US Empire Rolls the Dice on Venezuela Invasion

Supporters of the Venezuelan government hold pictures of former President Hugo Chavez. Image from http://www.psmag.com

US Empire Rolls the Dice on Venezuela Invasion

27-10-2018 – It’s no secret. The US ruling class, through its various fronts, has attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan government repeatedly since Hugo Chavez swept to electoral power in 1998. There was a coup attempt in 2002, an attempt to shut down the state owned PDVSA oil company in 2003, a separatist plot in the Zulia region in 2008, and violent opposition led rolling street demonstrations in 2014 and 2017.[1] This year on July 8, US President Donald Trump laid the military option on the table. According to Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, Trump had a meeting with the then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then national security adviser HR McMaster, asking why the US could not “finish off” Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro through a military operation. Apparently Tillerson and McMaster managed to talk Trump out of that option.[2]

US government funding of Venezuelan opposition

Washington, however, continues to carry out everything but an actual military intervention to overthrow the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. While there is a substantial right-wing domestic opposition to the Venezuelan government, it would barely be able to sustain its multiple coup attempts without the financial and political backing of notorious US deep state operatives such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED is more or less the public face of the CIA, which poses as an aid organisation, but in fact exists to subvert and/or overthrow any government or country around the world which is perceived to be too independent from Wall Street. In Venezuela, it partners with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), to funnel funding to the opposition which repeatedly refuses to accept the results of elections within Venezuela which they lose. In 2015 alone, the US pumped $4.2 million into Venezuela through the NED and USAID.[3] The US government also funds the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to the tune of some $777.8 million[4]. This money runs the “Voice of America” news service, which for decades has beamed anti-communist propaganda into Cuba, and continues to do so throughout Latin America and Asia.

Yet it is not just faux media organisations which Washington funds and often creates. It is also entire opposition political parties. The NED, via the International Republican Institute (IRI), funds the right-wing coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), in violation of Venezuelan law. The IRI has virtually set up the opposition parties Primero Justicia and Voluntad Popular.[5] It is also no coincidence that these right-wing parties are heavily supported and backed by Venezuela’s wealthy and upper classes. For years, the majority of working class and poorer Venezuelans have stood by their “Bolivarian Revolution”.

Economic crisis undermines Chavismo

For around 15 years, the Chavista movement (or “Chavismo”, named after initiating President Hugo Chavez) was unassailable and virtually could not lose an election. The Bolivarian Revolution, with the overwhelming support of the majority of Venezuelans who have little personal wealth, did win substantial gains that leftists the world over could celebrate. For the first time, many people who could not afford to get an education were able to enroll. The minimum wage was increased, by government decree, repeatedly. Free health care centres were set up in poorer neighbourhoods which had rarely seen a doctor. Housing was built for those who could least afford to buy. Venezuela’s substantial oil wealth helped to fund these progressive steps which had never previously been contemplated.[6]

Hugo Chavez and the Chavistas claimed they were for socialism, and that this was the aim of their revolution. Chavista supporters no doubt consciously accept socialism, yet in practice the Bolivarian Revolution was always based on reforming the capitalist system. Chavistas may deny it, but the Bolivarian Revolution did not take the crucial first steps towards socialism – the organisation of the working class in preparation for the seizure of state power. For this, what is indispensable is the forging of a Marxist vanguard party – composed of the most advanced pro-working class fighters. Even Chavista supporters internationally would admit that the party created by Hugo Chavez, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), was not conceived as a Marxist organisation.

The Bolivarian Revolution itself was never a socialist revolution. This is something that genuine Chavista supporters in Venezuela and internationally have to face up to. Socialism begins with the working class creating its own power, overthrowing the rule of capital, and taking control of the major means of production, at least initially. None of this has been attempted in Venezuela – in fact, quite the opposite. Despite some abandoned factories being taken over by the government here and there, the major means of production remain in private hands in Venezuela. The entire banking system remains in the hands of the wealthy elite. Far from organising working class occupations and take-overs of critical public infrastructure, the Chavistas have restricted their political work largely to elections. Because the state remains in the hands of capital, all of the gains made by the Bolivarian Revolution can therefore be taken away by a lost election.

