September 2003   

Statement of the
Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista 

The Class War In Southeast Asia

Oppressed Peoples, Deformed Workers States
Under the Imperialist Gun

We print below a document of the Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista (RKG – Revolutionary Communist Group) of the Philippines which synpathizes with the League for the Fourth International.

U.S. sniper in Philippines, April 2003 U.S. Special Forces sniper in “Operation Urban Terrain” last April, part of U.S./Filipino military exercise. Imperialists and their puppets are preparing for war on urban workers. All U.S. forces out of the Philippines! (Photo: Aaron Favila/AP)

After the destruction of Iraq by the number one terrorist in the whole world, United States imperialism, and the eventual carving up of the country by companies that are close to the gangster Bush and his cronies, the U.S. is now focusing its attention on Southeast and East Asia. The working class and the myriad peoples in this region are experiencing a new campaign of class war and terror through brutal attacks and a war of aggression perpetrated by the imperialist U.S. and its satraps of the local ruling bourgeois class. From Aceh and Irian Jaya (West Papua) in Indonesia, to Mindanao in the Philippines, to North Korea and China, the working class and the different peoples in this region are facing a long and bloody war of aggression. A war of aggression that will not stop until it has completely crushed all the peoples fighting for independence and self-determination. A war of aggression that is being fed by U.S. imperialism by giving assistance to its puppet regimes to eventually tighten its hegemony in Southeast Asia and to prevent the ambitions of rival imperialist countries particularly Japan. A war of aggression whose aim, ultimately, is to foster counterrevolution in the remaining deformed workers states from within and without, especially North Korea and China, and to bring back the exploitative and oppressive capitalist system that these countries have already brought down.

The Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista, along with the League for the Fourth International, unconditionally defends China, North Korea and all the remaining deformed workers states from imperialist strangulation by the U.S. and its gang of imperialist and capitalist countries. We also defend the different peoples and national minorities from attacks and aggression by the local bourgeois states in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and the Philippines. 

The war in Mindanao, Aceh and other parts of Southeast Asia, and the state repression that accompanies the protest against these wars; the brutal dispersals of rallies against the war on Iraq; the almost daily raids of the police and the military on working class, Moro, and urban poor communities; the arrest of poor people accused of being drug addicts and small-time pushers, and the turning of the whole population into hostages by tightening the state’s security measures in the name of “the war against drugs and terrorism,” all point in one direction: the need of the local ruling class and imperialism to maintain their grip on the population in order to further exploit and oppress the working class and all the oppressed peoples and sectors of South East Asia. It is important for the class-conscious workers to lead all the oppressed against imperialist domination and bourgeois repression and exploitation. For the proletariat to liberate itself, through workers revolution, it must carry forward the struggle for the liberation of all the oppressed.

Indonesia, Philippines and the Bloody Domination of Their Bourgeoisies

In Indonesia, the bourgeois state now headed by Megewati Sukarnoputri has launched a brutal campaign that, according to its military spokespersons, will ultimately “neutralize the capability of GAM rebels” (or the Free Aceh Movement). In simple words, kill all those who will not recognize the authority of the Indonesian state. At last count, over 10,000 people have already died since the start of the GAM rebellion in 1976, fighting for an Aceh state independent of Indonesia. These past months, after the declaration of “the neutralization of GAM” by the Armed Forces of Indonesia (ABRI), the army has already killed hundreds of Aceh civilians, many of whom were summarily executed after being accused as GAM supporters. There were even reports that families were murdered by Indonesian troops for the simple “crime” of not having red-and-white Indonesian flags put up at the front of their houses when the terrorist troops of ABRI [Indonesian armed forces] passed by.

Like the people of Aceh (who have struggled for independence since they were first occupied by the Dutch around the 18th century), the other peoples colonized by Indonesia also suffered the same experiences. These include: the Timorese and Papuan peoples of East Timor and Irian Jaya respectively. In the name of “national and republican unity,” these peoples have experienced and are experiencing countless murders (killing of prominent independence leaders like Theys Eluay in Irian Jaya in 2001), destruction of their livelihoods, homes and future at the hands of Indonesian troops. In East Timor alone, already over 200,000 people – almost a third of the entire population of Timorese living in East Timor – have been slaughtered, like the massacre of 200 demonstrators in Dili, East Timor’s capital in 1991, or the violence and mayhem after the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence in 1999, as well as through hunger and sickness. This does not include the almost yearly attacks, burnings, rapes, and killings of Chinese and Christian minorities that resulted in hundreds of victims.

In the Philippines, the bourgeois state, now headed by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who seeks to be not just another puppet regime but a “super-puppet” of the U.S. imperialist “superpower,” has launched so-called “punitive actions” against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other “terrorist” groups. This kind of statement by the warmongering bourgeois regime of Arroyo literally means to attack and destroy all the fighting Moro peoples in Mindanao. As of last count, roughly 300,000 people have been dislocated by the bombings and military operations of the blood-drenched Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). It is estimated that over 100 people have been killed between the two sides.

