By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Dear colleagues and friends,
Let me express warmest greetings of solidarity to all of you and thank you for joining us in this Fourth International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS). Let us all congratulate the International Coordinating Group (ICG), the Host Country Committee and the entire Philippine chapter of the League for their success in preparing this assembly.
Let us celebrate the achievements of our League and pay our respects to all who have made sacrifices in the course of struggles, especially those who have been martyred. Let us renew our resolve to carry the struggle forward and win ever greater victories. The road is still long and tortuous before we can defeat imperialism and reaction on a global scale and free the world from these monsters. But we can succeed in bringing the struggle to a new and higher level within our time.
It is my duty as chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) to make a comprehensive report on the political and organizational work of the League since the Third International Assembly in 2008. At the same time, the ICC has instructed me to make the report within the context of the 10th founding anniversary of the League by way of delivering the keynote address to the Fourth International Assembly.
We are guided by the assembly’s theme: “Build a Bright Future! Mobilize the People to Resist Exploitation and Oppression Amidst the Protracted Global Depression, State Terrorism and Wars of Aggression”!
I. Conception, Struggles and Achievements of the League
I propose to present in broad strokes the conception, major struggles and achievements of the League in the first ten years of its existence, the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system and the rise of the people’s resistance and the tasks the League must carry out in order to advance the people’s struggle along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.
Conception of the League
As early as 1994, I presented and discussed before an international conference of working class parties the need for establishing an international united front of anti-imperialist and democratic mass organizations. From year to year, we persevered in proposing the formation of such an international united front before formal and informal meetings until 1999 when representatives of several mass organizations from several countries agreed to constitute the International Initiative Committee for the purpose of establishing the League.
I announced the plan to form the League in my keynote speech to the People’s Assembly and March-Rally against the World Trade Organization in Seattle, Washington on November 28, 1999, the eve of the Battle of Seattle. It was my distinct honor to convene the International Initiative Committee on January 15-16, 2000 and to be elected as the chairperson of the committee for preparing the founding assembly of the League.
The preparatory work included the drafting of the Charter of the League and the Rules of Participation, planning the First International Assembly and inviting mass organizations to participate in the assembly. We of the International Initiative Committee conceived of the League as a force for promoting, supporting and developing the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle of the workers and oppressed peoples of the world in order to oppose the ideological, political, military, economic and cultural domination and attacks of imperialism and reaction.
We were determined to build the League as an alliance of mass formations and mass movement to expose and oppose the inhuman policies and acts of the multinational companies, their governments and international instruments such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO and military alliances and to realize the unity, cooperation and coordination of such organized forces of the people as trade unions and organizations of women, youth, peasants, teachers, health workers, journalists, writers, scientists, technologists, lawyers and other professionals, as well as popular movements, campaigns and just causes involving major concerns and issues.
Since its founding through the First International Assembly (FIA) on May 25-27, 2001 in Zutphen, The Netherlands, the League has been outstanding in undertaking and generating political education along the anti-imperialist and democratic line in a comprehensive range of major concerns and issues. Every international assembly is an occasion for raising political consciousness through the plenary deliberations and the workshops of the commissions.
Between international assemblies, the League intensifies efforts to propagate its Charter, current General Declaration and commission resolutions. In accordance with the foregoing, the Chairperson, the International Coordinating Committee, the International Coordinating Group, the commissions, the global region committees, the national chapters and member-organizations of the League have promptly taken up within their respective scopes the issues of the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles through statements and calls to action.
The ICC and the commissions have undertaken study meetings, seminars and conferences to discuss and draw up conclusions and resolutions on various concerns and issues. Researches and publications have been done. The educational materials of the League, including its basic documents, primers, position papers and the like have been published in the print and electronic media. The League has effected a constant flow of information and study materials through its website, mailing lists and list serves.
We have analyzed and expressed our position on major events in the period after every international assembly. In the period of 2001 to 2004 after the FIA, the League issued statements on such highly important issues as the bursting of the high tech bubble, the bankruptcy of the neoliberal globalization and the wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of 9-11.
In the periods of 2004 to 2008 after the Second International Assembly (SIA) and 2008 to the present after the Third International Assembly (TIA), the ICC and the ICG have issued resolutions and the Chairperson statements on many major events and issues of international significance. In accordance with the Charter and under the principles and policies of the League as well as on the basis of ICC resolutions, the Chairperson has issued statements in his capacity as chief representative and spokesperson of the League.
Because of effective political education on the anti-imperialist united front and people’s solidarity, the League has achieved high level of political unity and militancy against imperialism and reaction. It has succeeded in frustrating the attempts of a few pseudo-Maoist sectarians to undermine the unity of the League and to isolate the League in some obscure anarchist or even Trotskyite ideological corner of denying the major role of anti-imperialist states and countries and their contradictions with imperialist powers.
Failing in their disruptive acts, the sectarians have attacked and declared a boycott on the League, ICC and the Fourth International Assembly and have thereby excluded themselves from these. Their latest act of sabotage reminds us of their vicious attempt to paralyze and scuttle the Second International Assembly in 2004 by filibustering, walking out and preventing plenary sessions for more than one day after they failed to impose on the assembly the weird notion that countries which assert or invoke national independence are of no consequence and that contradictions between such countries (like Cuba, DPR of Korea, Venezuela, Iran and Syria) and the imperialist powers are of no significance.
