From Mauritius: Britain Slammed in UN Court Judgment over Illegal Occupation of Chagos and Diego Garcia

Britain Slammed in UN Court Judgment over Illegal Occupation of Chagos and Diego Garcia

26 Feb 2019

Yesterday 25 February 2019, the International Court of Justice at The Hague found that Britain had acted unlawfully in its decolonization of Mauritius.

It found that the excision of part of Mauritius, the Chagos Archipelago including Diego Garcia which the UK then sub-let to the US military, was unlawful.

In a strong judgment (13-1 of the Judges) argued closely that Britain now has to leave Chagos as soon as possible and that all other UN member states have a responsibility to monitor this. Mauritius, to complete its decolonization, will therefore be re-unified with Chagos in the Republic of Mauritius.

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LALIT demonstration in Mauritius on Diego Garcia issue

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Pyongyang is Right

The North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong is quoted by the ABC (Australia) as saying “as we take steps toward de-nuclearisation, the most important issue is security”. It seems the North Korean (NK) position has not changed for 25 years and it is purely defensive position. Pyongyang says: if the US removes its militarily aggressive posture against NK only then will we dismantle our nuclear arsenal.

This is a simple, completely justified and completely defensive position. The NK nuclear arsenal is the only effective defense Pyongyang believes it possesses against US aggression. In the context of US invasion and aggression in Iraq, Libya and Syria, this is a very understandable and practical position to take.

The big moments from the summit

Ending the posture of US aggression against North Korea would mean withdrawal (or at least radical reduction) of US troops, missiles, planes and the rest of its extensive military presence from South Korea. It would also mean the eventual signing of a permanent peace treaty between the North and South. A permanent peace treaty if it could be achieved would be a huge step forward for world peace and a massive blow to US imperialist power.

Trump perhaps thought that offering to remove the cruel and inhumane US imposed economic sanctions against NK would be a substantial enough offer to get Kim to agree to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal – or to begin to do that. Yet the real situation for the regime and the people of North Korea is that they have not one US gun aimed at their head but two. The second is the cruel and aggressive sanctions but the first is the ever present US military threat. If Kim were to dismantle the NK nuclear deterrent what would stop the US ramping up military aggression a soon as dismantling was complete. If not invasion – like in Iraq – the US could carry out bombing campaigns or other damage and carnage (with a suitable “humanitarian” justification of course).

Moreover, if Kim exchanged dismantling the nuclear deterrent for lifting of sanctions, what would stop the democrats or a future republican government from reversing course and simply re-imposing sanctions again later? It would take Pyongyang many years to re-build its nuclear arsenal. But Pelosi or her ilk could restart crippling sanctions almost overnight.

Pelosi, the Democrats, many republicans and the overwhelming majority of the mass media has consistently condemned Trump for being too soft on Kim. They hypocritically present this as Trump’s alleged affection for dictators. But as we know the Democrats like dictators too – such as in Saudi Arabia. The real, underlying reason for their criticism is of course nothing to do with “human rights” (an increasingly discredited and abused term) but their determination to defend US military presence in Asia.

The problem for US imperialism is if the NK so called “threat” ceases to be a justification to maintain US bases on the Korean peninsula. This would be a particular danger in the context of a powerful peace and re-unification movement across North and South Korea – something that any steps forward may well promote. Such a movement would also threaten to provoke another dangerous popular reaction – i.e. a similar movement against the hated US military bases and presence in Japan.

A man looks through a photo album.

Such a scenario would be a danger not only to “hawks” or the military hierarchy but to US imperialism more broadly. This can be understood more easily when we realise the target of US  military bases in South Korea (and Japan, Guam and elsewhere in the region) is not only North Korea. Their bases also project US power against their imperialist “allies” (competitors) in South Korea and Japan. Same goes for China, the largest and most powerful Third World (poor) country. The US missiles today pointed at Pyongyang could overnight be re-directed towards China, Japan, South Korea, Russia or elsewhere.

The reason the democrats are so implacably against peace on the Korean Peninsula – and the reason there has been no ceasefire on the peninsular for 70 years – is because peace in Korea – something that should be supported by all truly democratic, humanitarian and peace loving people – would threaten to undermine the military dominance in Asia the US gained in World war Two.

While it may be difficult for liberals to swallow, actually Kim and the North Koreans are right. What will bring peace is full denuclearisation and demilitarisation – that means BOTH SIDES NOT ONE need to carry it out. The demand of the North Koreans for US military withdrawal should be supported fully and wholeheartedly. Demilitarisation of BOTH sides and US withdrawal is the path to Korean national self-determination and peace.

