Black People : THE ETHICS OF REPARATIONS...

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Aqil, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Engaging the Holocaust of Enslavement

    By Dr. Maulana Karenga
    California State University

    The Organization Us Position Statements:

    The struggle for reparations for the Holocaust of Enslavement of African people is clearly one of the most important struggles being waged in the world today. For it is about fundamental issues of human freedom, human justice and the value we place on human life in the past as well as in the present and future. It is a struggle which, of necessity, contributes to our regaining and refreshing our historical memory as a people remembering and raising up the rightful claims of our ancestors to lives of dignity and decency and to our reaffirming and securing the rights of their descendants to live free, full and meaningful lives in our times.

    But this struggle, like all our struggles, begins with the need for a clear conception of what we want, how we define the issue and explain it to the world and what is to be done to achieve it. The struggle for reparations begins with the definition of the horrendous injury to African people which demands repair. To talk of reparations is first to identify and define the injury, to say what it is and is not, to define its nature and its impact on the one(s) injured. Unless this is done first and maintained throughout the process, there is no case for reparations only an incoherent set of claims without basis in ethics or law.

    This is why the established order works so hard to define away the historical and ongoing character of the injury. This is especially done in two basic ways. First, the injury is distorted and hidden under the category of "slave trade." The category trade tends to sanitize the high level of violence and mass murder that was inflicted on African peoples and societies. If the categorization of the Holocaust of Enslavement can be reduced to the category of "trade" two things happen. First, it becomes more of a commercial issue and problem than a moral one. And secondly, since trade is the primary focus, the mass murder or genocide can be and often is conveniently understood and accepted a simply collateral damage.

    A second attempt of the established order to deny the horrendous nature of the injury and its essential responsibility for it is to claim collaboration of the victims in their own victimization. Here it is morally and factually important to make a distinction between collaborators among the people and the people themselves. Every people faced with conquest, oppression and destruction has had collaborators among them, but it is factually inaccurate and morally wrong and repulsive to indict a whole people for a holocaust which was imposed on them on them and was aided by collaborators. Every holocaust had collaborators: the Native Americans, Jews, Australoids, Armenians and Africans. No one morally sensitive claims Jews are responsible for their holocaust based on the evidence of Jewish collaborators. How then are Africans indicted for the collaborators among them?

    Although there are other ways, the established order seeks to undermine the factual and moral basis of the African claim for reparations, these two are indispensable to its efforts. And thus, they must be raised up and rejected constantly, for they speak to the indispensable need to define the injury to African people and to maintain control of it. As Us has maintained since the sixties concerning European cultural hegemony, one of the greatest powers in the world is to be able to define reality and make others accept it even when it's to their disadvantage. And it is this power to define the injury of holocaust as trade and self-victimization and make Africans accept it, that has dominated the discourse on enslavement in America. Our task it to reframe the discourse and initiate a new national dialogue on this.
     
  2. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    We have argued that the injury just be defined as holocaust. By holocaust we mean a morally monstrous act of genocide that is not only against the people themselves, but also a crime against humanity. The Holocaust of Enslavement expresses itself in three basic ways: the morally monstrous destruction of human life, human culture and human possibility.

    In terms of the destruction of human life, estimates run as high as ten to a hundred million persons killed individually and collectively in various brutal and vicious ways. The destruction of culture includes the destruction of centers, products and producers of culture: cities, towns, villages, libraries, great literatures (written and oral), and works of art and other cultural creations as well as the creative and killed persons who produced them.

    And finally, the morally monstrous destruction of human possibility involved redefining African humanity to the world, poisoning past, present and future relations with others who only knew us through this stereotyping, and thus damaging the truly human relations among peoples. It also involves lifting Africans out of their own history, making them a footnote and forgotten casualty in European history, and thus limiting and denying their ability to speak their own special cultural truth to the world, and make their own unique contribution to the forward flow of human history.

