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Year 2000 No. 205, December 1, 2000 Archive Search Home Page

The Death of Damilola Taylor:

A Sorrow Born Out of the Marginalisation of the Communities

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

The Death of Damilola Taylor:
A Sorrow Born Out of the Marginalisation of the Communities

"Social Experiment or Social Responsibility?"

University Support Staff Strike

Iraq News In Brief
Letter to Peter Hain at the Foreign Office Condemning Blocking of Health Care Supplies
Iraq Health Minister says British and US Envoys Suspend Three Contracts

Let's Work Together to Globalise People's Self-Defence!

The World in Brief

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The Death of Damilola Taylor:

A Sorrow Born Out of the Marginalisation of the Communities

The death of the 10-year-old Nigerian boy Damilola Taylor in Peckham, South London, is a sorrow and a tragedy for his family. It also causes pain for the whole community in the South London area, and is a source of grief for everyone who holds life dear, especially the life of one so young.

It is also a source of anger and frustration, since everyone would wish to eliminate the conditions that give rise to such a tragedy, but are made to feel at a loss as to which way to turn.

Calls have been made for firmer action against bullying, and others that there should be a recognition that "racism" is a factor of tension between black people of different national minority communities.

This whole situation is rooted in the marginalisation of the people from being able to make the decisions which would make a difference in their lives and in society. In particular, the national minority communities are politically marginalised, their national identities are confused, and they are deprived of their dignity. The national minority youth are particularly affected and made the subject of attack, both on their persons by harassment and the branding of the youth as troublesome and as criminals. And it is so through the promotion of the superiority of a "British" culture, of "community values" which far from encouraging national cultures to flourish, seeks to assimilate them in a "British way of life", or equate them with various religions.

And rather than the national minority citizens taking pride of place in participating in the political affairs of the country, they are politically ghettoised, in that they are encouraged to see their problems as not pertaining to society, but as being special to their own community. Thus they are never given a means to escape from this ghettoisation. In an effort to overcome it, the youth become pushed to join in "gangs", they fall foul of the law and the process of turning them into common criminals is made complete. The community is then blamed for these problems, and becomes further stigmatised as being the source of the problems in society.

Underlying the chauvinist attitude which the official circles promote towards the national minority communities is the deliberate mixing up of the notions of citizenship and nationality by the state. The modern conception of citizenship is one which relates to membership of the body politic of the country. However, the citizenship laws of Britain, in a direct continuation of its old colonial outlook, base themselves on considerations of nationality. Through this equation, the whole polity becomes divided on racist lines, not to mention those of religion and every other conceivable divisive criterion.

Damilola Taylor’s father is quite right to declare that he wishes to confront Tony Blair with the type of society Britain has become. Similarly, the parents of the Peckham area are justified in feeling outrage at the Home Secretary’s visit to the boy’s school, when all he can offer as "solutions" to the problems are pious words and further criminalisation of the youth.

Workers' Daily Internet Edition stands in full sympathy and support for the communities affected by such tragedies as the death of 10-year-old Damilola. We condemn the official circles for deliberately perpetuating the situation where the national minorities are ghettoised and marginalised, and given no way out. While the circumstances of the death of Damilola must be unravelled, state interference in the affairs of the communities is only making such matters worse. The national minority communities must step up their struggle to end their marginalisation and participate in the political affairs of the country second to none, and as an integral part of all the citizens of this country. In this, we pledge ourselves to be their reliable support, and to step up our work also in defence of the rights of all.

Article Index

"Social Experiment or Social Responsibility?"

A public meeting is to be held in Southwark, South London, on the subject of education. The meeting is titled "Social Experiment or Social Responsibility?".

The meeting is being sponsored by UNISON, teaching unions and Southwark Parents Forum. The meeting will address how the Public-Private Partnership will affect jobs and the future of the community in Southwark, as well as the delivery of education service in the borough.

It will be held at the New Peckham Library on Tuesday, December 5, starting at 7.00 pm. Everyone is invited to attend and to make their views known.

Article Index

University Support Staff Strike

University support staff took part in a day of action on Tuesday in a dispute over the level of pay.

The support staff in universities and colleges is regarded as the "forgotten army" of higher education. The action on Tuesday was the first day of action by all university staff unions supported by the National Union of Students.

The ballot for strike action by the TGWU had revealed 65% in favour of strike action and 84% in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The Bett Committee had recommended that support staff pay should rise to a minimum of £5.57 per hour by 2002. University Vice Chancellors imposed a pay increase of 16 pence to take pay to £4.22.

The support staff join the increasing numbers of workers who are prepared to take action in defence of their pay and conditions.

