Over the past few months, the American Trotskyite zealot Joseph Scalice has staged one attack after another to vilify the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
In a lecture slated for March 2, Scalice will again take the stage to spew more lies and slander the CPP. This time, he will regurgitate the long-exposed falsehoods of the Philippine military and US CIA claiming that the Party is behind the grenade throwing during the August 21, 1971 rally of the Liberal Party at Plaza Miranda which killed nine and injured scores of other people.
The bombing, which Marcos and his political lieutenants immediately blamed on the Party and New People’s Army, was used by the regime to justify the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the subsequent wave of arrests targeting the national democratic mass organizations. It formed part of the overall plan of Marcos to consolidate his authoritarian regime leading to the imposition of martial law the following year and his 14-year dictatorial rule of abuses, plunder and corruption.
For close to fifty years now, the exact truth about the Plaza Miranda bombing has been kept secret by the minions of the Marcos dictatorship, as with the facts surrounding the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr in 1983 (which Marcos also pinned on the NPA) and so many of the fascist and political crimes perpetrated during and after the Marcos regime. Vast resources have been mobilized by the masterminds behind these dastardly crimes who have successfully protected their political and military careers even with the demise of the dictatorship.
Despite having kept Prof. Jose Ma. Sison in prison for nearly nine years until 1986, the Marcos regime failed to build a formidable criminal case against him or the CPP over the Plaza Miranda bombing. In his accounts, Prof. Sison describes how he rejected Marcos’ insinuated offer for him to denounce Sen. Aquino and an NPA unit in Tarlac as responsible for the bombing in exchange for his freedom.
For many years, there has been a broad consensus among Philippine historians, journalists and writers that Marcos himself or his minions (with or without his knowledge) are behind the Plaza Miranda bombing, just as people in the inner circle of the Marcos ruling clique are accused of masterminding the 1983 assassination of Aquino. The core truth of the Plaza Miranda bombing as well as the Aquino assassination have never been unearthed, despite the fact that the anti-Marcoses ruling class clique has held power for many years
The concocted narrative that Prof. Sison and the CPP are behind the Plaza Miranda bombing would only be revived several years later by the US psywar experts and political operators in the CIA. The US imperialists were seeking to heal the deep animosity between the rival factions–between the ruling Aquino clique, including Salonga and the retinue of Liberal Party members, on the one hand, and Enrile, Ramos, Cojuangco, and other key political and economic figures aligned with the Marcoses). The US operators were keenly aware that this “healing” would be difficult to achieve as long as responsibility for the Plaza Miranda bombing remained pinned on the Marcoses.
In 1989, the US CIA published a book authored by Gregg Jones, described as a correspondent of the US News and World Report. Drawing from polluted sources described as “former top officials of the CPP” to make them appear credible despite the fact that they have become military agents, the book “Red Revolution” assembled a convoluted storyline that the Plaza Miranda bombing was ordered by Prof. Sison as then chair of the CPP Central Committee.
Jones’ narratives were taken up by the Philippine Senate on the prodding of its president Salonga, who was apparently convinced by the US to take the line against the CPP over the Plaza Miranda bombing. While the Blue Ribbon Committee spent months of hearings in 1989-1990, it found nothing conclusive against Prof. Sison or the CPP. The same narratives and testimonies were used by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation Service to file a last-minute complaint against Prof. Sison before August 21, 1991 before the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office. In its March 2, 1994 resolution, the Manila prosecutor dismissed the complaint against Prof. Sison which it described as based on sheer speculation. (For a detailed exposé of the lies and trickery propounded by Jones, we invite our readers to review the 1989 article “Communist Party and Plaza Miranda” by Prof. Sison.)
Fast forward three decades later, Scalice comes trotting, with no new evidence, but claiming to have “established that the overwhelming weight of historical evidence reveals that the CPP was responsible for the bombing.” In his 2017 doctoral dissertation, Scalice, who describes himself a historian, uses his Trotskyite erudition to propound an unabashedly anti-communist version of Philippine history to vilify the communist party and the national democratic movement.
