Communiqué 

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) successfully held its 7th International Assembly (7IA) on June 21-24, 2024 in Penang, Malaysia with the theme, “Defeat Imperialism! Win Our Socialist Future!: Build a PeoplesUnited Front to Fight Against Imperialist Plunder, War and Fascism. Draw in More Organizations and Movements to the ILPS in the Struggle to Win a Socialist Future for Humanity and the Planet!” 

The 7IA was attended by 535 participants with the following breakdown: 432 were delegates from 192 ILPS member organizations, and 103 were observers and guests. They came from 44 countries and territories: Aotearoa (New Zealand), Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kurdistan, Macau, Malaysia, Manipur, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Occupied Palestine, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Pueblo Indígena Maya Ch’orti’, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, UAE, United Kingdom, USA, and West Papua. Prospective participants from Kenya, Senegal, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Zambia, and more countries could not attend the Assembly due to denial of visas and other reasons.

The 7IA was also the first international assembly held since the passing of the League’s chairperson emeritus, Prof. Jose Maria Sison. Despite Prof. Sison’s death, the delegates and observers of the 7IA observed the fact that this was the largest ILPS assembly in the League’s history. This continues to confirm the League’s status as the largest and most consolidated global formation of militant, anti-imperialist and democratic organizations in the world today. The increased attendance from past assemblies reflects the devastating impacts of the imperialist economic, political, military and climate crises around the world and the decisiveness of the people to unite and fight to win a better world.

Opening Program

The opening program of the 7IA began with a rousing cultural performance from ILPS members around the world to the backdrop of a visual and verbal presentation of the myriad crises impacting the people and the peoples’ resistance. After a roll call of all ILPS countries, the program presented the incumbent International Coordinating Committee (ICC) members before the entire assembly sang the ILPS hymn which was led by the ILPS Indonesia Children’s Choir.

Outgoing ILPS Chairperson Len Cooper gave welcoming remarks before introducing Julie de Lima, chairperson of the peace negotiating  panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, who spoke on the legacy of her late husband, ILPS chairperson emeritus Jose Maria Sison. De Lima was then gifted with a banner displaying the words “Ka Joma Lives,” a slogan popularized by the JMS Study Movement since his death, presented by youth members of the ILPS.

Atama Katama from ILPS Malaysia then gave a talk on the particular conditions of Malaysia and the current struggles of the people there before a cultural presentation of the Sabah Sarawak Indigenous Peoples’ organization.

The keynote address was delivered by renowned Palestinian freedom fighter from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Leila Khaled, who spoke on the significance of the Palestinian people’s unwavering revolutionary struggle against US-Zionist aggression and occupation and the importance of international solidarity between all peoples’ struggles in the fight to bring down imperialism and build socialism. Khaled challenged everyone, saying, “We can only fight when we are together. This is an important conference because freedom fighters are here and we can plan for the future.”

After the opening speeches, the Assembly approved the makeup of the Presidium, the Agenda of the Assembly, and the Rules of Participation including the Rules for Nominations and Elections to guide the conduct of the whole proceedings.

Reports of the ILPS officers

Outgoing ILPS Chairperson Len Cooper gave his report on the current world system and the crisis of imperialism that the League now finds its work situated within.  He said, “Given the state of the imperialist-dominated globe, the importance of the ILPS, its activities, and its growth are more important than ever.”

Outgoing Vice Chair, Azra Talat Sayeed, spoke about her work representing the League in different fora and global events.  She gave particular emphasis to her role in helping to lead ILPS South Asia, one of the newest regional committees of ILPS.  She explained how her office had launched campaigns for “peasants, particularly the landless, as well as urban formal and informal workers,” raising awareness about “the imperialist impositions of the US and its allies.”

Malcolm Guy, the outgoing Vice Chairperson for External Affairs, spoke on his role in representing the ILPS in various alliances, most notably in the attempt to co-organize the Anti-Imperialist Anti-Fascist United Front and the subsequent convening of the International Peoples’ Front of anti-imperialist organizations, alliances, parties, institutions, and liberation movements to form the broadest platform possible against imperialism and for a global peoples’ movement.  Guy also spoke about his role in leading the publication of the ILPS newsletter and podcast and procurement of ILPS media in different languages.

