Read below for a report on the 2024 visit of Ghanaian activists to Stroud and Bristol. Stroud report written by Roma Robinson and Bristol report written by Nils Agger.
Stroud Internationalist Study Visit
The massive problems we are currently seeing are global, but with a democracy captured by the financial interest of the ruling classes, our solutions must be local - we must regrow our power at the grassroots. The question then, is how can we make our local actions have the wide impact they must have to support transformative change?
The answer: working with other grassroots organisers around the world, and building internationalist movements for repair of our planet and peoples, from the bottom up.
Photo following our community gathering on Tuesday 9th
With that in mind, on Tuesday 9th of January, Stroud welcomed some very exciting visitors from Ghana to our rolling valleys. Akorfa Gakpa and Dzigbordi Agbo are community educationists. Together they work on ABLODENUNYANSA Communiversity, decolonial education work in their indigenous Gbetowo Nation which spreads across the European imposed colonial borders of various states in West Afrika today. They’re also co-leaders of the Global Citizenship Education for Planet Repairs Action (GCEPRA) endeavour in Ghana. Their work is vital for the de-colonial repair of Afrika, and we were honoured to have them visit.
They’ve been visiting the UK for the past two months, on an internationalist study exchange, learning about our resistance here and working with Pan-Afrikan organisers in London to develop their future strategies. They’re now in the last month of their visit, and part of that is making links with organisers across the UK so that we can support each other.
They had two stops on their trip to the South West, Stroud for two days and later Bristol, to visit the work of the radical learning community there.
As SISTER (Stroud in Internationalist Solidarity, Together for Earth Repair), we’ve been working parallel to them on similar work - community education for the change that needs to come. Over the Summer we reclaimed space in the Old County Library on Lansdown Road and organised a summer school, where the RYSE ran over 40 radical educational events for the local community, covering topics like de-colonialism, internationalist solidarity and the power of young people. GCEPRA does very similar work. They work in their context to educate on indigenous rights, reparatory justice and rematriation into a vision of a better world. They work with young people in particular, and believe that as young people imagine and build for power, they pull their parents into the work. There is important linking here, connecting ourselves and other young people we work with to the youth of GCEPRA through dialogue that will make both of our efforts stronger - we are in the same struggle as them.
They arrived Tuesday lunchtime and were taken on a tour of Stroud, visiting areas of significance to our work; such as the Archway in Paganhill and Ebley Mill - both as the seat of local government now and a surviving mill that we could use to talk about the wool trade here. Educating ourselves on local radical history was an important part of our work last year, and we told them about Stroud Scarlet and the Stroudwater Riots - big shout out to the Stroud Radical History Society and all the work that they do.
Later that evening, SISTER hosted a group of people connected to our work in the community to hear some more about their work and provide opportunities for linking. They spoke about the history of their tribe, and the journey they made West across the coast towards what is now Ghana. Then, about the impact that the carving up of Afrika by European powers at the 1884-84 Berlin conference continues to have on families and people that they know.
At this point, Akorfa turned to those gathered and said, soberingly, “this was done by your government, in your names.” It is important to be honest about this, as it reminds us of the responsibility we have to this work and to supporting the repair of these communities - and ourselves - for it was done by our government and with what democratic process? It was done by our government, and the process of land being drawn up and parcelled out to the wealthy was done to our lands. We owe it to ourselves as well.
Now, the tribe faces issues like their lands being seized and destroyed for gold and lithium mining to fund our technological advancements - including our “green revolution”. This forceful seizure of land is the same process that was initiated in 1884 and before - the destruction of sovereignty that allows the destruction of the earth.
This is something that we think is vital to address in environmentalist movements here - that the destruction of the earth is inextricable from violence towards colonised communties. Framing the issues as separate does them a disservice. In order to properly address ecocide, we have to work for the repair of communities, including our own investment in our land.
Then, they explained the upcoming elections and how indigenous activists who are fighting for land sovereignty are being threatened and disappeared. The current government is responsible for much of the violence they experience and although - like the current situation we are in - the opposition party is not ideal, working for their election and against the voter suppression that their people face will bring positive impacts.
The next day, the core organisers of SISTER met with the visitors for a whole day of discussing our work and opportunities for linking. We heard about their organising for the election, and we spoke about land justice work here - we even got everyone singing the World Turned Upside Down by Leon Rosselson. We laid out our plans for the new year, and by the end of it we had some tangible plans for linking and support.
Outcomes and Reflections
To support this work, please donate at the PRALER fund. Donating to the PRALER Fund means supporting Global South communities to become connected and addressing their needs.
Bristol Internationalist Study Visit
On the 11th of January we were blessed to receive a delegation from the Ablodenunyansa-Sankofakuumba and GCEPRA (Global Citizenship Education for Planet Repairs Action) to Bristol in order to build glocal relationships and strengthen our shared educational work for Planet Repairs through PRALER.
Together we went on a walking tour through St Pauls and Stokes Croft exploring histories of Bristol and current Community work for Planet Repairs, before hosting a workshop in the evening at the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft about the work taking place in the indigenous Gbetowo nation in West Afrika and possibilities to work together glocally during 2024 when both the UK and Ghana will be having elections and communities are campaigning for fair, free, and peaceful elections in West Afrika.
This year also includes work towards the Afrika-Europe People to Peoples Planet Repairs Action Dialogue Internationalist Forum scheduled in Berlin this year to repair the legacy of the 1884 Berlin Conference!