In his upcoming lecture, we anticipate Scalice to repeat the atrocious lie that the CPP and Prof. Sison are behind the horrendous Plaza Miranda bombing. In his thesis, Scalice basically recycles the impeached sources cited in the Gregg Jones’ book. While he recognizes that Prof. Sison “accused correctly (the sources) of now being either military or intelligence operatives,” he insists that this “does not invalidate their claims.” He then goes on to uncritically repeat the same old hearsay and concocted statements and then makes his assessment of the “credibility of the account” after his reconstruction. He makes no mention of the fact that the same “evidences” he is presenting in his dissertation, were also exhaustively presented before the Philippine Senate and a Manila prosecutor, both of which found no reason to act on them.
Scalice acknowledges that “there is certainly insufficient evidence to convict Sison of the bombing in a court of law,” but then goes on to conclude in a patently dishonest manner that based on his completely biased reconstruction, “the preponderance of available evidence strongly indicates that Sison and leading members of the CPP carried out the Plaza Miranda bombing.” Yet despite the clause “strongly indicate” (which suggests doubt), he proceeds to deconstruct the Party’s “motives” behind the bombing (suggesting he is quite certain).
Scalice justifies this sleight by claiming “The task of the historian … is not to establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt; it is to demonstrate what the preponderance of evidence suggests and to establish on this basis what likely happened. Additional evidence may further substantiate this conclusion or compel its revision.” We do not know what kind of historian Scalice was trained to be, but certainly, not one who practices discipline of drawing conclusions only from irrefutable facts.
The Trotskyite then presents as evidence the Party’s view that repression breeds resistance. He insists that the criminal motive of the CPP behind the Plaza Miranda bombing was to provoke fascist suppression as this will push people to support the armed revolution.
Scalice distorts and denigrates the CPP’s historical materialist view that fascist suppression engenders revolutionary resistance as what he sees as motive for carrying out terrorist crimes such as the Plaza Miranda bombing. Scalice makes it appear that the CPP subscribes to a fatalist view that state repression will spontaneously push people to take up arms.
In declaring that fascist suppression engenders resistance, the Party points out the dialectics of history that while counterrevolutionary violence breeds fear, silence or indifference, it also has the contradictory effect of fostering a revolutionary tendency for people to fight back to regain the freedoms taken away from them.
It is important for the Party to point out such dialectics in order to promote revolutionary optimism and courage, and to steel the determination of the Party’s cadres and the people to actively resist fascist suppression, confront the brutalities and shoulder the difficult and often dangerous tasks in fighting a tyranny.
Citing the made up stories of his sources, Scalice further on makes the ridiculous assertion that the CPP wanted Marcos to suppress the people because the Party was pressed to recruit more NPA fighters due to a then upcoming arms shipment from China. His illogic reminds us of a recent statement by the fascist braggart Gen. Parlade who said the CPP should welcome the Anti-Terror Law following a Party statement that anticipates how that the draconian law would push many to join the NPA.
The Party abhors the fascists for inflicting counterrevolutionary violence against the broad masses of the people. Fascists intimidate the people and instills fear and terror to enable the unmitigated rule of autocrats. It suppresses the people and subjects them to worse oppression and exploitation by destroying their unity and organizations. Reactionary state suppression aims to prevent the revolutionary and progressive forces from carrying out their task of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people.
However, the Party does not fear counterrevolutionary violence and rouses to people to wage resistance, both armed and unarmed. In waging revolutionary armed struggle, the CPP is guided by its strategic line of waging protracted people’s war to build the people’s army in the countryside, mounting tactical offensives during the strategic defensive stage until it has the strength to overthrow the reactionary state entrenched in the capital city.
At the same time, the CPP considers the democratic mass movement as an indispensable realm for people’s resistance, for them to advance their socioeconomic interests and democratic rights along the antiimperialist, antifeudal and antifascist line and to serve as a school to raise their political and revolutionary consciousness.
To allow the full play of the national democratic mass movement, the Party urges the people to take advantage of the legal courses of action to draw in the biggest number of people in mass struggles. The Party builds- underground mass organizations and Party cells and branches to serve as the strong core of the democratic mass movement. It repudiates putschism and premature insurrectionism in the urban areas which can unduly isolate the advanced forces. The NPA carefully selects partisan armed action in the town centers and urban areas to punish the fascists and defend the masses against state terrorist attacks.
