Week #5, July 2020
1. Tudeh Party of Iran:
Excerpts from the statement of the CC of the Tudeh Party of Iran on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Iran
2. Communist Party of Turkey (TKP):
Kemal Okuyan: Is Turkey fighting against people or virus?
3. Communist Party of Swaziland:
Rejects Trump's and Israel's plan aimed at the total annexation of Palestinian lands.
4. World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU):
Solidarity statement with the people of Myanmar on the occupational crime.
5. Philippine Communist Party (PKP-1930):
No to the proposed 2020 "Anti-Terrorism Law"!
6. Nordic Communist Review:
The Issue No. 2 has been published.
7. Cuba Council of Ministers:
All of Cuba in recovery, defeating the pandemic.
All of Cuba in recovery, defeating the pandemic.
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TUDEH PARTY OF IRAN
Excerpts from the statement of the CC of the Tudeh Party of Iran on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Iran
The beginning of the summer of this year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Iran (CPI). On the 23rd June 1920, activists of the Iranian Workers’ Social Democratic Party, "Edālat" ("Justice"), officially announced the foundation of the Communist Party of Iran in their Congress in the northern city of Bandar-e Anzalī. The Edālat Party, which went on to become the Communist Party of Iran, had a significant role in the Constitutional Revolution in Iran [1905-1911]. The formation of the CPI was a key social development in respond to the objective needs of the society in a critical period of the contemporary history of our nation.
The CPI stepped onto the stage of the struggle at a very critical situation domestically and internationally. On the one hand, the socio-economic under-development, based on the serfdom-master relations; the intensification of the crisis and the surge in disorder and chaos after the setback of the Constitutional Revolution, along with the dictatorship and despotism of the Shah and the local rulers; the plight of the masses and their lack of rights; the occupation of parts of our country by the imperialist powers during the First World War; and, in response, the national uproar against dictatorship and colonialism, all characterise the situation inside Iran at that time. On the other hand, internationally, the flames of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia were ignited amid the general crisis of the capitalist world and the First World War and lit up the prospect of a new era. In the neighbourhood of our nation, there stood the government of the Soviets, the state of the workers and peasants.
The triumph of the October Revolution in Russia boosted the labour movements and national liberation movements across the globe… As such, this historic event created favourable objective and subjective conditions for the growth and expansion of the national, anti-imperialist, and popular struggles in Iran. It was under these concrete historical circumstances that the movement of the people of Iran against the notorious deal of 1919, by which British imperialism was trying to impose its dominance in our country through its cohorts, caught afire and spread across Iran.
Immediately after its foundation, the CPI, like its predecessor - the Social Democratic organisation - was posed with a slew of significant and complex developments on a national scale. From the beginning, the Social Democrats were involved in the upheaval and the great developments of the Constitutional Revolution in which they played a significant and admirable historic role. In the same way, the CPI right from its inception had to deal with the revolutionary movement in the northern province of Gilān, the changes in the Qajar monarchy, as well as the intervention of colonialism. Under these critical and vital circumstances, the CPI as a fresh political organisation equipped with a scientific worldview resting on internationalism and international solidarity, and by virtue of its popular and revolutionary nature, firmly defended the interests of the marginalised urban and rural masses, particularly the newly developed working class of Iran. Despite all the difficulties and hurdles CPI faced, it could gain a credible role and social influence in the political arena and class struggle in our nation.
The CPI played a vanguard role in laying-out and advancing fundamental and urgent issues in those days in Iran such as the agrarian reforms, political and economical sovereignty, social justice, democracy and democratic freedoms, parity of men and women, social progress, economic and agricultural growth, and cultural development. The CPI put forward these issues in a scientific manner for the first time and made tireless efforts for their realisation. The CPI, also for the first time ever, introduced and promoted scientific political thinking and the scientific method to analyse social and political issues in Iran. Since then, political life in Iran has been under the influence of this type of thinking and analysis - and even the new and modern terms that the CPI introduced, entered into the vocabulary and culture of the society at large.
The publications of the CPI also initiated a great and progressive development in the national culture of Iran… As such, a number of the most prominent and influential Iranian intellectuals were under the influence of the ideas of the CPI in one or another period of their works.
