This video is the speech made by Esther Stanford-Xosei at the Movement of Movements Internationalist Solidarity Grounding with the Pan-Afrikan Liberation Movement (MMISOG-PALM) in Max Roach Park which took place as part of the 1st Mosiah (August) Pan-Afrikan Reparations Rebellion Groundings co-organised by the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC) and the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC).
Esther is the Official Spokesperson for the AEDRMC, Coordinator-General of the SMWeCGEC and Media & Communications Coordinator of the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network (XRISN).
This video is part of the MAATUBUNTUJAMAA -SAAYOOO! (Pan-Afrikan Freedom-Fighting Clarion-Call Series produced by Ubuntudunia TV
‘Stop the Maangamizi We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign & Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament
Statement on the Relevance of Roger Hallam’s Comments Regarding the Shoah to Recognising, Counteracting & Preventing the Recurrence of the Maangamizi
Songs we would never hear! Histories we would never know! Art we would never see! Because the European had the capacity to destroy and didn’t have the moral restraint not to.
Professor Maulana Karenga
As an Afrikan Heritage Community-based formation engaged in building an affinity relationship with Extinction Rebellion (XR), our ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) and its sister body the Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP) feel compelled to say for history something about the globally significant conflict now brewing in Extinction Rebellion (XR) pertaining to one of its co-founders, Roger Hallam.
In the English-language interview in Die Zeit published on the 20th November 2019 it is reported that Roger Hallam said: “The fact of the matter is, millions of people have been killed in vicious circumstances on a regular basis throughout history.” He listed other mass killings in the past 500 years, including the Belgians’ slaughter in the Congo Free State; which was a corporate state in Central Afrika that King Leopold II of Belgium claimed private ownership of and evolved into evolved into a colony (the Belgian Congo) in the land now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Roger Hallam pointed out: “They went to the Congo in the late 19th century and decimated it.” For the information of those not yet aware of this conflict, it is necessary to note that he was also quoted as having said that, seen in this context, the Jewish Holocaust was “almost a normal event … just another fuckery in human history”.
Nsala, the man in the picture, was photographed by English missionary Alice Seeley Harris after he arrived at her mission in The Congo (1904) clutching a parcel that contained what was left of his five-year-old daughter. She’d been killed and dismembered as a punishment when his village failed to meet the rubber quotas demanded by the imperial regime. The Harris Lantern Slide Show © Anti-Slavery International
For some context about Roger Hallam’s reference to the Congo see:
Children who had been mutilated through amputation under the regime of King Leopold II
It is also important to read King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa written by Adam Hochschild, of which a documentary version is available. Just last week it was announced Ben Affleck would be producing and directing a film inspired by this book.
As organisations campaigning on our Afrikan Heritage Community experience of the particular manifestations of a special type of genocide and ecocide that we refer to as the Maangamizi, which is not only in the past but continues into the present, and to which Roger Hallam was making reference to, we cannot keep silent on this matter. For us, the issue that is being missed, if you read Rogers comments in context, and which none of the statements being issued officially by XR have recognised or commented on so far, is the reference to the genocide of Afrikans in the Congo which is only one of the many heinous crimes of what we in the SMWeCGEC and GAPP refer to as the Maangamizi. The Maangamizi has represented an existential threat to the peoplehood, self-determination and agency of Afrikan people for the past 500+ years of world history.
This is not a Genocide Olympics. In the rush to condemn Roger Hallam for his comments there is an equally epistemically and structurally violent denial of the omnicides against Afrikan, Aboriginal and Indigenous Humanity, (non-European humanity in short). In the reactions to Roger Hallam’s quoted comments in newspapers, what is inferred is the view that the Shoah, (Jewish Holocaust) was exceptional above all other Holocausts and genocides. Whilst it is true, as the axiom goes “no one cries more than the bereaved”, from the quoted comments, it is clear that Roger Hallam, like many others especially from the affected communities take the view that other genocides also need recognition prevention and redress. To do so is not to deny, denigrate or reduce the significance of the Shoah.