The League stands today as the foremost global formation of mass organizations comprehensively covering all major concerns and issues in the people’s struggle for national and social liberation and promptly issuing analyses, statements and calls to action for the benefit of the broad masses of the people. Whatever position or action the League takes is based on the needs and demands of the people and is aimed at advancing the political struggle of the people and achieving their goals.
The First International Assembly of the League was attended by 339 delegates and guests, representing 232 mass organizations from 40 countries. It ratified the Charter of the League, which upheld our view in the International Initiative Committee that the League shall have a broad mass character, shall not be subordinate to any political party, government or church, shall afford equality to all participating organizations and shall strive to realize the unity, cooperation and coordination of anti-imperialist and democratic struggles throughout the world.
The Second International Assembly (SIA) from 11 November to 13 November 2004 in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, carried the theme, “Advance the people’s solidarity and struggle for liberation and democracy against imperialist plunder and war”. It was attended by 240 delegates representing 136 mass organizations in 33 countries as well as by observers representing 39 organizations in various global regions. The number of delegates was less than that of the FIA because the organizational growth of the League had been stunted by failure of the ultra-Leftist sectarians to perform their assignments and because Dutch and other European governments refused to grant visa to many delegates from the Philippines, Nigeria, Nepal, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other countries.
The Third International Assembly (TIA) from June 18 to 20, 2008 in Hong Kong carried the theme, “Strengthen the peoples’ struggle, unite to build a new world against imperialist aggression, state terrorism, plunder and social destruction!” and was attended by 265 delegates representing 165 peoples’ organizations. Because we had begun to counter the obstacles put up by the ultra-Left sectarians, the number of delegates in TIA was higher than that of the SIA but still lower than that of FIA because of financial constraints on member-organizations.
After the TIA, the ICC approved the By Laws of the Charter in order to have a clearer guide for the organizational development of the League. It also urged the building of national chapters more strongly than ever before. It. invited more participating organizations, especially from countries and global regions like Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, South Asia and Eastern Europe and encouraged the setting up of coordinating committees at the level of the global regions (Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America and Oceania). But the results in building chapters and global region coordinating committees have been modest because of the continuing obstacles put up by the ultra-Left sectarians.
Until now, the ICC, ICG and General Secretariat of the League connect directly with the hundreds of member organizations. The League has national chapters in the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Canada and Hong Kong & Macau. The ultra-Left sectarians established a national chapter in Turkey after the FIA but soon scuttled it because they could not maintain united front with other organizations, especially the more significant ones.
The global region coordinating committee for East Asia and Oceania was formed in Hong Kong in 2005 and held a consultative meeting in Cebu in 2006 . It is the only functioning global region coordinating committee, with four national chapters under its oversight. The sectarians preempted the task of forming global region committees in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America but failed to form any. Moreover, they turned off many organizations that had joined or had wished to join the League.
We consider as major cause for the slow development of the multi-level structure of the League the sectarianism of ultra-Left elements who sought to impose a narrow pseudo-Maoist ideological position on the League’s united front policy and line of people’s anti-imperialist solidarity. They did not only fail to carry out the tasks that they had volunteered for and preempted but also systematically repelled organizations that did not share their narrow ideological position which runs counter to the character of a broad political alliance or movement of mass formations.
These sectarians have at certain times asserted that the united front policy is opportunism. They sought to prevent the participation of some anti-imperialist groups in the ILPS-sponsored International Conference of Migrants and Refugees in Athens in November 2009. And when the ICC Chairperson in his inspirational message credited the aforesaid groups for their active cooperation one of the sectarians in the ICG publicly declared that the Chairperson had no authority to speak. As a consequence, the Chairperson asked for a vote of confidence in the ICC meeting on November 21, 2009, resulting in the reconstitution of the ICG.
The commissions have been responsible for inviting many reliable anti-imperialist mass formations to become members of the League. But they tend to become active only when they organize the workshops for the international assembly. In the years between such workshops, many of the commissions survive through a secretariat or a lead organization. Only a few commissions (such as those concerned with labor, peasants, youth, women, migrants and refugees, war and peace and socio-economic development) are active in issuing timely papers and statements, launching seminars and conferences and bringing about or helping bring about new international organizations or alliances on a sectoral or issue basis.
We are proud that we can hold international assemblies and other international events by relying on membership dues and cooperation of our member-organizations and thus we do not have to depend on funding from any imperialist or reactionary source. But the financial constraints have compelled us to have an uncompensated staff shared by the Chairperson and the General Secretariat.
We have also used the proxy method and skype to overcome the financial inability of members to travel from afar and attend ICC and ICG meetings. But to become stronger organizationally, we must build our financial capability through the efficient collection of membership dues and donations, fund-raising through cultural presentations and other activities such as the sale of publications, t-shirts, artistic works, memorabilia and the like.
We are all happy to know today that the number of delegates in the Fourth International Assembly far surpasses that of any of the previous assemblies. We have new member-organizations and delegations from Africa, Middle East, Latin America and other continents. We congratulate the ICC, the ICG, the General Secretariat, the commissions, national chapters and the Host Country Committee for this signal achievement. This can be attributed to the correctness of our application of the ILPS united front policy and our determination and perseverance in surmounting all obstacles in advancing our anti-imperialist and democratic line.
