He is the most wanted man in the Philippines: the founder of the Communist Party José Maria Sison has been living in exile in the Netherlands for over 30 years, but the mere mention of his name enrages the conservatives, rights and reactionaries of the Southeast Asian island state. Because Sison’s vision of the socialist Philippines falls on fertile ground: Because one of four Filipinos still lives below the poverty line; Three percent of the 100 million people own the majority of the nation’s wealth. Communist Party supporters can thus be found among the working class, university students and in remote villages inhabited by indigenous groups.
His latest book, an interview volume by “nd” author Rainer Werning, who asked Sison about his life and the revolutionary struggle and has been published in both English and German, has been leading anti-communist demonstrations in Philippines for months, with Sison on posters when Satan is spurned. The US company Twitter has even blocked Secretary of State Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s account after he called for the murder of “communists who are worth shooting”. Even if he’s not there, Sison is still able to move people around his home.
In »A Life in Resistance. Conversations on Imperialism, Socialism and Liberation, «Sison provides answers to the question of why the communist movement in Philippines still attracts people. This is not surprising, given the apparent systemic and structural, economic, and political inequalities in society, as well as the continued failure of politicians to protect the billion-dollar exploiters of the country’s wealth. Sison revealingly criticizes the neocolonial governments of his home country, but also looks at the global changes and their effects on the Philippines, in particular the capitalist restoration in the former Soviet Union, the development of the People’s Republic of China into a new-imperialist country and the decline of global US hegemony.
From Ferdinand Marcos to Rodrigo Duterte – seven presidents have so far failed to defeat the Communists and end their fight against the feudal system, including the corrupt, reactionary state. The Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) has resisted large-scale military campaigns for 50 years. A year ago, defense chief Delfin Lorenzana admitted that the communist rebellion is insurmountable and cannot be defeated. Nevertheless, he canceled the program, which should enable peace talks with the NPA at local level. The communist movement is rooted in rural areas and in many cities, with guerrilla zones in 71 of the country’s 81 provinces.
The volume deals with topics, questions and analyzes familiar from Sison. At the same time, the interview format stimulates thought beyond the theoretical treatise. In the interviews, the now 81-year-old Sison also gives insights into his life that are surprising, such as how he, as a nine-year-old valet, wished to become a bishop.
Sison believes in the resurgence of the socialist idea. “Socialism is welcome and is confirmed by the escalating capitalist forms of exploitation and oppression, the ongoing wars of aggression and the growing threat of nuclear war and global warming as a result of the wanton capitalist plundering of the world’s natural resources.” So old is the analysis may appear, it has lost nothing of topicality.
Sison was once asked if he dreams of going back to Philippines. At that time he replied: “I don’t only dream of it, not in the sense that I imagine a better world that can arise from the struggle of the people.” Sison still plays an important role in the Communist Party: “I bet deal with the realities and do everything I can in the revolutionary struggle of the people. «Like Lenin, Sison does not necessarily believe that the revolution will be successful in his lifetime. “But I am certain that the neoliberal policies of imperialist globalization, the wars of aggression and the intensified interimperialist contradictions are already creating the conditions for an unprecedented upswing in the revolutionary movements for national liberation, popular democracy and socialism.” In the Philippines and elsewhere.
José Maria Sison, Rainer Werning. A life in resistance: talks about imperialism, socialism and liberation. Media group New Way. Cardboard / paperback, ISBN-13: 9783880215580, 272 pages