The ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) was represented as part of a group of global witnesses who took part in the recent #RebellionDay organised by Extinction Rebellion on Saturday 17th November 2018. The Extinction Rebellion is a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK and other parts of the world that is using nonviolent direct action, economic disruption and civil disobedience to demand action on the climate emergency. “Based on the science,” reads Extinction Rebellion’s website, “we have ten years at the most to reduce CO2 emissions to zero, or the human race and most other species are at high risk of extinction within decades.”
At their launch on 31st October 2018, (with more than 1,000 protesters blocking Parliament Square in London), Extinction Rebellion issued a ‘Declaration of Rebellion‘ against the UK Government for its inaction on the climate crisis. Citing inspiration from grassroots movements such as Gandhi’s independence marches, the Suffragettes, the Civil Rights Movement and Occupy, Extinction Rebellion has attracted much support from religious groups. Such groups include Christian Climate Action, which has had several of its members arrested due to taking part in some of Extinction Rebellion protest actions.
So, what happened?
#RebellionDay was the climax of XR’s first week of coordinated actions of civil disobedience against the British Government for its criminal inaction in the face of the climate and ecological emergency which we all face. According to the Extinction Rebellion Press Release:
“More than 6,000 people have occupied five bridges in central London to raise the alarm on the climate and ecological crisis – and to put pressure on the Government to come clean on the fact that there is a climate emergency.
This is the first time in living memory that a protest group has intentionally and deliberately blocked the five iconic bridges of central London – Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges.”
This action brought huge disruption to central London. According to Extinction Rebellion 85 people were arrested. The Metropolitan Police said most arrests were for breaches of the Highway Act, however all of the 82 conscientious protectors have now been released under investigation.
Extinction Rebellion’s topline demands are:
1. The Government must admit the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse all policies inconsistent with addressing climate change, and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
2. The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
3. A national Citizen’s Assembly must be created, to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
The following Afrikan Heritage Community groups and organisations were also represented: PARCOE, the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament and INOSAAR-RepAfrika. SMWeCGEC members Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu spoke at Blackfriars Bridge as well as at the Extinction Assembly, which took part on Westminster Bridge. They are part of a group of Global South ‘witnesses’ who were invited to “bear witness” to the impact of the climate emergency in their countries. The final part of the action involved a Citizens Assembly where attendees formed small groups as part of a sit-in on Westminster Bridge and discussed the question: ‘How do you think societies should be organised to create a world for our children?’ #RebellionDay concluded with an interfaith ceremony in Parliament Square, where the action was taken to plant some trees!
Global South Witnesses speaking about West Papua, Mongolia, Afrika & the Caribbean
Why is the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign linking with Extinction Rebellion?
Actually, we were first contacted by a member of Extinction Rebellion who expressed an interest in becoming a ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ petition-action-learner. After some correspondence, a colleague from the CAFA Archival Resources Team (CARAT) based at May Day Rooms met some of the leaders of Extinction Rebellion who asked to meet some of us, so a PARCOE representative also involved in this campaign, together with the CARAT met and started discussing terms of engagement. After some discussion, the SMWeCGEC decided to fully engage with Extinction Rebellion in their activities and explore how best we could collaborate. Not least because working with Extinction Rebellion is being done in fulfilment of some of our own Pan-Afrikan internationalist campaign aims.
Aims three and four of the SMWeCGEC are to:
It is therefore the view of the SMWeCGEC that our campaign can be strengthened in the process of building a concrete relationship with concrete allies engage in forms of resistance to aspects of the Maangamizi and who are also in pursuit of similar objectives as us; such as stopping ecocide, taking seriously the threat of human and other species extinction, as well as countering extractivism and reversing the harmful effects of extractive industries etc. It is our belief that this inter-movement dialogue and action has the potential for galvanising and strengthening the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) and through that also its constituent part, the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR).
