Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Why do we want banks?

I am talking about 'we' : those people with spare cash, with savings, with a regular income, with at least 100GBP each a day..... the minority who think they are the ‘norm; the 500 million out of 7 billion’.
We want banks as places to receive our payments, our salaries, our pensions; to pay our bills; and when necessary, give us credit........let us be DEBT SLAVES. In fact, many people think that when you put money into a bank, that money is kept there.  It is assumed that your money is safe and available on demand. This is known as ‘Full Reserve Banking’, and does not operate in the UK nor anywhere else. It is a fantasy. There are a number of versions of this system. According to the narrow version, a bank would function as a ‘deposit box’, in which the total monies are held, for a fee, until withdrawn by the depositors. The bankers would be driven to set up as many accounts as possible, so as to increase fee incomes. The bankers would focus on their customers and their accounts. A broader version recognizes that the monies held are never withdrawn simultaneously, sitting in their accounts for long periods of time. Banks could invest and loan the deposits held in the bank, for profit. Banks can act as intermediaries between investors and business enterprises, and loans can be made for profit. The significant aspect of Full Reserve is that a loan must be secured by an agreed sum, on deposit either at the bank or the Central Bank.  
For example, in order that 10,000GBP be lent at 10% interest for 10 years, 10,000GBP must be held in reserve on deposit. The full reserve ratio is 1 to 1: or 100%. This would mean that if there was a default, the bank could recover the loss from this collateral. This is not how banks operate today.  But this is how many people think banks work. In fact, many people do not know how banks operate!

