Rally and March against crack cocaine and Gun Violence

Discussion in 'Brixton' started by pooka, Jul 24, 2002.

  1. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Well, all I know about the Pan Africanists in a personal sense rather than reading about them, is that Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Govt. is Pan-African. The Pan-African Movement don't much care for the African National Congress (ANC)...this meant that black friends in Zimbabwe had to wait for us friends here in London to send newspaper cuttings and videos about the release of Nelson Mandela from prison because it rated barely a terse sentence in newspapers in Zimbabwe (the big news in Zimbabwe that day was the wedding of Sally Mugabe's niece :rolleyes: )

    I'm a bit glad actually that the march has been postponed because it was too damn hot today.....my son got quite queasy and distressed by the heat and had to be led into the air-conditioned coolness of the Albert for cold drink and lie-down (no smart-arse remarks about being in the genes you bastards!)

  2. Wireman

    Wireman Brixton Wannabe

    Mrs M

    Whaddaya mean "lazy tabloid hacks"?

    Lazy Tabloid Hack (well, it's just way too hot)

  3. moon

    moon Happy Happy Jo Wonderland

    Lots of misinformation on this thread :rolleyes:

    The other rally had been organised as part of a worldwide event to discuss the issue of reparations for slavery and to celebrate the birthday of Marcus Garvey who was born on August 17th 1887. Similar meetings were synchronised to occur all over the world on that day, the rally in Brixton had been organised well in advance of the Trident rally, the organisers had asked Lee Jasper to link the two events/issues for some time, but had received no reply.

    Whilst acknowledging that there is a problem with guns and crack in the community they sought to solve the problems using a more holistic approach and concerns were raised about the fact that black people in Brixton do not manufacture the guns or the crack which are multi million pound industries, yet these products are finding their way into black communities leading to further criminalisation of these communities.

    The Pan-Africanist's organised the rally, but the people who contributed were black community groups and leaders from all across London, this included Uhuru, the Society of Black Lawyers, the Campaign for Truth and Justice, the African Peoples Socialist Party, the Nation of Islam, the black clergy etc etc as well as speakers from Barbados, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

    The message being given was that now was a critical time for Africans and members of the diaspora, terrible things are occurring in Africa and the wounds of slavery still haven't been healed. It was a time for healing and action.

    Further meetings were organised as an offshoot from this event, a delegation was organised to send to the African and African Descendants World Conference Against Racism (AAD WCAR) to be held in Barbados on 2.10.02,
    a petition was prepared to take the British government and Monarchy to court over the issue of reparations and over £500 was raised to pay for the event which had received no government grants or other official funding.

    The only downside the event was when the police, who had been watching the event from a distance, decided to harass a white girl who was sitting with some black friends, they kept asking her name and where she was from, a black man confronted the police as to their reasons for asking the questions afterwhich the police turned on this man. Luckily we managed to pull the guy away so that nothing could spoil the peaceful demonstration, the police then wandered off apparently having lost all interest in the young white girl that they were so apparently concerned about earlier. :rolleyes:

  4. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Before I turned up I had already been told that there was to be a 'counter-demonstration' but no other information other than there was a possibility of trouble...Apart from the dates fuck-up, I think that put some people off from attending......at least one person that I know of didn't come because of that info.....I knew nothing about the other event until I had been there for a while.....it was then obvious that it wasn't counter at all....just different.....doesn't surprise me that there was a 'Lee Jasper didn't get back to us' element...he's famous for that, and I have been a victim of this myself before. It was a real shame that some young performers from JA and America didn't get to perform at the event....They are going back tomorrow I think......

    I looked for you there Jo but I got bad-vibed a bit when I came over, & my boy felt ill so I didn't persevere...glad you had an interesting day......
  5. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    No disrespect to the demo Jo, if it was as you describe it, and thanks for that additional information. I suppose I was guilty of going on what had already appeared on the thread, and on a very fleeting top deck of bus impression ....

    It certainly does seem though that there was a fair amount of confusion and disorganisation ... ????

