Youth voices and dissent are growing stronger across the Asia-Pacific region, say young activists | India News

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BATHINDA: The Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) and other civil society groups have brought together young leaders from across Asia-Pacific and Chile virtually to discuss the new revolutionary youth movements that challenge conservative and authoritarian regimes in Pakistan, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Chile. It has been said that the world has seen the rise of conservative, authoritarian, militaristic, majority and populist regimes in many countries and the ongoing Covid pandemic has made the situation worse.
It is in this context that the platform offered by the Asia-Pacific Social Forum brought together these young leaders. The session was moderated by Vijayan MJ of PIPFPD. “Bringing together young dissidents and leaders from some of the powerful youth resistance leaders in Asia is an important building block for new global alliances. Another world is possible, the slogan of the social forum becomes a reality in a space where the diversity of classes, castes, genders, ethnicities, identities and sexualities intertwine to fight authoritarianism, majoritarianism and corporatization,” Vijayan said.
Doris González, former national spokesperson for the Ukamau movement in Chile, said: “The right to land and housing is an integral part of the right to life. The Ukamau movement has succeeded in bringing together people who have been deprived of these rights. Our way of doing politics goes through the city where we live. It is our job to give tools for collective decision-making and to bring direct action to the streets. Every day we connect with the city to make ourselves visible to claim our rights, our rights to the city, as we bring transformative access and other people’s struggles. Our greatest success was being able to convert the demand of the land reclamation movement into a plebiscite. Rights were never given to us, people got those rights back through struggle. We are making new alliances with other progressive movements like the queer movement and we hope this will make the movement more inclusive and progressive”.
Pimsiri Petchnamrob – A veteran human rights defender from Thailand and the Philippines said “the monarchy’s hegemony in Thailand is hard to challenge. However, there has been a dynamic change in the way the protests have played out in 2020 compared to 2021. In 2021 we have seen new constituencies join the protests, the urban working class, people with little education have arrived , white-collar workers entered. Most of these constituencies knew little about the jargonist approach but created new tools to protest. Identity politics and class consciousness were at the forefront. Building alliances with other movements has become the need of the hour”.
Chanya Rattanathada ‘Panan’ – A transgender feminist activist from Thailand said that “the culture of Thai society is very dominant and it is difficult to express oneself. In 2003, the Thai government opposed same-sex marriage, and many left-wing thinkers who understood this issue did not support the Pride movement. Today, solidarity has become a fashionable word and we need to rethink the fundamental concepts. No gender can find liberation when society is patriarchal, which oppresses everyone.
Shahram Azhar, a Pakistani singer and activist, said “hearing stories from Chile, Thailand resonated with stories of growing up in Pakistan as an activist”. He said: “The Anjuman Mazareen movement in Punjab, which roughly translates to ‘landless movement in Punjab, was a religious, ethnic and class-based movement. For the past 23 years, the peasants of Okara have fought bravely against the Pakistani military who have taken away their land and many people and members have been lost. The motto of the movement is ‘malki ya maut’ (either we have the promised land or we prefer death)”. The second movement is a restoration of the student union banned in 1984 under the regime of Zia-ul Haq. Today marks the 11th day of sit-in protests by the progressive student collective in Lahore and the good news is that the student union has been fully restored in Pakistan.
The third would be the march of Aurat which will lead to a socialist and feminist current. He raised young and fierce voices and they staged marches across the country. These three movements are singled out to highlight the different responses to the authoritarian regime”. Safoora Zargar – Activist and Student Leader, Jamia Millia Islamia from India said, “Hindutava has been on the rise since 2014. Sansad dharam has made open calls against Muslims. Academics, students, activists, writers continue to languish in prison at Bhima Koregaon, the Delhi riots, the anti-CAA protests.
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