 1960, my family and I have maintained these links with community, family, friends and associates in the Caribbean. I have worked at the Barbados High Commission with my late father, who was a ‘British’ Royalist and through him, was entitled to claim citizenship of Barbados by descent which I took out in my 20’s. I have therefore, been on a journey and now locate my identity, journey and struggle (as did my predecessors) within the context of Afrikan people globally not as ‘Black Britisher’ or a ‘Caribbean’ person which are socially engineered identities which have particularly been cultivated within the past 15-20 years.
Many of my reflections and political responses have therefore been shaped by my own experience and what has been learned by my family and communities struggles for advancement, belonging, recognition, justice and development. I must also say that despite the differences in my self-identification and that of my parents, I continue to love them and other family members dearly although we have chosen different life paths in our quest to realise our full-humanity as a result of the damage caused by the Maangamizi.
Esther Stanford-Xosei’s parents, Yvonne Stanford & Courtney Stanford, circa 1963
It is important to realise that we are in a political moment, this can help advance the movement, (International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR), but not the way much of the campaigning and public discourse has been directed so far. The intergenerational mission and goals of the ISMAR is totally absent from this self congratulatory fervour about the apology to so-called “British Caribbeans” and promises of compensation, (remember when we were referred to as ‘Afro-Caribbean’ and then saw ourselves as African-Caribbean?).
As promoted at the recent INOSAAR (International Network of Scholars & Activists for Afrikan Reparations) Birmingham Conference which took place in March, according to PARCOE the intergenerational goals of applied reparations are to:
1. Learn about, recognise and ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ including the horrors of enslavement, colonisation, neocolonisation, recolonization and other imperialist and foreign impositions on Afrikans at home and aboard, including forced Europeanisation and Arabisation.
2. Counter Afriphobia as a manifestation of white-supremacy, eradicating Afrikan dehumanisation, and assertion of the Afrikan personality.
3. Restore Afrikan sovereignty by redressing with MAATUBUNTUMANDLA (Pan-Afrikan Government of Peoples Power) the disrepair in our power and usher in a fundamental change of the existing world order that would definitively bring about new geopolitical realities such as MAATUBUNTUMAN; the antiimperialist sovereign Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities/polity of Afrikan people’s power.
4. Effect systemic change globally to ensure the expropriation and redistribution of ill-gotten wealth, resources and income worldwide.
5. Implement New paradigms of development including a new, international, legal, political, cultural and economic order.
6. Institutionalise the Afrikan cosmovisions and ethical principles of Maat and ubuntu in terms of global justice for all. 1
7. Enforce environmental elements of global justice full respect for Mother Earth/
Nana Asase Yaa rights. 2
We can actually measure how consonant the approaches being taken to campaigning for the ‘Windrush generation’ with the pre-existing and ongoing struggle for Afrikan Reparatory Justice by looking how much or little Windrush campaigning is relating to the aforementioned political goals.
I shall say more about the Caribbean case in relation to the Global Afrikan case for reparations later in this thought-piece.
First of all let me say that we must be mindful that our historical and contemporary oppressors are masters at deception and psychological manipulation.
At the risk of mistakenly being considered insensitive, in the awareness of so many harrowing testimonies of Windrush generation affected persons, I am also interested in why there is so much media and governmental focus on the ‘Windrush Generation’ to the exclusion of all other atrocities and injustices against people of Afrikan heritage. Perhaps it has something to do with the forthcoming 70th anniversary of the landing of the Empire Windrush in 1948, the British establishment-promoted re-conditioning, contemporary ‘seasoning process’ and re-affirmations of benevolent notions of Britishness etc. as well as the elevation of the ‘special relationship’ Britain has with the Caribbean, as did their forebears who colonised the peoples found and brought there.
I have been wondering about the other Commonwealth citizens who may be affected by this British governmental ‘hostile environment’ created around the situation of economic and political migrants who came from the Caribbean and Afrika. Are we certain that it is only ‘Windrush generationers’ that are being affected? Or is this an issue that is happening to other so-called Commonwealth citizens?
