Participating in the ‘Our Movement is One’ Reparations Oral History Project
You are invited to participate in ‘Our Movement is One: African Contributions from London Between 1989 to 2014 in Charting the Historical Trajectory of the International Social Movement for African Reparations (ISMAR)’a research study into the ISMAR based in the UK. The research is being conducted by me (Esther Stanford-Xosei) as part of doctorate in history at the University of Chichester.
Before you decide whether or not you wish to participate in, it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will entail.
Please check the info on this blog about the Oral History Project and what participation will entail. Should you have any further queries or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me by email below.
If you agree to participate, your involvement will make a valuable contribution to this project and recording of the oral history of reparations advocacy and activism based in the UK.
PhD Candidate Researcher
The People’s Reparations International Movement (PRIM) has been conceptualised by activists in the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), working through formations like the Global Justice Forum (GJF) and Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC), to refer to the collectivity of a broad alliance of social forces among peoples all over the world, consisting of a broad array of constituencies, with a range of ideological orientations, working in diverse ways, and acting with some degree of organisation and continuity to; obtain redress for historical atrocities and injustices, which have contemporary consequences; repair the harms inflicted; and to rehabilitate the victims in the process of effecting and securing the anti-systemic objectives of effecting and securing reparations.
What is Social Movement Learning?
According to Canadian adult educators Hall and Clover (1995):
Social movement learning refers to: a) learning by persons who are part of any social movement; and b) learning by persons outside of a social movement as a result of the actions taken or simply by the existence of social movements. Learning by persons who are part of a social movement often takes place in informal or incidental ways because of the stimulation and requirements of participation in a movement. When one becomes involved in a movement to counter homelessness, statistics about how many people are homeless or the impact of living without fixed shelter are learned quickly simply through interaction with others in the movement or through the literature of the movement or the movement’s opponents. What we all know as facilitators of learning is that nothing is as powerful a stimulus to learning as the necessity to teach or inform others. The organisational or communicative mandate of all social movements is a necessarily educational concern. And while much of the learning within social movements is informal or incidental in nature, organized or intentional learning also takes place as a direct result of educational activities organised within the movement itself. 
Although research has been done on the importance of learning in social movements along with the importance of learning from experiences of participating in social movements, no such research exists on the experiences of activists participating in the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR). The interviews that I have been conducting, with reparations movement activists in the UK, are actually the first of its kind to probe into this issue of learning that is being done within the process of struggling to bring about Reparatory Justice for Afrikans and people of Afrikan heritage. The learning that I am referring to is the two way process of contesting, producing and acquiring knowledge as well as skills in order to take action more effectively, and learning through reflecting on the experiences of social action that follow engaging in reparations-movement building and activism.
The case for these type of two way learning processes are becoming more urgent in the current economic, social, political, environmental and policy context; in addition to, the need for evaluating whether reparations campaigners are making gains and/or coming up against barriers in the movement to effect and secure holistic reparations. It goes beyond a simplistic understanding that it is enough to just be on liberation road for an x amount of years, to reflecting on what has worked and is not working, so that improvements and changes of tactics can be made towards securing the overall objectives of reparations social movement organisations and social movements which are contributing to the goals of the ISMAR. This is not to disrespect or not recognise the contributions that have been made by stalwarts in the ISMAR but to utilise tried and tested methodologies that are proven to further the attainment of the goals of movements for social, economic and global justice, such as the ISMAR. It is also important to deepen our understanding of the rich interaction of education, learning, information-sharing, teaching and action; i.e. the wealth of reparations social movement learning that builds on: the ideas of all the various freedom and liberation movements, our community’s treasure house of community knowledge, as well as the contribution of scholar-activists and organic intellectuals who have gone before us, in the pursuit of a Post-Reparations world.
Some of the key points to note about learning in the ISMAR:
• Learning and action are dialectical processes
• Learning is multidimensional (for example, formal, informal, situated, activist, experiential, practical, spiritual, cognitive, ethical, emotional, socio-economic, political and cultural)
• When a reflective (self, organisational and group) educational dimension is incorporated into a social movement, the membership are more effectively mobilised to take action especially action which builds on, learns from the strengths as well as weaknesses of past efforts.