At the International Conference on Genocide Prevention that took place in Brussels from 31 March – 1 April 2014, Yehuda Bauer stated that “The Holocaust is not unique; it is unprecedented, and that means that it is a precedent that can be repeated (though not in the same way), unless we prevent that ”
A Matter of Comparison, The Holocaust, Genocides and Crimes Against Humanity: An Analysis and Overview of Comparative Literature and Programs by Koen Kluessien & Carse Ramos, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance
Incidentally, the Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) was established to work on how best to support teachers who choose to relate the Holocaust to other genocides and crimes against humanity. According to the above report: A Matter of Comparison, the Holocaust, Genocides and Crimes Against Humanity a central accomplishment of the Committee was the publication of the series of documents including The Holocaust and Other Genocides which offers ideas and recommendations to educators teaching about the Holocaust and its relationship to other genocides and crimes against humanity. In the Why relate the Holocaust to other genocides and crimes against humanity?
section of the aforementioned report, the authors “summarise a number of important reasons why it can be valuable to offer such a comparative approach, points out some challenges, and concludes with some reasons or agendas that should not lie behind a comparative approach.”
So, we in the SMWeCGEC and GAPP are making this statement to highlight the fact that whilst not in favour of the unacceptable type of language that accompanied the main point in Roger’s original statement, we seek to highlight the most important fact is drawing attention to the currently ongoing genocide and ecocide, of which our continuing present-day Maangamizi is part of. This is the first time that someone racialised as white in a prominent campaigning organisation in Europe, a campaign that is currently in the global mainstream media limelight, has dared to lend support to something that our Afrikan Heritage Communities across the world has been drumming up for centuries. Our Maangamizi is one of the most horrendous, traumatizing and long-enduring up until now special types of genocide and ecocide of over 500 years duration. It continues into the present, even though the white supremacy racist establishment of Global Apartheid has terroristically compelled even some among our own Afrikan Heritage Communities and most Peoples of the world to be in denial of it.
The Shoah has quite rightfully been recognised and there are laws that protect against Jewish Holocaust denial. Yet people deny the Maangamizi of the past and present every day with impunity. We in the SMWeCGEC partner with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee to co-organise the annual 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and hand in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition to the Office of the UK Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street simply with a demand supported by thousands that we can have a dialogue with the British state and society via the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ).
Yet from 2015 until now, we have been denied a fair hearing and consistently been told “we do not believe that reparations are the answer” by officials of the British State. Speaking about the Afrikan case, we have no recognition and no justice!!!, even in this United Nations declared International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), in which the United Nations on behalf of the international community recognises that that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. Despite this progressive declaration the British State has said it will not recognise the Decade. Even within XR our demands for recognition of our Afrikan humanity gone unmet, with some pushing unto us the unfairly homogenizing descriptor ‘People of Colour’ as a way of not recognising the specific experiences of People of Afrikan heritage.
So, Afrikan Heritage youths, who have been raised in a society and world order where they are shown every day that their Black humanity and Afrikan lives do not matter have internalised this and are now the agents of what Black Panther Party Co-Founder Dr Huey P. Newton referred to as Reactionary Suicide (the act of Black self-murder) or what Scholar-Activist Psychologist Professor Amos Wilson refers to as Black-On-Black Violence: The Psychodynamics of Black Self-Annihilation in the Service of White Domination as was exemplified in the theme of the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March: ‘Continuing Our People’s 500 + Years Reparations Rebellion – Stop Terminating Our People: Rebelling Against and Redressing Youth Mentacide/Ecocide!!!’
We therefore overstand why, to those insisting on this denial of our Maangamizi, particularly in its present phase of neocolonial enslavement, with all of its horrors of Afriphobic and anti-Black racism, Roger Hallam is being lynched for being a ‘white race traitor’.
We dare all those all those who are ganging up to lynch Roger Hallam, beyond assisting him to correct his errors, to act in accordance with the XR demand to ‘tell the truth’. This means to confess truthfully that, actually, the one unspoken thing they are ganging up to mercilessly assassinate the character of Roger Hallam for, without any of the XR compassion for his human errors, is his daring to put the case we are making about our present-day experience of life as Afrikan People across the world as being a Hellacaust of continuing genocide and ecocide; of omnicide crimes continuing for centuries into the present as our Maangamizi!
Yes, this open pointing to the current situation of Afrikans and other still oppressed and super-exploited Peoples of the Global South, who are still being terrorised with genocide and ecocide by those in the Minority World of the Global North holding the reins of so much Global Apartheid racist power as to be perpetuating the vestiges of colonialism and the ravages of neo-colonialism, including forms of eco-fascism, against the will of our Peoples of the Majority World, is his real offence to them and others of their ilk.
