The Beirut International Forum for Resistance, Anti-imperialism, Solidarity Between Peoples, and Alternatives was held at Beirut on January 16 -18, 2009. It was jointly convened by the following:
a. The Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation in Beirut,
b. The International Anti-imperialist and People’s Solidarity Coordinating
c. Committee (IAPSCC) (Calcutta – India Conference),
d. The International Campaign against American and Zionist Occupation (Cairo Conference),
e. The Stop War Campaign (London),
f. The National Gathering to Support the Choice of Resistance (Lebanon)
In addition, hundreds of resistance organizations and prominent individuals endorsed the call for the Beirut Forum. It was the Second International Anti-imperialist Conference held under the aegis of the IAPSCC, and Manik Mukherjee, its General Secretary traveled to different countries to ensure wide international participation. Comrade Prachanda, Prime Minister of Nepal accepted the invitation of IAPSCC and planned to be present at the Conference. But urgent official work held him back and he sent a solidarity message extending full support to the objectives of IAPSCC. The Baath Arab Socialist party of Syria responded to the invitation of IAPSCC by sending a three-member delegation to the Conference. In response to the invitation of IAPSCC the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela sent a 30-member Parliamentary delegation including Amilcar Figueroa (President Alternate of the Latin American Parliament), Victor Chirinos (President of the Venezuelan Parliamentary Group of the Latin American Parliament), Giuson Flores (Vice-president of Inter-parliamentary Relations of the VPG of the Latin American Parliament), Carolus Wimmer (Vice-president of Commissions of the VPG of the Latin American Parliament, and Secretariat member of IAPSCC)
The Conference was a tremendous success with the participation of around 450 international and Arab bodies, in addition to social movements and figures from 66 countries. It was held at a time when Israel launched a barbaric attack on the Palestinians in Gaza, and when the whole world is facing financial, economic and political crises resulting from the imperialist policies of war and hegemonism. The forum aimed at reinforcing the possibility of building an alternative world based on the principles of respecting humanity as a whole and defending the vulnerable and oppressed in the world.
The Opening Plenary Session on January 16 at the UNESCO Palace exhibition hall was presided over by Dr. Ali Fayyad, Director of the Consultative Centre for Studies and Documentation, who said, “In this part of the world the resistance is Islamic. The resistance movement here must introduce themselves to other forces of resistance to imperialism around the world. The ideological differences must be postponed. The resistance must prevail… An important goal of the forum is how, despite the ideological contradictions, to find how to work together hand in hand to achieve unity against imperialism”.
Welcoming the delegates Comrade Manik Mukherjee, General Secretary of IAPSCC said that the Conference was held at a place where Israel suffered a humiliating defeat in 2006, and at a critical time when the Israelis have unleashed a barbaric attack on the Palestinian people of Gaza. He said that we cannot dream of any lasting peace on earth till the scourge of imperialism is wiped off from the face of the earth and socialism is established. Let us all return from this Conference with a vow to dedicate ourselves to this struggle till final victory is achieved.
Mr. Ramsey Clark, Director of International Action Centre, and President of IAPSCC talked of the great betrayal of the Palestinian people by the UN and the international community who relegated the whole Palestinian population to years and years of misery, death and destruction. He said that his own country USA was guilty of launching aggression and war in Korea, Vietnam, Guatemala, in Africa, in Afghanistan, in Iraq.
Comrade Mohammad Kassem, Central Secretariat member of IAPSCC and an important organizer for the Conference said, “For the first time, in Lebanon, we have created a platform for struggling people all over the world, secular, nationalist, leftist and Islamic to speak their views and work together, against the wars in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, against the threats to Iran and the sanctions on Sudan, against the blockade of Cuba and the attempts to block the revolutionary direction in Venezuela, Bolivia and across Latin America. We are building mechanisms of international cooperation and South-South solidarity, and we plan to intensify those efforts in the future.”
Dr. Yehia Gaddar and others addressed the assembled delegates representing the other co-convening organizations. Professor Walden Bellow of Philippines, Professor Francois Houtart of Belgium and Mr. Victor Chirinos of Venezuela spoke representing the continents of Asia, Europe and South America.
