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An outstanding success

30. March 2007

A first balance sheet of the Chianciano conference by the Free Iraq Committees Italy

A political success

The international conference of Chianciano has been a big political success. For two long years we have been fighting to be able to hold it. Finally we could realise it in the best way possible.

We hate triumphalism and who follows us will now this. But in this case we really want to express our satisfaction. 18 speakers from the Middle East were present at the conference. This result was possible both thanks to the victory on the “visa front”, outcome of a long political battle, as well as because of the big interest among the resistance forces in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan etc.

At Chianciano a broad range of the components of the Iraqi resistance intervened especially with Baathist, Islamic, Arab nationalist and communist background; parts of the Lebanese resistance including the area of Hezbollah; the forces close to the Palestinian liberation movement including the historic ones as well as the Islamic current; representatives of the Afghan resistance.

All those people left Italy with the consciousness to have made a step ahead, to not only have gained the right to speak but also a have achieved a growing support and solidarity.

The international interest we received goes well beyond all precedents with about a dozen international delegations present.

The conference enjoyed a presence of more than 300 guests, a positive results given the advanced character of the meeting as well as the boycott by the “politically correct” left and the movementist area without project.

An organisational success

Another positive element is the organisational smoothness with which the conference could take place. The serenity achieved, thanks to the efforts of the comrades involved in the preparation, allowed that the deliberations could go ahead in an intensive rhythm and a with considerable attention.

These results could in no way be taken for granted given the climate of fear which has been created in the last period. The situation was, however, in no way comparable with those around our last attempt in 2005 when we were forced to change the venue only a few days before the event because of the pressure exerted upon the owner.

An there is another decisive fact: the fund-raising for the conference. Many asked how such thing could be financed – some with honest disbelieve others with iniquitous allusions. It is clear that the idea has passed that politics is only possible being with the institutional parties (and their collateral appendices) or with the economic potentates.

Unfortunately these assumptions express a certain reality. Even more, we are pleased that we could show that there remains the possibility of auto-financing based on donations from political militants. The development of the donations until now, for which we continue to call also with this balance sheet, gives us the realistic hope that we can close the books without devastating debts.

This is an important political fact. If there is a strong idea and clear goals it is possible also to overcome financials hurdles.

A new horizon

The conference did not please many. It did not please the pro-American right which had been happy to be able to impede it two years ago on orders of Washington and which today was embarrassed to find itself unable to stop it. It did not please the government and its environment who engaged themselves in guaranteeing the Atlanticist line on which the Prodi II cabinet has been built. It did not please hypocritical pacifism which refuses to take side between oppressed and oppressor. It did not even please large sectors of the movement against the war which, although eventually ready to recognise the role of the resistance movements, would like to tailor them according to an eurocentrist logic which actually excludes to listen to, to confront, collaborate and coalesce with them.

Only taking all these aspects into account one can evaluate the real political success the Chianciano conference represents. It is a sign that something new is in preparation. There are forces emerging which do no more gaze at the official political theatre, which want to contribute to the construction of an alternative built on substance and not merely on the movementist rituals, which have understood (and many also expressed it) that an international meeting like the one on Chianciano equals ten demonstrations…

The deafening silence of the media

Someone reading these notes might be caught by a certain surprise. The Chianciano conference actually was completely obscured by the mass media. And one knows what this means in our media society. The scandal of completely hiding this event of global importance is, however, of such magnitude that we do not want to lament. It should rather drive us to reflect about its meaning. We have understood already in advance that the bipartisan political elite would order silence on the conference. In general they use to employ two ways to deal with those supporting the liberation struggle of the oppressed people: criminalisation or silencing.

But this time they have surpassed any limit. Why in Chianciano the main press agencies, some renown journalists and even TV crews were present without producing any reports? There seems to us only one plausible explanation: as they would have had to speak of a big success of the conference they preferred to remain silent. This is the point to which the Italian “democracy” has come under the centre left government.

Within this scandal of silence there is another scandal which is not minor, namely the absence of the so-called left press like Il Manifesto and Liberazione those readers got to know of the conference only by paid advertisements.

The discussion with and between the resistances

In the preparation of the conference we often spoke of the resistances in plural. While the phenomenon of the resistance against the project of the American empire and its infinite war is actually one, its expressions and articulations are diverse according to the different national circumstances.

Facing this fact there are two choices: either to ignore that and approach the resistances in a generic and superficial way or to invite the major and most representative forces, involving those cultural and political currents who are most decided to go ahead in the necessary process of unity, which should eventually lead to the construction of an international anti-imperialist front. We chose the second street which implies as well the confrontation between different positions.

As could be foreseen it was the evaluation of the political role of Iran in the Middle East which generated the hottest discussions. Iran’s policy is regarded by Hezbollah and other forces of the Lebanese national resistance with great sympathy as well as by Hamas; meanwhile it is decisively refused by the Iraqi resistance which is fighting against a government (including the death squadrons related to it) which is very close to Tehran.

Abduljabbar al Kubaysi, secretary general of the National Patriotic Islamic Front, in turn has expressed that they will be against an US aggression on Iran in case it might come but today it is Iran which must completely change its policy in Iraq ending the support to the US occupation. This was picked up by Moreno Pasquinelli in his conclusions who argued that we must stay with Iran in the prospect of an aggression maintaining, however, a strong criticism against the current Iranian geopolitics which causes so much destruction on the Iraqi front.

A step ahead

A step ahead has been made. It is the first time that an international meeting with this quality on these topics and with these protagonists became possible. The final resolution, proposed by the presidium and approved by acclamation, certainly constitutes a step towards unity.

It closes with: “We strive to go along the path paved by the Resistances in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon … step by building a network of anti-imperialist forces for common action which will open the possibility that the hopes of big parts of the oppressed people as well as the Resistance movements in the South and the North, in the East and the West materialize: a united international anti-imperialist alliance.”

While to achieve this aim the exchange between the resistances is necessary, at the same time also the question of the relation of the Western anti-war movement to those resistances is important. In this regard we can record positives steps in comparison with the years before but the insufficiencies are still there.

If the objective of an international anti-imperialist front certainly still requires a long political work, what have been emerging in Chianciano is the conviction to continue on this road which is the only response able to meet the challenge by imperialism’s “infinite war”.

Concerning Italy, the success of the conference signals the necessity of a broader and stronger aggregation of the anti-imperialists. In a very difficult environment the work of the recent years has yielded important fruits which now constitute the fundament on which we can base our next steps.

Call for donation

We are content with the donations we received so far from Italy. But it is not enough to cover the remaining debts of some thousand Euro. We especially call upon our international friends to help us as well.

We want to remind you that the economic support of such an event is of eminent political importance as it can demonstrate that strong political ideas and projects can overcome also financial obstacles.

Pls make donations under “Chianciano conference” to

Leonardo Mazzei
IBAN: IT18T0760113700000057286221