Newspaper of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist)
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Workers and Politics
| AS BRITISH TROOPS are poised to move into the Kosova region of Serbia
in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Workers Weekly condemns the
occupation of this province of a sovereign country carried out in the name of
the values of civilisation.
Tony Blair has adopted a sombre tone as the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia have been suspended. He has tried to justify naked aggression under the pretext that NATO was faced with a moral choice to let barbarism happen or stop it. But it cannot be emphasised too strongly that this moral choice was everything Blair is carefully denying that it was not. The war was fought for territory. It was fought for NATO aggrandisement. And it was fought against all fundamental principles necessary for humanitys progress. It is necessary for the workers to appreciate how backward are Tony Blairs values of civilisation and to demand that any government which prosecutes a war of aggression in the name of these values be removed from office, indicted, and the whole system of representative democracy which gives rise to such governments again and again be totally renovated. Far from fighting against ethnic cleansing and brutal dictatorship, Tony Blair and NATO have been fighting for the values of 19th century colonialism and as 19th liberals. These are the values enshrined in the Paris Charter of 1990 which the Anglo-American world and other European powers feel duty bound to uphold. Any state which goes against such values is denounced as a pariah, its whole people and leadership are demonised and the big powers give themselves the right to trample on their sovereignty. This is what is giving rise to such a crisis of these values. It is what is bringing into question the legitimacy of the whole system of parliamentary democracy which backs up Blair without demurring. Of course, the interests which are being served in such a war of aggression are very much of today. This is so in the sense that they are the interests of the financial oligarchy to control strategic regions of the globe. This is precisely why the situation in the Balkans will remain so volatile and fraught with danger. Already there is the danger of confrontation with Russia as they steal a march on the US and Britain and push their tanks through Serbia. In its drive for a unipolar world, US imperialism is risking ever more conflict, not only with the other big powers, including those of the European Union, but of the intensification of the anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples of the world. The US may have military might, but its economic and political might is a thing of the past. It is a colossus with feet of clay. Tony Blairs part in the establishment of a new world order centred around the US are no less criminal and carried out with the megalomania of making Britain great again. Tony Blair has ended the bombing with no sense of rejoicing. It is the duty of the working class to deepen his lack of rejoicing, reject the values based on the doctrine of the white mans burden, demand that British and all foreign troops be removed from the Balkans and that the aggressive NATO military alliance be dismantled. Only the peoples of the region can restore peace, freedom and independence, which the US and the big powers are responsible for trampling on.
5 June 1999 - National Demonstration - Committee for Peace in the Balkans:
| The thousands who marched through London on Saturday, June 5, to protest
against the criminal NATO aggression against Yugoslavia did so in the face of a
massive and sophisticated propaganda campaign designed to nullify all
The disinformation which characterises this media campaign, because of the barbarity of the bombing of Yugoslavia, has not prevented widespread opposition. Banners from trades unions such as NUT, UNISON and NATFHE, Haringey Council workers, the Royal London Hospital, CND, other peace activists and organisations and many banners representing people from the regions, towns and cities opposed to the war were displayed. Also participating were Yugoslavs resident in London, many wearing national colours, together with organisations from Turkey, Greece and Kurdish residents. Many marchers carried home-made placards denouncing Blair and Clinton. Poignant amongst these and reflecting the hatred felt towards the British Prime Minister was a placard inscribed Tony Blair=Biggest Killer in Britain - Not Heart Disease. Others displayed Indict NATO Trenchcoat Mafia, Jobs Not Bombs, Peace, Freedom & Plenty, Defence! Our Armed Forces are being misused - Iraq/Serbia!, Stop NATO Terrorism Against Serbia, NATO - Nazi American Terrorist Organisation, Indict Real War Criminals - Blair, Clinton, Cook, Solana, as well as Britain Out of NATO! and similar demands. Similarly, rejection of the British governments and NATOs actions were seen in the many hand-painted banners caricaturing Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and calling for their indictment as war criminals. The familiar Yugoslav target symbol, which has come to signify condemnation of the war, was also displayed alongside placards calling for Britain to get out of NATO, for NATO to be disbanded and for foreign troops to leave the Balkans. At the conclusion of the march many gathered at a rally at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park adjacent to the Imperial War Museum to continue to voice their opposition. Held in an atmosphere of militancy and anger, the rally was regularly punctuated with chants of NATO Out and calls for the indictment as war criminals of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and other NATO leaders. On a day when similar actions against the war were taking place in Italy, Greece, France, Portugal, Germany, Scotland and the US, the rally heard speeches from Alice Mahon MP, representing the Committee for Peace in the Balkans who had called the march, General Secretary of NATFHE, Paul McFee, Harold Pinter, playwright, Matthew Pelling from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Jean Lambert representing the Green Party, John Haylett - Editor of the Morning Star, Mica Garilovic from the Serbian Information Centre and Mark Steele, a journalist recently sacked by The Guardian for his opposition to the war and criticism of the British governments role in it. A message of solidarity was read to the rally from a similar march on the Pentagon in Washington and from Rodney Bickerstaffe, the General Secretary of public sector workers union UNISON, which has spoken out against the war.
Each one of the speakers denounced the bombing of Yugoslavia, condemned the escalation of the war and criticised the British government for its leading role in the aggression. Given the imposition of the NATO Peace Settlement many speakers also highlighted the need to remain vigilant, to continue opposing imperialist interference in the Balkan region and to maintain the denunciations of this dangerous action aimed at scrapping the right of nations to sovereignty and their territorial integrity. Also condemned were the British monopoly-controlled media for their collusion with NATO propaganda.
A contingent of RCPB(ML) supporters and activists took part in the march and rally and sold copies of the Special National Demonstration Edition of Workers' Weekly
DECLARATION BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CUBA
Havana, June 1, 1999. (Translation ESTI)
| On March 5, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said that the presence of
Allied troops in Kosovo was necessary so that the political agreement on that
Yugoslav province does not become a dead letter.
On March 14, he said that the resumption of peace talks in Paris on Kosovo were
the last opportunity for the Serbs if they wanted to avoid the NATO
On March 16, he stated that we are at a very critical moment and
that negotiations were progressing with great difficulty. He warned
that NATO will do whatever it needs to in case this situation evolves in
the wrong direction and added that the [Paris] talks are not going
to last forever.
On March 18, the U.S. Defence Department stated that the NATO aircraft and the
warships equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles were in place and
ready to attack Serb positions were such a decision taken. Pentagon
spokesman Kenneth Bacon said that those troops are in place and
ready to go into action. He added that this is a significant force
and, if they receive the order to take action from the NATO Secretary General
[Javier Solana], they could do so very quickly.