The Plenary Session ended with a forceful speech by of Hezbullah’s Deputy Secretary General Mr. Naeem Qasim who said, that today there are only two camps in the world–the one of US imperialism and its allies and the other one of the resistances regardless of their ideological, cultural or religious affiliation. The resistances must be unified against its common enemy which is only possible by respecting the diversity. Gaza today is the symbol of resistance and human dignity and he called upon all to stand with Gaza to scatter the darkness of imperialism and Zionism.
In the special Plenary Session on Palestine held on the second day, called in the background of Israeli aggression in Gaza, the Hamas representative described the horrific suffering and heroic resistance of Gaza’s people and called for political solidarity so that the people of Palestine would not lose diplomatically what they defended on the battlefield.
Comrade Sara Flounders, Co-Director, International Action Centre and Secretariat member of IAPSCC said that the imperialist powers hope that by attacking heroic Gaza they can push back and demoralize the struggle in the whole region. Gaza is a harbinger of wider war against oppressed people of the world. Saluting the resistances in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran and so many other places she stressed that we need to heighten the struggle against imperialists, against USA, against NATO, against Israel.
Ajanta Ghosh representing the IAPSCC hailed the heroic resistance offered by the people at Gaza. She mentioned that throughout India in many cities people have come out expressing solidarity with the people of Gaza and staged demonstrations demanding immediate withdrawal of the invading Israeli forces. She voiced the resentment of the Indian people that the ruling powers in India are siding with the imperialists, forsaking the Palestinian cause which it had professed to uphold in the past.
Many delegates from the Arab world, from Latin America pledged solidarity with Gaza’s struggle. Representatives from Greece and Cyprus told of their efforts to break the blockade on Gaza physically and of how Greek dockworkers had refused to load U..S. arms bound for Israel. Ms. Cynthia Mckinney, former US Congressperson and US Presidential candidate narrated how the ship Dignity which was trying to bring medical aid to Gaza was rammed by the Israeli Navy. She declared with conviction that because of the inspiring resistance in Gaza, and our united support, the people of Palestine will win.
After the two Plenary Sessions six Workshops were held in parallel sessions.. The Workshops were:
1. Workshop on Supporting Resistance and Liberation,
2. Workshop on Anti-Imperialism and Solidarity between Peoples,
3. Workshop on Supporting Political Alternatives,
4. The Parliamentarians’ Workshop,
5. Workshop on Solidarity between Local Communities and Sectors,
6. Workshop on Defending Legal and Civic Rights.
Delegates from India and Secretariat members of IAPSCC had important presence in the Workshops. The opening session of the Workshop on Resistance was chaired by Mr. Ramsey Clark and Comrade Ranjit Dhar, Secretariat member of IAPSCC, was a speaker. He said that today the imperialist powers led by USA are on a rampage, trampling democracy, flouting international laws, invading countries and barbarically slaughtering common people. But side by side resistance and liberation movements are also gaining ground. In all corners of the globe the people are challenging, and at places successfully repelling, the overlordism and brigandage of US imperialists with grit and determination. What is of prime importance today is that any attack on any country must be considered by the people of fellow countries as an attack on all of them by world imperialism led by US imperialists. Hence, it should be incumbent on all of them to rise up against any such attack, resist and repel with all might. If such co-ordination and fraternity among the fighting people of the world could be developed, it would not only give fillip to the democratic movements in each country but would also enfeeble the enemy to a great extent.
In another Session of the Workshop on Resistance Comrade Dhruba Mukherjee, General Secretary of AIAIF, was a speaker. He highlighted the imperialist attack in the cultural arena and said that we have to strive to bring about and strengthen the unity and solidarity of the working people of the world that would be capable of waging an uncompromising fight to break the global chain of imperialism. The basis of this unity would have to be the commitment to fight against the common enemy of capitalism and imperialism. Without a clear focus of anti-capitalist struggle we shall not be able to resist globalization or to resist imperialist aggression. Our struggle will have to be built on a vision of social justice, equality, people’s welfare and their emancipation from capitalist exploitation.
