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People's Internationalist Rear-Area Organization: 1961 article opposing the Peace Corps
People's Internationalist Rear-Area Organization: 1961 article opposing the Peace Corps
[PIRAO chief comments: The "Peace Corps" is a natural competitor of PIRAO's, because it too does infrastructure work. We believe, however, that Peace Corps work is contaminated by being a U.S. Government project for one and by the fact that U.S. citizens can be more effective by staying at home, if they are already educated on Third World conditions. True, we do not deny that there is something to be learned from living in a Third World country for a year. That can be done without going through the U.S. Government, however.
We would also say the same about international charity agencies. There is no reason to contribute to agencies that are not staffed by the people of the oppressed and exploited countries themselves. Hence, imperialist country people's joining international aid bureaucracies, charities and NGOs can actually be parasitic. We would ask such people to work with PIRAO instead. We invite struggle on how to contribute to the solution instead of becoming a sponge off aid that should go to the oppressed.
The following is what the Communist Party of China had to say about the "Peace Corps." We invite our readers to send us their critical articles about the Peace Corps, international charities and NGOs.]
THE "PEACE CORPS" TRICK
Red Flag, No. 24, 16 December 1961
In his special message to Congress on 1 March this year, U. S. President Kennedy proposed to form a permanent "Peace Corps" and send it to work in other countries. Since: then the U.S. ruling cliques have been doing their utmost to publicize the "Peace Corps" plan. They also sent Shriver, director of the "Peace Corps" to other countries to sell the "Peace Corps" program. Subsequently, a number of carefully picked "men of the Peace Corps," having received special training, were sent one after another to certain countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Before they embarked on their journey, some of them were received in audience by Kennedy, which they say was an unusual "courtesy" in American political circles.
One cannot help asking: What after all is this "Peace Corps" the U.S. authorities have been vigorously advertizing?
According to the U.S. authorities themselves, "men of the Peace Corps" will be sent to the most backward areas in underdeveloped countries to engage in concrete technical work, including teaching, health protection, building construction, and administration, to "help" these countries "open-up new frontiers," and to "labor together, eat together, and speak the same language" with the local people. They will receive no salary, but only an allowance just enough for, and essential to, the maintenance of basic livelihood and health, and moreover will maintain under primitive, difficult conditions a standard of living not higher than that of the natives. In his special message about the "Peace Corps," Kennedy put it in flowery language: They are "men and women with a dedicated spirit, willing to devote their energies to the. cause of world peace and progress of mankind." "Our Peace Corps is not a tool of diplomacy, propaganda, or ideological struggle. Its aim is to enable our people to fulfill more fully their obligations in the common cause of world development." Look, what a "noble" and "respectable" mission! Perhaps Kennedy and his like think in this way the people of underdeveloped countries will lower their guard against the sinister aspect of the "Peace Corps" and even be grateful. Oddly enough, it has caused vehement opposition and protest among the broad masses of people in many countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The resolution of the Third All-Africa People's Congress, which met toward the end of March this year at Cairo, noted that the object of the "Peace Corps" was to conquer and economically control Africa. The resolution called upon the African peoples to wage a resolute struggle against Kennedy's "Peace Corps" program.
The Cairo offices of nationalist organizations of some African countries issued a joint statement on 21 March which said that by organizing the so-called "Peace Corps," the Kennedy government was in reality pursuing American interests under the pretext of helping Asian and African countries.
Nigerian students held a rally at Lagos on 15 October to condemn the "Peace Corps" for espionage activities, pointing out that it was an agent of imperialism, and demanding their government to abrogate any agreement that might have been signed with the United States concerning the "Peace Corps."
Ghana Times pointed out in an editorial on 22 April that the "Peace Corps" was nothing but an organ of new colonialism, a sly trick in the pernicious juggling of diplomacy by remote control, a tool with which to subvert underdeveloped countries so that they might become puppets of U.S. imperialism. The paper said, "We do not recognize all the rot about its humanitarianism."
Hsin-kuang Pao of Burma pointed out in an editorial on 12 May that the "Peace Corps" was a new tool of U.S. imperialism for waging "cold war," and that it was difficult to convince the Burmese people that the American "Peace Corps" would not engage in espionage, because the "experts" and "technicians" which the United States Government sent to Burma in the past had made Burma suffer a great deal.
