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Letters to Jose Maria Sison




Questions for Professor Jose Maria Sison after his presentation at the Third Annual Global Studies Association Conference, Brandeis University, Boston, MA, USA

24 April 2004

There have been discussions in academic circles about multilateralism in relation to U.S. interventionism.  In your talk you have focused on U.S. imperialism as the dominant force. What is your critique about the notion of multilateralism within the context of neo-liberal globalization and how would you situate U.S. imperialism in it?

US touters of neo-liberal globalization are supposed to lay great store on so-called multilateralism.  They wish loudly though deceptively that all countries be leveled off by "free trade" and that no single state be protectionist. In reality, imperialist countries multilaterally collude against the more numerous client states and against the working people of the world. At the same time, the imperialist countries compete and contend with each other and in the process subdivide into smaller scales of multilateralism, bilateralism and unilateralism.

The US as sole superpower or hyper-power in economic and politico-economic terms is adept at using multilateralism on any scale (UN, UN Security Council, Group of 8, OECD, IMF, World Bank, WTO, NATO, etc.) as well as bilateralism and unilateralism in order to achieve its imperialist objectives. It is characteristic of the US to promote its ultra-nationalist interests under the cover of multilateralism or to use multilateralism to spread the costs of security and war and at the same time unilateralism to get all or most of the peacetime plunder and the spoils of war.

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the US appeared unilateralist (despite the company of Britain and a few other sidekicks) because it grossly violated the UN charter and UNSC resolutions in its obvious desire to  take over the oil resources, to  privatize all the major  state assets of Iraq and to deliver  prime contracts to the US monopoly firms. But now as the Iraqi resistance to the US occupation is becoming more  lethal, the US is emphatically calling for multilateral support.  Bush and the neo-conservative war maniacs have clearly overestimated the ability of the US to control the situation, especially after the apparent success of the invasion.

In its "war on terrorism", the U.S. government has indiscriminately labeled the revolutionary movement in the Philippines as a "terrorist group".   Can you elaborate on this issue, touching on the response of the revolutionary movement, the impact this labeling has on the people's movement in the Philippines, and what it implies about the ideological component of U.S. imperialism in the context of neo-liberal globalization?

Representatives of the Philippine revolutionary movement have condemned the US for labeling and listing the CPP, NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant "terrorists". They have exposed and denounced the US for using the 9/11 attacks as the pretext for attacking national liberation movements, countries assertive of national independence and progressive leaders and as an opportunity for US imperialist self-aggrandizement within the context of neo-liberal globalization.

The US is spreading fascism and war globally by pushing its so-called permanent and borderless war on terrorism, engaging in military intervention and wars of aggression and inducing allied and puppet countries to replicate the anti-democratic USA PATRIOT Act and unleash conditions of open terror.  The US motive and objective in launching wars of aggression on Afghanistan and Iraq are to seize control over strategic points and oil sources and routes of supply.  Also, the military intervention in the Philippines is to further consolidate economic control over Southeast Asia, especially the oil sources and supply routes there.

The Philippine revolutionary movement has condemned US imperialism as the No. 1 terrorist power in the entire history of humankind and the Filipino people.  It has cited the 1.5 million Filipinos killed by US troops from 1899 (start of the Filipino-American War) to 1913  (the end of the so-called pacification campaigns), the US instigation of and support for the 14-year Marcos fascist dictatorship and the daily violence of exploitation of the Filipino people by the US and the local reactionaries. In this connection, the Philippine revolutionary forces have reiterated their determination to fight US domination in all aspects.
Can you give us concrete examples of grassroots movements' strategies of resistance against U.S. imperialism and neo-liberal globalization in the countries you mentioned in your talk and what were the outcomes, limits, and strengths of those strategies?

 The strategies of successful grassroots movements against US imperialism and neo-liberal globalization necessarily involve the following lines of action: arouse (information and education campaigns), organize (sectoral and multisectoral mass formations) and mobilize (protest and petition rallies and other forms of campaign. These lines of action are required whether grassroots movements are legal and/or wage armed struggle.

Successful mass leaders and activists pursue the mass line, from the masses to the masses.  They undertake social investigation to know the concrete conditions, needs and sentiments of the masses.  Thus, they learn what to tell the masses in arousing, organizing and mobilizing them along a certain general line opposed to the oppressive and exploitative conditions of the country.  For example, the general line of struggle is national democratic of a new type in confronting the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions in the Philippines.

The legal democratic movement in the Philippines is now exposing the destructive effects of neo-liberal globalization on local production, basic food security and employment. The sending out of Filipino workers, especially the great numbers of women, is a clear manifestation and consequence of neo-liberal globalization.  Thus, a demand for national liberation, national industrialization and land reform is growing.  As this demand is frustrated, the people recognize the necessity of the new democratic revolution through people’s war against imperialism and the local exploiting classes.

Can you tell us more about your case, your not being allowed to come to the U.S. and the Netherlands government's response to your case?

The US has. falsely designated and listed me as a terrorist  since August 12, 2002 and  barred me from entering the US.  Following the baton of the US, the Dutch government has likewise listed me as a "terrorist" since August 13, 2002.  It has frozen my personal bank account, ruled that I cannot take any paid job, and terminated social benefits for subsistence, housing and health insurance.

I t has prohibited me from dealing with bank, insurance and other financial firms and has put border authorities on alert against me. It has encouraged a campaign of stigmatization and demonization that does not only seek to destroy my reputation but encourage threats against my life and physical integrity.  It has taken the lead in asking the Council of he European Council to put me in its "terrorist" List and has provided the false information for the decision of the European Council to put me in its witchhunt list.

My lawyers and I have filed complaints against the Dutch authorities concerned.  We do so administratively and then through the courts.  I do not expect justice from the Dutch authorities.  We are prepared to appeal the Dutch case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  In connection with the "terrorist" listing by the European Council, my lawyers and I have already filed a complaint before the European Court of  Justice in Luxembourg.  We are through with the exchange of written arguments.  We are now waiting for the oral procedure to be called by the court.

What forms of international solidarity can be waged from the grassroots to deal with the formidable forces of imperialism and what do you see are the roles of organic intellectuals, the peasantry, the workers, and women in this process?

There are many forms of international solidarity that can be waged at the grassroots level to fight the formidable forces of imperialism.  There can be campaigns to exchange information, views and calls to action on an international scale among grassroots organizations through the internet, a very economical and fast way of communication.   Grassroots organizations can run websites as steady sources of information about their positions and capabilities, programs of action and activities.

The intellectuals and activists can express their ideas and views and spread them widely against the formidable forces of imperialism, especially because of the economic and fast way of electronic communication.  The ideas and views of the organic intellectuals can speedily go deep and wide among the workers, peasants, women, youth and other major sectors.  

The broad masses of the people are undergoing grave suffering and they are receptive to clear analysis and the line of action for changing the terrible crisis situation imposed on them by the imperialists and their subalterns. Ultimately, they will decide the life-and-death issues in society at large and in every sector.  They are capable of taking matters into their own hands and decide their own fate because they become highly conscious of their rights, they are well organized and they are tested in militant mobilizations.

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