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Umsebenzi Online

Volume 2, No. 2, 5 February 2003

In this Issue:

 

Red Alert

Oil is thicker than Blood

By Blade Nzimande, SACP General Secretary

As the deafening noise of war drums increases, the South African Communist Party is reminded of the Freedom Charter which says: "South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation - not war".

A war against Iraq threatens international peace and security, global justice, international dialogue, social development and the security for all of humanity. Such a war will create instability in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. It would postpone further the long-delayed resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, at great cost to both peoples. It would move off the world agenda the interests and issues of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the rest of the developing world. This war is a scheme for global domination and the deepening the imperialist stranglehold on our world. All these have grave consequences for the interests and needs of poor and working people in developing countries.

Growing US unilateralism

This war is a manifestation of growing unilateralism and militaristic solutions to global problems by the USA. The USA has increasingly exhibited a preference for acting alone in its own national interests, backed by its military might and economic weight. The posture and stance of the USA has become more aggressive, more militarised, more unilateralist, more protectionist, less nuanced in its imperialist ambitions.

Only the most naive or cynical observers support the ever-shifting official excuses from Washington and London -- that Saddam Hussein has links to Al-Qaeda or that Iraq poses a threat to America. The SACP holds no brief for the Iraqi regime but the "proof" for these claims has been flimsy or greatly inflated. Similarly, the argument that Iraq must be "punished" for violating UN Security Council resolutions convinces few while Israel blatantly ignores dozens of UN resolutions.

The most famous case of US unilateralism is the decades-old criminal and illegal economic blockade against Cuba initially motivated by a Cold War paradigm and interests of US capital to access economic exploitation of Cuba. The current actions of the US bring to the fore the need to ensure that we intensify the struggle for the democratisation and strengthening of the multilateral system of government: the UN is at the centre of this system, and is the only guarantee that the voice of all the world's peoples can be heard. This requires growing and deepening international solidarity with the people of Cuba and Palestine in order to expose and reverse US unilateralism.

Oil and the US Government: A Fact Sheet

The November 2002 edition of Umsebenzi, the monthly newsletter of the South African Communist Party, contains a revealing fact sheet on how the hands of the US government are dirtied by oil. Some of the key information in this fact sheet includes the following: -

  • There is $6 trillion worth of oil and gas in the Caspian Sea area which requires a pipeline through Afghanistan.
  • Before September 2001, UNOCAL, a giant American Oil conglomerate, spent $10 billion on geological surveys for pipeline construction to build a 1000-mile long pipeline from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. During this period, UNOCAL courted the Taliban for their support in allowing the construction to begin. Leading Taliban officials were in Texas negotiating with UNOCAL in 1998.
  • The leader of the new (US-installed) Afghani government formerly worked for UNOCAL. The US special envoy appointed to represent the US to deal with the new Afghani government is was a former "chief consultant to UNOCAL."
  • The US government quietly announced on Jan 31, 2002 that it will support the construction of the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline.
  • George Bush Sr. now works with the "Carlysle Group" specialising in huge oil investments around the world.
  • Condoleezza Rice worked for Chevron before going to Washington. Chevron named one of its newest "supertankers" after Condoleezza.
  • Dick Cheney worked for the giant oil conglomerate Haliburton before becoming US Vice President. Haliburton is in the pipeline construction business.
  • The USA has been implicated in demobilising and actively opposing the Venezuelan government because of its interests in Venezuelan oil.

Only last week did Comrade Nelson Mandela argue that the increasing noise of war drums is driven by imperialism's material interests, in particular the drive of several USA transnationals to control oil reserves in the Middle East. Iraq has among the largest oil reserves in the world, and the major energy monopolies have long been eager to turn this rich state-owned prize into a source of private profits. The oil monopolies also want to build new pipelines to export oil and gas from the Central Asian republics north of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

But even this is not the whole story, since lower-risk options still remain available to U.S. imperialism in its efforts to extend control of key resources.

USA National Security means World Insecurity

The release of the USA's National Security Strategy in September last year (on 20 September 2002) helps to clarify the real nature of US aims. Oil and a regime change in Iraqi are just the main immediate prize. The real prize is the official emergence of the USA as a fully-fledged global emperor with no restrictions, checks and balances whatsoever only accountable to the interests and whims of the ruling class in the USA.

The USA's National Security Strategy lays out an aggressive military and foreign policy, embracing pre-emptive attacks against "enemies" and asserting that "the best defense is a good offence." In promoting "American internationalism," the USA gives itself the right to completely ignore international opinion.

