This press release contains the full text of the motion as follows:
“This Assembly is committed to eradicating and ending racial injustice and anti-Black racism. In our pursuit of these aims, the London Assembly is passing this motion to recognise formally and mark the United Nations International Decade for peoples of African Descent running from 2015-2024.
This Assembly recognises the work undertaken by the Mayor of London in promoting diversity and inclusion, and celebrating Black Londoners through Black History Month activities, the Commission for Diversity in the Public Realm, and working with the Black Curriculum to provide relevant education resources and to review the London Curriculum.
This Assembly calls on the Mayor of London to recognise formally and mark the UN’s Decade by embedding in policies where possible, the UN’s General Assembly resolution on the International Decade for People of African Descent. The Mayor’s work should reflect the following requests from the Programme of Activities for the Implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent:
Work with schools and community organisations to ensure that the educational histories and narratives of Black people are properly taught and celebrated in schools across London all year round;
Work on reviewing and reworking policies that continue to have a discriminatory effect on peoples of African descent across London;
Consider establishing policy directives to mainstream equality and non-discrimination considerations in all policy-making, including measures to ensure the equal enjoyment of rights and opportunities for people of African descent; and
Ensure that the end of the decade is marked in 2024, celebrating progress made in moving towards racial justice.”
Assembly member for Ealing and Hillingdon, Dr Sahota seconded the motion.
London Assembly member Caroline Russell, one of two Green Party representatives on the Assembly and a councillor for Highbury East within the Islington North constituency moved an amendment to the above motion which included the following text:
“The Assembly also notes that the UN International Decade for People of African Descent2015-2024 calls on those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims, and therefore asks the Mayor to support calls for the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice.”
The amendment was also seconded by Green Party London Assembly member Sian Berry, the only Green Party councillor on Camden Council, representing Highgate
See below for the recording of the debate about the motion:
The full text of Caroline Russell’s speech is as follows:
Thank you chair.
I am so glad that Assembly Member Arnold has brought this motion – it is something we discussed last summer so I am pleased to hear it today.
However, I am proposing an amendment, not to detract from this motion or water down its aims – but to make it more inclusive of the asks of campaigners – and those are the voices I am bringing to the Assembly today.
This motion recognises the UN’s International Decade for Peoples of African Descent and asks that the Mayor’s work reflects some of the actions listed in the Decade – it rightly highlights celebrating Black history, improving education, and anti-discrimination policies.
However, we on the Green Group believe there is a serious omission in this motion and that is the issue of reparatory justice.
The UN International Decade for People of African Descent also has under the programme of activities for the justice theme the text:
“Inviting the international community and its members to honour the memory of the victims of these tragedies with a view to closing those dark chapters in history and as a means of reconciliation and healing; further noting that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and calling on all those that have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so and, to this end, appreciating those countries that have done so.”
In London we owe so much to Africans and People of African descent – and not just here in this city, but in all our connections and communities all over the world.
Let me remind everyone listening here today that it was only in 2015 that our Government stopped paying off the debt they took on to “compensate” businesses and people “forced” to stop trading in human lives.
And over the last 200 years the equivalent of £17 billion pounds in today’s money has been paid out.
This so-called “compensation” went the wrong way.
I spoke with the Stop the Maangamizi campaign just yesterday, a group co-led by the extraordinary legal expert Esther Stanford-Xosei and Kofi Mawuli Klu.
She told me that the first thing her campaign group is asking for is to be heard.
For us to hear about the impact of intergeneration harm, for us to hear about what communities are doing to prevent this harm, and for us to hear about how they are healing from this harm.
She asked me to tell you that real reparations mean not just addressing historical enslavement and the money made in human suffering,
But real reparations means recognizing the critical future role that communities and individuals who continue to suffer have to play.
It is vital that communities from the African diaspora are at the heart of the process of any investigation into reparations. Their voices, their stories, their solutions, should be the driving force.
But even working out how to do that starts with establishing a commission to study the impact and legacy of our country’s involvement in slavery and what reparatory justice means.
This is why the amendment I have brought to you today calls on the Mayor to support the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice.
I hope you will vote for this amendment.
