In the 20th Century the concepts of national self-determination, state sovereignty
and the equality of states became established principles of international law. Article 1(2) of the United Nations Charter
declared that one of the purposes of the UN was the development of friendly relations among nations based on respect for the
principle of equal rights and the self-determination of peoples.
One aspect of the right of self-determination was the right of peoples to use and exploit
their natural wealth and resources, reinforced by the Declaration on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources of 1962.
The 1970 Declaration on Principles of International law provided that all states enjoy
sovereign equality, have equal rights and duties and are equal members of the international community, notwithstanding differences
in political, social, economic and cultural systems. The Declaration provides that the territorial and political independence
of the state is inviolable and that each state has the right to choose and develop its political, social, economic and cultural
These principles are, of course, anathema to capitalism which believes in its right
to move capital and profits across national boundaries without interference from nation states. Where nation states have sought
to develop political, social and economic systems based on the needs of their peoples they have been confronted with economic
pressure, covert actions to undermine and overthrow national governments and direct military intervention. In 1950 the US
United Fruit company ran Guatemala as a private concern, owning the public infrastructure, including ports, railways, communications
and banks. United Fruit owned 550,000 acres of Guatemalan land, some 85% of which was deliberately left permanently idle to
keep prices high. The company paid little or no tax. That year Guatemala elected a reformist government which legalised trade
unions and nationalised, with an offer of compensation, 400,000 acres of land held by the United Fruit Company. The US sponsored
a coup which overthrew the Arbenz government and installed a pro-US dictator. As in Iraq at the time of the Ba’athist
coup, the CIA handed the new regime a list of thousands of names, many of whom were never seen again.
There followed 30 years of terror during which 150,000 people were killed. This subversion and intervention and the
attack on progressive and democratic forces and governments by the US and its allies, both overt and covert, took place across
the world – involving Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Grenada, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela … in the Caribbean, Central
and South America alone.
That global intervention continues. Imperialism continues to support its client states
and to undermine those states committed to an anti-capitalist development path. While significant advances have been made
in Latin America, in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and significantly in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia the US has renewed its
efforts to turn back progressive change and to restore power to the privileged elites. In Latin America Colombia is the “aircraft
carrier” for US imperialism in the region.
After years of US intervention and support for violent right-wing dictatorships Latin
America suffered extreme inequality, poverty, illiteracy and exploitation. Now, however, in Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia,
Ecuador and other countries in Latin America the capitalist project is under attack.
Under “Plan Colombia” the US has supplied the Colombian government with
$6 billion in arms, personnel and logistics. Colombia receives more US military aid than the rest of Latin America and the
Caribbean combined. The primary purpose of “Plan Colombia” is to preserve the position of Colombia’s political
and economic elite and to intensify imperialism’s attack on democracy and social progress in Latin America. Colombia
is a deeply unequal society and the government, aligned to the United States and trans-national corporations, has reduced
workers’ rights, environmental protection and public spending in the pursuit of a nakedly neo-liberal agenda. The natural
resources of Colombia and the region in general provide rich pickings for the multi-nationals.
The US, through its Colombian proxy, directs its aggression towards Ecuador and Venezuela.
In March 2008, while the US openly supported Colombia’s military incursion into Ecuador, the Organisation of American
States (OAS) passed a resolution condemning the attack as an illegal violation of Ecuadorian sovereignty.
Hugo Chavez has received repeated democratic endorsement
as the President of Venezuela. The government of Venezuela has brought about a real democratisation of society. Workers, small
farmers, women and the poor who have traditionally been excluded from political life have been provided with a powerful voice.
The introduction of free education, universal health care, land reform, opposition to privatisation and neo-liberalism together
with the control over the country’s wealth and natural resources has brought about far-reaching change. Venezuela has
nationalised key enterprises in the oil, gas and electrical industries, steel, cement, food production and distribution and
telecommunications. The government has taken millions of acres of unused farm land from speculators and absentee owners. It
has invested in agriculture, public transport, primary health care clinics and literacy campaigns. Following the revolutionary
example of socialist Cuba Venezuela is creating a society based on meeting the needs of its people in the face of open imperialist
The Cuban Revolution remains an inspiration for the workers and poor farmers of Latin
America. Cuba has led by example. The popular revolution which triumphed on 1st January 1959 overthrew the tyranny of Washington’s
unconditional ally, Batista, and established the sovereignty of the people over the land and its resources. The situation
in Cuba prior to the Revolution was characterised by US intervention, corruption, poverty, the violation of human rights,
criminality and exploitation.
