Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In the Spirit of Bandung -- by Faiza Rady -- from Al-Ahram Weekly - online

In the Spirit of Bandung -- by Faiza Rady -- from Al-Ahram Weekly - online

[Here’s an article from Al-Arham that was sent to us, like so many others on this blog, by our strong North American comrade, Le Requin canadien. He notes that of the few weaknesses the article has, perhaps the most obvious is its positing of a bipolar Super Power world that brought forth the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). From where I’m posting this, in Poland, it is blindingly clear that the US Empire and the Empire of the USSR were as empirically different as two ‘empires’ can get. The reality of Western Imperialism was—and still is—about converting the natural riches and resources of the world into weapons (incl financial instruments) by which to destroy its enemies—first among whom are the former possessors of these same riches and resources; the reality of the USSR was about using its own vast natural, and especially human, resources to free the world from the curse of Capitalist and Imperialist destruction. The West ripped off resources and destroyed their origins; the Communists developed resources to rationalize, liberate and sustain the peoples who lived with them. That the East’s means of production were trumped by the West’s means of destruction—that militarism continues to waste the world—is just another bitter axiom in the modern geopolitics of grotesque immiseration.

If you look at the list of members of the NAM below, you will recognize many of the countries recently targeted by the West for destruction: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Palestine, Lebanon, North Korea, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Zimbabwe. All these nations have had some form of favored trade relations, especially in the energy fields, with the USSR then and with Russia now. But I’ve been here in Poland for some time now (more’n a month) and perhaps my notion weakens or my discernings are lethargied, but things just don’t seem to be getting any brighter in the world.

CM/P (in its current, or re-current, Polish manifestation, the P is for 'PollyLodz' {pron: Polly-Woodge} this time out) continues to flounder, flat-fish-like, in the fetid, brackish backwaters of Poland's historico-political wishbone culture—still pulled between the covert and convenient seemings of Western Consumer Catholicism (read: Waste Capitalism) and those friendly folks at the Russian Gas and Electric Company (read: once and future Communists). Yet Poland never sought to ‘non-align’ itself from the bipolar world of the two-headed hyper-hydra that once haunted the febrile imaginings of Christian anti-Communist Crusader Rabbits, and which the article we’re posting gives some undue significance.

In case you haven't heard—which is very, very fucking likely—or couldn't guess from the demented drivel above, we're in Lodz, the second city of Poland after Warsaw, doing a bilingual version of one of Shakespeare's fattest (second in girth only to Hamlet) and bleakest tragedies, King Lear. We're playing the King (i.e., me, I’m playing Lear) in the original Shakespearean English (which bears almost no resemblance to any English anyone, anywhere has spoken in the last, say, 350 years—though I've always wanted a good excuse to use this royal 'we'—makes it seem like there're more of me than there actually are—it's less lonely that way, too), while the Polophones will be treated to the King's Polish by one of their legendary actors, Marian Opania.

Oh, yeah, and lest that be not weird and incomprehensible enough for your dazed and dangling conceits, the actresses playing Lear’s daughters, Goneril (from whom the venereal disease takes its name) and Regan (who served as the role model for the US President known as The Great Somnambulant Drooler) are delightful Norwegian kids and have been directed to do their roles in their native tongue-tying tongue. So, what will be on display next weekend in Lodz, at the National Film School’s Student Theatre for FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY (Thur-Sun, 28 Sept-1 Oct), is something like two Lears, in three languages, through uncountable and intricately treacherous translations. But NO BUDGET. And since philological theatre has seldom attracted philanthropy, subversion hardly ever brings subvention, I think we can expect some manner of catastrophic feduciary fall-out from this production, too. Too, because last year's Warsaw Rebuilds!, done in Krakow in October/November with several of the principals involved here and subject of some critical reportage elsewhere on this blog, led to myriad drastic, even calamitous fiscal and domestic recontortions.

Damn, this Shakespeare can really work your nerves! More bitching and carping anon. For now let the following piece from Al-Ahram Weekly, which springs from an instance of world class emoting on the part of Venezuela’s president before the UN,—let it serve as a slim crack in dread's lead-lined door through which a few faint and fluttering rays of hope might pierce the gloom of our Autumn's despair.

