January 16-18, 2009
Int'l Forum for Resistance, Anti-Imperialism, Solidarity between Peoples, and Alternatives
Composition of workshops
I- Workshop on Supporting Resistance and Liberation
II- Workshop on Anti- Imperialism and Solidarity between Peoples
III- Workshop on Supporting Political Alternatives
IV- The Parliamentarians Workshop
V- Workshop on solidarity between local communities and sectors
VI- Workshop on defending legal and civic rights
I) Workshop on Support for Resistance and Liberation
There is no doubt that the resistance successes in Lebanon and its successes or resilience in Palestine and Iraq explain the ferocious attack targeting resistance on all levels, including the accusation of terrorism aimed at tarnishing the resistance image, misleading the international public opinion and creating political confusion around its identities and projects.
Besides, by targeting the resistance, Israel, the Americans and other regional and international allies took this confrontation to another dimension within the current world system, dominant international relations and all conflicts and polarization issues between these forces which consider that their interests lie within the system of hegemony and all symbolic and military forms of violence on the one hand, and the opposition forces that fight for a more human, just and equal world, on the other hand.
The liberation role of the resistance is no longer the only source of concern of imperialist powers, but also its capacity to destabilize and threaten the world hegemony system fully located in our region…
In reality, this adds to the resistance, itself a human right, an added value; for it is impossible today, in the light of current international balances, to reach "another possible world" without the resistance playing a fundamental role. Because wherever imperialist forces accumulate their cultural, political and military arsenal, there should be the center for defending humanity.
Furthermore, the resistance movements assume, in the context of their mandates and the results of their actions, the role of expanding common spaces crossed by political sensitivities and ideological differences. In this regard, and in the context of social and political change dynamics, there is an opportunity for achieving integration between all parties.
This workshop addresses the issue of supporting the right to resistance and ways of achieving complementarities with it, in addition to deepening the political issue relevant thereto; it is divided into the following axes:
1. Resistance: a human right in itself
Neo-liberals and "neo-conservatives" declared that resistance represents evil and terrorism… while in fact it is a human right and a fair moral and political value.
Resistance is neither a cut nor an interruption of the history path but, on the contrary, it is a correction of this deviating path. Resistance arises from cruel violence against rights, it seeks to stop this violence and put back the deviated path on the right track.
This axis discusses the right to resistance as a human right in itself.
2. Resisting American and Zionist occupation is not the job of resistance movements alone.
Resistance movements assumed alone the responsibility of confronting American and Zionist occupants; they carried burdens and made sacrifices to which European and international democratic and political forces should have contributed. These forces should also share the responsibility of supporting the resistance and facing American and Zionist policies and strategies.
The slogan announcing that "Another world is possible" cannot prevail, neither can opposition, if the right to resistance is absent from the work and literature of opponents. For opposition cannot develop without support to resistance and the rejection of the terrorism accusation targeting resistance in all countries, especially in Europe.
This axis discusses the necessity of including the right to resistance in the "other possible world" slogan and the impossibility of creating this world without a role for the resistance.
3. Integration with the resistance is possible
In reality, there is a real integration with the resistance, although invisible. The truth is that resistance paid alone the price of defending humanity as a whole and not only its own peoples.
Disagreement with the resistance, on existence and death issues, might be an excuse for leftist and secular forces within opposition movements, but these issues should not affect in any practical or theoretical way recognition of the resistance and supporting it in facing occupation. For the universe is way bigger than the small bottle in which some opposition and protest movements have placed themselves and resistance; there is in this universe enough space for diversity and multiplicity, as long as it is limited to one front against the enemy.
This axis studies the possibilities of integration between diverse political sensitivities and resistance.
4. Joint reconstruction based on the achievements of the resistance
A political culture of great social and national revolutions against colonialism was embedded in some of the social and political opposition forces sub- consciousness; therefore, these forces measure the resistance according to these criteria without taking into consideration historical differences and current facts.
Resistance is not a revolution; it is the land and people's liberation movement in the absence of great national revolutions. The importance of resistance lies in the fact that it was born and able to survive in spite of this absence. Resistance cannot by itself restructure political, economic, social and cultural systems… However, its achievements have facilitated the work of different political, social and cultural forces.
This axis addresses the development of joint political and social activities based on the resistance achievements in the context of the current balance of powers.
