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End U.S. Support for the Death Squad Government of the Philippines!
by Steven Argue
Tuesday Mar 12th, 2013 6:41 PM
[Photo: General Jovito Palparan, known as the butcher of Mindoro under the U.S. backed capitalist government of the Philippines. Under his military command, in Central Luzon, government assassinations of political opponents of the Filipino government averaged 52 people per month. According to Human Rights Watch, mass murder by the Filipino government continues. In 2012, the Obama Administration tripled U.S. military aid to the Filipino government while also dramatically increasing the number of U.S. troops rotated to the Philippines. U.S. troops are fighting directly in the Filipino Civil War to prop-up its capitalist death squad government.]
End U.S. Support for the Death Squad Government of the Philippines!

U.S. Troops Out of the Philippines Now!

By Steven Argue

Filipino General Jovito Palparan took part in the U.S. occupation of Iraq. When he returned to the Philippines in 2005 he was assigned to command counter-insurgency efforts in Central Luzon by the government of President Gloria Arroyo. Under General Palparan’s command, government assassinations of political opponents of the Filipino government averaged 52 people per month. Now, General Palparan has retired and is in hiding, wanted for his crimes of torture and mass murder. Yet, the reign of terror suffered by the Filipino people continues.

In 2012, President Benigno Aquino doubled the reward for information leading to the capture of General Palparan. Human rights lawyer Edre Olalia, counsel for the parents of abducted and disappeared University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, missing since 2006, points out that this doubling of the reward means little:

“At first blush, it seems to be a positive step and should be welcomed by everyone desperate to see that justice is done. But ultimately, it is not key or decisive. The amount and the move are still too little and too late and are empty tokenism especially with the continuing killings, disappearances and other rights violations and impunity.”

The families of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño agree that the increase in bounty was useless; pointing out that the government isn’t looking for General Palparan in a legitimate way.

Human rights organizations confirm continued abuses under the government of President Benigno Aquino. Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that the Filipino government continues to murder, carrying out extra-judicial killings that make “leftist activists, journalists and clergy” disappear. Since Barrack Obama first took office, he has given the murderous Filipino government $700 million in aid. The Obama Administration tripled military aid to the Philippines in 2012.

The supposed attempts to bring General Jovito Palparan to justice are simply part of an age old ruse of capitalist governments. General Palparan’s crimes are admitted and an insincere attempt to bring him to justice is made, all the better to pretend that the crimes of General Palparan and former President Gloria Arroyo are a thing of the past.

It is the duty of all anti-imperialists to oppose the reign of terror being carried out by the U.S. backed government in the Philippines. The Filipino capitalist government, with its brutal police, military, and death squads has targeted leftists, labor and peasant activists, as well as women's rights activists. Capitalist repression includes assassinations, abductions, torture, and disappearances. Poverty and grinding capitalist exploitation are the norm. Women's activists are also targeted by a sexist Catholic government that prohibits abortion and divorce.

On January 28, 2013, Carlos Caldron was convicted by a Filipino court for “offending religious feelings”. The conviction was for a peaceful protest by Calderon in 2010 demanding reproductive rights for women. He is facing up to 13 months in prison. Free Carlos Caldron!

Besides lacking access to safe legal abortions, backwards Catholic morality and the lack of socialized medicine in the Philippines restricts women’s access to contraception and sex education. As a result, unwanted pregnancies are common, deaths due to induced pregnancies are high, and the prevention of the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, is murderously hindered.

The number of people officially below the poverty line in the Philippines is 26.5%, a rate equivalent to capitalist Haiti and far worse than China (at 8.5%) and Vietnam (at 13.5%). Falling below the official poverty line in the Philippines are 94 million people living on less than a $1.25 a day.

For the Filipino government, brutal repression is the name of the game in protecting extreme capitalist exploitation. The Filipino government’s war on the working class included the November 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre of striking workers of the Kilusang Mayo Uno labor federation (KMU). At the massacre, heavily armed soldiers and cops, equipped with armored personnel carriers, attacked striking workers killing seven people, including a child. For Americans, this was your tax dollars at work.

In 2012, the Filipino government built temporary walls around slums in Manila during the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank Board of Governors which was discussing poverty. The walls were put up so that attendees could not see the slums. In response to criticisms, President Benigno Aquino’s spokesman argued in defense of the walls saying "any country will do a little fixing up before a guest comes."

The Philippine Communist Party (CPP), political wing of the New People’s Army (NPA), compared the actions of President Benigno Aquino to the U.S. backed Marcos dictatorship in 1974 that erected similar walls to hide Filipino squalor during the 1974 Miss Universe pageant held in Manila.

The U.S. government supports the injustices of the Filipino government; both through military aid and through keeping troops on the ground that participate in direct combat with the New People’s Army. One known example of U.S. combat was in 2009 when a joint military operation of the Filipino Army and U.S. Army attacked members of the NPA. The NPA fought back, killing three soldiers of the Filipino Army and wounding one U.S. soldier. One member of the NPA was martyred in the clash. In response to this battle, more U.S. soldiers were then sent into the area as part of the Philippine Army’s rapid “quick reaction force”; a force with U.S. soldiers integrated into the Filipino military.

