“Let’s talk about Reparatory Justice with City Institutions”?
About this Event
Many people are joining together to walk the path of racial justice and healing. Whilst it is important to do some deep introspection about how those of us from the Afrikan diaspora relate to each other and seek to heal from the racial wounds of the past and indeed the present. This healing cannot take place until we connect with others on the path towards reparatory justice.
“Lets talk about Reparatory Justice with City Institutions” is the 2nd in a series of 3 discussions on Bristol’s Conversation on Race & Reparations, following on from the 1st meeting held on the 14th January with and between Bristol’s Afrikan Heritage Communities, which started to explore the meaning of Reparations and the specific UK and international demand for An-All Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice.
You will also hear from Lambeth Borough Council, the first council in the UK to pass a Reparations Motion. What happens after the motion is passed? Find out how Lambeth are supporting the reparations movement locally and nationally.
We in the ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) would like to extend our deep thanks and appreciation for the coverage Got Kush TV provided in preparation for the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its all-year round campaigning work conducted through the SMWeCGEC as well as coverage of the March itself.
We in the ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) would like to extend our deep thanks and appreciation for the coverage Got Kush TV provided in preparation for the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its all-year round campaigning work conducted through the SMWeCGEC.
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
We in the SMWeCGEC wish to notify you of some exciting developments in our ability to build influence for achieving our cause as highlighted in the aims of the campaign.
SMWeCGEC co-initiator, Kofi Mawuli Klu has decided to champion programmatic aspects of the SMWeCGEC as part of standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections starting on 23rd May 2019. Kofi is one of nine climate and ecological emergency independent candidates who are collectively standing as part of the ‘CEE the Truth’ Campaign, (#CEEtheTruth).
Although we in the SMWeCGEC have advocated multi-layered tactics in achieving our goals, which include lobbying of MPs via the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Postcard Campaign, we cannot wait for people who are in mainstream political parties to act in support of our cause. They are too slow in doing so! Whereas the official British Government position is “we do not believe reparations are the answer”; the opposition Labour Party support reparations, but have their own agenda as to how they feel they can address the matter. Their agenda, which has been highlighted here disregards Afrikan Heritage Community agency in shaping what reparations programmes are in our own self-determined best interests and therefore it is questionable in whose interests such plans really are. In reality, it flies in the face of our often repeated principle, which has been highlighted during the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Marches: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us!’. So just like the Ruling Party in the British Government, the official opposition and their representatives, are also refusing to have a dialogue with us in terms of taking to address the goals on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard, hearing the voices of those of us who every year sign the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Petition and mobilise as part of the wider SMWeCGEC, as well as those who participate in the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
Rather, we in the SMWeCGEC take the view that we cannot rely on others to plead our cause; we must do that for ourselves! In this regard, the SMWeCGEC and the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament has taken steps to further adavance its policy position on electoral politics via the candidacy of Kofi Mawuli Klu as an Independent Climate & Ecological Emergency/Planet Repairs Candidate.
See here for more info about Kofi and other #CEEindependents.
The three core demands of the climate and ecological independents are:
1. The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament must tell the truth and take action to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
2. The Declaration on a Climate and Ecological Emergency must demand a zero carbon Europe by a date no later than 2030.
3. National Citizens Assemblies on Climate & Ecological Justice must be instituted to oversee policy making, including those of Planet Repairs embracing Reparations, and have a leading role in shaping a zero carbon Europe.
Kofi takes into this #CEEtheTruth Campaign, all that represents the perspectives of the SMWeCGEC with emphasis upon Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice as advocated by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), in its Planet Repairs meaningfulness. For us this is such an exciting campaign because it links the struggle for effecting and securing Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice with the struggle to end ecocide, hold accountable those responsible for perpetrating environmental crimes and harms and honour human, peoples and Mother Earth Rights by instituting Planet Repairs. This cosmic and holistic approach to reparatory justice (repairs) as highlighted by the Professor Chinweizu conceptual framework on reparations in addition to those ancient Afrikan approaches to repairing, renewing and transforming our World making it much more beautiful than what we found it, such as the Kemetan (ancient Egyptian) verb seruja ta
“Let me begin by noting that reparation is not just about money: it is not even mostly about money; in fact, money is not even one percent of what reparation is about. Reparation is mostly about making repairs. self-made repairs, on ourselves: mental repairs, psychological repairs, cultural repairs, organisational repairs, social repairs, institutional repairs, technological repairs, economic repairs, political repairs, educational repairs, repairs of every type that we need in order to recreate and sustainable black societies….More important than any monies to be received; more fundamental than any lands to be recovered, is the opportunity the reparations campaign offers us for the rehabilitation of Black people, by Black people, for Black people; opportunities for the rehabilitation of our minds, our material condition, our collective reputation, our cultures, our memories, our self-respect, our religious, our political traditions and our family institutions; but first and foremost for the rehabilitation of our minds”
It is the view of this campaign that in terms of cessation of the current manifestations of the Maangamizi including violations of genocide and ecocide as well as ensuring guarantees of non-repetition. Not only do we have to end genocide against us but we also have to work with other progressive non-Afrikan forces to stop ecocide and also draw them into taking responsibility for repairing Mother Earth, their nations and communities, in order to safeguard the rights of future generations. If not, any gains we make will not be sustainable as they will be undone by disrepaired members of the human family, including those among of us who have been so dehumanised by the Maangamizi that they are incapable of being the reparatory justice change we need to see.
