Keynote Address to the ILPS Third International Assembly

Strengthen the people’s struggle, unite to build a New World against imperialist aggression, state terrorism, plunder and social destruction!

By Varavara Rao

I am to pen down this address at a time when I don’t know whether I could attend this significant Assembly of World’s People’s Struggles as I haven’t been granted a passport by the Indian authorities.

I am greatly honoured to have been invited to deliver the keynote address to the Third International Assembly of the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS). As a revolutionary poet from India, I salute the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles which have come together on the banner of ILPS from all the continents. I value this organization of toiling masses of the world with great respect and hope because the need of the hour is to fight imperialism unitedly by all oppressed peoples and end it forever to usher in a new world based on egalitarian principles. Imperialism is the last epoch of oppressive social order in the long march of human society world over, which divided all humans into classes, castes, nations and all varieties of divisions.

As a poet, I wish to march forward into a new world where people end all forms of exploitation and oppression. As a poet, who believed for the last 40 years in Marxism-Leninism and Maoism, I have been singing the victories of toiling masses who step by step approaching towards ending imperialism the major obstacle before the world people in establishing socialism in their own homelands.

In today’s world ILPS has emerged as a single largest centre of people’s struggles against imperialism and for democracy. The league has played an important role in the last 8 years after its formation in strengthening and consolidating anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles by bringing together struggles of workers, peasants, women, youth professionals and other sections of society against ideological, political, military, economic, social and cultural domination and attacks of imperial powers and local reactionary forces.

The league has taken initiative in forming consolidated resistance against military aggressions of the US and other imperialists, opposed and protested exploitative policies and acts of MNCs and TNCs, imperialist-dominated international agencies such as IMF, World Bank, WTO, World Economic Forum, UN Security Council, and military alliances like NATO, NAFTA and US-Japan Security Treaty.

The theme adopted for the Third International Assembly, ‘’Strengthen the People’s Struggle, Unite to Build a New World against Imperialist Aggression, State Terrorism, Plunder and Social Destruction!’’ is most relevant and urgent in the context of growing imperialist military attacks and unbridled plunder of the resources, labor and markets of oppressed countries.

We are passing through a time when imperialist powers are facing acute economic crises. To come out of these crises, various imperialist powers have been increasingly trying to shift the burden of the crises in their economies onto the shoulders of the oppressed peoples of the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Intricate trade and military wars are used apart from the war of technology against the oppressed countries and peoples. The US economy has been undergoing deep crisis particularly in the recent times despite its attempts to rejuvenate itself through wars and vast exploitation of natural resources of the oppressed countries. Even the economies of Japan and many Europeans powers or Russia have been facing deep stagnation.

Impoverisation, unemployment, wage cuts and contractualisation of labour having been growing at a rapidly, while a small minority is making fortunes on a scale unheard of. For the first time since the days of Great Depression, the US officials proposed a broad overhaul of the financial market regulations “to restore confidence in system reeling from the subprime mortgage mayhem”. A continuous cut in the interest rates has not been able to stem the decline and deepening of the crisis. It should be noted that ever since Franklin Roosevelt launched the current regulatory structure after the Wall Street crash and bank failures that were part of the Great Depression this was the most ambitious overhaul.

The economic crisis has been compounded by skyrocketing world crude oil prices that have surpassed levels of the oil shock of the 1970s. Along with this has come an agrarian crisis where world food stocks have fallen to their lowest level in 30 years and prices have leapt by 40 percent in the last year. For the first time, world food production has fallen below consumption. In addition about 50 largest banks have been on the verge of bankruptcy with the fifth largest bank of the US going bankrupt.

Although the imperialist powers are struggling to show a semblance of unity, the inter-imperialist contradictions are more evident than ever before in the last 60 years. The WTO negotiations have come to a standstill as the imperialist powers couldn’t come to a common agreement on the sharing of the booty extracted out of the resources, labour and market from the oppressed/exploited countries. The cracks in G-8, the differences in sharing oil and gas resources from the Middle East and the countries belonging to the erstwhile USSR among the big imperialist powers also clearly show the growing contradictions. The myth of a unipolar world has been debunked with the growing bitter antagonism among the imperialist forces.

