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.
“The future will have no pity for those men and women who possess the exceptional privilege to speak the words of truth, instead have taken refuge in an attitude of cold complicity and mute indifference.“
Revised quote from Frantz Fanon, ‘Toward the African Revolution: Political Essays’, 1994
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
The letter from Esther Stanford-Xosei deals with the response from Foreign & Commonwealth Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN, Lord Ahmad to the 2017 ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and its accompanying correspondence.
The exchanges so far show that as much as sections of the Labour Movement are becoming more interested in communications with certain constituencies of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR), there is a greater need to ensure that the Labour Party is challenged to develop a correct way of dealing with the issues raised in the correspondence and our Afrikan Heritage Communities in consonance with the ethics of reparatory justice. This must also be done in such a way that recognises Afrikan people’s human and people’s right to Substantive Afrikan Heritage Community Representation.
What this means is that Labour Party is being challenged by SMWeCGEC and other Afrikan Reparations campaigners to engage in ‘institutional self-repairs’ in the ways it deals with Afrikan Heritage Communities and our autonomous community organisations as well as the issues that concern us. Only by doing so, will it become a worthy stakeholder with locus standi in Afrikan Heritage Community reparatory justice engagements.
In livicated Service!
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
Greetings Supporter/s of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
See the response below from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Prime Minister Theresa May’s Special Representative for Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict to the ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Petition. This response was received after the intervention of Heidi Alexander MP for Lewisham East (London) who was lobbied to write to the FCO to seek a response from the relevant FCO Minister.
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) guidance on lobbying your MP or other publicly elected officials such as Councillors
In a way, lobbying is something that ordinary people do all the time, it is part of human nature to advocate for a certain need or purpose. But in this context, we refer to lobbying as the act of attempting to influence the actions or policies or decisions of public officials as well as local and central government by pressuring them to do what you want them to do.
Lobbying is an essential aspect of the SMWeCGEC’s work, in implementation of the aim of aim 2 of the campaign which is “to gather evidence of the continuing impact of the Maangamizi as part of the process towards establishing the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament as well as the Ubuntukgotla Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ)”.
When you assist in this lobbying, you help us in the SMWeCGEC raise the profile of the campaign and its demands as well as contribute to a participatory reparations process. These are some of your human and people’s rights under international law.
Please note, you do not need previous lobbying/campaigning experience as this guide is designed to assist you regardless if you are a beginner or more experienced action-learner or campaigner.
Find out who is your MP or other publicly elected official such as Councillors
We all have the power to shape and influence government policy through lobbying our Members of Parliament (MPs). Members of Parliament are elected to represent the views of the electorate in the House of Commons, particularly their own constituents and respond to their concerns, even if the MP doesn’t agree with their point of view. An MP can help influence the UK Parliament and government in many ways.
Councillors are people that are elected by their local community in order to make decisions about local services on your behalf. The primary role of a councillor is to represent the interests and concerns of their ward and the people who live in it to the local council. Whilst some local government wards are represented by one councillor, some will be represented by as many as three councillors. You can contact one or all. Councillors are not just interested in the council-wide relevance of what you are requesting, but also the local perspective and implications of the requests that you will make for their ward and how local constituents are also affected or the implications for them.
Finding an empathetic councillor if cultivated can be useful in a number of ways including:
• Providing inside information about what is happening in the local council, and where pressure points are;
• Representing your concerns to the council and in relevant committees;
• Influencing a decision which is about to be made or changing a decision that has already been made;
• Local political party influence;
• Influence over council officers.
Contacting your MP or Councillor
The easiest way to contact your MP is to write to them at the House of Commons, London SW1A OAA. It is recommended that you send this postcard/letter recorded delivery so that you have proof of postage. Alternatively, you can email them at their office – both the websites above have the email address of all MPs. You can also phone your MP’s office at the Commons by calling the switchboard (020 7219 3000) and asking to be connected.
Another route is to contact the MP’s local constituency office. Details of these and advice surgery times are printed in local papers and telephone directories. Many (but not all) MPs have their own websites – these are usually linked to www.epolitix.com.
You can meet your MP either at the House of Commons or at their surgery. Details of the time and location of the surgery will be available from their local party office/local libraries/local newspapers or via their website. Surgeries are often held in town halls, libraries or church halls. Some MPs insist on appointments and others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. It is sensible to find out in advance what you need to do to secure a meeting.
Be aware: for lobbying purposes, your MP can be either where you work, where you live or both.
Find out if your MP has any special interests relevant to the numerous points raised by the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and the wider SMWeCGEC. You can do so by checking www.theyworkforyou.com. The site also records MP’s speeches and how they have voted. You can also check out your MPs website and their page on www.wikipedia.org to find out more about them.