On March 22, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said, on the situation
in Kosovo: It is never too late to settle disputes or conflicts through
After so many and such overwhelming and undiplomatic ultimatums, the NATO
Secretary General stated on March 23: The last diplomatic effort has
failed. He further added: There is no other alternative but
military action. On that same day, he announced very clearly and in an
unusually belligerent tone for a European former Minister of Culture, his only
experience as an expert in matters of war: I have just given the order to
the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, United States General
Wesley Clark, to begin air operations against the Federal Republic of
Since the Secretary-General issued that order, NATO attacks have not stopped,
not even for a single day. On that first night, 371 planes took part in the
assaults, taking off from ground bases. Warships in the Adriatic launched
cruise missiles. Significant and painful events immediately followed throughout
70 days until today.
We shall limit ourselves to pointing out those incidents that are essential to
show how, and against whom, this war is being waged and the perils that it
Russian President Boris Yeltsin called the military action an open aggression and recalled his military envoy in NATO. Russia suspended its co-operation with NATO.
Solana stated: The operation will last for several more days.
Six warships and 400 planes launched missiles and bombs on Yugoslavia. March 29
Five days after the bombing began, 15,000 Albanian Kosovars had crossed the border. A mass exodus had begun. April 2
NATO planes destroyed a bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, blocking the main freight route to the Black Sea. April 7
The Yugoslav capital, Belgrade, was attacked for the first time. The Interior Ministries of Serbia and Yugoslavia were destroyed, and houses and all their surroundings severely damaged. The emergency ward of a mother-and-child hospital, where 74 children had been born that day, suffered the consequences of a direct impact and was put out of service. The United Nations estimated that 310,885 refugees and displaced persons had entered Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Turkey. The mass exodus was already full steam ahead. Fuel stores, highways and bridges were attacked throughout Yugoslavia. A missile made a direct impact on the town of Aleksinac, causing dozens of civilian deaths and injuries. By that date, 190 buildings devoted to education had been destroyed. The majority of these were primary and secondary schools but they also included universities and student residences. The natural parks of Fruka Gora, Kopaonik and Tara were also destroyed. April 10
The United Nations reported that over 600,000 people had abandoned Kosovo since the beginning of the NATO attacks. April 11
The United States sent 82 warplanes to Europe, thereby raising to almost 500 the number of its combat aircraft, to guarantee increased attacks. April 12
A civilian passenger train crossing a bridge south of Belgrade was hit by two missiles which caused 55 dead and dozens of wounded. Solana reiterated that NATO is the organisation that should lead the international military presence in Kosovo, when the situation so allows. He said that NATO military actions against Serb targets will continue until Milosevic agrees to the demands of the international community. It is clear that, for Solana, the international community and NATO are the same thing. April 13
NATO ordered the beginning of the second phase. The bombings were intensified and the number and type of targets to be destroyed increased. April 14
A convoy of Albanian refugees in Kosovo was the target of an air strike. Eighty-five refugees were killed, not to mention the wounded. Two refineries and a residential suburb in Belgrade were destroyed in Serbia. An extra 300 planes were added to NATO forces. Solana claimed that NATO is ready for a long war. April 15
A dozen television transmitters had been destroyed by this date. April 16
The bombing of bridges and television transmitters was increased. NATO acknowledged having bombed a civilian vehicle in southern Kosovo 48 hours before. The strongest general attack in two weeks took place. April 17
The Yugoslav authorities reported that 500 civilians had already died and 4,000 had been wounded. The United Nations estimated that the exodus of Albanian Kosovars had already reached the figure of 671,000. Between the afternoon of Saturday, April 17, and the morning of Sunday, April 18, NATO warplanes carried out 500 air strikes. They bombed oil refineries, bridges, factories and dozens of civilian targets in what NATO itself described as the most active 24 hours of the war. April 18
Oil refineries and chemical plants were attacked and destroyed in Belgrade and Novi Sad. The road linking Belgrade to Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, was rendered useless. It is known that two days before, the attackers had started using GBU-27 bombs, known as seismic bombs, which break into reinforced concrete causing a strong trembling that makes the hit building collapse and damages many others in the surroundings. April 19
Civilian buildings in Belgrade and Novi Sad and the towns of Paracin, Kraligevo and Sremska Mitrovica were attacked. NATO admitted that this may have been due to mistakes on its part. April 21
NATO attacked the private home of the president of Yugoslavia, the headquarters of the Socialist Party, three television stations and 20 firms in the Usche shopping mall. April 22
Two NATO missiles destroyed the last bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, cutting road and train traffic. Eight television stations were also destroyed. It is known that, at that moment, the hospitals were only treating emergency cases and dozens of children and youngsters between two and 19 years old in Belgrade were on the point of dying due to the lack of resources for dialysis treatment. Solana said that he had authorised the military to review their plans to include a possible intervention with ground troops. April 23
The Serbian television station in central Belgrade was completely destroyed. In the attack, 16 people were killed and another 19 wounded, including many journalists. A further 20 people were trapped in the rubble. NATO announced that it was focusing its attacks on communications, radio and television. On April 23 and 24, in this sinister fashion and with ostentatious luxury and a festive spirit, NATO celebrated in Washington the 50th anniversary of its inception and, in a new strategic concept, it euphorically proclaimed its intention to intervene anywhere in the world that it deemed fit, of its own accord and regardless of the United Nations and international law. On April 23, the illustrious NATO Secretary General, Javier Solana, said that the document was a chart that will help us sail through the challenges awaiting us in the next century. It also marks the transition from an Alliance mainly concerned over collective defence to one that will guarantee European security and defend the democratic values, both within and without our borders. In defence of these democratic values, between April 24 and 30, NATO continued to intensify its attacks on civilian facilities. Air sorties increased by the day, reaching a total of 600 on April 30.
Previously, on April 26, 27, 28 and 29, the Serbian central television station was assaulted for the second time and also a factory in Lucani; another television transmitter was destroyed in the Yugoslav capital; sixteen people died in a peasant village in southern Serbia and no fewer than 20 people lost their lives in a residential area of Surdulica. This is to mention just a few cases that were absolutely unrelated to military targets.