The work of the League has become far more effective since November 2009 when the ICC confronted and solved the problem of obstructions and disruptions by the sectarians. What has been achieved since then puts the sectarians to shame for their desperate attacks and calls for boycott and liquidation against the League, the ICC and the Fourth International Assembly.
Despite all kinds of difficulties due to the objective conditions of dominance by imperialism and reaction and due to some glitches caused by a few ultra-Left sectarians, the League stands today as the largest global formation of its kind, militantly anti-imperialist and democratic, with hundreds of member-organizations which in turn have millions of individual members in scores of countries and in all continents.
The League is guided by the international united front policy. It can initiate or join mass campaigns or occasional activities of mass mobilization and broad international conferences along the anti-imperialist and democratic line of struggle. By its nature, the League 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.
We have covered a wide range of major issues, whether these arose in the imperialist countries or in the most numerous countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America. To mention a few, we have expressed our position and have called for people’s action on the imperialist policies, the crisis of the world capitalist system, environmental plunder, the US war of terror and continuing US occupation of Iraq and US-Zionist occupation of Palestine, the exploitation and oppression of peoples, the counterrevolutionary campaigns against people’s wars in various countries, various forms of discrimination (chauvinist, racial, gender, religious and others), the digital divide and the anti-labor, anti-immigrant and anti-youth policies in imperialist countries.
After the First International Assembly
After the FIA, the League called on its member-organizations to initiate or join campaigns and activities against the US-instigated policies of neoliberal globalization and so-called perpetual war on terror which unleashed state terrorism and wars of aggression, as in Afghanistan and Iraq. The League established cooperative relations with other anti-imperialist and democratic forces and alliances in the home grounds of imperialism and many other countries . ILPS member organizations all over the world mobilized in full force on February 15, 2003 to join the millions of people in scores of cities all over the world poured into the streets to condemn the war of aggression against Iraq and support the Iraqi people.
We joined protest actions against imperialist plunder during summits of the imperialist leaders and during meetings of such imperialist-controlled institutions as the IMF, WB, WTO and the World Economic Forum. We started to initiate campaigns in Asia and Africa against the Millennium Development Goals as a form of shedding crocodile tears and glossing over the problem of imperialist plunder. We sponsored and promoted the international women’s conference held in Vancouver, Canada in November 2002 which carried the theme: “Towards our Liberation: Against Imperialist War and Plunder.”
We co-organized with Greek organizations an anti-imperialist camp in Thessaloniki, Greece from 15-22 June 2003 parallel to the European Social Forum in the same city. Several thousand people came to form a strong anti-imperialist bloc in the mass demonstrations against the EU summit. We also co-sponsored the conference on US military bases on September 20-22 2003 in Chania, Greece and launched an international campaign for the dismantling of overseas US military bases.
We launched campaigns to demand the release of political prisoners, such as ILPS vice-chairman Memik Horuz who was arrested by Turkish authorities soon after coming from the First International Assembly and the ILPS Auditor Irene Fernandez who was arrested by the Malaysian government for exposing the sad plight of migrant workers and fighting for their rights.
When the ILPS General Consultant was put on the so-called terrorist blacklist of the US, Dutch and European Union in 2002, participating organizations of the League carried out a campaign to defend his democratic rights. DEFEND Committees were formed, with ILPS participating organizations at the core of these committees to conduct information meetings and mass actions.
A conference titled Laws, Label and Liberation focusing on my case was held in Montreal, Canada in May 2004 under the auspices of the League. My case served to illustrate the intensified attacks by the imperialists and reactionaries on human rights and on the right of oppressed peoples to national liberation through legislation using as pretext of the so-called war on terror.
In cooperation with the All-India People’s Resistance Forum and other progressive Indian organizations, the League organized the Mumbai Resistance 2004 to confront the problem of imperialism and to call for system change in opposition to the reformist line of the Mumbai World Social Forum in January 2004. Over 300 Indian mass organizations and hundreds of representatives from scores of mass organizations from Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Middle East and Africa participated in MR 2004.
After the Second International Assembly
After the SIA, we carried out solidarity campaigns for the peoples of Iraq, Palestine, Nepal, India and other countries, against imperialist war in Iraq and Afghanistan and against foreign military bases, for the release of Memik Horuz, for the defense of the rights of the ILPS Chairperson and for his delisting from the so-called terrorist list.
We supported the international women’s conference on March 8, 2005. We joined the March 19 protest actions against the US occupation of Iraq and the conference on political prisoners “From Attica to Abu Ghraib” in the US in 2005. We joined the conference against the war of aggression on Iraq in Germany on March 20, 2005.
We sponsored the conference in Bandung in April 2005 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic Bandung Conference that gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement. We participated in the formation of Palestinian Committee on May 15, 2005. We sponsored a symposium on political prisoners in order to denounce and demand the end of torture and isolation in Turkey in June 2005 .
We joined the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atom bombing in August 2005. Brazilian member-organizations of the League manifested in Porto Alegre our criticism of the World Social Forum. We co-sponsored the conference on Iraq on October 1-2, 2005 in Rome. We were among the main organizers of the People’s Action Week against the WTO in Hong Kong on December 8-18, 2005.
