Will A “Hugo Chavez-type” End the Filipino Revolution?

[The question arises: Can populist rhetoric sway hearts and minds without petrodollars?  —  Frontlines ed.]

Joma sees Duterte as Pinoy-version of Hugo Chavez

October 10, 2015

UTRECHT, The Netherlands: Jose Maria Sison, the founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), made himself clear—he did not endorse Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as his preferred next president of the Philippines.

“But how can I do that when he did not yet declare that he is running for president?” he said laughing, in front of him a cup of brewed coffee sitting cold – untouched – on a long white table, the ‘centerpiece’ inside the office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) here. Continue reading

Brazil: The Agrarian Reality and the Central Role of the Peasant Struggle

The struggle for land and the brutal suppression of the peasant population: the ongoing account of the reality of the agrarian question in Brazil

The huge monopolisation of the land ownership by the ”Latifundio” (the big landowners) in Brazil continues to rise and it is the basis of the history of the ongoing economic and social crisis in the country and, it is at the same time, the basis of current intensification conflicts. Only 2% of landowners (around 23,000) with properties above 1000 hectares hold almost 50% of all land titles in the country (210.5 million hectares)! While 90% of those (4.95 million peasant families), small holders (with properties of up to one hundred hectares) hold only 20% of them (84.1 million hectares)! The medium landowners (with properties of a hundred thousand hectares) that are 8% (440.000) hold the remaining 125.9 million hectares. Besides this there are about 5 million landless peasant families.(*)
This structure of land ownership, that maintains and reproduces the archaic semi-feudal system, is the basis on which imperialism has developed bureaucratic capitalism – that is backward capitalism through which monopoly capital, i.e. imperialism, has imposed in dominated countries. Capitalism, of the bureaucratic type, was developed in Brazil when capitalism had passed to its monopoly stage, i.e. the imperialist phase – in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
It was propelled forwards mainly by British imperialism in alliance with the big landowners (the rural landowning oligarchies) and large local merchants and importers. The nascent bourgeoisie was weak and having stagnated because capital was already in the imperialist phase, could not advance forward the bourgeois revolution in Brazil. It is also true that the nascent proletariat was unable to lead and advance the national-democratic revolution to its end, leaving it in an incomplete state. This was caused by the weaknesses of the Communist Party, which did not understand its role. A role that under the circumstances at the time demanded that a bourgeois revolution could only be carried out under its leadership. A revolutionary leadership that was based on the worker-peasant alliance and a united front with the small and medium bourgeoisie, conducted through revolutionary armed struggle in order that, on the one hand, it must remove the domination of landowners, destroy the old relations of land ownership, give the land to those who work on it and free the productive forces of the field. On the other hand, it must wipe the imperialist domination and confiscate all the bureaucratic capital (state and non-state), centralizing everything in the hands of the new popular state to promote a new self-reliant economy geared to serve the welfare of the people, advancing new democracy and promote a new culture.
Without these tasks being fulfilled, the fundamental and root causes of the contradictions remain intact, semi-feudal relations continue to remain with some evolution in its forms, consequently determine that Brazil would continue to remain a backward country. Under such conditions all that is called development and industrialization has only deepened the denationalization of the economy and its subjugation to mainly American imperialism. Continue reading

NGOs’ Corporate/Foundation Mission–to Divert and Blunt Radical Movements–is Losing Sway

webready-Marcha-Revoluncionaria[The REVOLUTIONARY FRONTLINES blog focuses attention on revolutionaries and especially on revolutionary struggles that challenge the capitalist-imperialist world system and all reactionaries.  Revolutionaries work within a broad range of struggles as they gather and develop revolutionary forces.  Some such struggles are reform struggles, which are often engaged in debates between REFORMISTS, who seek to contain these movements in reforming the capitalist system, and REVOLUTIONARIES, who promote the growth of revolutionary forces to overturn capitalist state power and establish socialism.  In the debates over these directions and goals, NGOs have come to play a major role.

For many years, Maoist revolutionaries and many others have exposed the corporate and government project to put revolutionary grassroots organizers on the payroll, and turn them all into single-issue reformist policy wonks and advocates.  The corporate project aims  and acts to block multi-issue, internationalist advocacy and anti-systemic revolutionary organizing.  It is a project called NGO-ism (Non-Government-Organization) or, domestically, non-profit-organizing (NPOs), which ties the careers of organizers to limited reformist goals, for which they receive conditional funding (blocking revolutionary political organizing, and rewarding only limited reform and electoral objectives).