In the Workshop on Solidarity between Local Communities and Sectors, Comrade Amitava Chatterjee, a speaker, said that imperialist penetration and war have always been accompanied by cultural war, and the present situation calls for an all out struggle encompassing culture and ethics against capitalism and imperialism. He mentioned about the heroic battle of the peasants of Nandigram against forcible eviction in order to set up Special Economic Zones for the benefit of national and foreign capitalists, and how people from all walks of life came forward to stand by the peasants of Nandigram. The sustained struggle could ultimately force the Government to retreat and withdraw its proposal.
On the third day of the Conference, the sessions of the Workshop on Anti-imperialism was presided over by Comrade Carolus Wimmer, and Mohammad Kassem, Secretariat members of IAPSCC. Comrade Manik Mukherjee, General Secretary of IAPSCC, speaker in a session on Globalization, said that globalization is a calculated program of imperialism to ensure the survival of moribund capitalism and to expand its exploitative regime. But it has not been able to solve the irresolvable crisis in capitalist economy, and at the same time this has led to most ruthless exploitation and oppression of the common people, threat to safety and security of peoples and nations, endangering world peace. To resist the menace of imperialist globalization and imperialist aggression and intervention the need of the hour is to build up in different countries broad based unity of all people who are opposed to imperialism and to organize in the respective countries militant anti-capitalist struggles, and movements to bring in socialism. He stressed the necessity of global coordination of all these struggles so that a mighty global movement against imperialism and for socialism can be built up, which alone can block the advance of imperialism and ultimately lead to its overthrow freeing the world from the scourge.
In another session of the Anti-imperialism Workshop, Comrade K. Sridhar representing the AIAIF, analyzed the basics of imperialist economy and its concomitant evils. Imperialists led by USA have devastated Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Korea with wars of aggression. He saluted the Lebanese people who by their unity and will have taught a lesson to the rulers of Israel and USA by historically defeating them in the war in 2006. The ideological, political and organizational tasks in the anti-imperialist struggle are, (a) Ideological struggles to achieve unity, (b) Political campaigns and strengthening of anti-war democratic mass movements, (c) Building up organizations to conduct and coordinate anti-imperialist struggles in different countries.
Comrade Joynal Abedin placed a brief intervention in a session stating that the imperialist and capitalist crisis is not temporary but is structural and is inherent in the capitalist economic system. Comrade Alexander Moumbaris from France, a Secretariat member of IAPSCC put forward a brief intervention on the organizational and ideological aspects of anti-imperialist struggle. IAPSCC Central Secretariat members Comrade Sara Flounders of Workers World party, USA and Comrade Carolus Wimmer of Communist party of Venezuela chaired two sessions of the Workshop.
Another IAPSCC Secretariat member Dr. Mohammad Tay of Lebanon was a main speaker in the Legal Workshop. Other important participants were Professor Ibrahim Ghandour of Sudan Charing the Session on Productive Sector, Dr, Yahia Bakour, Chairing the Session on Food Security in the Workshop on Solidarity between Local Communities and Sectors, and Comrade Mohammad Habash of Syrian Baath Party in the Parliamentarians Roundtable. Comrade Roberto Gabriele of Nino Pasti Foundation, Italy and Secretariat member of IAPSCC, Comrade Hani Haddadin and Comrade Khaled Haddadin of Jordan Communist Party, Comrade Willi Langthaler of Anti-imperialist Camp, Comrade Arnljot Ask of The Party Red of Norway and Ms Laila Khaled, the esteemed Palestinian freedom fighter were important attendees.
At the concluding session, Dr. Ali Fayyad presented the document based on the presentations and discussions in the plenary Sessions and in the Workshops.
