By Jose Maria Sison
Chairman, Center for Social Studies
Zutphen, The Netherlands
25 May 2001
Distinguished guests and fellow delegates,
On behalf of the International Initiative Committee, I declare open the First International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle.
We welcome all of you in the spirit of anti-imperialist solidarity. We thank you for responding to our call to come to this assembly to establish the International League of Peoples’ Struggle as a broad anti-imperialist and democratic mass formation. We are thus gathered in an occasion of great historic importance.
Urgent Need for the ILPS
The League answers the urgent need of the broad masses of the people for the creation of an international rallying force in the struggle for national independence, democracy and social liberation. It is their weapon against the intensifying exploitation and oppression unleashed by “free market” globalization and the new world disorder under the hegemony of US imperialism.
The contradictions are sharpening between the imperialist powers and the oppressed nations and peoples, those among the imperialist powers and those between capital and labor in the imperialist countries. Under these conditions, the revolutionary mass movement can advance throughout the world.
Since the collapse of the revisionist regimes, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the violent turmoil in China in the years of 1989 to 1991, the world capitalist system has plunged deeper into the crisis of overproduction and into unprecedented social and political turmoil. This belies the absurd claim that capitalism and liberal democracy are the end of history.
But the imperialist powers never tire of dishing up their ideological and political lies in the most cunning counterrevolutionary phraseology. They deploy against the people a tripartite alliance of imperialist and client states, multinational banks and firms and so-called nongovernmental organizations that are imperialist funded.
The League is needed in order to raise the consciousness and militancy of the toiling masses and the middle social strata in the common struggle against the imperialists and their socioeconomic, political and cultural instruments in all the fifteen concerns which are enumerated in the proposed charter of the League. These concerns are responsive to the theme of this assembly “The People’s Demands for Solidarity for the 21st Century”.
Origins of the League
We come from various democratic and revolutionary traditions and currents in various countries. We are a broad range of mass formations, taking the anti-imperialist and democratic line and seeking to build a broad international united front in order to arouse, organize and mobilize the people in their hundreds of millions.
Our League is inspired by the anti-imperialist and democratic mass struggles that have arisen since the beginning of the 20th century. It also reflects and draws strength from the recent anti-imperialist and democratic mass struggles that have arisen since the decade of the 1990s. Among our delegations in this assembly are those that have waged various forms of mass struggles for national independence, democracy and socialism in their own countries and on an international scale.
They have participated in international protest campaigns against US wars of aggression such as those against Iraq and former Yugoslavia, and against such US-dominated multilateral formations as the APEC in Manila in 1996 and in Vancouver in 1997, the WTO in Seattle in 1999, the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC in 2000, the Group of 7 in Okinawa in 2000, the IMF and World Bank in Prague 2000 and so on.
It is appropriate and in its best interest for the League to trace its origins from the great revolutionary mass struggles against imperialism. The League seeks to attract and mobilize the broadest possible range of mass formations for the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle.
Report on Preparations
It is a great honor and privilege for me to have invited representatives of mass formations to constitute the International Initiative Committee since January 2000. I thank them for their active participation and cooperation in the work of the committee to prepare this assembly.
Let me apprise you of the most salient points in the preparatory work of the International Initiative Committee.
1. Since the beginning, we have made clear that the League is a broad mass formation with an anti-imperialist and democratic character. By this description, the League is not under the weight of either the bourgeois liberal notion of broadness nor the sectarian notion that a mass formation is no different from a political party ( of whatever ideological persuasion).
2. In order to avoid entangling the preparatory work as well as the League with unnecessary disputes over ideological or theological questions, we have stressed that the League be independent of or not subordinate to any party, institutional church or state. We have deliberately avoided the burden of classifying and inviting political parties.
3. We held a total of 10 meetings from 15-16 January 2000 to 24 May 2001 to decide by democratic consensus or majority vote all important matters in preparation for this assembly. In these meetings, we gathered and considered the lists of organizations of the League. We deliberated upon, drafted and redrafted the documents that are now in your hands. We kept on planning this assembly.
4. We formed and directed the provisional secretariat and the host country committee to assist us in preparatory work. Their work has been decisive and indispensable in realizing the plans of the committee for holding this assembly.
5. We have succeeded to gather 336 delegates representing 232 organizations in 40 countries. The number, scope and quality of the participating organizations make the League a formidable organization from its founding day. We had invited via snail mail, fax and e-mail nearly 2000 mass organizations to participate in the assembly. The response could not be any higher because the organizations invited have their own ideological, political, organizational and financial considerations and constraints.
6. We have directed the formation of workshop preparatory committees and the drafting of resolutions for each of the 15 concerns of the League. We have also invited distinguished persons as guest speakers of the workshops.
7. The postponement of the assembly from December 2000 to the present and the change of venue have allowed us to avoid certain pitfalls and to further broaden the ranks of participating organizations in the League.
8. The operating funds of the IIC came from the credit lines provided by the Philippine and Turkish organizations. The assembly is financed in a decentralized way by the funds and resources raised by the various delegations from various countries.
The Assembly as Sovereign Body and Supreme Organ
We of the IIC have had the prerogative of inviting mass formations to send delegations to this assembly on the basis of a clear anti-imperialist and democratic position and in accordance with the democratic processes of making decisions in our preparatory work.
This assembly is the sovereign body and highest decision-making organ of the league. To this assembly, we of the IIC offer for consideration and approval the following proposals:
1. Program of activities or agenda of the assembly;
2. Rules of participation;
3. Amendments to the statutes of the League from the various delegations; and
4. Rules of election.
We wish to inform the assembly that we have gathered draft resolutions for the 15 concerns of the League. We offer these to the workshops for processing for the ultimate consideration of the assembly.
For the smooth conduct of the assembly, the IIC has the responsibility of acting as the steering committee until the International Coordinating Council is elected. With our knowledge and experience in preparatory work, we are ready to help the presidium of the plenary sessions, the presiding officers of the workshops and the electoral committee.
We look forward to a successful assembly. We hope that the League will serve as an effective coordinating and facilitating instrument of all the participating organizations in their anti-imperialist struggles and in their cooperation with other anti-imperialist and democratic forces in the world.