We co-organized the Conference on US Militarism and War of Terror in Asia-Pacific from December 9 to 10, 2006. The ILPS East Asia Coordinating Committee initiated the formation and launching of the Asia-Pacific Anti-US Bases Network. We endorsed and supported the various activities organized and sponsored by the member-organizations of the League, such as the International Solidarity Mission in Defense of a People Under Siege (Philippines), Conference Towards a Just and Lasting Peace in Canada and the Conference on Trade Union and Labor in Turkey.
In many cases, the League generated information campaigns on a global scale but member-organizations engaged in the action campaigns on the issues that they had started in their respective countries. The issues included human rights violations in the Philippines, Turkey, India, Brazil and other countries, the royal coup in Nepal, the apartheid wall in Palestine, displacement of people in Nandigram, repression of Turkish activists in Germany and France, the occupation of Iraq and so on.
Officers of the ICC continued to be targeted for persecution by reactionary governments. Soon after coming from the Second International Assembly, our colleague in the ICC, the Palestinian health activist Dr. Ahmad Maslamani was arrested and imprisoned by the Israeli Zionist authorities. Our first Chairperson and subsequently honorary chairperson Rep. Crispin Beltran was also arrested and imprisoned for more than a year from 2006 to 2007 on the trumped up charge of rebellion by the Arroyo regime in the Philippines.
On the same charge of rebellion, the Chairperson was placed at the top of the 50 accused social activists, including the Chairperson of the Philippine chapter, other progressive members of Congress and anti-Arroyo military officers. The charge was dismissed by the Philippine Supreme Court in June 2007. But shortly after, your chairperson was arrested and imprisoned in The Netherlands on the false charge of inciting murder in August 2007, on the basis of specifications nullified by the aforesaid court. A global campaign was undertaken to defend my rights and the rights of other Filipino refugees and to demand my release from the Scheveningen prison.
In all cases, the League defended its persecuted leaders, carried out protest actions and initiated petition campaigns for their release. It spearheaded the global campaign to defend my rights of and those other Filipino progressive abroad and succeeded in generating protest rallies against the Dutch government in more than 20 cities of the world and helping cause my release from prison in September 2007.
The League and particularly its Commission on Migrant Workers and Refugees held the First International Conference on Migrant Workers and Refugees and subsequently in 2008 launched the International Migrants Association in Hong Kong on the eve of our Third International Assembly.
Since the Third International Assembly
Since the TIA, the League has initiated and carried out the following campaigns: against the global financial and economic crisis and the G20; against the US-led imperialist wars of aggression and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; against intensifying US militarism and intervention; against US foreign military bases; against Israel’s illegal settlement expansion and in support of the Palestinian right to return; against the oppressive policy aimed at the ILPS Chairperson; against the extra-judicial killings of progressive leaders and activists in the Philippines; against the illegal arrest, torture and unjust detention of 43 Health Workers (Morong 43) in the Philippines; in support of the struggles of the workers of Hacienda Luisita; against displacements of indigenous people and Operation Green Hunt in India; in defense of jobs; for the release of political prisoners; against the Global Forum on Migrants and Development; against threats of war on Iran; and against nuclear reactors and power plants.
The League has also engaged in a number of campaigns initiated by other organizations since July 2008, such as the following: against the G-8 Summit in Hokkaido; against the US plan to launch a war on Iran; against growing repression in Iran; against US and NATO maneuvers in the Russia-Georgia conflict; for the bailout of the American people and not of the big bankers; for supporting the Greek people against the Karamanlis regime; for the Palestinian people against Israeli attacks, invasion and massacres; against the Israeli invasion of Gaza and massacres of the Palestinians; against the criminal record of the Bush regime; for supporting the general strike of the French people; and against the brutal attacks by the Italian police on Italian revolutionaries.
Commission No. 2 of the League reactivated RESIST as an international campaign against neoliberal globalization and war. It planned and organized an international forum of prominent economic experts and social scientists on the economic and financial crisis which broke out in September 2008. The forum on the root causes and consequences of the crisis was held on 30 January 2009 in Amsterdam The Netherlands , with the cooperation of IBON-Europe. The Chairperson of the League contributed to the forum the paper entitled “What the People Can and Must Do About the Financial and Economic Crisis”.
RESIST co-organized a series of forums on the crisis in Bali, Indonesia, in New York City, in Nairobi and in Manila. It conducted a workshop on US militarism and human rights at the US Social Forum in Pittsburgh with BAYAN USA. It held a symposium on charting alternatives for the global economy” as part of Peoples’ Summit vs. the G20 in Seoul, Korea. It put forward and distributed the “People’s Manifesto for Jobs and Justice” at the Peoples’ Summit in Pittsburgh G20.
The League participated in the Beirut International Forum for Resistance, Solidarity Between Peoples and Alternatives from 16 to 19 January 2009 for the following purposes: to know more about the nature, forces and plans of the Beirut International Forum; to disseminate among the participants basic information about the ILPS, to explore the possibility of alliance between ILPS and the forum; and to prospect for ILPS member-organizations and allies, especially in the Middle East and Africa. The ultra-Left sectarians fiercely opposed the participation of the League on the argument that the forum included Muslim and other organizations from Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
From February 2009 onwards, the League participated in information campaigns for land and justice for the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita; for the people’s struggle in the Niger Delta against foreign oil monopolies; for the cause of replacing capitalism with socialism; against political repression in the Philippines; for the immediate and unconditional release of Revolutionary Democratic Front leaders and activists in India; against the false claims of economic recovery; against the US global war of terror; against the US-ROK military exercises against the DPRK; and for livelihood and social justice in the Philippines and other countries impoverished by imperialism and reaction.