    It is there that the issue of stolen labor and ill-gotten gains which is seen as important to the legal case can be raised. For in removing us from our own history, enslaving us and brutally exploiting our labor, it limited and prevented us from building our own future and living the lives of dignity and decency which is our human right.

    At this point, it is important to stress the role of intentionality in the Holocaust. Again, discussion of the Holocaust as a commercial project often leads to an understanding of the massive violence and mass murder as intended collateral damage. Thus, to frame it rightfully as a moral issue rather than a commercial one, we must use terms of discourse which speak not only to the human costs, but to the element of intentionality. It is in this regard that Us maintains that maangamizi, the Swahili term for Holocaust, is more appropriate than its alternative category maafa. For maafa, which means calamity, accident, ill-luck, disaster, or damage does not indicate intentionality. It could be a natural disaster or a deadly highway accident. But "maagamizi" is derived from the verb angamiza, which means to cause destruction, to utterly destroy and thus carries with it a sense of intentionality. The "a" prefix suggests an amplified destruction and thus speaks to the massive nature of the Holocaust.

    Clearly, it is issues like these and the ones discussed below which require an expanded communal, national and international dialogue, which precedes and makes possible a final decision on the definition and meaning of the Holocaust, and the morally and legally compelling steps which must be taken to repair this horrendous past and ongoing injury. Regardless of the eventual shape of the evolved discourse and policy on reparations, there are five essential aspects which must be addressed and included in any meaningful and moral approach to reparations. They are public admission, public apology, public recognition, compensation, and institutional preventive measures against the recurrence of a holocaust and other similar forms of massive destruction of human life, human culture and human possibility.
     
  3. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    First, there must be public admission of Holocaust committed against African people by the state and the people. This, of course, must be preceded by a public discussion or national conversation in which whites overcome their acute denial of the nature and extent of injuries inflicted on African people and concede that the most morally appropriate term for this utter destruction of human life, human culture and human possibility is holocaust.

    Secondly, once there is public discussion and concession on the nature and extent of the injury, then there must be public apology. One of the reasons we rejected the one-sentence attempt to get a Congressional apology is that it was premature, and did not allow for discussion and admission of holocaust. In addition, as the injured party, Africans must initiate and maintain control of the definition and discussion of the injury.

    No one would suggest or contemplate Germans superceding Jewish initiatives and claims concerning their holocaust, nor Turks seizing the initiative in the resolution of the Armenian holocaust claims. The point here is that Africans must define the framework for the discussion and determine the content of the apology. And, of course, the apology can't be for "slave trade," or simply "slavery"; it must be an apology for committing holocaust. Moreover, the state must offer it on behalf of its white citizens. For the state is the crime partner with corporations in the initiation, conduct and sustaining of this destructive process. It maintained and supported the system of destruction with law, army, ideology and brutal suppression. Thus, it must offer the apology for holocaust committed.

    Thirdly, public admission and public apology must be reinforced with public recognition through institutional establishment, monumental construction, educational instruction through the school and university system and the media directed toward teaching and preserving memory of the horror and meaning of the Holocaust of enslavement, not only for Africans and this country, but also for humanity as a whole.

    (Here it is important to note that the first holocaust memorial should have been for Native Americans who suffered the first holocaust in this hemisphere. And we must address their holocaust concerns and claims as a matter of principle, and with the understanding that until and unless they receive justice in their rightful claims, the country can never call itself a free, just or good society.)

    Fourthly, reparations also requires compensation in various forms. Compensation can never be simply money payoffs either individually or collectively. Nor should the movement for reparations be reduced to simply a quest for compensation without addressing the other four aspects. Indeed, compensation itself is a multidimensional demand and option and may involve not only money, but land, free health care, housing, free education from grade school through college, etc. But whether we choose one or all, we must have a communal discussion of it and then make the choice. Moreover, compensation as an issue is not simply compensation for lost labor, but for the comprehensive injury - the brutal destruction of human lives, human cultures and human possibilities.