Southeast Asia map
Internationalist map (adapted from Reliefweb)

In the name of the so-called “campaign against terrorism,” the Arroyo regime has produced an excuse to attack and prepare a “final solution” to the question of the Moro peoples, the Bangsamoro. It has also given the bourgeoisie an excuse to clamp down on security, aiming at mobilizing the citizenry against suspect people and movements. Even simple Indonesian smugglers of diesel and oil are suspected of being terrorists and arrested by the paranoid military and the Philippine National Police (PNP). The bourgeois regime of Arroyo is trying desperately to connect all those fighting the bourgeois state, portraying them as “terrorists,” especially left-wing groups and organizations like the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army (CPP/NPA), and independence movements like the MILF, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and others. Such actions by the ruling class of the Philippines mean that everybody who would mobilize the masses against what the bourgeois state defines as terrorism can be suspected and attacked as “terrorists.” In addition, they seek to divide the whole working class as well as the indigenous peoples and other oppressed sectors, as well as fostering prejudices against ethnic Indian and Chinese living in the Philippines, who are pictured by the bourgeois state as smugglers, druglords and usurers.

Accompanying the brutal occupation and military operations, is the forced integration of people or the flooding of “settlers,” usually from the race or ethnic group of the dominant bourgeois faction in power. The main objective of this is to physically outnumber the indigenous groups of people in a particular area in order to ensure that the “majority” of the population is for the incorporation of the area as a province of the bourgeois state. In Indonesia, during the 1960s and early 1970s, most of the settlers in East and West Timor, Irian Jaya (West Papua), Aceh and other outlying areas of the Indonesian state came from Java, which is also the home of the dominant bourgeois factions (Sukarno, Suharto and the present Sukarnoputri regime).

In the Philippines, the massive distribution of lands in Mindanao to Christian settlers from Luzon and Visayas has resulted in the dislocation of the Moro peoples from their ancestral lands. From the passages of Commonwealth Acts numbers 2254 and 2280 of 1913 (that created agricultural colonies and encouraged migrants from the north to “settle” in Mindanao) during the American Period, i.e., under direct U.S. colonial rule, to the formation of the Land Settlement Development Corporation in 1950 for the planning and “development” of lands in Mindanao, the grabbing of lands of the Moro population and their eventual dislocation have not abated, and instead have intensified. The recent military campaign by the Arroyo regime in the provinces around Lanao Lake against so-called “Muslim terrorists and extremists” is aimed in seizing lands that are very rich in timber and natural gas for multinational and transnational corporations (with the help of cronies of the “First Gentleman” Mike Arroyo) to exploit.

Why does the bourgeois class do this? The bourgeoisie in Indonesia and the Philippines primarily seeks to foster violence and disunity among the classes it rules over. This is the reason why the working class and the different peoples in the society are divided. By spreading and nurturing backward bourgeois ideology like racism, chauvinism, discrimination and prejudice to “different” ethnic groups and races of people, the bourgeoisie is ensuring that it can continue its class rule. Always, the minority groups that are “different” are victimized with atrocities and attacks. They are blamed by the bourgeoisie as the cause of sufferings of the dominant group of people and of the backwardness of their society. What could be more ideal for the perpetuation of their rule, but that the working class and other oppressed sectors and groups be divided on the basis of color and race, religion and nationalities of peoples? The aggression in East Timor, Aceh, Irian Jaya as well as against ethnic Chinese and Christians by the militarist Sukarnoputri in Indonesia, and the war devised by the gunpowder-filled brain of Arroyo against the Bangsamoro in Mindanao as well as against “communists,” ethnic Chinese and Indians, are needed so they can strengthen their class rule. 

This goes to show that the bourgeoisie in Indonesia, Philippines and elsewhere will do anything to be able to exploit and extract super-profits from the toilers even to the point of instigating wars and placing the blame on the oppressed. This is the reason why the war in Aceh, Irian Jaya and Mindanao, including the Sulu islands, will never end unless the bourgeoisie is brought down. Otherwise, the “ethnic cleansing,” pogroms and killings unleashed against groups that are “different” in race, religion, sex or ethnicity from the dominant bourgeois class in a country will continue. We demand: Fight to defeat the aggression by the bourgeois state against minority ethnic groups and oppressed peoples!! For the right of independence of Aceh, Irian Jaya and Mindanao!! For workers revolutions to end the exploitative and oppressive rule of the bourgeoisie!!

