By adding two new African member-states to its roster, last week's summit in Johannesburg heralding the expanded BRICS 11 showed once again that Eurasian integration is inextricably linked to the integration of Afro-Eurasia. Belarus is now proposing to hold a joint summit between BRICS 11, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). President Aleksandr Lukashenko's vision for the convergence of these multilateral organizations may, in due time, lead to the Mother of All Multipolarity Summits. But Afro-Eurasia is a much more complicated proposition.
At the end of July, the Presidential Guard of Niger, backed by the military, unseated the current president, Mohamed Bazoum, in a coup supported by the people. In response, the United States and France, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), began planning a military intervention to return Bazoum to power. West African nations, including Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, quickly declared solidarity with the new government, a move that could turn a military intervention into a greater regional conflict. To understand what is happening in Niger and how it fits into the bigger picture of the rejection of neo-colonialism and US hegemony, Clearing the FOG speaks with Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire.
In 2003, high officials from Brazil, India, and South Africa met in Mexico to discuss their mutual interests in the trade of pharmaceutical drugs. India was and is one of the world’s largest producers of various drugs, including those used to treat HIV-AIDS; Brazil and South Africa were both in need of affordable drugs for patients infected with HIV as well as a host of other treatable ailments. But these three countries were barred from easily trading with each other because of strict intellectual property laws established by the World Trade Organisation. Just a few months prior to their meeting, the three countries formed a grouping, known as IBSA.
How shall we understand the July 26th coup in Niger, in which military officers ousted Mohamed Bazoum, the nation’s Western-tilted president? It is the sixth putsch of this kind in or next to the Sahel in the past four years. Shall we write off this band across sub–Saharan Africa as coup country and trouble no more about it? The thought is implicit in a lot of the media coverage, but how often do our media dedicate themselves to enhancing our understanding of global events and how often to cultivating our ignorance of them? Do not take this latest development in Africa as an isolated event, if I may offer a suggestion. Its significance lies in the larger context in which it has occurred—its global surround, so to say.
August 29 will mark the 18th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history, which devastated much of the Gulf Coast (specifically Louisiana and Mississippi) and disproportionately struck New Orleans. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that this Category 4 hurricane caused at least $108 billion in structural damage, leading to more than one million people being displaced, many permanently, especially the poor and people of color. According to livescience.com, an estimated 1,833 people died in the hurricane and the flooding that followed. (Aug. 27, 2015) That flooding, mainly caused by broken levees, overwhelmed the Ninth Ward, a predominant working-class Black neighborhood in New Orleans.
The BRICS bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa is expanding, and building a new economic architecture to challenge the dominance of the US dollar. One of the most important institutions created by the BRICS is the New Development Bank (NDB). This is a Global South-oriented alternative to the World Bank, which is located in and essentially controlled by the United States. In March 2023, the NDB inaugurated its new chief: Dilma Rousseff, the former president of Brazil, from the South American nation’s leftist Workers’ Party. Rousseff has stressed that the NDB’s goals are financing “infrastructure investments” and “helping our members combat poverty, create jobs, and promote environmentally sustainable development”.
Many countries in the Global South have denounced the International Criminal Court as a neocolonial institution, biased in favor of the West. Its leadership has been dominated by Europeans, and as of 2016, only Africans had been brought to trial at the court. In a rare point of agreement, the United States has also opposed the International Criminal Court (ICC) since its inception. The US is not a member of the ICC, and Washington has even imposed sanctions on its top officials and threatened to arrest judges and prosecutors. In fact, when the court first opened in the Netherlands in 2002, the United States passed a law known as the “Hague Invasion Act.”
As the planet faces more climate-driven disasters, we must prioritize the safety and wellbeing of populations most vulnerable to their effects. Extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms are becoming more frequent and intense worldwide while human industry, resource extraction, consumption and carbon emissions contribute to rapidly warming temperatures and rising seas. Amid this massive and multipronged human-made disaster, global food productivity growth is down 21 percent. Climate change is exacerbating food insecurity, wiping out agricultural production, devastating livelihoods and forcing people to flee their homes.
