Peace and Security in Freedom and Justice

in:

Below is the Dresden Appeal of the Party of Democratic Socialism, Germany, adopted at the 2nd Session of the 7th PDS Congress on 7 October, 2001

 

The attacks on New York and Washington, the unspeakable suffering of thousands of people shook up the world. We grieve for the victims; we stand in solidarity with the citizens of the United States of America.

Those responsible for the attacks have to be located and convicted. However, war must not be the answer to terror. It is not for politics to take revenge; it is the duty of politics to bring peace. The struggle against terrorism can be won; the war against it can never be won. 

Turning point and writing on the wall 

September 11th is the writing on the wall of the dawning 21st century. When fanaticism and violent tendencies turn everyday tools and means of transport into death-dealing weapons, all civilization is threatened. 

Nothing, not even the injustice in the world, can justify terror. There are still political decisions, political orientations and political organizations standing between injustice and terrorism.

Fighting against injustice and oppression has always been the justification of terrorism. Terrorism relies on desperation and despair, which among other factors derive from the inequitable distribution of wealth in this world. Its methods are hatred, murder and destruction. Terrorism is inhuman and totalitarian. It does not eliminate misery, injustice and oppression but sows more injustice and more oppression.

The whole world is facing a fundamental decision: either the richer part continues as before and tries to defend its privileges - or the governments and peoples, especially those of the highly industrialized states, address the questions of global survival in this one world. That means struggle against destruction of the environment, poverty, disease and underdevelopment, for equal opportunities to share in education, culture, politics and of course a common struggle by all countries against international terrorism. 

The terrorists of September 11th apparently want to make their attacks in the USA the prelude to a brutal war between the cultures, between the northern and southern hemispheres. We have to resist this together in a coalition of reason. This is a time for politics. We just need to look at Jerusalem or Belfast to see that the spiral of violence, hatred and counter-violence has to be broken. All of us - international organizations, states, business, non-governmental organizations, people from Vancouver to Shanghai, from New York to Moscow, from Cairo, Tel Aviv and Teheran to Berlin - are called upon to make the revival of politics our cause. International politics must not be allowed to move further away from civilian logic and towards military logic in the struggle against terrorism. 

  September 11th 2001 - Challenge for a Common Security Architecture

September 11th showed the world how vulnerable the industrialized countries are. Their Achilles heel is precisely the wealth and progress that have made them mighty. Their complex infrastructure is highly sensitive. Even cyber-terrorism, only an idea up to now, seems possible. 

The promise that security can be guaranteed through military supremacy, invulnerability through arms build-up, deterrence through threats is a fallacy. This feasibility delusion has been horribly shattered. Security is only possible with, not against one another. Security can only be obtained politically and through the rule of law. September 11th was the turning-point towards this realization.

The new alliance against terrorism still clouds the fact that the international community has different conceptions of terrorism and that particularistic interests are being pursued under the banner of anti-terrorism. There is still no guarantee that human and civil rights will be preserved in this struggle. Our world is still divided into rich and poor. It must not be divided into good and evil as well. No nation on this earth is a rogue nation; no religion is a rogue religion. 

PDS for Peace and Security in Freedom and Justice

As democratic socialists we are committed to peace, freedom and justice. Thousands of people die in distress every day of hunger and disease, without a sound and forgotten by the world. Peace, freedom and social justice belong together. Without them there will be no security, neither for us nor for anyone else.  

Peace Requires a New Concept of Security

The attacks in New York and Washington showed that no missile system, however perfect, and no outer space bristling with reconnaissance and killer satellites could have prevented the drama. New weapons systems do not bring security. They squander economic resources; they subordinate research and development to military goals. Thinking in military categories deforms intellectual and cultural life. 

NATO is totally unsuitable for combating terrorism. It arose from confrontation and its self-image is unchanged. Whether it wants to or not, NATO contributes to front lines emerging over and over again. Its new alliance strategy, including the possibility of giving itself a mandate for world-wide interventions, does not resolve any security problems. On the contrary, it creates new ones. The new Bundeswehr concept follows this strategy. One is as wrong as the other. 

Heavily armed, the world will remain without peace. Disarmament gives peace a chance. One fifth of today's military spending would suffice to ensure everyone a sustained basic supply of food, drinking water, education and public health services.

 

We propose...

...disarmament, preservation and extension of international arms control treaties, resurrection of the ABM treaty and the Convention on Biological Weapons and all other conventions limiting weapons and weapons technologies; prohibition of arms exports, total nuclear disarmament, complete renunciation of the military use of outer space and no new missile systems. Lasting peaceful solutions to international conflicts must be found, especially in the Near and Middle East. 

Let peace be just

A world economic order that gives a free hand to the global players of the financial, industrial and commercial worlds, that gambles away the chances of the underdeveloped countries on the stock exchange and divides the world into attractive, less attractive and unattractive zones has been obsolete for a long time. Globalization must be socially just, democratic and civilian. 

We propose...

