This interview with Jose Ma. Sison, founding chairperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was published on 25 August 2020 in a special issue of Ang Bayan, official CPP newspaper. The interview focuses on a recent flare-up of accusations that Sison and the CPP “allied themselves” with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte. Sison zeroes in on Joseph Scalice, a postdoctoral student based in Singapore who describes himself as “specializing in the history of politics and revolutionary movements in the postcolonial Philippines.” Scalice has also been criticized by other organizations of the Philippines’ national-democratic Left for red-tagging them as CPP front organizations.
The source of the text is the Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) site: https://cpp.ph/2020/08/25/critique-of-the-trotskyite-attacks-on-the-cpp-and-the-philippine-revolution.
Critique of the Trotskyite attacks on the CPP and the Philippine revolution
Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairperson
Communist Party of the Philippines
1. It is well-known that Joseph Scalice has been attacking your writings and you personally in violent anti-communist and anti-Stalinist language since 2017. Why did you criticize him only this recently? If you were aware of him before, what has been your view of him?
Jose Maria Sison (JMS): My attention to Joseph Scalice was called recently by a Filipino artist friend, Max Santiago, who complained that his art work had been stolen by Scalice for a malicious purpose. The art work carried my and Duterte’s images in order to encourage peace negotiations in 2016. Scalice used the art work to dish out the following lies: that the peace dialogue was a betrayal of the people and that the CPP and I supported Duterte for two years from the time he assumed the presidency in 2016.
I have been aware of the rabid anti-communist and anti-Stalinist writings of Scalice for quite sometime, long before now. I have ignored him because American comrades and friends have told me that he was already well-exposed as a Trotskyite and as a paid agent of the Central Intelligence Agency, paid to focus on the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and my writings and make a career out of attacking and misrepresenting these.
They have told me that the distortions and lies he makes to attack the CPP and me are so obviously false, illogical and unbelievable that they are ineffective propaganda and patently supportive of counterrevolution. Thus, I thought that I would devote my time to far more important tasks than to spend time writing to debunk Scalice.
2. How do you respond to his claim that engaging in peace negotiations with the Duterte regime is a form of betraying the people? And what about his claim that the CPP supported Duterte’s war on drugs and the extrajudicial killings?
JMS: Only a Trotskyite can interpret peace negotiations between two warring parties as support for Duterte and betrayal of the people. It is also an outright lie that the CPP supported the Duterte regime and his extrajudicial killings of poor people for two years. The peace negotiations practically came to an end in August 2016 when Duterte released only 19 political prisoners and reneged on his promise to amnesty and release all political prisoners.
As early as July 2016, the CPP and New People’s Army (NPA) condemned Duterte’s war on drugs when it became utterly clear that it was butchery aimed at the poor people and intended to intimidate the broad masses of the people. On their own independent account, human rights organizations and legal democratic forces promptly addressed and denounced the “kill, kill, kill” program of Duterte. It also became obvious that the bogus war on drugs was meant to aggrandize the Duterte crime syndicate and install Duterte as the supreme drug lord.
3. Why is it that various groups of Trotskyites and crypto-Trotskyites, including those who quarrel among themselves, have united to accuse the CPP of having enabled Duterte to become the President and commit all the grave crimes that he has committed? Why do the Trotskyites attack the CPP and all the patriotic and democratic forces at a time when they are intensifying the struggle against the Duterte tyranny and building a broad united front against him?
JMS: Trotskyites are special agents of US imperialism. They have played that role since Trotsky betrayed the Bolshevik party and the Soviet Union. They have always specialized in attacking communist parties engaged in revolutionary struggle more than their formalistic and ritualistic denunciations of capitalism.
It is not a surprise at all that they attack the CPP and the national democratic movement most viciously because in a sneaky way they support the brutal but futile campaign of the US and the Duterte puppet regime to destroy the CPP and the revolutionary movement. The Trotskyites, the US imperialists and Duterte share a common hatred for the CPP and the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people.
4. Scalice holds the view that the old Communist Party of the Lavaite revisionists and the Communist Party of the Philippines guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism must betray the people as a matter of course because they are supposed to be similarly Stalinist. Is it valid for Scalice to equate the Lavaite party supporting the Marcos dictatorship with the blatant lie that CPP has enabled and supported the Duterte tyranny?
JMS: Scalice boasts of himself as a Philippine historian. He is a big fake. He does not even know that the Lavaite party was already revisionist and anti-Stalinist like the Trotskyites when that party supported the Marcos fascist dictatorship from its start in 1972 to its end in 1986. I have already exposed the big lie of Scalice that the CPP was the enabler and supporter of Duterte for two years after he assumed the presidency.
It is a matter of public knowledge that the people’s war led by the CPP has never been ended, in contrast to the perpetual prattle of the Trotskyites. But I wish to clarify that the CPP admires Stalin for building socialism in the Soviet Union and defeating fascism among his great achievements. But the CPP is critical of Stalin for presuming the end of classes and class struggle in 1935 and for mistakes in the handling of contradictions within socialist society.
In the case of Trotsky, he deserved to be expelled from the ranks of the Bolsheviks for his counterrevolutionary position. Lenin has criticized Trotsky so many times as an unpredictable petty bourgeois subjectivist and opportunist. Lenin and Stalin forgave many of the muddled ideas and flip-flops of Trotsky. But Trotsky exhausted the tolerance and patience of the Bolsheviks when he became brazenly counterrevolutionary and opposed the socialist revolution and construction in the Soviet Union because he had the crazy notion of having to attain first a permanent seamless world revolution.