We have therefore linked up with Extinction Rebellion because of the common interest we share in exposing, tackling and trying to stop the harms of ecocide as well as seeking to bring about a different World Order in which people relate to each other, to the World, Mother Earth and the Cosmos in accordance with the principles of ubuntu. This is what we refer to as Ubuntudunia, (a Pan-Afrikan conception of a world of global justice for all, consisting of the terms ubuntu + dunia which is Kiswahili term for world); something which is possible that our combined efforts with such movements, who are also organising to bring about global justice can achieve. Whilst one of the specific reparations goals of the ISMAR is to establish MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrkan Union of Communities, part of the work of the PRIM is to achieve Ubuntudunia.
You see, as activists and campaigners, we often know what we are fighting against but do not always take the time to prefigure the alternative world and realities that we wish to see. As you may be aware, the SMWeCGEC partners with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March which last year adopted the theme: promoting the reparatory justice change we are organising to bring about.
It is the view of the SMWeCGEC that working with the Extinction Rebellion will catalyse the evolution of the Reparations March by facilitating the participation of those who are interested in the Ubuntu Non-Afrikan Allies Bloc of the Reparations March in Extinction Rebellion activities in such a way that furthers our mutual action-learning.
Whilst many critique marching, we see the Reparations March as a dress rehearsal and part of the preparatory process for the development of other tactics and forms of organisation which will lead to the achievement of our strategic objectives of holistic Reparatory Justice. Hence why the SMWeCGEC initiated the ISMAR Advocates training course in 2016 as a springboard to develop the necessary training that is required to organise mass civil disobedience.
We are working with Extinction Rebellion internationally because it is also important to globalise work on exposing and stopping the Maangamizi to achieve Reparatory Justice all over the world. This work involves our colleagues in Vazoba Afrika & Friends Networking Open Forum and the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC) as well as the West Afrikan Grassroots Preparatory Action Coordinating Committee of the INOSAAR (WAGPACC-INOSAAR).
Where do we go from here?
We will now make use of the opportunity we have to reflect on the lessons rom this first action-learning encounter with Extinction Rebellion in terms of assessing what possibilities exist, preparing for further dialogue with Extinction Rebellion and working out how we take on board lessons from their experiences of non-violent direct action and mass civil disobedience and how we also respond to their interest in learning from us. One of the key points of action-learning is how non-violent direct action relates to implementation of the aims of the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
We take on board the above point made by Extinction Rebellion as it is something which we are also familiar hearing from many critics of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March. Hence why the following theme for the 2018 People’s Open Parliamentary Session on Afrikan Reparations (POPSAR) @Parliament Square as part of the programme of the Reparations March:
Be it resolved, the Reparations March, as a form of reparatory justice street protest, is being made inadequate due to inactivity by the majority of its participants in taking steps to advance the campaign for reparations between the annual marches.
Indeed, many have critiqued the Reparations March but have not presented an evidence base for the alternative strategies of tactics which can bring about reparatory justice social change. We as the SMWeCGEC are now also working with allies that are demonstrating with action what alternative tactics can be, through their own self-disciplined, organisation and sacrifice for a cause which they feel is greater than themselves.
It is true, unless those who are serious about the goals of the ISMAR and effecting and securing holistic Reparatory Justice are willing to take organised forms of resistance in the form of planned mass civil disobedience then not much will change. However, this is not a call to undisciplined rioting, this is a call to work for purposeful rebellion by organising people who are willing to work together, to think together, to learn together, to learn from each other, to learn from others including non-Afrikan allies; to strategise as well as build the necessary infrastructure for making such tactics of rebellion a reality.