We joined the opposition to the L’Aquila G8 Summit. We persevered in condemning the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and demanding the US and other forces of aggression. We participated in the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2009. We defended the rights of the indigenous peoples in the Lalgarh Solidarity Convention on August 6, 2009. We endorsed and supported the Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugee in Athens, Greece, on November 1-4 2009. We continued to defend the rights of Italian revolutionaries persecuted by the Berlusconi government.
We promoted the anti-imperialist and democratic line of the League in the International Conference on Education, Imperialism and Resistance at the Shih Hsin University in Taipei on August 10, 2009. The Alliance of Concerned Teachers, a member-organization of the League, was the key organizer.
Last year the League either called for, joined or supported campaigns for defending the DPRK from US and ROK war provocations, against the NATO during its summit, for the New Social Congress in Mexico City, against Operation Greenhunt and the US-India military partnership, for the general strike of French workers and youth, for the human rights of political prisoners and the disappeared, for the national demonstration led by the Italian metal workers, for the American people against the fascist current, for the Europe-wide Day of Action against austerity measures and for jobs and economic growth, against the massacre of migrant workers in Tamaulipas, Mexico, for the commemoration of 9-11 and condemnation of US terrorism and against the mounting burden of crisis on the backs of the people and against the barbaric Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla.
In the current year, the League also called for, joined or supported campaigns for the celebration of the Centennial of the International Toiling Women’s Day, for the mass uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, against the US and NATO military attacks on Libya, for peasant unity in Asia, for human rights of the political prisoners and disappeared, for the freedom of Julian Assange, for the banning of nuclear reactors and power plants and for the people of Greece in their struggle against austerity measures. The year is still far from over. The League will involve itself in further campaigns.
With the Fourth International Assembly being held in the Philippines, I find it appropriate and relevant to mention the fact that, in all the years since the TIA, we have promoted the anti-imperialist and democratic line of the League in various campaigns, conferences and other gatherings organized by progressive organizations of Filipino workers, peasants, youth, women, cultural workers and others in the Philippines as well as Filipino compatriots and their friends in various countries.
The League stands today as the global formation of mass organizations that has the widest range of involvement in informative gatherings and mass actions by initiating them or by joining the initiatives of other organizations, alliances and campaign centers. We have our own mass strength in the millions of members of our member-organizations but by carrying out the united front policy and direct appeals to the masses we have been able to augment and amplify our own organized mass strength and we have been able to take advantage of contradictions among the imperialist and reactionaries.
II. Ever Worsening Crisis of Global Capitalism
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle had been conceived of since 1994 to confront the world capitalist system, its policy of neoliberal globalization, its policy of aggression in the new world disorder and, of course, the emergence of the US as the sole superpower in a so-called unipolar world as a consequence of the full restoration of capitalism in former socialist countries.
In the 1990s those who boasted of capitalism and liberal democracy as the end of history glossed over the fact that the US had become the biggest debtor of the world in the 1980s, that the revisionist regimes of pseudo-socialist countries had long been trapped in the web of global capitalism, that Japan had fallen into stagnation since the beginning of the 1990s and the policy of neoliberal globalization began to be discredited in a big way by the so-called Asian financial crisis of 1997 and further crises in South Korea, Russia and elsewhere.
By the time that the League was established in 2001, the US and the world capitalist system had fallen into a new round of severe crisis, characterized by the bursting of the high tech bubble and the unravelling of Clinton’s new economy (touted as ever growing upon the impetus of high technology and the absence of wage inflation). This economy was the center piece and lead factor of the US-directed policy of neoliberal globalization.
The new US administration under Bush junior wanted to continue the policy and thought of keeping the US economy vibrant by further loosening credit, fuelling consumerism and going into the direction of generating the housing bubble that would start to burst in 2006 and become a full blown mortgage meltdown in 2008. The Bush administration also added to the neoliberal policy a heavy dose of Keynesian militarism, driven by the hysteria and wars of aggression as a consequence of 9/11.
As we hold the Fourth International Assembly and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the League, we are keenly aware of how far the crisis of the capitalist system has worsened. The abuses of monopoly finance capitalism in a futile attempt to overcome the crisis of overproduction and raise the profits rates of the financial oligarchy and the monopoly bourgeoisie have led to an unprecedented economic and financial crisis and a global depression, the worst since the Great Depression.
The current global depression escalates exploitation and oppression and inflicts terrible suffering on the broad masses of the people. At the same time, it incites the people to fight back and to develop the forces by which they can win victory in the struggle for national liberation, democracy and socialism. It is a boon to the people that the League has existed and has developed for ten years as their instrument and is prepared to confront the dismal objective conditions of the world capitalist system by arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people to wage anti-imperialist and democratic struggles for fundamental change.
The current grave crisis of the world capitalist system is rooted in the relentless drive of the monopoly bourgeoisie to maximize profits by raising productivity while pushing down the wages of the working class. This results in the recurrent crisis of overproduction. The income of the workers decreases and they cannot buy what they produce. The rising productivity amidst market constriction result in the tendency of the profit rates to fall.