Such a crisis situation is pushing the world into a highly unstable equilibrium. This instability will bred world wide fascist terror from the ruling classes who are ever more pensive about their waning strength as Mao rightly pointed out, imperialists with the feet of clay. The increasing inter-imperialist rivalry is visible in the way Euro is threatening the hegemony of dollar. China has been aggressively campaigning for the world markets. Russia has been gathering its stables to challenge the might of the US not only in Central Asia but also in the rest of the world. While these are bleak days for the world wide imperialist economy singing the songs of its dark times there are definitely songs of possibilities, of revolutionary opportunities, songs of freedom, of revolution for the most oppressed and wretched of the earth in these whirlpool of deepening crisis of imperialism.

The US imperialists have in the name of “war against terror” launched an all-round attack on the oppressed nationalities, classes, minorities and against peoples’ struggles waged by the oppressed. In the wake of 9/11 attacks, the US imperialists combined with UK and some other imperialist countries from Europe first attacked Afghanistan and then Iraq. Here, I recall having written a poem titled “Merchant of Venice” soon after the 9/11 incident. In that I had referred to the “fear in the eyes of the paper tiger”. Today with the deepening crisis in the world economy this fear has become all the more evident in the form of more and more fascist terror on the oppressed and exploited people of the world. Likewise I do recall my anger and indignation of the US imperialist beast, the blood thirsty war machine, in the form of six poems on its murderous assault on the people of Iraq resulting in the killing of Saddam Hussain. The decade long huge military build up by the US in the countries of the Gulf, the threats of invasion of Syria, Iran and North Korea; unleashing the expansionist bully, the Israeli Zionists in their genocidal campaigns on the Palestinian people and on the neighboring countries like Lebanon let alone the brutal aggression and occupation of Afghanistan, have transformed the region of West Asia into a highly explosive theatre of war and a major centre of bone of contention among the imperialist powers.

Afghanistan and Iraq have been devastated with the use of millions of tons of weapons of mass destruction. Ever since then the US imperialists have been threatening to launch wars upon Syria, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and others in the name of perception of threat from these countries (pre-emptive attacks). The policies of trade wars through the packages of globalization, which is nothing but the aggressive face of imperialism on death bed, are being used for the unbridled plunder of resources of the oppressed-exploited countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. The domination of the US and other imperialist powers from European Union or Japan or Russia, have become unbearable. The oppressed masses of the world consider the US imperialists their enemy number one.

Under the guise of fighting terrorism, mass frenzy is being whipped up against the Islamic countries throughout the world and the immigrants in the US and Europe. The sensation driven media has been creating mass insecurity through a barrage of fabricated lies and stereotypes about the impending catastrophe in the form of terrorist attacks that can happen anywhere anytime. The feeling that is being time and again generated is a sense of uncertainty as anything can happen anywhere for the average citizen of any country, so much so, that the only way to fight it is through the enunciation of the most draconian of laws which increased the fascist teeth of the state. Fundamental rights and personal freedoms are being snatched away in the name of national security and a massive reign of terror is let loose on the people’s movements, national liberation struggles and revolutionary movements.

In South Asia, India and Pakistan have become an able partners of the US in the so-called war against terror. Apart from the central legislations formulated by the government at Delhi, every state have legislated its own repressive laws. Muslims have become a specific target in this so-called war against terror of the Indian state.

Virtually anyone who protests against the present policy package of the government in the states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh are branded as anti-development and hence anti-national by the state. Many of them are also booked under several cases. More than 5000 cases have been charged against an equal number of people who have dared to oppose the acquisition of land for a Special Economic Zone where a Chemical hub was proposed to be built by the Salim group from Indonesia in collaboration with the notorious DOW chemicals of the US. This is being done by a CPM government in West Bengal. The carnage in Nandigram has exposed the real revisionist and social fascist nature of the CPM. Similarly the people of Kalinganagar in Orissa have been fighting tooth and nail the effort of the local comprador TATAs to establish a steel plant. One should not forget that the states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh are the richest in terms of its forest wealth, rivers, mineral wealth. But these are the states which also houses the poorest of the poor people in the country who struggle to get one square meal a day.

