No. 76December 10, 2021
Affirming human rights is the most important question of our time. It arises out of the objective developments, that is, the colossal advance of the productive forces. It is a question that is calling for the entire restructuring of society, the theory and philosophy guiding it, as well as the economic, political and other theories that shape modern life.
The modern definition of human rights can be summed up in one sentence: People have rights by virtue of being human. This is the cornerstone around which the entire base and the superstructure of the society have to be built. All people have rights in the objective sense, that is, by virtue of being human. These rights can neither be given nor taken away. This is to say that anyone who tries to take away these rights will face the people’s opposition. At the same time, the people have to provide these rights with a constitutional guarantee that they can protect. Society has to be organized to provide these rights as a matter of principle, without exception.
A society that has as its foundation the guarantee of human rights according to the modern definition will provide great inspiration for other people in the world to follow suit. As people engage in building new societies in their own countries it is normal to sympathize with and support others who are striving for the same.
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, Renewal Update salutes the peoples of the world who are waging a life and death struggle to provide human rights with a guarantee. The fight for human rights is testimony to the fact that societies are advanced enough to express these rights and human beings are determined to overcome their absence.
Rights are not expressed by the fact that they are given by this or that economic or political power, this or that social or cultural institution. It is necessary to evaluate these rights as they exist within a particular society or internationally so that the extent to which the society has to advance can be ascertained and the tasks to affirm them can be brought forth.
Of course, this is what the old forces who usurp power through force and fraud do not want the working class and people to do. Their aim is to get the working class and peoples of the world to submit to their demands. To achieve this, they do everything possible to promote the present arrangements as credible, even as they restructure everything to eliminate even the notion that modern society is responsible for the claims of its members upon it. They go so far as to rule out even the very mention that society is advancing from one stage to the next by claiming that the defunct liberal democratic institutions are the highest possible development of democracy, despite all evidence to the contrary. This is done to block the striving of human beings to change the conditions which are blocking society’s path to progress.
Renewal Update calls on its readers to review the history of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by paying utmost attention to the striving of the people to establish a new coherence in order to renew society so that the human rights of all are provided with a guarantee.
Canada is attending the “Democracy Summit” convoked by U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington this week. The Summit started on December 8 and finishes on December 10. The Summit, being held virtually, has neither credibility nor legitimacy and Canada’s participation brings this country no honour or prestige whatsoever. On the contrary, to be convoked by the U.S. government to a summit on democracy is such a farce, its only significance lies in analyzing what the U.S. is up to next.
The U.S. has invited government leaders and non-governmental organizations, now called Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from 111 countries, deliberately excluding all those it says do not merit democratic credentials.
Most of Africa is not invited; Vietnam and the rest of Indo-China are also not invited. Taiwan, south Korea and Japan are. Countries from the Middle East are not, with the exception of Israel. Turkey is also not invited. The map below gives a quick idea of who is in and who is out. Those in red and shades of red are invited. Those in grey are not. According to the very reactionary Freedom House, those in dark red are “not free” and those in mid-red “partly free,” but still invited.
The White House says the factors that determined which of the 193 member states of the United Nations were invited included “geographic representation, political context and subject matter expertise.” What that means can only be understood when one looks at who is in and who is out, revealing that the U.S. is anything but democratic.
The U.S. says the Summit is intended to launch “both individual and collective commitments, reforms, and initiatives to defend democracy and human rights at home and abroad” which shows that, once again, the U.S. is up to no good. The promo material says government leaders are expected to make pledges of “specific actions and commitments to meaningful internal reforms and international initiatives that advance the Summit’s goals.” These goals are said to be strengthening democracy by combating “corruption, authoritarianism” and by “promoting human rights.”
Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Bruno Rodriguez said that “Washington does not want to face its prestige loss and isolation at the United Nations General Assembly.” He described the event as a sign of “its weakness in democracy and human rights issues.”