As a consequence, the monopoly bourgeoisie resorts to finance capitalism, the rapid expansion of money and credit, unregulated debt financing and the generation of derivatives, to boost the rate of profit far above the real economy, overvalue assets and accelerate the accumulation and concentration of both real and fictitious capital. The high tech bubble conjured the illusion of endless economic growth in the second half of the 1990s. More than 40 per cent of American households bought shares of stocks, mainly by using pension funds and bank credit.
After the high tech bubble burst, the monopoly bourgeoisie thought next of making the housing bubble. This was made possible by the further abuse of debt financing at every level: the state, corporations and the household. The mortgage meltdown occurred and resulted in the collapse of big banks and corporations. The imperialist states used huge amounts of public money to bail them out, let them improve their financial statements, cut down labor costs and avoid the risks of expanding production in a narrowed market.
The bailout in trillions of dollars combined with the continuing tax cuts for corporations and the upper class and the rising military expenditures also in the trillions have resulted in huge public deficits and public debts while failing to stimulate production. The biggest and the worst of the financial bubbles have conspicuously appeared in the form of the public debt bubble. Now, this bubble is bursting in the imperialist countries and spreading like an epidemic to other countries. And the reaction of the imperialist and client states is to adopt austerity measures at the further expense of the working people and even the middle class.
The austerity measures involve further pressing down wages, eroding pensions and social benefits and cutting back on government spending for social services. The burden of the worsening crisis is further being passed on to the broad masses of the people. At the same time, the imperialist states do not take the initiative to expand production and employment. They stick to the dogma of neoliberal globalization, blaming wage inflation and government social spending for the crisis and leaving all the initiative to the big banks and corporations to accumulate capital and make profits, without having to plan and expand production and employment.
The epicenter of the global economic and financial crisis is the US, the leading economy and main market of global capitalism. It is necessary and appropriate to focus on the US for understanding the global crisis and depression. It is both a beneficiary and victim of its own greed under the policy of neoliberal globalization. It has outsourced to China the production of cheap consumer goods and has sought bigger profits in high-tech production and financializing its economy. But the ever rising US foreign trade deficits have enlarged its foreign debt at a runaway rate. The US has overshot the current limit on its public debt and is about to raise the limit further in order to avoid default on its debts in the international market.
The abuse of debt financing at home and the huge foreign debt of the US have gravely undermined its economic and financial standing. Any major US attempt to solve these problems and counter the global crisis by reviving domestic manufacturing and generating employment, is bound to upset the balance of forces among the imperialist powers. Nevertheless, China, its main partner under the policy of neoliberal globalization has become wary of decreasing orders for consumer goods from the US and the weakening of the US dollar and is maneuvering to develop other trade partners, fields of investment and sources of fuel and other raw materials.
Not so long ago, the traditional imperialist states were jubilant over the notion that the full restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries spelled the final victory of capitalism and the final doom of socialism and the national liberation movements. But the rising capitalist countries, like China and Russia, together with Brazil, India and South Africa, exert pressure on the dominance of the US and the balance of forces among the imperialist powers in several ways.
The imperialist powers still manage to unite against the proletariat and people of the world, especially in the underdeveloped countries. But they continue to fail in solving the global economic and financial crisis and are increasingly in contradiction with each other over economic, financial, trade, political and security issues. The G-8, the G-20, the OECD, the conferences of the IMF, World Bank and WTO have failed to solve the crisis and many related problems.
There was unanimity among the imperialist powers in launching wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq in the first half of the current decade. But since then, China and Russia have become very wary over the expansionism and maneuvers of the US and NATO in Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia. They have formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Collective Security Treaty Organization to countervail US incursions. Currently, no unanimity exists among the imperialist powers over the war of aggression being carried out against Libya as well as on the proposal to launch aggression on Syria and Iran.
The US and other imperialist powers tend to be more aggressive as the global economic and financial crisis worsens. Under the deceptive schemes of waging war on terror, humanitarian intervention and promoting democracy, the US has taken the lead among the imperialist powers in stepping up war production and engaging in aggressive actions as a way of satisfying the military industrial complex, maintaining some measure of economic growth, expanding economic territory abroad and selling arms to client-states. But by being bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US incurs heavy costs of war and the growing resistance of the American people. It has difficulty in launching further wars of aggression.
As a result of the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system, the contradictions between capital and labor, and between the monopoly bourgeoisie and working class are becoming acute at an accelerating rate. The workers, the youth, the women, the migrant workers and the rest of the people have launched general strikes and massive protest actions in France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal against the growing loss of employment, the plummeting of income, the erosion of social benefits and social services. The austerity measures that aggravate these problems and the rise of state violence to suppress the people are goading them to resist in large numbers.
The factors that have blunted the resistance of the proletariat and people are being countered by the gravity of the crisis and by the steady efforts of progressive and revolutionary forces to build their political strength. The worsening of the crisis and rise of people’s resistance are steadily pushing back the influence of the previous decades of relative affluence and consumerism, revisionism and opportunism in the working class movement and are contesting the reactionary currents of fascism, chauvinism, racism and religious bigotry.