    Finally, reparations requires that in the midst of our national conversation, we must discuss and commit ourselves to continue the struggle to establish measures to prevent the occurrence of such massive destruction of human life, human culture and human possibility. This means that we must see and approach the reparations struggle as part and parcel of our overall struggle for freedom, justice, equality and power in and over our destiny and daily lives.

    In the final analysis, this requires the bringing into being a just and good society and the creation of a context for maximum human freedom and human flourishing. Indeed, it is only in such a context that we can truly begin to repair and heal ourselves, our injuries, return fully to our own history, live free, full, meaningful and productive lives and bring into being the good world we all want and deserve to live in.

    (Extracted from a paper titled "The Ethics of Reparations: Engaging the Holocaust of Enslavement," at The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) Convention, Baton Rouge, LA, 2001 June 22-23)
     
  4. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    From the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA):

    What is Reparations?

    Reparations is a process of repairing, healing and restoring a people injured because of their group identity and in violation of their fundamental human rights by governments or corporations. Those groups that have been injured have the right to obtain from the government or corporation responsible for the injuries that which they need to repair and heal themselves. In addition to being a demand for justice, it is a principle of international human rights law. As a remedy, it is similar to the remedy for damages in national law that holds a person responsible for injuries suffered by another when the infliction of the injury violates domestic law. Examples of groups that have obtained reparations include Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust, Japanese Americans interned in concentration camps in the United States during WWII, Alaska Natives for land, labor, and resources taken, victims of the massacre in Rosewood, Florida and their descendants, Native Americans as a remedy for violations of treaty rights, and political dissenters in Argentina and their descendants.

    What is N'COBRA?

    The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America is a mass-based coalition organized for the sole purpose of obtaining reparations for African descendants in the United States. It was organized in late 1987 and early 1988, to broaden the base of support for the long-standing reparations movement. Organizational founders of N'COBRA include the New Afrikan Peoples Organization, the National Conference of Black Lawyers and the Republic of New Afrika. It has individual members and organizational affiliates, a few of which include the National Association of Black Social Workers, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, National Black United Front, Black Reparations Commission, and the International Peoples' Democratic Uhuru Movement. N'COBRA has chapters throughout the U. S. and in Ghana and London. It is directed nationally by a board of directors. Its work is organized through nine national commissions: Economic Development, Human Resources, Legal Strategies, Legislative, Information and Media, Membership and Organizational Development, International, Youth and Education.

    Mission

    The mission of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA) is to win full reparations for Black African descendants residing in the United States and its territories for the genocidal war against Africans that created the TransAtlantic Slave “Trade,” Chattel Slavery, Jim Crow and chattel slavery’s continuing vestiges (the Maafa). To that end, N’ COBRA shall organize and mobilize all strata of these Black communities into an effective mass-based reparations movement. N’COBRA shall also serve as a coordinating body for the reparations effort in the United States. Further, through its leadership role in the reparations movement within the United States and its territories, N’COBRA recognizes reparations is a just demand for all African peoples and shall join with others in building the international reparations movement.

    Why are African Descendants Entitled to Reparations?

    The Trans-Atlantic Slave "Trade" and chattel slavery, more appropriately called the Holocaust of Enslavement (or Maafa), was a crime against humanity. Millions of Africans were brutalized, murdered, raped and tortured. They were torn from their families in Africa, kidnapped and lost family and community associations. African peoples in the United States and the prior colonies were denied the right to maintain their language, spiritual practices and even normal family relations, always under the threat of being torn from newly created families at the whim of the "slave owner."

    This form of dehumanization, chattel slavery, lasted officially from 1619 to 1865. This was followed by 100 years of virtual re-enslavement through a series of laws and practices such as Black Codes, convict lease, sharecropping, peonage, and Jim Crow practices of separate and unequal accommodations. African descendants continue to be denied rights of self-determination, inheritance, and full participation in the United States government and society. The laws and practices in the United States continue to treat African peoples in a manner similar to slavery - maintaining dual systems in virtually every area of life including punishment, health care, education and wealth, maintaining the fiction of White superiority and African and African descendants inferiority.

