Questions from Kent Ivan Florino, Philippine Collegian
Answers by Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
1. What is your position on the Philippine liberals’ insistence that Ka Randy Echanis’s death was due to the “mistake” committed by national democratic left in their supposed alliance with President Rodrigo Duterte last 2016 elections?
JMS: It is publicly known that Bayan Muna and the Makabayan Bloc, which encompass the electoral parties that are assertive of national independence and democracy, supported Grace Poe and not Rodrigo Duterte. The ruling system bans the revolutionary organizations like the Communist Party of the Philippines from participation in the elections to choose the GRP president.
As a matter of principle and policy, the revolutionary organizations did not support or ally itself with either Poe or Duterte for electoral purposes within the ruling system. The revolutionary forces of the people are building the People’s Democratic Government and are waging a people’s war against the reactionary social system and government of big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats.
The “liberals” you cite, who talk contrary to the aforesaid facts, could just be a handful of Trotskyites and crypto-Trotskyites and other anti-communists who specialize in slandering the CPP and misrepresenting it as responsible for and enabling the monstrous Duterte regime. They do not represent or constitute all the liberals. In attacking the CPP, they support Duterte in a back-handed way and obscure real supporters of Duterte, like the agents of US and Chinese imperialism and plunderers like the Marcoses and Arroyos.
2. Would this seemingly opportunistic attitude of the liberals towards Ka Randy’s death change ND’s dynamics with the continuing unification of broad alliance against the reactionary government?
JMS: Those anti-communists who present themselves as liberals and concentrate their attacks on the CPP are practically supporters of the Duterte regime. They should not be regarded as real and honest liberals. The progressive liberals and even most of the conservative liberals are among the middle forces within the broad national democratic movement that relies on the basic alliance of workers and peasants, wins over the middle forces and takes advantage of the splits among the reactionary forces.
Please do not presume that such anti-CPP slanderers as Walden Bello, Nathan Quimpo, Patricio Abinales, Leloy Claudio and the like represent the liberals or are the entirety of liberals. These anti-communist slanderers specialize in dishing out lies and misinterpretations. They go down to the level of blaming the victims, Ka Randy and all those who are aggrieved by his murder, for the crimes of Duterte.
They are dancing on the grave of Ka Randy. By attacking the revolutionary movement, they are minimizing the culpability of Duterte and are in fact exculpating him. In this sense, they work as special agents of Duterte by concentrating their attack on the revolutionary forces that are at the forefront of fighting the traitorous, tyrannical, genocidal, plundering and mendacious Duterte regime.
3. How do you draw the line on who the National Democratic movement will open its doors to, for a broad united front against the government?
JMS: The national democratic movement embraces the basic alliance of the workers and peasants and the middle forces that assert and fight for national independence and democracy. The honest liberals, be they progressive or conservative, who oppose the Duterte regime truly belong to the middle forces of the broad national united front along the national democratic line. They are doing their best in opposing the Duterte regime independently and in concert with the organized forces of the toiling masses.
You must understand that the handful of Trotskyites and crypto-Trotskyites who attack the CPP and spare Duterte use the liberal language to dress up their anti-communism and at the same time use pseudo-Left language to dress up the worst of pro-imperialist bourgeois liberalism. The are sneaky and slippery toads who can never mislead a big number of people.
4. If in case the ND changes its position on its alliance with the liberals, how extensive will the damages be in the legal, parliamentary struggle waged by the NDF?
JMS: I have already explained to you that the progressive as well as conservative liberals have an important place and role in the broad spectrum of the national united front against the Duterte regime. The honest liberals who abound among the urban petty bourgeois, especially among the intelligentsia and studentry, oppose the Duterte regime. There is only a handful of pretenders to liberalism who serve Duterte as his special agents and are Duterte’s influencers by attacking the CPP, the revolutionary forces and the entire national democratic movement, including the real and honest liberals.
5. Why did the NDFP agree to negotiate peace with the Duterte regime? Is it not capitulationism or even revisionism to negotiate with someone who had a notorious record of human rights violations as Davao City Mayor? Those whom you call pseudo-liberals and pseudo-Left consider the CPP and NDFP wrong in negotiating with the Duterte regime and regard peace negotiations as alliance or support for Duterte or even as capitulation, surrender or enabling Duterte.
