‘Sankofaagro: Edutainmanent in our Reparatory Justice Preparations for Planet Repairs‘
In the spirit of cognitive justice and restoring to ourselves the use of Afrikan languages in a our Pan-Afrikan Liberation Truthquest, the 2022 theme for the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Rebellion Groundings is a compound of 2 words in Twi languages of West Afrika: Sankofa – Go back and fetch it (Twi) and Agro – meaning Play/Entertain (Twi). So the combination of Sankofa and agro means ‘go back and fetch the wisdom of our entertainment’, which is really to go back and fetch our people’s edutainment. Literally, go back to fetch the best of what is there from the past and work with it to guide you in building a better future.
That better future for us is to return to the Motherist Revolutionary Path of Pan-Afrikan Rematriationin our Sankofa Return Journey to our Mawufe-Amedzofe Source (i.e.return to the source of our origin, the essence of ubuntu i.e. to rediscover our humanity in Ewe), in the sacred womb of Miano Asase Yaa (Sweet Mother Earth), for Mianogbenono (i.e. living Mother Earth’s life in Ewe) Regeneration in moving successfully Forward ever in our Freedommarch to our Maatubuntuman in Ubuntudunia Rendezvous of Victory. The road to Maatubuntuman in Ubuntudunia is a Motherist Revolutionary path.
This year’s theme is designed to amplify the voices of reparatory justice resistance and change-making within Afrikan Heritage Communities of Resistance worldwide through using the medium of edutainment.
We also aim to showcase Afrikan people’s grassroots initiatives to effect and secure ‘Planet Repairs’ (the nexus of reparatory, environmental and cognitive justice) as an approach to Holistic Reparations as well as achievements made towards this objective.
Sankofaagro is not a call to be merely entertained, but is a way of making an intergenerational call to action to continue this work of ISMAR-building (building the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations, known as the ISMAR) by way of succession-planning in our endeavours to be the reparatory justice change that we are seeking to achieve.
1st Mosiah 2022 – Programme
Since 2020, we have attempted to liberate 2 spaces in Brixton (Max Roach Park and Windrush Square), in order to ground with our people and facilitate a space for allies that the Stop the Maangamizi! We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC) have been working with to advance interventions to increase public overstanding of reparations and facilitate critical engagement with the British State and public over the years.
Max Roach Park also provides space for showcasing internationalist solidarity networks that structures aligned with SMWECGEC, such as the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network (XRISN) have been working with across 4 continents: Abya Yala (the Americas, Asia, Europe and Afrika).
Please see the programme below for both locations (subject to change and all times approximate).
Max Roach Park (Outdoor Session) 10am-3pm
10am – Libation
Internationalist Solidarity Showcase – Elevating the voices of those involved in the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) across the world and the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) that is involved in co-liberation to effect and secure Planet Repairs.
Sankofaagro – Youth showcase of music and word sounds of resistance
3pm – 3 minutes silence in reverence to our Indomitable Ancestors of great courage, intellect and tenacity.
3.15pm – March to Windrush Square
Black Cultural Archives (Indoor Session)1.15-2.45pm
A version of this article was published on Self-Help News on the 30th November 2021. Uhuru means freedom in Kiswahili.
On 30th November 2021, Barbados transitioned from a parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the hereditary monarch of Barbados (formerly Queen Elizabeth II) to a parliamentary republic with a ceremonial non-executive President as Head of State elected by members of parliament and not the people. The Prime Minister, Mia Mottley EGH, OR, QC, MP remains Head of Government.
However, the question that I and many other citizens of Barbados have been discussing is whether this transition to a republic is more symbolic rather than substantive. Whilst much of the corporate whitestream media is hailing this move as some huge achievement, questions remain about whether selecting the existing Governor-General, Dame Sandra Mason GCMG, DA, QC, who had been Queen Elizabeth’s II’s representative in Barbados since 2018, to serve as Barbados’s first President and Head of State is really the kind of substantive change one would expect when a country transitions to a republic. Queen Elizabeth II bestowed on Mason the Dame Grand Cross in the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George when Mason was appointed Governor-General.
Lest we not forget, the hitherto Governor-Generals of Barbados are appointed by Queen Elizabeth II supposedly on the advice of the Prime Minister of Barbados. Nevertheless, the fact that two thirds of the Barbados Parliament selected the (former) Governor-General to become the first President of the Republic of Barbados could be seen as an attempt to hoodwink the people into believing that there has been a changing of the power structure, when that is clearly not the case. Indeed, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Significantly, Following the end of the Dame Sandra Mason’s term as president, future presidents will be elected by either a joint nomination of the Prime Minister and leader of the opposition or if there is no joint nomination, a vote of both houses of the Parliament of Barbados where a two-thirds majority is required. The electorate will therefore have no meaningful say. As Opposition Senator, Caswell Franklyn has also argued, there are flaws in the republic process. To raise legitimate concerns about the manner in which Barbados is transitioning to a republic does not mean that one is against republicanism, this is indeed long overdue. Nevertheless, it is prudent to raise the fact that the process we are embarking on in Barbados appears to be more symbolic rather than substantive. It reminds me of when President Obama became President of the United States and people got caught up with him being reported to have been the so-called first Black President of America (which was not true), rather than looking at how his presidency impacted on people of Afrikan ancestry and heritage.