This reality is getting closer day by day. In fact, a US backed military intervention, or even just a classical Wall Street backed “opposition” movement creating enough chaos to topple the government, is on the cards. An actual socialist revolution enables the most advanced workers to destroy the capitalist state, and erect a workers’ state in its place, as the first step towards the transition to socialism. The critical factor is that the working class uses state power to win the majority of the working people, and integrates them into ruling the new society themselves – without and against the corporations and their wealthy backers. The Bolivarian Revolution, on the other hand, attempts to rule in the name of the “people” or “Venezuelans”. In a class divided society, however, uniting antagonistic classes is an impossibility. And so, without working class control of the banks especially, there is no chance of being able to control such things as runaway inflation. This is one reason why the right-wing opposition is able to make a comeback.

Negotiations while migration crisis expands

The PSUV and Maduro constantly enter into negotiations with Venezuelan capitalists and the opposition generally, in a vain attempt to somehow make enough concessions that might lead them to refrain from sabotaging the economy and the state. A genuine socialist leadership of a workers’ state would enter into negotiations with former capitalists who have been deprived of political power – but Maduro and the Chavistas do not lead a workers’ state, and they have no intention of expropriating even some of them. Their negotiations are based on the fantasy that Venezuelan business owners would somehow value all Venezuelans above their material wealth. But the opposition’s open consorting with and through Washington and all of their agents is a clear indication that the Venezuelan “captains of industry” are only loyal to the profits they can squeeze out of Venezuelan workers and the poor.

The Venezuelan rich classes are also part of the reason why there is a migration crisis between Venezuela and Colombia, and elsewhere. The hoarding of goods by businesses that refuse to sell or supply them to poor Venezuelans causes some to pack up their belongings and seek asylum where food and goods, not to speak of work, are available. Hyper-inflation, now barely measurable, pushes prices of basic goods out of reach. Some reports state that as many as 10 to 12%, or around 3.8 million, Venezuelans now live abroad in more than 90 countries.[7] Many of them flee Venezuela on foot, and large numbers of them cross the border into Colombia. Some move further through Ecuador and into Chile.

At the same time, the hypocrisy of the Colombian government blaming Venezuela entirely for this migration crisis stands out in stark relief. 50 years of war in Colombia, with right-wing paramilitaries regularly murdering left-wing guerrillas and perceived supporters has led to millions of Colombians fleeing for their lives. Venezuela has reportedly absorbed about 30% of this migration, with an estimated 5.6 million Colombians living in Venezuela, according to 2015 figures.[8] What is more, these Colombians benefit from the same rights as all Venezuelans, and make use of the government provided health care, education and housing!

Chinese investment assists oil industry

The Venezuelan oil industry, the exports of which make up around 95% of government earnings, is now at its lowest level in 70 years. Crude oil production is currently down to around 1.4 million barres per day (mbpd), which is about half of the average 2.4 mbpd Venezuela usually produces. It had a record high of 3.4 mbpd in 1997, and a record low of 0.594 mbpd in January 2003, during the opposition “oil lockout”.[9] The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is a major recipient of Venezuelan oil, but due to the problems PDVSA is experiencing, it is struggling to send its shipments. In July, the China Development Bank approved a $250 million grant to PDVSA to boost oil production. This is on top of a $5 billion loan already approved, which exists alongside previous $50 billion oil-for-loan arrangements with the Asian economic powerhouse.[10] Workers should be clear – this assistance from the PRC stems from the predominantly socialist state led Chinese economy, of which its state owned oil production forms a part. Without the PRC’s largely collectivised and planned economy, based on public ownership of the major means of production, Red China would not be the world’s leading economic generator today.

While the economic assistance the PRC is able to grant Venezuela acts as a welcome countervailing factor to the threats of regime change emanating from the US Empire, it may not be enough to stave off the relentless sabotage the Venezuelan right wing opposition utilises, in concert with Washington. While the PRC’s assistance to Venezuela is welcome, the politics of the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership is such that it does so in order to prop up the Venezuelan bourgeois system, rather than “socialism”. If the PRC was led by genuine Marxist internationalists, the assistance would be provided alongside political encouragement to raise the working class to power, in Venezuela and Latin America.

