With over 3,000 delegates representing 120 nations at the just-concluded Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) meeting, and the subsequent convening of the Group of 77 nations in the same host city immediately thereafter, it can be said that the majority of the world’s population has been involved in deliberations convened by world leaders—not in Davos, Switzerland, but in Kampala, Uganda. “My, how the world has changed, “ said Alice-in-Switzerland. “It turns out that Henry Kissinger was wrong—history is made in the South. “
The 47-article Non-Aligned Movement’s Kampala Declaration “strongly condemns the illegal Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip, the indiscriminate attacks against Palestinian civilians, civilian objects, the forced displacement of the Palestinian population and further calls for an immediate and durable humanitarian ceasefire.” The Non-Aligned Movement conference also noted favorably the actions of the South African government, in its Jan.11 appeal to the International Court of Justice to halt the genocide in Gaza. Two hundred American Congressmen also took note, negatively, and denounced South Africa for their initiative. But Slovenia, Spain, and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have supported South Africa outright.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reacted strongly to Germany’s supporting of Israel at the ICJ, and its denunciation of South Africa. “As for the Middle East, the Olaf Scholz Government could have refrained from taking this initiative, considering not only domestic politics, but also the outrage the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza has been causing around the world, especially in the countries of the Global South. We have already heard officials condemn this flawed approach at the highest level. President of Namibia Hage Geingob called on Germany not to take any actions on this extremely sensitive issue, since Germany itself has yet to undo the damage caused by the crimes against humanity it perpetrated in Africa. This refers to what happened in 1904-1908 when the German South West African administration exterminated tens of thousands of people belonging to Herero and Nama ethnic groups.”
In the case of the United States, there is the interesting example of the UAW—whose name is not the “United Auto Workers,” but the “International Union, Auto, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers,” and which has been strongly supportive of an end to the conflict in Gaza. On Dec. 1, 2023 UAW representative Brandon Mancilla was quoted in the London Guardian, saying “that the UAW international has joined the call for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine. From opposing fascism in WWII to mobilizing against apartheid South Africa and the Contra war, the UAW has consistently stood for justice across the globe. A labor movement that fights for social and economic justice for all workers must always stand against war and for peace.”
The UAW has a Divestment and Just Transition Committee, whose task was described by The Nation as to “examine the size, scope and the impact of the U.S. military industrial complex that employs thousands of UAW members and dominates the global arms trade.” Mancilla told them that the committee will “think about what it would mean to actually have a just transition, what used to be called ‘peace conversion’ of folks who work in the weapons and defense industry into something else.”