Many are also getting caught up with the symbol of a first President of Barbados who also is a woman rather than critically examining the substance of how meaningful these changes will be. Whenever it comes to women in power and the tendency to see women in positions of (neocolonial) state power as emancipatory, I always question to what degree such women are or act, in ways that is described by Dr June Terpstra, as Women of the Hegemon. To find out more about what this means see here and here. In a global system of imperialism and neocolonialism, the Hegemon is ever-present even when it may be difficult to see because of the tendency to use a single lens of analysis when assessing reality rather than embracing an analysis of power on intersectional grounds.
I like many other agree that we should have a new constitution fit for purpose of what it means to be a republic drafted with input from our people who have up until now not really been given a say about what type of republic they want Barbados to be. Only then could it be said that there is a fair and equitable process which reflects a real intention to break with the coloniality of power of ‘Global Britain‘. Instead, Barbados’ republic status is premised on retaining links with European coloniality by simply making amendments to a constitution that came out of the Barbados Independence Act of 1966 passed by the UK Parliament, which gave Barbados “fully responsible status” (independence) within the Commonwealth. This Act has not been repealed.
In a recent article Dr Yearood & Professor Cynthia Barrow-Giles opined:
“….Barbados will move inexorably to republican status but with the status quo remaining, and with the symbolic change associated with the national head of state both practically and theoretically representing the citizens and not theoretically a foreign head of state. The real issue is therefore not about whether Barbados becomes a republic, or whether the Constitution is patriated, but about the relationship between the people and the Government as articulated in the Constitution. Is Barbados going to change its Constitution or be content with tinkering around the edges, masquerading as change?“
It would be far more transformatory, if an entirely new constitution was drafted instead of trying to seemingly ‘repair’ this colonial Westminster instrument. There is a long-standing need for constitutional review and reform which enables the electorate to have a greater degree of participation in accountable governance of the country. In order to become a republic, the Barbados Parliament had to revoke the Barbados Independence Order 1966 as an Order in Queen Elizabeth II’s Council via the Constitution (Amendment Bill) 2021, while keeping intact the existing Barbados Constitution. The amendment transfers the functions and powers of the Barbados Governor-General (Queen Elizabeth II’s representative) to the new President of the republic, amending the official oaths of Barbados to remove references to the Queen Elizabath II, as well as ensures continuity in all of the other aspects of the functioning of the state of Barbados.
The UK Parliament will have to pass consequential legislation “to avoid any confusion in its domestic law” as has been the case on previous occasions when Commonwealth Realms have become republics. The last time ithe UK Parliament passed a similar bill was the Mauritius Republic Act 1992. It is this aspect of the process thus far to republicanism that is most indicative that for now, Barbados will become a republic in name only. When a nation is seeking to establish true independence on the road to sovereignty, it cannot do so by maintaining relics of the colonial power that has ruled and influenced its institutions of governance for centuries. No wonder Prince Charles was invited as a guest of honour to make an address at the ceremony marking Barbados’ transition to a republic.
The cockily confident, Prince Charles felt it necessary in his public messaging on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II to emphasize those things “which will not change” such as the: “close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom”, the “common determination to defend the values we both cherish and to pursue the goals we share; and the myriad connections between the people of our countries.” He was even awarded the Order of Freedom of Barbados, which is now the country’s highest distinction. Quite rightly, the contradictions inherent in this decision has been condemned. In a recent facebook post Dr Tyehimba Salandy, a sociologist and scholar-activist based in Trinidad & Tobago says: “There is something very problematic about proclaiming Republic status and at the same time instead of pressing home the case for reparations awarding the creators of some of the worst crimes ever in human history with the Order of Freedom.”
Not surprisingly, Prince Charles’ visit has generated condemnation from across civil society, campaigners from the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration and the 13th June 1980 Movement had planned to stage a protest in Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados yesterday. However, the government refused to grant permission for the protest. Clearly, such campaigners in Barbados, need support in amplifying their voices especially in the UK to present a counter narrative to this celebratory tone which is smothering those voices who are challenging the dominant state approaches to republicanism which are obfuscating the most fundamental issues of Global Europe and the continuance of Afrikan powerlessness in the Caribbean and elsewhere around the world. That is why the UK contingent of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations campaign, driven by the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign, to establish a UK All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice which prompted the establishment of the UK All-Parliamentary Group on Afrikan Reparations (APPGAR), will become of increasing importance in this regard.