So how do they operate? Financial groups, such as banks, mutual funds, hedge funds, investment funds, insurance companies, pension groups, operate ‘Fractional Reserve Banking’, according to which monies or assets held can be leveraged or multiplied by many times in the form of  loans, creating new money according to demand. For example, any 10,000GBP cash held on deposit will allow the bank to lend up to 100.000GBP; and any 100,000 on account can create 1,000,000; and that can be used to create 100,000,000. The fractional reserve ratio in this case can be 1 to100. The bank can use 10,000GBP to create 100,000,000GBP.
In this way, Fractional Reserve Banking is designed to create new money as loans. Money is regarded as debt not cash. Bank profits are generated from the interest paid on the loans. In this way 10,000 cash is used to create 100,000,000 ‘virtual money’ as debt. Today, of all the ‘monies’ available to bankers and fund managers, 97% is digital/virtual, 3% cash/coins/notes.  The amount of digital money lent has little to do with the amount of cash in circulation. Under Fractional Reserve banking, cash deposits are not held at the Central Bank. Bankers and financiers and traders manipulate ‘money numbers’ on a screen, talk ‘cash’, but  their electronic dealings take place without regard for the consequences of their trading in numbers  for cash, stock and commodities markets across the world. The ‘money numbers’ traded everyday in markets can be many  trillions GBP……in loans, in commodities; currency exchange; stock market dealings; derivatives, futures………..
Today, the only ‘cash’ is to be found in our wallets and purses, and ATMs, pay packets, and shops; and a bank does promise to pay cash to us on demand via an ATM or cash clerk.
Before 1986, fractional reserve banking in the UK had been subject to rules set by parliament and the Bank of England. After 1986 the Financial Services Act allowed an unregulated fractional reserve banking system, in which interest is charged and
profits generated from every transaction and the higher the interest rate, the greater the profits. Following the deregulation of the UK banking system in 1986, the pursuit of profits and fees was more important than customer care, and banks constantly enticed customers to take out loans at the highest interest rates possible. Few customers, including myself, actually worked out the total payment made on a loan and preferred instead to decide if they could afford the monthly repayment and negotiate the loan according to the monthly repayment, not the rate of interest.
Under both systems, new money is debt money.  ‘Full Reserve’ means that the 10,000GBP I borrow is secured by 10,000GBP in a deposit account. Every loan is secured against a cash deposit. Whereas ‘Fractional Reserve’ means that any agreed amount can be used as collateral for a loan, and the loan itself can be up to 100 times more than the collateral.  Money is debt!
Banks and financial groups were free to develop their services for maximum profit and efficiency. The first thing to change was that it was no longer necessary to deal in nor transfer cash. The transfer of cash had always required armoured vehicles and guards. But now all transactions were digital projects. No cash, only digital entries transferred at the stroke of a keyboard. Fractional Reserve banking means that money can be created more quickly and easily, x100, and facilitates growth.
Shops/factories/offices/ all enterprises can borrow monies, x100, to expand their facilities and services, irrespective of their savings, but dependent on their assets as collateral. Most of the ‘money’ that is used does not exist as ‘cash’, but is represented by digital numbers. It is assumed that monies are kept in bank accounts, ad infinitum. It was thought to be safe
for the sums on loan to greatly exceed the cash available and it was denied that banking becomes much more risky in the event of defaults. But as we saw following 2007, many people defaulted on their loans, and even more claimed their cash deposits, and the banks could not meet these demands, and went into liquidation. They could not pay cash as promised and so had to appeal to the governments for bailouts: that is, print the money.
Fractional Reserve Banking makes it easier to negotiate loans when the client has substantial assets. Countries have taxes, GDP, commodities, minerals, resources which entice banks to loan money to governments. Even though governments have the right to print money to meet their costs, most use Central Banks to organize their monies in the form of loans.
National debts can be as high as $15 trillion, as in the USA, with   interest payments of $500 billion per year; and the UK, with 1.2 trillion GBP debts, has to meet 43 billion GBP  annual interest. Other countries have large debts: Belgium $1.3 trillion; Japan, $1.5 trillion; France $1.7 trillion; China $1.9trillion; Ireland $1.8 trillion; Italy $2.2 trillion; Germany $2 trillion; Russia $76 billion; Greece E345 billion. Unregulated Fractional Reserve banking has led to sovereign debts being larger now than ever.
The Banks are free to negotiate deals to their advantage, and help governments to manage their finances for a fee. In Europe, the countries of Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Greece, and others have borrowed more than they could afford and gone bankrupt. What that means is that they were unable to pay their debts, nor to pay their bills. They had run out of cash.
In order to pay their debts they have had to ask the Euro-zone for bailouts: that is, more debt to pay debts. The  public debates between the finance ministers of the EU have been about the balances of numbers in accounts, and how to reconcile the credits and the debits; the assets and income with the loans and the interest payments.
The negotiations have not been about the morality of a system that sacrifices social welfare for the protection of banking profits.
While poor countries borrow to meet their monthly costs, rich countries borrow, rather than use their assets, to pay for their projects. They are concerned to ‘leverage’ their incomes so as to fund major projects like wars, weapons, space travel. The 1:100 ratio enables them to borrow very large sums of money.
Poor countries like Greece or Portugal or Hungary or Argentina or Guinea or Somalia or Sudan or Niger or Congo borrow, knowing that they will default. On the other hand, why do some banks lend to countries that they know are likely to default? Or in the case of Goldman Sachs, devise strategies with governments like Greece that will enable them to default with minimum risk to the lender [the creation of credit default swaps]. All the dealings are about profits as embodied in the rates of interest. As long as the debtor country keeps paying, it raises the profits of the creditor.
We are involved in a ‘numbers game’, and one that punishes all who do not ‘pay up’. One of the rules of the game is that debts are paid on time and in full.  In the case of a ‘bankrupt’, debts are to be covered by more debts [that is, loans by more
loans, interest payments by more interest.] Another rule is that the ‘bankrupt’ is obliged to reduce costs, and increase income, so as to balance the books and repay the debts. The ‘bankrupt’ has to be punished. Greece has to be punished.
Over the last four years we have all been witnessing what happens to debtors who fail to pay, who default. For example, in the USA, sub-prime mortgage debtors have lost their houses. Often, in the cases of sovereign default, such as Argentina or Greece, the clients may have repaid the principal.  But as we know, the contract is to pay principal + interest, as the interest payment comprises the profit for the creditor. Recently, it was reported by Gavin Hewitt/Robert Peston of the BBC, that Greece has paid  the principal owed, but may be unable to pay the interest in full.
How much interest is generated by these transactions? Loans are subject to compound interest. For example, collateral of 1million GBP, enables a loan of 100,000,000GBP. The compound interest of 7.5% for 20 years generates 424.7millionGBP.
The client is liable for the payment of the principal + interest: that is, 524.7millionGBP. In effect, the original loan is subject to a fee of 424,700,000GBP. So the client borrows 100 million, and pays 525 million in return. In this case, the original sum of 1 million is used to generate 525 million as new money! All of which is gathered by the bank/hedge fund/investment group, etc. as profit. Banks charge exorbitant interest fees and prosper.  Countries and their peoples, die! simply because they have to pay back 4.24 times the original loan.
At the moment, let us say that the national debt of Greece is Euros345 billion, according to Wikipaedia/World Bank/CIA/EU. It is worth noting that the numbers vary from one report to another, and so it is difficult to be precise.
But if we follow Gavin Hewitt, the principal sum is not the problem!  The interest payable is the problem. It is easy to see why:  E345 billion @ 7.5% for 20 years, would be E1.46 trillion.
In 2011, the government was in the situation whereby it was being forced by the Eurozone to cut all expenses, and raise all incomes so as to repay the total interest of up to E1.46 trillion to the banks by 2020. As a consequence, the country has suffered intense social unrest …..strikes, demonstrations, riots.
However, recent negotiations in 2012 have led to the acceptance that the interest payments are ruinous to a country that is poor, and undergoing recession. There has been an agreement that 30% of the interest will be sufficient ….Even though the
banks have been ‘weeping’ over this ‘haircut’, 30% of E1.46 trillion is still a large profit on a ‘virtual principal’. It is still more than the original loan! We will have to wait to see if the debt interest is cancelled, so that Greece [and other such countries] can re-start with a clean
plate. Remember the original loan has been paid back, and the banks are being asked to reduce their profits, but the profits are still ruining the country. The payment of interest would not be seen as a problem for a country such as Germany, USA, or China whose economy was growing by +5%/7%/10% a year. But for Greece, and many other poor countries across the world, whose economies are shrinking by -7% per year, these payments have become impossible. These loans were made at the height of economic growth when the payment of interest [no matter how exorbitant] was thought to be ‘no problem’.
In the years following the ‘credit crunch’ of 2007/8/9 when some of the biggest banks in the world went bankrupt, and many countries went into recession, and the global financial system almost collapsed, some alternative strategies are necessary so
as to ease the economic pressures on poor countries……that is, most countries.
One solution could be to lower the compound interest rates charged on loans. For example, a loan of E100million @ 1% for 20 years would generate E22million interest; and the principal + compound interest would be E122,019,004. Another solution would be to calculate the simple interest: a loan E100,000,000 @1% simple interest for 20 years would be E120 million.
These totals are significantly less than E424 million repayable on a loan at 7.5 %. But they are still exorbitant at a time of economic recession. And all represent significant profits for the creditors on transactions that are trading virtual sums created and deleted at the push of a button. These transactions are politically significant in circumstances when a government has to raise taxes and to cut all social services in order to repay the interest on a loan; or when a government, like the USA, has borrowed so much that it can only afford to pay the annual interest, and therefore has to sell off national assets so as to remain solvent. Governments, such as Greece or Ireland or Portugal or Iceland or Spain or Italy, may have repaid the principal of their loans, but cannot pay the interest. This interest could be four times the principal! Ireland with a national debt of $1.8 trillion is facing interest payments
of $7.2 trillion; or Italy, $8.8 trillion interest.  These are all inconceivable amounts of money: particularly for countries that are barely covering their costs. But the non-payment of interest is unacceptable because it is the profit for the banks.
Should any government be permitted to borrow more than it can ever possibly repay? Should any government be permitted to borrow sums at interest rates that will lead to bankruptcy?
Should funding agencies be able to charge punitive interest rates?
Should creditors be able to lend money to clients who cannot pay their debts?
Should interest rates be variable according to the circumstances of the debtor?
Should we follow the example of the Grameen Bank, initiated by Muhammad Yunus, and charge very low interest rates, for small loans ?
Should interest rates be capped for everyone, so as to limit the profits of the creditors? Would it be better if all loans had a fixed fee?
How could a regulator stop the debtors and the creditors from taking advantage of any preferential contracts?
This leads us to another  solution:  the necessity for oversight and regulation.
Which organization could be given authority to supervise, regulate, and control the financial affairs of individuals, corporations, countries? The World Bank, the IMF, the United Nations, the EU, the AU? among others.

