Dr. Joseph Scalice responds to Jose Maria Sison’s Stalinist lies and slanders

Jose Maria Sison (known as Joma Sison), the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines, gave a lengthy interview posted on Anakbayan-Europa’s Facebook page on September 10, entitled “On Trotskyites and other slanderers.” The interview is the third given by Sison in response to a devastating critique of the pro-capitalist politics of the CPP by Professor Joseph Scalice.

Dr. Scalice’s lecture, “First as Tragedy, Second as Farce: Marcos, Duterte and the Communist Parties of the Philippines,” has been viewed thousands of times since it was delivered at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore on August 26. He comprehensively exposed the Philippine Stalinists’ support for the fascistic president Rodrigo Duterte, and their earlier backing for bourgeois politicians including the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Sison and his supporters have responded with furious attacks on Dr. Scalice, including threats and libelous accusations that he is an agent of US imperialism and is assisting Duterte’s death squads. We urge readers to send us letters defending Dr. Scalice and his rights to academic freedom and free speech.

Below we repost Dr. Scalice’s response to Sison, originally posted on Facebook on September 10:

Joma Sison, the head of the Stalinist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has issued another lengthy statement attacking me, this time in the form of an interview with Anakbayan. Reading through the lies he spins is soul-numbing work. He has so little concern for the truth that at times he argues his way into a rhetorical corner of murderous incoherence.

Sison is doubling down on his Stalinism. He hails “Stalin’s great achievements,” and Anakbayan prints this statement without any attempt to distance itself from such an assertion. Recall that to associate this youth organization, Anakbayan—which is publishing a statement promoting Joseph Stalin—with the political line of the CPP, is “red-tagging.”

Sison asks his audience, “What kind of a historian is Scalice who denies the great historic achievements of Stalin and Mao?” I think the answer is: not an apologist for some of the most monstrous figures of the 20th century.

Sison is now attempting to hide the support he gave to one mass murderer, Duterte, yet he is shamelessly lauding another, Stalin, to the skies. Anyone who thinks that you can defend human rights by working in organizations founded on this political line is delusional.

I intend to write a detailed response to certain claims. It will take some work. It is always harder to tell the truth than it is to lie. You have to check your facts and provide evidence.

Sison seems to believe that Filipino youth and workers are ignorant dupes who will never check his falsehoods, who cannot tell the difference between a serious scholar conducting an evidence based examination of events and an increasingly unhinged political leader who is lying through his teeth.

Sison and his cohort are promoting the interview with this image of Trotsky and me in a pastiche with Rodrigo Duterte who is posing with his fascistic raised fist salute. Sison is again claiming that I am a secret agent of the death squads. I would remind everyone that it was Sison—not I—who publicly posed with this fascist salute in 2016.

I would ask my readers that if you choose to share this post, that you take the time to share my words and not just this horrible doctored image.

Sison asserts that “only a Troskyite and fake historian can deny” that the CPP always opposed Duterte. This is a staggering lie. I am including a link to the transcript of my lecture, which meticulously details the support that the Communist Party and the national democratic movement gave to Duterte. I will place a link to Sison’s slanderous interview with Anakbayan in the comments.

Sison’s fundamental argument is: Stalin was right; I am always right; we never supported Duterte. He is not looking to win new forces to the party. No one will be won over by this sort of rhetoric. Sison is looking to provide some sort of ideological excuse to those already in the mass movement to prevent them from leaving out of disgust at the repeated betrayals that have been carried out by their leadership.

As vicious as his rhetoric is, Sison is not on the offensive. These are the arguments of a desperate, cornered man, lashing out in every direction, defending a legacy of mass murder and betrayal with manifestly diminished coherence.