Reparations for Black Land and Liberation Manifesto

Reparations for Black Land and Liberation Manifesto

Juneteenth 2017

We are a people who have been enslaved and dispossessed as a result of the oppressive, exploitative, extractive system of colonialism and white supremacy. In this system, our labor and its products have been forcefully taken from us for generations, for the accumulation of wealth by others. This extraction of wealth – from our labor, and from the land – formed the financial basis of the modern globalized world economy and has led to compounded exploitation and social alienation of Black people to this day. The original harm has not been healed and in fact, the extraction of lives, our work, our culture, our language, our children, our homes, and our dignity continues both here and abroad.

The beneficiaries of the harm done to our people have a moral responsibility to address that wrong. Apologies are not sufficient.

We continue the legacy of those who have fought before us and have sought the return of stolen accumulated wealth. We assert the fundamental right to the resources required to create our own, dignified and sustainable livelihoods through our own labor and self-governance. Key among those resources is land. The basis of all wealth is the combination of land and labor, and to be self determining we must liberate both. We know the fight for the liberation of Black people will require us to build thriving movement hubs, to meet our basic needs, and to practice and engage in self governance. Access to land gives us the greatest opportunity to realize those steps towards liberation.

Let us be clear that the value of suffering can never be calculated and the lives lost never returned. However, reparations is about repairing our relations. While it must include amends for past harm, it must also transform our relationships to each other and the living world so that such harm can never happen again.

We call for a return of accumulated wealth to Black people in the US and Black people across the diaspora. We call for a release of stolen land. We vow to work with integrity and build partnership with those whose lands were stolen and with the land itself. We vow to continue the struggle, to build liberated black spaces, institutions, and power until we are returned what is rightfully ours.

 

These are the collective words of Black farmers, Black healers, Black educators, Black dreamers and Black organizers who are a part of the Black Land and Liberation initiative.