A REVIEW OF JOSE MARIA SISON’S “AT HOME IN THE WORLD”

Just last week, Gen. Jovito Palparan, of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) told the “Defense” Committee of the House of Representatives of the Philippines: “The enemy is everywhere in Samar Island.” By “enemy” he meant the Maoist guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA). Fifty to sixty percent of the population of Samar sympathize with the NPA, added Palparan, explaining army killings of civilians on this island jutting out of the archipelago between Luzon and Leyte. He might understate NPA support. Mao Zedong famously stated that the relations between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the masses of people should be like the relationship “between fish and water.” The Filipino communists seek to replicate the Chinese experience, by establishing limited control over liberated zones that transform peasant life in ways that broaden support for the revolution and allow the guerrillas to operate among the people as easily as fish swim in the sea. The ultimate goal is to combine urban insurrection and the surrounding of the cities by the peasant-based army to accomplish the seizure of power and begin building socialism. Gen. Palparan, known locally as “the butcher of Mindoro,” must find the Maoists’ successes on Samar deeply frustrating.

Samar’s just one island, out of seven thousand islands in the Philippines populated by 88 million people. All over the sprawling multi-ethnic archipelago, the former U.S. colony that during its “insurrection” against U.S. rule (1899-1913) lost one-tenth its population, Gen. Palparan’s enemy flourishes. At present, according to the NPA, the Maoists operate “in more than 130 guerrilla fronts covering significant portions of nearly 70 provinces, in around 800 municipalities and more than 9,000 barrios.” The CIA concedes that the movement has been growing in recent years. The NPA has been around since 1969, experiencing ups and downs, learning, making mistakes followed by “rectification campaigns.” At present it looks strong and healthy. Between March 27 and May 15 it responded to an AFP offensive in Surigao Del Sur, designed to clear the way for logging and mining, by killing over 60 AFP troops. It successfully attacked the Army’s 77th IB detachment in Tugo, Abra June 3 and seized at least 30 high-powered firearms. On June 5 Joel Escubido Geollegue, a police intelligence officer with 28 years of service, defected to the revolutionary forces.

The NPA is the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), re-founded in 1968 by Sison, a poet and one-time professor of English at the University of the Philippines. Its successes are in part a tribute to this man, now 66 years old and by a strange fate compelled to live in exile in the Netherlands. The man known to his friends Continue reading

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An Interview With Comrade Sison

1. How is your situation over there?

The Dutch government and the European Council are still harassing me on the orders of the American imperialists. I am still being listed as a “terrorist” in the papers of the imperialists who are the real terrorists. They are still withholding the social benefits due me as a recognized political refugee. But we are fighting back. We are defending our rights. Our position is even stronger because of the support of the broad masses and lawyers who are competent and respected personages in the whole world.

2. Does the so-called US military victory have any effects on the struggle of anti-imperialist asylum seekers such as yourself?

Regarding the aggression, occupation and seizure of the oil in Iraq, there is a rift between the US and British imperialist aggressors on the one side and France, Germany and Russia on the other. But in my case, they do not have any oil to quarrel over. The Dutch government is the most pro-US in mainland Europe. For quite some time now, it has had a policy of harassing asylum seekers in order to reduce the number of refugees. The tide of fascism is growing stronger in Europe because of the crisis of capitalism and at the prodding of the US since 9/11. Continue reading

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The Road to Philippine Communism!

Jose Maria Sison led the re-founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the late 1960s. The CPP formed the New People’s Army in 1969. It undertook people’s war of the kind pioneered by Mao Zedong in China, in which the working class leads and the peasantry is the main force.

Comrade Sison led the struggle in the rural areas until he was captured by the dictatorial Marcos regime in 1976. He spent nine years in solitary confinement. He was only released when Marcos’ regime was forced out by the masses in 1985. Though Marcos fell his generals remained. Comrade Sison and others were forced into exile in the Netherlands where they remain to this day.

Last year the U.S. government put Comrade Sison and the NPA on their “terrorist” list. The U.S. then prevailed on the Dutch government to do the same. They are no such thing: there are in truth the leaders of the oppressed masses in their struggle against a backward and rotting social order. It is the imperialists who are the real terrorists, as they prove every day.

The “terrorist” label cost Comrade Sison the economic benefits he had received as a political refugee. A worldwide movement in his support demands that he be taken off these hypocritical lists, instigated by the world’s worst terrorist, U.S. imperialism.

The long people’s war in the Philippines has had ups and downs, but in recent years has grown to the point where the reactionaries now consider it an acute challenge to their rule. (See the New York Times, January 4, 2004, “Fear of a Communist Rebellion Is Growing in the Philippines”) On December 25 I had the honor and pleasure of the following interview with Joma in Utrecht.

Question: When you work in imperialist countries in support of revolutionary movements in oppressed countries, what are the specifically communist tasks?

Jose Maria Sison (JMS): Persevere in carrying out the ideological, political and organizational tasks for developing the revolutionary movement in the imperialist Continue reading

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Philippine Communism for Social Justice, Altruism, and Peace!

The collection of essays titled “For Justice, Socialism and Peace” is the first of a four-volume series of selected writings of Prof. Jose Maria Sison between 1991 and 2008. That and the second volume titled “For Democracy and Socialism against Imperialist Globalization” are now in print and scheduled for release in Europe in May this year. Prof. Sison has pride of place in the Philippine democratic and revolutionary movements, as founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, as chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines on peace negotiations, and as chair of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle. He is a highly regarded commentator not only on Philippine affairs but also on international affairs, from the perspective of the oppressed people and nations of the world.

