African and Indigenous People Everywhere are demanding “Life, Inspiration, Freedom & Education=LIFE”. This commentary was shared based on global meetings hosted in Algiers in December 2011. Share your perspectives and positive solutions for our engaging to ascend and heal all of our relations.
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REPORT BACK FROM
EMERGENCY CONFERENCE IN ALGERIA
Note: These excerpts of articles from the national written press are only a sample and do not represent a detailed account of the Conference.
To the Activists and Organizations Participating in the Activities of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples
Dear Friends, Dear Comrades,
The International Emergency Conference Against Wars of Occupation and Interference in the Affairs of Countries, and in Defence of the Integrity and the Sovereignty of Nations, held in Algiers on the 10th, 11th and 12th of December 2011 — whose “Algiers Manifesto” was published in the ILC International Newsletter N° 53 (of December 16) — has had resounding success, both in Algeria and on the international scale.
Among the reports written on the Emergency Conference by the participants, we are publishing this week in the ILC International newsletter:
– the article reporting on the Conference that appeared in the Mali newspaper Le Guido, and article written by our friends from the African Solidarity Party for Democracy and Independence (Mali), whose delegation was present in Algiers;
– the article reporting on the Conference appearing in the January 2012 issue of the monthly Afrique-Asie;
– The Algerian press-review that appeared in issue 34 of Fraternité!, the newspaper of the Algerian Workers Party.
In the weeks to come, we will continue the publication of reports written about this initiative.
The setting up of the Permanent International Vigilance Committee will not fail to pursue the broad and indispensable campaign for the grouping of democratic, working-class and anti-imperialist forces that refuse interference, factor of chaos and the destruction of nations, on the international level.
We therefore address ourselves to you and propose that you inform on and associate yourselves with the Algiers Manifesto — in which ever forms you and your organizations deem useful — and that you sign it if you are in agreement.
Please accept our fraternal greetings,
The Coordinators of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples
Louisa Hanoune, Daniel Gluckstein
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Published in the French magazine «Africa Asia» (January 2012)
ALGIERS, CAPITAL OF RESISTANCE by Majed Nehme – Algiers
At the Conference held between the 10th and the 13th December, about forty delegations and many representatives of Algerian civil society (235 participants, including 105 foreigners from 42 countries) took part in the debate on the consequences of the overthrow of the Libyan regime by NATO and its vassals in the Gulf. This is a dangerous precedent that risks repeating itself in another Arab country, Syria, as a number of speakers like Saïda Benhabyles on return from an international information mission in Syria, underlined. That is also the warning that the many Turkish progressive delegates present, wanted to give with their analyses.
The holding in Algiers of such a Conference against the return of colonialism, thinly disguised under cover of humanitarian interference and the right of protection, reminds us of the role played by Algiers in the past as the “Mecca of national liberation movements” in Africa, Asia and South America, underlined many African delegates. A role that Algerian diplomacy continues to play, taking a stand against any hegemonic drift in international relations and defending the right of peoples to self-determination without interference.
We owe this Conference above all to the internationalist commitment of Louisa Hanoune, the leader of the Workers Party, who is engaged in an admirable combat in Algeria against savage globalisation and the selling off of the pearls of the national economy. We recall that she headed the resistance to the masked privatisation of Sonatrech, the national hydrocarbon company — and finally she won. This combat has also been that of Abdelmadjid Sidi Saîd, the General Secretary of the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA), who has been engaged in social struggle since he was 16 years old, merging the defence of workers and that of national sovereignty.
Every one at home
Following the Conference, Brother Sidi Said assembled his general staff to warn those in favour of a return to wild liberalism and the rehabilitation of the FIS (Islamic Front of Salvation, the dissolved Islamic Party). “We’re attuned to the national reconciliation decisions, but the UGTA has paid a heavy tribute for social and democratic values as all the other sectors of the population “ he underlined. “We have lost 657 martyrs, we cannot forget. We shall take part in peace but in the framework of republican and democratic values [Š]. The UGTA is a centrepiece for stability [Š] We will not accept just any form of reconciliation.”
