By Prof. Jose Maria Sison – General Consultant, International League of Peoples” Struggle
Keynote Speech to the Conference of Bayan-USA and PUSO
To Promote Participation in the SIA of ILPS
Seattle, Washington State
October 9, 2004
May I thank first BAYAN-USA and the Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Organization (PUSO) for inviting me to be the keynote speaker of this conference which is meant to promote the participation of US-based mass organizations in the Second International Assembly (SIA) of the International League of Peoples’ Stuggle (ILPS).
The ILPS appreciates your efforts to encourage mass organizations of various classes, sectors and nationalities in the US to send delegations to the SIA. They shall have full opportunity to discuss and decide important issues in the plenary sessions and workshops of their interest. I presume that the registration forms and information material on the assembly have been dessiminated among you.
I stand in solidarity with all the delegations attending this conference on the people’s struggle for liberation and democracy against imperialist plunder and war. I admire your resoluteness and courage in standing up and acting against the No. 1 imperialist power and No. 1 terrorist, right within the bloated belly of the beast.
It is quite fitting and proper that we recall the time in Seattle in 1999 when I delivered the keynote speech at the People’s Conference Against Imperialist Globalization (whose main slogan was No to the WTO!) and announced the forthcoming foundation of the ILPS.
The announcement spread with reports about the battle in Seattle and the marked failure of the imperialists to paper over their contradictions within the WTO at the expense of the third world and retrogressive countries. Many mass organizations began to see the ILPS as the rallying point for the growing mass movements for liberation and democracy against imperialism and all reaction.
Since the Battle of Seattle, the ILPS has gathered 247 participating organizations on a global scale. The First International Assembly was held in May 2001 in Zutphen, Netherlands. And we are now preparing and are close to holding the Secodn International Assembky on November 10-14, 2004 in Eindhoven, Netherlands
Imperialist Plunder and War ---------------------------- Since the founding of the ILPS in 2001, the crisis of the world capitalist system has worsened in a big way. No less than the United States has been struck hard by the global crisis of overproduction and by financial crisis of unprecedented proportions. These crises have brought about round after round of economic and social devastation throughout the world, in the underdeveloped and dominated countries as well as in the imperialist countries.
The Bush regime has merely aggravated the crisis by further squeezing the American proletariat with policies that have brought about the current high unemployment rate, reduced incomes and cutbacks on social spending. On the other hand, the same policies have favored the monopoly bourgeoisie with tax cuts and pushed military production. The regime has launched wars of aggression such as those against Afghanistan and Iraq to acquire sources and supply routes of oil and other raw materials, markets, fields of investment and spheres of influence.
The attacks of September 11, 2001, involving the killing of 2800 civilians, have been used by the US imperialists as the pretext for their own grandscale terrorism, killing so many times more civilians and destroying the social infrastructure and livelihood of millions of people in wars of aggression. The US terrorizes entire peoples with hightech weapons of mass destruction and push the repression of the people in its own homegrounds, in other imperialist countriesand in dominated countries.
The rulers of the US are big war criminals. They have invaded and occupied Iraq and destroyed the lives and properties of the Iraqi people in wanton violation of the UN charter which prohibits preemptive wars, wars of aggression and wars without the explicit and clear decision of the UN security council to carry them out for reasons of collective security. Even the UN secretary general Kofi Annan, an old trustee of the US, has been compelled by circumstances to declare that the US war against Iraq is illegal
The Bush regime lied and misled the American public about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order use its own weapons of mass destruction against Iraq and the Iraqi people. The US attacked Iraq precisely because it knew that this country had no weapons of mass destruction to counter US aggression. And its overriding objectives are the seizure of the oil resources and the so-called reconfiguration of the entire Middle East in orderto further control the global oil market and the flow of oil to Western Europe and to the East Asia. In both global regions are the countries that the US imperialists fear most as their current and potential rivals. Thus, the US drive to further control the flow of oil to these regions.
The US is obsessed with maintaining its global hegemony, its sole superpower role, through the possession of high technology and hightech weaponry and through the control of oil which it describes the lifeblood of the global economy. It does everything to prevent the flow of oil to Central Europe and China from their sources by far more direct pipelines beyond US control.
The US has dubbed the Philippines as the “second front” of its so-called war on terror because it wants to fortify its position in this country for the purpose of grabbing and controlling all the oil resources of Southeast Asia. Together with its Brtish and Dutch allies, the US has started to exploit the gas and oil resoruces of the Philippines. You are of course aware of the Malampaya project, controlled by the Texaco-Chevron-Halliburton combine and the Royal Dutch Shell. The US imperialists find it convenient to use the Abu Sayyaf as the pretext for military intervention. In the same way that the chieftains of Al Qaida were in the hire of the CIA in the 1980s so were the Abu Sayyaf in the first half of the 1990s.
The Resistance of the People ------------------- The crisis of the world capitalist system is rapidly worsening. All major contradictions are sharpening. These are between the oppressed nations and people on one hand and the imperialist powers spearheaded by the US, between countries and governments assertive of national independence and the imperialist powers, among the imperialist powers themselves and between the proletariat and monopoly bourgeoisie in the imperialist countries.