We are not deceived by the claims being made by some of these elements condemning Roger Hallam that they are doing so in pursuit of Global Justice. What we really mean in our long-standing, painstaking and experiential learning Pan-Afrikan Freedom Fighting for Global Justice bears no resemblance to what they are claiming. As Activist-Writer Alice Walker says: “No person is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.” A climate of fear is being created within and around XR to terrorise those who do not share views similar to those now putting out blanket condemnatory statements about Roger Hallam’s comments.
Part of the context in what is being claimed to be hateful anti-Semitism and Jewish Holocaust denial on the part of Roger Hallam by some, is the Maangamizi against the OvaHerero and Nama People (1904–1908) by Germany’s Second Reich, under Kaiser Wilhelm II, which was a precursor to the Jewish Holocaust. True champions of Global Justice would know that the OvaHerero and Nama People have an ongoing movement for genocide recognition and redress.
As the article: In Germany’s Extermination Program for Black Africans, a Template for the Holocaust in the Times of Israel highlights – decades before the Nazis turned to the Jews, German colonialists who seized land and made it into a colony they called German Southwest Africa, (now known as Namibia) dehumanised, built death camps for, and slaughtered tens of thousands of OvaHerero and Nama People in a systematic genocide which was the “odious precursor of the Shoah.” As stated by the Post Conflict Research Center:
“How far back can the roots of the Holocaust be traced? The events that took place from 1941 – 1945 bore a striking resemblance to atrocities carried out years before in German South West Africa. Many of the ideologies that fuelled the Holocaust, as well as the means of systematic confinement and extermination of a people, began at the turn of the 20th century with the Herero and Nama.”
“Key perpetrators of this African genocide became high-ranking Nazis 30 years later. Names are chillingly familiar: Dr. Heinrich Ernst Goering was Namibia’s governor. His son, Hermann Goering, became a top Nazi leader. Eugen Fischer, a physician and professor of medicine, conducted experiments on the Herero that included forced sterilizations and injections of smallpox, typhus and tuberculosis. One of Fischer’s students was Dr. Joseph Mengele, known as the “angel of death” for sending people to the Auschwitz gas chambers and performing cruel medical experiments that he learned from Fischer. Franz Ritter von Epp commanded German troops against the Herero and later was a Nazi leader until he was captured by the U.S. Army in 1945. The list of names linking the Herero genocide to the Holocaust is horrifying.”
See also the following articles available on the worldwide web:
• European Holocaust Had Roots in Africa, Now Namibia is Suing Germany – Without Understanding What Happened to the Herero and Nama people, it is Impossible to Understand What Occurred Right Before and During World War II.
• Article on ‘Black People’ and the Holocaust on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website.
• It is also recommended one reads Germany’s Genocide of the Herero: Kaiser Wilhelm II, His General, His Settlers, His Soldiers by Jeremy Sarkin in which he argues that the history of the OvaHerero genocide remains a key issue for many around the world partly because the German policy not to pay compensation for the genocide contrasts with its long-standing Jewish Holocaust reparations policy.
“We Jews champion the phrase “Never Again” in regard to the Final Solution. We also enshrine throughout our religion and culture the principle of remembrance or zachor. We should make every effort to hear the pain, and to validate the suffering, of other ethnic groups who also anguished under the nightmare of genocide. To do so is not to diminish our own tragedy. It is not to make comparisons or parallels. It is not to engage in an absurd exercise in gamesmanship over who suffered more terribly, us or them. It is, instead, to ennoble our own perseverance as a people. For if we fail to remember the genocides of the Armenians and the Herero, then we abdicate our own moral standing to ask the same of ourselves.“
It is clear to see that in the case of the Genocide of Afrikans in the Congo as well as that of the OvaHerero and Nama, Afriphobic racism belittles the memory of its victims and accounts for the differential outcomes of struggles for redress by their descendants.
These are photos from Esther Stanford-Xosei’s 2017 trip to Namibia as a guest of honour of the Ovaherero & Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation (OGF) for the 111th Commemoration of the Extermination Order which ushered in the OvaHerero-Nama Genocide
Our very track-record of activism on counteracting the Maangamizi demands that we do not succumb to this climate of epistemic and structural violence growing in XR at this time around this issue; but must rather truthfully speak in defence of those from amongst our allies who are seeking to do what the likes of: Abolitionists John Brown, Thomas and Lydia Hardy, Thomas Spence, Thomas Clarkson, Mary and John Estlin; Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst; Scholar-Activist Historians Basil Davidson, Noel Ignatiev and Peter Fryer; as well as Black Liberation Army member, Marilyn Jean Buck have. Despite risking public condemnation we know, as Warrior-Poet Audre Lorde in her ‘Litany for Survival’ says, for those of us who have been “imprinted by fear“… it is better to speak, remembering we were never meant to survive.”