A photo shows a man sitting between two women and smiling.

Yet it seem the chances of achieving that purely via negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington are extremely slim at best, or perhaps now non-existent. What may be more effective is the advance of the popular movement for reunification in Korea itself. Reunification of the Korean nation has deep support among ordinary Koreans for obvious reasons. Korean cultural and social development has been inevitably distorted and undermined by the division of the world’s Korean speaking population into two isolated and arbitrarily separated camps. This has caused immense suffering. The division of families, the waste of land, resources and human labour in favour of the military build-up are all crimes that have no end under US tutelage. All crimes carried out only for the purpose of US imperialist power.

The simple watchwords for lovers of peace and all democratic minded people everywhere are simply, “US hands off Korea”, “US military off the Korean Peninsula”, “close the US bases and bring the troops home”.

The Imperialist Blockade of Venezuela

The latest coverage on Venezuela in Green Left Weekly is a translation of an excellent article by Pedro Santander from the Latin American Strategic Centre for Geopolitics run as “How US sanctions hurt Venezuela’s people”.

The topic is extremely timely given the current all out media campaign to convince us it is the Nicolas Maduro government that is – through malice or incompetence – hurting the Venezuelan people.

Almost never mentioned is the US led economic sanctions on the country. Also not mentioned, as Santander points out, are the financial, cultural, sporting, travel and other restrictions that he describes collectively as a “blockade” of the country. These don’t just hurt people in Venezuela as a side effect – that is their intention and purpose.

The imperialist solution to the Venezuela crisis is clear: removal of the Maduro Government. That would have to be followed by blood thirsty crushing of resistance of Venezuela’s poor and the millions of supporters of the Bolivarian Revolution.

The other solution – one that does not involve blood on the streets – is to wind back the sanctions. This would allow the Venezuelan economy to function once again in a more or less adequate way, just as it did before the sanctions were imposed, initially by Obama in 2015.

Of course the US imperialists will not wind back the sanctions voluntarily, just as they have refused to do so in Cuba for 50 years. It may be possible however for a large international campaign to defeat them. This will take a concerted effort over time.

Yet, exposing the reality of the sanctions is also a central immediate task in opposing Trump’s coup. This is because the effects of the sanctions – such as medicine shortages – are being blamed on Maduro and used as the justification for Trumps “humanitarian” war drive.

Santander’s article is here:
https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/how-us-sanctions-hurt-venezuelas-people?fbclid=IwAR0C5MMFS8boR-YqSkr3Nekkm3gm8ncdDHH-XoPonBaqnRN4vlAGDOGuGSM

Venezuela and the World – 3

VENEZUELA and the World 3.

Some little reflections – Feb 4, 2019:

It is necessary to understand that the conflict in Venezuela manifests a war between classes, not between factions of the one class, as in elections in “normal” bourgeois democracies.. The victor will not be inclined to give the other side a chance to come back into power “at the next election”.

We cannot expect the Chavistas to play by “normal” bourgeois electoral rules while the other side tries coups, economic sabotage, actively supports a foreign state’s economic sanctions, takes tens of millions from a hostile foreign state, attempts presidential assassination, and kills pro govt activists, while also owning all the private media. Some expect the so-called liberal democratic rules of the game to be applied – but by one side only. And what will be the result if the Venezuelan Bolivarian movement plays to lose and is defeated. Just remember two names: Pinochet and Suharto.

All out class war for a state based one class or the other has usually been resolved militarily, through a revolutionary war (Russia, China, Vietnam, Cuba) or counter-revolutionary violence (Indonesia, Chile). Uniquely, in the case of Venezuela, neither war nor a counter-revolution has yet occurred, even 20 years on.

My guess is that the Chavistas are constrained to show restraint towards the capitalist class, avoiding escalation to a military confrontation, because of one main factor: the threat of military destruction. Libya showed that the US was willing to see a country go to hell as long as oil could still flow. The US is now threatening military intervention – but to militarise a class war in Venezuela will run the risk of it spreading beyond national borders.

Besides this constraint, the Venezuealan Bolivarians have been constrained by the objective limits of a 3rd world economy – and a 3rd world economy under siege and with no Soviet Union to protect or aid it, only valiant and principled little Cuba. When Chavez became President in 1998, the GDP had already fallen back to 1963 levels. Corruption, including in the oil sector, was endemic. Immediately on Chavez’s election US and local capitalist economic sabotage began.