Tribune, a Ceylonese weekly, pointed out in an editorial on 14 July that "the American Peace Corps is a political tool manipulated by people trained to sell the American way of life and American foreign policy," and that "we must beware of the political secret agents under the mantle of experts." The paper called the Americans of the "Peace Corps" cold war experts and subversive elements. It said: "It is dangerous to the country to bring in the 'Peace Corps.'"
Not long ago, when the "Peace Corps" of the U.S. Government arrived in Chile, the Chilean Shih-chi Pao published an editorial which noted that the "Peace Corps" was a new-type espionage organization on a global scale, and that its main task was to "report on conditions in the place where it works, carry out open espionage activities, create confusion, and politically and ideologically confuse and paralyze the masses."
Why does Kennedy's splendid "Peace Corps" receive such universal opposition?
The truth is that the "Peace Corps" trick is not new. Back in the early days at the beginning of the 19th century, American missionaries, wearing the cloak of "world salvation," were already--engaged in activities in foreign countries similar to those of the "Peace Corps." According to reports in the Western bourgeois press, American religious organizations have 34,000 "missionaries" in 146 countries and areas. Of these, 27,000 belong to Protestant churches and the remaining 7,000 to Catholic organizations. In addition, there are innumerable similar private organizations under various names. The "Peace Corps" is in fact developed by inheriting the experience of these organizations in their aggressive activities abroad. Back in the spring of l96O, the United States House of Representatives and Senate had the idea of forming a "peace corps," but nothing definite came out of it. Now it is picked up by Kennedy, who regards it as a signpost of his execution of the so-called "new frontier policy" and advertizes it as such.
Imperialism is adept at lying. The "Peace Corps" is an example. However, the imperialists often clumsily expose their true intentions. Their utterances concerning the "Peace Corps" are no exception. Let us cite the following examples: Shriver, head of the "Peace Corps," has admitted that "from the long-range point of view, the.Peace Corps will create a solid mass foundation for American foreign policy and add a new facet to American foreign policy," and that "aid is aid, but let us not forget propaganda about the American way of life."
The American Sunday Standard has said even more frankly, "Veteran politicians in Washington have pointed out that the Peace Corps is not only a generous gesture but also essential to the United States. In order to fight communism, the United States must give the underdeveloped countries not only money, but also ideas."
A report from the American Daily News says that high level organs in the Pentagon are studying a plan which will use within the next ten years the American troops stationed all over the world as "special peace corps." In accordance with requests from relevant foreign governments, whole platoons, companies, or battalions of troops will be sent to build roads, bridges, dikes, dams, and airfields. They will teach the local people to build and manage these installations. "If serious disturbances occur in any of these developing countries, the United States can readily use at any time armed forces formed of experienced troops."
Raymond, a Washington correspondent of the New York Times, reports that Decker, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, has declared in a forthright manner that the mission of the "Peace Corps" will be taken over by the U.S. Army and that U.S. forces in foreign countries will play the dual role of "peace" and "war-time" forces.
No voluminous comment on these admissions is necessary. Kennedy and his company have artfully designed a kind of dual purpose forces. During normal times they may collect intelligence and make friends with people. In war-time they can readily be changed into armed columns for the suppression of the national liberation movements and people's revolutionary movements in these countries. Several purposes are served at one stroke. It is really a masterpiece of new colonialism. No wonder "men of the Peace Corps" are selected with such strictness. In addition to passing an examination and filling in detailed-forms and questionnaires, they must provide six references and undergo a meticulous examination by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A bill passed by the American Congress further requires that members of the "Peace Corps" must take an oath of loyalty and receive training "concerning communist philosophy, strategy, tactics, and threats." There is nothing strange about these strict procedures and provisions if one looks at the extraordinary tasks assigned to them.
After its inauguration, the Kennedy Government has been carrying out with the utmost energy the two tactics of counter-revolution: On the one hand, it intensifies arms expansion and war preparations, declaring loudly that it is ready to fight an all-out nuclear war as well as local wars. On the other, it has designed with much pains such tricks as "Food for Peace" program, "Africa at the Crossroads program," and "Alliance for Progress," in an attempt to cover up its war activities and use these tricks as tools for promoting its new colonialism. The so- called "Peace Corps" formed in March this year is such a new trick adopted by the Kennedy Government in its execution of the-two tactics of counterrevolution.
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