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"Live 8"--a political fraud

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    Live 8 --a political fraud on behalf of imperialism Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (Britain) 1 July 2005
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2005
      "Live 8"--a political fraud on behalf of imperialism
      Statement by the Socialist Equality Party (Britain)
      1 July 2005

      The following leaflet is being distributed by supporters of the
      Socialist Equality Party at the "Make Poverty History" rally in
      Edinburgh on July 2, which precedes the Live 8 concert in the city.

      Live 8 is staging concerts in London, Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, Rome,
      Philadelphia, Barrie, Tokyo, Johannesburg and Moscow as part of a
      series of events preceding the G8 summit of major industrial nations,
      which will take place July 6-8 in Scotland. Live 8 is focusing on the
      problem of poverty in Africa.

      The Live 8 events, which are the focus of the "Make Poverty History"
      campaign, are perpetrating a political fraud against all those
      genuinely seeking to overcome the terrible hardship facing the poor of
      Africa. The organizers and spokesmen seek not only to provide a mask
      of humanitarian concern to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US
      President George W. Bush, but to legitimize the designs of the
      imperialist powers on Africa.

      Live 8 amounts to a multimillion-dollar propaganda campaign on behalf
      of Blair and Bush at a time when both are anxious to put political
      distance between themselves and an occupation of Iraq that is proving
      to be a political disaster. All the leaders of the major powers will
      be happy that the hostile protests that have greeted previous G8
      summits have been replaced by such a humble petition.

      Some of those backing the appeal to the supposed largesse of the
      leaders of the major powers gathering in Edinburgh on July 6-8 claim
      that whereas Iraq was an example of power and wealth being used for
      reactionary ends, public pressure can force world leaders to act in
      the cause of progress. This is sophistry. Imperialism's plans for
      Africa are not in contradiction to its offensive in the Middle East,
      but rather part of the same geopolitical strategy.

      Blair and Bush have rightly earned the hatred of many millions for
      their warmongering in the Middle East and attacks on social and
      democratic rights at home. But Bob Geldof, U2 frontman Bono and the
      coalition of non-governmental organisations and church groups that
      comprise "Make Poverty History" now ask us to believe that they can be
      won over to the cause of the poor and oppressed.

      They are seeking to exclude any hint of genuine protest at the Live 8
      events. A manager of one of the bands performing in the concert in
      London told the Telegraph newspaper that artists were being instructed
      by Geldof not to criticise Bush. This is because the concerts have
      been organized with the express aim of winning popular support for the
      Commission for Africa proposals drawn up by Blair and Chancellor of
      the Exchequer Gordon Brown, in which Geldof participated. For the same
      reason, Brown is being given pride of place at the "Make Poverty
      History" rally in Edinburgh on July 2.

      Returning the favour, Geldof and Bono have been invited to attend the
      G8 summit. Almost every utterance made by the pair portrays Blair and
      Bush as the potential saviours of Africa, whilst keeping silent on
      their war against Iraq. Bono described Blair and Brown as "the John
      [Lennon] and Paul [McCartney] of the global development stage," and
      has said that if Bush "in his second term is as bold in his
      commitments to Africa as he was in the first term, he indeed deserves
      a place in history in turning the fate of that continent around."

      Geldof hailed the pre-summit announcement that there would be a debt
      forgiveness package for some countries in sub-Saharan Africa as a
      "victory for millions," claiming, "Tomorrow 280 million Africans will
      wake up for the first time in their lives without owing you or me a

      What nonsense! In the first instance, Africa's poor do not owe "you
      and me" anything. Their debts are to major corporations, financial
      institutions, imperialist governments and multilateral organisations
      such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. None of
      these contemplate any measures to seriously alleviate Africa's plight
      because they are intent on perpetuating the exploitation of the continent.

      The June 11 G8 agreement covers just 18 countries that have fulfilled
      the pro-market criteria set down under the Highly Indebted Poor
      Countries Initiative (HIPC), and accounts for at most $1.5 billion per
      annum in repayments, and possibly only half that amount. The move is
      largely aimed at staving off criticisms of the major nations' failure
      to honour other commitments on aid.

      Whatever is given must be offset by a corresponding cut in aid to the
      poor countries, meaning that, in reality, they will get nothing extra.
      And to qualify, they must continue to "boost private sector
      development" and eliminate all "impediments to private investment,
      both domestic and foreign."

