13/12 Asia, strategies of resistance in the global crisis : Pierre Rousset

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Outline of the lecture

  • Introduction

Report centred on what is “new” – which does not invalidate the “old”

Limits of the report (trade union movement…) … and of the lecturer (armed “nationalist” movements…)

Reminder : historic diversity of “Asia”

Does Asia exist?

The Orient or “elsewhere” of the Europeans (begins in …Morocco?)

Historical units ( South Asia, South-East Asia, North-East Asia …), but …

… even there, an extreme diversity. For example, “South-East Asia” includes the Philippines who were colonised very early ( Latin Asia) and Thailand which was never (directly) colonised

  • New geopolitics of the crisis

20th Century :the “over structuring” imposed by the geopolitics of imperialism, the revolutions and the “blocs”: Asia becomes a geopolitical reality…

The new :

The end of the Cold War: new instability of geopolitical alignments + Globalisation, loosening of territorial control and space opened up to the new emerging powers especially in Asia (China and India) + The new fundamentalists (<- crisis of the socialist perspective) … Mindanao, India, Pakistan

=> an arch of crisis

- acuteness of the crisis Afghanistan/Pakistan/India . Nuclear confrontation - India, new regional policeman (Nepal, Sri Lanka…) and the Himalayas - Mindanao, advanced position on Indonesia - the Chinese ambitions and the so called South Chinese Sea - towards a new Japanese imperialism and the question of Okinawa - the power game and the time bomb of the Korean peninsula

=> a part of the world particularly impacted by geopolitical upheavals

=> a change of paradigm for popular resistances

- Yesterday the defence of social/sovereign popular rights against control by the USA and later Japan and today … by China (yesterdays reference for numerous movements)

- Old and new tasks for the regional antiwar movement

- A new role of religious sectarianism and cultural relativisms ( the elsewhere or the other as stranger or enemy : compare with racism and xenophobia). Secularism, peace movement (MPPM), democratic rights (the question of self determination) and the common social struggles.

  • At the heart of the socio-ecological crisis

A.Energy, the climate and nuclear energy

Fukushima! And its impact (India, South-East Asia, Vietnam…)

Bangladesh and the climate question

The meaning of the failure in Durban

=> necessity of a coherent answer to all aspects of the ecological crisis

=> we are not equal in confronting the ecological crisis : a terrain of class struggle

B.Increased frequency of predictable more or less natural catastrophes

Inequality in front of natural catastrophes and of man made catastrophes

Help as a field for political action. Direct solidarity from people to people, from social movements to social movements (even towards Japan!)

C.The farmers question and food sovereignty

The great diversity of (rural) social formations and the question of access to resources ( land, forests and rivers, lakes and coastal areas, seeds and markets…).

Traditional large landed estates, modern agribusiness, ownership by the army, expropriation through debts, forced expulsions ( mining and forest logging lobbies, industrial zones, international free-trade agreements, legislation by the dictatorship of transnational companies (seeds …)

Ecological agriculture as a global alternative to agribusiness, capitalist model of the organisation of society

D.The struggle inside the struggle: the most oppressed, the most exploited …

A general logic (defence of those who are forgotten) in a multitude of specific cases

-women Tsunami and Tamil Nadu Religious fundamentalisms and those forgotten by the peace (Afghanistan)

-indigenous people Farmers and their specific relation to the forest The right to self determination inside the right to self determination (Mindanao)

  • The forces of the left between two periods

Also true elsewhere!

A.The (Maoist) tradition of prolonged armed struggle

The end of a period but a contrasting evolution of those forces

1.The CPT in Thailand: an end without heirs but without physical eliminations

2.The case of “static” but “eternal” political guerrillas : in India. Violence of the social relations. What social basis? A contradictory situation.

3.The danger of degeneration. Examples in the Philippines . The “classical” form (bandits and henchmen). The “uprooted” form ( PCP)

4.Suspension of “offensive” armed struggle, impossible disarmament and “defensive” posture. The case of the RPP-M in Mindanao.

5.The capacity (a surprise in this case) for tactical changes : in Nepal.

In all these examples: the capacity (or incapacity) to subordinate the military to the political, of not making armed struggle a way of life, to combine forms of struggle according to the period and the situations.

B.The communist parties tradition with and without parliamentarians

A major example : India

The turning point of Western Bengal. The decline of the PCI(M) after the failure of Refoundation in Europe. The last pages of a closed last historic chapter are turning.

C.The “new” currents

1.Political parties with national specific characteristics ( South Korea) or “without a past” (Indonesia). 2.Radical movements who are against parties (India) 3.Today, what is the meaning of past “isms” – even when their meaning was already relative?


=> thinking the new without loosing the political memory of the past

=> the question of political pluralism of the (radical) political left and winning back the democratic “high ground”

=> regional networks and the plural characteristics : the APISP ( the Australian DSP as the pivot), the regional network initiated by the PSM (Malaysia), the IIRE-Manila experience…

  • The vital field of solidarities

The future of our struggles is at stake

Multiplicity of regional networks in Asia or parts of Asia

However, will the Asia “viewed from the grass roots”, become a reality? This is not certain.

A big question: will the grass root China join in with the voice of Asian popular protests? Rapid changes of the social (and in a near future the political?) scene in China. But the obstacles are enormous.

The size – Mumbai 2004, Karachi 2006 – of the world social forums in Asia and the impasses today.

Asia, Europe and the new new internationalism :

The question of the debt here and there …

The question of nuclear energy here and there …

Seed companies here and there …

“Our” multinationals ( environment, agriculture…) and … “their” multinationals (China, India…).

Trade-union solidarity ( South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia etc.) The six of Faisalabad …

Asia, the poor relation concerning solidarity in Europe and the experience of the popular Forum Asia-Europe (AEPF)