Report//Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice

You are invited to delve into our first self-produced report: Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice. This project is a product of a partnership between Tax Justice UK and Tax Justice Network that began in 2020 which opened up a conversation around the real need for detailed strategic research within the tax justice movement in the UK.

Accessible versions:

Read our single page version of the Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice report.

Or flip through the Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice report on Issuu.

In the next stage of this work, we hope you take this report to act as a framework for future research, organising and campaigns in which tax can be used as a tool to repair the harms of structural racism that are embedded into our economic system. This paper has been written to invite discussion – and throughout there will be moments for your personal reflections.

We hope that through this paper we are able to encourage investment in deeper and more intelligent research into the colonial roots of our economy, and a commitment to movement-led policy making and organising infrastructure that would influence mainstream tax justice campaigns and the broader tax policy world. 

This is your chance to reflect, interrogate, critique, digest and offer your insights as part of the participatory process of movement-centred research. We expect to hear back from you!

Following the report release on Tuesday 13th September, we are planning a movement assembly in October that will bring together the new economy sector with activists to build commitment, shared strategy and accountability in racial justice organising.

Toolkit//Resourcing Your Community: How To Sustain Social Movements Through Community Provision 

This toolkit offers an opportunity to explore avenues to resourcing movements outside of grant funding which can create a healthier distance from institutional philanthropy and push the work of African, Afrodescendent and Black social movements into greater freedom and fewer restrictions.

Download the Resourcing Your Community: How To Sustain Social Movements Through Community Provision toolkit.

This toolkit offers an opportunity to explore avenues to resourcing movements outside of grant funding which can create a healthier distance from institutional philanthropy and push the work of African, Afrodescendent and Black social movements into greater freedom and fewer restrictions.

Drawing on the wisdom of four case studies, and an in depth analysis of capitalism, meritocracy and trust and risk as a foundational principles of wealth redistribution, it explores how communities can, do and have pooled funds to sustain essential community work locally, regionally and transnationally.

We at Decolonising Economics have long been dreaming of research on liberatory economic practices that exist within Black and People of Colour communities in the UK, and were beyond elated by the release of this crucial toolkit. 

Solidarity Economics has a long history and legacy in communities of colour, yet the hegemony of orthodox mainstream economics has obscured these vital and pluralistic  approaches to economics. This toolkit highlights Black led economic thought and concrete practice that rarely gets platformed in economic innovation. 

We’re excited to be able to host the toolkit on Decolonising Economics’ website, as a vital resource for building a discourse around pluralistic approaches to economics and the value of African economic thought and practice.

Want to learn more about THE RESOURCING YOUR COMMUNITY toolkit?

You are invited to join a conversation between Decolonising Economics and Zahra Dalilah, author of Resourcing Your Community: How to sustain social movements through community provisioning. 

When: Thursday 20th October, 6-7pm (online).

Collab // Greenpeace and Runnymede report   

We advised on Greenpeace and Runnymede's report, Confronting injustice: racism and the environmental emergency.

The report explores how “the legacy of colonialism has ensured racism and the environmental emergency are inextricably linked.” It also provides a rallying call for environmental justice.

You can read the Confronting injustice: racism and the environmental emergency report on Greenpeace’s website.

And check out our own report, Tax as a Tool for Racial Justice.

VIDEOS//Decolonising Futures

In our four-part series, Decolonising Futures, we explore how embracing “economics from the margins” supports our collective organising strategies towards a Just Transition.

From reparations as a strategy for collective healing, to the economics of queerness, we had the honour to connect with so many brilliant community organisers, artists and practitioners delivering Just Transition work. 

The events were aimed at anyone who is ready to explore some of the deeper and more nuanced truths around structural racism that we often miss in our racial justice organising strategies and practices.

Racial Hierarchies: Caste, Class and Capitalism

Community organisers Nish, Claude Hendrickson and Kelsey explore caste, class and capitalism in the first talk of our Decolonising Futures series.

They look at the historical roles that racialised communities have played in facilitating white-dominance, to the impact on wealth inequality in the UK and globally.

Resourcing Reparations: Investing in Collective Healing

Racial justice organisers Yvonne Blake, Penny Wangari-Jones and Esther Stanford Xosei are working to popularise the idea of reparations through their organising and campaigning. 

In the second part of Decolonising Futures, they explore how colonial exploitation has impacted the wealth of communities of colour and the stories of resistance and mobilisation towards reparative justice. 

Caring for Every Body: Organising Towards Disability Justice

Disability justice organisers Jumoke and Kym from the Triple Cripples explore the history of disabled rights, colonialism and ‘rise and grind’ culture in the third part of Decolonising Futures.

They cover the origins of colonial mindsets that put different values over some people’s bodies, while labelling others as disposable. 

The Economics of Queerness: How Colonialism Shaped Sexuality and Gender

In the final part of Decolonising Futures, QTBPOC community organisers June Bellebono,  Amardeep Singh Dhillon and artist Evan Ifekoya explore the relationship between capitalism and the constructs of sexuality and gender.

They discuss how homophobia and transphobia are colonial legacies alongside reimagining our queer economic futures. 

More about Decolonising Futures:

Part of our work at Decolonising Economics is supporting organisers committed to racial justice in divesting from the Extractive Economy and investing in the Living Economy. 

This series supports the launch of our Crowdfunder for our 2021-22 programme: Investing in BPOC-led Solidarity Economics.

Illustrations of Decolonising Futures speakers by the RAD Mural Co-operative.

We hope you take away as much insight and richness as we did from these conversations.