Writing to or emailing your MP or other publicly elected official
MPs and other elected officials regard postcards, letters and emails as an important barometer of public opinion and take notice if there are lots of postcards/letters on a particular issue.
Take the time to personalise the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard or template letter by also including references to how you, your family, or community group etc. are personally affected by the Maangamizi or Maangamizi denial. Include statements which speak to your own experience.
MPs appreciate brevity – try and stick to no more than two sides of A4 paper two at the most. You should always include your full address as there is a parliamentary convention that prevents MPs taking up cases for non-constituents.
The above information is also applicable to making contact with local Councillors. Whilst you can also make telephone contact, we advise written correspondence so there is an audit trail of your attempts to contact officials and any responses you may receive.
Prepare for the meeting by doing local research on the MP or other elected official and finding out what their priorities and interests are. In particular, try and find out where they stand on the issues that you will be raising. Party political allegiance and personal empathy will probably influence this. The leanings of MPs, Councillors and other elected officials can be gauged from their public pronouncements, by writing to them or attending public meetings or MPs/Councillors surgeries.
When lobbying councillors, find out as much as you can about the council or local authority’s past decisions on Maangamizi legacy/reparations related issues. Lots of information is freely available to the public such as minutes, agendas from meetings, for assistance contact the relevant department of your local council.
Before meeting your MP or other elected official, it is worth rehearsing your arguments and thinking about how you respond to these three questions:
1. Why you are visiting them;
2. Why the issue matters to you and your community e.g. how you/ and your community are impacted by the Maangamizi or Maangamizi denial;
3. What you want them to do about it e.g. take action on the asks in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ postcard or template letter;
• don’t be intimidated, be aware of your own power as a voting constituent – your MP or other publicly elected official has a duty to listen and take official note of your issues/concerns;
• ascertain how much time you have and ensure key points get raised in the time you have;
• be concise, clear and persuasive, your job is to persuade elected officials who may not have hardly given Maangamizi- counteraction and redress or reparations, any serious thought or who may have very strong views about the efficacy of reparations on the basis of their most likely limited understanding and knowledge;
• introduce yourself, (if it applies, you may link this to the GAPP idea of Maatubuntuman if you see yourself as an aspiring member of the Maatubuntujamaa – Afrikan Heritage Community for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSD) say why you have visited him or her, (you may have to initially write your reasons for visiting MP or other elected official on a record-sheet if you are attending a local surgery);
• very early on in your discussion explain the holistic meaning of reparations and be prepared to enlighten and increase MP or other elected officials understanding. Don’t’ make general demands of ‘support reparations’ and giving a shopping list of measures. Please note that in many cases starting with the ‘how much money is owed’ ‘pay me’ argument shuts down dialogue so be prepared for this;
• speak their language and make your case in terms using examples they understand and also in relation to issues concerning your own personal and community development;
• explain the Maangamizi highlighting its relevance to Afriphobia as the specific form of racism you suffer as a person of Afrikan heritage and the need for redress by way of holistic reparations. Point out that this necessitates wholesome repairs including cessation of violations, restitution, rehabilitation, satisfaction, guarantees of non-repetition and also compensation according to the tenets of international law;
• give a few examples about how you, your family and community are affected by the Maangamizi. Personalise your briefing and make links to local data, issues, experiences, concerns or campaigns and how this interconnects with UK-wide and/or Pan-Afrikan/international concerns. As part of your preparation you should write down key points and hand over this document to your MP during your discussion;
• be prepared to talk about the issues contained in the postcard/letter as they relate to your local area, other constituents of Afrikan heritage as well as others e.g. what implications do the issues in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition have for young people, neighbourhood centres, schools and service provision locally;
• ask the MP or other elected officials his/her thoughts and comments on what you have said and then ask whether they are willing to support the SMWeCGEC asks in the postcard/letter and precisely what it is they will do to assist;
• make a note of what the MP or other elected official says; this will enable you to report-back to the SMWeCGEC and also follow-up on any promises or commitments that were made;
• be prepared for MPs or other elected officials asking what you know about any other MPs etc. taking action on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition and the wider campaign objectives;
• at the end thank the MP or other elected official for their time and recap on follow-up actions;
• follow-up with the MP or other elected official by writing or emailing to thank them for meeting and remind him/her of any agreed-follow-up actions that were agreed;
• be persistent, well-briefed, positive and professional. Remember, when lobbying you have an ambassadorial role on behalf of the SMWeCGEC and also as a constituent of the Afrikan heritage community of reparatory justice interest!
