Keynote Address to the Third Assembly of ILPS in Canada
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
September 12, 2015
Chers camarades et amis! Au nom du comité de coordination international et de la Ligue internationale des luttes des peuples (LILP) dans son ensemble, je tiens à transmettre mes salutations les plus chaleureuses aux organisations membres et aux responsables de la section canadienne de la Ligue à l’occasion de sa troisième assemblée. Merci de m’avoir invité à vous adresser la parole à titre de conférencier d’honneur et à vous présenter un survol du travail de la Ligue à l’échelle mondiale.
Avant d’entrer dans le vif du sujet, je tiens à exprimer mon accord avec le thème de votre assemblée : Droit d’exister, droit de résister : bâtir une alliance pour dénoncer et s’opposer à l’impérialisme canadien, consolider et élargir le front uni anti-impérialiste à l’échelle mondiale. J’apprécie également que vous reconnaissiez que l’assemblée se déroule sur le territoire jamais cédé des Kanien’keha:ka et que les Premières nations sont les gardiennes des terres et des eaux autour de Montréal.
Je souhaite que le partage et le bilan de vos expériences respectives vous permettront de tirer les leçons des difficultés subjectives et objectives que vous avez rencontrés et d’en sortir avec un plan d’action pour les trois à quatre prochaines années, bonifié par les résolutions que vous adopterez sur votre travail politique et organisationnel et les préoccupations et les questions qui vous intéressent le plus.
Laissez-moi maintenant vous présenter un survol du travail de la Ligue à l’échelle mondiale. J’espère que ce survol vous aidera à mieux situer votre travail dans ce contexte et que vous prendrez en considération les actions et préoccupations mises de l’avant ailleurs dans le monde lorsque vous évaluerez la pertinence des projets, campagnes ou activités que vous mettrez de l’avant.
Je vais maintenant continuer mes propos en Anglais.
Since the beginning in 2001, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) has been constituted as an anti-imperialist and democratic formation. It promotes, supports and develops the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles of the peoples of the world against imperialism and all reaction. It has a broad mass character and is not subordinate to any political party, government or religion and affords equality to all participating organizations. It strives to realize the unity, cooperation and coordination of anti-imperialist and democratic struggles throughout the world.
The International Initiative Committee prepared for more than two years (1998 to 2001) the founding assembly of the ILPS on May 25-27, 2001. Since then, the ILPS has held the international assembly as its sovereign gathering. This marks the development of the ILPS from period to period. It involves convening the participating or member-organizations from different countries of the world. So far we have held four international assemblies. These were held in Zutphen, Netherlands in 2001, Eindhoven, Netherlands in 2004, Hong Kong in 2008 and Manila in 2011.
We are going to hold the Fifth International Assembly in Manila on November 14-16., with the theme: For a New and Better World, Intensify the People’s Struggle and Solidarity Against Imperialist Plunder, Crisis and War! The international assembly is timed to oppose the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference and the neoliberal economic policy of imperialist globalization which continues to brutally exploit the working people and plunge the world in an ever worsening economic and social crisis. We are pleased to know that your country assembly is being held to prepare for the Fifth International Assembly.
The international assembly is the highest decision-making body of the ILPS. It can amend the charter which was approved at the founding assembly. It elects the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) as the highest organ between assemblies. It receives, discusses and approves the reports and recommendations of the officers of the ICC and of the commissions on various concerns. It employs the commissions to draft and propose the main resolutions on concerns in order to compose the General Declaration of the ILPS.
Between international assemblies, the ICC directs the work of the International Coordinating Group, the General Secretariat, the commissions on concerns, the global region committees, the national or country chapters and the member-organizations, especially when these are not yet in any chapter. The ILPS as a whole and its organ and organizations are required to propagate the anti-imperialist and democratic line and arouse the masses accordingly, to attract mass organizations to join the ILPS and to mobilize the masses on various issues through campaigns and activities related to the concerns of the ILPS and in alliance with other possible forces.
In the words of its Charter, the ILPS must carry out the following aims and activities: 1.To stimulate, facilitate and coordinate common lines of action and undertake definite actions on the concerns and issues; 2.To cooperate with all possible organizations, institutions and personages in the attainment of the aims and purposes of the League; 3. The activities of the League include: advocacy, research, publications, conferences, seminars and social and political action.
The ILPS has 17 concerns to mind and act upon. The ICC, its commissions, all territorial organs and member-organizations are obliged within their respective scopes to be alert to, speak out and act on issues arising in connection with these concerns. It is best and easiest to have an overview of the work of the ILPS by using these concerns as the points of reference.
Concern 1: The cause of national liberation, democracy and social liberation.
