PEOPLE’S WAR REPORT: New Actions + Part 2 of an Article Series on Imperialism in the Philippines

Report every two weeks on the newest actions from the people’s wars of the world + a revolutionary short article.

PEOPLE’S WAR REPORT
08.04.2022

Produced by
The Red Flag

ACTIONS

INDIA

ARMED AGITATION AND PROPAGANDA

26.03.2022: Poster action in Kozhikode district (Kerala) against Kerala‘s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan by the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Vijaran‘s government is planning to construct a 530 km-long highspeed train railway across the State of Kerala connecting the port city Thiruvananthapuram and the small port city Kasaragod. The highly costly «SilverLine» project would expropriate and drive away peasants living along the railroad en masse and cause serious environmental destruction in the region. Vijayan himself is a member of the politbureau of the so-called «Communist Party of India (Marxist)». This fake communist party regularly calls the police on fighting communist peasants and betrayed the Indian revolution for government seats over 50 years ago, which led many genuine communists to split from them. The posters drew a clear connection between the actions of Vijayan and the «Left Democratic Front» governing Kerala and led by him on the one hand, and the actions against masses by Narendna Modi‘s fascist regime on the other hand, stating they differed in no way.

GUERRILLA COMBAT

29.03.2022: Explosives attack by the People‘s Liberation Guerrilla Army, which is led by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), against a joint operations team of the District Reserve Guard and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police in Narayanpur district (Chhattisgarh), injuring two constables of the District Reserve Guard.

05.04.2022: Arrow explosives attack on a Central Reserve Police Force camp in West Singhbhum district (Jharkhand) on the eve of the multi-State strike on 06.04. The colleagues fired at the camp in order to show presence, and although the attack sadly didn’t cause much damage, the guerrillas could successfully retreat.

MASS ACTION

06.04.2022: Multi-state strike in the States of Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam for the release of Comrade Kanchanda, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Kanchanda was arrested on 07.03. this year in a dubious intelligence operation and is being tortured in jail. The strike was successful despite immense police and army presence in the States; for example, in Khunti district, public transportation came to a halt and office buildings stayed almost empty for the whole day.

SELECTIVE ANNIHILATION

07.04.2022: Annihilation of a police informant in Alluri Sitharama Raju district (Andhra Pradesh).

THE PHILIPPINES

GUERRILLA COMBAT

04.04.2022: Explosives ambush of the New People‘s Army, which is led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, against police and army troops in Northern Samar, killing a policeman and injuring five more reactionaries.


IMPERIALISTS, GET OUT! THE PHILIPPINES ARE NOT A CHESSBOARD!

PART 2 — THE USA

INTRODUCTION: THE HISTORY OF U.S. IMPERIALISM IN THE PHILIPPINES

When rich countries wage war, poor countries are the bounty (and workers die of course). This is has long been common knowledge and the history of the Philippines confirms it anew. The U.S. snatched the Philippines away from the Spanish colonialists in 1898 in the Spanish-American War. They mobilized the Filipino people for this, who had launched an anti-colonial revolution two years before. But this was no grounds for hope of «freedom and democracy» coming to the Philippines now, because the Spanish-American War was a turning point in history; Lenin listed it as one of the events that marked the transition from capitalism to its higher and last stage, imperialism. When the Spanish conceded the Philippines to the USA in the Paris Treaty, they refused to recognize the new Philippine government and became the country‘s new colonialists. In response, the Filipinos turned their weapons against them and declared war on them just like they had before. This war of resistance started in 1899 and went until 1902 when the Philippines lost.. The U.S. slaughtered an estimated 20’000 Filipino fighters and 200’000 Filipin:a citizens; among other things, the occupiers also razed entire cities to the ground, such as Caloocaan city with its 17’000 residents. The Philippines had become a colony of U.S. imperialism.

The transition of the Philippines to a semi-colony that is independent on paper began in 1935, with U.S. president Roosevelt approving a draft constitution that would come in to effect ten years later.

