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Fighting For Liberation Is Not A Crime

Commentary by Fight Back! Editors |
October 2, 2002
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George Bush is throwing sand in our eyes. Folks in other countries have created organizations and political parties to fight for a decent way of life. Bush has put those groups on the State Department's 'terrorist list.' He is calling that the good 'the evil.' He is trying to exploit Americans' fears about attacks on civilians to justify sending guns and money to some of the world's most repressive regimes.

In Palestine, Colombia, Turkey, the Philippines, Peru - and who knows what country next week - those who are fighting to free their nations from foreign domination, exploitation and oppression are labeled by Bush as 'criminals,' 'terrorists' or 'drug dealers.' In reality, we are talking about organizations created by the oppressed to obtain real solutions to real problems. Bush's real aim is to fool the people here in this country.

Who is Bush targeting? Organizations like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Philippines-based New Peoples Army and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

In much of the third world, day-to-day life is a living hell for the vast majority of people. Take, for example, the Philippines: thousands of people support themselves by sorting through trash in garbage dumps. In the countryside, the big landlords have formed armed gangs to terrorize the peasantry. The government is hopelessly corrupt. In the service of U.S.-based corporations, it is fighting a war against the Filipino people. The police and army frequently resort to torture and murder.

In response, Filipinos have created a people's army, the New Peoples Army. The New Peoples Army wants to put land in the hands of the small farmers and political power in the hands of the people. Unlike George Bush, they know that the capital city of the Philippines is Manila, not Washington D.C. The New Peoples Army is one part of a huge coalition of trade unions, peasants', women's and student groups called the National Democratic Front.

The White House has labeled the New Peoples Army a 'terrorist' organization. The State Department is organizing a campaign against leaders of the National Democratic Front, like Professor Jose Maria Sison, who was exiled by the Philippine government and now resides in the Netherlands. Sison is currently the Chief Political Consultant to the National Democratic Front, and for the last 30 years he has been recognized internationally as one of the principal advocates for the national liberation of the Philippines. The U.S pushed the government of the Netherlands to seize his bank account and take away his housing. The possibility exists that Bush wants to extradite this scholar, poet and freedom fighter and place him in an American jail.

Change the country and the names, and we see that the Bush Administration is up to same thing in Colombia. More than 40 years ago, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known by its Spanish acronym, the FARC - came into being. It is the oldest guerrilla insurgency in Latin America and, until recently, it was engaged in peace negotiations with the Colombian government. The U.S. helped wreck the peace process, and branded the FARC as 'narco-terrorists.' Now, U.S 'advisors' are fighting in the jungles of Colombia and billions of dollars are being poured into a Vietnam-like conflict.

In Palestine, Bush's so-called 'terrorists' - the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - are the second largest group in the PLO. Best known for its uncompromising opposition to Israeli apartheid, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine fights for a new society that is democratic and unbiased toward any belief about religion. No one who knows what they are talking about believes that this organization, which embodies the hopes and best aspirations of the Palestinian people, is comprised of anything other than good people doing great things.

We could continue country by country, but the general point is clear enough. All over the world, people are saying, "enough is enough." They create organizations that fight for justice. Bush, on the other hand, is trying to preserve and expand an empire. The 'war on terrorism' is, in part, a smoke screen to loot the land, labor and resources of others.

Here at home, a similar process is played out in U.S. cities. The stamp of 'criminal' has been placed on an entire generation of African American and Chicano youth. The media tries to create hysteria. 'Get tough' legislation is enacted and the incarceration rates skyrocket. The purpose is not public safety. The agenda is to enforce racist discrimination and national oppression with a nightstick.

It is no big challenge for us to identify the U.S. domestic terrorists and terrorist organizations. Their faces are on the evening news and in the daily papers. Their ranks include the cops who shoot kids in Cincinnati, racist gangs like the Klan and the occupant of the White House Oval Office - George Bush. This is not hype or exaggeration. What do you call a man who bombs old folks' homes, Red Cross buildings and wedding celebrations in Afghanistan? A terrorist.

Bush sends our tax dollars to a death squad government in Colombia and the Pentagon sends guns and troops. Human rights groups have documented cases where the cronies of the Colombian government kill rural opponents with chainsaws. Trade unionists are routinely murdered. Bush and the Pentagon are orchestrating state-sponsored terrorism.

White House sound bites about a 'war without end' to 'make the world safe' are as contradictory as they sound. Demonizing countries, religions and peoples makes the world a more dangerous place for everyone. The American people have an extremely reckless driver at the wheel. We need to build an anti-war movement that stands in solidarity with the world's oppressed and working people.

Shortly before his murder by the Chicago police, the Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton said, "You can jail the liberator, but you can't jail liberation." That was the late 1960's and no right thinking person doubted that he was speaking the truth. Now, in 2002, the Bush administration is stalking the earth, in search of those who fight for freedom and national independence.

The fight for liberation is not a crime. Those that stand in the way of the struggle for a better world want to stand in the way of the future. The can draw up their lists, call freedom fighters 'criminals' and dispatch their armies to the four corners in the world, but in the end, they will fail. At the end of day, liberation cannot be jailed.