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World Federation of Trade Unions says Ebola virus deaths facilitated by imperialism

By Workers World staff on October 21, 2014

Following is an edited statement issued by the World Federation of Trade Unions’ Secretariat in Athens, Greece, on Oct. 15.

The Ebola epidemic that has struck mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of West Africa and threatens the entire world has killed thousands of people and caused panic to millions of others.

As high level officials of the World Health Organization confess, the epidemic has severely expanded over the last weeks and 70 percent of the people affected die because of the lack of proper health care facilities.

This epidemic brings in the forefront in the most tragic way the chronic and deep wounds in the African continent caused by colonialism, by the continuous plundering of the wealth-producing resources and by the high public debts that keep African states and their economies enslaved to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and monopoly cartels.

Crucial problems that in extraordinary conditions such as the one today can create an explosive atmosphere are: poverty, malnutrition, the lack of basic health care infrastructure and social welfare, the limited access to a system of public and free education capable of eradicating illiteracy and the effects of prejudices and superstitions, the slums that continue to exist being a disgrace for humanity and a danger to public health, the militarization and the state violence that are the answer of the panicked state mechanism.

The World Federation of Trade Unions expresses its indignation at the current situation in the existing health care facilities in the above-mentioned countries which result in medical personnel offering their services while risking their own lives without any safety measures (gloves, masks). As a result, deaths amongst medical personnel have risen to extreme levels.

The World Federation of Trade Unions and its members worldwide have in the past, with two International Action Days, denounced the role of the multinational pharmaceutical companies which profit from the people’s suffering.

State budget cuts in the funding of public institutions in the field of research, pharmaceutical production and health care in the USA and the European Union are aggravating the problems while working in favor of the privatization of those fields, the expansion of the control of the monopolies over the industry and against the satisfaction of the people’s needs.

It is very clear in the case of Ebola as well that as long as research, production and health care are ruled by the laws of monopoly competition and the profit system, the people will be suffering from diseases that should have long been extinct or adequately controlled.

Furthermore, in complete contrast to the imperialist policy of the USA and Britain, which in the midst of the crisis have seized the opportunity to send new troops to Africa, the World Federation of Trade Unions feels the need to congratulate the heroic decision of the Cuban government and the Cuban people to show in the most humanitarian way their solidarity with the people of Africa by sending to Liberia and Guinea a large group of doctors and medical personnel in order to assist in the efforts for the relief of the Ebola patients. More than 50,000 Cuban doctors and medical personnel working in 66 countries around the world and specifically 4,000 in 32 African countries, are offering high level health services as a form of practical solidarity.

We congratulate our affiliate, the CTC Cuba [the Cuban Workers’ Central Union] and its members in the health sector who heroically prove their international solidarity.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 90 million workers in 126 countries, reaffirms its consistent position that preventive health care on a framework of a public, free and adequate health care system is the best solution in all health issues.

The WFTU struggles for:

  • The creation of contemporary, adequate and fully equipped institutions of health care in all countries that will be part of a broad, public, free and centrally designed health care system to offer to all the population proper health care services at all stages of their lives. The sufficient number of medical personnel, the satisfaction of the labour rights and the proper conditions of hygiene and safety are important factors.
  • The formation of public institutions of research, production and distribution of free or cheap pharmaceutical supplies, medicine and vaccination to all the people.
  • The eradication of illiteracy by securing access for all people to a public and free education.
  • For state policy that will solve the housing problems in many countries.
  • The elimination of poverty and hunger. The African continent is rich in natural resources and agricultural capabilities. If those are put in the control and the service of the people, it would help greatly in the rapid improvement of the living standards of the ordinary people and to the drastic elimination of diseases and poverty.
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Havana. October 22, 2014

An embrace from Cuba

Leticia Martínez Hernández


The runway of José Martí International airport was one again witness to the most touching scenes as Cuba’s President bid farewell to our heroes, who will be arriving in West Africa tomorrow to participate in the global fight against Ebola.

On this occasion 83 collaborators departed for affected countries, 49 to Liberia and 34 to Guinea Conakry. Raúl embraced each member of the brigade as they boarded the plane - an embrace from 11 million Cubans, a whole island.

With their flags in hand, they promised to give everything, tirelessly heal and continuously treat, and return to the homeland safe and healthy. They also sent greetings to Fidel; asked Raúl to trust them and not to worry, that they are prepared for what lies ahead.

Thus, the IL-96 aircraft departed with a first class troop: 35 doctors and 48 nurses, all with more than 15 years professional experience and who have completed previous international missions, 42 % on more than two occasions.

