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Liberated Zones: an easy step to Black justice and reparations

Liberated Zones: an easy step to Black justice and reparations

By Ramzu Yunus

There is something happening during the current anti-genocide student protests that should give Afrodescendants (African Americans that are descended from slaves) in the United States a hint on how to attain justice and reparations. On university and college campuses throughout the country students have been creating encampments with signs that read: “Liberated Zones”.

A “liberated zone” typically refers to a geographic area or territory that has been liberated or freed from control, occupation, or influence of a governing authority or opposing force. The term is often used to describe areas that have been liberated by groups struggling to assert their right of self-determination who are engaged in a lawful liberation struggle against a colonizing government or an illegitimate racially dominating oppressive regime.

Liberated zones, as we are witnessing on school campuses, are often significant in terms of symbolism and strategic value. They represent a challenge to the authority and serve as bases for further actions.

We also witnessed similar situations several years ago as liberated/autonomous zones in places like Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon were created in light of gentrification and police brutality issues such as the killing of George Floyd. In those cases the protesters were allowed free reign. The mayor of Seattle, Washington went as far as ceding power and letting the protesters take over a police precinct and the city hall. In Portland the mayor apologized and stopped an eviction process as gentrification was taking place.

In the struggle for justice and reparations, Afrodescendants can lawfully take similar actions on a larger and more justified scale in the context of asserting the right of self-determination. Because of the human right of self-determination, Afrodescendants can actually hold a vote on even a small block and take lawful political control of it if given the majority consent. The liberated zone can actually be formed into a small independent nation if the people decide to do such especially if the size is large enough and there is adequate infrastructure.

On a small scale the zone can be used to ban police access and stop gentrification since housing control and ownership switches from the government to the neighborhood members. Property can be financially leveraged for money from which monetary stimulus/reparations can be given to community members. Where Afrodescendants live in the United States is said to be valued at approximately $15 trillion or more in real estate value with geographical value being much more than that.

Besides leveraging assets for a monetary reparations program, new political power can be leveraged, as the threat against territorial integrity will cause the oppressive government to attempt to come to terms with the leadership of the liberation movement. There is nothing lawful that the opposing government can do to stop the possessing of territory by Afrodescendants united in consent to assert their right of self-determination in such a way. The people now have something in hand that can force the government to the reparations negotiating table instead of the usual ineffective petitioning, protesting and bill proposals.

It is up to Afrodescendant leadership to either continue the civil rights approach for justice and reparations or utilize the human rights approach of boldly asserting the right of self-determination. Can Afrodescendant leadership be as bold as Caucasian American students and activists or is the genocide and oppression of their own people not enough to muster up the courage to act on their human rights?


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