The outgoing Vice Chairperson for Internal Affairs, Victor Garces, reported on the challenges to ILPS organizing during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the League.  He detailed the expansion of ILPS particularly in Asia and North America, and the challenges faced primarily in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean in maintaining membership during the pandemic. He also spoke on the status of the ILPS Commissions, which ones were the most active, and which had challenges in convening since the last international assembly.  Finally, he presented a proposal, later adopted by the assembly, to expand the first four Concerns of the League to be the concerns of all, therefore transforming the first four Commissions (National Liberation, Socioeconomic Development, Democracy in the Fight Against Fascism, Just Peace in the Fight Against Wars of Aggression) into working groups under the general secretariat.

Liza Maza, outgoing General Secretary of the ILPS highlighted the significant efforts, accomplishments, and challenges since the last assembly in 2019. According to Maza’s report, despite the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the ILPS was able to continue its work to advance the campaigns and struggles against imperialism, war, and fascism. The report detailed the League’s efforts in political education and communications, which are led, supported, and facilitated by the General Secretary. This includes active propaganda, with the League issuing an average of 25 statements per month. Maza also highlighted the work on the global campaigns, and mobilizations, and membership and organizational development and strengthening. This included responses to major events like the pandemic and war in Ukraine and genocide in Occupied Palestine. Maza said that ILPS continued its educational and mobilization activities online, addressing pressing issues such as public health, workers’ rights, and resistance against autocratic regimes. The report also emphasized the importance of expanding and strengthening the organization’s membership and internal communications. The incumbent General Secretary ended by urging everyone to bolster the country and territorial chapters, emphasizing that it is “on the ground where people gain strength, and imperialists are weakened and can be defeated, as they were in China, Korea, Vietnam, Indochina, Cuba, Iran, and Afghanistan. And as they will be in Palestine!”

The outgoing ILPS Treasurer, Veerle Verschueren, presented the financial report underlining that the main source of income for the central fund continues to be the membership dues. The outgoing auditor, Cody Urban, noted that the International Coordination Committee (ICC) made a positive change by decentralizing dues collections in the countries and regions and implementing physical handoffs of cash as the primary form of centralization. However, it was emphasized that more creative ways to raise funds need to be considered, even as some organizations and chapters successfully fundraised through campaigns.

One amendment was introduced into the ILPS Charter that defined quorum as a simple majority of 50% plus one of voting delegates present for general matters and 2/3 for major statutes to the League.

Plenary speakers and planning

To prepare the way for the new formulation of Concerns 1 to 4 as was mentioned on the first day, the second day of the 7IA opened with keynote speakers to set the tone and help lay the general line of the ILPS on these concerns for all the people.

The first plenary speaker on the concern for National Liberation was delivered by Coni Ledesma of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines who spoke on the Filipino people’s long struggle for national liberation with a socialist perspective and the prospects for other movements taking up similar struggles today.  She said, “What is important is for each movement to seriously study what is most appropriate for their people based on their particular circumstances and experiences, and to build the broadest unity and cooperation in fighting for national liberation, democracy, and social emancipation against imperialism and all local reaction.”

The second and third plenary speakers focused on Socioeconomic Development.  The second was presented by Sheryl Cadman from First Union in Aotearoa (New Zealand). She emphasized the importance of global unity among workers, particularly migrant workers, in combatting austerity and other neoliberal policies and striving for authentic development in the hands of the people. Cadman stressed that “We have to organize, for us in the union movement we must always advocate not just for our members but for all workers.  It is our job to ensure that the voice of working people is heard.”  Third was Jerome Adonis from the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May 1st Movement), the largest federation of workers’ unions in the Philippines.  Adonis spoke from the perspective of the working class of the global south.  He righteously proclaimed that, “the strengthening of the workers’ movement, alongside the broader mass movement, will bring about the resurgence of a revolutionary movement for social change led by the workers.”

The fourth and fifth plenary speeches were on the concern of Democracy in the Fight Against Fascism.  These two speakers were Engr. Hassan Al Jaja from the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature and Hakan Cifci from the Kurdistan National Congress, who spoke respectively on the fascism of the US-Zionist regime and the fascism of the Turkish Erdogan regime.  Both emphasized the need to unite the people against the attempts by the fascists to divide from achieving genuine democracy. Al Jaja stated, “We must deal with present challenges and keep up with the current global awakening, lest we lose rare historical opportunities and fail to reap, for the benefit of our peoples and homelands, the fruits of massive sacrifices made by our aware, capable and courageous masses.” Cifci emphasized that “Defeating fascism requires a united society guided by democratic, diverse, anti-militarist, ecological, and women-liberated paradigms. Only through such unity can the oppressive regime be overthrown.”