    Is an Apology Necessary?

    A necessary requirement of all forms of reparations is an acknowledgment by the government or corporation that it committed acts that violated the human rights of those making the claim for reparations. Some groups may want an explicit apology, however, neither the acknowledgement nor apology is sufficient - there must be material forms of reparations that accompany the acknowledgment or apology.

    What Forms Should Reparations Take?

    Reparations can be in as many forms as necessary to equitably (fairly) address the many forms of injury sustained from chattel slavery, and its continuing vestiges. The material forms of reparations include cash payments, land, economic development, and repatriation resources particularly to those who are descendants of enslaved Africans. Other forms of reparations for Black people of African descent include funds for scholarships and community development; creation of multi-media depictions of the history of Black people of African descent and textbooks for educational institutions that tell the story from the African descendants perspective; development of historical monuments and museums; the return of artifacts and art to appropriate people or institutions; exoneration of political prisoners; and, the elimination of laws and practices that maintain dual systems in the major areas of life including the punishment system, health, education and the financial/economic system. The forms of reparations received should improve the lives of African descendents in the United States for future generations to come; foster complete economic, social and political parity; and allow for full rights of self-determination.

    Who Should Receive Reparations?

    Within the broadest definition, all Black people of African descent in the United States should receive reparations in the form of changes in or elimination of laws and practices that allow them to be treated differently and less well than White people. For example, ending racial profiling and discrimination in the provision of health care, providing scholarship and community development funds for Black people of African descent, and supporting processes of self determination will not only benefit descendants of enslaved Africans, but all African descendant peoples in the United States who because of their color are victims of the vestiges of slavery. This is similar to the Rosewood, Florida reparations package, where some forms of reparations were provided only to persons who descended from those who were injured, died and lost their homes and other forms were made available to all Black people of African descent in Florida.

    Who Must Make Reprations?

    N'COBRA seeks reparations at this time from two groups: governments and corporations. There are individuals, families, and religious institutions that directly benefited from slavery in the United States, and who, if acting in good faith, would contribute to reparations funds for use in assisting in the reparations process. However, we choose to focus on government and corporations because of their particular role in the horrific tragedies of chattel slavery and the continuing vestiges of slavery we live with today.

    In addition, we recognize that all White people to some extent have benefited from slavery and the underlying lie of white supremacy that allowed it to exist for two and one-half centuries in the United States. This lie has led to what is commonly called "white-skin privilege" and results in unspoken benefits to White people. The process of reparations would include creating ways to change the culture of "white-skin privilege" that was created to sustain chattel slavery and its continuing vestiges.

    How Will the U.S. and its Residents Benefit?

    Reparations are a way of making peace with the past. Reparations will allow United States' residents to make peace with a significant part of this country's shameful past and end the intergenerational trauma of its current effects. It will allow the story of the Maafa (The Trans-Atlantic Slave "Trade" and chattel slavery), Jim Crow and ongoing racial discrimination and violence against Black people of African descent to be accurately recorded and inclusive of the African descendant's perspective. It will demonstrate the link between chattel slavery and the current social, health, economic and political status of African descendants and therefore destroy the myth of White Supremacy.

    In setting the record straight and devising and implementing reparations packages to aid in healing African descendants, the nation as a whole will become stronger. Truth and atonement are essential ingredients for a just and peaceful society. Although some may assert that reparations will increase racial divisiveness, this does not have to be the result. Indeed, it should decrease racial divisiveness because it is an acknowledgment that allows us to go forward rather than remain stuck in the pain of the present that is caused by the unresolved pain of the past.

    What Strategies Does N'COBRA Utilize and Endorse?

    Since its inception, N'COBRA has embraced public education, mobilization, organization, and more recently, transformation, to obtain reparations. It has organized town hall meetings and rallies in cities throughout the United States, bringing long-time reparations advocates, the newly converted and skeptics together to talk about the necessity of reparations to obtain racial justice. Its members and leaders have participated in conferences, radio and television programs and people's tribunals discussing conditions that require reparations and strategies for moving forward. N'COBRA publishes an annual magazine, ENCOBRA, and a periodic newsletter and has a website (www.ncobra.org).