Defend Venezuela against regime change

The working class internationally is crying out for leadership, as capitalism drives human society ever closer to an abyss. There is scarcely any leadership coming from the left in the Western imperialist countries. The leaderships of the countries which broke from capitalism after World War II maintain their initial success in establishing the first steps towards socialism. In the PRC, the largely nationalised and planned economy guided by socialist state led development continues to outstrip the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. Yet the PRC leadership, along with their cohorts in Vietnam, Laos, the DPRK (“North Korea”) and Cuba concentrate their building of socialism within their own borders. Unfortunately, workers do not hear calls from them to join with them in a struggle to finally end global capitalist rule.

Neither, however, do such calls emanate from Chavismo. The movement led by Chavez and now Maduro has won substantial gains for the working class and the poor in Venezuela. Yet every reform made via electoral change, even one which has governmental power, can be taken away by capital as soon as the political conditions allow. The only way to not only protect the free health care, education, housing and other gains won by Chavismo, is to prepare the workers for the overthrow of corporate rule, via the destruction of the old regime based on vast inequality, and the construction of their own state. Unless the working class holds power, socialism only lives in words.

Workers in Venezuela have the task of winning over Chavistas to the perspective of a genuine struggle for the arming of their class and the rule of a workers government. Key to this is the forging of an internationalist Marxist cadre party. Workers internationally have the task of defending Venezuela against the dire threat of open imperialist intervention from the US Empire. There is a need for the military defence of the Venezuelan government against US imperialism, while preparing the political conditions for the supersession of Chavismo with a perspective of united action between the workers of Venezuela, Colombia, Latin America, the US and internationally.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  Box  66     NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14094 (27-10-2018)

[2] https://www.iol.co.za/sundayindependent/analysis/us-set-on-regime-change-in-venezuela-15898260 (27-10-2018)

[3] https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/US-Pumped-4.2M-in-2015-to-Destabilize-Venezuelan-Government-20170408-0006.html (27-10-2018)

[4] https://www.bbg.gov/strategy-and-performance/budget-submissions/ (27-10-2018)

[5] https://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/25/the-dirty-hand-of-the-national-endowment-for-democracy-in-venezuela/ (27-10-18)

[6] https://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/4-Gains-Maduros-Venezuela-Made-That-Mainstream-Media-Ignores-20170413-0026.html (27-10-2018)

[7] https://www.straitstimes.com/world/americas/how-the-venezuelan-migration-crisis-affects-south-america (27-10-18)

[8] https://www.telesurtv.net/english/analysis/Why-Do-Colombians-Continue-Migrating-to-Venezuela–20150910-0028.html (27-10-18)

[9] https://tradingeconomics.com/venezuela/crude-oil-production (27-10-18)

[10] https://www.dw.com/en/venezuela-secures-oil-sector-funding-from-china/a-44518822 (27-10-18)

USA/Australia: Hands Off Palestine!

In May this year, the US government opened its embassy in Jerusalem. The same day, Israeli Defence Forces shot dead 58 Palestinians as they protested near the border with Gaza. Photo from http://www.reuters.com

USA/Australia: Hands Off Palestine!
19-10-2018 – As if the Australian government could not be any more craven to the masters of the US Empire, Liberal Party Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week publicly floated the idea that his government would follow the lead of the US Donald Trump administration and move its embassy from the Israeli capital Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This would also entail recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.[1] The opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem in May this year was birthed with the blood of 58 Palestinians who were shot dead by the Israeli Defence Force, who were apparently given orders of shoot to kill to prevent a protest march in Gaza from breaching the border. Around 2000 were also wounded, after being hit by live-fire bullets.[2] One wonders if the Australian government was hoping for a similar massacre to christen the opening of its embassy in Jerusalem.