In the 2nd World War, Japanese imperialism invaded the Philippines and occupied them for three years. While the USA had not been able to do anything to stop this, the war impulsed the formation of a Philippine guerrilla army. The army was mainly built up by the Communist Party of the Philippines, but because the Party was under the leadership of the fake communist Lava and Taruc families (who wanted to build careers at the expense of the workers and peasantry), his war of resistance wasn’t continued after Japanese occupation ended and the U.S. returned. There was also still a lack of understanding among the genuine communists of what it means to make revolution in a semi-colonial country with a capitalism completely dependent on imperialism and in which the peasantry is subjugated in a medieval manner (the answer to this is the strategy of people’s war, which was being developed and applied overseas by Mao Zedong and the Communist Party of China at this time). Therefore, the U.S. had an easy time granting formal independence to the country while at the same time chaining the Philippine economy to themselves through a series of treaties and agreements.

Soldiers of the «People‘s Army Against the Japanese» a.k.a. «Hukbalahap» with U.S. soldiers.

In the 76 years that the Philippines have been an oppressed semi-colony since, the years 1972-1986 are especially striking — the time in which the U.S.-backed Ferdinand Marcos ruled the country under a fascist dictatorship. The Yankees had been biting their teeth out on Vietnam in the late 1960s, so the refounding of the Communist of the Philippines in 1968 along with the refounding of the people’s army that had emerged during Japanese occupation made them tremble. Shortly after, the «First Quarter Storm» broke out in the country: In the first months of 1970, more and more students took to the streets against Marcos and rising inflation for which he was directly co-responsible. When Marcos reacted with hard repression, the movement radicalized even more, with the Communist Party being actively involved in the movement and winning a growing mass base of students, workers and peasants who had lost all trust in legal reforms. This sealed the deal for Marcos (and the imperialists behind him), who decided to continue his rule by fascist means and not through fake (capitalist) democracy — and started by declaring country-wide martial law in 1972 with open U.S. support. In the 14 years that followed, 3’257 people were killed, 35’000 were tortured, 70’000 were imprisoned (according to bourgeois data) and many people, especially queer Filipin:as, had to flee the country. When the Marcos regime was overthrown in 1986 by the «People Power» movement, the communinsts again played a decisive role in the movement. However, significant U.S. influence in the Philippines‘ (capitalist) political life continues to this day (we will touch on this in more detail later in the text).

By glancing at the statistics on foreign direct investment in the Philippines, one can see the massive economic dominance of U.S. imperialism in the country: it‘s the source of 31,5% of all such investments. China‘s foreign direct investments may be second on the list, but «only» with 13,9% of the total investments — followed by the United Kingdom with 11,7% (as of 2020).

STANDING MILITARY AGREEMENTS BETWEEN THE U.S. AND THE PHILIPPINES

Multiple military agreements legalizing U.S. presence in the Philippines were already part of the grant of formal independence in 1946. In 1951, the «Mutual Defense Treaty» was signed between the U.S. and the Philippines, stating that both parties must assist one another militarily if one party is attacked. In the treaty, the term «attack» is formulated very vaguely; being the dominating power, the U.S. can effectively define when the treaty is activated whenever they please. Hence, they can freely militarily intervene in the Philippines whenever it corresponds to their strategic interests.

In contrast, the «Visiting Forces Agreement» which is based on the «Mutual Defense Treaty» and came into effect in 1999 is much more concrete. «Noting that from time to time elements of the United States armed forces may visit the Republic of the Philippines», the agreement states among other things:

1. The Government of the Philippines shall facilitate the admission of United States personnel and their departure from the Philippines in connection with activities covered by this Agreement.

United States military personnel shall be exempt from passport and visa regulations upon entering and departing the Philippines.

[…]

Article IV: Driving and Vehicle Registration

Philippine authorities shall accept as valid, without test or fee, a driving permit or license issued by the appropriate United States authority to United States personnel for the operation of military or official vehicles.

Vehicles owned by the Government of the United States need not be registered, but shall have appropriate markings.»