• Such learning can be evaluated by its impact and ability to transform frameworks of thinking, knowledge and action.
The ARTCoP (Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice) exists as a network to promote, advance learning and scholar activism on and for reparations. A Community of Practice is commonly understood to be a group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. ARTCoP’s mission is to enhance grassroots community academic spaces for reparations scholar-activism.
For further info about ARTCoP see:
 Hall B.L. & Clover D. E.(2006), ‘Social Movement Learning’, in R. Veira de Castro, A.V. Sancho, & P. Guimarães (Eds.), Adult Education. New Routes in a New Landscape, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, pp. 159-166.
A Community of Practice is defined as: “A group of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” CoPs often focus on learning, sharing best practices and knowledge as well as creating new knowledge to advance a domain of political or professional practice. 
To that end, the purpose of the ARTCoP is to provide a much-needed reparations movement supported space for critical reflection as a basis for taking more effective strategic action by supporting members of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and their allies to strengthen and improve their movement-building activities enabling them to learn from, compliment and collaborate with each other to achieve common reparations-related objectives and goals.
Rather than seeking to privilege what academics and those located within formal institutions of education ‘know’ and can ‘teach’ activists about how to wage successful reparations campaigns, the ARTCoP seeks to learn from and build upon the thought, lived experiences and activism of reparations workers, advocates, activists, campaigners, the ISMAR and Afrikan and Afrikan Diaspora communities at large, as co-producers of practical and theoretical knowledge relevant to effecting and securing reparatory justice.
ARTCoP Learning Methodology
ARTCoP It is being conducted within the action learning paradigm i.e. an approach to learning through experience and by doing in the quest of bringing about social change or solving or addressing real problems that involves taking action and reflecting upon the results. This means that the outcome of learning in relation to any reparations focused issues or cause is action, not simply learning and knowledge for knowledge’s sake.
Since learning takes place through taking action (to redress a situation or problem), action learning utilises tools and methods which are not only relevant to, but also promote the empowerment of Afrikan Heritage Reparations Communities of Interest. Action learning is an integral aspect of action research which seeks to change or improve a condition, system or practice and learn about this through changing or improving it. ‘Changing practice’ includes utilising the knowledge being co-produced for advancing reparations goals by improving and strengthening existing reparations campaigning and social movement-building initiatives and processes.
It is important to note that (1) there is a clear structure to the set meetings, and (2) that the ARTCoP group meetings are only part of the process. The other part is the testing out of the ideas in action, which happens in the time between the meetings. ARTCoP members help each individual in turn to reflect on the outcomes of their recent actions and develop ideas for overcoming obstacles to further progress.
Objectives of the ARTCoP
1. To help people organise around purposeful actions that deliver tangible results in advancing the ISMAR.
2. To enable participants in the ARTCoP to develop a shared understanding of the history, purpose and goals of the ISMAR;
3. To increase culturally competent and proficient reparations literacy amongst and between members of the ARTCoP. 
4. To facilitate the learning and the sharing of ideas, collectivised knowledge, information, experiences, expertise, research, strategies and resources among participants in the ARTCoP pertaining to the history and heritage of reparations thought, advocacy and activism;
5. To gain recognition in mainstream academia and amongst policy-makers of the knowledge and pedagogical practices being produced outside of formal educational institutions on reparations and to bridge the gap between these various knowledges;
6. To stimulate dialogue among and between members about the ISMAR’s past, present and future in order to explore new possibilities, solve challenging problems, and create new, mutually beneficial opportunities for advancing the goals of the ISMAR;
7. To report on progress and provide updates of reparations related projects, programmes and activities;
8. To support participants in the ARTCoP to develop various resources such as tools, documents, vocabulary and symbols that in some way carry the accumulated knowledge of the ISMAR.
