Kitwe, Zambia. 24 June 2019
In June 2019, social movements, labour movements, NGO representatives and activists from eleven African countries gathered in Zambia under the banner of the Pan-African Fight Inequality Alliance (FIA). The purpose of the gathering was to strengthen the Pan-African FIA and build solidarity among struggles against inequality across the continent.
The gathering was aptly convened in Kitwe, a city in the centre of the Copperbelt, Zambia's copper-mining region. The Copperbelt continues to be ravaged by decades of occupation, division and colonisation of Africa through the violent expansion of Northern capital. The gathering was centred around a solidarity town hall meeting hosted by the Kankoyo community in Mflira - a community, like many others across Africa, destroyed by a multinational mining company that enriches itself at the expense of the exploitation of ordinary people.
The Pan-African Fight Inequality Alliance noted that:
The scourge of inequality has reached extremes not seen in a century. This crisis is undermining efforts to end poverty and marginalisation, advance women’s rights, protect the environment, protect human rights and democracy, and reverse the underdevelopment of Africa. The crisis, further, entrenches oppression across race, class and gender. Power, privilege and wealth are reshaping economic and social systems in Africa, and around the globe, within the narrow interests of powerful elites. As activists and movements fighting inequality, we are facing increased suppression and restrictions by political and economic elites.
Therefore, we commit to organise in our communities and with social movements across Africa on the following principles:
- We shall take a gendered approach in fighting inequality, recognising that our societies are inherently patriarchal and that women are particularly affected by inequality.
- We reject the neo-liberal organisation of the global economy and of society. We shall continue to offer alternatives to neo-liberalism.
- We stand for peoples’ power in the belief that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power. The people united will never be defeated!
- We recognise that our struggles are interlinked across countries and continents - our organising is rooted in the understanding that inequality anywhere is inequality everywhere!
- We organise bottom-up, transparent and sustainable movements.
- We are cognizant of how privilege and power operate in our organising spaces and we will challenge ourselves to listen.
- We will continue to build an alliance that is led by the people most affected by inequality. Nothing about us, without us!
We will fight inequality by:
- Advocating for redistributive policies within our countries, which includes taxing the rich and tackling tax evasion.
- Challenging the skewed distribution of land ownership across Africa, with a particular focus and commitment to securing African women’s land rights.
- Fighting to dismantle capitalism by challenging policies that sustain neo-liberalism and promote an extractivist economy.
- Challenging the idea that elites will solve the inequality crisis through spaces like the World Economic Forum in Davos. We will create alternative spaces in our regions to organize peoples’ collective power.
- Calling on our governments to reject the historical debt of African nations to the international financial institutions, and recognise the social and environmental debts that those institutions and the governments that control them owe to us.
- We will support mining-affected communities’ rights to a dignified life - free from exploitation, pollution, and exclusion.
- Calling on our governments to put in place national budgets that prioritise the needs of women, persons living with disabilities, youths, indigenous groups and other marginalised groups.
We pledge to work in solidarity with African people everywhere – for peace, justice, and dignity. Our struggles are connected and the future we want, the Africa we want, is ours to dream and make real. We are also part of a global alliance, recognising that our struggles will be compromised if it excludes struggles in other parts of the globe.
A Luta Continua!