Africans set International Reparations Tribunal to happen during G-8 Summit

BERLIN — On August 6 and 7, Africans from various parts of the world came together in a conference in Germany and set June 7-9, 2007 as the dates for the International Tribunal on Reparations for Afrikan People (ITRAP), planned for this city. The dates of the tribunal were set to coincide with the G-8 Summit to be hosted by Germany in Heiligendamm on June 6-8.

The tribunal — which will bring Africans from throughout the world to Berlin to put the various imperialist countries, including the U.S., on trial for slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism and their consequences — had been scheduled for June 2007 since a preparatory meeting in London early this year. However, an exact date was not set for the tribunal until now.

The June 7-9 dates were proposed to the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) by African activists in London who thought it would allow the tribunal to take advantage of the fact that the international bourgeois media would be in Germany to cover the G-8 Summit.

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It was also suggested that the presence of the G-8 Summit would give immediate significance to the historical basis for Berlin being the location for the tribunal in the first place.

Berlin was chosen for the tribunal because of the role the city played in the history of Africa’s exploitation. It was in Berlin in 1884-1885, where the European powers of the day, along with the U.S., which sat in as an “observer,” formally divided Africa into its current problematic borders.

Each power came out of that Berlin Conference with African territories and people over which they would rule and exploit for their own benefit.

The U.S., while an approving “observer,” did not get a share of Africa on the Continent of Africa. This is something that did not appear immediately necessary because it would benefit from African exploitation through trade with the other Europeans.

It also seemed unnecessary because it had a domestic colony of African people within the U.S. who had been recently freed from formal slavery to enter into another form of colonial exploitation and oppression.

The significance of the G-8 Summit in Germany is the fact that, with the exception of Canada and Japan, the G-8 members constitute many of the European powers that participated in partitioning Africa in 1884-1885 and are themselves the European powers who play the same imperialist role today as the powers that divided Our Africa in the 19th Century.

ITRAP to be built in regions throughout the world

In addition to determining the dates for the tribunal, the ICC heard Plans of Action for building ITRAP in West Africa, Europe and North America. Although work to build ITRAP’s presence in Central Africa is occurring in the Democratic Republic of Congo with an office and televised presentations, a Plan of Action to actually build an ITRAP regional committee is still forthcoming.

Similarly efforts to build regional committees are being made in various other regions of the world, including Northern Africa, where we already have commitments of participation, and Southern Africa, where there is also demonstrated unity with the tribunal project.

Plans to publicize the tribunal were put forward by the Communication Committee, headed by Sister Carole Crawford, a resident of Paris. The plans included publication of a flyer for mass distribution, approval of a DVD being produced to promote ITRAP and the tribunal and a website that should be up soon.

It was decided that ITRAP’s current address should be 1245 18th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33705, the location of its current chair, Omali Yeshitela.

“Berlin was chosen for the tribunal because of the role the city played in the history of Africa’s exploitation. It was in Berlin in 1884-1885, where the European powers of the day, along with the U.S., which sat in as an “observer,” formally divided Africa into its current problematic borders.”

Perhaps two of the most important decisions revolved around the work to complete the ITRAP constitution and the formal establishment of a Berlin Onsite Coordinating Committee.

ITRAP Constitution consolidated

As for the constitution, it is to be based on the tribunal document used as the basis of unity between all the diverse forces constituting the current International Coordinating Committee.

In addition to the critical points from the unity document, it was also decided to include something regarding rules of participation in ITRAP that would prohibit personalized, unprincipled attacks on members of the organization and spell out a code of conduct that would repudiate behavior and struggle designed to demonize and dehumanize those with whom we may have differences.

This is not an attempt to crush legitimate struggle, but it is a section of the constitution thought necessary by many of the ITRAP members who have had a bad experience as members of the Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) and became victims or watched others become victims of ruthless, unprincipled, personalized criticisms that had no bearing on the politics, ideology or mission of the organization.

Recognizing that many of the people who are currently members of the GAC were attracted to the organization because of the reparations issue, and that ITRAP is the best example of an African international effort to actually do something about reparations, it was assumed that they will want to participate in ITRAP.

Therefore, it is important to make it clear that the type of behavior that ruined reputations and undermined careers of individuals there would not be acceptable in ITRAP.

The establishment of the Berlin Onsite Coordinating Committee was made possible by the participation of several African activists residing in Germany. The work to hold the tribunal will require a tremendous amount of work to be done in Berlin.

A tribunal site will have to be secured. Housing and other critical logistical issues will have to be resolved. Interpreters and the necessary equipment for the various languages to be spoken will have to be acquired, etc.

Leading the work in Berlin and chairing the Berlin Onsite Coordinating Committee is Yonas Endrias, a well-known and respected activist who has participated with the ITRAP process since its initiation in Berlin in October 2005.

Africans around the world preparing for tribunal

Every day the word is getting out within the international African community about the upcoming Berlin tribunal. More and more, Africans who are genuinely interested in the issue of reparations as a collective effort uniting Africans worldwide are putting the 2007 tribunal on their calendars, preparing to be there and to find immediate ways in which to join with ITRAP to build for the tribunal and the ongoing work that will follow the tribunal.

This is a call to all the members and supporters of the Uhuru Movement and the African People’s Socialist Party to take up this task to build ITRAP and the tribunal and to win all that can be won to participate in this historic event. This is our effort to unite the African nation around a common cause that can eventually contribute to our capacity to liberate and unify Africa and African people worldwide.

Izwe Lethu I Afrika!

One Africa! One Nation!

Forward to Berlin!

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