Reparations are the totality of repairs that individuals and groups of people have to do for themselves and for the rest of their communities as well as humanity in order to make amends for the harm that has been done to them by historical and contemporary wrongs; which have so structurally affected them as to devalue their humanity. In this understanding, reparations are something that individuals and groups of people have to do for themselves, internally and externally and ensure that the wrongs done will not be repeated to themselves, the communities they belong to and the rest of humanity Kofi Mawuli Klu
Aims three and four of the SMWeCGEC are to:
• Mobilise petition signers/supporters to organise as a community of advocates for ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as a force within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations, (ISMAR);
• Catalyse the development of such a force into an integral part of the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’, build MAATUBUNTUMAN and establish UBUNTUDUNIA* as the most effective way to prevent its recurrence as well as effect and secure measures of reparatory justice from the ground-up;
Similarly, two of the seven political goals of a Pan-Afrikan reparations strategy that the SMWeCGEC adheres to include measures which:
• Restore Afrikan Sovereignty by redressing with MAATUBUNTUMANDLA (Pan-Afrikan Government of People’s 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 anti-imperialist sovereign Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities/polity of Afrikan People’s Power.
• Institutionalise Maat and ubuntu in People to People internationalist solidarity relationship-building that will advance humanity to a Rendezvous of Victory where UBUNTUDUNIA emerges as a Global Justice ‘World of Many Worlds’ i.e. an equitable multipolar World of Pluriversality.
It is only through effecting and securing Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice that we will be able to ensure that the Maangamizi will not only be stopped but also not repeated.
This a message from Kofi:
Kofi’s political strategy is to help build the new alliance of progressive forces whose politics are rooted in Environmental Justice and all other related issues which marginalised communities, including his own minoritised Afrikan Heritage Communities in and beyond Europe, deem of importance to themselves; and about which no effective remedies have so far been implemented to their satisfaction.
This is a campaign which our Afrikan Heritage Communities and all other marginalised sections of the population in Europe, including migrants, denied their right to be legally present in this part of the world, where the wealth of their nations have been looted and continue to be plundered to enrich privileged groups, ought to see this as their opportunity to build a unifying power that can be flexed to give themselves Substantive Representation; and thereby enable them to effect their own solutions to the problems they are encountering. That is why Kofi’s campaigning is not about elevating himself as being the one who will provide the solutions, instead, he seeks to amplify the voices and actions of those already making efforts to find effective solutions to the problems they are encountering.
Some of our people talk about not engaging because the ‘reds’ (Labour) and ‘blues’ (Conservatives) are two wings of the same bird. Now, particularly for those living in London, there are alternatives. We now have a candidate standing as part of a collective who is pushing a reparations agenda, as per aim three of the core demands of the climate and ecological Independents. The point here is about amplifying voices and getting Afrikan Heritage Communities issues elevated in these spaces. This has not happened before with a genuine pan-Afrikan orientated candidacy not subservient to existing political party lines. We have several MPs and Councillors that look like us but it’s highly questionable as to their efforts to bat for us. Why? They did not stand on any kind of Black, Afrikan or Pan-Afrikan platform and they are not accountable to our Afrikan Heritage Communities. Some think because we looked alike that they represented US. Not so! And they never said they were standing for US. They are firstly accountable to their party and their constituency. Kofi Mawuli Klu has no such constraints. So, if you are in London check out what he is saying and the refreshing approach to electoral politics he is taking.
Until such time please familiarise yourself with the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament Policy Positions and learn more about the principles Kofi is standing for. It’s a start, not the sum total of our political strategies and quests for National Self-Determination. Seeds are being sown. In other places shoots are being watered. This is a process. Be patient and take action.
If you would like to contact Kofi on 07956431498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
These notes were produced for the purposes of a reparations WhatsApp action-learners group that I a part of. I have decided to share these notes more publicly. They were originally written on 19/04/2018.
“I Is a Long-Memoried Woman“
“You must not abandon discussion out of tact . . . There should be no concession where there is a question of establishing a scientific truth . . . Remember we are focused on a quest for truth and not on a sacrosanct idol we must avoid debasing”
Cheikh Anta Diop [quoted in Ivan Van Sertima, 1986: 13]
“…and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid
So, it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive”
Audre Lorde, A Litany for Survival, 1978
Greetings Reparations Action-learners!
I am offering some, more thoughts for the purpose of this group and reparations action-learning. I am interested in feedback on the viewpoints I am sharing in the spirit of Maatian ‘reparations dialogue’.
