International Campaign against Forced Displacement and Special Economic Zones
Launched at the Third International Assembly of the ILPS –June18-20, 2008 in Hong Kong
The issue of forced displacement has been a concern of the ILPS as formulated in Concern 16 from the very founding of the ILPS at the First International Assembly in May 2001. However, in later years, with the increasing crisis of capitalism and more aggressive methods of plunder and exploitation to feed into the frenzy of maximising the profits of multinationals, the imperialist powers and reactionary forces in power have pursued a devastating policy of mega projects that include large scale land grabs for mining, hydroelectric projects, deforestation, urban beautification and other projects of similar ilk. Such projects cause large scale displacement and are direct attacks on the livelihood of millions of the poorest strata of society including peasant farmers, tribal peoples and urban poor.
The imperialist powers and reactionary authorities count on disorganised and dispersed resistance against such projects and use the authority of the state to ram them through. They also deploy private sector armed mercenaries to fulfil their aims of satisfying their greed for profit and at the same time cause depopulation of areas where resistance against imperialism is greatest. Adding insult to injury, these projects are cloaked in the rhetorics of development and progress, industrialisation and improvement in the lives of individuals.
In the last few years, popular resistance against such a policy has been growing. This is manifested in legendary and heroic resistance by the poor and the oppressed in various parts of the world. One such outstanding and remarkable resistance is the case of the peasants of Nandigram in India. In 2007, tens of thousands of villagers around Nandigram in West Bengal spontaneously mobilised to resist the forceful attempts of the local henchmen of the imperialist powers and reactionaries, fronted by the CPI(Marxist) led government in West Bengal in India to seize their land as part of the overall policy of land acquisition and the special economic zones (SEZs)in India. Notwithstanding the criminal actions of the CPI(Marxist) led government that have left hundreds dead and many others injured, the resistance continues till today.
Further, in India in March 2007, a major conference was held to address the growing issue of land acquisition and imperialist development policies in Ranchi. This was a product of attempts to unite the many forces in India and it was strongly supported by the ILPS. The RanchiIndia and attracted a large number of intellectuals and activists to unite and oppose such reactionary and devastating policies. (The declaration and documents from the RANCHI conference are attached for your study). conference succeeded in uniting over one hundred organisations in
Being in full agreement with the Ranchi conference; in support of the ongoing people’s resistance in Nandigram; recognising no less militant struggles in other areas of India, Brazil, US (victims of Hurricane Katrina) and other countries and regions, the ILPS at its International Coordinating Committee (ICC) meeting, in early 2008, resolved to lend its full weight behind such initiatives and set in motion the launching of an international campaign against forced displacement as part of its general strategy to build up organised resistance to imperialism and reaction on an international scale.
Thus, building on the achievements of the people’s struggle in India and other places and based on the concepts developed at the Ranchi conference in India, the Third International Assembly of the ILPS attended by 246 participants with 168 delegates from 30 countries was an fitting venue to launch a dynamic campaign to raise awareness, educate, organise and mobilise for struggle against imperialism and reaction on a variety of levels, giving priority to the struggle at the mass and grassroots scale.