It is not surprising that many clients, corporations or countries, become unable to repay the sum in total and default. It is clear that none of the funding agencies and their traders care about the circumstances of the debtors. All they are interested in is the generation of  profits and bonuses. It is none of their business that many countries like those in Africa, such as
Namibia, Niger, Sudan, Somalia, Congo, need loans to pay for foods to feed their starving peoples. The countries want grant-aid, but are driven to loans…..that will bankrupt them. To survive, these governments have to negotiate for debt-cancellation.
None of this would matter under a system of ‘full reserve banking’ simply because every loan would be tied to cash or assets.
It must be admitted that none of this would matter, because many countries would be unable to raise enough cash to provide collateral for any loans.
So we are faced by a dilemma. How to structure and regulate a ‘fractional reserve system’ that does not bankrupt those countries that try to borrow money? How to design a ‘full reserve system’ which is more flexible in demands for collateral and assets? On reflection, it seems that banking systems that are intended to benefit the banksters and fundsters, and sacrifice the debtors, are not socially nor morally justified. They protect the interests of the 1% and control the savings and investments across the world. They are only interested in peoples and governments who want to borrow money, and pay maximum interest.
One can conclude that any banking system that is totally dependent upon the generation of profits from the interest on loans is unacceptable. As we have seen, the calculation of the interest due from poor debtor countries leads to their bankruptcy.
Such loans and compound interest are not intended to alleviate global poverty. They are intended to maximize the profits and bonuses of the banksters.
A different system is essential: one in which the money needed for survival is printed and not borrowed. The cycle of debt, as organized by fractional reserve banking, and upheld by full reserve banking, must be abandoned.

Friday, 14 September 2012


Cheat, Fraud, Corruption, Tax Avoidance, Price Fixing.
On February 7 2012 it was announced that there would be a merger of the commodity trader, Glencore, with the mining company, Xstrata, to form a new corporation, ‘Glenstrata’.
August 2012 the merger is not complete. Shareholders are objecting that the creation of the new corporation will deprive them of dividends, and lower the value of their holdings. Opponents are claiming that the new corporation will have too much control over the commodities markets.

It is projected that the new corporation will generate revenues of GBP 156 billion, with profits of GBP14 billion. The current chief executive officers were at university together in Witwatersrand, South Africa, and are already multi-millionaires.
The new corporation will manage the mining of zinc, copper, lead, alumina, nickel, cobalt, iron ore, coal; and production of fuel oil, heating oil, gasoline, naptha, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gas, steam coal, and coke, ferro-alloys; and the farming of grains, wheat, corn, barley, rice, oilseeds, cotton, sugar, biodiesel, ethanol, meals. The corporation operates enterprises in Brazil. Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia; Mauritania, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo; Kazakhstan, Russia; Italy, France, Spain, UK., Ireland, Sweden, Norway;Texas, Canada; Singapore, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Australia.
It will have a significant global presence.

In a socially just and equitable world, one could imagine that such corporations as
‘Glenstrata’ [and RioTinto, and BHPBilliton, Anglo-American, and Cargill] would be examples of the benefits of globalization. They would support local workers and communities with fair wages, pensions, social benefits such as housing and health care; provide facilities for safe water and sanitation; offer education and training; provide roads and railways; enable local  mining companies to develop effective safety procedures, and to protect local environments from pollution. Such global corporations could make the lives of the local people better with higher standards of living in return for the rights to produce and process local commodities. Alternatively, if they did not want to bother to make such social provisions, the corporations and their subsidiaries could fully pay their taxes so as to allow the governments to provide all these amenities to the local citizens.
But such an humanitarian approach does not seem to be part of the agenda for international commodity capitalism!

Glencore produces, sources, processes, refines, transports, stores, finances, and supplies commodities, and trades them, playing the markets, selling them at the highest price. Xstrata mines ores and sells the minerals on the commodities markets. As part of the new corporation, it will become a trader. ‘Glenstrata’ will control the commodities it mines and grows from source to market. It will control the prices of everyday goods from fuels, electric wiring, bread, and cereals. It will speculate on futures markets: buying  commodities today at an agreed price, betting that the price will be higher, securing a profit, on the agreed sale date. And of course, because Glenstrata brings the commodities to the market place, it can control the supply and prices. Such a corporation will benefit from globalization by gaining access to resources and materials from many countries. It will have strategic control of essential commodities and will need to be closely regulated by international and national
As reported by the New York Times, the Ecologist, Aljazeera, the Daily Telegraph, the opponents of the merger object that Glenstrata will be able to control the world supply and prices of vital materials by hoarding them until the prices rise e.g. holding grains in storehouses, waiting for a drought! They fear that Glenstrata will exert a price stranglehold over minerals, foods, and metals. However, some primary shareholders vigorously oppose the merger on the grounds that too much bonus money will be going to the chief officers to the disadvantage of the shareholders.
The past history of  both companies leads us to conclude that their corporate strategies are ‘hard-nosed’ and that they are highly likely to play the global markets to their advantage, without any consideration of the benefits of the countries and the communities in which they operate.
‘Minimise costs to maximize profits’ is a key principle of capitalist practice. For example, Glencore set up joint enterprises by private deals in the Democratic Republic of Congo with 6 mining companies that cost the government $5.5 billion in lost revenue as the result of operating tax avoidance schemes such as non payment of corporate taxes. In Zambia, the mines at Mufulira pay workers minimum wages, create serious pollution including sulphur poisoning, and acid rain. In Chile, and Australia, and Canada, Xstrata has been subject to worker disputes over wages and safety.

In view of the fact that GLENSTRATA is a new corporation, looking towards a new future, what are the possibilities of new corporate strategies? The countries of Africa have many poor people trying to survive on less than $1.25 a day. And these countries are rich in minerals and ores. Their tenants should be richer from the rents, and fees and royalties that ‘Glenstrata’ could be paying them. But the new corporation will continue to deprive the local communities of their rights and dues. This could change if the governments of countries like Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, South Africa, Indonesia, Philippines chose to develop systems of regulation, that would  establish and secure exactly what corporations ought to be paying for their mining and farming enterprises, ‘Glenstrata’ would be forced to choose to play fair, and operate for the benefit of  local communities and shareholders. A recent story by the BBC showed that this is not happening. John
Sweeney reported that in the DRCongo, at the Luilu refinery, Glenstrata continues to mine and refine copper by using sulphuric acid, and pouring the residues direct back into the local river........while declaring that it is busy looking after the environment, and improving the living conditions of the workers!

