Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking in Clark Park on October 12, 2007 at a rally in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement in the United States. (Photo: Alan Pollock), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
BRICS Summit Opposes Military Intervention in Syria & Iran
Conference of emerging economies seeks greater cooperation outside the West
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
New Delhi, India was the venue for the fourth BRICS Summit which convened on March 29. BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia Federation, India, China and South Africa, states which are playing a greater role within the world economic system that is still dominated by the capitalist mode of production and social relations.
The organization incorporated the Republic of South Africa in 2010, the only African state among the group. Brazil is the only country from Latin America.
In New Delhi the gathering was held under the theme of “BRICS Partnership for Global Stability, Security and Prosperity.” The member countries of this body represent 43% of the world’s population.
Russia, which is in its post-socialist phase of development, has sought greater linkages with developing regions of the world and often blocs with post-colonial nations on foreign policy issues related to the affairs of Africa, Asia and Latin America.
One of the key points of departure for the BRICS Summit was its disagreement with the United States and the NATO over the resolution of the current situation in Syria. The New Delhi gathering categorically opposed western military intervention in Syria and also made statements related to the ongoing threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The New Delhi Declaration read by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that “We express our deep concern at the current situation in Syria and call for an immediate end to all violence and violation of human rights in that country. Global interests would best be served by dealing with the crisis through peaceful means that encourage broad national dialogues that reflect the legitimate aspirations of all sections of Syrian society and respect Syrian independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty.” (Delhi Declaration, March 29)
In further discussion on Syria, the statement indicated that “Our objective is to facilitate a Syrian-led inclusive political process, and we welcome the joint efforts of the United Nations and the Arab League to this end. We encourage the Syrian government and all sections of Syrian society to demonstrate the political will to initiate such a process, which alone can create a new environment for peace.”
In section twenty-two of the Delhi Declaration the BRICS Summit took up the current threats being made by the U.S. and other western states toward Iran. In relationship to Iran it states that “The situation concerning Iran cannot be allowed to escalate into conflict, the disastrous consequences of which will be in no one’s interest. Iran has a crucial role to play for the peaceful development and prosperity of a region of high political and economic relevance, and we look to it to play its part as a responsible member of the global community.”
BRICS further stresses that “We are concerned about the situation that is emerging around Iran’s nuclear issue. We recognize Iran’s right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy consistent with its international obligations, and support resolution of the issues involved through political and diplomatic means and dialogue between the parties concerned, including between the IAEA and Iran and in accordance with the provisions of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.”
This Declaration contrasts with the proceedings of the so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting in Istanbul on March 31-April 1, when the U.S. and other imperialist countries escalated their threats against Syria. At this meeting, the U.S. and other imperialist states along with their allies openly admitted that they would supply military assistance to Syrian opposition groups that are fighting the government in Damascus.
Character of the BRICS States
These states that comprise BRICS are playing a greater role in the areas of manufacturing and world trade. All of the states, with the exception of the People’s Republic of China, are capitalist in their economic orientation.
Brazil, the only country represented from Latin America, is ruled by the Worker’s Party, but its economy is mixed and heavily dominated by private industry and investments. India, which has made tremendous strides in industrial and technological development over the last three decades, is still a class dominated society.
South Africa, which made a historical contribution to the global struggle against racism, when the masses overthrew the apartheid system in 1994, has remained integrated into the world capitalist system. Nonetheless, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) maintains strong links with the masses organized within the trade union movement and strong civil society and youth organizations.
Although capitalism has been restored in Russia there remain serious contradictions between Moscow and the United States as well as other imperialist states in Europe. Russia opposed the U.S.-NATO war against Libya which began in March of 2011 and has vetoed similar efforts to provide a pseudo-legal rationale for war against Syria and Iran.
Economic Agreements of BRICS Summit
The BRICS states have laid out ambitious plans to coordinate economic development strategies that are designed to lessen dependence upon the imperialist states. There are efforts underway to facilitate trade outside the dollar and euro zones.
Section five of the New Delhi Declaration points out that “While the BRICS recovered relatively quickly from the global crisis, the growth prospects worldwide have again got dampened by market instability, especially in the euro zone. The build-up of sovereign debt and concerns over medium to long-term fiscal adjustment in advanced are creating an uncertain environment for global growth.”
Although the notion of recovery within the BRICS states is of a relative nature considering the large-scale unemployment rates in South Africa and the prevalence of poverty in Brazil, India and Russia in addition to the recent problems of a slowdown in the manufacturing sector in China, the Summit placed the blame for the ongoing economic crisis on the western industrialized states. It was within the U.S., the UK and the Eurozone that the economic crisis had its origins during 2007-08 where problems of high unemployment, increasing poverty and austerity continue to plague the workers and oppressed of these regions.
Section six of the New Delhi Declaration points out that “We believe that it is critical for advanced economies to adopt responsible macroeconomic and financial policies, avoid creating excessive global liquidity and undertake structural reforms to lift growth that create jobs… We call for further international financial regulatory oversight and reform, strengthening policy coordination and financial regulation and supervision cooperation, and promoting the sound development of global financial markets and banking systems.”
Also the BRICS Summit will examine the feasibility of establishing a “New Development Bank” in order to mobilize resources and facilitate development programs within the emerging states. A joint working group will be established to initiate this process and further discussion will be held at the next annual summit in South Africa during 2013.
BRICS and the Imperialist Crisis
As the crises in the capitalist states heighten, there will be increasing efforts among the developing countries and Russia to distance themselves from the disastrous policies of imperialism.
Despite the numerous bailouts of financial institutions and the imposition of cuts in social benefits and wages within the U.S., UK and the EU, the problems of austerity and escalating class struggle will intensify.
Within the capitalist states themselves, the workers and youth are becoming more class conscious and active. The general strikes in Greece, Portugal and Spain, along with mass demonstrations and rebellions in Britain and France, illustrate that the crisis is not subsiding.
Inside the U.S., the Occupy Wall Street movement and struggles against cutbacks in the public sector will strengthen the working class and the oppressed for the looming battles to come. The only solution for the ruling class is further imperialist war which will only rob the workers of their jobs, social benefits, and the right to housing, healthcare, education and pensions.