Dismissing deterrence as a Cold War relic, the new strategy speaks of "convincing or compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities." It lays out a plan for permanent U.S. military and economic domination of every region of the globe, enforced by a massive expansion of the U.S. armed forces, which already possess more firepower and combat strength than all other countries combined.

To preserve "American internationalism", the strategy says US forces will be required to perform "constabulary duties," under "American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations." The National Security Strategy makes for frightening reading, let alone the destructive consequences it will have for the rest of the world.

At the core of this strategy and shifts is the new slow-down in the main centres of capitalist accumulation, and the time-honoured recourse to militarisation to spur profitable growth.

George Bush is a weapon of Mass Destruction

The very countries that are threatening Iraq, themselves own large quantities of weapons of mass destruction. In particular, the Israeli government, which stands in brazen violation of numerous UN resolutions, is known to have a nuclear arsenal and other weapons of mass destruction and yet the USA is not saying a word about these.

South Africa is the first and only country in the world voluntarily to implement a comprehensive programme of nuclear disarmament and the destruction of weapons mass destruction. Iraq must do the same! However, the ongoing efforts of the UN to eradicate these weapons must not be an excuse for war.

Act now to stop the War

The impending actions against Iraq pose a challenge to all peace loving people around the world to act in unity in defence of peace, democracy, justice, democracy and development. In South Africa, the situation demands that all South Africans respond to the call by President Thabo Mbeki to, once more, act together as a powerful force for peace in the world.

For South Africa and our continent, as President Mbeki has noted, the war would have terrible consequences. The increase in oil prices and other negative economic consequences predicted by many analysts would condemn the African continent to a deep economic crisis. It would put paid to the urgent and needed development and democratisation of our continent. Already we have seen the cause of Africa's development relegated to the bottom of the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2003. In other words, war means that the peoples of Africa would have to confront the reality of even further impoverishment.

Therefore, because the masses of our people have a direct interest in the peaceful resolution of the Iraq question, they have an obligation to stand up and join the struggle for peace. That struggle for world peace is a struggle for peace and development in our own country and our continent, for a new world order of peace, development, justice and prosperity for all. In the view of the SACP, this budding peace movement must highlight ongoing atrocities committed by Israel against the people of Palestine, ongoing struggles against capitalist globalisation, the need to globalise solidarity and social justice based on poverty eradication.

In this regard, the SACP is a member of the Stop the War Campaign which brings together a broad front of South Africans united against the war. This campaign is important to educate and conscientise our people on the problems facing the world and their impact on our country and the African continent.

For all these reasons, the SACP condemns the decision of Democratic Alliance to oppose mobilisation against the US war apparently because the USA has just announced a multi-billion dollar package to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and that the USA has started a free trade agreement with African countries. The SACP is not surprised at this DA stance. The DA is a reactionary and conservative political party which puts the interests of profiteers and multinational companies ahead of peace and social justice. In essence, the DA is calling on South Africans to accept imperialist benevolence and ignore the just and legitimate struggle for a fairer world. By taking the stance it has taken, the DA has permanently painted itself as a lapdgog of imperialism which will bow with every piece of crumbs thrown to it by the USA and allied powers. South Africa is a sovereign country which must promote its interests and those of the developing world without begging Western powers. As the Freedom Charter says, South Africa must strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiations - not war.


Stop the war! - Objectives of the stop war campaign  

The aims of the STOP THE WAR campaign:

  • Bring together the broadest range possible of South African people and organisations to unite in action against war in Iraq around the slogans: "Stop the War!" and "Peace for Development"
  • Educate and conscientise our people on the problems facing the world and their impact on our country and the African continent.
  • Initiate a longer term South African movement for peace and international human solidarity.
  • Members of the Stop the War Campaign represent a broad front against war

Our mass activities should aim to build a broad united front of all South Africans against the war. All those who agree with the campaign slogans should be invited to participate.

Current members of the Stop the War Campaign are: -

  • African National Congress
  • South African Communist Party
  • Congress of South African Trade Unions
  • South African National Civics Organisation
  • ANC Youth League
  • ANC Women's League
  • Congress of South African Students
  • South African Students' Congress
  • South African Council of Churches
  • Church of the Province of Southern Africa (Anglican Church)
  • Musicians' Union of South Africa
  • Media Review Network
  • Treatment Action Campaign
  • Institute for Global Dialogue

Campaign Activities

Below is the national Programme of Action.