The Secretary General of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, David Denny is right to say that Prince Charles’ visit is an insult! According to a recent report in the Daily Mirror: David Denny who felt the opportunity should be used to call for an apology and reparations, said:
“Barbados should not honour a family who murdered and tortured our people during slavery. The profits created the financial conditions for the Royal Family to increase their power.”
Kevin Cahill provides good justification of this last point when he uncovers in his 2007 book: ‘Who Owns the World’, the world’s primary feudal landowner remains Queen Elizabeth II. She is monarch of 15 countries in addition to the United Kingdom, head of a Commonwealth of 54 countries in which a quarter of the world’s population lives and holds legalised title to about 6.6 billion acres of land, one-sixth of the earth’s land surface.
Wherever one stands on this issue, deeper questions remain; like how will the centuries old accumulated benefits acquired by the British Monarchy be dismantled in Barbados? What will the rulership do to free the country of imperial influences, the Maangamizi of neocolonialism and its attendant neoliberal economic reforms?, which are not only raising the cost of living for ordinary people and exacerbating income inequality; but also furthering the dominant model of maldevelopment worldwide which has implications for effectively tackling the genocidal and ecocidal glocal impacts of the worldwide Climate and Ecological Crises and the necessity for charting alternative paths of progression in Barbados premised on transformtaive adapatation as an aspect of Planet Repairs. Will there be widespread land, wealth and resource redistribution?, especially since (prior to becoming a republic) the British Monarch owned all state lands and state-owned companies etc. I really doubt it!
Despite becoming a Republic, Barbados remains one of the most important offshore financial centres in the Caribbean and one of the world’s top 15 according to Oxfam. Accordingly, there is a link between financialisation and the growth of top incomes. In an article written whilst he was a PhD researcher at the London School of Economics, Scholar Dr Collin Constantine argues that: “Barbados’ status as an offshore financial centre also contributes to rising inequality in Western Europe and the USA by allowing wealthy foreigners to shift income and wealth into a low-tax jurisdiction. Yet while OECD countries are attempting to reclaim their “hidden wealth”, Bajans face growing inequality alongside austerity measures and weak tourism.” Constantine provides an important perspective on how the ‘idea’ of Barbados as a beacon of democracy in the Caribbean persists. He argues that this is in part the same issue studied in other contexts by Thomas Piketty: “When you have large wealth, you cannot just consume like other people. You start to consume influence, consume politicians, consume academics, you consume power; this is what high wealth is here for.”
Constantine goes on to state: The enormous concentration of income in Barbados historically meant that the most powerful and prestigious positions were reserved for colonial elites. In present-day Barbados, economic elites use grants, media ownership, campaign contributions, and so on to influence public policy, public opinion, and key actors to forge societal buy-in on policies that protect and reinforce elites’ economic interests.Even more than in OECD countries, part of the problem is a lack of transparency about top incomes in Barbados, with a severe lack of studies on wealth and income distribution. But this is compounded by deliberate attempts to shift the blame onto the most visible participants in the local economy, namely migrants.
The above arguments put forward by various commentators demonstrate that there is still a long way to go before we can say that we have overcome the tyranny of gradualism and effected as well as secured Uhuru in Barbados and across the Caribbean region. The struggle to transform our material, spiritual and cultural realities naturally leads to the path less travelled; i.e. that of continuing to build and strengthen movement-building for Pan-Afrikan Liberation at home in our Motherland Afrika, as well as across the Diaspora. This is concretised by the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign’s advocacy of the necessity to prefigure decolonial post-Afrikan Reparations futures epitomised by the establishment of Maatubuntuman in Ubuntudunia built from the emerging Community Resistance Zones such as Maatubuntujamaas (Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination) in the Diaspora, organically and indivisibly linked to Sankofahomes premised on our indigenous Afrikan Communities of Resistance throughout the Continent of Afrika.
“Unless our struggle for Reparations leads to the Pan-Afrikanist revolutionary consientization, organization and mobilization of the broad masses of Afrikan People throughout the Continent and the Diaspora to achieve first and foremost, their definitive emancipation from the impeding vestiges of colonialism and the still enslaving bonds of present-day Neocolonialism, to smash the yoke of white racist supremacy and utterly destroy the mental and physical stranglehold of Eurocentrism upon Afrikans at home and abroad, delinking Afrika completely from imperialism of any sort whatsoever, we shall have no POWER to back our claim for restitution and to give us the necessary force of coercion to make the perpetrators of the heinous crimes against us to honour the obligations of even the best fashioned letter and spirit of International Law.”
*Esther Stanford-Xosei is a Motherist and Pan-Afrikanist Jurisconsult, Community Advocate and Reparationist. As a ‘new abolitionist’ emphasizing the need to ‘stop the harm’ and effect Planet Repairs, Esther serves as the Coordinator-General of the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign, among other responsibilities.
