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Forget the G8, says our Irish columnist Gearóid Ó Colmáin - a far more important meeting of world leaders has just occured in Cuba...

Last update - Thursday, July 16, 2009, 17:56 By Gearóid Ó Colmáin

As usual the eyes of the world were fixed on the fat cats meeting in Italy last week for the G8 summit. Meanwhile, you will likely have read nothing about another meeting of far more importance for our future, a meeting that represents the aspirations of over half the globe’s population and over two-thirds of the world’s nations. I’m talking about the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which met last week in Havana, Cuba.

It was in the Cuban capital that the group made the widely unreported Havana Declaration in 1979 – the year Thatcher came to power in Britain, declaring war on the working class and the peasants of the developing world with her draconian ‘Third World’ debt collection policies. The Havana Declaration advocates the “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics.”
The foundation for the movement was laid at the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955 to oppose the neo-colonialism of the United States and the grouping of countries into blocs represented by the USA and the USSR. The founding fathers of the movement were Nehru of India, Sukarno of Indonesia, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. Only three of these five progressive leaders would survive, however – Nkrumah, one of Africa’s most popular leaders, and the left-leaning President Sukarno were ousted in CIA-sponsored military coups. There greatest crimes were that they favoured the interests of their own impoverished people over those of the US plutocracy.
The NAM is deeply critical of US global hegemony, Zionism and unfair trade practices, as well as the tyrannical donor conditions of the IMF and the dictatorial decision-making procedures of the UN Security Council. In short, the movement is calling for an end to neo-imperialism.
In 1976 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the leaders of 85 non-aligned states met to discuss proposals for solving the economic crisis in developing countries caused by the 1973 oil-price shock – the result of the Yom Kippur war between Israel, Egypt and Syria. Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State at the time, was largely responsible for the escalation of events which led to this war, carefully manipulating both sides.
A radical hike in the price of oil had reportedly been agreed upon at the Bilderberg Conference of 1973 in Sweden in order to increase demand for US dollars and boost returns from Anglo-American North Sea oil investments. War in the Middle East was the result, and OPEC imposed an oil embargo in protest at Israeli aggression just as the Anglo-American establishment had hoped. In the end, OPEC conveniently received the blame while developing world economies had to double their borrowing from western banks to pay for their oil imports.
The Colombo meeting of the NAM attempted to deal with the devastating consequences of the developing world’s indebtedness to the west by forming closer ties with OPEC. But Kissinger was having none of it. Within months of the Colombo initiative the principal leaders involved – Indira Gandhi of India and Siramavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka (the world’s first female prime minister) were ousted, while Guyana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Frederick Wills was forced to resign.
Foreign interference was largely responsible for the toppling of the Colombo initiative, and by the 1980s children were being recruited into sweat shops run by multinationals to pay for the mammoth debt imposed on the developing world by the countries of today’s G8.
This barbarous chicanery is called neo-liberalism, and it is the real agenda of the G8 members. /

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