*See our article Jose Maria Sison's
stand on migrants
*Migrant movement mis-leadership a major setback
*See our article on the fake Iranian communists favoring defeat of Iran by u.$. imperialism that Joma Sison has not opposed
*MIM Central Committee: A new development in the international communist movement
*When it comes to militarism: "Civil rights" or national liberation
Most will say that Mao carried out his revolution in China and Joma Sison's comrades did not succeed in the Philippines yet. Yet the real difference between Mao and Sison is that Mao never embraced any claims of Japanese imperialism while Joma Sison's politics have considerably more ambiguity. Sison's stance on Iran, imperialist countries, migrants and Aztlán all conciliate with imperialism and imperialist exploitation in ways that Mao never did.
Although disputes between Japan and its neighbors go back hundreds or thousands of years, we can focus on its modern history as imperialist power, especially since the 1840s when Western colonialists intervened against the stirring rebels and progressives of China. Lenin held that warfare in the 1800s became tied up with the development of monopoly capitalism.
When we turn to the politics of the imperialist era and Japan, we will see the big difference between Mao and Joma Sison. In regard to any aggressive land claim by Japanese imperialism, Mao rejected it. Japan claimed Manchuria, a region inhabited by Koreans, Chinese and Russians. Mao rejected that claim. Japan landed in China beyond Manchuria and Mao is famous for physically annihilating that claim.
Japan claimed Vietnam and during World War II, Japan even sat in the Philippines. During this whole time of Japanese imperialism, did we ever see Mao or his comrades go to Japan and make demands for Chinese immigrants, that there is one working-class from Japan to Korea to China to Vietnam and even the Philippines?
In fact, there were such people. They were fascists for a Japanese "Co-Prosperity Sphere." Others in the world known for advocating political confederations as objectives of the working class were Trotskyists. And while we now know that Ho Chi Minh offered the united $tates a military base in Vietnam, even Ho never liked Trotskyists. With their policy of favoring imperialism or a federation between imperialism and oppressed nations, Trotskyists never got anywhere with many oppressed nations.
There were Trotskyists in China including Wang Fanxi who believed it could be their duty to see defeat of China. They argued that the united $tates would back China against Japan, so they should support Japan's military adventure. The RIM that Joma Sison connives with (and possibly belongs to because of secret membership in the RIM) has gone further in their brazenness of stooging for imperialism than even Wang Fanxi. No one really believes there is a pitched battle among imperialists in a world war context for Iran today, but RIM's Iranian section is calling for the defeat of Iran by u.$. imperialism. At the time, Mao and famous writers like Lu Xun called the Trotskyists agents of Japan. We can be sure what they would think about these RIM people that are more extreme than the most extreme of Trotskyists in their open stooging.
The entire Korean entry in a 1125 page book on Trotskyism reads:
"Trotskyism was very late in getting established in Korea. However, by the early 1980s a group of South Korean workers who had returned from residence in Japan, where they had become Trotskyists, established a small section of the United Secretariat of the Fourth International. We do not have any information about the name or activities of that group."(1)Now it sounds like Trotskyism is being exported from the Netherlands, not just from Japan, but according to an 1125 page reference book just on Trotskyism, there was no Trotskyism to refer to in the Philippines up through 1985.
Joma Sison's claims
Joma Sison is opposing the existence of Aztlán, land occupied by u.$. imperialism, a territory with a history of Spanish-language use. This is about land stolen from Mexico, very similar to Manchuria. Unlike claims between indigenous people and other Nicaraguans for example, Aztlán has a legitimate land claim against an imperialist country. It should be supported just as Mao supported such claims in practice from the beginning to the end of his communist career.
Let us recall how consistent Mao was in supporting such claims. It was not just Japanese imperialism where Mao took the line of supporting territory claims against imperialism. It is well known that any organization could call itself anti-imperialist, show up in China, ask for military aid and receive it to decolonize Africa or any other place in the world making claims against imperialism. This line was so consistent that the Soviet revisionists caricaturized it when inevitably some of the people taking aid were complete phonies as anti-imperialists--Jonas Savimbi claiming to be Maoist and then turning out into nobody knows what for example. Dennis Brutus even reported it this way. He went to China when southern Africa was in flames against British and Amerikan colonialism. Brutus was not there asking for aid, but Zhou Enlai told him anyway, "you know, if you want aid you have to ask for it!" China was very anxious to support all claims against imperialism.
In contrast, Joma Sison and his followers are making speeches denying the existence of Aztlán and talking about one working class in the united $tates. They are covert recruiters for Bush's military, because they use Maoist rhetoric to cover their misdeeds. The words like "superprofits" are thrown around but with obviously no application, just as window-dressing. Their whole point is to have oppressed nations people start as oppressed nations people and then join an imperialist entity, perhaps a multiracial union at first for example. Joma Sison and RIM are shoe-horns for imperialism that way. They get people started as thinking they are oppressed nationalities, but then they get them to join a multiracial or multinational struggle, instead of focussing on the principal contradiction of imperialist countries versus oppressed nations.