II) Anti-Imperialism and Solidarity between Peoples Workshop
The world is going today through a turning point in the history of humanity. In the name of globalization, capitalism is pursuing a cruel oppression and a rude exploitation of most countries and peoples in the world. New slogans are starting to emerge calling for privatization, liberalism, free trade and free market economy, in order to secure an imperialistic supremacy over global economies and impose a strict control on the global market. For globalization is a colonialist means aiming at enforcing economic dominance, plundering natural resources and exploiting labor force.
Due to the contradiction within the capitalist system, the imperialist capital market is undergoing critical crises. If the great development of technology has allowed a huge increase in productivity, individual purchasing power has been however decreasing constantly, and people's savings are forever lost. Instead of fighting ferociously against globalization and imperialism, many democratic and leftist parties and forces have given in to imperialist maneuvers and started to justify some of their concepts.
Nowadays, in order to survive, imperialist supremacy is leading to even more contradictions between the countries and within the same country, organizing coups, starting direct wars, managing local wars, imposing blockades and sanctions… Imperialist antagonism aiming at ruling the world was embodied in the cruelty of military attacks on Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon; it has manifested also in economic sanctions and threats of military acts against Iran, Syria, Libya, Korea, Cuba, Sudan and other countries in Latin America, with the United States of America leading all these cruel and aggressive acts.
Due to the American occupation, Iraq suffered the loss of more than a million lives and more than five million refugees, while the whole country was devastated. The USA was able to establish a network of military bases in more than seventy countries and build joint security sites in Central and South Asia, in addition to the joint military bases with the NATO in most of the Eastern and Western European countries. Besides, the American military influence and presence in Colombia is the biggest threat against peace and stability in the western half of the globe.
The countries that have rejected the presence of foreign bases on their soil and tried to rely on an independent developmental policy, or refused to implement the policies of the International Monetary Fund and global capital finance were targets of various political and economic sanctions and destruction. Latin America, West Asia and Africa became a battlefield between American-imperialist hegemony and the people's fight in these countries for liberation from this supremacy.
Following the 9/11 attacks, the governing class and its entities in the USA launched the worst campaign ever against the terrorism of the so called "Islamic movement". A wide campaign of rumors and calumnies was also launched to rally more people to their aggressive campaign against hostile Islamic countries, located between Afghanistan and the Middle East, and promote systems supporting their own policies.
In the Middle East, the USA and the Zionist entity are united in solidarity; the first country uses the second to enforce its imperialist agenda and destroy all liberation movements. They have both adopted the "fight against terrorism" to depict Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements as terrorists, in addition to their attempt to crush the "Intifada" and the armed resistance movements in Lebanon; movement fighting with great success ongoing Zionist attacks. They are also seeking to undermine the historic victory and the courageous resistance of the Lebanese people during the war of July 2006.
Because of the Iraqi and Afghani determination to resist against American occupation and liberate their land, and due to the great loss undergone by the occupation on military, political and economic levels, the USA is trying desperately to establish a system in favor of its policy in both countries. As for Latin American countries, previously considered as the USA backyard, they have also rejected the American policy and their peoples are more determined than ever to stand against American supremacy. The same goes for Africa and Asia.
We call for a denunciation of imperialist policies in front of the public opinion worldwide and a mobilization of the world's populations to stand against the systemic aggression of their countries sovereignty. This mission is highly important and should be undertaken by all progressive and democratic movements, parties, organizations, forces and individuals gathered within this forum and other living and resistant forces around the world.
We suggest dividing this workshop into three main discussion axes:
1. The imperialist and capitalist crisis:
- Structural or temporary?
- Any alternatives?
2. Coordination mechanisms and knowledge share between resistance movements in the Middle East, South America and worldwide, in addition to means to supporting these movements.
3. Mechanisms aiming at developing a wide political front to face imperialism and reinforcing solidarity between people, in addition to forms of coordination between the forces constituting this front.
If we succeed in establishing a wide alliance against imperialism, building a solid base and a stable work mechanism to ensure solidarity between people, eradicating political, economic and security dependency and hegemony, eliminating all forms of sectarianism, and supporting liberation and resistance movements, then we would be able to deal a blow to the imperialist-Zionist alliance policies and create a financial base to save the world from this plague.