Taken whilst working at the Barbados High Commission, (London) Esther Stanford-Xosei & her father, the late Courtney Stanford
First of all, let me say that I am of the Caribbean to some degree in that I was raised by parents, who were born in the region and continued to maintain links with the countries of Barbados and Guyana where they were born. Despite the fact that my Mother came to the UK in the late 1950’s and my father in 1960, my family and I have maintained these links with community, family, friends and associates in the Caribbean. I have worked at the Barbados High Commission with my late father, who was a ‘British’ Royalist and through him, was entitled to claim citizenship of Barbados by descent which I took out in my 20’s. I have therefore, been on a journey and now locate my identity, journey and struggle (as did my predecessors) within the context of Afrikan people globally not as ‘Black Britisher’ or a ‘Caribbean’ person which are socially engineered identities which have particularly been cultivated within the past 15-20 years.
Many of my reflections and political responses have therefore been shaped by my own experience and what has been learned by my family and communities struggles for advancement, belonging, recognition, justice and development. I must also say that despite the differences in my self-identification and that of my parents, I continue to love them and other family members dearly although we have chosen different life paths in our quest to realise our full-humanity as a result of the damage caused by the Maangamizi.
Esther Stanford-Xosei’s parents, Yvonne Stanford & Courtney Stanford, circa 1963
It is important to realise that we are in a political moment, this can help advance the movement, (International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR), but not the way much of the campaigning and public discourse has been directed so far. The intergenerational mission and goals of the ISMAR is totally absent from this self congratulatory fervour about the apology to so-called “British Caribbeans” and promises of compensation, (remember when we were referred to as ‘Afro-Caribbean’ and then saw ourselves as African-Caribbean?).
As promoted at the recent INOSAAR (International Network of Scholars & Activists for Afrikan Reparations) Birmingham Conference which took place in March, according to PARCOE the intergenerational goals of applied reparations are to:
1. Learn about, recognise and ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ including the horrors of enslavement, colonisation, neocolonisation, recolonization and other imperialist and foreign impositions on Afrikans at home and aboard, including forced Europeanisation and Arabisation.
2. Counter Afriphobia as a manifestation of white-supremacy, eradicating Afrikan dehumanisation, and assertion of the Afrikan personality.
3. Restore Afrikan sovereignty by redressing with MAATUBUNTUMANDLA (Pan-Afrikan Government of Peoples Power) the disrepair in our power and usher in a fundamental change of the existing world order that would definitively bring about new geopolitical realities such as MAATUBUNTUMAN; the antiimperialist sovereign Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities/polity of Afrikan people’s power.
4. Effect systemic change globally to ensure the expropriation and redistribution of ill-gotten wealth, resources and income worldwide.
5. Implement New paradigms of development including a new, international, legal, political, cultural and economic order.
6. Institutionalise the Afrikan cosmovisions and ethical principles of Maat and ubuntu in terms of global justice for all. 1
7. Enforce environmental elements of global justice full respect for Mother Earth/
Nana Asase Yaa rights. 2
We can actually measure how consonant the approaches being taken to campaigning for the ‘Windrush generation’ with the pre-existing and ongoing struggle for Afrikan Reparatory Justice by looking how much or little Windrush campaigning is relating to the aforementioned political goals.
I shall say more about the Caribbean case in relation to the Global Afrikan case for reparations later in this thought-piece.
First of all let me say that we must be mindful that our historical and contemporary oppressors are masters at deception and psychological manipulation.
At the risk of mistakenly being considered insensitive, in the awareness of so many harrowing testimonies of Windrush generation affected persons, I am also interested in why there is so much media and governmental focus on the ‘Windrush Generation’ to the exclusion of all other atrocities and injustices against people of Afrikan heritage. Perhaps it has something to do with the forthcoming 70th anniversary of the landing of the Empire Windrush in 1948, the British establishment-promoted re-conditioning, contemporary ‘seasoning process’ and re-affirmations of benevolent notions of Britishness etc. as well as the elevation of the ‘special relationship’ Britain has with the Caribbean, as did their forebears who colonised the peoples found and brought there.
I have been wondering about the other Commonwealth citizens who may be affected by this British governmental ‘hostile environment’ created around the situation of economic and political migrants who came from the Caribbean and Afrika. Are we certain that it is only ‘Windrush generationers’ that are being affected? Or is this an issue that is happening to other so-called Commonwealth citizens?
The former head of the civil service, Lord Kerslake, said that some ministers were “deeply unhappy” about the introduction of the “hostile environment” strategy under then Home Secretary Theresa May. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Lord Kerslake, said some saw the policy, which has come under the spotlight during the Windrush row, “as almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the way it’s working”, i.e. genocidal!!!3
This matters, because we must be on guard against a select group of us as members of the Afrikan Diaspora being elevated for special concern (apology, compensation etc. which is not being framed as part of Afrikan people’s struggle for reparatory struggles) and not others.
In a recent Guardian article by Kate Osamor, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, she points out that she is dealing with a number of cases within her constituency of Commonwealth citizens being threatened with deportation. Notably, she points out that some of these constituencies come from Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda – all Commonwealth countries and emphasises that countless people came to the UK from Commonwealth countries before 1973. 4
So, I am wondering why we are not hearing the testimonies and further news reporting on other Afrikan people who are citizens of Commonwealth countries. Whose voices and lives are being deemed not to matter, and how are we advertently or inadvertently feeding into this silencing and marginalisation of the narratives of other Afrikans?
