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Shape Reparation plan, redeem

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23.FEB.07

To raise the demand for ‘Reparations’ and not to map out an international Recovery and Renewal plan for black people is to play idiot games. We must shape a Reparations plan and campaign to redeem “western” history. The aim is to correct the crime of barbarism against the persons of indigenous Caribbean and African peoples and territories. The campaign must also aim to remove the gap between the technical, economic and social standards of Western European, and African, Caribbean and black communities around the Atlantic; the Reparations Campaign must clearly dethrone and redirect the persistent penetration of the powerful racist mentality and the institutions that reproduce it. Reparation is an International Liberation Movement, which we must lead as a people in new partnership with sisters and brothers worldwide. When we demand reparations, we are summoning ourselves to a new global people’s organization, strategy and business.{{more}}

More than 60 years ago, Dr. Eric Williams published his book “Capitalism and Slavery”. He showed that during the final 50 years of British colonial slavery, Britain industry was growing rapidly. Writing about cotton, Williams noted “the first steam loom factory was built in Manchester in 1806. In 1835, there were 116,800 looms in all Great Britain, all but 6% in the cotton industry”. Further Williams pointed out that Britain exported just over 1 million of cotton in 1785; but by 1830 exports were 30 million. Output of cloth in 1796 was 20 million yards; it was 347 million yards in 1830.

In summary, Eric Williams wrote of Britain: “she was clothing the world, exporting men and machines, and had become the world’s banker (p351 C+S). James Walvin, in his book, Black Ivory (1992) writes of Britain, that “…major industrial sectors would not have developed when and as they did without the prompting of and the money from the West Indies”. The evidence is there to show that resources from colonial slavery pushed the British economy and society into a revolutionary development.

Writing in the “Conclusion” of “We Want to Become Wise”, I have noted that after emancipation, our fore-parents saw that; selling their labour power effectively and getting land to cultivate were two important material steps to their success.

It was the importing of new labour power from India and Portugal and Africa that weakened the revolutionary effort of the new African Caribbean workers. The estate owners in the Assemblies also made it very difficult for the workers to get land. Consequently, the Caribbean revolution stumbled…(p. 59 WISE)

It took a period of 50 years or so, and with the resources wrenched out of colonial slavery and the decline of the old agriculture, Britain experienced a trans formed economy and society. Things move faster today. When we harness reparations resources effectively, deploy them strategically, organize ourselves globally and locally to redeem the history of our people and the world, the next 50 years could be different. Reparations could be the great new fact of the 21st century. It is up to us.

Oscar Allen

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