At the moment the World Bank, the IMF, the OECD, and the UN, all condemn the leaders of many ‘developing countries’ for their extensive practices of corruption. While this may be justified, it ignores the fact that the leaders of corruption in these countries are the multi-national corporations who are busy exploiting the resources of the different countries for the lowest cost and the maximum profit, as well as personal gain. It is well known and well documented that many global corporations, including ‘Glenstrata’, choose to use every means at their disposal to avoid paying taxes! For example, when there are tons of copper waiting to be sold, ‘Glenstrata’ would buy it from the local mining company, which it owns, at a low cost of  say $500million, and sell it in Switzerland at a premium price of say $11.4 billion.  Such transfer pricing is a normal practice operated by all the commodity groups of Europe and Australasia and is instrumental in depriving poor communities of any social benefits from the riches in their neighbourhoods.  
Another stratagem is to buy up local companies and to treat them as if they are competitors or subsiduaries or shells according to priorities at the time. ‘Glenstrata’ has a number of subsidiary companies in different countries. Sometimes they operate as integral parts of the corporation, contributing to the ‘total tax contribution’.  This is a scam developed by
PriceWaterhouseCoopers, PwC, whereby the auditors add together the total corporation tax; the total VAT paid by customers; PAYE and National Insurance payments paid by workers; and treat it as if it was the total tax paid by the corporation. The total tax contribution is used as the justification for the non-payment of tax. Sometimes the local companies are treated as independent, but dependent on the global corporation for loans. This scam is known as ‘thin capitalisation’. As business loans are usually welcomed by governments, they are subject to tax  relief schemes: the bigger the loan, the bigger the relief.  In this scam, the corporation is lending money to itself, so as to avoid paying tax and gaining relief.
Sometimes the local companies are operated as independent, mining the ores, and selling minerals to the corporation at the lowest prices.   

Tax havens such as Switzerland are essential to resource-seeking corporations operating in Africa: more than 85 per cent of asset portfolios for sub-Saharan Africa pass through tax havens. A tax haven is a territory/country that has low or nil taxes; allows companies to register, to be non resident; observe total privacy; enables individuals and companies to avoid paying taxes in their resident territory. A tax haven operates as a financial enterprise attracting as many cash deposits as possible. Shell companies are another scam that allows listed corporations to buy the name and listing of a company that no longer functions; has gone bankrupt, has no products, no officers, and no workers.  The shell enables corporations to hide monies in their accounts and audits. ‘Glenstrata’ has many subsidiaries in Africa that are registered in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands.  It keenly utilises tax havens as vehicles for shell companies able to access legal and financial opacity tools including banking secrecy, thin capitalisation, little or no taxation, zero disclosure of company accounts, use of nominees, and - best of all - high-level client confidentiality, all of which is entirely legal. But all of which is immoral and corrupt. All of these scams enable corporations such as ‘Glenstrata’ to cheat the native workers, and their communities, and their governments of income and social funds and benefits. These complex webs of corruption raise issues about the legitimacy of such corporations and the intentions of governments that declare these actions as legal. These webs reveal that globalization is designed for the benefit of corporate capitalism.
GLENSTRATA is one of the largest owners of farm land in the world. Are they concerned to feed the farmers and their families, and raise their standards of living? or to hoard their products in storehouses?  Instead of playing the food markets to raise prices, should they endeavour to reduce hunger. Glencore already recognizes food insecurity and participates in the UN World Food Programme as a supplier of grain as well as a trader. However, shareholders of GLENSTRATA such as the United Arab Emirates and Korea are determined to gain access to the farmlands for the benefit of their own citizens in the future, without regard for the interests of the farmers in the supplier countries. We have to confront the facts that commodities markets reward the traders and keep the miners and farmers in poverty.                                                                                                  
Each year, Africa loses a minimum of $148bn - almost four times the sum of foreign aid it receives, to capital flight - of which 60 per cent is due to corporate mispricing. Clearly, the solution toward enabling African countries to recover their lost revenue and become economically independent, is to block revenue leakages, rather than provide further loans and grants characterised by conditionalities that undermine development.

The period between 2007 and 2012 has revealed more clearly than before that we are subject to a capitalist system in which the drive for profits leads banks and fund managers and corporations to seek for high prices and high returns without regard for the interests of the customers, the workers and communities across the world. We have to accept not only that poverty is the norm, but also that corruption is standard practice. It seems too that those individuals who have millions of dollars want more! They do not seem to care that if they could be satisfied with $500.000, they would release millions of dollars to alleviate the poverty of 6.9 billion others.                                                                                        
Is it so unreasonable to ask corporations like GLENSTRATA to adopt business strategies and working practices that benefit  the workers and their families? Instead of spending fortunes on auditors and financiers and lawyers to creatively account the books, those fees could be used to raise the standards of living of the locals involved in mining and farming across the world.

Saturday, 8 September 2012


conflict prevention      
Despite the horrors of global war as revealed during the 2nd World War, armed conflict and civil wars have continued to dominate events since 1945.
 WIKIPEDIA reports that there have been 243 wars/conflicts 1945-2012: including  Korea, Vietnam, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, the Gulf States, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, the Congo, Ethiopia, and many colonies claiming their independence. Many people have been killed. 

The 2011 World Development Report, published by the World Bank group, has offered evidence that in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence, insecurity has become the primary development challenge of our time. They reported that at least one-and-a-half billion people live in areas affected by fragility, conflict, or large-scale organized criminal violence. The World Development teams visited twenty low- and middle income countries including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, West Bank and Gaza, and Yemen. They concluded that no low-income, fragile or conflict-affected country has yet to achieve a single United Nations Millennium  Development Goal (UN MDG).  New threats such as organized crime and trafficking, civil unrest due to global economic shocks, and terrorism, have supplemented continued preoccupations with conventional war between and within countries. Locally and globally, violence and conflict have not been banished. One in four people on the planet live in fragile and conflict-affected states or in countries with very high levels of criminal violence. Many countries and regions now face cycles of repeated violence, weak governance, and instability. These conflicts often are not one-off events, but are ongoing and repeated.

New forms of conflict and violence threaten development. Many countries that have successfully negotiated political and peace agreements after violent political conflicts, such as El Salvador, Guatemala, and South Africa, now face high levels of violent crime, constraining their development. Undernourished, unable to send their children to school,  children die before age five, and lack clean water.  Everyday experiences, such as going to school, to work, or to market, become occasions for fear.
Drug and human trafficking, money laundering, illegal exploitation of natural resources and wildlife, counterfeiting, and violations of intellectual property rights are lucrative criminal activities, which facilitate the penetration by organized crime of the already vulnerable sociopolitical, judicial, and security structures in developing countries. Transnational organized crime has converted some Caribbean countries into corridors for the movement of illegal drugs and persons toward Europe and North America. Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru, continue to be the main global cocaine producers, while Mexico is facing an unprecedented wave of violence. West Africa has become the newest passage for drugs coming from South America and destined for Europe. Several African countries suffer the illegal exploitation of their natural resources, while Asia is a hub for tons of opiates originating from Afghanistan.
The central message of the Report is that strengthening legitimate institutions and governance to provide citizen security, justice, and jobs is crucial to break cycles of violence. Institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion—the likelihood of violent conflict increases. The role of the State is to protect citizens, combat corruption, establish the rule of law, and prevent violent conflicts.
But there have been occasions  over the last 100 years when governments and their supporters have attacked ethnic, racial, religious, national minorities living within their borders: in particular the Nazi government of Germany, but also the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, the Slavs of Yugoslavia,  the Hutus and Tutsis of Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, the Congo.  GENOCIDE is the mass killing of citizens by their neighbours!
[refer to  Genocidewatch.org ; human rights watch [www.hrw.org.]

