Impact of Imperialist War and Terror
and Further Strengthening of the People's Movement
Address to the Asian Peasant Coalition 2nd General Assembly
Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
December 19-21, 2006
On behalf of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), I extend
most cordial greetings of solidarity to the Asian Peasant Coalition on the occasion
of its 2nd General Assembly. We congratulate you for all your achievements
since the First General Assembly in advocating genuine agrarian reform and all
measures for the benefit of the peasant masses and the rest of the people
against the various forms of exploitation and oppression imposed by the
imperialist powers and the local reactionary classes.
We welcome the militant call: Fortify the Struggle for Genuine Agrarian Reform!
Fight Imperialist War and Terror! Further Strengthen the Peasant Movement
in Asia and the World! We wish you great success in your current assembly.
We are confident that you will be able to sum up your experience, draw
lessons from it and set forth the tasks for advancing further. We wish you
to win greater achievements in the difficult struggles that lie ahead.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address your assembly. I appreciate
the fact that the Asia Pacific Coalition is a formidable combination of peasant
associations and related entities and that you play an important role in the
struggle against imperialism and local reaction. I am therefore deeply pleased
to make an input on "The Impact of Imperialist War and Terror and Further
Strengthening of the Peoples' Movement."
Imperialist War and Terror
Since the end of the 19th century, the entire world has become the economic
territory of monopoly capitalism. There is no part of it that is not in one way or
another a field of investment, market, source of raw materials or sphere of
influence for the imperialist countries. Outside their borders, the imperialist
powers have dominated peoples and nations either as colonies, semicolonies
or dependent countries.
Imperialist domination is imposed through aggression and other forms of violence
and with a certain degree of assistance from puppet forces. The US crossed the
Pacific Ocean to slaughter 1.5 million Filipinos in order to conquer the Philippines
and keep it as a base for grabbing a share of imperialist domination over China.
As a newly-risen imperialist power and a late comer in the acquisition of colonies,
the US declared war on Spain in order to grab its colonies, like Puerto Rico, Cuba
and the Philippines, even as the people in these countries were already succeeding
in their national liberation movements.
An imperialist power is by nature violent and aggressive, both in subjugating and
oppressing entire peoples and nations and in engaging in economic competition
and political rivalry with other imperialist powers. The growth in economic and
military strength of any imperialist power or group of imperialist powers upsets
the existing balance of forces among the imperialists and can lead to an
inter-imperialist war to redivide the world. Humanity has gone through two
world wars that have cost the lives of tens of millions as a result of the crises
of overproduction in the world capitalist system and the bitter rivalry of the
imperialist powers over economic territory. At the same time, the inter-imperialist
wars have generated conditions for the rise of socialism and national liberation
As a result of World War II, however, the US emerged as the No. 1 imperialist
power. It spearheaded the Cold War and maintained an anti-communist alliance
among the imperialist powers and puppet governments against the socialist
countries and the great wave of national liberation movements. For this purpose,
it used its economic and military power, the United Nations, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, bilateral and multilateral trade, financial,
economic and military treaties and agreements.
US imperialism carried out aggression, economic blockades and military encirclement.
It carried out the largest wars of aggression, to kill four million people in Korea
and six million people in Indochina. It directed client regimes and supplied them
with the military materiel to wage war on the people and on other countries. It
masterminded the military coups and dictatorships in the name of anticommunism
in Asia, Africa and Latin America from the 1950s to the 1980s. In the interest of
the American, British and Dutch oil companies, it instigated the Suharto military
clique in Indonesia to topple the Sukano government and massacre 1.5 million
While using aggressive methods of containment, US imperialism engaged in economic
and diplomatic maneuvers to induce the growth of the forces of modern revisionism
and capitalist restoration within the socialist countries. It employed neocolonialism to
coopt the newly independent countries and make them dependent on foreign loans,
direct investments and military assistance. It gave the largest US market accommodation
to the exports of Western Europe, Japan and other economies deemed to be in the
frontline against the socialist countries. In the process, it undermined its own
manufacturing capacity for exports and gave lopsided attention to military research
From the 1970s onwards, the US and the world capitalist system were strained by
the recurrent crisis of overproduction, the phenomenon of stagflation, rising military
expenditures, frustrated wars of aggression and the rising resistance of the peoples
of the world. But the trends of capitalist restoration in socialist countries and
neocolonialism in the newly-independent countries worked against the revolutionary
forces taking advantage of the crisis of the US and world capitalist system. Ultimately,
all the Soviet bloc regimes and the Soviet Union itself disintegrated. China also
became integrated into the world capitalist system.
