This morning brought the entirely expected news that the Falkland Islanders wish to retain their current status. This will disappoint ‘Marxist Lennonist’ who expressed a hope that the islanders would see sense and vote ‘No’. You can read the full piece over on Socialist Unity. Here’s the opening
Voters in this week’s Falkland Islands sovereignty referendum should vote No to maintaining the diplomatically untenable, colonial and actually undignified status quo. Even if there was no territorial dispute, to be a polity separate from the United Kingdom, yet having its defence and foreign policy set by Whitehall, would be absurdly anachronistic, anomalous and, yes, colonialist – even if reaffirmed in a referendum.
S/he goes on to offers assurances that the islanders have nothing to fear from Argentina:
Instead [Argentina] is demanding talks on the sovereignty issue, out of which, if entered into in good faith by all parties, any number of outcomes could conceivably emerge. None would involve denying the human rights of the Islanders, driving you from your homes or forcing you to forswear your British heritage, as nobody serious and certainly not the Argentine government are demanding that.
If Argentina is not interested in disrupting the lives of the Falkland Islanders, that implies that all it is really interested in is the oil, which is fair enough, but why is it so bad ‘for oil to be prospected for in contested waters in the interests of British business’ but ok for South American countries to have precisely the same aspirations?
Although Marxist Lennonist is coldly insistent on the wonderfully peaceful intentions of the Falkland islanders’ neighbours, there is a rather threatening edge to parts of the post:
The status quo would endure a little longer, but nothing else would change either, including the hostile relationship with the Islanders neighbours
To expect that a settlement this small, smaller than the average English village, has the right to indefinitely direct such military resources as are currently garrisoned in the South Atlantic, when there is no threat to their basic human rights and a peaceful democratic government in Argentina asking only for talks as the alternative to this militarisation, is to make an unwise bet on the indefinite continuance of a policy of post-imperial hubris.
This edge is a little sharper from some Argentine voices:
Another close Kirchner collaborator, Senator Anibal Fernandez, restated the government’s view of the Falklanders as a foreign population living illegally in Argentina. “There will never be self-determination for an implanted population and there is no legal framework for this, the Malvinas are Argentine sovereign soil,” said Fernandez.
Speaking to an Argentinian radio station, the country’s ambassador to London, Alicia Castro, suggested the islands need Argentina to guarantee their survival. “How long can the islanders live isolated from the continent? They are 8,000 miles from London and 500 kilometres from continental Argentina,” Castro told the Buenos Aires radio station La Red.
Marxist Lennonist also exhorts the islanders to embrace the chance of friendship with their delightfully progressive neighbours, praising their exemplary concern for minorities. Well, some minorities. Though obviously not Falkland islanders. However, as Gelem reminded readers recently, the Falkland Islanders seem to have been more than happy to form friendly ties with their neighbours, including Argentina, until the present government’s acts of (commercial) aggression put a stop to some of these. I’ll defer to readers of Socialist Unity to inform me whether the veiled threat in Alicia Castro’s words might technically be termed either ‘imperialist’ or ‘colonialist’. But it certainly isn’t very friendly.
Finally, here’s a link to one of the many good pieces on this topic on Normblog.