BACKING UP THE DEMAND FOR REPARATIONS:
REFLECTIONS AND THOUGHTS IN PREPARATION
FOR THE ANNUAL N’COBRA CONFERENCE
By H. Khalif Khalifah
MAY 31, 2010
SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, VIRGINIA - The dynamic word within the Great Issue of Reparations is DEMAND. Demand implies that if you don’t receive a positive response there will be consequences for the Nation that the demand is made on. In short, not caring about consequences is the basic reason why “the powers that be,” are turning a deaf eat to the great work of N’COBRA and other proponents of Reparations for Black people, at home and abroad, at this time in history. “The powers that be” at the rulers of the nation called the United States of America.
As an Elder and Pioneer in N’COBRA and the “modern Reparations movement,” I offer the following as food for thought to the National Black Community in general, but in particular to the delegates to our Annual Conference in New Orleans this June 25 - 27.
N’COBRA’S FIRST PRIORITY MISSION WAS
“EDUCATING THE AFRICAN MASSES ABOUT REPARATIONS”
All persons joining should understand and agree, that at the founding of N’COBRA “The First Priority Mission” was to educate the masses about the National Black Communities right to Reparations. That was some 20 years ago. While the education process MUST continue unabated, for obvious reasons, all information I am reading about Reparations today is still within the frame of the First Priority Mission: I believe if we upgrade the “priority mission,” we’ll find appropriate strategies to back up the Demand and get the job done. Less we forget, the “done job” is to win and not to just show our profound evidence and explain our understanding about the case for Reparations.
With the understanding that there are some legitimate, credible reasons why some Reparations advocates feel all that is needed to win Reparations is to simply lay out the case for Reparations: that layer upon layers of both, historical and current evident, will be enough to get the job done, a certain degree of understanding of the knowledge about to WHOM our demand for Reparations is made will give us the Wisdom to understand this is not sufficient to get the job done.
PAY REPARATIONS OF ELSE!
The implication in the Demand for Reparations is there will be consequences if we are not paid. If the Criminal Nation, i.e. the U. S. A., consisted of a citizenry of good, moral, enlightened, sorrowful people about the “Crime Against Humanity” their Nation is guilty of, laying out the evidence in our case for Reparations would certainly be sufficient. A good, moral, enlightened, sorrowful people would apologize and go into good faith negotiations to seek a remedy that will effectively get them amends for the ill, criminal behavior of it’s government: the DEMAND would be met.
However, the above is evidently not being the case (the USA does not consist of enough good, moral, enlightened, sorrowful people): it is also certain that more needs to be done than letting our profound, unquestioned CASE/EVIDENCE to Reparations IMPLY what we will do: Clearly the Rulers of America give no indication they will accede to the overwhelming evidence. Any criminal facing this “small mountain of evidence” (a favorite expression of Pro. J. H. Clarke) would plead guilty and negotiate for a favorable punishment. THAT IS, a criminal who has a fear of consequences for what will happen when the case is properly prosecuted.
DEVELOPING STRATEGIES TO BACK UP THE DEMAND
What will Black people do to back up our demand for Reparations: clearly, we must move from the process of laying out the case/evidence to building strategies/systems to back up the demand. But what, and how do we proceed to find strategies?
“With the understanding that all political remedies within the system are known or have been tried; AND with the understanding that our economic potential is known or have been tried; AND with the understanding that all legal remedies within the system are known or have been tried; AND with the understanding that the cultural good health of Afrikan people is known or have been recovered; AND with the understanding that the military power and might of Afrikan people is known or have been effectively used in the past; THEREFORE, at the 9th Annual Reparations Convention, in Hampton, Virginia, June 26-26 & 28, 1998, N’COBRA will bring together all of the known and as many of the unknown elements as possible to derive the wisdom needed to frame the FINAL DEMAND on the USA to pay our Reparations…”
The above was made in my report to the N’COBRA National Board of Directors in preparation to host the 9th N’COBRA Conference in 1998. While some great, dynamic resolutions were passed and implemented at the convention/conference (Lifetime Membership, Economic Development Commission & addition of Black Farmers to the itemized Demands for Reparations, Sister Dorothy Lewis elected National Co-Chair and etc.), exploring ways to “back up the demand,” was not found or deliberated on.
The information is presented here as a possible place where we may well begin to formulate a workable/possible ULTIMATUM to back up our demand for Reparations. The only caution that I offered in my statement was that the ultimatum be within the capability of N’COBRA. It must be characterized to reflect the membership; not to sell “wolf tickets” to impress anyone. What was not possible under the old leadership may well be possible under the new leadership of N’COBRA.
However, the leadership of my time felt that the membership of that time would not support an ultimatum. Hopefully in 2010 this fact has changed and a consensus can evolve out of the deliberations by the generation that is charged with finding the next Priority Mission to enforce our Demand for Reparations.
H. Khalif Khalifah is a Black nationalist Journalist who lives in Southampton County, Virginia. A member of N’COBRA since 1991; he served 6 years on the National Board of Directors of N’COBRA during the 1990’s; was the Liaison of N’COBRA to the Million Man March; is the author 15 books about Black people in the Liberation Struggle, including “A Brief History About N’COBRA and the Reparations Movement.” To contact Khalifah: firstname.lastname@example.org or www. ubuscommunicationssystems.com