And concerning crimes committed by U.S. personnel in the Philippines:

3. In cases where the right to exercise jurisdiction is concurrent, the following rules shall apply:

[…]

b) United States military authorities shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over United States personnel subject to the military law of the United States in relation to:

[…] offenses arising out of any act or omission done in performance of official duty.

Finally, the agreement establishes the following about Yankee equipment:

Article VII: Importation and Exportation

United States Government equipment, materials, supplies, and other property imported into or acquired in the Philippines by or on behalf of the United States armed forces in connection with activities to which this Agreement applies, shall be free of all Philippine duties, taxes and other similar charges. Title to such property shall remain with the United States, which may remove such property from the Philippines at any time, free from export duties, taxes, and other similar charges.

In other words: The Yankees can send personnel in and out of the Philippines as they please; U.S. vehicles can cruise through the country without Philippine markings; and the Yankees can station or withdraw war materials in and out of the Philippines without any limitations or duty to deliver reports to Philippine authorities. Additionally, U.S. soldiers only have punishment by their own State to fear when committing crimes on duty, the dark number of which is huge since punishment almost never gets served. One of the few known examples for atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers in the Philippines is the case of marine lance corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton who murdered the Filipina Jennifer Laude in 2014 after finding out she was transgender — and was then personally pardoned by president Donald Trump in 2020. In the few cases where patriarchal atrocities like these are actually followed up with a conviction, Yankee sources celebrate them to the skies as proof of how brilliant the Agreement is. It seems that the capitalists have never heard of the exception only proving the rule and on top of that, the few arrested or convicted criminals are put in a jail or prison under U.S. control where their well-being can be guaranteed.

What seals the deal for the Yankees having the right to militarily occupy the Philippines is a supplement to the «Visiting Forces Agreement» that was adopted in 2014 — the «Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement». It establishes that the Armed Forces of the Philippines have to provide U.S. forces with «agreed locations» that the latter have full control over and can move material and personnel in and out of without any limitations or duties to deliver reports. The only limitation of the occupant contract is that the U.S. bases may only be «temporary» and expire «after the contract ends». All this means is that the imperialists switch locations once every few years, something that benefits them anyways considering the fast-paced development of tensions in the Indo-Pacific.

THE «ISLAND CHAIN STRATEGY»

At the moment, over 20 U.S. bases and military facilities cover 90‘000 hectares of Philippine territory, with the bases either belonging to the Yankees, being shared with the Armed Forces of the Philippines or belonging to the latter but being used by the former.

In order to understand why the USA values military bases on Philippine territory so highly, we have to take a look at the so-called «Island Chain Strategy» — a geostrategic Yankee plan for securing U.S. control in the oceans of Southeast Asia and Oceania. The strategy was first developed in 1951 by a U.S. foreign minister during the Korean War, a national liberation war of the Korean people against U.S. and U.N. occupation which is the origin of the country being split in two today. Millions of volunteers from mainly the Soviet Union and newly liberated China travelled to Korea in millions to fight for the country‘s liberation, truly showing that the imperialists‘ fears over world-wide revolutionary struggle were not unfounded. It was the time of the world-wide strategic stalemate between the capitalist and the socialist States, with the U.S. imperwieso die USA solchen Wert auf Militärstützpunkte auf philippinischem Territorium legt, müssen wir uns die sogenannte «Inselkettenstrategie» anschauen. Es handelt sich dabei um einen geostrategischen Plan der Amis zur Sicherung von amerikanischer Kontrolle in den Meeren Südostasiens und Ozeaniens. Die Strategie wurdeialists mainly being focused on the «containment» of socialism — something the «Island Chain Strategy» reflects. Its aim is to surround the Soviet Union and the People‘s Republic of China with marine bases in order to cut off the States‘ ocean access. Today, Russia and China may both be just as imperialist as the Yankees, but the two fronts are still in conflict — the difference being that it‘s a conflict between imperialist powers and not a conflict between the leader of the capitalist world and the two largest socialist States.