The former head of the civil service, Lord Kerslake, said that some ministers were “deeply unhappy” about the introduction of the “hostile environment” strategy under then Home Secretary Theresa May. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Lord Kerslake, said some saw the policy, which has come under the spotlight during the Windrush row, “as almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the way it’s working”, i.e. genocidal!!!3
This matters, because we must be on guard against a select group of us as members of the Afrikan Diaspora being elevated for special concern (apology, compensation etc. which is not being framed as part of Afrikan people’s struggle for reparatory struggles) and not others.
In a recent Guardian article by Kate Osamor, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, she points out that she is dealing with a number of cases within her constituency of Commonwealth citizens being threatened with deportation. Notably, she points out that some of these constituencies come from Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda – all Commonwealth countries and emphasises that countless people came to the UK from Commonwealth countries before 1973. 4
So, I am wondering why we are not hearing the testimonies and further news reporting on other Afrikan people who are citizens of Commonwealth countries. Whose voices and lives are being deemed not to matter, and how are we advertently or inadvertently feeding into this silencing and marginalisation of the narratives of other Afrikans?
“To focus upon and make iconic the arrival of the Windrush in 1948 carrying 492 members of the Global African Diaspora from the Caribbean, a region that imperial Britain had made home to their enslaved Ancestors, is to suggest that there was not an African presence in Britain prior to 1948, including a sizeable number of people from the Caribbean”
It is important to remind ourselves that they were part of the Afrikan Diaspora in Britain and made common cause with their brothers and sisters from the Afrikan continent (and other parts of the Afrikan Diaspora) who were/are also resident in Britain. By projecting ‘The Windrush Generation’ above other Afrikan Diaspora and Afrikan ‘Commonwealth citizens’ we are not only in danger of erasing the contributions and struggles of earlier generations of Afrikans from the Continent of Afrika and from the Caribbean in Britain, we are also feeding into compounding:
“the divisions, generated and reinforced by the British themselves, between African Caribbean people and African people as two separate ethnic groups, rather than as one people with a common heritage and with an interrupted history.”
– Taken from ’70th Anniversary of Windrush 1948 – A View by Professor Gus John’
What is being cultivated in this political moment of spotlight on Windrush is Caribbean exceptionalism based on a special relationship to ‘Britishness’. The Caribbean has been portrayed as a place where people are being sent to as though they are criminals and have done something wrong, this is coming from the testimonies of those who have been affected. There are assertions of people’s right to be British and some of those affected have gone so far as to say “I am an Englishman” (e.g. Junior Green, aged 60, who arrived in the UK when he was 15 months old as part of the Windrush generation). These are all examples of identity erasure and misrecognition. Identity erasure is the act of neglecting, looking past, minimizing, ignoring or rendering invisible an other.
In my view, this distorted sense of self, i.e. individual, collective and community self, is one of the greatest Maangamizi crimes perpetrated by the British state in creating and misusing the economic, political and cultural conditions which compelled many of the so-called Windrush Generation to come to these shores – For it cultivated a sense of natal alienation, the seeds of which were already planted by the systematic dispossession of the descendants of the Afrikan enslaved, social and civil death of Afrikan personhood and personality as well as the subsequent erasure of Afrikan identity which began in the colonies and continued in the British metropolis. All this could only be done because of the British colonial and post-independence CARICOM states-induced forgetting and disassociation from the Afrikan Motherland, as well as devaluation of Afrikan heritage and culture, designed to inculcate in us defence of and servility to the British Empire.
I have even heard reference to the phrase descendants of the Windrush Generation which is a historical departure to the notion of being of Afrikan decent or ‘African descendants’ a term that was popularised following the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. In effect reducing us to just a small aspect of our history and experience of the Maangamizi (i.e. The Windrush Experience); thereby inadvertently denying people of Afrikan heritage a right to everything that has been taken from us and that we are entitled to by virtue of our people’s experiences of the Maangamizi. The entitlement of the whole is being misguidedly reduced to the compromised position of going after a part of our entitlement in terms of narrow proposals for Windrush compensation.
