This article is based on that of Green Party member Dr Nicola Frith in Green world on 19/10/20 published here.
In a historic move, the Green Party of England and Wales has become the first major national party to commit to seeking reparatory justice for the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Afrikans (TTEA).
Members overwhelmingly voted in favour of the E3 motion ‘Atonement and Reparative Justice For African Enslavement‘ on the final day of their Autumn Conference on the 11th October 2020. Proposed by Green Councillors Cleo Lake (Bristol) and Scott Ainslie (Lambeth), and supported by the Greens of Colour and the Young Greens, the motion will see the Green Party call on Parliament to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice.
Azzees Minott, chair of the Greens of Colour and a significant contributor to getting the motion adopted, stated, ‘I am thrilled that Greens have been able to lead a historic movement in Britain by passing this motion. So many people see the Greens as a single-issue party, but achieving true social and racial justice is also at the core of what members care about because it’s all connected.’
Tyrone Scott from the Young Greens added: ‘As a young person of African descent, it has always been a source of shame to me that the UK was so complicit in enslavement. Our school curriculum only offers the most basic teachings of our colonial past, which generally only celebrates the power of the British Empire without detailing how this created deep racial inequalities in this country and across the world, which continue to exist to this day. The Young Greens were proud to work on this groundbreaking motion which sets a precedent to all other UK political parties.’
The All-Party Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice is a campaigning project founded by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) and now driven by the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC).
The need for this Commission has long been supported by the work and activism of other members of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR), including those of the Pan-Afrikan Liberation Movement, the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee and the International Network of Scholars and Activists for Afrikan Reparations (INOSAAR).
The campaign aims to urge the UK Government to commit to a holistic process of atonement and reparations in accordance with the United Nations Framework on a Right to a Remedy and Reparation. A key part of the process includes recognizing and addressing the longstanding legacies of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism, such as the racial discrimination of majority world peoples, socio-economic inequality and environmental injustice.
Cleo Lake said, ‘Getting this motion to conference has been a great example of collaborative working with key reparations campaigners.
‘It represents a significant milestone towards acknowledgement, justice and reconciliation over a painful shared history, the legacy of which still plays out today through rife global inequality, racism, Afriphobia, and a ravaged planet that continues to be pillaged and disrespected.’
The vote at national level follows on from the work of Lambeth Council, led by Green Party Councillor, Scott Ainslie. Earlier this year, Lambeth, which is home to the largest African-Caribbean population in the UK, became the first local authority to pass a successful motion calling for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice to address the impact of slavery on current racial inequalities in the UK.
Ainslie, who co-signed the motion to Conference, said: ‘This motion is a step towards “Global Britain” finally facing up to the impact it has on countries throughout the world.
‘If Britain can properly address the legacies of its colonial past and present, then it can truly deal with the root causes of our country’s socio-economic inequality and systemic racism.
‘By engaging in a genuine process of reparative and transitional justice, we can begin to heal holistically and re-balance these injustices inflicted by the few which cause endless suffering to the many.’
At the root of this motion lies the work of some of the UK’s foremost reparations scholar-activists: Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu, co-vice chairs of the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE).
Since 2001, PARCOE has been leading different reparative initiatives, including the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and its petition, which has gained over 20,000 paper and online signatures. PARCOE have long been working to put the voices of grassroots and Afrikan Heritage Communities at the centre of the struggle for reparations.
Klu described the motion as a ‘giant leap’ for Afrikan Heritage Communities of reparations interest as they march towards ‘self-determination to achieve reparations that will meaningfully impact on Planet Repairs.’
He paid tribute to others in the ISMAR and the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM), noting that ‘with this enlarging grassroots force of peoples becoming the change, we can now convincingly express confidence in our ability to win the case for the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice and make reparations doable as a unifying force of all who desire Planet Repairs.’
He noted that it has taken ‘almost three decades of painstaking campaigning endeavours to raise consciousness enough for such results to be the works of not just a few, but the many, including now the Greens of Colour and Young Greens.’
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator-General of the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign, said, ‘The passing of this motion by the Green Party is vindication of our efforts. We have believed all along that our community organising efforts will eventually have the ground-up impact of winning more allies who grasp the necessity for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice and understand it as a repairing process.’
‘This repair is important, not only for the restoration of the agency of our Afrikan Heritage Communities and stopping the despoliation of the Earth as our human habitat, but also for the rebalancing of society. Afrikan Reparations is a cause that will redress the globalised historical and contemporary injustices of what we call the Maangamizi (Afrikan Holocaust of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial enslavement).’
Emphasising the unifying narrative of reparations and its integral links to environmentalism, she stated that ‘no home in the world has been untouched by such manifestations of the Maangamizi as the climate and ecological crises.
‘That is why the Afrikan reparations we are seeking must have the Planet Repairs impact of restoring the familyhood of humanity which began from our Afrikan peopling of the entire world.’