One of the significant aspects of the work of the CPI was to introduce and promote the scientific and rational worldview of Marxism-Leninism in an organised and disciplined manner. The CPI activists promoted the three components of Marxism-Leninism - i.e. scientific socialism, political economy, and dialectic materialism - in the party’s publications. The Party had considerable success in this effort. Also, this aspect of the Party’s activity in promoting Marxism-Leninism laid the proper historic ground on which some time later the Tudeh Party of Iran was able to advance its educational and theoretical promotional work and effectively adopt this worldview on the concrete conditions of Iran’s society.
The Communist Party of Iran also played an unparalleled and effective role in raising the awareness of, and organising, the growing labour and union movement in Iran. Partaking in the formation of labour unions, spreading the seeds of class awareness amongst the working people, and training a group of devoted and determined cadres to participate in the labour movement and its leadership are among the unforgettable and major contributions of the Communist Party of Iran. The strikes of the oil workers in 1929, textile workers of Isfahan in 1931, and rail workers in 1931-32, are just some examples of the fruits of the tireless labour of the CPI activists.
The Communist Party of Iran was also a vanguard force in the area of equal rights of women and men in the contemporary history of Iran, in an under-developed society. Shortly after the 1st Congress of the CPI in the city of Rasht in 1921, the Women’s Prosperity Messenger association was formed with a specific program for the realisation of the social and political rights of women. Around the same time, the Association of Patriotic Women was formed to fight religious superstitions and the hijab (head and body covering). This association published Jahān-e Zanān (World of Women) magazine. It was because of the efforts of the militant women of these associations that for the first time in Iran, on the 8th March, International Women’s Day, the play called The Victim Girl was performed on the stage and was greatly cheered by the people. There were other women’s associations across the country in which the CPI activists and members were actively present to defend the rights of the people.
The militant struggle of the CPI provoked the hatred of the reaction and all the archaic and backward-looking forces in Iran right from the beginning. That was why the anti-people dictatorship of Reza Khan (later Reza Shah) viewed the communists as his main adversaries and his prisons were never empty of communists.
Many prominent figures fought in the ranks of the Communist Party of Iran who rendered valuable services to the nation and the communist and labour movement in Iran… The vanguard workers and the members and supporters of the Tudeh Party of Iran are rightfully proud that one of the first partisan Marxist-Leninist contingents of the world was formed in our nation.
The founding of the Communist Party of Iran was a significant event with long-lasting impacts in the contemporary history of our nation. The CPI, in its short life, tried to not only bring forward the fundamental and core issues of the society, but also present solutions for them. The CPI was faced with many challenges in doing so - both objectively and subjectively - and, in the early period of its activities, made some mistakes in identifying and analysing the characteristics of Iranian society. Nevertheless, the Iranian communists reviewed and criticised their own revolutionary actions with full decency and honesty and, through correcting their policies, tried to put forward realistic assessments in regard to their domestic politics. Recognising the national-democratic character of Iran’s revolutionary process - which remained unfinished in the Constitutional Revolution - and striving to unite the national, revolutionary, and anti-dictatorship forces based on a common program were among the theoretical-scientific efforts of the CPI during its life.
Considering the critical events of that specific historic juncture and the responsibilities and tasks of the Party in dealing with those events, the CPI made historic decisions in the meeting (plenum) of its Central Committee a few months after its 1st Congress. The meeting appointed Heydar Amo-oghli, the prominent figure of the Constitutional Revolution, to the position of General Secretary of the Party and took constructive steps towards formulating the principles and policies of the Party in accordance with the specific conditions in the country and the balance of forces in the domestic politics. As such, the Party document titled "Theses on the socio-economic conditions of Iran and the tactics of the Communist Party of Iran" was prepared by the leadership of the Party at the time. This document, which became known as the "Heydar Khān Theses" was ratified by the Central Committee in the early days of 1922. The Heydar Khān Theses defined the tasks of the Iranian communists in that historically specific period of time within the framework of the cooperation and joint action of "all the classes from proletariat to medium bourgeoisie, to fight against Qajar and foreign imperialists" and reiterated that "the Communist Party of Iran (Edālat) would like to cooperate with the prominent leaders of the national liberation movement like MirzāKoochakKhān and others." Consequently, based on the Heydar Khān Theses, which were actually the Party program, the activities of the CPI became more effective and the relations with other components of the national liberation movement was revived.
