Learning and Education for a Post (Afrikan) Reparations World-Order

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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. [1]

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:

https://reparationsscholaractivist.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/450/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ARTCoP-For-Reparations/532289696917403
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ARTCoP4Repairs
Email: artcop.edu@gmail.com

References

[1] 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.

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