During these cycles of continous violence, some organizations have been more concerned with the strategies of conflict prevention.
 Gareth Evans,  sometime President of the International Crisis Group [www.crisisgroup.org.]
called for  Conflict Prevention in February 2007.He wants to promote the need to think and act globally, and the collective responsibility for protection.  He identified ten key lessons.

Lesson 1.  Conflict prevention effort does make a difference.
Lesson 2: The Best Way to Stop Wars is Not to Start Them
Lesson 3. Conflict is cyclical: the trick is to stop the wheel turning.
One of the things we now understand most clearly about conflict is that the countries and regions most likely to lapse into it are those that have been there before
Lesson 4. One size analysis doesn’t fit all: every conflict is different.
To understand how to prevent  - and resolve - conflict it is necessary to understand what causes it, and one of the products of the much enhanced focus on conflict prevention is much more academic and institutional  analysis than we have ever had before on what generates conflict.
Lesson 5. Conflict prevention  requires complex strategies: one-dimensional fixes rarely work
Lesson 6. Conflict prevention requires effective institutional structures.
Lesson 7. Conflict prevention requires application of resources.
Lesson 8: recognize that there is no substitute for cooperative internationalism.
Lesson 9. Conflict prevention requires the mobilization of political will.
This is the bottom line in just about every area of public policy: unless the relevant decision makers, at the national or international level, want something to happen it won’t.
Lesson 10:  recognize there is no substitute for leadership
Of all the lessons we have learned about conflict prevention the need for good leadership is probably the single most obvious and the single most important. But it remains the hardest of all to get right. And maybe at the end of the day, the responsibility for getting it right – in voting democracies like ours at least – is something that we cannot pretend belongs to anyone but ourselves as ordinary, individual citizens.
If these lessons are to be applied, I suggest, that other lessons have to be learnt. We must all accept that we are interdependent. We must learn that international cooperation is possible, and essential. We must learn that all humans are capable of resolving differences by talk, not by killing each other. We must learn that what happened in the past cannot be used as a justification for war today. We must learn that the past provides history, language,
culture, which is to be celebrated as part of a multicultural society: unity in diversity.
he central elements of a peaceful world which encapsulate many of the elements of ‘social ecology’ and ‘social freedom’ that we are working to define:

The need to recognize the interdependence of all,
The need for everyone to be free in order for anyone to be free
The need to accept diversity, and be aware of similarities.

 It is not good enough to bond with your family and tribe for this can lead to individualism, tribalism, sectarianism, nationalism, and constant conflict. The concepts of social ecology and social freedom require us to think and act for global communities: human, animal, and plant. We may think ‘local’, but we must act ‘global’. We have to acknowledge that changes on the other side of the world have impacts on our locality.
For example,
There is unsurprising consensus that climate change will have disproportionately harmful socio-economic effects on developing countries, even though they have contributed to it least.[www.ipcc.ch – the intergovernmental panel on climate change at the United Nations].
Developing countries are particularly vulnerable because of their tropical geography; their high birth rates, heavy dependence on agriculture and rapid urbanisation; and their weak infrastructures and lack of resources. The Stern report and other studies have suggested that climate-induced scarcities – of food, water and health – will increase  poverty, affect migration patterns and potentially lead to or exacerbate deadly conflict. [www.hm-treasury.gov.uk]
The evidence presented about communities in conflict reveals that we are not talking about how people act now. We are talking about how they should act in the future. All of this is implicit in the ‘Green movement’. Such aims are pursued by the Peace movement as expressed by the ‘Seeds of Peace’; by conflict prevention agencies such as Crisis Group, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations; by development groups such as Greenpeace, Oxfam.
It involves a revolution in our mind set and cultural filters.
The opening address of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in the summer of  2002  by Thabo Mbeki, the President of South Africa, eloquently summarized the nature of the changes needed if we are to achieve sustainability. He stated that "a global human society….characterized by islands of wealth, surrounded by a sea of poverty is unsustainable. …for the first time in human history, society has the capacity, the knowledge and the resources to eradicate poverty"
He called for a ‘seed’ change in our attitudes.
"We do not accept that human society should be constructed on the basis of the savage principle of the survival of the fittest." [http://www.un.org]
The demands that such interdependence places on individuals, communities and societies should form the basis of family socialization, of the school curriculum, of religious teachings, political pronouncements and inform media reactions to events. These demands are for

tolerance of difference,
appreciation of the advantages of cultural and linguistic diversity,respect for the rights and property of others,
responsibility for contributing to communal economic and social well-being.

In my view, this underlines the significance of a ‘multi-cultural’ approach: in promoting the diversity of communities, and getting to know and understand each other by dialogue and social and cultural exchange. It is the emphasis on the reality of our interdependence which needs recognition. It is a social fact. Denial of such reality is the root cause of the conflicts we have witnessed in so many different parts of the world which has brought  communities and individuals into opposition with each other. It is clear that the allocation of resources throughout the world is unfair. There is injustice, inequality and disadvantage. Social freedom requires that we all address those issues together rather than focusing on our differences in opposition to other groups.


