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Year 2005 No. 94, July 13, 2005 ARCHIVE HOME JBBOOKS SUBSCRIBE

Young People Will Consolidate Themselves in the Face of the Outrages and State Terror

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Young People Will Consolidate Themselves in the Face of the Outrages and State Terror

Live 8 and the Cynical Manipulation of Public Opinion

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Young People Will Consolidate Themselves in the Face of the Outrages and State Terror

-- Statement of Workers’ Weekly Youth Group, July 8, 2005 --

Workers' Weekly Youth Group condemns the indiscriminate bombings in London on Thursday, July 7, expressing deepest sympathy to the innocent victims, injured, killed and psychologically affected, and to their families, friends and loved ones.

            In the aftermath of these wanton acts of violence, young people have to consolidate themselves against the terrorism that has been brought upon us and the state terrorism that is being used against us and the world’s people, not allowing the media hysteria and disinformation to split them over race, religion or national origin or anything else, including ideological differences. These unsettled times call for vigilance and looking out for each other. First and foremost, this means being vigilant against whatever the government holds in store, what laws they will try to push through, what interventions and attacks they might be planning, in the wake of Thursday's bombings. It means opposing any use of the attack to blackmail people into accepting such measures. It means building on the youth’s concern for humanity, and for the fate of society.

            Young people will turn a tragedy into something positive, and consolidate  around their determination to deal with the serious problems which face society and the world in which they live; staying informed, not disinformed, and organising themselves in the manner that they need to begin to solve these problems, relying on their own initiative. An outrage such as this begs the response: we cannot continue to live in this way! Terrorism is both an effect and an instrument of a world based on exploitation and oppression.   Young people desire peace, democracy, well-being and social justice. It merely makes us all the more determined to bring about change for the better. Another world is possible!

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Live 8 and the Cynical Manipulation of Public Opinion

In the lead up to the G8 summit in Gleneagles, the Live 8 campaign organised pop concerts in 10 cities across the world including London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Rome, Philadelphia, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Toronto. The organisers presented these concerts, which were reported to have attracted audiences of 1 million and TV audiences of some 2 billion, as part of an effort to “ask the G8 to make poverty history”. The Live 8 campaign was headed up by Bob Geldof and included others like Bono, Richard Curtis and Midge Ure.   It enjoyed the all out support of international corporate power and in particular of the Labour government. Its backers included AOL owned by the media conglomerate Time Warner; the BBC which provided massive coverage on its extensive TV and radio network of both the concerts and Bob Geldof himself while also running an unprecedented number of programmes on, from and about Africa; Nokia; O2 the mobile company; and Richard Branson’s Virgin which donated 200 free seats on their trains to get people to the final concert scheduled for Edinburgh. Bob Geldof appeared in photo shoots and news conferences with Tony Blair, while Bono and Geldof were let into the Gleneagles fortress to “negotiate” with George Bush and Gerhardt Schroeder “on behalf of Africa’s poor”.

            The massive support for this campaign from British finance capital and its state, which has thrown its full weight behind it make it clear what its aims are. In fact, it is an integral part of a huge campaign of propaganda and disinformation which is intended through the cynical manipulation of public opinion to create the conditions for a new onslaught against Africa by Britain’s monopolies. The programme for this assault is embodied in Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa report, which is being promoted by the Live 8 and Make Poverty History campaigns.

            Central to both Live 8 and Blair’s Africa Commission report is the 19th century racist doctrine that Africans are incapable of confronting and resolving the problems which beset them and are dependent for their salvation on the “philanthropic intervention of the civilised white man”. Starting from such a standpoint, it was not in the least surprising that the organisers had to hastily add an African concert to their schedule after being criticised for leaving Africans out of a programme which was allegedly designed to “help Africans”.  This idea of the “incapability” of the colonised peoples is one which is central to all imperialist ideology and harks back to the notion of colonised peoples as being “child-like” and in need of the “trusteeship” of various imperialists whose task it is to “civilise them”. It is precisely this idea which is used by the imperialist to justify their intervention in other countries and which Tony Blair made extensive use of to justify Britain’s involvement in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, arguing as he did that the Anglo-Americans had removed “the Iraqi dictator” for the Iraqi people because they were “incapable of doing it”. 

