Opposing the USAFRICOM base of Maangamizi in Ghana: Globalising Pan-Afrikan Resistance for Reparatory Justice is the way to victory!
“if we do not unite and combine our military resources for common defence, our individual [African] States, out of a sense of insecurity, may be drawn into making defence pacts with foreign powers which may endanger the security of us all”.
Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, ‘Africa Must Unite’ (1963)
We in the Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP), in partnership with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/ Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC), join the progressive forces of Freedom, Justice and Peace, in the once proudly inspiring Black Star nation-state founded by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, in expressing their outrage and vehement opposition to the shocking endorsement by the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his so-called New Patriotic Party (NPP) majority in Parliament, of the completely unjustifiable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on defence cooperation between the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America on March 8, 2018. It is unimaginable that, 61 years after the declaration of Ghana’s independence, the very Euro-Amerikkkan imperialist superpower of the West, whose Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) masterminded the violent February 1966 coup d’état which shattered the Pan-Afrikan Liberation dreams and efforts of Ghana’s first visionary head of state, is now supposed to be the country’s key security ally. For the sake of the serious lessons that must be critically learnt by us all, we must not lose sight of the fact that this current Akuffo-Addo-approved MOU is supposed to be the enhancement of two previous agreements that were signed with the USA without public discussion, scrutiny and parliamentary endorsement in Ghana in 1998 and 2015 by the preceding governments of President Jerry John Rawlings and President John Dramani Mahama respectively.
We therefore urge you to keep up your resistance as you did with the 2008 attempts to establish an AFRICOM military base in Ghana until this manifestation of the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust of chattel colonial and neo-colonial forms of enslavement) is stopped. For, contrary to assertions that the USA Government is not establishing an American military base, the agreement indicates that the USA Armed Forces will have the use of a designated area in Ghana to set up their own camp inaccessible to anyone else, in other words a ‘base’ by another name. The presence of this enduring base will increase the militarisation of the state and society leading to increased hostilities directed against the people of Ghana for being in cohoots with the US Empire in committing crimes against Humanity.
Just like in 1844 when Fante Chiefs were outmanoeuvred into signing an agreement on behalf of the Gold Coast with the British colonisers, similarly today, we have a Government and its majority in parliament surrendering the sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity of the people of Ghana, undermining their national interests and security. However, as in the past the people of Ghana at no time have ceded their sovereignty, which is what makes this agreement so injurious to the interests of Ghanaians; the implications of such will be felt for generations to come. The agreement had been drafted in a manner which does not state a termination point. Article 6 of the MOU states that: “Buildings constructed by United States forces shall ….be used by United States forces until no longer needed by United States forces”. If read literally, this agreement will in actuality bind all successive governments in Ghana.
Furthermore, regarding the settlement of disputes between the parties, article 18 stipulates that: “Any dispute regarding the application, implementation, or interpretation of this Agreement, or its Implementing Arrangements…shall not be referred to any national or international court, tribunal, or similar body, or to any third party for settlement, unless otherwise mutually agreed”. Rather, the agreement reinforces USA military immunity from international law and imposes Euro-Amerikkkan law on the people and Government of Ghana in the settlement of claims arising out of the operations of the base, including death, destruction of property or injury. It is likely that such arrangements will increase covert military and security operations both in Ghana and across Afrika.
We support you, the progressive forces of Ghana, in seeking to ensure that all your combined efforts to stop this manifestation of the Maangamizi succeed in making such affronts to Ghana’s sovereignty and the Pan-Afrikan dignity of Ghanaians to not occur again. Such resistance must keep us firmly on the path of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice through first and foremost arresting these continued violations of Ghanaian sovereignty and self-determined nationhood. Given the increasing expansion of neo-colonial tentacles of revanchist coloniality by Euro-Amerikkkan imperialism throughout the Continent of domestically and externally re-colonised Afrika, it is vital to recognise the need to accelerate the building of Maatubuntujamaas – Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHC-NSDs) in the Diaspora to connect with their equivalent Sankofahomes on the Continent to achieve Maatubuntuman (Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities). Clearly, the Afrika that currently exists is being sold out by one neo-colonial government after another. It follows that organising to actualize Maatubuntuman, a globally superpowerful participatory democratic anti-imperialist polity of Maat which practices Ubuntu in relation to her people and all of humanity and the cosmos rooted in the indigenous nation-building practices of Afrika and her people, is the only force which can make the global apartheid racist agenda and structures of recolonization by White Supremacy ungovernable.