We hope the likes of Roger Hallam will be inspired and strengthened by such gallant predecessors and unswervingly walk their talk with striving even harder in internationalist solidarity with our Afrikan and all other oppressed Peoples, to finally put a full-stop to the Maangamizi and other continuing forms of genocide and ecocide. This is necessary to unify truly progressive forces in addressing the Climate and Ecological Crisis with holistic Planet Repairs in their Reparatory Justice meaningfulness; with a view to delivering the Global Justice for All that will enable us to win our own Maatubuntuman as one of the cornerstones for building Ubuntudunia together with all Humanity.
Stop the Maangamizi!
Build Maatubuntuman for Ubuntudunia!
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP)
Leadership Facilitating Team
Kambanda Veii, Jendayi Serwah, Esther Stanford-Xosei & Utjuia Esther Muinjangue Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March (2017)
Greetings Supporters of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
We in the SMWeCGEC wish to notify you of some exciting developments in our ability to build influence for achieving our cause as highlighted in the aims of the campaign.
SMWeCGEC co-initiator, Kofi Mawuli Klu has decided to champion programmatic aspects of the SMWeCGEC as part of standing as an independent candidate in the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections starting on 23rd May 2019. Kofi is one of nine climate and ecological emergency independent candidates who are collectively standing as part of the ‘CEE the Truth’ Campaign, (#CEEtheTruth).
Although we in the SMWeCGEC have advocated multi-layered tactics in achieving our goals, which include lobbying of MPs via the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Postcard Campaign, we cannot wait for people who are in mainstream political parties to act in support of our cause. They are too slow in doing so! Whereas the official British Government position is “we do not believe reparations are the answer”; the opposition Labour Party support reparations, but have their own agenda as to how they feel they can address the matter. Their agenda, which has been highlighted here disregards Afrikan Heritage Community agency in shaping what reparations programmes are in our own self-determined best interests and therefore it is questionable in whose interests such plans really are. In reality, it flies in the face of our often repeated principle, which has been highlighted during the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Marches: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us!’. So just like the Ruling Party in the British Government, the official opposition and their representatives, are also refusing to have a dialogue with us in terms of taking to address the goals on the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Postcard, hearing the voices of those of us who every year sign the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Petition and mobilise as part of the wider SMWeCGEC, as well as those who participate in the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
Rather, we in the SMWeCGEC take the view that we cannot rely on others to plead our cause; we must do that for ourselves! In this regard, the SMWeCGEC and the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament has taken steps to further adavance its policy position on electoral politics via the candidacy of Kofi Mawuli Klu as an Independent Climate & Ecological Emergency/Planet Repairs Candidate.
See here for more info about Kofi and other #CEEindependents.
The three core demands of the climate and ecological independents are:
1. The Council of Ministers and the European Parliament must tell the truth and take action to declare a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
2. The Declaration on a Climate and Ecological Emergency must demand a zero carbon Europe by a date no later than 2030.
3. National Citizens Assemblies on Climate & Ecological Justice must be instituted to oversee policy making, including those of Planet Repairs embracing Reparations, and have a leading role in shaping a zero carbon Europe.
