On October 14, the Stalinist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) published a statement declaring that its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), would be carrying out attacks on “Chinese companies” in the Philippines, targeting, among others, firms blacklisted by the US State Department.
The CPP leadership elaborated on this policy in interviews conducted with Radio Free Asia (RFA), an official organ of US government propaganda directed against China. The CPP is openly aligning itself with the interests of US imperialism in the Asia Pacific region.
The October 14 CPP statement reads like many of the stock press releases issued by the party over the course of decades. Whenever its elite allies are conspiring in the removal of the president, the CPP issues statements declaring that the masses are in upsurge and the NPA is winning victories throughout the country.
One critical aspect in this statement was new, however. The CPP declared, “In particular, the revolutionary movement must take effort to frustrate plans of the Duterte regime to allow the further expansion of Chinese companies.” It called for the targeting of Chinese firms by the armed movement. No reference was made to American firms or to the economic interests of US imperialism.
On the same day that the CPP issued its statement, Radio Free Asia published an article featuring interviews with CPP spokesperson Marco Valbuena and CPP founder and ideological leader, Jose Maria Sison. Valbuena told the RFA, “They [Chinese owned businesses] and their armed ... securities are targets.” Sison confirmed this and declared that the CPP was setting the goal of staging “more tactical offensives nationwide.”
The RFA article noted that the CPP targets included “state-backed firms that the United States has blacklisted.” The blacklist of 24 Chinese firms alleged by the US State Department to be engaged in reclamation activities in the disputed waters of the South China Sea is a component of the Trump administration’s escalation of economic warfare against Beijing.
In late August, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US government was imposing sanctions and restrictions on these firms for their role in “destabilizing the region.” It is in fact US imperialism that has destabilized the region. With its aggressive confrontations of China, Washington has sharpened military and diplomatic tensions with Beijing impacting countries throughout the region.
The Duterte administration, seeking to secure Chinese investment for its infrastructure projects, has sought to downplay these tensions and in the process has become the target of Washington’s ire. On September 1, Philippine presidential spokesperson Harry Roque announced that, “projects involving Chinese companies that are banned in the US can continue in the Philippines... We are not a vassal state of any foreign power and we will pursue our national interest.”
The elite opposition to Duterte, organized around the Liberal Party of Vice President Leni Robredo, has long-standing ties to Washington. They are attempting to channel the social outrage, produced by mass suffering under the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the brutal authoritarianism of Duterte, against China.
The CPP is openly allying with these forces and Sison has issued multiple statements calling on the “patriotic and pro-US sections of the military” to stage a coup, withdrawing their support from Duterte and installing Robredo as president.
This alliance with the openly pro-US sections of the Philippine bourgeoisie explains why the party is now publicly aligning itself with US imperialism.
The Radio Free Asia article, which included interviews with both Sison and Valbuena, was published on the same day as the CPP statement. That journalists could read the CPP statement, schedule and conduct multiple interviews with individuals on different sides of the planet, and publish a detailed news article within the space of hours strains credulity. The evidence strongly suggests that the CPP coordinated the release of its statement with Radio Free Asia, arranging the interviews beforehand.
Sison approvingly shared the Radio Free Asia article on his Facebook page.
Radio Free Asia was originally founded during the Cold War as a part of network of CIA propaganda targeting the Communist bloc. Sison and the CPP repeatedly denounced the RFA and Voice of America as the mouthpieces of US imperialism in their party publications issued in the 1970s.
Refounded in 1996, with the express purpose of “countering the narrative of the Chinese Communist Party,” RFA still serves as an official mouthpiece of US interests. Along with Radio Free Europe and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, RFA is funded by the US Agency for Global Media, a federal agency of the US government operating under the State Department, whose declared primary mission is to “be consistent with the broad foreign policy objectives of the United States.”
The RFA’s targeting of China has become more open over the past decade, as Washington ever more aggressively confronted Beijing. In March, RFA ran stories alleging that China had drastically covered up the death toll from Covid-19. These stories were used by the Trump White House to blame Beijing for the global pandemic.
The stories published in the RFA have contributed to an atmosphere of anti-Chinese chauvinism throughout the Asia Pacific region. The targets of these noxious sentiments are not the CCP leadership, but the Chinese diaspora. There is a long and bloody history of anti-Chinese violence and pogroms in Southeast Asia. The war drive of US imperialism is bringing this barbarism back to the surface.
It is unlikely that the NPA will be able to conduct direct armed operations against the major Chinese firms blacklisted by the US government. The far more probable targets are small businesses owned by Chinese Filipinos, one of the more vulnerable social layers in the country. The CPP is whipping up an atmosphere of racist violence in service to the interests of its bourgeois allies and US imperialism.
Joma Sison and the Communist Party of the Philippines have announced through Radio Free Asia that they are ordering the targeting of firms blacklisted by the Trump White House.
Aware it seems that his credibility was at stake, Sison conducted two lengthy interviews which were published at the same time as the Radio Free Asia article. Sison presented a potted history of his revolutionary past and defended the legacy of Maoism around the globe. Despite the restoration of capitalism in China and the ignominious collapse of Maoist parties in country after country, as they entered into bourgeois governments or disappeared from the political stage, Sison doubled down on the correctness of the legacy of Mao.
The CPP association with Radio Free Asia and US imperialism is in line with the opportunist legacy of Mao Zedong. Mao in the 1970s opened ties with Nixon and Kissinger to secure an alliance with Washington in opposition to the Soviet Union. Over the course of the 1970s, the CCP worked closely with the CIA and US State Department in their common opposition to Moscow. The nationalist opportunism of Mao aligned with the geopolitical interests of US imperialism.
The historical betrayals carried out by Stalinism in the Philippines, and the instrumental role in this played by Joma Sison, were exposed in the August lecture delivered by Dr. Joseph Scalice at Nanyang Technological University. Scalice demonstrated with copious evidence that Sison and CPP had enthusiastically supported Duterte in 2016 and that this was in keeping with the support that the party had given to other sections of the ruling class over the course of its history.
Sison responded with baseless slanders, claiming that Scalice was a “paid agent of the CIA.” There is not a shred of evidence for this claim.
It now emerges that it is Sison himself who is collaborating with US government assets and directly articulating the interests of Washington.