The funding for these projects (now millions of NGOs and NPOs, worldwide) comes directly from  corporate foundations, which hold a tight leash on NGO advocates and organizers.  Many such NGOs claim to have “democratic accountability,” but in times of increasing mass discontent and rebellion, there is a wide, ever-growing programmatic gap between the reforms sought by corporate NGOs, and the sentiments and demands on the grassroots level.  So the NGO “project” is not only criticized and opposed by revolutionaries, but also by the purported “base”of the NGOs. And now, corporations and foundations are subjecting their vast project to a kind of “quality control” in which they measure their effectiveness in stemming the opposition to capitalism and imperialism.

At the start of the largely NGO World Social Forum, convening last week in Tunisia, the Guardian (UK) newspaper carried an interesting assessment of the loss of credibility, and effectiveness, of NGOs.  Though it takes some reading between the lines, and through the language of reform claims and hype, this becomes clear:  A lot has been invested by the bourgeoisie in these tools of reform and counter insurgency.  Serving two masters, that of financial corporate accountabilty, and of populist “democratic” credibility, has already proven to be a most difficult–indeed, impossible–challenge for the NGOs and NPOs, and for their World Social Forum.  — Frontlines ed.]

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Are NGOs fit for the purpose of advocacy and campaigning?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/2013/mar/26/world-social-forum-ngos-fit-for-purpose

As the World Social Forum begins, Jude Howell asks whether reliance on state funding has cost NGOs their independence

by Jude Howell, The Guardian, Tuesday 26 March 2013

The World Social Forum, which begins in Tunis today, is an important reminder of the pivotal role civil society organisations have often played in major social and political transformation.

The anti-slavery movement played a crucial part in bringing about legislation to end slavery in the 19th century. Across the world, the trade union movement has been the lynchpin behind achieving basic labour rights and improvements in working conditions. The anti-apartheid movement brought about the downfall of the racist apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1990s, while the women’s movement in different historical periods and contexts achieved landmark breakthroughs in law to push for gender equality.

Of course, not all movements achieve their objectives; nor can success be attributed solely to them – alliances with different economic and political interests, as well as getting the general public and media on board have also been crucial. Civil society and NGOs have long been key to challenging systems that would favour the few over the many, and give a voice to the voiceless – but is this the case today? Are they still fit for that purpose? Continue reading

Why Does a Revolt Fail? On Reexamining “Who are you fighting? Is your force and vision capable of victory?”

[If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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Jordan – a failed uprising and a re-emerging regime

“Up to now, the regime has been successful in absorbing the movement and fragmenting it”

by Hisham Bustani, Your Middle East, January 8, 2013

There is no doubt that the November 2012 events in Jordan dubbed Habbet Tishreen by many activists in recollection of its 1989 counterpart, the April Uprising, or Habbet Neesan, are unprecedented. Although both were triggered by an increase in the prices of oil derivatives, the 2012 version seems to have been much more radicalized in its approach to the ruling regime, especially the Hashemite monarchs/family and the king himself.

Before 2012, it was the virtue of the ultra-brave to publicly criticize the king and the royal family: they usually spoke with evident hints and innuendo, but without going the full route to directly uttering the name of the king. Criticizing the king and the royal family was simply not tolerated under Jordanian law, and it is still punishable by one to three years in prison. The law incriminating this sort of criticism has perhaps the world’s most absurd name for any legislation: literally, the ‘Law on elongating one’s tongue about the monarch’!

I was not one of the brave ones, but while others directed their criticism to ‘the government’, I have always referred to “the political authority” in my articles, making a point that governments do not rule in Jordan, they are mere executives, and the decision-making lies somewhere else, in spaces on a higher level: The Royal Court and the General Intelligence Agency (Mukhabarat).

Continue reading

Economic and Political Weekly (India) on “Nepal’s Maoist’s” lost compass, derailed

[Note from Frontlines: The author of the article below appears to assume that integration of the PLA would have “neutralized”
the Nepal Army, which was not even plausible.  The reverse was the case, and this is exactly what has happened with the integrated section (about 6,000) of the PLA that did not slowly leave the cantonments over the years or accept cash/retraining payments, who have been or are preparing to be consumed and digested by the NA.  Unfortunately, the unclarity on this issue led even Kiran and his allies in the newly-formed Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist to upheld integration until relatively recently.]
Vol – XLVII No. 38, September 22, 2012

With so many unfulfilled aspirations, the recent divide in the Maoist party in Nepal is depressing.