More disturbingly, we are witnessing a weaponizing of the cultivation of ‘Windrush Generation Consciousness’ as an effective form of British state counterinsurgency in order to further prolong aspects of the Maangamizi and counter Afrikan heritage communities resistance to the Maangamizi today; especially in terms of seeking to undermine Afrikan Heritage Communities struggles and advocacy of holistic reparations. In addition to dissuading people of Afrikan ancestry and heritage from identifying as ‘Afrikan’ or of ‘Afrikan heritage’ thereby completely diverting us from waging any real struggle in our own group (collective) best interests resulting in us appealing to our historical oppressors and contemporary oppressors as saviours inculcating in us more forms of servility. What comes to mind in this regard is to look at how fowls are caught, often all it takes is to throw the fowls some corn or feed. The fowl will often go after it, not examining who is throwing the feed, whether it is good for them, genetically modified, or even being used as a bait to kill them etc. On the contrary there are members of the Animal Family that will instead sense some form of danger even when it may appear that they are being offered something good.
What is happening causes a great dilemma e.g.: what is the nature of the fight that we wage in support and defence of those affected? What are we and they fighting for and are they the same thing? This is a question which is not just a personal but also a historical question.
In the GAPP emerging position on CARICOM reparations, it states:
“Claims and case of Afrikan reparations are based on the principle of intergenerational justice and therefore has transgenerational, transnational and intercultural dimensions…As descendants of Afrikans who were enslaved, we are mindful of our ancestral responsibility to ensure that when we speak in their names we do not allow the enslaver’s visions of justice to prevail in advocating what are considered to be adequate reparations. The discourse on reparations has to move beyond merely calling on the name of our ancestors as justification for the genesis of our entitlements to redress today to truly recognising the personhood, worldviews and visions of justice of the Afrikans that were enslaved in the Americas and the Caribbean. … To give primacy to their enslaved status and legal and justice frameworks of their enslavers and their descendants; continues their deracination, invisibilisation and dehumanisation…Wetherefore endorse the view of Professor Chinweizu that our own search for reparations must, of necessity, be tailored to our peculiar condition, to our peculiar experience. In this regard, the measures of reparations must be flexible and account for the ethnic and cultural diversity amongst Afrikans as well as the diverse historical experiences of enslavement, colonialism and their legacies today. Frameworks for Afrikan reparations (including reparations for people of Afrikan origin in the Diaspora), must also addressAfrikan & Afrikan Diaspora epistemologies (ways of knowing) concerning what ‘repair’ means and looks like…Equally, we have a responsibility to future generations to ensure that the decisions we make today do not negatively impact the interests or wellbeing of the unborn and each generation to come. This means that whatever reparations outcomes we seek to effect and secure today leave a better legacy for our children and our children’s children and do not end up looting their freedom account and ability to live lives of dignity as Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage on this earth.”
Reflecting on several British anti-establishment dramas/films that have been screened in recent times to prepare our minds for the ‘defender of Empire’ role that many of us are being socially-engineered to assume:
‘Hard Sun’ 6
‘The Foreigner’ 8
…it become more visibly apparent that some of us as Afrikan Caribbean people actually end up being the most trusted and loyal servants, defenders and advocates of the British empire/establishment. This defence of the British Empire is not to be conflated with the claim for Afrikan Reparatory Justice which has always been in opposition to Empire and for Afrikan Self-Determination, locally, nationally and internationally.
I am re-sharing aspects of the analysis of I’Nora Kamala (Dr Nora Wittman) in her article ‘Slavery Reparations – A Caribbean or Global African Claim’:
“Indeed, there is a fundamental problem with the recent CARICOM reparations initiative. Basically, that problem is that it is a Caribbean initiative, based on the conceptualization of a ‘Caribbean’ reparations claim. But the claim for transatlantic slavery reparations is not a Caribbean claim, it is a global African entitlement to reparations, and intrinsically so…It is thus crucial to grasp that it is not Caribbean societies and states as such that have a claim to transatlantic slavery reparations – though they will undoubtedly profit in their entirety from comprehensive global African reparations. The structural and most ferocious violence against the African by Europeans is what Caribbean societies were founded upon. Thus, without reparations and healing directed specifically at the African, no healing can come for Caribbean societies. Global African reparations are the heartpiece of healing for Caribbean societies…Yes, Caribbean nations need healing, but the violence that was and still is perpetrated against the African part of the Caribbean was so fundamental to the coming into existence of Caribbean societies that the healing also has the be directed specifically at Africans. And not only Africans in the Caribbean, but Africans globally and especially also on the African continent.”9
In proclaiming the United Nations International ‘Decade for People of African Descent’, Flavia Pansieri (former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights) said: “people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected”. People of Afrikan descent’s legal personality is based on being Afrikan not ‘British’, ‘English, ‘Afropean’ or ‘European’. Afrikan people have other options than to confine themselves to a second-class deracinated status of Britishness, they can be also fighting for their ‘right to Afrika’ as is being championed by ENGOCCAR, (the Europe-wide Consultative Council for Afrikan Reparations), who are partners to the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign, in Europe.