“To focus upon and make iconic the arrival of the Windrush in 1948 carrying 492 members of the Global African Diaspora from the Caribbean, a region that imperial Britain had made home to their enslaved Ancestors, is to suggest that there was not an African presence in Britain prior to 1948, including a sizeable number of people from the Caribbean”
It is important to remind ourselves that they were part of the Afrikan Diaspora in Britain and made common cause with their brothers and sisters from the Afrikan continent (and other parts of the Afrikan Diaspora) who were/are also resident in Britain. By projecting ‘The Windrush Generation’ above other Afrikan Diaspora and Afrikan ‘Commonwealth citizens’ we are not only in danger of erasing the contributions and struggles of earlier generations of Afrikans from the Continent of Afrika and from the Caribbean in Britain, we are also feeding into compounding:
“the divisions, generated and reinforced by the British themselves, between African Caribbean people and African people as two separate ethnic groups, rather than as one people with a common heritage and with an interrupted history.”
– Taken from ’70th Anniversary of Windrush 1948 – A View by Professor Gus John’
What is being cultivated in this political moment of spotlight on Windrush is Caribbean exceptionalism based on a special relationship to ‘Britishness’. The Caribbean has been portrayed as a place where people are being sent to as though they are criminals and have done something wrong, this is coming from the testimonies of those who have been affected. There are assertions of people’s right to be British and some of those affected have gone so far as to say “I am an Englishman” (e.g. Junior Green, aged 60, who arrived in the UK when he was 15 months old as part of the Windrush generation). These are all examples of identity erasure and misrecognition. Identity erasure is the act of neglecting, looking past, minimizing, ignoring or rendering invisible an other.
In my view, this distorted sense of self, i.e. individual, collective and community self, is one of the greatest Maangamizi crimes perpetrated by the British state in creating and misusing the economic, political and cultural conditions which compelled many of the so-called Windrush Generation to come to these shores – For it cultivated a sense of natal alienation, the seeds of which were already planted by the systematic dispossession of the descendants of the Afrikan enslaved, social and civil death of Afrikan personhood and personality as well as the subsequent erasure of Afrikan identity which began in the colonies and continued in the British metropolis. All this could only be done because of the British colonial and post-independence CARICOM states-induced forgetting and disassociation from the Afrikan Motherland, as well as devaluation of Afrikan heritage and culture, designed to inculcate in us defence of and servility to the British Empire.
I have even heard reference to the phrase descendants of the Windrush Generation which is a historical departure to the notion of being of Afrikan decent or ‘African descendants’ a term that was popularised following the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. In effect reducing us to just a small aspect of our history and experience of the Maangamizi (i.e. The Windrush Experience); thereby inadvertently denying people of Afrikan heritage a right to everything that has been taken from us and that we are entitled to by virtue of our people’s experiences of the Maangamizi. The entitlement of the whole is being misguidedly reduced to the compromised position of going after a part of our entitlement in terms of narrow proposals for Windrush compensation.
More disturbingly, we are witnessing a weaponizing of the cultivation of ‘Windrush Generation Consciousness’ as an effective form of British state counterinsurgency in order to further prolong aspects of the Maangamizi and counter Afrikan heritage communities resistance to the Maangamizi today; especially in terms of seeking to undermine Afrikan Heritage Communities struggles and advocacy of holistic reparations. In addition to dissuading people of Afrikan ancestry and heritage from identifying as ‘Afrikan’ or of ‘Afrikan heritage’ thereby completely diverting us from waging any real struggle in our own group (collective) best interests resulting in us appealing to our historical oppressors and contemporary oppressors as saviours inculcating in us more forms of servility. What comes to mind in this regard is to look at how fowls are caught, often all it takes is to throw the fowls some corn or feed. The fowl will often go after it, not examining who is throwing the feed, whether it is good for them, genetically modified, or even being used as a bait to kill them etc. On the contrary there are members of the Animal Family that will instead sense some form of danger even when it may appear that they are being offered something good.
What is happening causes a great dilemma e.g.: what is the nature of the fight that we wage in support and defence of those affected? What are we and they fighting for and are they the same thing? This is a question which is not just a personal but also a historical question.