To call on Councillors, the Mayor or the Chief Executive as appropriate to:
1. Write to the Speakers of both Houses of the UK Parliament, Chair of the Commons’ Women and Equalities Committee, and Chair of the Commons’ Home Affairs Committee to express Bristol City Council’s view that they should consider establishing, and seeking UK Government support for, an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry. The purpose of this unprecedented commission would be to work on the scope of how reparations may be delivered and may also include for example raising concerns about how tax payers were until 2015 paying back compensation paid to enslavers.
The ISMAR’s glocal Afrikan Reparatory Justice process driven by the SMWeCGEC is now advancing with our partners, foremost among them the MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (MAATUBUNTUMITAWO-GAFRIC) on the Continent of Afrika as well as the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC).
Bristol is the best demonstration, thus far, of the combined ground-up and top-down approach working together in equity. The Bristol process has included meetings with Afrikan Heritage Communities, Afrikan Heritage Community elected officials and Afrikan Heritage representatives of Bristol-based institutions, as well as allies. There were also 72 statements received from members of the public in support of the motion and nearly 200 statements received last year when the motion went before the Council as a silver motion.
The passing of this motion is indeed a cause for celebration as now more than ever we have collectively been able to demonstrate that a radical agenda for change, (in the sense of tackling Maangamizi injustices from the root), can win.
There are however two key additions in the motion which surpass the original motions in London passed so far, and that is the inclusion of the following sections:
2. Support Afrikan Heritage Community (AHC) organisations in Bristol to galvanise support for the emerging Bristol AHC led ‘Reparations Plan’ from, and in collaboration with, wider stakeholders including institutions, city strategic leaders, corporate leaders, key strategic programmes/initiatives and cross-party politicians.
4. Recognise that reparative justice should be driven by Afrikan Heritage Communities experiences, voices and perspectives to ensure that advocacy messages not only reflect but also respond to the real needs of the community in order to recognise inequalities.
Of note, is the motion referencing what we in the SMWeCGEC refer to as the PEMPAMSIEMPANGO Glocal Reparations Action Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression (PEMPAMSIEMPANGO-GRAPPRAP), which is a ground-up reparations planning process where our Afrikan Heritage Communities are organised and spearheaded by Pempamsiesafo – Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Special Task Action Research Forces (PARJSTARF) to carry out as a matter of study and applied knowledge-production on the complexities of Afrikan Reparations. Although the passing of this motion is a stepping stone in an emerging participatory reparatory justice Afrikan Heritage Communities-led process, it is a huge leap forward and a vindication of the position of some of us in the SMWeCGEC took to championing such an approach on behalf of our people and were derided by both state and civil society actors for it.
The above resolutions constructively address the concern some of us in the SMWeCGEC have expressed about the top-down CARICOM Reparatory Justice Initiative known as the Ten Point-Plan, where appointments and disappointments are made to national reparations committees/councils by neocolonial CARICOM state bureaucracies. See here and here for further info about ISMAR position papers on such CARICOM Reparations initiatives. We are glad that lessons from our insights and advocacy in support of the right of the masses of Our People to participate in and steer reparations processes, from the ground-up, have not only been learned but also applied in Bristol.
It is truly laudable that Mayor Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor, Cllr Asher Craig have been in dialogue with campaigners from the ISMAR and acted in ways which have supported and enabled Afrikan Heritage Communities’ grassroots leadership of this glocal participatory reparations process, rather than seek to hijack leadership of the ISMAR. By so acting, they have contributed immensely to strengthening our prospects for the ultimate victory of our Afrikan People at Home and Abroad in ensuring that reparations results in our Planet Repairs winning of MAATUBUNTUMAN in UBUNTUDUNIA as the true guarantees of non-repetition out of which all other reparations gains can be effected and secured as a continuation of the liberation visions of our Ancestors, not only for present, but also future generations.
The full Bristol Motion can be found here. 47 Councillors voted for the motion, 12 voted against, there were 0 abstentions and 4 apologies. You can read the ACC statement of thanks and call to action following the passing of the Bristol Atonement and Reparations Motion here.
All contributors to the dialogue are *Afrikan Heritage representatives from the bodies facilitating this event. You will hear from range of speakers about the context that has led to this point in the Reparations conversation, explore the meaning of Reparations and what that means for the city and globally, seek your support for the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign initiated call for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ), as referenced in the Stop The Maangamizi Petition which will form the main proposals within the ‘Reparations and Atonement’ motion that Afrikan Heritage Communities are invited to comment upon before it is brought to a future Full Council meeting for discussion and approval.