This stage in the life of the CPI has many important lessons for all the progressive forces of our nation to learn from. It was during this period, and amidst the fast-paced historical developments in the country, that the CPI was faced with the complicated task of identifying and analysing the social and class characteristics of the RezāShāh regime. The CPI made a great theoretical-scientific effort to characterise the class base of the RezāShāh regime.
The 2nd Congress of the CPI, known as the Urmia Congress, was held in 1927 to tackle the challenges the Party was facing and to improve the Party’s performance. The [2nd] Congress tried to present practical political approaches […] and its resolutions had a significant impact in promoting and elevating the union and labour movement, particularly in the southern oil-rich regions of the country.
Furthermore, the CPI had a very successful and remarkable record of working among the people and participating in the activities and actions of the various social associations and organisations - including among the intellectuals, youth, and peasants.
As mentioned earlier, the glorious life and struggle of the CPI was not without failures and mistakes, but the most important characteristic and indicator of the Party’s militant struggle is not those failures and mistakes but the powerful theoretical and organisational development and advancement that the Party introduced in the society in the interests of the prosperity of the people and dignity of the nation.
The Tudeh Party of Iran (TPI) is the direct and immediate successor to the struggle of the Communist Party of Iran. The communists who were released from the prisons of RezāShāh made a significant contribution in founding the TPI. That is why the TPI rightfully deems itself as the successor to the struggle of the CPI and its revolutionary traditions. Contrary to the targeted propaganda of the reaction and imperialism that were trying to show that the CPI was a mixture of contradictory and incompatible forces, individuals, and currents, there is no doubt that the Party was a militant actor in the class struggle and its formation and activities were in response to the necessities and demands of Iranian society at the time.
In the same way, the Tudeh Party of Iran is deeply rooted in the life, history, and the necessities of the society during the last nearly 80 years. The continuation of the communist and labour struggle in Iran in its three historical phases proves this fact. The continuation of the tireless struggle and the moral influence and historical credibility of our Party in the political arena of Iran until today - particularly after the deadly attacks of both monarchist and theocratic regimes intending to eliminate our Party from the political equations in Iran, in collaboration with imperialism - is the best evidence of the deep historical roots of the Party in Iranian society and the legitimacy of its path, ideas, and programs.
On the centenary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Iran, we the Tudeh activists, the successors of the revolutionary traditions of the Communist Party of Iran, hold up the flag of the joint action and collaboration of all the true defenders of the interests of the people and nation in the struggle to pass through the national democratic phase of social development within the framework of a united anti-dictatorship front. Relying on the hundred-year experience of the communist and labour movement in Iran, we fight this battle and will continue the struggle on this path.
Based on the resolutions and decisions of the 6th Congress of the Tudeh Party of Iran, we believe that the way to successfully fight the ruling theocratic regime and get out of the current crisis is through the united action of all the progressive, freedom-seeking, and revolutionary forces that want to end the current dictatorship and establish a regime based upon the will of the people. Without an effective and credible political leadership and broad united action based on a joint program, victory in the fight against the ruling theocratic dictatorship will be very difficult. As such, our Party, based on its historical experiences in the struggle in Iran, believes that the formation of a broad front of patriotic, freedom-loving, and anti-dictatorship forces is the effective and proper way to successfully pass through the national democratic stage of social development in Iran.
What the anti-dictatorship and popular movement in Iran needs today is the effective joint action of the serious political forces that have a social base in Iran, based on a joint political and struggle program.
Our Party is now preparing for its 7th Congress. Holding this [7th] Congress with the active participation of all members, supporters, and friends of the Party would be an indication and indeed assurance of the continuation of the remarkable struggle of the communist and labour movement and the relentless effort of the working class party of Iran, the Tudeh Party of Iran, in providing practical solutions according to the concrete conditions of the moment, with the objective of achieving sovereignty; social justice; social and individual democratic rights and freedoms; and the defeat and ending of the ruling theocratic dictatorship.
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran congratulates the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Iran to all the members, supporters, and friends of the Party, and all the defenders of the rights of the people and the working class and all working people. We salute the glorious memory of all the militant fighters of the communist and labour movement of Iran and all the self-sacrificing fighters of the liberation movement of the nation and send our greetings to all the known and unknown heroes of the movement.
Greetings on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of Iran!
Long live the Tudeh Party of Iran, the party of the working class of Iran, and the genuine successor to the Communist Party of Iran!