We can simply speak of a single contradiction in the world, one between the proletariat and peoples on one hand and the imperialist powers headed by the US on the other hand. The ILPS is conscious of such contradiction. But it is necessary to recognize and understand the major types of contradictions because they involve various types of social conditions and relations, various degrees of exploitation and oppression and various types of resistance. The ILPS thereby knows where lies the main contradiction and where are the weakest points of imperialism.
To know different circumstances in different parts of the world under the single law of uneven development is to know what strategy and tactics can be adopted and applied in certain categories of countries. The extreme conditions of exploitation and oppression and chronic crisis in certain countries, such as those that obtain generally in third world and retrogressive countries, allow protracted people’s wars for national liberation. In imperialist countries, the conditions for protracted people’s war do not exist. But at the moment, neither are there conditions of urban insurrection in the imperialist countries, although militant mass protests are spreading.
In stating clearly what are the major contradictions in the world, we can point out what is the main contradiction in terms of the severity of oppression and exploitation, the scale of those oppressed and exploited, the magnitude of profits extracted by the imperialists and the intensity and effectiveness of resistance. At this point, we can identify as main contradiction that between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations in the third world and retrogressive countries.
In this type of countries, so many kinds of resistance are now running. It is important for the ILPS to know and understand these even as it is determined to develop the legal forms of struggle along the anti-imperialist and democratic line. Most of the strugglesare legal forms of struggle by the organized masses. But sometimes there are spontaneous outbursts of the hungry and outraged masses. The mass protests are spreading and mounting in various continents and countries because of the worsening crisis. But the armed forms of resistance are the ones that address most directly the question of national liberation or social revolution, which is the question of seizing political power.
There are armed movements for national liberation such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Nepal, India, Philippines, Palestine, Turkey and Peru . Some are led by Maoists and others are not. At any rate, their resistance objectively help each other, even as each armed movement has its own strategy and tactics and its own immediate and long-term goals.
Among the current armed struggles, the most focal is that between the Iraqi people on the one hand and the US and its puppets on the other hand. In this struggle, US imperialist troops are getting killed and wounded in significant numbers. The stakes for each side are high. The US expects to keep the oil resources of Iraq and use its military bases in Iraq to control the entire Middle East. The Iraqi people have no choice but to fight for their own national salvation, dignity and liberation. The governments and peoples in neighboring countries also feel the threat of recolonization by the US.
The US imperialists can effect the massive destruction of lives and properties in the most cowardly manner with the blitzkrieg use of cruise missiles, airplanes, tanks and like. But for the US to get the spoils of war, it must deploy on the ground troops and related personnel who are vulnerable to rifle fire, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades, roadside improvised explosive devices, mines, mortars, artillery and so on. After the blitzkrieg of invasion, the fixed positions and supply lines of the occupying power become vulnerable to guerrilla warfare. Moreover the Iraqi people can repeatedly disrupt and destroy the oil pipelines and other facilities. Thus, the US occupation and the use of the puppet government are rendered unprofitable.
Whether Bush remains in power or Kerry replaces him, the US will continue trying to maintain US military bases in Iraq and own the oil resources of Iraq. The Iraqi people will have no choice but to inflict severe casualties on the US and puppet troops and blow the oil pipelines and other facilities until the US realizes and decides that it is unprofitable economically and politically to occupy Iraq under any pretext.
In addition to developing their own strength, the armed movements for national and social liberation can benefit from the anti-imperialist resistance of countries and governments that are assertive of national independence (especially China, North Korea and Cuba). They also benefit from the contradictions among the imperialist powers. Contradictions with France, Germany and Russia plus China have exposed the extreme greed and aggressiveness of the United States. The exposure of the contradictions and weaknesses of the imperialist powers have encouraged the proletariat and people to carry out anti-imperialist mass actions in imperialist countries and elsewhere.
Concluding Remarks ----------------- The national liberation movements, the countries and governments assertive of national independence, the proletariat and people in the imperialist countries can take advantage of the sharpening contradictions of the imperialist countries over economic, finance, trade, security and other issues. As the anti-imperialist struggles in the third world and retrogressive countries advance, so can those of the proletariat and people in imperialist countries. They can build their own strength and use it to fight for democracy against racism, fascism, plunder and war.
At this time, the US is still heading the imperialist powers in misrepresenting and attacking as “terrorist” movements for national liberation, countries and governments assertive of national independence, peoples engaged in revolution and their anti-imperialist leaders. By intensifying oppression and exploitation, US imperialists are the very ones most active in rousing the people to fight ever more resolutely and vigorously for their own national and social liberation.
The important role of the International League Peoples’ Struggle is to advance the solidarity of all peoples struggling for liberation and democracy against imperialist plunder and war. In the whole world and in any part of the world, the sovereign will and organized strength of the people are the main driving force for all kinds of resistance against imperialism and all reaction. The broadest possible united front of the organized forces of the people can be developed in order to mobilize the greatest numbers of people who are as yet unorganized. ###