Thought-Piece on the Pitfalls of Windrush Generation Caribbean
Exceptionalism and the Potential for Increased Divide & Rule in the Quest to
Effect and Secure Afrikan Heritage Reparatory Justice
Please note, these are notes written by ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) Coordinator-General, Esther Stanford-Xosei; co-produced as a result of scholar-activism under the auspices of the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) and the SMWeCGEC.
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
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So, it is better to speak
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.
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?
As Professor Gus John has stated in his recent commentary ‘70th Anniversary of Windrush 1948 – A View by Professor Gus John’ 70th Anniversary of Windrush 1948 – A View by Brofessor Gus John:
“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…We therefore 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 address Afrikan & 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 and wealth 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 best relates 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 in Britain 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 the stranglehold 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 all the 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
1 Cosmovision 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.
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/
See this link for my own encounters with homonationalism/s in the workplace
If we do not unite and combine our military resources for common defence, our individual [African] States, out of a sense of insecurity, may be drawn into making defence pacts with foreign powers which may endanger the security of us all”.
Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, ‘Africa Must Unite’ (1963)
We in the Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP), in partnership with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/ Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC), join the progressive forces of Freedom, Justice and Peace, in the once proudly inspiring Black Star nation-state founded by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, in expressing their outrage and vehement opposition to the shocking endorsement by the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his so-called New Patriotic Party (NPP) majority in Parliament, of the completely unjustifiable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on defence cooperation between the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America on March 8, 2018. It is unimaginable that, 61 years after the declaration of Ghana’s independence, the very Euro-Amerikkkan imperialist superpower of the West, whose Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) masterminded the violent February 1966 coup d’état which shattered the Pan-Afrikan Liberation dreams and efforts of Ghana’s first visionary head of state, is now supposed to be the country’s key security ally. For the sake of the serious lessons that must be critically learnt by us all, we must not lose sight of the fact that this current Akuffo-Addo-approved MOU is supposed to be the enhancement of two previous agreements that were signed with the USA without public discussion, scrutiny and parliamentary endorsement in Ghana in 1998 and 2015 by the preceding governments of President Jerry John Rawlings and President John Dramani Mahama respectively.
We therefore urge you to keep up your resistance as you did with the 2008 attempts to establish an AFRICOM military base in Ghana until this manifestation of the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust of chattel colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement) is stopped. For, contrary to assertions that the USA Government is not establishing an American military base, the agreement indicates that the USA Armed Forces will have the use of a designated area in Ghana to set up their own camp inaccessible to anyone else, in other words a ‘base’ by another name. The presence of this enduring base will increase the militarisation of the state and society leading to increased hostilities directed against the people of Ghana for being in cohoots with the US Empire in committing crimes against Humanity.
Just like in 1844 when Fante Chiefs were outmanoeuvred into signing an agreement on behalf of the Gold Coast with the British colonisers, similarly today, we have a Government and its majority in parliament surrendering the sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity of the people of Ghana, undermining their national interests and security. However, as in the past the people of Ghana at no time have ceded their sovereignty, which is what makes this agreement so injurious to the interests of Ghanaians; the implications of such will be felt for generations to come. The agreement had been drafted in a manner which does not state a termination point. Article 6 of the MOU states that: “Buildings constructed by United States forces shall ….be used by United States forces until no longer needed by United States forces”. If read literally, this agreement will in actuality bind all successive governments in Ghana.
Furthermore, regarding the settlement of disputes between the parties, article 18 stipulates that: “Any dispute regarding the application, implementation, or interpretation of this Agreement, or its Implementing Arrangements…shall not be referred to any national or international court, tribunal, or similar body, or to any third party for settlement, unless otherwise mutually agreed”. Rather, the agreement reinforces USA military immunity from international law and imposes Euro-Amerikkkan law on the people and Government of Ghana in the settlement of claims arising out of the operations of the base, including death, destruction of property or injury. It is likely that such arrangements will increase covert military and security operations both in Ghana and across Afrika.
We support you, the progressive forces of Ghana, in seeking to ensure that all your combined efforts to stop this manifestation of the Maangamizi succeed in making such affronts to Ghana’s sovereignty and the Pan-Afrikan dignity of Ghanaians to not occur again. Such resistance must keep us firmly on the path of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice through first and foremost arresting these continued violations of Ghanaian sovereignty and self-determined nationhood. Given the increasing expansion of neo-colonial tentacles of revanchist coloniality by Euro-Amerikkkan imperialism throughout the Continent of domestically and externally re-colonised Afrika, it is vital to recognise the need to accelerate the building of Maatubuntujamaas – Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSDs) in the Diaspora to connect with their equivalent Sankofahomes on the Continent to achieve Maatubuntuman (Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities). Clearly, the Afrika that currently exists is being sold out by one neo-colonial government after another. It follows that organising to actualize Maatubuntuman, a globally superpowerful participatory democratic anti-imperialist polity of Maat which practices Ubuntu in relation to her people and all of humanity and the cosmos rooted in the indigenous nation-building practices of Afrika and her people, is the only force which can make the global apartheid racist agenda and structures of recolonization by White Supremacy ungovernable.