What is the Right to Afrika?
Right to return (repatriation) and belong (rematriation) which is one process. One cannot happen without the other. It encompasses the Akan Sankofa principle of going back to fetch your Afrikan personality in material and spiritual terms all routed in the land of Afrika. Your personality includes the continent of Afrika, the land, peoplehood andwealth for Afrikans at home and in the Diaspora. This does not mean that everyone physically has to up and return to Afrika, but that one can enjoy the citizenship rights and responsibilities of being an Afrikan wherever we are. Ultimately it is about seeing yourself as having the right to all the material and spiritual wealth of Afrika to the point that such wealth as a whole ought to be utilised first and foremost for your own personal and community development, wellbeing, security and prosperity in the present and in the future wherever you are.
So here in Britain, for example, anyone of Afrikan heritage should feel entitled to being the main determinant and stakeholder in how the British State and Society bestrelates to the people and continent of Afrika in order to ensure that the benefits of that relationship first and foremost uplift the dignity and standard of living of people in our Afrikan Heritage Communities in this country. Nothing should be done about Afrika by the British State or any of its organisational and individual representatives without respecting the agency of our Afrikan Heritage Communities in determining how this should be done. In effect this means that the power inherent in determining what Britain gets or does not get from Afrika is entirely in the hands of people in our Afrikan heritage communities here inBritain shared only with other Afrikan people throughout the Continent of Afrika and the Diaspora. This gives Afrikan Heritage Communities here in Britain a decisive say in the affairs not only of Afrika but of Britain and the rest of the Euro-American world;which cannot exist and wields the kind of global might and influence they currently have without thestranglehold they have had on Afrika since the full imposition of the chattel enslavement phase of the Maangamizi.
That is why instead of craving for the fake carrot stick of Britishness we should be demanding and fighting to secure global Afrikan citizenship that will entitle people from our Afrikan Heritage Communities to belong not only to one particular country in the Euro-American World but more importantly to Afrika and anywhere else in the World where the crimes of the Maangamizi have been perpetrated and continue to be committed against us by allthe powers of European imperialism.
What is glaringly obvious is the betrayal of CARICOM heads of government and their Caribbean Reparations Commission in terms of saying noting at these CHOGMs (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings) about reparations. Despite recent Emily Thornberry’s assertions about the need for the UK PM to apologise for historic wrongs, this has resulted instead with Theresa May’s apology to ‘LGBT’ communities for “colonial-era anti-gay laws.” 10 It is said that May was responding to calls from LGBT activists for an apology over the UK’s legacy on the issue. Yet despite all this talk of colonial-era legacies, we have not heard a dickie bird from any of the Heads of Government present at these CHOGMs about the cause of reparatory justice for the Afrikan people in the Caribbean, or indeed their own CARICOM ten-point plan!
Rather, the focus has been on decriminalisation of ‘anti-sodomy’ laws in Afrika and the Caribbean. The ongoing struggle for reparatory justice which is at its core a struggle for Afrikan people’s liberation at home and abroad, features nowhere!
