Ecosocialism 2024 brings Asia Pacific activists together to oppose militarism and war

July 3, 2024
The closing panel at Ecosocialism 2024. Photo: Isaac Nellist

The Ecosocialism 2024: Climate Action Not War conference attracted 270 registrations over the weekend of June 28–30. It was hosted by Green Left and co-sponsored by Socialist Alliance and LINKS – International Socialist Journal of Renewal.

Conference organiser Sam Wainwright told GL the conference was successful in bringing activists from the Indo-Pacific region to “share experiences and ideas to help build a stronger anti-capitalist movement”.

Guests from India, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa attended in-person, and activists from Palestine, Pakistan, Kanaky/New Caledonia, Ireland, Brazil and the Philippines joined online.

Participants told GL that learning from overseas activists and having discussions about deepening international solidarity was a highlight.

The opening panel, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, featuring iconic Palestinian revolutionary Leila Khaled, who spoke from Jordan, alongside Salim Vally from the South African BDS Coalition and others, generated a lot of discussion.


Nasser Mashni (on screen), Khaled Ghannam (centre) and Salim Vally (right). Photo: Isaac Nellist

Nasser Mashni, President of Australia Palestine Advocacy Network and Palestinian activist and Socialist Alliance member Khaled Ghannam debated the call for recognition of Palestinian statehood and a “two-state solution”, and whether either would be a useful step along the road to achieving justice for Palestine.

Khaled said global solidarity with Palestine was critical and congratulated the efforts of campaigners. “It gives us the strength and the power that we will be victorious”.

She thanked the conference organisers for the invitation to speak, saying she regretted the Australian government’s decision not to allow her to attend in person.


Leila Khaled. Photo: Isaac Nellist

Vally spoke about South Africa’s experience in fighting apartheid and said the struggle in Palestine intersected with the growing opposition to imperialism and the capitalist system.

Mardudhunera woman Raelene Cooper, from Save our Songlines,and Megan Krakouer, a Menang woman of the Noongar Nation, gave presentations on two important struggles: to save the Burrup Hub from Woodside’s gas mining in the Pilbara region and to save First Nations children from entering the Western Australian prison system.


Megan Krakouer (left) and Raelene Cooper. Photo: Megan Krakouer/Facebook

DjabWurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman and independent senator Lidia Thorpe, who was unable to participate in person, sent a recorded message in which she outlined several key challenges for First Nations peoples, including getting the government to implement the recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Thorpe said the Albanese government is “no different” from “countless Labor governments that have failed” First Nations people.

Ammar Ali Jan, General Secretary of the Haqooq-e-Khalq (Peoples Rights) Party, Pakistan, highlighted the disastrous United States meddling in the region on a democracy and self-determination in the Asia-Pacific panel.

Charles Wea, spokesperson for international relations in the office of President Louis Mapou, gave details of the French colonial government’s maneuvering to thwart self-determination in Kanaky (New Caledonia).

A panel on the rise, and push back, of the far right generated a lively discussion with Mariana Riscali from the Socialist Left Movement (MES), part of the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) in Brazil, and Clifton D’Rozario of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.


Clifton D'Rozario. Photo: Isaac Nellist

The struggle against apartheid Israel and the role of Western “liberal democracies” in enabling acceptance of far-right anti-people, anti-ecological ideas was interrogated.

A delegation of activists from Singapore informed the conference of their difficult terrain of struggle, but said progress is being made in the fight for workers’ rights, to oppose the death penalty and to stand with Palestine.

A panel on democracy and human rights in Indonesia and West Papua in the aftermath of Prabowo Subianto's victory in Indonesia raised the challenges ahead for the West Papuan liberation struggle.

Jess Spear, an organiser for People Before Profit based in Dublin, Ireland, and Susan Price, GL co-editor, discussed the politics of ecosocialism, with Spear stressing it is “not an add-on” to the struggle for a better world, but intrinsic to it.

Environment and LGBTIQ rights struggles, activist media and disability rights were discussed in workshops, as was organising precarious workers.

A panel on the US drive for war against China was addressed by activists from Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia.


Dana Langaswaran. Photo: Isaac Nellist

David Rovics and Kamala Emanuel entertained the conference in one of their first “Bearing Witness Tour” performances.

[Ecosocialism 2024 audio and video will soon be available on the Green Left and Ecosocialism websites.]

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