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Keynote Address at the Conference on the Self-Determination and Liberation of West Papua: Page 3 of 5

Posted on 19 April 2017

would come about when the oppressed peoples, especially the workers and peasants, were confident that the Bolsheviks were committed to self-determination and equality.

To make it completely clear that the revolutionary workers’ party was committed to ending national oppression, it must also support the right of the oppressed nation to separate to form its own state. That did not mean that socialists advocate for a separate state in every instance; in some cases, socialists might argue the inadvisability of an independent state or the benefits of union. But they must be uncompromising in their rejection of bourgeois “unity” as a cover for continued national oppression and subjugation by “great” nations.

Unity, if there was to be unity, must be on a completely voluntary basis, stated Lenin. Its most important prerequisite is the commitment of party members from the oppressor nationality to fight energetically against national oppression and racism.

At the same time, he called for party members from the oppressed nationalities to fight for working class internationalism. He warned against any concessions to bourgeois nationalism, which “joins the proletarians and bourgeoisie of one nation and keeps the proletarians of different nations apart.” [2]

With the 1960 UN General Assembly adoption of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Peoples, GA Res. 1514, and the Declaration Concerning the Implementation of the Right to Self-determination, GA Res. 1541 the principle was elevated to the position of an unconditional right.

The Declaration on the Granting of Independence (Res. 1514) marks a significant shift in the law of self-determination. For the first time, in the case of colonial entities, it stressed that "inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence" including cessation of “all armed actions or repressive measures against dependent peoples.”

The Declaration Concerning the Implementation of the Right to Self-Determination (Res. 1541) outlined the three methods by which the self-determination of non self-governing territories could be achieved. These were independence, free association and integration.

In 1966, the UN GA adopted and opened for signature, ratification, and accession, the International Covenants (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).

The Common Articles 1(1) state, that "all peoples have the right to self- determination xxx." Articles 1(2) note that self-determination shall include a right to dispose of wealth and resources (economic self-determination), while Articles 1(3) oblige state parties to the Covenants "to promote the realization of the right to self-determination". The International Covenants do not appear to limit the right to self-determination to peoples classified as non self-governing by the United Nations. The implication is that the right belongs to "all peoples" and must be respected by all states, not only those who may be in a trust relationship with a dependent people.

The end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union heralded an era of US imperialist triumphalism, neoliberalism and imperialist globalization that is often referred to the ‘end of history,’ as Fukuyama calls it.  It meant the demise of the Non-Aligned Movement and its

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