III) Political Alternatives Workshop
There is no doubt that opposition movements contributed in spreading a more human political culture and impeding the monstrous crawl but could not stop it nor seems able to deter it unless opposition forces contribute to the reconstruction process. The globalized changes have gone too far and the world will probably never be as it was before neo-liberalism, despite the hopes of the many protesting forces, the few opposing ones and the anti-globalization advocates.
Today, it is possible to counter the military globalization as well as the globalization of stock markets and multinationals' interests, the world transformation into a selling and profitable good and the violation of vulnerable countries' sovereignty by substituting it with a higher alternative globalization that preserves intellectual, cultural, religious and ethnical diversity… It will also protect natural and vested rights of individuals and communities as well as the social and national rights and sovereignty of weak countries. All intellectual and practical data show that the sovereignty of these countries is subjected to external and internal fanatic threats, unless they relinquish voluntarily some of this sovereignty in favor of a joint sovereignty to create a regional union; this has been done by the European Union and is being implemented by South American countries.
This workshop discusses the issues of creating a regional union in the light of the Arab League failure in achieving any practical step towards a regional integration and the success stories of other regional groups. It also discusses political alternatives for the new Middle-East project, the Union for the Mediterranean and the South American Free Trade Area in light of experiences and lessons learned. The workshop is divided into the following axes:
1. The European Union, a deficient experience or one that could be emulated?
The European Union was built on the basis of a voluntary relinquish of sovereignty by each country in favor of a joint sovereignty represented by the European Commission. The Union has nonetheless maintained each country's sovereignty within the European Council and the European peoples' representation within the European Parliament. Antagonists believe that this experience is still incomplete on many levels, including the European Parliament authority, the popular representation and the adoption by the European Commission of neoliberal policies that violate Europeans rights as well as others with whom the European Union had built free trade partnerships and is working today on establishing "the Union for the Mediterranean" which legitimizes Palestinian colonization and the return of colonialism in the Arab region.
This axis discusses European Union mechanisms, internal and external policies and the methods to rectify them.
2. In South America: FTAA or regional integration?
South America has been the "USA backyard" for a long time; the countries are still suffering from the consequences of racial and ethnical differences and the wide gap between indigenous peoples and white minorities. They also suffer from differences and conflicts between countries' interests. These populations, as other vulnerable populations, suffer from the devastating effects of market and free trade (FTAA) sovereignty in agreements with the United States and the European Union.
Despite all these risks, they have succeeded in laying the ground for regional integration and reconstruction; they are still at the early stages of progressing towards a Southern political union which will protect each country's interests and rights as well as the joint rights.
This axis discusses this experience while trying to benefit from the lesson drawn to build an Arab-Islamic regional union.
3. A new Middle-East or another Arab-Islamic Middle-East?
The new Middle-East is nothing but wars and occupations, military actions and oppression, rising of ethnical, racial and sectarian extremism, the breakdown of countries and the corruption of the political clout, increasing misery and hunger… "a constructive chaos". This project was weakened by the resistance in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan and the perseverance of some countries; however, political void attracts control. This project was weakened but is not dead, it can be revived with new leaders.
This axis discusses the necessity of filling the political gap between the people and the states in the "Arab-Islamic Middle-East", the failure of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the first steps towards filling the gap.
4. Towards equal partnerships between the Arab world, Europe and South America.
Europe, the Arab world and South America are united by a long history of oppression. The neoliberal changes, which occurred two decades ago, led to unfair and unequal "Euro-Mediterranean" and "Euro-South" partnerships - in favor of the EU. In this context, the "Union for the Mediterranean" project was created, without hiding its creator's ambitions to reinstall colonialism and reinforce the support and protection of Israel.
This axis discusses ways of establishing an equal partnership between the Arab world and South America, as well as alternatives for the "Union for the Mediterranean" project.
IV) Parliamentarians and Elected Councils Workshop
Until recently, the European countries' democracy was built on the balance between the state and a "Civil society" held responsible for the citizenship in changing governmental policies between two elections. This entrusted the representatives of the people in parliaments and elected councils with an essential role in adopting or rectifying governmental policies in conformity with the people's needs and not limited to elections only.
In the past two decades, a major shift occurred in the mechanisms and essence of democracy within the old democratic countries. The formal shape of democracy became limited to "a dialogue within the governmental institutions" and the new citizenship assumed the non-interference of citizens in the adjustment of their government's policies until the day of "accountability in ballot boxes".
