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nternational peace conference connects struggles and unites in opposition to imperialist w

by ILPS Committee on Aging and the Elderly-USA Friday, Jun. 23, 2006 at 9:18 AM 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Over 150 participants from ten countries around the world shared and connected their struggles in the second day of a unique and historic international progressive peace conference. Participants of the “Towards a Just and Lasting Peace” conference heard first-hand yesterday the impacts of imperialist war, plunder and exploitation on peoples of the South and North. They also united in the need to support all forms of struggles for national and social liberation against imperialism in order to achieve a genuine, just and lasting peace.

Towards a Just and Lasting Peace Conference Secretariat

International League of Peoples’ Struggles – Participating organizations in Canada

International peace conference connects struggles and unites in opposition to imperialist war and plunder

For immediate release: June 18, 2006

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Over 150 participants from ten countries around the world shared and connected their struggles in the second day of a unique and historic international progressive peace conference.

Participants of the “Towards a Just and Lasting Peace” conference heard first-hand yesterday the impacts of imperialist war, plunder and exploitation on peoples of the South and North. They also united in the need to support all forms of struggles for national and social liberation against imperialism in order to achieve a genuine, just and lasting peace.

Conference speakers from Iraq, Palestine, the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Canada and the US will speak at a press conference tomorrow, Monday, June 19, 2006 at 10 a.m. at the Kalayaan Centre, 451 Powell St. in Vancouver. (See attached bios.) The conference communiqué and resolutions will also be presented to the media.

The conference will culminate tomorrow, Monday, June 19, 2006 in a solidarity march and rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson St. side) beginning at 5 p.m.

In a keynote address yesterday from the Chair of the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS), Prof. Jose Maria Sison via video taped message from the Netherlands criticized the US and other powers for “unleashing the worst form of terrorism, which is the war of aggression.”

“The US is the number one imperialist power, the number one propagator of terrorism and the number one source of war,” said Sison. He condemned the “mass murder” of 200,000 civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“After three years [the US-led occupation] did not succeed in crushing the Iraqi resistance,” said Sammi Ala’a of the Free Iraq Committee, a solidarity group based in Denmark. “They did not succeed militarily [or] in setting up a puppet government,” he said.

“They will not succeed in Iraq,” said Ala’a. “We will pay a lot of blood in the lives of our people, but we will prevail.”

“Palestinians have a long and proud history of struggle against injustice and we will not surrender,” said Rafeef Ziadah of the Al-Awda Right to Return Coalition who is a third generation Palestinian refugee from Lebanon living in Toronto. “We use stones versus tanks and our bodies versus bulldozers.”

Ziadah decried “Israeli apartheid” which led to the forced eviction of 750,000 Palestinian refugees and the deaths of 30,000 people, as “racism in a special type of colonization.”

Besides direct US occupation and intervention, speakers from the Philippines, Brazil, Mexico and Pakistan talked about the growing people’s resistance and the fascism they face from US imperialism through their puppet regimes.

“The key to the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation against imperialism are the hundreds of thousands of [organized masses] all over the country,” said Luis Jalandoni, Chief of the Peace Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). “They are the revolutionary force that Arroyo and her armed forces cannot defeat,” he said.

“The political killings of activists are a sign of desperation on the part of the Arroyo regime,” said Elmer Labog, Chair of the Kilusang Mayo Uno – May First Movement the militant trade union center in the Philippines. He said Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is using various tactics including the harassment, arrest, illegal detention, killings and massacres of striking workers and/or union leaders to “intimidate workers to fall into line.” According to Labog, 679 people have been killed making the Philippines the second most dangerous country for trade unionists after Columbia.

Raquel Scarlatelli of CEBRASPO in Brazil described through an interpreter the “massive repression” of students, peasants and workers in the country. “Besides fascism, 72 million people do not have enough food to eat,” she said.

Gabriel Sainos of the Organization of Peasants and Traditional Doctors in Mexico said indigenous people and peasants are being repressed when they assert their right to self-determination and freedom.

Walli Hader of Pakistan described the role of the US historically in setting up a puppet regime under General Musharaf Pakistan. He said the US calls Pakistan one of “our strongest ally in the War on Terror” but at the same time “a terrorist state too.”

He said the US is using the “war on terror” to excuse direct military aggression particularly in the province of Balochistan since it is rich in natural resources and borders Afghanistan.