The Danubes waters are already contaminated with an oil spill 15 kilometres long, while acid rain has started falling on the Balkans. May 1st
Forty-seven civilians died north of Pristina when two missiles hit the bus where they travelled. An AFP correspondent who visited the town after the attack said that he had seen the torn bodies of men, women and children, burnt and maimed by the impact. Another one of those constantly repeated mistakes admitted by NATO, which also announced attacks of record intensity since the bombings began. May 2
The attackers started using new graphite bombs short-circuiting Yugoslavias power lines which were thus rendered useless. May 3
NATO aircraft reached the accumulated figure of 14,000 air sorties, including reconnaissance flights and other missions in support of the air strikes. The main hydroelectric plant was attacked, leaving Belgrade and other parts of Serbia without electric power. Another bus in Montenegro was bombed, killing 17 people and wounding 40. A hospital in the residential area of the city of Baljevo was hit by four rockets which caused serious damage in three operating rooms and in the rest of the building. May 4
The news agency EFE reported from Novi Sad that the towns 400,000 were surviving without bridges, with an almost complete absence of electricity, water and even bread. On the same day, between Pristina and Vlac, a Greek convoy of the organisation Doctors of the World was hit by a rocket while it was carrying aid for displaced Kosovars. The neurosurgeon in charge of the convoy said on Greek television: The Allied planes attacked us deliberately. They knew where we were and they bombed us. There was nobody else around. We were their target. The Greek army headquarters stated that NATO had been informed of the convoy. May 6
With obsessive stubbornness, Solana insisted on the need for a military force and for NATO to be at its core. May 7
The Chinese embassy, situated in a residential area Belgrade, was bombed by NATO planes. Three journalists died and at least 20 people were wounded. This serious incident lacking a credible explanation served to worsen the crisis. The following days, eighteen diplomatic missions were also damaged by NATO smart bombs. May 8
Cluster bombs hit a hospital complex and the main market in Nis, the third most populated city in Yugoslavia, killing 15 people and wounding 70. A deadly variety of internationally banned bomb with particularly cruel effects had thus began to be used. May 13
NATO bombs killed 87 Albanian Kosovan civilians in the town of Korisa, while Solana maintained that the Kosovo crisis was coming to an end, although we will have to remain as tenacious as possible. A Reuters news agency reporter who went there described the torn bodies scattered on the ground, many of them burnt and still smouldering. The EFE news agency correspondent reported that almost all of the wounded had been diagnosed as having Blast Syndrome (severe burns and broken bones or spine). May 14
A new NATO record: 679 combat missions were reported. Graphite bombs launched on Serbias power lines left Belgrade, Nis and Novi Sad without electrical power. On the same day, it was reported that civilian losses had risen to 1,200 dead and more than 5,000 wounded. The United Nations estimated the number of refugees since the start of the bombings in 781,000 people. May 16
Solana declared that the NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia would continue until the objectives had been achieved. Solana justified the NATO actions as a moral campaign. May 18
The Yugoslav authorities accused NATO of using not only cluster bombs but also missiles containing non-enriched uranium, equally banned internationally for their radioactive effects. In addition to the high number of civilian casualties, the economic losses rose to more than 100 billion dollars. May 19
Acid rain reached Romania. May 20
Another hospital was severely damaged during the heaviest NATO assault on the Belgrade area in two weeks. Three neurology patients died and several pregnant women in the mother-and-child ward were wounded. The diplomatic missions of Sweden, Spain, Switzerland, Angola, Peru and Cuba were hit. May 21
Istok prison in Kosovo was bombed. Eighty-four inmates died. May 23
The number of bombs used came to 14,000, ten thousand of them smart bombs and missiles. Twenty-five thousand air sorties had hit over two thousand targets, including hundreds of the main civilian targets making up the basic structure of the economy and the life of the Yugoslav people. May 24
Air strikes left 70 per cent of Serbia without electricity. The water reserve dropped to just 8 per cent, leaving 30 per cent of the people in Belgrade without any supplies. NATO declared that it had destroyed most of the main highways in Kosovo and the main railways over the Danube. May 25
Solana claimed that the attacks by Allied aircraft against Serb power stations were due to the stations crystal-clear military nature.
It is reported from Yugoslavia that the mortality rate among premature babies had increased by 8 per cent. Also, that due to the lack of electric power, 100 cancer patients were waiting for emergency surgery, 200 patients for magnetic resonance, 500 for CAT-scans, 600 for radiotherapy, 12,000 for X-rays and 30,000 for laboratory tests. Furthermore, the Serbian Health minister reported that, if the power failure and lack of water supply continued in the country, the lives of 9,500 people being treated in the intensive-care units would be in imminent danger. Seven hundred and eighty-three U.S. warplanes and 281 from other NATO member countries were already taking part in the attacks. Up until this date, 27,110 air sorties had been flown. May 27
A new record is broken: 792 combat missions in a single day. May 30
NATO warplanes destroyed the Varvari bridge, 150 km south of Belgrade: eleven civilians died and over 10 were wounded. A large number of civilians were on the bridge at the time of the attack. On the same day, a sanatorium, an elders home and a refugee shelter were attacked in Serdulica: twenty deaths had already been reported and the search still continued for more victims under the debris. By then, the number of combat missions since the operations began on March 24, amounted to 29,979. Thousands of innocent people had been killed or wounded. Millions of people were now living without electricity, communications or water. Medicines and food were scarce. Hospitals could neither guarantee treatment nor the very lives of tens of thousands of human beings because their systems and equipment are no longer operational. Bridges, houses, churches and diplomatic missions had been destroyed or damaged. An entire people, including the elderly, pregnant women and children, are living terrorised by the bombs, waiting every minute for the sound of the sirens to run to the shelters with a baby in their arms or helping a disabled person. Millions of children will never be able to erase from their memories the hell of these 70 days of war. They will be traumatised for life. The victims are people of different nationalities and religious beliefs. The drama of the Kosovo people has been endlessly multiplied by the effects of that irresponsible, unilateral and adventurist war. More than 90 per cent of the Kosovan refugees, forced to leave their country, have done so after March 24. When they can return to their homeland, they will find their houses and properties destroyed, ruin and desolation everywhere. The destruction of oil refineries and chemical plants as well as the non-enriched uranium contained in many of the missiles used by the attackers have already caused ecological damage of incalculable proportions. The air in the Balkans is poisoned with sulphur dioxide and ammonia. The soil is saturated with the progressive death of animals, plants and human beings. The Danube, other rivers and the sea are full of toxic products. This war has been characterised by a wasteful display of technology. Yugoslavia has become a military testing ground. Planes taking off from the United States drop their deadly load on the Serb people, refuel in mid-air and return to their bases non-stop. Missiles are air-launched at a distance off the range of anti-aircraft. Unmanned aircraft are bombing hospitals with patients inside, houses with people inside, bridges full of pedestrians and buses with passengers. In the third month of a bloody war against the life, work and culture of an entire people, far from moving toward a negotiated political solution that would bring back stability to the Balkans, the option taken is the intensification of the bombings. Javier Solana, baffled by his triumphal predictions of attaining victory in three or four days, is even advocating an invasion with ground troops which would risk spreading the conflict beyond the present Yugoslav borders and fighting a bloody war against the people that resisted the attack of 40 Nazi divisions during World War II. The third phase of the air strikes programme has already begun. After killing thousands of civilians, destroying a countrys economic and social means of subsistence and polluting the environment, it is terrifying to think that the plan drawn up envisages even more destruction and greater crimes. The present and future life of the Yugoslav people will be filled with traumas and psychological and spiritual damage that no statistics could show. Europe will forever be marked by this crime against humanity, of which it has been both an accomplice and a victim. Not even Hitlers air force assaults against the villages, towns and cities of Poland in the first weeks of World War II were as brutal and extensive as those that NATO is carrying out against the present Yugoslavia. Such attacks will never lead to a just and lasting solution for the rights of all nationalities, ethnic groups, religions and cultures of what is left of the Yugoslavia created by Tito, one that despite ethnic, cultural and religious differences and centuries-old animosities was able to live in peace for over 40 years, after the big war that concluded in Europe on May 9, 1945. The government of Cuba:
Strongly condemns the monstrous crime against the Serb people, while supporting the right of the Albanian Kosovars to be fully guaranteed their national, cultural and religious identity and to enjoy the widest possible autonomy and even independence if, after peace is achieved through a just and peaceful political solution, ethnic Serb and Albanian Yugoslavs in the present Yugoslavia would one day come to that decision. But, such decision can never be imposed through a cruel and merciless war that can only multiply by hundreds of years the hatred unleashed. Draws attention to the very serious precedent of disregard and contempt for principles of international law, such as the sovereign equality and territorial integrity of a multinational state, which was largely dismantled. Observes with indignation that the United Nations is also being politically bombarded and the Security Council completely ignored. The most basic standards of civilisation and coexistence have been disregarded. It is as if an attempt were made to impose the law of the jungle on the international community.
