Why we say NO to Obama! - NUMSA and CO.
23 June 2013
Campaign to Protest USA Foreign Policy during the State Visit of President Barack Obama
We as South Africans in the form of the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Young Communist League of South Africa (YCL), the South African Students Congress (SASCO), the Muslim Students Association(MSA), the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union(NEHAWU), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), Friend of Cuba Society (FOCUS), Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel in South Africa (BDS South African), and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), declare our utmost rejection of visit of the United States of America President, Barack Obama to our country.
Our rejection is based the USA's arrogant, selfish and oppressive foreign policies, treatment of workers and international trade relations that are rooted in war mongering, neo-liberal super-exploitation, colonial racism and the disregard and destruction of the environment, thus making the realisation of a just and peaceful world impossible.
The coming of President Barak Obama to South Africa is the first ever since he was elected head of state. The USA under his leadership has escalated its assault on human rights, militarisation of international relations and continuing galloping of world resources at the absolute expense of the environment and oppressed peoples of the world.
The USA is deeply implicated in the oppression of the people of Western Sahara, the only remaining colonised country on the African continent, colonised by Morocco. And to this day, the release of the Cuban Five and a continuing baseless embargo against the country and peoples of Cuba still seems unmovable issues of commitment for the USA.
The call for the release of the Cuban Five has been an important international campaign supported even by Nobel Prize winners who released a document calling on their freedom; Zhores Alferov (Nobel Prize for Physics, 2000), Desmond Tutu (Nobel Peace Prize, 1984), Nadine Gordimer (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1991), Rigoberta Menchú (Nobel Peace Prize, 1992), Adolfo Pérez Esquivel (Nobel Peace Prize, 1980), Wole Soyinka (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1986), José Saramago (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1996), Günter Grass (Nobel Prize in Literature, 1999).
The criminal occupation of Palestine by the Apartheid State of Israel, as a well-known fact in our country, has only been made possible by the USA's financial and political support for the Racist Israeli regime. This is expressed in the main, through both its open support and military donations that come to billions of dollars every year - with USA aid to Israel being more than that of Africa, Latin America and Asia combined.
In addition, the USA has for years been single-handedly blocking any progress and is totally divorced and isolated from the consensus of the international community. In fact, the USA is the most frequent user of the UN veto: it has used its veto power over 40 times to defend Apartheid Israel. As South Africans, we painfully recall how the US used its veto power to defend Apartheid South Africa, particularly from UN resolutions imposing economic and military sanctions. The USA, under Regan and others, supported Apartheid South Africa and was on the wrong side of history. Why does the USA not learn from its history, and be on the right side of history this time?
Finally, the United States' policies on the environment, specifically the fact that it is one of the largest contributors to global warming, yet to this day continues to refuse the observing and singing of the Kyoto protocol, is simply unacceptable.
Progressive forces in South Africa have consistently been raising these issues and many others regarding the role of the USA in the global community. We categorically make it known, that the visit of the USA President to South Africa is an unwelcome visit that will be protested, picketed and resisted by all justice and peace-loving peoples of this country. Friendship with South Africa must be based on values of justice, freedom and equality and these the USA has offended, undermined and ridiculed through its actions in the global front.
The following issues will be highlighted in upcoming protests of President Barack Obama:
1. The championing and maintenance, by the USA, in the militarisation of international relations and co-operation. It is a well-known fact that the USA approaches conflicts in the world through inciting, encouraging as well and championing war, primarily driven by its business interests often masqueraded in the language of defence of human rights. The militarisation of international relations is in the main exemplified by institutions like Africom, NATO, and the continuing double standards around nuclear disarmament that the USA preaches when it comes to countries in the South, whilst continuing to collaborate with on nuclear weapons with Israel.
2. The continued greed in the guzzling of world resources by the USA epitomised by its encouragement and support of its multinational companies that have no regard for the environment, human rights, progressive labour laws etc.
3. The USA's active support and defence of colonial and oppressive regimes. This is the one aspect of USA foreign policy that most exposes its hypocritical character where regimes that support its interest are never opposed; instead they are not only supported but maintained through amongst other things, the USA war machinery.
Chief amongst these is Israel, which continues to serve as the USA's frontline state in the Middle-East whilst suppressing and maintaining its racist apartheid policies on Palestinian people. Another example is the USA's support to Morocco, that is oppressing and colonially occupying Western Sahara, and increasingly the support of oppressive regimes like the one in Colombia.
4. The USA's role maintaining the underdevelopment of the African continent and its imperialistic trade relations with African countries.
5. The unjustifiable blockade on Cuba, and the unfair imprisonment of the Cuban 5.
6. The United States of America is the single largest contributor to global warming which is condemning the world into catastrophic environmental disasters.
Members of the public are invited to participate in a National Day of Action on the 28th of June, with a primary event taking place in the form of a protest march from Union Building to the United States of America Embassy in Pretoria:
Date: 28 June, 2013, Friday - 10h00
A demonstration against the decision of the University of Johannesburg to award President Barack Obama an honorary doctorate:
Date: 22 June, 2013, Saturday - 11am; UJAPK, Kingsway road
Issued by NUMSA, June 23 2013