The US imperialists and Japan have been promoting India to open up its market in the North East region, which is being euphemistically called today as the Look East Policy. This is nothing but a grand design to quell under the high tide of the politics of development the raging national liberation movements in that region. The Indian government with the able support of the ADB, the Japanese bank, World Bank and the Indian monopoly banks like the ICICI have planned a whopping 168 mega-dams in this entire region of the North East which as per the environmentalists and the geologists is a very fragile zone. What is estimated is the production of 100000 Megawatt of power of which 95000 will be sold in the Southeast Asian market. In fact what the power minister who visited this area said in the media proudly was that they would make the North East a power grid.

Today the struggles against the policies of imperialist globalization-liberalization-privatization are becoming increasingly sharpened all over the world. The people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, especially of Iraq have stood up to these all-round imperialist attacks. The entire Middle East is boiling with anti-American rage despite many of their rulers being trusted agents of the US imperialists. Iraq is emerging to be yet another Vietnam for the US imperialists.

The peoples’ upsurge against imperialism is not confined to the countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America alone. The people of all European countries held massive protests when the US imperialists launched the war on Iraq. A vast majority of the people of US itself have been demanding withdrawal of occupation army from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The crises within the imperialist powers can also be understood by their brutal oppression and exploitation on the workers and immigrant communities in terms of wage-cuts, cuts in welfare measures, draconian anti-immigrant laws and growing unemployment. The peoples’ struggles in the imperialist and capitalist countries are also growing sharply. The workers’ struggles in Poland, France, in West Europe, Japan and Russia are indicative of the shock-waves that have started within the imperialist countries. The peoples’ struggles that started emerging in 2005 and 2006 in China also are indicative of this trend.

Asia, Africa, Latin America: The Storm-Centers of the World Revolution

After the Second World War, imperialist powers were forced to retreat physically due to the unprecedented people’s upsurge in the colonies and semi-colonies and the deepened crisis within their own economies with huge destruction of productive forces in the War. But soon the imperialist powers adopted neo-colonial policies and methods of indirect rule, exploitation, and plunder of the oppressed countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Through their lackeys—the comprador ruling classes of the former colonies, the imperialist powers increased their methods of exploitation in order to shift the burden of their own crisis onto the backs of the vast majority of the oppressed people.

From 1973 onwards, the imperialists have further intensified their attacks on the oppressed countries through the policies of privatization, liberalization and globalization. This was primarily due to a serious crisis in the post-World War II period that had bogged down the economies of the major imperialist powers. To mitigate the crisis of their own creation, measures like sharp cuts in government expenditures, scrapping of subsidies, credit squeeze, devaluation, debt-to-equity swaps, free and unhindered flow of imperialist goods, services and capital, export-oriented strategy and such other policies of globalization were adopted.

With the increasing imperialist exploitation of the countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania it has become natural for these regions to become the storm centres of revolution with the unfolding of newer and newer possibilities day by day as the contradictions between the comprador classes and the people in these regions are sharpening together with their hatred of imperialism.

Particularly South Asia has become a storm centre of people’s revolutionary democratic and anti-imperialist struggles. The people of Nepal rose against the imperialists and the local reactionary feudal classes. In more than a decade long people’s war, the oppressed masses of Nepal raised the flag of revolution to the top of the world. In the recent upheavals of mass upsurge the people of Nepal showed their will against US imperialists, Indian expansionist ruling classes alongside smashing monarchy. Through the verdict in favour of the Maoists the heroic people of Nepal have given the Maoists a historic task: to fight uncompromisingly imperialism and the comprador Indian ruling classes who have expansionist designs.

The Indian revolutionary masses are surging forward by smashing reactionary classes in the rural areas particularly in the large tracts of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Bengal. Masses are raising the banner of revolt against imperialist loot and driving away the MNCs and domestic big corporate houses from their areas. While facing the biggest ever repressive onslaught on the revolutionary masses, the path towards victory is being laid down unmistakably. In parts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, and the tracts covering the Andhra-Orissa border regions and other places the revolutionary movement has started establishing centres of people’s power and alternative model of development based on self-reliance and equality. The Revolutionary People’s Councils (People’s government) at village level to larger area levels are growing with a clear vision of forming a new society. Despite the machinations of the Indian state to brutalise the people of these regions through vigilant gangs like the salwa judum, gram suraksha samiti, ably supported by the anti-Maoist police and paramilitary the heroic people of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have dared to fight for a new dawn thus expanding the revolutionary movement to newer and newer heights. The People’s government have already started functioning in these regions with their own dispute settling mechanisms, cooperative and environment friendly farming, schools for the young and the adult, health clinics with the local trained health professionals, all run by the people themselves through their revolutionary committees. Not even a single person in these struggle areas are left out. Every one has a task to undertake; a world to build; a world free from all forms of exploitation. This daring act of the revolutionary people of these regions have thrown up new hopes not only for the oppressed, exploited and mistreated people of the Indian subcontinent but also for the toiling masses of the entire world. The concrete steps undertaken in the process of resistance to build up a new society in the embryonic form have also given insights into what can really be development from the point of view of the people.