The Beast lashes out after defeat in Syria

Some speculation has it that Prime Minister Morrison’s thought bubble was a desperate ploy to secure votes ahead of the coming by-election in the seat of Wentworth, vacated by dumped former PM Malcolm Turnbull. The Liberal Party’s candidate, Dave Sharma, is a former Ambassador to Israel. This may well have been part of the reason, but world geo-politics following the US Empire’s war on Syria plays the dominant hand. From 2011 onwards, the US Empire waged arguably the most atrocious proxy war in history upon the Syrian Arab Republic, in a not so subtle war of regime change. The plans of the US ruling class for regime change in Syria did not by any means begin in 2011, but go way back to at least the 1980s.[3] But this time, the US government, which has routinely overthrown states in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia over 70 years, was stopped in its tracks. Incredible heroism was shown by the Syrian Arab Army, and they were joined by the resistance fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian armed forces. Decisive, though, was the intervention of Russia, which followed through on a request from the Syrian government. Russia’s far superior air power dealt crippling blows to ISIS, Al Qaeda and all of the mercenary death squads which had been armed, trained, funded or otherwise assisted by, at least, the governments of the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Canada, Denmark and Australia. Recently, the Israeli government finally admitted that it too had armed the anti-government barbarians in Syria.[4]

Donald Trump was partially elected as President on the promise that the US would no longer be involved in the regime change wars, such as those in Libya and Syria. Despite fury from the CIA Democrats, Trump has more or less wound up former President Obama’s regime change plans for Syria. But the writing was well and truly on the wall in any case – Russia effectively liberated Syria from ISIS.

Nationalism is no way forward

Many supporters of Palestine, and some left parties, ply the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign in their efforts to end the suffering of Palestinians. Yet PM Morrison’s actions this week should serve as a warning sign as to how misguided are nonetheless well intentioned BDS supporters. The “Sanctions” part of BDS calls on national governments to apply sanctions on Israel until some of the just demands of the Palestinians are met. Working people should not be attempting to win over the same governments that have recently committed the outrageous provocation of shifting embassies to Jerusalem, to the cause of Palestinian liberation. These governments are part and parcel of states which are class enemies of working people, and oppressed nationalities such as Palestine. They cannot be won over because they are an integral cog of capitalist imperialism. Any attempt to win them over feeds the already vast illusions that no matter what “mistakes” these governments make, at the end of the day they are “our” representatives. Little could be further from the truth.

The governments that the BDS movement wills to apply sanctions on Israel are the very same ones which uphold the Zionist Israeli state. This contradiction comes about because often the nationalism of the oppressed nation can only really be recognised by the powerful (imperialist) nations. BDS is ultimately one wing of Palestinian nationalism. Others include the nationalism of the almost universally rejected Palestinian Authority, which functions as little more than a Zionist/US deputy policing Palestinians. Another is the Islamist nationalism of Hamas, which treacherously backed the overthrow of neighbouring Syria by sectarian cutthroats armed by the West, as well as the Israeli government.

Any nationalism trapped within the framework of capitalism will not be able to solve its first tasks. Palestine can only be freed alongside the millions strong Israeli working class – the overwhelming majority of whom do not at all back the Zionist policies of predatory aggression towards the Palestinians. What is required is to unite Palestinian and Israeli workers through the struggle for a bi-national Arab/Hebrew workers state. In other words, the just cause of the national rights of the Palestinians can only be finally won through a victorious socialist revolution.

Even before such a revolution is won, working people internationally who defend Palestine can only be effective in doing so by consistently and stridently opposing all facets of imperialism – not by seeking to work with it, as per the BDS campaign. This means opposing all wars being waged or being threatened by the Zionist Israeli state’s guarantor – the US. War against Syria, Iran, Russia, China, the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Venezuela – all of these must be opposed with equal vigour – if one is to be genuine about the liberation of Palestine. Key to this outlook is the forging of Marxist vanguard parties, which seek to light the way from the horrors of war to the beacon of socialism.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com

E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

PO  BOX  66    NUNDAH  QLD  4012

[1] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-16/australia-could-move-embassy-to-jerusalem/10379602 (17-10-18)