Tremendous hope coupled with so many unfulfilled aspirations had drawn the Nepali people to the Maoists, but their dreams now seem to be in the process of being prematurely shattered. Washington’s decision on 6 September to remove the Maoist party from its list of “terrorist organisations” had been on the anvil for the last two years, and it came just when the party seems no longer in a position to upset the status quo any further. The “two-line struggle”, underway within the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [UCPN(M)], reached a point earlier this year when the party’s central committee reconciled itself to the reality of “one party with two lines” and it was only a matter of time when the faction led by the party’s erstwhile vice-chairperson Mohan Baidya “Kiran” would form a new party, which it did on 19 June. The new Maoist party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)], hopes to rekindle the aspiration of a people’s democracy – a democracy that takes into account the interests of the workers, the poor peasants, the oppressed nationalities and ethnic groups, women and dalits.

Expectations had run high ever since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of November 2006 and when the Maoist party emerged as the largest constituent in the April 2008 Constituent Assembly elections – mainly about integration of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with the Nepal Army (NA) and the making of a people’s democratic, federal, republican constitution. Regarding the former, the prospect was of the integration of the PLA combatants with the chain of command intact, thus leading to “democratisation” in the leadership and structure of the NA. The combatants of the PLA had, after all, significantly contributed to the creation of the secular democratic republic that Nepal is today. The commanders should therefore have been treated on par with their counterparts in the NA, so also the soldiers; they should have been automatically absorbed into the NA without any process of selection. Was not integration supposed to have been a merger of the two armies? What has actually transpired is an insult to the dignity of the PLA’s commanders and other combatants. Indeed, it should not have surprised anyone that the 12 April 2012 military takeover of the PLA cantonments along with their weapons was the last straw for the veterans of people’s war period (1996-2006).

What of the promise of a people’s democratic, federal, republican constitution? To deal with this question politically, one needs to go back to the 2005 Chunbang meeting of the central committee of the Maoist party where a decision was taken to strive for a “democratic republic” in the immediate term. This was a significant tactical shift, a turning point as it soon became evident, but at that time it was merely seen as a transitional tactic in the path towards a people’s democratic republic. The 12-point agreement of 22 November 2005 with the seven parliamentary parties followed from this. From thereon to the 8-point agreement of 16 June 2006, the CPA, and the 18 June 2008 deal, all of which, taken together obliged the Maoist party to conclude the armed struggle and ultimately disarm. Its logic made them join the bandwagon of competitive multiparty politics, dissolve the people’s governments and the people’s courts that had been formed in the countryside and integrate the combatants of the PLA with the NA. From this followed the return of property, including land, of the landlords that had been confiscated as part of the radical land reform programme. In effect, the Maoists gave up the people’s war and the struggle for new democracy.

The UCPN(M) has thus become no more than a reformist left party. The tactical shift made at Chunbang in 2005, it was argued by its proponents in the Maoist party, would enable the creation of a strong revolutionary base in the cities, which would then make possible mass insurrection to seize political power at the centre. But without the PLA, the base areas, the people’s governments in the countryside, that is only a daydream now. Continue reading

Newly formed ‘Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist’ to Avoid Return to PW at All Costs

[Note by Enaemaehkiw Túpac Keshena on the “Bermuda Radical” blogsite–“(The) following information is about the line of the newly formed Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist. The CPN-M developed from the so-called “red” or “revolutionary” faction within the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which finally broke away to form a new party in the last several weeks. However, while many supporters of the “red” faction hoped that the new party would return to the path of people’s war in Nepal, this statement from Ram Bahadur Thapa shows that this is not the case, at least for a faction within the party. For some this is a disappointment, however for others it is a confirmation about what they had already suspected about the “red” faction.”]

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We are Not Going Back to Jungle: Ram Bahadur Thapa

DHRUBA DANGAL, Myrepublica.com

SINDHUPALCHOWK, Aug 8: General Secretary of newly-formed CPN-Maoist, Ram Bahadur Thapa, said on Wednesday that they were not going back to jungles to start another insurgency.

He said the rumor about his party again raising arms was spread by UCPN (Maoist) leaders and claimed that his party would rather send the leaders of his former party to jungle.

“We are not returning to jungle at any cost,” Thapa told reporters after inaugurating an office building of his party at Chautara on Wednesday. “The UCPN (Maoist) is a party of looters. So they need to be sent to jungle instead,” he said. Continue reading

Al Jazeera video: “Is this the end of Egypt’s revolution?”


Published on Jun 25, 2012 by AlJazeeraEnglish

The decision by Egypt’s electoral commission ends a week of uncertainty in a country without a parliament or a constitution, and a barely functioning economy. There is a new president, the country’s first elected leader. Mohammed Morsi, the candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood. Is Egypt’s political limbo over? Guests: Hisham Kassem, Waleed El-Haddad, Adel Darwish.