This week the Group of Eight wealthy nations will meet in Germany to make more promises that outgoing British Prime Minister admitted recently during his farewell tour of Afrika that they haven't been fulfiled, especially the grand ones made at Gleneagles (Scotland). Kasiekulture pulls from the archives a four years old article that is relevant to this week. We dust a few archaic words, edit, tuck and nip it and this is what you get.
"For every overweight G8 citizen, there are three children starving in the Third World" - Anonymous
Ernesto Che Guevara, the renowned international solidarity campaigner of all times would have turned 79 -years-old this month if he was not slaughtered by the very people he gave his life fighting for the betterment of their social and working conditions. Be prepared to forget that the United States of America's Central Intelligence Agency is reported to have overseen his execution, it was in essense Bolivian peasant soldiers who performed the act, on behalf of their Western masters, thus explicitly refusing to be masters of their own destinies. Che Guevara was a soldier, a revolutionary and an anti-global capitalism campaigner. His unwavering leadership will be missed this week as thousands of anti-globalisation protesters take to the streets of Heiligendam to express their dissatisfaction with the make-up and agendas of the G8 club towards the Third World. Che Guevara would undoubtedly have been amongst the protesters.
What is not understood and never questioned is the reason why thousands of children of the rich would risk death and arrest to protest against policies which appear lucrative to Third World countries. Four years ago we caught up with Secretary of the Anti-Privatisation Forum, Mr Trevor Ngwane who said, "Capitalism's history shows that it is a system of politics and economics which is expansionary in nature. Once it has conquered one area it needs to conquer more. The problem with it is that it believes that investing your money in a certain area must involve the willingness and readiness to protect that investment, often with troops or by imposing a rule to govern that country. It then gives birth to colonisation".
To this end globalisation and capitalism have reportedly had a negative impact on the international solidarity movement against the oppressed and dispossessed. Many world leaders today are scared to be seen siding with marginalised societies like the Palestinians and Swaziland's progressive forces. South African Communist Party Secretary General Mr Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande told the original Tribute Magazine, "Our approach is that the contemporary phase of global capitalism is imperialistic in character. The manner in which global capitalism is functioning is an alliance of developed countries and an intensification of the exploitation on the world by multinational corporations. That is a reality"
Che, who introduced romance and love to revolution never shied away from a frontline trench in a liberation war. While harbouring ambitions of taking his children to space once the world is finally free he did not want such aspirations to make him lose focus of the bigger picture. He was unlike modern neo-revolutionaries who have become power brokers from behind mopani desks in presidential suites while the masses feel the pinch of capitalist exploitation. "That is one of the major challenges of this period, because neo-liberalism tends to isolate the state in developing countries in particular from the top as well as from the bottom. They are alienated from the top in the sense that the agents of neo-liberalism- the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank- simply impose what the want, and this tends to alienate those states from their mass bases. Zimbabwe is a classical example" Nzimande continued.
VOICING THEIR GRIEVANCES: Protesters at the recently held World Social Forum meeting in Nairobi, KENYA
In this context Third World leaders become cannon fodder for rich countries while their citizens watch in dismay - often powerless. New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was shaped by the global market forces and given to African leaders to present to their constituencies as an African solution while the untold truth is that it is a neo-liberal programme meant to create a vacuum between the workers and the political leadership so as to alienate alliances and to intentionally create tension. It is structural adjustment at its best.
"In the 20th century we saw a collision of the socialism and the capitalism forces, but the failure of the socialist experiment resulted in a new form of resistance called the anti-capitalist movement or The Children of Seattle who protested and shut down the inaugural summit of the Unholy Trinity (World Bank, Internationl Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation). We also picketed the World Economic Forum meeting in Brazil, so the international solidarity is still viable and is working" Ngwane said.
Protest, protest, and more protest. Che wouldn't have called for a press conference to denounce the questionable activities of the Israeli government or the US and Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the 1970s organisations like the Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation of African Unity (predecessor to the African Union), Frontline States, Eastern Bloc and Commonwealth were able to influence policy at the United Nations and sway some UN resolutions in favour of their members and causes like the Anti-Apartheid Movement. In 1986, then chairman of NAM, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said, "(NAM) is this political platform which it utilizes to bring pressure to bear on situations where solutions are much needed. And hence, in respect of Southern Africa, that is, and the occupation of Namibia by South Africa NAM urges sanctions, urges the adoption of a sanctions package and perhaps a comprehensive and mandatory package of sanctions by the international community. Therefore it is a complimentary organisation to the United Nations". Whatever happened to those voices now and their beliefs begs for an inquiry. But today, if countries like the US and Britain can overlook the UN and 'blockade' Iran, it is a sign that it's global capitalists who run the world, not political formations like the African Union and Arab League.
The world is being run by a cartel of chequebook politicians like Paul Wolforwitz and the neo-liberals in Washington who have attached a price tag to everyone's thinking. "Things have gotten worse for the poor, the rank and file. The wealth of the world is more than ever concentrated in very few hands. Since liberation black household has gotten 16% poorer while the white household 19% richer. The situation has deteriorated to a point where indeed there is African elites like Cyril Ramaphosa and Tokyo Sexwale, but the majority are poorer" Ngwane said.
Multi-nationals accused of human and animal rights abuses in other countries no longer nicodemously hand out cheques to lobbyists but organisations are lining up to receive them. Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) no longer see themselves as part of civil society and advocates but are secretly campaigning to become future governements. Pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the lack of knowledge pertaining to the effects and side effects of anti-retroviral drugs amongst Third World activists by allegedly clandestinely sponsoring protest marches to force governments to roll out the drugs to their people. They are holding such governments to ransom by deploying the same progressive forces which have since turned reactionaries. This they do while withholding information pertaining to the role that can be played by vitamin supplements in boosting the immune system, the one source that the HIVirus attacks.
Anti-globalisation forces are quick to label the Italian protester who was killed in Genoa in 2001 as the first martyr of their movement. But, thirty years ago in Bolivia, in the real sense Ernesto Che Guevara was the first martyr of a movement that until now, seems to have lost its course.
DISCLAIMER: This article was originally written four years ago. That's when some of the information and the interviews were still potent. Some opinions might have changed over the years, but the thrust of this piece remains.