Since the NATO intervention in Libya, Louisa Hanoune has used all her energy to denounce this dangerous precedent. Anticipating this dangerous drift, her party had organised in November 2010 in Algiers, the Open International Conference Against War and Exploitation (400 participants, 230 foreigners, about 60 countries). She indicated the tone in her inaugural speech. There is no doubt that the so called “humanitarian intervention”, under different pretexts, is “the prelude to the right for the big powers to get involved in the domestic affairs of countries, to directly intervene militarily under cover of NATO [Š.], with the aim of systematically organising the pillage of the natural riches and resources of peoples and of guaranteeing new markets for the transnational corporations”.
“It is through NATO intervention, she continued, that ex Yugoslavia was cut up [Š] Economic blockades, no fly zones, the freezing of assets abroad and other sanctions that starve peoples, destroy economic potential, spread desolation, are the preliminaries leading up to a war of occupation.”
Everybody agreed, except the delegation from the Egyptian Party Kifayah, which in justifying NATO intervention by the presence of despotic and corrupt regimes, met with general disapproval and made it necessary for Ms. Hanoune to reply. While defending democratic values all over the world, she underlined that the overthrowing of dictatorships is the responsibility and the duty of the vital forces in each country. For with foreign intervention, one would only replace one dictatorial regime by another — with occupation on top of that!
The “revelations” of the U.S. trade unionists at the Conference had the effect of a bombshell. According to them, certain circles within the U.S. administration are said to be fomenting “an American plot aimed at creating a National Transition Council in case of a popular uprising in Algeria.” This information made the front pages of a number of Algerian newspapers, and it has not been contradicted or disavowed. During the three days of debate unanimity was reached: there is no salvation outside of sovereignty. Peoples must be left to decide for themselves their own destinies, which is far from the case since the end of the Cold War and the advent of an aggressive American unilateralism (Iraq, Afghanistan, Balkans.).
But as one of the speakers observed, the triumph of the Americanised West will be short lived in terms of History. In fact, in spite of deceptive appearances, we are witnessing a decline in this unilateralism: an unprecedented crisis of the system experienced by the US and Europe: these countries incapable of concluding a war of conquest to their advantage (Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria) : return in force of Russia on the international scene; emergence on the economic and political field of the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa); South American countries taking their distance from the United States as they diversify their economic and strategic partnerships: the Arab world entering a new era of uncertainty that will in the end, weaken American strategy in the area. Israel, corner stone of this strategy, is no longer able to impose its choices there, in spite of its military superiority. It is powerless faced with the asymmetric war into which the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance draws it. Even more so, since the West in a crisis situation is going to force it to find another way out, rather than with arms.
Committee of Vigilance
In spite of these signs of decline, we have to be vigilant. The West, wounded, could engage in more suicidal adventures, by flirting with terrorism in the Sahel, by increasing pressure on Syria or by attacking Iran.
The Algiers declaration, adopted at the end of our Conference, expresses this vigilance but also the will to not let this criminal drift go unpunished. The participants decided in fact to set up “a vigilance committee in order to prepare for the holding of a Bertrand Russell-type International Tribunal, so as to draw up, on the basis of facts, an international indictment against those responsible for and those implementing wars of occupation, pillaging and destroying nations; to coordinate united action and react together for the defence of the integrity and sovereignty of nations, to organise united mobilisation against war and so that war budgets be used for social and economic development, organise united mobilisation against the murderous plans of the IMF and the World Bank [Š}]; and the cancellation of external debt, considered as an instrument for ruining the national economy of oppressed countries and setting up tutelage over States and nations.” A vast programme which has the merit of existing.
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Published in Le Guido (21st December 2011) – Mali
Account of the Algiers Conference by the SADI Party (African Solidarity for Democracy and independence)
Wars of occupation and interference in the domestic affairs of countries: The Algiers International Conference denounces the West!
The Algiers Safir Hotel was home from the 10th to the 12th December to the International Emergency Conference against Wars of Occupation and Interference in the domestic affairs of countries and in defence of the Integrity and Sovereignty of Nations.