Be specific about what you want the MP to do, for example:
• write a letter to the relevant minister;
• ask a parliamentary question;
• sign an early day motion;
• raise Maangamizi/reparations related issues during a parliamentary debate;
• invite your MP or other elected official to attend a local SMWeCGEC reparations-related meeting of members one lunchtime/evening;
• invite your MP or other elected official to a glocal (local and global interconnections) session a trial APPCITARJ hearing which you should be prepared to assist convening with the support of the SMWeCGEC;
• ask your MP or other elected official to support an Afrikan heritage community self-repairs initiative, programme or activity you are involved in;
• ask the MP or other elected official to do press, publicity with your group in support of the SMWeCGEC;
• ask your MP or other elected official to keep in contact and to send you copies of any letters, responses, parliamentary questions etc. done on your behalf;
• ask the MP or other elected public what else he or she could do to help the SMWeCGEC (e.g. publicity, introductions to other groups and networks);
• ask MP or other elected public how you can best keep them informed of developments;
• If one course of action fails, write or email again to make sure they pursue an alternative;
• after you have lobbied an elected official, tell your friends, family members and colleagues to also get lobbying, talk to other people in your area and find like-minded individuals so that you can work together. Remember, elected officials want to get re-elected! So, the more people you can get in your community to take similar action, the greater likelihood the elected official will listen;
• Never give up, the realisation of holistic reparatory justice and the specific campaign goals of the SMWeCGEC can only get stronger and receive more support if we can demonstrate the impact we are making in achieving the building blocks to securing the APPCITARJ!
Local Councillors can also:
• contact the relevant department about the issues you raise;
• raise your concerns with the relevant cabinet member;
• refer an important issue to the council’s overview and scrutiny committee;
• raise your concerns at a full council meeting.
MPs and councillors of opposition parties are often keen to question the decisions of the ruling party. You can use this to your advantage when campaigning about an issue.
Other ways to lobby your MP or Councillor
• Organise a mass lobby of Parliament or the Council, but before attempting this we recommend you reading this SMWeCGEC parliamentary guidance.
• Organise a mass lobby of your local council where everyone turns up on the same day to meet councillors. For maximum impact, however, it is best however to speak to your council and councillors to organise this.
• Attend a council meeting. Local constituents can attend certain council meetings and may have a chance to speak at them. Watch out for Maangamizi counteraction/ reparations relevant cabinet meetings, full council meetings and committee meetings.
• Deputations – or speaking at council meetings are a way of lobbying the council to let them know about a concern that you have that is shared with people who you live or work near to. Most councils have arrangements for ‘receiving deputations’ usually at the start of full council meetings where a number of people (deputation) including a nominated spokesperson can make a short presentation directly to members of the council at the council assembly, the cabinet and other council meetings.
Each one teach and learn from many!
Finally, share your action-learning (learning through doing) by joining a wider group of reparations action-learners, that we in the SMWeCGEC can put you in touch with. Please also keep us updated about any progress you make and also challenges you may encounter. We are developing a page to identify Maangamizi desecrators and deniers so are interested to know if you encounter any public officials that can be characterised as such.
Feel free to also contact us if you need support with preparation for meeting your MP or other publicly elected official.
If you have any ideas on how better to lobby MPs or other elected officials which we could add to this guidance feel free to contact us.
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
Please note, the posting of these various links from various public and Afrikan community sources is not an endorsement of the same by the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC) or the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign (SMWeCGE), except in circumstances where content has been produced by or with the prior input of members of the AEDRMC or SMWeCGE and/or the AEDRMC’s media partners according to the AEDRMC Media Policy. For example, the following 3 pieces.
‘Reparatory Justice’ by Esther Stanford-Xosei (AEDRMC/SMWeCGE Campaign)
To find out how you can become a media partner for the AEDRMC or the SMWeCGE Campaign or if you would like an interview, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.
This is the initial response received from the Correspondence Office at No 10 Downing Street dated 2nd August 2016.
Please note that the text concealed on the top left hand corner of the letter of acknowledgement is the home address of SMWeCGE Coordinator-General, Esther Stanford-Xosei. When one submits an application to hand in a petition via the Downing Street Liaison Office, one is required to also include a return address for receipt of acknowledgement, as per the requirements of Form 2103- Petition to Downing Street.
This article was updated on 07/08/17, 27/06/18 and 17/10/20 from when it was originally published in 2015
“The damage sustained by the Afrikan peoples is not a thing of the past, but is painfully manifested in the damaged lives of contemporary Afrikans from Harlem to Harare’ in the damaged economies of the Black World from Guinea to Guyana from Somalia to Suriname.”
Abuja Proclamation of the First Conference on Reparations for Enslavement, Colonisation & Neocolonisation, 1993
No exact template or model exists for the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) in that it will have to be shaped in a way that meets the needs and aspirations of Afrikan Heritage Communities that have been enslaved, colonised or otherwise oppressed by the British Empire and/or the current British State. However, our vision is that the APPCITARJ will consist of British and European Parliamentary Commissions established with representation from the political parties in these parliaments and thy will hear our submissions as Afrikan Heritage Communities who have been impacted by the Maangamizi (Afrikan hellacaust of chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement). This is an example of the revolutionary use of reform in that we are tactically seeking to use establishment institutions and some of their processes to achieve some of our revolutionary objectives for reparatory justice social change and transformation.
