Black People : Reparations - Partial Legal Victory

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Destee, Dec 22, 2006.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Lead plaintiff Deadria Farmer-Paellman at a press conference responding to
    the court ruling on her reparations case, New York City, Dec. 14.

    African American reparations movement wins partial legal victory
    Friday, December 22, 2006
    By: Eugene Puryear

    Corporations on the hook for fraud

    On Dec. 13, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld fraud claims brought by African Americans against 15 major U.S. banks, insurers and transportation companies that concealed their slave trading histories from consumers.

    In a 17-page opinion, Judge Richard Posner said that a company that hides its slave trading history because it is worried about losing customers is "guilty of fraud." This claim was the only claim that survived the court’s opinion.

    Despite clear evidence that modern American capitalism could not be what it is today without slavery, the court opined that descendents of slaves have no legal standing to receive compensation. The ruling said that because of the statute of limitations and the "weak" link between the plaintiffs and their slave descendents, the case was not valid. This portion of the court's ruling is shortsighted and racist to the core.

    But the fact that the court upheld the plaintiffs’ consumer fraud claim is a modest, yet important legal victory for the reparations movement. It may seem insignificant, but any legal acknowledgement of the massive debt to African Americans people can only help the overall struggle for reparations and equality.

    "We applaud this historic reparations victory that has taken over 141 years to achieve," said Deadria Farmer-Paellmann, the lead plaintiff in the case and Executive Director of the Restitution Study Group. "We want the world to understand that this is not just about the institution of slavery," she stated, speaking at a press conference in New York City on Dec. 14, the day after the decision.

    Farmer-Paellmann continued, "This is about people such as James Moody, an enslaved African who was forced to work in toxic coal pits, insured by New York Life Insurance Company—people who were never paid for their labor which helped make the defendants in these cases multi-billion and trillion dollar entities."

    "This is a very significant case," said Bruce Afran, Farmer-Paellmann’s attorney. "This is the first time that a reparations case has had a victory, and it will be the beginning of others. Just like the tobacco cases began with losses and slowly began gaining wind, the reparations movement will now gather steam in the courts and gain victories."

    Imperative to achieve equality

    The issue of reparations goes far beyond capitalist laws and courts. It is a key aspect of the struggle to achieve equality for the Black population in America.

    At least 12 million Africans were kidnapped and forcibly taken to the Americas as slaves. The capitalist economic system in the United States was built largely on the backs of slave labor.

    Major banks and corporations that participated in the genocidal slave trade still exist in some form today. They reaped enormous profits from engaging in this inhuman practice. Corporations like CSX, Fleet Boston, Aetna, and JP Morgan Chase all were started with profits reaped from exploiting slave labor.

    CSX is the present permutation of a company that used slave labor to lay railroad tracks. Fleet Boston—now incorporated into Bank of America—is a bank that was founded by a slave trader.

    Aetna and JP Morgan Chase made millions insuring slaves as the property of their masters. Universities like Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Virginia also profited from slave labor.

    It is not only specific companies or schools that owe reparations; the U.S. government must pay as well. Slave labor built the White House. The so-called "founding fathers" of America owned slaves.

    For nearly 100 years, the U.S. government and their capitalist partners reaped massive profits dripping with the blood of African slaves.

    While some companies and organizations have expressed some willingness to remunerate Black people in different ways—JP Morgan started a five million dollar scholarship fund for African Americans—most have refused to acknowledge their liability for reaping benefits from the slave system.

    It is absolutely necessary that the Black community be compensated fully, with interest, for the historical racism and wrongs forced upon them by capitalist America.

    However since the true amount owed by different companies and institutions is likely to be a significant portion of their current resources, and because they still seek to make profits in any way they can, capitalist resistance is inevitable.

    Workers of all nationalities should support and fight for the just demand of reparations for the Black community. Reparations would not hurt workers one bit.

    The goal of the reparations movement has never been to take money from individuals, but to restore to Black people the wealth stolen from them by corporations, institutions and the government.

    If corporations and the U.S. government are forced to compensate fully African Americans, the working class as a whole will score an important victory in the struggle for a better world. Demanding reparations will help build much-needed working-class unity in the face of racist capitalism.

    At the conclusion of the Dec. 14 press conference, Deadria Farmer-Paellmann said, "This is my pledge to Aetna, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and all the other defendants in this case. You and your shareholders will never be free from the demand for reparations until you pay the debt."

