As our Black communities were worrying about the health of Muhammad Ali, our great icon of Black Power as he lay hospitalised, again, from well-known chronic health problems, some White Supremacy racist, sexist and misogynist apparatchiks of the Labour Party were busy making a baseless concoction to suspend Marlene Ellis, Acting General Secretary of the Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC). On Friday 3rd June 2016, Marlene Ellis was notified, in writing, that she was suspended from membership of the Labour Party. She stands up, and out, as one of those trying hard in community service, to follow the exemplary footsteps of Muhammad Ali, this champion of Black Peoples and other progressive humanity throughout the World.
It is shockingly ridiculous that the reason given for this outrageous suspension is the MBC Open Letter addressed to you Jeremy, entitled: ‘Lift the Labour Party suspension of Ken Livingstone for an honest straight-talking battle of anti-racist ideas to thrive in Britain’ dated 04/05/16, https://momentumblackconnexions.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/an-open-letter-to-jeremy-corbyn-lift-the-labour-party-suspension-of-ken-livingstone-for-an-honest-straight-talking-battle-of-anti-racist-ideas-to-thrive-in-britain/ We unequivocally reiterate that we are standing by all we have said in the above MBC open letter. All the more so, since it also contains the argument completely repudiating the case being made against the likes of Marlene Ellis as the reason for their suspension. In fact, the aforementioned open letter reflects the views of many people within our Black communities across the world.
We strongly denounce Marlene Ellis’ suspension from the Labour Party as smacking of Anti-Black Racism, targeting those who are advocating ‘politically Black’ perspectives and more specifically Afriphobia, since she is currently one of the most prominent but also one of the few independent-minded feminist political activists from our Afrikan Heritage communities in the public arena in and beyond the United Kingdom, and specifically within the Labour Party. Taking into account the fact that Marlene Ellis’ suspension is coming right after the battle against a similar unjustified suspension of Anti-Racist activist and Labour Party member, Jackie Walker, has been won, it is clear that it is not these individuals that are being singled out for persecution; it is our entire Afrikan heritage communities, in and beyond the UK that are being targeted for White Supremacy racist, sexist, misogynist intimidation, victimisation, bullying and harassment. It is our view that this is happening in order to intimidate and silence the resurgent voices of Black Power that are increasingly being raised against Global Apartheid Racism from the grassroots our Black communities worldwide. Clearly, there appears to be a powerful lobby within the Labour Party that is frightened about the prospects of such resurgent progressive forces of Black Power succeeding, this time round, in the complete eradication of the Coloniality of Power that the UK and other European Powers continue to use in terrorising the masses of our Black Peoples into continued subjugation to White Supremacy Racism. Such racism holding sway in the Homelands of our Indigenous Peoples of Afrika, Asia, Abya Yala (the so-called Americas) and Oceania.
We reiterate our deep concern that there is a disproportionate focus within the Labour Party on one specific type of racism, i.e. Anti-Semitism, to the exclusion of all others; in particular, Anti-Black Racism; its specific form of Afriphobia, Casteism and Islamophobic Racism. This point was also made in our previous open letter ‘Lift the Labour Party suspension of Ken Livingstone for an honest straight-talking battle of anti-racist ideas to thrive in Britain’ mentioned above.
That is the reason why, as MBC, we mandated some of our representatives to be signatories to the ‘Call It By Its Name: Afriphobia Is Racism Against African People – Open Letter To Labour Party’s Chakrabarti Inquiry from a group of Africans concerned about the inquiry’s focus and language’ coordinated by Africans for Jeremy Corbyn Values: https://app.mailerlite.com/p1d6s4.
Whilst we do not condone any ‘oppression olympics’, we also unreservedly condemn attempts to privilege one form of oppression over others, completely ignoring the best practice of Intersectionality. What this callous and discriminatory approach, to dealing with manifestations of racism displays, is that the Labour Party chooses to ignore the fact that there are sometimes manifestations of historical and contemporary oppression between and within oppressed communities which impact on our inter and intra-ethnic group relations. For example, to recognise Anti-Semitism does not mean that one has to deny the existence and seriousness of Anti-Black and Anti-Afrikan prejudice and discrimination directed towards people of Afrikan and other Black community heritages even by those who may be victims of Anti-Semitic forms of racism. More so, since this aggravates the still ongoing genocide and ecocide being experienced by Black Peoples even in our own Homelands.
