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Message of Solidarity to All Present at the Toronto Book Launch

By Jose Maria Sison
Co-Author of At Home in the World
February 12, 2005

Warmest greetings of solidarity to all compatriots and friends present at this launching of the book At Home in the World: Portrait of a Revolutionary. I wish to thank all of you for coming. For organizing this event and inviting me to speak, I thank the Philippine Women Centre of Ontario, the Philippine Network for Justice and Peace, Filipino- Canadian Youth Network-Toronto (UKPC-Toronto), Philippine Solidarity Group, the Filipino Workers Support Committee and others.

It is always a pleasure and honor to speak alongside Ninotchka Rosca, and to have the chance for an interface with the Filipino and other communities abroad and foreign friends. But you know and understand that the unjust "terrorist" tag placed on me by the US and other governments involves the violation of my rights, including the right to travel freely. I am gratified though that Ninotchka is right before you to speak and do what I cannot beyond this brief message. When older folks like me cannot be on the scene, younger ones like her can do any job better.

This book launch in Ontario, like the other book launches organized in Canada, United States, Asia, and Europe, is a good occasion for discussing the current political and economic situation in the Philippines and the world, for encouraging the solidarity of the Filipino community and other communities and for gathering support for the Filipino people's struggle for national and social liberation and for the campaign to defend the rights of overseas Filipinos.

I have been asked to speak on the status of my cases, the current international and Philippine crisis, and an update on the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). These topics are quite complex. But I shall try to present the most essential and latest points in each topic. At the same time, I urge you to buy the book if you wish to have a comprehensive and profound view of the topics. The book deals with the major problems that afflict the Filipino people and the people of the world due to the oppressive and exploitative system of the imperialists and their accomplices.

Status of Cases

The US government renewed in August 2004 the "terrorist" tag on me two years after it was applied on me in August 2002 under the pretext of anti-terrorism. The US, Philippine, European and other governments continue to violate my human rights. Because I live in The Netherlands, the Dutch government has been the most active and most cruel tool of the US. It has deprived me of the essentials of human existence (food allowance, housing and health insurance), after having banned me from doing compensated work. It has violated my right against slander and character assassination. It has transgressed my right to due process. It has subjected me to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The US works through other governments to violate my rights. And of course it violates my rights directly whenever it can do so. For instance, the Office of Foreign Asset Control of the US Treasury Department has frozen the royalties due to me as co-author of this book with Ninotchka. The US and its stooges in the GRP have also made clear that those whom they classify as engaged in or connected to the armed revolution, whether true or not, cannot be given indemnification for the violation of their human rights by the Marcos fascist regime despite their previous legal victory in the US court system against the Marcos estate. That means to say that nearly 10,000 people, including Ninotchka and me, are being deprived of what is due to them.

Of recent, the US and Manila governments have been frenziedly orchestrating their psywar and intelligence operations to subject me to character assassination, reinforce the baseless "terrorist" listing and apparently to prepare the way for my physical assassination or illegal removal from the Netherlands. They have intensified the use of certain anti-communist grouplets and hustlers that are openly subsidized by the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and covertly or indirectly funded by the US AID, the International Organizations Department of the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, the US Institute of Peace and the like to misrepresent the progressive organizations and leaders and national liberation movements as "terrorist". Ringos (racketeers in NGOs) and Trotskyites are quite active as special psywar agents of the US in this regard.

The attempts at my character assassination and physical elimination are increasing but so far futile. They fail to intimidate the movements, organizations, personages and broad masses of the people that defend my rights. The political campaign to defend my rights is challenged to fight harder and grow stronger. At the same time, panels of lawyers are taking care of my legal defense in various countries and in various ways. We have filed before the European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg cases against the "terrorist" listing and related acts by the European Council. We have also filed before Dutch courts cases against Dutch government offices to pave the way for going to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. My lawyers in the Philippines, the United States and The Netherlands are ever alert and active against any attempt of the Manila government and the US government to fabricate charges against me and justify my extradition, abduction or assassination by US agencies.