Victory to the struggle of the people of Iran against the theocratic dictatorship and for its removal!
Greetings to the militant women, youth, and students who are fighting for democratic rights and freedoms and the liberation of the nation from the claws of the theocratic dictatorship!
Greeting and salutations to all the true left, national, freedom-seeking, progressive, and patriotic forces of Iran who are fighting against the ruling theocratic dictatorship, imperialist sanctions, and foreign interference!
Towards the union of all progressive, revolutionary, and freedom-loving forces in a united anti-dictatorship front for freedom, peace, sovereignty, social justice, and removal of the theocratic regime!
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran
21 June 2020
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY (TKP)
TKP General Secretary Kemal Okuyan commented on the Turkish government's recent practices in a "new normal", in his piece published by the socialist daily newspaper Morning Star. Okuyan argues that from the beginning of the pandemic President Erdogan has developed policies in line with the demands of capital and not the health of the people.
The Turkish government has announced a new phase in its response to the coronavirus pandemic: “the new normal.”
It is doing so in line with other countries in Europe. Although many people believe that this is too early and the impact of the pandemic has not yet faded away, the government claims that it has managed the pandemic excellently and points to Turkey’s relatively low fatality rate.
While it is lower, the government cannot claim credit. The reason is that, in contrast to all European countries, the population of Turkey is much younger.
The average age is less than 30, compared with countries that face the coronavirus with a more fragile demographic structure.
Moreover, older people in Turkey are much less exposed than those in western European countries.
Most live with their families and not in nursing homes where the major losses have occurred elsewhere.
Now that we are passing to “the new normal,” the occupancy in intensive care units has declined.
Many scientists are hesitant when saying that the virus is waning, although warmer weather means people will spend less time in closed spaces and this is an advantage. We will see what happens.
As communists, we have been arguing from the beginning that capitalism has no capacity to contain such a pandemic.
A pandemic requires international co-operation and in reality competition between imperialist countries has grown more intense.
Imperialist countries, led by the US, have preferred conflict over solidarity.
More importantly, policies to contain the pandemic have been aligned to the needs of the capitalist class in all capitalist countries, without exception.
The pandemic could have been avoided in the whole world with an absolute isolation of a couple of weeks. But production continued — and this included sectors that are non-vital.
In Turkey those “exceptions” included nearly all companies that had a licence for exporting, mining, construction and so on.
Nor did capital, as anywhere else in the world, have the resources, prior preparation or intention to protect the rights and welfare of the working people under the conditions of temporarily ceased production.
In Turkey, the government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, always known as “pro-market,” has from the beginning developed policies in line with the demands of capital and not the health of the people.
Big shopping centres were reopened before parks. The shopping centres had no vital importance.
People were already buying their daily needs from shops. But the bosses in clothing and household appliances were knocking on the government’s doors.
Nevertheless, what exemplifies best the class character of the government’s corona policies was the stimulation package.
In March, the 100 billion Turkish liras (approximately €14bn) Economic Stability Shield Package was announced.
But a closer look into the package would reveal that the measures to protect working people, who shoulder the burden of the pandemic, were extremely limited.
Instead, the government’s bailout plan was exclusively for the bosses. For the workers, peasants and the self-employed who were going through hard times they offered “cheap and affordable loans.” Business must go on!
We have no clue about where and how this 100 billion lira support package is being used.
Nor do we know about the fate of the separate “pandemic-fund” derived from the donations of ordinary people.
Many economists believe that the government intends to use it to reduce the budget deficit.
What is the result? It is that Turkey is on the brink of a severe economic crisis and the whole burden will fall on the working people.
The real unemployment rate, already over 20 per cent, will soar and the impact of it will be observed in the months to come.
All struggles for workers’ rights have been suspended by government decree and strikes are rendered practically impossible.
In many firms, salaries have been reduced under the pretext of the pandemic. At the same time, and as in other countries, there is a new wave of monopolisation that will bear down on working people.
So what can be done in this situation?
In our view it is not politically correct to protest against the lifting of restrictions in Turkey in these conditions.
Working people are under the siege of poverty and unemployment. They are looking forward to getting back to normal.
To oppose the lifting of restrictions could be interpreted as a middle-class stance despite the scientific concerns.
