There are a lot of charities that focus their work on resource ownership and knowledge at the individual and household level. This approach is, in fact, very popular, among the international aid giants whose work I supported in the past. In many ways, it seems appealing and ‘simple’. That said, I no longer believe that within the political and economic structures we’re up against, this approach is anywhere near sufficient or effective addressing the deep inequality we live in or the levels of struggle people are experiencing (and a lot of the time, the above colonialisms and racisms apply here, too). I agree with Dr. Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa when she says that changing our mindsets is only the first step, and not of much value unless it isn’t accompanied by action. Structural change, however challenging, is needed. We have no excuse not to attempt it. A focus on addressing poverty and disadvantage at the individual or family level would not have achieved what the Anti Apartheid movement in South Africa, or what the civil rights movement in the US did. Reparations are a difficult issue to put forward politically, and may seem like a hopeless agenda. But imagine the ANC in South Africa, or Martin Luther King and his followers, had thrown in the towel at the point of realising the magnitude of the challenge? Just as with the “Loss and Damage” claims by ‘Least Developed Countries’ in the climate change negotiations —’ politically impossible’ doesn’t mean that ambitious claims don’t generate forward momentum in the right direction.

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