Article Index

Iraq News In Brief

Letter to Peter Hain at the Foreign Office Condemning Blocking of Health Care Supplies

George Galloway MP, wrote the following letter to Peter Hain, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

27th November 2000

Dear Peter,

I have been contacted by colleagues in Morocco who report that the public and media in Casablanca are seething with anger at your representative on the 661 Committee who has apparently for the past several days blocked a humanitarian flight of 55 Arab lawyers and a quantity of medicine bound for Iraq.

Have you any idea - if you don't there are plenty of diplomats paid to do so - of the enmity towards Britain you are generating by actions such as these?

The pattern is familiar to me. Endless questions about the precise purpose of the passengers and the details of the medicine some of which is perishable. Everyone knows this is a ruse to make things as difficult as possible for the Iraqi people with whom laughably you continue to "have no quarrel."

You would be well advised to instruct your envoy to lift his veto on this flight and I give you notice that if you do not do so I will seek find parliamentary opportunities to highlight it.

I hope you will see sense.

Yours sincerely,

George Galloway MP

Iraq Health Minister says British and US Envoys Suspend Three Contracts

The following is the text of a report carried by Iraqi radio on November 27.

Out of their insistence on inflicting further harm on the Iraqi people, the US and British representatives in Committee 661 have continued to suspend the medicine and medical supplies contracts Iraq has signed within the framework of the oil-for-food programme.

In a statement to the Iraqi News Agency [INA], Health Minister Dr Umid Midhat Mubarak said the US and British representatives suspended three contracts Iraq signed with Italian and Indian companies to supply it with material for the central nervous system and raw material for the Samarra Medicine Factory.

The health minister added: In as much as it is astonishing and condemned, this measure shows the hostile policy that governs these two states. This policy is aimed at denying the Iraqi people access to the necessary medicine and medical supplies.

Article Index

Let's Work Together to Globalise People's Self-Defence!

We are reproducing for the information of our readers the text of a speech delivered by Lin Shuyang, Chair of the Labour Rights Association, Taiwan, to a recent regional anti-imperialist conference organised by the Korean Democratic Labour Party in Seoul, south Korea, on November 11. Lin Shuyang spent over 30 years incarcerated as a political prisoner on Taiwan’s notorious Green Island, which is Taiwan’s equivalent of the South African Robben Island.

I am honoured to take part in this year's conference. At the turn of a new century, we find ourselves here in the capital of Korea, which is widely recognised to be the country with the liveliest anti-imperialist movement, with its unrelenting movement for peace and democracy, and whose people have gained tremendous results from their struggle. We will hear reports and words of encouragement from outstanding fighters in the struggle and leaders of organisations from various countries. We will exchange points of view and discuss various issues together. I find it most fitting that we should do so in such a setting. Having said that, I will now proceed to put forward four points for discussion. I look forward to receiving constructive feedback from the comrades from various countries represented here.

1. It is most suitable that the Korean Democratic Labour Party should hold this conference at this time. As we would say in Chinese, "the eight winds meet in Seoul," meaning that many active organisations who each face grim situations in their respective countries are gathered here in Seoul today. This gathering has a chance of producing important results.

Looking back on the last year, the USA has been throwing its weight about all around the world, be it in Europe, the Middle East or Africa, interfering willy-nilly and carelessly igniting fuses to set off bloody conflicts with all the arrogance of the world's only superpower. The deployment of new weapons on Guam, the strengthening of its network of bases in Okinawa, the Japanese archipelago and the Korean Peninsula, the quasi-war state induced by the US-Japanese new defence guidelines, the supply of heavy armaments to Taiwan, interference in the Taiwan Straits, pulling the strings as Israel provokes renewed conflicts with the Arabs, its repression of Yugoslavia, its use of the Albanians to put pressure on Serbia, its leadership of NATO in bombing Serbia and Kosovo and its brazen missile attack on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade – in all these places and more, the USA has been showing off its unmatched military might. In so doing it has not only failed to bring about reasonable and peaceful resolutions to historical conflicts that exist between countries and peoples, within countries and between people of the same ethnicity, but has often only worsened and complicated those problems.

It is quite possible that many of these problems could have been resolved were it not for US interference. In instances such as the Israel-Arab conflict and the troubles within the Yugoslav Federation, the USA has not shied away from breaking relevant United Nations conventions, with no concern for the norms of international law, trampling on the sovereignty of other countries in its own national interest. That kind of power politics is what is known as hegemonism and it is the biggest cause of disorder in the world today.