Bearing in mind that capitalism does not and cannot protect the health of the people, we have to resort to the conventional tools of the class struggle — but add new methods.
Class struggle does not take place in virtual space but rather on the streets and in the workplaces.
In this special and destructive period, we can no longer afford the suspension of class struggle.
As in the rest of the world, communists have issued advice, organised solidarity actions and developed work to protect the health of all the working people.
Capitalism does not have the ability to protect humanity from such pandemics and it is our duty to explain this: to save humanity from capitalism.
Yet there is a dialectical relationship between the overall struggle against capitalist rule and the daily fight of workers for bread and freedom. One is not present without the other.
Conscious of this, the communists of Turkey are developing struggle for the rights of the working class against unemployment and poverty by means of grassroots “struggle networks” such We Breathe Down the Boss’s Neck (the PE Network].
This has secured a surprisingly large sphere of influence through local workplace actions at the same time as arguing politically that another Turkey and another world is possible.
In the vacuum left by a crippled trade union movement, whose hands are tied by the government, the PE Network is standing against the bosses, literally, legally and politically, using new and creative methods.
This network has now organised successful struggles in dozens of workplaces and catalysed workers’ participation in organised struggle.
Life is teaching us and we are learning from the pandemic, too.
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF SWAZILAND
Rejects Trump's and Israel's plan aimed at the total annexation of Palestinian lands
The Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS) stands in complete solidarity with the people of Palestine in their rejection of attempts by Israel, backed by the Trump administration, to annex the land that Israel occupies illegally in the West Bank.
We see this latest move by Israel is a further step in its strategy of destroying the Palestinian state and effectively perpetrating a genocide of the Palestinian people.
Israel’s propaganda machine, which operates on a massive level across the world and wields much influence in many countries, attempts to present the condemnation of Israel’s inhuman and monstrous destruction of Palestine and its people as anti-semitism.
We as the CPS reject anti-semitism for the racism it is. But we also reject the racist and genocidal Zionist ideology of the Israeli state. Israel has waged a war against the peace and freedom loving Palestinian population. It pursues an apartheid policy against Palestinians, aiming to make them second-class quasi citizens within a greater state of Israel.
Israel aims to reduce remaining tracts of Palestinian land, including Gaza, to a sub-bantustan level with no working infrastructure or independent means of existence.
The CPS fully supports the intention of the Palestinian Authority to declare full statehood over all of the West Bank and Gaza, and with Jerusalem as its capital, as a means to counter the latest moves by Israel seeking to annex Palestinian lands. We urge full solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people.
We call for the severance of all diplomatic ties between Swaziland and the state of Israel until such time as Israel recognises the rights of the Palestinian people to statehood on full and equal terms with Israel, and ends all acts of aggression, annexation of lands, settlement building on Palestinian territory, and discrimination against Palestinians.
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WORLD FEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS (WFTU)
The World Federation of Trade Unions, the oldest and most historic international trade union organization, that represents more than 100 million workers in 130 countries of the five continents, expresses its sincere condolences to the people of Myanmar who is mourning at least 162 miners. The miners “were smothered by a wave of mud” in a landslide in a jade mine in northern provinces of the country.
This terrible “accident” is not just a natural haplessness but is a crime against the tens of miners who died, working to earn the livelihood. As it is proven in the most horrible way, hundreds of workers were exposed to murderous working conditions without any protection measure or any provision for their safety.
Our thoughts are with the families, friends, and colleagues of the worker who were killed and we join our voices with the working class of Myanmar demanding:
– Health and safety measures in all workplace protection of lives and safeguarding of the long term health of the workers.
– Adequate and sufficient leaves for health issues and compensations to the families of the victims.
– Investigation and punishment of the responsible ones for the labor accidents and full reparation of workers or their families.
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PHILIPPINE COMMUNIST PARTY (PKP-1930)
The masses of our people are reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic which has already infected over 36,000 throughout our country. The crisis of everyday living is now unbearable after more than 3 months of widespread unemployment under the lockdown. The inability of the government to provide cash or food assistance to all of the poorest families, as well as to the hundreds of thousands stranded in places where the lockdown and transport-ban overtook them, has led to widespread destitution and even desperation. And yet the government is bent on crafting a law which could be used to stifle dissent or criticism.
