Statement of the Organising Committee of the International Evening in Solidarity with Political Prisoners in London

Dear comrades and friends,

On behalf of organising committee of tonight’s program that includes revolutionary and democratic anti-imperialist organisations from Turkey, Iran, Philippines and India, an event that has the support of local and international organisations, we welcome you to this international event in solidarity with political prisoners across the world. 

We hold this event in order bring together experiences of people’s resistance and the struggles of political prisoners from different countries. We remember people’s martyrs, the thousands of heroes and heroines that have laid down their lives upholding the aspirations of the workers, other toiling masses and the most down trodden sections of each country.  

Their struggle and their resistance in the face of the inhumanity of the imperialist powers, reactionary regimes and their hench men, in its very essence re-creates and gives rise to the deepest values of selflessness and sacrifice that moulds the spirit of new generations of freedom fighters that join the growing ranks of revolutionaries fighting for social liberation against the parasitic system of exploitation and plunder, monopoly capitalism that rules all of us. 

The spirit of revolutionary defiance is exactly what the imperialist powers and reactionary regimes wish to crush. Committing more crimes and atrocities they develop more hi-tech tools and processes to physically and mentally torture and bring their captives to submission. Yet at every turn they fail miserably to crush the militant and defiant spirit of the heroic political prisoners that arise from the midst of class struggle to fight and resist oppression.

The imperialist powers and the reactionary regimes in their service have never succeeded and will never succeed to stifle the struggle of the workers and the toiling masses and quench the desire of the oppressed people of this world to be free from war, exploitation and plunder. 

Lets us just look briefly at some of the recent historical lessons. Lesson that reactionaries can not learn and that we as the people must not overlook. 

In Iran, in the summer of 1988, following defeat in the eight year reactionary war with Iraq, the regime of Islamic republic who had used the war to consolidate its rule through intensifying suppression and terror in the country and had filled the prison with communist and other revolutionary and progressive militants, in order to avert the danger of mass uprising and revolution commenced on a horrendous crime. From June till September 1988, the regime and its henchmen eliminated at least 18,000 political prisoners.  This crime against the people of Iran and the elimination of the best sons and daughters of the oppressed people added to the tens of thousands of progressive people executed and killed since the coming to power in 1979 of this counter revolutionary regime, almost wiped out two generations of revolutionaries and progressive elements from Iranian society. 

Yet not long after, the struggle of the workers and other toiling masses, women and students and national minorities re-emerged threatening the very existence of the murderous regime. In July 1999, during the presidency of Mr Khatami, the smiling Mullah, a favourite of the western media, once again the students opposing the repressive regime launched a six day uprising that tore of the mask of the so called liberal mullah. The criminal regime clamped down and demanded the severest punishment for the Students. 1500 students were arrested and many were given long prison sentences. But resistance continued. 

Following the coming to power of Mr Ahmadinejhad, repression, terror and murder has continued unabated.  In the last year alone, the just struggles of workers, students, women and other oppressed sections of society have been violently attacked. 

In January on the eve of the strike to free its leaders from prison the independent Bus drivers Union were attacked and in one night over 1200 workers were arrested and imprisoned. In May the regime brutally attacked the widespread protest of the Azari people demanding their national rights at least 60 people were killed in these attacks and thousands were arrested. Attacks and killing against Arab, Kurdish and Baluch national minorities have intensified. 

As the struggle of the oppressed people of Iran in the face of the intense crisis of the regime intensifies, prisons continued to be filled with political prisoners and the resistance of the political prisoners continues against this barbaric regime. 

In Turkey, following the fascist military coup on September 12, 1980, thousands of communists and progressives were arrested and given long prison sentences.  Resistance from behind prison bars defeated many attempts of the Junta to impose restrictions such prison cloths and other control regimes. 

The heroic political prisoners succeeded to get concessions and force the regime to accept the communal units where political prisoners maintained their own quarters. Every attacks and attempt to impose isolation cells and impose a more severe regime in prisons failed as a direct result of resistance from inside and out side prisons. Following the rise of armed struggle for national self determination by the Kurdish nation in 1984 the numbers of prisoners increased. Resistance too, intensified.

In September 1999, at Ulucanlar prison the regime attacked and savagely killed 10 prisoners. Despite clear evidence of the involvement of paramilitary forces in this massacre, the criminal regime blamed the killings on other political prisoners and initiated and new campaign to impose F-type isolation prisons. In October 2000, the political prisoners launch a new campaign of heroic resistance to stop the transfer of political prisoners to the newly built F-type isolation prisons. Hundreds of prisoners joined ranks and entered indefinite hunger strikes. The regime faced with this resistance, on 19 December 2000, launched the simultaneous savage military operation in 20 prisons across the country. They used incendiary devices, guns, fire and tear gas to crush the resistance of political prisoners. In this outrageous event that was being televised, at least 28 heroic political prisoners were killed and many were severely burned or badly injured.

The resistance however continues. In the last year alone, the regime has launched new offensives against Kurdish people and has arrested tens of progressive intellectuals and revolutionaries. 