The priority concerns of the ARTCoP are to:
1. Counter fragmentation amongst constituencies within the community of Afrikan reparations interest and reparations groups, networks and organisations by promoting understanding of the common grounds and shared goals between many reparations groups, organisations, campaigns and other social justice movements;
2. Promote open and honest discussions on the obstacles to integrating a reparations framework in the work of other social justice causes and movements;
3. Promote open and honest discussion of the obstacles to building a more inclusive ISMAR and existing reparations advocates, activists and allies working together more constructively.
The scope and purpose of ARTCoP shall be explained prior to inviting members to join so prospective members can self select on the basis of its relevance to them
The ARTCoP will include representatives from Communities of Afrikan and Afrikan Diaspora Reparations Interest, ISMAR members, participating organisations and any other stakeholders that have reparations interests, goals, and or objectives.
Role of Members/Participants
• To develop (negotiate) common perspectives, approaches, practices
• To share reparations related information
• To develop reparations focused methodologies
• To share insights on reparations related practice
• To consult each other on reparations related tasks, projects and programmes
• To collaborate on key reparations related tasks, projects and programmes
• To discuss their approaches
• To explore common reparations related issues
• To go beyond current practice to explore the cutting edge of reparations theory and praxis, to innovate
• To create reparations focussed tools, methods, articles, online presence,
• To create reparations related publicity, promotional and educational documents
• To develop trust, mutual recognition of contributions and understanding.
• To develop processes for harnessing, generating and sharing reparations related knowledge outside the ARTCoP.
The following operating principles indicate the conduct of the ARTCoP and are intended to assist members to clarify their expectations of each other and the community of practice.
1. Co-production of knowledge on or related to the cause of reparations is a fundamental operating principle of the ARTCoP
2. Every member is both a learner and teacher of reparations related knowledge in their respective field of experience, expertise or practice.
3. ARTCoP will promote Afrikan heritage knowledge systems, epistemologies of justice and repair in seeking to contribute to the building of the ISMAR and advancement of its goals.
4. Members can expect to encounter at least one new learning from each meeting.
5. Members will contribute regularly to the ARTCoP.
6. Appropriate levels of privacy and confidentiality will maintained within the ARTCoP.
7. Views expressed are those of individual/organisational practitioner members.
Coordination and Support
The ARTCoP will be Chaired by Jackie Lewis
Roles and Responsibilities (serves as a guide only)
Core group of up to 15 members.
Chair (one member)
• To provide oversight and guidance in steering the affairs of the ARTCoP and catalyse proactivity in steering the ARTCoP
• To be the Chief Spokesperson for the ARTCoP
• To ensure the ARTCoP is meeting its stated objectives
• To attend and normally chair ARTCoP meetings
• To facilitate group discussion to ensure that communication is appropriate and respectful
• To develop the agenda and objectives for each ARTCoP meeting.
Steering Committee (Up to 20 Members) Including:
2. Co-Vice Chairs (not more than 4)
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Kofi Mawuli Klu (2 vacancies remaining)
4. General Members
- Natoya Smith
- Dr Asher Sefanit-Wudasee
- Jendayi Serwah
- Cecil Gutzmore
- Olajumoke Sankofa
- Prophet Jah B
- Prophet Kwaku
- Dr Barryl Biekman
- Althea Gordon-Davidson
- Kwame Adofo Sampong
- Maatyo Dedo Azu
- Mawuse Yao Agokor
- Ametsitsi Kwasi Agoko
- Anatina Abbasey
- Xolanyo Yawo Gbafa
• Send out regular messages to ARTCoP members about the next meeting/activity.
• Recruit new members and manage membership
• Maintain various forms of learning and ARTCoP records
• Provide official statements on behalf of the group
• To manage and direct representation of the ARTCoP including media work and other public relations
• To post ARTCoP session recordings on nominated site
• To take and keep records as well as manage ARTCoP archives
• To plan and direct the organisation of various ARTCoP events
• To complete an attendance list of members and participants
• To develop an index of members identifying their areas of reparations related interest, knowledge and experience.
• To develop and publicise a community calendar of reparations related events.
• To identify training needs arising from community of practice meetings.
• To ensure that a summary of the ARTCoP meeting discussions are circulated to members within a reasonable time after each meeting.