Passing the motion at national level is, however, only the first step. The next step is to build on existing work that is underway between communities and councillors at local levels.
As Lake states, ‘The aim is that as many local authorities as possible also pass motions calling for the All-Party Commission, as well as other overarching and region specific resolutions.’
Cities with direct links to the transoceanic trafficking in enslaved Afrikans and areas with strong Green support will be selected as priorities.
To improve understanding about reparations as a holistic process and its links to Planet Repairs, Greens of Colour will be working with the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign and the INOSAAR to produce motion templates and guidance, as well as dedicated workshops for councillors, regional parties, activists and citizens. In the meantime, further information and FAQs can be found on the Green Party Living Room.
Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu participated in a Green Party conference fringe session with Cllrs Scott Ainslie and Cleo Lake organised by Greens of Colour to sensitise Green Party members to the contents of the motion on 3rd October 2020. The recording of the session can be found here.
This video is the speech made by Esther Stanford-Xosei at the Movement of Movements Internationalist Solidarity Grounding with the Pan-Afrikan Liberation Movement (MMISOG-PALM) in Max Roach Park which took place as part of the 1st Mosiah (August) Pan-Afrikan Reparations Rebellion Groundings co-organised by the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC) and the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC).
Esther is the Official Spokesperson for the AEDRMC, Coordinator-General of the SMWeCGEC and Media & Communications Coordinator of the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network (XRISN).
This video is part of the MAATUBUNTUJAMAA -SAAYOOO! (Pan-Afrikan Freedom-Fighting Clarion-Call Series produced by Ubuntudunia TV
Further to our earlier post yesterday (below), it has come to our attention that the Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans motion moved by Islington Green Party Cllr Caroline Russell was amended by Labour Party Cllr Gulcin Ozdemir.
One of the significant amendments was removal of the text:
Write to the Speaker of Parliament, Chair of the Women & Equalities Committee and Chair of the Home Office committee to request that they establish, and seek UK Government support for the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice and calling on the Government to commit to holistic reparations taking into consideration various proposals for reparations in accordance with the United Nations Framework on Reparations.
Unfortunately, the Islington motion moved by Cllr Caroline Russell and also retained in the amended motion by Cllr Gulcin Ozdemir also omitted (we were told by accident due to working with an older draft of which there were several) this key text:
- In 2003 the Lambeth based Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) initiated a class action for Pan-African Reparations for Global Justice against Queen Elizabeth II and agents of the Crown as Head of State and Head of the British Commonwealth calling for the establishment of a Reparations Commission of Inquiry. This action was denied on the grounds that the Crown could not be prosecuted, and these crimes could not be enforced prior to the enactment of the International Criminal Courts Act in 2001.
- In 2004 the Rastafarian movement were denied their appeal for reparation because the UK government felt it could not be held responsible for events of past centuries.
Of course these omissions are unacceptable to us and we await the passing of the Lambeth Council Resolution on 15/07/20.
The full amendments to the Islington text can be found here:
AMENDED ISLINGTON MOTION PAGES 1-6
Please read the following text in light of what we have recently discovered.
Original Post 11/07/20
We are pleased to report to you that the ‘Stop the Maangamzi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) has been part of the drafting of a historic motion on reparations passed by Islington Council on 9th July 2020, (see below). The motion was moved by Green Party Cllr Caroline Russell. This motion came about as a result of SMWeCGEC teamwork with Cllr Scott Ainslie from Lambeth Green Party, other colleagues in the Green Party & Greens of Colour, as well as Cllrs in Lambeth & Islington Labour Party. It builds on the demand in the Stop the Maangamizi postcard calling for elected officials to support the demand for the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission on Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ).
This motion is largely an outcome of engagement with Cllr Scott Ainslie in demonstration of his commitment made at the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March to follow-up with a motion on reparations. The motion in Islington was able to pass because of Green Party and Labour Party collaboration and consensus-building around key aspects of the text that the SMWeCGEC contributed and which were added to by members of the Green Party and the Labour Party.
From the SMWeCGEC’s perspective, one of the highlights of this Islington Council Reparations Motion is recognition of our campaign demand for the establishment of the APPCITARJ, which is an essential phase in a participatory administrative reparations process. In addition to reference to selected landmarks in the UK chronology of campaigning on reparations. We also contributed significant amounts of text to the original Islington and Lambeth motion.
A similar motion was submitted by Green Party Cllr Cleo Lake in Bristol on 7th July 2020.
The first drafted motion spearheaded by Cllr Ainslie will actually be voted on by Lambeth Council at the forthcoming Council meeting on Wednesday 15th July 2020.
The SMWeCGEC is truly appreciative of Cllr Ainslie and all others that worked with him from the Lambeth Green Party, Greens of Colour, including Cllr Lake and also Cllr Russell, to ensure that such motions could be submitted.