We have issued the strongest statements and undertaken militant actions in solidarity with and support of oppressed and exploited peoples and nations fighting against imperialist domination, wars of aggression and state terrorism. We have undertaken the most strenuous efforts to support the peoples of Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and the people’s republics in Ukraine against blockades, provocations, military intervention and wars of aggression by the US, Zionists and NATO. In this regard, we have noted the involvement or participation of Canadian imperialism in wars of aggression and counterrevolutionary wars.
We are currently most concerned about the wars that have the potential of resulting in larger wars, such as the relentless Zionist attacks on the Palestinian people, the imperialist use of the ISIL or Daesh and other counterrevolutionary forces against the people of Iraq, Syria and Kurdistan, the provocative war exercises against the DPRK and the US-NATO instigation of the neofascist forces in Ukraine. We are also concerned about the US strategic pivot to Asia, China’s claim over 90 per cent of the South China Sea and the US-NATO expansion and provocations on the borders of Russia.
We have exposed and opposed the neocolonial and neoliberal policies carried out by the imperialist powers, especially the Group of 7 to which Canada belong, and by such multilateral agencies as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO to exploit the people of the world and plunder their natural resources. Canadian imperialism is infamous for being an accomplice of the US in the social and environmental degradation of many underdeveloped countries. The Fifth International Assembly will be a way for confronting the imperialist powers in the Asia-Pacific region.
We have initiated mass actions and called for support from other forces. And we have also coordinated with or joined the mass actions initiated by other anti-imperialist and democratic formations of varying geographic scales. We have initiated and participated in conferences, seminar and forums to clarify issues of national liberation, democracy and social liberation and to arrive at common courses of action. We have called for and joined global days of action. We have cooperated in many ways with the Asia Wide Campaign, the International Action Center, the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC), the Bolivarian Movement and the Beirut Conference participants.
Concern 2: Socio-economic development and social justice.
We have made researches and issued publications regarding the causes and conditions of socio-economic exploitation, crisis and underdevelopment and the urgent demand for social justice. Thus we are well-grounded in making our advocacy of socio-economic development and social justice. Since January 2009, we have been enlightened by the ILPS seminar in Amsterdam on the neoliberal policy, the 2008 financial crisis and further crises to come. We have initiated and participated in joint publications and in conferences, seminars and forums to demand development and social justice for the oppressed and exploited peoples and nations.
Foreign monopoly capitalism and the feudal and semifeudal forms of exploitation generate mass unemployment, widespread poverty and underdevelopment. These are perpetuated and aggravated by the nexus of neo-colonial and neoliberal policies for the benefit of the multinational firms, the local compradors and landlords and the corrupt bureaucrats. Under the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization, the economic and social crisis has recurred more often and more gravely. Canadian imperialism has a major share of responsibility for imposing and implementing this policy.
The problems of mass unemployment and poverty afflict not only the underdeveloped countries but also the long acknowledged developed countries, like Canada. At the moment, China and the European Union are conspicuously in a similar state of crisis and stagnation as the US. These dismal conditions result from the capitalist system of exploitation, aggravated by the neoliberal economic policy and the use of high technology to press down wages and lay off workers, thus effectively constricting the market and causing the crisis of overproduction. The finance capitalist device of rapidly expanding money supply and credit to buoy up the economy has served to favour the financial markets and generated financial bubbles that keep on bursting and causing worse financial and economic crisis.
Under the auspices of the ILPS, the Indonesian chapter has been waging a campaign against the WTO. IBON International and other member.-organizations of the Philippine chapter have conducted study workshops on neoliberal globalization and financialization in Nairobi and Hong Kong, and on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Jakarta and Bangkok. We observe that trade agreements are further being made to continue the neoliberal offensive. These include the TPP, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Concern 3: Human rights in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural fields.
We have issued statements and undertaken militant mass protests against the violations of human rights in India, Mexico, Palestine, the Philippines, Kurdistan, Turkey, Syria, the US, France and many other countries. We have encouraged our member-organizations to undertake legal and political actions against human rights violations. In this regard, we have linked up with the victims, the national and international lawyers’ organizations and other justice-seeking forces to assert, defend and exercise human rights.
We have sponsored and supported the Villatoro Foundation in Guatemala to memorialize the martyrs of repression and educate the people on human rights. We have also sponsored the recent International People’s Tribunal in Washington against the Obama and Aquino regimes for crimes against the Filipino people attended by human rights advocates from various countries. They included member-organizations of the ILPS. We cooperate with the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and many national lawyers associations and legal luminaries.
Civil and political rights are normally restricted or even curtailed to serve the foreign monopoly firms and the local exploiting classes, to suppress the opposition and to deceive the people. The systematic and gross violations of civil and political rights are interconnected with super profit-seeking exploitation which involves the vicious violation of economic, social and cultural rights. This is clearly seen where Canadian mining firms trample upon the rights of the indigenous peoples and other communities.
Concern 4: The cause of just peace.
