Year 2000 No. 103, June 30, 2000

"Community of Democracies" Initiative: An "Initiative" to Block the Peoples Solving the Question of Democracy

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

"Community of Democracies" Initiative: An "Initiative" to Block the Peoples Solving the Question of Democracy

One in Five Jobless Unemployed Again in a Year

Celebrations of the birth of Leo and the tragic loss of a new life!.

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"Community of Democracies" Initiative: An "Initiative" to Block the Peoples Solving the Question of Democracy

Foreign Ministers and representatives from more than 100 governments met in Warsaw, Poland, on June 26-27. It was held under the banner "Towards a Community of Democracies".

At the conclusion, they issued a "Warsaw Declaration" which set out their agreement on a number of what were referred to as democratic values and core democratic principles and practices. The Polish government is to request that this "Warsaw Declaration" be circulated as an official document of the Millennium Assembly of the United Nations. The conference was co-convened by Poland, Chile, the Czech Republic, India, Mali, South Korea and the United States. Excluded from the conference were Belarus, the People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Myanmar, Peru, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.

Of the 108 countries which attended the conference, 107 signed the "Declaration". France disassociated itself from the declaration. The French delegation, led by the Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, said that "France reads the Warsaw Declaration as a promise to further a valuable democratic debate, not as a diplomatic pledge for the democratic states to act as a group." US officials were said to be angered by the persistence of the French in what they described as "trashing the entire conference", which reports have described as a pet project of the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Hubert Vedrine raised his reservations on at least four separate occasions. He told reporters: "The bottom line is that the western countries think a little too much that democracy is a religion and the only thing you have to do is convert (people)… External intervention can have very destructive results… Let’s not give too many lessons to other countries." Britain was a signatory, although the Foreign Secretary did not attend.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said that the task the countries had set for themselves in Warsaw had just begun.

Parallel to the ministerial meeting, a non-governmental "World Forum on Democracy" took place in Warsaw from June 25-27. This was sponsored by "Freedom House" and the "Stefan Batory Foundation". However, its plenary sessions were addressed by Madeleine Albright and other Ministers. The release of the WFD said that the "interaction between the World Forum and the ministerial meeting will result in the highest-level international dialogue on issues of democracy ever undertaken between governments and the non-governmental sector."

Resolving the question of democracy, how people should directly participate in governance, was one of the greatest issues put on the agenda by the 20th century, together with the issue of the concrete realisation of human rights and the rights of collectives. It is becoming even more pressing at the commencement of the 21st century. The Warsaw Conference, led by the US in partnership with countries representing Eastern Europe, South Asia, Africa and East Asia, aimed to promote the conception that this question has been solved, and, as the Declaration underlined, that there exists a "universality of democratic values". Far from it being resolved, the big powers are ensuring through these "democratic values" that the system based on 19th century values and perfected in the 20th century to keep the people at the margins of society will be perpetuated, that the human rights and democracy that they promote remain a phrase, covering over the most inhuman trampling on human rights, the sovereignty of peoples and people’s empowerment. It proclaims the end of history, and is aimed to prevent the peoples both in the industrialised countries, in the emerging powers of Asia and Latin America and the developing countries, from putting the question of democracy on the agenda and resolving it in the direction the great movements of the 20th century point towards. It was no coincidence either that the conference was held in Poland, both in terms of its strong alliance with the US in recent times, in terms of its being the victim of some of the greatest of the Nazi atrocities, and in terms of giving Madeleine Albright the opportunity to equate fascism and communism as twin enemies of "democracy" as she remembered the "victims of communism" in Poland and hailed the "cradle of liberty’s rebirth".

The world’s people cannot allow themselves to be fooled by the US’s championing of the "community of democracies" and of human rights, but must continue the struggle against the imposition of this Anglo-American and Eurocentric system and for their sovereignty and empowerment.

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One in Five Jobless Unemployed Again in a Year

According to new research carried in a report by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University, one in five unemployed people are jobless again within a year of finding work. Those who leave the dole queue to get a job are four times more likely to be laid off than those who move from another company, it was found. An analysis of 7,000 workers showed that fewer than half the jobs taken by unemployed people last for more than a year. Women are four times more likely than men to get a part-time job after being unemployed.

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Celebrations of the birth of Leo and the tragic loss of a new life!

A letter addressed to the Prime Minister and his wife

Dear Prime Minister Tony Blair and Cherie Blair,

Human beings are the most precious asset of society and we all rejoice at the arrival of a new born as an addition to our real wealth. The joy we all experience at the birth of a new child cannot be expressed in words. Along with many others, we also congratulate you on the birth of Leo and wish him a long happy life.

As a result of massive media coverage, Leo has become known to virtually every household in the UK as well as many other countries. I will like to draw your attention to the tragic loss of a baby just as precious as Leo but whose fate is known only to a few. The parents and close loved ones were denied the pleasure of rejoicing. Instead they had to make funeral arrangements for their loved one and are still going through the pains of grief. This baby died as a result of neglect caused by lack of resources and the immense pressure placed on hospital staff resulting from the massive cuts in funds for hospitals and services in the health sector both by your government and the previous governments. Why pursue policies that lead to loss of life and erosion of health care for other human beings, whose lives are as precious as Leo's?

All our family members were ecstatic with joy, busy buying clothes, presents and planning a big party to celebrate the arrival of our dear child, our Leo. Our baby was a normal baby until it reached the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. The mother was kept in the ward for thirty-six hours without measures to deliver the child. The situation required delivery within a couple of hours at the most. The mother pleaded with the staff that she felt her baby must be delivered as a matter of urgency. She kept being told that there was nothing to worry about and the staff was very busy with other priorities. As a result of prolonged lapsed time the baby and mother got infected. The baby was finally delivered after 36 hours but the fate of a normal healthy child had turned into that of uncertainty. The baby was kept under intensive care but to no avail. Our baby ceased to breathe after one week of trauma and stress. Provision of adequate staffing and resources would have saved our child and we would also would have celebrated the birth of our Leo. Do we blame the staff or the policies of governments that cut funds for health care and hence taking away the right to free accessible, quality health care for all people in the UK as a fundamental human right?

As we shared our grief and experience with many others, we found we were not the only ones to have lost our baby. There were other parents who lost their babies in similar situations; there were families who lost their loved ones through lack of timely care and there were old aged people denied quality health care as they were considered an UN-necessary burden on society. Private insurance companies deny many people with illnesses health cover, as aged members were considered an economic liability. Daily as we share our grief with other victims of a deteriorating health system, our grief turns to anger and we all ask the question, Does your government place the interests of human beings as a cornerstone of it's policy or the interests of a small minority to be able to further enrich themselves?

We have entered the 21st century and are going through great technological developments along with creation of unprecedented levels of wealth. Human beings are born to society and have claims on society. Are we going to create a society where we use the wealth we create to better all sections of society, placing interests of human beings above all or are we going to continue along the path of creating a polarised society where the ordinary folk are denied free quality accessible health, free accessible quality education for our children, affordable housing and job security as a basic human right?

Are we going to build a new society of which we all can be proud of or are we going to continue to with a society where some celebrate the birth of their Leo's with a bright assured future and those who live through grief and anxiety of not knowing what the future holds for them?

We have lost a baby but we want to make sure that others can keep theirs. Please reply to questions raised in this communication to the address details attached. Thank you for your time.

(signed)

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