Year 2000 No. 101, June 28, 2000

British Government Must Stop its Threats against and Interference in Zimbabwe

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

British Government Must Stop its Threats against and Interference in Zimbabwe

For Your Information:
How Zimbabwe Condemned US and Britain
Statements by Robin Cook on the Zimbabwe Election Results

Address by Jimmy Reid at Bannockburn Rally

IRA Announcement

Press Release issued by the Communist Party of Greece:
"Communists' Experience with Alliances and Co-operation"

US Navy Recommences Criminal Bombing of Vieques

Indian Defence Minister Visits Russia

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British Government Must Stop its Threats against and Interference in Zimbabwe

The British government has continued its threats against Zimbabwe following the elections that took place in that country last weekend. The final election results show that the ruling party, ZANU-PF, has 62 seats and the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has 57. One independent candidate has been elected. Under the constitution, the President, Robert Mugabe, nominates a further 30 seats. ZANU-PF therefore still retains a majority of the seats in the 150-seat parliament. Zimbabwe’s constitution gives the president the power to form a government drawn from any members of parliament and it is therefore likely that President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF will again dominate the new government in Zimbabwe.

Even before the results were declared Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, was arrogantly asserting that there would be "consequences" if ZANU-PF formed the new government. He threatened that Britain would act through the EU, the Commonwealth and other countries to put pressure on Robert Mugabe to "implement the will of the people". At the same time Cook alleged that the elections were "rigged" and not "free and fair". Now that the results are known, the British government is again demanding that Zimbabwe’s government operate in the way that Britain demands, carries out so-called reforms in the economy imposed by the IMF and changes its policy in regard to land reform.

Once again the Labour government is acting as if it were still the colonial power in Zimbabwe, issuing threats, demanding that its policies are implemented and giving itself the right to arrogantly meddle in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. At the same time it presents itself as the "oldest friend" of the people of Zimbabwe, the "partner" most concerned about their needs and well-being.

It must not be forgotten that it was successive British governments that robbed the people of Zimbabwe of their land and sovereignty at gun-point at the end of the 19th century and left a terrible legacy of colonial rule, the basis for all of the country’s present problems. But even after the people of Zimbabwe fought for and won their independence in 1980, British governments have continued to interfere in the country’s affairs, facilitating the exploitation of its resources and preventing its people exercising their sovereignty. This year the Labour government has used the most openly racist language to abuse the government of Zimbabwe. It has issued threats and ultimatums, refused to honour its obligations and exacerbated Zimbabwe’s economic and political problems. It has created all the conditions for the political violence, which itself is distorted and made the focus of attention by the government and media, that it now hypocritically condemns and uses as the pretext for further interference.

The British government’s continued interference in Zimbabwe must be seen in the context of the attempts by the international financial oligarchy to force all countries, especially the developing countries, to accept globalisation and the Eurocentric values of political pluralism and neo-liberalism that accompany it. It must be seen in the context of the growing rivalry between the major powers, which has led to a new "scramble" to exploit the human and material resources of the African continent, reminiscent of the 19th century. Britain, just like the other big powers, is using the pretext of lack of "good governance", "progressive governance", "free and fair elections" – notions which are themselves based on 19th century values and being imposed in the 21st century to keep the people disempowered – as well as the myth of "humanitarian concern" as the means to intervene on behalf of the monopolies and financial oligarchy throughout the world and particularly in the African continent. At the same time the government is carrying out a massive propaganda campaign, attempting to line people up behind these aims and demanding that everyone should support its "civilising mission". But globalisation is no more in the interests of the people of Britain than it is in the interests of the people of Zimbabwe. The government’s stated aim of making Britain number one in a globalised economy is not only impossible but is taking the country down the road to further disasters and increasing the likelihood of regional and even world war.

The British government’s threats and intimidation against Zimbabwe must be condemned. The whole implication that the Zimbabwean people are not capable of sorting out their own lives and political affairs without the paternalistic guiding hand of the wiser and more civilised European powers, and Britain in particular, must be repudiated. So must the assertion that it is the Eurocentric, and specifically British, model of parliamentary democracy which is the only valid and democratic one, a model which itself has been perfected only to keep the people out of power while posing as the most democratic.

Britain must end its criminal interference in Zimbabwe and throughout the world. The working people of Britain must break with and repudiate the chauvinism that underlies all the government’s actions and posturings.

Article Index


For Your Information:

How Zimbabwe Condemned US and Britain

The pre-election Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe, Stan Mudenge, accused Britain and the US of evil attempts to destabilise the country in the course of the election campaigns, condemning them for supporting opposition parties in Zimbabwe and other countries in southern Africa.