We stand up for the cause of just peace. We strongly oppose the long running aggressive policy of the US, its current neoconservative policy of full spectrum dominance, its overseas deployment of military bases and forces and its acts of military provocations and intervention and its wars of aggression unleashed unilaterally or in combination with the Zionists and NATO. We likewise oppose imperialist support for fascist puppet regimes, instigation of counterrevolutionary wars and the training and deployment of mercenary troops-
We stand up for the cause of just peace by upholding the right of oppressed peoples and nations to wage revolution against their oppressors and exploiters and to engage in peace negotiations and agreements on just grounds for the benefit of the people. We have initiated and joined marches and rallies against wars of aggression and in conferences, seminars and forums on wars of aggression and revolutionary civil wars.
Concern 5. Independent trade union and workers’ and toilers’ rights and reduction of working hours at full pay against mass unemployment and decreasing wage levels.
We have always stood in solidarity with and supported the international working class movement as well as any trade union, labor federation or labor center in the world that fights for their basic democratic rights and trade union rights, better wage and living conditions, job security, and reduced working hours at full pay and against all the anti-worker presumptions and impositions under the neoliberal economic policy. We have always supported the International Solidarity Affair hosted by the Kilusang Mayo Uno – the May First Movement – of the Philippines. We also encourage the further development of WORKINS, which was established in Bali in 2013 as a broad network of anti-imperialist and democratic trade unions under the auspices of the ILPS.
Concern 6: Agrarian reform and rights of peasants, farm workers and fisher folk.
We have always called for agrarian reform and upheld the rights of peasants, farm workers and fisher folk, especially in the underdeveloped countries where feudal and semi-feudal forms of exploitation persist and coexist with modern plantations and fishing operations of foreign and big comprador corporations. We support the just struggles of the peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk in all countries. We have high appreciation for the Asian Peasant Coalition, in which the Kilusang Magbububukid ng Pilipinas – the Philippine Peasant Movement – and other ILPS member-organizations in various Asian countries are involved.
Concern 7: The cause of women’s rights and liberation
We are firmly and vigorously for the cause of women’s rights and liberation. We demand the equality of women with men in all social endeavours. The women must liberate themselves from patriarchy and from male chauvinism and sexism in their respective societies. They must participate fully and actively in the anti-imperialist and democratic movement to ensure respect for their rights and contribute their best for the benefit of the entire people. We are deeply pleased that the ILPS has been helpful in the activation of women’s organizations and in the formation of the International Women’s Alliance. This was founded in Montreal in 2010. We also continue to support the One Billion Rising campaign, which for 2015 is billed One Billion Rising for Revolution.
Concern 8: Rights of the youth to education and employment
We uphold and promote the rights of the youth to education and employment. The youth in the underdeveloped countries suffer the most hardship and frustration in seeking free and adequate education and getting jobs subsequently. But even in the developed countries, the youth are subjected to excessive school fees and onerous student loans. We have expressed admiration and support for the massive student strikes in Montreal. The youth are urgently needed for reinvigorating and strengthening the anti-imperialist mass movement in the interest of the youth themselves and the entire people.
Concern 9: Children’s rights against child labour, sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation
We support in the strongest terms the rights of children against child labor, sexual abuse and other forms of exploitation. Children’s rights are widely violated in the underdeveloped countries because of mass poverty. But even in the developed countries, children are becoming most vulnerable to the recurrent and increasingly worse economic and social crisis. Knowing no bounds to their malice, the imperialists and the local reactionaries are misrepresenting children as so-called child soldiers in areas of armed conflict and reactionary troops are using schools as barracks and depriving children of education. KABIBA – Alliance for Children’s Rights is taking a role in bringing together organizations for children’s rights within the ILPS.
Concern 10: Rights of indigenous peoples, oppressed nations and nationalities against chauvinism and racism
We recognize and respect the rights of indigenous peoples, oppressed nations and nationalities to self-determination and preservation and development of their cultural heritage according to their best judgment. We oppose any kind of forcible or deceptive imposition on them, any discrimination, chauvinism and racism against them.
We are deeply pleased that in various countries member-organizations and chapters of the ILPS uphold the aforesaid rights and that in Canada in particular they do likewise in relation to the First Nations and other communities of varied national origins. ILPS member organizations of indigenous peoples in the Philippines, especially the Cordillera People’s Alliance, are now striving to build the Indigenous Peoples’ Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation.
Concern 11: The rights of teachers, researchers and other educational personnel
Just as the youth have the right to education, without the encumbrances of high tuition fees, onerous student loans and lack of free public education, the teachers, researchers and other education personnel have definite rights to be in a better position to provide education. They have the rights to organize themselves as a union, to demand job security and better wage and living conditions and to raise the level of their knowledge and teaching skills.