    Are hatboy and others completely wrong about all this, then?? :confused:
  6. moon

    moon Happy Happy Jo Wonderland

    I'm not sure William, I turned up for the Trident rally at 1pm but found mostly members of the press and police hanging around in an empty square.

    I moved over to the other square to see what was happening at the reparations demo then found that the Trident rally had been called off.

    I guess organising 2 rallies on the same day in the same place could lead to confusion, it would be interesting to know who grants permission for these rallies to take place and find out why both events were allowed to clash.

    I heard that the Trident rally has only been postponed for a couple of weeks which will allow people to attend at a later date.
  7. pooka

    pooka Can't Re Member

    Thanks for that additional information, Jo, and nice to have met you.

    It wasn't clear to me at the time whether the Reparations rally had been organised as a spoiler, although it struck me that it was well organised if that was the case. But, on getting back home and reading up on it, it was clear that this was part of a global event timed to coincided with Marcus Garvey's anniversary. So, a major cock up of organisation which may well be down to Lee Jasper or not.

    That said, I don't see how the two could have been combined. A single rally which said we're sick of this stuff and we want it tackled at every aspect of the supply chain, and not just demonising black people, would attract broad support. But if you mix in some of the frankly racist stuff that the Reparations demo was coming out with, you would alienate the majority community in Lambeth. In that respect, there were a number of well known Lambeth figures (black and white) turned up to the Crack rally. I didn't recognise any of the people prominent at the Reparations rally as being local; why did they choose Brixton rather than some central point?

    On the point of Reparations, I'm unclear on what basis this is meant to work. Who pays whom, and how much? From my viewpoint the best way to make reparations is to:

    Face up to the lessons of history;
    For the West to accept their responsibilities for the state Africa is in;
    To defeat racism in the West, ensuring equality of opportunity regardless of race, inclusing positive action to level the playing field.

    It wasn't clear to me that that was what the Reparations rally was about.

    As regards the policing, I'm sorry to hear your friend was hassled. Everything I saw, at both events, was extremely low key.
  8. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    I recognised a few faces at the Reparations Rally, but they weren't speakers....unfortunately they were people I think would have been on the Trident march...because the Trident one wasn't very clearly defined, and was running pretty late (the sound lorry, music etc not there) people just went to the Reparations thing which appeared to be the only thing going on.
  9. John Wisehammer

    John Wisehammer lifestyle trendy vicar

    I'd be very interested to hear anything from reparations supporters, esp wrt to deciding who pays what and how much.
  10. Mrs Magpie

    Mrs Magpie On a bit of break...

    Well, I'm no expert, the info here was from the World Service. In America what is being asked for by the reparation movement is better education, housing and health care, which seems fair enough....black women in America are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white American women....Slavery is not that long ago...,three generations maybe? And certainly the most appalling lack of civil rights existed in my lifetime, both here and in the USA. Things are better but still not good enough.
  11. ats

    ats Well-Known Member

    If that's true, then it's completely pointless.

    That was one of the worst-organised demonstrations I've ever seen (aand as a veteran of the disability movement, I have more than a little experience of badly-organised demonstrations).

    When I arrived at 12.30, en route to meet pooka and Mrs M in the Albert, I thought I'd got the wrong day. There was nothing in Windrush Square apart from three police officers. No sign of a stage, or banner announcing the march, groups starting to line up or people milling around.

    At no point did any banner appear to say there was a demonstration. In terms of making things visible, we did a better job when four of us organised the Brian Paddick stall at the country show. Would it have killed them to pay a couple of hundred quid for some balloons?

    It didn't help that the fliers put out had given the wrong date, and that it had been organised on the same day as the reparations thing. But it looked like the basic problem was that no-one had done the basic spadework you need to bring people out on the streets. For something like this, about community concerns, all the church groups and residents groups and neighbourhood watches should all have been represented. But obviously, no-one had got them involved.