In neocolonial countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, the only program that will be able to answer the national question and the working-class struggle for the liberation of its class and all of the oppressed is the program of permanent revolution put forward by Leon Trotsky in 1905, that was given body and soul with the victory of the Russian workers revolution of 1917 and the establishment of the only victorious and revolutionary workers state headed by soviets or workers councils. The Russian Revolution of 1917 showed the way to the resolution of the major fundamental democratic problems, particularly the issue of oppressed peoples and the woman question. Under the internationalist leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, the oppressed nations of the tsarist “prison house of peoples”  were given the right to choose to be part of the federated workers republic or to opt for independence (as in the case of Poland, Finland and the Baltic states, which became bourgeois republics), while the Bolsheviks fought for workers revolution in all the territories of the former empire and beyond. Women won the right to free abortion on demand, as well as the right to divorce and to full participation in social labor. The fledging workers republic made painstaking strides to educate millions of people, especially women and oppressed peoples, However, these rights and gains were grievously undercut (and in some cases eliminated) by the bureaucratic degeneration of the revolution under Stalin and his heirs.

The local bourgeoisies of Indonesia and the Philippines will not and cannot resolve the oppressed peoples and woman questions since this runs counter to its interest, as they are tied by a thousand strands to imperialism, as we have seen time and again. This is demonstrated by the pitiless exploitation of Filipina women workers, who produce super-profits in low-wage sweatshops, and the brutal oppression of the Bangsamoro peoples. Only through the program of permanent revolution can the democratic tasks of agrarian revolution, national liberation and political democracy be fully resolved by establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat under the leadership of an authentic communist party that undertakes socialist tasks as well (i.e., collectivization of the means of production, centralization of the planning and use of resources for the benefit of the whole society, etc.) and extends the revolution to the imperialist centers. The Philippines and Indonesia have conditions like that of Russia in 1917 (backward capitalist economies that primarily support the industries of the imperialist countries; oppressed peoples; women being oppressed with the aid of a “moralist” religion, etc.). The program of permanent revolution also counters the Stalinist dogma of “two-staged revolution” and “popular/democratic front” that always led to bloody defeat, from China in the 1920s to Indonesia in 1965, the Huk rebellion of the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and the NPA rebellion from the 70s to the present in the Philippines.

That is why it is necessary for the working class to fight not only for its own liberation but also for the rights of the Aceh, Moro, Papuan and other oppressed nationalities and peoples. Recognition by Indonesian and Filipino workers of the right to self-determination (that is, the right to secede) will give a tremendous push to oppressed nationalities, and will be key in breaking the ideological stranglehold of bourgeois nationalism and chauvinism on the working class itself. Under the leadership of the working class fighting for proletarian revolution, the struggle of oppressed peoples and minorities for their liberation will not be limited to replacing the bourgeois state that oppressed them with another oppressive bourgeois state, as the Moro secessionists and some of the fake left desire. National oppression will continue until the local bourgeoisies and their imperialist masters are defeated – in the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries in Southeast Asia as well as in the imperialist countries. Only under a revolutionary workers state will the Bangsamoro, the peoples of Aceh, Papua and other national minorities and peoples be able to achieve genuine national liberation, freely choosing whether this shall be in the framework of independent national states or as part of revolutionary workers states in the Philippines and Indonesia, which would provide for extensive regional autonomy. In either case, we Trotskyists would fight for a socialist federation of Southeast Asia which would provide a framework for harmonious emancipation of the great number of nationalities and peoples whose development has been stunted by the heritage of colonial and semicolonial capitalist rule.

The Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista, as a revolutionary group of workers, is presenting some of the transitional program for the oppressed peoples of Indonesia and the Philippines:

  • Recognize the right of oppressed nationalities to independence (self-determination) from colonial-like rule of the bourgeois states of Indonesia and the Philippines; call for defense of the insurgents and defeat of the military offensives against the Aceh, Moro, and Papuan peoples;
  • Fight for the troop pull-out of Indonesian and Filipino troops as well as imperialist foreign troops from Aceh, Mindanao and Irian Jaya through workers actions such as strikes and other mobilizations and not through petitions and symbolical rallies;
  • Fight for equal rights of national and ethnic minorities under a revolutionary workers state – down with racism, religious, ethnic and regional discrimination and prejudices; for equal opportunities in employment and wages;
  • For equal status for all languages, no privileged “official” position for the Tagalog dialect masquerading as the national language of the Philippines;
  • Abolition of the chains of exploitation and oppression of women, which are rooted in the institution of the family in patriarchal capitalist society; for women’s full participation in social labor – equal pay for equal work; for the right of choice of women to control pregnancy, with the provision of safe contraceptives and free abortion upon the woman’s request; free, quality medical service for all; free 24-hour childcare; for the socialization of household tasks in a planned economy; for women’s liberation through socialist revolution;
  • Recognition of the rights of gays and lesbians as members of society; to struggle against their discrimination in schools, and jobs; to fight for their equal rights to marriage and to live legally and recognized under a workers state;
  • Expropriation of the lands and private property of despotic and big landlords and capitalists; expropriation of properties, plantations, mining and logging areas owned by multinational and transnational corporations as well as domestic capitalists; stoppage of the granting of logging concessions and permits to all privately owned companies and private individuals; setting-up of workers committees to run and manage the lands and properties of the capitalists that are expropriated;
  • Working-class self-defense from attacks by the bourgeoisie; for multi-ethnic workers defense guards and workers militias based on the mass organizations of the working class and the toiling peasants, to fight ethnic, racial and sectarian attacks and attacks from the bourgeoisie and prevent a repetition of pogroms such as happened in Indonesia after the uprising against Suharto and in East Timor following the plebiscite for independence in 1999;
  • For workers revolutions that will bring down the rule of the bourgeoisie and imperialism in the Philippines and Indonesia; for a multi-ethnic and multi-racial workers revolution; for the extension of workers revolutions to South East Asia and in the imperialist countries, most immediately Australia and Japan; for a Socialist Federation of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.
Imperialist Threats and Aggression
Against the Peoples of Southeast Asia