Whereas support for and recognition of homonationalism and LGBTI minority rights is what seems to be gaining unprecedented recognition. 11 There is some interesting scholarship on how LGBTI social movement organizations have been engaging internationally and focused on engagement in the Commonwealth as a terrain of struggle.12 It has generally been under-theorised how human rights can be co-opted into imperial political projects, particularly concerning the elevation and promotion of sexual nationalisms:
“Since its formation in 2011, the Kaleidoscope Trust has emerged in the United Kingdom (UK) as the leading institutional actor working internationally on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights. In particular Kaleidoscope as a non-governmental organization (NGO) has been pivotal in defining and developing the Commonwealth as an intergovernmental structure to be engaged by LGBTI social movements. A particularly interesting development has been Kaleidoscope’s leading role in creating The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) as a transnational network of national LGBTI NGOs, to lobby the Commonwealth. 13
In fact, there is a sinister silence from them! After all, the CARICOM claim is based on reparations for Afrikan slavery and native genocide. So, it is clear that CARICOM Heads of Government do not mind seeking to receive benefits on behalf of Afrikan heritage citizenries but fail to represent their interests in international gatherings. Not only have they failed to represent the interests of their citizenries on reparations in these CHOGMs, they are also marginalising the interests of those communities in the Caribbean who have always been linking with Afrika and promoting Afrikan identity such as the Rastafari Community etc. (see the video below for a discussion on LBC radio PARCOE as well as SMWeCGEC Co-Vice Chair, Kofi Mawuli Klu which highlights this point). Instead, we can see them contributing to a form of genocidal ethnic cleansing of Afrikan heritage communities in the Caribbean and denial/marginalisation of the their ancestral as well as contemporary links to Afrika and by extension other Afrikan Diaspora communities.
We as various constituencies of the ISMAR within Europe, Abya Yala (the so-called Americas), including the Caribbean and indeed Afrika should have been better prepared to find raise to raise the issue of reparations for these CHOGMs. This issue was raised with the delegation from the Jamaica National Council on Reparations that visited the UK in November 2017 among a number of other proposals for action that we could take together. However, we have not heard back from them about our proposal for joint-working since. 14
“You cannot successfully oppress a consciously historical people”
John Henrik Clarke
1Cosmovision is a view of the basic nature of the Cosmos, it is fundamentally different than that of European culture. This means that we can’t simply force Afrikan ideas into Western and Eurocentric conceptual categories. A people’s cosmovision can be manifested in and studied via its material culture.
Nana Asasa Yaa is the Earth goddess/deity of the Ashanti people also known as is Nyamewaa (goddess) and is the personification of the planet many people call Earth. She is also identified as the First Woman in the form of Aberewa. She is wife and consort of Nyame Anansi Kokuroko, the Creator of All. There is an Afrikan equivalent of Mother Earth Rights.
11 Homonationalism, coined by Rutgers University professor Jasbir K. Puar in 2007 is the intersection of gay identity and nationalist ideology. According to Puar, as gay people have become “normalized” in Euro-American consciousness, these victories in their struggle for recognition have created space for the homonationalist who abandons intersectional activism and advocates racist, xenophobic, capitalistic self-interest. Homonationalism involves conceptually realigning the ideas invested within the realm of LGBT activism to fit the goals and ideologies of neoliberalism and the far-right. This reframing is used primarily to justify and rationalize racist and xenophobic perspectives. It remains notoriously difficult to define who makes up the “LGBT community”, and particularly what identifying as LGBT means in terms of lifestyle, political goals etc. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/gay-people-supporting-trumphomonationalism_ us_57f3e545e4b01b16aaff4bff
Other concepts to be familiar with are homocolonialism and pink-washing: Homocolonialism – Building upon Lisa Duggan’s notion of homonormativity, and Puar’s homonationalism, Momin Rahman conceptualises homocolonialism as a process of triangulation that legitimises Western exceptionalism illustrating how LGBTI politics is caught up in the promotion of the assumed civilizational superiority of western modernity, and thus opposition to SOGI rights (Sexual Orientation, Gay & Intersex) becomes framed as resistance to western cultural colonialism.