    N'COBRA supports legislative strategies and initiatives, such as H.R. 40, the Reparations Study Bill, introduced by Congressman John Conyers annually since 1989. It recognizes that the passage of this bill is important to obtaining reparations and remains committed to this process although Congress has not yet favorably acted upon it. N'COBRA puts this in context: it took 12 years for Congressman Conyers to obtain success in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Bill, a bill much less contentious than a reparations study bill for African descendants. N'COBRA has organized a number of legislative lobby days on Capitol Hill during which hundreds of people lobbied Members of Congress to support H.R. 40. N'COBRA's Commission on Legislation has embarked on a project, "A Year of Black Presence," inspired by The Debt by Randall Robinson. This project will enhance N'COBRA's presence on Capitol Hill, by bringing thousands of reparations supporters to lobby for passage of H.R. 40.

    N'COBRA also supports State and municipal legislative initiatives. Its members have participated in the successful efforts in Michigan, Louisiana, the District of Columbia, California, Illinois, Ohio and other places to obtain resolutions in support of reparations initiatives.

    N'COBRA is developing lawsuits that will raise the issue of the legal right of African descendants to reparations based on the continuing vestiges of slavery. These lawsuits will focus on the many areas in which we as African people continue to suffer due to the legacy of slavery that include health, wealth/poverty, education, self-determination and the imposition of criminal punishments.

    N'COBRA engages in direct action to obtain reparations. Its leadership organized a highway slowdown on the Washington Metropolitan Area Beltway in the early 90s as well as demonstrations in front of federal buildings on what has become Reparations Awareness Day, February 25. The Economic Development Commission has begun an annual demonstration on April 4, on which day people are asked to boycott school or work and engage in reparations education and mobilization activities. N'COBRA also joins in direct action organized by other groups such as the Millions for Reparations Rally.

    What is N'COBRA's Relationship to the International Reparations Movement?

    Although N'COBRA's primary focus is on obtaining reparations for African descendants in the United States, it is a part of the international movement for reparations. Under the leadership of its International Commission, N'COBRA works closely with Africans, African descendants and supporters of reparations for Africans and African descendants throughout the world. N'COBRA members were very active during the preparatory process for the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) and the Non-Governmental Organization Forum and government conference held in Durban, South Africa August 28-September 8, 2001. N'COBRA members are also active in the African and African Descendants Caucus that was formed during the WCAR preparatory process and continues to work on reparations internationally. N'COBRA understands the connection among the status of Africans and African descendants in the United States, throughout the Diaspora, Africans on the Continent and Africa. N'COBRA acknowledges that the success of the movement for reparations for Africans anywhere advances the movement for reparations for Africans and African descendants everywhere.

    [National Coalition Of Blacks for Reparations in America (N'COBRA) P.O. Box 90604 - Washington, DC 20090, E-mail [email protected]]
     
  5. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Thank you both for sharing this information, but i must ask you to stop adding property / articles that belong to others, without including the owner's permission with their property. Please review our forum rules if necessary.

    As a matter of fact, in an effort for us to be consistent regarding our rules, the words above that don't belong to you, should be removed, or edited (leaving only a small portion of the article) and a link to the site where we can go read it for ourself.

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  6. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The Negro Jay Parker (aka J. A. Parker) was a registered foreign agent for the former white South African government. His job was to make it seem like the racist system of apartheid was a good thing, and that Blacks were doing OK over there. Two of the people he hired to spread that lie was Justice Clarence Thomas and Alan Keyes...
     
  7. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    How ridiculous, If there were no slave trade, Mali Ghana and Songhay would be world powers, even greater than they were 500 years ago!
     
  8. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Wow, you dropped a serious :bomb: on this cat Parker :rolling:
     
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