and the Deformed Workers States

The local bourgeois classes are always making actions in consonance with their master, the only superpower terrorist in the world, U.S. imperialism. Under the cover of its “war against global terrorism,” the U.S. aids the local ruling bourgeoisies in their war against the secessionist movements and insurgencies. In fact the campaign of the militarist tacticians in the White House has given the local ruling bourgeoisies in Indonesia and in the Philippines permission to attack and destroy all those groups, organizations, and movements that are fighting the bourgeois state including petty-bourgeois peasant-based liberation movements. Some of the support that the U.S. has given and is giving includes: supplying arms and military hardware and the construction of infrastructure which will facilitate greater mobility of the troops of the puppet state as in Mindanao and other parts in the Philippines; sharing of intelligence data on opponents of the bourgeois state supported by imperialism, like that provided to Indonesia when it invaded East Timor in 1975; the elevation of the status of the Philippines into a “Major Non-NATO Ally,” which means priority in military aid and troop deployment; as well as other overt and covert support. Besides these, Bush’s cronies have promised different kinds of economic aid, including participation in the rape and plunder of devastated Iraq. The U.S. published a list of “foreign terrorist groups” that they will chase and destroy with the help of the local puppet states. These lists are, in fact, “enemies lists” supplied by the bourgeois puppet regimes listing organizations and movements of workers, national minorities and other groups of the oppressed.

In the last four decades of the 20th century, the main excuse of U.S. imperialism for its global marauding was the need to support the local ruling classes in their fight against the threat of “communism,” and to shore them up against the different nationalists and separatist movements. That is why it has always sought to maintain military bases in the region, notably Clark AFB and Subic Bay Naval Station in the Philippines. During the height of its war against the workers and the peoples of Vietnam, these two military bases were the launching pad of military operations and a “rest and recreation” station of the invading troops of U.S. imperialism. This resulted in countless atrocities by the American troops such as: rape and degradation of women by having brothels and sex bars around the perimeter of the bases; the shooting on sight of scavengers, the majority of whom were children, “just for fun and target practice,” when caught around the base; and the exposure of base workers and their families to hazardous chemicals and biological elements that until today is still felt by them.

The withdrawal of U.S. imperialism from Clark and Subic in 1991 mainly resulted from the collapse of the Soviet degenerated workers state and what was seen then as the weakening and “death of communism.” But after only a decade, spokesmen of the United States are beating the drums again announcing their intention to set up military bases in the region particularly in the Philippines, even on a temporary basis only. The current excuse by the war-monger cronies of Bush is the “global war against terrorism” – which basically means the global war against the working class and the whole of mankind through direct intervention and the giving of military aid and support to puppet regimes.

No matter what their excuse, the United States cannot hide the fact that its main purpose is to counter what it sees as a threat, the rising influence of the rival imperialist countries of Japan, France and Germany. It also has to answer the declaration of the deformed workers state of North Korea that it will continue its program of developing nuclear arms. Whatever the label or slogan used by the “tacticians” of U.S. imperialism, one thing is certain, it wants to nail down the domination of the United States over the whole world. And all those that will not recognize U.S. hegemony, are to be attacked and crushed. We answer: Defeat the Imperialist War Against the Working Class and the Various Peoples of the World!! Defeat the Colonial Occupation of Iraq!! Workers of the World Unite, Lead the Struggle to Defeat the Aggression of U.S. Imperialism!! For Workers Revolution to Defeat the Imperialist Class War!!

The Bankrupt Program of Class Collaboration with the Bourgeoisie on the National Question

Amid all these attacks, the posturing left movement has not taken any independent stand against the aggression of U.S. imperialism and the local ruling classes. If they have protested, these are mainly symbolic protests, that aim to pressure the bourgeoisie and imperialism to stop the war or are that mobilize under the poisonous program of class-collaboration and the popular front.