The conflicts and suffering that are going on in the world around us should be enough to arouse intense concern among people in all countries who love peace, strive for development and hope that the next century will be fairer and more enlightened than the last. This conference needs to establish clear positions from which to call upon the people of Asia to wage a common struggle against the warlike policies and military preparations of US imperialism. In order to achieve this, there is an urgent need at this time to establish concrete plans for the Asian people to fight imperialism.

2. The second point to be raised here is that during the 1990s the club of rich nations headed by the USA and consisting of the advanced industrialised countries of Japan and Europe has been invading the world's weaker countries and poorer regions with a tide of globalisation spearheaded by transnational corporations. The capitalist-imperialist countries headed by the USA have been expanding their international system of exploitation under the guise of "gentle" capitalism, based as it is on the accumulation derived from centuries of invasion and criminal plunder. The pretty name of "development aid" can hardly conceal their true aim of sapping the world's labour and resources.

The result for the global economy is to exacerbate the miserable process by the rich get richer and the poor poorer. Above all, the USA, being as it is the richest country in the world, makes use of three global organs, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, to impose harsh conditions on countries applying for loans when they find themselves in difficult circumstances, turning them into economic dependencies – in other words, neocolonies. It forces every one of those countries which, due to imperialist exploitation, have been unable to establish independent national economies to accept often unsuitable policies of opening their economies up to foreign capital and internationalising and liberalising them, irrespective of the particular country's social structure, level of economic development, industrial makeup, degree of political stability and the maturity of its institutions. Its aim is to deprive the countries receiving or applying for aid of their economic defence mechanisms, and their governments of their ability to exercise control over the economy, absorbing them permanently into the world-wide economic order in which the powerful decide everything. It aims to maintain forever the gap between the advanced and backward countries, while all the world's surplus value falls into its lap.

This new brand of economic imperialism stands exposed before the oppressed and exploited people of the world. Over the past few years, wherever and under whatever name these organs of globalisation have held their meetings and conferences, they have nearly always met with protests from people of many lands, and even found themselves besieged by thousands of non-violent protesters. Invasive capitalist globalisation is bound to provoke the globalisation of the people's struggle to defend their livelihoods. That is almost self-evident. What our conference needs to explore is by what methods and strategy the struggle can gain the best results.

3. Another cause for excitement and joy for us Taiwan delegates as we arrive in your city of Seoul is the knowledge that a historical meeting finally took place between the leaders of South and North Korea. We in Taiwan were deeply moved when we saw scenes of the meeting on television and read the reports in the newspapers.

The peoples of China and Korea have suffered in common the national tragedies and historical pain resulting from the north-south division of the Korean peninsula and the east-west confrontation across the Taiwan Strait. Although internal factors played some role in creating these tragedies, the decisive factor in both cases was the Cold War which followed the Second World War. Before the Second World War, Korea was a colony of Japan, while China was semi-feudal and semi-colonial. Although there were some political and social differences between them, both countries were ravaged by imperialism. Taiwan on its own was a straightforward colony, just like Korea. The national division over which the blood and tears of so many patriots have been shed over the years came about as a result of invasion by foreign forces.

When, therefore, after many long years of bitter division, a tendency towards reunification appears, if the external forces which caused the division in the first place still exist, it will make the process of reunification extremely tortuous and difficult. This is true of both the Korean and Taiwan questions. However strong our subjective desire may be, the obstruction caused by such external forces can only be overcome by great wisdom and strength of will. When we read how Korea's academic and political circles as well as popular movements all stress in unison the basic idea of "independence and reunification", we are impressed by the steadfast will of our Korean comrades-in-arms. When we read the joint statement, we see expressed therein not only strong compatriotic sentiments, but also the outstanding wisdom of both North and South Korea in seeking the best for the country and its people. We in the Taiwan delegation wish to express our deep expectations and our best wishes for smooth progress following the first North-South summit, and for the early realisation of the final goal of reunification.

4. Finally, allow me to say something about the current political situation in Taiwan.

In March this year, a candidate nominated by a party whose charter includes a call for Taiwan "independence" was elected as the so-called "President of the Republic of China". Half a year later, Taiwan's political situation remains in an impasse as far as cross-Straits relations are concerned. This is because the man who was elected, Chen Shuibian, posing as the chief guardian of Taiwan's bourgeoisie, has stuck to the strategic principle of "peaceful division" across the Taiwan Straits.

In order to preserve "peace", he promulgated the so-called "five noes". In order to maintain the existing division, he has repeatedly stressed the idea that "Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country". As to mainland China, their basis for dealing with Taiwan remains "one country, two systems", and they have declared that "as long as Taiwan's leaders adhere to the one China principle, anything is open to discussion". Chen, for his part, still insists that "one China can only be a topic for negotiation, not a precondition". Beijing, on the other hand, insists that "unless the Taiwan side clearly accepts the one China principle, there is nothing else to talk about". In addition, China issued a white paper in which it declared that "an indefinite refusal to negotiate can only be interpreted as another type of 'Taiwan independence'".