Unlike in the past when Founding father of the Republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, called for unified armed forces (an Afrikan High Command), and a common Afrikan foreign policy, we have a situation where the current Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul is seeking to hoodwink the people of Ghana into accepting overt military domination; arguing that the USA Government has such defence cooperation agreements “in over 50 countries”. However, what Nitiwul and the misruling so-called New Patriotic Party (NPP) of President Akufo-Addo are refusing to admit to the people of Ghana is that these arrangements are part of what Chalmers Johnson in his 2004 book, ‘The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic’, called an “empire of bases” which advance US geopolitical interests, not those of so-called host countries.
In this regard, we echo the sentiments of the Coalition Against US Foreign Military Bases, which held its inaugural event January 12-14, 2018 at the University of Baltimore in Maryland, in the USA where it operates; we reiterate to you what they expressed in their Unity Statement: “U.S. foreign military bases are the principal instruments of imperial global domination and environmental damage through wars of aggression and occupation, and that the closure of U.S. foreign military bases is one of the first necessary steps toward a just, peaceful and sustainable World.” It is indeed alarming that the United States maintains the highest number of military bases outside its territory, estimated at almost 1000 (95% of all foreign military bases in the World).
The ‘No Foreign Military Bases’ Coalition further asserts that: “These bases are centres of aggressive military actions, threats of political and economic expansion, sabotage and espionage, and crimes against local populations. In addition, these military bases are the largest users of fossil fuel in the world, heavily contributing to environmental degradation”. We concur with the coalition’s assertion that US foreign military bases represent the interests of the “dominant financial, political, and military interests of the ruling elite” and agree with their conclusion that: “Whether invited in or not by domestic interests that have agreed to be junior partners, no country, no peoples, no government, can claim to be able to make decisions totally in the interest of their people, with foreign troops on their soil representing interests antagonistic to the national purpose”.
This is the time for the Pan-Afrikan essence of our Reparatory Justice struggles all over the world to take concrete shape by working in cooperation with all Freedomfighting peoples around the World in order to galvanise the Internationalist Solidarity of allies of Afrikan people at home and abroad, to reinvigorate the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), and to win the hearts, minds and spirits of Peoples of Conscience for a just World of Peace for all. This is one of the surest ways to ensure that Imperialism in all its forms and guises is exposed, effectively counteracted and completely eradicated throughout the World.
Accordingly, we identify with all the modes of legitimate Resistance being adopted in multifarious opposition to this disgraceful deal of treasonable sell-out to the USA not only by various organisations, networks and campaigns in and outside the homeland of founding father Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, but also by the conscientious chiefs and other true leaders of the indigenous communities that make up the authentic Afrikan polity of Ghana and who are upholding her independent Afrikan Personality in all its sovereignty, dignity and integrity. We support the calls from all the progressive forces of Civil Society, admirably including various youth, student, women and labour groupings, that are being echoed by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) minority in the Ghanaian Parliament, and even some voices of sanity in the NPP, demanding an immediate withdrawal of the agreement, pending the holding of broad consultations and a thorough national discussion involving all relevant stakeholders. May we emphasize the salient point that our GAPP and all others involved in the SMWeCGEC and their affinity organisations, networks and campaigns all over the World see such stakeholders as including those Afrikans abroad who lay claim to Global Pan-Afrikan citizenship and who are, in this United Nations International ‘Decade for People of African Descent’ (UN-IDPAD), asserting their ‘Right to Afrika’.
