The World Socialist Web Site is publishing messages of support for Dr. Joseph Scalice from throughout the world. Dr. Scalice who has come under attack from the Philippine Stalinists for his powerful lecture, “First as Tragedy, Second as Farce: Marcos, Duterte and the Communist Parties of the Philippines,” which examined the support given by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the various organizations that follow its political line, to authoritarian Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.
Acutely sensitive to the criticism of the CPP, its founder Jose Maria Sison, without a shred of evidence, has denounced Dr. Scalice as a paid CIA agent and an informer for Duterte. Dr. Scalice, through the establishment of the historical record about the betrayals of the CPP, has done a service to the working class in the Philippines and internationally.
We urge our readers to come to the defence of Dr. Scalice, including by sending statements of support to the WSWS opposing the slanderous attack on him by the CPP and sharing his lecture widely.
Fu Hong from China
Jose Maria Sison, founder of the CPP, slandered Dr. Joseph Scalice claiming he is a paid agent of the CIA. Sison could not offer any concrete evidence, and his claim is entirely based on what he heard from some friends in the United States. In fact, this is not the first time the Stalinists have done something like this. Trotsky was once slandered by Stalin as a spy of the fascists, while [Chinese Trotskyist] Chen Duxiu was once called a “traitor” by the Communist Party of China. The Communist Party of the Philippines is a Stalinist Party, not a Marxist-Leninist one.
Jose Maria Sison said that he approves and appreciates Stalin’s effort to build socialism in the Soviet Union. In fact, what Stalin was building in the Soviet Union was “socialism in one country”. Their diplomatic policies were a continuation of domestic ones. Under the program of socialism in one country, Stalin dissolved the Comintern, and promised to the imperialist countries that he would not export revolutions. Stalin’s policy of capitulation played a major role in the rise of power of Hitler.
When Jose Maria Sison praised Stalin for defeating fascists, he probably did not know that it was Stalin who was responsible for the prevalence of fascism. Stalin’s policy led to the defeat of the 1923 revolution in Germany, the 1925-1927 revolution in China, the revolution in France and the revolution in Spain. It was this series of defeats that led to the coming to power of fascists. Because the demoralized petty bourgeois thought that the proletariats could not lead them onto a new way out, instead, they turned to fascism, the cruellest capitalist dictatorship. Stalin’s theory of socialism in one country led to the continuing degeneration of the Soviet Union along a bureaucratic path. In 1945, the Soviet Union defeated fascists. However, this is not proof that Stalin’s policies were correct, but only demonstrated that even a degenerated workers’ state was more vigorous than fascistic countries.
Jose Maria Sison claimed that since Trotsky believed in a permanent world revolution, he then must oppose the socialist revolution and the establishment of the Soviet Union. But this makes no sense. Why would one believe that Trotsky, an advocate of a permanent world revolution, would oppose the socialist revolution by the Soviet Union? Trotsky explained that without socialist revolutions in the developed countries, the effort to build socialism in a backward country like the Soviet Union would not be successful. The fate of socialism in the Soviet Union is determined by the fate of international revolutions. Trotsky once said that the building of socialism in the Soviet Union is only a short lever, and the long one is a world revolution. Under an international division of labour, socialism in any single country could not develop into a harmonious state on its own. The theory and practice of socialism in one country deepened the economic contradictions and the level of bureaucratisation in the Soviet Union, and eventually led to its dissolution in 1991. They were compelled to develop productive forces along the path of restoring private property relations. China also followed the same path. Stalin and Stalinist parties serve as brakes in the world socialist revolution.
M. N. Hettiarachchi, Environmental Engineer, Senior Fellow – WWF, Adjunct Associate Professor James Cook University, Australia:
The slanderous attack against political historian Dr. Joseph Scalice, by the Philippines Communist Party (CPP) and its founder Mr. Jose Maria Sison, reflects a general contempt for freedom of expression and serious intellectual work, in contemporary bourgeois politics worldwide.
As an eminent researcher affiliated to two reputed institutions—UC Berkeley and NTU—Dr. Scalice has developed his study through years of committed research, subjected to globally accepted academic standards. If Mr. Sison disagrees with this analysis, he should counter it with an equal level of analytical rigour and evidence, not by slander and threats.
In a way, this attack by CPP and Mr. Sison reminds us of the 1936-40 false legal framing, purge and murder of a whole generation of progressive thinkers, revolutionaries and intellectuals in the Soviet Union by the Stalinist regime. Leon Trotsky—co-leader of the Russian revolution—along with hundreds of his close comrades and followers, who exposed the Stalinists, were murdered. Many thousands of other intellectuals—historians, philosophers, mathematicians—were either executed or left to rot in prisons and gulags. The ultimate victim of the Stalinist purge, however, was the truth.
We now live in similar times where truth is again being blatantly suppressed by regimes of all political hues, using both legal and extra-legal means. The extradition trial of whistle blower Julian Assange, and recent arbitrary arrests and indefinite incarceration of artists and journalists in Myanmar, India and Sri Lanka are just a few examples.
I strongly condemn the attack on Dr. Scalice by the CPP, and urge them to retract their accusations and insults against him and publicly apologise for their conduct. I call upon fellow academics, students, youth and workers to come forward to protect Dr. Scalice’s rights, regardless of whether you intellectually or politically agree with him or not.
Any person should be entitled to freely express their political, religious or any other opinions. Academic research and journalistic investigations should not be restricted or hindered in any way by censorship or personal or political threats. Widest possible discussion of different viewpoints, and research findings should be encouraged, and facilitated through educational and media institutions.
K. Kandeepan, Secretary of the Glenugie estate plantation workers steering committee, Maskeliya, Sri Lanka:
Glenugie estate plantation workers steering committee met on October 15 and condemned the slanderous attack launched by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding leader Jose Maria Sison against Dr. Joseph Scalice and Trotskyism.
I had the opportunity to participate in the discussion between Dr. Scalice and the Sri Lankan Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members on October 4 and read his lecture “First as Tragedy, Second as Farce: Marcos, Duterte and the Communist Party of Philippines” through the World Socialist Web Site. In this lecture he clearly explained Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution.
We have the tragic experience of the betrayal by the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) in 1964 which joined a coalition with the bourgeois Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) adopting a Stalinist line of seeking alliance with so-called progressive sections of the national bourgeoisie. This betrayal paved the way for the civil war and rural massacres in the following decades, in which tens of thousands of Tamil and Sinhala youth were killed. This betrayal severely impacted the working class not only in Sri Lanka but also throughout Asia, including Philippines.
Plantation workers in Sri Lanka are among the most oppressed sections in the country and most of the workers are Tamil speaking. Their citizenship rights were stripped by the Sri Lankan ruling class in 1948, to divide Sinhala and Tamil workers. The Bolshevik Leninist Party of India (BLPI), which was formed in 1942 as a section of the Trotskyist Fourth International (FI), was the only working class party which opposed this bill and mobilised the working class against it based on permanent revolution. But this party was liquidated in 1950. The lessons in the last 70 years confirm that only on the basis of Trotsky’s Theory of Permanent Revolution can the Asian masses be liberated.
Dr. Scalice’s lecture and writings are a tremendous contribution which will educate the working class based on Trotsky’s program throughout Asia and the world. The working class from all over the world must take seriously the threats and slanders unleashed by Sison against Dr. Scalice and come forward to defend him.