Acknowledges the admirable and heroic resistance of the Serb people and their ability to fight in defence of their identity as a nation and their patriotic traditions. Confirms its readiness as notified to the Religious Community of St. Egidius on April 5, just 12 days after the beginning of the air strikes and the mass exodus from Kosovo to cooperate by sending a thousand Cuban doctors, absolutely free of charge, to care for the hundreds of thousands of Kosovan refugees, both today when they are living in overcrowded make-shift camps and also tomorrow when they are able to return to their homeland, as well as to care for all ethnic Serbs and people of other nationalities living in Kosovo. Demands that the international community particularly the immensely rich and industrialised group of NATO countries that unleashed this destructive war and directly participate in it contribute the resources that Yugoslavia will require for its reconstruction. Declares that the war against Yugoslavia already constitutes a true genocide and that, if a sense of justice is to prevail in the world, genocide must be accorded an exemplary punishment. Considers that Javier Solana, who as NATO Secretary General has assumed responsibility for ordering the NATO attack on March 24, 1999, and who for 70 days has sustained, encouraged and justified this genocide, should be tried by an international court of law as a war criminal representing all of the guilty and urges the international community to demand such procedure. Stop the bombing! Stop the genocide! Stop the war! Find a political solution at all costs! Let peace prevail!
|THE agenda that was set for the Congress was orientated to taking decisions on the work of the Party. The main issue in these decisions was to assess, in looking at the stage of the Partys work, and what the objective and subjective conditions are pointing towards, what must be done to rise to the occasion, to meet the challenge of the demands of the times. The aim of the agenda was to ensure that the perspective for leading the way out of the crisis is set, and within this perspective what the work should be. It was pointed out that our Party has put a great deal of attention into the consideration of the question of what the objective and subjective conditions in society are pointing towards. This is a major point of contention between the various social forces. Discussions took place during the Congress on the objective situation and what the conditions are pointing towards. The discussions re-emphasised that the crucial draft document, There Is a Way Out of the Crisis, which the Party put forward for discussion five years ago, still remains the basis of its line. The Congress passed a resolution ratifying the draft document and adopting it as the general line of the Party. At the same time, the Congress put forward the slogan For a Socialist Britain! as encapsulating what the vision is, that There Is a Way Out of the Crisis. The Congress deliberations drew attention to the increased drive of the monopolies for global domination. The Congress affirmed that the peoples well-being should be put at the centre of the economy and not the interests of the monopolies, that this escalating drive of the monopolies spells great dangers for the worlds people. This increasing globalisation is pointing towards the need for revolution so that all the needs of the peoples and oppressed nations can be satisfied. The deliberations underlined that on the other hand, the bourgeoisie follows the whole monetarist policy and the policy of fiscal restraints and of this current phase of paying the rich that were started by Margaret Thatcher together with Ronald Reagan. The Congress looked at how the arrangements of the bourgeoisie to preserve the status quo are being made today, how the bourgeoisie, to preserve the status quo, is adapting the solutions of 19th century liberalism. It is precisely in the new arrangements that the dangers which lie ahead can be seen. Congress affirmed that what the conditions are pointing towards is the most important thing for the communists. In the discussions, it was pointed out that the disinformation of the bourgeoisie hides the context of the maturing objective conditions. This disinformation disarms the working class and people by taking things out of context and not analysing the developments and not pointing out what is inherent in the situation, what the situation is pointing towards. Once the working class and people are armed and can understand what the situation is pointing towards, then they are in no danger of abandoning their principles or falling into the traps set by the bourgeoisie. It was pointed out during the deliberations that the bourgeoisie has been in all-round crisis for most of this century. The October Revolution of itself in 1917 gave rise to the greatest crisis of capitalism in this era. The socialist system which was established in the Soviet Union dealt a very severe blow from which the imperialist powers developed their warmongering policies to try and smash the socialist Soviet Union, and rescue themselves from their crisis and wipe communism from the face of the earth. However, they were foiled in their attempts. The Hitlerite aggression against the Soviet Union was defeated, communism still kept burning, and not only in the hearts of humankind. It was not the armed might of imperialism that smashed the socialist system. However, today in a period when revolution has gone into retreat, the Tony Blair government is trying to say that there is a third way between capitalism and socialism. But in the present crisis of capitalism, when the whole society is geared to paying the rich, when Tony Blair is carrying forward the anti-social offensive in a different guise, it is even more important to explain that the objective conditions are still pointing towards the fact that society must undergo a radical transformation. The monopolies are still ruling the roost. If anyone thought that monopolisation could not go further, this past year or so has completely dispelled that. The electoral coup of New Labour, Tony Blairs third way, his promotion of social partnership, have the primary aim of trying to divert the working class and people from going for socialism. The objective conditions are pointing towards socialism. The working class as the revolutionary class, as the class that whose interest it is not to exploit any other persons, which produces all the wealth, is the class in whose interest it is to lead the transformation of society to socialism. When society is socialised to the maximum, where else is there to go, how else can society be extricated from the crisis? Socialism is not just those categories of doctrines that the communists preach to the people, a dogmatic collection of ideas. Neither is present-day society capitalist just as a matter of definition. It is not just a matter of providing a description of the society that is causing such problems for the people. The working class and people desperately want to get out of this crisis. Struggles are going on in society, the struggles against the anti-social offensive in health, education, and all the other social programmes that are being attacked. The workers themselves are being drawn into this fight over the question of monopolisation, when whole sections of industry have been put on the line, when the scientific, technical revolution itself is being used as a factor against the people causing further crisis. In other words, all the factors are there for the people to break with the system. The working class, which is being drawn into the struggle, must politicise itself and take centre stage. We cannot draw back from shattering the illusions about New Labour which has been brought to power to continue administering the capitalist system simply because it has links with the labour movement. In fact, illusions are being shattered simply through concrete experience. Congress reiterated that the working class and people should draw the appropriate conclusions, and these appropriate conclusions are that society must move forward to socialism. What other future is there? Socialism is the future, it is a proletarian future and nothing else could be the society of the future in the 21st century. This is what the objective conditions are pointing towards. Congress affirmed that this socialist society is one where the rights of all are guaranteed, where the peoples claims on society are met irrespective of wealth, irrespective of scarce resources, or any other consideration.|