For us in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC), this is not about taking our individual and collective cases to parliamentarians for those parliamentarians, on their own, to decide on the merits of our individual/family/people’s case and to make final judgements about what the outcomes should be. In our view, this adjudication function can best be achieved by the establishment of the Ubuntukgotla-Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice(U-PITGJ) in which representatives of our people and other peoples who have experienced European colonialism, enslavement and genocide become the judges using law from our various people’s legal traditions. Rather, the establishment of the APPCITARJs, at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament, are a tactic to facilitate widespread evidence gathering which reveal facts about the magnitude of the Maangamizi and for the public dissemination of that evidence as part of the battle to win hearts of minds and influence public opinion to support our people’s cause.
It is therefore important for the proposed APPCITARJ to seek an appropriately weighted balance between an individualized approach that places victims and perpetrators at the centre of the process and recognising as well as redressing the impact of the Maangamizi on whole collectivities. However, this requires a focus on tackling the systemic aspects of the Maangamizi and examining the role of institutions, structures of legitimisation and governance in its continuance. In this regard, we are keen to ensure that the systemic aspects of the Maangamizi are no longer hidden from scrutiny or public accountability.
Dissemination of such evidence in the arena of the British public will compel the majority of the British public to agree with us that there is an overwhelming case for their criminal ruling classes to answer. In effect, we want our people to have a ‘hearing’ and to speak to the public, (court of public opinion) through the British Parliament. This entails exposing the evidence to the glare of the public and utilising various forms of media who will be reporting on the proceedings to influence public support for our cause of Afrikan Reparatory Justice. According to the 2005 UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to A Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, an essential aspect of reparations include, among other measures: investigation of the facts, official acknowledgement and apology, receipt of answers; an opportunity for victims to speak in a public forum about their experiences and to have active involvement in the reparative process. We are therefore seeking to ensure that our people’s testimonies will bring to light all the gory details that the British public has not been allowed to hear; has been denied true education about; and that we too have not been allowed to narrate on platforms with official legitimisation.
This parliamentary and extra-parliamentary process will create the opportunity for a diverse collectivity of Afrikan voices, from all over the world, to speak to the Maangamizi crimes of the British Empire, the British State and its ruling classes, by providing public testimony about our family and people’s case, as we see it. Once these testimonies of ordinary people, as well as the various research and other forms of documentation of the Maangamizi that exists, are being heard over and over again, clarity will dawn on the British public.
Ultimately, we are seeking to ensure that our combined evidence, voiced, recorded and reported from the UK and European Parliaments, paints the horrific truth of the culprits crimes. This is an opportunity we have never been given. Once the British public have heard the whole truth, it will be easier for us to win them over to our side; to publicise who the main culprits are ; and elucidate the harm that their deception over the years has done not only to Afrikan Heritage Communities, but also to the British people as a whole. This spark-rippling process will in itself compel the majority of those conscientious members of the British people to join us all in movement-building to stop the harm and repair the damage being done to themselves, and to others, in their name. So what will be a just retribution in terms of holding such perpetrators to account? One form of retribution is to strip the criminals of their ill-gotten wealth and status (“Expropriate the Expropriators!) and reclaim our wealth for Reparatory Justice Redistribution.
A large part of our people’s case for compensation is that this is unjustly obtained intergenerational wealth includes the wealth that which we as Afrikan Heritage Communities, are historically owed and have been denied, in addition to what is being stolen from and owed to our contemporary generations. We therefore advocate that we must have out of that redistributed wealth, all that we need to repair our own selves i.e. Afrikan Community Self-Repairs*. Although, we concede that the majority of British people deserve some of that wealth from their ruling classes in terms of wealth that has also been stolen from them over the years. Practically, this is how we see that external compensation in the form of the just redistribution of our people’s wealth will be secured.
*Afrikan Community Self-Repairs are the self-determined efforts that need to be made in building our own power, in such a way, that Afrikan heritage communities are able to identify and enhance ongoing work towards stopping the contemporary manifestations of the Maangamizi, which are putting the individuals, families and other social groups that make up our communities into a state of disrepair; as well as reasoning and consciously carrying out the alternative solutions for glocally rebuilding our power base as communities, in such a way that that they are eventually transformed, in accordance with the principles and programmatic demands of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
“The inheritance of rich people’s wealth by their children should stop. The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated and redistributed“
So for us, the strategic purpose of the APPCITARJ is to divorce the masses of the British public from aligning with their ruling classes in order that they can once again be on the right side of history (as were their abolitionists); in collaborating with us to strip their ruling classes of their ill-gotten wealth and other gains and collaborate with us to secure its redistribution.