• To ensure that meeting dates are publicised at least one month in advance.
The ARTCoP will be largely self-supporting as this is an indicator of their value to members and the wider ISMAR.
In this regard:
• Members will be encouraged to take an active facilitation role at meetings and other activities, and to share information and expertise and capture knowledge.
• Meetings and information sharing can draw from wherever the expertise lies, including within the group, from non-members and/or other agencies, and share this information as appropriate.
• An email discussion group will be set up to encourage member’s engagement and share expertise and information.
Unless otherwise agreed, any costs arising from activities under the ARTCoP will be borne by the Member or participant that incurs them, and will be subject to the availability of funds, personnel, and other resources.
Activities and Frequency of Meetings
Bi-Monthly in addition to any other events which advance the aims and objectives of the ARTCoP.
Evaluation of the ARTCoP
The ‘health’ and relevance of the ARTCoP will be evaluated by seeking regular feedback from members and periodically evaluating outcomes. Such evaluation will also facilitate identification of emerging issues. Evaluation will be timed to feed into planning cycles to ensure relevance to member’s needs and ISMAR priorities.
Evaluation will include:
• the level of participation in email discussion, presentations and meetings;
• the range of members involved;
• attendance at meetings;
• outputs achieved, such as better practice checklists and toolkits;
• how the above feed into reparations goals and outcomes.
• evaluation of the uptake and usage of these checklists and toolkits; and
• member satisfaction.
The ARTCoP Terms of Reference will be reviewed by members every 2 years, these TOR were last reviewed in March 2015.
For Further Info:
 Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, & William Snyder, Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge(Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2002).
 Reparations action learning literacy and development is about developing the ability to get something done rather than developing the ability to talk about getting something done. It is about moving from diagnosis and analysis to experimentation, action and implementation.
Stop the Maangamizi Petition hand-in 2016, 2015 & 2014
Some of the most salient aspects of my organising experience in reparations related organisations, structures and processes as part of the resurgent International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) which includes serving as:
• Co-Vice Chair of PARCOE, (Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe) since 2001.
• N’COBRA (National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America) Europe Regional Representative and member of N’COBRA International Affairs Commission (NIAC) between 2001 and 2005.
• Member of the 10 member International Steering Committee of the African & African Descendants World Conference Against Racism (AADWCAR), the official follow-up to the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination & Related Intolerance (WCAR), which took place in Barbados. It was at this conference that the International Front for African Reparations (IFAR) was formed and an international strategy developed to initiate legal action for reparations in various Western nations. Arising from this mandate, on 05/05/93, the Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC), in association with PARCOE, (Pan-African Reparations Coalition in Europe), the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) and the Black United Front Parliament (BUF-P) initiated the UK strategy to “effect” Pan-Afrikan Reparations by initiating a lawsuit (2003) against the British Head of State and the British Government. This date was chosen in honour and commemoration of the Early Day Motion regarding support for Reparations to Afrikans initiated by the late Bernie Grant MP ten years prior. I was involved in BQJC, PARCOE and the GAC at the time and played a significant role in the development of this legal and extra-legal strategy.
• Coordinator of FAADAR (Forum of Afrikan & Afrikan Descendants Against Racism) which mobilised the UK delegation to attend the AADWCAR between 2001 and 2004.
• Co-founder of the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC). Between 2002 and I was the Europe Regional Representative of GAC.
• Former Board member of Antislavery International (ASI) between 2004 and 2013. ASI was the first White-led NGO to develop a pro-reparations position.
• Co-founder and Secretary of the Afrikan-led cross-community abolitionist heritage learning network, Rendezvous of Victory (ROV) between 2003 and 2007. ROV partnered with ASI to host the first official London Commemorations of 23rd August, the UN Day to commemorate the struggle against slavery and its Abolition ROV initiated, in partnership with Antislavery International and the World Development Movement (now called Global Justice Now) the 2007‘Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act Cross Community Forum’(CCF) which operated between 2005 and 2007. The CCF brought a wide diversity of people and interest groups, from within civil society and state, together to debate, challenge and confront ideas and opinions on issues concerning Britain’s role in under-developing Afrika and the Caribbean and effecting reparations for the Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Afrikans (TTEE) and colonialism. It also strengthened activist and NGO networking in galvanising broad engagement on policy, campaigns and strategies as part of taking action to redress the legacies of chattel, colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement today.
