Monday, March 26, 2012

Barghouti and Waskow debate BDS on Democracy Now


Excellent point made in the comments section on MondoWeiss by Phan Nguyen:

This is the second time Waskow has argued against BDS in a debate on Democracy Now. He did so two years earlier against Omar Barghouti.

His arguments are specious, but here I just want to point out his false suggestion that Martin Luther King would never support a boycott against an entire country:

Even when Dr. King clearly, publicly, vigorously opposed the Vietnam War, he did not call for a boycott of all American products and producers. He didn’t do that in Europe or in the United States. He targeted where he was aiming. And I think BDS, as presently framed, doesn’t target.

In reality, MLK supported full boycott, divestment and sanctions against Apartheid South Africa as early as 1962:

From a joint statement by MLK and Chief Albert J. Lutuli, dated 9 October 1962 and again on 10 December 1962, addressed to the international community:

Urge your Government to support economic sanctions;
Don’t buy South Africa’s products;
Don’t trade or invest in South Africa;
Translate public opinion into public action by explaining facts to all peoples, to groups to which you belong, and to countries of which you are citizens until AN EFFECTIVE INTERNATIONAL QUARANTINE OF APARTHEID IS ESTABLISHED.

From a speech in London, December 1964, en route to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize:

Our responsibility presents us with a unique opportunity. We can join in the one form of non-violent action that could bring freedom and justice to South Africa—the action which African leaders have appealed for—in a massive movement for economic sanctions.

In a world living under the appalling shadow of nuclear weapons do we not recognize the need to perfect the use of economic pressures? Why is trade regarded by all nations and all ideologies as sacred? Why does our Government, and your Government in Britain, refuse to intervene effectively now, as if only when there is a bloodbath in South Africa—or a Korea, or a Vietnam—will they recognise the crisis?

If the United Kingdom and the United States decided tomorrow morning not to buy South African goods, not to buy South African gold, to put an embargo on oil; if our investors and capitalists would withdraw their support for that racial tyranny, then apartheid would be brought to an end. Then the majority of South Africans of all races could at last build the shared society they desire.

From a speech in New York for Human Rights Day, 10 December 1965:

Today, in our opulent society, our reliance on trade with South Africa is infinitesimal significance. No real national interest impels us to be cautious, gentle, or a good customer of a nation that offends the world’s conscience…

The time has come to utilize non-violence fully through a massive international boycott which would involve the USSR, Great Britain, France, the United States, Germany and Japan. Millions of people can personally give expression to their abhorrence of the world’s worst racism through such a far-flung boycott. No nation professing a concern for man’s dignity could avoid assuming its obligations if people of all States and races were to adopt a firm stand. Nor need we confine an international boycott to South Africa. The time has come for an international alliance of peoples of all nations against racism.

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