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tyranny

ON DUTERTE’S SCHEME OF FASCIST DICTATORSHIP AND THE GROWING PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE

in Statements
Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
July 29, 2019

http://tiny.cc/p2pgaz

Friends among academics, journalists and political activists have repeatedly asked me whether Duterte is proceeding to establish a fascist dictatorship as a result of successfully rigging the 2019 midterm elections and obtaining overwhelming control of Congress and the local governments.

I have dared to say that Duterte is stubbornly on the road of establishing a fascist dictatorship through charter change and ensuring that he is succeeded by someone who can protect him from prosecution for his grave crimes against the people. Duterte is publicly saying ad nauseam that there must be charter change to give him absolute powers or else he would proclaim a “revolutionary government”.

My friends abroad have also asked me how the Filipino people are responding to Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship. I am quick to point out that Duterte is truly hated by the people despite his incredible popularity ratings by paid poll surveys and the recent rigged elections. The people will certainly rise up as soon as Duterte pushes charter change to give himself absolute powers.

The people despise Duterte for waging a “war on drugs” that has murdered 30,000 poor people and that has installed himself as the supreme protector of drug lords and smugglers who continue to benefit from the expanded and thriving illegal drug trade. Close friends and relatives of Duterte have been exposed as key players in the illegal drug trade.

In considering his role in the illegal drug trade alone, Duterte has become the biggest crime lord and has converted the military and police as his private killing machines. Aside from the lopsided official transactions of his dummies with Chinese banks and corporations, he connives with Chinese criminal triads in the illegal drug trade, casinos and other criminal enterprises.

He has become the No. 1 corrupt official. He is the chieftain of his alliance with the biggest plunderers in the previous regimes of Marcos, Estrada and Arroyo. He has been in connivance with them in the 2016 and 2019 elections and in various major types of corruption involving his presidential office. He has caused the Supreme Court to junk the plunder cases and convictions of his allies and has let them go scotfree.

The Filipino people have gone through the historical experience of the 14-year Marcos fascist dictatorship. They remember that it was a time of unprecedented oppression and exploitation by a Filipino tyrant but it was also the time that the revolutionary forces grew from small and weak to big and strong.

The Filipino people are thoroughly disgusted with the tyrannical, treasonous, brutal, corrupt and mendacious character of the Duterte regime in the last three years. They hold Duterte responsible for the aggravation of the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system.

The crisis conditions abet and yet limit his capabilities for either coercing or deceiving the people.

The broad masses of the people and even the overwhelming majority of government employees are outraged by the militarization of Duterte’s cabinet and civilian functions and the colossal amounts of public funds for intelligence, military equipment, military campaigns of suppression and doubling the salaries of soldiers and policemen under the slogan of “whole-nation approach” to end the revolutionary movement.

The social economy remains underdeveloped and stagnant, ever exploited by foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The people are groaning under the weight of soaring prices of basic commodities, joblessness, landlessness and low incomes perpetuated by the absence of genuine land reform and national industrialization, the system of landgrabbing, short-term work contracts and the rapid population growth.

The escalating acts of brutality and mass murder are driving the people to greater open resistance to the Duterte regime. Those who are most threatened by red-tagging, arrests and summary execution by the regime are finding their way to the urban underground and onward to the ranks of Red fighters in the people’s war in the countryside.

The revolutionary movement is now far more extensive and deeper and is far more experienced and tempered than during the period of the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The armed revolutionary forces can actually move freely in 90 percent of the Philippines and can strike at will any weak point of the enemy forces.

In contrast, the size and strength of the military, police and paramilitary forces of the Duterte regime cannot cover even only ten percent of the Philippine population and territory at any given time. Wherever they are, they engage in all kinds of abuses and atrocities, including extortion, mass murder, torture, arson and forced evacuations, and thus they incur the ire of the people.

The forces of the reactionary military are overconcentrated in Mindanao due to prolonged martial law. They can focus on only a few areas in the Visayas and Luzon. Their combat strength is further reduced by psy-war and intelligence operations under the pretexts of “peace and development” and “community support program” and by staging fake localized talks, fake surrenders and fake encounters.

The reactionary military officers take over civilian functions and civilian structures, including public schools, clinics and barangay halls. They are hated most when they red-tag people and murder them to be able to collect cash rewards and merits for fake encounters. They lay open and vulnerable to the tactical offensives of the people’s army the deployment of small detachments, checkpoints and patrols. They cannot avoid travelling single file on the highways and country roads.