One of the greatest challenges for transformative reparatory justice change processes and mechanisms is addressing not only the histories of acts of Maangamizi dispossession and violence, but also those of structural violence, where power relations are manifest through the systematic and collective violation/s of economic, social and cultural rights. In many contexts, racialised and otherwise marginalised populations, particularly those of Afrikan heritage, are often systematically excluded from community development initiatives as well as often being denied full participation and substantive Afrikan Heritage Community representation in social, economic and political life. So the way other commissions of inquiry or truth commissions have interacted with ‘victims’ of these harm causing violations; such as receiving testimony, writing histories of victimization in such a way that assists such groups to recover their agency, and recommending reparative approaches – can be replicated with Afrikan Heritage Communities as a collective victim.
The 2014 Instance de la Vérité et Dignité (IVD, Commission for Truth and Dignity) in Tunisia pointed the way, by seeking to address the broad range of demands that the Tunisian Revolution made, including not just for truth, but also threats to dignity including issues such as the lack of graduate jobs and the often extreme geographical inequalities that came to the fore in Tunisia under the Ben Ali regime. To address the issue of the collective and structural violence of social exclusion; and for the first time in the history of truth commissions; the IVD defined and implemented the concept of a collective victim as including: “any person who suffered harm following a violation…, be they individuals, or groups of individuals” (Organic law on Transitional Justice).
To maximize the impact of collective reparations for Afrikan Heritage Communities requires that such reparations not only address harms, but also the structures and institutions underpinning such harms, and ensure that the such reparations transform the circumstances of unjustly impoverished and marginalised victims. Such transformation occuring in such a way as to address contemporary injustice in its multiple dimensions, (i.e. historical, ethnic, social, political, cultural, religious, sexual, epistemic and ecological). Such injustice being underpinned by ‘cognitive injustice’ which is the failure to recognise the plurality of different knowledges by which Afrikan Heritage Communities give meaning to their existence. It is only by pursuing global cognitive justice that holistic and transformative reparatory justice can become a reality. Hence why in our approach to developing the APPCITARJ, we are cognizant of the need to also adopt approaches, processes, mechanisms and initiatives that incorporate the legal cosmovisions (Indigenous worldviews), ideas and claims of Afrikan people. This in itself, requires a more complete set of tools for building alternatives to the present system of legalized injustice.
“Always remember that the people do not fight for ideas, for the things that exist only in the heads of individuals. The people fight and accept the necessary sacrifices. But they do it in order to gain material advantages, to live in peace and to improve their lives, to experience progress, and to be able to guarantee a future for their children. National liberation, the struggle against colonialism, working for peace and progress, independence – all of these will be empty words without significance for the people unless they are translated into real improvements in the conditions of life.”
Amilcar Cabral, Guinea-Bissau: A Study of Political Mobilisation, 1974, p.91
Among the challenges facing reparations for Maangamizi resistors and survivors, is to differentiate between reparations and the requirement that a state deliver basic public services. Reparatory justice measures will not be secured from others outside of a comprehensive and holistic Afrikan Heritage Community Pempamsie (sewing together) Community Self-Repairs Plan and related policies, which must accompany and shape it. This is why we in the SMWeCGEC, in partnership with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), its allied organisations and other formations, are mobilizing and supporting others to self-organise year-round building on the 2017-2018 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March theme of ‘Promoting the reparatory justice change that we are organising to bring about’ with the 2018-2019 theme: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us: Actualizing the Reparatory Justice Change We Envisage‘!
The beginnings of such a Pempamsie Plan were documented in the 2003 Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) legal & extra-legal Strategy for Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Gobal Justice; and were included in its legal action supported by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), the Black United Front (BUF), the then newly formed Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) and the International Front for Afrikan Reparations (IFAR).
Characteristics of Commissions of Inquiry with Truth Commission Functions:
“In recent decades, the truth commission has become a mechanism used by states to address historical injustices. However, truth commissions are rarely used in established democracies, where the commission of inquiry model is favoured. I argue that established democracies may be more amenable to addressing historical injustices that continue to divide their populations if they see the truth commission mechanism not as a unique mechanism particular to the transitional justice setting, but as a specialised form of a familiar mechanism, the commission of inquiry. In this framework, truth commissions are distinguished from other commissions of inquiry by their symbolic acknowledgement of historical injustices, and their explicit “social function” to educate the public about those injustices in order to prevent their recurrence.”
Abstract, Kim Pamela Stanton (2010), pii
To get a sense of what we are envisioning for the APPCITARJ, it is best to understand what a truth commission is.