5. In the Trotskyite World Socialist Web Site, a certain Peter Symonds echoes the claim of Scalice that you have threatened his life with your criticism of him as a “pathologically rabid anti-communist and CIA psywar agent posing as an academic Trotskyite?” And in this connection, he goes into the overstretch that the CPP kills dissenters among its ranks just like Stalin supposedly did.
JMS: Why should I threaten the life of any sick guy I have ignored for so long? He can wallow in his own saliva. The CPP stopped the unjustified killings done by the Trotsky-type commandists and adventurists after they failed with their scheme of premature regularization of the entire people’s army. The Second Great Rectification Movement repudiated and criticized the mistakes and crimes of those Trotsky-type rascals. It was a campaign of ideological and political education.
6. What do you say about the claim of Scalice and other Trotskyites that the CPP and its “front organizations” supported the fascistic Duterte when he won the presidency in 2016 and staged rallies in his support? Is it fair for Scalice to refer to the patriotic and democratic mass organizations as front organizations of the CPP?
JMS: The BAYAN and other patriotic and democratic organizations held rallies to ventilate and present what they called the People’s Agenda and the social, economic and political reforms that ought to be taken up in the peace negotiations. They were acting as peace advocates on behalf of the people. It is malicious and mendacious of Scalice to present their peace advocacy as supporting Duterte. At the same time, he exposes himself as a red-tagger, communist-baiter and anti-communist agent by calling them front organizations of the CPP. Scalice is as vociferously malicious as that tin can General Parlade.
7. Is it true that Rafael Mariano, chairman emeritus of the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP) and Joel Maglungsod, vice president for Mindanao of the trade union umbrella organization Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) were CPP nominees to the Duterte cabinet? And by the way, are not the Trotskyites engaged in red-tagging for the benefit of the Duterte death squads?
JMS: The CPP did not nominate anyone as CPP representative to any cabinet or sub-cabinet position in the Duterte administration. I told Duterte publicly that he could appoint anyone on his or her individual merits for patriotism, competence, honesty and diligence but that he could not appoint anyone as CPP representative while the people’s war and the peace negotiations were still going on. In this regard, Scalice is both a liar and incorrigible anti-communist agent of imperialism and reaction. Indeed, he is practically a wild informer for the benefit of the Duterte death squads.
8. How true is the claim of the Trotskyites that the CPP is not really a communist party but a mere nationalist organization of Stalinism and that its adherence to “two-stage theory” is aimed at putting socialism off the agenda and making the working class and peasant masses support the “progressive wing” of the bourgeoisie?
JMS: The CPP is a proletarian revolutionary party and is both patriotic and proletarian internationalist. In accordance with Lenin’s teaching, the CPP carries out the people’s democratic revolution with a socialist perspective and under the leadership of the working class against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. At the basic completion of the people’s democratic revolution through the seizure of political power, the stage of socialist revolution begins in the same manner as the Great October Socialist Revolution did in 1917 and the Chinese socialist revolution did in China in 1949.
The Trotskyite notions of permanent revolution that oppose socialist revolution and construction in one country after another and denies the need for the two-stage revolution in underdeveloped countries like the Philippines, without an industrial capitalist foundation, are complete nonsense and bankrupt. The Trotskyites also do not understand the need of the national united front policy and tactics of relying mainly on the basic alliance of workers and peasants, winning over the middle forces and taking advantage of the splits among the reactionaries.
The Trotskyites are sneaky supporters of the imperialists and big compradors against the legitimate and benign aspirations of the middle bourgeoisie and the rest of the people for national industrialization. Thus, the Trotskyites will continue to be cultist grouplets and never gain any significant following. They can make only make false theorizing and propaganda against the revolution.
9. What do you say about the assertion of Scalice that your classic work, “Philippine Society and Revolution” (PSR), is not a Marxist work but a nationalist tract?
JMS: A Trostkyite is not in any position to make the judgment whether my work is Marxist or not. PSR is so Marxist-Leninist that the Trotskyites have made it a major occupation to attack it in their futile attempt to sabotage the Philippine revolutionary movement.
Genuine communists in the Philippines and abroad have long recognized the PSR as an analysis of the history and concrete circumstances of the Filipino people and the product of the application of the Marxist-Leninist materialist-scientific outlook and materialist dialectics.
It is futile for the Trotskyites and other counterrevolutionaries to try to discredit this book because it has generated further writings along the proletarian revolutionary line and more importantly it continues to guide and motivate Filipino revolutionaries to wage revolution and make great achievements.
10. How true is the claim of the Trotskyites that the CPP no longer commands the respect and support of broad layers of working people in the Philippines that it did in the 1970s and 1980 and that it has fragmented into rival parties that compete with each other to ally with one or another faction of the Philippine bourgeoisie in return for crumbs of privilege and power?
JMS: The great achievements of the CPP are not something to sneeze at by the Trotskyites. Their imperialist masters and reactionary mates in the Philippines still consider the CPP and the revolutionary movement as the main threat to the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system, after more than five decades of trying to destroy the revolution.
The CPP has tens of thousands of members, deeply rooted among the toiling masses and highly motivated to wage revolution. It has built the New People’s Army with thousands of Red fighters, augmented by people’s militia with tens of thousands of members and self-defense units of mass organizations in hundreds of thousands. It has developed mass organizations of various classes and sectoral categories whose members total in the millions. It has built alliances of various types under the auspices of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. It has led local organs of political power, which comprise the People’s Democratic Government.
There are now two governments in the Philippines: one is the revolutionary government of workers and peasants and the other is the counterrevolutionary government of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrats. After several decades of trying in vain to sabotage the revolution and assist the counterrevolution, what have the Trotskyites accomplished in the Philippines ideologically, politically and organizationally? Nothing but being an occasional nuisance like a scavenger fly.###