Politics, Satire, Points of view
Demands for Reparations for Slavery
by TheEtruscan at 17:06 March 15, 2014
Reparations for slavery is the idea that some form of compensatory payment should be made to the descendants of those who have been enslaved by the Atlantic Slave Trade.
Caribbean Reparations for Slavery
Adapted from Wikipedia, see Demands_for_reparations
- In 1999, the African World Reparations and Repatriation Truth Commission called for "the West" to pay USD $777 trillion to Africa within five years.
Note that the gross domestic product of all countries in the world was somewhat more than 70 trillion in 2011, in other words these claims amount to the value of over 10 years production of goods and services of the entire planet.
- In 2004, Lloyds of London was sued by the descendants of African slaves. The case was not successful.
- In 2004 in Jamaica, a coalition of groups argued that European countries formerly involved in the slave trade, especially Britain, should pay 72.5 billion pounds sterling to resettle 500,000 Jamaican Rastafarians in Africa. The claim was rejected by the British government, which said it could not be held accountable for wrongs in past centuries.
- In 2007, Guyana called for European nations to pay reparations for the slave trade.
- In 2011, Antigua & Barbuda called for reparations at the United Nations, saying "that segregation and violence against people of African descent had impaired their capacity for advancement as nations, communities and individuals".
- In 2012, Jamaica revived its reparations commission, to consider the question of whether the country should seek an apology or reparations from Britain for its role in the slave trade.
- Also in 2012, the Barbados government established a 12-member Reparations Task Force, to be responsible for sustaining the local, regional and international momentum for reparations. Barbados is reportedly "currently leading the way in calling for reparations from former colonial powers for the injustices suffered by slaves and their families."
- In 2013, in the first of a series of lectures in Georgetown, Guyana, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the 1763 Berbice Slave Revolt, Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, Sir Hilary Beckles urged Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries to emulate the position adopted by the Jews who were prosecuted during the Second World War and have since organized a Jewish reparations fund.
Reparations for Slavery in the United States
Reparations for slavery in the United States is a complicated issue. Any proposal for reparations must take into account the role of the then relatively newly formed, United States government in the importation and enslavement of Africans and that of the older and established European countries that created the colonies in which slavery was legal; as well as their efforts to stop the trade in slaves.
It must also consider if and how much modern Americans have benefited from the importation and enslavement of Africans since the end of the slave trade in 1865.
Profit from slavery was not limited to a particular region: New England merchants profited from the importation of slaves, while Southern planters profited from the continued enslavement of Africans.
In a 2007 column in The New York Times, historian Eric Foner writes: In the Colonial era, Southern planters regularly purchased imported slaves, and merchants in New York and New England profited handsomely from the trade.
Adapted from Wikipedia, see Reparations_for_slavery_debate_in_the_United_States
England abolished slavery in 1807 and in its colonies between 1833-1838. Mexico freed the slaves in 1827 (and the Alamo is because the American Tejanos feared that proclamation would be extended to Texas as well).
For much of human existence on Earth, slavery has been an enduring fact of life. Slavery predates written records and this practice would have proliferated after the development of agriculture.
Throughout history, Africans are not the only people who were enslaved. Any prisoner of war could be made a slave and defenseless populations were normally targeted. Schiavo, the Italian word for slave derives from Slav as Ukrainians were routinely bought and sold in Venice. A section of the Venetian waterfront is still called Riva Degli Schiavoni – slaves’ dock.
As slavery typically requires a shortage of labor and a surplus of land to be viable, the practice slowly came to a halt in Europe but remained very active in the Americas where there was a serious shortage of manpower (due to the native American population being laid low by European common diseases).
Much has been clamored about reparations for the past evil of slavery. But what about the unintended consequences of good fortune befallen unto the descendants of slaves?
Should we take into account the quality of life and economic opportunities that the Afro-Americans would have had had they remained in Africa?
It should be relatively easy to calculate the average savings, possessions and material worth of today's Africans in the areas where most African slaves to the Americas came from. DNA analysis should pinpoint these regions. Compare then these results with the net worth and economical potential of today's American Africans. Would "the West" then be owed?