In repeating the lie that the chair of the CPP Central Committee ordered the Plaza Miranda bombing, Scalice betrays his complete ignorance of the ideological, political and organizational principles of the Party. Democratic centralism prevents the chair of the Party from issuing orders or taking actions in behalf of the Party that contravene its fundamental principles, such as to cause harm against civilians or non-combatant, or in this case, to violently attack friendly political forces. The chair “cannot avoid either the authority or the scrutiny of the central collectives to which he belongs as well as that of the lower collectives responsible for the personnel to be ordered to do anything of major significance or consequence” (Sison, “The Communist Party and Plaza Miranda,” 1989).
After repeating the lies and shifting from either insinuating or directly accusing the CPP and Prof. Sison to be behind the Plaza Miranda bombing, Scalice makes the wild Trotskyite conclusion that “(t)he CPP facilitated the declaration of martial law above all, not through the Miranda bombing, but by subordinating the opposition to military dictatorship in the working class and youth to a rival section of the ruling class.” Scalice perversely bends and overstretches fragments of information as well as outright conjectures.
Scalice’s claims that the CPP “facilitated” the declaration of martial law is ludicrous. He ignores the fact that the Party consistently exposed all of Marcos’ schemes to impose a one-man dictatorship and how it urged the people to unite and resist such schemes. Scalice is practically saying that forging a united front among the different anti-Marcos forces which cut across the various democratic classes, to resist martial law actually “facilitated” its declaration. This is desperate polemical acrobatics to denigrate the Party’s united front policy as “class subordination” to the reactionary classes. It exposes his deceit in seeking to justify his Trotskyite view that the working class must fight fascism and wage revolution on its own and demand the subordination or support of other classes.
We can deal with Scalice’s aversion against the Party’s policy on alliances and united front more extensively at a later time. It suffices to say for now that through the efforts of the Party and the united front, martial law and the Marcos dictatorship failed in its aim to crush the people’s revolutionary resistance. On the contrary, the Party grew in strength by building itself as a proletarian vanguard on firm Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideological grounds; building the New People’s Army along the strategic line of protracted people’s war; building independent organs of political power in the countryside under proletarian leadership along the antifeudal line of relying on poor peasants and farm workers; arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people in great numbers in democratic mass struggles; and taking advantage of splits among the ruling classes to isolate the most rabid and despotic reactionaries in power. The aim of the Party is to accumulate strength through revolutionary armed struggle and by mobilizing the broad masses of the people in one political struggle after another against the ruling reactionary state.
In their obsession with “permanent revolution,” Trotskyites such as Scalice stop at nothing to denounce the CPP at every possible turn, heaping lies and baseless slander, but ignore the fact that it has been able to persevere, grow and lead millions of people to the revolutionary cause of national democracy and socialism. As always, the ultimate aim of the Trotskyites is to weaken and destroy the communist party by inducing it to isolate itself from and unduly cause antagonism with other revolutionary, democratic and positive classes and forces.
In terms of class location in the Philippines, the Trotskyites are pettybourgeois elements who overstate their social and historic importance through revolutionary phrase-mongering and seeking to lead the working class away from the two stage revolution and onto the path of isolation and self-defeat.
As the Filipino people mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Plaza Miranda a few months from now, it is propitious to quote the Central Committee statement published in the August 24, 1971 special issue of Ang Bayan:
The Communist Party of the Philippines on its own behalf and also on behalf of the New People’s Army which it leads expresses the strongest indignation over the Plaza Miranda massacre of August 21st which resulted in the death and injury of so many people, including the top leadership of the Liberal Party.
The dastardly act is directed not only against the Liberal Party but also against all opposition and the entire Filipino people. The terrorist character and mad scheming of the U.S.-Marcos clique are amply proven not only by the latest massacre and previous massacres but also by the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus on a nationwide scale and without any basis. Beyond doubt the Marcos fascist puppet clique is bent on monopolizing political power through militarist, anti-communist and anti-democratic methods.
After five decades, all the post-Marcos reactionary puppet regimes have failed to punish the masterminds of the Plaza Miranda bombing. Promoting pseudo-history and the CIA-line that the CPP is behind this carnage will only favor the madmen who are the actual perpetrators of this crime.