    It's just not good enough to organise a few speakers and a band and assume that vast crowds are going to turn up. I would have thought Lee Jasper ws an experienced enough politician to know that.
  12. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Sounds harsh but fair to me, ats ...
  13. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    Personally I think there's a place for separatism, although I would see it as a tactic rather than an ultimate goal. I mean if people can't organise separately to discuss common issues, how are they even going to be able to define the problem? Not to mention the sense of empowerment that being part of a separatist community for a period can give you. I learnt and benefited a lot from my phase as a separatist feminist. Even though it's not something I'd want to argue for as some kind of permanent solution, it gave me a step up and I respect other people's right to experience the same thing.
  14. Mr Retro

    Mr Retro Beware hedgehogs

    Since Saturday I've been reading up on separatism and I can't see how there is any place for it in a multicultural society in any shape or form.

    Don't you think it would be very difficult for somebody who feels disriminated against, and so turns to black seperatism as a tactic to have their voice heard, to then turn their back on that empowerment?
  15. pooka

    pooka Can't Re Member

    I understand the point you're making Jo, but the question is how to encompass difference and commonality. It's understandable that groups of people that have a common experience should want to work together to develop their understanding and strategies for change. But that can all too easily end up digging trenches between themselves and other groups which become very hard to bridge later.

    Whilst its possible for individuals to move from a "separatist" mindset to an inclusive one, its much harder for organisations that define themselves in terms of difference. Not least because the most influential individuals in such organisations will have most to loose. In a different context, Northern Ireland gives us a good example of how the institutionalisation of polarity becomes rooted.
  16. hatboy

    hatboy Banned Banned

    Separatism has no place in my world Ruby.

    That's a good photo Jo (and as you know I've no problem being surrounded by black folks), but when I went the atmosphere was unfriendly and a speaker was shouting crap about "black people this... white people that..." as I said. While I might appreciate some of the motives and emotion behind the concept of "reparation" I've no time for humourless blokes screaming their divisive views through megaphones... whoever they are.
  17. fat hamster

    fat hamster Banned Banned

    If black separatism can be compared with feminist separatism, (and I write as a white woman, so how can I know?) then I would say the empowerment which one gains from having one's voice heard by one's own people is not lost when one later chooses to work in the wider world.

    I feel the same as Ruby when I remember my separatist days, "it gave me a step up and I respect other people's right to experience the same thing".
  18. fat hamster

    fat hamster Banned Banned

    Ooops! Btw, I'm not from Brixton (tho' I was arrested and strip searched there thirty years ago, but that's another story! ;) ), but I have been following this thread with interest because of the crack problem in Bristol. So I hope it's okay to post here ...
  19. fat hamster

    fat hamster Banned Banned

    At the risk of sticking my neck out altogether too far in someone else's forum: try substituting, "women this" ... "men that", or even, "gay people this ... straight people that". Still humourless and divisive, I agree, but perhaps easier for a white gay man to relate to?
  20. RubyToogood

    RubyToogood can't remember what goes here

    Exactly, FH.

    When I was younger I didn't feel that there was a place for me in society, so I found a society that DID have a place for me in it. For the first time I felt accepted and valued and it transformed my experience of the world for the better. I can well imagine black people feeling the same in a predominantly white society.

    And if black people choose to organise separately I don't expect to be welcomed into those places, why would I? It's not about that. And perhaps they're giving back some of the unwelcomingness they feel from white society - not necessarily justifiable but certainly understandable.

    [edited to remove some stuff]
  21. moon

    moon Happy Happy Jo Wonderland

    Hatboy I can understand that you felt uncomfortable, I was also accused of being a spy because I was taking pictures at the rally :rolleyes:

    On the issue of Reparations I have tried to write a synopsis of the justification for reparations and how these might be delivered, I have used information from speakers at the rally and some of the leaflets handed out, but it is only a rough and brief translation.

    Justified because

    Reparations have been paid to Jewish people by the German government.
    Reparations were paid to slave owners at the time of abolition for loss of trade which amounted to £20million, (much more in today's money).
    Maori people have received reparations from the new Zealand government for illegal seizure of their land.