Despite the amendment adding teeth to the motion, it fell because only the two Green Party members voted for it. There was value however in raising the arguments and challenging Assembly members to go further than they were clearly prepared to in responding to a global unifying clarion call of Afrikan Heritage Communities to implement their right to remedies and reparations. Nevertheless, this struggle continues unabated!
The GLA motion, which passed unanimously, did not reference or focus on the following key aspects of the IDPAD Programme of action under the justice theme pertaining to reparatory justice:
Ensuring that people of African descent have full access to effective protection and remedies through the competent national tribunals and other State institutions against any acts of racial discrimination, and the right to seek from such tribunals just and adequate reparation or satisfaction for any damage suffered as a result of such discrimination;
Acknowledging and profoundly regretting the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of men, women and children as a result of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, colonialism, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies, noting that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed, and calling on those that have not yet expressed remorse or presented apologies to find some way to contribute to the restoration of the dignity of victims;
Inviting the international community and its members to honour the memory of the victims of these tragedies with a view to closing those dark chapters in history and as a means of reconciliation and healing; further noting that some have taken the initiative of regretting or expressing remorse or presenting apologies, and calling on all those that have not yet contributed to restoring the dignity of the victims to find appropriate ways to do so and, to this end, appreciating those countries that have done so;
Calling upon all States concerned to take appropriate and effective measures to halt and reverse the lasting consequences of those practices, bearing in mind their moral obligations.
Co-Vice Chair, Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE
Coordinator-General, ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
Spokesperson, Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC)
Since last year, when Brother Steven Golding spoke at the 5th annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, we stayed in contact. He got in touch earlier this year about the possibility of me visiting Jamaica to do a lecture in recognition of the 2015 – 2024 United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. Such a trip was finally organised to take place at the end of May 2019.
From the 29th May to 5th June 2019, I was invited by Brother Steven to deliver a couple of public lectures on Reparations. This included doing a public lecture on the ‘The Reparations Challenge‘ at the UNIA Jamaica Mass Meeting, which took place at Liberty Hall, as well as being the first international speaker to deliver the annual Tacky Day Lecture in the Parish of St. Mary themed ‘Chief Tacky 1760 – 2060: The Struggle Then, The Struggle Now‘.
When I arrived in Jamaica, I was pleasantly surprised to be met at the airport by Sister Marva Pringle-Ximinnies from the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports, Brother Steven as well as Brother Derrick Robinson aka ‘Black X’. I did not know at the time but Black X had actually walked 57+ miles from Port Maria in the parish of St. Mary to Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston to officially welcome me to Jamaica as the international speaker for the Tacky Day Lecture.
This is a message that Black X had sent out to various networks before my arrival:
Dear friends, Today Tuesday May 28 at 3pm, I will be embarking on a 24 and a half hours walk from the Tacky Monument in Port Maria St Mary Jamaica to the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston, to be a part of the team that will be welcoming our Guest Speaker for Tacky Day to Jamaica! she is due to arrive in Jamaica from England (UK) at 3.30pm. Her Name is Esther Stanford-Xosei a Pan-African Speaker, a leading voice in the global Struggle in the call for Reparations to be paid for the atrocious and the beyond repair damage that was done to our African fore Fathers and Mothers. So it is with great conviction of duty in honourable memory of the Great Chief Tacky that in our Ancestors Name, I will challenge this 24 and a half hours walk to the Norman Manley Airport in Kingston from Port Maria St Mary. Thank you for your support.
Derrick Black X Robinson, Chairman Tacky Foundation, Tacky Heritage – Pan-African Garden Of Assembly 1760
The first public lecture I did was on Sunday 2nd June, 2019 at the famous Liberty Hall at 76 King Street, Kingston which was (at one point) the Hon. Marcus Garvey’s headquarters and that of the UNIA-ACL. The U.N.I.A’s constitution required each UNIA to have a Liberty Hall, which was its headquarters. Jamaica’s Liberty Hall was the centre of activities for the Kingston division of The UNIA. The two-storey building was the first meeting hall in Jamaica that was fully owned and operated by people of Afrikan heritage. First opened in 1923, the site has been restored to serve as a museum of the life and work of Marcus Garvey, who was the first man to be declared an official National Hero of Jamaica.