Can Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro, wielding their superior intellects and unimpeachable decency (not to mention Venezuela's oil reserves and Cuba’s doctors), put the fear of scientific socialism's god into the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Pelosi, Wrangle, Clinton, Biden, . . . phew! feck!—actually, the entire US government organ-grinder with all its busy bourgeois media monkeys? Those vile knaves, those craven fools, those scabrous side-show freaks, those Nightmare Alley geeks, who huddle in their plush but lushed-out destitution atop the great and growing heap of carrion they've made of our tiny planet; with their brazen criminality unwhipped of justice, their perjured and dissimulating righteousness torturing false confessions from their already crippled and wasted victims; while their bloody hands wring what pathetic little sustenance remains in the shriveled entrails of our dying earth: can Hugo and Fidel revive the NAM enough to create a counterforce to the material and spiritual rapists fronting late stage waste capitalism? Or will they, too, like Lear’s poor fool, be hanged? –Hanged as trophies in the Bush family’s rumpus room, to serve as sound-proofing against the shrieks and howls of a world being murdered in misery. –mc]

{{PS: I see in Oulala where Mike Ruppert has 'fled' the US for Venezuela. Peak Oil Mike a Hugotista? Yeah, maybe. But can these apostate secret agents be trusted? It seems that no sooner had he fled the fatherland than the Agency, or some strain or other of his old spook colleagues, using their usual enticement, another Mata Hari, got Mike to let down his guard—and his pitcher of beer—just long enough to beat him for his laptop. Mike’s no dummy, he saw through Ms Hari’s mariachi disguise straight away and made her as an agent from the FBI badge she had stuffed cozily between her bounteous tits. Mike the ladys man a Hugotista? Uh, sure. When he realized, instantaneously, of course, because of his years in the field as an agent of imperialist death and destruction, that Mata and the Gypsy Kings had made off with his computer, he did what all half-in-the-bag geezers would do: he gave chase. I don’t know, but he might have gotten as far as the door of the cantina before he had another geezer flash: a pitcher in the hand is better’n hooking it up on foot after a bunch of Bush flunkies. But, wow, when he got back to his beer, there was his computer on the table. The Agency kids had managed to download his whole HD in less time that it took to tell this bullshit fable. What’s Mike’s message? The FBI used the data they stole to open his FTW website so anyone can get into it for free—therefore he needs money, donations, to keep the info—and Venezuelan beer—flowing.

Now, dispite the fact I don’t trust guy’s like Mike, Philip Agee and even Stan Goff—guy’s who spend their early adulthood in the well-paid service of the forces of darkness, only to retire to a cozy leftish byline, with plenty of book deals and speaking gigs. None of this seems like sufficient penance for taking active and willful part in the genocides in SE Asia, Africa, and the ME. But everybody’s got a right to his fiddle, I guess. And quick-style repentance and overnight redemption have always been big public favorites.

Now, we here at CM/P have our own financial woes—as always. But, sad to say, they don’t involve beer and big-titted mariachis. We’re stuck off here in Lodz, a dry town (in the sense of a waterless, where all the commie-era industries sucked up all the ground water) whose symbol is a boat. We’re doing a piece of Shakespeare in three languages—none of which is really understood by any of us. And the only hope for funding, some Polish cement baron who’s now deeply into supporting the arts, turns out be on the same kind of weird moral wavelength as Peak Oil Mike: His latest gallery installation is an all-white room with empty frames on the wall—actually the frames contain the photos of the AIR above various concentration camp sites—and an all-black room into which is piped a sort of non-descript ambient sound—tape recordings of the AIR around various concentration camp sites. Consequently, no funding, no photos, no poster, and, vilest of all, NO PER DIEM! It's the old triple play: Absurd to ridiculous to grotesque--to destitute.

So, anything you can do, any sum you can spare (PayPal to or other financial instruments to Mick Collins at 66, rue Marcelle, 93500, Pantin, France) would keep this theatre of Babel from turning into the real Biblical punishment it was probably always intended to be. –mc}}


Al-Ahram Weekly -- online
21 - 27 September 2006 - Issue No. 813

In the spirit of Bandung

Southern leaders in Havana pledge to get their act together and fight for justice against hegemony, writes Faiza Rady

The 14th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), convening from 11-16 September in the Cuban capital Havana revived the spirit of southern defiance, long lost since the early days of national liberation struggles.

The Havana s ummit was opened by outgoing NAM leader Malaysian Prime Minister Ahmed Badawi, who nominated Cuban President Fidel Castro as the new head. Attending delegates approved Badawi's move with a standing ovation of thunderous applause.

This is the second time that Castro has been elected to lead NAM. Cuba chaired the movement from 1979-1983. "We are confident in Cuba's leadership of the movement. Its history tells us NAM is in good hands and will reach new heights," said Badawi.

Still convalescing from surgery, President Castro didn't attend the summit that was led by his younger brother and acting Cuban president, Raul Castro. Still, Fidel met privately with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, among other heads of state.

"Fidel is walking, singing. I saw him well enough to play baseball again, almost," a smiling Chavez told reporters after meeting with Castro.