• Due to role in ROV I became a co-founder and member of the Global Justice Forum (GJF) in 2007. The Global Justice Forum (GJF) is a UK-based, Afrikan-led, cross-community network working across sectors to amplify grassroots voices in campaigning for social change. Formed in 2007, the GJF arose out of the 2007 Bicentenary Cross Community Forum. Its central focus is to promote abolitionist heritage action learning (learning through doing) as one of the prime components of bringing about global justice. Abolitionist heritage is the heritage of movements and campaigns which seek to abolish systems of racial, economic, political and cultural domination and all other forms of injustice by challenging beliefs which maintain their existence and replacing them with more humane and effective systems. One of the GJF’s key areas of work focuses on reparations popular education, action learning and cross community mobilisation which promotes activist knowledge gained as a result of reparations activism and advocates the potential of reparations to bring about fundamental structural transformation and global justice for all.
• Former Secretary General of the Black United Front-Parliament (BUF-P) between 2003 and 2006, the, under the organisation’s auspices, I co-produced the UK version of the historic 1951 ‘We Charge Genocide Petition’ also championed by the National Black United front (NBUF) in the USA.
• As the UK representative of the N’COBRA, International Affairs Commission and Co-Vice Chair of PARCOE, I was a co-organiser and Coordinator for UK/Europe of the Global Pan-Afrikan Reparations Conference held in Ghana with the theme: ‘Create the Future: Transformation, Reparations, Repatriation, and Reconciliation’ (from 22/07/06 – 01/08/06). This conference was the second global Pan-Afrikan Reparations conference held in Afrika following the historic 1993, ‘First Conference on Reparations for Enslavement, Colonialism and Neo-colonialism’ held in Abuja, Nigeria under the auspices of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
• Former Co-Chair of iNAPP (Interim National Afrikan People’s Parliament) and Former Co-Chair of iNAPP Legal & Constitutional Subcommittee and co-initiator of the iNAPP Community Law Study, Dialogue & Action Circle between 2012 and 2015, under my co-leadership iNAPP collaborated with the Rastafari Movement UK (RMUK) to develop a joint petition combining efforts to develop an updated version of the ‘We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Petition’ (which became the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Petition, SMWeCGE 2015). I was also responsible for co-producing iNAPP’s then ‘Emerging Position on CARICOM Reparations which has since been adopted by the Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP). https://globalafrikanpeoplesparliament.org/about/
• In 2015, I co-founded the emerging Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) working on the case and recognition of the Afrikan Heritage Community for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSD) and non-territorial cultural autonomy for Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent in the UK as a form of self-determined collective representation and ‘political’ reparations in the UK.
In 2014 I Co-founded of the Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) which promotes grassroots scholar-activists, organic intellectuals and academics working on and for reparations with a view to countering fragmentation among the various action-learning (learning through doing) initiatives occurring on reparations.
• Co-Initiator, in association with Soul Law and PARCOE, of the first action-learning interdisciplinary short course on Afrikan reparations in 2012 (course curriculum includes weekend intensive version, or 10 weeks). Since this time, courses have developed to include ‘ An Introduction to Pan-Afrikan Reparations’ (2014), and the ‘ISMAR Advocates Course'(2016).
• Under the auspices of PARCOE, I am involved in building the Europe Wide NGO Consultative Council For Afrikan Reparations (ENGOCCAR), https://engoccar.wordpress.com/ which is pulling together people working on the reparations dimensions of the civil society responses to the African Union Sixth Region Diaspora Initiative, networks involved in the ‘International Decade for People of African Descent’ (DPAD), and anti-Afrikan racism (Afriphobia) recognition.