At the moment, there is a see-saw in the electoral strength of the reactionary and progressive parties in Europe. In contrast, the Democratic and Republican parties in the US compete as do Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola in flagrantly carrying out the policy dictates of the financial oligarchy and the military industrial complex. Both parties agree on raising the US debt ceiling. And to blunt public protests, they promise to bring down the public deficit, with the Democrats wishing to reduce the tax cuts for the corporations and upper class and the Republicans demanding the further reduction of government social spending.
Countries in the third world play a major role in either serving or opposing imperialism. In every country, such role is decided by the character of the ruling system or the political leadership obtaining at a particular time. Certainly, the Philippines now is a country dominated by reactionary classes and leaders subservient to US imperialism. But a country that is socialist or has bourgeois nationalist leadership and asserts national independence can oppose or stand against imperialism. A country is not onesidedly a plaything of imperialist powers. It can reflect the dominant patriotic trend in the mass movement and the national and democratic aspirations of the people against imperialism and reaction.
It is fine that the group of ultra-Left sectarian elements has left the League after failing to impose on us the anarchist notion of some among them that nonimperialist countries are incapable of playing a positive role in the anti-imperialist movement and can only be marionettes of one or another imperialist power. Although they do not deny the phenomena of contradictions among imperialist countries, they deny the contradictions between the nonimperialist countries invoking or asserting national independence and the imperialist countries attacking or suppressing them..
They practically deny that the revolutionary party of the proletariat can and ought to seize state power in a country and assert the national sovereignty and independence of that country. Despite their lip service to Mao and Maoism, they condemn Mao for the participation of socialist China in the Bandung Conference of 1956 in order to join up with the anti-imperialist leaders of other countries and establish the five principles of peaceful coexistence in diplomatic relations and oppose imperialist maneuvers to divide and rule the countries, nations and people of Asia and Africa. The infantile sectarians confuse peaceful coexistence in diplomacy with Krushchov’s revisionist line of peaceful coexistence.
They also deny the fact that countries like the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and others are capable of asserting national independence and opposing the US and other imperialist powers on major issues. The worst notion expressed by some ultra-Left sectarian elements is that the united front policy and tactics do not apply on Iran and cannot be used to counter the theocratic premise of the current Iranian state and its claim to being the defender of national independence. Some among them have the puerile notion that the League should not be involved in any effort to support Palestine because Syria and Iran support it.
The League draws a certain measure of political and organizational consolidation from no longer being hampered, disrupted or threatened with liquidation by the sectarian elements who try to impose on it some weird and obscure ideological considerations and prevent its development as an international united front of mass formations and as a political movement of a broad range of anti-imperialist and democratic forces. Such sectarian elements have turned off many organizations from joining the League. Now that they have left, the League can expand more easily than before.
The broad masses of the people in Asia, Africa, Latin America and several countries of Eastern Europe suffer the worst of imperialist plunder, intervention and aggression. As the crisis of global capitalism worsens, the imperialist powers impose on them ever more exploitative and oppressive policies, further pass on to them the burden of crisis and suppress their demands for national and social liberation. But precisely because of the escalating level of exploitation and oppression, the people are driven to resist the enemy. They steadily build their strength and wage various forms of struggle.
Legal protest movements are rising on a global scale in an unprecedented way. They are fuelled by pro-imperialist and reactionary policies and such concrete conditions generated by these as rising mass unemployment, soaring prices of food, fuel and other basic commodities and increasingly violent reaction of states to unarmed protests. As a result of the mass uprisings, revolutionary parties of the proletariat, mass organizations and alliances have arisen.
Most outstanding in recent time are the mass uprisings against US-supported autocratic regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. The uprisings have resulted in the overthrow of such regimes as those in Tunisia and Egypt. But the ruling system of the same reactionary classes persists in the absence of a revolutionary party and people’s army to overthrow it. In other cases, the same autocratic regime of the same family or clique stays in power. The Western powers led by the US have taken advantage of political disorder to launch aggression against Libya or threaten to launch this against Syria.
The most outstanding armed struggles are those being waged by the people of Iraq and Afghanistan against the US-led invasion and occupation of their countries, the Palestinian people against US-supported Zionist Israel, the people of Columbia, Peru, the Philippines, India, Turkey, North Kurdistan, Nigeria and other countries for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local reactionaries.
As the crisis of global capitalism protracts and worsens, more armed revolutionary movements are bound to arise and advance in various countries and continents. By their own example of counterrevolutionary violence, the imperialists and local reactionaries are pushing the people to rise up in arms. The revolutionary armed struggles are responding to the crucial demand for the seizure of state power in order to defeat the enemy and achieve all-round social revolution.
III: Constant and New Tasks of the League
On behalf of the outgoing ICC of the League, I urge all the delegations and all member-organizations of the League to take guidance from and carry out the constant tasks stated in our Charter and the new tasks to be spelled out by the General Declaration of the Fourth International Assembly and by resolutions of the commissions.
Let me present some points about political education, organization and mass mobilization by way of guiding and stimulating the discussion, consensus-building and decision-making on the basis of your experience and analysis thereof. I am sure that many correct and useful ideas will come up to enrich our understanding and statement of our tasks in political education, organization building and mass mobilization
Tasks in Political education
We call on you to intensify political education among the individual members of all the member-organizations of the League on the need for a broad anti-imperialist and democratic united front and international people’s solidarity in accordance with our Charter, General Declaration and the resolutions of the commissions. We propagate the content of these documents in order to strengthen the League politically and organizationally.