Esther Stanford-Xosei & Kofi Mawuli Klu holding placard of Dr. Gail Bradbrook, professor of molecular biophysics & co-founder of Rising Up!, which is now helping to organise the Extinction Rebellion
Kofi Mawuli Klu on Sky TV promoting #RebellionDay
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#Repost @tamsinomond (@get_repost) ・・・ what a way to begin This Historic day. Sky news kicks us off with an 8 minute report… 🌍🙌💚 Thank you Kofi Mawuli Klu, Ghanaian environmentalist, human rights activist and Rebel who joins us today on one of our five bridges. We need you to join us to – to fight for yourself, for our planet, for Kofi, for the future. This day is the beginning of the rest of our lives. We can build new realities, emerging from the defunct structures of capitalism, we can build a world of resistance, solidarity and love. Join us @extinctionrebellion #StopTheMaangamizi #Reparations #ExtinctionRebellion #WeChargeGENOCIDE #WechargeECOCIDE #wearetheoneswehavebeenwaitingfor
This is a recording from the Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum (PASCF) workshop – USAFRICOM: GLOBALISING PAN-AFRIKAN RESISTANCE FROM GHANA TODAY” with Kofi Mawuli Klu, Co-Vice Chairperson of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) which took place on 13th April in London.
An outcome of this workshop was that a demonstration was organised by Ghana Action for Pan-Afrikan Resistance (GAPAR) to take place today, 21st April at the London School of Economics were President Nana Akufo-Addo of the Republic of Ghana is a keynote speaker at the 5th Annual ‘LSE Africa Summit’.
The synopsis for the workshop is as follows:
Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, defined neocolonialism as “the last stage of imperialism” – understanding this as a violation of Afrikan sovereignty as Afrikan states are independent in name only and imperialism/white supremacy manipulates economic and political control, through globalization, capitalism and cultural expansionism. So, in effect foreign interests, are what dictate everything.
In ‘USAFRICOM: GLOBALISING PAN-AFRIKAN RESISTANCE FROM GHANA TODAY’ esteemed scholar-activist Kofi Mawuli Klu looks at the wider historical trajectory of neo-colonial relations between Ghana and the USA/white supremacy in view of their expanding and unrestricted access to a host of Ghanaian facilities, recently agreed by Ghana’s Cabinet.
The emphasis of Bro Kofi’s presentation is to facilitate public discussion on the 5th April 2018 joint statement issued by the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) and the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC) entitled “Opposing the USAFRICOM Base of Maangamizi in Ghana: Globalising Pan-Afrikan Resistance for Reparatory Justice is the Way to Victory”. Kofi explains the strategy and tactics being pursued by some of the Freedomfighting forces still upholding the teachings of Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah in trying to steer the growing Resistance to the USA-Ghana Deal on Strengthening the Militarisation of Neocolonialism in West Afrika towards the goals of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
He highlights the necessity of better meeting the challenge in and beyond Britain today of utilising Internationalist Solidarity mobilisation for such Resistance in Afrika for its best purpose of reclaiming authentic Pan-Afrikanism as an intellectually sharpening practical weapon for globally advancing emancipatory struggle towards what GAPP envisions as the Maatubuntuman achievement of the total liberation, unification and self-determined progress of Afrikan people all over the World.
PRESENTER: Bro Kofi Mawuli Klu is Chief Executive Commissioner of PANAFRIINDABA, a grassroots Pan-Afrikan Community Advocacy, Research and Think Tank based in London, UK and Accra, Ghana. He is also co-Vice Chair, Pan-Afrikan Reparation Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) in London and Joint Co-ordinator of the Global Justice Forum based in London as well as Co-Vice Chair of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC). Bro Kofi runs his own Law-Related Educational Services Agency, UEQUIPOISE. His scholarly activism has and continue to make a significant contribution within institutions of education in and outside of the United Kingdom [various courses, seminars, workshops, conferences and Groundings on Afrika and Pan-Afrikanism] and serves Afrikan students/communities as a conscientising tool for grassroots resistance and social change.
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
Following the 13th April 2018 news report on the front page of the Times Newspaper: ‘PM should apologise to ex-colonies says Labour’, it would appear as if the Labour Party is now taking steps towards listening to Afrikan voices for reparatory justice. It is only now since the passing of the late Bernie Grant MP that Labour is thinking of hearing Afrikan voices like his on our intergenerational struggle for reparatory justice.