In the GAPP emerging position on CARICOM reparations, it states:
“Claims and case of Afrikan reparations are based on the principle of intergenerational justice and therefore has transgenerational, transnational and intercultural dimensions…As descendants of Afrikans who were enslaved, we are mindful of our ancestral responsibility to ensure that when we speak in their names we do not allow the enslaver’s visions of justice to prevail in advocating what are considered to be adequate reparations. The discourse on reparations has to move beyond merely calling on the name of our ancestors as justification for the genesis of our entitlements to redress today to truly recognising the personhood, worldviews and visions of justice of the Afrikans that were enslaved in the Americas and the Caribbean. … To give primacy to their enslaved status and legal and justice frameworks of their enslavers and their descendants; continues their deracination, invisibilisation and dehumanisation…Wetherefore endorse the view of Professor Chinweizu that our own search for reparations must, of necessity, be tailored to our peculiar condition, to our peculiar experience. In this regard, the measures of reparations must be flexible and account for the ethnic and cultural diversity amongst Afrikans as well as the diverse historical experiences of enslavement, colonialism and their legacies today. Frameworks for Afrikan reparations (including reparations for people of Afrikan origin in the Diaspora), must also addressAfrikan & Afrikan Diaspora epistemologies (ways of knowing) concerning what ‘repair’ means and looks like…Equally, we have a responsibility to future generations to ensure that the decisions we make today do not negatively impact the interests or wellbeing of the unborn and each generation to come. This means that whatever reparations outcomes we seek to effect and secure today leave a better legacy for our children and our children’s children and do not end up looting their freedom account and ability to live lives of dignity as Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage on this earth.”
Reflecting on several British anti-establishment dramas/films that have been screened in recent times to prepare our minds for the ‘defender of Empire’ role that many of us are being socially-engineered to assume:
‘Hard Sun’ 6
‘The Foreigner’ 8
…it become more visibly apparent that some of us as Afrikan Caribbean people actually end up being the most trusted and loyal servants, defenders and advocates of the British empire/establishment. This defence of the British Empire is not to be conflated with the claim for Afrikan Reparatory Justice which has always been in opposition to Empire and for Afrikan Self-Determination, locally, nationally and internationally.
I am re-sharing aspects of the analysis of I’Nora Kamala (Dr Nora Wittman) in her article ‘Slavery Reparations – A Caribbean or Global African Claim’:
“Indeed, there is a fundamental problem with the recent CARICOM reparations initiative. Basically, that problem is that it is a Caribbean initiative, based on the conceptualization of a ‘Caribbean’ reparations claim. But the claim for transatlantic slavery reparations is not a Caribbean claim, it is a global African entitlement to reparations, and intrinsically so…It is thus crucial to grasp that it is not Caribbean societies and states as such that have a claim to transatlantic slavery reparations – though they will undoubtedly profit in their entirety from comprehensive global African reparations. The structural and most ferocious violence against the African by Europeans is what Caribbean societies were founded upon. Thus, without reparations and healing directed specifically at the African, no healing can come for Caribbean societies. Global African reparations are the heartpiece of healing for Caribbean societies…Yes, Caribbean nations need healing, but the violence that was and still is perpetrated against the African part of the Caribbean was so fundamental to the coming into existence of Caribbean societies that the healing also has the be directed specifically at Africans. And not only Africans in the Caribbean, but Africans globally and especially also on the African continent.”9
In proclaiming the United Nations International ‘Decade for People of African Descent’, Flavia Pansieri (former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights) said: “people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected”. People of Afrikan descent’s legal personality is based on being Afrikan not ‘British’, ‘English, ‘Afropean’ or ‘European’. Afrikan people have other options than to confine themselves to a second-class deracinated status of Britishness, they can be also fighting for their ‘right to Afrika’ as is being championed by ENGOCCAR, (the Europe-wide Consultative Council for Afrikan Reparations), who are partners to the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign, in Europe.
What is the Right to Afrika?
Right to return (repatriation) and belong (rematriation) which is one process. One cannot happen without the other. It encompasses the Akan Sankofa principle of going back to fetch your Afrikan personality in material and spiritual terms all routed in the land of Afrika. Your personality includes the continent of Afrika, the land, peoplehood andwealth for Afrikans at home and in the Diaspora. This does not mean that everyone physically has to up and return to Afrika, but that one can enjoy the citizenship rights and responsibilities of being an Afrikan wherever we are. Ultimately it is about seeing yourself as having the right to all the material and spiritual wealth of Afrika to the point that such wealth as a whole ought to be utilised first and foremost for your own personal and community development, wellbeing, security and prosperity in the present and in the future wherever you are.
So here in Britain, for example, anyone of Afrikan heritage should feel entitled to being the main determinant and stakeholder in how the British State and Society bestrelates to the people and continent of Afrika in order to ensure that the benefits of that relationship first and foremost uplift the dignity and standard of living of people in our Afrikan Heritage Communities in this country. Nothing should be done about Afrika by the British State or any of its organisational and individual representatives without respecting the agency of our Afrikan Heritage Communities in determining how this should be done. In effect this means that the power inherent in determining what Britain gets or does not get from Afrika is entirely in the hands of people in our Afrikan heritage communities here inBritain shared only with other Afrikan people throughout the Continent of Afrika and the Diaspora. This gives Afrikan Heritage Communities here in Britain a decisive say in the affairs not only of Afrika but of Britain and the rest of the Euro-American world;which cannot exist and wields the kind of global might and influence they currently have without thestranglehold they have had on Afrika since the full imposition of the chattel enslavement phase of the Maangamizi.