Pink-washing is the invocation of gay rights in order to divert attention from and justify the occupation of the lands and territories as well as the violation of the group rights of colonised and oppressed peoples. The term combines the words pink and whitewashing. In the context of LGBT rights, it is used to also describe a variety of marketing and political strategies aimed at promoting products, countries, people or entities through an appeal to gay-friendliness, in order to be perceived as civilised, progressive, modern and tolerant. Celebrating LGBT rights is a fashionable topic in marketing land. Its main usage is to describe the Israeli government’s ‘deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life’. http://www.nopinkwashing.org.uk/
It is encouraging to note that our criticism of the repugnant name of a Slavery Educational Trust which was made in AEDRMC promotional videos here and here has resulted in an attempt to rename such a proposed body to become the Emancipation Educational Trust. This still misses the whole point. Our preference for a name like the Afrikan Anti-Slavery Resistance Educational Trust (AASRET) still holds. It is mind-boggling that even some leading British Labour Party members, including MPs from our own Afrikan heritage communities, are still so engulfed by Afriphobia that they run away from including and explicitly identifying with anything Afrikan in the name of initiatives that are supposed to be about the Afrikan experience. This is even more shocking given that we are in the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent which has the theme ‘People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development.’ Indeed, there is nothing more unique to the global experience of Afrikan people other than the Maangamizi, (Afrikan Hellacaust) in relation to which this educational trust is being proposed.
So pervasive is this Afriphobia, and so strongly does the British State hold unto it, that it is inherent in the processes of white supremacy racist brainwashing through which all those selected, even from our Afrikan heritage communities, to serve in various positions of the establishment are infected with it. Hence its prevalence amongst virtually all members of the British State legislature, executive, civil and public services, judiciary, armed forces, police, intelligence and other security agencies. It appears that not only submission to but an overt display of Afriphobia is a requirement for service in the institutions and agencies of the British State. No wonder it is those selected from our Afrikan heritage communities to serve in these institutions and agencies who appear to exhibit the worst traits of Afriphobic epistemic and structural violence upon Afrikan Heritage Community people. That is why the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) regards all these institutions and agencies of the British State as ‘Maangamizi crime scenes’.
The proposed Emancipation Educational Trust will be nothing but another Maangamizi crime scene if it is established with the same intention of avoiding explicit Afrikan identification, whilst seeking to make it simply distortedly flirt with a commoditised form of Afrikan history and experiences. So, we urge Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the Labour Party and the Party itself to study carefully, the themes and messages, which were promoted on the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us!: Actualizing the Reparatory Justice Change We Envisage’. It is about time the Labour Party stopped this nonsensical beating about the bush, openly confronts its deeply ingrained Afriphobic racism and seeks to honestly counteract it. This includes taking clear steps to initiate open dialogue with the legitimate grassroots representatives of our Afrikan heritage communities of reparations interest in the UK. Such representatives are clearly known through their visible work in organising endeavours such as the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its related ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ campaign activities.
The continuing attempts to evade substantive representation of our Afrikan heritage communities; by bringing members of the Labour Party far removed from such activities and also afflicted with white supremacy racist indoctrination to simply express, their ‘masters’ voices and prejudices in toying with vital matters concerning the survival of Afrikan people in the world today, such as reparatory justice, must be understood as no longer acceptable to us at all. We expect Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, to embrace this firm, non-negotiable standpoint of ours, against all Afriphobic expressions of the Maangamizi as part of the ‘new politics’ he promised Britain, the Commonwealth and the World.
We know Jeremy Corbyn can do better because in his laudable solidarity work for the Anti-Apartheid Movement he displayed some of his best efforts to date of internationalist solidarity with our Afrikan Liberation Struggle. We therefore hope that he will go back to such track-records of his own best practice and do the correct thing once again. The correct thing begins with him taking steps to initiate the dialogue we have been calling for by meeting, to start with, representatives from the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), the organisers of the annual 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and their partners in the SMWeCGEC.
Coordinator-General ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
Following the 13th April 2018 news report on the front page of the Times Newspaper: ‘PM should apologise to ex-colonies says Labour’, it would appear as if the Labour Party is now taking steps towards listening to Afrikan voices for reparatory justice. It is only now since the passing of the late Bernie Grant MP that Labour is thinking of hearing Afrikan voices like his on our intergenerational struggle for reparatory justice.