UK: Bradford, West Yorkshire.
1950-1970: Immigrants from India and Pakistan and Bangladesh.
A colleague, Dr. Connie Marsh, remembers the arrival of large groups of men from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, [British Colonial citizens], among the predominantly white working class communities of Bradford in West Yorkshire during the 1950s and 1960s. ‘My own father was the beneficiary of the new influx of manual labour which enabled him to maintain the production of the textile mill he managed. It was a sharp learning curve for him, as it was for us all, with no knowledge of the culture, religion and language of these new workers. He struggled to deal with the different customs, yet was acutely aware of the necessity for their labour. This first influx of immigrants came alone. Men cast adrift in an alien environment without the support of the women on whom they had relied for most domestic tasks. Stories of their attempts to deal with the practicalities of their new life spread rapidly throughout the neighborhoods. Rumors that they ate cat food, used one bed in rotation as those working night shifts vacated it for the day shift, and that they would capture young girls to sell them into slavery, all fuelled mistrust and fear of the unknown among the different people. Any notions of integration were not on anyone’s agenda. It was recognised that the newcomers were there for their economic advantages ensuring the survival of their families at home. It was not recognised that they were part of the rescue of the Yorkshire textile industries. The traditional Yorkshire communities did not find tolerance and acceptance of difference an easy prospect. The lines between the different tribes were clearly drawn and were not to be crossed! As the years passed, both communities inevitably changed and began to accommodate each other to some extent. As the workers established themselves, they were able to bring their families to join them. The arrival of women and children made a large impact on the situation. Children from the different communities met each other in school; mothers met each other at the school gate, in the local clinics, hospitals and play groups. The threat of large groups of single men subsided as families presented different kinds of challenges. As the newcomers settled into their new environment they learned how to survive, buying businesses, working long hours, sharing resources and support within their communities. They also learned how to use the National Health Service and the Department of Social Security. Their expectation of equal treatment turned into the reality of racism, discrimination and disadvantage. The local white communities did not consider these South Asians as the saviours of the textile industry, more as a burden on their welfare system.’ The people from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh came during the 1950s-1960s. Their period of greatest dislocation would have been during this time. For over 50 years, the English, and the Commonwealth communities have lived apart, in all senses. Their social relations tempered by racism.’
The time of riot and violence has not been until recently, between settled communities. The growth of the British National Party and the National Front and Combat 18 in Bradford, Oldham, and Burnley as well as the English Defence League, has epitomized the fascist and racist ideologies present in the local communities, underpinning the politics of conflict. The first signs of trouble emerged during 1995. But  it was not until 2001 that violence openly erupted on the streets of Bradford. These events indicate that, as in Northern Ireland, when different communities feel threatened, they will react accordingly. In Bradford, in the district of Manningham, there lived a large number of families whose origins were from Pakistan and Bangladesh and Northern India: including Muslims, Sikhs, and Hindus. The white locals refer to it as Bradistan. This population consists of the original migrants, all British Colonial citizens, later designated  British Commonwealth citizens, and their families and grandchildren. The children and grandchildren are British by birth, British citizens, fluent English speakers, educated and trained in Bradford. Many of them are determined to fight discrimination, and this includes facing up to the National Front and the British National Party, and Combat 18, the English Defence League, and the local police forces, when they act as agents of racism!

Paul Bagguley and Yasmin Hussain,
University of Leeds, 2003
'It was all rumours': views of why the 'riots' happened.
The Bradford 'riot' over the weekend of 7th-8th July 2001 was reputedly the worst on mainland Britain for twenty years. On the night of 9th July, there was a riot involving 200 Whites in Bradford. An Indian takeaway, and a Pizza takeaway also owned by a South Asian family were attacked. These were widely seen as 'reprisals' for the weekends 'riot'.(YEP 10.7.01.)The original disturbances in Bradford started in the city centre in mid-afternoon after an anti-racist demonstration against a proposed NF rally, which the Home Secretary had already banned. Police cornered a group of anti-racist demonstrators at Centenary Square. Some recognized NF members appeared but did not attempt to march. Violence started after a group of  White youths, suspected NF members, made racially abusive comments, and attacked a 21-year-old Asian man (this was only reported in some newspapers) (DE 9.7.01, YP. 9.7.01).
There were other relevant background factors in the Bradford outbreak. The city’s annual multi-cultural festival was due to reach its culmination that Saturday, but the mere threat or suspicion that the NF might turn up despite the ban prompted festival organisers to cancel the closing day's festivities. In response, anti-fascist groups including Bradford trades union council and the Anti-Nazi League leafleted Friday night's Centenary Square concert inviting the multiracial crowd to a peaceful gathering in the same place next day. To underline the peaceful intent, participants were even encouraged to turn up in fancy dress or carnival costumes (and some did). The Saturday crowd in the square was about 40 to 50 per cent White, and  included a small proportion of African-Caribbeans, but mainly South Asians. The latter group included Sikhs and Hindus, community elders and young women, but most were men. This is important, as when the 'riot' developed, and the crowd was moved on, it changed composition into being almost entirely South Asian men. Police, including dog handlers and mounted officers, effectively sealed off one side of the square and began forcing the crowd out of the city centre uphill in the general direction of Manningham.