• Truth commissions are generally understood to be “bodies set up to investigate a past history of violations of human rights in a particular country -which can include violations by the military or other government forces or armed opposition forces.” Priscilla B. Hayner, in ‘Unspeakable Truths’ delineates four main characteristics of truth commissions:
1. First, they focus on the past and its impact. The events may have occurred in the recent past, but a truth commission is not an ongoing body akin to a human rights commission.
2. Second, truth commissions investigate a pattern of abuse over a set period of time rather than a specific event. In its mandate, the truth commission is given the parameters of its investigation both in terms of the time period covered as well as the type of human rights violations to be explored.
3. Third, a truth commission is a temporary body, usually operating over a period of six months to two years and completing its work by submitting a report. These parameters are established at the time of the commission’s formation, but often an extension can be obtained to wrap things up.
4. Fourth, truth commissions are officially sanctioned, authorised, or empowered by the state. This, in principle, allows the commission to have greater access to information, greater security, and increased assurance that its findings will be taken under serious consideration. Official sanction from the government is crucial because it represents an acknowledgment of past wrongs and a commitment to address the issues. Furthermore, governments may be more likely to enact recommended reforms if they have established the commission.
Goals of truth commissions include:
• Making recommendations for redress suffered by victims and survivors • Recording and educating about the past • Identifying perpetrators • Formulating policy proposals and recommendations on rehabilitation and the healing of Maangamizi resistors, survivors, their families and the community at large • Providing the victims/survivors with different forms of support to ensure that the commission of inquiry/truth commission process restores the victims’ dignity • Preventing repetition of aspects of the Maangamizi • Forming the basis for a new pluriversal democratic order • Promoting reconciliation • Creating a collective memory.
You can see a list of previous truth commissions here.
Characteristics of commissions of inquiry with truth commission functions:
They are non-judicial mechanisms but can complement judicial mechanisms;
They are commissions of inquiry whose primary function is investigation of human and people and Mother Earth rights violations and violations of humanitarian law, unlike courts or tribunals which deal with adjudication;
They focus on severe acts of violence or repression;
They are victim-centred bodies focused on victims ideas, views, needs, experiences and preferences as primary focus as opposed to elite witnesses or perpetrators;
They formulate recommendations to guarantee the non-repetition of past crimes and reform state institutions involved in the commission of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights violations.
Truth Commission Activities
Investigations/ documentation of violations/ research
Interview/ public hearings
Events and programmes to promote intra and inter community cohesion, reconciliation and conciliation
Advantages of the APPCITARJ:
It can delegitimize Maangamizi denial;
It can rebut misrepresentations of the old order through investigations, public hearings and detailed reports;
It can spur significant national debates;
It can help governments to take corrective/reparatory actions and develop reparatory policies;
It can provide a measure of accountability for the legacies of past and present atrocities and violations/abuses of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights through its findings.
There are many factors that will determine the composition and mandate of the APPCITARJ including how much we are able to bring pressure to bear on relevant decision-makers and institutions. There has already been some thinking, analysis, research and consultation on what the purpose of the APPCITARJ should be, although this is an evolving process.
The APPCITARJ will seek to:
acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of the imposition of the Maangamizi, i.e. Afrikan chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement within and beyond the British Empire;
examine subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent;
examine the impact of these forces on living Afrikans and Afrikan descendant communities, as well as other peoples;
make recommendations to Parliament and similar bodies at local, national and international levels, including the European Parliament, and;
Determine appropriate methods of dissemination of findings to the public within and beyond Britain for consultation about proposals for supporting Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs and designing other forms of redress and repairs.
On the importance of speaking our grassroots power of truth to establishment power
“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim… he or she has become a threat.”
James Baldwin, ‘The Devil Finds Work’, 1976
In providing testimony, the so-called victim/survivor becomes an agent, and his/her narrative is especially threatening because it dares to expose violations and violence when others declare that such oppressions do not exist.
The APPCITARJ will not substitute a judicial process and is not designed to let perpetrators off the hook. Hence the need for the APPCITARJ to evolve in conjunction with the U-PITGJ. The organising processes towards establishment of the APPCITARJ, including the mobilisational role of the SMWeCGEC, will also galvanise grassroots work towards establishing glocal sittings of the U-PITGJ, as part of a series of actions which will put a full stop, by way of holistic and transformative reparations, to all acts of Genocide/Ecocide against Afrikan people.
Begin preparing yourself for the APPCITARJ & U-PITGJ
You can prepare yourself for the APPCITARJ by beginning to do family and community research on how we and our immediate families each have suffered, continue to suffer and have also challenged the various crimes of the Maangamizi. In this regard, see the aims of the SMWeCGEC.