Such acts amount to the Labour Party taking advantage of its privileged role in exercising the Coloniality of Power of the British Establishment, and therefore, arrogantly displaying its institutionally racist upholding of White Supremacy racism, sexism and misogyny. We see this suspension of Marlene Ellis as being part of the retaliation against our Black communities for our honest MBC participation in the public debate and supportive actions in favour of Black activists who are being victimised such as Jackie Walker and Delia Mattis. Given the gravity of this situation, and what it reveals about the dynamics within the Labour Party, we of the MBC are seeking Anti-Racist Internationalist Solidarity by appealing, in order to rally, our Black Communities of Resistance, (and their allied progressive forces from all other communities throughout the world), to include the British Labour Party as a legitimate target of our glocal Freedomfighting against Global Apartheid Racism, of which Anti-Black Racism/s and Afriphobia are specific manifestations! We do so conscious of our responsibility in utilising the growing militancy in our Black Communities of Resistance throughout the world to galvanise the rebuilding of the Black Power Internationalist Movement for Global Justice. Now more than ever before, such a movement is necessary for us to collectively ensure, globally, that an injury to one of us, shall be treated and counteracted, glocally, as an injury to us all.
This action of the Labour Party in unjustly suspending Marlene Ellis, and subjecting her to a Kangaroo process, that is a complete travesty of justice, has only served to strengthen our resolve to redouble our efforts to catalyse the global might of our Black Peoples Resistance and White allies to defeat the institutionalised racism which the Labour Party itself appears incapable of recognising, let alone eradicating.
In conclusion, we demand a full-stop to this White Supremacy racist, sexist and misogynist practice of mostly White Men against our resurgent leading female Black Power activists. Accordingly, this unjustified suspension of Marlene Ellis must be lifted at once and a lot more done to restore the shattered confidence of many in our Black communities, not only in the Labour Party, but also in the promises being made by you, Jeremy. It must be clear that even though we of MBC recognise the possibilities of your leadership of the Labour Party creating a more favourable situation in the UK for advancing our progressive causes, the vast majority of our Black community activists are yet to be won over to wholeheartedly embracing this view of ours. Therefore, if it continues to look like the Labour Party, even under your leadership, is continuing to take the vote of our Black electorates for granted, we shall all live to regret this. The fact is, strong is the view of most grassroots Black community activists that ‘We Are Our Own Liberators’!
We of the MBC share that viewpoint but also do hope that your efforts could contribute meaningfully to our self-emancipatory endeavours. That is why we hope you will act more honestly, boldly and decisively to put a full-stop to these outrages from the Labour Party. Reckless action such as the White Supremacy racist, sexist and misogynist witch-hunt and suspension of a truly ‘wise woman’, Marlene Ellis, will only erase the hopes that your leadership of the Labour Party could open a new chapter whereby the ‘New Politics’ could become a real meeting ground for advancing the values that could be shared between your campaign and our own independent Black community emancipatory efforts in and beyond the UK.
We Shall not be Deterred!
Our Interconnected Struggles Continue!
Forward Ever Onward to Victory!
Esther Stanford-Xosei, MBC, Acting Co-Chair
Beverley Wong, MBC Chief Whip
Toyah RGB, MBC Youth Wing Leadership Co-Facilitator
Momentum Black ConneXions (MBC) is an independently self-organising, autonomous and self-determining Black Power constituency within the network of people and organisations to continue the energy and enthusiasm of Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign. We are committed to advancing Black Power perspectives on the 10 priorities that Jeremy Corbyn has identified as his own standpoint.
On White Supremacy
“White Supremacy is an historically based, institutionally perpetuated system of domination, oppression and exploitation of continents, nations and peoples racialised as non-White by peoples and nations originally from the European continent, racialising themselves as White; who insist upon continuing to exercise the Coloniality of Power for the purpose of retaining conquest of other peoples’ homelands under a system of Global Apartheid racism; in the process of maintaining and defending a system of wealth, power and privilege that amounts to genocide and ecocide for the majority of humanity. This projects racialised supremacy in the context of the systematic, structural and institutionalised practice of exclusion, lack of representation and overt marginalisation of entire communities racialised as non-White, which most often means to them, Black or darker ‘races’ of people.”
MBC adaption of Elizabeth Martinez, Challenging White Supremacy Workshop definition of White Supremacy
On Black Power
MBC is guided in its definition of Black Power by the following statements of some of its greatest exponents. We read the above references to Black Masculinity in defining Black Power to include Black Femininity, Womanhood and Girlhood as they were originally meant to be.