Programme for the Mass Meeting
This is a link to an Instagram post of Emprezz @emprezzgolding with a video clip from my lecture at the UNIA Mass Meeting.
On Monday 3rd June 2019, I was hosted at a reception organised by the St Mary Chamber of Commerce, Agriculture & Industry. I spoke at their meeting about the relevance of reparations to addressing local community development issues and challenges spoken about at the meeting.
I was a guest at the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce Meeting & Reception
Tacky Day Commemorations
Before I come unto the commemoration, it is important for me to say a little bit about Chief Tacky. Tacky’s War or the Easter Rebellion of Port Maria, one of the bloodiest revolts that took place in Jamaica, was an uprising of enslaved Afrikans from the central region of Ghana then referred to as Koromantse which started on Easter Sunday 1760 and went on until July 1760. The Rebellion broke out in St. Mary and spread throughout most of the country. The leader of the rebellion, Tacky (Akan spelling: Takyi), was originally from the Fante ethnic group in West Afrika and had been a Paramount Chief in Fante land (in the Central region of present-day Ghana) before being captured and sold into slavery after the Koromantse Wars. Tacky was subsequently enslaved on the Frontier Estate, in Jamaica where he was subsequently made foreman. However, he used this position to plan and influence some fellow enslaved Afrikans on his estate and neighbouring Trinity Estate to revolt. He, along with the Asante Queen Nanny or Nana, both, with the support of fellow rebels, planned to defeat the British and all enslavers and make Jamaica a separate and independent Black country. They began by seizing control of Frontier and the neighbouring Trinity plantation, killing the masters or estate managers and freeing the enslaved before heading to the nearby town of Port Maria.
One of the most-well known people seeking to gain greater recognition of Tacky is Black X, Chairman of the Tacky Heritage Group, who is truly a legend in Jamaica and is doing excellent work to help conscientise the Jamaican public about the importance of Chief Tacky. A waterfall close to the cave where Takyi and his fellow rebels planned the revolt was named Tacky Falls and is currently open to visitors. A school has also been named after Chief Tacky.
At the end of the lecture, I was presented with a picture by Chelsea Chin, administrator for Dr Morais Guy, J.P., Member of Parliament for Central St. Mary.
These are some of the pictures from the Tacky Day Commemorations, it was truly a beautiful day. Local MPs, the Mayor, business leaders, community members as well as children from 8 local schools in St. Mary attended the lecture!
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding.
Left to Right: Steven Golding, Dr Morais Guy, J.P., MP, Central St. Mary, Dr Norman Dunn, BH, J.P., MP South East, St. Mary, Derrick Robinson aka ‘Black X’
This is a link to Minister Olivia Grange’s speech that was read out by Dr Norman Dunn, BH, (M), J.P. Member of Parliament, South East, St. Mary:
Esther Stanford-Xosei with Derrick Robinson aka ‘Black X’ at Tacky Day Lecture
Make Chief Tacky A National Hero Resolution
Since my return to the UK, I have been forwarded the following text of resolution to be put forward at the local Parish Council in St. Mary on Thursday 11th July 2019:
MAKE CHIEF TACKY A NATIONAL HERO OF JAMAICA
On Easter Sunday, in the year 1760 in Jamaica in the Parish of Saint Mary, the great rebel leader called Chief Tacky led our ancestors in a rebellion against the establishment of chattel slavery in the country. They raided the English garrison at Fort Haldane and attacked the estates at Frontier, Trinity, Ballard’s Valley, Esher, among others. Tacky’s revolt/war spread to several parishes across the country and lasted for over 18 months even when they thought it had ended. The brave Chief Tacky lost his own life but his vision and actions had struck a blow for freedom that helped to hasten the end of the act of inhumanity and the bondage of chattel slavery. Ultimately, history has proven that freedom was irreversible from that point on.
