Prof. Jose Maria Sison

keynotes ILPS-Australia National Conference

 

Melbourne

 

March 23, 2008

 

 

Delegates to the ILPS-Australia Chapter National Conference.  The participating organizations were Spirit of  Eureka, Migrante Australia, Philippines-Australia Union Link (PAUL), Australian Independence Movement, October 7th Socialist Movement, Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) , Migrante Melbourne, Gabriela Australia, Philippines-Australia Women’s Association, Committee of Worker Against Imperialism (CWAI), Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA), Council of Progress association of Victoria (CPAV)  and others.

Len Cooper, ILPS-Australia Chapter Chairperson presented an overview of the Australian socio-economic situation at the ILPS-Australia National Conference.

Prof Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson of International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) delivered the Keynote Speech at the ILPS-Australia National Conference, 23 March 2008 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Media Release

ILPS-Australia Chapter
27 March 2008, Melbourne (VIC), Australia

Prof Sison warns of the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system at ILPS-Australia National Conference 2008

ILPS (International League of Peoples' Struggle) International Chairperson, Professor Jose Ma. Sison presented an overview of the world economic situation in a keynote speech delivered via internet. Professor Sison stressed the deepening crisis of the capitalist system reflected in the current slump of the US economy, massive unemployment, phenomenal rise in public debt, widening trade and budgetary deficits, and imposition of heavier tax burdens on the people. Professor Sison reiterated that the working class and peoples of the world are fighting back. He called on ILPS Australia to promote actively the participation of its member organizations and to attract other organizations to join the ILPS. He also urged ILPS chapters to send delegations to the Third International Assembly (TIA) to be held in June 18 to 21 in Hong Kong. The participants welcomed the keynote speech by Prof Sison whose illegal arrest and detention last August 2007 by Dutch police attracted worldwide attention and protests.

ILPS - Australia's members gathered on the 23rd of March at its first National Conference at the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) Conference Hall in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The national gathering followed the founding of ILPS-Australia nine months ago on 9 June 2007. In this conference the delegates reflected on socio-economic problems of struggling Australian families and communities.

After welcoming the delegates, ILPS-Australia Chairperson Len Cooper steered the conference through to its main agenda item of preparing for the ILPS Third International Assembly (TIA). This included identifying the delegates, discussion on sending delegates and the preparation of the Australian chapter report to the TIA.

 

 

 

 

Len Cooper spoke of the political and economic situation of Australia and how it sits on the world situation. He acknowledged that the achievement of the Australian working class in throwing the conservative Howard government out of office is just the beginning of the long struggle of the unions and workers to get rid of the exploitative and oppressive laws of the Howard government and the fight for better working and wage conditions of Australian workers. Len said that the new Rudd government will not totally dismantle the anti-worker and anti-family Work Choices introduced by Howard government.

Len mentioned the continuance of a good relationship between the Bush government and the Rudd government and the maintenance of Australia's role as the deputy sheriff in the Asia Pacific region. He also highlighted the further devaluing of workers' labour as shown by the continuing price increase of commodities while wage increases are capped or in a very slow pace.

Shirley Winton, member of the ILPS-Australia National Coordinating Committee, called on participants to unite and organise with the people to resist the burden of US imperialism’s global economic crisis being shifted on to the people. She further emphasised the ILPS-Australia role in supporting and promoting workers and communities struggle to stop the destruction of the environment and make the polluting corporations pay for the repair of their environmental plunder.

The conference identified issues to address this year and prioritised its activities. The conference recognised that there are many groups and organisations with particular focus on certain issues, ILPS Australia will seek to enhance these by supporting their actions. ILPS Australia will endeavour to ensure its presence in most, if not all, activities in Australia addressing the 18 concerns identified in the charter of ILPS and to address local Australian issues. It will conduct analyses of the root causes and the impact of various socio-economic pressures at specified times and will produce publications and other relevant statements and documents. ###

Reference:
Len Cooper, ILPS – Australia Chairperson
Email: lencoop@iinet.net.au
Phone: (61) 0438 389 302
 

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KEYNOTE SPEECH OF THE ILPS CHAIRPERSON

TO THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF ILPS-AUSTRALIA

 

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee

International League of Peoples' Struggle

March 23, 2008

 

First of all, I wish to thank you for inviting me to speak on this occasion and I extend my warmest and most militant greetings of solidarity to the leadership and member organizations of ILPS-Australia.  I wish you the utmost success in this conference and hope that this will serve to further consolidate and expand the work and organization of ILPS in Australia.