In Indonesia, the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) is pushing for intervention by the United Nations (U.N.) to resolve the questions of self-determination of the different peoples of Indonesia. The logic of this program is to give way to an “independent” or “neutral” imperialist overlordship, such as occurred with the people of East Timor in determining their national fate. But the truth is that the U.N. is not neutral or independent. In its history as an organization, the U.N. has always sided with the interests of the imperialists. From the Korean War to Somalia, Iraq and Cuba, the “neutral” U.N. has always used the forces of its member countries to serve and protect the interests of the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Japan. East Timor still has no industry because of the plans of U.S. imperialism and its junior imperialist partner Australia to develop it into a “tourist spot” and a logging country. The conservative government of Australia and the Labor Party “opposition” even sought to block the East Timorese from having a big stake in developing its rich oil fields! That is why “intervention” by the U.N. in the national question in Indonesia and other countries will never be a solution.

In 1998, when the economy of Indonesia began to melt, and the workers and students undertook an uprising, the PRD still continued their class-collaborationist line, this time in silent collaboration with Washington and the International Monetary Fund, which had decided it was time to get rid of Suharto.  This resulted in taking up the cause of an anti-worker, anti-women enemy of national minorities – Megawati Sukarnoputri, the Indonesian version of Aquino and Arroyo who was catapulted and kept in power by the military. The PRD program on the national question only reflects their general program of unifying with all the “democratic forces” – that is, in essence, the bankrupt practice of popular frontism. This brings us back to the bloody history of Indonesia in 1965, wherein, after years of practicing popular frontism with the “democratic forces” including the “progressive military” under a “democratic coalition government,” the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) was crushed by a coup d’état by the “progressive military” headed by the criminal Suharto.

The U.S. for its part, after suffering embarrassing losses one after another in the Vietnam War, saw an opportunity in Indonesia with Suhartoand the PKI’s opportunist program by supporting the military coup d’état against the PKI and the nationalist elements lead by Sukarno, the father of Megawati Sukarnoputri. This finally paved the way for the annihilation of over a million people including members and supporters of the PKI (which was then the biggest communist party outside the Soviet Union and China), trade-unionists, Indonesian nationalists, and oppressed peoples. Eventually, this allowed the U.S. to recover and regroup its forces and launch a renewed imperialist offensive that we are still experiencing today.

The PRD’s program of class collaboration and popular frontism is a reflection of its co-thinkers in the Australian fake left particularly the Democratic Socialist Party of Australia (DSP) which basically acts as a left cover of the “Labor” Party that periodically manages the second-rate imperialist state of Australia. Although the DSP tries to dress up as Leninist and at times even borrows Trotskyist language to justify its politics, this outfit like the rest of the pseudo-Trotskyists and outright reformist social democrats pushes the Menshevik program of two-stage revolution where the first stage is for the working class to struggle for the “revolutionary-democratic” tasks, postponing to the unseen future any socialist tasks. In reality, from China in 1927 to Indonesia in 1965 and 1998, the first stage invariably ends in a defeat for the working class. In Australia, these left-talking social democrats seek to act as managers of the capitalist-imperialist state, content to leave political and economic power to the bourgeoisie. In the end, this opportunist program will not lead the working class to its liberation, instead, it will only tie the workers to the bourgeoisie.

What is needed is for the working class of Australia and New Zealand to break from these opportunist parties that foster the illusion that capitalism can have a more “humane” face. Capitalism (imperialism in its present stage) can never have a humane face since it is driven by competition, domination and the need to produce super-profits. At the same time, these opportunist parties, by tailing after the Labor Party and “Labor” governments that dutifully manage the capitalists’ affairs thereby support the suppression of the working class, left and liberation movements in ANZ and in the Pacific and Southeast Asia. For the Australian and New Zealand working class to break from the social democrats and the opportunist pseudo-socialists will be a first step in the struggle for its own liberation and socialist revolution and to kick out the bourgeoisie and its “Labor” Party partners who acted as deputy sheriffs of U.S. imperialism in the Pacific and Asia. Advances in building a revolutionary workers party in Australia and New Zealand will give a powerful push to the working class in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and a victorious socialist revolution in these junior league imperialist states can only take place in close collaboration with the workers of Indonesia and Philippines.

In the Philippines on the other hand, the fake lefts are calling to “stop” the war in Mindanao. Their only difference is over who among them is the noisiest in shouting about “forcing” the Arroyo government, which positively salivates for war, to stop the war on the Bangsamoro. The Communist Party of the Philippines, while calling for “people’s war” against the Arroyo regime, only offers the Moro peoples “genuine autonomy under a democratic coalition government” as supposedly representing self-determination. But the essence of the CPP program for the Moro peoples is that Mindanao should not secede from the Philippines. This is a manifestation of their narrow, nationalist ideology of “socialism in one country” and demonstrates the denial of the basic right of the Bangsamoro to self-determination, i.e., independence.

