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Report from Assisi, Italy

International Anti-Imperialist Camp

Special to Workers World
Assisi, Italy

Over 200 anti-imperialist activists from Europe and around the world gathered in an outdoor camp in Assisi, Italy, the first week in August to discuss experiences, strategy and theory in the fight against war and repression through a series of plenary sessions and workshops.

In an attempt to frighten activists and obscure the issues, the big business press of Italy immediately ran headlines baiting the gathering, such as, "1,500 terrorists have come to Assisi."

Sharon Black Ceci, a delegate from the International Action Center in the U.S., was loudly applauded when she declared in response to the press at the opening plenary on Aug. 5, "The real terrorists are 45 minutes away from my home town in Baltimore. They reside in Washington, D.C., at the Pentagon and the White House. Capitalist exploitation is terror! Imperialist war and domination is terror and the U.S. is the citadel of both!"

In this atmosphere, Italian police demanded that the camp organizers allow them to seize Chilean revolutionary Jaime Jovanovic Pietro to expel him. The organizers refused the police requests. A tense standoff began until Jovanovic Pietro, known as Professor J, decided to ask for asylum at the Catholic Church in Assisi.

But church officials allowed police to enter. They seized Professor J and deported him to South Africa. Picket lines and press conferences took up a campaign to expose the Italian authorities for refusing to support an anti-fascist fighter. Professor J is accused of assassinating a fascist Chilean general and of attempting to kill dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Camp activities continued despite police searches of cars coming and going. Discussions centered on the issue of the increased use of repression by both the United States and European capitalist powers, the role of social democracy in Europe, support of liberation struggles around the world and the threat of U.S. aggression against Iraq.

Representatives from liberation struggles around the world, including Palestine, the Basque Country, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Indonesia, the Philippines and Morocco, made exciting presentations.

Cesar Taguba, BAYAN Philippines representative, discussed his organization's support for the independence of the island of Mindanao while fighting against U.S. domination. He announced that the U.S. had deployed up to 7,000 troops in the Philippines. He declared, "We will resist the U.S. war of terror against our people."

The Basque people's movement for freedom was highlighted because of the tremendous attacks that Spain is now waging against their struggle. Spain has sought to ban Batasuna, the Basque people's organization, which has garnered 15 percent of the vote in recent elections. This attack is being orchestrated under the guise of declaring Batasuna a "terrorist organization."

A special session was devoted to the illegal trial in The Hague of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. All the panelists attacked the U.S. war against Yugoslavia and called for an end to the tribunal. Speakers were Fulvio Grimaldi, Italian journalist and member of the International Committee for the Defense of Slobodan Milosevic; Aldo Bernadini, professor of international law; Serguei Novikov, historian and representative of the Communist Workers Party of Russia-Revolutionary Party of Communists; and Andrea Martocchia, National Coordination for Yugoslavia in Italy.

Representatives from organizations in Greece, Turkey, Germany, Russia, Scotland, Britain, Austria, Italy, France and the United States attended.

The camp passed important action resolutions, including an international day of support for the Palestinian struggle on Sept. 28, the second anniversary of the current Intifada. The camp also called for demonstrations Oct. 26 in Brussels against the European Union and its adoption of a "Black List" similar to Washington's targeted list of countries and liberation struggles. It also called for an international delegation to travel to Iraq in the event of a U.S. attack.

Reprinted from the Aug. 29, 2002, issue of Workers World newspaper
This article is copyrighted under a Creative Commons License.
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