 

I appreciate that you have asked me to give you an overview of the world situation.  I understand that you need to know the international environment in which ILPS-Australia is operating and striving to act in the service of the people along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.

 

Today, the peoples of the world both in the imperialist and underdeveloped countries face more difficult conditions of exploitation and oppression  under  the US-dictated policies of “neoliberal globalization” and the “war on terror”.  At the same time, the objective conditions are favorable for the development of people’s resistance.

 

The crisis of the world capitalist system is worsening.  It has been deepened and aggravated by the  policy of “neoliberal globalization” which tries to conceal the fact of monopoly capitalism with the gibberish of “free market”.  This  has been wrongly supposed by the US and its allies as the cure to the problem of stagflation, which has been blamed on  so-called wage inflation and social spending by government under the Keynesian economic policy.

 

Under “neoliberal globalization”, the concentration and centralization of capital in the US and a few other countries have accelerated and have aggravated the global crisis of overproduction  and the financial crisis that is now gripping the attention of the people of the world.  There is now a global depression, afflicting both the imperialist and the underdeveloped countries, even as the economists and business journalists of world capitalism are still quibbling whether the US and the world economy are moving into or are already in recession.

 

Under “neoliberal  globalization”,  the illusion of global economic growth, especially in imperialist countries and a few other economies like China and India, has been conjured by sheer financial flows generated mainly by the overstress on consumerism, trade facilitation and excessive credit for consumption and corporate speculation. But the real global economy has kept on plunging into chronic mass unemployment, widening trade and budgetary deficits, unrepayable debts and imposition of heavier tax burden on the people.

 

The Bush administration has further aggravated the crisis of the world capitalist system by trying to stimulate industrial production and consumer demand by stepping up war production and further encouraging consumerism based on borrowed funds from abroad and from a domestic housing bubble (overvaluation of private homes to support consumption loans).

 

The ongoing mortgage meltdown is the result of the easy credit offered to workers and other people for consumption during the housing bubble from 2001 to 2006. After the bursting of the high-tech bubble in 2001, the US monopoly bourgeoisie promoted the housing bubble by offering low-interest sub-prime mortgage rates with little or practically no collateral and misleading the mass of homeowners to borrow money for consumption spending against the inflated value of their mortgaged homes.

 

The mortgage meltdown has acquired global dimensions because US mortgages were repackaged and sold as financial products to foreign banks and investment houses. There has been an epidemic of write offs and write downs, resulting in the evaporation of more than USD 400 billion. This has led to the tightening of international credit as federal and commercial banks become more cautious in lending.  The mortgage meltdown alone is expected to result in a global credit crunch of a trillion US dollars and sharp reduction of import orders by the overdrawn US consumer market.

 

The present financial crisis generated globally by the US is not only because of the mortgage meltdown. The US national debt has risen so fast from the level of USD 5.7 trillion in 2001 to USD 9.4 trillion at present. The US trade deficit has rapidly grown to the annual level of USD 850 billion because of the US industrial decline and outsourcing of consumer goods. The US budget deficit has also grown rapidly because of the tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy and the unbridled spending for the Pentagon and the wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

The rising levels of the US national debt, debt service and budget and trade deficits have seriously undermined global confidence in the US dollar and is causing its drastic depreciation. The US has lost lustre as the main engine of global economic growth and as the global market of last resort. The financial crisis of the US is undermining its standing as the sole superpower in economic and politico-military terms.

 

In the US and other imperialist countries, the monopoly bourgeoisie are using all kinds of  maneuvers to deflect attention from the root causes of exploitation and oppression and to push down the working class, immigrants, the youth and women. They play up and generate chauvinism, racism and fascism in order to divide the working class and to pit the people in the imperialist countries against those in other countries. They use the mass media and various forms of entertainment to conjure the illusion of democracy and deflect public attention from the most important social issues.

 

But the working class and the rest of the people in the imperialist countries are fighting back. There have been widespread strikes by workers, protest rallies and marches by migrants and militant street actions by the youth in various imperialist countries.  We can anticipate greater protest mass actions against monopoly capitalism on international and domestic issues in the months and years to come. The current crisis of world capitalism will further worsen.

