U.S. Out of the Philippines! Free Jose Maria Sison Now!

Chanting “U.S. Out of the Philippines! Free Sison Now!” members of UNC-Asheville SDS protested today in downtown Asheville, North Carolina. The protest was held in conjunction with simultaneous protests in New York and on the West Coast. SDSers were demanding the immediate release of Jose Maria Sison, an important Filipino activist arrested on August 28th in the Netherlands. UNCA SDS condemns the arrest of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) political consultant. Sison’s arrest will be a major set back to the peace process in the Philippines, as Professor Sison has long played an important role in in the negotiations between the Philippine Government and the NDFP.

Free Sison!

Sison is a hero. He has devoted his entire life to the struggle of the Filipino people for liberation, peace, and justice. For many years he led the popular movement against dictatorship and foreign intervention in the Philippines. He suffered long imprisonment and torture in the Philippines, and finally exile in the Netherlands. There he was arrested again, only a little more than a month after having his name removed from the European “terrorist” list. Sison’s arrest is arbitrary, just as his placement on the “terrorist” list was arbitrary. The charges have come up against him again and again. He is charged for ordering the killing, by the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP/NPA) of two men in the Philippines from exile in the Netherlands. Sison has long been the most vocal figure in opposition to the dictatorship in the Philippines. As he said in his own defence in a statement of June 2, 2007, “There is no factual and legal basis for charging me with murder for the deaths of Kintanar and Tabara. The false allegations are politically motivated and meant to deceive the people and divert their attention from the criminal culpabilities of the Arroyo regime for electoral fraud, corruption and gross human rights violations” and “the leadership of the CPP and the national command of the NPA are in the Philippines. I should not be misrepresented as the omnipotent entity making decisions for the CPP and NPA. I am simply the chief political consultant of the NDFP negotiating panel.”

We must stand up to support Jose Maria Sison. Many organization based in the Filipino community are taking a stand: BAYAN-USA, The Alliance for Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines, and the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines. Students for a Democratic Society must stand with them. We must stand up against U.S. intervention in the Philippines, we must stand up against the U.S. policy of neo-colonialism in the Philippines. And we must stand up for justice. Everywhere. This is what Jose Maria Sison has done, and we must now count ourselves amongst those who would stand up for him.

Josh Sykes
UNC-Asheville SDS

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No Responses to “U.S. Out of the Philippines! Free Jose Maria Sison Now!”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    As a member of Boston SDS I’m very concerned that you are using sds’s name to support this man. Let’s be upfront about who Jose Maria Sison is, shall we? He is an active member and organizer of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) its armed assassination wing the New People’s Army (NPA). Both organizations have a violent, bloody and murderous past and present. This is not to say that i support imprisonment of any political prisoners, but i think given the sorted facts of the CPP and the NPA most sds’ers would take issue with using our organization and it’s name to actively campaign for him, especially if they know some of the terrifying things about the organizations.

    Beyond the bloody purges the CPP has had of it’s own members and community leaders in the past, the party has also, as recently as 2004/2005, threatened to assassinate anti-corporate-globalization anti-WTO activist Walden Bello of Focus on the Global South. He was named on one of the CPP’s infamous “counter-revolutionaries” lists along with many other leftists (and others) in the Philippines. At least two other folks also named were assassinated by the CPP or NPA there names are Arturo Tabara and Filemon Lagman.

    Folks can read more here:
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=7072

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