May Day 2022: Liberation statement

In this period of heightened tension and conflict there can be no doubt that May Day 2022 is a time to reassert our key values of peace, democracy, and internationalism.  As the world struggles to free itself of the coronavirus, and conflict in Ukraine polarises international opinion, May Day reminds us that it is only solidarity between the peoples of all countries which will overcome conflict. 

The interests of the working people in all parts of the globe remain fundamentally the same; peace, health, homes, and jobs.  Without these basic securities, many are condemned to lives of uncertainty, poverty, and oppression.

Vaccine apartheid – which sees the rich nations of the world stockpile COVID-19 vaccinations and treatments while poorer countries struggle to inoculate their population to an even basic level or primary dose – continues to cause significant pressure and countless unnecessary deaths.  The mantra that ‘no-one is safe until we are all safe’ should be at the heart of the international vaccine roll out programme, yet the rich nations of the Global North continue with the delusion that vaccinating their own populations will be sufficient protection whatever the situation across vast swathes of the rest of the world.

For the most part, this strategy is linked to rich nations keeping out anyone from elsewhere, through more stringent policies towards asylum seekers as well as the off-shoring of the refugee ‘problem’ to developing countries.  The recent proposals of the UK government, to forcibly send asylum seekers to Rwanda, an impoverished country with more than its fair share of problems as well as a poor human rights record (to state the least), stands as a classic example of this approach.

The racist nature of the UK asylum seeker proposals is underlined by the difference in approach to those fleeing the war in Ukraine, who are in effect given special treatment and a fast track into jobs and benefits denied to those fleeing conflicts more catastrophic in dimension and scale – and in which the British government’s foreign policy and malign interference bare at least some complicity – such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya.  These are some of the realities of the so-called “Global Britain” approach.

The United States is equally, if not even more vigilant, in this respect, with troops stationed at border points in the south of Mexico, and further south in Honduras, in an attempt to deter and prevent refugees fleeing conflict and horrendous violence in Central America from reaching its own borders.

The European Union has attempted to reduce migrants and refugees crossing from North Africa by paying millions of Euros to a range of dubious warlords and militias in a badly fractured Libya, contracted to make sure that potential migrants are kept confined to the southern shores of the Mediterranean and unable to proceed any further north.

This is also a clear differential in the relative status given to conflicts by Western politicians and in the Western media.  The seven-year-long conflict in Yemen, in which the United Nations estimates that over 377,000 lives had been lost by the end of 2021 – with 70% of those being children under the age of five – has received scant media attention compared to the conflict in Ukraine.

In both cases the objective should be to find peaceful solutions which are in the interests of the people of those nations, with diplomacy being prioritised over weapons sales.  However, the opposite is in fact the reality.  And, in both conflicts it is the working people who suffer as a result.

Campaigns worldwide for peace, democracy, and human rights are central to the struggle for equality and against injustice.  

Wars of intervention continue to rage; to the detriment of the peoples of so many countries in the world…  Self-determination remains an issue in the struggle for justice for the Palestinian people.  Their land continues to be occupied by Israeli forces, in flagrant violation of United Nations resolutions.  Daily life continues to be uncertain due to the Israeli land, air, and sea blockade imposed upon beleaguered Gaza, which restricts access to basic goods and health care provision.

The reality of poverty, injustice, and uncertainty in the daily lives of working people across the world is exacerbated by war, occupation, and the ensuing migrant crises.  It is made worse still by the climate crisis and increasing environmental degradation.  And, for countless many, it continues to be exacerbated by the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic. 

In relation to all of these crises, the nations of the Global North must be held to account and accept their undeniable responsibility for the impoverishment of many of the nations of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. 

On the occasion of May Day 2022, Liberation reaffirms its determination to back the call for a new international economic order; supports the cancellation of the debt burden imposed upon already impoverished nations; seeks the re-establishment of a movement towards non-alignment; and calls for the settlement of international disputes in line with UN resolutions.

These demands should be central to a progressive foreign policy for the UK, one based upon the principles of peace and co-operation, not weapons sales and wars of foreign intervention.

Peace, democracy, and social justice are core to the ethos of May Day and central to the campaigning priorities of Liberation.  These goals will only be achieved through solidarity action and unity amongst the workers of all nations.  Neo-colonialism and imperialism have shown that they do not have the answers to the problems faced by the majority of the world’s citizens. 

It is time to make way for a truly new world order based upon the needs of the people, not just the desire for profit for the few.

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