The sixth and seventh plenary speakers tackled the concern for Just Peace in the Fight Against Wars of Aggression. One was by Ludo de Brabander of Vrede in Belgium who spoke of the role of NATO and US-led military alliances in spreading wars and misery to peoples of the world. He stated, “It is up to us, social movements and left forces, to keep fighting for the principle that there is no peace without social justice.” He also challenged everyone with the idea that “social organizations, trade unions, environmental groups, human rights, and peace activists must come together to fight, even if the balance of power is very unequal. Resistance pays off.” The final plenary speech on this same concern was from a written statement by the Korean Committee for the Solidarity of the World’s People on the rising US-led instigation of war on the Korean Peninsula, saying “It is a steadfast policy of the DPRK to oppose aggression and war and make efforts for the sake of peace and security.”

After a question and answer session to help clarify the political line of ILPS on these four concerns, breakout discussions were held to begin planning for the four concerns that would become the main vehicles for ILPS global campaigns moving forward under the direct guidance of the general secretariat. Reports from these commissions were shared on the third day to the plenary.

ILPS commission workshops and special events

The first round of workshops for the assembly consisted of practical case studies and conversations for building the League, given the 7IA’s theme of “Draw in More Organizations and Movements to the ILPS.”  The workshops were On Organizing ILPS in the Countries, led by ILPS Canada; On Alliance Work, led by ILPS US; On Campaigns and Propaganda Work, by the ILPS General Secretariat; On Financing the League, by the ILPS Treasurer and Auditor; and On Regional Building and Outreach, by ILPS Asia Pacific. This was the first time such a block of workshops was held during an international assembly and helped pass on many of the lessons that ILPS members learned over the past few years so as to give new skills and lessons to all ILPS members to grow the League to new heights.

Workshops organized by the commissions in charge of the sectoral concerns of the League (5 to 20) were also held, as has been done in past assemblies. The workshops analyzed the problems created by imperialism and reaction related to the specific concerns and participants shared experiences on the struggles and campaigns waged in different countries to address these problems. The workshops also formulated resolutions on the work ahead and the struggles to address the issues of importance. Some of these resolutions were later presented to and approved by the assembly in the plenary session.

Special events were held in the evenings that were all very well attended. The first was on the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination through the taking up of arms. The second of the first night was on Latin America. Other events included the impacts of the US-China rivalry on the countries of South Asia. There was also an event on the national democratic revolution in the Philippines. More special events included one on the current situation in Malaysia.  An event hosted by Commission One included a panel from national liberation struggles in the Philippines, Palestine, Kurdistan, Puerto Rico, and Eritrea that spoke about the common themes between these struggles and what we can all learn from them.  A special event on Africa was also held that included speakers on the Horn of Africa region, West Africa region, and the struggles of Africa’s indigenous peoples, emphasizing the need to truly grasp the conditions, their similarities, and differences, in the waging of each, and how solidarity can be drawn to support them all.

Finally, a very special event hosted by ILPS Europe was held as a tribute to late ILPS chairperson emeritus Jose Maria Sison. This event not only commemorated all of the irreplaceable contributions that he made to the League but also commemorated his life as a revolutionary and founding chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines and prolific, practical theoretician of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism in general. Members of ILPS shared the heartfelt experiences they had experienced alongside Sison, including those of his wife and revolutionary comrade Julie de Lima. In addition to condolences of solidarity, dances, songs, and other cultural offerings were given to celebrate Sison’s life and work. Chants of “Ka Joma Lives!” rang throughout the plenary hall all night, as they did during many of the moments of the entire assembly when Sison’s words were cited to demonstrate the indefatigable might of the international proletarian movement that ILPS still draws its strength from today.

Conclusion

The Assembly discussed and approved the General Declaration of the 7th IA. It encapsulates the League’s analysis of the major contradictions in the world capitalist system today, the intensification of inter-imperialist rivalry for the redivision of the world, the increasing attacks on the people by the imperialists led by the US, and the rising tide of people’s resistance around the world. The assembly also passed a special Declaration on Palestine, calling for unconditional solidarity with all the people of Palestine fighting from the river to the sea to free their homeland from the genocidal US-Zionist entity.  This declaration also called for the convening of a people’s tribunal on Palestine by ILPS and the Palestinian People’s Resistance Movement. According to the declaration, the tribunal will serve as a moral and political platform for victims, survivors, advocates, and national and ysocial justice movements in exacting accountability against the Zionist war criminals and their imperialist sponsors.