The U.S. Agency for International Development was established by executive order under the Kennedy administration in 1961, tasked with the stated mission of administering humanitarian assistance or international development abroad. But make no mistake: USAID serves as a tool of U.S. capitalist and imperialist interests — it exists solely to direct the money and resources of the Global South into the pockets of the U.S. capitalist class. USAID now operates in 100 countries worldwide, mostly in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, and has an annual budget of nearly $30 billion to spend on its global development programs.
A study published this month found that popular international fashion brands with factories in Bangladesh were involved in multiple “unfair practices,” such as paying suppliers below the cost of production, which had an impact on workers and their livelihoods. The study conducted by Aberdeen University and advocacy group Transform Trade, titled ‘Impact of Global Clothing Retailers’ Unfair Practices on Bangladeshi Suppliers During COVID-19,’ was based on the survey of 1,000 Bangladeshi factories that manufacture garments for international fashion firms. It found that these factories were facing rising costs for raw materials, and nearly one in five struggled to pay the Bangladeshi minimum wage of £2.30 per day. Professor Pamela Abbott, co-investigator of the study and director of the Center for Global Development at the University of Aberdeen, claimed that fashion brands were extracting their wealth from some of the world’s poorest countries, a form of 21st century neo-colonialism.
The European Union’s top foreign-policy official showed how the colonialist mentality is still very much alive on the continent. EU foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell said “Europe is a garden,” which is “beautiful” and superior to the vast majority of the countries on Earth. On the other hand, he claimed, “Most of the rest of the world is a jungle, and the jungle could invade the garden.” Borrell argued that “the world needs Europe,” because it is a “beacon” that must civilize the rest of the world. The enlightened Western “gardeners have to go to the jungle,” he insisted, because if the supposed barbarians are not tamed, “the rest of the world will invade us.” Borrell delivered this overtly racist rant at the inauguration of the European Diplomatic Academy in Brussels on October 13.
The Haitian people in struggle were greatly surprised and stunned, when they learned that you have broadcast, on channel France 24, with regard to their current just and legitimate protest movement, a set of false information that is prone to confusion, criminalization, discredit their struggle for a sovereign Haiti, just, livable. Contrary to your assertions, these popular protests are part of a struggle for a Haiti free from suffocating foreign interference, gangsterization, this extreme manufactured misery and an anti-national, illegitimate, criminal political regime established by the Core Group of which the UN is a member. This puppet political regime, operating under the dictation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has just stabbed the people by the decision to increase by more than one hundred percent (128%) the price of petroleum products, which have already suffered, in less than a year, a vertiginous increase that has led to the doubling and tripling in some cases of the prices of basic necessities and others.
The Solomon Islands are in the process of cementing into place a security pact with China. According to an alleged leaked draft, this pact includes provisions allowing the Solomon Islands to request the presence of Chinese police and military personnel to “assist in maintaining social order, protecting people’s lives and property, providing humanitarian assistance, carrying out disaster response, or providing assistance on other tasks” agreed upon by the Solomon Islands and China. There also appear to be provisions for Chinese ships to visit ports among the Solomon Islands to carry out logistical replenishment as well as provisions for Chinese forces to “protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects” in the Solomon Islands – with the consent of the Solomon Islands’ government.
This is Ben Norton with The Grayzone. I am in Nicaragua’s Foreign Ministry, and I just sat down for an interview with Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. We talked about Nicaragua’s historic decision to leave the Organization of American States, and other regional issues here in Latin America. And we discussed how Nicaragua is part of a movement of countries around the world that are trying to create a new political and economic architecture, resisting US unilateralism and sanctions. Good morning, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada, thank you for the interview. On November 19, you announced that Nicaragua is leaving the OAS. Can you explain why Nicaragua made this historic decision?
Like Palestinians in Israel and Latino, Asian and Muslim immigrants in the U.S., Haitians in the Dominican Republic are demeaned, harassed, and victimized in both extraordinary and mundane ways. Pushed out of their homeland by centuries of neo-colonialism and exploitation, officially 751,080 Haitians call the Dominican Republic home. This is 7.3% of the official population. There are hundreds of thousands of other Haitians who are deemed “illegal” and do not appear in any statistics. “Antihaitianismo,” or anti-Haitian racism, is but one glaring symptom of the economic and political elites’ mind-set in the Dominican Republic.