REMPLOY, which employs people with
disabilities, is planning to close its factory at Team Valley, Gateshead. The
company is not planning to renew the lease when it runs out next year. The
factory, which assembles electrical parts for cars, employs 29 workers only two
of whom are able bodied. It is reported that the firm vowed to find jobs for
the workers at other North East factories but staff remain doubtful. GMB shop
steward Billy Davies, who has worked at the factory for 25 years, was reported
as saying that transferring staff would disrupt their lives. Disabled person
Wendy Ford, who has worked at the factory for 11 years, was reported as saying,
If I had to move life would be very difficult. Morale at the moment is
The planned closure of the Gateshead factory would come 50 years after it
opened, five years after the first factory was opened for disabled people in
1946 at Bridgend. The 1944 Disabled Persons (Employment) Act set up the
Disabled Person Employment Corporation Ltd in 1945 designed to provide
training and productive sheltered employment. The company was later
renamed Remploy in 1949. Remploy now employs more that 11,400 of whom 90% have
disabilities and has over 80 factories stretching from Aberdeen to Penzance.
New Labour has continued the policy of the Conservatives of fixing the funding
limit to the company in spite of inflation. This has effectively cut the
government subsidy to the company for the last three years and it is also held
for 1998/99. Remploy is planning to close 12 factories around the country with
a loss of 1,000 jobs. According to the company a modern and efficient
business is emerging, with a reputation for making and selling goods and
services of the highest quality to major blue chip clients such as BA, Sony,
Rover and Ford.
GMB national secretary responsible for Remploy, Phil Davies, commenting on the
overall situation was quoted as saying: This government is pursuing the
same policies as the Tories. Skilled workers within Remploy factories are being
forced onto benefits as a result of a closure plan. The trade unions will not
stand by an allow this to happen. Nor will the thousands of disabled people who
we represent, he said. A meeting of shop stewards from around the country
is taking place to discuss the closures.
What is clear is that New Labour intends to erode even this social programme to
disabled people and also to further exploit disabled workers and put them at
the disposal of the big monopolies. The working class and peoples
movement, of which the disabled peoples movement is a part, must fight
for the opposite, must demand that society stops paying the rich and increase
investments in social programmes and that their rights are defended and society
meet all the needs of disabled people.
North East Correspondent
| A GOVERNORS meeting was held at Ethelburga School in Battersea,
south London, on June 7, at which the case to save the popular primary school
was drawn up. A deputation is to urge Wandsworth Council not to close the
school at an Education Committee meeting on July 6. According to the Council,
it is to close to address the number of surplus places in north
Battersea. However, governors point out that the reduction in infant
class sizes to 30 in every school, which becomes mandatory from September, will
have a bearing. The Councils argument appears to be that falling
standards are causing less demand for places. The governors hope to persuade
them that standards are not falling. The option of increased funding does not
seem to have occurred to the Council.
South London Corresondent
|IN JUNE 1984, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, was stormed by the Indian army. Thousands of people inside were killed. RCPB(ML) right at that time condemned this massacre and spoke against the fascist terror. It continues to take a stand against the violation of human rights, the continued killings and the continued denial of the national rights of the people of Punjab, as well as other nationalities, including the attempts to incite communal violence. The Labour government has remained silent about this atrocity and the continued violation of human rights, and has continued to refer to India as the most populous democracy in the world. Our Party condemns the British government for this stand. The political institutions and mechanisms which British colonialism and British imperialism sought to entrench in South Asia and other former colonies are a legacy which the British state must answer for. They are facing the same crises of legitimacy and credibility in India through the use of anarchy and violence as they are facing in Britain as Tony Blair presses ahead with the neo-liberal agenda at home and the imposition of so-called civilised values through state terrorism abroad. The events which were set in motion by the invasion of the Golden Temple have continued to undermine the dignity and honour of the peoples of India. The crisis of Indian democracy has continued to deepen and has brought untold suffering to the Indian peoples. In this respect, the peoples of Indian origin living abroad also have had to redouble their efforts to maintain their vision and their cultures, and to take their place as equal citizens of the body politic where they reside. The continuing violations of human rights by the Indian state contribute in no small part to this situation. On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Operation Blue Star, RCPB(ML), together with the Indian Progressive Study Group of Britain and other organisations working to build the political unity of the British working class and people for social progress, are holding a public meeting. It will discuss contemporary developments in India, even as, in the aftermath of the NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia that sought to legitimise the violation of the international norms of the 20th century, India has introduced air strikes on its side of the Line of Control in divided Kashmir under the pretext of flushing out infiltrators from Pakistan. This development is an escalation of the Indian governments policy of bloody suppression of the insurgency and struggles of the Indian people, and also has the potential to develop into an open war between India and Pakistan that may further escalate the danger of world war. We call upon all who are concerned about state terrorism and about the human rights violations in India, Britain and internationally to attend and participate in this important meeting. All are welcome. A video of the speech delivered by Comrade Hardial Bains on June 8, 1984, in Southall at the time of the invasion of the Golden Temple will be shown. The meeting is being held in the Assembly Theatre, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), Saturday, June 26, from 3.00 6.00 pm. Papers will be presented by: Association of Indian Progressive Study Groups; Indian Workers Association (G.B.); Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front; and RCPB(ML).|
With this issue of Workers' Weekly, we are continuing the column on the conditions of the workers and on the agenda the workers themselves are setting to overcome their marginalisation and to take up politics. We encourage all our readers to contribute to this column.