In any particular area, where the reactionary military or police can concentrate and advance in superior strength, the targeted units of the people’s army retreat and observe the deployment of enemy units in order to determine their weak points. The enemy units ultimately become the targets of ambushes, raids and other guerrilla offensives. Thus they unwittingly transport and supply arms to the people’s army.

When the reactionary armed forces seek to encircle the forces of the people’s army, the latter have the options of counter-encircling the weak points of the former within the contested area or shifting to another area where the enemy forces are far weaker. Retreat for active defense and shifting of forces are tactics available to the people’s army to evade a superior enemy force and seek better circumstances for launching tactical offensives within the shortest span of time.

It is publicly well-known that while the people’s army gives full play to tactical offensives in order to seize weapons from the enemy, it can also engage in a wide range of actions that compel the enemy to be on the defensive, merely doing guard duty. Such actions include punitive missions against tyrannical and corrupt officials, harassing enemy camps, sniping, use of command-detonated explosives and the sabotage or destruction of enemy facilities.

Should the Duterte regime proclaim nationwide martial law as in 1972, outlaw all urban-based legal democratic forces critical of it and inflict violence on them, the revolutionary movement can be expected to intensify the people’s war and administer justice by arresting and punishing all human rights violators and plunderers, thus forcing the military and police to deploy more armed personnel for protection of these brutal and corrupt officials.

Common sense tells us (sharpened by theoretical and practical support from Marxism-Leninism-Maoism) that the Duterte regime cannot engage in red-tagging and acts of terror without facing fiercer responses from the armed revolutionary movement. Duterte cannot engage in the most brutal acts of butchery and bloodletting without facing the risk of drowning in the same sea of blood that he creates. This is a point that is easily understood by anyone from the developing situation in the Philippines.

So far according to published reports, the people’s army has carried out competently guerrilla warfare within the current strategic defensive of the people’s war. It has shown determination to wage only the battles that it is capable of winning. It is also increasingly heeding the clamor of the broad masses of the people for accelerated punitive actions against those reactionary officials who have incurred blood debts and plundered the economy and public resources.

Duterte’s threat of imposing a fascist dictatorship on the people through a nationwide martial rule and suppressing all democratic rights does not frighten the revolutionary forces of the people but pushes them to undertake punitive actions against the fascist dictator and his brutal and corrupt subalterns. The declaration of nationwide martial law in 1972 by the fascist dictator did not frighten the people and the revolutionary forces but emboldened them to strengthen their ranks and intensify the people’s war.###

#FightTyranny
#OustDuterte
#JoinTheNPA

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On Culture and Fascism under the Duterte Regime

in Arts & Literature/Countercurrent
by Alejo Nicolas

President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime can now appropriately be described as a looming fascist dictatorship: one wherein mechanisms, operations, and systems are being put in place towards a full-blown resurrection of the Marcos authoritarian rule, which in 1986 was ousted by the people’s collective action.

The term “fascism”, first used to denote ultranationalist and right-wing governments in Europe, is understood in the Philippine context as rooted in bureaucrat capitalism. In Philippine Society and Revolution, Amado Guerrero discusses how the country’s political landscape changed from direct colonial occupation under Spain, Japan, and the United States to a neocolonial republic ruled by a succession of Filipino puppet regimes since 1946.

Led by bureaucrat capitalists, these regimes continue to protect imperialist and feudal interests by maintaining a deceptive bourgeois democracy supported by the entire state machinery of the military, police, courts, penal system and cultural institutions. However, such a regime can revert to outright authoritarian rule when the people’s resistance threatens the existing order, as shown by Ferdinand Marcos’s imposition of Martial Law in 1972.

Fascism and Philippine culture

The past two-and-a-half years under President Duterte were marked by the regime’s increasing use of deception, threat/intimidation, coercion, and armed violence against the people.

Its campaign, through police brutality and reckless killings, against the proliferation of illegal drugs and its counterinsurgency plan of deception and “all-out war” against the advance of revolutionary and progressive forces have left tens of thousands dead or displaced. The breakdown in the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) was followed by crackdowns: illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, and false charges against hundreds of civilians. Martial Law in Mindanao was declared in May 2017 during the armed conflict in Marawi. It has been extended three times until the end of December 2019.