On the 3rd of this month, an urgent video-conference session of the House of Representatives passed an “Anti-Terrorism” bill which is an exact copy of the bill that was approved by the Senate last February. This now joint congressional bill, which was originally endorsed by President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, is now for approval by the same president whom the bill seeks to give more power.
If approved, the proposed “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” will amend certain provisions of, and will totally repeal, the country's present anti-terrorism law --- Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9372, otherwise known as the “Human Security Act of 2007”. The 2007 law was crafted by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime as a tool to stifle dissent in the midst of her many corruption scandals (the “Hello Garci” electoral fraud, the graft-ridden China ZTE deal, China Railways deal, etc.).
The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 will also touch upon other related laws –- such as R.A. 10168 (the “Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012”), which was crafted during the presidential term of Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III ; R.A. 9745 (“Anti-Torture Act of 2009”) ; and several banking laws covering the secrecy of bank deposits, and the power of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to investigate, freeze and forfeit funds and properties or assets.
Under the proposed law, awesome powers are vested upon a 9-person Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) which is composed mainly of cabinet members (the president's alter-egos), with the Executive Secretary as chairman, the National Security Adviser as vice-chairman, and with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency as the ATC secretariat.
While the 2007 law defines terrorism as those acts punishable under certain provisions of the Revised Penal Code (such as piracy, rebellion or insurrection, coup d'etat, kidnapping, arson, illegal possession of firearms/explosives, use of toxic substances, etc.), the proposed 2020 law extends the definition of terrorism to, among others, all acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person, acts intended to cause damage to any critical infrastructure, acquisition of any weapon of mass destruction, and causing fire or floods or explosions to intimidate the general public and undermine public safety. Similar to the 2007 law, the proposed 2020 law will punish any act of terrorism with life imprisonment (40 years without parole), but with the additional proviso that such imprisonment shall also be without the benefit of the “Good Conduct Time Allowance” under R.A. 10592.
The Most Objectionable Provisions
The most objectionable provisions of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 are the following :
The power of the ATC, under Section 29, to order law enforcement agents and military personnel to detain and interrogate any suspected terrorist, or any suspected terrorism financier or supporter, without any court-issued warrant of arrest, for a period of up to 14 days, extendable for another 10 days (or for a total period of up to 24 interrogation days!). Note : Under the 2007 law, the suspect may be detained and investigated for only up to 3 days without a court-issued warrant of arrest, within which period the suspect has to be brought before a court with proper charges.
The power of the ATC, under Section 25, to designate (i.e., to name and specify) any person, group of persons, organization or association (domestic or foreign) as terrorist/s or as financier/s or supporter/s of terrorism. The proposed 2020 law authorizes the ATC, a group of politicians, to usurp powers granted by the Constitution exclusively to the courts. The proposed law makes a play upon semantics by saying, under Section 26, that it is only the authorized division of the Court of Appeals which may proscribe (i.e., outlaw and prohibit) terrorist organizations, associations or groups of persons. This power of the ATC to designate persons or associations as terrorist/s or as financier/s or supporter/s of terrorism, as well as the ATC's power to order detentions without judicial intervention, makes laughable the provision under Section 45 of the proposed law (on the composition and programs of the ATC) which says that “Nothing herein shall be interpreted to empower the ATC to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial power or authority.”
The removal of the provisions in the 2007 law awarding damages for any unproven charge of terrorism. Section 50 of the 2007 law provides that upon acquittal, any person who is accused of terrorism shall be entitled to the payment of damages in the amount of P500,000.00 per day of detention without a court warrrant, with the payment to be released within 15 days from the date of acquittal. Also, under Section 41 of the 2007 law, the amount of P500,000.00 per day for the period in which properties, assets or funds were seized, shall be paid to the acquitted accused as liquidated damages. These provisions are absent in the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020.
Also, the proposed law reduces the periods of imprisonment as penalties for crimes committed by law enforcement agents and military personnel in connection with the implementation of this law. For example : Unauthorized surveillance is to be penalized with imprisonment of 10 years (which, under the 2007 law, was up to 12 years plus with the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification from public office) ; Failure to notify the judge upon taking custody of a suspect is to be penalized with imprisonment of 10 years (which was up to 12 years under the 2007 law) ; Violation of the rights of a detainee is to be penalized with imprisonment of 10 years (which was up to 12 years under the 2007 law) ; Failure to keep official custodial logbook is to be penalized with imprisonment of 10 years (which was up to 12 years under the 2007 law) ; Malicious examination of a bank or financial institution is to be penalized with imprisonment of 4 years (which was up to 12 years under the 2007 law) ; and Furnishing false testimony, spurious evidence and forged document is to be penalized with imprisonment of 6 years (which was up to 12 years under the 2007 law).