That is why instead of craving for the fake carrot stick of Britishness we should be demanding and fighting to secure global Afrikan citizenship that will entitle people from our Afrikan Heritage Communities to belong not only to one particular country in the Euro-American World but more importantly to Afrika and anywhere else in the World where the crimes of the Maangamizi have been perpetrated and continue to be committed against us by allthe powers of European imperialism.
What is glaringly obvious is the betrayal of CARICOM heads of government and their Caribbean Reparations Commission in terms of saying noting at these CHOGMs (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings) about reparations. Despite recent Emily Thornberry’s assertions about the need for the UK PM to apologise for historic wrongs, this has resulted instead with Theresa May’s apology to ‘LGBT’ communities for “colonial-era anti-gay laws.” 10 It is said that May was responding to calls from LGBT activists for an apology over the UK’s legacy on the issue. Yet despite all this talk of colonial-era legacies, we have not heard a dickie bird from any of the Heads of Government present at these CHOGMs about the cause of reparatory justice for the Afrikan people in the Caribbean, or indeed their own CARICOM ten-point plan!
Rather, the focus has been on decriminalisation of ‘anti-sodomy’ laws in Afrika and the Caribbean. The ongoing struggle for reparatory justice which is at its core a struggle for Afrikan people’s liberation at home and abroad, features nowhere!
Whereas support for and recognition of homonationalism and LGBTI minority rights is what seems to be gaining unprecedented recognition. 11 There is some interesting scholarship on how LGBTI social movement organizations have been engaging internationally and focused on engagement in the Commonwealth as a terrain of struggle.12 It has generally been under-theorised how human rights can be co-opted into imperial political projects, particularly concerning the elevation and promotion of sexual nationalisms:
“Since its formation in 2011, the Kaleidoscope Trust has emerged in the United Kingdom (UK) as the leading institutional actor working internationally on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) human rights. In particular Kaleidoscope as a non-governmental organization (NGO) has been pivotal in defining and developing the Commonwealth as an intergovernmental structure to be engaged by LGBTI social movements. A particularly interesting development has been Kaleidoscope’s leading role in creating The Commonwealth Equality Network (TCEN) as a transnational network of national LGBTI NGOs, to lobby the Commonwealth. 13
In fact, there is a sinister silence from them! After all, the CARICOM claim is based on reparations for Afrikan slavery and native genocide. So, it is clear that CARICOM Heads of Government do not mind seeking to receive benefits on behalf of Afrikan heritage citizenries but fail to represent their interests in international gatherings. Not only have they failed to represent the interests of their citizenries on reparations in these CHOGMs, they are also marginalising the interests of those communities in the Caribbean who have always been linking with Afrika and promoting Afrikan identity such as the Rastafari Community etc. (see the video below for a discussion on LBC radio PARCOE as well as SMWeCGEC Co-Vice Chair, Kofi Mawuli Klu which highlights this point). Instead, we can see them contributing to a form of genocidal ethnic cleansing of Afrikan heritage communities in the Caribbean and denial/marginalisation of the their ancestral as well as contemporary links to Afrika and by extension other Afrikan Diaspora communities.
We as various constituencies of the ISMAR within Europe, Abya Yala (the so-called Americas), including the Caribbean and indeed Afrika should have been better prepared to find raise to raise the issue of reparations for these CHOGMs. This issue was raised with the delegation from the Jamaica National Council on Reparations that visited the UK in November 2017 among a number of other proposals for action that we could take together. However, we have not heard back from them about our proposal for joint-working since. 14
“You cannot successfully oppress a consciously historical people”
John Henrik Clarke
1Cosmovision is a view of the basic nature of the Cosmos, it is fundamentally different than that of European culture. This means that we can’t simply force Afrikan ideas into Western and Eurocentric conceptual categories. A people’s cosmovision can be manifested in and studied via its material culture.
Nana Asasa Yaa is the Earth goddess/deity of the Ashanti people also known as is Nyamewaa (goddess) and is the personification of the planet many people call Earth. She is also identified as the First Woman in the form of Aberewa. She is wife and consort of Nyame Anansi Kokuroko, the Creator of All. There is an Afrikan equivalent of Mother Earth Rights.
11 Homonationalism, coined by Rutgers University professor Jasbir K. Puar in 2007 is the intersection of gay identity and nationalist ideology. According to Puar, as gay people have become “normalized” in Euro-American consciousness, these victories in their struggle for recognition have created space for the homonationalist who abandons intersectional activism and advocates racist, xenophobic, capitalistic self-interest. Homonationalism involves conceptually realigning the ideas invested within the realm of LGBT activism to fit the goals and ideologies of neoliberalism and the far-right. This reframing is used primarily to justify and rationalize racist and xenophobic perspectives. It remains notoriously difficult to define who makes up the “LGBT community”, and particularly what identifying as LGBT means in terms of lifestyle, political goals etc. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/gay-people-supporting-trumphomonationalism_ us_57f3e545e4b01b16aaff4bff
Other concepts to be familiar with are homocolonialism and pink-washing: Homocolonialism – Building upon Lisa Duggan’s notion of homonormativity, and Puar’s homonationalism, Momin Rahman conceptualises homocolonialism as a process of triangulation that legitimises Western exceptionalism illustrating how LGBTI politics is caught up in the promotion of the assumed civilizational superiority of western modernity, and thus opposition to SOGI rights (Sexual Orientation, Gay & Intersex) becomes framed as resistance to western cultural colonialism.