Within 24 hours of the 11 April 2018 letter from Esther Stanford-Xosei being sent to Heidi Alexander MP and also made available to the office of the Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, leader of the Labour Party, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, advocates in the House Magazine that Prime Minister Theresa May should use the forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting to apologise for the UK’s historic wrongs. Emily Thornberry also states that, if Labour form the next government in Britain, they will ensure that promoting and engaging with the Commonwealth is one of their top foreign policy priorities. In Esther Stanford-Xosei’s letter to Heidi Alexander she states:
“The fact that BREXIT is making it necessary for the UK Government to seek to strengthen its Commonwealth links in the aftermath of the BREXIT vote raises questions pertinent to Afrikan Reparatory Justice. Among such questions, for example, is the one about what type of relationship is Britain seeking to strengthen with Afrikan and Caribbean countries of the Commonwealth when the existing relationship is not only a product of the crimes of the past, but also fortifies present wrongs of the Maangamizi? So much is this the reality, that in the opinion of the constituencies of the ISMAR to which I belong, this relationship can only be transformed to ensure justice for all, by measures of reparations that will enable Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage to equitably participate in re-ordering the war-begotten, unequal and unfair system of international relations that continues to be imposed, with manly Euro-American imperial might, upon the globe today.”
It would appear that Emily Thornberry is in her article also providing an answer to the above question that has been posed, in various arenas, by SMWeCGEC and some other formations of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) when she states:
“…we see our Commonwealth cousins [not] just as potential trading partners, but [because] we see them as full and equal partners in all of the challenges faced by the world and by each of our nations, from climate change and terrorism to the fight for gender equality.”
We in the SMWeCGEC are of the view that the above comment on behalf of the Labour Party demonstrates that they can be influenced to advance steps towards better listening to the case being made for holistic reparations by authentic Afrikan Heritage Community voices in and beyond the UK who are involved in building the ISMAR. However, this realisation should, under no circumstances. make campaigners for Afrikan reparations lower our guard about critically engaging with the Labour Party and the wider Labour Movement on what repairs ought to mean, so as to enable us make gains of true reparatory justice.
That is why we should be mindful and seek to ensure that the Labour Party is not made, by ‘BAME’ gate-keeping apparatchiks and other sections still clinging to its old ways of misusing the bureaucratic party machinery, to distort the legitimate measures of redress that oppressed communities influence it to address by revising them, sometimes even to the point of outright deformation; so that at the stages of policy-formulation and implementation, they become mere white-washing tokenistic gimmicks which tinker Afriphobically with vital concerns of particularly Afrikan Heritage Communities; thereby robbing us of the agency that is vitally necessary for us to do for ourselves the true reparatory justice we are seeking.
So let us keep knocking at the door of publicly elected officials as those seeking such offices will come knocking on our doors in the coming weeks soliciting our votes. We must ensure that we use our votes wisely to make candidates we may be inclined to vote for support our Afrikan Heritage Communities strategic interests and concerns; top-most on the agenda should be their support for Afrikan Reparatory Justice and their concrete action on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard demands.
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
Tariq Ahmad, Baron Ahmad of Wimbledon
Greetings Supporter/s of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
See the response below from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict to the ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Petition. This response was received after the intervention of Heidi Alexander MP for Lewisham East (London) who was lobbied to write to the FCO to seek a response from the relevant FCO Minister.
Previous correspondence can be found here:
The address of Esther Stanford-Xosei has been redacted
The address of Esther Stanford-Xosei has been redacted
This link includes the response sent to Heidi Alexander MP further to receiving the above response from Lord Ahmad.