JMS: Peace negotiations occur because in the first place there is an armed conflict and there are at least two warring parties and are enemies to each other. When your enemy offers to negotiate peace with you for whatever reason or reasons, including the intent to present himself as the one hankering for peace and your side is incorrigibly bellicose, what would you do? Reject the offer of peace negotiations outrightly as false and pure shit? Then the anti-CPP pseudo-leftists would jump up and say that the CPP and NDFP were dogmatists and lovers of war.
The correct thing to do is to test and let the enemy reveal himself, his nature and objectives to the public; and promote the rights and interests of the people in the process. The Guomindang massacred 300,000 suspected communists and sympathizers in Shanghai in the 1920s but when the Japanese imperialist invasion came in the 1930s the Chinese Communist Party took the initiative of negotiating truce and alliance against a common enemy. Mao Zedong went to Chungking to engage in peace negotiations and proved the intransigence and bellicosity of the Guomindang.
To engage in peace negotiations per se is not capitulationism or revisionism on the part of the NDFP. When there is an obvious need for peace negotiations, endorsed by many people and promoted by honest peace advocates, the NDFP would appear unreasonable and bellicose. What it can do is to obtain fair terms of negotiations like those in The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 and avail of the peace negotiations as a way to win the support of the people and to test and know what the enemy is up to.
The NDFP has always availed of the peace negotiations to reach the Filipino people in their millions and inform them of the program of the people’s democratic revolution and demand comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict. Take note that the people’s war continued even as Duterte in the first place continued the all-out war of the previous regime against the revolutionary movement and refused to fulfill his promise of general amnesty and release of all political prisoners.
6. Do you believe that there’s still hope that the peace negotiations with the Duterte administration resume in the future?
JMS: Duterte himself has terminated the peace negotiations de facto since the time he started his all-out war against the revolutionary movement and reneged on his promise to amnesty and release of all political prisoners. He has also formally terminated the peace negotiations since the time he issued his proclamations to terminate the peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 and to designate the CPP and NPA as “terrorists” on December 5, 2017.
There is absolutely no more possibility to have peace negotiations while Duterte is in in power because he has committed colossal crimes against the people and premises his drive for absolute power and absolute corruption with anti-communism, state terrorism and the goal of imposing a full fascist dictatorship on the people through charter change under the pretext of federalism and parliamentarism.
7. How will Ka Randy’s death, and the arrest of several other consultants like Adel Silva and Vic Ladlad, affect the peace talks?
JMS: As I have said, Duterte has made peace negotiations impossible while he is in in power. I think that the revolutionary movement would rather intensify the people’s war and achieve big strides in the people’s democratic revolution at this time when the crisis of the ruling system has become so grave and Duterte is the target of the people’s wrath for so many unforgivable crimes of treason, tyranny, mass murder and plunder and for the bankruptcy of the economy and his government.
The people are desirous of revolutionary change. The revolutionary forces and people led by the CPP are rapidly growing in strength nationwide in more than 110 guerrilla fronts and in 74 of the 81 Philippine provinces. The conditions for the armed revolution are far more favorable than when Marcos imposed fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people from 1972 to 1986.
8. Will the NDFP pursue any sort of legal action on the death of its consultants, such as regarding possible violations of the rules of engagement according to the Geneva Convention?
JMS: Of course, the NDFP will do everything necessary and possible to condemn the illegal arrest and murders of NDFP consultants and other people as violations of human rights and international humanitarian law and encourage all the surviving victims, aggrieved families and organizations to seek justice in every possible legal venue and political forum in the Philippines and abroad.
But a great number of the Filipino people are of the view that the quickest possible way to seek justice is to oust the Duterte regime through gigantic mass actions that can encourage withdrawal of support from Duterte within his own government and effect constitutional succession by his vice president. At the same time, the people are determined to advance the people’s democratic revolution towards total victory so that the big criminals like Duterte can be tried and punished.
Even now, the revolutionary movement is being challenged by the people to subject Duterte and his criminal accomplices to prosecution and trial before the people’s court and deploy teams of the people’s army to arrest such criminals and give battle to them if they are armed or surrounded by armed guards. So many people have been asking me since 2017 why the revolutionary movement has not carried out actions to achieve justice for so many people already murdered by the Duterte terrorist regime.###