The Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC) is pleased to report that OURSTORY continues to be made glocally and the Bristol Reparations & Atonement Motion passed today by Bristol City Council on this the 40th anniversary of the Black Peoples Day of Action, commemorating the 1981 New Cross Massacre. The motion calls, among other key resolutions:
To call on Councillors, the Mayor or the Chief Executive as appropriate to:
1. Write to the Speakers of both Houses of the UK Parliament, Chair of the Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, and Chair of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee to express Bristol City Council’s view that they should consider establishing, and seeking UK Government support for, an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry. The purpose of this unprecedented commission would be to work on the scope of how reparations may be delivered and may also include for example raising concerns about how tax payers were until 2015 paying back compensation paid to enslavers.
The glocal Afrikan Reparatory Justice process driven by the SMWeCGEC is now advancing with our partners, foremost among them the MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-GAFRIC) on the Continent of Afrika as well as the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC).
Bristol is the best demonstration, thus far, of the combined ground-up and top-down approach working together in equity. The Bristol process has included meetings with Afrikan Heritage Communities, Afrikan Heritage Community elected officials and Afrikan Heritage representatives of Bristol-based institutions, as well as allies. There were also 72 statements received from members of the public in support of the motion and nearly 200 statements received last year when the motion went before the Council as a silver motion.
The passing of this motion is indeed a cause for celebration as now more than ever we have collectively been able to demonstrate that a radical agenda for change, (in the sense of tackling Maangamizi injustices from the root), can win.
We salute the exemplary leadership of all those who worked on co-producing the Bristol motion which was based on the Cllr Scott Ainslie of the Lambeth Green Party initiated Lambeth Council and Cllr Caroline Russell initiated Islington Council ‘Atonement and Reparations’ motions that we as the SMWeCGEC contributed to drafting; with some key additions pertaining to the context and institutions as well as progress made in tackling legacy issues in the City of Bristol. In this regard, we commend: proposer of the motion Cllr Cleo Lake of the Bristol Green Party; seconder of the motion, Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig and Mayor Marvin Rees of the Labour Party, as well as the Afrikan ConneXions Consortium (ACC) and African Voices Forum (AVF).
There are however two key additions in the motion which surpass the original motions in London passed so far, and that is the inclusion of the following sections:
2. Support Afrikan Heritage Community (AHC) organisations in Bristol to galvanise support for the emerging Bristol AHC led ‘Reparations Plan’ from, and in collaboration with, wider stakeholders including institutions, city strategic leaders, corporate leaders, key strategic programmes/initiatives and cross-party politicians.
4. Recognise that reparative justice should be driven by Afrikan Heritage Communities experiences, voices and perspectives to ensure that advocacy messages not only reflect but also respond to the real needs of the community in order to recognise inequalities.
Of note, is the motion referencing what we in the SMWeCGEC refer to as the ‘Pempamsie‘ Reparations Plan, which is a ground-up reparations planning process where our Afrikan Heritage Communities are organised and spearheaded by Pempamsiesafo – Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Special Task Action Research Forces (PARJSTARF) to carry out as a matter of study and applied knowledge-production on the complexities of Afrikan Reparations. Although the passing of this motion is a stepping stone in an emerging participatory reparatory justice Afrikan Heritage Communities-led process, it is a huge leap forward and a vindication of the position of some of us in the SMWeCGEC took to championing such an approach on behalf of our people and were derided by both state and civil society actors for it. The above resolutions constructively address the concern some of us in the SMWeCGEC have expressed about the top-down CARICOM Reparatory Justice Initiative known as the Ten Point-Plan, where appointments and disappointments are made to national reparations committees/councils by neocolonial CARICOM state bureaucracies. See here and here for further info about ISMAR position papers on such CARICOM Reparations initiatives. We are glad that lessons from our insights and advocacy in support of the right of the masses of Our People to participate in and steer reparations processes, from the ground-up, have not only been learned but also applied in Bristol.
It is truly laudable that Mayor Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig have been in dialogue with campaigners from the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and acted in ways which have supported and enabled Afrikan Heritage Communities’ grassroots leadership of this glocal participatory reparations process, rather than seek to hijack leadership of the ISMAR. By so acting, they have contributed immensely to strengthening our prospects for the ultimate victory of our Afrikan People at Home and Abroad in ensuring that reparations results in our Planet Repairs winning of MAATUBUNTUMAN in UBUNTUDUNIA as the true guarantees of non-repetition out of which all other reparations gains can be effected and secured as a continuation of the liberation visions of our Ancestors, not only for present, but also future generations.
The full Bristol Motion can be found here. 47 Councillors voted for the motion, 12 voted against, there were 0 abstentions and 4 apologies. You can read the ACC statement of thanks and #calltoaction following the passing of the Bristol Atonement and Reparations Motion here.