NewsfeaturesMESSAGE OF GREETINGS FROM THE WORKERS´ PARTY OF BELGIUM

MESSAGE OF GREETINGS FROM THE WORKERS´ PARTY OF BELGIUM

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By Bert de Belder
Brussels, 5 February 2014

140210Bert01

Congratulatory message for Jose Maria Sison

We wholeheartedly congratulate Jose Maria Sison or ‘Ka Joma’ on the occasion of his 75th birthday and his 55 years of service to the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation.

So many Belgian comrades and friends have come to know Joma, either in person or through his writings and conferences, or more indirectly through the monumental impact he has had on Philippine society and revolution for so many years already. Among these people there are of course Party cadres and militants and members of our youth movement Comac, but also many trade unionists and activists from various solidarity groups and NGOs, and a yet broader audience of democrats and progressives at large.

As a genuine internationalist, in his writings and conferences Jose Maria Sison always makes it a point to link the basic principles that have historically guided revolutionary processes, to the concrete struggles of the workers and the people here and now. We can illustrate this by mentioning just some of the speaking engagements he did in Belgium or for Belgians, without trying to be exhaustive. It all started with the academic lecture tour Joma did in Belgium not long after his release from prison, I believe it was in early 1988. In that period, he held several political discussions with the PTB leadership as well. Two years later, he gave an education session for youth and solidarity workers in the province of Limburg – where during breaks he would join us in soccer games, in which he demonstrated his talents as a goal keeper.

Jose Maria Sison was a main speaker at the anti-globalization actions that took place parallel to a European Union summit in Brussels, in the ice-cold December days of 2001. At one point, we had to whisk Joma away to safety when the thousands of activists were confronted with harsh police repression, including tear gas. In August 2002, Joma was programmed to be a lecturer at the Marxist Summer University in Belgium. But after a shameful house arrest was imposed on him by the US and the UE, having put him on the so-called ‘terrorist list’, we hastily decided to move his entire Marxist Summer University class from Waterloo to Utrecht, where Joma gave – unperturbed as always – the 40-odd students a brilliant set of lectures. It was also there and then that we decided to fully involve ourselves, with the PTB, Comac and the Philippine solidarity groups in Belgium, in the Defend Sison campaign.

From his forced Netherlands exile, Jose Maria Sison was no longer able to be physically present at the International Communist Seminar in Brussels as he had done yearly from 1992 through 2002, but he continued to send in his written and invaluable contributions for several more years.

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