It is really important that the debate is shaped by the whole community, both in terms of the concept itself, the work done to ready the city for a discussion and ensuring there is a shared understanding. This is the first of 2 conversations, the second conversation will be held with wider city stakeholders and the views of the city’s. Afrikan Heritage Communities (AHC) will be fed into this wider event to be held in early February 2021.
*Afrikan Heritage Communities are a diverse group who may also identify or describe themselves as:African, Caribbean, African-Caribbean, Nigerian, Jamaican, Ghanaian, Trinidadian, Black British, or of a dual heritage including African etc.
Please note that this initial meeting is open ONLY to the communities of interest as expressed above.
The video clips below, and other relevant information links, point to what is happening in one of the best known countries of West Afrika, in connection with the fraudulent 7th December 2020 General Elections to the Presidency and Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
We highlight not only the fact that the current pretender to the still hotly disputed position of President-elect, Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, has been caught on camera by an investigative journalist, showing he is a corrupt, deceitful and hypocritical taker of bribes, an organiser of violent political gangsterism, but also someone with question marks about complicity in numerous unresolved murders. This concerns mostly gruesome killings that have occurred and still are happening in Ghana over a considerable period of time, particularly as from 2016, within the duration of his first term in the questionably won position of the President of Ghana.
Moreover, contrary to his initial pronouncements against the illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘Galamsey’, Akuffo-Addo has become one of most notorious profiteering facilitators of the mostly foreign extractivist plunder of Ghana’s resources, and the heinous destruction of her environment, including the desecration of sacred bush groves, forest reserves, mountains, water bodies, indigenous community settlements, endangered unique flora and fauna, and other devastating cases of Genocide and Ecocide known to Afrikan Heritage Communities as the Maangamizi.
That is why it is of the greatest importance for Internationalist Solidarity to be urgently mobilised now, from all over the World, to assist the people of Ghana to create an enabling atmosphere for genuine Participatory Democracy to develop, in the wake of properly establishing the Truth around the hotly disputed 7th December 2020 General Elections. Such Truthquest must ascertain, without any obfuscation and obstruction whatsoever, those who actually won and lost both the presidential and parliamentary ballots, and ensure the true victors are allowed to freely occupy their respective positions of government and other state responsibilities they have been popularly mandated, by the expressed sovereign will of the people, to ascend, in due service, as Ghanaians say it, to their Odomankoma MawuLisa Nyungmo God of Creation, to their revered Ancestors and to their own Ghanamanfo citizenry of Afrika and Miano Asase Yaa, their beloved Mother Earth!
With regard to the above noteworthy points, we of the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/ Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC), propose the following to those Peoples’ of Conscience Representatives in the United Kingdom Houses of Parliament interested in our Operation 2020 Ghana Elections Truthquest (O2020GET):-
(1) Ask the UK Government what it knows, from its own gathered intelligence, and is therefore doing, about the incumbent Government-perpetrated Electoral Violence, which discredits the official Electoral Commission (EC) declared results of, and reports on, the 7th December 2020 General Elections in Ghana.
(2) Call for the setting up of an All-Party Parliamentary Human Rights Monitoring Caucus on Anti-People Violence in Ghana today.
(3) Invite all members of both Houses of the British Parliament to participate in an International Community Right To Truth Assembly (ICORTTA), by way of a Zoom meeting, to be facilitated by the Peoples’ Reparations Internationalist Solidarity Committee for Cognitive Justice in Afrika (PRISCCOJA); that will be addressed by a duly mandated representative each, of the two main contending political parties in Ghana today, that are still heatedly disputing the results of the 7th December 2020 General Elections; that is, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), led by John Dramani Mahama (aka JDM); and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo (aka NADAA).
(4) Sponsor, actively support and send a Friends of Ghana International Investigative Team (FOGIIT) to enquire into the various shootings, maiming and claiming human lives, including those of elected Members of Parliament, journalists and ordinary people, young and old, by police and army personnel, as well as other armed state and non-state actors, that have ocurred and still are happening in Ghana today before, during and in the aftermath of the 7th December 2020 General Elections.
(5) Support the Afrikan Heritage Communities-led initiative to hold an inaugural convention to launch their Internationalist Solidarity Forum of People’s Power Accountability on Afrika (ISFOPPAA) in London, United Kingdom, as part of the annual Afrikan Liberation Awareness Month (ALAM) activities in May 2021.
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 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.’
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.
Co-Vice Chair, Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE
Coordinator-General, ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
Spokesperson, Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC)
Since last year, when Brother Steven Golding spoke at the 5th annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, we stayed in contact. He got in touch earlier this year about the possibility of me visiting Jamaica to do a lecture in recognition of the 2015 – 2024 United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. Such a trip was finally organised to take place at the end of May 2019.
From the 29th May to 5th June 2019, I was invited by Brother Steven to deliver a couple of public lectures on Reparations. This included doing a public lecture on the ‘The Reparations Challenge‘ at the UNIA Jamaica Mass Meeting, which took place at Liberty Hall, as well as being the first international speaker to deliver the annual Tacky Day Lecture in the Parish of St. Mary themed ‘Chief Tacky 1760 – 2060: The Struggle Then, The Struggle Now‘.