In October 2018, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) fanned the false alarm of a “Red October” destabilization plot as a pretext for expanding such repression to the rest of the country. Although the faked destabilization plot has been thoroughly exposed, the security forces have continued to sustain it as a reference point for its expanded counterinsurgency operations.

The Philippines is witnessing the turn towards fascism across different fronts. It is crucial to consider this rising state of tyranny not only in the military and political spheres, but also in the field of culture which is part of the arena of class struggle. Culture encompasses all spheres of social behavior while art distills, reflects, and refracts human and social experience. How is state violence reinforced, reflected, diffused or deployed by cultural institutions? How does it appear across everyday discourse, popular culture, mass and social media, the visual arts, film, literature, architecture, and more? And lastly, how is the people’s anti-fascist struggle conveyed across culture and the arts?

Signs of tyranny

Fascist rule in the Philippines is reinforced in the way the state wields culture and art to, first, openly suppress and demonize the people’s struggle through censorship and harassment. On the other hand, it also selectively patronizes and supports initiatives that whitewash and sanitize the repression of the regime. Over the past two and a half years, the following developments can be noted:

2015: The President as populist but anti-people personality. Since the start of the presidential electoral campaign in 2016, Duterte’s outrageous conduct, language, and gestures have generated controversy and aghast. His years in power, however, have been marked by more vile, sexist, misogynistic, anti-religious, and anti-people statements.

Since assuming office, he has threatened and began to slaughter suspected drug addicts, to bomb Lumad schools. He told a United Nations rapporteur on human rights to go to hell, denigrated the International Criminal Court prosecutor for being black, and ordered troops to shoot woman rebels in the vagina. Recently, he urged street idlers to rob and even to kill bishops critical of his war on drugs and EJKs, and described rape against overseas Filipino workers—whom he referred to as those “working as slaves [overseas]”—as “com(ing) with the territory, ‘kasali sa kultura (it’s part of the culture).”

These can not be dismissed as simple rhetoric, as they reflect and symbolically justify actual states of violence happening everyday. As a key political figure—the head of state no less— Duterte’s every word and action is covered and amplified by mass and social media, reaching and influencing millions of people inside and outside the Philippines and enabling public acceptance of fascist rule.

A succession of spokespersons for the regime’s propaganda machinery, each worse than the previous one, adds to the circus of disinformation and lies. These messages, many of which express the disregard for human rights, feed a populist cult of personality which breeds blind obedience to the President, fueled by a paid social media army of trolls.

2016: Memorializing a tyrant and reinstating fascist figures. Among the first nationally-condemned acts of Duterte as President was to enable the family of the fascist dictator Ferdinand Marcos to bury his remains with military honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in September 2016, with the backing of the Supreme Court. The occasion also gave the Marcoses air time to sanitize and whitewash their family’s history of bloody fascist rule.

Allowing the dictator’s remains to rest in the country’s supposed memorial cemetery for heroes sends a strong symbolic message to the Filipino people: that a deposed and dead dictator can be valorized, honored, and restored to state power. It is an insult and assault to past and present generations who resisted Martial Rule.

This enabling and restoring of proven fascist figures was again unabashedly shown in July 2018, when former President Glora Macapagal-Arroyo, questionably acquitted of plunder by the state courts in 2016, crawled back into the halls of power and installed herself as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. She has since engineered the passage by the House of a joint resolution of both legislative chambers calling for changes in the 1987 constitution that, among others, removes the ban on political dynasties and term limits to all elective officials, and insidiously aims to cancel the May mid-term elections to prolong her and other incumbent officials’ terms until 2022.

2017: Rising state impunity and EJKs. The “war” on illegal drugs was a campaign platform of Duterte. Tokhang operations, surveillance, and extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of suspected drug addicts started in mid-2016 and he has vowed to continue the drive till the end of his term—without assurance of winning the “war”. The number of estimated drug suspects killed since July 2016 ranges from 4,251 to over 20,000 people.

The government continues to deny that a culture of impunity exists and to downplay the gravity of the deaths. Outside of official reports, however, the frequency, undeniability and brutality of the EJKs in the drug war is documented by media workers and reflected in the many artistic works or initiatives that represent the drug war as a theme, setting, or reference.

Examples from Philippine films of 2017, for instance, include Bubog, EJK, Neomanila, Respeto, The Right to Kill, Madilim Ang Gabi, Adik, Double Barrel, Durugin Ang Droga, Kamandag Ng Droga and Si Tokhang At Ang Tropang Buang. Some films support an anti-drug stance that does not deviate from the government’s own discourse, while others more critically reflect how the drug war has affected lives, for worse, across urban to rural communities.

