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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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