Co-organised by the Workers Party and the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA), hundreds of delegates from every continent and representing political and trade union organisations from Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States took part in this International Conference. Mali was represented at this International Emergency Conference by a delegation from the SADI (African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence) led by Nouhoum Keita, Administrative Executive of the political Bureau, member of the Central Committee and including also Professor Balla Konaré, member of the Party’s Central Committee. We also observed the participation of a delegation from SYNACOME (National Union of Civil engineering, mines and Energy) headed by Baba Dao, General Secretary of the national section and Ibrahim Guissé.
In her opening speech, Louisa Hanoune, General Secretary of the Workers Party recalled the context in which this International Emergency Conference was being held. According to her, for the first time since Algerian independence in 1962, North Africa is the target for military intervention organised by NATO, while already profound changes are speeding up on every continent, increasing suffering and regression as a result of foreign interference and military intervention that put on the agenda the irruption of an era of generalised war and chaos.
To illustrate what she had to say Louisa Hanoune referred to the revolting pictures of so called humanitarian foreign intervention in Somalia twenty years ago. A country that has sunk into chaos, ruined by the paying off of its external debt and the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). She also gave examples of many countries that are plunged into civil war as a result of the pillaging of their resources, manipulation and foreign interference, as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, the Ivory Coast.
Analysing the concept of humanitarian intervention, Ms. Louisa Hanoune underlined that it is the prelude to the right for the big powers to interfere in the domestic affairs of countries, to directly intervene militarily, under cover of NATO or via international coalitions under their orders, with the aim of organising the systematic pillaging of natural riches and resources of peoples, of guaranteeing new markets for transnational corporations. And at the same time, there is more militarisation forced on all continents through the setting up of foreign military bases and the proliferation of areas of conflict.
According to her, external interference is now a dominant characteristic of the world situation and no field, no continent is exempt from this, as it usurps popular sovereignty and violates the sovereignty of nations. This includes interfering in the choice of political leaders and the nature of regimes through systematic involvement in the electoral procedures of the oppressed countries of Africa, Asia, and the Americas, in order to get voted in political forces won over to policies dictated by the Imperialist centres. External interference is in contradiction with the course of natural political processes of emancipation of peoples and offers the big powers the occasion to create a dead end situation where rot sets in, causing a murderous turn, opening the door to foreign military intervention.
International interference, a threat to political and social rights
For Louisa Hanoune, no nation is safe from foreign interference, which constitutes a serious threat to political and social rights conquered by States, trade unions and parties as well as to all the gains of human civilisation. Take the example of Greece, country in which the G20 has intervened to cancel a decision of the Greek Prime Minister to organise a popular referendum on the criminal austerity plan imposed by the IMF and the European Union. The picture is similar in other European countries, like Italy, Portugal, Spain and Ireland which are placed under tutelage of the Troika made up of the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Union, that dictates everything, the anti popular austerity policies as well as the identity of those who must implement them, in order to reduce public deficit and wipe out debts for which workers and peoples are not responsible.
Going back over the events that have marked the year 2011, more generally in Europe and more particularly in the United States, North Africa and Mashreq, Louisa Hanoune underlined, that in answer to peoples’ aspiration to live in dignity and liberty, the governments of the big powers speed us along the road to barbarism, with the destruction of social gains, wars of occupation and military interventions in Asia and Africa.
The Sub-Sahara area, a powder keg
As for the situation in Libya, the General Secretary of the Algerian Workers Party declared that this country is faced with an uncertain future because the NATO intervention and the massive arming of civilians (more than a million pieces of artillery in Tripoli, 200 000 Kalachnikovs and 25 000 land-air missiles have disappeared into thin air) have not only created the conditions of a civil war but have transformed the whole of the Sahel-Sahara area into a barrel of gunpowder. While waiting f or the final figures on the number of civilian victims in Libya resulting from military intervention, NATO has operated on a massive scale systematic destruction of the vital economic infrastructures of Libya, so as to create the conditions for a flourishing reconstruction market estimated at 470 billion US dollars. It is the transnational corporations of the countries having taken part in the air strikes, notably the United States, Great Britain, France and Italy that are sharing the juicy contracts.