      Compared with the announced sum of $40 billion in debt forgiveness
      over 10 years, sub-Saharan Africa alone has $230 billion in external
      debt, and the so-called "developing" countries owe a combined total of
      $2.4 trillion. For every $1 of aid officially provided to Africa, $3
      are extracted by the Western banks, institutions and governments. And
      far more is plundered by the transnational corporations who operate there.

      The political leaders in Washington, London, Berlin, Paris, Rome,
      Ottawa, Tokyo and Moscow can no more be persuaded to act
      altruistically towards Africa than they can jump out of their own
      skins. They are the representatives of financial elites whose
      interests are diametrically opposed to those of working people everywhere.

      The massive levels of debt that afflict the world's poorest countries
      have the same essential cause as their economic backwardness. The
      countries in which capitalism first emerged in Europe, America and
      Japan were able to use their economic and military might to exploit
      the markets and resources of the entire world. These imperialist
      powers still look on Africa, Asia and South America as a source of
      valuable raw materials and markets for finished products. They cannot
      tolerate the development of domestic competition in these regions, or
      any genuine expression of democracy for the oppressed masses.

      The ruling elites in the economically backward countries depend on
      their relations with the major powers and giant corporations for their
      privileged position. In return, they are charged with imposing the
      dictates of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on the
      working class and peasantry to ensure that oil, minerals, agricultural
      produce and other essential raw materials find their way to the
      advanced countries or to production facilities set up by the
      transnational corporations.

      The forms in which imperialism has exercised its dominance over the
      underdeveloped countries have undergone certain changes, but the
      fundamental economic and social relationship between oppressor and
      oppressed nations remains the same.

      In the nineteenth century, the subjugation and exploitation of Africa
      were achieved through colonialism and occupation, as the world was
      carved up between the rival imperialist states. The mass anti-colonial
      movements that developed in the aftermath of the Second World War,
      together with the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet
      Union, forced the major powers to retreat from direct colonial forms
      of rule, as the "winds of change" swept Africa.

      But the regimes established under the leadership of the national
      bourgeoisie remained subordinate to the great powers both economically
      and politically. Not only did they require access to a global market
      for their goods, rendering their nationalist policies of import
      substitution impotent, they were hostile to any development of an
      independent movement in the working class that could threaten their
      own rule.

      The collapse of the USSR has led to a resurgence of neo-colonialism.
      The Bush administration has spearheaded this turn, seeking to impose
      America's unchallenged hegemony by force--as epitomised by the bloody
      conquest of Iraq.

      What is now taking place is a renewed scramble for Africa. At stake is
      the struggle for control of vital mineral and oil reserves, as well as
      other raw materials and markets, as a component part of a global
      struggle for hegemony between the major powers. That is why all aid
      and debt relief is tied in with demands for free access to domestic
      markets by the global corporations.

      As in Iraq, access to oil is a primary concern of Bush, Blair, et al.
      Africa contains 7.2 percent of the world's proven reserves of oil,
      more than the proven reserves of North America or the former Soviet Union.

      Sub-Saharan Africa's crude oil production exceeded 4 million barrels a
      day in 2000 and accounts for 16 percent of US oil imports. The
      importance of Africa's oil in Washington's strategic planning was the
      subject of a January 2002 seminar entitled, "African Oil--A Priority
      for US National Security and African Development."

      In the Victorian era, there was no shortage of supposedly enlightened
      people who justified colonialism as taking up the "white man's burden"
      to civilise the "dark continent." Their modern-day equivalents are the
      liberals and celebrities who glorify paltry aid initiatives based on
      pro-market "conditionalities" and the demand that governments pursue
      pro-Western policies in the name of "transparency" and "democracy."

      The real allies of the workers and peasants of Africa are not to be
      found in the opulent environs of the G8 summit in Gleneagles, but
      amongst the working class in Britain, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
      Hope for the future of Africa and all the oppressed peoples of the
      world will not come through aid packages, or even forlorn appeals for
      "fair trade." It depends on the building of an anti-imperialist,
      internationalist and socialist movement, dedicated to replacing the
      profit system that is the source of class oppression and want with
      planned production to meet the needs of all. This is the alternative
      fought for by the Socialist Equality Party and the World Socialist Web

      See Also:
      G8 agrees to paltry debt forgiveness package
      15 June 2005



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