By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
21 May 2011
Dear Colleagues and Friends, thank you for inviting me as the keynote speaker. As chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee, I convey to you the warmest greetings of the entire International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS).
All member-organizations of the ILPS wholeheartedly welcome and applaud the founding of the ILPS-Canada as a national chapter.We congratulate all the Canadian member-organizations for the success of their preparatory work.
We are grateful for the steadfast and fruitful participation of the Canadian member-organizations of ILPS in the assemblies, campaigns and activities initiated, organized or coordinated by the ILPS during the last ten years. You have a major share in making the ILPS the strongest global alliance of anti-imperialist and democratic forces.
The founding of ILPS-Canada is a culmination of your contributions to the advance of the anti-imperialist and democratic mass movement in Canada and the whole world. It is a major contribution to the celebration of the tenth founding anniversary of the ILPS.
We are deeply pleased that the founding of the ILPS-Canada comes as a consolidation of all member-organizations from the west coast to the east and opens the way to further expansion and a higher level of unity, coordination and militancy in developing an anti-imperialist and democratic mass movement in Canada.
Your draft Constitution is in consonance with the general principles, concerns, aims and purposes and organizational structure of the ILPS as laid down in its Charter. At the same time, it takes into account the concrete conditions of Canada, the needs and demands of the Canadian people of various nationalities.
We are confident that the ILPS-Canada will develop at a faster rate than before as an anti-imperialist and democratic coalition of organizations that take up the concerns and issues of the workers, farmers, youth, indigenous peoples, professionals and other sectors of society against the economic, political, military, social and cultural domination and attacks of imperialism and reaction.
We are united with you and support you in all the struggles that you have spelled out in your statement of aims in your draft Constitution. We appreciate your clear-sightedness about the key issues that you must pay attention to.
We stand with you in defending the workers’ right to organize and unionize and to give special attention to winning full rights for all migrant workers, including temporary “foreign” workers, seasonal agricultural workers, live-in caregivers, workers who are victims of trafficking and undocumented workers.
We support you in defending civil rights and democratic liberties, including freedom from police harassment, profiling and brutality which target particularly racialized communities, indigenous people and working class youth. We are vigorously against chauvinism, xenophobia, racism and fascism.
We struggle against all forms of national oppression, dispossession, and impoverishment of indigenous peoples. We stand for the right to self-determination and we fight for national and social liberation. We are for gender equality and the liberation of women from exploitation, male chauvinist domination and oppression by capitalism and imperialism.
We fight vigorously against the rise of unemployment, the deterioration of wage and living conditions, the erosion of social benefits and social services, the rising costs of basic goods and services, We struggle for the improvement of public services, including health, education, housing, childcare, and transport. We oppose the privatization of public utilities and services.
We oppose the “War on Terror” in Canada as elsewhere in the world. This has whipped up racial profiling, unjust deportations, criminalization of people’s resistance and discrimination against people of colour, migrants in general, new immigrants and indigenous communities.
We are against the marginalization, persecution and criminalization of refugees and asylum seekers who flee state terror, imperialist aggression and national oppression. We are especially concerned with the plight of the Tamils, Palestinians and other people escaping repressive regimes which enjoy the support of the Canadian government.
We support you in promoting the peace with justice movement and demanding the dismantling of US foreign military bases. We oppose Canada’s role as a global supplier of military equipment and materiel.
We support your demand for the end Canada’s participation in all imperialist wars, the homecoming of Canadian military and police personnel from all zones of foreign occupation (particularly Haiti and Afghanistan) and the withdrawal of Canada from all imperialist military alliances, including NATO and NORAD.
We oppose the Canadian state’s active support for the Israeli state’s aggression, expansion and furthering of imperialist objectives. We support the Palestinian peoples’ struggle for their homeland, liberty and justice and their campaign boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Zionist Israel.
We endorse your demand against the dismantling of Canada’s industrial base under the US-dictated policy of neoliberal globalization. At the same time, we oppose Canada’s use of so-called “free trade agreements” to open the door to other countries for plunder by Canadian monopoly firms.