Event // Economics from the Margins

Noni hosted a panel at The World Transformed festival in 2021, featuring June Bellebono, the Class Work Project and Last Mafuba.

This session is for anyone who, like us, has a penchant for colonial history, and how that history has been central to shaping our modern economy.

Our special guests are some of the most exciting social justice organisers whose work explores racialisation, migration, ableism, class oppression and queerness.

Panellists included June Bellobono, the Class Work Project and Last Mafuba.

During the Economics from the Margins session, guests speak on how their lived and learn experience has informed their organising towards a Just Transition.

Article // Living Lavish; How Black Capitalism Took Over The Conversation.

In December 2020, Noni wrote an article discussing whether it is possible to ethically "secure the bag" for Gal-dem.

This is a crosspost, you can read the full article here.

Alternative paths to liberation

No examination of the development of Black capitalism is complete without the parallel stories of Black anti-capitalist resistance movements. Through keeping us chasing after the bag and working ourselves to the bone, capitalism puts blinkers on our eyes about what is possible – whilst simultaneously erasing the visibility of movements that show us that there has to be another way.

An example that haunts me is the devastation of America’s ‘Black Wall Street’ in Tulsa in 1921, where Black Americans who were divesting from the exploitation of their labour were massacred by the KKK for daring to dream differently. Because when we collectively divest from capitalism, we threaten capitalism.

During the course of my work at Decolonising Economics, I have the pleasure of uncovering the histories of Black communities resisting capitalism, which are also called ‘solidarity economic movements’ (SEMs). These look like mutual financial aid – such as when freed slaves would pool funds together to save up to buy the freedom of a still-enslaved peer, a process that would go on indefinitely.

One of the most relevant SEMs for Black people in 2020 and beyond is the cooperative movement. A cooperative, defined by Black economist Jessica Gordon Nempart, is;  “An autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly-owned and democratically – controlled enterprise.” 

In the UK, the cooperative movement (a similar set up to parallel community initiatives like Pardner or Susu) was instrumental in supporting the Windrush generation when they reached the hostile British shores and couldn’t get access to loans, jobs and housing. Black people developed “credit unions”, with the very first union set up in Hornsey in 1964 by West Indian migrants. These unions – which were collectively owned banks where individuals could contribute to a collective pool and members or the community could withdraw and invest from – allowed the Windrush generation to rent and buy houses without being forced to turn to exploitative loan sharks. 

Project // Reimagining the tax system; Decolonising Economics x Greenpeace

How can we decolonise the economy, repair our ecosystems and address wealth inequality? Listen to Guppi give you the rundown about how reimagining the tax system could be the key to these problems.

Review// Personal Thoughts and Critical Thinking from Decolonising Economics Workshop

Ever wondered what it's like to attend one of our workshops? Read this review from when the folk from Ubele attended our February 2020 workshop.

This is a crosspost, you can read the article here.

“Recently, I had a pleasure to attend Stir for Action workshop. I felt empowered to be surrounded by positive thinkers as well as seeing strong women of colour, sharing excellent knowledge and facilitate a space where I could see things from a different angle. Going into the workshop, I was expecting that we would be talking about economics and capitalism, where the money has not been rightly distributed, causing communities especially those from a BAME background to bear the burden of our unequal society. In a sense, such a narrative has its validity, and it is almost inevitable not to be discussed when the subject involves power and wealth. However, while working in small groups discussing a particular burning issue, the question of food production and poverty, which was a shared concern among my group.

Through my years of experience working in the community, I have had an understanding of the importance of food on different levels such as health, emotional wellbeing and financial factors. Having said that, I never paid much attention to the underlining issues or the root causes. The discussion opened my awareness where I thought about the subject from a more critically, instead of just basing my conversations on the prevailing narratives and blaming game. Critically thinking, I realised that often such narratives makes us focus on the blame and problem, resulting in overseeing the broader picture in hopes of solutions. Not only we discussed the land ownership in its discriminatory ways but also the rights of usage. Much discussion in today’s society involves poverty and poor diets, yet access to healthy products and rights to produce is becoming more of a privilege. This subject became personal to me and saddened me to think about my upbringing where I was in contact with the land knowing about growing fruits and vegetables, being aware when they were in season, to come in realisations that my children may not even know how certain fruits or vegetables looks like.

I did discover that a black’s growers community exist, something that did not really cross my mind. As mentioned, personally, I feel that growing produce and means to do so has become a privilege, which BAME communities appeared not to have in this country and taking into consideration the recent phenomenon of international investment and expansion BAME communities may be losing that privilege in the homeland as well. I left the workshop feeling optimistic and more opened to explore avenues to support the community and perhaps try to be more creative in finding solutions.

This workshop highlighted for me the importance of land as the catalyst to move forward and be meaningful development. Perhaps the real wealth is not the money as the capitalist mindset makes us think but a way to sustain communities and improve their wellbeing. I believe it is paramount of having such safe spaces where discussions among positive thinkers can make a difference and perhaps change (as small as it can be) can actually make a difference on a bigger picture. Changing the way practitioners see a problem may change the way that we seek solutions.”

by Anabela Semedo

Event // Organising Jackson Rising Book Tour and BPOC Learning Exchange

In 2019, Noni and Guppi connected Kali Akuno with Stir To Action to support them in organising a learning exchange for new economy activists.

During the same trip, Guppi and Noni coordinated Decolonising Economics first evening event with Kali Akuno in conversation with Adotey Bing Pappoe from the Afrikan Credit Union. They also supported the family’s tour across the UK, building relationships with those organising for a solidarity economy rooted in racial justice. 

Cooperation Jackson UK Tour flyer.

Read more about the learning exchange on The Independent.