Within 24 hours of the 11 April 2018 letter from Esther Stanford-Xosei being sent to Heidi Alexander MP and also made available to the office of the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, advocates in the House Magazine that Prime Minister Theresa May should use the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to apologise for the UK’s historic wrongs. Emily Thornberry also states that, if Labour form the next government in Britain, they will ensure that promoting and engaging with the Commonwealth is one of their top foreign policy priorities. In Esther Stanford-Xosei’s letter to Heidi Alexander she states:
“The fact that BREXIT is making it necessary for the UK Government to seek to strengthen its Commonwealth links in the aftermath of the BREXIT vote raises questions pertinent to Afrikan Reparatory Justice. Among such questions, for example, is the one about what type of relationship is Britain seeking to strengthen with Afrikan and Caribbean countries of the Commonwealth when the existing relationship is not only a product of the crimes of the past, but also fortifies present wrongs of the Maangamizi? So much is this the reality, that in the opinion of the constituencies of the ISMAR to which I belong, this relationship can only be transformed to ensure justice for all, by measures of reparations that will enable Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage to equitably participate in re-ordering the war-begotten, unequal and unfair system of international relations that continues to be imposed, with manly Euro-American imperial might, upon the globe today.”
It would appear that Emily Thornberry is in her article also providing an answer to the above question that has been posed, in various arenas, by SMWeCGEC and some other formations of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) when she states:
“…we see our Commonwealth cousins [not] just as potential trading partners, but [because] we see them as full and equal partners in all of the challenges faced by the world and by each of our nations, from climate change and terrorism to the fight for gender equality.”
We in the SMWeCGEC are of the view that the above comment on behalf of the Labour Party demonstrates that they can be influenced to advance steps towards better listening to the case being made for holistic reparations by authentic Afrikan Heritage Community voices in and beyond the UK who are involved in building the ISMAR. However, this realisation should, under no circumstances. make campaigners for Afrikan reparations lower our guard about critically engaging with the Labour Party and the wider Labour Movement on what repairs ought to mean, so as to enable us make gains of true reparatory justice.
That is why we should be mindful and seek to ensure that the Labour Party is not made, by ‘BAME’ gate-keeping apparatchiks and other sections still clinging to its old ways of misusing the bureaucratic party machinery, to distort the legitimate measures of redress that oppressed communities influence it to address by revising them, sometimes even to the point of outright deformation; so that at the stages of policy-formulation and implementation, they become mere white-washing tokenistic gimmicks which tinker Afriphobically with vital concerns of particularly Afrikan Heritage Communities; thereby robbing us of the agency that is vitally necessary for us to do for ourselves the true reparatory justice we are seeking.
So let us keep knocking at the door of publicly elected officials as those seeking such offices will come knocking on our doors in the coming weeks soliciting our votes. We must ensure that we use our votes wisely to make candidates we may be inclined to vote for support our Afrikan Heritage Communities strategic interests and concerns; top-most on the agenda should be their support for Afrikan Reparatory Justice and their concrete action on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard demands.
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
“The future will have no pity for those men and women who possess the exceptional privilege to speak the words of truth, instead have taken refuge in an attitude of cold complicity and mute indifference.“
Revised quote from Frantz Fanon, ‘Toward the African Revolution: Political Essays’, 1994
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
The letter from Esther Stanford-Xosei deals with the response from Foreign & Commonwealth Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad to the 2017 ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and its accompanying correspondence.
The exchanges so far show that as much as sections of the Labour Movement are becoming more interested in communications with certain constituencies of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR), there is a greater need to ensure that the Labour Party is challenged to develop a correct way of dealing with the issues raised in the correspondence and our Afrikan Heritage Communities in consonance with the ethics of reparatory justice. This must also be done in such a way that recognises Afrikan people’s human and people’s right to Substantive Afrikan Heritage Community Representation.
What this means is that Labour Party is being challenged by SMWeCGEC and other Afrikan Reparations campaigners to engage in ‘institutional self-repairs’ in the ways it deals with Afrikan Heritage Communities and our autonomous community organisations as well as the issues that concern us. Only by doing so, will it become a worthy stakeholder with locus standi in Afrikan Heritage Community reparatory justice engagements.
In livicated Service!
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)