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Brigands´ Festival celebrate advance of resistance against US Empire

23. July 2005

From Afghanistan and Iraq to the French NO to Euro-America

From 14-17 July the Brigands´ Festival was held by the Anti-imperialist Camp in Piombino, Italy. Resistance music from within and without Europe, of modern and traditional type, as well as theatre and literature set the frame for the political programme which provided evidence for the difficulties of imperialism – the very reason why we celebrated.


An leftist political activist coming directly from the restive town of Jalalabad reported that the tide against the US occupation is high. The popular movement which exploded in May against the occupation forces including the European ones is affecting the entire county. Typical for US imposed “democracies” dozens of those who took to the street to protest against the occupation were killed by the Karzai police as well as of the NATO troops, hundreds injured and imprisoned. About thirty of them were transferred to the notorious US prison of Bagram known as the Afghan Guantanamo. Among them were also some communists who participated in this movement. After being tortured by the US soldiers they risk either to be deported to Guantanamo or handed over to the Kabul regime which threats them with the death sentence.

The comrade called upon the European people to force their governments to withdraw the troops, to fight for the liberation of the political prisoners and to support their families. The Anti-imperialist Camp has started a campaign to collect money for them.

French NO

On Friday a round table about the prospective of Europe after the great victory of the NO in the referendum on the European constitution took place. The two speakers – Jean-Pierre Page, formerly responsible for the international relations of the CGT and ex-member of the Central Committee of the PCF and Patrick Donati of the Committees for the NO – insisted on the popular character of the French NO.

A NO which punished the European oligarchies and especially the French political class composed of both poles, the UMP of the governing majority as well as the PS of the parliamentary opposition. Both campaigned for the YES in favour of the anti-democratic and ultra-liberalist constitution. According to the two speakers therefore the vote had a strong social and anti-liberalist connotation.

But the scrutiny of May 29 was also directed against Euro-America, a Europe which becomes more and more americanized not only as a social and cultural model but also in economic regards. To back up this fact it was exposed that 40% of the capitalisation of the Paris stock exchange comes from the US

The French NO gives Europe a new hope and many interventions from the auditorium revolved around the question how to develop initiatives against the EU with the aim to form a European-wide movement.


On Saturday Awni al-Kalemji, spokesman of the “Iraqi Patriotic Alliance”, explained the difficult situation the US occupation finds itself confronted with. Neither the military operations nor the political attempts of the occupiers to stabilise their puppet regime wielded results. In spite of all media celebrations of the “elections” in January the amount of attacks by the Resistance against the US army is still increasing. So the US tries to embark on “negotiations” with the Resistance, but also this will not help them. Al-Kalemji affirmed that in every liberation struggle there were figures which were ready to let themselves be used for such dirty games. But for the Resistance it is clear that negotiations are only possible with the unconditional withdrawal of the occupation troops. Asked why the Political Front of the Resistance, which the IPA has been advocating since the beginning of the occupation, did not yet materialise al-Kalemji answered that sooner or later it will come into existence. We should not forget that the Resistance movement is still young and there are many years ahead. Already by now important political obstacles have been removed.

On the same day the assembly of the Italian Free Iraq Committees took place with the participation of Awni al-Kalemji and Jean-Pierre Page. It was dedicated to the preparation of the Conference in support of the Iraqi Resistance scheduled for October 1-2 in Italy.

The new challenge of religion

The debate of Sunday was dedicated to the crisis of the capitalist modernity and the new wave of religiosity in reaction to it. Today it is clearer than ever that the capitalist model of development cannot satisfy the comprehensive needs of man, let alone lead to his emancipation. The concrete communist movement as well as the states which endeavoured to undergo the transformation towards socialism at least partially followed the same positivist approach. Also for them science and technology was the highest value. After their failure and the transformation of the historic left into the second pole of the imperialist system the oppressed of the world regard both the values of Enlightenment and communist as simple offspings of (capitalist) modernity which they refuse as the system by which they happen to be oppressed.

The spectacular rise of Islam is a response to that failure – as it is already largely recognised. But might there be a similar tendency also in Europe? And what about the overwhelming wave of Protestant fundamentalism in the US?

According to Moreno Pasquinelli, leading member of the Anti-imperialist Camp who addressed the rally, there is a widespread refusal of the Anglo-Saxon liberalist model of society throughout Europe. As the official left embraced the latter model it might be Christian currents poised to express these sentiments of protest. Elements of evidence for this assumption are the refusal of the Church not only to support the US aggression on Iraq but also its ferocious criticism of what the pope used to call materialism, individualism and relativism – which after the demise of real socialism is an attack directed mainly on liberalism. Pasquinelli remembered that also Christianity gave birth to various social revolutionary movements not only at its beginning but throughout its history. While Marx called religion the opium of the people he at the same time mentioned the aspect of protest. It is not a question to ally with the Church but to nurture the progressive momentum of the new turn to religiosity away from the civil religion of the capitalist progress.