Since 1991, the US has become the sole superpower lording over the world. It
has proclaimed a "new world order" and has carried out ideological, political, economic,
military and cultural offensives against the cause of socialism and national liberation.
It has promoted the notion of capitalism and liberal democracy as "the end of history".
It has trampled upon the principles of national sovereignty, the equality of nations,
real democracy based on the people, social justice and development. In the name
of "free market globalization", it has pushed denationalization, privatization, liberalization
and deregulation for the benefit of the imperialist-owned multinational firms and banks
at the expense of the working people, women, children and the environment.
The US has become ever more arrogant, quick to make and carry out threats, in
herding its imperialist allies towards war and in imposing itself on client countries.
It interferes in the internal affairs of other countries through such methods as
withholding or releasing loans and supplies, reducing or increasing market accommodations,
exerting military pressure or carrying out outright military intervention and aggression.
It demonizes as "rogue" those states that defend their national sovereignty and
independence and by so doing seeks to intimidate all countries to stay under its
In the last 16 years, after the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union,
US imperialism has led large-scale wars of aggression, such as those against Iraq,
Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. In the process it has collected substantial spoils of war,
including sources of oil, military bases and stations, military supply contracts and
contracts for the "reconstruction" of the countries ravaged by US cruise missiles
and other weapons of mass destruction. The people have suffered great loss of
lives and property from the worst form of terrorism, the wars of aggression,
unleashed by US imperialism and its cohorts.
The US is the No. 1 aggressor and terrorist of the world today. It has used the
September 11 attacks to misrepresent itself as the champion of antiterrorism and
to terrorize the people of the world. The terrorist acts committed by such small
private terrorist groups as the Al Qaeda and the Abu Sayyaf, are condemnable for
inflicting death and injury solely or mainly on the civilian population. But their
terrorism pales in comparison with the superterrorism of the US. US terrorism in
Iraq alone has caused the death of 1.5 million people, including that of 700,000
children in the period of 1991 to 2002, and more than 655,000 people in the
period of 2003 to 2006.
The US has used the September 11 attacks as a pretext to drum up war hysteria,
step up military production and curtail the democratic rights of the American people
and other peoples. It has invoked the 9/11 attacks to carry out acts of aggression
against countries asserting national independence. It has emboldened repression
and state terrorism against the people waging revolution and the nations fighting
for liberation. It uses the "terrorist" label on all anti-imperialist forces and thus
rationalize all sorts of barbarities inflicted upon them.
Under the Bush regime, the so-called neoconservatives have been able to put
into practice their Project for a New American Century. This sets the line for
the US to make use of the full spectrum of its power, especially its high-tech
military superiority, to undertake preemptive wars in order to cut down any
"rogue state" or any potential US rival. The US thus seeks to maintain supremacy
over all countries and peoples and enforce its "democracy" and the "free market".
The Peasant Masses in the Third World
The peoples of the third world countries have suffered the most from the crisis
of the world capitalist system since the 1970s. The imperialist countries have
passed the burden of the crisis on to their client countries, the semicolonies
and dependent countries. Thus, it is also in these countries where the struggle
for national and social liberation is most intense. It is in these countries where
revolutionary armed struggle is raging and strong mass movements are advancing.
The crisis of overproduction in the imperialist countries has further aggravated
the overproduction of raw materials by most semicolonies and dependent
countries as well as the overproduction of low value-added semimanufactures
by a few of them. This has resulted in either the closure of the bankrupted
enterprises or bigger overproduction and export of bigger volumes of the
same goods at lower prices in the global market.
The crisis of overproduction, the chronic budgetary and trade deficits and
mounting debt burden result in the worst working and living conditions for
the people. The worst conditions of mass unemployment, low incomes,
impoverishment and deprivation are found in the semicolonies and dependent
countries. Here, the majority of the people live on less than two US dollars a
day. In most third world countries, the main problems are landlessness and
the feudal and semifeudal exploitation of the peasant masses who compose
the majority of the population.
