REPARATIONS AND THE UNITED NATIONS WORLD CONFERENCE
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (November 17, 2000)
The December 12th Movement and the National Black United Front are preparing to fight for the issue of reparations to be a major platform item at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism that will be held in South Africa next year.
Increasingly, more African people in America are becoming aware that we are owed reparations from the United States Government for their involvement in the slave trade, slavery, and a host of other human rights violations that have been inflicted upon us since our forced capture and transport to these shores.
There has been a history in America that whenever the African masses picked up on an idea that is in our best interests, the forces of white supremacy begin collaborating with people from our own race either to derail, dilute, or sabotage the movement. We must not let this happen with the Reparations Movement.
African people in America have been demanding reparations for over the last one hundred years. But, because of the organizing work over the last ten years of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America / N`COBRA, the idea that African people in this country are owed reparations is now gaining mass support.
Reparations simply means, repair for injuries, harm, and damages; something done or paid as amends. As it has been pointed out, over and over again, we were made chattel and worked for more than three hundred years without pay or other compensation for the value of our labor. The white man and white woman stole and criminally appropriated the services and the value of three hundred years of labor and then passed it on through inheritance to their children who continued the practice. This process helped create the United States of America and this is fundamental to our demands for reparations.
Recently, we learned that the Clinton Administration has been engaged in some high level discussions where the idea of reparations was discussed. These discussions are being couched in the Digital Divide issue. I received an email, reporting on the "Clinton administrations end of the millennium pitch for getting wired, today, begins a long awaited conversation dreaded by some since the authoring of American independence."
The email went on to point out that "The Digital Divide perhaps created and perpetuated by technocrats and technocapitalists is being bridged from the have not side of the virtual gorge. Survivors of the African holocaust have specifically targeted commerce as a value for facilitating some $500 billion annually in reparations payments. Todays Summit on the Digital Divide convened by U. S. Commerce Secretary William Daley, provokes the question, why is there a digital divide?"
It appears that African in America State Legislators in Maryland, in conjunction with what they call faith leaders, have held meetings where they are attempting to place the question of reparations on the agenda as a "renewed unification of faith and government." They have created something called the Faith Round Table that was formed at the 23rd Annual Legislative Conference of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in Baltimore, Maryland.
Another email communication I received explained that the December 2, 1999 "Summit on Digital Divide convened by U. S. Commerce Secretary William Daley opened a line of communication between African Americans seeking reparations and the United States government that has avoided the issue since the American Revolution." This email also informed me that "Margaret Simms, Ph.D. Vice President for Research, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies committed to a discussion on reparations to descendants of African slaves. The Joint Center will host the National Policy Institute, January 20-22 in Washington, D.C."
Many reparation activists are beginning to raise questions about these meetings such as "Has the Department of Commerce been given the task of derailing the Reparations Movement?" Also, reparation activists are concerned about the implications "regarding the movement being coopted by celebrities / well known personalities, and hand selected individuals." Remember the Free South Africa Movement that was started at the grassroots level and was ultimately coopted by the African in America elites and the socalled "liberal whites."
There is no question that throughout the African communities in the United States, reparations is becoming a household word and there will be some, among us, who will move to attempt to "sell out" the Reparations Movement to the highest bidder. We must not let this happen!
On April 27, 1993, Chinweizu presented a paper at the second Plenary Session of the First Pan African Conference on Reparations in Abuja, Nigeria. This is what he presented in part:
"The hallmarks of the old global order, which was initiated by the voyage by Columbus may be summarized as a propensity for perpetuating holocaust, a devotion to exploitation, and a passion for necrophobia. It has inflicted holocaust, through genocide and culturecide but not only on the Black World; it has visited exploitation, through slavery and colonialism but not only on the Black World; but it has reserved for the Black World a special scourge: that virulent strain of racism known as Negrophobia!"
We encourage all those interested in participating in the United Nations World Conference Against Racism to be held in Durbin, South Africa, August 31 through September 7, 2001 to contact us at 708-389-9929 or 773-268-7500.
National Black United Front (NBUF)
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