Government propaganda campaigns aiming to justify this state of impunity have intensified. The Philippine National Police (PNP), for instance, stepped up initiatives such as the 1st PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Festival in July 2017. And resigned PCOO Undersecretary Mocha Uson attempted to parade fake Lumad leaders in hopes of discrediting genuine community leaders.

2018: Heightened attacks and counter-insurgency. The ever-increasing influence of the AFP is reflected in the militarization of the Duterte Cabinet and the sabotage of the peace process towards an all out war against Philippine revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and the NDFP. By December 2017, issuances such as Proclamation 374 declaring the CPP-NPA as a terrorist group set the stage for heightened assaults against both revolutionary forces and civilians critical of the regime. Since entering the second half 2018, the AFP has been fanning the flame of imagined destabilization plots and has been similarly extending the timeline of these to the end of the year.

This counter-revolutionary war against “terror” led by the AFP in the countryside continues to target and displace the broad masses from countless communities. There is nothing more fascist than the current killing spree of activists, civilians and progressives across the country. The EJKs, massacres, harassments, and arrests of activists and members of progressive organizations have risen sharply since 2017, mostly targetting farmers, lawyers, indigenous peoples, health and Church workers, media workers, union leaders, and environmentalists.

The counter-insurgency drive is also expressed in forms of harassment, such as the circulation of black propaganda and red-tagging of civilians and attacks against institutions of mass media, which attempt to paint all dissenters to the regime as “destabilizers” who must be neutralized. Individuals, schools, universities and institutions or organizations holding cultural, media or educational activities critical of the regime are now being openly red-tagged.

Art and culture for the anti-fascist struggle

The culture of impunity and fascism unleashed during the past two and a half years under Duterte underscores the looming danger to all revolutionary and progressive forces. On the other hand, it also points to the regime’s increasing desperation over the rising popular unrest fuelled by worsening socio-economic crisis in semi-feudal and semi-colonial Philippines. The lingering discontent over high inflation rates, rising prices, dislocation of communities due to neoliberalization, and lack of employment and substantive development in urban and rural areas only gives rise to more expressions of collective dissent.

“This rise of fascism is not a sign of strength but in essence is show of despair and weakness,” Guerrero noted in Philippine Society and Revolution during the pre-Martial law era, adding:

“Fascism is on the rise precisely because the revolutionary mass movement is surging forward and the split among reactionaries is becoming more violent…the exposé of the violent character of the reactionaries will only teach the masses to defend themselves and assert their own power.”

These words ring as true then as in the present time. When words and gestures fail to deceive the Filipino people into submission, the state apparatus of force and repression kicks into high gear. The worsening culture of impunity, terror and fascism that has defined the Duterte regime so far reflects how the reactionary state now resorts to desperate measures. The proliferation of trolls, paid hacks, fake news, disinformation and black propaganda only emphasize how the reactionary regime is quickly mobilizing resources to discredit the recent gains of revolutionary and militant struggle by the people.

On the other hand, the threats under a fascist dictatorship have done little to deter and prevent Filipino artists, cultural and media workers, organizations and communities from expressing the anti-fascist struggle through creative and collective means. If there is anything that history and the past years under Pres. Duterte have emphasized in the field of culture, it is how art that has resisted fascism possesses great potential to mobilize and agitate diverse sectors of Philippine society to collectively act against the threat of tyranny and dictatorship.

The Filipino people’s cultural resistance against fascist rule has, across time, yielded compelling forms and practices that exposed the depravity of the state’s counter-revolutionary campaigns and the extent of human rights violations against the people.

Through such efforts, the Duterte regime, for instance, has been mocked and unmasked early on as another iron-fisted and essentially anti-people fascist puppet regime. It has been exposed as a railroader of socio-economic policies that reinforce neoliberal and feudal class interests and drag the Filipino toiling masses into more poverty and hardship.

Lastly, the people’s cultural resistance has also documented, made vivid and advanced the growth of the mass movement and the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside. As the Party observed its fifth decade of advancing the Philippine revolution, these efforts help show and testify to how struggle and optimism continues to grow amid heightened counter-insurgency by another puppet regime.