Cllr Scott has truly been exemplary in working in such a way which honours the guidance in the INOSAAR Principles of Participation in recognising the existence of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR); and the necessary ethics that this entails. This includes respecting the existence of historical and contemporary reparations work, research and other initiatives at regional, national and transnational levels.
We are also pleased that engagement with the Green Party which was commenced years earlier (between 2002 – 4) with other Green Party elected officials under the auspices of the then Rendezvous of Victory, has now borne some outcomes that help take the goals of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) Further.
We also take this opportunity for recognising the efforts of Lucie Scott in Hackney who recently got in touch to inform us that she had proposed a motion passed in 2018 which recognised the demand for the APPCITARJ. See here Hackney NSN 2018 IR motionFinal (1) for further info.
The following are a few relevant tweets and other publicity:
Dr #WalterRodney‘s wisdom is relevant to #Afrikan struggle 4 #Reparations “A struggle doesn’t drop from the sky; it has roots, it has been going on for years; people’s energies, their consciousness, their organizations have evolved in response to specific historical conditions.”
The following video featuring Esther Stanford-Xosei, legal advisor to then existing Black Quest For Justice Campaign (BQJC), is one of the earliest video recordings which tracks the demand for what has now become known as the All-Party Parliamentray Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ). However its modern-day antecedents, as well as that of the Ubuntukgotla People’s International Tribunal For Global Justice (U-PITGJ) can be traced back to the the work of Kofi Mawuli Klu who wrote the following paper Charting an African Self-Determined Path of Legal Struggle for Reparations as a contribution to the 11 December 1993 working conference of the African Reparations Movement (ARM UK), co-founded by the late Bernie Grant MP and others.
The following comments from SMWeCGEC Co-Initiator and Co-Vice Chair, Kofi Mawuli Klu provide another layer of historical context to the significance of this motion for the SMWeCGEC and the wider ISMAR.
Also this comment from Kofi is in response to a dialogue between him and Akyaaba Addai-Sedo based in Ghana about the same motion.
Yes, the awesome beauty of this historic action of the London Borough of Islington, to which the work of yourself, Brother Akyaaba and others of the GLC, contributed upon the foundations laid throughout the ages by Kodwo Enu (Ottobah Cuguano), Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglas, Henry Sylvester Williams, John Archer, Marcus and Akosua Boahemaa Amy Garvey, CLR James, Claudia Jones, Paul Robeson, George Padmore, Ras Makonnen, WEB DuBois, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah and his stalwarts of the Pan-Afrikan Congresses, is the change in Language and concepts insisted upon by our Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWECGEC), backed strongly by our colleagues of the INOSAAR based at the University of Edinburgh, and friends of the Green Party! So, for example, instead of the so-called very derogatory insulting ‘Slave Trade’, which the likes of Walter Rodney had very well repudiated as no trade at all, there is now acceptance of our PARCOE formulation that it is the Transatlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA)!
Not yet Uhuru; but there is now being galvanized by new waves of Rebellion at home and abroad our Long March to the victorious Reparatory Justice achievement of the Pan-Afrikan revolutionary winning of Planet Repairs, in order to secure our own MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union of our Communities of Resistance, stronger unifying those in our Mothercontinent with those in the diaspora, in a New Global Justice World of UBUNTUDUNIA, not by opportunistically riding upon the topdown ramshackle bandwagons of Neocolonialism like the so-called African Union (AU) of misleaders, but rather by the independently organised grassroots-embedded Worldwide Black Power of our Afrikan People in our own Afrikan Communities of Resistance!
Forward Ever Onward!
There is Victory for Us!
Elsewhere, Kofi says this:
Thanks, Sister Esther, Yes, our Stretch of the Maangamizi Counteraction Intergenerational Long March of our ancestral Freedomfighting Afrikan Sheroes and Heroes has now come to one of its major decisive Reparatory Justice Turning Points towards our long desired total Pan-Afrikan Liberatory Rendezvous of Planet Repairing Global Justice Victory! Now is Our Time to Seize WISER than ever before to ensure our Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Making of, and Black People’s Power contributions to, the Global Justice Writing of true World Ourstory/History is accelerated to its definitive, irreversible and completely victorious destination! Our MawuLisaga, the almighty God of Afrika and the entire World of, and beyond, Miano Nana Asase Yaa Mother Earth be thanked, with all the gratitude due also to our revered Ancestors, for the day we met to begin battling together for the more systematic movement building harmonization of the collective and individual efforts of our Afrikan people glocally towards the better intellectually organic and organisationally disciplined achievement of this sacred purpose! Akpe: Thank you very much!
The rest of us also agree with Kofi who has rightly stated elsewhere:
The biggest gratitude goes to the God of Afrika and the Pluriverse, to our revered Ancestors and also to all of us who have kept faith with them for a true Reparatory Justice that can only be holistic Planet Repairs in its Global Justice for all meaningfulness! Lots more work to do!
Until next time!
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)