On 21st September, only two weeks ago, the regime and it repressive forces attacked the progressive newspaper Atilim, radio freedom and several workers’ unions and other socialist press. In one scoop they arrested around 170 progressive and revolutionary militants. 

No isolation cells have ever stopped the resistance of the political prisoners nor have these been effective against the struggle of the oppressed.

In India, following the suppression of the Naxalbari uprising in the early 70’s, widespread repression of the people movement particularly those inspired by the Naxalbari movement ensued. Thousands were imprisoned and many were killed by the authorities during this period. 

Since, the late 80’s the peoples’ movement against the reactionary Indian rulers that claim to be the largest democracy in the world and their local henchmen has once again gathered momentum. Once again dalits, workers and peasants are being massacred and revolutionaries eliminated through fake encounters. These are instances that revolutionaries and popular figures are abducted tortured and killed while the state claims they were killed during armed conflict. Once again prisons are filled with progressives who are detained without trial for years. 

In December 2005, Comrade Prasad, a long standing popular leader was abducted during a visit to a medical centre and disappeared for over a week. After widespread national and international protests the authorities announced that he was arrested and imprisoned awaiting trial. Comrade Prasad is not alone; there are thousands of political prisoners in India who continue to resist the harshest condition in prison in India.

In the Philippines, following the martial law imposed by the US puppet Marcos in 1972, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, arrested, killed and summarily executed. Many communist and revolutionaries were jailed and subjected to torture and inhuman treatment. Heroic resistance from behind prison bars in the Philippines inspired many revolutionaries across the world. Finally after 14 years of struggle and resistance the dictator Marcos was deposed by mass uprising and revolutionary struggle in 1986. 

Today with the intensification of struggle of the oppressed people of the Philippines, the Arroyo regime, another US puppet, has decide to use Marcos as her inspiration and has launched terror campaigns and curtailment of democratic rights. The regime of Arroyo is responsible for at least 763 murders, as extrajudicial killings of the democratic and legal activists since coming to power in 2001. Today there are at least 300 political prisoners in the Philippines. 

Since January 2006 the Arroyo regime under the guise opposing a possible military coup launched a new wave of arrests and intimidation. Since February 25, the regime has arrested Representative Crispin Beltran ex-chairman of the KMU (the may First workers Union) and one of the most long standing popular leaders of the working class in the Philippines and the first chairman of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS). 

The resistance continues and the liberation struggle of the workers and the oppressed peoples of the Philippines gathering strength from day to day, threatens the very existence of the Arroyo regime.  

Despite the untold crimes and atrocities perpetrated by the imperialist powers and reactionaries, despite the region of tyranny across the world, the resistance of the people united in their struggle against this unjust system continues. The militant resistance of political prisoners across the world demands effective internationalist intervention and solidarity.

Comrades and friends, 

Lets us join together to salute the heroic struggle of all political prisoners across the world that resist the incarceration, torture, isolation and ill-treatment imposed on them by the reactionary and tyrannical regimes in power. 

Let us salute thousands of men and women who continue to resist the onslaught of capital in prisons and torture chambers in each country. Lets us join together to reject the imperialist powers and their domination of the world that regenerates tyranny, expands reaction and foments violence against the people. Lets us join together to promote the spirit of militant defiance amongst the widest section of the masses that we can reach. 

§        Let us join together on the 18th anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners in Iran that is ruled by the reactionary mullahs, to condemn this dependent, criminal and barbaric regime that has brought untold suffering and misery to the people of Iran. 

§        We join together to condemn the criminal regime in Turkey that in 1999 launched the Ulucamlar massacre of the political prisoners and continues to attack the freedoms and democratic rights of the people living in Turkey. 

§        Lets us join together to condemn the reactionary rulers in India and defend comrades Prasad and other revolutionary leaders of the people’s movement that are kept in prisons for years without any trial. 

§        Lets us join together to condemn the US puppet Arroyo regime that since coming to power in 2001 has sponsored the extrajudicial killing of at least 763 individual and since February 2006 has imprisoned a revolutionary popular leader Crispin Beltran. Let us join and support the International campaigns to stop the killings in the Philippines and to free Ka Bel.

Comrades the defence of political prisoners and their rights is an inseparable part of the struggle for national and social liberation. We are joined tonight to declare our determination to fight and defend our comrades and the best sons and daughters of the masses of the oppressed as part of our common struggle for liberation against imperialism and all reactionaries. 

We are certain that internationalism will finally defeat imperialism and all reaction!

Down with US imperialism and all other imperialist powers!

Down with imperialism and all reaction!

Down with the reactionary regime of Islamic republic!

Down with the fascist Turkish regime!

Down with the reactionary and expansionist regime in India

Down with the US puppet regime of Gloria M Arroyo!

Victory to the social liberation struggle in all countries! 

Long live the heroic resistance of the political prisoners!

Long live international solidarity.

Down with imperialism and all reaction!

Free all political prisoners!

7 October 2006

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