SACCAWU Statement on GAZA, GOMA & GREECE
At the last CEC meeting of SACCAWU held in November the SACCAWU delegates expressed our Solidarity with the struggles in Palestine and Europe and expressed concerns about the flaring-up of violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The meeting declared that:
GAZA – Palestine
We cannot allow the world to be held hostage while Israel with support from the US, UK and other European governments continue their brutal, occupation and killing of Palestinians. SACCAWU joins the Palestinian people’s and the rest of the progressive world in celebrating the victory of Palestinian recognition at the United Nations. We re-affirm our solidarity with the people of Palestine and their just demand for total emancipation. We call for an end of Israeli attacks on Palestine. We call for the removal of all settlements in Palestinian territories. We call for the demolition of the apartheid wall. We demand the end of the illegal occupation by Israel of Palestine!
We note that since the overwhelming vote in support of the recognition of Palestine there has been further expansion and developments illegal settlements by Israel in Palestine territories, this we condemn. We endorse the call by COSATU that the South African government should withdraw its Ambassador to Israel.
SACCAWU fully supports call by COSATU to all working people of the world to stand up and be counted to support amongst others:
- The intensification of the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by refusing all and any association with the garrison state of Israel and its agents of whatever form
- Intensified global marches against the representatives of the apartheid state of Israel all over the world and their US allies to demand withdrawal of all embassies from Israel and ending of all diplomatic and political relations with the apartheid state, as was done in support of our own cause
- Sit-ins in all Israeli embassies and night vigils in all Foreign Affairs and International relations offices
- Marches to UN and ICC offices to demand action against war crimes committed by Israel
- While we welcome the ANC International Solidarity Conference support for the BDS, we still expect more action from our allies, which is a legitimate expectation from the people of the world who did not just sit by and watch apartheid ravage our own country, but stood up and took action, including sanctions, which heralded the new era in our country.
- We support the Night vigil to be held at DIRCO and pledge our fullest support to all activities aimed at practically demonstrating our unwavering solidarity with the people of Palestine for their right to freedom and end to occupation.
We call on all our members and the public in general to support and actively participate in campaigns in support of the total liberation of Palestine.
GOMA – Democratic Republic of Congo
SACCAWU once again witness with concern a human tragedy unfolding in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Millions of Congolese has been killed and still more have been displaced as a result of the conflict. According to some Aid agencies more than five (5) million people have died since the beginning. Most recently rebels overran the eastern town of Goma, where despite the presence of UN peace-keepers the town was taken over. According to reports many of the local police and government armed forces joined-up and were integrated into the rebel forces. So war weary, so battered by war are the population of this region that in the latest conflict civilians were grateful that they did not kill lots of civilians!
We believe that underlying this conflict the exploitation of the natural resources this region has abundance of. This is ‘Africa’s First World War’, driven by exploitation of diamonds, cobalt, coltan, gold and copper resources required by ‘first world’ military industries. And according to some reports Israeli nationals are disproportionately involved in this conflict.
The brutality visited upon the people of the Congo is not new, it did not start with the Kabila’s, or the dictator Mobutu, or even the brutal assassination of that great young African leader Patrice Lumumba. No, it should be traced much further back much further, to the late 1800s and early 1900s when Congo was the private property of Leopeold, king of Congo when he amassed enormous personal wealth through ivory and rubber, committing atrocities that pale in comparison with today. He was responsible for the death of up to 10 million Congolese according to some sources. Too often do we forget the that long before these recent conflicts the most brutal and barbaric violence was visited upon the Congolese. This brutality and violence have a long history and was always tied to European capitalist interests. Under Leopold, limbs were severed, children were forcibly taken from the parents, parents summarily executed, women were kidnapped kept as hostages to compel men to to work, wives of men who refused to work were killed, women were raped and many other crimes were committed against the local population. This violence has been perpetuated throughout the history of Congo, under Leopold, emulated by Mobutu and is still prevalent today in these conflict ravaged region today.
SACCAWU believe we need more than UN Peace keepers in the DRC. We need to look at the interests and roles of particular global mining corporations and military industrial interests and we believe this is an important source underpinning the looting of natural resources that fuel the violence. We also express our solidarity with the civilians caught in the crossfire and often pay with limb and life.
Since the financial meltdown and the economic crisis governments in US and throughout Europe bailed out the bankers and big business while at the same time embarking on a systematic attack on the working classes of the US and Europe. Since then we have witnessed numerous general strikes across Europe as the working class fight back against the attacks by governments, big business, the European Bank, IMF and others. And at the forefront is Greece and Spain where millions across the country turned out to oppose the proposed measures by governments to cut government spending, especially social spending.
SACCAWU CEC considered these developments and expressed solidarity with our sister Unions across Europe and the fighting workers.