A few crumbs should fall to companies from Turkey and the Qatar in thanks for their unfailing support of the military intervention. So the 200 billion $ of frozen Libyan sovereign funds will not be enough. This means that Libya will sink into the debt spiral calling on the IMF. Its oil riches already coveted by transnational corporations, as a counter part for the air strikes, will be mortgaged for decades, diverted from the needs of the people.
For Louisa Hanoune, the choice of Libya as a target was not made by chance: added to the resources embedded in Libyan soil, this choice is also related to developments in Tunisia and Egypt where the peoples have decided to take their destiny into their hands, by democratic means, in order to free themselves from the corrupt regimes that served a minority of rich people and international capital.
Algeria, which shares 950 km of common frontier with Libya is constantly undergoing blackmail from external sources on the part of the governments of the big powers. After having been bled white in the past with its foreign debt and suffered from the Structural Adjustment Policy that massacred its economy, Algeria is reproached for implementing a social and economic policy in contradiction with the criminal austerity policies applied in Europe and the US in the interest of banks and private companies.
The introduction of important corrective measures in economic orientation, especially the renationalisation of hydrocarbons in 2006, the restoration of sovereignty in economic decisions through the LFC in 2009 and that of 2010, the injection of important public investment to kick start the economy, the increase in wages and other social expenditure,in spite of pressure from the IMF, the World Bank, the EU and the governments of the big powers, the inclusion of the 51/49 rule in partnership contracts with foreigners, the right for the State to pre empt, national preference, the obligation for foreign companies to invest part of their profits in Algeria, are all reasons explaining this policy of hostility and blackmail on the part of the West. Must be added to this the market represented by the kick starting of the economy worth 286 billion $, which is extremely coveted by the transnational corporations and for which, pressure of all sorts is brought to bear on the Algerian State for it to offer this gold mine on a silver plate to the transnational corporations. There is another reason for this deep hostility to the country: its resolute and firm opposition to Africom being set up on its territory and in the whole of the area.
The great determination of the Algerian people to defend its sovereignty
Nevertheless, Louisa Hanoune insisted on underlining the extreme determination of the Algerian people to defend its sovereignty and independence and to defeat all the attempts at destabilisation wherever they came from;
In concluding her speech, the General Secretary of the Algerian Workers Party declared that everywhere in the world peoples are taking a stand against war in all its forms, against the diktats of the governments of the big powers and the institutions at their beck and call. Their resistance to war signifies the defence of human civilisation, versus rampant barbarism in Europe, the Americas, in Asia and Africa.
Le Guido – Slaka Z Traoré
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Published in Fraternité (Workers Party of Algeria’s paper) N°34, 15th-31st December 2011
The International Emergency Conference – 15th to 31st December 2011
The Workers Party and the UGTA have organised in less than three months, the International Emergency Conference against Wars of Occupation and the Interference in the domestic affairs of countries and in Defence of the Sovereignty and Integrity of Nations.
This Conference assembling 250 delegates representing more than 40 countries, among whom were about a hundred eminent foreign personalities, has been a major event that during a whole week captured the attention and interest of the national press through different media (written press, radio and television).
We have chosen some excerpts from the national press that covered the event. The Arab speaking daily newspaper Echäab devoted a long article to the first day of the conference with the following headline, “Hanoune puts the proposal to the International Emergency Conference of setting up a Permanent Committee for Vigilance and the Defence of the Sovereignty and Independence of Nations”. Other daily newspapers published other articles with the following headlines: “Louisa Hanoune: NATO policies aim at starving peoples, destroying, assassinating and occupying” (Djazair El Djadida). The daily Akhbor El Youm published an article with whole passages from Mrs Hanoune’s speech.