Unlike in the past when Founding father of the Republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, called for unified armed forces (an Afrikan High Command), and a common Afrikan foreign policy, we have a situation where the current Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul is seeking to hoodwink the people of Ghana into accepting overt military domination; arguing that the USA Government has such defence cooperation agreements “in over 50 countries”. However, what Nitiwul and the misruling so-called New Patriotic Party (NPP) of President Akufo-Addo are refusing to admit to the people of Ghana is that these arrangements are part of what Chalmers Johnson in his 2004 book, ‘The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic’, called an “empire of bases” which advance US geopolitical interests, not those of so-called host countries.
In this regard, we echo the sentiments of the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, which held its inaugural event January 12-14, 2018 at the University of Baltimore in Maryland, in the USA where it operates; we reiterate to you what they expressed in their Unity Statement: “U.S. foreign military bases are the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable World.” It is indeed alarming that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the World).
The ‘No Foreign Military Bases’ Coalition further asserts that: “These bases are centres of aggressive military actions, threats of political and economic expansion, sabotage and espionage, and crimes against local populations. In addition, these military bases are the largest users of fossil fuel in the world, heavily contributing to environmental degradation”. We concur with the coalition’s assertion that US foreign military bases represent the interests of the “dominant financial, political, and military interests of the ruling elite” and agree with their conclusion that: “Whether invited in or not by domestic interests that have agreed to be junior partners, no country, no peoples, no government, can claim to be able to make decisions totally in the interest of their people, with foreign troops on their soil representing interests antagonistic to the national purpose”.
This is the time for the Pan-Afrikan essence of our Reparatory Justice struggles all over the world to take concrete shape by working in cooperation with all Freedomfighting peoples around the World in order to galvanise the Internationalist Solidarity of allies of Afrikan people at home and abroad, to reinvigorate the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and to win the hearts, minds and spirits of Peoples of Conscience for a just World of Peace for all. This is one of the surest ways to ensure that Imperialism in all its forms and guises is exposed, effectively counteracted and completely eradicated throughout the World.
Accordingly, we identify with all the modes of legitimate Resistance being adopted in multifarious opposition to this disgraceful deal of treasonable sell-out to the USA not only by various organisations, networks and campaigns in and outside the homeland of founding father Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, but also by the conscientious chiefs and other true leaders of the indigenous communities that make up the authentic Afrikan polity of Ghana and who are upholding her independent Afrikan Personality in all its sovereignty, dignity and integrity. We support the calls from all the progressive forces of Civil Society, admirably including various youth, student, women and labour groupings, that are being echoed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority in the Ghanaian Parliament, and even some voices of sanity in the NPP, demanding an immediate withdrawal of the agreement, pending the holding of broad consultations and a thorough national discussion involving all relevant stakeholders. May we emphasize the salient point that our GAPP and all others involved in the SMWeCGEC and their affinity organisations, networks and campaigns all over the World see such stakeholders as including those Afrikans abroad who lay claim to Global Pan-Afrikan citizenship and who are, in this United Nations International ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ (UN-IDPAD), asserting their ‘Right to Afrika’.
We are in consultations with Ghanaian progressive forces at home and abroad engaged in planning appropriate Global Actions of Internationalist Solidarity with Ghana Against Foreign Military Occupation. In this connection, we urge all those in Ghana to glocally face up, with enlightening global broad-mindedness, to the seriousness of the very dangerous geopolitical intrigue-weaving, malevolence and War-games which this agreement is drawing them into to descend further into the abyss of the World military-industrial-prison complex of the USA. This MOU will only worsen your Maangamizi plight of Neocolonialism by the Global Apartheid way of White Supremacy racist Recolonization by opening you up to suffer more crimes of Genocide and Ecocide. The narrow-mindedness of parochial obscurantism will not do in successfully rallying to defeat the war-mongering reactionary forces of USAFRICOM that very well master anti-people games of divide and misrule. That is why the necessity cannot be overstated now for United Front-building among all progressive forces unflinchingly committed to defending Sovereignty, eschewing sectarianism, ethnocentrism, egocentrism and similar vices, advancing together in Principled Unity to champion human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights, while firmly upholding uncompromising Anti-Imperialism, Self-Determination, National Liberation, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy and holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. That is why, now more than ever before, is the time to seize in globalising Pan-Afrikan Resistance for Reparatory Justice forward ever onward to total victory!
GAPP Leadership Facilitation Team in association with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) Spearhead Team of the SMWeCGEC International Steering Committee (ISC-SMWCGEC)
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