...that Germany and Europe work hard for a balance of interests between North and South, East and West, poor and rich; for redistribution and international cooperation. This involves regulating the finance markets, combating poverty, promoting social development and the development of civil society, giving the economy a new ecological direction. The action programmes of numerous United Nations World Conferences have outlined how this can be done. The Kyoto Protocol is one. All these agreements must finally be implemented. It is important that people come together in resolving concrete problems, in networks, in individual projects and in an intercultural dialogue. 

Let peace be universal

Since the end of the East-West conflict the USA as the sole remaining world power has used NATO as a military instrument of its global interests policy. But this has not even benefited its own security, to say nothing of European security. 

The burden of preserving peace and international security should be shouldered by the entire community of nations. Internationally, security policy is the province of the United Nations alone. As long as the US administrations do not share responsibility and as long as they condemn their country to unilateral world dominance, the United States will remain, more than others, the target of global terrorism.  PDS policy wants to prevent this.

Thinking in cold war categories under the motto that my enemy's enemy is my friend has to be put an end to once and for all. The PDS struggles to have the top priority of the United Nations Charter, outlawing war and the threat or use of military power, finally respected by all states in their international relations.

The United Nations and its subsidiary organizations can ensure world peace, reduce threats to individual states and set universally valid standards for a world-wide domestic policy. It must be restored to its role as the sole legitimate world organization; it must be strengthened and at the same time reformed. 

Peace requires law

In order to survive, humanity requires recognized rules of cooperation in this one world. The Charter of the United Nations is the basis for human co-existence. This applies to Afghanistan just as it does to Macedonia and Kosovo. All measures must be compatible with international law and the United Nations Charter. It must be implemented at last. 

Terrorism must be combated internationally without respect of persons and their motives, regardless of which countries might be involved or which state interests might be affected.

Modern societies have banned retaliation and revenge from social relations; self-defence and assistance in case of need are subject to strict legal restrictions. This should also apply to preventive or repressive measures against terrorism. In a civil society, these are court and police measures, but never military strikes and war.

The proper place to condemn those responsible for international terrorism and avoid any semblance of revenge and retaliation would be the International Criminal Court, which is still in the formative stage. Its statutes must be ratified without delay by all states, and the USA in particular must abandon its blockading attitude. The crime of terrorism should be taken up as a separate offence in an additional protocol. 

What is required is an international set of rules clearly defining terrorism and outlawing it world-wide. But it must be guaranteed that this law really applies universally, without respect of persons and states and without regard to egoistical national political, economic or military interests. 

The measures against international terrorism already resolved on by the United Nations must be implemented, including the latest resolutions of the UN Security Council concerning depriving terrorism of its funds on the basis of the United Nations Charter. It is also necessary to close down international tax havens. A World Conference of the United Nations should quickly create stringent international rules and mechanisms for the struggle against terrorism, traffic in drugs and weapons, and their international funding and adopt a comprehensive anti-terror convention.

  Let peace be liberal

In our country as well, people have a legitimate interest in being safe from crime, violence and terror. They rightly expect the state to ensure the best possible conditions for a life in social and personal security and in cultural diversity. Federal government measures such as less protection of personal data, further obstacles to immigration and more surveillance are hardly likely to contribute to that goal.

Such a security concept is a vote of no confidence in the citizens. It sees every individual as a potential offender or sympathizer. This upsets the balance of state security policy and individual civil rights. 

The PDS proposes a different path

The danger emanates not from individuals and their freedoms but from crime. It is based on the arms trade, drugs, money laundering, trafficking in human beings, and speculation; sometimes its connections extend deeply into business and politics. The citizens must have effective protection against it. 

In our country, security for people also means consistently applying the laws to combat crime that already exist. Criminal prosecution agencies, the police, civil defence and disaster control bodies are to be provided with more personnel and with modern technology. Banker's secrecy can be lifted in cases of reasonable suspicion. International tax havens must be closed down.

Public buildings, traffic junctions, and water and energy supplies are to be protected. Air safety must of course be improved. Atomic energy as a safety hazard has to be done away with. 

The PDS is opposed to the use of the Bundeswehr (army) inside the country. It is against the amalgamation of military, secret service and police work. The citizens need to be safe from state arbitrariness as well.

The PDS defends civil society and the democratic constitutional state. This idea helped shape the "American dream". As the American president Benjamin Franklin said, "He that gives up freedom for security loses both".

  Preserve peace

We call upon the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany to ensure that Germany does not take part in the preparations for war. It should use its good connections with the USA to deter the Bush Administration from making war. 

Finding the right way to preserve peace and combat international terrorism is too much to expect of the governments alone. For this purpose society needs all the ideas from science and peace research and from culture; it needs the experience of the peace movement, voices from the churches and trade unions, dialogue with the population. The PDS wishes to make its contribution to this. 

Mankind today has all it takes to eliminate wars, poverty and underdevelopment permanently. But mankind also has all it takes to wipe human life off the face of the earth once and for all. The looming war can still be the last throes of a millennium of violence and counter-violence. The present can still be stronger than the powers of the past. All it takes is peace!