Further, some crimes committed by law enforcement agents and military personnel which were penalized with imprisonment under the 2007 law, are now absent in the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020. Examples are : Unjustified refusal to restore, or delay in restoring, seized, sequestered and frozen bank deposits, accounts and records, after acquittal of the accused ; Loss, misuse, diversion or dissipation of seized, sequestered and frozen bank deposits, accounts and records ; etc.
Repression of Dissent under the Pretext of “Anti-Terrorism”
The proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 is more open to abuse by the executive branch of government, compared with the 2007 law. We well remember how the 2007 law was used for repressive purposes under the Gloria Arroyo regime, particularly with the assignment of then General Jovito Palparan as military head in the Central and Southern Luzon regions. Members of progressive peasant and other mass organizations were rounded up, or simply “invited” to report to military camps, to hear lectures against what the military perceives to be “communism” and “terrorism” –- usually glossing over the legal status of our party, and the difference between our party and the maoist terrorists. “Invitations” by military personnel cannot be disregarded, with the threat of arrest under the anti-terrorism law in case of non-appearance.
Although no charges were ever filed, daily “invitees” were starved and forced to renounce membership in their organizations. Known office-bearers and cadres of our party in some provinces were tortured and threatened with death, including those holding positions in local barangay (village) government units. One local party leader in central Bulacan who came wearing a shirt printed with the hammer and sickle logo of our party was beaten, threatened with summary execution, and told to run ; he stood his ground, and gave a brief reminder on human rights to his tormentors who backed down. After some weeks, the usual “invitations” came with demands for the bringing of liquor, food and even cash, revealing the generally corrupt and shameless nature of a number of military camp officials.
It is this same kind of un-reformed police and military officials who will be used to enforce the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 --- those who trained by hazing each other in their academies, and go on to lord over civilians and raid intelligence and other funds. Grave mistakes and abuse in the implementation of the proposed law can stem from poor intelligence work, and police and military officials are not known for proper discernment ; the tragic massacre of police special forces at the hands of supposedly-friendly Moro Islamic forces in Mamasapano was a classic case of poor intelligence work, and so was the sudden take-over of Marawi City by local “Islamic State” forces who were able to build up huge weapons caches and construct tunnel systems without rousing the suspicion of nearby government forces.
Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign, from the start in 2016, used the same un-reformed police and military personnel, and led to the death of thousands of addicts and small-time sellers, a number of whom were apparently linked to the former “distribution chains” of their executors. A top national anti-drug officer was even involved in an apparent hit job, leading to the kidnap-cremation of a Korean businessman whose murder was done right inside the compound of the national police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
With President Duterte shooting off “shotgun” anti-terrorism threats against all “communists”, without distinguishing between the maoists (who are continuing with their terrorist armed struggle), and our party (which is engaged in the legal and parliamentary struggle), our party may be gravely endangered by the enactment of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020. We have called the attention of the president regarding his general misuse of the term “communist” in referring to the maoist terrorists ; however, our communication to President Duterte in the early part of last May was merely referred by Director Ronisia M. Gosiengfiao of the Public Concerns Office of the Presidential Management Staff, to Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation and Unity. So far, we have received no reply regarding the concerns that we have raise
While supporters of the proposed law are pointing at some provisions which are supposed safeguards against abuse, everybody has to face the reality that many government operatives will not even read the whole law, but will only follow whatever President Duterte orders. With Duterte's wide circle of rabid trolls and supporters apparently lacking in respect for the law, but with readiness to follow the president's rants against perceived enemies, there is a grave danger that the proposed Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020 will be used as a tool to suppress legitimate dissent or criticism.
Sulong! / solidnet.org
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NORDIC COMMUNIST REVIEW
The Second Issue of the Nordic Communist Review has been published, with contributions on the topic of “the European Union and the national question”.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019. The participating parties are: Communist Party of Sweden (SKP), Communist Party of Norway, Communist Workers' Party of Finland.
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CUBA COUNCIL OF MINISTERS