  • Collect signatures of South Africans through a petition against the war (petition contained below).
  • National Press Conference, 11 February 2003.
  • Thursday, 13 February - Manyano's for Peace Day: Women's prayers for women and children affected by war. Each large town and city should have a single event
  • Saturday 15 February is the international day of action. Various activities will be taking place in Europe, including a large march in London. The Stop the War Campaign will send a South African Message of Solidarity and Support to these international activities. In South Africa the 'Anti War Coalition' of NGO's will be having events on this day, including a march in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
  • Saturday 15 February Moment of Silence for Peace before the kick off at all football games. Jewish Prayers for Peace at all Synagogues
  • Inter-Faith Prayers for peace: Major Service at Regina Mundi (Johannesburg), Diakonia (Durban), St. Georges (Cape Town) and others.
  • On 19 February, the Stop the War Campaign will be marching to the US embassy in Pretoria, and US Consulates in Durban and Cape Town.
  • 21 February - evaluation and way forward

STOP THE WAR!

We, the undersigned, oppose the attack on Iraq. We call on the US government and its allies to act together with other countries for the settlement of international disputes by negotiation - not war

Name Address Signature
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PLEASE RETURN THIS FORM TO: Solly Mapaila - SACP (ORGANISATION)
PHONE NUMBER: 011 339 3621, 082 886 3526  
 

Cairo Declaration: Against U.S. Hegemony and War on Iraq and In Solidarity with Palestine  

The international meeting organised by the Egyptian Popular Campaign to Confront U.S. Aggression was convened in Cairo on December 18 and 19 to launch the International Campaign.

We, the participants reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognising that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation. Solidarity with Iraq and Palestine is integral to the internationalist struggle against neo-liberal globalisation. The Cairo meeting is not an isolated event, but an extension of a protracted international struggle against imperialism, from Seattle and Genoa to Lisbon and Florence, to Cordoba and Cairo.

The U.S. provides unlimited support, and even justification, to the Zionist perpetrators of genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people. The suffering of the Iraqi people under a regime of genocidal sanctions lasting over a decade, and the aggressive militarism which they face today is but a logical outcome of the structures of power asymmetry of the existing world order:

  • The U.S. monopolises political, economic and military power within the framework of capitalist globalisation, to the detriment of the lives of the majority of the world's people
  • The U.S. imposes control through naked aggression and militarised globalisation in pursuit of its rulers' interests, all while reinstating the characteristic direct occupation of classical colonialism
  • The U.S. global strategy, which was formulated prior to September 11 2001, aims to maintain the existing uni-polar world order, and to prevent the emergence of forces that would shift the balance of power towards multi-polarity. The U.S. administration has exploited the tragic events of September 11, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, to implement the pre-existing strategy.

Attention to this global context helps explain current world developments:

First: Capitalist Globalisation and U.S. Hegemony

  • prioritise the interest of monopolistic capitalist circles above those of the people, including Europeans and U.S. citizens.
  • integrate the economies of different countries into a single global capitalist economic system under conditions which undermine social development and adversely affect the situation of women, child health, education, and social services for the elderly. In addition, unemployment and poverty increase.
  • generalise the culture of consumerism and individualism, to the detriment of a sense of collective responsibility, whether towards the thousands of infant and child deaths in Iraq resulting from polluted water, malnutrition and deficiencies in medical supplies, or towards the victims of AIDS, malnutrition and famines around the world. Among millions of people standards of living have deteriorated while unemployment and poverty have become widespread. Globalisation has resulted in the marginalisation of entire peoples who could no longer acquire the basic necessities to sustain life.

Second: In the absence of democracy, and with widespread corruption and oppression constituting significant obstacles along the path of the Arab peoples' movement towards economic, social, and intellectual progress, adverse consequences are further aggravated within the framework of the existing world order of neo-liberal globalisation.