At the opening of the Conference, Ms Hanoune underlined that the big powers through their interventions are working towards systematic pillaging of peoples’ national wealth and getting hold of new markets in the interests of transnational corporations. Other newspapers reported what was said by professors, intellectuals, researchers and activists taking part in the Conference. The daily newspaper Sawt El Ahrar reproduced the following passage pronounced by the Algerian intellectual BOUHAMIDI: “Capitalism has destroyed the Arab world to safeguard its own interests (Š) The United States and the Qatar are preparing to destabilise Syria”. The same newspaper published what Daniel Gluckstein of the Independent Workers Party and co coordinator of the International Liaison Committee of Workers and Peoples, had to say: “NATO intervened in Libya to terrorise the peoples of the region and get its hands on their wealth”. For “El Fadjr” quoting Sidi Said, “The USA and France are engaged in a new form of colonialism”.
The second day of the Conference was marked by a notable presence of journalists. The Turkish trade unionist Kamale Ahmet underlined the adhesion and union of peoples in the name of the emancipation of peoples and democracy against the policies of foreign expansionist interference. The representative of the Egyptian Socialist party Mohamed Khalil underlined the importance of respecting the aspirations and hopes of peoples, while denouncing the attempts of the governments of the big powers to extend their domination. In relation to this he indicated that the 25th January revolution was also sparked off against the policies of the international financial institutions (the IMF and the World Bank). As for the daily El Fadjr, it insisted on the contributions of several delegates. Mr Diallo Abdoulaye, in the name of the Organisation of the African Trade Union indicated that the African continent is the first to be concerned by the interference of big powers because of its riches and natural resources. Mr. Betoloné Gabriel, Joint General Secretary of the Chad National Union of Teachers recalled the colonial period in his country while he indignantly underlined the fact that the former colonial powers which had set fire to the gun powder are now returning to Africa as firemen (Š). Daniel Gluckstein indicated that “the question of national sovereignty has never known such a delicate phase (Š). We are witnessing to-day acts of terrorism and pillaging of the riches of peoples (Š). It is up to peoples themselves to get organised so as to affront this aggression”.
On the third day of the Conference, several national dailies devoted their headlines to the final communiqué and the historic decisions that crowned this Conference’s work. The daily “Echâab” gave this headline to its article : “International Emergency Conference against Wars of Occupation: creation of a Permanent Alert and Vigilance Committee (Š) The participants agreed that the Committee be in charge of coordinating action between the participant countries, that they work together to defend the sovereignty of nations and organise united mobilisation against war”. As for the daily Sawt El Ahrar, it published large excerpts among which: “the 40 countries that took part in this Emergency Conference agreed on the setting up of a Permanent Alert and Vigilance Committee against military bases in the Sahel area, whatever the pretexts put forward (Š). In the final communiqué, the participants decided to organise in order to prepare an International Tribunal to be held with a view to issuing an international warrant condemning those responsible for ant the authors of wars of occupation, pillaging, destruction (…)”.
The national press also covered with great interest the contribution of Alan Benjamin, the US trade unionist, who declared that a former member of the US Congress had revealed the existence of an organized effort on the part of the U.S. administration to set up a “National Transition Council in Algeria”. “The International Emergency Conference concluded its work by the setting up of a Permanent Vigilance Commission and an international condemnation of attempts at interference by imperialist powers in Algeria” (El Fadjr).
El Khabar published an article headed : “An American trade unionist reveals”: “Washington is preparing a national transition council in Algeria with complicity from inside the country (…)”. A trade unionists from the United States taking part in the Emergency Conference organised by the Workers Party, indicated that information is circulating widely on the internet according to which Washington has already prepared a national transition council in Algeria and has established contact with Algerian parties to head this council on the Libyan model, presided by Mostapha Abdeldjalil in Libya. The General Secretary of the Workers Party also brought up this question. She referred to the disappointment of the governments of the big powers when faced with the refusal of the Algerian people to reply to the movement that certain parties had staged to get them out on the streets last 17th September. Algerians clearly refused and rejected this while they were qualified as “pathetic” for not having responded to the appeals for chaos.
Finally, after the conclusion of the Conferences’ work, the journalists had the opportunity of meeting many of the delegates from different countries, to note their opinions and positions on the Conference themes;
— Amine S.
Note: These excerpts of articles from the national written press are only a sample and do not represent a detailed account of the Conference.
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