Shocking Deaths of AMEC WorkersON April 26, AMEC Tunnelling was named contractor of the year and received the Bechtel Silver Sword for outstanding safety performance. This is in spite of the fact that the AMEC group of companies is listed as having the second worst health and safety record with around 40 criminal convictions for breaking health and safety laws over the past decade. On Tyneside one of the most shocking accidents in the history of the river took place on December 22, 1995, when a massive pressure explosion killed Ian Hamilton, Sean McAlindon and Steve Welford at AMEC Construction, Wallsend, which makes oil rigs. The three pipe fitters were sent onto the rig to work when the part of the rig they were sent to was still pressurised under a pressure test. The following is an interview with a relative of one of the three pipe fitters. It underlines how workers are not listened to and how the truth behind such tragedies is covered up by the state institutions, government and union representatives. It shows how the state represents the interests of the monopolies like AMEC and not the workers or the relatives of the victims, and how few people get to know about these and many other accidents and that such accidents are happening again and again. It underlines the necessity for workers to consider getting organised to be the decision-makers in society, against the background that they are marginalised by this society from taking control even of their own health and safety to stop such accidents taking place. Q. Can you tell us about the events that followed these tragic deaths. A. The inquest brought to light the catalogue of negligence that resulted in those deaths. I was a bit confused when the jury returned a verdict of death by negligence and the coroner refused to accept this saying, I can only accept the verdict of death by misadventure or accidental death. He instructed them to retire again and re-consider their verdict. They sent the court usher in to tell the coroner that they were not happy with his recommendations but he replied that if they reached one of those verdicts he would let them add a small statement to the verdict which they all must sign and this could be read out at the inquest. So they returned a verdict of accidental death and the statement that was read out to all present went: The three men thought that they were going into a safe place to work but it was not safe. At this point after the inquest we had a meeting with the HSE and their barrister, the union and their solicitors. I asked would there be any criminal prosecutions resulting from the inquest. The reply I got was: we have to go away and study the case to see what could be done, but we are studying everything. At no time did any of this eminent gathering say to me that there would be no manslaughter charges because to do this you must adjourn an inquest and, also, that any evidence that comes to light at an inquest cannot be used in any other case once the inquest had ended. I found out these facts myself after the prosecution of AMEC and BJ Pipe Processing at the Law courts at Newcastle Quayside. We were informed that they were being prosecuted and it went to the Magistrates court where it was referred to the Crown court. The day it went to the Crown court we were told not to bother going as it was just a formality and would be adjourned for a date for the full trial. I was amazed when on that day watching the television I saw that AMEC had been fined £150,000 and BJ Pipe Processing £300,000 for three breeches of the Health & Safety Act that had resulted in the death of the three men.
I found it hard to believe after sitting through a three-day inquest and hearing it said in front of a coroner that there was probably 103 breaches of the H & S Act on that fateful night, that the said site where the men were working was just an accident waiting to happen. Q. What happened next? A. The HSE lied to us on four occasions. Firstly they said the reason they did not prosecute was because the coroner would not release the transcript when they already knew that because they had not asked for an adjournment none of the evidence from the inquest could be used. Secondly, they claimed that we had been informed that the trial would go ahead on the day we were told not to attend. Thirdly, they said that they had informed the police of the results of their investigation and they had not. And fourthly, they claimed that they had sent a full report to the police when no such report had been sent. Q. You couldnt rely on this governments Health & Safety body, the HSE, so how did you proceed? A. I took the unusual step of taking all of my documents on this case to a local solicitor, someone with no axe to grind, and asked him to have a look at them. In these papers I provided the statements from the inquest. I obtained these statements from the coroners office at a cost of £36. The solicitor studied my documents and statements from the inquest along with one of the senior partners in the firm. I went to see the solicitor after one week. He told me that the two of the statements were questionable but that they should not have faced a manslaughter charge, but that one management representative surely should have done, and that if he had been prosecuted in his defence it would have shown all the other things that were wrong with the mens place of work. This would have shown how AMEC should have also faced this charge as they are responsible for creating the environment for all the breaches of the Health and Safety Act. Q. What did this expose about the way the state and these companies treat such vital questions of health and safety? A. What it exposed was their motive to increase production with complete disregard for mens safety, i.e. I think it is called cutting corners. If they had been prosecuted in the proper manner perhaps it would have stopped other firms from travelling down the same path, because since the tragedy we have had two men burnt to death at Dundee, one man killed at Cammel Lairds of Hebburn sliced in half by a wire rope and a crane that fell into a dry dock at South Shields. These are all accidents that should not have happened. We have a safety officer take Swan Hunters to court because he claims unfair dismissal because of some of his recommendations, and Swan Hunter settling out of court. Unfortunately, we cannot now press charges. But we could have a public enquiry into the whole sordid affair and put the record straight for the future. And I think the main thing that the relatives want is a proper answer to what has happened.
The Anglo-American powers, Russia and the EU and south east European countries have agreed a stability pact to help rebuild the region in the aftermath of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. It is reported that this pact is designed ultimately to bring the countries there into the European fold. Some commentators have billed the project as the Marshall Plan for the Balkans. Meeting in Cologne, the foreign minister of the G8 countries US, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan and Russia stressed the need to re-establish law and order in Kosova as a precondition for rebuilding the region. It is reported that the Balkan countries are expected to sign up to Western-style economic reforms. The World Bank has suggested that it could take up to $100 billion to rebuild the Balkans. EU officials have suggested a figure of about $30 billion. It is suggested that Kosova alone will have as much poured in as the $5 billion that went to reconstruct Bosnia after the four-year war there.
Robin Cook called the stability pact a new deal for the region. He said that the EU would open up (its) markets for trade with the Balkan countries. He also hinted that the aid package would be something of a reward for Yugoslavias Balkan neighbours, who he said had been very supportive of NATOs military campaign. The new deal could be available to Serbia, he said, if and when it does get a regime thats willing to share the same values. A report in Janes Information Group estimated that the cost of the war against Yugoslavia has been £42 million per day. This was based on direct operating expenses of the air campaigns alone.
This is the full text of the Military Technical Agreement signed by the International Security Force (K-For) and the military representatives of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia on Wednesday June 9.
| Article I: General Obligations
1. The Parties to this Agreement reaffirm the document presented by President
Ahtisaari [of Finland] to President Milosevic and approved by the Serb
parliament and the Federal Government on June 3, 1999, to include deployment in
Kosovo under UN auspices of effective international civil and security
The Parties further note that the UN Security Council is prepared to adopt a resolution, which has been introduced, regarding these presences.