DUTERTE IS THE BEST RECRUITER AND BEST TRANSPORT AND SUPPLY OFFICER

in Statements
Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
23 March 2019 | https://goo.gl/MLoM8h

The Filipino people and the revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) have a lot to thank Duterte for. Though unwittingly, like the tyrant Marcos in his own time, Duterte has become the best recruiter and the best transport and supply officer of the New People’s Army (NPA).

As the best recruiter of the NPA, Duterte has driven so many people to join the NPA by running a tyrannical, treasonous, mass murdering, plundering and inflation-generating regime. The people have no choice but to fight such an evil regime.

By terminating the peace negotiations, he compels the armed revolutionary movement to concentrate on intensifying the people’s war and cast away any illusion that this regime of terror and greed can negotiate social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict in order to achieve a just and lasting peace.

The more direct kind of assistance that Duterte gives to the armed revolution is splitting up his military and police forces into two parts, one part for psywar and mass intimidation and the other part for blind and deaf armed offensives against the people.

The part for psywar and mass intimidation is for engaging in fake peace-and-development activities, rounding up people for fake localized peace negotiations, fake surrenders, occupation of civilian offices, too many checkpoints, guarding pro-Duterte politicians and business enterprises, over-enlarged surveillance and intelligence operations, widespread red tagging, urban arrests and death-squad operations.

The part for combat is weakened with less personnel for field deployment. In any case, whatever is the number of combat personnel of the reactionary armed forces, they are rendered blind and deaf by the lack of popular support wherever they dare to move against the guerrilla fronts.

Duterte is the best transport and supply officer when he sends his troops and police to attack the guerrilla fronts. When they advance in superior force, the NPA retreats and gives the enemy an illusion of winning. But when they camp and take over rough terrain, their strength is thinned out and they leave gaps between units and make small detachments and patrol teams, which are easy targets for the counteroffensives of the NPA.

Duterte’s scheme to destroy the NPA in Mindanao and then in Luzon and the Visayas has utterly failed. The predictions of Ano and Duterte that they could destroy the NPA before the end of 2018 have proven to be false. Duterte’s prediction that the NPA would be destroyed before the middle of 2019 have been debunked by DND secretary Lorenzana himself who begged for more time until 2022.

The NPA has become stronger in Mindanao, with more enemy units being annihilated and disarmed. At the same time, the people’s war in Luzon and the Visayas has successfully intensified. Thus, Duterte is compelled to redeploy some of his forces from Mindanao to the Visayas and Luzon. The 75 percent of his military forces concentrated in Mindanao since 2017 are now down to 64 percent, according to inside AFP sources.

The diehard reactionaries like Duterte and his armed minions always fail to appreciate the strategic line of protracted people’s war in pursuit of the people’s democratic revolution. This strategic line gives the wide space and time for the NPA to grow from small and weak to big and strong and to lure in the enemy forces to spread out thinly in the countryside and to so many islands for NPA tactical offensives to become more effective.

It is impossible for the reactionary military, police and paramilitary forces to defeat the NPA through sheer military operations and puerile psywar. The NPA already has nationwide strength and is deeply rooted among the toiling masses. It occupies almost all the strategic areas favorable for guerrilla warfare in the stage of strategic defensive and for the prospective regular mobile warfare in the strategic stalemate.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has wisely changed the NPA force structure, with 40 percent of its units relatively concentrated for tactical offensives and 60 percent relatively dispersed units for mass work in each of the 110 guerrilla fronts. By seizing more arms from the enemy forces, the NPA is increasing its ability to hit the weak points of the enemy at will all over the archipelago.

At this time, the termination of the peace negotiations seems to benefit Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship but in fact, it drives the broad masses of the people and the organized revolutionary forces to wage all forms of resistance to isolate and intensify them in order to isolate and defeat the tyrannical US-Duterte regime.

As an observer of the current civil war in the Philippines, I have learned from CPP revolutionary publications that the best way to frustrate Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship, to puncture its arrogance and debunk the fake surrenders and fake encounters staged by the regime and its armed running dogs is for the NPA to deliver more lethal blows on weak points of the enemy forces in the countryside and deliver head blows to the regime’s most brutal, corrupt and drug-trading officials in the urban areas.

Unholy Trinity

in Countercurrent

What is the common thread binding former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and current President Rodrigo Roa Duterte?
Dictatorial and extraordinary powers. Forgive the pun: “Those whom the gods which to destroy they first make MAD.”

 

As is being repeated in history, no amount of force or threats or promises could fool the people to believe that these tyrants—like MAD—have the best interests of the people at heart.

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