What is Black Power?
I see it in the United States as part of the vanguard of world revolution against capitalism, imperialism and colonialism which have enslaved, exploited and oppressed peoples everywhere, and against which the masses of the world are now revolting. Black Power is part of the world rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, of the exploited against the exploiter. It operates throughout the African continent, North and South America, the Caribbean, wherever Africans and wherever people of African descent live. It is linked with the Pan-African struggle for unity on the African continent and with all those who strive to establish a socialist society.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, The Spectre of Black Power, 1968, in ‘Revolutionary Path’, 1973
By Black Power we mean the power of the four-fifths of the world population which has been systematically damned into a state of underdevelopment by colonialism and neo-colonialism. In other words, Black Power is the sum total of the economic, cultural and political power which the Black man must have in order to achieve his survival in a highly developed technical society, and in a world ravaged by imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and fascism.
Black Power epitomizes a new stage of revolutionary consciousness of the yearning and aspiration of the black man. Since the Black man is the most oppressed of the races of mankind, Black Power, therefore, is the struggle for the possession of the economic, cultural, social and political power which he, in common with the oppressed and the exploited of the earth, must have in order to stampede and overthrow the oppressor. Unless we are prepared to do this then we are prepared to be enslaved.
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, ‘Message to the Black People of Britain’, 1968
Black Power can be seen as a movement and an ideology springing from the reality of oppression of Black peoples by Whites within the imperialist world as a whole…Black Power… means three closely related things; (1) the break-up with imperialism which is historically White racist; (2) the assumption of power by the Black masses…;(3) the cultural reconstruction of their society in the image of the Blacks…Black Power is not racially intolerant. It is the hope of the Black Man, that he should have power over his own destinies. This is not incompatible with a multiracial society where each individual counts equally. Because the moment that power is equitably distributed among several ethnic groups then the very relevance of making the distinction between groups will be lost…Black Power advocates find it necessary to assert that Black is beautiful…The road to Black Power…must begin with a re-evaluation of ourselves as Blacks and with a redefinition of the world from our own standpoint.
Dr Walter Rodney, ‘Groundings with my Brothers’, 1969, p.34
Black Power – is full participation in the decision making process affecting the lives of Black people.
Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), ‘Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America’, 1967, p. 47
We are now engaged in a psychological struggle in this country, and that is whether or not Black people will have the right to use the words they want to use without White people giving their sanction to it; and that we maintain, whether they like it or not, we gonna use the word “Black Power”.
Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael), ‘Black Power’ Address at University of California, Berkeley, 1966
“Black Power” replaced “Freedom Now” as the battle cry. We, young women and young men who flocked to the front lines of the war against segregation, were contesting the remaining legacy of racial slavery. What we sought to eliminate were the legal, social, psychological, economic, and political limitations still being imposed on our human rights, and on our rights as citizens. That was the context in which we fought to remove limitations imposed by gender, clearly aware that it could not be fought as a stand-alone issue.
Dr Kathleen Neal Cleaver, ‘Women, Power and Revolution’, 1998
List of Organisations/Movements/Individuals this letter is being copied to:
- Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe, United Kingdom/Europe
- Global Afrikan Peoples Parliament (GAPP), United Kingdom, Ghana
- Europe-Wide NGO Consultative Council on Afrikan Reparations (ENGOCCAR), Holland
- Trade Unions and the Pan-Afrikan Community Link (TUPACOL), London, United Kingdom
- Pan-Afrikan Fora International Support Coordinating Council (PAFISCC), London, United Kingdom
- Pan-Afrikan Community Educational Services (PACES), London, United Kingdom
- Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP), London, United Kingdom
- All-Afrikan Students Union Link in Europe (AASULE), University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom
- VAZOBA Afrika and Friends Networking Open Forum (VAZOBA-AFNOF), Accra, Ghana
- EDIKANFO Pan-Afrikan Youth and Students Internationalist Link (EDIKANFO-PAYSIL), Accra, Ghana