His writings are unambiguous in their aim to serve the Philippine people’s struggle for liberation, democracy and socialism. He has paid a heavy price for speaking out on the side of the people. The price includes incarceration in the Philippines under Marcos, forced exile and various forms of persecution and maltreatment by a combination of forces including the reactionary Government of the Philippines, its US imperialist master, and reactionary allies in the Government and the state apparatus of the Netherlands, including being branded as a “terrorist”, denial of political asylum, deprivation of employment and social benefits, unlawful detention; and threats of and attempts at assassination. Prof. Sison has, as ever, been defiant in the face of adversity and held firmly to his commitment to advance the Philippine people’s struggle and international solidarity against imperialism and reaction.

It is my privilege to review the first of the four volumes. The fifteen articles in this volume besides the Introduction, by Luis G Jalandoni, Chair of the National Democratic front of the Philippines, cover a period from soon after the fall in rapid succession of socialist regimes in Eastern and Central Europe followed by the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the start of the subversion of Chinese socialism. It was also a time when revolutionary mass struggles for liberation and social justice faced setbacks, some of them very serious, around the globe, and a time when reactionaries all over celebrated the events, especially the collapse of the Soviet Union, to declare it the end of socialism and communism. Some went to the extent of calling it the “End of History”, meaning that imperialist globalization had arrived and was there to stay for ever, and that there was no future but imperialist globalization. Some faint-hearted members of the international left were dismayed and disheartened by the events and imperialist bragging about a mono-polar world led by the US, so that they echoed with dismay the words of the jubilant imperialists to dishearten a sizeable section of the left and anti-imperialist forces. But it took less than a decade since the collapse of the Soviet Union for the world to witness the Continue reading

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Philippine Communism LIVES ON!

Resolution supporting the Filipino peoples’ struggle for national liberation and democracy and demanding the removal of the CPP, the NPA and Prof. Jose Maria Sison from “terrorist” lists of the US, Netherlands and the Council of the European Union

There is an ongoing civil war in the Philippines between the oppressed toiling masses of the workers, peasants and petty bourgeoisie on the one hand and US imperialism and the exploiting classes of the comprador big bourgeoisie and landlords, on the other. The local exploiting classes and the interests of US imperialism are currently represented by the brutal regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The Communist Party of the Philippines represents and leads the revolutionary forces of the toiling masses in this civil war, with the ultimate objectives of overthrowing the local exploiting classes, liberating Philippine society from US imperialism and foreign domination, fulfilling the democratic demands of the toiling masses, establishing the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines and initiating socialist construction and development. The New People’s Army is the main weapon of the toiling masses in seizing and dismantling the political power of the exploiting classes.

More than one hundred years of US imperialist domination over the Philippines has resulted in ever-worsening poverty and repression against the Filipino people. The US government’s declaration in 2003 of the Philippines as the “second front in the war against terror” is serving to justify intensified intervention in the country and increased Continue reading

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Spirit of learning and sense of courage

Remembering the First Quarter Storm of 1970 *

By Antonio Zumel

We observe this year the 100th anniversary of the 1986 Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonization, and the 26th anniversary of the First Quarter Storm of 1970.  The two are interrelated, and are historic events to the Filipino people since both had to do – and still have to do – with our people’s continuing struggle for national independence and democracy.

We honor the 1986 Revolution as the collective, united effort of our patriotic and democratic forebears in the Katipunan to rise up in arms to finally liberate our country from more than 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. With heads high, we do honor this historic event – even if it was frustrated especially by the errors of the ilustrado leadership and by the deception, the aggression and the ferocity of US imperialismwhich grabbed colonial control over our country and people.

While we pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the worker Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan, and of his comrades-in-arms, we, as today’s revolutionaries, study their experience and learn from the positive and negative lessons, even as we also learn from the more recent experiences of revolutionaries in other part of the world.

The Katipunan Revolution of 1896 whose centenary we celebrate this year and the national democratic revolutionary struggle we are waging today have the same general Continue reading

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How to Fight Against Capitalism?

Let me share this great article authored by Brian Martin, a professor of social sciences at the University of Wollongong and author of many books and articles about nonviolence and other topics.

Challenges to capitalism via armed force or elections have repeatedly been tried and failed. It is time for systematic use of nonviolent action to challenge capitalism and build alternatives to it. A comprehensive nonviolent strategy involves nonviolent methods to move towards economic and social alternatives that do not rely on systems of violence.

Capitalism is responsible for an enormous level of death, suffering and wasted human potential, including everything from impoverishment of Third World peoples to boredom in factory jobs. There is certainly good cause to take action.

Of course, capitalism has positive sides, too, notably the capacity to harness human energy and ingenuity to improve material standards of living. It is important to recognise capitalism’s strengths. To talk of challenging capitalism means seeking something even better and not assuming that it is the only or inevitable way to organise people’s lives.

The question is, how should capitalism be challenged? Armed struggle has been tried, but there is not a single instance in which an advanced capitalist economy has been overthrown by armed force to create a better system. In some poor countries, liberation through armed struggle has brought benefits (and costs: this is a highly contentious topic), but there is no equivalent record in challenging developed capitalist states. Soviet conquests destroyed capitalism in Eastern Europe but the resulting state socialist societies were not an attractive alternative and eventually collapsed, with nonviolent action playing a major role (Randle 1991).

Nor has electoral politics had much success in challenging capitalism. Socialist parties have been elected to office but have adapted to capitalism rather than leading the way to a complete alternative (Boggs 1986). Continue reading

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