Prior to 1959 life expectancy was 58 years and the wealthiest 20% of the population
enjoyed 58% of the national income with the poorest 20% receiving only 2%. Now life expectancy is 77 years and all Cubans
are guaranteed the basic requirements of affordable food, the right to employment, social security, free health care and education
up to and including university. Cultural, educational and sporting rights are enshrined in the constitution. The land belongs
to those who work it. Workers are guaranteed a pension on retirement or in the event of disability. In 1959 there was one
medical school in Cuba, now there are at least 21 faculties of medicine and 4 higher institutes of medical sciences. In addition
to providing a doctor per 165 inhabitants and ensuring that all Cubans receive free medical care the Cuban government has
provided more than 25,000 doctors to developing countries across the world and the Cuban health system is recognised as one
of the best in the world. Democracy in Cuba is popular, direct and participative.
The Cuban people have had to fight to preserve the gains of their revolution. From
the earliest days of the Revolution the US commenced a campaign of aggression including economic and financial sanctions,
sabotage, assassination attempts, slander and misinformation, military training of Cuba’s enemies, attempted invasion
and open terrorism. These acts of imperialist aggression continue with the aim of destroying the Cuban Revolution, reversing
its gains and bringing Cuba under US control. The continued imprisonment of the five Cuban patriots in the US, the ongoing
economic war against Cuba and the EU restrictions and “common position” on Cuba are evidence of imperialism’s
continuing efforts to extinguish Cuba as a beacon of hope and socialism for progressives throughout the world. These efforts
have failed and will fail. International respect for Cuba has grown stronger and the commitment of the Cuban people to national
independence, socialism and solidarity is undiminished.
This Ard Fheis calls on the Ard Comhairle/CEC to send its greetings in 2009 to the
Communist Party of Cuba and the Cuban people on the 50th anniversary of the Revolution, to strengthen and build solidarity
with the Cuban and Venezuelan Revolutions, to defend Cuba and Venezuela against imperialist slander and attack and to use
Party publications to counteract the distortions of the capitalist press, to build a heightened consciousness of and support
for the Cuban and Bolivarian Revolutions and to create and fortify links between Ireland, Cuba and Venezuela. The Ard Fheis
also instructs the CEC to call on the Irish government to end the EU “common position” on Cuba and remove diplomatic
and other restrictions and sanctions against Cuba.
If Columbia is the US “aircraft carrier” in Latin America then Israel is
its “aircraft carrier” in the Middle East. Since World War II Israel has been the largest overall recipient of
US aid. Between 1996 and 2006 Israel received $24 billion in military aid from the US. While the United States threatens and
pressurises the DPR Korea, Syria and Iran over the alleged possession of nuclear weapons technology Israel has nuclear weapons
and has never signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the US remains silent over Israel’s nuclear capacity.
Last month was the 60th anniversary of the massacre at the village of Deir Yassin,
where, the Irgun, a group of Zionist terrorists led by Menachem Begin, murdered some 300 Palestinian villagers, including
women and children. This was a deliberate and planned operation designed to terrorise the indigenous Arab population and ethnically
cleanse them from their lands. A month later the state of Israel was proclaimed. 750,000 Arabs fled from their homes in terror
and the Israelis destroyed those homes in an effort to ensure that their owners would never return. 370 agricultural colonies
were established between 1948 and 1953, 350 of these on Arab land. When the United Nations representative, Count Bernadotte,
made recommendations insisting on UN action to ensure that refugees had the opportunity to return to their homes he was murdered
by the Israelis. The Zionist movement robbed the indigenous Arab population of their land and livelihood, deprived them of
their basic human rights and drove them into exile.
Although the partition plan of 1947 only assigned part of Palestine to the Jewish state
from its earliest days the Zionist movement had designs on a much wider territory. In 1956 and 1967 the
Israeli state used the opportunity to attack Arab states and expand its territory. In 1967 Israel invaded and occupied the
Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the West bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Israel has on numerous occasions attacked and
invaded Lebanon, overseeing the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians in the refugee camps at Sabra and Chatila in 1982.
Palestinians who remained in the state of Israel after 1948 were treated as second-class
citizens and subjected to repeated discrimination. The Palestinians exiled to the refugee camps are not permitted to return
to their homes and property and are exiled to a life of poverty, exclusion and deprived of basic civil, political, social
and economic rights. Those Palestinians who live in the territories occupied by the Israelis in 1967, the West Bank and Gaza,
have been subjected to oppression, destruction, death and unceasing military attack.
Since 1968 the United Nations has documented repeated violations of human rights in
the Occupied territories including occupation, annexation of territory, the illegal building of Jewish settlements, the deportation
and expulsion of Palestinians, the confiscation and destruction of property including the demolition of Palestinian homes
and agricultural land as collective punishment, the exploitation of Palestinian labour, mass arrests and administrative detention
without trial, ill-treatment and torture of persons under detention, censorship, the violent suppression of demonstrations
and protests, military attacks on political organisations and the strangulation of the economy of the Occupied territories.
The wide-scale Israeli military operations against Palestinian civilians continue in
violation of international and humanitarian law. The Occupied Territories are under siege. Palestinian civilians, including
children, are killed virtually on a daily basis. Civilians are deliberately targeted for air strikes. All border crossings
of the Gaza Strip have been closed and the total siege imposed has had disastrous social, economic and humanitarian consequences.