The Final Declaration of the Beirut International Forum stated,
All Peoples have the right to resist. This right must be inalienable, supported by the entire international community and recognized as such within international law; The resistance’s fight against colonialism can’t be detached from the struggle carried out by world revolutionaries and free individuals when facing global capitalism, imperialism, militarization and destruction of social achievements. These have been the product of the working classes’ tenacious struggles for two hundred years; People have the right to sovereignty over their own natural resources. Right to nourishment, health and education prevail over all commercial stakes; Every culture has to be able to help build humanity’s common good with respect for nature, the supremacy of human needs and a democratic management of societies; The right to democratic participation must be exerted not only on a political level but also on an economic one and it applies to men and women alike;
The right to cultural differentiation and freedom of worship without any cultural or racial stigmatization.
The Forum further declared,
The Forum’s attendees declare their support of the Palestinian people’s resistance of Gaza. They condemn the terrorism, crimes, violations of the rule of law and disregard for human value, which Israel has inflicted on these populations.
Moreover, they call for:
1-Applying severe sanctions against Israel, such as: calling off relations and covenants and forbidding any sale of weapons to this country;
2-Legal proceedings against states and companies selling weapons to Israel;
3-Urging the EU to put an end to all economic, political and cultural relations with Israel and to cancel all the covenants and agreements linking it with this country;
4-Holding an international conference in order to judge war crimes and crimes against humanity inflicted upon Gaza’s population, as well as economic and environmental crimes, and to bring to court the persons accountable for these actions, as well as for those committed in Lebanon in 2006;
5-Restoring UN Resolution 3379 which classifies Zionism as racism, and ousting Israel from the UN;
6-Launching an international campaign for rebuilding Gaza, lifting the blockade and having political prisoners released.
Concerning the support to the resistance and the anti-imperialistic struggle:
1-The Forum participants expressed their support for both the Palestinian and Lebanese resistances against Israeli occupation, as well as to the Iraqis’ fight against American occupation. In addition, they back the Iraqi people’s endeavors to preserve their territorial unity.
2-The participants declare their support for self-determination for the Afghan people and to their struggle against the American and Atlantic occupation.
3-The participants salute Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Bolivian President Evo Morales for their support to the peoples’ resistance. They express total endorsement of their fight against US’s interference in South America.
4-They call for lifting the embargo on Cuba and the release of Cuban prisoners detained in US’ prisons.
5-The participants condemn alliance between the USA and the government of Colombia which for four decades has terrorized its own people and work to destabilize the progressive regimes of the Latin America. Also they bring their support to the revolutionary movements in fight against this regime.
6-They demand the establishment of an international league of Parliamentary members in order to uphold the peoples’ right to resistance and self-determination, in order to restore accords relevant to the defense of civilian populations.
7-They urge the creation of an international media network that may expose the mendacious propaganda concerning Israel’s character and crimes.
8-Carrying on the moral imperative to judge war crimes, namely bringing to court the people responsible for the war crimes committed in Lebanon in 2006.
9-Launching a campaign to enforce the consultative advice by the International Court of Justice concerning the wall’s ethnic segregation in Palestine.
10-Setting up an international network with the aim of coordination between local delegations during crises and wars.
11-Refusing threats and provocations by the US against Iran with regard to its right to develop its nuclear program for civil purposes within the context of international laws. Refusing, likewise, the threats of war by the US towards Syria and Sudan.
12-Opposing American attempts to make international and humanitarian laws ineffective under the pretext of the war on terror.
The participants suggest the following as alternatives to the market’s blackmail:
1-Excluding agriculture and feeding-related sectors from the international negotiations contemplating the privatization of markets (GATT, OMC…)
2-Turning down accords and international policies that allow corporations to control living organisms thus jeopardizing biodiversity.
3-Setting up in opposition to Sarkozy’s neo-liberal project, a Mediterranean Common Market (leaving out the colonial state of Israel) based on fair trade between customers and producers, from the north and the south of the basin as well as within each country. All this is to be performed within a process for building a great region in Mediterranean area.
4-Fighting the excessive exploitation carried out by industrial fishing in favor of artisan fishery, by guaranteeing social costs.
5-Preserving the common asset of humanity and the fundamental resources for living. Developing organic agriculture and using renewable energy sources. [This is only an initial Report. A more complete and detailed report will be published later.]