By now hopefully you have heard about the recent ‘Reparations and Atonement’ motionpassed by Bristol City Council on 2nd March 2021, the role of the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC) working with local partner, the Afrikan ConneXions Consortium as well as Afrikan Heritage publicly elected officials in this.
So now that we as the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC) are catalysing advancement of the ‘Afrikan Radical Imagination’ (i.e. the ability to envision and work toward bringing about better and repaired futures) in galvanising processes with a variety of Afrikan Heritage Community stakeholders as well as the support of allies; many of whom are publicly elected officials who we work with to ensure that variations of the ‘Atonement & Reparations for the Transatlantic Traffic of Enslaved Africans’ motions get passed by local and city councils in different parts of the country, the question on so many people’s minds is: where do we go from here?
It is necessary to recognise what the added significance of the Bristol motion, which includes resolutions committing Bristol City Council:
To call on councillors, the Mayor or other appropriate council agency 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.
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.
The significance of sections two and four are critical to the success of section one regarding the establishment of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) demand for the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ), which as we in the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign have always advocated, must be led by our Afrikan Heritage Communities rather than others seeking to define for us what reparations mean and should look like.
The struggle for reparations for the Holocaust of Enslavement of African people is clearly oneof the most important struggles being waged in the world today. For it is about fundamental issues ofhuman freedom, human justice and the value we place on human life in the past as well as in the presentand future. It is a struggle which, of necessity, contributes to our regaining and refreshing our historicalmemory as a people remembering and raising up the rightful claims of our ancestors to lives of dignityand decency and to our reaffirming and securing the rights and capacity of their descendants to live free,full and meaningful lives in our times. But this struggle, like all our struggles, begins with the need for 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.
The key point to note about the PEMPAMSIEMPANGO glocal reparations action-planning process in Bristol is that it asserts the primacy of Afrikan Heritage Communities driving the process glocally through the development of a PEMPAMSIEMPANGO Glocal Reparations Action Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression (PEMPAMSIEMPANGO-GRAPPRAP)
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. MPANGO is the swahili word for plan.
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 Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSDs), 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.
However, such Community Self-Repairs for Afrikan Heritage Communities cannot take place in isolation but must link with Afrikan People’s powerbase our Motherland Afrika irrespective of whether we live on the Continent or in the Diaspora. The process of Pempamsie planning should occur within the context of a glocal framework which is establishing repaired Afrikan Heritage Communities which we refer to as Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHCs-NSDs)/ Maatubuntujamaas in the UK and other parts of the Diaspora which organically builds links with such Communities of Resistance and Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest on the Continent of Afrika which are known as Sankofahomes. This simultaneous process of establishing Maatubuntujamaas in the Diaspora and Sankofahomes on the Continent of Afrika is what will help usher in a repaired Afrika known as MAATUBUNTUMAN that will take shape in a repaired multipolar world, i.e. UBUNTUDUNIA.
The planning process of developing such a PEMPAMSIEMPANGO, including the facilitation of glocal community hearings should itself be so participatory democratic that it sets the example for and leads into the establishment of the APPCITARJ from the ground-up.
The first step in the PEMPAMSIEMPANGO planning process is establishing working groups of PEMPAMSIESAFO Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Special Task Action Research Forces (PEMPAMSIESAFO-PARJSTARF); the purpose of which is to work on addressing Afrikan Heritage Communities Community-Self Repairs Solutions to the various aspects of the Maangamizi that they and their families and communities are experiencing.
PEMPAMSIEASAFO – Afrikan Heritage Communities Self-Repairs forces that are ‘sewing in freedom-fighting readiness’ for Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice victory. Asafos are community militia formations to which everyone 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.
It goes without saying that our work continues in fulfilling the other SMWeCGEC aims and objectives as found 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)
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.
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/
Greetings Supporter of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
You may have recently heard about the University of Glasgow Reparative Justice Initiative which was reported in the press, after a year-long study conducted by the University’s History of Slavery Steering Committee (HSSC) discovered that the university benefited from the equivalent of tens of millions of pounds donated from the profits of Afrikan people’s enslavement in the Caribbean.
The report states that although the university itself “adopted a clear anti-slavery position” during the 18th and 19th centuries, it received gifts and bequests from people connected to enslavement. The report concluded that the university benefited by between £16.7m and £198m, depending on how the amount is updated to its present-day value.
As a result of the study, it is reported that the university will create a centre for the study of slavery and has agreed to add a memorial or tribute at the university in the name of the enslaved.
The report also identifies that the University of Glasgow will pursue the negotiation and signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Glasgow and the University of the West Indies, “designed to fit the needs and requirements of UWI staff and students.” It is proposed that the MOU might include, for example:
(a) A short-term visiting fellowship for UWI academic staff
(b) Student scholarships for UWI students
(c) Develop relationships in focused areas (for example, medicine, engineering)
(d) Work collaboratively with UWI to advance research and education in the
fields key to reparative justice (e.g. health, history of slavery and its
legacies, post-colonial economic development etc).
You can find the HSSC report ‘Slavery Abolition and the University of Glasgow’ here: SLAVERY ABOLITION AND THE UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW. The proposals regarding the University of Glasgow’s reparative justice programme can be found on pages 16-17.
In response to the proposed reparatory justice programme, the SMWeCGEC has written an open letter to the HSSC which produced the report.
A vital matter of reparations ethics which the SMWeCGEC has asserted elsewhere including in the letter to the UK Prime Minister accompanying the 2018 hand-in of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition is that those making reparations claims on behalf of Afrikan heritage communities, outside the UK, but seeking to make negotiations with UK state institutions, should first and foremost engage in proper consultations and strategy development with Afrikan heritage communities in the UK. So, public consultation and community engagement is also an expectation and requirement of state institutions in Afrika, the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Further info about public engagement and universities from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement can be found here.
Until next time!
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)