Anti-imperialists meet to discuss and act
Published Dec 15, 2007 12:10 AM
It wasn’t just another international conference. It wasn’t just a
Kolkata march supports Nandigram
struggle against Special Economic Zone.
The day before the conference on “Imperialism, globalization,
Zionism—Resistance to military occupation and war,” which opened on
Nov. 28, a powerful demonstration and rally of more than 50,000 people was held
in the streets of Kolkata (Calcutta).
Most of the international delegates to the conference came from areas of
successful armed resistance to imperialist onslaught. Their experiences were
reflected in the resolutions.
The All India Anti-Imperialist Forum (AIAIF) organized the conference, with a
strong focus on the U.S. imperialist war in the Middle East and the role of
Zionism. An important delegation from Lebanon attended, including members of
Hezbollah. Several delegates were denied visas by the Indian government,
including from Iran.
Huge rally in Kolkata against U.S. imperialism
Other international delegates came from armed resistance in Nepal and from
Palestine. There were delegates from Turkey, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Russia,
France, Germany, Canada and the U.S. They were joined by 1,500 delegates and
several hundred observers from across India.
The Mahajati Sadan auditorium was packed to overflowing. Outside were several
tented areas where video screens allowed more people to follow the
As international delegates entered the hall, lines of chanting and cheering
Indian delegates greeted us with raised fists.
Militant march and rally
The day before, many different contingents had marched to the U.S. Consulate
with hundreds of anti-war and anti-imperialist banners and placards. One slogan
raised repeatedly was “Death, death to U.S. imperialism!”
90-year-old woman in Nandigram tells
Ramsey Clark how her
torched by death squad..
WW photos: Sara Flounders
Youth from Nepal played traditional instruments as they marched, drawing broad
support that reflected enthusiasm for armed resistance to the feudal regime in
Nepal, which lies directly north of this West Bengal state in India.
At an outdoor rally after the demonstration and at the opening session of the
conference the next day, Hussein Sukur emotionally described how the U.S. had
supplied Israel with the bombs that wiped out his entire family in Beirut. He
is determined that war crimes charges must be lodged against the guilty.
Manik Mukherjee of the AIAIF set the tone of the conference with a paper on the
international situation since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the
socialist bloc. He described the deepening crisis in the economies of the
imperialist countries and growing contradictions among them over the world
Leading members of Hezbollah gave presentations on the Lebanese Resistance and
the changes it has achieved. Abdul-Halim Fadlallah addressed the conditions and
organization that had “inflicted on the occupation state a resounding
defeat, the first of its type in the history of the Arab-Israeli
conflict.” Mustafa Haj Ali explained that “the experience in
Lebanon teaches that it is possible to resist imperialism.”
It was a significant participation by important Islamic resistance fighters at
a gathering of mainly left secular forces.
A number of the conference presentations dealt with firm opposition to the U.S.
occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and to U.S. imperialism’s support for
the Zionist state of Israel. They covered the phony “peace
conference” in Annapolis and the continuing heroic Palestinian
resistance. This focus was also reflected in the conference resolutions.
The continuing armed revolutionary struggle in Nepal against the feudal state
was raised by Suman Jadav from the Communist Party of Nepal–Maoist. This
group is leading the resistance that has liberated two-thirds of Nepal and
forced negotiations on the archaic social forces still holding the reins of
The living struggle against globalization and plans for a Special Economic Zone
(SEZ) in Nandigram, 60 miles from Kolkata, had the attention of many conference
delegates. For the first time a popular struggle has actually succeeded in
stopping one of these centers of super-exploitation of labor from being set
According to the World Bank, more than 3,000 such zones have been established
in recent years in 130 countries. Some 220 SEZs exist in India and more than
500 are on the drawing boards. A conference on imperialism in this era needs a
clear view on this aggressive new labor offensive by multi-national
corporations, backed up by Pentagon weapons and enforced by local government
Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general and the founder of the
International Action Center, spoke in the opening session of the conference and
at the rally the day before. On the second day of the conference, Clark went to
Nandigram with two other delegates from the IAC—Steve Kirschbaum and Sara
Flounders. They returned just before the close of the conference to give a
report on the continuing struggle there and the government’s severe
repression of local peasants. (See accompanying article.)
This repression is being carried out by a reformist left party that has held
office in the state of West Bengal and in the city of Kolkata for 30 years and
unfortunately calls itself the Communist party of India–Marxist (CPI-M).
Its policies are being successfully opposed by a broad peasant coalition in the
Nandigram district and by several revolutionary left parties, including the
Socialist Unity Center of India, which was a major force in the
anti-imperialist conference in Kolkata. This debate has roiled Indian left
politics and the mass media. The repressive policy has been the focus of
massive demonstrations and strikes.
Many of the Indian delegates to the conference had played an active role in
defending the Nandigram struggle. Some had been severely beaten and even shot.
It was a living example of the impact of corporate globalization on the world
At the conclusion, the conference voted to expand its efforts into a wider
anti-imperialist formation: the International Anti-Imperialist and
People’s Solidarity Coordinating Committee. Ramsey Clark was asked to
head it up and Manik Mukherjee to act as general secretary, and both agreed.
The organization intends to reach out to many other countries and resistance
struggles. The conference proceeding was chaired by Dhrubajyoti
Concluding resolutions affirmed solidarity with the resistance in Iraq and in
Lebanon, solidarity with Iran, full support of the Palestinian demand for the
right to return, solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela and the
Cuban Revolution, and condemnation of imperialist aggression and
destabilization in Latin America, especially against Cuba and Venezuela.
Two resolutions dealt with international developments impacting on India. One
warned that the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal is “part of a blueprint for a
bigger political-strategic collaboration between India and the U.S.” A
resolution against Special Economic Zones noted the “unrestricted
exploitation, loot and plunder” by foreign and Indian capital and
demanded their complete scrapping.
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