9 Rights of indigenous peoples, national minorities and nationalities for self-determination and decolonization

Final Resolution for Workshop 9
Approved by the Plenary of the ILPS First International Assembly
25-27 May 2001
Zutphen, The Netherlands

Rights of indigenous peoples, national minorities and nationalities for self-determination and decolonization, against discrimination, racism, caste-ism and national oppression perpetrated by imperialism and local reaction

As the world enters the new millennium, imperialist globalization is bringing the world into a period of increasing intolerance, bigotry, xenophobia, racism, caste-ism, narrow nationalism and national oppression against the indigenous peoples and national (and other) minorities both in the centers of world capitalism and in the less industrialized countries. This is evidenced by the increase of ethnic wars and violence committed against minorities all over the world.

Imperialist globalization has not led to greater democracy, equality and unity among the diverse peoples and nations of the world. It has rather institutionalized such inequality and discrimination by stunting the natural course of development of indigenous peoples and national minorities by their forced integration into the world capitalist disorder, which process has been going on from the period of direct colonization to the neo-liberal adjustments made by imperialist globalization.

The indigenous peoples and national minorities have been forcibly dispossessed of their ancestral lands and resources to make way for large-scale mining, logging, dams, mega-tourism and similar environmentally-destructive industries which are big business for the multinational corporations. As the world capitalist system goes into crisis, it intensifies the exploitation of the natural resources in the last frontiers of the globe, where the indigenous peoples are to be found. As they get dispossessed and displaced from their traditional sources of livelihood, so too diminishes their identity and cultural integrity.

As monopoly capitalists seek to recover from falling rates of profit as a result of the crisis, the burden is passed on to the toiling masses in the form of heightened landgrabbing of ancestral domains, displacement and forced migrations, loss of job security, social security and social services, bankruptcy of peasant farmers, petty producers, etc. Under conditions of social and economic insecurity and unrest, as well as increasing political conflict and instability, ultra reactionaries among the imperialists and their local partners promote xenophobia and racism, and make scapegoats out of migrants and minorities. These often lead to fascist attacks, pogroms and even wars of ethnic cleansing.

Imperialism, in cahoots with the local ruling classes, is the ultimate perpetrator and benefactor of racism, caste-ism, discrimination and national oppression. The backward condition of indigenous peoples and national minorities is to the benefit of the capitalist landgrabbers and despoilers of the environment. The imperialists play up and over-state or exaggerate the ethnic, national and racial differences to prevent the unity-building of the workers and the toiling people across the boundaries of race, ethnicity, caste and nationality.

In recent decades, as more and more indigenous peoples and national minorities become politicized and aware of the negative effects of imperialist globalization on them, they have waged struggles for the defense of their ancestral lands against big business and large-scale infrastructure projects such as dams. Because of the justness of these struggles, they have been able to gain the support of various groups, even internationally, and there is a growing advocacy for their issues.

Because of this growing awareness, some countries have come out with legislation purportedly to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities but these still leave much to be desired. Imperialism and the local reactionaries have also tried to block the efforts of indigenous peoples from all over the world to come up with international standards for the protection of indigenous peoples rights.

In the light of the worsening racism, discrimination and national oppression of indigenous peoples, national minorities and other minorities, we therefore resolve to:

  1. Assert our right to self-determination and to the full recognition of our basic rights as indigenous peoples and national minorities.
  2. Fight to end all forms of racism, caste-ism, discrimination and national oppression against us.
  3. Fight mega-infrastructure projects that result in the economic and physical displacement of our communities.
  4. Strengthen the solidarity of indigenous peoples and national minorities against imperialism.
  5. Unite with all oppressed classes and sectors and actively participate in the international united front against imperialism.

In particular, we further resolve to:

  1. Campaign to end the chauvinism and racism practiced against migrant workers in the highly industrialized countries.
  2. Oppose the repression and militarization of the Mexican government against indigenous peasant struggles.
  3. Campaign to expose and oppose caste-ism against the Dalits and other minorities.
  4. Fight against the privatization of health and welfare services which deprive minorities of access to basic social services.
  5. Call for the ratification by the United Nations of the Declaration for the Protection of Indigenous Peoples Rights which has been drafted by indigenous peoples from all over the world.
  6. Campaign to stop the construction of the San Roque and other destructive dams in northern Philippines.

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