SOLIDARITY MESSAGE TO THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL RURAL YOUTH ASSEMBLY
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle, March 31, 2018
In the name of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), I extend my warmest greetings of solidarity to the First International Rural Youth Assembly carrying the fighting slogan: “Rural Youth Rise” in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 31 – April 2, 2018.
I congratulate the Youth for Food Sovereignty for organizing this First International Rural Youth Assembly to highlight the struggles of the rural youth in semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries in their particular situation as rural youth and the close link of their struggles with the over-all struggle of their people for national freedom and democracy. In the semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries of Asia, Latin America and Africa, the rural youth comprise the majority of the rural labor force and a big part of the country’s population.
They suffer from landlessness and underdevelopment and from exploitation by big foreign agro-corporations and the local compradors and landlords together with the rest of the peasantry and rural population. They are forced to work in the farms together with their peasant parents at a very early age. Child labor is not uncommon. They are deprived of any decent elementary education that is often in a very bad state due to the criminal neglect of the local reactionary government.
Ever pervasive landlessness is relentlessly made worse by land grabbing, driven by the competition of monopoly capitalists and local reactionaries to control natural resources at the expense of small food producers and the food sovereignty of poor countries. This is accompanied by rising militarism and violent repression of rural communities.
The dire conditions in the countryside force many of the rural youth to seek work in the cities where they suffer even worse conditions as part of the semi-proletariat doing odd-jobs to scrape a living. The luckier ones are able to go abroad where they must contend with low wages, discrimination and racist abuse.
The roots of the problems faced by the rural youth lie in the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions of their countries dominated by the imperialists and the local ruling classes of compradors and landlords that keep their countries in a perpetual state of economic underdevelopment and backwardness. Thus, the long-term solution to the problems of the rural youth cannot but be linked with the struggle of their people for national freedom, democracy, social justice and progress.
It is highly laudable that you are holding this assembly with delegates from rural youth movements in different countries to exchange views on the issues affecting the rural youth–such as food sovereignty, genuine land reform, national industrialization, share experiences in their struggles, develop various skills for educating, organizing and mobilizing the rural youth, and forming a network for mutual cooperation and support in connection with various campaigns and struggles. ###