    In Legal terms this amounts to

    Acknowledgement of wrongdoing and restoration of the injured party to the position that the injured party would have been in been in had the wrong doing not occurred. Although it is almost impossible to calculate what position Africa would be in today had the destruction by Europeans and Arabs not occurred.

    They want the following factors taken into account

    The value of the millions of Africans killed as a result of the slave trade, the impact of rape, torture, destruction of African families and other institutions, the cultural genocide which has distorted the African identity, the Benin bronzes and other artefacts looted from Africa to be returned, settlements for the Africans who were killed or maimed fighting in conflicts on behalf of Europeans which systematically denied them the human rights and interests in which they were fighting to restore to Europe, the present system of international oppression, debt and domination as perpetrated by the UN, IMF, World Bank, G7 etc to be dismantled.
    Account taken of the impact of the policy of political and judicial murder of African leaders: Lumumba, Cabral, Machel, Kimarrthi, Rodney et al. The programme of assassinations by the US Government against members of the Black Panthers and others, the false trials and false imprisonment of prominent Africans: Marcus Garvey, Munia Abu Jamal, and police brutality towards Africans of all descriptions the list goes on and on and on.

    They would like a recognition that

    The physical and mental enslavement of Africans by Arabs and Europeans amounts to the greatest and most barbaric crime against Humanity ever committed in human history.

    Many generations continue to suffer the affects of the trade

    A conservative estimate of 300 Million of the most virile and productive African men, women and children perished in this crime.

    Africa continues to suffer from the current system of oppression and exploitation.

    One group rejected the idea of a financial settlement as they thought that Western capitalism does not have any system geared at producing social or economic justice.
    They conclude that reparations is first and foremost about Africans reclaiming themselves and recognising that African culture is the main tool for the liberation of African people and that reparations is fundamentally a process of self emancipation. they would like the re-education of communities as to their African culture and history books to be corrected. Then the elimination of debt as well as land and property to be returned etc etc.

    I got the feeling that different groups wanted different things , so this is not a definitive list or account.
  22. John Wisehammer

    John Wisehammer lifestyle trendy vicar

    I have absolutely no problem with a lot of that stuff - there's no loss and plenty of psychic gain in acknowledging the slave trade and colonialism, and much of that is pretty uncontroversial. But OTOH, there are a lot of different things happening to a lot of different people there that are being bagged together on pretty spurious grounds (there isn't a straight line between the slave trade, colonialism, the IMF and police brutality, actually), and there's an element of historical revisionism too: "enslavement of Africans by Arabs and Europeans etc" makes it sound like no Africans were ever traders or profiteers, which is simply untrue (quite like the Poles and Balts blaming the Germans for the whole holocaust, if we're going to make that bad analogy). IIRC (and I'm not totally sure) the Ashanti family / tribe thingy in what's now Ghana were major traders (for instance) and 25% of the population on the territory oiver which they ruled were slaves (sorry half remembered, don't have the book any more etc). It's also a bit unclear which Africans and which communities are being discussed - African or African diaspora communities?

    I'm not sure which history books or what property is being talked about either - in Africa? In the UK? The latter is pretty much a question for African Ministries of Education (though there are arguably plenty of opportunities for developed countries to for instance support financially academic research into African interpretations of history) and the former is a bit of a question - after decolonisation, most African land was nationalised and more recently privatised again - and sold to TNCs but also African capitalists.

    As for financial reparations - well, who pays? When Zimbabwe was being colonised, for instance, my ancestors were sub-subsistance linen workers and potato pickers in Armagh, so they didn't benefit from colonisation like Lord Lt Chumley-Smythe of Nyasaland (or whoever it was that raked in the money) did. Or is it people who are still benefitting from UK capitalism - which would mean rich black British people would contribute over poor white British people?

