Calling for Reparations for Africa’s Ascendants in the “u.s.a.”
By Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at*
Greetings of IMANI (FAITH) Esteemed Sister and Brother Leaders,
i/WE feel very blessed to offer, for review and consideration, this “Contribution and Black-Print to the (Proposed) Ten Point Program: Calling for Reparations for Africa’s Ascendants in the ’united states of america.’” Unfortunately, i/WE missed the 1 March 2015 “Time-line” primarily due to the Ancestral and Spiritual Transformation of our beloved Goddess JOANNA “JO-GO” GOLDEN, in late February of this year. For several decades, our dear Joanna organized, represented and negotiated for improvements in the working conditions and lives on behalf of thousands of workers in California and Nevada. She became a member of our National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) in the late 1990s, and contributed to our efforts to educate and organize others for our just and overdue Reparations. Ase`. Amen.
As is the case for All of our present work, what is offered in this brief expose, has as its basis a number of platforms and advocacy campaigns from yesteryear and yesterday. Our predecessors from the previous century alone, gave us a solid Black-print for our demands and actions for Reparations of this day and these times. So, WE recognize and honor the incredible visionaries and ongoing contributions of our pre-and-post “reconstruction-era” Convention movements, the National Ex-Slave Mutual Relief and Pension Fund, Universal Negro Improvement Association, Nation of Islam, Organization of Afro-American Unity, Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Republic of New Afrika, African People’s Socialist Party, National Black United Front, New Afrikan People’s Organization, December 12th Movement, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, State of the Race conferences, several African tribunals, as well as our N’COBRA , our Foundations for Our New Alkebulan/Afrikan Millennium (FONAMI) and Africans Deserve Reparations campaign (and numerous other organizations and individual leaders).
My starting point for the (Proposed) Ten Point Platform is further developed from my own OVERstanding—expressed in three of my books Dripping With Blood! (1999); Reparations Sasa (Now)! (2007); and, Many Paths To Kugichagulia/Self-Determination (2015)—that Reparations are about much more… than just a check (or money)! Reparations for African people in the u.s.a. can come in any form that our people feel are needed to increase the truth, justice and healing… and, are willing to mobilize our collective power to achieve. Therefore, our Reparations demands are not static, or final. They must be worked-out by involving more and more of our people from All sectors in the conversation; not just from the minds of WE, supposedly, “enlightened” Souls. In addition, i/WE share the following ten points keeping in mind what one of my mentors, and our beloved Ancestor, Dr. IMARI ABUBAKARI OBADELE, often expressed: that the demands WE articulate now are merely downpayments to begin the negotiations with… until WE involve a true majority of our people! Ase`. Amen.
1) WE Deserve and Demand the organization of democratic Plebiscites for Kugichagulia (Self-Determination) facilitated by true representatives of African people in the “united states of america”—and paid for by the government of the usa—to give our people the opportunity to decide on our Reparations needs and futures! African ascendants of those enslaved in the “13 Euro-colonies,” “u.s.a.” and its so-called “territories” have never been extended the right to determine their political as well as economic priorities. After the enslavement period was “officially” ended in 1865, an up until this very day, a “second-class” citizenship was forced onto the masses of our people. This horrific state-of-domestic abuse has been enforced through continuing state terror and mostly un-checked criminal white citizen brutality; racist federal, state and local laws; the unjust state-led mass and corporate imprisonment, jailing and killing of millions; and, ongoing taxation without equal representation.
2) WE Deserve and Demand an official Apology to African ascendants in the u.s.a., and to continental and diasporan African nations, from All Branches of the U.S. Federal Government – Executive, Legislative and Judicial (as well as the Military establishment and Corporate classes)—for their roles in the destructive war(s), brutal enslavement and dehumanizing colonization of our people! WE recommend beginning with a repeal of the 13th Amendment (which upholds slavery if one is “convicted of a crime”) and re-writing of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, WE call on each Branch to work with representatives of African people’s Plebiscites for Kugichagulia to begin uncovering the many crimes against our humanity and start correcting the wrongs through a processes of research, truth-telling and Reparations (through changing names of public institutions named after enslavers, etc, etc.)
3) WE Deserve and Demand immediate hearings on H.R. 40, “The Commission to Study Reparations Proposals for African Americans Act,” sponsored by Congressman John Conyers of Detroit, Michigan! WE Deserve and Demand additional congressional hearings on the U.S. government’s repressive “counter-intelligence program (cointelpro)” which was aimed at dividing and destroying African and progressive organizations and leadership!
4) WE Deserve and Demand the immediate release, and/or amnesty and restitution for our hundreds of falsely imprisoned and exiled political leaders, activists and former members of formations such as our Black Panther Party, Republic of New Afrika, Black Liberation Army, Puerto Rican Independence and Indigenous Nations’ movements!
5) WE Deserve and Demand the abolition of the prison industry, a permanent end to the death penalty and the immediate release of All persons of African ancestry not convicted of a violent crimes with restitution and living benefits (nutrition, housing, medical care, education, training and employment, etc.)! WE Demand new trials for African people charged and “convicted” of violent crimes, based on wide-spread prosecutorial, jury and judicial bias!
6) WE Deserve and Demand a redistribution of the fertile former “plantation” lands in “down-south” as well as “up-south (northern)” areas so that African people can begin farming and building independent, self-determined and self-sufficient communities and/or independent nations! WE Deserve and Demand the necessary technology to help us address the worsening climate and environmental crises and destructive (brought to us by the same for-profit “stock” with the same “bonds” who gave us the horrific capitalistic war, enslavement and continuing crimes against African people and others).
7) WE Deserve and Demand trillions of dollars in “Reparations Economic Development and Technology Fund” to support our collective community and land re-development efforts… and for individuals and families to support their self-determined and/or repatriation plans!
8) WE Deserve and Demand trillions in our “Reparations Educational, Cultural and Technology Fund” to give our children and adults the opportunity to learn our true story of humanity; the contributions of African people, and others; to develop our skills as superb thinkers and builders; as well as to gain the OVERstanding of the crimes against our people, and its impact, past and present!
9) WE Deserve and Demand trillions in Nutrition, Medical and Mental Care funds to assist us in healing from nearly half of a millennium of terrorist kidnapping, trading and enslavement; forced and unpaid labor; separation from and robbery of our Spiritual and cultural traditions; racist mis-education; and, continuing societal and economic separate and unequal quality of life in every area; and, much more!
10) WE Demand and fully support Deserved Reparations—paid by the government, military and corporations of the u.s.a.—to our continental and diasporan African nations (and Indigenous nations and “territories” of the u.s.a.) decided on through democratic Plebiscite processes.
WE are grateful for this opportunity to share our Contribution and Black-Print to the Ten Point Platform for Reparations. Constructive reviews, recommendations and revisions are most welcome. In the Spirit of our great Ancestor MARCUS GARVEY, may WE move “FORWARD EVER! BACKWARDS NEVER!” towards our just Reparations! Ase`. Amen.
*Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at (fka European enslavement name, J. “Harry” Armstrong) is long-time justice, community, labor and environmental justice organizer in Chicago, Kansas City, New York and the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area. He is a Life Member and past National Co-Chair of N’COBRA and former Editor/Publisher of REPARATIONS NOW: Self-Determination! Justice! Healing! Baba Jahahara has also authored several books (including the three on Reparations mentioned above); and has composed, recorded and performed worldwide numerous original songs from his now 11