South Asia also abounds with national liberation struggles of Kashmiris, Nagas, Eelam, Assamese, Bodos, Kamptapuris, people of Manipur, Tripura and others. They are all involved in armed struggles against imperialism and the local dominant national oppression and are going ahead despite brutal repression by the Indian and other state machineries aided by US imperialists. The armed national liberation movements in South Asia are in fact for more than 50 years inflicting heavy blows on Indian expansionist ruling classes and their imperialist masters. Sri Lankan Tamils have been fighting a war of national liberation for their Eelam, which is one of the biggest and protracted battles in the world today. More than a lakh of the people of Kashmir have laid down their lives fighting the occupying forces of the Indian army. Thousands of their comrades are rotting for years in the dungeons of the Indian state without even proper charge sheets or legal procedures against them.

The oppressed masses of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Myanmar are also gathering strength of their mass movements against imperialism and local reaction.

Many more storm centres of revolutionary, democratic and anti-imperialist resistances are surging forward in Philippines and Turkey in Asia, Peru, Brazil, and other countries in Latin America and in many countries of Africa. These storm centres have also thrown up new hopes of an egalitarian future for mankind, especially the heroic resistance offered by the revolutionary masses of Philippines, Turkey Peru and other regions.

This is also the occasion to look back into the previous years of our experience. This will definitely help us look into the future with more confidence while firmly rooted in the present. Any act of looking into the past is also an evaluation of our strengths and weaknesses that we have endured in our struggle to build up an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal platform that ILPS is today. With the sharpening contradictions in the enemy camp it is inevitable that a platform like ILPS should carry forward the challenge of an uncompromising resistance against all forms of reaction, reform and revisionism. I hope that the assembly would take up this challenge in the form of concrete steps towards building ideological and political struggles throughout the world.

We should guard against the divisive and reformist forces that have entered in a big way in the peoples’ movements against imperialism and all reactions world over. Our fight against imperialism and oppressive reactionary and fascist forces also includes against these dangerous forces that have come in the guise of the social democrats, the proponents of environmentalism, conflict resolution mechanism and good governance. The NGOs and Social Democrats in the name of communist parties or workers parties have started their own organisations to divert, divide and soften the militant peoples’ struggles all over the world. Revisionists, pacifists, reformists and the greens only unleash deep mires of reformism and at the end of the day they would vouch for the statuesque. A platform like the WSF has become an outlet for these forces aided by imperialist agencies and reactionary governments in all countries. Mumbai Resistance-2004 thoroughly exposed these trends wherein ILPS played the leading role in exposing all such forces of revisionism and reformism beyond doubt and established the firm position of peoples’ uncompromising militant struggles to defeat and smash the imperialist and retrogressive forces.

Now ILPS has grown into a massive league of anti-imperialist, revolutionary democratic forces world over. It has emerged as the centre of oppressed nations and people by bringing together the struggles of all continents on the globe. It has proved to be the only kind of organisation which could sustain itself to avoid dogmatism, sectarianism and any kind liberal bourgeois trends within the struggles of working class, the oppressed, and the mistreated which can tilt the liberation struggles decisively in one way or the other.

We, all of us who gathered here in Hongkong, an important out-post of imperialism, are all basically peace-loving people. But we are also the people who believe that peace in this world is not possible without justice. We don’t want peace of the graveyard. Justice to all oppressed nations, people and classes is not possible without a valiant and uncompromising fight to humanise the brutal enemy of peace. The everlasting peace is only possible with the struggles that establish genuine peace by removing exploitation of man by man.

Workers of the World Unite!

Oppressed peoples of the World Unite!

Inquilab Zindabad (Long Live Revolution)

Varavara Rao
Revolutionary Poet
Hyderabad, India
18.06.08

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