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Letter from Dave Pugh of New York City

March 10, 2005


You may be familiar with Walden Bello's recent attacks on Prof. Jose Maria Sison and the whole national democratic movement in the Philippines. While falsely claiming that he is on a CPP "hit list," Bello denounced legal organizations such as BAYAN, GABRIELA and KMU as "communist fronts"--at the same time as their members ARE being assassinated by the Philippine Army on a daily basis! A month before Bello launched his misleading attack on Sison in the Philippine Inquirer, 7 farm workers were murdered on a strike line at the Hacienda Luisita sugar plantation by the military. Since then, Bello has been jet setting from country to country seeking political sympathy for himself and his reformist Akbayan (Citizens) Party.

Walden Bello's charges get a hearing internationally because of his status as a prominent anti-globalization activist and author. Among other things, his latest book advocates "balancing the US superpower by global civil society." This is nothing new. For years Bello has been a vocal advocate of organizing "civil society" to reform the WTO by relying on pressure from NGOs and social-democratic parties (such as Lula's Worker's Party in Brazil). In order to pursue this strategy, Bello has opposed efforts to build anti-imperialist organizations and struggle that can actually break the stranglehold of the World Bank, WTO and other neo-liberal institutions on the exploited, poor nations of the "Third World." As a result, Bello and Focus on the Global South, which he directs, are funded by Western foundations and other elite sources.

In the Philippines, his own country, Bello's positions stand in even sharper opposition to the basic interests of the millions who are victims of imperialist globalization. In coordination with the anti-communist propaganda of the Arroyo regime, Bello claims that the millions-strong revolutionary movement that aims to overthrow US military, economic and political control is the "Al-Qaeda of the Philippines." Instead, he insists that the violent, corrupt regime in Manila can be reformed, or "balanced", by organizations that cling to the illusion that US-trained generals will give up power peacefully. In contrast, the national democratic activists that Bello irresponsibly attacks risk their lives organizing--both openly and underground--to place real power in the hands of 90% of the Filipino people. Walden Bello, apparently, has other plans.

Also included below is the most recent letter from 15 national democratic organizations in Canada denouncing the Stop War Coalition's decision to invite Bello to speak at an anti-war event in Vancouver, B.C. on March 19.



From: "B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines"

Filipino-Canadian community outraged over Bello's attacks

As a network of progressive Filipino organizations in Canada that are in solidarity with the Filipino people's quest for a just and lasting peace in the Philippines, we are concerned and outraged at the attacks and vilification campaign that Walden Bello is conducting against legitimate people's organizations in the Philippines.

Apparently, Bello is not only content with his diatribe against Prof. Jose Maria Sison who has been tagged a "terrorist" by the United States because of Prof. Sison's uncompromising stand against US domination of the Philippines. Bello deliberately puts at risk the lives of many Filipinos through his red-baiting by dropping names of legitimate organizations as "communist fronts." Bello is fully aware that in doing this, he is giving excuse to the Philippine military to persecute these organizations and their allied groups. In these last two years alone, the Philippine military has killed and massacred over 100 members of trade unions, peasant associations, women organizations, youth groups and other sectoral organizations. Last November, the Philippine military massacred more than 10 peasants and workers in the picket line of Hda. Luisita. This came in the wake of the murder of Mely Carvajal in August 2004, leader of GABRIELA Party List in Laguna.

It is not surprising that Bello is now turning for support to his international network of "left" intellectuals, academics, and "civil society" groups in his tirade against the national democratic movement and Prof. Sison under the cover of "plurarism","multiplicity of perspectives and strategies against globalization" and "non-armed struggle." The Filipino people had already rejected him, his ideas and his joining forces with an alleged criminal who has an outstanding warrant of arrest for the deaths of hundreds of mass activists and community organizers at the height of the anti-communist hysteria in the 1980s.

It must be noted that during the era of the Marcos dictatorship, Bello succeeded in inserting himself in the national democratic movement and became privy to the movement's inner activities and personnel. He started building his personal image as expert on the Philippine struggle on the shoulders of the national democratic movement and in his "uncanny" way of being ahead of everyone one in ferreting out confidential and top secret documents, first, from the World Bank about its neo-liberal program in the Philippines and, later on, from the National Security Council of the United States about its plan of getting rid of the Marcos dictatorship.

Since then, Bello has been developing his "international connection" among progressive circles and waiting for the day when he can once more pounce on the people's movement like he did in 1986. At that time, Bello started to openly attack the national democratic movement blaming it for the killing of hundreds of mass activists and leaders while conveniently glossing over the criminal liabilities of his current friends who were responsible for these crimes. Even his own political party, where he is chairman emeritus, has insisted that it will use the Philippine military as armed escort against the New People's Army when campaigning in guerrilla zones, thus, ignoring the reality of civil war in that country.

Now that the Filipino people has once again regained the momentum and is moving forward the struggle against US imperialism and the local exploiting elites, Bello is now orchestrating his malicious attacks and lies against the people's movement and Prof. Sison. This is concurrent with the US direct intervention in the long-running civil war in the Philippines and the Philippine government's hardline attitude towards the peace process with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) that the Norwegian government is supporting as third party facilitator.

It is a mistake to have someone like Bello come in Vancouver to speak against war only to spread lies and disinformation about the national democratic struggle in the Philippines. During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in 1997 in Vancouver, Bello was among those "civil society" groups who wanted to "critically" reform APEC and tried but failed to marginalize community-based anti-APEC coalitions whose position was to dismantle APEC. His return to Vancouver is another attempt to pre-empt a surging anti-war and anti-imperialist movement in Vancouver and derail its support for national liberation movements against imperialism and reaction.

We, therefore, urge other communities, sincere anti-war and anti-imperialist individuals and groups to rally around the struggle of the Filipino people for national and social liberation and reject the malicious lies that Bello is trying to foist upon the international community.

March 3, 2005

BC Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines - Vancouver
SIKLAB (Filipino Migrants Organization) - Vancouver
Filipino Nurses Support Group - Vancouver
Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Vancouver
Philippine Women Centre of BC - Vancouver
Philippine Solidarity Group - Toronto
Philippine Network for Justice and Peace - Toronto
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario - Toronto
Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance - Toronto
Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines - Ottawa
Kabataang Montreal - Montreal
Philippine Workers Support Committee - Montreal
Centre for Philippine Concerns - Montreal
PINAY - Montreal
Manitoba Center for Philippine Concerns - Winnipeg

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