2. The State Governmental authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia understand and agree that the international security force (K-For) will deploy following the adoption of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution referred to in Paragraph 1 and operate without hindrance within Kosovo and with the authority to take all necessary action to establish and maintain a secure environment for all citizens of Kosovo and otherwise carry out its mission.
They further agree to comply with all of the obligations of this Agreement and to facilitate the deployment and operation of this force.
3. For purposes of the agreement, the following expressions shall have the meanings as described below:
a. The Parties are those signatories to the Agreement.
b. Authorities means the appropriate responsible individual, agency, or organisation of the Parties.
c. FRY Forces includes all of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Republic of Serbia personnel and organisations with a military capability. This includes regular army and naval forces, armed civilian groups, associated paramilitary groups, air forces, national guards, border police, army reserves, military police, intelligence services, federal and Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs local, special, riot and anti-terrorist police, and any other groups or individuals so designated by the international security force (K-For) commander.
d. The Air Safety Zone (ASZ) is defined as a 25-kilometre zone that extends beyond the Kosovo province border into the rest of FRY territory. It includes the airspace above that 25-kilometre zone.
e. The Ground Safety Zone (GSZ) is defined as a 5-kilometre zone that extends beyond the Kosovo province border into the rest of FRY territory. It includes the terrain within that 5-kilometre zone.
f. Entry into Force Day (EIF Day) is defined as the day this Agreement is signed.
4. The purposes of these obligations are as follows:
a. To establish a durable cessation of hostilities, under no circumstances shall any Forces of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia enter into, reenter, or remain within the territory of Kosovo or the Ground Safety Zone (GSZ) and the Air Safety Zone (ASZ) described in paragraph 3, Article I without the prior express consent of the international security force (K-For) commander. Local police will be allowed to remain in the GSZ.
The above paragraph is without prejudice to the agreed return of FRY and Serbian personnel which will be the subject of a subsequent separate agreement as provided for in paragraph 6 of the document mentioned in paragraph 1 of this Article.
b. To provide for the support and authorisation of the international security force (K-For) and in particular to authorise the international security force (K-For) to take such actions as are required, including the use of necessary force, to ensure compliance with this Agreement and protection of the international security force (K-For), and to contribute to a secure environment for the international civil implementation presence, and other international organisations, agencies, and non-governmental organisations (details in Appendix B). Article II: Cessation of Hostilities
1. The FRY Forces shall immediately, upon entry into force (EIF) of this Agreement, refrain from committing any hostile or provocative acts of any type against any person in Kosovo and will order armed forces to cease all such activities.
They shall not encourage, organise or support hostile or provocative demonstrations.
2. Phased Withdrawal of FRY Forces (ground): The FRY agrees to a phased withdrawal of all FRY Forces from Kosovo to locations in Serbia outside Kosovo.
FRY Forces will mark and clear minefields, booby traps and obstacles. As they withdraw, FRY Forces will clear all lines of communication by removing all mines, demolitions, booby traps, obstacles and charges.
They will also mark all sides of all minefields. International security forces (K-For) entry and deployment into Kosovo will be synchronised.
The phased withdrawal of FRY Forces from Kosovo will be in accordance with the sequence outlined below:
a. By EIF + 1 day, FRY Forces located in Zone 3 will have vacated, via designated routes, that Zone to demonstrate compliance (depicted on the map at Appendix A to the Agreement).
Once it is verified that FRY forces have complied with this subparagraph and with paragraph 1 of this Article, NATO air strikes will be suspended. The suspension will continue provided that the obligations of this agreement are fully complied with, and provided that the UNSC adopts a resolution concerning the deployment of the international security force (K-For) so rapidly that a security gap can be avoided.
b. By EIF + 6 days, all FRY Forces in Kosovo will have vacated Zone 1 (depicted on the map at Appendix A to the Agreement). Establish liaison teams with the K-For commander in Pristina.
c. By EIF + 9 days, all FRY Forces in Kosovo will have vacated Zone 2 (depicted on the map at Appendix A to the Agreement).
d. By EIF + 11 days, all FRY Forces in Kosovo will have vacated Zone 3 (depicted on the map at Appendix A to the Agreement).
e. By EIF +11 days, all FRY Forces in Kosovo will have completed their withdrawal from Kosovo (depicted on map at Appendix A to the Agreement) to locations in Serbia outside Kosovo, and not within the 5 km GSZ.
At the end of the sequence (EIF + 11), the senior FRY Forces commanders responsible for the withdrawing forces shall confirm in writing to the international security force (K-For) commander that the FRY Forces have complied and completed the phased withdrawal.
The international security force (K-For) commander may approve specific requests for exceptions to the phased withdrawal.
The bombing campaign will terminate on complete withdrawal of FRY Forces as provided under Article II.
The international security force (K-For) shall retain, as necessary, authority to enforce compliance with this Agreement.
f. The authorities of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia will co-operate fully with international security force (K-For) in its verification of the withdrawal of forces from Kosovo and beyond the ASZ/GSZ.
g. FRY armed forces withdrawing in accordance with Appendix A, i.e. in designated assembly areas or withdrawing on designated routes, will not be subject to air attack.
h. The international security force (K-For) will provide appropriate control of the borders of FRY in Kosovo with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) until the arrival of the civilian mission of the UN.
3. Phased Withdrawal of Yugoslavia Air and Air Defence Forces (YAADF)
a. At EIF + 1 day, no FRY aircraft, fixed wing and rotary, will fly in Kosovo airspace or over the ASZ without prior approval by the international security force (K-For) commander. All air defence systems, radar, surface-to-air missile and aircraft of the Parties will refrain from acquisition, target tracking or otherwise illuminating international security (K-For) air platforms operating in the Kosovo airspace or over the ASZ.
b. By EIF + 3 days, all aircraft, radars, surface-to-air missiles (including man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS)) and anti-aircraft artillery in Kosovo will withdraw to other locations in Serbia outside the 25 kilometre ASZ.
c. The international security force (K-For) commander will control and co-ordinate use of airspace over Kosovo and the ASZ commencing at EIF.
Violation of any of the provisions above, including the international security force (K-For) commanders rules and procedures governing the airspace over Kosovo, as well as unauthorised flight or activation of FRY Integrated Air Defence (IADS) within the ASZ, are subject to military action by the international security force (K-For), including the use of necessary force.