Kofi takes into this #CEEtheTruth Campaign, all that represents the perspectives of the SMWeCGEC with emphasis upon Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice as advocated by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), in its Planet Repairs meaningfulness. For us this is such an exciting campaign because it links the struggle for effecting and securing Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice with the struggle to end ecocide, hold accountable those responsible for perpetrating environmental crimes and harms and honour human, peoples and Mother Earth Rights by instituting Planet Repairs. This cosmic and holistic approach to reparatory justice (repairs) as highlighted by the Professor Chinweizu conceptual framework on reparations in addition to those ancient Afrikan approaches to repairing, renewing and transforming our World making it much more beautiful than what we found it, such as the Kemetan (ancient Egyptian) verb seruja ta
“Let me begin by noting that reparation is not just about money: it is not even mostly about money; in fact, money is not even one percent of what reparation is about. Reparation is mostly about making repairs. self-made repairs, on ourselves: mental repairs, psychological repairs, cultural repairs, organisational repairs, social repairs, institutional repairs, technological repairs, economic repairs, political repairs, educational repairs, repairs of every type that we need in order to recreate and sustainable black societies….More important than any monies to be received; more fundamental than any lands to be recovered, is the opportunity the reparations campaign offers us for the rehabilitation of Black people, by Black people, for Black people; opportunities for the rehabilitation of our minds, our material condition, our collective reputation, our cultures, our memories, our self-respect, our religious, our political traditions and our family institutions; but first and foremost for the rehabilitation of our minds”
It is the view of this campaign that in terms of cessation of the current manifestations of the Maangamizi including violations of genocide and ecocide as well as ensuring guarantees of non-repetition. Not only do we have to end genocide against us but we also have to work with other progressive non-Afrikan forces to stop ecocide and also draw them into taking responsibility for repairing Mother Earth, their nations and communities, in order to safeguard the rights of future generations. If not, any gains we make will not be sustainable as they will be undone by disrepaired members of the human family, including those among of us who have been so dehumanised by the Maangamizi that they are incapable of being the reparatory justice change we need to see.
Reparations are the totality of repairs that individuals and groups of people have to do for themselves and for the rest of their communities as well as humanity in order to make amends for the harm that has been done to them by historical and
contemporary wrongs; which have so structurally affected them as to devalue their humanity. In this understanding, reparations are something that individuals and groups of people have to do for themselves, internally and externally and ensure that the wrongs done will not be repeated to themselves, the communities they belong to and the rest of humanity
Kofi Mawuli Klu
Aims three and four of the SMWeCGEC are to:
• Mobilise petition signers/supporters to organise as a community of advocates for ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as a force within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations, (ISMAR);
• Catalyse the development of such a force into an integral part of the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’, build MAATUBUNTUMAN and establish UBUNTUDUNIA* as the most effective way to prevent its recurrence as well as effect and secure measures of reparatory justice from the ground-up;
Similarly, two of the seven political goals of a Pan-Afrikan reparations strategy that the SMWeCGEC adheres to include measures which:
• Restore Afrikan Sovereignty by redressing with MAATUBUNTUMANDLA (Pan-Afrikan Government of People’s Power) the disrepair in our Power and usher in a fundamental change of the existing world order that would definitively bring about new geopolitical realities such as MAATUBUNTUMAN; the anti-imperialist sovereign Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities/polity of Afrikan People’s Power.
• Institutionalise Maat and ubuntu in People to People internationalist solidarity relationship-building that will advance humanity to a Rendezvous of Victory where UBUNTUDUNIA emerges as a Global Justice ‘World of Many Worlds’ i.e. an equitable multipolar World of Pluriversality.
It is only through effecting and securing Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice that we will be able to ensure that the Maangamizi will not only be stopped but also not repeated.
This a message from Kofi:
Kofi’s political strategy is to help build the new alliance of progressive forces whose politics are rooted in Environmental Justice and all other related issues which marginalised communities, including his own minoritised Afrikan Heritage Communities in and beyond Europe, deem of importance to themselves; and about which no effective remedies have so far been implemented to their satisfaction.
This is a campaign which our Afrikan Heritage Communities and all other marginalised sections of the population in Europe, including migrants, denied their right to be legally present in this part of the world, where the wealth of their nations have been looted and continue to be plundered to enrich privileged groups, ought to see this as their opportunity to build a unifying power that can be flexed to give themselves Substantive Representation; and thereby enable them to effect their own solutions to the problems they are encountering. That is why Kofi’s campaigning is not about elevating himself as being the one who will provide the solutions, instead, he seeks to amplify the voices and actions of those already making efforts to find effective solutions to the problems they are encountering.
Some of our people talk about not engaging because the ‘reds’ (Labour) and ‘blues’ (Conservatives) are two wings of the same bird. Now, particularly for those living in London, there are alternatives. We now have a candidate standing as part of a collective who is pushing a reparations agenda, as per aim three of the core demands of the climate and ecological Independents. The point here is about amplifying voices and getting Afrikan Heritage Communities issues elevated in these spaces. This has not happened before with a genuine pan-Afrikan orientated candidacy not subservient to existing political party lines. We have several MPs and Councillors that look like us but it’s highly questionable as to their efforts to bat for us. Why? They did not stand on any kind of Black, Afrikan or Pan-Afrikan platform and they are not accountable to our Afrikan Heritage Communities. Some think because we looked alike that they represented US. Not so! And they never said they were standing for US. They are firstly accountable to their party and their constituency. Kofi Mawuli Klu has no such constraints. So, if you are in London check out what he is saying and the refreshing approach to electoral politics he is taking.
