Athens, Greece, November 1-4 2009
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
On behalf of the International Coordinating Committee and all member-organizations of the International League of People's Struggle (ILPS), I convey warmest greetings of solidarity to all the distinguished guests and participants in the Second International Assembly of Migrants and Refugees (IAMR).
We congratulate the International Migrants Alliance (IMA), Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, IBON International, Migrante International, Migrante Europe, ATIK-Germany, Union of Working People of Greece, the Network of Migrants and Refugees Social Support and other entities for their successful cooperation in bringing about this assembly.
In accordance with its Charter, the ILPS resolutely and vigorously joins and supports all endeavors to uphold, defend and promote the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees along the line of anti-imperialist and democratic struggle. Thus, the ILPS, its Commission No.16 and its member-organizations concerned with migrants and refugees have consistently acted to bring about the founding of the IMA in Hongkong and the holding of the First IAMR in Manila last year and now the Second IAMR.
As in your previous assembly, you confront the government-led Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and the Civil Society Organizations (CSO) meeting. You continue to expose migration as the result and furtherance of super-exploitation and underdevelopment in impoverished countries and you oppose the prettification of migration as an instrument of development under the auspices of the US-dictated policy of “neoliberal globalization”.
It is necessary to present the worsening situation of the migrant workers and refugees and to underscore the issues arising from their plight and just demand for the respect and promotion of their rights and welfare and for the protection of the most vulnerable among them, the undocumented migrant workers and refugees.
We welcome and endorse the theme of your assembly, “Uphold and advance the rights of migrants and refugees against exploitation, war and discriminatory laws, amidst the global economic crisis! Oppose “Fortress Europe” and the EU Return Directive! We are confident that with determination and hard work you can accomplish all the objectives of the assembly.
In bringing to the fore the urgent issues and challenges facing migrants and refugees all over the world, you must take the anti-imperialist and democratic line in laying bare the exploitativeness and oppressiveness of the world capitalist system and in setting forth your tasks.
Greed, plunder, deceit and violence characterize the entire history of capitalism and monopoly capitalism and are on the rampage with flimsy disguise in the current global economic crisis, the worst since the Great Depression. You must consider the impact of this crisis on migrants and on the women migrant workers.
The odds against them are tremendous and greater challenges are ahead because the crisis is sure to worsen further. The migrants, refugees and their advocates must be prepared for greater struggles ahead. The imperialist powers headed by the US have failed to solve the crisis but have instead aggravated it by using public money to bail out and raise the profits of the banks and the big corporations but not to revive the real economy and improve the employment situation. The recovery touted by the imperialists has been aptly called jobless recovery.
Labor rights, especially those of migrant labor, have been eroded and will continue to be eroded. Relations of migrants with unions and social movements are being assailed. The rights of refugees are being violated and their plight is worsening. The undocumented migrant workers are being criminalized in “Fortress Europe”. The monopoly bourgeoisie is unleashing their special operatives to whip up racism, discrimination, xenophobia and fascism. These evil trends are emboldened under the US-directed global war of terror. State repression and fascist attacks are on the rise.
The GFMD is a tool of monopoly capitalist deception. It is staged by the imperialist states and their puppet states to glorify the exploitation of migrant labor and the practice of modern slavery. These so-called receiving and sending states persist in peddling the myth of “free market” globalization and subject the working people and the unemployed intelligentsia to conditions that compel them to migrate, cheapen their labor and deprive them of their rights so as to permit their utmost exploitation.
The global phenomenon of large-scale displacement of people, migrant workers and refugees is a recurrence, extension and magnification of the dispossession and displacement of people in the primitive accumulation of capital in the history of capitalism but this time without the possibility of the underdeveloped countries developing into industrialized ones.
In previous decades, the earnings of the migrant workers have been used merely to cover trade deficits and support government and private consumption spending in the puppet states and fuel profit making by foreign and comprador corporations. In the current crisis, the migrant workers are worse off as they are being laid off, receive less real income, are further discriminated against and scapegoated for the crisis of the monopoly capitalist system and the rising unemployment and worsening conditions of the host people.
After benefiting for so long from the labor of migrants and refugees, the European Union is imposing a growing number of draconian laws and measures against them. The most notorious of these is the EU Return Directive. In this regard, you must challenge the claims of the EU to being an open and humanist society.
It is an urgent task for you to expand and strengthen the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) as a militant and progressive alliance of organizations of migrants and refugees, and advocates of migrants rights. You must struggle for the political empowerment of the migrants and refugees. They must participate in confronting and overcoming policies and practices inimical to them.
You must develop a broad international advocacy network that will continuously hold states and official multilateral bodies accountable for problems, issues and concerns affecting migrants and refugees. You must be critical of the policies and actions of the United Nations and other international official bodies that are contrary to or fail to uphold and advance the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees.
You must adopt and carry out a program of action and campaigns around general and specific issues on migrants rights and welfare. You must draw lessons from your experience and build on successful campaigns for the rights and welfare of migrants and refugees. You must develop an educational program of action to increase your capabilities to arouse, organize and mobilize migrants, refugees and advocates.
We stand with you and support you in defending and advancing the democratic and basic human rights of migrants and refugees, in opposing GFMD and the malevolent forces behind it, in fighting for national development against foreign exploitation, unemployment and poverty, in demanding the creation of jobs at home and the end of forced migration and in resisting the EU Return Directive and all other oppressive laws.
We are with you in calling for the revival of the real economy through full employment and better incomes of the working people and not through the mere bailout of the banks and giant corporations, in rallying the migrants, advocates and all working people against oppression and exploitation and in building the people's international solidarity against the imperialist system and its rapacious policy of “neoliberal globalization”.
We are confident that the plenary discussions, workshops, street mobilizations, bazaar, cultural solidarity activities, networking and most especially sharing of experiences and action plans during Second IAMR will be enlightening, instructive and enjoyable for the migrants, refugees and advocates in attendance. We hope that through the Second IAMR you will able to renew your resolve and reinvigorate yourselves to fight for the rights and welfare of the migrants and refugees. ###