[2] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jerusalem-us-embassy-opens-live-updates-israel-gaza-strip-protests-trump-kushner-latest-a8350501.html (17-10-18)

[3] https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/the-us-empire-has-been-trying-to-regime-change-syria-since-long-before-2011-40d4e6648d54 (17-08-18)

[4] https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201809051067754662-Israel-Guns-Anti-Government-Extremists-Syria/ (17-08-18)

Philippines: Bogus Narratives Pushed by Western Powers

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Image from http://www.casino.org

05-10-2018 – The people of the Philippines today are suffering under a tyrannical fascist dictator who terrorises and murders anyone who opposes him – or so the story goes. Who tells this story? Filipino workers enduring a loss of political rights? Filipino trade Unionists having their organisations dispersed by armed gangs? Left-wing anti-war activists?  Hardly. The portrayal of Philippine President Rodrigo (“Rody”) Duterte as a “fascist” is spun most of all by a slew of US backed NGOs, many of whom are inevitably linked to the notorious CIA front the NED (National Endowment for Democracy). Under the 1987 compromise Philippine constitution brought in after the movement against then President Ferdinand Marcos, NGOs were given outrageous entitlements, and even a tax exempt status under Section 30 of the National Internal Revenue Code. As a consequence, the number of NGOs operating in the Philippines are estimated to number up to 100 000.[1] Today, the activities of a list of them are reduced to fomenting conservative opposition to the administration of President Duterte, who was elected in 2016.

Most popular President ever

The overwhelming majority of the Filipino people, however, certainly do not share Western angst towards their President. Quite the contrary. Rodrigo Duterte is, by far, the most popular President in Philippine history, and his sky-high approval rating has remained above 80% virtually since his election. While there is a history of high approval ratings for Presidents in the Philippines, which some say results from a somewhat deferential Filipino culture, Duterte’s approval ratings have officially been significantly higher than any other government since approval ratings first were collected in the 1980s.[2]  A recent poll put Duterte’s approval rating at a staggering 88%, which is only marginally down from the 91% approval rating he gained on the assumption of the Presidency after the 2016 election.[3] What is it about Duterte in particular which produces such jolting statistics?

An answer to this question must cover several aspects. Firstly, Rodrigo Duterte is not seen as one of the “trapos” (traditional politicians) that the Filipino people have endured for decades. The former mayor of Davao is genuinely seen as a man of the people, as one of them. He is certainly an outsider, and not at all one of the millionaire Manila elite, like many of his predecessors. He reportedly doesn’t wear socks, doesn’t know how to tie a necktie, and lives in a modest house rather than a mansion. While he likes fast cars, there are few signs that he cares about making money.[4] While corruption has played a huge role in the downfall of previous Presidents from Marcos to Estrada to Arroyo, Duterte is thus far untouched by this, and, given his apparent lack of interest in living a high life, it doesn’t seem that he will be tempted into it either. In a country with a history of sell-out politicians, Duterte is largely seen as a rebel with a cause.

Defending Filipino sovereignty

Another aspect of Duterte’s popularity stems from the fact that he is the first President in the Philippines who has not been ultimately subordinate to Washington. US domination in the Philippines is pervasive given its history of colonisation by them, even taking into account US assistance against Japanese occupation during World War II. No Filipino political leader before Duterte has stood so strongly against US colonialism towards his or her country, even given some of Duterte’s later statements indicating a compromise. In October 2016, President Duterte visited Beijing to meet with the People’s Republic of China’s Premier Li Keqiang. During a speech at that time, he uttered the following extraordinary statements:

I announce my separation from the United States… I have realigned myself in your [China’s] ideological flow… I will be dependent on you for all time.” “I will not go to America any more. We will just be insulted there. So time to say goodbye my friend.” “There are three of us against the world – China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.[5]

