By Professor JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
I wish to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to all the distinguished guests and observers, to my colleagues in the International Coordinating Committee (ICC), to all delegations and to all participating organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS).
Let us honor and thank the recently-departed first ICC chairperson and honorary chairperson of the ILPS Rep. Crispin Beltran and the ICC member Dr. Ahmad Maslamani for their significant contributions to the anti-imperialist democratic movement of the people. Let us salute all who have contributed to the consolidation and expansion of the movement.
I wish I were in person with you today. But the the US, the Philippine and Dutch governments have collaborated since 1988 to curtail my basic democratic rights, including my freedom to travel. They have systematically used false charges against me to frustrate my application for asylum and ban me from work, to put me on the terrorist list and deprive me of social benefits and to threaten me with imprisonment. Even then, we can avail of the technique of videoconferencing.
I wish to report today on the achievements and shortcomings of the ILPS, the crisis of the world capitalist system, the rise of the people’s resistance on a global scale and the urgent tasks of the ILPS. I hope that all of us get a clear knowledge of the current level of our strength, the favorable circumstances for further advance and the bright prospects of our struggle along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.
I. Achievements and Shortcomings of the ILPS
The ILPS has become the most outstanding anti-imperialist and democratic formation by providing political guidance to the people of the world on 18 concerns defined by the ILPS charter. Such political guidance has been provided by the General Declaration and resolutions of the preceding international assembly, the resolutions of the ICC and by the timely statements of the ICC Chairperson, with the assistance of his own staff and the study commissions.The ILPS has thus covered a wide range of major issues, whether these arise in the imperialist countries or in the most numerous countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. These issues are well enumerated in reports of the chairperson to the ICC.
To mention a few, we have presented our position and called for people’s action on the imperialist policies of neoliberal globalization and global war of terror, the crisis of the world capitalist system, environmental plunder, the continuing US occupation of Iraq and US-Zionist occupation of Palestine, the exploitation and oppression of the peoples, the people’s wars in various countries, chauvinist, racial, gender, religious and other forms of discrimination, the digital divide and the anti-labor, anti-immigrant and anti-youth policies in imperialist countries. The records of the ICC, ICG and General Secretariat can show to you all the concerns and issues covered. There is no comparable formation that has been more articulate and militant than the ILPS.
The ILPS is the strongest formation of its kind by having attracted to its fold hundreds of organizations with millions of members in more than 40 countries and in most of the global regions. It has 18 study commissions. It has started organizing national chapters and global region committees. Its current organizational base opens the possibility of many more national chapters and global region committees in the next few years. At every level, the study commissions are also in a position to form sectoral organizations that are affiliated to the ILPS.
The ILPS is a united front of mass formations at the international, global region and national levels. It brings together and coordinates the people’s organizations according to common multisectoral and sectoral interests and purposes. It initiates and launches mass campaigns and various types of activities and seeks the cooperation of other anti-imperialist and democratic forces. At the same time, it joins and supports their initiatives. The united front policy allows the ILPS to gain strength beyond its given status.
Although it has scored many achievements, the ILPS has many shortcomings and weaknesses. It needs to take up the major concerns and issues more promptly than ever before. It needs to disseminate more effectively its position and calls to action in the print and electronic mass media. It needs to increase its member-organizations and to form the national chapters and global region committees in order to become more politically effective. It needs to consolidate and further activate the study commissions because they tend to be stagnant after every international assembly.
It needs to make the member-organizations pay for their annual financial obligations as well as raise further resources. Funds have been too scarce for regular operations and undertaking information and education campaigns. We are still far from having stable offices of the ICC and General Secretariat, with a daily staff of compensated as well as volunteer personnel. We are still in the stage of availing of personnel, facilities and resources on a purely voluntary basis. At any rate, this is both our strength and weakness.
II. The Unraveling of the Policy of Neoliberal Globalization
The policy of neoliberal globalization has escalated the exploitation of the people of the world. It has accelerated the concentralization and centralization of capital in the US and other imperialist countries. The rapid accumulation of capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie has been enabled by pressing down the wage levels and cutting back on social spending on a global scale, the denationalization of the economies of semicoloies and dependent countries, the liberalization of trade and investments, the privatization of state assets and deregulation at the expense of the working people, women, children and the environment.
The US-controlled world capitalist system has caused social destruction on an unprecedented global scale. The crisis of overproduction has worsened from period to period but has been overlaid by the wanton increases in the money supply and credit in futile attempts to maintain a high level of imports and consumption in the US and to conjure the false illusion of economic growth for the imperialist countries and a few so-called emerging markets like China and India. But the limits of financial abuse for consumption and speculation are being fully exposed.