Other groups of reformists and fake lefts raise abstract calls and agendas “for the right of self-determination of the national and tribal minorities” (Marxist-Leninist Party of the Philippines). There are also groups that do not want to tackle the national question but are explicitly against the independence of the Moro peoples and Mindanao because “Mindanao, rich in natural resources, cannot secede” (Socialist Workers Movement – SKM / Party of Marxist-Leninism of the Philippines – PMLP). On the other hand, the Socialist Labor Party (SPP) of Sonny Melencio claims that the struggle for the “eradication of all forms of national oppression” is a “distinct part of the revolutionary-democratic tasks during the first stage of the continuing Philippine revolution.” But what they mean by that is political support to the Moro Islamic nationalists. The SPP emphatically rejects the Trotskyist program of permanent revolution (see “SPP Founding Congress,” Green-Left Weekly, 21 July 1999), and in the name of “revolutionary democracy” hails the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The MILF is for the establishment of an Islamic state in Mindanao based on sharia law (an Islamic code largely based on the Koran, dating from the 7th century). Such an obscurantist theocratic regime would hardly be democratic, much less revolutionary, and would subject women to intensified oppression. The SPP flaunts a glaring contradiction, by claiming it is for the right of women to have abortions while at the same time it supports a movement that would subject women to the bondage of medieval religious laws and reactionary morals.

Melencio openly declares “the SPP’s support of the MILF’s struggle” for “national liberation, and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) “ceased to be a national liberation force” when it was coopted by the Philippine government in 1996 (see “The Moro Question,” Links, May-August 2001). Yet the MILF itself agreed to a ceasefire with Arroyo in 2001, has had extensive negotiations with the government since 1997 and is by no means opposed to cutting a deal with Manila for some kind of bogus “autonomy.” Like its co-thinkers in the Indonesian PRD (who supported the Javanese chauvinist Sukarnoputri), and the DSP of Australia (which supported the anti-Soviet counter-revolutionary Polish nationalists of Solidarnoíº), the SPP virtually accommodates every bourgeois opposition. Thus the SPP even supports the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army of Conrado Balweg that is integrated into the Armed Forces of the Philippines and has become an anti-NPA/anti-communist vigilante group, and has the effrontery to quote Lenin and Trotsky in attempting to justify this betrayal! This goes to show the SPP’s opportunism and its continued adherence to the bankrupt Stalinist dogma of “two-stage revolution” and the building of “popular/democratic fronts.”

There is also a group of former Trotskyists, the International Communist League (ICL) or Spartacist tendency, which claims to stand for U.S. and Philippines troops out of Mindanao. In its published statements (e.g., “U.S. Troops Out of the Philippines!” Workers Vanguard, 19 April 2002), the ICL has carefully skirted  the issue of the Bangsamoro struggle for independence, while in discussions with RGK supporters ICL supporters argue that the Moro peoples do not have an independent identity and that they are at most only “part of the kingdom of the Sultan of Borneo” and thus do not qualify as a nation. The Bangsamoro may not yet be a fully developed nation according to the criteria laid out by Stalin in his 1913 pamphlet on the national question, written under Lenin’s tutelage, although they do have many national attributes (territory, economy and history, and the Moro languages are closely related). Lenin was a dialectical materialist who understood that there were myriad peoples, national minorities, nationalities and nations in the tsarist empire at various stages of social development, and he fought tenaciously for recognition of national rights in the Caucasus. So, we might ask the “learned” pedants of the ICL, were the Uzbeks, Tadzhiks, Kazakhs and Turkmens of Soviet Central Asia fully fledged nations when they became union republics of the USSR, including the theoretical right of secession (although this was negated in practice by the Great Russian chauvinist Stalinist bureaucracy)?

If the national development of the Moros was arrested, this was in good part because of the extreme brutality of the occupation of Mindanao, Jolo and the other southern islands of the Philippine Archipelago by nascent U.S. imperialism at the beginning of the 20th century. The Moros had never been conquered by the Spanish. Their fierce resistance was overcome by the Americans only through massive slaughter at Cagayan, Agusan, Misamis and Bayan, culminating in the massacre of more than 900 Moros at the volcano of Bud Dajo in March 1906, which caused widespread revulsion in the United States itself. The new colonial masters undertook large-scale immigration of Christian Filipinos to swamp the Moros numerically, yet during U.S. colonial rule the southern regions were administered separately from the rest of the Philippines. Only with semi-colonial “independence” following World War II, were the islands “integrated” into the Philippines state, which drove the indigenous population further into the hills while turning over large swaths of Mindanao to plantations of U.S. corporations such as Firestone (rubber), Dole (pineapple) and the timber/paper giants Weyerhauser and Boise-Cascade. And now, for the past 30-plus years there has been an insurgency fighting for independence for the Bangsamoro.