 

 

The imperialist powers are still united in exploiting and oppressing the proletariat and peoples of the world, especially the third world. They have institutions and mechanisms to harmonize their interests through the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, the UN and its Security Council, regional and bilateral trade agreements, the NATO and other regional as well as bilateral military treaties and alliances.

 

But the contradictions among them are steadily building up. The increased number of imperialist powers and aspirants for imperialist status has made the world too small for their economic competition and political rivalry. The US is taking advantage of its position as the sole superpower and has been most aggressive in pursuing its ultra-national interests at the expense of its allies. At the same time, the US is exposing its own overextension and weaknesses, which embolden other imperialists to undertake initiatives at variance with those of the US.

 

France, Germany, Russia and China have shown serious differences with the US on major issues. They have differences with the US over the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and over the current US monopoly of the spoils of war. They contradict each other over the issues of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and other countries in the Middle East. Together with the border states in Central Asia, Russia and China have formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to counter US incursions in Central Asia.

 

The main contradiction in the world is still that between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations who comprise 80 per cent of humankind. This is most acutely manifested by the unbridled exploitation and oppression by the imperialists with the assistance of the dependent and puppet states.  This is also manifested by the people’s resistance through revolutionary armed struggle and other forms of struggle.

 

The wealthiest 20% of the world’s population are in the imperialist countries, and the poorest 20% are in the third world countries. The income of the former was 30 times larger than that of the latter in 1960. Then it became 74 times larger in 1995. Today, the overwhelming majority of the people in the third world live on less than two dollars a day. In 1973, third world debt was only US$130 billion. In 1982, it jumped to US$612 billion. In 2006, it further leaped to US$3.2 trillion. Imperialist plunder has caused the rapid impoverishment and indebtedness of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

 

Due to the demands of the people for national independence and democracy certain governments in the third world have taken the anti-imperialist stance. The Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein tried to play off some imperialist powers against the US until the latter decided to unleash a war of aggression. The government of Venezuela under Hugo Chavez  is currently outstanding in  challenging  US imperialism in order to gain the support of the people and carry out reforms. The governments of China, Cuba and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea have consistently invoked national independence and the socialist aspirations of the people in order to contend with US imperialism.

 

Revolutionary armed struggle and other forms of struggle against imperialism and local puppet regimes are being carried out in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  Armed struggle is increasingly being regarded as the most important weapon in achieving national liberation and democracy against imperialism, obviously  because it responds to the central question of seizing political power and breaking away decisively from the clutches of imperialism and feudalism. Among those persevering in armed revolution are the peoples  in Colombia, the Philippines, India, Tamil Eelam and Turkey.  In all third world countries, militant mass movements of workers, peasants, youth, women and other sectors are raising anti-imperialist and democratic demands.

 

You are aware that preparations are under way to hold the Third International Assembly (TIA) of the International League of Peoples' Struggle in Hong Kong on June 18-20, 2008. It is notable that it is being held in Asia where most of the oppressed peoples and nations are and where the most intense revolutionary struggles are being waged against imperialism and reaction.

The theme of the Third International Assembly is "Strengthen the People's Struggle, Unite to Build a New World against Imperialist Aggression, State Terrorism, Plunder and Social Destruction!" It is a theme of urgent importance because of the acute need of the people to resist the unbridled plunder under so-called neoliberal globalization and the escalating state terrorism and imperialist wars of aggression in the so-called global war on terror.

The ILPS has played an important and prominent role in the international anti-imperialist struggle. It has initiated many successful international conferences, campaigns and other activities against imperialism and issues involving the various concerns of the ILPS.

At present, the ILPS has 363 participating organizations in 42 countries plus Hong Kong and Taiwan and seven global regions: East Asia, Oceania, South Asia, Middle East, North America, Latin America and West Africa. We now have some national chapters and global region committees. These are being built along the line of the broad united front of anti-imperialist and democratic struggle.

The Third International Assembly will discuss and assess the work of the ILPS over the past three years and adopt the plans to further strengthen and expand the ILPS to be able to face the challenges and effectively advance its work in every arena of the anti-imperialist struggle.

 

We call on  ILPS-Australia to actively promote the participation of its member organizations and  to attract other progressive mass organizations to join the  ILPS and send delegations to  the Third International Assembly.  We are confident that ILPS-Australia will achieve more successes in the future in advancing the peoples’ struggles against imperialism and all forms of reaction and for a new and better world. ###

 

 

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Photos courtesy of ILPS-Australia

           

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