In attendance at the moving farewell were José Ramón Machado Ventura, Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and a vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers; Miguel Díaz-Canel Ber­mú­dez, first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers; Minister Bruno Ro­dríguez Parrilla; and Roberto Morales Ojeda, minister of Public Health.

These two brigades take the total of Cuban health professionals who have joined the fight against Ebola to 256. With each one travels the message of a nation immensely proud to have sons such as them, who last night bid farewell to their families, friends, and country, to stop the frightening epidemic which is threatening the world. To all our heroes, best wishes from this beloved island.


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sinead o'connor - war

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  • 2 months later...

Ebola, socialism & imperialism

Posted on January 7, 2015 by Editor in Editorials, News

Now that the threat of the spread of Ebola within the United States has diminished — for the present — news of the crisis has dropped into the back pages of the corporate-owned major newspapers and off the broadcast media. But the Ebola epidemic remains a continuing danger in parts of Africa and an ongoing threat that requires worldwide attention and action.

To date, over 20,000 people, mostly in West Africa, have contracted the disease; over 8,000 have died; and the number of new cases is still on the increase.

A sustained international effort is called for, but the response, especially from Western imperialist countries, has been minimal at best.

For example, the major U.S. government action has been the deployment of elite combat troops, such as the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions. The focus of these troops, according to the U.S chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, is “to … [establish] command and control nodes, logistic hubs … and [provide] engineering support” along with training for health care workers. The general made clear that none of the troops would be involved in directly treating or caring for victims of the epidemic. (Defense.gov, Oct. 1)

Little wonder that many question the real motives of what amounts to an invasion of the region.

By contrast, socialist Cuba has sent 256 medical workers to Africa, with 165 in Sierra Leone and the rest in Guinea and Liberia. In comparison to the relative total populations of the U.S. and Cuba, the U.S would need to send 7,680 doctors and health care workers to Africa to equal the Cuban effort.

From the beginning of the outbreak, the U.S. and its allies have attempted to politicize the Ebola crisis.

Volunteers from private agencies who traveled to West Africa from the U.S have often found themselves treated, not as heroes, but virtual pariahs upon their return.

By contrast, the Cuban volunteers are rightly considered heroes.

Because of the illegal U.S. embargo, many of the Cuban doctors in Africa — who are working under the aegis of United Nations organizations — have not only faced delays in their deployment, but even found that the U.S. Treasury had held up their pay and expenses for several months.

Despite all this, they have maintained their morale and internationalist spirit.

Cuban doctor Félix Báez — who contracted the virus in Sierra Leone in November, was treated and has since recovered — announced on Dec. 29 that he will return to the region.

Considering that the disease has already killed nearly 350 medical personnel, including 106 in Sierra Leone, the courage of the Cuban doctors must be commended. They are a shining example of the socialist ideal that health care is a human right for everyone in the world.

Also see:

  1. Heroes of the Ebola crisis
  2. Cuba helps fight Ebola
  3. World Federation of Trade Unions says Ebola virus deaths facilitated by imperialism
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  • 1 year later...

Ghana and the 1966 Coup Against Kwame Nkrumah

Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism by Kwame Nkrumah



" Nkrumah: 50 years since CIA-led coup

By Abayomi Azikiwe, posted at : http://www.workers.org/articles/2016/02/21/nkrumah-50-years-since-cia-led-coup/

On Feb. 24, 1966, a coup was carried out against Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, leader of Ghana’s independence movement and the chief architect of the 20th-century African revolutionary struggle. He founded the Convention People’s Party in 1949, which led the former British colony of the Gold Coast to national independence in 1957.

During the coup, he was on a peace mission aimed at ending U.S. intervention in Vietnam. The president had stopped in Beijing to consult People’s Republic of China Premier Chou En-lai and had planned to go to Hanoi. When Nkrumah met with Chou, he informed him of the military coup in Ghana. Chou’s initial reaction was disbelief, yet the Chinese leader told him these setbacks occurred during the course of the revolutionary struggle.

Lower-ranking military and police officers carried out the coup with CIA and U.S. State Department assistance and coordination. CPP leading members were killed, arrested and driven into exile while the party press and national radio and television stations were seized. The CIA and military-police clique that seized power encouraged counterrevolutionary mobs to attack CPP offices. Books by Nkrumah and other socialist leaders were burned.

Coup leaders, who called themselves the “National Liberation Council” (NLC), deported cadre from national liberation movements who had taken refuge in Ghana and were receiving political and military training there. Other fraternal allies of the Ghanaian and African revolutions were fired from their jobs in the government, the educational sector and media affairs.

