Dear Comrades and friends,
In our previous joint letter dated 26/06/2011, addressed to ILPS members, we announced and explained our collective decision as members of the International Coordination Committee (ICC) and founding members of the ILPS, not to join the events in Manila in July 2011. We explained that after 20 months of patient attempts to reverse the undemocratic and destructive actions of the meeting of ICC in November 2009, and having received no positive response from Professor Sison and his associates and, having seen announcements portraying events in Manila in July 2011 as the 4th International Assembly of the ILPS, we will make known the facts about these events and the spell out its consequences for the ILPS.
Herewith, we provide further information about the proceedings of the ICC meeting, in November 21, 2009 -- the details of which have remained unknown to most ILPS members, though the actions of that date have paralysed and effectively liquidated the ILPS as an international alliance of democratic and anti-imperialist mass formations since its foundation in May 25-27, 2001. Here are the facts and the background relating to the events of November 21, 2009 and the ICC.
The ICC annual meetings have usually taken place in the first quarter of each year, and were due to take place in early 2010. However, due to a need to discuss a set of important issues, proposals or planning of events, the ICC members, through the ICG, were requested to meet earlier and thus provide timely guidance and direction on demanding situations and at the same time facilitate a more effective mobilisation for major or central projects.
In fact, the call for the ICC meeting of November 2009 was based on the request of the Deputy Chairperson of ILPS, GN Saibaba, from India. He had asked for this gathering in order to report on the progress and to discuss the plans for a major international project to be hosted in India. This was a project that he was leading on behalf of the ILPS as the regional coordinator for South Asia and an officer of the ICC. Discussions and planning for this major project - which revolved around the topic of “Crisis of Imperialism and Our Tasks”, and which was jointly hosted with wider local groups based in South Asia - had been going on since soon after the conclusion of the Third International Assembly of ILPS, in June 2008 and preparations were well underway.
The ICC meeting in November 2009 was also an opportunity for members travelling from afar, to participate in events, such as the annual international solidarity with political prisoners in UK, and other solidarity events that were either ILPS led events or that had strong ILPS contingents.
In early November2009, there was also an International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IMAR) event in Athens, which members of ILPS in Europe supported. However, this was an event that was not conducted under auspices of the ILPS. There were difficulties in preparations for this event and there were significant differences of opinion amongst the organisers, which involved some members of the ILPS. This had produced unhealthy contentious atmosphere and the ILPS Chairperson, invited to address the IMAR event, became involved-- and rather than help resolve the issues by meeting and consulting with fellow ICC members to arrive at a unified ILPS statement, instead aggravated relations by insisting on unilaterally delivering a discordant and dis-uniting speech. During this event the Greek and Turkish members of ILPS walked out in protest. Clearly, serious mistakes had been made on both sides that needed to be addressed and resolved.
It was with this background that the ICC meeting in November 2009 took place. The ICC meeting held on November 21, 2009 was chaired jointly by ICC Chairperson, Prof. JM Sison and Deputy Chairperson of ICC, GN Saibaba. Following deliberations and acceptance of the agenda, the ILPS Chairperson, Prof. Sison began to read his report. In his report of ILPS activities in the past few months, Prof. Sison stated:
that Vice Chairperson for External Affairs , M. Arkolakis abused him in the event of International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IMAR2) in Athens held 1-4 November 2009;
ATIK, a founding and leading member organisation of the ILPS, behaved in a sectarian manner and tried to prevent the IMAR2 activity in Greece; and that,
Class March, another founding member organisation of the ILPS from Greece, did not cooperate in organising this event.
In his report, rather than create an atmosphere for discussion and resolution of these issues and claims, the ICC Chairperson adopted a bureaucratic approach, and putting himself above the ICC, used the Athens events as a pretext to suspend the ICC’s democratic process and the ICC agenda.
The Chairperson continued to claim that during these events, there was a strong sense of “no confidence” in his chairpersonship and that the ICG had to be dissolved as it had lost trust in him as chairperson. He promptly “dissolved” the ICG. The Deputy Chairperson and other ICC members opposed these actions, and argued to reverse the undemocratic acts of dissolution of the ICG outside the agenda and more importantly without thorough going debate and discussion that is the life line and hallmark of any democratic organisation. The Deputy Chairperson repeatedly appealed to the Chairperson and his associates that it was a blunder to resolve political and ideological issues in an organisation through an organisational act instead of solving them by conducting a healthy debate and discussion. This appeal also didn’t bring in any change of minds of those who premeditated the liquidation of the organisation prior to the ICC meeting in November 2009. However, despite these strong protests and procedural reminders by the Deputy Chairperson and other ICC members and to the dismay of the founding members of the ILPS present at this meeting, Prof. Sison denied their rights as members of the ICC to hear or discuss any opinions or facts about these events and to counter with arguments the allegations that had been raised by the Prof. Sison. Despite protests, the Chairperson continued to ignore the agenda and with the support of his associates staged a pre-rehearsed snap re-election for a new ICG with himself as the new Chairperson.