Pink-washing is the invocation of gay rights in order to divert attention from and justify the occupation of the lands and territories as well as the violation of the group rights of colonised and oppressed peoples. The term combines the words pink and whitewashing. In the context of LGBT rights, it is used to also describe a variety of marketing and political strategies aimed at promoting products, countries, people or entities through an appeal to gay-friendliness, in order to be perceived as civilised, progressive, modern and tolerant. Celebrating LGBT rights is a fashionable topic in marketing land. Its main usage is to describe the Israeli government’s ‘deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life’. http://www.nopinkwashing.org.uk/
It is encouraging to note that our criticism of the repugnant name of a Slavery Educational Trust which was made in AEDRMC promotional videos here and here has resulted in an attempt to rename such a proposed body to become the Emancipation Educational Trust. This still misses the whole point. Our preference for a name like the Afrikan Anti-Slavery Resistance Educational Trust (AASRET) still holds. It is mind-boggling that even some leading British Labour Party members, including MPs from our own Afrikan heritage communities, are still so engulfed by Afriphobia that they run away from including and explicitly identifying with anything Afrikan in the name of initiatives that are supposed to be about the Afrikan experience. This is even more shocking given that we are in the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent which has the theme ‘People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development.’ Indeed, there is nothing more unique to the global experience of Afrikan people other than the Maangamizi, (Afrikan Hellacaust) in relation to which this educational trust is being proposed.
So pervasive is this Afriphobia, and so strongly does the British State hold unto it, that it is inherent in the processes of white supremacy racist brainwashing through which all those selected, even from our Afrikan heritage communities, to serve in various positions of the establishment are infected with it. Hence its prevalence amongst virtually all members of the British State legislature, executive, civil and public services, judiciary, armed forces, police, intelligence and other security agencies. It appears that not only submission to but an overt display of Afriphobia is a requirement for service in the institutions and agencies of the British State. No wonder it is those selected from our Afrikan heritage communities to serve in these institutions and agencies who appear to exhibit the worst traits of Afriphobic epistemic and structural violence upon Afrikan Heritage Community people. That is why the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) regards all these institutions and agencies of the British State as ‘Maangamizi crime scenes’.
The proposed Emancipation Educational Trust will be nothing but another Maangamizi crime scene if it is established with the same intention of avoiding explicit Afrikan identification, whilst seeking to make it simply distortedly flirt with a commoditised form of Afrikan history and experiences. So, we urge Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the Labour Party and the Party itself to study carefully, the themes and messages, which were promoted on the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us!: Actualizing the Reparatory Justice Change We Envisage’. It is about time the Labour Party stopped this nonsensical beating about the bush, openly confronts its deeply ingrained Afriphobic racism and seeks to honestly counteract it. This includes taking clear steps to initiate open dialogue with the legitimate grassroots representatives of our Afrikan heritage communities of reparations interest in the UK. Such representatives are clearly known through their visible work in organising endeavours such as the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its related ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ campaign activities.
The continuing attempts to evade substantive representation of our Afrikan heritage communities; by bringing members of the Labour Party far removed from such activities and also afflicted with white supremacy racist indoctrination to simply express, their ‘masters’ voices and prejudices in toying with vital matters concerning the survival of Afrikan people in the world today, such as reparatory justice, must be understood as no longer acceptable to us at all. We expect Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, to embrace this firm, non-negotiable standpoint of ours, against all Afriphobic expressions of the Maangamizi as part of the ‘new politics’ he promised Britain, the Commonwealth and the World.
We know Jeremy Corbyn can do better because in his laudable solidarity work for the Anti-Apartheid Movement he displayed some of his best efforts to date of internationalist solidarity with our Afrikan Liberation Struggle. We therefore hope that he will go back to such track-records of his own best practice and do the correct thing once again. The correct thing begins with him taking steps to initiate the dialogue we have been calling for by meeting, to start with, representatives from the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), the organisers of the annual 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and their partners in the SMWeCGEC.
Coordinator-General ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign
The 6-member delegation for the 2018 hand-in of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition were:
From Right to Left
1. Hon. Prophet Kweme Abubaka (Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, Ethiopia African Black International Congress)
2. Dr Barryl Biekman, (Europe-wide NGO Consultative Council for Afrikan Reparations, Netherlands)
3. Mama Lindiwe Tsele (Pan-African Congress of Azania)
4. Ms Kambanda Veii (Ovaherero Genocide Foundation, Namibia)
5. Cllr Joshua Brown-Smith, age 12 (Office of the Young Mayor, London Borough of Lewisham)
6. Professor Gus John (Gus John Associates, Member of the African Union Technical Union Technical Committee of Experts on the 6th Region).
