Friday, February 11, 2005
1st General Assembly (November, 2004)
“Peasants of Asia Unite! Advance the Peasant Movement! Defeat Imperialism and Feudalism”
Delegates of the recent Asian Peasant Coalition General Assembly in Dhaka, Bangladesh has vowed to continue the struggle of the farmers, farm workers, fisherfolk and forest based indigenous peoples’ against all forms of imperialist and feudal oppression and exploitation.
In their first general assembly, with the theme “Peasants of Asia Unite! Advance the Peasant Movement! Defeat Imperialism and Feudalism”, the 119 delegates from Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan committed themselves to:
- Implement and pursue genuine agrarian reform - "Land to the tiller" should be
its basic principle.
- Expose and oppose the agrochemical and agribusiness transnational monopolies and stop their development and promotion of genetically modified organisms.
- End all forms of state repression (local to regional repression) against farmers, farm workers and fisher folk who pursue their democratic rights through militant struggle. Free all political prisoners.
- Expose and oppose criminalization of agrarian cases.
- Stop joint US-national military exercises such as the RP-US joint military exercises
(Balikatan or shoulder to shoulder) in the Philippines and Bangladesh which are directed against militant and progressive organizations.
- Junk the World Trade Organization (WTO) as its Agreement on Agriculture has already wrought havoc on the peasants in Asia.
- Junk all Free Trade Agreements like AFTA, NAFTA, CAFTA, and APEC.
- Stop the deceptive programs of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank (e.g. the market-assisted land reform and its mega-infrastructure projects).
- Cancel all unjust debts of peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk. Stop all usurious practices against peasants.
- Educate, mobilize, and organize farm workers to analyze their situation and create a unified action against imperialist policies.
- Expose NGOs masquerading as pro-farmers and pro-poor and which are serving as
counter-revolutionaries and agents of imperialism and reaction.
“We, the 119 delegates and guests of the Asian Peasant Coalition First General Assembly, representing 26 peasant organizations and 6 support NGOs from the countries of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan and comprising the sectors from the farmers, landless peasants, dalits, forests peoples, indigenous peoples, agricultural workers, harders and pasturalist, including the women and youth across these sectors in Asia, produced the food and feed the peoples of the world, yet we remain impoverished that we cannot even eat what we produce,” they said in a Unity statement at the conference held in Dhaka’s Institute of Mother and Child Health (Hospital) on 28 November 2004.
“We are poor because the land, water, seed and natural resources are controlled by a few landlord and agrochemical transnational corporations (TNCs),” they added.
According to the groups, the forced "structural adjustment" of our agriculture by the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (WB-IMF) collaboration, and the imposition of globalization policies by the World Trade Organization (WTO) intensify imperialist exploitation and further aggravate impoverishment.
“The imperialist camp headed by the United States also utilizes regional trade formations like APEC, NAFTA and CAFTA to ensure and perpetuate their dominance over the world’s economy and satisfy their endless thirst for super profits at the expense of exploited peasants, farm workers, fisherfolk and other rural producers across the globe,” they said.
Meanwhile, the movement also recognized that farm workers also suffer from low wages, discrimination between men and women, and substandard and unacceptable living and working conditions, unacceptable even to international labor standards.
Many of them are forced to migrate to have a better living. South Asia is still carrying the blame of bonded labour.
However, it is not to be discounted that the militant struggle of the peasants, farm workers and fisherfolk is already bearing fruit through many initial victories.
Numerous farmers, supported by militant peasant organizations, have been able to resist eviction from their lands, to reduce the land rent or to improve the conditions of the farm workers.
Other organized farmers have been able to carry out land occupations through militant assertion of their rights.
Militant protest demonstrations have confronted meetings of pro-imperialist organizations like the WTO.
During the one day conference, the representatives decided on the executive committee who are as follows:
Chairperson: ANPA (Prem Dangal)
Vice-Chairperson : BKF (Badrul Alam)
2nd Vice-Chair: IFTOP (Biplab Halim)
Sec-General : KMP (Danilos Ramos)
Deputy Sec-General: APVVU (P. Chenaiah)
Treasurer : Tenaganita (Irene Fernandez)
Internal Auditor : TNWF (Fatima Burnad)
Later, the South Asian delegates elected MONLAR ( from Sri Lanka) as their representative to the Coordinating Committee. The Southeast Asian delegates on the other hand informed the assembly that they will ask other APC members (from South East Asia), who were not able to attend the assembly, to select their representative to the Coordinating Council. Other representative that has to be filled in is from Central Asia, East Asia and West Asia.