The reasons stated by the Chairperson could hardly suffice as any convincing statement for such a knee-jerk, arbitrary and abusive action that resulted in this unilateral take over and effective liquidation of the ILPS. In such a highly charged atmosphere created by high-handed actions of the Chairperson-- when a debate is denied the representatives of the organisations which were accused and denied their rights, had no alternative but to leave the meeting. The Deputy Chairman, GN Saibaba, rejecting the undemocratic decisions and “staged” election, declined and rejected his new post as the “new deputy chair” of ILPS. Other members of the ICC, each expressing their criticism and opposition to these unsound decisions and the utterly undemocratic and abusive conduct of the meeting by Prof. JM Sison and his associates also departed.
A few days later, an unauthorised communiqué was issued by this group, on the 24th November 2009, carrying the name of the ICC that was distributed to the public and members of the ILPS, pretending that all is well and claiming that there was an election and “some” members of the ICC were not re-elected to the new ICG. The “communiqué” went further, adding insult to injury, and accused founding members of the ILPS as “sectarian”, “confusing party building with work in mass formations” and “being disruptive at meeting “ just to pile on more disinformation and lies in order to cover up these senseless acts. This document unashamedly further denied the contributions of the major founding members to the growth and development of the ILPS.
Since this “Communiqué” was issued and circulated to the wider public and was distributed beyond the members of the ILPS, we will issue our belated public response to it, addressed to all democratic and anti-imperialist forces for their attention and consideration.
Since then there has been no ICC meeting or consultations on any decisions including to hold any gathering or International Assemblies. Since then the rights of the ICC members representing major organisations from across the world as directly elected Office-bearers of the ILPS have been denied and trampled on. All ILPS related activity of members from the concerned countries including the major project on the “Crisis of imperialism and our tasks” that was to take place in India, have effectively come to a halt.
Without a doubt these events have arisen as a result of political differences and are the continuation of cumulative problems that have existed from the very beginning of the founding of the ILPS. It is true and we were fully aware of these differences from the very beginning. But it is also true that such alliances and united-fronts are built with the knowledge and the recognition of existing differences and that so long as mutual respect and sincerity is preserved, so long as dialogue and discussions are maintained, so long as fundamental political principles are not abandoned, then every possibility exists to arrive at defendable common views that can only lead to positive action.
Within the ILPS such mechanisms for dialogue, consultation, discussion and resolution of differences of opinions, were put in place from the very beginning for exactly this purpose. The International Assemblies, local and regional consultative meetings and annual meetings of the ICC, as well as the topical commissions were all venues where such differences could be aired, helping to develop an agreed common line for action based on consensus, in the interests of the collective and the wider democratic anti-imperialist people movement, that also reflect the degree of unity and development of the ILPS organisation at any given moment.
Problems were bound to arise and change the course of development when a sectarian line, lacking in sincerity, bent on imposing its will, subverted this process and resorted to bureaucratic and arbitrary methods, denied the need for discussion and the necessity of arriving at decision through consensus and put its own narrow interests above all and that of the ILPS. What led to the unprecedented and senseless proceedings of the last ICC meeting in Nov 2009, could only be the result of such a tendency suffocating the democratic process and crushing the very spirit of solidarity and fraternity that was cultivated within the ILPS.
Clearly, this rampant insincerity, high handedness and abuse shown towards peoples’ unity, and such attacks on the ten years of achievements and successes of the ILPS is the mark of a decided rupture with the ILPS legacy of advancing the unity in struggle of the oppressed peoples of the world by holding high the democratic, anti- imperialist and internationalist values and principles.
We the undersigned, as founding members of the ILPS, upholding the values and principles that were the basis of the foundation of the ILPS, reject the decisions taken in the name of ILPS during and after November 2009. In the light of the break down of basic relations, we announce our intention to use all channels open to us to initiate the widest discussions upholding the very founding spirit and principles that established the ILPS, to uphold the ILPS Charter as a the framework for unity, to defend our achievements in the past 10 years and to coordinate the widest participation in the process to rebuild the democratic and anti-imperialist and internationalist peoples’ unity in the struggle for social liberation against imperialism and all reaction.
We call on all ILPS members and all other democratic and anti-imperialist forces across the world to engage in just struggle against the imperialist system and all reactionaries. Join us in this endeavour!
GN Saibaba – Deputy Chairperson of ILPS ICC (TIA)
– Regional Coordinator for South Asia
M Arkolakis – Vice Chairperson for External Affairs (FIA, SIA and TIA)
– Regional coordinator for Europe
A Riazi – General Secretary (IIC, FIA, SIA and TIA)
E Brunner – Deputy General Secretary (TIA)
R Scarlatelli - Member ICC (FIA, SIA and TIA)
– Regional Coordinator for Latin America
H Gulum – Member ICC (FIA, SIA, TIA)
D Norberg – Member ICC (SIA, TIA)
K Akuno – Member ICC (SIA, TIA)
A Genc – Member ICC (SIA, TIA)
Y Gunes –Member ICC (TIA)
Prof K R Chowdry – Member ICC (TIA)
C Perperidou – Alternate member of ICC (SIA, TIA)
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