No wonder Washington was alarmed !!  It’s the worst nightmare for a US Empire which is in decline economically, politically and diplomatically. President Duterte’s bravery and boldness, expressed with trademark irreverence, is a refreshing relief for many Filipinos, one quarter of whom live from hand to mouth. The Philippines was meant to be cornerstone of Washington’s attempts to “contain and roll back communism” in the form of Red China. Yet Duterte’s brash-sounding statements above also reflect a reality which the Filipino ruling class is realising, along with other countries in Asia – the US no longer has the economic or political resources to dominate large sections of the planet. It is being overtaken by the gargantuan state-led economic power of socialist China, which has the financial resources to offer mutually beneficial development. The People’s Republic of China (PRC), as a non-capitalist power, does not seek to exploit and plunder neighbours and other countries in the manner that we are familiar with from the US, Great Britain and France historically in the Asia-Pacific.

Filipino sovereignty is vitally important, in a country which has been dominated for over 100 years by Spanish and US colonialism. To prosecute sovereignty, President Duterte has indicated that he has an obligation to look outside the traditional power of the US and its Western adjuncts. At the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation) summit in 2017, Duterte met several times with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia donated thousands of automatic rifles, 20 trucks and helmets to the Philippines, to assist its anti-terrorist operations in Marawi. Putin stated that Russia and the Philippines has a common enemy in the fight against terrorism. In response Duterte stated that the Philippines will remember Russia for all time.[6] One can almost hear the jaws dropping in the Pentagon.

The US in Syria suffered arguably its first defeat in war since Vietnam, once Russia somewhat belatedly intervened, at the request of the Syrian government, in 2015. Russia, with its superior military air power, outplayed the US politically. They openly called for the US to join it in a fight against the terrorist death squads in Syria. The US could not intervene on the side of its Al Qaeda and ISIS patrons, and thus was forced to sit back while Syria, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah went on to expel the deranged mercenaries. It was a humiliating defeat for the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Israel and others including the Australian government, who had been expending resources in a desperate attempt at regime change. President Duterte, along with a whole host of other countries not involved, no doubt noticed how the Russians outfoxed the US, politically as well as militarily. Duterte is not the only leader from a developing country who can see the military rise of Russia, which complements the economic rise of China.

Defying liberals, foreigners, the church

Many progressive minded folk throw up their hands in horror when hearing of President Duterte’s war on drugs – especially as “war” is not used by Duterte as a metaphor. Yet it is not as if Filipino drug dealers were not warned. Duterte explicitly made the case that drug addiction is a major problem; other methods used in the past have not worked, so his administration will take matters into its own hands in dealing with drug king-pins. “You destroy our country, I’ll kill you…you destroy our children, I’ll kill you..” Duterte proclaimed as he began his Presidency.[7] Like this approach or loathe it, it has the support of the overwhelming majority of Filipinos.  They agree with Duterte that around 4 million drug users who remain addicts for years represent a significant social problem. Despite the wailing from US linked NGOs, thousands of drug addicts have reportedly surrendered and asked for treatment.

The case of the innocuous sounding Sister Patricia Fox, from Australia, is another issue which tends to alarm those with generally liberal political inclinations. Sister Fox is a 71 year old Catholic Nun who has headed up an order in the Philippines for the past 27 years.[8] While her work and the work of her order has primarily been based on assisting the many poor, in recent years she became involved in anti-government political actions and movements. In response the Duterte administration has sought to deport her. Yet this is not a case of a unilateral quashing of dissent, for Filipino law forbids foreigners from being involved in domestic Filipino politics. Regardless of the motivations of Sister Fox, by seeking her deportation, the Duterte administration is only applying Filipino law.

In a similar vein, there is also a law against foreigners owning outlets of the Filipino press. The “Rappler” news site has been criticised by Duterte as being US funded. And, despite repeated attempts to deny US funding, Rappler has been shown to be partially funded by the Omidyar Network, set up by Ebay founder and entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam. As if this was not obvious enough, Rappler is headed by Maria Ressa, who has spent the past 18 years as the bureau chief for the notorious CNN in both Jakarta and Manila.[9]  Applying Filipino law, there is a case against Rappler by the Duterte administration making its way through the courts.

