From 17th of July until the 7th of August 2011, the IIRE Manila, the sister organization of the IIRE based in the Philippines, held its third Asian Global Justice School. Like the yearly Global Justice Schools in Amsterdam, this school aims to provide a space for debate, exchange of information, knowledge and experiences and networking between international social justice activists - but with a specific focus on the Asia-Pacific region and Asia in general.
Twelve participants from six different countries (Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia) made the school a success. Similar to the previous Asian Global Justice Schools, the session was divided in three parts: the Asian context, challenges for progressive movements and forms of organizing to change society, but this year more focus was given on the issue of oppression of sexual minorities. Of course, the continuing economic crisis as well as the impact of the Arab Spring colored many discussions.
Participants discussed issues such as the growing role of China, labor migration, the different roles of religious and fundamentalist movements and the changing class composition of Asian countries. The third Asian Global Justice School had both participants from organizations that had previously send participants as well as from new organizations. Lecturers and participants came from different political backgrounds and brought a wide variety of experiences with them: the struggle against religious fundamentalism in Pakistan, against war in the southern Philippines, for the rights of workers in so-called 'Special Economic Zones', for women’s rights in Indonesia et cetera. Three years after the IIRE Manila launched the school, it is starting to fulfill one of of its most important objectives: contributing to the unification of the radical Left in different Asian countries. Lively discussions, both during the official program as informal ones, helped make possible the shared creation framework for a new Left in of the world's most tumultuous regions, a Left that is feminist, ecological and emancipatory.
For the future, the IIRE Manila will be targeting an even wider range of organizations to participate. In the meantime, the third Asian Global Justice School already gave life to plans for common international activities like a youth-meeting later this year.