40 Years of Solidarity in Defence of people of South


1998 marked the fortieth anniversary of Afro-Asian Peoples' solidarity Organization. In reflecting the vicissitudes of the past history, the 40 years were eventful both for the organization and the Afro-Asian world. Although the charisma of the organization has been affected, as a result of the interaction of the conflicting socio-economic and political developments, nevertheless the relevance of AAPSO and its role had not demeaned.

As we enter the next millennium, the people of the South would be confronted with enormous challenges. Experience has taught that national liberation and political independence by itself cannot be sustained without building people-centred strong economies.

Though the vast "empire building" approach in the classical sense is no more in operation, yet more "formidable empires" are emerging with an economic might. In these new 'empires', soldiers with military paraphanelia may not be crossing the frontiers holding victorious flags. Rather the soldiers are not visible and the 'army commanders' are 'untraceable'. These "economic empires" are going to be much more alarming and devastating than the classical imperialism which the people of the South faced before.

With the possession of the scientific and technological inventions in their hands, the developed countries are well fortified to enslave the weaker economies. Under the global capitalism, when might has become right, the North-South gap will continue to widen with adverse repercussion on the South. Marginalization would continue unabated and the problems of the South would get more complex and confounded. Under this situation, a rejuvenated, re-vitalized and stronger AAPSO is needed.

In commemorating the 40th anniversary, the National Committees and the Permanent Secretariat of AAPSO attempted to create this awareness for a stronger movement to play its role which would be more difficult than during the era of colonialism and neo-colonialism.

The Permanent Secretariat organized the 40th anniversary Commemorative Symposium in Cairo on 5-6 May 1998. The International Institute of Non-Aligned Studies in their international conference on "Challenges to Human Rights in the next millennium" held in New Delhi on 5-6 March 1998, devoted a session to the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of AAPSO. On July 11 th 1998, the London Committee of the AAPSO held a one day meeting to commemorate the 40th Anniversary. During the 12th NAM Summit in Durban, South Africa, at the initiative of International Institute of Non-Aligned Studies, the AAPSO delegation to Summit held a reception at the Beach Hotel, Durban on 2nd September 1998 devoted to the 40th anniversary of AAPSO where several prominent personalities were present.

This publication consists of Speeches made at Cairo, New Delhi and London.

E. A. Vidyasekera

"New Challenges After 40 Years"
Dr. Mourad Ghaleb*

Dear Friends..
At the outset, I would like to thank you for attending this meeting on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the establishment of AAPSO. We preferred that our meeting should be pragmatic and scientific, not a celebration. Thus it will be a genuine opportunity for exchanging ideas on the role of the Organization in the forthcoming period and the future of the third world in light of a new world, totally different from the former one marked by peoples' liberation revolutions.
Furthermore, allow me to greet the founding fathers of our Movement who have contributed and continue to lend their support to AAPSO with respect to its development and widening its scope among the masses enriching its experience and activities by their continuous sound ideas and constructive advice.

Dear Friends,
I will focus briefly on this current stage and will leave the Organization's address to Nouri Abdel Razzak, the Secretary-General who is more capable, has more experiences and who has witnessed the evolution of the Organization and its history.

First: I will differentiate between globalization and hegemony. Globalization is a global phenomenon produced by the scientific and technological revolution, the communications and informatics revolution which has transformed our planet into a small global village.

With respect to hegemony, the economic super powers particularly the U.S.A. which initiated the scientific and technological revolution and developed it then controlled it, utilized globalization to impose its hegemony on the entire world. For it is economic hegemony that has replaced diminishing imperialist capitalism which we have experienced in the past.

Second: History has never before recorded such a freedom of movement enjoyed by international capitalism. In fact, there are almost 50 billion dollars moving between international economic centres as fast as lightening without any consideration for national or continental borders. For only 5 billion of this amount finances international trade and the remainder is in the form of capital flows for investment where raw material and labor is cheap, most probably in giant international speculation markets and stock exchanges which have spread like contagion world wide.

Third: The U.S.A. is the mighty hegemonistic power and will continue to be so until the emergence of other international powers. In fact, history has recorded that there is no continuity for any dominating power. For when they have played their role, they decline either with the rise of another force or by disintegrating from within. Anyway this is not expected to happen is the near future.

Fourth: Globalization and hegemony are a continuous and rapid process. What we witness at present is but one of the development stages, it is a dynamic process and is not limited by years or generations and shapes the world politically, economically, socially and culturally as it proceeds in its course.

Fifth: This continuous evolution will continue to be a characteristic of societies as well as local, regional and international systems. Globalization will have to cross this historic stage in which we live to one which is more just, democratic and advanced. However, this depends on the effectiveness of human societies, their efforts and struggles to arrive to this end. Globalization, and the scientific and technological revolution have provided for humanity all the possibilities to bring happiness to mankind. It is up to us to direct it towards this goal.

Sixth: After this introduction, it is essential to raise some questions. I will suffice with a few:

-    We all realize that hegemonistic globalization has increased our marginalization, that global economy dominates transnational corporations that is primarily the United States and big economic powers. Furthermore, the world Trade Organization dominates the global market; our national sovereignty is gradually disintegrating; we feel frustrated by the growing disparity between us and the North; the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer; categories such as the middle class are slowly shrinking or disappearing; new consumption and behavioral trends are being imposed on us; the international order wishes to dictate its political, economic, social and cultural domination over us…. etc.
-    The question is: What can we do?
-    Is it possible to deal with globalization and the overpowering international order and isolate ourselves?
-    Is it possible to abandon satellites, the communications revolution, CNN, the new scientific discoveries although we do realize that they are all dominating instruments?
-    Is it possible to deal with globalization "the scientific and technological revolution" and to limit hegemony knowing that "globalization and Hegemony" are two sides of the coin?
-    We used to call for regional blocks as a means to deter hegemony and reinforce our positions vis-à-vis globalization; we considered that the ASEAN countries were a successful example. However the tigers receded and the decision now is in the grip of the international financial dinosaurs.
-    The truth is that the ASEAN countries committed grave mistakes which they admitted, primarily by opening the doors to the speculative flow of international capital which only recognizes rapid profit or more rapid escape.
-    We still believe that our relations with globalization as Third world countries must be through regional organizations and South-South cooperation. The basic issue is how to create appropriate scientific instruments to initiate this cooperation, to strengthen and sustain it, at the same time opening to international markets without isolating ourselves.

Dear Friends,
We are confronted with a wide-ranging and complex battle. It is definitely not against globalization, it is to enable the dominance of a number of values, behavioral patterns and principles that govern the process of globalization. It is essential to re-evaluate and redress its course and overcome its negative aspects particularly the unjust and inequitable development policy; the use of double standards when addressing international and regional issues; the necessity to democratize international relations; protection of human rights, respect for diverse views and many other issues imposed by globalization such as respect for the environment; dialogue of cultures and civilizations; endeavor to create a suitable atmosphere for the establishment of a global humanitarian society that will lead us to the 21st century.

Undoubtedly the fundamental task of our meeting is how to address globalization and hegemony. I hope that you will focus on this crucial issue. We will not differ about analysis or negative aspects, the importance is how to confront and deal with these inter-connected and complex issues.
Thank you for your attention.

* Introductory speech of Dr. Morad Ghaleb, President of AAPSO.