The CPP responded to this direct military attack saying:

"This incident shatters US and Philippine officials' lies that their military forces in the ongoing joint Balikatan exercises in the Bicol region, Panay, Central Luzon, Mindanao and elsewhere are merely involved in humanitarian operations. The recent incident in Esperanza, Masbate proves that the Balikatan exercises are laying the groundwork and raising the level of involvement of US soldiers integrated within government forces of the Arroyo government's counterrevolutionary war.

"The US military has long been involved in the AFP's [Filapino Army’s] counter-guerrilla operations. Their troops have served as consultants, advisers, trainers and providers of intelligence information to the local fascist troops. They have been providing aerial reconnaissance and satellite and electronic intelligence information and have gone to the extent of participating directly in counter-guerrilla operations on many occasions."

"As more and more US troops are embedded in the combat units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and participate in armed encounters with the NPA, more and more US soldiers are bound to either get killed or wounded.

"The CPP and the Filipino people trust that given the tremendous loss of American lives in Vietnam and Iraq, the vast majority of the American people oppose US participation in foreign civil wars and an escalation of US involvement in the Philippine civil war.

"We call on the American people not to allow their government to continue with military interventionism, waste millions of taxpayers' money and risk the lives of US soldiers in the Philippine civil war.”

In 2012, under the imperial presidency of Barrack Obama, the United States increased the number of U.S. troops being sent to the Philippines. In addition, Obama tripled U.S. military aid to the repressive capitalist government of the Philippines. Increased military aid went from $11.9 million in 2011 to $30 million in 2012.

An additional purpose for increased U.S. troops in the Philippines today is part of Obama’s stated goal of an increasingly aggressive stance towards the People’s Republic of China. U.S. bases in the Philippines were used as a launching site of U.S. imperialist attacks on Vietnam (murdering 3 million people) as well as more recently on Iraq and Afghanistan (killing over a million people). The Chinese government has denounced the increased U.S. military presence in the Philippines and, in apparent response to the increasingly aggressive stance of the United States government, Chinese Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping told the 2.3 million member Chinese People’s Liberation Army to “Push forward preparations for a military struggle.”

Besides the current U.S. war in the Philippines, U.S. intervention has a long and bloody record that goes back to the Philippine-American War (1899—1902). This was a war that turned the Philippines into a U.S. colony against the will of the Filipino people. To accomplish this goal, the United States was forced to murder about a million Filipinos. Mark Twain denounced this brutal war and openly campaigned against it as a member of the Anti-Imperialist League.

Today, from direct U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of the Philippines (protecting U.S. imperialist investments) to the aggressive stance of the United States towards China, anti-imperialists oppose all of these goals of the U.S. government, demanding: U.S Troops Out of the Philippines! End U.S. Military Aid to the Filipino government!

In this war, the New People's Army (NPA) and the CPP are voices of opposition to the intolerable conditions the Filipino masses are subjected to. Whatever we think of their Maoist program, it is the duty of all Marxists to defend the NPA and CPP from the murderous attacks by the Filipino and U.S. military.

Yet, the Maoist NPA and CPP program of two staged revolution, a hold-over of Menshevism resurrected by Stalin and adopted by Mao, teaches the NPA and CPP to create illusions in some non-existent progressive nationalist wing of the Filipino bourgeoisie. In fact, the CPP has repeatedly channeled plebeian anger into support for these supposed progressive wings of the bourgeoisie, directing support to deadly class enemies of the working class and poor peasantry.

Those illusions have included CPP support for Corazon Aquino, the leader of the misnamed 1986 “People’s Power Movement” which, with the support of the U.S. government, big business, and the Catholic Church brought Corozan Aquino to power. The imperialists needed a face change from the brutal puppet dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, first placed in power in 1965. Like Marcos, “Cory” Aquino in power was a staunch anti-communist, continued capitalist policies that impoverished the Filipino masses, and was a strong advocate of keeping U.S. military bases in the Philippines.

Far from being an ally of the poor masses of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino carried out brutal counter-insurgency warfare, complete with death squads that targeted leftists, workers, poor peasants, and the CPP. Aquino’s rural death squads, the Alsa Masa, carried out total war against poor peasants and the CPP. Under her command, the Filipino military carried out the murder of peasants in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Lupao. In addition, her police and Marines opened fire on peasant protesters directly outside of the presidential palace, killing 18 people and wounding almost 100. At first the CPP correctly denounced Cory Aquino for this attack, but then they back slid, absurdly arguing that Aquino was not responsible for the actions of her cops and military. The back bending apologetics of Maoists in their search for a progressive wing of the nationalist bourgeoisie are sometimes enough to snap spines.