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
The following two statements from members of the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC) in Ghana, express the reparatory justice perspectives of the leadership that exists for Afrikan communities of reparations interest battling the Maangamizi on the ground in Afrika. They were presented at the 17th March 2018 International Network of Scholars & Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR) Conference in Birmingham. Most importantly, these statements from Paramount Chiefs, Togbe Adzatekpor VII and Nana Kobina Nketsia V highlight their recognition, as leading members of the GAFRIC, of the right of Afrikan people all over the world to the Continent of Afrika!
The ‘right to Afrika‘ incorporates the ‘right to return’ (repatriation) and ‘right to 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. The ‘Afrikan personality’, popularised by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, refers to manifestations of cultural uniqueness among Afrikans as reflected in our behaviours, social norms, customs, values, beliefs, spiritual zeal, attitudes, explanations of the cosmos and the supernatural, as well as social and political systems. The right to Afrika includes the right to belong to the peoplehood of Afrika and benefit from the shared land, wealth and resources of Afrika, as well as share in her many development challenges. This does not mean that all Afrikans physically has to up and return to Afrika, but that one should be able to exercise the global citizenship rights and responsibilities of being an Afrikan.
Ultimately, it is about feeling the power of Afrika protecting us as Afrikans wherever we are in the world. However, for this to happen it is necessary to rebuild Afrika on the basis of our indigenous polities and delegitimise colonial state formations. This means rebuilding Afrika into a unified whole; integrating communities of Afrikan people from the Continent and Diaspora into a globally superpowerful polity (MAATUBUNTUMAN- Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities) based on the Continent that guarantees the collective strength, dignity and security of Afrikan people worldwide.
The statements from Togbe Adzatekpor VII and Nana Kobina Nketsia V also show the readiness of such community leaders, and their respective communities of reparatory justice interest, to contribute to repairing the disrepair of our Afrikan communities. They are doing what they can to counteract the divisive impact of the Maangamizi with policies, projects, programmes and other measures towards reunifying our Global Afrikan Family, in accordance with the imperatives of holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
“Convinced that the pursuit of reparations by the African peoples in the continent and in the Diaspora will itself be a learning experience in self-discovery and in uniting experience politically and psychologically.”
The Abuja Proclamation: A declaration of the ‘first Abuja Pan-African Conference on Reparations For African Enslavement, Colonisation And Neo-Colonisation’, sponsored by The Organisation Of African Unity and its Reparations Commission April 27-29, 1993, Abuja, Nigeria
Togbe Osie Adza Tekpor VII, Paramount Chief of the Avatime Traditional Area
Nana Kobina Nketsia V, Paramount Chief of the Essikado Traditional Area
“To love Afrika, to seek the cultural freedom of Afrika and to serve the cultural truth of Afrika is to ask for death”
Nana Kobina Nketsia V
Recommended reading, ‘African Culture in Governance and Development: The Ghana Paradigm’ by Nana Kobina Nketsia V, with an introduction by Professor James Small.
“When we look at Afrika and see whose culture we are practising, we realise how vulnerable we are to genocide because we are practising the culture of our enemies and not the culture of our ancestors. Nana Nketsia is making a case that I don’t think any opposing legal framework can defeat; a case for us to return to the ways of our Ancestors and abandon and turn our backs on the ways of the rapists, the plunderers and the murderers who have imposed on us, their culture, their history, their notion of reality and their religion; and we must make this u-turn to continue our journey, we want to go back to the womb of Mother Afrika and compose again, as her child, her dreams, her aspirations, her hopes and her future. This will allow us to have full control of the economics, politics and culture that affects lives on a daily basis. This process must include at its core, the restoration of complete confidence in us and a belief system that is based on the reality of our own experience and that of our Ancestors, which is a challenge that Nana’s work clearly identifies.
Nana is re-membering the Afrikan continent. Its members are scattered and Nana’s book is bringing them back together. That is the essence of the word ‘remember’; reconnecting the scattered members of a once collective whole to make it whole again. Nana is reminding us to bring back our Ancestors’ way of thinking that will allow us to reconstruct a dynamic path for the future.”