• Despite being involved in the organising of the 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March since its inception in 2014, in 2015, I became a co-Chair of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC) with responsibility for education, public relations and media as well as official spokesperson for the. We are currently involved with planning processes towards the 2017 1st August Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, www.reparationsmarch.org.
In March 2016, I became Co-Chair of Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC). The MBC was formed in December 2015 with the express purpose of connecting, through Momentum, the Black Power politics of Black communities of resistance, in and Beyond Britain, into the progressive politics of the wider Labour Movement and society within and beyond the United Kingdom. Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) is an independently self-organising, autonomous and self-determining Black Power constituency within the network of people and organisations to continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. We are committed to advancing Black Power perspectives on the 10 priorities that Jeremy Corbyn has identified as his own standpoint. https://momentumblackconnexions.wordpress.com/2016/05/01/aims-and-objectives-of-momentum-black-connexions/
MBC adopts a pro-reparations standpoint in its aims and objectives and seeks to promotae strategic and operation unity among and between various politically Black communities worldwide in the quest to effect and secure reparatory justice as part of the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM), a core column of which is the ISMAR.
In 2016, I co-hosted and co-organised the International Consultative Preparatory Forum (ICPF) for the Spearhead Pacific Alliance and BOOMERANGCIRCUIT 2017 Pacific Alliance Gathering of Colonised Peoples & Sovereign Peoples Union for Global Justice through Decolonisation and Reparations: http://nationalunitygovernment.org/content/london-statement-common-purpose-international-consultative-preparatory-forum
In 2016, I co-founded the ISMAR Academy, a reparations movement education and training institute spearheaded by the ARTCoP, PARCOE, GAPP, AEDRMC, MBC and other partners.
This list does not include the range of teaching and learning engagements, presentations and representations made or media appearances where I have promoted and sought to enrich public information, awareness, conscientisation, knowledge and discourse on reparations.
My Interdisciplinary Reparations Praxis
By vocation, I am a jurisconsult (legal specialist is the science and philosophy of applied law and jurisprudence) and human and people’s law practitioner although my work is confined to working on the legal and extra-legal dimensions of taking, effecting and securing holistic reparations, self-determination, nationhood and sovereignty.
I am a former legal adviser to the Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) which initiated a legal and extra-legal strategy to effect and secure reparations in 2003. The strategy is still live and work continues on developing alternative legal and justice frameworks to adjudicate the case for Afrikan reparations which is not just about conventional legal strategies. A key pillar of such a strategy from 2004 to present includes the establishment of a UK All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) as well as the development of local, national and international configurations of the Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ), otherwise known as the Ubuntukgotlas, as an alternative justice mechanism being worked out by various representatives of the People’s International Reparations Movement (PRIM). The PRIM is essentially all other peoples who have experienced European enslavement and/or settler colonialism (Aboriginals of Australia, First Nations/ indigenous peoples, Afrikan Descendant communities in Abya Yala (the so-called Americas), Moors, Maroons, etc.).
I am currently developing competencies as one of the few activist and emerging academic his/herstorians of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and the first in the UK. My doctoral research at the University of Chichester which is being conducted in the action-research paradigm, is entitled ‘Our Movement is One: Afrikan Contributions from London Between 1990 to 2016 in Charting the Historical Trajectory of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) and focuses on reparations historiography in the UK going back to the 18th century, although my focus is on the last 25-6 years of reparations activism between 1990 and 2016. It is also the first such PhD research in the world to adopt an action learning and oral history methodology of interviewing living reparations activists as rather than focusing on the political, moral or legal arguments for reparations, I focus on what we have been doing to try and bring reparations about.
I am also conducting independent research on the role, experiences and contributions of women in the ISMAR and best practices in creating gender-just social movements. As an activist researcher and educator (currently doing my PG Cert in Education alongside my PhD, I have already done the PTLLS course, Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Leaning Sector), I am very much committed to increasing awareness of the fact that reparations is a social movement and that social movements cannot be reduced to one or another social movement organisation. My specific contributions include developing programmes and initiatives which promote, support and facilitate social movement-building, reparations social movement education (i.e. learning, teaching and praxis), training and research; law (including international law) ‘from below’, in addition to effecting and securing holistic, transformative, intersectional and intercommunal reparations.