Until such time please familiarise yourself with the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament Policy Positions and learn more about the principles Kofi is standing for. It’s a start, not the sum total of our political strategies and quests for National Self-Determination. Seeds are being sown. In other places shoots are being watered. This is a process. Be patient and take action.
If you would like to contact Kofi on 07956431498 or email email@example.com
For further updates see: https://www.facebook.com/stopthemaangamizi/
Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
The ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) was represented as part of a group of global witnesses who took part in the recent #RebellionDay organised by Extinction Rebellion on Saturday 17th November 2018. The Extinction Rebellion is a movement composed of several thousand people across the UK and other parts of the world that is using nonviolent direct action, economic disruption and civil disobedience to demand action on the climate emergency. “Based on the science,” reads Extinction Rebellion’s website, “we have ten years at the most to reduce CO2 emissions to zero, or the human race and most other species are at high risk of extinction within decades.”
At their launch on 31st October 2018, (with more than 1,000 protesters blocking Parliament Square in London), Extinction Rebellion issued a ‘Declaration of Rebellion‘ against the UK Government for its inaction on the climate crisis. Citing inspiration from grassroots movements such as Gandhi’s independence marches, the Suffragettes, the Civil Rights Movement and Occupy, Extinction Rebellion has attracted much support from religious groups. Such groups include Christian Climate Action, which has had several of its members arrested due to taking part in some of Extinction Rebellion protest actions.
So, what happened?
#RebellionDay was the climax of XR’s first week of coordinated actions of civil disobedience against the British Government for its criminal inaction in the face of the climate and ecological emergency which we all face. According to the Extinction Rebellion Press Release:
“More than 6,000 people have occupied five bridges in central London to raise the alarm on the climate and ecological crisis – and to put pressure on the Government to come clean on the fact that there is a climate emergency.
This is the first time in living memory that a protest group has intentionally and deliberately blocked the five iconic bridges of central London – Southwark, Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster and Lambeth bridges.”
This action brought huge disruption to central London. According to Extinction Rebellion 85 people were arrested. The Metropolitan Police said most arrests were for breaches of the Highway Act, however all of the 82 conscientious protectors have now been released under investigation.
Extinction Rebellion’s topline demands are:
1. The Government must admit the truth about the ecological emergency, reverse all policies inconsistent with addressing climate change, and work alongside the media to communicate with citizens.
2. The Government must enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and to reduce consumption levels.
3. A national Citizen’s Assembly must be created, to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose.
The following Afrikan Heritage Community groups and organisations were also represented: PARCOE, the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament and INOSAAR-RepAfrika. SMWeCGEC members Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu spoke at Blackfriars Bridge as well as at the Extinction Assembly, which took part on Westminster Bridge. They are part of a group of Global South ‘witnesses’ who were invited to “bear witness” to the impact of the climate emergency in their countries. The final part of the action involved a Citizens Assembly where attendees formed small groups as part of a sit-in on Westminster Bridge and discussed the question: ‘How do you think societies should be organised to create a world for our children?’ #RebellionDay concluded with an interfaith ceremony in Parliament Square, where the action was taken to plant some trees!
Global South Witnesses speaking about West Papua, Mongolia, Afrika & the Caribbean
Why is the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign linking with Extinction Rebellion?
Actually, we were first contacted by a member of Extinction Rebellion who expressed an interest in becoming a ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ petition-action-learner. After some correspondence, a colleague from the CAFA Archival Resources Team (CARAT) based at May Day Rooms met some of the leaders of Extinction Rebellion who asked to meet some of us, so a PARCOE representative also involved in this campaign, together with the CARAT met and started discussing terms of engagement. After some discussion, the SMWeCGEC decided to fully engage with Extinction Rebellion in their activities and explore how best we could collaborate. Not least because working with Extinction Rebellion is being done in fulfilment of some of our own Pan-Afrikan internationalist campaign aims.
Aims three and four of the SMWeCGEC are to:
- Mobilise petition signers/supporters to organise as a community of advocates for ‘Stopping the Maangamizi’ as a force within the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR).
- Catalyse the development of such a force into an integral part of the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ and build MAATUBUNTUMAN as the most effective way to prevent its recurrence as well as effect and secure measures of reparatory justice from the ground-up.