  • Admission to restrictions on democratic development in Iraq in no way constitutes acceptance of U.S. justifications for continuation of sanctions, and now preparations for war. Without disregarding long-standing restrictions on democratic development in Iraqi society - as is the case in all Arab societies - it is evident that the U.S.-imposed sanctions have had a devastating effect on Iraq's development. Whereas Iraq had once enjoyed a relatively positive profile according to certain human development indicators, its people now suffer severely as a result of the sanctions regime. Iraq has witnessed a significant rise in child mortality rates, the spread of several diseases, reduction of opportunities in education, and a marked deterioration of the standard of living. As human suffering increases it generates a sense of defeatism.
  • The Palestinian people are suffering as a result of the loss of their land and continued Zionist aggression, which the U.S. supports militarily, economically, and politically, making its administration a de facto accomplice in the crimes committed against the Palestinian people. The U.S. protects Israel from condemnation in international forums under the pretext of combating terrorism, and it asserts additional false claims, such as when it equates the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to resist occupation, liberate their land, and return to their homes, on the one hand, with terrorism that we all abhor, on the other.
  • The policies of Structural Adjustment associated with neo-liberal globalisation have precipitated global crises manifest in a widening wealth gap, increase in poverty and unemployment, and general deterioration of standards of living.
  • U.S. military presence in the Arab region, and its dictates to governments of sovereign nations of the region has compounded the suffering of the Arab people. Interference in the internal affairs of these nations now extends to demands of educational reform, and insistence on "democratisation". Ironically this is occurring at a time when civil liberties in the U.S. are clearly under siege, especially with regard to Arab and Muslim Americans, along with other minorities. The U.S. administration also violates international law by its inhumane treatment of the POWs in Guantanamo. Also evident is the wealth gap in the U.S., which is the widest among the industrial nations of the world.
  • Far from secretly, the US intends to partition Arab countries into smaller entities on ethnic or religious basis. This would enable Israel to become the dominant regional power within the framework of the Middle East Project, to the peril of an Arab project of equitable development and regional unity.

The suffering of the Arab people and U.S. unwavering support of the system of apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people, will undoubtedly fuel conflict and lead to the escalation of violence in one of the most sensitive areas of the world. Such danger can easily extend to neighboring Europe, Asia and Africa. Continued preparation for war on Iraq in spite of its acceptance of a UN resolution of aggressive inspection of its armament, as well as civilian industries, signals a predetermined intent to control the Arab region, its oil and indeed the entire world supply of oil.

Third: For all these reasons we declare our total opposition to war on Iraq and our resolve to continue the struggle against U.S. policies of global domination. We strongly believe in the urgency of mobilising against these policies. All democratic forces in the world that are for genuine Peace and Justice must join together within the framework of an international campaign against neo-liberal, US-centric globalisation and promote an alternate globalism based on Equity and Justice. This would mean better utilisation of the world's resources and protection of the environment. Together the people of the world are quite able to combat aggression and all forms of injustice, prejudice and racism, and make a better world possible.

The Cairo conference against war on Iraq and in solidarity with Palestine represents the launching of an international popular movement that creates effective mechanisms for confronting policies of aggression. The participation of international activists who are prominent for their struggles for Human Dignity, Rights and Justice, as well as intellectuals, authors, unionists, human rights workers, journalists and artists- from Egypt and the rest of the Arab World, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States- will no doubt accelerate this noble endeavour in spite of the numerous obstacles that we have to confront.

Fourth: It is important that this international popular initiative of solidarity with Iraq and Palestine proceed according to an Action Plan which includes clearly defined priorities:

  1. Condemnation of U.S. military presence on Arab land along with pressuring the Arab governments that allow U.S. military bases on their territory to close them down, and not to provide air, naval, or land facilities
  2. Develop cooperation among popular organisations of the South to reinforce solidarity in confronting the policies and practices of neo-liberal globalisation and U.S. hegemony
  3. Work towards cooperation with the international anti-globalisation movement of the North and South, and participation in activities and meetings organised by this movement
  4. Promote the unity of democratic forces and popular organisations in different parts of the world, and form solidarity committees which oppose war on Iraq, and the genocidal crimes faced by Palestinians, supporting their right to resistance and struggle for liberation
  5. Under the banner Together against globalisation and U.S. Hegemony add Iraq and Palestine to the agendas of international progressive meetings, particularly the next Social Forum at Porte Allegre
  6. Invite Arab and international human rights organisations to evaluate humanitarian conditions in Iraq and disseminate their findings worldwide
  7. Prepare to send human shields to Iraq
  8. Introduce the boycott of U.S. and Israeli commodities in solidarity campaigns in support of Iraq and Palestine, with emphasis on the right of return for Palestinians
  9. Elect a Steering Committee to follow up on the implementation of the Cairo Declaration, and coordination among organisations which commit to its principles, and enhance awareness through appropriate actions ranging from the preparation of posters to organising marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Iraq and Palestine

Source: http://www.stopwar.org.uk/Resources/cairo

 

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