Taken from the introduction by Professor James Small
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) guidance on lobbying your MP or other publicly elected officials such as Councillors
In a way, lobbying is something that ordinary people do all the time, it is part of human nature to advocate for a certain need or purpose. But in this context, we refer to lobbying as the act of attempting to influence the actions or policies or decisions of public officials as well as local and central government by pressuring them to do what you want them to do.
Lobbying is an essential aspect of the SMWeCGEC’s work, in implementation of the aim of aim 2 of the campaign which is “to gather evidence of the continuing impact of the Maangamizi as part of the process towards establishing the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament as well as the Ubuntukgotla Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ)”.
When you assist in this lobbying, you help us in the SMWeCGEC raise the profile of the campaign and its demands as well as contribute to a participatory reparations process. These are some of your human and people’s rights under international law.
Please note, you do not need previous lobbying/campaigning experience as this guide is designed to assist you regardless if you are a beginner or more experienced action-learner or campaigner.
Find out who is your MP or other publicly elected official such as Councillors
We all have the power to shape and influence government policy through lobbying our Members of Parliament (MPs). Members of Parliament are elected to represent the views of the electorate in the House of Commons, particularly their own constituents and respond to their concerns, even if the MP doesn’t agree with their point of view. An MP can help influence the UK Parliament and government in many ways.
Councillors are people that are elected by their local community in order to make decisions about local services on your behalf. The primary role of a councillor is to represent the interests and concerns of their ward and the people who live in it to the local council. Whilst some local government wards are represented by one councillor, some will be represented by as many as three councillors. You can contact one or all. Councillors are not just interested in the council-wide relevance of what you are requesting, but also the local perspective and implications of the requests that you will make for their ward and how local constituents are also affected or the implications for them.
Finding an empathetic councillor if cultivated can be useful in a number of ways including:
• Providing inside information about what is happening in the local council, and where pressure points are;
• Representing your concerns to the council and in relevant committees;
• Influencing a decision which is about to be made or changing a decision that has already been made;
• Local political party influence;
• Influence over council officers.
Contacting your MP or Councillor
The easiest way to contact your MP is to write to them at the House of Commons, London SW1A OAA. It is recommended that you send this postcard/letter recorded delivery so that you have proof of postage. Alternatively, you can email them at their office – both the websites above have the email address of all MPs. You can also phone your MP’s office at the Commons by calling the switchboard (020 7219 3000) and asking to be connected.
Another route is to contact the MP’s local constituency office. Details of these and advice surgery times are printed in local papers and telephone directories. Many (but not all) MPs have their own websites – these are usually linked to www.epolitix.com.
You can meet your MP either at the House of Commons or at their surgery. Details of the time and location of the surgery will be available from their local party office/local libraries/local newspapers or via their website. Surgeries are often held in town halls, libraries or church halls. Some MPs insist on appointments and others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. It is sensible to find out in advance what you need to do to secure a meeting.
Be aware: for lobbying purposes, your MP can be either where you work, where you live or both.
Find out if your MP has any special interests relevant to the numerous points raised by the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and the wider SMWeCGEC. You can do so by checking www.theyworkforyou.com. The site also records MP’s speeches and how they have voted. You can also check out your MPs website and their page on www.wikipedia.org to find out more about them.
You can find out who your local Councillors are by visiting the ‘your Council’ area on the local council website or by contacting the council’s helpdesk. You can also visit www.theyworkforyou.com or www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council.
Writing to or emailing your MP or other publicly elected official
MPs and other elected officials regard postcards, letters and emails as an important barometer of public opinion and take notice if there are lots of postcards/letters on a particular issue.
Take the time to personalise the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard or template letter by also including references to how you, your family, or community group etc. are personally affected by the Maangamizi or Maangamizi denial. Include statements which speak to your own experience.