As a result of this trip, PARCOE decided to update our banner/flyer to include Chief Tacky and to also lobby for his inclusion as one of the revered Ancestors commemorated as part of the Ancestors Bloc of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
In addition, Esther was a panellist for the UWI ‘African Liberation Day Lecture’ on 29th May 2019 featuring keynote speaker Dr Julius Garvey who spoke to the theme ‘Moving Towards A United Africa: Fulfilling Marcus Garvey’s Dream‘.
Meeting with Minister Olivia Grange & Representatives of the NCR
Another important aspect of the trip was the meeting I got to have with representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport, including the Hon. Olivia (Babsy) Grange, MP, CD, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport and Barbara Blake-Hannah; in addition to meeting with several members of the National Council on Reparations (NCR), in particular, NCR Co-Chair Mrs Laleta Davis-Mattis (who attended the Reparations Challenge Lecture), Mr Frank Phipps, Q.C., Lord Anthony Gifford, Q.C., Attorney Bert Samuels, Dr Jahlani Niaah, Dr Michael Barnett and Ras Ho-Shing. Barbara Blake-Hannah was also in attendance at the meeting with members of the NCR and Minister Grange.
I did not get to meet or speak with NCR Co-Chair Professor Verene Shepherd on my trip.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding.
During the meeting, Minister Grange updated me on some of the developments taking place pertaining to reparations, including the work being championed under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture in relation to the absolution of the resistance efforts of National Heroes. Minister Grange made a special presentation to me of a copy of The National Heroes and Other Freedom Fighters (Absolution from Criminal Liability in Respect of Specified Events) Acts, 2018 No.2
The following is a copy of the front and back page of the act of the act. A link to the act can be found below:
In the meeting I also shared information about what reparations activism was taking place by the UK contingent of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR). The main updates I shared pertained to:
The alliances being forged by elevating a reparatory justice approach to tackling the climate and ecological crisis which will disproportionately impact on our communities in Afrika and the Caribbean; highlighting developments made in this regard by the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign developing an affinity with Extinction Rebellion (XR). As a result of the advocacy and involvement of reparationists in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Campaign, this has resulted in the subsequent development of the CEE the Truth Campaign by some members of XR and the emerging Climate & Ecological Independents championing Planet Repairs and reparations, as one of their core demands of their political manifesto in the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections.
The importance of state and non-state actors, recognising their distinct but possibly complementary roles and working together on the common cause of effecting and securing reparatory justice by seeking to join up actions and initiatives where possible. An example being the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March which takes place on 1st August.
In seeking accountability from European nation states, the importance of factoring engagement strategies with country diasporas living in the UK/Europe as well as the wider Afrikan Diaspora communities in Europe. This being necessary to ensure that there was harmonisation between distinct reparations strategies and tactics by state and non-state actors.
Likewise, the necessity of also seeking to influence European and other civil society populations in Europe and win support from them in standing in solidarity with the cause of reparatory justice. In this regard, it was pointed out that the notion of Britain and Europe coming to help “clean up the monumental mess of Empire” they left in the Caribbean is not being taken seriously or endearing support from wider constituencies in the UK. This is largely because it is clear, even to many white people, that the British Parliamentary System is in crisis, with Brexit and the emergence of Extinction Rebellion which is challenging the inadequacies of governance and failure of moral leadership of British parliamentarians who have failed to act to avert the climate & ecological crisis etc. The popular overstanding being how can Britain be asked to clean up the mess in the Caribbean when it cannot clean up the mess in its own back-yard?
Meeting with Minister Mike Henry
I also met with the Hon. Minister Mike Henry, MP, CD, Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica who spoke to me about the legal action he was pursuing against Queen Elizabeth II, as part of a reparations strategy, which is further explained in the newspaper articles section below.
I raised similar points made in the meeting with Minister Grange and members of the NCR, in particular, regarding:
The importance of those in the Caribbean linking with country diasporas and the wider Afrikan Diaspora in UK/Europe as well as paying greater attention to winning over those of European ancestry to be in solidarity with our cause of reparatory justice.
Us as state and non-state actors recognising differing strategy and tactics even when making legal and political challenges to the British State and seeking to have dialogue with each other and share information other about these different approaches so what we do does not conflict.
