Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
March 26, 2017
Dear fellow freedom fighters and friends,
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) is filled with joy over the holding of “Merdeka: A study conference on West Papua self-determination” this March 26-27, 2016 in Davao City, Philippines.
We salute the organizers and participants of this study conference, especially the delegates from West Papua who are risking their lives and personal liberty for the most important cause of their country’s national and social liberation.
On this occasion, we also remember and pay tribute to the tens of thousands of West Papuans who have been killed by Indonesia’s US-backed genocidal campaign, especially the martyrs of the struggle for their country’s self-determination and liberation.
This is an historic gathering, as it is a major effort towards forging unity among the anti-imperialist forces of the world in support of the just and heroic, longstanding yet relatively unknown, struggle of the people of West Papua.
Indonesia’s US-backed colonization and occupation of West Papua, its plunder of the latter’s immense natural resources, and its longstanding campaign of genocide against the West Papuans, deserve the utmost opposition and condemnation of the peoples of the world.
Indonesia’s US-backed colonization and occupation of West Papua since 1962 has paved the way for the operation of giant mining corporations such as Freeport McMoran in the country; the massacre, torture and rape of West Papuans perpetrated by the Indonesian military; and the West Papuans’ increasing displacement because of government-sponsored transmigration.
The racist brutality of the US and Indonesian governments towards the people of West Papua, still unknown to many peoples of the world including anti-imperialist activists, deserve to be exposed widely and passionately and condemned vehemently.
The West Papuans’ just, non-stop, and courageous struggle for national self-determination and liberation deserves the widest and sustained support from the peoples of the world. Faced with the West Papuans’ condition, we say, together with them: To rebel is justified!
The holding of this study conference is timely. Because of the protracted global economic crisis, which for one saw the rise of Donald Trump to the US presidency, imperialist powers are becoming more aggressive in plundering colonies and neocolonies and more brazen and brutal in launching wars of aggression.
Given this situation, the plunder and repression in West Papua and other countries are bound to worsen. Strengthening solidarity and support for the people of West Papua and their struggle for self-determination and liberation is a most urgent task.
ILPS, for its part, is organizing the conference “Solidarity and Fightback: Building Resistance to US-led War, Militarism and Neofascism” on August 5-7 in Toronto, Canada in an effort to strengthen and intensfy the anti-imperialist struggle. Solidarity for West Papuans’ struggle for self-determination and liberation against plunder and militarism will surely be on the agenda.
It is also auspicious that this study conference is being held on the year of the 100th anniversary of the victory of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The October Revolution freed Russia from imperialist control and served as an inspiration for the peoples of the world to struggle for national and social liberation.
Those who are celebrating the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution’s victory should remember the words of the great Vladimir Lenin in thinking about the struggle of the West Papuans and other peoples of the world for self-determination and liberation:
The butchers of the people of West Papua, the US-backed Indonesian government and military, are also responsible for the massacre of more than one million to three million Communists and Communist sympathizers in 1965-1966.
The West Papuans’ struggle is proof that without justice, there won’t be genuine peace, that oppression will surely beget resistance, and that fascism cannot stop revolutionary struggles from continuing to emerge and gaini strength.
We hope that this study conference’s objectives are met. We hope that it comes up with materials that will help unite the peoples of the world behind the West Papuans’ struggle for self-determination and liberation. We hope that it clarifies the various means that the peoples of the world can show solidarity for the struggle for West Papua’s national freedom.
Orang-orang Papua Barat harus bebas dan merdeka! (The people of West Papua must be free and independent!)
Mereka harus mencapai kemerdekaan dari penindasan! (They must achieve independence from oppression)
Mengalahkan imperialisme dan semua reaksioner! (Down with imperiliasm and all reactionaries!)
Hidup perjuangan Papua Barat untuk pembebasan nasional! (Long live the struggle of West Papua for national liberation!)