When I arrived in Jamaica, I was pleasantly surprised to be met at the airport by Sister Marva Pringle-Ximinnies from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports, Brother Steven as well as Brother Derrick Robinson aka ‘Black X’. I did not know at the time but Black X had actually walked 57+ miles from Port Maria in the parish of St. Mary to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston to officially welcome me to Jamaica as the international speaker for the Tacky Day Lecture.
This is a message that Black X had sent out to various networks before my arrival:
Dear friends, Today Tuesday May 28 at 3pm, I will be embarking on a 24 and a half hours walk from the Tacky Monument in Port Maria St Mary Jamaica to the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston, to be a part of the team that will be welcoming our Guest Speaker for Tacky Day to Jamaica! she is due to arrive in Jamaica from England (UK) at 3.30pm. Her Name is Esther Stanford-Xosei a Pan-African Speaker, a leading voice in the global Struggle in the call for Reparations to be paid for the atrocious and the beyond repair damage that was done to our African fore Fathers and Mothers. So it is with great conviction of duty in honourable memory of the Great Chief Tacky that in our Ancestors Name, I will challenge this 24 and a half hours walk to the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston from Port Maria St Mary. Thank you for your support.
Derrick Black X Robinson, Chairman Tacky Foundation, Tacky Heritage – Pan-African Garden Of Assembly 1760
The first public lecture I did was on Sunday 2nd June, 2019 at the famous Liberty Hall at 76 King Street, Kingston which was (at one point) the Hon. Marcus Garvey’s headquarters and that of the UNIA-ACL. The U.N.I.A’s constitution required each UNIA to have a Liberty Hall, which was its headquarters. Jamaica’s Liberty Hall was the centre of activities for the Kingston division of The UNIA. The two-storey building was the first meeting hall in Jamaica that was fully owned and operated by people of Afrikan heritage. First opened in 1923, the site has been restored to serve as a museum of the life and work of Marcus Garvey, who was the first man to be declared an official National Hero of Jamaica.
Programme for the Mass Meeting
This is a link to an Instagram post of Emprezz @emprezzgolding with a video clip from my lecture at the UNIA Mass Meeting.
On Monday 3rd June 2019, I was hosted at a reception organised by the St Mary Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture & Industry. I spoke at their meeting about the relevance of reparations to addressing local community development issues and challenges spoken about at the meeting.
I was a guest at the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce Meeting & Reception
Tacky Day Commemorations
Before I come unto the commemoration, it is important for me to say a little bit about Chief Tacky. Tacky’s War or the Easter Rebellion of Port Maria, one of the bloodiest revolts that took place in Jamaica, was an uprising of enslaved Afrikans from the central region of Ghana then referred to as Koromantse which started on Easter Sunday 1760 and went on until July 1760. The Rebellion broke out in St. Mary and spread throughout most of the country. The leader of the rebellion, Tacky (Akan spelling: Takyi), was originally from the Fante ethnic group in West Afrika and had been a Paramount Chief in Fante land (in the Central region of present-day Ghana) before being captured and sold into slavery after the Koromantse Wars. Tacky was subsequently enslaved on the Frontier Estate, in Jamaica where he was subsequently made foreman. However, he used this position to plan and influence some fellow enslaved Afrikans on his estate and neighbouring Trinity Estate to revolt. He, along with the Asante Queen Nanny or Nana, both, with the support of fellow rebels, planned to defeat the British and all enslavers and make Jamaica a separate and independent Black country. They began by seizing control of Frontier and the neighbouring Trinity plantation, killing the masters or estate managers and freeing the enslaved before heading to the nearby town of Port Maria.
One of the most-well known people seeking to gain greater recognition of Tacky is Black X, Chairman of the Tacky Heritage Group, who is truly a legend in Jamaica and is doing excellent work to help conscientise the Jamaican public about the importance of Chief Tacky. A waterfall close to the cave where Takyi and his fellow rebels planned the revolt was named Tacky Falls and is currently open to visitors. A school has also been named after Chief Tacky.
At the end of the lecture, I was presented with a picture by Chelsea Chin, administrator for Dr Morais Guy, J.P., Member of Parliament for Central St. Mary.
These are some of the pictures from the Tacky Day Commemorations, it was truly a beautiful day. Local MPs, the Mayor, business leaders, community members as well as children from 8 local schools in St. Mary attended the lecture!
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding.
