By LEN COOPER
International Coordinating Committee
Dear guests, friends from the diplomatic corps, members of the Philippine Congress, welcome to our conference. We appreciate your attendance and please accept our warmest welcome.
Comrades, delegates, observers, sisters and brothers in struggle, on behalf of the International Coordinating Committee of the ILPS we wish you the warmest greetings of solidarity.
Firstly, I am honored to be entrusted with the task of opening the 4th International Assembly of the ILPS. It gives me great pride and immense joy to be with you at this somewhat historic event.
Historic it is, for the first ILPS international conference was in 2001, ten years ago. In that time you have built the ILPS as the biggest, most effective, mass anti- imperialist mobilising body in the world.
Today we have with us hundreds of participants representing forty three countries and that is despite the action by the authorities in some countries preventing their citizens from attending.
While I am talking history, I must remind you, if indeed you do need reminding, that just a few weeks ago it was the 3rd anniversary of the very untimely death of our wonderful comrade Crispin Beltran, Ka Bel.
Ka Bel was the very first Chairperson of the ILPS. The inaugural Chairperson of ILPS.
Ka Bel was not only a great fighter for the Filipino working class and other poor people of the Philippines but he belonged to the world’s proletariat. He was a great champion of international proletarian solidarity all of his life.
We will not forget him. Not only that, we remain inspired by him in our struggles.
There are many people to thank for the successful preparation of this important event and the magnificent activities that have been organised in the run-up to the ILPS conference since the 2nd of July.
Who could forget the brilliant opening performance of the artists and delegates of the International Migrant Alliance conference?
And the brilliant opening by the indigenous people of the International Festival of Peoples’ Rights and Struggles (IFPRS)?
Who could be anything other than enormously impressed with, and proud of, the outcomes of the International Migrant Alliance (IMA)? The IMA which is that unstoppable force that is so important to the peoples’ efforts to win a new world; and the outcomes of the very successful IFPRS. What a remarkable attention to detail and a decisive pin-pointing of the most fundamental issues that must be dealt with, and the inspiring outcomes after the consideration of those issues by delegates? All magnificent work. This has surely put the IFPRS on the map for future activities, has it not?
We must thank the secretariat, the host country committee, the staff and the other wonderful volunteers that have made all this possible; the hard work, sleepless nights, the blood, sweat and tears that have prepared the ground for what I am sure will be the best ILPS conference yet.
We are inspired by our beloved Filipino comrades for hosting us and making all this possible.
The ILPS is an indispensible tool for the people of the world to utilise and support in the struggle against imperialist war and plunder and for democracy, as part of the ultimate struggle to win a world without war, without borders, without exploitation and without classes.
Yes, we are militant fighters, but we dream of a world without war. Yes, we are fighters on behalf of our class the working class and other sections of the poor and oppressed, but we strive with all our energy for a world without classes, without exploitation, a world where the profit motive is banished to history.
If you look at the 18 concerns of the ILPS, if you look at the enormous range of activities carried out around those 18 concerns you can, with absolute conviction, understand the nature of the ILPS and what sort of world it is aiming to build – with passion, with commitment, with courage, with political foresight based on a commitment to the common woman and man; to build a world based on them and ruled by them.
One of the finest, most important and most fundamental aspects of the ILPS work beyond all else, is the fact that (to use an old Australian saying), “we tell it like it is”. We say that imperialism is the cause of war, of poverty, of the suffering of the people, the cause of oppression and genocide. That capitalism and the profit motive is at the heart of the suffering of the people and that such a system is finished in historical terms and should be finished off as quickly as possible in practical terms.
The world’s people must be given the opportunity to understand that imperialism is the cause of war. They must understand this so they can end war. The world’s people must be given the opportunity to understand that the profit motive and capitalism is at the heart of the world’s misery so that they can end it. If the anti-imperialists and the democrats of the world don’t give them that opportunity who will?
This aspect of “telling it like it is” must be cherished, safeguarded, and protected because the retreat from explaining imperialism and the profit motive, using discussion and research and current events and evidence to expose imperialism, the retreat from that in the past, has meant that the people and the peoples movement has paid a fearful price, leaving much ground to be recovered today.
We must continue to “tell it like it is”.
My dear friends, as well as patting ourselves on the back (which is justly deserved), we must look at all our shortcomings and at those needs of the suffering peoples of the world which we are not meeting. I am sure these things as well as many others will be dealt with by our Chairperson Professor Sison, our General Secretary Malcolm Guy and others in the course of the conference.
To finish I wish to quote the words of Professor Sison in 2010, he said this: “US military aggression and intervention throughout the world is resulting in massive civilian deaths, destruction of vital infrastructure, trampling of national cultures, pillaging of natural resources, massive displacement and other gross human right violations and the spread of hunger and disease” end quote.
How right he is. Let the proceedings for the 4th international conference of the ILPS begin; we have a world to win. Best wishes for a wonderful 4th ILPS international assembly