The forces and relations of production in agriculture in semifeudal economies
are backward. The big compradors and landlords are dictated upon by foreign
monopoly capitalism and driven by their own reactionary class interest to
oppose genuine land reform and national industrialization. These two economic
measures are complementary. Land reform is a way for liberating the peasant
masses economically, socially and politically, encouraging them to produce
more food for the country and raw materials for industry and becoming a
major source of capital and an expanding market for industrial products.
The "land reform programs" decked out by the big comprador-landlord
regimes in semicolonial and semifeudal countries are bogus and tokenistic.
In the case of the Philippines, various methods are used to block genuine
land reform, such as limiting its scope to certain crops, like rice and corn,
allowing the landlords to retain land and to distribute it to his children and
children-in-law through fake personal or corporate sales.
In cases where the government expropriate the land for distribution or
where the government mediates the sale of land between the landlord
and the tenant, the latter is made to pay what is supposed to be the
fair market value of the land and such value is arbitrarily raised in any
arrangement by which the tenant pays in installments for the land.
Tenants rarely succeed in completing payments for the land and are
ultimately evicted or returned to tenant status. In cases where the
peasant masses clear and cultivate public land, they are subjected to
eviction by various types of landgrabbers, including bureaucrats, military
officers, longtime landlords and foreign agri-corporations.
Since the promulgation of the 1987 constitution under the Aquino regime,
it has been constitutionally established that land can be sold by landlord to
tenant, only if the former agrees to do so voluntarily and the latter agrees
to pay the fair market value as "just compensation. The landlord can also
escape land reform by inveigling the tenants and farm workers to accept
the "stock distribution option" by which they become petty stock owners
in an agricultural corporation in which members of the landlord family owns
more than 95 per cent or more of the stocks.
The fake land reform in Hacienda Luisita in the form of stock distribution,
the cases of overpriced expropriated land for redistribution to tenants and
the long running flow of reclassifying rice and corn land as other types of
land for the purpose of exemption have completely exposed the bankruptcy
of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Since the time of
Aquino, the reactionary government has junked the principle of social justice
by regarding land reform as a real estate deal in the "free market". The
Hacienda Luisita massacre and the subsequent assassinations of the leaders
and members of the farm workers and peasant organizations manifest the
utter failure of the stock distribution option and other sham measures of
land reform under the CARP and the so-called free market globalization.
Under the banner of "free market globalization", the presidential successors
of Aquino have completely ignored the need for land reform and national
industrialization and have merely prated about providing the "land reform
beneficiaries" with the financing for the production and marketing of farm
products. The local ruling classes of big compradors and landlords are happy
with the World Bank prescription of "market-assisted land reform" that
makes this a mere real estate transaction. This has served to preserve
land monopoly and favor land concentration, including the reconcentration
of land previously awarded to or being amortized by peasants.
With the so-called "free market globalization" many third world countries
are driven to importation of agricultural products from other countries.
The big compradors and high bureaucrats benefit from this as well as from
the export of agricultural products. But the overall result is the ruin of local
agricultural production due to imports of surplus agricultural products,
especially from the imperialist countries and other well-mechanized and
well-subsidized sources. China, which has become a net importer of food,
is a well-known case of a country which has dismantled socialist agriculture
and sacrificed self-reliant agricultural production in favor of agricultural
imports, semi-manufacturing principally for foreign consumer markets
and yielding expanses of land to real estate developers and speculators.
The burden of the crisis is laid on the shoulders of the peasants and farm
workers. These toilers are subjected to further social degradation as a
result of ever more virulent forms of feudal and semifeudal exploitation.
"Free market globalization" imposes terrible suffering on the peasants and
farm workers of Southeast Asia, South Asia and China and thus cause
deep social discontent among them and drive them to rise up against
those who monopolize the land and reduce them to conditions of feudal
and semifeudal exploitation. We are all aware of the growing wave of
concerted peasant mass actions in Asia, both in the form of legal protest
actions and armed resistance.
The crisis engendered by foreign and feudal exploitation, particularly under
the policy of "free market globalization", drive the imperialist owners of
plantations, big compradors and landlords to evict peasants, fire farm workers,
bust peasant associations and farm workers' unions and unleash other
oppressive actions. The local puppet regimes work against the rights and
interests of the peasants and farm workers and carry out violent campaigns
of suppression, using military, police and paramilitary forces as well as private
goons against the communities and associations of peasants and farm workers.