The international security force (K-For) commander may delegate control of normal civilian air activities to appropriate FRY institutions to monitor operations, deconflict international security force (K-For) air traffic movements, and ensure smooth and safe operations of the air traffic system.
It is envisioned that control of civil air traffic will be returned to civilian authorities as soon as practicable. Article III: Notifications
1. This agreement and written orders requiring compliance will be immediately communicated to all FRY forces.
2. By EIF +2 days, the State governmental authorities of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia shall furnish the following specific information regarding the status of all FRY Forces:
a. Detailed records, positions and descriptions of all mines, unexploded ordnance, explosive devices, demolitions, obstacles, booby traps, wire entanglement, physical or military hazards to the safe movement of any personnel in Kosovo laid by FRY Forces.
b. Any further information of a military or security nature about FRY Forces in the territory of Kosovo and the GSZ and ASZ requested by the international security force (K-For) commander. Article IV: Establishment of a Joint Implementation Commission (JIC)
A JIC shall be established with the deployment of the international security force (K-For) to Kosovo as directed by the international security force (K-For) commander. Article V: Final Authority to Interpret The international security force (K-For) commander is the final authority regarding interpretation of this Agreement and the security aspects of the peace settlement it supports.
His determinations are binding on all Parties and persons. Article VI: Entry into Force
This agreement shall enter into force upon signature. Appendices:
A. Phased withdrawal of FRY Forces from Kosovo [This Appendix contains map(s) of designated routes for Serb withdrawal.]
B. International security force (K-For) operations 1. Consistent with the general obligations of the Military Technical Agreement, the State Governmental authorities of the FRY and the Republic of Serbia understand and agree that the international security force (K-For) will deploy and operate without hindrance within Kosovo and with the authority to take all necessary action to establish and maintain a secure environment for all citizens of Kosovo.
2. The international security force (K-For) commander shall have the authority, without interference or permission, to do all he judges necessary and proper, including the use of military force, to protect the international security force (K-For), the international civil implementation presence, and to carry out the responsibilities inherent in this Military Technical Agreement and the Peace Settlement which it supports.
3. The international security force (K-For) nor any of its personnel or staff shall be liable for any damages to public or private property that they may cause in the course of duties related to the implementation of this Agreement.
The parties will agree a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) as soon as possible.
4. The international security force (K-For) shall have the right:
a. To monitor and ensure compliance with this Agreement and to respond promptly to any violations and restore compliance, using military force if required.
This includes necessary actions to:
(1) Enforce withdrawals of FRY forces. (2) Enforce compliance following the return of selected FRY personnel to Kosovo. (3) Provide assistance to other international entities involved in the implementation or otherwise authorised by the UNSC.
b. To establish liaison arrangements with local Kosovo authorities, and with FRY/Serbian civil and military authorities.
c. To observe, monitor and inspect any and all facilities or activities in Kosovo that the international security force (K-For) commander believes has or may have military or police capability, or may be associated with the employment of military or police capabilities, or are otherwise relevant to compliance with this Agreement.
5. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, the Parties understand and agree that the international security force (K-For) commander has the right and is authorised to compel the removal, withdrawal, or relocation of specific Forces and weapons, and to order the cessation of any activities whenever the international security force (K-For) commander determines a potential threat to either the international security force (K-For) or its mission, or to another Party.
Forces failing to redeploy, withdraw, relocate, or to cease threatening or potentially threatening activities following such a demand by the international security force (K-For) shall be subject to military action by the international security force (K-For), including the use of necessary force, to ensure compliance.
| IN 1947, when the United Nations started work on a Declaration of Human
Rights, representatives of the then Soviet Union took an active part in
preparing the draft. This draft was subsequently changed. While the final
result was found commendable on the whole, Andrei Y. Vyshinsky, who was the
Soviet Foreign Minister, pointed out that it contained a number of
shortcomings. Among these are its formal legal nature and the absence in it of
any measures which would facilitate realisation of the basic freedoms and human
rights that it proclaimed.
Speaking before the General Assembly on December 9 and 10, 1948, Mr. Vyshinsky
took the floor to enumerate some of the objections to the draft found by the
Soviet delegation. In analysing the draft declarations position on state
sovereignty, he declared:
One of the serious shortcomings patent in the draft declaration
the lack of any mention of the connection between human rights and the problem
of state sovereignty. This is explained in considerable measure by the fact
that the theory of renouncing state sovereignty has again come to life
an utterly incorrect and fallacious theory that the principle of state
sovereignty is a reactionary allegedly obsolete idea, and that rejection of
this principle of state sovereignty is allegedly one of the essential
requisites for international co-operation.
The draft declaration of human rights seems to meet half-way these really
reactionary views and theories directed against the sovereignty of states and
hence completely contradicting the principles of the United Nations
Organisation. The draft declaration marks in this respect a new stage in the
campaign against state sovereignty.
Sometimes we hear objections to the effect that questions pertaining to
the state should not be touched upon in the declaration on human rights
inasmuch as this declaration is dedicated to the rights of man. But one cannot
agree with a stand of this kind, if only because human rights are inconceivable
outside of the state. The very concept of rights is a concept of a state. More
than that, human rights are unthinkable unless they are upheld and protected by
the state. Otherwise human rights will resolve into a sheer abstraction, an
illusion without meaning which, as we know, is easy to create but which
vanishes just as easily.
The attempt to vilify state sovereignty by identifying it with absolute
sovereignty is the manifestation of a reactionary spirit, Mr. Vyshinsky
charged. Quoting from Pradier-Foderes Course in International Law, Mr.
Vyshinsky defined state sovereignty as the right of the state to direct
development by itself and for itself in order to achieve its own aims without
any external interference, the right to manifest and exercise its will, acting
in the domain of its jurisdiction without any hindrance on the part of an
outside force, the opportunity to uphold its rights and fulfil the duties which
are the essential and most important foundation of each free society, acting in
its sphere really independently and never serving as an instrument in the hands
of another state. He went on:
Propaganda against state sovereignty covered up by the claim that what is
in view is absolute sovereignty and not sovereignty in general is nothing more
than ideological preparation for the final political surrender of ones
own country to a more powerful state, to the latters economic might.
One must be on guard against such moulding of public opinion aimed at breaking the will to resist plans of world domination which are threatening the economic and political independence of other states, especially the weaker states. We are against such propaganda which is digging the grave for the independence of states and the well-being of nations. . . . This, I repeat, signifies capitulation before a stronger state whose aspirations to world domination are still obstructed by state sovereignty which serves as a weapon protecting the weaker countries against the greed of more powerful states, for the state sovereignty of the former, although undermined at the very root by measures like the Marshall Plan, the establishment of the Western European political bloc, etc., nevertheless still preserves its force and significance.
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