Richard Becker of the International ANSWER coalition in the US also condemned the US-led occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan and called on the anti-war movement to take on an anti-imperialist character.

“It is inadequate for the anti-war movement to just say ‘peace’” said Becker. He called for a “movement that takes the system on,” the development of class consciousness and the popularization of the anti-imperialist position.

Speakers and delegates emphasized the need to continue building and strengthening the ILPS which Sison described as the “rallying point of the peoples of the world in their struggle for a new and better world of greater freedom, democracy, social justice, all-around progress and peace.”

“In the Philippines as in many other countries where there is super exploitation by imperialism, any attempt to mitigate reforms is met with the coercive power of the state,” said Dr. Carol Araullo, Chairperson of BAYAN – New Patriotic Alliance. “Although it is an irony and a contradiction, many people have come to the conclusion that there is such a thing as a just war that precedes a just and lasting peace,” she said.

The four-day conference continues today with workshop discussions and formation of a declaration and resolutions.

Local participating organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) as well as progressive individuals have fundraised for and organized the event. The ILPS is an international grouping of over 300 groups from over 40 countries. It formed in the Netherlands in 2001 as an expression of increasingly organized resistance to "free market" globalization and the wars of aggression launched after 9/11. ILPS participating organizations around the world have hosted conferences and assemblies on a variety of concerns.

- 30 –

For more information, to arrange an interview or request video footage, please call: Hetty, Ted or Sheila at: (mobile) 604-773-0185 or (messages) 604-215-1905.

Press Conference Speakers Biographies

Towards a Just and Lasting Peace

Kalayaan Centre – 451 Powell St., Vancouver, BC

10 a.m.

Sammi Ala'a

Sammi is a member of the Free Iraq Committee, a solidarity group based in Denmark.

Luis Jalandoni joined the mass struggles of sugar workers and peasant settlers in Negros, Central Philippines in 1968-1972. He was elected to the Christians for National Liberation (CNL) National Executive Board at its Founding Assembly in August 1972. The CNL is a founding member organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Jalandoni joined the revolutionary underground upon the declaration of martial law in September 1972. He was a political prisoner from September 1973 to August 1974. He helped organize the historic La Tondena workers' strike in October 1975 and was appointed as the NDFP Chief International Representative in 1977.

In 1980, Jalandoni represented the NDFP at the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal Session on the Philippines that indicted the dictator Marcos and declared the NDFP the legitimate representative of the Filipino people. The Tribunal also recognized the belligerency status of NDFP.

Jalandoni represented the NDFP in peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines that resulted in the signing of the landmark peace agreement in 1992, The Hague Joint Declaration. He was elected member of the NDFP National Executive Committee in the First National Conference of the NDFP in 1994 and appointed Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel in the same year, positions he holds until today.

Gabriel Sainos is with the Organization of Peasants and Traditional Doctors from Mexico. His organization is also a member of the recently-launched "The Other Campaign".

Racquel Scarlatelli is the Chairperson of CEBRASPO or the Brazilian Centre of Solidarity with the People. Since its founding, CEBRASPO has been involved in helping to build international solidarity with the people of Brazil in their democratic struggles with a particular focus on providing alternative media. She is also a member of the International Coordinating Committee of the ILPS and is regional ILPS coordinator for Latin America. Raquel is a journalist.

Elmer Labog is the Chair of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement), the largest trade union central in the Philippines

Rafeef Ziadah is a third generation Palestinian refugee to Lebanon. She is active with Al-Awda Right of Return Coalition, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and Sumoud Political Prisoners Solidarity group. She is currently a PhD. candidate in Political Science at York University.

Recently, she presented at the CUPE Ontario convention were resolution 50 calling for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israeli Apartheid was unanimously passed. Rafeef is one of few survivors of the Israeli Massacre in Sabra and Shatila in 1982. Rafeef hid under a bed while the massacre went on around her. She was four years old.

Wali Haider is the Research & Publication Coordinator for Roots for Equity in Pakistan. He is responsible for maintaining data base on various political and social issues from daily Pakistani newspapers and conducting research into the situation of peasants and form workers.

Annita McPhee is a member of the Talhtan Nation of BC. She recently helped organize a protest rally in support of the struggle of Six Nations in Caledonia, Ontario. She is a volunteer with the Towards a Just and Lasting Peace conference.

Ning Alcuitas-Imperial is one of the Canadian representatives to the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles (ILPS) and a member of the BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. She is a lawyer who lives in Vancouver, BC.

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