Parting words from peoples’ festival: ‘Struggle for a better world’ Print
Written by Jun Verzola   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 17:39

JULY 7, 2011


QUEZON CITY, Philippines — It is oft said that a revolution is a “festival of the oppressed.” Although no guns were fired at this time, it was certainly a festival of the oppressed as some 3,000 participants from different countries concluded the five-day International Festival for People’s Rights and Struggles (IFPRIS) with a powerful message to all peoples of the world: “We may be different in colour, but our hearts and blood are the same. We are one in the struggle for a better world.”



From July 2 to 6, thousands of political activists, filmmakers, writers, artists, scientists and scholars from some 40 countries converged at the sprawling University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) campus here to attend 16 events under the IFPRIS umbrella. The participants were mostly composed of youth, with significant delegations of women, migrants, and cultural activists.



Organizers of IFPRIS had earlier dubbed the festival as “a space for peoples from Asia and the Pacific, Africa, North America and the Middle East to share and learn from each other about [threats to peoples’ rights]” and as an occasion to “draw lessons from and celebrate the victories of peoples’ struggles.” Ibon International, one of the organizers, said the whole event was “a success” and “is indicative of the resolve of the peoples of the world to struggle for a better world.”


Among the top events were AGITPROP, an international film festival on people’s struggles, with crowds packing the UP Film Institute and nearby theatres inside the campus; an international conference on progressive culture; and international assemblies of women and migrants.


Various participating groups also conducted well-attended forums and seminars on different global issues such as the deep-going worldwide crises, climate change, foreign military bases, agrarian issues, the rising swell of people’s massive protests, and youth defiance.


Earlier, on July 5, indigenous Filipino delegates from Mindanao and the Cordillera led other delegates in a rousing ritual that formally declared IFPRIS open. Later that evening, a crowd-drawing Solidarity Night rocked UPD’s Bahay Alumni, featuring performances by singers, music bands, and cultural groups.


Moses Shaha, a delegate from Kenya, spoke in behalf of thousands of other participants when he said, “I may be different in colour, but my heart and blood are the same as yours!” The same spirit resonated among many speakers and presenters at the various side-events — that countries and peoples of the world need to unite in common struggle to claim and assert their rights, and thus fight to attain a better world. As its theme says, the IFPRIS was truly a celebration of hope, a celebration of peoples’ struggles.


IFPRIS was organized jointly by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), International League of Peoples’ Struggles, Concerned Artists of the Philippines, Habi Arts, IBON International, International Migrants Alliance, International Women’s Alliance, League of Filipino Students, Peace for Life, Peoples’ Action Network, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty, People’s Movement on Climate Change, RESIST!, Asian Peasant Coalition, and the UP College of Mass Communications with the participation of many international organizations. ###


The following events comprise the IFPRIS was manifested in its different organised events which include:

1. IFPRIS Common Opening featuring rituals and keynote addresses to mark the start of the Festival

2. AGITPROP, the 1st International Film Festival on People’s Struggles

3. FIDC Asia Regional Forum which produced the FIDC Manila Declaration establishing FIDC Asia-Pacific

4. 2nd General Assembly of the International Migrants Alliance (IMA)

5. 1st General Assembly of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA)

6. International Forum on Aid and Development Effectiveness in Agriculture and Rural Development by the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)

7. International Conference on Progressive Culture – Peoples Art: Shaping the Society of the Future

8. Seminar on US War on Terror and Counterinsurgency

9. Forum on Current Challenges of Climate Change by CEC, KALIKASAN, Climate Asia-Pacific and PACC

10. Seminar on People’s Resistance and Struggles for Liberation

11. International Panel Discussion on US Foreign Military Bases

12. Workshop on the Permanent People’s Tribunal

13. RESIST Forum - Making sense of the global crisis and the new world disorder: challenges and opportunities for people’s struggles, and alternatives

14. Solidarity Forum on Youth Struggles: Understanding the Landscape of Youth Defiance in the Global Disorder

15. People’s Speak Out for Right to Land and Life, a mass action and mobilisation that slammed Supreme Court’s decision on the Hacienda Luisita dispute and other agrarian issues in the country and the rest of the world.

16. IFPRIS Solidarity Night, with performances by bands, musicians and cultural groups.

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