The U.$. section of the RIM called "RCP" says it does not call for liberation of Aztlán, because there is more than one nationality there. It would be like Mao, Kim and Stalin having a tussle over the Manchuria area on behalf of various nationalities and saying, "Awwwww, you know what? Let's let the Japanese imperialists have it!"
Joma Sison's migrant followers are making no aggressive claim against imperialism. Rather they are asking for citizenship rights, in order that their children and grandchildren can serve in the U.S. Army. The material force behind the effectiveness of this claim and its movement is super-profits. Joma Sison's followers do not make a claim to territory within the illegitimate U.$. borders. They are not contributing to the anti-imperialist struggle and in fact they are aiding the Trotskyist fight to assimilate the oppressed nations the most because of their use of Maoist rhetoric to cover their fundamentally bourgeois integrationist line.
Can we imagine Mao going to Japan and not mentioning its false territorial claims? Yet in fact, Joma Sison and his RIM friends denigrate Marxist political economy the same way as the Trotskyists and neo-conservative imperialists. They claim there is no economic significance to imperialist settlers; even though Marx specifically said that land rent is its own economic category and even though Stalin specifically put land as an economic factor in his theory of the nation. Joma Sison and RIM claim the red flag while shooting down J. Sakai's economic history: Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat.
The Khruschev era
The new crypto-Trotskyists base themselves in Mao in a thin section of years of Mao's life, the years when Mao desperately needed allies in the struggle against Khruschev. At this time, Mao came across the Progressive Labor Party in the United $tates and embraced their mutual disgust for Khruschev. The context was where Stalin was dead and the Comintern had ended more than a decade before that. There was no pre-established order among scientific communist parties and Mao himself assembled new alliances in attacking Khruschev.
Based in the most socially conservative and super-profit hungry sections of the white so-called working class, PLP demanded respect for its Trotskyist position on assimilating oppressed nations-- and in the new atmosphere where Khruschev was a high priority enemy and in which there was no Comintern, Mao gave in.
The alliance with PLP lasted less than 10 years, because PLP realized it shared Trotsky's positions on united fronts during World War II and also the national bourgeoisie. PLP went whole hog for Trotskyism without calling it that.
Yet even while Mao allied with PLP and all the political crud that went with that, he also took Robert Williams under his wing. There was no Comintern and so Mao treated Robert Williams equally with PLP. Later, PLP would call Mao's politics on this "hate whitey." Articles from Robert Williams, Black Panthers and PLP all appeared in Mao's press; even though Black Panthers and PLP were at loggerheads.
It has to be admitted that PLP and its allies had a natural advantage of "being there first." They were also very quick-tongued. For 20 years we can say they were more politically prepared than the genuine Maoist current inside u.$. borders. As a result, PLP succeeded in leaving much of their junk in Chinese communist history in the 1960s. Even in the 1970s, because of a lack of systematic work inside u.$. borders, the Chinese continued to refer to things that PLP brought them before they broke with Mao. The books we needed from Sakai and Edwards to inform the Chinese were not around yet. More accurate calculations of surplus-value than those of Gus Hall's party or the PLP did not exist yet.
During this time, PLP prevailed on Mao to such an extent that Mao endorsed simultaneously the idea that Blacks were a nation and that Blacks were a race. Careful readings of Mao show him referring both to oppressed nationalities and the idea that race boils down to class, PLP's favorite formulation. Mao's earlier of two statements on Blacks took the PLP line, whereas his second statement on Blacks already omitted a reference to a white worker majority in the united $tates. Soon after, PLP broke with Mao.
For the last few decades, PLP has aided their own imperialists by pushing for integration that brings Uncle $am the most cannon-fodder. It is PLP's job to do this most clearly by setting up the most militant "anti-racist" struggle. Thanks to PLP and others less militant, the U.S. Army today has succeeded in recruiting an increasing share of oppressed nationalities. The PLP and others taught people to oppose racism, by which they mean as long as people are treated equally with whites inside a system, it's OK. What they left out was the nature of the system people are being treated equally in. The oppressed nationalities are being treated increasingly equally inside a system that oppresses other countries. Even white imperialists learned some of PLP's lessons--enough to improve recruiting to the military. The material basis for this to happen was that the imperialists have super-profits to share for those who help oppress the rest of the world.
A book by Sidney Rittenberg explained the process by which Mao's essays on Blacks and other international questions came out. Mao said over and over again he meant no claim about his own investigation. We challenge anyone to find anywhere a statement by Mao saying that he conducted a mass line investigation of the united $tates. It does not exist.
Mao was merely trying to reflect what foreign visitors were telling him, that making a statement would have a big impact, so Mao stirred the pot without doing an investigation. His foreign visitors wanted to use Mao's name as a broadcast system and he agreed, because it was basically free publicity for his foreign visitors' cause. His ideas on U.$. Blacks came from the foreign visitors and not directly from the Black masses inside u.$. borders and this was not hidden. Had Mao done the direct investigation, he would have seen that the more radical Blacks went down the road of Malcolm X, not Martin Luther King and there was a good reason for that. Mao's foreign visitors were still too much in the thralls of labor aristocracy chauvinism to even raise the Aztlán question correctly.