Today, the «Island Chain Strategy» is mainly directed against China and encompasses three «Island Chains» to aspire towards (you can find the first two drawn into the map above). The «First Island Chain» leads straight through the West Philippine Sea and the «Second Island Chain» leads through its Eastern Sea.

The first and second of the «Island Chains».

NEW U.S. MILITARY BASES

Last month, the New People‘s Army made public that the Philippine Navy is planning to start operating the former U.S. Coast Guard post in Quigaray on Panay Island in the mid-east of the Philippines. The post was operated by the Yankees from the 1950s to the 1970s, who never paid any rent in those two decaded. Also, during their stay, women and queer people in every single county nearby were repeatedly harrassed, raped or even killed by occupant soldiers. The base, which is not back in use quite yet, was explicitly included in the «Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement» by then-president Aquino in 2014 and it is this agreement that the U.S. plan to use as grounds for positioning troops in Quigaray once the Philippine Navy has set up shop there. If we also take into account that the base serves to protect Bentham Rise, which is part of the «Second Island Chain» the U.S. is aspiring towards, it‘s obvious who the driving force is behind operations being resumed at the post in Quigaray.

Additionally, on the 8th of March this year, the Philippine Defense Ministry announced that the U.S. company Cerberus Capital Management purchased a 300-hectare shipyard from a bankrupt industrial and construction company for about 280‘000‘000 Swiss francs. The shipyard is located in Subic Bay bordering the «South Chinese Sea» and the Chinese State had wanted to buy it too. One of Cerberus‘ sub-companies, Navistar Defense, produces war vehicles for the U.S. State and it‘s likely this company will receive the contract for constructing over 500 (!) warships that the U.S. wants to use against China in the Indo-Pacific in the near future. Cerberus belongs to Dan Quayle, former U.S. vice president of George H. W. Bush and a renowned big capitalist in the military industry. Cerberus claims it plans to «rent» a third of the shipyard to the Philippine Navy, which is most likely nothing but a cover-up for the U.S. to be active in the shipyard and move materials and troops in and out of it — especially considering the newest Yankee military campaign in the Indo-Pacific that was just passed.

ALMOST FIVE BILLION FRANCS FOR ONE CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHINA

The U.S. are currently working to put the «Island Chain Strategy» into practice through a campaign called «Pacific Deterrence Initiative» (PDI), which explicitly serves to confront China in the Indo-Pacific and to intimidate North Korea (which is a semi-colony inside the Eastern imperialist bloc). The U.S. Department of Defense is investing 61‘380‘000‘000 CHF of this year‘s fiscal budget in the region, and about 4‘731‘463‘000 Swiss francs are dedicated to the PDI alone. The Department of Defense‘s report summarizes the initiative in three points:

Demonstrate commitment to preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific. The Department is focused on maintaining and extending our military advantages in the region and is prioritizing the People’s Republic of China as our pacing challenge while deterring and countering the destabilizing actions of North Korea.

Provide forces that are resilient, ready, and postured to respond quickly and effectively against aggression, including in the Indo-Pacific. Maintaining our military effectiveness is a critical element of deterring aggression and preventing conflict.

Help develop our alliances and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, advancing the U.S. vision for a free and open, rules-based Indo-Pacific order and enabling collective responses to common challenges that undermine security and stability.

https://comptroller.defense.gov/Portals/45/Dn tocuments/defbudget/FY2022/fy2022_Pacific_Deterrence_Initiative.pdf

97% of the budget for the new Yankee project is going into developing «joint force lethality» and 60% of this money is going into «shipbuilding and conversion» for the U.S. Marines. Part of this will pay for the huge ship construction contract to Cerberus in the Philippines, right where the ships will be put to use.

The Yankees gave us a taste of what the «Pacific Deterrence Initiative» looks like in practice from the 27.01. to the 02.02. of this year. 14‘000 U.S. forces from over Marines units conducted military training together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with the USS Abraham Lincoln and Carl Vinson (two aircraft carriers of the second-largest U.S. warship type «Nimitz») being involved among others.

