Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/376/4227

From The Socialist newspaper, 15 January 2005

Will the West's aid ever arrive?

THE GENEROUS response of people worldwide to the plight of the tsunami victims is a graphic example of human solidarity and internationalism. Donations of people in advanced capitalist countries in Europe, north America, Japan, Australia, etc, shamed world leaders like Blair and Bush into vastly increasing government aid to countries hit by the tsunami.

However, how much of this aid promised by governments will actually be delivered? If previous disasters are anything to go by, the surviving victims of the tsunami could stay impoverished for years.

When, for example, hurricanes devastated central America in 1998, 4.8 billion was pledged by governments, but only 1.6 billion (33%) was delivered.

Mozambique

After floods struck Mozambique in 2000, 214 million was pledged but only 107 million (50%) was delivered. Today, roads remain unrepaired and many people still have no access to clean water. According to The Independent (7 January): "No sooner had the floodwaters receded than the aid dried up".

When an earthquake razed the Iranian city of Bam in December 2003, killing 31,000 people, around $1 billion was pledged but only $17 million (2%) was delivered. Some 150,000 survivors still live in tents or small containers.

UN officials say some pledges for Bam that were fulfilled were for items no longer needed. They ended up in warehouses, or may have been siphoned off by the Iranian government.

But when the disaster hits closer to home and, moreover, is of political importance, then the wallets of capitalist politicians are opened wide.

The US state of Florida is run by George Bush's brother Jeb Bush. It was a closely fought battleground between Republicans and Democrat in the 2000 presidential elections. So when Hurricane Charley tore through Florida last August, just three months before the 2004 presidential election, George Bush wasted no time in allocating $3.17 billion in federal and state disaster assistance.

By December 2004, 97.2% of those eligible applications for housing and related needs had been processed and approved. George Bush was, of course, comfortably re-elected in Florida.


Arms dealers still prosper

HUGE GOVERNMENT subsidies for arms companies still dwarf any gifts to the tsunami victims. In Britain, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), underwrites all arms deals, usually with unsavoury and often unstable regimes. If a bank lends money to an exporter whose customer fails to pay, the ECGD can give them a 100% refund.

British taxpayers and service users paid 400 million, under ECGD guarantees, to Britain's biggest arms firm, BAE for an Indonesian arms deal which collapsed when the regime could not pay for fighter jets that BAE persuaded them to buy.

Even after former Indonesian dictator Suharto was thrown out by a popular uprising in 1998, the ECGD was still bailing out arms firms who sold military equipment to Suharto's regime. In the last six years, the taxpayer has paid 645 million to arms firms for failed deals with Indonesia.

So firms aiding the Indonesian government's war in areas like Aceh get more support from Britain's government than the people of Aceh itself after the tsunami.

BAE allegedly had a 20 million slush fund to bribe officials of the reactionary regime in Saudi Arabia, one of its biggest, most profitable customers. The government, it seems, has secretly agreed to pay BAE 1 billion through the ECGD if that regime collapses.


Small change from top bosses

BRITAIN'S CORPORATIONS have been falling over themselves in donating to the tsunami relief fund. But before congratulating their directors, take a second look at their donations compared to their profits.

Vodafone: 1 million donations plus agreeing to match all its staff's donations. Last year's profits, 10 billion. Tesco has sent food, water and hygiene goods but its 100,000 is miserly compared to its 1.7 billion profit.

Retail magnate Philip Green, owner of Arcadia and Britain's fifth richest person, gave 100,000 in cash and 1 million in clothes. But that's small change to the man who received a 460 million bonus last year and who, thanks to a tax dodge, paid no tax at all on it!

And being seen as generous does wonders for the corporate image. All that publicity for a tax-deductible charitable donation!

But stinginess isn't only a corporate affliction. Rich people in general, according to the Charities Aid Foundation, only give 0.7% of their household expenditure to charity, whilst the poorest 10% allocate 3% of theirs.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 15 January 2005:

Tsunami disaster: cancel the debt

Tsunami disaster: It's business as usual for the politicians

Tsunami disaster: Will the West's aid ever arrive?

Action needed on global warming

Sri Lanka after the tsunami - opportunities and tensions

End the occupation of Iraq

Protest against the occupation of Iraq

Racist police beat up Palestinian student

A workers' leader on a worker's wage

An eventful year for a Socialist councillor

Blunkett: a study in opportunism

Coventry single status 'deal' - but same rip-off

Dirty profits hit hospitals

Vera Drake


 

Home   |   The Socialist 15 January 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Tsunami:

triangleNuclear power, no way!

triangleJapan: Tsunami results in misery for millions

triangleChile earthquake: Natural disaster, state catastrophe

Aid:

triangleStop the cuts - save our vital services

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleCampaigners fight second Yorkshire Women's Aid closure in two years

triangleForeign aid corruption: capitalism to blame

Mozambique:

triangleGlobal food crisis reveals failure of capitalism

Indonesia:

triangleWhen the world economic crisis makes landfall in S Asia

Relief:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/1/18

Sudan

Sudan: Free Mohamed Satti

22/1/18

London

Women rally defiantly

22/1/18

Obituary

Red Mary - a Force of Nature

17/1/18

Women

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

17/1/18

Newham

Packed Newham meeting against academies

17/1/18

Liverpool

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

17/1/18

Barking

Heating scandal on east London estate

17/1/18

Policing

Undercover policing legal challenge

17/1/18

Woolwich

No to the Woolwich monster block

17/1/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

17/1/18

Union

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

17/1/18

Hackney

Hackney school cleaners strike

17/1/18

RMT

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

17/1/18

Yorkshire

Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

17/1/18

Cuts

We must fight all council cuts!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle22 Jan Women rally defiantly

triangle22 Jan Red Mary - a Force of Nature

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2