    Who gets it? African states? Individuals? How are neoimperialist debates about the allocation of aid and development money avoided in repararations? And how do you separate colonial surplus extraction and postcolonial indigenous fuckups in financially quantifying the effect of colonialism and imperialism?
  23. newbie

    newbie undisambiguated

    Separatism: as a man who once lived on the edge of a large radical feminist separatist community, I agree with Ruby and Hamster. I felt their exclusiveness empowered the women concerned, and taught us men a lot too. However there was antipathy. mainly towards and from women on our side of the fence, whose role as collaborators was strongly challenged. Us men were largely bystanders in this (a valuable lesson in itself :) who never really felt threatened.
  24. Mr Retro

    Mr Retro Beware hedgehogs

    Two great posts Jo and John. Learning more here than a week of searching through info on the web.

    Can anybody recommend some good relativly unbiased books?
  25. fat hamster

    fat hamster Banned Banned

    As HHJW said in her first post on this thread, "(the rally was) organised as part of a worldwide event to discuss the issue of reparations for slavery and to celebrate the birthday of Marcus Garvey." So the issues are bound to be less than fully clear at this stage.

    HHJW again: "one group rejected the idea of a financial settlement as they thought that Western capitalism does not have any system geared at producing social or economic justice." And yes, this is only one group - as above, the debate is very much still in progress.

    How about: by allowing black people the space and respect they deserve to debate and organise around this massively important issue for themselves! :rolleyes:
  26. sedliak

    sedliak New Member

    Another aspect of this that i have read about, but never quite got the whole picture, is the role of africans themselves in the slave trade.

    Given that slave traders never penetrated the interior of west africa, the actual rounding up of slaves was done by coastal ethnic groups, who would raid their enemies inland, in exchange for guns and horses etc That's what Bruce Chatwin's "The Viceroy of Ouidah" is about. How on earth does that fit in to the reparations movement?
  27. fat hamster

    fat hamster Banned Banned

    Lived around radical feminist separatists and never really felt threatened, eh [​IMG] ?

    Mmwah hah ha ha ha! [​IMG]
    <fat hamster polishes up double-headed axe and does gleeful goddess-invoking dance from way back ... [​IMG]>
  28. John Wisehammer

    John Wisehammer lifestyle trendy vicar

    FH: thanks a lot for your contribution - I've raised some questions and you've said "those questions are being raised". That's not very helpful. I was actually hoping someone could answer them - or say what other people's answers were - rather than have someone get snippy with me for no reason.

    "How about : by allowing black people the space and respect they deserve to debate and organise around this massively important issue for themselves! :rolleyes: "

    You're assuming that there is perfect unity of interest between all black people across the world but the fact is that you don't have be white to be patronising or out of touch with people whose interests you are supposedly serving. If for instance you would say that British black people would be in charge of allocating reparations to black Africans, then my question is - and it's an important one - how do you stop accusations and perpatration of the imposition of donor values and objectives onto recipients? How do you balance accountability/democracy with transparency and best use? How do you avoid replicating the same corruption, short-termism, opacity and accusations of donor (or moneyholder) dominance that taint many aid/development projects atm?
  29. hatboy

    hatboy Banned Banned

    Fat Hamster said:

    "At the risk of sticking my neck out altogether too far in someone else's forum: try substituting, "women this" ... "men that", or even, "gay people this ... straight people that". Still humourless and divisive, I agree, but perhaps easier for a white gay man to relate to?"

    This made me angry. You don't know me Fat Hamster. I am by no means a typical white gay man. As it happens at the moment I have more straight black people as friends than white gay. I would find all the above variants equally annoying. I've no objection to minorities, be it gay, black or women, needing a separate space sometimes, but when this spills over into making daft generalisations about others then that's crap. And that is the foundation upon which people often build their prejudices.

    I'm not against the concept of reparation btw, but I can see from this very informative thread (thanks Jo and John I think) how difficult it would be to implement.
  30. John Wisehammer

    John Wisehammer lifestyle trendy vicar

    How are you (FH, RT) and those other punters using the word separatism? Is it supposed to mean separate private institutions, separate public institutions or completely separate lives (ghettos)? I'm curious.

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