We in the ILPS have always asserted that education is a basic social service that should not be commodified and made an object of profit-making. A major part of state revenues must be allotted to free education at all levels. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers, an ILPS member-organization, is intent on inviting other teacher’s organizations under Education International to join the ILPS.
Concern 12: The right of the people to health care and the rights of health workers
We have always asserted the right of the people to health care and the right of health workers and demanded that health care is a social service that must be provided to the people under a socialized health insurance system and must be free to the indigents. We have brought together in the ILPS organizations of health workers who run people’s clinics and provide affordable health to the working people and free services to the indigents. Among the most active ILPS member organizations in health work are the Health Alliance for Democracy, Alliance of Health Workers, People’s Health Movement, Fil-Am Health Workers Association and the Alliance for People’s Health in Canada.
Concern 13: Science and technology for the people and development, and environmental protection
We advocate the use of science and technology for the industrial development of the underdeveloped countries and for the benefit of the people and not for super profit making by the monopoly capitalist firms. Science and technology can be wisely used to advance economic development without the wanton plunder and destruction of the environment. Economic development can be harmonized with the protection of the environment.
The ILPS has brought together the organizations of scientists and technologists for economic development and environmental protection. They have spoken out in international conferences and street mass actions against the monopoly capitalists for causing global warming with the wanton use of fossil fuel and plunder of the environment, especially mining. The ILPS member-organization, the International Women’s Alliance, participated in organizing a Women and Mining Workshop in the framework of the Permanent People’s Tribunal on Canadian Mining Companies in Latin America held in Montreal in June 2013.
With the ILPS member-organization Kalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment, playing the key role, the ILPS participated in Rio + 20 environmental activity in Brazil in 2012 and co-sponsored the International Mining Conference in 2015. It also participated in the recent People’s Climate March in the US. It is preparing the Climate Change meeting in Paris this December 2015
Concern 14: Arts and culture and free flow of information in the service of the people
We promote the arts and culture that reflect the suffering, struggles and aspirations of the people for a better life in a just society. Such arts and culture must dignify the people and inspire them to achieve higher levels of social development, instead of glorifying the oppressors and exploiters. There must be a free flow of information to enlighten the people and move them to change the conditions of oppression and exploitation. The oppressive state and the exploiting classes must not control and use information for their own narrow self-interest.
We have brought together organizations of artists, creative writers, journalists and cultural workers that serve the people and are striving to build the International Conference on Progressive Culture. We have formed an international organization to promote people’s art and culture, the People’s Art Network, which has launched a website and participated in promoting and uniting progressive cultural workers and media practitioners and we aim to create the ILPS TV, radio and news wire. To that end, we have cooperated with the New World Academy and other institutions and organizations to promote progressive art and culture. In this regard, the ILPS member-organization, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines has played a key role.
Concern 15: Justice and indemnification for the victims of illegal arrest and detention
We demand justice and indemnification of the victims of human rights violations, including those subjected to illegal arrest and detention, torture and murder. We have encouraged and supported the work of human rights organizations and foundations in various countries. We have sponsored people’s tribunals against wars of aggression and human rights violations. Our member-organizations, especially the Philippine human rights organization, Karapatan, have initiated and participated in conferences, fact finding missions and joint political actions to support the victims of human rights and condemn the perpetrators.
Concern 16: Rights and welfare of displaced homeless persons, refugees and migrant workers
We fight for the rights and welfare of displaced homeless persons, refugees and migrant workers. The imperialist powers plunder and keep countries underdeveloped and compel many of the unemployed to become migrant workers within their own countries, within global regions, in some oil producing countries and in developed countries. They support fascist regimes and state terrorism that displace people and make them political refugees. Worst of all, they unleash wars of aggression or instigate counterrevolutionary wars. All these generate overnight millions of refugees. The ILPS is proud of having encouraged and supported through Migrante International the formation of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) and International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR) and having opposed the misleading claims of the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
Concern 17: Rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and trans-gendered.
In accordance with its policy of gender equality, the ILPS supports the rights of gays. lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered and queer people (LGBTQ) and opposes all kinds of discrimination and oppression. It carries the position and demands of LGBTQ people in the General Declaration of ILPS and includes in the ILPS their formations as member-organizations. These have their own commission in the ILPS. They can participate in all assemblies, campaigns and other activities of the ILPS. They can undertake public activities to uphold, defend and promote their rights and carry forward the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle.
I hope that the overview of the ILPS work that I have given can help you in broadening and deepening your understanding of the ILPS and to contribute to the further strengthening of the ILPS. Your assembly can take into account or scan all the concerns of the ILPS and then focus on certain concerns that are of urgent interest to your chapter. You can prepare to engage in campaigns and activities on these concerns and attract a broader range of organizations to join your chapter or cooperate with you as allies in a united front along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.