Present at the summit were several leaders who embody a spirit of defiance to "worldwide dictatorship by the United States", to use the words of Cuban Vice President Carlos Lage. "The ideas of limited sovereignty, humanitarian intervention, preventive war and regime change are fascist; they are not modern theories to defend freedoms and fight terrorism," said Lage.

"US dictatorship", Lage explained, has turned back the clock to an earlier period of imperialism and foreign domination, with Britain, the world's former colonial master, in tow behind the world's lone superpower. Thus there is an urgent need to return to the Bandung principles of national independence and self-determination, Lage added.

At the Afro-Asian Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, nationalist liberation leaders of the stature of Gamal Abdel-Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Ahmed Sukarno of Indonesia and Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia declared their neutrality and independence from the camp of the two superpowers. Included in the 10- point Bandung proclamation was a commitment to national sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-adherence to multilateral military pacts, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, struggle against imperialism and foreign occupation, and the rejection of the use of force in international relations.

"The current international situation, characterised by the one superpower's attempts to control the world, shows that we need to unite in defence of the principles upon which the Non-Aligned Movement was established," said Raul Castro, blasting the Bush administration as a threat to global peace and security, in his opening address to leaders and delegates from 118 nations representing two-thirds of the world's countries.

Many southern leaders agreed, citing US wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq waged under the cover of "democracy" and "freedom". US complicity with and support of Israel's war against Lebanon, and US blessings for Israel's continued occupation of Palestine also featured prominently on the summit's agenda. "We denounce the aggression against Lebanon, to whose people and government we offer our full support," said Raul, "and we must repeat our condemnation of the intensified aggression against the Palestinian people."

Victims of the Bush administration's penchant for intervention in sovereign internal affairs voiced their defiance at the summit: Ahmadinejad is currently facing a threat of sanctions following his refusal to suspend Iran's uranium enrichment programme for energy production; Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was slapped with severe sanctions because of his land redistribution programme to the poor; and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus is threatened with "regime change" for the crime of being a socialist, an ideology the Bush administration considers hard-line and passé.

But it is the "new socialists of the 21st century" -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales -- who, perhaps, best represent the new spirit of defiance to US hegemony. True to form, Chavez pledged he would defend Iran, a country that is widely slated to be next on Washington's list for a US-led invasion. "We are with you," Chavez told Ahmadinejad, "like we are with Cuba. And if the US invades Cuba, blood will flow."

As usual, Chavez made good on his promise. After the summit, Chavez clinched a $3 billion trade deal with Iran and vowed to further strengthen economic and political ties with the Islamic Republic -- one among the many "rogue" states blacklisted by the US.

As for Cuba, it has been on the US hit list for the past 45 years. Short of invading the island, the Bush administration assiduously plods on to effect "regime change" in the "post- Castro" era. To that effect, the administration's self-styled Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba launched a 95-page report outlining its "transition to democracy" strategy under the auspices of transition coordinator, Caleb McCarry on 10 July. In addition to listing a host of destabilising mechanisms, the report includes a "secret annex", ostensibly outlining an invasion package.

The latest US scheme against Cuba includes the creation of five new interagency working groups, reported The Miami Herald. A highly secretive operation, it was set up shortly after 31 July, following news of Fidel's surgery. According to the Herald, three of the working groups are directed by the US State Department and sponsor orchestrated diplomatic action against the island in addition to broadcasting inflammatory anti-Cuban propaganda. The idea is to expand and improve current radio and TV broadcasts, which suffer from low viewer ratings as a result of mediocre programming and a crude capitalist sales pitch.

Another group championing "humanitarian aid" is operating under the umbrella of the US Commerce Department, while a fifth group deals with immigration issues under the Department of Homeland Security. The idea is to restrict immigration out of the island in order to create an explosive internal situation that will facilitate civil strife.

Notwithstanding destabilisation schemes, old or new, the Cubans remain defiant. They have been at the receiving end of US aggression for more than half a century. Notwithstanding the US onslaught against countries of the global south, what is important is to turn things around and revamp NAM in the spirit of Bandung, says Raul.

"Non-Alignment nowadays", said Raul, "means supporting the right of the countries of the south to take the measures needed to ensure that they have control over their natural resources for the benefit of their peoples." As representatives of two-thirds of the world's people, the Havana NAM summit therefore agreed to struggle for the right to national sovereignty, including the right to development, in the face of neo-liberal economic hegemony.

Member Nations of the Non-Aligned Movement

Antigua and Barbuda
Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Côte d'Ivoire
Democratic Republic of Congo
Dominican Republic
Equatorial Guinea
North Korea
Papua New Guinea
Saint Lucia
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
São Tomé and Príncipe
Saudi Arabia
Sierra Leone
South Africa
Sri Lanka
Timor Leste
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates


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