The Director of China’s Office of Political Research, Tian Peiyan, said, “The Western democratic model that the United States intends to endorse with this meeting does not bring happiness but disasters because it responds to the Cold War’s anachronistic divisive mentality.” “Any effort to force nations to copy this model is doomed to failure,” he added. The Office also published a document titled The State of Democracy in the U.S. which highlights evidence of the sorry state of affairs facing the American people.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for the Russian government, accused the U.S. of creating “new dividing lines and split[ing] countries into good ones, in their view, and bad ones.”
The office of Victor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, a poster-child for the “backsliding” that the NATO-led countries say is besetting liberal democracy, issued a statement saying that “Hungary does not have the same serious democratic problems as the United States,” “If we can help and America thinks it needs our advice, we are available,” the statement said. “In Hungary, we are not at a point where nearly a third of the electorate thinks that the democratic election has been rigged,” it added.
Canadian Press had a difficult time finding sources who would give the Summit significance. “[F]ew serious people in Washington or Ottawa seem to expect the Summit will accomplish much, let alone garner any significant public attention,” Daniel Stockemer, a University of Ottawa political studies professor told CP. The Summit might be used by the U.S. as a stage for a “show of international solidarity,” behind its diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, he suggested. “Even if domestically few people care about this summit, internationally this might portray to other countries that the U.S. is back in the game when it comes to the defence of democracy and human rights,” he added.
As the Summit got underway, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau complied by announcing Canada will follow the U.S. lead with a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games.
At the Summit’s official opening, Biden announced the establishment of “the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal” with a budget of over $450 million slotted for 2022. The aim is to provide some sort of fig leaf of legitimacy for U.S. financing so-called Civil Society Organizations to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations. It is a pathetic attempt to disinform the striving of the peoples within the U.S. and all over the world for empowerment. It comes after the U.S. defeat in Afghanistan and the condemnation of all its so-called colour revolutions which have led to deaths and destruction on an unprecedented scale. The White House describes the program as “a significant, targeted expansion of U.S. Government efforts to defend, sustain, and grow democratic resilience with like-minded governmental and non-governmental partners.”
A “Defending Democratic Elections Fund” is one of the many subversive programs announced. It will target “issues such as cybersecurity; domestic and foreign electoral manipulation; electoral violence, including gender-based violence; illicit domestic and foreign political financing; election-related disinformation; and barriers to the political participation of marginalized populations.” Since all these things are precisely what is happening in the U.S. itself, Canada has covered itself in shame by going along with the U.S. on this summit. Showing just what a pathetic toady he is, speaking at the opening session, Trudeau went so far as to declare that “to protect democracy at home, we must continue our work on vital issues like the fight against foreign interference.”
The U.S. is making the youth a specific target of attack. Secretary of State Blinken presided over a “Youth Session” to promote funds for “democracy fighters” in other countries. He listed off some of the existing programs, such as USAID’s Global Elections and Political Transitions project, along with regionally targeted programs like Young African Leaders Initiative and the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative. Participants in the session, many already working in U.S.-funded programs, praised the role of U.S.-backed youth in countries such as Hong Kong, Belarus and Cuba. Blinken boasted that the U.S. is working in more than 100 countries to bring together “the power of networks.”
Any U.S. attempt to reposition itself internationally as the “indispensable” nation which aims to impose on the peoples of the world the rules, norms and values it, along with its G7 and NATO allies, decide are the criteria to declare which countries are democratic and which are not is doomed to failure. This effort by the U.S. to establish a gendarmerie of governments and so-called civil society organizations to impose their alleged “shared values” and fraudulent “rules-based international order” in the name of “democratic renewal” deserves the scorn and contempt it is receiving from all thinking people across the globe.
No peoples anywhere give the U.S. the right to declare what system of governance must be adopted by all. Nor will they ever accept the U.S. values and outdated system and institutions. The peoples of the world are rising as one humanity engaged in one struggle to settle scores with the colonial and imperialist legacies. It is their struggles to advance the claims they are entitled to lay on societies by virtue of being human that are decisive in the struggle for democratic renewal. It is a struggle crucial to stemming the tide of imperialist war for the redivision of the world’s resources, zones of cheap labour, areas for the export of capital and zones of influence.
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