CIA involvement was widely believed to be pivotal at the time, but later on, it was documented with the declassification of State Department files under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration. U.S. Undersecretary of State for African Affairs G. Mennen Williams had sent a letter of protest to Ghana’s embassy in Washington in late 1965 after the publication of Nkrumah’s book “Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism.” It outlined Washington and Wall Street’s central role in the continuing underdevelopment of Africa.

Nkrumah and African-American history

Nkrumah was born in Nkroful in Ghana’s Nzima region in 1909. He traveled to the U.S. in 1935 to pursue higher education at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the first Historically Black College and University in the country founded during slavery in 1854.

Lincoln was an ideal atmosphere for Nkrumah, who studied the social sciences, philosophy and theology. He became involved in the African- American struggle through work with the African Students Association, where he served as president for several years, and the Council on African Affairs with Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois, Dr. William A. Hunton and Paul Robeson.

During his college days, Nkrumah worked doing odd jobs and experienced poverty. He became a licensed Presbyterian minister, which enabled him to speak in African-American churches.

After leaving the U.S. in 1945, Nkrumah settled in Britain for two years where he helped organize the historic Fifth Pan-African Congress at Manchester that year. Du Bois chaired the gathering, in which other African liberation movement leaders participated, including George Padmore of Trinidad, who had worked with the Communist International during the late 1920s and early 1930s; Amy Ashwood Garvey, spouse of Marcus Garvey, who held left-leaning politics; Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya; students; and representatives of trade unions and farmers’ organizations.

After Nkrumah returned to Ghana in late 1947 and founded the CPP in 1949, he landed in prison twice for organizing against British imperialism. Due to his party’s mass support during a colonialist-controlled reform election in February 1951, Nkrumah was released from prison and appointed Leader of Government Business as part of a transitional arrangement toward independence won in March 1957.

During the independence period, Ghana became a haven for African- American political figures, artists, professionals and business people. Some of them became staunch defenders of Nkrumah’s government, which faced increasing CIA and State Department pressure after 1961.

Hundreds of African Americans took up residence in Ghana, including Maya Angelou, the writer, dancer and supporter of African liberation movements; Alice Windom of St. Louis, a social worker and educator who helped organize Malcolm X’s itinerary when he travelled to Ghana in May 1964; and Vicki Holmes Garvin, a labor activist and Communist Party member who worked with Robert Williams and Mabel Williams in China after leaving Ghana.

Julius Mayfield, the novelist and essayist who left the U.S. amid the attacks on Robert Williams, worked in Ghana as a journalist and editor of African Review, a Pan-Africanist journal supporting the CPP government. W.E.B. Du Bois was given Ghanaian citizenship and appointed director of the Encyclopedia Africana. Shirley Graham Du Bois, spouse of Du Bois, was a political organizer, Communist Party member, prolific writer and producer. Nkrumah appointed her to head Ghana National Television.

After the coup in February 1966, most progressive African Americans were forced to leave Ghana due to the NLC’s’ pro-imperialist character. Dr. Du Bois had died in August 1963. However, Shirley Graham Du Bois, who worked as a leading figure in Ghana’s government, was placed under house arrest by military police officials. She left Ghana and later lived in Egypt and China where she died in 1976.

50 years later: U.S. still destabilizing Africa

The anti-imperialist struggle against interventions in Africa is just as relevant today as it was in 1966. Five decades after the coup ousted Nkrumah, the CIA and State Department are still heavily engaged in destabilizing African states and progressive movements. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) is constructing airstrips, drone stations and military bases in various regions across the continent.

U.S. imperialism designed Nkrumah’s overthrow to halt the African Revolution’s advance and the internationalization of the struggle of African Americans. However, global solidarity efforts accelerated from the late 1960s through the 1990s when the last vestiges of white-minority rule were eliminated in South Africa and Namibia.

It’s important to note that African-American political organizations played a key role in influencing Nkrumah from the 1930s until his ouster in 1966 and up until his death in 1972 in Romania.

Younger generations of African-American activists can gain much from studying the intersection of the struggle for liberation in the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and the African continent. During the period after World War II through the beginning of the 21st century, tremendous gains were won in the areas of national liberation, Pan-African unity and a socialist perspective.

With a strong emphasis in the U.S. today on demonstrations against police and vigilante use of lethal force against African Americans, identification with broader struggles taking place in the African world are often overlooked. This development, if gone unchecked, will break off the African-American movement from allies among like-minded forces within the entire African world. In addition, without an emphasis on internationalism, the African-American struggle will be hard-pressed to reach its full potential by winning global allies."


PS can the management please make topics visible in this subsection.

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