Afrikans in the UK and Europe organising towards establishing commissions of inquiry for truth and reparatory justice and local, national and international people’s tribunals to hold the governments of Britain, and other European countries to account. If you are able to gather such evidence you can assist us to arrive at a comprehensive assessment and a full picture of what our journeys and experiences of the Maangamizi have been across the Diaspora, as well as on the continent of Afrika.
Each person and representative of families and their communities have to become our own advocates and experts on your own situation and then we can bring all these experiences together as part of us becoming ‘reparations enforcers’ who are building the power and capacity to hold to account all those who are continuing to profit from the ill-gotten gains of the Maangamizi and are also complicit in its perpetuation today.
See the video below from the documentary ‘Freedom Summer’ for some APPCITARJ lessons from our Shero Fannie Lou Hamer.
Hamer’s testimony had such a huge impact upon the government and public in and outside the USA, and was so powerful, that President Lyndon B. Johnson called an impromptu press conference to get her off the air. This is a recording of the full testimony and also a transcript of that testimony. Her testimony provides an example of what we envisage could be the impact similar ISMAR-coordinated grassroots testimonies by our Afrikan Survivors, Resistors and Challengers of the Maangamizi, from all over the World to the APPCITARJs in the UK Parliament of Westminster and the European Parliament. We surmise that the ‘holding to account’ referred to above can best be done in a collective way by supporting the establishment of the Ubuntukgotla, court of peoples humanity interconnectedness, otherwise known as the Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ), which we encourage you to support the development of. This can be done through hosting sittings of the tribunal, locally, nationally and internationally.
As part of the rationale for this approach, it is important to have a better sense of the historical antecedents of the SMWeCGEC in the UK, see these historic recordings from 2003 of Esther Stanford-Xosei, former legal advisor to the BQJC speaking about the BQJC legal & extra-legal strategy for reparations; the need for a UK commission of inquiry to address the legacies of the Maangamizi; and the commencement of the UK version of the ‘We Charge Genocide Petition and campaign’ under the auspices of then then Black United Front-Parliament (BUF-P). The second set of videos where Stanford-Xosei is interviewed, precedes in order and time the first video where she speaks to camera.
Set up a family or community group Maatzoedzaduara
You can set up a MAATZOEDZADUARA (i.e. Maat action-learning circles or ‘Maat Training Practice Rings’) which is a reparatory justice circle of Maat practitioners who learn to be the self-repairs change at the levels of their person, home, family, neighbourhood, workplace, school, places of leisure and worship, etc. These Maat Training Practice Rings encompass a number of families and lineages, across geographical boundaries and generations. For example, a home or family based Maat Training Practice Ring will entail getting a selected number of people in your family interested in unravelling family histories and using this knowledge to recognise and gather evidence of the harm that has been done to you as a family.
The Practice Rings will also explore how such harms have been passed down throughout the generations, resulting in increasing levels of disrepair. We are looking for case studies of some of these family stories documenting family member’s lived experiences of the Maangamizi and resistance to it. This unravelling of these stories is part of the process of repairing the harm and continuing damage being done and passed down intergenerationally within our own families.
You can also creatively utilise SMWeCGEC Petition Soulsquestathons (SMWeCGEC-PS), which are literally a collection of souls, for spark-rippling MAATZOEZADUARAs. The aim is to link chains of MAATZOEZADUARAs together encompassing a number of families, across geographical boundaries and generations, all over the place, as Grassroots Afrikan Reparatory Justice Action Learning Praxis Exercising Rings (GARJALPERs) of the U-PITGJ. This means that they will share their stories and practice not only testifying with these stories but also putting their cases through trial rehearsals. The key point about the Soulsquestathons is that the various participants connect to, compare and contrast their self-repairs reparatory justice work as families within these MAATZOEZADUARAs. Basically, these are intergenerational connections, not only of family members of the present, but also the past. It therefore becomes necessary for us to keep records about and bring the lives and work of our revered Ancestors into our everyday lives of the present.
If you would like to know more about how to get involved with the APPCITARJ/U-PITGJ or you would like support with setting up a Maatzoedzaduara please contact PARCOE on email@example.com or 07751143043.
Share your story!
One of the roles of the APPCITARJ will be to gather statements from Maangamizi resistors, survivors and anyone else who feels they have been impacted by the Maangamizi and its legacies.
It is our intention to coordinate the collection of individual statements by written, electronic or other appropriate means such as audio-visual recordings with regard to providing a safe, supportive and sensitive environment for individual/collective/group statement taking/truth sharing.
If you would like to begin with compiling your story as a case study or indeed to make a statement about the impact of the Maangamizi, you are invited to contact us to discuss how best this can be done.
You can also lobby your local MP and other public elected officials to support the establishment of the APPCITARJ by utilising this SMWeCGEC postcard campaign tool.