This workshop tackles four main axes related to the role of parliaments and elected councils in changing wrongful international policies and adopting more fair frameworks and policies capable of promoting solidarity between people:
1. First axis: two opinions on "world governance" (the United Nations and the Security Council):
- One opinion states that international policies that have led to such great chaos in the universe result from unipolarity and hopes for a multipolar world to reinstate balance and avoid unilateral decisions.
- The second opinion approaches the issue from a different angle. "World governance" is virtually over; a new "good world governance" should be rebuilt and reorganized according to new democratic bases.
This axis discusses the issue of world governance and the role of parliaments in its mainstreaming.
2. Second axis: a South-South partnership:
The countries of the South are responsible for maintaining South-South transit and exchange lines through the North. This map has contributed in reducing the capacity and competence of Southern people in building a more human world. Parliaments of the South should reinstall the natural world balance and build a fair South-South partnership replacing the policies of destruction.
This axis discusses the essential priorities for South-South cooperation in general to ensure a direct cooperation and exchange without having to go through the "center of the universe" in the North.
3. Towards an equal South-North partnership
The partnerships concluded by the countries of the North with most of the South countries in the last decade are unfair and unequal, whether they fall within the scope of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership or the Free Trade Partnership as well as all resulting agreements such as security agreements and "promoting peace"… Unfortunately, there is no practical link between North and South parliamentarians in order to study the consequences of such partnership and create a joint opposition.
This axis addresses the establishment of a basis for joint action between North and South parliamentarians in order to adjust and modify this partnership from both sides.
4. Practical priorities
The European Parliament is regularly put under major pressure by the American Administration and Israel, for it is the European institution most concerned with the official European bias in favor of Israel and the American Administration.
This axis discusses the different ways that South parliamentarians can use to help and support their counterparts in the European Union in facing these pressures, to work together to implement fair decisions, promulgate new laws that will lead to an equal relationship between the South and the North and recover Parliaments powers and all possible rights.
V) Workshop on Solidarity between Local Governments and Sectors
During the last two decades, the increasing wars and violations of national rights of weak countries were accompanied by a cultural war, in order to impose a cultural standardization and destroy the human wealth characterized by diversity in cultures, religions and beliefs. There was also a standardization of a political culture promoting the big companies freedom at the expense of small and family private sectors and at the expense of the state's natural role in managing a balanced productive partnership between the state, the production capital and the small private sector.
It seems that the small enterprises sector cannot escape the markets controlled by the multinationals' interests and the need to create a direct solidarity exchange between the producers themselves in local, national, regional and international spaces.
This workshop discusses the methods of solidarity exchange among producers, the creation of a joint framework between countries of the South and between the South and the North and reorganization of local governments and administrations to contribute to this process. The workshop is divided into different axes:
1- Stop marginalization to start reconstruction
The government is entrusted with the obligation of protecting the rights of small producers and family private sector, as well as organizing local administrations and signing agreements with other states to promote social stability and provide food security… However, most of the countries, especially the weak ones, adopted opposite policies, which have led to widespread marginalization, misery and rural and suburbs destruction. All this might lead to hunger uprising and riots that threaten countries or might lead to the aggravation of misery and oppression. For misery and breakdown cannot lead to the rationalization of reconstruction but will mostly lead to more atrocious chaos.
Furthermore, the complications of the world changes and the increasing dependency of weak countries on the global system do not easily allow the implementation of rational solutions, unless based on social forces, somehow stable, lobbying to change policies of rights violation.
This axis addresses this issue in an attempt to reinforce and expand solidarity networks.
2- Reconstructing local governments is the backbone for state reconstruction
When the state gives up the role of organizing national spaces and local governments in dependent countries, it justifies the beginning of reorganization and rehabilitation of local administrations by communicating with citizens, expanding twinning networks and exchanging knowledge between national, regional and international governments. The country's bodies and institutions are rusty at the top and suffer from a deeper degradation at the local administrations' level. Experiences show logically that reconstructing the state from the top goes hand in hand with its reconstruction from the bottom, at the local administrations' level.
This axis discusses the development of twinning networks and the rehabilitation of local administrations between the countries of the South and with the North, in addition to establishing a partnership between local governments at the widest geographic scope possible.