We must always have an acute awareness of the political reality around us and take up issues promptly as these arise in the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles. The ICC, ICG, the Chairperson, the commissions, the global region committees, the national chapters and member organizations must put forward their analyses and views as current events and issues arise within their respective scopes of responsibility. They must issue timely statements and conduct study meetings, seminars and conferences on major issues in order to raise the political consciousness of their ranks and those that they wish to invite as member-organizations or as allies.
The commissions have the special task of undertaking research and publications on the various concerns for expanding and deepening the knowledge of all our constituents and for raising the consciousness of our friendly organizations to the level that they decide to join because of their interest in one, several or all concerns of the League. They must use the print and electronic media to spread the basic documents, primers, position papers, statements and other reading material.
At this Fourth International Assembly, you must elect to the International Coordinating Committee those whom you consider capable of contributing significantly to the further all-round development and fulfilment of the tasks of the League. To strengthen the ICC and the entire League organizationally, we must adhere to the Charter and to the By Laws which stipulates in detail the duties and functions of the leading organs and their officers at various levels,
We must recruit more member-organizations through the efforts of our existing member-organizations, the national chapters and the global region committees as well as through the efforts of the commissions on various concerns. We must carry out the long standing guideline that a national chapter may be formed in a country where there are already three member-organizations of the League and the global region coordinating committee may be formed in a global region where there are already three national chapters.
We must build the national chapters and the global region coordinating committees in order to reduce the work load of the ICC, ICG and the General Secretariat and develop a more solid mass base of the League. We must cover the regions of Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, North America and Oceania. We must pay special attention to the attraction of member-organizations in the global regions of Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, South Asia and Eastern Europe.
We must complete and strengthen the organization of the commissions. These should not be allowed to slacken after international assemblies. They must have continuous organizational life and activities. The lead organizations and secretariats must make sure that the commissions develop in full through internal communications and meetings and through conferences to engage other organizations at the national, global region and international levels.
Inter-commission cooperation and coordination and joint projects or activities must also be undertaken and availed of to augment and combine capabilities, especially those that are closely related and on specific issues, campaigns and activities of mutual concern. But the commissions should always bear in mind that they primarily serve the entire League as the main engine for informing, educating and mobilizing the entire League and the people on various concerns.
We must collect efficiently the membership dues and donations from the better off member organizations and from friends. We must recognize the disparity of circumstances and incomes in the South and North of the world and allow member-organizations in the South to pay annual membership dues less than the 150 USD which member organizations in the North can afford to pay. The incoming ICC should spell out the specific guidelines, criteria and the corresponding amounts for rationalizing the membership dues accordingly.
We must also raise funds by soliciting donations and funding for programmes, projects and campaigns and by undertaking cultural performances, sale of publications, t-shirts, paraphernalia and the like. We must continue to strengthen the self-reliant financial standing of the League and strive to raise the much-needed resources for the League to function more effectively and launch more campaigns and other activities.
Tasks in Mass Mobilization
Under the policy of the international united front, we must aim for and initiate more widely coordinated mass campaigns, more frequent activities of mass mobilization and more broad international conferences along the anti-imperialist and democratic line of struggle. We invite other organizations and alliances to participate for the purpose of advancing the common cause and attaining mutual benefit. We thereby augment and amplify the given strength of our League with the strength of other forces. In turn they do likewise for their benefit. Under the same policy, we can participate in campaigns and activities initiated by other organizations and alliances.
We must intensify our efforts to initiate or join the aforesaid campaigns and conferences on various multi-sectoral and sectoral concerns and issues and in varying geographic scales. We must calendar in advance these activities in order to prepare well and carry out well the tasks of arousing and mobilizing our member organizations and the broad masses of the people.
We must further develop our capacity to hold globally coordinated actions on major global issues as well as specific regional or national issues that have global implications. There has been a number of positive experiences where a local struggle initiated or participated in by our member organizations was augmented or bolstered by supportive actions by the League member-organizations in other countries, thereby visibly manifesting the breadth and strength of our League and attracting more organizations to join.
We must seek the cooperation of national liberation movements, campaign centers, organizations, institutions and alliances for the purpose of mass mobilizations. We must take advantage of the contradictions among the imperialist powers and among the local reactionaries to expose and isolate the worst and most reactionary targets at any given time and place. We must further strengthen the League by availing of the mass mobilizations and broad international conferences to increase our member-organizations.
We must ceaselessly study, clarify to ourselves and carry out our tasks for strengthening our League and our movement, in accordance with our basic documents, on the basis of the consensus we reach and the decisions we make in this assembly. Our current assembly serves to chart our course and line of advance and open a further stretch of the road towards our ultimate goal.
A Bright Future
The people have a bright future because they wage revolutionary struggles and build their strength against those forces that oppress and exploit them. As the ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system wreaks havoc on their lives, they have no choice but to fight back. The anti-imperialist and democratic forces of the people ensure the rise of mass protests and revolutionary struggles for national and social liberation against imperialism and reaction.
The broad masses of the people are inexorably moving in the direction of a fundamentally new and better world. Through resolute and militant struggles, the people and the people alone can liberate themselves and create a bright future for themselves. ###