PARCOE is a grassroots alliance working in Europe to amplify the voices of Afrikan Communities of Reparations Interest all over the world. For us in PARCOE, there are spatial dimensions to reparatory justice for people of Afrikan heritage. According to political geographer Edward Soja, ‘spatial (in)justice refers to an intentional and focused emphasis on the spatial or geographical aspects of justice and injustice. As a starting point, this involves the fair and equitable distribution in space of socially valued resources and the opportunities to use them.’
It follows that spatial justice has to do with geopolitics and how the European ruling classes have gentrified the world. This has been done by way of imposing enclosures here in Europe and taking land from the commons into private ownership, but also going around the world dispossessing other people and land, space and resources, and expropriating them to become their own private property and impose their rule on other peoples. Hence the domains of European imperialism in the colonies were part of a grand gentrification process by the ruling classes of Europe.
This has impacted on their power in the metropoles as much as in the peripheries. In the colonised periphery, the ruling classes of Europe established a power which created global apartheid. There were enclaves of colonial settlers who wielded power and took resources at will, not hesitating to apply the most violent forms of exploitation, oppression and dispossession to serve their purposes, resulting in genocide and ecocide. Then they came back to Europe with the gains of these crimes in order to covet and expropriate more space in the metropolis, contribute to industrialisation and build all kinds of grand mansions in the process of appropriating more and more common land and space. Ecocide is being caused by gentrification of spaces in the neo-colonies today, such as more land grabs for extractivism. Not to mention the destruction of social housing, and the erecting of luxury apartments and corporate buildings that occurs in parts of the metropolis.
Now you find that the peoples who have been displaced from the neo-colonies, following the stolen wealth back to Europe, end up being removed violently any time the ruling classes find them in the way of expanding neoliberal capital. For example, the attack on social housing – being replaced wholesale by unaffordable private housing – is a continuation of the crimes of chattel colonial and neo-colonial enslavement being brought into the communities of the still colonised peoples now living in the metropolis.
That is why the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, marching from Windrush Square in Brixton to the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street, highlights this process as part of the continuing Maangamizi (Afrikan hellacaust and continuum of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement), for which Afrikan people demand reparatory justice. Not only in terms of compensation, but more fundamentally, in terms of systemic change globally to ensure the expropriation and redistribution of wealth worldwide.
The reparations march amplifies the voices of Afrikan heritage communities of resistance and activists advocating these points. The march first took place in 2014 and was significantly improved and internationalised in 2015. Once again on 1st August 2016, thousands of people will be on the streets in Europe’s biggest Afrikan Reparations March ever. However, in this the third year of the march taking place, we aim for there to be numerous simultaneous marches and/or other reparations actions in various countries in Afrika, the Americas, the Caribbean and Europe.
The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC) adopted the following aims for the March in 2015:
To draw attention to Afrikan peoples’ global determination not to let the British State and other perpetrators get away with the crimes of the Maangamizi (Afrikan hellacaust of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial enslavement).
To raise consciousness about the fact that all the attacks on us, in both individual and collective instances, amount to genocide/ecocide in Maangamizi continuity necessitating reparations.
To increase awareness of the necessity to ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ and its current manifestations such as austerity, attempts to recolonise Afrika, mentacide and deaths in police, psychiatric and prison custody.
To demonstrate Afrikan peoples’ strength, capacity and determination to speak to and challenge establishment power with our growing grassroots power to effect and secure reparations (reparatory justice) on our own terms.
To showcase Afrikan people’s grassroots initiatives for reparations.
The 1st of August has been chosen as the day of the reparations march because it is the officially recognised “Emancipation Day”, marking the passing of The Slavery Abolition Act in the British Empire, on 1 August 1833. Further, the significance of 1st August 1833 is that it is the date that after all the years of resistance by enslaved Afrikans, torn away from the Motherland, Britain and its fellow European enslavers of Afrikan people were compelled to recognise that they could no longer continue to enslave us without severe consequences. It therefore represents a symbolic day recognising our refusal to accept enslavement, in every manner, including its present day manifestations.
For the 2016 march the AEDRMC will be continuing with the theme ‘Education is Part of Preparation for Reparations’ as part of the mobilisation and consciousness-raising of our people towards playing their part in efforts to enforce the end of the Maangamizi and secure reparatory justice. This year we will be organising blocs as part of the march. There will be the Ubuntu bloc where we invite allies to attend and participate in the march in solidarity with the cause of reparations, Stop the Maangamizi and the aims of the reparations march.
A practical tool that PARCOE reparationists have developed to raise awareness of the current Maangamizi is the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Petition (SMWCGE).