We are against Canada’s use of tied aid within and outside the frames of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and other global agencies to promote and support its imperialist interests. We oppose the role of Canadian mining companies in plundering mineral resources abroad, trampling on the rights of the peoples, particularly the indigenous populations, and wreaking massive environmental destruction.
We defend the natural environment against destruction and pollution by the US and other imperialist powers. We oppose the development of the nuclear power and nuclear waste industries and we support total nuclear disarmament through the scrapping of all nuclear weapons.
We commend your determination to promote and carry forward the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles in Canada and to support those of the people of the world, particularly throughout the Americas.
We appreciate your support for the International Migrants Alliance, the International Women’s Alliance, RESIST! (International people’s campaign to confront crisis and war) and other ILPS-sponsored formations and initiatives.
We agree with your proposed campaign for the decriminalization of the people’s struggle for liberation and self-determination. This campaign will serve to unify the struggles of the anti-imperialist people’s organizations with those of the indigenous peoples and other nationalities.
You must struggle resolutely and militantly in order to stop the continuing attack on democratic rights being carried out under the Anti-Terrorism Act, a piece of legislation which introduced amendments to numerous other laws, including the Criminal Code, the Official Secrets Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) Act, the Income Tax Act, and others.
It is fascism for the executive department and its intelligence agents to be able to criminalize groups on mere suspicion that they are involved in what is loosely defined as terrorist activity. This is supposed to include any violent act committed with a political goal, irrespective of the context. It also conflates legitimate people’s resistance with dictatorial and oppressive regimes.
The so-called anti-terror laws have provided a sweeping basis for witch hunt and for the criminalization of the people, their struggles and the liberation organizations like those of the people of Colombia, El Salvador, Kurdistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Peru, Philippines, Somalia, and Tamil Eelam.
Under the pretext of anti-terrorism, Canada has supported the regimes in Israel, Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines, which systematically engage in state terrorism. The so-called war on terror has given the US imperialists and their allies the license to engage in wars of aggression and state terrorism in order to suppress the peoples resisting neoliberal globalization all across the world.
We appreciate that the campaign is aimed at uniting the broad masses of the people under the banner of anti-imperialism and democracy and at asserting the peoples right to national and social liberation in Canada and throughout the world. We also appreciate that the campaign is not limited to legalistic liberal-democratic challenges to the rulers but is aimed mainly at developing the political struggle for the people to realize their aspirations for liberation and just peace.
We agree with the ILPS-Canada’s description of Canada as a capitalist-imperialist society, with its large corporations deriving much of their wealth from the exploitation of labour and plunder of resources from all around the world as well as from the continuing colonization of indigenous people’s treaty lands and the plunder of their resources. It is necessary to unite the global anti-imperialist struggles with the anti-colonial self-determination struggles of indigenous peoples throughout Canada.
The founding of the ILPS-Canada is timely and highly significant in the face of the persistent and ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. The financial oligarchy and the entire monopoly bourgeoisie have become more rapacious and repressive than ever before.
They continue to maximize profits by pressing down wages, appropriating public funds and manipulating the financial markets. The more they pass on the burden of crisis to the working people, the more they use the means of mass deception and mass coercion to preempt, prevent and suppress the rising resistance of the people. The people must stand up and fight the exploiters and oppressors.
The ILPS-Canada is urgently needed to focus on the problems of the Canadian people and organize popular resistance in Canada as well as to participate actively in the campaigns and activities initiated or joined by the ILPS against the global system of imperialist plunder and war.
ILPS-Canada must always do the best it can to arouse, organise and mobilize the people of Canada in order to uphold, defend and promote their rights and interests and contribute to common understanding, solidarity and cooperation among the people’s organizations in Canada, across the region and throughout the world.
Long live ILPS-Canada!
Advance the peoples’ struggle for national and social liberation!
Long live the ILPS!