The worsening crisis in the real economy, which involves the contraction of the incomes of the working people and therefore the constriction of the market, has been compounded with the worsening of the financial crisis. This crisis has involved the prolonged abuse of credit by the imperialist states and by the multinational firms and banks. The US national debt has become unsustainably large, with ever growing trade and budgetary deficits and the runaway military expenditures. The US corporate debt is at its speculative worst in the entire history of global capitalism. The US households have been swept into bankruptcies by a combination of industrial decline, loss of regular employment and inveiglement into financial scams, such as the hightech bubble in the last half of 1990s and the housing bubble in the current decade.
Now, the worst of economic conditions since the Great Depression have arisen. The neoliberal policy pushed by the US is conspicuously unraveling. It has undermined the US as the long touted engine of global economic growth and market of last resort. A credit crunch and decreasing import orders from the imperialist countries are victimizing the so-called emerging markets like China, India and entire Southeast Asia.The overwhelming majority of the people of the world living in Asia, Africa and Latin America are suffering the most.
They have long suffered the main brunt of exploitation through the global glut in the production of raw materials, the trade deficits, foreign debt and superprofit-taking by the imperialists. They stand to suffer further from the schemes of the imperialist firms and banks to take advantage of their monopoly of economic and financial resources, hype both real and imaginary scarcities of primary commodities and to generate for themselves a boom and an opportunity for price-gouging in such commodities, including fuel, food and minerals.
We see today a global landscape in which entire peoples are suffering from economic and social devastation and degradation. These include the high rate of mass unemployment, the further depression of wages, the soaring prices of basic commodities, mass hunger and malnutriton and the rapid deterioration of social services in education, health and housing. The imperialist and puppet states are becoming increasinly repressive and are always trying to head off or preempt the people’s resistance with laws and brutal actions of state terrorism under the pretext of combating terrorism.
III. US Overextension in US Global War of Terror
In previous rounds of economic and financial crisis, the US has sought to use military production and the actual launching of wars of aggression (as in the Balkans and the Middle East) in order to stimulate the increasingly stagnant US and global capitalist economy. Since September 11, 2001, the US has found the pretext to adopt the policy of a global permanent and preemptive “war on terror” and has vowed to blacklist and attack not only the suspected Al Qaida perpetrators of 9/11 but all the anti-imperialist forces and elements in the world.
States invoking national independence, national liberation movements, revolutionary communist parties and progressive organizations and leaders have been blacklisted and have become the targets of various forms of attacks, including economic sanctions, subversion, nuclear blackmail, bombardments and wars of aggression. The US-instigated global war of terror has escalated the oppression of the people of the world. It has emboldened repression and fascism by imperialist and puppet states, acts of military intervention and massive wars of aggression as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, the US aggressors, its imperialist allies and their puppets find themselves sinking in quagmires in Iraq and Afghanistan. They face the unrelenting armed resistance of the people. Next to foreign debt due to trade deficits and sale of securities, military spending is growing as a big chunk of the US national debt. The American people consider unbearable the costs of aggression in terms of the number of American troops being killed and wounded, the misuse of resources against the American and other peoples and worst of all the ignominy of terrorism perpetrated by the US government exceeding so many times by far the crimes it had previously ascribed to the Saddam regime.
The imperialist powers continue to collude with each other in oppressing and exploiting the peoples of the world. But the rapidly worsening crisis of the world capitalist system is pressing them to compete with each other and redivide the world among themselves. They are ever maneuvering and contending with each other in order to acquire, keep and control sources of raw materials and cheap labor, markets, fields of investments and spheres of influence. The inter-imperialist contradictions are showing breaches in the anti-people front of the imperialist powers.
As a consequence of the betrayal of socialism by revisionism and the full restoration of capitalism in former socialist countries, the world capitalist system has become overwhelmingly dominant and the US has emerged as the sole imperialist superpower. But the increase of imperialist powers and the continuous worsening of crisis from one stage to another in the world capitalist system have generated conditions for the weakening of the US and other imperialist powers and the resurgence of the anti-imperialist and democratic resistance of the people of the world.
IV.The Resistance of the Peoples of the World
The people of the world detest and resist the U.S. as the No. 1 punderer, oppressor and terrorist of the world. It is the No. 1 enemy of the people of the world. It is the constant target of the anti-imperialist and democratc mass movements in the imperialist countries and in Asia, Africa and Latin America even as the other imperialist powers and reactionary forces are also held accountable. In various parts of the world, imperialism and local reaction may take different concrete forms in oppressing and exploiting the people and rousing the people to wage various forms of resistance.
The peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin America are the most oppressed and exploited by imperialism and reaction. They are therefore the most inclined to wage armed revolution and other forms of struggle along the line of national liberation and democracy. There are revolutionary armed struggles, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Nigeria, Philippines, Turkey, India and other South Asian countries. These are highly important because they assert and stress the necessity of seizing political power by the people. They can inspire the spread of armed revolution on a wide scale upon the worsening of the crisis of the world capitalist sytem.