The SMWCGE petition forms a companion project with the 1st August Emancipation Day Afrikan Reparations March and is therefore a positive action step of Afrikan reparatory justice campaigning which seeks to:
raise consciousness, increase awareness and recommend actions to redress the fact that all the attacks on us, in both individual and collective instances, amount to genocide/ecocide in Maangamizi continuity, necessitating reparatory justice;
highlight the need to ‘Stop the Maangamzi’ before we can truly repair the harm;
be a practical and participatory action for enabling the mass adjudication of Afrikan and other oppressed indigenous peoples’ cases for reparations, and eventually put a full stop, by way of holistic and transformative reparations, to all acts of genocide/ecocide against Afrikan and other oppressed indigenous peoples.
The SMWCGE petition calls on the UK government to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice to: acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of the imposition of the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust of 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 all 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 redress, repairs and for other purposes. The SMWCGE is also galvanising grassroots work towards establishing glocal sittings of the Ubuntukgotla*, Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (PITGJ).
*The Ubuntukgotla is a Pan-Afrikan conceptualisation of a court of peoples humanity interconnectedness.
SMWCGE builds on the historic 1951 We Charge Genocide Petition that was initiated by Afrikan American and Communist lawyer, William L. Patterson, noted Afrikan-American singer and human rights activist, Paul Robeson, and others on behalf of the former Civil Rights Congress of the United States. The petition outlined both the historic and modern oppression of people of Afrikan descent in America, from murders by lynching to police brutality and systematic inequalities in quality of life and health care, arguing that this collective experience of subjugation amounted to genocide according to the 1948 Genocide Convention. We Charge Genocide called on the United Nations to ‘act and to call the Government of the United States to account’. Genocide, it contended, could not be covered up as an internal affair of the United States, but was a problem for the world.
The vanguard of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) recognises that local issues have global dimensions and that reparatory justice can only be achieved globally before it can be secured for people of Afrikan heritage in the UK. It is essentially a decolonising process which has to first of all muster the people power, strength and capacity to delink the colonies and neo-colonies from the still colonising metropolis of the British State and the European Union. An essential part of that is the role of the decolonising contingents of the ISMAR inside the belly of the beast, the metropolis, Europe.
For us in PARCOE, this means highlighting as we did in participating in the Wretched of the Earth Bloc of the Peoples March for Climate Justice and Jobs, the still colonising essence of the coloniality of power as it is exercised in the UK, Europe and other parts of the west as well as the domains of European imperialism in other parts of the world. For us in PARCOE this is important because it has been our organising experience thus far that very often progressive forces on what is often called the ‘White Left’ refuse to see the nature of the power being exercised by the ruling classes of Europe within and outside the countries of Europe as an expression of the coloniality of power rather than just the bourgeoisie power of working people. It has been our people’s experience that the intersectionality of this coloniality of power is often not recognised, or minimised, particularly its essentially white supremacist and racist character.
That is the reason why Black Power remains a valid aspect of Afrikan people’s reparatory justice goals because we can only effectively counter the violent racist white power with truly revolutionary Black Power in order to compel genuine participatory democratisation towards multicultural pluriversality within and beyond Europe. For many people of Afrikan descent, restoration of the cultures of the colonised is an essential part of our national and social liberation struggles. Accordingly, these calls for justice imply some form of “spatial justice” as they invariably entail claims not only for the return of land in the neo-colonies but also rights to utilise space, land, properties, as well as some forms of political and/or non-territorial autonomy and other possibilities for self-determination within sites of the metropolis where people of Afrikan heritage live and work.
In furtherance of these objectives, PARCOE, as a constituent founder and organisational member of the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament, is involved in building the UK-based Afrikan Heritage Community for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSD). The AHC-NSD is focused on the holistic regeneration of Afrikan communities; mindful of the fact that, at present, such Afrikan communities exist within and beyond the UK as a multiplicity of different and even conflicting nation-state, ethnic, racial, class, gender, age and other socio-cultural configurations brought from all over the world. Therefore, regeneration of Afrikan communities is being done in a radical and intersectional way, for example, through innovative Eco-Justice Village building projects such as SERUJAMAA, which serves as a living prototype of a future MAATUBUNTUMAN which is a Pan-Afrikan Union of communities throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika.
In this regard, we highlight MAATUBUNTUSITAWI, our Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice equivalent of ‘Sumak Kawsay’, an Andean indigenous approach. MAATUBUNTUSITAWI is our Afrikan contribution to the global search to replace Eurocentric models of imperialism. In essence, what we are saying is that part of effecting reparatory justice includes regenerating Afrikan heritage communities so that we can repair the harms of the Maangamizi in self-determined ways. We will need to have our own spaces, buildings, estates, parks, the preservation of places of historical interest to people of Afrikan heritage as well as the visible presence of our heritage in the open.
How you can show solidarity
You can do your bit to compel accountability for genocide against Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage by sending a signed copy of the wording on this postcard to your MP. #StopTheMaangamizi
If you would like to participate in the Ubuntu Reparations Solidarity Bloc of the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March please email: email@example.com.
To keep abreast of developments on reparations see:
by Esther Stanford-Xosei // Co-Vice Chair Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe | @xosei