Left to Right: Steven Golding, Dr Morais Guy, J.P., MP, Central St. Mary, Dr Norman Dunn, BH, J.P., MP South East, St. Mary, Derrick Robinson aka ‘Black X’
This is a link to Minister Olivia Grange’s speech that was read out by Dr Norman Dunn, BH, (M), J.P. Member of Parliament, South East, St. Mary:
Esther Stanford-Xosei with Derrick Robinson aka ‘Black X’ at Tacky Day Lecture
Make Chief Tacky A National Hero Resolution
Since my return to the UK, I have been forwarded the following text of resolution to be put forward at the local Parish Council in St. Mary on Thursday 11th July 2019:
MAKE CHIEF TACKY A NATIONAL HERO OF JAMAICA
On Easter Sunday, in the year 1760 in Jamaica in the Parish of Saint Mary, the great rebel leader called Chief Tacky led our ancestors in a rebellion against the establishment of chattel slavery in the country. They raided the English garrison at Fort Haldane and attacked the estates at Frontier, Trinity, Ballard’s Valley, Esher, among others. Tacky’s revolt/war spread to several parishes across the country and lasted for over 18 months even when they thought it had ended. The brave Chief Tacky lost his own life but his vision and actions had struck a blow for freedom that helped to hasten the end of the act of inhumanity and the bondage of chattel slavery. Ultimately, history has proven that freedom was irreversible from that point on.
As a result of this trip, PARCOE decided to update our banner/flyer to include Chief Tacky and to also lobby for his inclusion as one of the revered Ancestors commemorated as part of the Ancestors Bloc of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
In addition, Esther was a panellist for the UWI ‘African Liberation Day Lecture’ on 29th May 2019 featuring keynote speaker Dr Julius Garvey who spoke to the theme ‘Moving Towards A United Africa: Fulfilling Marcus Garvey’s Dream‘.
Meeting with Minister Olivia Grange & Representatives of the NCR
Another important aspect of the trip was the meeting I got to have with representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, including the Hon. Olivia (Babsy) Grange, MP, CD, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport and Barbara Blake-Hannah; in addition to meeting with several members of the National Council on Reparations (NCR), in particular, NCR Co-Chair Mrs Laleta Davis-Mattis (who attended the Reparations Challenge Lecture), Mr Frank Phipps, Q.C., Lord Anthony Gifford, Q.C., Attorney Bert Samuels, Dr Jahlani Niaah, Dr Michael Barnett and Ras Ho-Shing. Barbara Blake-Hannah was also in attendance at the meeting with members of the NCR and Minister Grange.
I did not get to meet or speak with NCR Co-Chair Professor Verene Shepherd on my trip.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding.
During the meeting, Minister Grange updated me on some of the developments taking place pertaining to reparations, including the work being championed under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture in relation to the absolution of the resistance efforts of National Heroes. Minister Grange made a special presentation to me of a copy of The National Heroes and Other Freedom Fighters (Absolution from Criminal Liability in Respect of Specified Events) Acts, 2018 No.2
The following is a copy of the front and back page of the act of the act. A link to the act can be found below:
In the meeting I also shared information about what reparations activism was taking place by the UK contingent of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR). The main updates I shared pertained to:
The alliances being forged by elevating a reparatory justice approach to tackling the climate and ecological crisis which will disproportionately impact on our communities in Afrika and the Caribbean; highlighting developments made in this regard by the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign developing an affinity with Extinction Rebellion (XR). As a result of the advocacy and involvement of reparationists in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign, this has resulted in the subsequent development of the CEE the Truth Campaign by some members of XR and the emerging Climate & Ecological Independents championing Planet Repairs and reparations, as one of their core demands of their political manifesto in the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections.
The importance of state and non-state actors, recognising their distinct but possibly complementary roles and working together on the common cause of effecting and securing reparatory justice by seeking to join up actions and initiatives where possible. An example being the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March which takes place on 1st August.
In seeking accountability from European nation states, the importance of factoring engagement strategies with country diasporas living in the UK/Europe as well as the wider Afrikan Diaspora communities in Europe. This being necessary to ensure that there was harmonisation between distinct reparations strategies and tactics by state and non-state actors.
Likewise, the necessity of also seeking to influence European and other civil society populations in Europe and win support from them in standing in solidarity with the cause of reparatory justice. In this regard, it was pointed out that the notion of Britain and Europe coming to help “clean up the monumental mess of Empire” they left in the Caribbean is not being taken seriously or endearing support from wider constituencies in the UK. This is largely because it is clear, even to many white people, that the British Parliamentary System is in crisis, with Brexit and the emergence of Extinction Rebellion which is challenging the inadequacies of governance and failure of moral leadership of British parliamentarians who have failed to act to avert the climate & ecological crisis etc. The popular overstanding being how can Britain be asked to clean up the mess in the Caribbean when it cannot clean up the mess in its own back-yard?
Meeting with Minister Mike Henry
I also met with the Hon. Minister Mike Henry, MP, CD, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica who spoke to me about the legal action he was pursuing against Queen Elizabeth II, as part of a reparations strategy, which is further explained in the newspaper articles section below.