The stone throwing towards the police broke out in the Sunbridge road area and from late afternoon 'rioting' was well under way. However, most people we have interviewed, including eye-witnesses felt there was more substance to the rumours, and they located the immediate cause of the riot around certain events in the city centre. In particular some pointed out the need for the community to defend itself in the light of the recent events in Oldham: it was to do with the National Front march and I think they were allowed permission to march through Bradford and I think the Anti-Nazi Group, they objected to it and held a demonstration down in Centenary Square and I think it was both sided really. There was word that there was some National Front members, because the march was cancelled or shouldn’t have been allowed or wouldn’t have been allowed, some of them were already in Bradford in pubs etc. (Zahida Ali, 31) Right, well it was all to do with the march that, err, the Nazi movement wanted to do and I think was most people they were scared of what happened in Oldham because they were all in suburban areas and they attacked people in their homes and so I think everyone was scared and they wanted to defend themselves. But what they did they didn’t go the right way about it but I think the intentions at the beginning weren’t bad. They were just trying to defend themselves of what happened in Oldham so it shouldn’t have really happened, but I think that is why it happened. The march of the NF group. (Kamran Ahmad (age 19) and Omar Akhbar (age 20))I think that week there were rumours that the National Front were coming to Bradford and I think all that week youth workers were talking of holding this kind of meeting, in the centre of town in Centenary Square. (Alisah Khaleeq, 38) Well there talk of the National Front coming down and so all the Asians got to together to fight them off basically and not let them take over. (Ibrar Khan, 18) In substance the 'riots' were more ethnically homogenous. In Bradford on 7th of July 2001 what started as a multi-ethnic event became almost entirely an event involving Pakistani men.
What the riots are expressing are new modes of 'racialisation' (Miles, 1989) on the one hand and new ethnic identities on the other. The old racialisation of Britain's ethnic minorities, crudely put, saw African-Caribbeans as 'having problems', whilst South Asian's 'have culture'. The new racialisation is rapidly pathologising the South Asian communities of northern England. Discourses of gang-culture, forced marriages, drug abuse, inter-generational conflict, resistance to integrating and speaking English and being Muslim are all routinely mobilised to explain away racism and justify dubious policies. Post September 11th they have increasingly been constructed as the new 'Enemy Within'. In contrast to how others see them, second and third generation South Asians, as we have seen from our interviews, are constructing new identities, differentiating themselves from their parents, yet continuing to be Muslim/Pakistani/Kashmiri and British. Lord Hattersley - who was also a Labour shadow home secretary - told BBC Radio 4's World at One Programme that the causes of crime, in this case, were alienation and deprivation. These young Muslim men ... believe they are being neglected, they believe they are being ignored, he said. They believe their legitimate claims are not being heard, they believe that the economic opportunities that the rest of society enjoys are not being provided for them.’
The  race report [2005] commissioned to investigate the unrest, on the other hand, says: the current Bradford scenario is one in which many white people feel that their needs are neglected because they regard the minority ethnic communities as being prioritised for more favourable public assistance; some people assert that the Muslims, in particular the Pakistanis, get everything at their expense. The report also goes on to speak of racism and Islamaphobia... resulting in harassment, discrimination and exclusion.
The Ouseley Report: Race Review Bradford District. 2001/2005. All communities, in and around Manningham, feel that they are at a disadvantage and blame the Muslims for that situation. The polarization and segregation of communities heightens the tribal responses which lead to conflict. Over time as long as tribal divisions are the norm, misunderstanding and conflict will follow. In Bradford ironically the various communities had as much in common, as differences. For example, they were all working class, labouring in the woollen and steel industries on poor wages. They were all living in sub standard houses. They could have cooperated to resolve their differences and to further the economic development of the area rather than attack each other. The recent disturbances between local communities in the area are not about the original immigration but about social injustices as perceived by these communities and stirred up by local political parties of the right and the left. In August 2010, these communities worked together to disperse a demonstration by the English Defence League. The migrants were needed by the UK economy to maintain production, they needed to come to the UK because of the economic disparities between the first and third world. They were working in jobs which British workers were refusing to take. The establishment of social justice calls for inclusion of all these elements in any judgment of fairness. Similarly the white British working class communities have long been exploited by employers. Educational and social opportunities are not fairly distributed. All communities suffer in different ways from such inequities and it is these inequities which need to be changed. Today, these communities are having to face unemployment, and increasing inequality together. Ouseley reported that gangs of muslim’ and ‘white’ youths compete with each other for drugs, and fight for territory.
Even after 60 years, Bradford is still considered to be a deeply segregated society. There are anti-nazi groups such as ‘Hope not Hate’; ‘Islam Watch’, and recently ‘Jihad Watch.org’. Is this separatism a bad thing? Is it just an expression of the cultural and religious differences between communities in a multi-cultural city? It is worth noting that there are as many differences between the Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians.  
The riots were the result of actions by white right wing political groups, deliberately placing these local ‘commonwealth’ communities in the ‘grip of fear’. This time round, members of these communities aggressively opposed the fascist attacks.


Fiji: A Paradise in conflict!
Community conflict often arises in the face of, or perceptions of, lack of access to political power and the minority will take action against a domineering majority. In Fiji, the majority are trying to keep the minority out of power. In fact they are running ‘a racist system’.
Native Fijians, the majority, believe that the Indian Fijians gain greater  benefits of  social provision and educational opportunities and land rights than they do! The Indian Fijians object to the favours given to the native Fijians!
Fiji is a democratic country which has been riddled with political conflict, rooted in the mistrust of one community of another. It is an example, also, of a country where democracy, representation and voting are not seen as securing the rights of the native citizens. Dr. Connie Marsh, a colleague of mine in Nottingham,  worked for a number of years in Fiji. She reports of tensions, conflict, and coups and whole neighbourhoods setting up protection against crime, and assault.. Tourism is a major industry. Peace and tranquility are essential to the prosperity of such a tourist paradise. But the government has been subject to four military coups since 1987! two in 1987;one in 2000; and another in 2006-07.

Fiji volunteered to be a British colony in 1874. It was granted independence in 1970, under the crown. It declared itself a Republic in 1987. Since then there has been continual community conflict between the native Fijians and the Indian Fijians.  The two military coups in 1987 triggered major emigration of Indian families out of Fiji, following the expulsion of all Indian members of Parliament and the Government. Long-standing economic and political tensions between the native Fijian majority (51% of population), and the Indian Fijian minority (44%) came to a head again on May 19, 2000, when a small group of armed men stormed Fiji’s parliament and took ethnic-Indian Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry, elected in 1999, and 30 members of his cabinet, hostage. The coup leader, businessman George Speight, declared himself interim prime minister and demanded the ousting of the president and the removal of the 1997 Constitution, which had allowed ethnic Indians to hold the post of Prime Minister. The military, led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama, declared martial law on May 29, obtained the resignation of President Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara and scrapped the 1997 Constitution. Speight claims to be the voice of native Fijians, whose traditional monopoly on land ownership was seen to be threatened by land reform measures supported by Chaudhry. There was some looting of Indian-owned shops and beating of Indians in the days after the coup. The standoff between the two contingents continued and the United States, Australia, and New Zealand have all threatened sanctions, and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed concern and sent his Special Envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello, to the island. 2001 saw new elections and a new government.  In 2005, amid much controversy, the Qarase government proposed a Reconciliation and Unity Commission with power to recommend compensation for victims of the 2000 coup, and amnesty for its perpetrators. However, the military strongly opposed this bill, especially the army's commander, Frank Bainimarama. He agreed with detractors who said that it was a sham to grant amnesty to supporters of the present government who played roles in the coup. His attack on the legislation, which continued unremittingly throughout May and into June and July, further strained his already tense relationship with the government. In late November 2006 and early December 2006, Bainimarama was instrumental in the 2006 Fijian coup d'etat.

Bainimarama handed down a list of demands to Qarase after a bill was put forward to parliament, part of which would have offered pardons to participants in the 2000 coup attempt. He gave Qarase an ultimatum date of 4 December to accede to these demands or to resign from his post. Qarase adamantly refused to either concede or resign and on 5 December , President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, was said to have signed a legal order dissolving Parliament after meeting with Bainimarama. On January 4 2007 , the military announced that it was restoring executive power to President Iloilo, who made a broadcast endorsing the actions of the military. The next day, Iloilo named Bainimarama as the interim Prime Minister, indicating that the Military was still effectively in control. This government was declared illegal by the Fiji Court of Appeal on April 9th. 2009. Bainimarama was ordered by the Court to give up power to President Iloilo, leaving the way clear for new elections. The order was obeyed, effectively leaving Fiji without a government. Bainimarama assumed his role as the leader of the military! But on April 10th he was declared Prime Minister again by President Iloilo. The Pacific Island Forum of 16 nations demanded that Fiji call elections by May 1 2009. Fiji's refusal has led to their exclusion from the Forum, and their exclusion from all development grants.