- NKRUMAHBUSUAFO Kwame Nkrumah Convention Family Movement, Accra, Ghana
- Forum of Nkrumaist Thought and Action (FONTA), Kumasi, Ghana
- ADZEWAGBETO Pan-Afrikan Women’s Liberation Union (ADZEWAGBETO-PAWLU), Somanya, Ghana
- Grassroots Women’s Internationalist Solidarity Action Network (GWISAN), Delhi, India
- Kilombo Centre for Citizens’ Rights and African Self-Determination, Peki, Ghana
- Pan-African Congresses – United Kingdom Organising Committee (PACs-UKOC), London, United Kingdom
- Mouvement Social Panafricain pour le Development Integral (MSPDI), Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire
- AFRIKAATUUU Convention for Afrikan Networking (AFRIKAATUUU-CAFRINET), Lagos, Nigeria
- Grassroots All-Afrikan Women’s Internationalist Solidarity Sisterhood (GAAWISS), Akropong, Ghana
- Sovereign Union of First Nations of Australia, Goodooga, New South Wales, Australia
- Black Nations Rising (BNR), Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
- Africans For JC Values, United Kingdom
- Camden Momentum/People Of Colour, United Kingdom
- Lambeth Momentum
- Maori Party, Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand
- Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM), Atlanta, Georgia, USA
- Idle No More (INM), Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
- Council of Black Community Development (CDCN), Bahia, Brazil
- National Front in Defence of Quilombo Territories (FNDTQ), Bahia, Brazil
- Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network (ACSN), Washington, DC, USA
- Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Johannesburg, Gauteng, Azania/South Africa
- Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC-Azania), Johannesburg, Gauteng, Azania/South Africa
- United Front of South Africa (UF-SA), Johannesburg, Gauteng, Azania/South Africa
- Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement, Durban, Azania/South Africa
- Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Harare, Zimbabwe
- SWAPO Party, Katutura, Windhoek, Namibia
- KGEIKANI KWENI, First People of the Kalahari (FPK), Ghanzi, Botswana
- Pan-African Liberation Movement (PALM), Jos, Plateau, Nigeria
- Peoples’ International Community Campaign for the Dignity of Labour (PICCDOL), Delhi, India
- Dalit Panther of India (DPI), Pune, Maharashtra, India
- Global Justice Forum (GJF), London, United Kingdom
- Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJA), Florida, USA
- Socialist International (SI), London, United Kingdom
- Confederal Group of the European United Left/ Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), Brussels, Belgium
- Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Bori, Ogoni, Rivers State, Nigeria
- Mapuche International Link (MIL), Bristol, United Kingdom
- International Indian Treaty Council), San Francisco, California, USA
- Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), Newlands, South Africa
- Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Chiang Mai, Thailand
- United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFIS), UN Headquarters, New York, USA
- Bureau of Black Indian Affairs, California, USA
- National Congress of Black American Indians, Columbia, USA
- NUS Black Student’s Campaign (NUS-BSC), United Kingdom
- Mau Mau Justice Network (MMJN), United Kingdom
- United Front for Progress, St Vincent & Grenadines
- Clement Payne Movement, Barbados
- Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), United Kingdom
- Pan-Afrikan Society Community Forum (PASCF), United Kingdom
- Global Afrikan Congress-uk, (GAC-uk), United Kingdom
- Media Diversified, United Kingdom
- Ligali Organisation, United Kingdom
- Bema Arts, United Kingdom
- Dr Kwaku Baprui Asante, Ghana
- Elder Matilda Asante, Ghana
- Akala, United Kingdom
- Benny Wenda, Free West Papua, West Papua,United Kingdom
- Delia Mattis (Momentum member), United Kingdom
- Jackie Walker (Momentum), South Thanet Labour Party
- Linda Bellos Associates, United Kingdom
- Professor Lewis Gordon (University of Connecticut, USA, Rhodes University, South Africa, (Birkbeck School of Law), UK, (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès), France
- Professor Paget Henry (Brown University), USA
- Darla Migan (Vanderbilt University), USA
- Dr Robbie Shilliam, (Queen Mary, University of London), United Kingdom
- Professor Hakim Adi, (University of Chichester), United Kingdom
- Professor Gus John, United Kingdom
- Associate Professor George Shire, (Bergen Academy of Art & Design), Norway
- Dr Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University), United Kingdom
- Dr Nathaniel Coleman, United Kingdom
- Professor Budd Hall, UNESCO, (University of Victoria), Canada
- Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith, (University of Waikato) New Zealand
- Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, (University of the West Indies), Barbados
- Professor Signithia Fordham, (University of Rochester), USA
- Professor Mirielle Fanon-Mendes, United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGPAD)
Biyi Bandele, United Kingdom
Courttia Newland, United Kingdom.