We may describe as main contradition the contradiction between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations. This refers to the extreme conditions of the people’s suffering, the current level of revolutionary resistance and the high potential of a far wider spread of revolutionary armed struggles in various continents. The revolutionary forces of the people need to arise where they do not yet exist and be developed further where they exist. Conscious and vigorous efforts are needed to generate the resurgence of the anti-imperialist and democratic movement on a global scale after the success of imperialism and revisionism in inflicting a temporary defeat on the world proletarian revolution and the anti-imperialist movement since three decades ago.
As a consequence of the national liberation movements and socialist revolutions of the past and the current demands of the oppressed peoples and nations, there are states that invoke national sovereignty and national independence in order to counter the worst impositions of imperialism and to keep or win the support of the people. Such states may be motivated merely by bourgeois nationalism or some religious fervor or may pay lip service to socialism. Whether we like them or not or whether they like us or not, we must be able to study and take advantage of contradictions that arise between them and the imperialist powers in the same way that we study and take advantage of the contradictions among imperialist states.
If correctly applied, the policy and tactics of the united front at the national and international levels do not constitute opportunism. They are necessary for the revolutionary forces to grow from weak to strong, to expand their mass following and influence at any stage, split the counterrevolutionary forces and defeat them one after the other. A genuine revolutionary force can apply the united front policy and tactics only if in the first place it has its revolutionary integrity, develops its own strength and exercises its own initiative and independence in order to isolate and destroy the enemy. Thus, it can amplify its own strength and influence by using directly or indirectly and in various ways the contradictions between the enemy in a given period and those various forces on the opposite side. Such forces opposed to the enemy (an imperialist power and/or the ruling reactionary clique) include mass organizations, movements, parties, institutions and states or sections thereof.
As in the 20th century, before, during and after World Wars I and II, contradictions among the imperialist states themselves have resulted in concrete conditions conducive to the emergence and rise of revolutionary mass movements and possibly the establishment of people’s democracies and socialist states in the future. The sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions can acquire more importance inasmuch as the anti-imperialist and democratic movememts are striving to grow in strength and advance under conditions comparable to those when there was yet no socialist state before World War I.
The class struggle between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the proletariat is increasingly coming to the surface in the imperialist countries. The proletariat is rising up up against the protracted vicious pressing down of their wage and living conditions and the suppression of their trade union and basic democratic rights. The proletariat and the rest of the people are often mobilizing against chauvinism, racism, religious bigotry and fascism and against policies and laws that discriminate against the immigrants, women and youth. Under conditions of economic crisis, fascism and war, they can be moved to undertake resistance more than when the monopoly bourgeoisie can still bring home the bacon from super-exploitation of peoples abroad.
V. The Urgent Tasks of the ILPS
It is a matter of high importance and urgent necessity that the Third International Assembly make deliberations and decisions in accordance with the theme, “Strengthen the people’s struggle, unite to build a new world against imperialist aggression, state terrorism, plunder and social destruction!”
We must avail of the TIA to exchange experiences, sum them up, draw lessons and define the urgent tasks of the ILPS. We must amend the Charter in order to reflect the status, potential and aspirations of the ILPS. We must discuss matters that are intramural to the ILPS as well as the wide-ranging topics brought up by a distinguished array of distinguished guest speakers and resource persons.
Benefiting from thorough discussions in the workshops of the study commissions, we must issue a new General Declaration, consisting of the introduction proposed by the ICC and the comprehensive resolution on 18 concerns proposed by the study commssions. We can supplement this with specific resolutions. And we must put forward plans of action. We can be confident that after the TIA the anti-imperialist and democratic line of advance is more clear than ever before. We must perform more effectively than ever before the task of political education.
We must be determined to use all available means for agitating, informing and educating the people along the anti-imperialist and democratic line. We must use conversations , letters, indoor and outdoor public meetings, seminars and conferences to propagate our line and attract more member-organizations and supporters. We must issue our publications promptly in print and electronic media. We must take advantage of the economy and efficiency in spreading our statements, resolutions and plans of action through the internet.
We must carry out our organizational tasks better than ever before by drawing lessons from our experience and making the necessary amendments in the ILPS Charter. We must draw in more member-organizations through existing ones, through organizing committees and conferences, through the national chapters and through the global region committees .The 18 concerns are the lifeblood of the ILPS. Thus, the study commissions must continually undertake studies, develop plans of actions, hold conferences and seminars, and issue timely statements and resolutions.
The ILPS must attract mass formations to become member-organizations of the ILPS at an accelerated rate. Thus, it becomes more capable of raising personnel and resources for the offices of the ICC and General Secretariat and for carrying out the task of undertaking mass campaigns on various concerns and issues and mobilizing ever larger masses of the people.
Through the mass campaigns, the ILPS must further draw more mass organizations to join its fold. It must take the initiative in conceiving of and launching mass campaigns and seeking the cooperation of other entities. It must also join and support those mass campaigns initiated by other entities. In all cases, it must follow and apply the policy of the united front along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.