I continue to defend my democratic rights not only because I have all the right to do so for the sake of my own integrity and benefit but because of the far greater interest of so many Filipinos and others in the world who suffer the ever worsening conditions of exploitation and oppression and the most brutal forms of plunder, terror and aggression, unleashed by the US imperialists and their criminal accomplices. There is yet no end in sight to the "terrorist" listing and all the related acts of persecution that I am made to endure. I therefore need your continuing and increasing support in order to prevail.

International and Philippine Crisis

We can expect the crisis of the world capitalist system to become worse. The neoliberal economic policy, with the bombastic and fallacious slogan of "free market" globalization, has generated unprecedented economic and financial crises and shrunken the global market by pressing down the incomes of the proletariat and other working people, cutting back on social spending and favoring military spending and preventing the national industrial development of the overwhelming majority of countries. The neoconservative politico-military policy of stepping up war production and acts of war and intervention supposedly to stimulate the US economy, expand US hegemony, preempt rivals or recalcitrants from challenging the US and spread "democracy" is aggravating the crisis of the world capitalist system.

The imperialist powers headed by the US are intensifying oppression and exploitation at the expense mainly of the oppressed peoples and nations,that in turn increasingly wage armed revolution and other forms of struggle for national and social liberation. The plundering and wars of aggression unleashed by the imperialist powers are so intolerable that countries are pushed to invoke or assert national independence. The imperialist powers are still allied against the proletariat and people of the world but are increasingly at odds with each other and are already using proxy wars against each other in certain parts of the world. In their own homegrounds, the imperialist powers are adopting and implementing more and more harsh policies against the proletariat and people, especially against the immigrants and people of color, who in turn are resisting imperialism, racism, fascism and war.

The US is obsessed with maintaining its sole superpower role and expanding its global hegemony, through the possession of high-tech weaponry, through the manipulation of economic, financial and security policies at the expense of all other countries and through the control of oil which it describes as the lifeblood of the global economy. But the US is beset with critical problems that weakens it to the core. It does not solve but aggravates the contradictions between monopoly capital and labor. It is extremely afflicted by budgetary and trade deficits and by local and foreign indebtedness. It is already overextended in an all-rounded way by invading and occupying Iraq. But still it wants to extend its war of aggression against other countries in the Middle East. It is also stirring up big trouble in other parts of the world.

The US attaches great strategic importance to retaining the Philippines as a secure base for US operations in East Asia and further on in the rest of Asia. Thus, it has dubbed the Philippines as the "second front" of its so-called war on terror because it wants to tighten its hold over the Philippines and use it to ensure control over all the oil resources of Southeast Asia and over the flow of trade in the whole of Asia. Together with its British and Dutch allies, the US has started to exploit the gas and oil resources of the Philippines. The US imperialists have found it convenient to use the Abu Sayyaf and other pretexts, including the recent natural calamities, to deploy US military forces in the Philippines and widen the ground for US military intervention and the establishment of US military bases and stations.

The Arroyo regime knows no bounds for its puppetry. It obsequiously follows every dictate of the US, be this the so-called "free market globalization" or "war on terror" It shamelessly tries to conceal the principal responsibility of the US for the chronic and worsening economic and financial crisis of the Philippines. Now the crisis has become so severe in an unprecedented way. The broad masses of the people detest the imperialist master and the Arroyo puppet regime. The widespread collapse of enterprises, massive unemployment, depressed incomes, peso devaluation, inflation due to scarcity of basic goods, declining social services and other realities are inciting the people to wage all forms of struggle. The budgetary and trade deficits and the foreign debt have become far more unbearable than ever before.

The root causes of the economic and financial crisis are imperialist domination of the economy, feudal backwardness, and bureaucrat-capitalism. The current regime, like all its predecessors, conceals the culpability of US and other foreign monopoly capitalists in keeping the Philippine economy agrarian and pre-industrial, with the collaboration of bureaucrat capitalists who are themselves big compradors and landlords. The puppets look ridiculous as they try to draw fire to themselves by citing corruption as the main problem in the vain attempt to keep the imperialists out of sight. How can one hide the most hideous monster in the world, the No. 1 terrorist and plunderer?