He said: "Today they have targeted President Robert Mugabe and the ZANU-PF government. Tomorrow, it is going to be comrade Nujoma and his SWAPO in Namibia, then comrade Mbeki and his African National Congress in South Africa and then the whole region." Sam Nujoma is president of Namibia and Thabo Mbeki president of South Africa. Stan Mudenge continued: "We are saying no to this whole evil system and Africa is prepared to fight back."

Statements by Robin Cook on the Zimbabwe Election Results

Robin Cook issued a statement which said: "The strong vote for the opposition shows a very real wish on the part of the people for change, despite the violence and the gerrymandering. ZANU-PF should recognise the clearly expressed will of the people for a fresh start."

He said in an interview that "the elections in Zimbabwe were a triumph of the democratic spirit over attempts to suppress it". He continued, "If ZANU-PF and the MDC grasp this opportunity for a fresh start, they will find Britain ready to build a new relationship with the new government."

Article Index


Address by Jimmy Reid at Bannockburn Rally

Delivering the guest speech at the annual Bannockburn March and Rally, organised by the Scottish National Party on June 24, Jimmy Reid, among other things, said:

"In the Referendum, the great majority of Scots voted Yes. The massive majorities were recorded in the heartlands of the Scottish Labour Movement. There will be no going back. We can only go forward. Our forefathers hadn’t a vote in 1707. We their descendants do have the vote. We will rectify the injustice of 1707. Scotland will be a nation again. This time, we will be a free and democratic nation, where I hope that even the residues of feudalism will be discarded.

"An independent Scotland is now inevitable. I indeed [wish] to see it. It will be a process, but then everything is a process. I have believed all my life that every nation has the inalienable right of self-determination. In my youth, I supported this principle for the subject nations of the British Empire. In my middle years, I supported the struggle for national liberation in the Third World. It would make a nonsense of my whole life if I did anything other than support the struggle for full nationhood for the nation that is mine own.

"A Scot who doesn’t love Scotland cannot love the world. An internationalist who claims not to be a nationalist is either a liar or a fool."

Article Index


IRA Announcement

The IRA has announced that the international team has already inspected a number of its arms dumps. The international inspectors have said that they are satisfied that the arms cannot be moved or used without their knowledge and that they were beyond use. Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the initiative was courageous and imaginative. The Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, described the report as a breakthrough of unprecedented and historic proportions. "The report is the most welcome and satisfying piece of news that we have had on the peace process," he said. Further weapons inspections are due to take place in about three months’ time.

Report to the International Independent Decommissioning Commission

"We are satisfied with the co-operation extended to us by the IRA to ensure a credible and verifiable inspection. All our requests were satisfactorily met.

"We plan to re-inspect the arms dumps on a regular basis to ensure that the weapons have remained secure.

"The process that led to the inspection visit and the way in which it was carried out makes us believe that this is a genuine effort by the IRA to advance the peace process."

Maratti Ahtisaari
Cyril Ramaphosa

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"Communists' Experience with Alliances and Co-operation"

Press Release issued by the Communist Party of Greece

WDIE has received the following press release, by way of the New Worker E-mail News Group, on the meeting of communist and workers’ parties held in Athens from June 23-26, 2000.

In the three-day meeting, hosted in Athens by the CPG, on the topic Communists' Experience With Alliances and Co-operation, 60 Communist and Workers' Parties from 47 countries took part. A number of parties, although having expressed the wish to participate, were not able to attend, for reasons independent of their will, concerning the situation in their countries.

During the three-day proceedings, there was a rich debate and an exchange of views on the topics of the meeting.

There was also a general consensus as far as the usefulness and the necessity of such meetings among Communist and Workers' Parties.

Many speakers referred to the need for continuing and intensifying such meetings, showing that, in spite of the existing difficult international and local conditions, the Communist and Workers' Parties continue to struggle, to meet and exchange their experiences and to constitute a real active force in all continents.

It was also stressed that the alliance policies of each party are inseparably linked with the day-to-day struggles on the national level but also link the national and international aspects of the struggle. Many of the participants also referred to the need for initiatives for convening international meetings with specific topics as well as regional meetings (America, Africa, Asia, Europe), while developing the ones that took place.

It was also noted that, in spite of the varying views that naturally exist among the parties, in these meetings, including the present one, common views do emerge among the parties in the struggle against imperialism, its aggressiveness and its methods of international exploitation of the working people.

It was noticed that the gap between the so-called North and South continually broadens at the expense of the peoples of the South, that constitute the majority of the world population, a fact that has turned the South into an important field of confrontation with imperialism.