On top of this, the newest war exercises are coming to a close on this very date. When the «Visiting Forces Agreement» we wrote about earlier was signed in 1998, the U.S. began to conduct yearly military exercises in the Philippines together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, misleadingly dubbed «Shoulder to Shoulder» a.k.a. «Balikatan». Troops from Australia, who also has a standing «Visiting Forces Agreement» with the Philippines, have been involved in the exercises too since eight years. This year‘s exercise made headlines in the bourgeois media for being the largest one yet, with almost 9‘000 soldiers being involved (5‘100 from the U.S. and 3‘800 from the Philippines). Also, 90 of the U.S. soldiers are members of the brand new «3rd Marine Littorial Regiment», a unit for launching expeditionary advanced base operations. This means that the regiment is sent deep into contested territory to test China‘s boundaries through small-scale occupation of territory and to conduct intelligence work such as stealing enemy intelligence. Until recently, the unit‘s commander tried to keep the regiment a secret, which is supposed to reach 2‘000 members by next year. The New People‘s army is correct in saying that these operations in the Philippines are nothing but war games.

After the victory of the revolution, Yankee warships in Philippine territory will only have two directions left to take: out or down.

CONCLUSION

The turning point in the tug of war between the U.S. and China over control of the Philippines was in August 2021 when Duterte stopped threatening the U.S. with terminating the «Visiting Forces Agreement» after one-and-a-half years. There are two main reasons for this: Firstly, China wasn‘t the only one to bribe the fascist with Corona vaccines — The U.S. delivered 3‘000‘000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines in July 2021 and another 3‘000‘000 Moderna vaccines one month later. Secondly, U.S. influence over the old Philippine State is simply too big for Duterte to switch sides to China as if it was nothing. The majority of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is pro-USA and anti-China — one of the reasons being that the weapons with which they have killed masses of Filipin:as mainly come from the U.S (more on that in the third part of this article series). Also, the opposition in the State is using the cultural U.S. influence in the country to denounce Duterte for his inaction against the Chinese aggressions in the West Philippine Sea that we wrote about in the first part of this article, doing so on a pro-U.S. basis. Because Duterte wants his daughter to be elected vice-president in the upcoming presidential elections of 2022, he had to drop his anti-U.S. manoeuvring so as to not play into the hands of the opposition any longer. We live in global pre-war times in which the imperialist blocs are doing their best to strengthen their fronts — and the Yankees have pulled the old Philippine State back to the side of the Western imperialist bloc.

Russian imperialism‘s war of aggression against Ukraine and the ongoing genocide of the Ukranian people have fully sealed this fact for now:

The Philippines says it will allow the U.S. to use its military bases and facilities if the Russia-Ukraine crisis spreads to Asia.
That’s according to the Philippine ambassador to the U.S., who made the announcement last Thursday.

https://www.ntd.com/philippines-ready-to-open-military-bases-to-the-us_752256.html
U.S. defense secretary Lloyd Austin (left) with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ former Chairman, Cirilito Subejana.

In other words: The U.S. have received explicit permission to militarily occupy the Philippines in the coming 3rd World War and wage devastating battles with China for the redivision of the region from there. In doing so, they will turn the country into a direct target of their enemies. As is always the case, Filipino people will have to shoulder the economic and military burden of all this. It‘s up to the Communist Party of the Philippines to lead the new-democratic revolution to victory as soon as possible, be it before or after the 3rd World War breaks out — as we outlined in the introduction, the Party already led the guerrilla operations against the Japanese occupants in the 2nd World War and the current people‘s war also has 53 years of experience to draw from. What‘s left to do is to break out of the current defensive position and tip the scales in order to finally stop the domestic and foreign criminals — because the old State doesn‘t just sell out the Philippines to imperialist powers, it also uses their investments to try and prevent the people from making revolution by means of reactionary terror. This will be the topic of the third and last part of this article series.

[TO BE CONTINUED]