Sunday, February 6, 2011

Socialist International's Strange Bedfellows

I remarked before that until this January the ruling parties of Egypt and Tunisia were members of the Socialist Internation, a global organisation of left-wing parties that includes the Labour parties of Britain, Ireland and Australia, along with a host of mainstream parties in other developed, democratic countries.

Surprised to see moderate centre-left parties sharing an organisation with dictators, I browsed Socialist International's list of parties to see if I could find other odd members.

I did. Côte d'Ivoire's Ivorian Popular Front is a member. This is the party of Laurent Gbagbo, the Ivorian president who rejected as fraudulent the results of the latest election - which were won by his rival:

The UN Security Council has urged all parties in Ivory Coast to recognise opposition leader Alassane Ouattara as president and extended the mandate of the peacekeeping force for six months.

Incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo had ordered the 10,000-strong force to leave the country after the UN said he lost November's disputed run-off vote....

There are widespread fears that the election dispute could reignite civil war in the world's largest cocoa producer.

About 50 people have been killed in recent days, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

She said she had received reports of hundreds being snatched from their homes by people in military uniforms. Some were later found dead.

Presidential terms in Côte d'Ivoire last for five years, Gbagbo managed to extend his without election to ten, and then refused to budge when he appeared to lose. Meanwhile:

Armed forces in Ivory Coast who back incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo have conducted a campaign of violence that has included execution, kidnapping, torture and rape, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.

The New York-based watchdog group said an "in-depth investigation" of allegations of human rights violations in Abidjan, the main city in the world's top cocoa producer, had revealed an "an often-organized campaign of violence."

Then there is Ghana's National Democratic Congress, founded by Jerry John Rawlings, who ruled as a military dictator and elected president:

In 1982, three judges and a retired army officer were abducted.

They were killed gruesomely at a military range in circumstances that have led to accusations of complicity being levelled at Rawlings and his wife.

An official enquiry at the time exonerated them, but there are growing calls from families of the victims for fresh investigations.

That is not the only allegation of murder and torture by Rawlings.

So this is puzzling indeed. Tunisia and Egypt's parties were expelled this January when protests were met with oppression; does SI make this decision based only on the extent of news coverage following its autocratic members?


  1. Hush! They are American supported dictatorships, OK? :D

    The members of Socialist International are weird. I wonder what's their membership standards? Turkey's oldest party, CHP, also belongs to the Socialist International. However neither Ataturk nor the party itself have been known to have socialist tendencies. When Turkey became an American ally against Communism, these guys were in charge.

    It seems that they are a very open society :D

  2. Interesting!

    "Socialist International (capitalists welcome)" :P


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