3- Land, environment and organic agriculture rehabilitation
The breakdown of weak societies started with the breakdown of rural areas and agricultural lands, along with the non-development of artisanal and industrial production and the imported consumption inflation. Weak countries have however tried to compensate their incapacity to manage balance between industry and agriculture and to implement the IMF and other financial institutions' recommendations, by increasing agricultural productivity of fresh vegetables and fruits for exports; this has led to the dismantlement of the basis for food security represented by cereals, environment pollution by chemical pesticides, wasting wide areas of land and big quantities of surface and groundwater, and dependency of farmers on fertilizers, pesticides, seeds and marketing companies.
This axis discusses the organization of networks for agricultural lands and environment rehabilitation, the right to food, water preservation, farmers' training to produce organic products for local consumption and food manufacturing for equal trade. It also discusses the organization of solidarity between small fishermen.
4- Solidarity between local governments to face wars atrocities
Many citizens from municipalities and local governments in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine have suffered from the atrocities of war, crimes destroying their houses and crops and environmental crimes. Many municipalities and local governments' lands are still polluted with chemical weapons and toxic gas. Lands in South Lebanon are full of cluster bombs and the Israeli army is still pulling up olive trees and forbidding the Palestinian from harvesting their crops.
This axis addresses the issue of a possible solidarity between local governments and municipalities in order to face war atrocities.
VI) Legal workshop
The United States takes advantage of the international organizations and in particular the Security Council. The USA undermines all the established legal gains acquired during the era of decolonization and dismantlement of racial systems by marketing the accusation of terrorism against all resistance and liberation movements that fight for freedom from slavery and hegemony, or by providing counter interpretations that make the adopted texts meaningless or allow their exploitation to achieve goals contradictory to the initial ones. "International legislations" are even elaborating texts that abolish the rules on which people count to obtain freedom and independence, interfering in countries' internal affairs, making some countries (such as Belgium) amend their laws and imposes on others to exclude American officials of the implementation of international and domestic laws, using human rights protection as an excuse to justify their intervention and turn the blind eye to the violation of these rights when their implementation is not in its best interest, then control the world economy through international institutions and impose their standards as part of the international trade law by threats or inducements.
Facing all these aggressions, the "people's court" was able to prosecute criminals for thirty years; furthermore, the "International Conscience Court" was held this year in Brussels to prosecute Israeli leaders; in addition, many complaints were filed in national courts against Israeli military leaders and are under examination.
The workshop will look into legal mechanisms that will allow fighting criminal imperialist and Israeli practices.
It is divided into the following axes:
Axis 1: The imperialist risk of overlooking the law:
1- Real dimensions of using terrorism as an excuse and attempts to violate the people's right to self determination.
2- Current liberation and resistance movements in the light of international law.
3- Imperialist exploitation of human rights and methods of defending human beings and people's causes.
4- Attempt to Americanize the law and methods to fight it.
5- The UN role and the issue of the UN system reforms in the light of international balance of powers.
Axis 2: The continuous international crimes perpetrated by the USA and Israel
1- Back to the traditional form of colonialism - military occupation.
2- Continuous American crimes: Afghanistan - Iraq - Guantanamo.
3- The continuous aggressive Israeli attitude against Lebanon: occupying the Shebaa Farms, violating the Lebanese sovereignty and threatening to destroy Lebanon.
4- Continuous Israeli crimes in Palestine: massacres of Gaza, the separation wall, land occupation and Israeli settlements.
Axis 3: People's court:
1- Studying and assessing the people's court experience and the possibility of its activation and continuity.
2- The possibility of filing complaints against American weapons companies that provide the American and Israeli armies with tools to commit crimes or prosecuting security companies for the crimes committed.
3- The possibility of building a case with the people's court against an international institution for human rights violation, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others…
Axis 4: Follow up on the International Conscience Court's decisions.
1- Discussing the possibility of prosecuting the Israeli war criminals of the 2006 war, before competent courts.
2- Lodging complaints of European and American citizens before their national courts.
3- The enemy leaders' threats against Lebanon, and the necessity of disseminating the International Conscience Court's decision in different countries and to different bodies and associations.
4- Discussing the necessity of establishing an international legal bloc comprising legal professors and researchers, lawyers and unionists to stand against international and European political coverage of non-accountability of Israeli criminals in International and European courts.