On behalf of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, I thanked Minister Henry for the solidarity message he gave for the 2018 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
Minister Mike Henry made a special presentation to me of a copy of his book ‘Many Rivers To Cross: A Political Journey of Audacious Hope‘ (2013).
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding & Ras Ho-Shing.
The following are the newspaper articles about my visit:
This article clipping is taken from section C10 of the Gleaner on Monday 3, June, 2019
Anonlineversion of the Jamaica Information Service appeared in the Jamaica Observer on Thursday 30 May, 2019
I explained that The CEE Independents have adopted reparations as part of the core demands and there was much scope for those in the Caribbean also doing more to link the struggle for reparatory justice to the growing consciousness of the necessity of reparations for climate and ecological breakdown. I reiterated the messages given at public lectures on the importance of those in the national councils and committees for reparations in the Caribbean recognising the importance of the country and wider Afrikan Diasporas living in Europe and secondly the importance of messaging which can also win hearts and minds of allies of European and other non-Afrikan ancestries in Europe. This is a Gleaner newspaper article which Lord Gifford wrote aspects of which he has subsequently notified me were influenced by some of our discussions.
Since returning to the UK, I shared info regarding a recent interview with music artist and write Gaika given by Leader of the UK Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn where he speaks about his support for reparations to former colonies to combat climate change with Steven Golding and Lord Gifford which in my view affirms the approach that we in PARCOE and the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Campaign have long been championing in relation to ‘Planet Repairs’ and the importance of including reparations for climate and ecological destruction (ecocide) as part of the advocacy strategies coming out of Afrika and the Caribbean.
Visit to Pre-View Windush Murals
I visited Studio 174, a Kingston based Art Academy in downtown Kingston, to preview a series of murals being finalised as a mobile exhibit featuring a series of murals to honour the Windrush Generation; people from Jamaica and the Caribbean who left the region, beginning in 1948, on The Empire Windrush. This exhibit is part of the Paint Up Ya Creative Space Initiative of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sports in partnership with the British Council. Some of the discussions myself and Steven Golding had with the artistic director and artists was the possibility of such an exhibit of murals to come to the UK and possibly feature as part of the events leading up to the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding
I did the following interviews:
‘Rootsology’ show on Roots 96.1 FM,
‘Beyond the Headlines’ show on RJR 94 FM,
‘Talk Up Radio’ show on Nation-wide 90 FM
‘Sunrise’ show on CVM TV.
Unfortunately, although I contacted Pan-Afrikanist Activist-Journalist and host of the ‘Running African’ show on IRIE FM, Ka’Bu Ma’at Kheru ahead of the trip, with a view to meeting up during her visit, unfortunately I did not get to connect or speak with Ka’Bu on my trip. Ka’Bu was also the initiator of the ‘UofG Consult With Grass – Root Reparation Movements NOT Colonial Institutions!’ Petition on change.org (and also supported by the SMWeCGEC).
On the tentative schedule I received before my trip, it was planned that I was to do an interview on Thursday 30th May 2019 at 3pm on IRIE FM ‘Stepping Razor’ show with Mutabaruka and on Sunday 2nd June on IRIE FM at 7am on the ‘Running Africa Forum’ Radio with Ka’bu Ma’at Kheru. However, this changed with the updated schedule I received when I arrived in Jamaica. I was notified that Ka’bu had to travel urgently so had cancelled her show on 30th May.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding.
Linking with Empress Esther of the EABIC ‘Bobo Shanti’
Through a link provided by Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee, Co- Vice Chair, Prophet Jah B, I made contact with Empress Esther from the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress (EABIC) on my visit. Although we did not get to meet in person, we did have discussions about the need for further outreach and connections with Rastafari community members and other Afrikan heritage communities in the Montego Bay Area who often do not get to go to Pan-Afrikan and Reparations focused events and activities in Kingston.
Courtesy Call on Permanent Secretary, Mr Denzil Thorpe
The last stop I made before leaving Jamaica, en route to the airport, was to return to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport for a curtesy call on Mr Denzil Thorpe, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry. I was accompanied by my Steven Golding and Black X. Permanent Secretary Denzil Thorpe also made a special presentation to me of NCR memorabilia and we spoke about my visit to Jamaica.