    The wealth that built the United States and started these corporations and many more must be accounted for before there can be justice.

    --Articles can be reprinted with credit to the Party for Socialism and Liberation--

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    Destee
     
  2. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    African American reparations case wins appeal

    African American reparations case wins appeal
    by KAREN JUANITA CARRILLO
    Special to the AmNews
    Originally posted 12/21/2006

    The appeal has been won for the national class action lawsuit for African American reparations.

    The case of Farmer-Paellmann, et al. v. Brown & Williamson, et al. has been remanded by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago; it will proceed on the basis that the defendants have violated consumer fraud statutes by not disclosing their corporate history in, and profits from, African enslavement.

    “We applaud this historic reparations victory that has taken over 141 years to achieve,” lead plaintiff Deadria Farmer-Paellmann said in a statement. “We want the world to understand that this is not just about an institution of slavery. It is about 10-year-old Mary Jane, enslaved with the help of Aetna Insurance Company. It is about an infant boy labeled ‘mulatto’ who was made a slave by his father who was also his master who financed the building of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, and it is about James Moody, forced to work in toxic coal pits with help from New York Life Insurance Company.

    “These were people – and none of them were ever paid for their labor, but they helped make the defendants in these cases multi-billion and trillion dollar entities. Where is the justice! This is my pledge to Aetna, Bank of America, JP Morgan and all other defendants in this case: You and your shareholders will never be free from the demand for reparations until you pay the debt. The time is now!”

    The class-action reparations case is a suit against more than a dozen corporations who, plaintiffs allege, inherited a large portion of their wealth from African enslavement. Deadria Farmer-Paellman’s Restitution Study Group (www.rsgincorp.com), which is funding the class-action case, has asked the courts to create a Humanitarian Trust Fund, to be subsidized by the defendants, that would benefit communities of African descendants.

    The lawsuit claims that by lying about their involvement in enslaving African people, corporations like FleetBoston, Aetna life insurance, Brown Brothers Harriman, New York Life Insurance Company, Lehman Brothers, Lloyd’s of London, JP Morgan Chase, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the insurance company AIG, the Loews Corporation and others prospered due to their investments in African slavery. Some even made these investments while based in northern states, like New York, where slavery was illegal.

    After District Judge Charles R. Norgle, Sr. dismissed the case on July 6, 2005 arguments to overturn the dismissal were held this past Sept. 27. And in a decision issued on December 13, 2006, the Chicago Appeals Court held that there is merit to the lawsuit.

    “Even before the Thirteenth Amendment,” the Appeals court panel wrote in their summary of the case: “Slavery was illegal in the northern states, and the complaint charges that the defendants were violating the laws of those states in transacting with slaveowners. It also claims that there were occasional enslavements long after the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment and that some of the defendants were complicit in those too. By way of relief, the complaint seeks disgorgement to the class members of the profits that the defendants obtained from their dealings with slaveowners.”

    The 7th Circuit Court panel, which included judges Frank H. Easterbrook, Daniel A. Manion and Richard A. Posner – who are all white – was left to decide the merits of the appeal, after Ann Claire Williams – the only African American on the three-judge panel – recused herself unexpectedly and without explanation.

    The Easterbrook-Manion-Posner panel addressed the absence of Williams by stating that Williams’ recusal did not need to be justified: “Panels are randomly assigned and composed and ordinarily hear all the cases scheduled for a particular day, but sometimes a judge recuses himself or herself from a particular case, ordinarily without any explanation to the other judges or to the public. The fact that a panel does not demand an explanation—which would be an extraordinary action—cannot reasonably be thought a sign of bias, requiring the panel to recuse itself. ...The motion to recuse [this all-white panel] is DENIED.”

    New York Amsterdam News - Part of the BlackPressUSA Network

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    Destee
     
  3. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Update,


    http://destee.com/index.php?threads/reparations-movement-growing-strong-closer-than-you-think.61773/page-10#post-863207


    Reparations Movement Growing Strong...Closer than you think
    Discussion in 'Black People Politics' started by Clyde C Coger Jr, Apr 29, 2010

    http://destee.com/index.php?threads...loser-than-you-think.61773/page-4#post-637902
     
  4. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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