It has been reported that on July 22, the government of prime minister Bainimarama has moved against the leaders of the Methodist Church in Fiji, arresting them all. At the same time the police have arrested groups of freemasons for witchcraft. Since April, President Iloilo and his prime minister have suspended the constitution, detained opponents [ or at least those that are perceived as opponents], and suppressed freedom of speech. In September 2009, the Commonwealth of Nations [a group of 53 British former colonies, dependencies, and territories] suspended Fiji on the grounds of the rejection of democracy, and the refusal to hold elections. Fiji will be excluded from all activities of the Commonwealth. On November 3 2009 the prime minister took retaliatory action - banning the envoys of New Zealand and Australia, after these governments had blocked Fiji's invitation to invite lawyers from Sri Lanka to adjudicate in the courts. October 2010, the President of Fiji is Epeli Nailatikau, following the retirement of Iloilo. The prime minister Bainimarama continues to control the military government , even though Fiji has deep financial deficits, and is totally dependent on foreign aid. The latest act of defiance against the Commonwealth has been the announcement in March 2011 by the Prime Minister Bainimarana to remove the head of Queen Elizabeth from all new currency. The Press was curtailed. There is likely to be little, if any, public dissent against the country's new order, and under emergency measures military censors have moved in to stop the press publishing stories that could cause disorder or promote disaffection or public alarm. Sweeping new media controls announced by the military government of Fiji in April 2010 have drawn howls of protest from international media groups. In New Zealand, the Newspaper Publishers' Association chief executive and NZ Media Freedom Committee secretary Tim Pankhurst said the new media decree is aimed at totally muzzling an already repressed media. Soldiers overseeing the media is a characteristic of a dictatorship, Mr Pankhurst said. Fiji Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum said all media outlets must pledge allegiance to Fiji.  Amnesty International says the human rights situation in Fiji is worsening, with government critics being abused. In a recent statement, Amnesty International said the severe beating of government critics amounted to torture and indicated that the human rights situation in Fiji was worsening. Human rights activists in Fiji have given us harrowing accounts of how politicians, trade unionists and government critics have been taken to military barracks, beaten and detained for days without being charged, said Amnesty's New Zealand branch. Emergency laws were enacted in April 2009 after the government of Commodore Frank Bainimarama dropped the constitution and sacked the judiciary.

May, 2011: BBC News : Cmdr Bainimarama said Tonga had illegally sent a navy patrol boat last week to pick up Fiji's former army chief Lt Col Tevita Mara. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the flight of Col Mara highlighted the fragility of the Bainimarama regime. Tevita Mara  was Bainimarama's right-hand man when he undertook the coup back in 2006, so the fact that he's jumped ship is a very interesting development there, Mr Key told New Zealand TV. Australia and New Zealand have seen their representatives expelled from Fiji. The two countries have urged Mr Bainimarama to return to civilian rule as soon as possible, but he has said elections will not be held before 2014.
Jan 2012 Commander Bainimarama announced the end of emergency laws in Fiji as from January 12. Bainimarama pronounced the onset of a consultation process for a new Fijian constitution, designed to establish a government that guarantees equal suffrage [as reported by the NZ Herald]. These plans were welcomed by the leaders of Australia and New Zealand, and the members of the Pacific Forum. But they all demanded the return to civilian rule. March, 2012 Commander Bainimarama disbanded the Great Council of Chiefs, dismissing the 55 tribal chiefs as undemocratic. He confirmed that elections would take place in 2014.

Who are the losers ? the winners?
Indo-Fijian struggles for political equality in Fiji.
Sanjay Ramesh, University of Fiji 2011.

Both communities see themselves as victims and each side documents the disadvantages they face compared with the other group. The consequence has been the virtual collapse of the main industry on the island .The rise in unemployment and poverty has developed into a situation in which there are no winners, everyone loses. The beautiful island paradise suffers from rising crime rates, residents lock themselves behind  gates, fences and burglar-proof bars. Attempts at constitutional change flounder on the burden of racist ideologies.  Fijians proclaim their right to keep Fiji for the Fijians, Fijian Indians are seen as outsiders and migrants. Fiji is a segregated society. Yet this is now the third and fourth generations to be born, live and die in Fiji. Many have little or no actual contact with India. The need which Fijian Indians feel to retain their difference prevents them from recognizing any value in the Fijian culture. Similarly native Fijians are so busy fighting to retain their own difference that they lose the opportunity to benefit from the Indian influence. If native Fijians and Fijian Indians recognize their interdependence, the differences between the groups could become assets upon which both communities could build. It could lead them to recognize that although they may not like each other, they are nevertheless totally interdependent. They have lived together for many generations and their coexistence informs their whole way of life. In Fiji there was political democracy and widespread discrimination which generated a political coup and continuing feelings of discontent. Fiji continues to be a segregated society. There is poverty in Fiji and a lack of educational opportunities which severely curtails the freedom of many to escape their disadvantage. On May 31 2012, it was announced that 32% of the population are living in poverty .The illegal military government of Fiji has not resolved the situation, which is now worse with all development aid being stopped by the Pacific Island Forum. However, recent evidence shows that tourists give little thought to politics. During the year, June 2011-2012, Fiji welcomed 643,000 visitors, more than before; and was declared top as the world family holiday destination.

January 31 2013. There was an announcement by Commander Frank Bainimarama that the new draft constitution will be 'dumped'. [Bainimarama has ignored the fact that a Constitution cannot be approved by the Military . It has to be approved in Parliament.] The final version of the new Constitution was released in August 2013; and approved by the President in September 2013. Plans for the new Elections in September 2014 are being set up.Of course the new constitution will not resolve the divisions in Fiji. The New Constitution does establish the authority of 'Parliament'; outline the system of elections, and legislation, and justice. It asserts clearly the immunity of those persons who were responsible for the state of emergency e.g. Commander Frank Bainimarama.

The Election Office reports on March 1 2014 that Commander Bainimarama has announced that he will resign from command of the Fijian Military and put his name forward as a candidate for the first Democratic elections on September 17th. 2014.

The Elections Office urges ‘Raise your voice and use your vote for a truly democratic Fiji’   www.electionsfiji.gov.fj

September 21 2014 Commander Bainimarama is sworn in as the Prime Minister of Fiji following the election of the FijiFirst Party with 32 seats out of 50 in Parliament and an outright majority.