It is therefore the view of the SMWeCGEC that our campaign can be strengthened in the process of building a concrete relationship with concrete allies engage in forms of resistance to aspects of the Maangamizi and who are also in pursuit of similar objectives as us; such as stopping ecocide, taking seriously the threat of human and other species extinction, as well as countering extractivism and reversing the harmful effects of extractive industries etc. It is our belief that this inter-movement dialogue and action has the potential for galvanising and strengthening the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM) and through that also its constituent part, the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR).
We have therefore linked up with Extinction Rebellion because of the common interest we share in exposing, tackling and trying to stop the harms of ecocide as well as seeking to bring about a different World Order in which people relate to each other, to the World, Mother Earth and the Cosmos in accordance with the principles of ubuntu. This is what we refer to as Ubuntudunia, (a Pan-Afrikan conception of a world of global justice for all, consisting of the terms ubuntu + dunia which is Kiswahili term for world); something which is possible that our combined efforts with such movements, who are also organising to bring about global justice can achieve. Whilst one of the specific reparations goals of the ISMAR is to establish MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrkan Union of Communities, part of the work of the PRIM is to achieve Ubuntudunia.
You see, as activists and campaigners, we often know what we are fighting against but do not always take the time to prefigure the alternative world and realities that we wish to see. As you may be aware, the SMWeCGEC partners with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March which last year adopted the theme: promoting the reparatory justice change we are organising to bring about.
It is the view of the SMWeCGEC that working with the Extinction Rebellion will catalyse the evolution of the Reparations March by facilitating the participation of those who are interested in the Ubuntu Non-Afrikan Allies Bloc of the Reparations March in Extinction Rebellion activities in such a way that furthers our mutual action-learning.
Whilst many critique marching, we see the Reparations March as a dress rehearsal and part of the preparatory process for the development of other tactics and forms of organisation which will lead to the achievement of our strategic objectives of holistic Reparatory Justice. Hence why the SMWeCGEC initiated the ISMAR Advocates training course in 2016 as a springboard to develop the necessary training that is required to organise mass civil disobedience.
We are working with Extinction Rebellion internationally because it is also important to globalise work on exposing and stopping the Maangamizi to achieve Reparatory Justice all over the world. This work involves our colleagues in Vazoba Afrika & Friends Networking Open Forum and the Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council (GAFRIC) as well as the West Afrikan Grassroots Preparatory Action Coordinating Committee of the INOSAAR (WAGPACC-INOSAAR).
Where do we go from here?
We will now make use of the opportunity we have to reflect on the lessons rom this first action-learning encounter with Extinction Rebellion in terms of assessing what possibilities exist, preparing for further dialogue with Extinction Rebellion and working out how we take on board lessons from their experiences of non-violent direct action and mass civil disobedience and how we also respond to their interest in learning from us. One of the key points of action-learning is how non-violent direct action relates to implementation of the aims of the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
We take on board the above point made by Extinction Rebellion as it is something which we are also familiar hearing from many critics of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March. Hence why the following theme for the 2018 People’s Open Parliamentary Session on Afrikan Reparations (POPSAR) @Parliament Square as part of the programme of the Reparations March:
Be it resolved, the Reparations March, as a form of reparatory justice street protest, is being made inadequate due to inactivity by the majority of its participants in taking steps to advance the campaign for reparations between the annual marches.
Indeed, many have critiqued the Reparations March but have not presented an evidence base for the alternative strategies of tactics which can bring about reparatory justice social change. We as the SMWeCGEC are now also working with allies that are demonstrating with action what alternative tactics can be, through their own self-disciplined, organisation and sacrifice for a cause which they feel is greater than themselves.
It is true, unless those who are serious about the goals of the ISMAR and effecting and securing holistic Reparatory Justice are willing to take organised forms of resistance in the form of planned mass civil disobedience then not much will change. However, this is not a call to undisciplined rioting, this is a call to work for purposeful rebellion by organising people who are willing to work together, to think together, to learn together, to learn from each other, to learn from others including non-Afrikan allies; to strategise as well as build the necessary infrastructure for making such tactics of rebellion a reality.
Esther Stanford-Xosei & Kofi Mawuli Klu holding placard of Dr. Gail Bradbrook, professor of molecular biophysics & co-founder of Rising Up!, which is now helping to organise the Extinction Rebellion
Kofi Mawuli Klu on Sky TV promoting #RebellionDay