We are in consultations with Ghanaian progressive forces at home and abroad engaged in planning appropriate Global Actions of Internationalist Solidarity with Ghana Against Foreign Military Occupation. In this connection, we urge all those in Ghana to glocally face up, with enlightening global broad-mindedness, to the seriousness of the very dangerous geopolitical intrigue-weaving, malevolence and War-games which this agreement is drawing them into to descend further into the abyss of the World military-industrial-prison complex of the USA. This MOU will only worsen your Maangamizi plight of Neocolonialism by the Global Apartheid way of White Supremacy racist Recolonization by opening you up to suffer more crimes of Genocide and Ecocide. The narrow-mindedness of parochial obscurantism will not do in successfully rallying to defeat the war-mongering reactionary forces of USAFRICOM that very well master anti-people games of divide and misrule. That is why the necessity cannot be overstated now for United Front-building among all progressive forces unflinchingly committed to defending Sovereignty, eschewing sectarianism, ethnocentrism, egocentrism and similar vices, advancing together in Principled Unity to champion human, peoples’ and Mother Earth rights, while firmly upholding uncompromising Anti-Imperialism, Self-Determination, National Liberation, Social Justice, Participatory Democracy and holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice. That is why, now more than ever before, is the time to seize in globalising Pan-Afrikan Resistance for Reparatory Justice forward ever onward to total victory!
GAPP Leadership Facilitation Team in association with the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) Spearhead Team of the SMWeCGEC International Steering Committee (ISC-SMWCGEC)
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GLOBAL AFRIKAN PEOPLE’S PARLIAMENT (GAPP) STATEMENT REGARDING THE GRENFELL TOWER FIRE TRAGEDY
The Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) would like to extend our deepest condolences to all those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday 14th June 2017. We are deeply heartbroken at the preventable and senseless loss of life as well as the incalculable devastation that has been caused as a result of the fire.
To all those who have lost or not been able to verify the whereabouts of family members, friends, and loved ones; those of you who are critically ill, injured and maimed; as well as those members of the public who have witnessed this horrific and major tragedy of international repercussions, with long-term effects and consequences; our hearts, thoughts, prayers and solidarity go out to you. We hope that you receive the trauma care and counselling that is necessary to help deal with the immediate aftermath, mental health and wellbeing needs that affected families, residents and communities have.
As the Grenfell Estate residents struggle for justice unfolds, we express our outrage at the magnitude of this corporate manslaughter in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC), the richest borough in the UK.
We express outrage that the residents’ years of previously documented complaints about how the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) – to which the local council had delegated management of the tower – were compromising safety and refusing to listen to tenant concerns and forewarnings. Instead of redressing these complaints, the gaps between the two Kensingtons, South Kensington and North Kensington, the former being more prosperous and the latter more impoverished and disenfranchised), widened!
We share your outrage at the manifest systematic ethnic and social cleansing occurring in the borough characterised by increasingly structurally violent gentrification, redlining and ‘containment’ of those considered less socially desirable in social housing as well as the private rented sector; who have been compelled to live in abysmal conditions and a perpetual state of disrepair. Data on inequality in the whole of England drawn from the UK Government’s English Indices of Deprivation 2015 shows the area surrounding Grenfell Tower to have been among the most deprived in the country. The residents of Grenfell Tower were surrounded by inequality, with clear differences in their income, and disparities in wealth, employment and life expectancy when compared to those living in luxurious private residential housing just metres away. The RBKC contains some of the most expensive residential properties in the world, at the same time, it has one of the highest rates of residential overcrowding and the highest rate of out-of-borough placements for homeless people in London. Whilst many questions being asked about why this tragedy has occurred remain unanswered by officialdom, it is undeniable that environmental racism and classism were factors in the state’s neglect and complicity in disregarding the views of local residents, their families and communities regarding the negative impacts of gentrification in the area which disproportionately affected their economic, social, and physical well-being.
As in other gentrifying areas in communities across the country, council officials and developers have used the politically neutral language of economic development, sustainability, and construction of public amenities to justify gentrification, land enclosures and property seizures. However, these apolitical discourses are designed to obfuscate the realities of gentrification being a process which ejects and ‘contains’ residents who are generally working-class and otherwise racialised. Nevertheless, ignoring the racialised and classed history of the area thwarts the supposedly race-neutral arguments, indicating that urban regeneration, and its associated racialised gentrification, is an environmental justice issue. For it was environmental racism and classism which has left Afrikan heritage, Asian, Arabic-speaking, Muslim and other racialised, migrant, refugee and impoverished communities confined to the most deprived parts of the RBKC, as elsewhere in London. And it was environmental racism and classism that ensured the economic priorities of the borough council and private developers were put above those of Grenfell constituencies at the same time as neglecting social justice concerns.