It is important that you let us know how you get on with your local MP or other publicly elected officials so that we can keep a record of progress or where there is a need for more focused lobbying. Here are the contact details for the SMWeCGEC. Please also see this guidance on Guidance on Proposals for Parliamentary Actions.
1. How best people can be involved and participate in the APPCITARJ? 2. Aims, hopes and fears for the APPCITARJ? 3. Mandate, terms of reference, powers and structure of the APPCITARJ? 4. What are the other ways to deal with the legacies of the Maangamizi and enforce accountability?
Volunteer researchers required to contribute to a people’s history-making process of securing reparatory justice!
If you are a law or politics student or have other relevant skills and experience and you are interested in using your knowledge and skills to support Afrikan people’s struggle for holistic redress and secure Afrikan Reparatory Justice, you can become a volunteer researcher. We are looking for volunteer researchers who would like to join the SMWeCGEC research team in preparations for establishing the APPCITARJ and the U-PITGJ. If you would like to get involved, please contact: Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) on firstname.lastname@example.org or PARCOE on email@example.com or 07751143043.
Support from movement lawyers is welcome!
If you are a social justice advocate, legal practitioner or cause lawyer and would like to offer pro-bono advice or support to this community-led initiative; are willing to build equitable relationships with people and organisations challenging historical and contemporary injustice; and are prepared to respect the approach of social justice/community lawyering,*please also get in touch as above.
*Community lawyering has many variants: collaborative lawyering, community, lay lawyering, cause lawyering, social justice lawyering, political lawyering, critical lawyering, rebellious lawyering, movement-lawyering etc. The common thread among them is that the clients, not the lawyers, play a central role in resolving the issues that have an impact on their opportunities to succeed. It is: lawyering that is community-located, community-collaborative, community-directed and based on the collaboration of lawyers, clients and communities in which they live; and transforming law and lawyering to address the inequalities experienced by subordinated and underserved groups. The legal system in the UK and other Westernised countries is very individualistic. It tends to atomise and depoliticise disputes, which work against a community organising model. Furthermore, the facilitation of individual rights has not benefited the long-term needs of communities, especially impoverished communities, especially where such impoverishment is as a result of intergenerational injustice. The Sargent Shriver National Centre on Poverty Law (USA) defines “community lawyering” as a “process through which advocates contribute their legal knowledge and skills to support initiatives that are identified by the community and enhance the community’s power.”
Similar to the different schools of thought in community organising, community lawyering has many different strains. However, what sets lawyers who adopt community lawyering apart from each other boils down to their answers to the following three questions: Who do you work with? What do you do for them? And how do you work together? Similar to community organising, the answers to these questions vary depending on the political orientation of the lawyer and the theory of social change they ascribe to. By combining legal recourse and community organising, it is possible to utilise “community lawyering” as a social change strategy.” This approach engages lawyers who are prepared to de-emphasise litigation as the primary tool for advancing social justice. Instead, community lawyering encourages such lawyers, in collaboration with communities, their groups, activists and organisers, to critically and creatively examine non-traditional forms of advocacy such as facilitative leadership, institution-building, community organising, collective action and other grassroots actions including strategic litigation, media events, community education workshops and public demonstrations. This is done as a way of addressing the legal and non-legal problems of their clients. Community lawyering can also be described as a more participatory process that fosters collaboration between lawyers and their community (group) clients, rather than fostering—if not perpetuating—the dependency that most clients have on their lawyers to solve their legal problems in a conventional lawyer-client relationship.
The role of a “community lawyer” entails working in partnership with one’s community clients and utilises multiple forms of advocacy, to address their individual as well as systemic problems. Community lawyering practitioners recognise that their clients are partners—not just in name—but in leadership, control and decision-making. Through collaboration, lawyers can support Afrikan Heritage Community groups in building their own resources and community capacities to advance their own interests in effecting and securing reparatory justice in a self-determined and self-directed manner.
Another critical component of community lawyering is creating race-conscious cultural competence—a set of beliefs, values, and skills built into a structure that enables one to negotiate cross-cultural situations in a manner that does not force one to assimilate to the other. The goal of race-conscious community lawyering is to support lasting structural and systemic changes that will bring about holistic reparatory justice for racialised groups.
Movement-lawyering is a specific form of community lawyering but the lawyers work in collaboration with grassroots movements. This lawyering recognises that community members and organisers have expertise that should be valued. In fact, movement lawyers should also be engaged in a process of political study and growth collectively with movement-organisers that are aligned with particular community struggles. Here are some tips for lawyers that are aligned with movements and are particularly relevant to how lawyers can best support communities, their activists and organisers who are engaged in reparatory justice struggles as part of the ISMAR.
Notes  Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths. New York: Routledge, 2001, p. 14.