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The Asian Century: For a Socialist Alternative in the Region

November 28/Fri (DAY 1)

8.30-10.30 am: Registration

9.00-10.00 am: Press Briefing

9.30-10.00 am: Kontra Gapi, traditional drumming ceremony to welcome guests and participants

10.00-10.30 am: Teatro Pabrika (cultural group)

10.30-10.40 am: Welcome from UP Faculty/CSWCD representative

10-40-11.00 am: Opening Remarks: Our Socialist Legacy

Why an Asian socialism conference and why now? The opening remarks will provide some historical context to the main topics and issues to be discussed over the two-day long Conference.

Speaker: Reihana Mohideen
11.00-11.30 am: Opening Talk: South East Asia –The Failure of Neoliberalism and the Socialist Alternatives

Even within the framework of capitalist development, Southeast Asian countries do not match the industrialization that has taken off in the NICs or the Northeast Asian countries — Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China (although a special case). The most pernicious type of neoliberalism has occurred in this part of Asia, and among the Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines has remained a ‘basket case’. Resistance against neoliberalism is also growing in the region. Can the path towards development in Southeast Asia be integrated in the march towards 21st century socialism that has already broken out in Latin America?

Speaker: Sonny Melencio

11.30-12.00 pm: Open forum

12.00 – 1.00 pm: LUNCH

1.00-1.15 pm: Teatro Pabrika

1.15 -2.15 pm: The Neo-Liberal Asian Century — National Struggles and Socialist Perspectives

The objective of this session is to outline how the capitalist class has implemented its neoliberal agenda in different Asian countries, its impact on working people and the poor, the struggles against it and how the socialist movement has responded.

Panel of Speakers:

–       Nasir Hashim (Chair, Parti Sosialis Malaysia-PSM)

–       Vivin Sri Wahyuni (Chair, LMND (Youth), Partai Rakyat Demokratik (PRD) Indonesia)

-       Manarishi Dhital (Editor, Janadesh Weekly, United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-Maoist)

–       Rasti Delizo

2.15-2.45 pm: Open Forum

2.45-3.30 pm: The Agrarian Question for the Asian Century — Issues and Socialist Strategies

The 26-year implementation of the existing Philippine agrarian reform law has rendered the program an orphaned and dying policy via its neglect of private land distribution, program reversals all over the country, acceleration of landlord resistance and counter-offensives, and, rampant revocations of beneficiaries’ titles. The main issue is that Philippine agrarian reform laws have always faced the basic limitation of “having to define its program within the context of existing property relations, that is, individual private ownership of land and its assets” and leaves to market forces the direction of agrarian reform under the present dispensation. A socialist agrarian reform is the only viable solution both from a historical perspective and based on the fundamental principles of political and economic empowerment. But there is no one single model of socialist agrarian reform; various forms have to be tried and tested based on the pooling of resources as mandated by the state but implemented at the local level. The preservation of the principles of smallholder farming and entrepreneurship are essential.

Panel of speakers:

–       Ed Tadem

–       Frank Pascual

–       Val Vibal

3.30-4.00 pm: Open Forum

4.00-4.15 pm: Merienda

4.15-5.00 pm: Capitalism and the Ecological Crisis — Fighting for Our Lives

This panel will discuss ‘disaster capitalism’ in the context of the Philippine government’s response to the Typhoon Yolanda disaster and how socialists are organizing in response to it. Speakers will describe how local barangays are organizing to protect their communities from climate-induced disasters. The session will also include a presentation on the key ideas behind the theory of ‘ecosocialism’ — an alternative anti-capitalist program to the ecological crisis created by the global capitalist system.

Panel of Speakers:

- Alex Bainbridge (National Co-Coordinator, Socialist Alliance, Australia)

- Dennis Mendiola

- Jimmy Ceguerra


5.00-5.30 pm: Open Forum

5.30-6.00 pm: Thailand: Current Political Situation and the Labor Movement

Today a military dictatorship is in control of the government of Thailand. This was a military crackdown engineered by sections of the Thai elite, in response to a ‘people’s power’ movement calling themselves the ‘Red Shirts’, which mobilized tens of thousands of urban and rural workers and the poor to advance the peoples demands for reform. Patchanee Kumnak is an activist who organized in the ‘red shirt’ movement. She will be speaking on the role of the labor movement in the ‘peoples power’ struggle and its’ response to the rule of the military dictatorship.

Speaker: Patchanee Kumnak (Turn Left, Thailand)

6.00-6.30 pm: Open Forum

November 29/Sat (DAY 2)

9.00-9.30am: Teatro Pabrika

9.30-9.45am: Solidarity greetings – Yelitza Ventura, Charge d’affaires, Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Feature Session: Role of the union movement in the struggle for socialism

This session includes a feature talk and panel presentation on the struggles of the trade union movement in South Africa and the Philippines against neoliberal governments. The session will focus on how trade unions can and are contributing to developing and building the socialist alternative. The session will also look at the similarity and differences in the struggles in the two countries and what lessons can be learned from the different struggles.

9.45-10.15am: Socialist Renewal in South Africa

Speaker: National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa

10.15-10.45 am: Open Forum

10.45-11.00 am: Coffee/Tea Break

11.00-11.45 am: The leading role of the trade unions? — Issues and Prospects
Panel of speakers:

- Leody de Guzman

- Roberto Dusaran

11.45-12.15 pm: Open Forum

12.15-1.15 pm: LUNCH

1.15-1.30 pm: Nepal – From ‘People Power’ and ‘Peoples War’ to Government

The left in Nepal have pursued different forms of struggle – from guerrilla warfare or ‘peoples war’, to mass mobilization in urban centres, to running in elections and winning government. Comrades Manarishi Dhital and Pradeep Gyawali were active participant in the different phases of the struggle. They will discuss how the left led the struggle, against the dictatorship of the monarchy, to winning government.

Panel of Speakers:

- Manarishi Dhital

- Pradeep Gyawali, Secretary, Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (UML)

1.30-2.00 pm: Open Forum

2.00-2.45 pm: Militarizing Asia — Women, Violence and War

A panel of speakers will discuss the current militarist policies/agreements of the US with governments in the region, as well as that of Japan and Australia. They will proceed to discuss the economic interests that underpin this political strategy, and describe how such neoliberalism and militarism are patriarchal and racist, building the case for socialist feminism.  Various forms of violence against women — rape, trafficking, prostitution — result from this nexus of structural ideologies. The speakers will also argue that social justice necessitates the synthesizing of both the politics of recognition for the culturally marginalized, and the struggle for redistribution in the face of Imperialism. The panellists will cap the presentation with narratives of resistances by the people, especially women and indigenous peoples.

Panel of Speakers:

- Jean Enriquez

- Ivanka Custodio

- Vivin Sriwahyuni

2.45-3.15 pm: Open Forum

3.15-3.45 pm: Merienda

3.45-4.45 pm: 21st Century Socialism — Towards a Socialist Asian Century

This session will present a broad overview of the socialist alternative from the perspective of the struggles and programs of different socialist parties and movements, in the context of and with special reference to the experience of the socialist governments in Latin America, such as Venezuela and Bolivia and their programs for a “21st Century Socialism”.

Panel of Speakers:

- Nasir Hashim

- Alex Bainbridge

- Francisco Nemenzo: “Out of the Doldrums: Revitalizing the Philippine Left”.

4.45-5.15 pm: Open Forum

5.15-5.45 pm: Closing Summary

Speaker: Reihana Mohideen

5.45-6.00 pm: Teatro Pabrika

November 30/Sun (DAY 3)




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