School puts together the pieces of world problems

A range of interesting topics was discussed in the Second Asian Global Justice School, organised by International Institute for Research and Education in Manila for three weeks in August. Representing the Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party in Indonesia, I attended the school with 10 others from Taiwan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan and Pakistan.

It was inspiring and rich in content, a good consolidation of revolutionary ideas, putting the pieces of world problems together into a revolutionary Marxist perspective for the socialist way out. There were three categories of topics: the Asian and global political and economic situation, movements of struggle and organising for change.

The first category discussed six topics: Asia and the world economic crisis, which concentrated on China; the impact of imperialism and globalisation in the past and present; international migration, which examined the history of migration related to the development of capitalism and the recent impact; religion and religious movements, dealing with how to differentiate reactionary and progressive religious movements in the context of national struggle; and class composition in Asia.

In the second category we discussed another six topics: the rural question and the role of the peasantry; NGOs — describing their role in civil society and the question of political power; feminism, discussing the specific and class oppression of women; trade union struggles in Asia; nationalism and national liberation, mainly discussing the differences between the two and the role of the working class poor and other popular and oppressed sectors in the struggle for national liberation; and Marxism and ecology, looking at the ecological crisis as a direct impact of capitalism.

The last category of topics dealt with revolutionary strategies, making use of Latin American examples: internationalism and the global justice movement broadly discussed the state of the international movement and the need for international cooperation; the movement and the dialectic of reform and revolution discussed how to reach out and draw as many people as possible into the movement, and also the relationship between party and movement; revolutionary parties and the international dealt with building revolutionary parties and the need for international collaboration; 21st century socialism discussed learning from 20th century socialism’s mistakes and what will be the important elements in creating it. Additional important discussions were about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues related to capitalism.

There was a broad range of backgrounds and traditions of speakers participating in the school, who came not only from the Philippines but also from Hong Kong, Japan, the Netherlands and France.

There was lively discussion among participants and the resource persons on many topics, probably because so much related to the Asian or semi-colonial countries where we are struggling.

The participants came from different types of revolutionary organisations and traditions and were engaged in different fields of struggle, including peasant organising, worker organising and organising women.For me there were quite a number of issues

that will need to be discussed more, especially about economic relations and class, imperialism, women and Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender (LGBT) oppression and strategy for revolution. The school was an occasion for recharging and challenging one’s understanding of theory and practice at the same time.

Many new left activists join the movement and revolutionary organisations without really understanding their history and traditions. The school put different approaches in perspective. But it was not a tool for uniform perspectives; rather it was a tool for learning from each other and bringing the lessons from others’ struggles into our own national discussions.