I raised similar points made in the meeting with Minister Grange and members of the NCR, in particular, regarding:
The importance of those in the Caribbean linking with country diasporas and the wider Afrikan Diaspora in UK/Europe as well as paying greater attention to winning over those of European ancestry to be in solidarity with our cause of reparatory justice.
Us as state and non-state actors recognising differing strategy and tactics even when making legal and political challenges to the British State and seeking to have dialogue with each other and share information other about these different approaches so what we do does not conflict.
On behalf of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, I thanked Minister Henry for the solidarity message he gave for the 2018 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
Minister Mike Henry made a special presentation to me of a copy of his book ‘Many Rivers To Cross: A Political Journey of Audacious Hope‘ (2013).
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding & Ras Ho-Shing.
The following are the newspaper articles about my visit:
This article clipping is taken from section C10 of the Gleaner on Monday 3, June, 2019
Anonlineversion of the Jamaica Information Service appeared in the Jamaica Observer on Thursday 30 May, 2019
I explained that The CEE Independents have adopted reparations as part of the core demands and there was much scope for those in the Caribbean also doing more to link the struggle for reparatory justice to the growing consciousness of the necessity of reparations for climate and ecological breakdown. I reiterated the messages given at public lectures on the importance of those in the national councils and committees for reparations in the Caribbean recognising the importance of the country and wider Afrikan Diasporas living in Europe and secondly the importance of messaging which can also win hearts and minds of allies of European and other non-Afrikan ancestries in Europe. This is a Gleaner newspaper article which Lord Gifford wrote aspects of which he has subsequently notified me were influenced by some of our discussions.
Since returning to the UK, I shared info regarding a recent interview with music artist and write Gaika given by Leader of the UK Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn where he speaks about his support for reparations to former colonies to combat climate change with Steven Golding and Lord Gifford which in my view affirms the approach that we in PARCOE and the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Campaign have long been championing in relation to ‘Planet Repairs’ and the importance of including reparations for climate and ecological destruction (ecocide) as part of the advocacy strategies coming out of Afrika and the Caribbean.
Visit to Pre-View Windush Murals
I visited Studio 174, a Kingston based Art Academy in downtown Kingston, to preview a series of murals being finalised as a mobile exhibit featuring a series of murals to honour the Windrush Generation; people from Jamaica and the Caribbean who left the region, beginning in 1948, on The Empire Windrush. This exhibit is part of the Paint Up Ya Creative Space Initiative of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports in partnership with the British Council. Some of the discussions myself and Steven Golding had with the artistic director and artists was the possibility of such an exhibit of murals to come to the UK and possibly feature as part of the events leading up to the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding
I did the following interviews:
‘Rootsology’ show on Roots 96.1 FM,
‘Beyond the Headlines’ show on RJR 94 FM,
‘Talk Up Radio’ show on Nation-wide 90 FM
‘Sunrise’ show on CVM TV.
Unfortunately, although I contacted Pan-Afrikanist Activist-Journalist and host of the ‘Running African’ show on IRIE FM, Ka’Bu Ma’at Kheru ahead of the trip, with a view to meeting up during her visit, unfortunately I did not get to connect or speak with Ka’Bu on my trip. Ka’Bu was also the initiator of the ‘UofG Consult With Grass – Root Reparation Movements NOT Colonial Institutions!’ Petition on change.org (and also supported by the SMWeCGEC).
On the tentative schedule I received before my trip, it was planned that I was to do an interview on Thursday 30th May 2019 at 3pm on IRIE FM ‘Stepping Razor’ show with Mutabaruka and on Sunday 2nd June on IRIE FM at 7am on the ‘Running Africa Forum’ Radio with Ka’bu Ma’at Kheru. However, this changed with the updated schedule I received when I arrived in Jamaica. I was notified that Ka’bu had to travel urgently so had cancelled her show on 30th May.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding.
Linking with Empress Esther of the EABIC ‘Bobo Shanti’
Through a link provided by Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, Co- Vice Chair, Prophet Jah B, I made contact with Empress Esther from the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress (EABIC) on my visit. Although we did not get to meet in person, we did have discussions about the need for further outreach and connections with Rastafari community members and other Afrikan heritage communities in the Montego Bay Area who often do not get to go to Pan-Afrikan and Reparations focused events and activities in Kingston.
Courtesy Call on Permanent Secretary, Mr Denzil Thorpe
The last stop I made before leaving Jamaica, en route to the airport, was to return to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport for a curtesy call on Mr Denzil Thorpe, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry. I was accompanied by my Steven Golding and Black X. Permanent Secretary Denzil Thorpe also made a special presentation to me of NCR memorabilia and we spoke about my visit to Jamaica.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding & Marva Pringle-Ximminies