Among the local reactionary regimes in Asia, the Arroyo regime has been
most notorious in cheering the Bush global war of terror and has used it to
beg for US military intervention and assistance and carry out a ruthless and
murderous all-out war policy against the Filipino people, especially the toiling
masses of workers and peasants. More than fifty per cent of the victims of
the well-documented extrajudicial killings are peasants. The number of peasant
victims run into tens of thousands if we take into account those illegally detained,
tortured, murdered and forced out of their homes and farms through arson,
bulldozing, bombings and artillery fire by the military, police and private security
Further Strengthening the People's Resistance
While the attention of the world is riveted to the US wars of aggression related
mainly to oil and gas resources in the Middle East and Central Asia, the cleverest
of the strategists of the imperialists and local reactionaries in Asia are well aware
of the frustrations and increasing misery of the peasant masses under "free
market globalization". They fear the high potential of the peasant masses for
armed revolution. They are aware of the durability and steady growth of people's
war in the Philippines, the dramatic growth of people's war in Nepal and India
and the yearly outbreak of thousands of peasant uprisings in various parts of
The same strategists are concerned about the fertile conditions for protracted
people's wars for national liberation and democracy, with the crucial participation
and support of the peasant masses. However, the prevailing reaction of the
imperialists and the local reactionaries to such conditions is not to carry out
any genuine and thoroughgoing land reform but to conduct in the name of
anti-terrorism campaigns of suppression against peasant unrest and resistance .
For instance, in the Philippines, the US and Arroyo regime have practically
terminated the peace negotiations between the National Democratic Front
of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Philippine reactionary government in favor
of an all-out war policy. They would rather spend lives and huge amounts of
resources on military and police campaigns of suppression than carry out
honest-to-goodness land reform, national industrialization and other bourgeois
democratic reforms. The imperialists and the local reactionaries know no
bounds for their greed and their violent determination to preserve the semicolonial
and semifeudal ruling system. They leave no choice to the broad masses of the
people but to wage armed revolution.
The peasants and farm workers need to organize themselves and wage militant
resistance to defend themselves and assert their rights. They have to struggle
for the people's national sovereignty and democratic rights and for genuine land
reform and national industrialization. They must join up with the rest of the people
in advancing the struggle to achieve national and democratic power necessary for
carrying out comprehensive land reform, pursuing national industrialization and
undertaking other reforms to promote the people's livelihood and well-being.
For these reforms to be carried out, the rule of the big compradors and landlords
who act as puppets of imperialism must come to an end.
The imperialists with the collaboration of their puppet regimes will do everything,
including direct military aggression, to prevent the people from achieving their goal
of national and social liberation. They will block the countries and peoples from
breaking free of the imperialist system of exploitation and oppression. The big
compradors and landlords oppose national and social liberation because this would
mean an end to their privileges and parasitic existence. The imperialists and their
puppet regimes brand the people's revolutionary movement and even the forces
of the legal opposition as "terrorist" in order to justify state terrorism and armed
The people have to strengthen their unity in a patriotic and democratic united
front, which encompasses the workers, peasants, petty-bourgeoisie and national
bourgeoisie, with the basic worker-peasant alliance as the foundation. They have
to wage all forms of struggle in order to establish a truly national and democratic
state. Only with such a state can they carry out genuine land reform and national
industrialization and solve the problems of exploitation, massive poverty and
underdevelopment that afflict many third world countries.
The people of every country in the third world must rely mainly on their own
strength to achieve national and social liberation. But they can also draw additional
strength from as well as lend their own through international solidarity among
peoples waging a common struggle against imperialism and all forms of reaction
in all continents and countries. In this connection, the International League of
Peoples' Struggle is constantly dedicated to build an international anti-imperialist
and democratic movement for the national and social liberation of the peoples
of the third world.
The Asian Peasant Coalition is a highly important framework for various forms of
cooperation among the peasant movements in Asia that are struggling for urgent
basic social reforms. It is a framework for raising the level of consciousness,
organization and mobilization of the peasant masses. You can learn valuable
lessons from each other's struggles, thus strengthening both your coalition
and its individual members. Your coordinated campaigns and actions against
the onslaught of imperialist and feudal forces contribute to the over-all weakening
and eventual defeat of the imperialist system of exploitation and oppression.
Once more we in the International League of Peoples' Struggle wish you
the utmost success in the hard struggles ahead against imperialism, feudalism
and bureaucrat capitalism and for the national and social liberation of the
exploited and oppressed peoples in the countries of Asia and other parts
of the world. #