Due to the worsening social and economic crisis, the political crisis is also intensifying. The contradictions among factions of the bureaucrats and the military within the ruling classes are becoming more violent than before. There is growing talk among Arroyo's rivals about removing her from power by assassination or coup. At the same time, the people's revolutionary movement is growing at an accelerated rate. The puppetry, corruption, cruelty and mendacity of the Arroyo regime are revolting to the broad masses of the people. An increasing number of people in the Philippines and abroad believe that the Arroyo regime can be overthrown relatively soon by a broad united front of progressive and other opposition forces.

Update on Peace Talks

Since the renewed "terrorist" listing of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant by the US, the NDFP Negotiating Panel has publicly announced the postponement of its formal talks with the GRP Negotiating Panel in order to give the GRP the time and opportunity to comply with its obligation in Oslo I Joint Statement and Oslo II Joint Statement to take effective measures for the removal of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant from the US "terrorist" listing. In the first place, the US and GRP collaborated behind the scenes to put the CPP/NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant on the US "terrorist" list during the Arroyo visit to Washington in November 2001 for the vile purpose of blackmailing and pressuring the NDFP to capitulate and surrender to a so-called final peace accord which the GRP negotiated with its own shadow, within the national security cluster of the Arroyo Cabinet.

However, the powerful politicians of Washington and Manila outwit themselves in creating something prejudicial to the entire peace negotiations. The "terrorist" listing violates at least three major agreements in the peace negotiations. The NDFP is completely correct and proper to demand that the principle of national sovereignty be upheld in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration, that the safety and immunity guarantees be respected in accordance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the basic democratic rights and Hernandez political offense doctrine be upheld in accordance with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). There is no point for the NDFP in negotiating with the GRP if the GRP does not know how to comply with agreements.

The GRP has further offended the NDFP by making ludicrous statements like the GRP cannot prevent foreign sovereign governments from violating the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Filipino people or those in the "terrorist" list can be removed only if the NDFP would capitulate outrightly to the GRP by signing the terms of capitulation or agree to an indefinite ceasefire as the blanket for capitulation and pacification of the people's revolutionary movement. The GRP should stop pipedreaming that it can destroy the people's democratic revolution through war or swindle across the table or in the mass media. So long as the GRP does not take effective measures to undo or counter the "terrorist" listing of the CPP/NPA and the NDFP Chief Political Consultant, the NDFP has no choice but to continue the postponement of the formal talks and wait for the GRP to comply with agreements..

Even while no formal talks are going on between the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels, the peace negotiations between them are still in motion so long as there is yet no side giving any notice of termination of the peace negotiations under the JASIG. That is why the Joint Monitoring Committee can still function under CARHRIHL. That is also why representatives of the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels have been able to engage in back channel conversations several times in order to look for a way for the GRP to comply with its obligations.

However, there are already strong indications that the GRP will terminate the peace negotiations relatively. The biggest indication is that the most rabid anti-communists and pro-imperialists, especially military officers and clerico-fascists, have completely taken over the GRP negotiating panel. The GRP is trumpeting its desire to resume the formal talks but at the same time it is demanding that the NDFP capitulate. The NDFP is consistent in demanding that the roots of the armed conflict be addressed by negotiating economic, social and political reforms and that the framework, including the substantive agenda and process set forth by The Hague Joint Declaration, be followed. It is the NDFP that is truly interested in serious negotiations for a just and lasting peace.

Conclusion

It is the Arroyo regime's own lookout if it terminates the peace negotiations and drops its pretense at desiring a just peace. It has long prevented the negotiation of economic, social and political reforms. It is merely acting according to its rabid counterrevolutionary character by trying to do away with the peace negotiations and further escalating its war against the people and revolutionary forces. But the crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system provides the favorable conditions for the Filipino people to wage all forms of struggle.

The Filipino people are intensifying their struggle against the US-directed Arroyo regime and for genuine national independence and democracy. They need the moral and material support of Filipino compatriots abroad and all foreign friends. At the same time, they are conscious that by advancing in their revolutionary struggle they contribute to the advance of the revolutionary struggles of other peoples.

Let us march forward together. Thank you.###


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