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Sison didn’t welcome ‘suppression of the working class’ under Duterte regime

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairperson Jose Maria “Joma” Sison did not advocate for “the suppression of the working class” under the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte, contrary to a recent claim made by a Twitter user.

In a Dec. 17 tweet, Joseph Scalice (@josephscalice), a historian focusing on the Philippines and Southeast Asia, said:

(When) Duterte launched red-tagging allegations that led to the murder of scores of activists, Sison proclaimed that the “best thing that could happen for the revolution would be for Duterte to impose a fascist dictatorship.” Sison welcomed the suppression of the working class.

The tweet was accompanied by a short video clip, where Scalice omitted the next parts of the quote, where Sison actually said:

(The) best thing that can happen for the benefit of the Philippine revolution is for him (Duterte) to impose a fascist dictatorship on the people, (and) it will be finished in one or two years after that. Even right now, he’s the best recruiter of the CPP-NPA because of his traitorous, tyrannical, genocidal, corrupt, and mendacious character.

The omission allowed the tweet author to argue that Sison favored “suppression of the working class” when, in fact, the CPP founder was saying that a fascist rule, if Duterte were to impose one, would not last long as it would only hasten the CPP-NPA’s recruitment process and strengthen armed resistance.

The clip was obtained from Anakbayan Europa’s online discussion forum held on Feb. 28, 2021, where Sison was the resource speaker. The talk centered on Philippine history and classes and the COVID-19 crisis.

The quote was part of Sison’s response to the host’s follow-up question about the similarities and differences between the dictatorships of Duterte and the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation recognized that CPP “seeks to overthrow the Philippine government in favor of a new state led by the working class,” contrary to what Scalice claimed was Sison’s position on the working class.

Scalice's tweet belongs to a longer thread that made rounds on the platform following the death of the exiled communist leader on Dec. 16 at the age of 83.

As of writing, it has garnered 28 retweets and 130 likes, while the accompanying video has 8,261 views. (LB)


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