In the Philippines, the ICL’s erudite arguments are nothing but pseudo-Marxist excuses for capitulating to Filipino nationalism, both of the right and the “left,” which is dead-set against secession of Mindanao and other southern islands. From the CPP to the ICL, the fake lefts side with the bourgeois Philippines state dominated by Luzon chauvinists. In contrast, the Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista stands for proletarian internationalism, which breaks through the straitjacket of the existing national states inherited from colonialism, making it possible for the right of self-determination for oppressed nationalities to be realized in an emancipatory fashion, combating the reactionary programs of bourgeois nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism, through a socialist federation of Southeast Asia. 

The program of the pseudo-socialists including the formerly pro-Moscow Stalinists and Mao-Stalinists reflects their bankrupt program of collaboration with the “national”/“progressive”/“democratic” bourgeois “opposition” (i.e., that wing of the capitalists that is not currently in power) through the formation of popular or “democratic” fronts. This means the subordination of the interests of the working class to the interests of the capitalist class. And because of their insatiable appetite for “alliances” with the out-of-power bourgeois factions, they set aside the interest not only of the working class, but also the interests of other oppressed groups and sectors. The defeats of 1965 and 1998 in Indonesia, and the “people’s power” revolts of 1986 (EDSA 1) and 2001 (EDSA 2) in the Philippines, used by the military to oust worn-out regimes and replace them with more “popular” governments, illustrate the tragic balance sheet of popular frontism.

U.S. Imperialist Terrorism Against the Deformed Workers States

Along with the support of warmongering U.S. imperialism to its puppet regimes like Indonesia and the Philippines, and following the “victorious” destruction and plunder of the Middle East (Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2002), Washington is pushing North Korea and China into the brink of war. The United States imperialists seek to force Pyongyang to abandon its deterrent nuclear arms program – if not, the U.S. will be “forced” to attack the bureaucratically deformed workers state, which has been relentlessly threatened by the bully Bush. And behind North Korea stands China. While Bush, Jr. ludicrously copies Clint Eastwood in defying North Korea to “make my day,” the South Korean bourgeois puppet state of U.S. imperialism continuous to provoke military confrontations: the exchange of fire between South and North Korean navy boats, continual incursions into the territorial airspace of China and North Korea perpetrated by U.S. intelligence planes. 

Last year, there was the new of the downing of a spy plane by the air force of China. This resulted in the death of the Chinese pilot of the MIG-29 plane just to cripple the U.S. spy plane and force it to land in China. Adding to this, the U.S. continues to pressure China and Cuba to “reform” their “human rights” record – by which they mean to give free rein to counterrevolutionary mercenaries on the U.S. payroll, starting with the Tibetan Dalai Lama. The burgeoning aggression, military provocation and the many-sided economic and political pressure on China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam by U.S. imperialism is aimed at bringing them down through capitalist counter-revolution. The intervention by the United States and its support of the aggression of the ruling class in Indonesia and the Philippines against national minorities is aimed at strengthening the states that support U.S. imperialism – support it needs in neutralizing rival imperialist powers in Asia and especially to menace the deformed workers states of China and North Korea. 

The RGK and the LFI, as revolutionary Trotskyists unconditionally defend the remaining deformed workers states of China, North Korea, Cuba and Vietnam from internal and external counter-revolutionary actions by imperialism and the capitalist elements inside these states, as well as pro-capitalist sectors of the bureaucracy. The Stalinist bureaucracy’s policy of “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism prepares the way for the destruction of the socialized centrally planned economy.  The imperialists seek to resurrect the exploitative, oppressive and anarchic capitalist mode of production that has already caused untold poverty and sufferings for mankind, and which the Chinese, North Koreans, Cubans and Vietnamese had driven out of their own countries. The threats, military provocations and other counter-revolutionary actions of imperialism, headed by the U.S., and the neighboring capitalist states, as well as the sabotage by capitalists from without and within, aim at bringing down these deformed workers states and bringing back the capitalist system.

We defend the right of the deformed workers states to possess any kind of weapons – including biological, chemical and nuclear arms – needed to defend themselves and act as a deterrent to the “weapons of mass destruction” that the imperialist countries possess in enormous quantities and are already aimed at them. We support the right of China and Vietnam to establish forward bases and military structures as a deterrent against the provocations of the imperialist countries and other bourgeois states. We likewise defend the stationing of Chinese and Vietnamese military troops and civilians in the Spratly Islands group as a countermeasure against the militarization and the deployment of civilians by other claimant countries including the Philippines. We support the suppression of capitalist “gusanos” in Cuba and the suppression of counter-revolutionaries in China, at the same time as we demand the immediate release of Chinese workers jailed for protesting against their deteriorating working conditions, the growing unemployment, the undermining of state industry and the inhuman exploitation in the growing capitalist sector. For the Unconditional Defense of the Remaining Deformed Workers States!! Defeat the Provocations and Attacks by Imperialism and the Threat of Counterrevolution, Both External and Internal!!