MPs appreciate brevity – try and stick to no more than two sides of A4 paper two at the most. You should always include your full address as there is a parliamentary convention that prevents MPs taking up cases for non-constituents.
The above information is also applicable to making contact with local Councillors. Whilst you can also make telephone contact, we advise written correspondence so there is an audit trail of your attempts to contact officials and any responses you may receive.
It is recommended that you provide further background information on a separate briefing note of no more than two sides of A4 including summary of the meaning of reparations according to the UN Framework on a Right to a Remedy and Reparation as well as an introduction to the United Nations International Decade of People of African Descent.
Meeting an MP or other publicly elected official
Prepare for the meeting by doing local research on the MP or other elected official and finding out what their priorities and interests are. In particular, try and find out where they stand on the issues that you will be raising. Party political allegiance and personal empathy will probably influence this. The leanings of MPs, Councillors and other elected officials can be gauged from their public pronouncements, by writing to them or attending public meetings or MPs/Councillors surgeries.
When lobbying councillors, find out as much as you can about the council or local authority’s past decisions on Maangamizi legacy/reparations related issues. Lots of information is freely available to the public such as minutes, agendas from meetings, for assistance contact the relevant department of your local council.
Before meeting your MP or other elected official, it is worth rehearsing your arguments and thinking about how you respond to these three questions:
1. Why you are visiting them;
2. Why the issue matters to you and your community e.g. how you/ and your community are impacted by the Maangamizi or Maangamizi denial;
3. What you want them to do about it e.g. take action on the asks in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ postcard or template letter;
• don’t be intimidated, be aware of your own power as a voting constituent – your MP or other publicly elected official has a duty to listen and take official note of your issues/concerns;
• ascertain how much time you have and ensure key points get raised in the time you have;
• be concise, clear and persuasive, your job is to persuade elected officials who may not have hardly given Maangamizi- counteraction and redress or reparations, any serious thought or who may have very strong views about the efficacy of reparations on the basis of their most likely limited understanding and knowledge;
• introduce yourself, (if it applies, you may link this to the GAPP idea of Maatubuntuman if you see yourself as an aspiring member of the Maatubuntujamaa – Afrikan Heritage Community for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSD) say why you have visited him or her, (you may have to initially write your reasons for visiting MP or other elected official on a record-sheet if you are attending a local surgery);
• very early on in your discussion explain the holistic meaning of reparations and be prepared to enlighten and increase MP or other elected officials understanding. Don’t’ make general demands of ‘support reparations’ and giving a shopping list of measures. Please note that in many cases starting with the ‘how much money is owed’ ‘pay me’ argument shuts down dialogue so be prepared for this;
• speak their language and make your case in terms using examples they understand and also in relation to issues concerning your own personal and community development;
• explain the Maangamizi highlighting its relevance to Afriphobia as the specific form of racism you suffer as a person of Afrikan heritage and the need for redress by way of holistic reparations. Point out that this necessitates wholesome repairs including cessation of violations, restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, guarantees of non-repetition and also compensation according to the tenets of international law;
• explain the specifics asks in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard and/or letter, the MP may be unaware of the issues, in this regard have some documentation with you that helps explain. For example, the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ and ‘Repay our Taxes Paid to Compensate Enslavers’ petitions and the response received from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 2017 to the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition;
• give a few examples about how you, your family and community are affected by the Maangamizi. Personalise your briefing and make links to local data, issues, experiences, concerns or campaigns and how this interconnects with UK-wide and/or Pan-Afrikan/international concerns. As part of your preparation you should write down key points and hand over this document to your MP during your discussion;
• be prepared to talk about the issues contained in the postcard/letter as they relate to your local area, other constituents of Afrikan heritage as well as others e.g. what implications do the issues in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition have for young people, neighbourhood centres, schools and service provision locally;
• ask the MP or other elected officials his/her thoughts and comments on what you have said and then ask whether they are willing to support the SMWeCGEC asks in the postcard/letter and precisely what it is they will do to assist;
• make a note of what the MP or other elected official says; this will enable you to report-back to the SMWeCGEC and also follow-up on any promises or commitments that were made;
• be prepared for MPs or other elected officials asking what you know about any other MPs etc. taking action on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and the wider campaign objectives;
• at the end thank the MP or other elected official for their time and recap on follow-up actions;
• follow-up with the MP or other elected official by writing or emailing to thank them for meeting and remind him/her of any agreed-follow-up actions that were agreed;
• be persistent, well-briefed, positive and professional. Remember, when lobbying you have an ambassadorial role on behalf of the SMWeCGEC and also as a constituent of the Afrikan heritage community of reparatory justice interest!