It was also stressed that the manifestations in Seattle, Davos, Washington, and Bangkok as well as the manifestations organised during every EU Summit Meeting (as the recent ones in Portugal) constitute a new element of communists' experience. They are manifestations against the policies of international trade and financial institutions influenced by imperialism like WTO, IMF and the World Bank that have led many countries and peoples to dependence and subjugation through huge indebtedness. The new possibilities offered by these manifestations and the need for a more active and co-ordinated participation of the communists were also mentioned.

A number of speakers referred to the new order that imperialism is trying to impose with the new NATO strategy, the bombings in Yugoslavia and the creation of a new international law based on the dominance of the strongest. The importance of mass reactions directed against imperialist hegemonic policies of the USA, NATO and the EU leading quarters, against the Rapid Deployment Forces in the making and the forces of crises management, Europe's militarisation and the new US anti-ballistic missile system, against nuclear weapons, imperialist interventions and military occupation, against the change of borders, and the economic blockage was also stressed.

In their speeches the participants pointed out the particular importance of co-ordination of the struggle of trade union movements and organisations focusing on capitalist restructuring and the attack against labour rights and gains. The struggle against TNCs and their attack against labour, as well as the co-ordination of this struggle in all their subsidiaries and branches located in various countries were also noted. Many speakers stressed the need for international co-ordination of such struggles and of the particular contribution of communists.

The participants underlined serious concern for the growing bans, persecutions and discriminations against communist parties, communists and, generally, against those resisting capitalist barbarity and imperialist interventions.

In the meeting, the first issue of the Information Bulletin, in which each Communist and Workers' Party can publish its documents, was made available. At the same time, the first positive results from the operation of the Rapid Information Centre through Internet, under the name of SOLIDNET.ORG were presented.

We believe that the ideas developed by the representatives of the Communist and Workers' Parties in this meeting will contribute to the efforts of the Parties to respond to the increasing requirements of the existing situation, to co-ordinate and to confront the mounting imperialist aggressiveness and to respond to the need of humanity for a socialist solution.

In the sessions held over the three days, the participants had the opportunity to develop their bilateral relations, to contact other parties, to exchange views.

We believe that the international meeting, in spite of difficulties and different approaches on a number of issues, will contribute to the co-ordination and common action of the Communist and Workers' Parties.

Athens 25th June 2000

Article Index


US Navy Recommences Criminal Bombing of Vieques

It had been announced by the US Navy that they would recommence their bombing exercises on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques on Monday, June 26. But the previous day, Sunday, they began the bombing in violation of their own announcement. They did so in the full knowledge that Puerto Rican people were occupying the firing range, with the great danger that someone could be hurt or killed. This is a deliberately criminal act by US imperialism.

Protestors have vowed to block the exercises, which are to drop an estimated 130,000 pounds of inert bombs and shells on the range that takes up a third of the island. Five warships plan to fire up to 600 rounds at the range and aircraft are to drop between 550 and 830 dummy bombs – including 500-pound and 1,000-pound bombs – during the exercises which are to run up to and including July 2. Opposition has mounted since the publication last week of the US Navy’s plans, the biggest since a civilian was killed on the firing range in April 1999. The killing led to an occupation of the range before US officials evicted the protestors last month. Since then, more than 200 demonstrators have been arrested for what is termed "trespassing" on the range.

The US Navy claims that Vieques is the only place its Atlantic fleet can hold simultaneous land, air and sea exercises using live fire before their deployment around the globe. This year, Puerto Rico has become the new base for the US Southern Command, replacing Panama, where the Canal Zone reverted to Panamanian sovereignty. Thus the island has become the new base from which US imperialism can launch invasions and other acts of aggression against the peoples of the Americas and other countries.

Article Index


Indian Defence Minister Visits Russia

Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes arrived in Moscow on Monday, June 26, on an official visit to hold talks on defence co-operation and security concerns. George Fernandes will hold talks with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, and the visit will focus on the question of building a strategic partnership between India and Russia.

During his five-day visit, the Indian Defence Minister will also meet the Russian Vice Premier, Defence Minister and Security Council Secretary. His visit comes after the Indian External Affairs Minister, Jaswant Singh, visited Russia last week. The Chief of the Russian Defence Ministry’s International Co-operation Department was quoted as saying, "Marshall Igor Sergeyev [Russian Defence Minister] will brief his Indian counterpart on the agreements in the military field reached during the Moscow visit of US President Bill Clinton." Defence Minister Fernandes is also scheduled to visit St Petersburg where three frigates are under construction for the Indian navy and two Indian submarines are undergoing modernisation and upgrading.

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