Pics courtesy of Steven Golding & Marva Pringle-Ximminies
It is encouraging to note that our criticism of the repugnant name of a Slavery Educational Trust which was made in AEDRMC promotional videos here and here has resulted in an attempt to rename such a proposed body to become the Emancipation Educational Trust. This still misses the whole point. Our preference for a name like the Afrikan Anti-Slavery Resistance Educational Trust (AASRET) still holds. It is mind-boggling that even some leading British Labour Party members, including MPs from our own Afrikan heritage communities, are still so engulfed by Afriphobia that they run away from including and explicitly identifying with anything Afrikan in the name of initiatives that are supposed to be about the Afrikan experience. This is even more shocking given that we are in the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent which has the theme ‘People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development.’ Indeed, there is nothing more unique to the global experience of Afrikan people other than the Maangamizi, (Afrikan Hellacaust) in relation to which this educational trust is being proposed.
So pervasive is this Afriphobia, and so strongly does the British State hold unto it, that it is inherent in the processes of white supremacy racist brainwashing through which all those selected, even from our Afrikan heritage communities, to serve in various positions of the establishment are infected with it. Hence its prevalence amongst virtually all members of the British State legislature, executive, civil and public services, judiciary, armed forces, police, intelligence and other security agencies. It appears that not only submission to but an overt display of Afriphobia is a requirement for service in the institutions and agencies of the British State. No wonder it is those selected from our Afrikan heritage communities to serve in these institutions and agencies who appear to exhibit the worst traits of Afriphobic epistemic and structural violence upon Afrikan Heritage Community people. That is why the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) regards all these institutions and agencies of the British State as ‘Maangamizi crime scenes’.
The proposed Emancipation Educational Trust will be nothing but another Maangamizi crime scene if it is established with the same intention of avoiding explicit Afrikan identification, whilst seeking to make it simply distortedly flirt with a commoditised form of Afrikan history and experiences. So, we urge Jeremy Corbyn, as leader of the Labour Party and the Party itself to study carefully, the themes and messages, which were promoted on the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us!: Actualizing the Reparatory Justice Change We Envisage’. It is about time the Labour Party stopped this nonsensical beating about the bush, openly confronts its deeply ingrained Afriphobic racism and seeks to honestly counteract it. This includes taking clear steps to initiate open dialogue with the legitimate grassroots representatives of our Afrikan heritage communities of reparations interest in the UK. Such representatives are clearly known through their visible work in organising endeavours such as the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its related ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ campaign activities.
The continuing attempts to evade substantive representation of our Afrikan heritage communities; by bringing members of the Labour Party far removed from such activities and also afflicted with white supremacy racist indoctrination to simply express, their ‘masters’ voices and prejudices in toying with vital matters concerning the survival of Afrikan people in the world today, such as reparatory justice, must be understood as no longer acceptable to us at all. We expect Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party, to embrace this firm, non-negotiable standpoint of ours, against all Afriphobic expressions of the Maangamizi as part of the ‘new politics’ he promised Britain, the Commonwealth and the World.
We know Jeremy Corbyn can do better because in his laudable solidarity work for the Anti-Apartheid Movement he displayed some of his best efforts to date of internationalist solidarity with our Afrikan Liberation Struggle. We therefore hope that he will go back to such track-records of his own best practice and do the correct thing once again. The correct thing begins with him taking steps to initiate the dialogue we have been calling for by meeting, to start with, representatives from the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), the organisers of the annual 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and their partners in the SMWeCGEC.
Coordinator-General ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign
If we do not unite and combine our military resources for common defence, our individual [African] States, out of a sense of insecurity, may be drawn into making defence pacts with foreign powers which may endanger the security of us all”.
Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, ‘Africa Must Unite’ (1963)
We in the Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP), in partnership with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/ Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC), join the progressive forces of Freedom, Justice and Peace, in the once proudly inspiring Black Star nation-state founded by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, in expressing their outrage and vehement opposition to the shocking endorsement by the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his so-called New Patriotic Party (NPP) majority in Parliament, of the completely unjustifiable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on defence cooperation between the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America on March 8, 2018. It is unimaginable that, 61 years after the declaration of Ghana’s independence, the very Euro-Amerikkkan imperialist superpower of the West, whose Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) masterminded the violent February 1966 coup d’état which shattered the Pan-Afrikan Liberation dreams and efforts of Ghana’s first visionary head of state, is now supposed to be the country’s key security ally. For the sake of the serious lessons that must be critically learnt by us all, we must not lose sight of the fact that this current Akuffo-Addo-approved MOU is supposed to be the enhancement of two previous agreements that were signed with the USA without public discussion, scrutiny and parliamentary endorsement in Ghana in 1998 and 2015 by the preceding governments of President Jerry John Rawlings and President John Dramani Mahama respectively.
We therefore urge you to keep up your resistance as you did with the 2008 attempts to establish an AFRICOM military base in Ghana until this manifestation of the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust of chattel colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement) is stopped. For, contrary to assertions that the USA Government is not establishing an American military base, the agreement indicates that the USA Armed Forces will have the use of a designated area in Ghana to set up their own camp inaccessible to anyone else, in other words a ‘base’ by another name. The presence of this enduring base will increase the militarisation of the state and society leading to increased hostilities directed against the people of Ghana for being in cohoots with the US Empire in committing crimes against Humanity.
Just like in 1844 when Fante Chiefs were outmanoeuvred into signing an agreement on behalf of the Gold Coast with the British colonisers, similarly today, we have a Government and its majority in parliament surrendering the sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity of the people of Ghana, undermining their national interests and security. However, as in the past the people of Ghana at no time have ceded their sovereignty, which is what makes this agreement so injurious to the interests of Ghanaians; the implications of such will be felt for generations to come. The agreement had been drafted in a manner which does not state a termination point. Article 6 of the MOU states that: “Buildings constructed by United States forces shall ….be used by United States forces until no longer needed by United States forces”. If read literally, this agreement will in actuality bind all successive governments in Ghana.
Furthermore, regarding the settlement of disputes between the parties, article 18 stipulates that: “Any dispute regarding the application, implementation, or interpretation of this Agreement, or its Implementing Arrangements…shall not be referred to any national or international court, tribunal, or similar body, or to any third party for settlement, unless otherwise mutually agreed”. Rather, the agreement reinforces USA military immunity from international law and imposes Euro-Amerikkkan law on the people and Government of Ghana in the settlement of claims arising out of the operations of the base, including death, destruction of property or injury. It is likely that such arrangements will increase covert military and security operations both in Ghana and across Afrika.
We support you, the progressive forces of Ghana, in seeking to ensure that all your combined efforts to stop this manifestation of the Maangamizi succeed in making such affronts to Ghana’s sovereignty and the Pan-Afrikan dignity of Ghanaians to not occur again. Such resistance must keep us firmly on the path of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice through first and foremost arresting these continued violations of Ghanaian sovereignty and self-determined nationhood. Given the increasing expansion of neo-colonial tentacles of revanchist coloniality by Euro-Amerikkkan imperialism throughout the Continent of domestically and externally re-colonised Afrika, it is vital to recognise the need to accelerate the building of Maatubuntujamaas – Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSDs) in the Diaspora to connect with their equivalent Sankofahomes on the Continent to achieve Maatubuntuman (Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities). Clearly, the Afrika that currently exists is being sold out by one neo-colonial government after another. It follows that organising to actualize Maatubuntuman, a globally superpowerful participatory democratic anti-imperialist polity of Maat which practices Ubuntu in relation to her people and all of humanity and the cosmos rooted in the indigenous nation-building practices of Afrika and her people, is the only force which can make the global apartheid racist agenda and structures of recolonization by White Supremacy ungovernable.
Unlike in the past when Founding father of the Republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, called for unified armed forces (an Afrikan High Command), and a common Afrikan foreign policy, we have a situation where the current Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul is seeking to hoodwink the people of Ghana into accepting overt military domination; arguing that the USA Government has such defence cooperation agreements “in over 50 countries”. However, what Nitiwul and the misruling so-called New Patriotic Party (NPP) of President Akufo-Addo are refusing to admit to the people of Ghana is that these arrangements are part of what Chalmers Johnson in his 2004 book, ‘The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic’, called an “empire of bases” which advance US geopolitical interests, not those of so-called host countries.