Be specific about what you want the MP to do, for example:
• write a letter to the relevant minister;
• ask a parliamentary question;
• sign an early day motion;
• raise Maangamizi/reparations related issues during a parliamentary debate;
• invite your MP or other elected official to attend a local SMWeCGEC reparations-related meeting of members one lunchtime/evening;
• invite your MP or other elected official to a glocal (local and global interconnections) session a trial APPCITARJ hearing which you should be prepared to assist convening with the support of the SMWeCGEC;
• ask your MP or other elected official to support an Afrikan heritage community self-repairs initiative, programme or activity you are involved in;
• ask the MP or other elected official to do press, publicity with your group in support of the SMWeCGEC;
• ask your MP or other elected official to keep in contact and to send you copies of any letters, responses, parliamentary questions etc. done on your behalf;
• ask the MP or other elected public what else he or she could do to help the SMWeCGEC (e.g. publicity, introductions to other groups and networks);
• ask MP or other elected public how you can best keep them informed of developments;
• If one course of action fails, write or email again to make sure they pursue an alternative;
• after you have lobbied an elected official, tell your friends, family members and colleagues to also get lobbying, talk to other people in your area and find like-minded individuals so that you can work together. Remember, elected officials want to get re-elected! So, the more people you can get in your community to take similar action, the greater likelihood the elected official will listen;
• Never give up, the realisation of holistic reparatory justice and the specific campaign goals of the SMWeCGEC can only get stronger and receive more support if we can demonstrate the impact we are making in achieving the building blocks to securing the APPCITARJ!
Local Councillors can also:
• contact the relevant department about the issues you raise;
• raise your concerns with the relevant cabinet member;
• refer an important issue to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee;
• raise your concerns at a full council meeting.
Other ways to lobby your MP or Councillor
• Organise a mass lobby of Parliament or the Council, but before attempting this we recommend you reading this SMWeCGEC parliamentary guidance.
• Organise a mass lobby of your local council where everyone turns up on the same day to meet councillors. For maximum impact, however, it is best however to speak to your council and councillors to organise this.
• Attend a council meeting. Local constituents can attend certain council meetings and may have a chance to speak at them. Watch out for Maangamizi counteraction/ reparations relevant cabinet meetings, full council meetings and committee meetings.
• Deputations – or speaking at council meetings are a way of lobbying the council to let them know about a concern that you have that is shared with people who you live or work near to. Most councils have arrangements for ‘receiving deputations’ usually at the start of full council meetings where a number of people (deputation) including a nominated spokesperson can make a short presentation directly to members of the council at the council assembly, the cabinet and other council meetings.
Each one teach and learn from many!
Finally, share your action-learning (learning through doing) by joining a wider group of reparations action-learners, that we in the SMWeCGEC can put you in touch with. Please also keep us updated about any progress you make and also challenges you may encounter. We are developing a page to identify Maangamizi desecrators and deniers so are interested to know if you encounter any public officials that can be characterised as such.
Feel free to also contact us if you need support with preparation for meeting your MP or other publicly elected official.
If you have any ideas on how better to lobby MPs or other elected officials which we could add to this guidance feel free to contact us.
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)