Launch Of Momentum Black Connexions (MBC) – Birmingham Saturday 2nd April 2016
Saturday 2nd April was a significant day for members of the GAPP Leadership Facilitation Team who were strongly engaged in the launch of Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) that took place in Birmingham, UK.
MBC is a grassroots structure which stands for Black Power politics via Black communities of resistance within the UK and abroad. Noting the principled organising and political formations of Black people around the wider labour movement in recent centuries, various black activists have grouped together, seeing that the current political landscape within the UK and upcoming 2020 elections as being an opportune time for awareness building around the issues we face as a global community.
For what could near enough be the first time within the Westminster (UK) voting system, an observation like never before has been made of the current Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Party). This is in relation to his 10-point policy, to which it’s felt our Black Power perspectives can be accelerated. Beyond words, Corbyn’s socialist principles place him beyond any political candidate vying for votes; given a track record that demonstrates his:
- ongoing action affecting communities in struggle
- sentiments, statements and engagements with black activists over multiple decades
- swooping up of the leadership of the Labour Party with what stands as the largest political mandate of any party leader in UK politics
Through the contributions made by GAPP members during this MBC political interaction, we highlighted the importance of Sankofa, the African principle within multiple Akan based knowledge systems that looks into ‘visiting the best of our past actions in helping craft a fruitful future’ for Africans worldwide. This was also accompanied by works of the MBC’s youth wing (which GAPP support), who in their grouping conducted primary research analysing the political views, opinion and intent of Black youth.
An added benefit of our input to the event, was having John McDonnell MP (Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer) present. He not only listened to and noted our community concerns, but also highlighted in writing the internal conflicts within his political party. In bringing about the ‘new politics’ that both him and comrade Jeremy Corbyn are pushing, John extended his comments around the importance of Black Labour Party members to be in attendance at branch meeting to influence and steer issues pertinent to their advancement; alongside the selection of candidates they deem best suited to promote their interests. Not directly using the words ‘self-determination’, John also spoke of how change must come from and be led by the black community first and foremost, and not so much via the advocacy of ‘middle aged, predominantly male and white’ politicians.
Speaking on the ‘How do we see our new Black politics’ panel, a PARCOE (Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe) spokesperson introduced the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide’ Petition elaborating its relevance to the work of MBC and Momentum, the network of people and organisations to continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. The PARCOE spokesperson drew attention to Jeremy Corbyn’s expression of willingness to continue engaging with the issue of Afrikan reparations. John McDonnell was asked about which existing organisational processes within the Labour Party need to be engaged with to further action on the demand for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry contained in the SMWCGE Petition, what steps of action he recommended to progress action on this?, and what steps he would as an MP take now that he has been made formally aware of this proposal? Mc Donnell’s response was that even this is a difficult issue to get the Labour Party to engage with, the position of himself and Jeremy Corbyn in support of reparations is clear because they have been engaging with activists of the Afrikan reparations cause for quite some time. He reiterated the importance of Afrikan people pressing on with their work and finding various ways and means of engaging with the Labour Party and the wider Labour Movement on this issue and providing himself and Jeremy Corbyn with the necessary information on the relevant activities.