Vancouver, April 15: It’s Right to Rebel forum videos and synopsis

The following report of the April 15 event in Vancouver, including a review of Palestinian political prisoners, is provided by ILPS Canada:

“It’s Right to Rebel: resisting criminalization of people’s struggles at home and abroad” was held on Sunday, April 15, in East Vancouver.  The forum was organized by the Alliance for People’s Health, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, Samidoun – Palestinian Prisoner Network, and the International League of People’s Struggles – Canada.  It is a part of a cross country discussion, organized by the ILPS – Canada, to develop a campaign against terrorist designations and criminalization people’s struggles.


The forum was opened by Angie Ipong who read a powerful poem based on her experiences of more than 20 years working with peasant and Indigenous struggles in the Philippines including six years as a political prisoner.

The first speaker at the forum was Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, one of the Morong 43 political prisoners held by the Philippine military for 10 months in 2010 on trumped up charges.  She spoke about how activists in popular mass struggles in the Philippines have been targeted and criminalized in the Philippines, tagged as members of the New People’s Army, and subjected to torture, disappearance and extrajudicial killings.

Gord Hill, a Vancouver based activist and author of the 500 Years of Resistance comic book, talked about the use of criminalization as a strategy of the Canadian colonial state to delegitimize people’s struggles.  He spoke about the Ipperwash, Oka and Gustafsen Lake land reclamations and the attempts of the RCMP to label these Indigenous land struggles as being carried out by ‘criminal elements’.

Jose Figueroa spoke about his experience of being targeted for deportation because of his involvement with FMLN anti-dictatorship activities in El Salvador.  Jose talked about his own experience as an example how immigrants and refugees can be criminalized for their association with popular and mass based people’s struggles for social justice

Charlotte Kates, a member of the Boycott Israeli Apartheid Campaign and Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Network, spoke next.  Charlotte spoke to the Palestinian experience of mass incarceration by the Israeli Occupation of leaders, supporters and activists linked to all Palestinian resistance movements.

Steve da Silva, Vice-Chairperson of ILPS – Canada, introduced the motivation for the Right to Rebel campaign and gave an overview of the campaign document.  Steve put the campaign in the context of Canada’s role as an imperialist power and presented a timeline for the development of the ILPS Right to Rebel campaign.

In the discussion following the presentations speakers and participants shared ideas for strategies to challenge the Canadian terrorist list and criminalization of people’s struggles.