Underpinning this is the reality of a 3rd world economy in an imperialist world economy. The achievements of the Chavez government in improving economic conditions in these circumstances between 1998 and when oil prices started to fall in 2013 was extremely impressive. Declining oil prices in a country 90% dependent on oil for foreign exchange hit the economy hard, all worsened by ongoing economic sabotage from within and without. From August 2017, the sabotage became even more savage with intensified US economic sanctions.

The Chavista government, like the governments of all 3rd world countries, most of whom are still pro-capitalist, did not have the financial capacity (capital) or access to technology (monopolised by imperialist countries) to embark on any significant program of diversified industrialisation. This has not occurred anywhere by a medium sized poor country, let alone by an anti-capitalist government under siege, still consolidating itself.

The recent 2018 presidential elections showed the current government had the active support of 6 million Venezuelans, mostly from among the poor. The demonstrations over the last few days shows that this 6 million will still struggle, struggle to win more to their side. More elections may figure in the evolution of this struggle, but we should all note that any such new election processes, should they occur, will be part of a struggle where one side, since the beginning, from at least 2002, has resorted to coups, economic sabotage, political collaboration with a hostile foreign power (much deeper than anything D. Trump may have been involved in), among other “non rules of the game” practices.

Only recognise the Maduro government!

Demand the end of economic sanctions against the Venezuealan people and state!

No to any U.S. military intervention!

Venezuela and the World – 2.

Venezuela and the World – 2 – short reflection

Judging compromises with the opposing class, or retreat before it in a battle situation, requires a close to precise understanding of the balance of forces; the capacities from all angles of the opposing sides, even as they change from moment to moment. Even those participating in the struggle engage in debate and battle over those judgments. It is incumbent on those watching from a distance, and whose own judgment in such battles has not been properly tested and proven, to show some humility and caution. If there are millions in struggle for a better life, in conflict with the capitalist order, and that struggle comes under attack and its continued existence threatened, the responsibility is to be actively in solidarity with those millions. Even more so if one’s own state is supporting an attack on that struggle. It is the right of those in struggle to correct and perfect their movement, its program and leadership as they move forward.

Help defend their capacity to move forward!

Max Lane

VENEZUELA AND THE WORLD

VENEZUELA AND THE WORLD

by Max Lane

The coup attempt by the United States, assisted by the EU and supported by Australia, against the legitimate government of Venezuela, headed by the elected President, Maduro, is ongoing.

This colonialist coup threatens the social gains made by the Bolivarian process since the election of the late President Hugo Chavez, already partially eroded as a result of an economic war waged by the US and its allies against Venezuela. It threatens also to bring to power class forces inimical to democracy.

BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, the way this coup has unfolded, being initiated entirely from outside Venezuela, has the potential to set a deep counter-revolutionary precedent for the world. There has not been a coup by a section of the Venezuelan capitalist class, egged on by the US, which is then supported and sustained by US imperialism. The coup is initiated from outside and is taking the form of the imperial powers unilaterally making the Venezuelan government an “outlaw” government. This intensified isolation, embargo, sanctions of and even theft from the Venezuelan government is intended, they hope, to split the Venezuelan armed forces and state apparatus.

If this coup succeeds, it will set the precedent that:

all elections of heads of government in non imperialist countries will be subject to a veto by a “vote” of the imperial countries.

It will also give a more perfect actuality to an imperial uni-polar order, where the US ruling class’s state sits at the centre of that single pole.

This conflict is not only of great import for the peoples of the world who wish to see the Venezuelan people have the democratic space to continue, correct and perfect their revolution.

It is also of great import for all countries, whatever their current state of class rule, who wish to protect an international order that, however imperfectly, recognizes the right of national sovereignty and non-interference. This should be of urgent concern to all states of the Global South, except those who have already surrendered.

It will, of course, be of great concern to all the peoples’ of the Global South and needs to be the focus of solidarity of all the peoples living in the imperialist countries.

Maduro calls Campesino Congress in response to protests.

Venezuela’s Marching Campesinos Meet Maduro, Denounce Corruption & Revolutionary ‘Reversals

Merida, August 2, 2018 (venezuelanalysis.com)

– Venezuela’s campesino marchers achieved their immediate objective Thursday, holding a public meeting with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, where they presented proposals for far-reaching reforms to state agrarian policies and institutions.

Scenes of tears and cries of joy dominated the live televised meeting held in Miraflores presidential palace, in which the multitude of small farmers, who had marched 435 kilometres from Guanare, Portuguesa state, were given the opportunity to address the nation and draw the president’s attention to a series of popular grievances, including land evictions, corruption in state bureaucracy, and paramilitary violence.

Click here for full report