The Catholic Church is deeply ingrained in the Philippines, and yet the popularity of President Duterte is such that he can openly question some of its public positions. For example, Duterte has stated that he will assist a movement in the Philippines which sought to legalise LBGTIQ marriage.[10] This is seemingly at odds with his tough guy image, and it is a stance which is conveniently ignored by his liberal critics.

“Communists” against Duterte

If the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) spruiks its opposition to President Duterte, this must mean that this is the view of the left – some would assume. In reality, the CPP and its off shoots such as the New People’s Army (NPA) and the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines), in practice join with the other ranks of liberal outrage – many of whom are linked to the bevy of US backed NGOs. For example, the NDFP strongly criticised President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao in May 2017,[11] drawing comparisons to the martial law period in the 1980s under Ferdinand Marcos. Yet the declaration of martial law was made to enable military operations against ISIS !!  ISIS appeared out of nowhere when President Duterte was in Russia signing trade and other agreements with President Vladimir Putin. It is not unreasonable to suggest that the US pulled the strings on the ISIS marionette in response. Moreover, President Duterte’s military operations against ISIS were overwhelmingly popular amongst Filipinos, as many of his other moves are. A sign of this was the unqualified support for the martial law declaration from world champion Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who is also an elected senator. Pacquiao, regarded as a national hero for his boxing feats, said the country should be grateful for the strong leadership of President Duterte.[12]

The CPP/NPA has been waging a 50 year guerrilla war against the Filipino government, which flows from the Maoist theory of “protracted people’s war”. This sounds impressive, but in doing so the politics of Maoism outside the state where it achieved state power (China), means it constantly seeks allies amongst classes other than, and opposed to, the interests of the working class. It imagines that somehow, the capitalists, small proprietors and workers can put aside their class interests and form a bloc which will achieve a “national democracy”. This is of course impossible – there has never, and can never, exist a “democracy” across mutually antagonistic classes. All attempts in this direction will thus ultimately fail, and the politics of those prosecuting this strategy can never rise above base level reformism.

Rather than a fruitless struggle for cross class “democracy” in the Philippines, Marxists need to seek to organise and lead the working class in its struggle for the overthrow of capital. Rather than join the swamp of US backed opposition to Duterte, revolutionary minded workers need to recruit to their own banner while engaging in a temporary bloc with the Duterte administration against the encroachment of US imperialism and its intermediaries in NGOs and left-populist parties. The leadership of a Leninist vanguard party is the missing ingredient to the real revolution needed in the Philippines.

WORKERS  LEAGUE

www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com
PO Box  66    NUNDAH   QLD  4012

[1] http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2014/04/30/philippines-the-ned-the-ngos-and-the-cia/#more-9279 (23-09-18)

[2] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-duterte/survey-shows-filipinos-more-satisfied-with-duterte-government-than-any-other-idUSKBN1F70XA (23-09-18)

[3] https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/13/18/duterte-approval-rating-rises-to-record-in-second-quarter-pulse-asia (23-09-18)

[4] https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2018/07/07/what-makes-the-philippines-duterte-popular/15308856006512 (23-09-18)

[5] https://www.marxist.com/filipino-president-rodrigo-duterte-leaning-towards-china-why.htm (30-09-18)

[6] https://globalnation.inquirer.net/161653/philippine-news-updates-vladimir-putin-russia-apec-marawi-siege-terrorism-russian-weapons-terrorism (30-09-2018)

[7] https://www.weeklystandard.com/christopher-caldwell/understanding-the-popularity-of-philippines-president-rodrigo-duterte (30-09-18)

[8] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/20/patricia-fox-australian-nun-who-angered-duterte-ordered-to-leave-philippines (30-09-18)

[9] https://www.techinasia.com/rappler-funding-omidyar-network (30-09-18)

[10] https://www.sbs.com.au/topics/sexuality/agenda/article/2017/12/18/rodrigo-duterte-says-hell-support-same-sex-marriage

[11] https://www.ndfp.org/on-dutertes-declaration-of-martial-law-in-mindanao/ (01-10-18)

[12] https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/05/philippines-pacquiao-backs-dutertes-martial-law/ (01-10-18)