            Another important ideological task which the Live 8 campaign has taken up is to spread maximum confusion regarding the causes of poverty in Africa and the criminal responsibility for this state of affairs which rests on the shoulder of the G8 leaders and the international corporations they represent.   In order to disorientate and manipulate public opinion the big lie is peddled that the source of poverty in Africa is “neglect by the international community” or “the corruption of Africa’s political leaders” and not the rapacious plunder of Africa, including its people and resources which the self same G8 countries have been carrying out for the last 500 years, on which they have grown rich and fat,  and which they are now demanding should be intensified in order to “solve” the problems it has created.

            The African people know from their own direct experiences what are the causes of their poverty and suffering and exactly what role the G8 countries have played in creating and maintaining the tragedy that afflicts them. From the inauguration of the slave trade – when millions of Africans were stolen from Africa and thrown into a 400-year-long holocaust in which the fruits of their unpaid labour transformed Europe and North America by providing the capital which was essential for industrialisation to Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa report aimed at re-enslaving the continent – the “international community” has never left Africa alone. It has not for one minute “neglected” to plunder the continent. The 300-year-long slave trade, the 1884 Berlin Conference, the genocidal scramble for Africa, the 1918 Versailles conference in which Germany was stripped of its African colonies, Italy’s piratical attack on Ethiopia in 1936, the brutal wars of the European colonialists against the struggle for independence whether in Kenya, Algeria or Zimbabwe, the all out support for the apartheid regime – these are facts which disprove the notion that “the international community” neglected Africa and this is the cause of its poverty.

            And what are the views of today’s “saviours of Africa” towards these barbaric crimes which they have committed against the Africa peoples? Tony Blair’s government declared before the whole world at the United Nations conference on Racism in South Africa that slavery was not a crime against humanity. Gordon Brown declared on a recent trip to Africa, “Britain should stop apologising for colonialism and be proud of its history.” Tony Blair for his part declared that “the British Empire was a remarkable achievement”. Only someone deliberately intent on misleading public opinion could present these defenders of Britain’s Third Reich and their government as “friends of Africa” who are “concerned about alleviating poverty” on the continent.   

            Equally absurd is the idea that poverty in Africa is caused by the corruption of Africa’s political leaders. As is well known, under the capitalist system politicians and corporate tycoons maintain corrupt relations with each other and through these relations the monopolies carry on their battle for markets and profits through seeking advantage over their rivals. The scandals which erupt from time to time in the capitalist world in examples such as the Enron collapse, the role of Halliburton in Iraq and so on are evidence of this. If, as the monopolies claim, corruption of political leaders leads to poverty on the scale of that existing in Africa, why does this level of poverty not exist throughout the capitalist world? In any event, not even the most barefaced of the apologists for the recolonisation of Africa would dare to suggest that during the colonial period the African people were not mired in poverty. Then, there were no “corrupt African politicians” since African countries were run directly by the imperialist countries themselves through their network of colonial governors. Why then were the African people still poor, if the cause of their poverty is to be laid at the door of the “corrupt African politicians”?

            This disinformation is an important part of the British monopolies’ programme to subvert the consciousness of the people and their demand that a new world is needed in which  the plunder and exploitation of other countries is outlawed and in which human knowledge and technology are  used to really make poverty history. It is intended to divert this sentiment into support for a rapacious programme of the British state to recolonise Africa which can only lead to intensified poverty and suffering on that continent.

            The working class and people of Britain must reject this cynical manipulation of public opinion. They must raise their own demands that Britain end its interference in Africa, cancel all debts owed by African countries whether to public or private organisations, admit responsibility for its past and present crimes against the African people and pay reparations for these. They must demand the outlawing of any and all removal of wealth from Africa for consumption in Britain in the form of debt repayments, repatriated profits or through unequal terms of trade. This is the responsibility of the working class and people of Britain towards the people of Africa.

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