By Eva Cheng
Internationalism stood out as a central feature in the conference, which was attended by an unprecedentedly large contingent of guests from around the world.
Eleven guests from six countries — Indonesia, Germany, the Philippines, Poland, Sri Lanka and Nicaragua — shared their knowledge and inspired discussions on a range of struggles through the series of public meetings, panels and workshops which packed the conference agenda. The understanding that progressive movements in imperialist countries and the Third World alike are different segments of an integrated struggle against capitalism and imperialism came through clearly in the discussions.
Tracy Pabico, chairperson of the Filipino socialist youth organisation Kamalayan, put forward the thought-provoking idea of the need of an anti-imperialist youth alliance in the Asia-Pacific region, which generated interesting discussions.
Solidarity messages also came from the Budapest-based World Federation of Democratic Youth, the All India Students' Association (AISA) and the Dutch socialist youth organisation Rebel.
The struggles in East Timor, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines were intensively discussed, helped by the presence of Nico Warouw, international officer of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), and Hendrianto, executive member of Student Solidarity for Indonesian Democracy, both from Indonesia, and Sunil Ratnapriya, political bureau member of the Nava Sama Samaja Party, Sri Lanka, as well as Tracy Pabico.
A focus in the discussions was the critical phase of the Indonesian and Filipino struggles, helped by the ongoing rethinking, mobilisation and reorganisation of the most militant working-class forces — expressed in the formation of PRD and the 1993 split in the Community Party of the Philippines.
An understanding of the struggle in Nicaragua — especially the lessons of the Sandinistas' 1990 electoral defeat and the importance of the coming election in October — was deepened among a new layer of young activists, facilitated by a public meeting given by Alejandro Bendaña, a leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) and Zoilamerica Ortega, a leader of the Sandinista Youth.
Lars Vogel from Germany's Party of Democratic Socialism and four delegates from the Polish Union of Socialist Youth also delivered encouraging solidarity messages to the conference.
AISA's message says: "It's our anti-imperialist struggle and the struggle for a genuine democracy and for a humane society that is the running thread between all leftists in this era of globalisation which is nothing but a euphemism for domination of the whole world by the imperialist forces".