With gross opportunism, today's crypto-Trotskyists go back and say that PLP's line IS Maoism; even though PLP made it very clear that it is no longer Maoist! Understand this: PLP was the OFFICIAL fraternal party of Mao. So anyone referring to Mao's documents that are not based on mass line investigations of the united $tates is referring to PLP's analysis. Anyone denying or trying to evade this point is in no way carrying out the mass line or a concrete investigation why most Amerikkkans are not masses to begin with. These same Trotskyists paid no heed to Mao's words about international organization and instead pretended that Mao was the head of some Comintern. In other words, they took what Mao did and read it in a Trotskyist way as Amerikkkans are apt instead of looking at Mao's own long historical practice on similar questions.
Indeed, Mao told Yasser Arafat: "You fight your way; I'll fight my way." The point was not that Yasser Arafat was some kind of "Marxist-Leninist." On the other hand, there were two complicating factors: the united front and the struggle against Wang Ming dogmatism that denied the need to study concrete conditions. Yasser Arafat deserved to be in the united front against imperialism and Mao recognized that. At the same time, Mao warned all visitors that they must study their own concrete conditions to become true followers of Marx and Lenin. The converse is what Mao applied to himself. He did not conduct investigations in the united $tates and his representatives there were few. So because of that, Mao respected the views of people who visited him from the united $tates. He used himself to publicize their views ranging from Robert Williams to PLP. Now the Amerikkkan crypto-Trotskyists take Mao's loosest and temporary tolerance of their line and use it as the basis of a Comintern--instead of looking at the history of what Mao did and comparing it with their own situation. They do this even though when we look at these documents they are obviously amalgamations of line, referring to Blacks as a race like Trotsky did and a nation like Lenin and Stalin did.
Later, those who failed to follow the struggle as it happened continued the PLP line, this time in an organization called "RCP." "RCP" continued the PLP line without calling Mao "revisionist" like PLP did. "RCP" now says "multinational" instead of "multiracial" working class, but the line is the same as PLP's. Mao did NOT recognize the "RCP" as an official successor to PLP or Black Panthers. It does not matter, because "RCP"'s followers are so slow, they never realized what happened. They just assumed they could copy PLP and move along. Both "RCP" and PLP oppose Aztlán, as does Joma Sison, who really should know better from his nation's and region's history.
Joma Sison's predictable response to all this
From past observation of Sison, MIM can predict what his responses will be if he makes any. He will point out the injustices in Mexican history and U.$.-Mexican relations and again use vague rhetoric about oppression. He will not stand for Aztlán.
MIM has a long-standing record where when it comes to the U.$. military, it is a tool of national oppression, not a vehicle for civil rights struggle. This comes up very often!
Whether Korea, the Philippines or even imperialist Japan, we have said we are not going to cover for atrocities by U.$. soldiers, no matter what their skin color. Some would point out that other nations are more likely to accuse Black troops of atrocities than white troops stationed in their countries. MIM is having none of it. The U.$. military is a tool of national oppression, period. Even stationed in Japan, the U.S. military's real target could easily be China or Korea anyway. Blacks, Latinos, First Nations and Asians are all taking their chances when they join the U.$. military and serve the white man. That's a good thing. If U.$. troops feel they are being used, that's a good thing and they are being used.
But if Joma Sison is supposed to be our comrade, maybe we should change our line. Maybe Latino troops should show up in the Philippines, commit atrocities and MIM would say--"civil rights." After all, Latino troops are just doing what their white brothers do. Huh, Joma Sison?
Maybe Aztlán people should repay Joma Sison the favor. Maybe they should show up in the Philippines and claim it again. If Aztlán is part of the United $tates, then why not the Philippines. A lot of stooges would probably clamor for that option. They might even call it "mass line."
And when Joma Sison replies that Filipinos are not in the U.$. military, as inevitable with his class view, MIM will just have to point out that they can serve in Iraq and get the same exact rights as those Latinos abusing them now. Huh, Joma Sison? You see Joma Sison, the imperialists CAN meet your multinational demands, especially at the margin. Hey, why not a globalizing military to match a globalizing economy, base, then superstructure.
Better yet, since Filipinos go to the united $tates, not for an "illusion of luxury" as some poorly led comrades said, we'll just point Joma Sison to the Filipinos in the U.$. military already. There you go Joma Sison, "multinational" justice. We don't even have to say "civil rights," though Joma Sison's line is objectively for the civil rights struggle as principal over the national liberation struggle. Otherwise, he'd be for Aztlán.
Note: Robert Alexander, International Trotskyism:1929-1985 (North Carolina, USA: Duke University Press, 1991), p. 602.