In short, Corazon Aquino was an ally of U.S. imperialism and a deadly enemy of the plebian masses of the Philippines. Yet, instead of telling the truth, the CPP sowed illusions in Corazon Aqino, just as the Stalinist Communist Party (USA) sows illusions in the imperial presidency of Barrack Obama.

In contrast to the program of the Stalinists, including the Maoists, both Lenin and Trotsky correctly saw that the age of the "progressive" and revolutionary bourgeoisie died out after the bourgeois revolutions of Western Europe. Far from having a "progressive" or revolutionary character in Russia, the bourgeoisie sided with tsarism against the working class and peasantry. Had Lenin and Trotsky promoted the Stalinist two stage theory of revolution, the October 1917 Russian Revolution would have never happened. Likewise, the CPP’s and CP-USA’s supposed “antifascist” alliance with capitalist politicians of the likes of Corazon Aquino and Barrack Obama are obstacles to revolution today.

The Communist Party of India (Maoist) [CPI(Maoist)] are also part of an armed uprising similar to that of the CPP and NPA in the Philippines. Like the NPA led uprising in the Philippines, the CPI(Maoist) and the impoverished adivasi people involved in the armed uprising should be defended from the brutal repression of the Indian government.

Yet, the political strategy of the CPI (Maoist) provides no long term solution for India’s oppressed masses. Like the CPP of the Philippines and other Stalinist parties in India, the Maoists seek an alliance with a mythical “progressive” wing of the capitalist class in the first supposed stage of a "two-stage" revolution. Party general secretary Ganapathy doesn't hide this flawed program, stating:

“We have a clear-cut understanding to unify all revolutionary, democratic, progressive, patriotic forces and all oppressed social communities including oppressed nationalities against imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucratic capitalism. Our New Democratic United Front (UF) consists of four democratic classes, i.e. workers, peasants, urban petty-bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie.” —Sanhati, January 2010

Yet, as all of history has shown, and as the program of Lenin and Trotsky points out, that national bourgeoisie is a deadly enemy of proletarian liberation. Far from being allies, the “national bourgeoisie” is in league with imperialism. Far from being a class to bring into the revolutionary government, the bourgeoisie are the primary class that needs to be overthrown.

This same Maoist perspective in Nepal recently led to the betrayal of that revolution. Through great sacrifice of Nepal's fighting peasants, the Nepalese Maoists had seized 80% of the country, seized land and factories, legalized the languages of oppressed nationalities, and made great strides towards women's liberation. Yet, in 2006, the Nepalese Maoists gave all of that back as the price of admission into the capitalist government of Nepal, giving back seized land and factories and dismantling the People’s Liberation Army, dismantling the "people’s courts”, and dismantling the “people’s committees”.

The Maoist program’s support for a capitalist stage in the revolution and support for a supposed progressive wing of the national bourgeoisie is part of a fundamentally reformist program that does not offer the road to the liberation of the oppressed Filipino, Nepalese, and Indian workers and peasants. That road forward can only be forged on the program of Lenin and Trotsky, written by Trotsky in "Results and Prospects" and adopted by Lenin in the "April Thesis". This is a program that recognizes that the era of a "progressive" bourgeoisie is over and is opposed all two stage theories of revolution, calling for the immediate overthrow of the capitalist class, capitalist state, and of the capitalism system itself. To carry out this Leninist Trotskyist program requires the building of revolutionary Trotskyist parties throughout the super-exploited under-developed world as well as in the imperialist centers, like the United States, to smash U.S. imperialism through socialist revolution.

U.S. Troops Out of the Philippines Now!

End U.S. Military Aid to the Repressive Capitalist Government of the Philippines!

For the Defense of the CPP and NPA from U.S. Imperialist Attack!

For the Building of Revolutionary Trotskyist Parties in the Philippines and the United States!

For an End to U.S. Imperialism through Socialist Revolution in the United States!

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For related articles by this author see:

One Hundred Million Workers Set to Strike in India

For Women’s Liberation through Socialist Revolution!

Kurdish Culture, Repression, Women’s Rights, and Resistance

Why The Russian Revolution is Still Important

Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
My bad on the spelling of Carlos Celdran.Steven ArgueWednesday Mar 13th, 2013 8:23 AM
In Prison for 'Offending Religious Feelings'Steven ArgueWednesday Mar 13th, 2013 1:52 AM
Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen EmpeñoSteven ArgueTuesday Mar 12th, 2013 10:56 PM
Photo: 2004 massacre by the Filipino government of striking sugar plantation workers.Steven ArgueTuesday Mar 12th, 2013 10:53 PM
2004 massacre by the Filipino government of striking sugar plantation workersSteven ArgueTuesday Mar 12th, 2013 10:52 PM
Woman combatants of the New People's ArmySteven ArgueTuesday Mar 12th, 2013 10:49 PM
Oops, misspelled "Barack"Steven ArgueTuesday Mar 12th, 2013 10:45 PM