The assembly also passed the following resolutions:

  • Resolution to support the International People’s Front (IPF), an international, anti-imperialist, and anti-fascist united front
  • Resolution to undertake campaigns against the terrorist designation/labeling and criminalization of national liberation movements
  • Resolution on Recognition of the Life and Struggle of Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay in Mindanao and her Contribution to the Advancement of Indigenous People’s Rights, Self-Determination and the Global Struggle against Imperialism
  • Resolution on Support for the National Unity of Cypriots Against Turkish Occupation and the Presence of NATO on Cyprus
  • Resolution on Support for the Struggle of Indonesian Workers and People and Demands to Revoke the Omnibus Law on Job Creation.
  • Resolution to Commemorate August 6 as the Anniversary of the Attempted Assassination of Activist and Journalist Brandon Lee
  • Resolution on the campaign to Lift the US Blockade and Remove Cuba from the US List of States Sponsoring Terrorism
  • Resolution on the campaign for Freedom for Öcalan-A Political Solution to the Kurdish Question
  • Resolution on the situation in Latin America and the Caribbean and the Struggle to Demilitarize the Region from Imperialism
  • Resolution on the Freedom of Revolutionary Political Prisoners of the World by ILPS Peru
  • Resolution on Myanmar to Ban Jet Fuel to the Fascist Junta Government
  • Resolution on the campaign against US war provocations in the Philippines
  • Resolution on ILPS Concern 3: Democracy in the Fight Against Fascism
  • Resolution on ILPS Concern 6: Agrarian Reform and Rights of peasants, farm workers and fisher-folk against feudal, semi-feudal and capitalist exploitation and oppression
  • Resolution on ILPS Concern 12: The Right of the People to Health and the Rights of Health Workers
  • Resolution on ILPS Concern 14: On Art, Culture, and the Free Flow of Information 
  • Resolution on conducting coordinated days of action and solidarity campaigns to end climate imperialism and struggle for climate justice

The delegates then elected the members of the incoming International Coordinating Committee (ICC) that would steer the ILPS in the next three to four years according to the course set by the General Declaration.

The following were elected as regular members of the ICC: Len Cooper, Liza Maza, Azra Talat Sayeed, Aaron Ceradoy, Renato Reyes, Cody Urban, Samuel Villatoro, Jerome Adonis, Victor Garces, Hakan Cifci, Yoshio Nakamura, Hassan Al Jaja, Malick Sy, Pablo Hector Gonzalez Loyola Perez, Pascual Duarte, Yasmeen Khan, Joanna Lerio, Chennaiah Poguri, Teresita Apitan, Oz Karahan, Malem Ningthouja, Nahendra Khadka, Rhonda Ramiro, Alberto Ruiz Eldredge, Shivangi M, Nyusha Lin, and Kimberly Megan Barry.

And, the following were elected as alternate members: Grace Bariso Buenconsejo, Atama Katama, Raphael Katolo Chiposwa, Charlotte Kates, Lewis Maghanga Njuguna, Kevin Bracken, Helda Khasmy, and Kaya Gutierrez.

The new ILPS officers were elected to the following positions by the ICC members:

Chairperson: Len Cooper

Vice Chairperson: Samuel Villatoro

Vice Chair for Internal: Victor Garces

Vice Chair for External: Rhonda Ramiro

General Secretary: Azra Talat Sayeed

First Deputy General Secretary: Malem Ningthouja

Second Deputy General Secretary: Jerome Adonis 

Vice Chair for Asia-Pacific: Nahendra Khadka 

Vice Chair for Latin America and the Caribbean: Pascual Duarte

Vice Chair for Africa: Raphael Chiposwa

Vice Chair for West Asia: Hassan Al Jaja

Vice Chair for Europe: Oz Karahan

Vice Chair for North America: Yasmeen Khan

Treasurer: Cody Urban

Auditor: Shivangi M

The 7IA concluded with a rousing solidarity night during which many delegations offered performances and cultural offerings to express their solidarity with each other’s struggles and inspire strength for the fights ahead. Throughout the night, many fists were raised for fallen martyrs around the world. The solidarity night marked the final event of the 7IA before delegates left to return to their respective countries and territories to carry forth the plans and resolutions of the assembly.

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