In this regard, we echo the sentiments of the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, which held its inaugural event January 12-14, 2018 at the University of Baltimore in Maryland, in the USA where it operates; we reiterate to you what they expressed in their Unity Statement: “U.S. foreign military bases are the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable World.” It is indeed alarming that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the World).
The ‘No Foreign Military Bases’ Coalition further asserts that: “These bases are centres of aggressive military actions, threats of political and economic expansion, sabotage and espionage, and crimes against local populations. In addition, these military bases are the largest users of fossil fuel in the world, heavily contributing to environmental degradation”. We concur with the coalition’s assertion that US foreign military bases represent the interests of the “dominant financial, political, and military interests of the ruling elite” and agree with their conclusion that: “Whether invited in or not by domestic interests that have agreed to be junior partners, no country, no peoples, no government, can claim to be able to make decisions totally in the interest of their people, with foreign troops on their soil representing interests antagonistic to the national purpose”.
This is the time for the Pan-Afrikan essence of our Reparatory Justice struggles all over the world to take concrete shape by working in cooperation with all Freedomfighting peoples around the World in order to galvanise the Internationalist Solidarity of allies of Afrikan people at home and abroad, to reinvigorate the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and to win the hearts, minds and spirits of Peoples of Conscience for a just World of Peace for all. This is one of the surest ways to ensure that Imperialism in all its forms and guises is exposed, effectively counteracted and completely eradicated throughout the World.
Accordingly, we identify with all the modes of legitimate Resistance being adopted in multifarious opposition to this disgraceful deal of treasonable sell-out to the USA not only by various organisations, networks and campaigns in and outside the homeland of founding father Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, but also by the conscientious chiefs and other true leaders of the indigenous communities that make up the authentic Afrikan polity of Ghana and who are upholding her independent Afrikan Personality in all its sovereignty, dignity and integrity. We support the calls from all the progressive forces of Civil Society, admirably including various youth, student, women and labour groupings, that are being echoed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority in the Ghanaian Parliament, and even some voices of sanity in the NPP, demanding an immediate withdrawal of the agreement, pending the holding of broad consultations and a thorough national discussion involving all relevant stakeholders. May we emphasize the salient point that our GAPP and all others involved in the SMWeCGEC and their affinity organisations, networks and campaigns all over the World see such stakeholders as including those Afrikans abroad who lay claim to Global Pan-Afrikan citizenship and who are, in this United Nations International ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ (UN-IDPAD), asserting their ‘Right to Afrika’.
We are in consultations with Ghanaian progressive forces at home and abroad engaged in planning appropriate Global Actions of Internationalist Solidarity with Ghana Against Foreign Military Occupation. In this connection, we urge all those in Ghana to glocally face up, with enlightening global broad-mindedness, to the seriousness of the very dangerous geopolitical intrigue-weaving, malevolence and War-games which this agreement is drawing them into to descend further into the abyss of the World military-industrial-prison complex of the USA. This MOU will only worsen your Maangamizi plight of Neocolonialism by the Global Apartheid way of White Supremacy racist Recolonization by opening you up to suffer more crimes of Genocide and Ecocide. The narrow-mindedness of parochial obscurantism will not do in successfully rallying to defeat the war-mongering reactionary forces of USAFRICOM that very well master anti-people games of divide and misrule. That is why the necessity cannot be overstated now for United Front-building among all progressive forces unflinchingly committed to defending Sovereignty, eschewing sectarianism, ethnocentrism, egocentrism and similar vices, advancing together in Principled Unity to champion human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights, while firmly upholding uncompromising Anti-Imperialism, Self-Determination, National Liberation, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy and holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. That is why, now more than ever before, is the time to seize in globalising Pan-Afrikan Resistance for Reparatory Justice forward ever onward to total victory!
GAPP Leadership Facilitation Team in association with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) Spearhead Team of the SMWeCGEC International Steering Committee (ISC-SMWCGEC)
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