Severe restrictions have been placed on the movement of the civilian population. The entry of food, fuel and raw materials
has been restricted. Approximately 70% of families living in the Gaza Strip receive water once every five days and 30% have
access to water only once every week. Drinking water has become unsafe. The Israeli occupation perpetuates the suffering of
the Palestinians who are experiencing a humanitarian crisis.
This Ard Fheis condemns without reservation the Israeli occupation and expresses the
solidarity of the Workers’ Party with the Palestinian people, calling upon the CEC to strengthen relations with the
Palestinian people and its representatives and in particular with Left and progressive forces in Israel and Palestine. The
Ard Fheis calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza; the removal of the Apartheid Wall; an end
to and the dismantling of all settlements; a solution to the refugee problem based on the legitimate and inalienable right
of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property in accordance with Resolution 194; the release of all Palestinian
political prisoners; and the creation and recognition of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
The Ard Fheis re-affirms its long stated position that a solution is only possible
through the recognition of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national
independence and sovereignty and the implementation of international law and respect for all relevant United Nations’
The Ard Fheis also notes with concern the continuing attempts by the US and Israel,
to extend the conflict into Syria and Iran, seeking any pretext to confront Iran and Syria politically and militarily. This
is a further attempt to destabilise the region and confront two countries which it regards as hostile to its designs in the
The Ard Fheis condemns the continuing occupation of Iraq and notes the escalation of
violence in Baghdad and the provinces. Iraqi civilians continue to suffer massive deprivation and lack of basic services and
infrastructure and to die at the hands of the occupation forces and sectarian militias. Many Iraqis live in poverty, human
rights abuses are widespread and the United States has embarked on a policy of divide-and-rule.
The Ard Fheis calls for an end to the occupation of Iraq, for the restoration of Iraq’s
sovereignty and independence, the reconstruction of the economy, resistance to privatisation and the creation of an independent,
democratic, federal Iraq.
The Ard Fheis also notes with concern the new US military command for Africa (Africom).
The US, under its usual false pretext of “humanitarianism”, poses an immediate threat to the sovereignty of African
nations and their right to exercise control over their rich natural resources. The US proposes to establish
permanent bases in sub-Saharan Africa, militarising the African continent which has already suffered enormously from the ravages
of war. An increased US presence in Africa will heighten tension and instability in the continent; threaten progressive political
movements and the sovereignty of independent nations and further expose the natural resources of those nations to neo-colonial
In Asia the US continues to take steps to expand its power. The attempts to create
tension in Tibet and Taiwan, the continued stationing of troops on the Korean peninsula, the efforts to enlist nations in
the region into an alliance against China, the creation of military bases in Central Asia, the attempts to engineer “regime
change”, the war in Afghanistan, the desire to control Central Asia’s oil and gas reserves continue to pose a
threat to peace and stability in the region.
The decision of the US to maintain a nuclear powered carrier at a Japanese port is
a serious provocation aimed at the DPR of Korea. At a time when the US purports to speak of “dialogue” it continues
to engage in threats. In March 2008 alone the US and south Korea carried out over 200 cases of aerial espionage against the
DPRK in violation of its sovereignty.
This Ard Fheis salutes the continuing struggle of the Workers’ Party of Korea
and the Korean people for national independence, sovereignty and socialism. The Ard Fheis condemns the continuing campaign
of aggression against the DPRK, congratulates the DPRK on the 76th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army which has
defended the Korean people against Japanese and US imperialism and supports the call of the DPRK for the reunification of
the country and peace on the Korean peninsula.
The unilateral secession of Kosovo-Metohija from Serbia, with the active connivance
and support of the US, NATO and EU, in violation of the United Nations’ Charter and in contravention of UN Resolutions,
in particular, UN Resolution 1244, represents a major attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia.
The installation and recognition of a puppet regime in Pristina represents the culmination
of a sustained process by imperialism to undermine, fracture and dissolve the Yugoslav Federation, which involved the destabilisation
of the entire region, the NATO aggression against Serbia, the demonisation of the Serbian people, the privatisation and sale
to the multi-nationals of the natural resources of Kosovo-Metohija and the creation of favourable conditions
for military and economic penetration.
Kosovo- Metohija is now the US/NATO “aircraft carrier”
in the Balkans. It provides a base for further US and EU intervention in the region and paves the way for the establishment
of permanent military bases and access to and the plunder of the natural resources of the province and the region. The Ard
Fheis condemns the so-called independence of Kosovo and regards this step as a further attack on the sovereignty and territorial
of Serbia and contempt for established principles of international law.
For capital and imperialism there is no genuine democracy. For socialists genuine democracy
can only be guaranteed by a united struggle against imperialism and capitalist exploitation for freedom, equality, peace and
The Workers' Party of Ireland, May 2008
Motion adopted unanimously by congress