Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison on the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)
The International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) successfully held its Third International Assembly (TIA) in Hong Kong from June 18 to 20. Prof. Jose Maria Sison was re-elected as chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC).
BY D. L. MONDELO
Vol. VIII, No. 24, July 20-26, 2008
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) is today the most outstanding and largest anti-imperialist and democratic formation of global scale. It has attracted to its fold a great number of member organizations, with individual members running into millions, from the ranks of workers and peasants and the middle social strata in various countries and continents. It has become a rallying point because of its well-known resoluteness, militancy, self-reliance and effective campaigns.
The ILPS takes up a whole array of 18 concerns and issues involved in the people’s struggle for national and social liberation against imperialism and reaction. It has gained the trust of the people and has overshadowed the World Social Forum (WSF) because it has an uncompromising anti-imperialist line, it relies on the fighting will and capabilities of its member-organization and does not depend on funding from imperialist agencies.
The ILPS successfully held its Third International Assembly (TIA) in Hong Kong from June 18 to 20. Prof. Jose Maria Sison was re-elected as chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC). Here is Bulatlat’s interview.
Q1: Did you expect to be re-elected as ILPS Chairperson?
JMS: Before the assembly, the leaders of some major member organizations of ILPS from some countries had asked me to stay on as ILPS chairperson. Nevertheless, the wish of these organizations was subject to the ILPS democratic process. Like other candidates, I was nominated and elected by secret vote to the ICC. And then when the 3rd ICC convened on the day after the assembly, it elected its executive officers to form the International Coordinating Group (ICG) with me as chairperson.
Q2: You could not attend the TIA because of travel restrictions. But by using skype video chat you were very much present at the assembly. What do you think of the internet as a medium for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people? So far ILPS has used it effectively. But in what way can it become ineffective?
JMS: Indeed, thanks to the use of Internet live video communication, I was able to participate in the last meeting of the outgoing ICC on 17 June 2008, in major parts of the assembly program from 18 to 20 June 2008 and in the first meeting of the newly-elected ICC on 21 June 2008. I was able to deliver my general report to the plenary session and to answer some questions. I could even watch the cultural solidarity night and participate in it by singing two songs.
The Internet is a very effective way of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people. It is a fast and cheap medium for collecting, keeping and disseminating information for the purpose of education, voluntary organization and mass mobilizations. People can interact with each other in print, audio and video and arrive at common understanding and courses of action. The proceedings and results of the ILPS Third International Assembly are speedily posted at the website and are made available to everyone worldwide.
The monopoly bourgeoisie controls the governments, telecommunication companies and servers and can use them under the guise of anti-terrorism, national security and other pretexts to prevent the people and the anti-imperialist forces from having access to the new technology. The broad masses of the people must be vigilant and must be resolute and militant in upholding and defending the principle and exercise of the freedom of thought and expression. All the time they must be able to use the most time-tested methods of arousing, organizing and mobilizing themselves for national and social liberation, no matter how much the imperialists and local reactionaries control the mass media.
Q3: You played a prominent role in conceptualizing, organizing and founding the ILPS. Can you tell us your role up to the time that you first became chairperson in 2004?
JMS: With the cooperation of some organizations from several countries, I convened the International Initiative Committee (IIC) in 1998 for the purpose of preparing the establishment of the ILPS. We conceived of the ILPS as an international anti-imperialist and democratic alliance of mass formations in anticipation of the upsurge of the people’s resistance against the the escalation of exploitation and oppression under the US-instigated policies of imperialist “globalization” and aggressive wars.
On the eve of the Battle in Seattle in November 1999, I delivered a speech against the WTO and the myth of “free market” globalization in an international conference in Seattle and raised the call for anti-imperialist and democratic mass organizations to join the ILPS. I was the chairperson of the IIC until it founded the ILPS in its First International Assembly (FIA) in Zutphen, the Netherlands in May 2001. At this assembly were 339 participants (314 delegates and 25 special guests), representing 232 organizations based in 40 countries. The FIA heard my report, ratified the ILPS Charter, conducted 18 workshops on 18 major global concerns and elected the International Coordinating Committee (ICC).
The ICC elected the renowned labor leader Crispin Beltran as its chairperson and appointed me as ILPS General Consultant. The ICC and the entire ILPS were very successful from 2001 to 2004 in taking positions on major global issues and on local issues of global significance and in undertaking sectoral and multisectoral meetings and campaigns of information and mass actions against imperialism and reaction.
In November 2004 the ILPS held the Second International Assembly in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. It issued an excellent General Declaration, firmed up the study commissions to a significant extent and elected a new ICC. This in turn elected its executive officers, including me as the chairperson.