This stalemate is something which we foresaw quite a long time ago, because the Taiwan independence movement is a special form of class struggle by Taiwan capitalism against the mainland's socialism. It is an unusual historical phenomenon in which Taiwan capitalism's political, economic and military forces are the internal factor, while the USA with its Taiwan Relations Act and the US-Japan Security Treaty provide the external conditions.

Something that needs to be made clear is that, although Taiwan capitalism is counted among the Newly Industrialised Economies (NIE), having taken off in the ’70s and been classified by the United Nations as a high-income economy in the ’80s as its per capita income passed US$6,500, it remains in essence a neo-colonial form of capitalism. Its dependence on foreign economic powers surpasses its independence. Economic dependence gives rise to political dependence, so it is natural that the representative class of this dependent economy, the Taiwan bourgeoisie, should be more reactionary than it is progressive.

So the limited reformist character of the Democratic Progressive Party has withered away now that it has done away to some extent with the conservative power structures of the former ruling party, the KMT. Just like the old regime, it continues to provide five-star service to the big corporations, while in its foreign policy it still goes along with the Asia-Pacific policies of US and Japanese imperialism in every respect. It welcomed the US-Japan Security Treaty, Japan's Peripheral Situation Act and Theatre Missile Defence and approves of the US's Asia-Pacific military base network.

In line with this background and with its very nature, the Democratic Progressive Party regime longs for the day when the Japanese and US military will act together to wipe out the Chinese mainland. Since they came to power, they have stopped commemoration of the eight-year war of resistance against Japan and of Taiwan's 1945 retrocession to China. One year ago Annette Lu Xiulian, who is now Vice President, even led a group of Taiwan independence advocates to Shimonoseki in Japan to express gratitude to Japan for having ruled Taiwan and giving it a chance to modernise.

Beijing's repeated assertions of its determination to defend its national sovereignty, even if it means a war with the USA, have compelled the US government to express its support for the one China principle. At the same time, the USA has not changed its policy of military protection for Taiwan to preserve China's divided status. We believe, therefore, that the historic task of bringing about China's reunification will be a long and arduous one in the course of which many crises will occur. Nevertheless, we are determined to keep on going down that road until our goal is finally achieved.

I thank you all for your kind attention and wish everyone the best.

Article Index

The World in Brief

1-7 December SOUTH KOREA: South Korea and the United States hold plenary session on revision of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence in charge of Asian and Pacific Affairs Frederick Smith leads 30-member US delegation.

2 December CUBA: Anniversary of the day in 1956 on which Fidel Castro and 81 comrades – all but 12 of whom were soon either captured or killed – returned from exile. The date is seen as marking the birth of the Cuba rebel army.

2 December GERMANY: Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac hold talks in Hanover in preparation for the EU Nice summit.

2-3 December RUSSIA: Communist Party of the Russian Federation headed by Gennadiy Zyuganov holds congress to discuss strategy for the next three years.

2-11 December SIERRA LEONE/ETHIOPIA/ERITREA: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan starts 10-day African tour. Visits Sierra Leone first where he will meet the members of the UN mission (UNAMSIL) and top government officials. Then he will visit Ethiopia and Eritrea to meet their respective leaders and inspect the UN contingent stationed on the disputed border between them.

3 December ETHIOPIA: Africa Development Forum meeting in Addis Ababa on Africa’s AIDS epidemic.

5 December KOREAS: Second round of military working-level talks on restoration of Seoul-Sinuiju railway planned at House of Peace on south Korean side of Panmunjom.

5-7 December KOREAS: Further round of exchange visits of families separated since the Korean War, scheduled to take place in Pyongyang and Seoul.

5-8 December CARIBBEAN: 24th annual summit of the Caribbean Latin America Action’s (CLAA) Executive Committee opens in Barbados, then moving to Grenada, St Lucia, Trinidad, Tobago and the Bahamas.

6-8 December BRITAIN: Russian Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev visits Britain to discuss military and political issues such as ballistic missile defence, strategic offensive weapons, and global and regional security.

7-9 December FRANCE: Summit meeting of EU leaders in Nice to discuss internal reforms before expansion.

9 December WEST BANK AND GAZA: Anniversary of the 1987 uprising in the occupied territories.

10 December NORWAY: Ceremony to award 2000 Nobel Peace Prize to south Korean President Kim Dae Jung.

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National Consultative Conference 2000
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