As part of our defense of the deformed workers states and their remaining revolutionary gains, we fight for proletarian political revolutions to oust the Stalinist bureaucracies that hold the levers of power in these countries. The Stalinists, who maintain themselves in power by abusing the name and the power of the working class, are parasites who seek to hold onto their privileged positions and do not fight to extend the socialist revolution internationally, especially to the imperialist countries. The limitation of the revolution in their own countries has meant that, from their inception, the revolutions in China, North Korea, Vietnam and Cuba have been bureaucratically deformed. By pretending to “build socialism in one country” (an utter impossibility as Marx himself underlined); by seeking treacherous “peaceful coexistence” with the imperialists, and by encouraging their followers in other countries to form class-collaborationist “popular fronts” with local bourgeois forces, the Stalinists have hindered the working-class struggle for proletarian revolution. They have no right to rule the workers states, and must be ousted by the revolutionary proletariat before it is too late. In fact the Stalinists have opened the door to capitalist counterrevolution, as Trotsky insisted they would, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union and the East European deformed workers states.

Rather than bringing back the bourgeoisie and all its horrors, including brutal exploitation and nationalist bloodletting as occurred in the capitalist counterrevolution in the former Soviet Union and deformed workers states of East Europe, proletarian political revolution in the deformed workers states would make it possible to realize the potential of the socialized, centrally planned economies which have been stifled by the dead hand of the bureaucracy. A political revolution aims at booting the Stalinist parasites from power by the workers themselves. The bureaucracy will be replaced by genuine workers councils (soviets), that, the Stalinists have usurped from the very outset. A successful political revolution in China, N. Korea, Cuba and Vietnam will give a powerful creative impetus and institute workers democracy that the Stalinists have strangled through their monolithic control of life in these countries. This will also make possible an egalitarian armed power growing out of the revolutionary mass organs of workers power, replacing the enormous, stultifying apparatus of bureaucratic control that the Stalinists have relied on. In the end, a victorious political revolution must be extend the workers revolution to the capitalist countries, especially the imperialist countries. To accomplish all this, the key is forging an authentic Leninist-Trotskyist communist party of the proletarian vanguard.

The Need for a Genuine Revolutionary Leadership of the Working Class

The vanguard role of the working class in fighting to defeat the attacks of U.S. imperialism and its local puppets on the various peoples of the Middle East, Southeast and East Asia, along with the urgent need to defend the deformed workers states and mobilize the workers to save them, requires a break with the poisonous program of class-collaboration with the bourgeoisie that is practiced by the opportunist labor leaders and the fake left. The working class must fight for its class political independence from the bourgeoisie and the pro-capitalist reformist leaders and fake left and for a revolutionary proletarian program. This urgent necessity makes all the more dangerous the opportunist politics of pseudo-Trotskyists and ex-Trotskyists who surrender to pessimism about the revolutionary capacity of the working class. Beginning with isolated capitulations, this is soon generalized into betrayal and wholesale revision of the revolutionary program.

The Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista seeks to build the nucleus of a revolutionary internationalist workers party that can prepare itself to lead the working class in its struggle for proletarian revolution. A workers party that will stand as the tribune of the people, that will lead the struggles against the oppression of the bourgeoisie and imperialism. A party that steels its membership and leadership in class struggle against the bourgeoisie, not only in words but also in deeds. A revolutionary internationalist party that will fight for the victory of workers revolution, not just in one country, but also internationally. A Trotskyist fighting propaganda group can forge such a vanguard party through educating itself in Marxism and studying the history of the workers movement, as well as through participation in struggles of the exploited and oppressed that can serve as an example of its revolutionary program.

The Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista and the League for the Fourth International fight for the program of authentic Trotskyism against the defeatist program of class collaboration, pessimism and surrender to the bourgeoisie. We see as a model for workers revolution the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 led by Lenin and Trotsky. We fight to reforge the Fourth International founded by Trotsky in 1938, upholding the validity of its Transitional Program and its central thesis: that the crisis of humanity is concentrated in the crisis of revolutionary leadership of the proletariat. The struggles of the workers and oppressed of Asia can play a key role in resolving this crisis.
We appeal to the most class-conscious fighters, men and women, to join the RGK and LFI in our struggle to reforge the Fourth International as the world party of socialist revolution.
Get in touch with the Rebolusyonaryong Grupo ng mga Komunista and the League for the Fourth International. E-mail us at: rgk7@hotmail.com or internationalistgroup@msn.com or visit the website: www.internationalist.org.

September 2003

To contact the Internationalist Group and the League for the Fourth International, send e-mail to: internationalistgroup@msn.com