As the crisis of the world capitalist system extends and deepens, individual rights and people’s collective rights are more gravely threatened than ever. Faced with a protracted global depression, the world’s elites based in a handful of imperialist countries have transferred trillions of public money to bailout their monopoly banks and corporations while cutting back on social spending and imposing harsh austerity measures that will exacerbate unemployment and wreak greater havoc on the peoples’ social and material conditions of existence even in the wealthy countries.
Throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, monopoly firms based in the rich countries are taking over vast tracts of land, forests and marine resources for the extraction and export of oil, food, minerals and other resources. They are further depressing wages, speeding up work and extracting greater profits from the operations of their multinational corporations in cheap labor havens. They are strengthening their monopoly control over all the world’s productive resources at the expense of the lives and livelihoods of the people and the health of the planet.
To accomplish this, they are using a comprehensive range of persuasive/ deceptive, coercive and violent means to suppress people's rights and aspirations – combining these means in more pernicious ways. They assume the sole right to use armed force with impunity to quell peoples and nations fighting oppression, to keep them under military occupation, overthrow governments that do not bend to their wishes and maintain oppressive client states. They deny people struggling for their existence and liberation of the right to use all democratic means to defend and uphold their rights and interests to overthrow an unjust and oppressive rule; and to secure for themselves a just and humane society.
But resistance movements are now sweeping the globe. Protests and strikes against austerity measures have spread across Europe (from Greece and Ireland to France and Britain), South Africa, India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Food riots and protests against rising food prices have been reported in Algeria, Morocco, Mozambique and Chile. In North Africa and the Middle East, people’s longstanding anger against repression, corruption and foreign (particularly US) meddling has combined with worsening unemployment and deteriorating living standards to set off popular revolts in one country after another. The political crisis in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Djibouti, Bahrain, Libya and elsewhere are still unfolding with strategic repercussions across the globe.
Amidst this panorama of widening and intensifying people’s resistance across the globe, workers, peasants, women, indigenous peoples, migrants, artists and cultural workers, youth and many other sectors and communities from all over the world gathered in Manila for the International Festival of People’s Rights and Struggles (IFPRIS) from July 2-6, 2011.
The IFPRS is a space for peoples from Asia and the Pacific, Africa, North America, Europe and Latin America and the Middle East to share and learn from each other about new and longstanding threats to people’s individual and collective rights. It is an occasion to draw lessons from and celebrate the victories of people’s struggles to claim and assert their rights.
The IFPRS is jointly organized by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP), Habi Arts, IBON, International Migrants Alliance (IMA), International Women’s Alliance (IWA), League of Filipino Students (LFS), Peace for Life (PfL), Peoples’ Action Network, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS), People’s Movement on Climate Change (PMCC), RESIST!, and the UP College of Mass Communications.
The IFPRS offers a wide range of opportunities for learning and networking with simultaneous forums, workshops, strategy sessions, book launches, film showings and exhibits.