The delegation which handed-in the 2018 ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide!’ Petition represents a selection of the diversity within our Afrikan Heritage Community. The Young, The Elders, Born on the Continent, Born in the Diaspora, Male and Female, and as in previous members some members flew in from Afrika and Europe!
#Parliament is a Crime Scene!
See the following letter which accompanied the hand-in of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition
Please note, the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition has been handed-in since 2015, in 2016 no signatures were handed in just the petition and a cover letter. In 2016, 5811 signatures were handed in, in 2017, 9636 signatures were handed in.
It is important to note that the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition is not the only tactic we are adopting, the petition signatures accompany a Maangamizi Crime Scene sticker operation and lobbying of MPs strategy via the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard involving support for developing Afrikan Heritage Community advocacy on the points contained in the petition.
It is also important to note that we in the International Steering Committee Spearhead Team of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign (ISC-SMWeCGEC) know that reparations will not be achieved simply by submitting this petition, if one reads the petition it is clear that this is not our thinking. In numerous articles and documents we talk about the March and the petition being part of revolutionary strategy and tactics that we are engaged in, which also involve all forms and levels of liberation struggle waged by various contingents of the International Social Movement for Afrikans (ISMAR).
The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and the annual hand-in of the petition is about building a broad public support base for consolidating the ISMAR in order to strengthen the harnessing and building of Afrikan people’s power to advance reparations to definitive victory; whiincluding the establishment of MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities.
This video is of a workshop which took place on Friday 27th July, 2018 and provides some elaboration on the revolutionary thinking and work into for the long-term results that the March is meant to produce and to which it is already contributing.
This is a link to the initial response that was received from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in response to the 2017 ‘Stop of the Maangamizi!’ Petition and its covering letter, and also the further response from FCO Minister Lord Ahmad.
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)
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
Last October we notified you about the launching of the International Network of Scholars & Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR) in association with PARCOE, the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe. We in the International Steering Committee Spearhead Team of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (ISC-SMWeCGEC) recognise this initiative for making a significant and unprecedented contribution to developing the intellectual arsenals necessary for tackling Afriphobia and other manifestations of the genocide/ecocide; particularly its mentacide within and beyond educational institutions. We are also pleased that the SWWeCGEC is recognised in the INOSAAR Principles of Participation.
Since the launch event, the INOSAAR has had a conference in Birmingham and looks forward to two follow-up events in Senegal and a conference in Benin. One of the follow-up actions arising from the recent INOSAAR Birmingham Conference was for INOSAAR members and constituencies to support us in getting their MPs to support a meeting in the House of Parliament to discuss ‘The Academic Legitimacy of the Afrikan Case for Reparations and its Implications for British State Policy-Making’.
See this link for the template letter which you can amend accordingly and send to your own MPs if you are based in the UK. The text is also reproduced below.
Please let INOSAAR know of any progress you make with your MPs by emailing Dr Nicola Frith & Professor Joyce Hope Scott at inosaar.ed.ac.uk.
Dear [MP NAME]
I am writing as local constituent regarding a matter of concern to me as a person of Afrikan heritage/a concerned member of the public [DELETE AS APPROPRIATE].
I was horrified to recently discover that up until 2015, tax-payers in Britain, including myself as a descendant or relative of enslaved Afrikans [DELETE IF NOT APPLICABLE], were paying off a debt that was accrued as a result of the compensation awarded to British enslavers as legislated with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (see, for example, the article in the Bristol Post from 13 February 2018).
The opinion of experts working in the field, like Bristol-based historian David Olusoga, has strengthened my own conviction about the injustice glaringly showed in this matter (see, for example, the article published in The Guardian on 12 February 2018).
Such is the public outrage, that a petition has been started about this misuse of taxes. This increasing public interest is stimulating not only public debate, but also academic research and discourses relevant to policy-making regarding these and other pertinent issues of domestic and foreign policies.
The 17 March 2018 conference in Birmingham of the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR) is an example of such activity, which is drawing together both scholars, activists and policy-campaigners to exchange perspectives on their thinking and actions about how best to address these kinds of injustices.
One recent political response has been the plan unveiled by the Labour Party for firms with links to the so-called Atlantic ‘slave trade’ to contribute to the setting up of a Slavery Educational Trust (see, for example, the article in The Standard on 23 March 2018).
In response to these developments, I am requesting your support to host a meeting in the Houses of Parliament to discuss ‘The Academic Legitimacy of the Afrikan Case for Reparations and its Implications for British State Policy-Making’.This proposed meeting in Parliament is important because, as hinted at in the ‘Refund Our Taxes’ petition, the refund of tax monies can assist the Afrikan Heritage Community to effect its own innovative ‘Pempamsie’-planning approaches to reparatory justice. In other words, Afrikan Heritage Communities will be able to design their own bespoke reparatory justice programme that will satisfy their own self-determined interests and purposes. Examples of such approaches include educational and other community self-repairs, which form a vital part of the reparative process and go far beyond paycheques to individuals and governments.
I look forward to hearing from you on this urgent matter in due course.
[YOUR NAME & SIGNATURE]
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)