This is the link to a video from the historic 1st August Emancipation Day March spearheaded by the Rastafari Movement UK working with a whole host of other reparations and community based organisations.
This is a recording from the event organised by the Royal African Society discussing ‘Reparations for Africa’s Diaspora: The Politics of Memory & Justice’ on 17 June 2014.
In March 2014 leaders of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) agreed to seek reparations from former slave owning and trading states in Europe. The heads of state from 15 Caribbean nations agreed upon a 10 point plan that will set the agenda for discussion with European nations. The issue of reparations has been discussed over a century by African Diaspora, and CARICOM’s challenge presents a forum and opportunity for progressive discussion around, international justice, the nature of reparations and the politics of memory.
The panel of key figures from the African Diaspora, reparations campaigners and representatives of CARICOM states discussed the impact of reparations for Africa and the Diaspora.
Ths is an article from Caribbean news http://www.caribdirect.com about the panel discussion panel which took place on 24th June 2014 with Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, University of the West Indies Vice Chancellor; Harry Goulbourne, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Race & Ethnicity Research Centre, South Bank University, as well as myself when we came together to discuss the topic ‘British Reparations for Caribbean Slavery: Why When and How’.
For more info and an edited recording from the panel discussion see here: http://www.caribdirect.com/reparations-for-the-caribbean-why-when-and-how-caribbean-news/
In formulating criteria for inclusion of those activists I include in the definition and selection of reparations activists interviewed, I draw on the definition of oppositional consciousness developed by professors of political science and sociology respectively, Jane Mansbridge and Aldon Morris. (1) They define oppositional consciousness as “an empowering mental state that prepares members of an oppressed group to undermine, reform, or overthrow a dominant system”; asserting that: “it is usually fuelled by righteous anger over injustices done to the group and prompted by personal indignities and harms suffered through one’s group membership”. (2)They go on to state that at a minimum, oppositional consciousness includes the following four elements of :“identifying with members of a subordinated group, identifying injustices done to the group, opposing those injustices, and seeing the group as having a shared interest in ending or diminishing those injustices”. (3)
The term ‘activist’ itself is contentious, as to who is an activist and what actions can be defined as activism are often contested. Nevertheless, by taking into consideration the views and perspectives of those 35 reparations activists and advocates that have been interviewed in my attempt to develop a definition and criteria for inclusion of activists I have come up with the following definition.
A reparations activist is someone who meets the following criteria:
1. They display a high level of historical as well as oppositional consciousness;
2. Their oppositional consciousness is directed at taking action, with other members of their affinity group, to repair wrongs or injustices and/or redress the harmful legacies of enslavement and colonisation;
3. Such action results in bringing about social, cultural, or political change; and
4. This change occurs through:
a) Taking oppositional stances to establishment policies that are deemed negative;
b) Challenging structures and systems of power and domination considered to be responsible for the perpetration of the enduring injustices caused by enslavement, colonisation and their legacies; and/or
c) Creating alternatives to the dominant values, system, structures or institutions.
The important point to note about the above criteria for inclusion is that not all those who are considered to be reparations activists by others, or indeed define themselves as reparations activists are necessarily included in the criteria that has been subsequently established for the purposes of this research. If it is accepted that that reparations are most meaningful in their holistic sense, then any action that someone does which contributes to the fundamental undermining and eventual uprooting of systems of disrepair arising from enslavement and colonisation can be considered a reparations action.
The key aspects being advocated in the above criteria is that a reparations activist is someone who takes action that advances the cause of holistic reparations, even if they are fully conscious of it or not. In her own assessment for inclusion, I opine that it is more useful to look at the actions that have been or are being undertaken rather than how individuals define themselves.
(1) See Jane Manbridge and Adrian Morris, ‘Oppositional Consciousness: The Subjective Roots of Social Protest’ (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2001).
(2) Ibid, p173.
(3) Op. Cit.
Feel free to comment on this definition be emailing E.stanford-xosei@chi,ac.uk