From our GAPP standpoint of promoting Community Repairs, including Community Regeneration as an essential Pempamsie (sewing together) part of holistic Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice, we urge you to build principled unity, with others to advance your cause, in common with similar endeavours.
We as concerned and aggrieved members of the public, in solidarity with you as local residents, the Grenfell Action Group, your related associations and leading members of the local community, must continue to find ways and means to join forces with other citizen and community groups and campaigns who have been similarly impacted; collectively organise more effectively to resist this structural manifestation of the Maangamizi which epitomises the intersection between race and impoverishment, (which has not only impacted people of Afrikan ancestry and heritage but other racialised groups, diverse migrant, refugee, disenfranchised and impoverished communities), to ensure that the campaign for justice for the victims and survivors of the Grenfell Tower Fire Tragedy extends to tackling this issue systemically, all over London and the UK. This is the relevance of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi’ Campaign and our ongoing struggle for Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
Since spatial and other environmental decisions are often related to political power, it is important to do so in ways that succeed in holding the UK government, led by Teresa May, which failed in its obligations to review of Part B of the Building Regulations (2010) to account. Theresa May’s new chief of staff, former Housing Minister Gavin Barwell, and other Tory housing ministers who preceded him, were derelict in their duty to review fire regulations in high rise blocks like Grenfell Tower. This review of fire regulations in high rise blocks was called for after an inquest into a tower block fire in Lakanal House, in the London borough of Southwark, which killed six people and injured 20 in 2009.
It is now the time for all to wake up to the genocidal criminality of the neoliberal capitalist austerity policies being draconically imposed with impunity and contempt for those they are impoverishing by Tory/Lib-Dem and right-wing Labour governments. In January last year, Conservative MPs voted to reject a Labour Party proposed amendment to the Government’s Housing and Planning Act 2016. The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill proposed by former shadow housing minister, Teresa Pearce would have required private sector landlords to make their homes “fit for human habitation”. Not surprisingly, 72 of the MPs that voted against the amendment were landlords themselves, who derived an income from a property. Although such legislation would not necessarily have applied to the majority of the residents of Grenfell Tower; it remains the case that criminally profiteering social and private landlords as indeed others responsible for and complicit in the corporate manslaughter of the families, and residents of Grenfell Tower, must be held to account in accordance with the full rigor of ‘Just Law’.
We must heighten participatory democratic resistance in the creation of a people’s movement to effect change to the humane alternative represented by Jeremy Corbyn, resurgent Labour and other progressive forces of which GAPP is an integral part. This is necessary to build the power to bring about an end to such “dangerous living conditions and contraventions of health and safety legislation inflicted upon tenants and leaseholders”. Ultimately, we must strive to do all that is humanly possible to prevent another such tragedy occurring by ensuring that we not only build on local community struggles, but also seek to transform them into ones that are capable of not only resisting but also dismantling the existing undemocratic status quo.
We must similarly work to ensure that those who have been made homeless as a result of this tragedy are not shipped out of the borough as we have seen with other racialised and impoverished families. We must also organise to ensure that those people, families and groups affected, are enabled to remain in the communities they’ve known for years; are provided with adequate, decent, affordable and permanent housing; are provided with the cost of resettlement, replacing their possessions and repairing the damage holistically of all that has been lost, including their homes, livelihoods and established social networks; and that Grenfell residents are able to implement their right to the city, environmental justice and holistic sustainable development. Furthermore, that this occurs in ways which minimise displacement, facilitates community continuity, self-determination and self-governance and guarantees the reparatory justice redistribution of income and wealth glocally.
Finally, we must ensure that such new domains and locales are transformed into healthy and lively places to live, work, and play which meet the environmental justice requirements for the ecological harmonisation of the built and natural environment. It is such transformation that will enable, as we of GAPP hope, all of us to appreciate the Afrikan wisdom in living by the ethics and principle of Ubuntu – I am because you are and because you are therefore we are too!
GAPP Leadership Facilitation Team