The World Socialist Web Site and the defense of historical truth

By Joseph Scalice
29 October 2020

The WSWS is beginning to publish the speeches delivered by leading members of the ICFI and contributors to the WSWS at the online rally held October 25 to welcome the relaunching of the WSWS that began with the postings of October 2, 2020. The remarks below were given by historian Joseph Scalice.

I am pleased to be able to join with the other speakers in this rally in celebrating the relaunch of the World Socialist Web Site.

Dr. Joseph Scalice

I am a historian studying the political history of the twentieth century in Southeast Asia and particularly the Philippines. My scholarship documented the way in which the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and its leader Jose Maria Sison, in their quest to form alliances with the ruling elite, have used the program of Stalinism to repeatedly betray the interests of the working class. The most recent and egregious example of this was the alliance formed by the CPP with the fascistic Rodrigo Duterte in 2016, as he took office as President.

Sison responded to my scholarship by lying about his own history and that of the party and by embarking on a series of threats and slanders against me. The WSWS mounted a remarkable campaign in defense of me and of my scholarship against Sison’s threats and lies. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude.

My scholarship owes a far greater debt than this to the WSWS, and to the history of the Trotskyist movement that it represents. While I spent a decade in archives and newspaper rooms collecting the facts of the CPP’s political betrayals, my ability to understand their inner logic, to grasp the essence of Stalinism, rested entirely upon the political insights contained in the writings of Leon Trotsky and of the Trotskyist movement, continued today in the World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International.

The World Socialist Web Site places extraordinary value on the careful study of history. The working class around the globe has been denied access to its own history. One of the functions of a revolutionary party is to serve as the organ of the working class for the preservation and careful study of this history. The WSWS has consciously set itself this goal. I have followed with much interest, for example, the WSWS defense of the progressive character of the American revolution against the racialist falsifications of the 1619 Project. I believe that I speak for what is a growing awareness in the academic community that the historical work of the World Socialist Web Site is of the highest scholarly caliber.

The unrivaled historical material produced by the World Socialist Web Site is an expression of the fact that the defense of historical truth has always been a paramount concern of the Trotskyist movement, expressing its life and death struggle against the lies and betrayals of Stalinism over the course of a century.

In service to their own privileged interests the Stalinist bureaucracies in first Moscow and then Beijing put forward a program of nationalism and class collaboration which they attempted to dress up as Marxism. The results of this program were incalculably catastrophic. The Stalinists allied workers around the world with their capitalist enemies; they divided the working class and facilitated the rise of fascism; they formed alliances with the imperialist powers and subordinated the colonized peoples to their colonial masters; and they systematically murdered the conscious Marxist opposition to these betrayals, the Trotskyist movement. They covered over every one of these crimes with a mountain of lies.

History, however, Hegel stated, is a truly terrifying judge. Stalinism stands before the bar of history utterly exposed, as a nationalist, anti-Marxist betrayal of the working class. The recent support given by the CPP to Duterte is but another betrayal within this long history.

As Stalinism has been exposed, so too the perspective of Leon Trotsky and the Trotskyist movement has been completely vindicated. In opposition to the nationalism and class collaboration of Stalinism, the Trotskyist movement defended the heritage of Marxism and the need for the independence of the working class in the international struggle for socialism. That perspective today is defended and advanced by the World Socialist Web Site.

The workers and oppressed masses of the Philippines, throughout Asia and around the world have cause to celebrate in the relaunch of the World Socialist Web Site, for this is their voice and it articulates their objective interests. The WSWS stands without rival in modern political history, for its scientific precision, historical depth, political foresight, humane, cultural sensitivity, and unswerving commitment to its political principles. These have, I believe, made the WSWS the voice of the international working class. Thank you.

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Dr. Scalice delivered a portion of his remarks in Tagalog as well.

Taos pusong pagbati sa lahat ng mga nakikinig sa rally na ito na nagdidiriwang ng muling paglunsad ng World Socialist Web Site. Isa akong istoryador na nag-aaral ng kasaysayang pulitikal ng ikadalawampung siglo sa Timog-silangang Asya at lalo na sa Pilipinas.

Naitala sa aking pagsaliksik kung papaano ang Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (o CPP), at ang pinuno nito na si Jose Maria Sison, sa kanilang hangarin na bumuo ng mga alyansa sa naghaharing uri, ay gumamit ng programa ng Stalinismo upang paulit-ulit na ipagkanulo ang interes ng uring manggagawa. Ang pinakahuli at napakatindi na halimbawa nito ay ang alyansa ng CPP kay Rodrigo Duterte, isang pasista, noong 2016 nang siya’y umupo bilang Pangulo.

Tumugon si Sison sa aking pagsaliksik sa pamamagitan ng pagsisinungaling tungkol sa kanyang sariling kasaysayan at sa kasaysayan ng partido na kanyang pinamumunuan. Gumamit siya ng mga banta at paninirang-puri laban sa akin. Ang WSWS ay naglunsad ng isang kampanya ng pagtanggol sa akin laban sa mga banta at kasinungalingan ni Sison, at ako’y nagpapasalamat sa kanila.

Ang utang ko sa WSWS ay hindi lamang sa kanilang pagtanggol sa ‘kin. Nagtrabaho ako nang isang dekada sa mga arkibo at aklatan sa pagkolekta ng mga detalye ng mga pagkakanulo ng CPP, nguni’t nakayahan ko lang maunawaan ang kanilang panloob na lohika, ang Stalinismo at kung ano ito, dahil sa mga sinulat ni Leon Trotsky at ng kilusang Trotskyista. Ang pananaw na ito ay ngayon pinapatuloy ng World Socialist Web Site.

Ang World Socialist Web Site ay naglalagay ng pambihirang halaga sa pag-aaral ng kasaysayan. Itong pagtuon ng pansin sa kasaysayan ay tinatrato na pangunahing tungkulin ng kilusang Trotskyista, bunga ng kanilang pakikibaka laban sa mga pagsisinungaling at pagkakanulo ng Stalinismo mula noong 1920s hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Ang mga burukratang Stalinista sa Moscow at Beijing sa pagdepensa ng kanilang mga pribilehiyo, ay nagtaguyod ang isang programa ng nasyonalismo at pakikipagsabwatan sa uring namamahala, at binihisan nila ang programang ito bilang Marxismo. Inalyado nila ang mga manggagawa sa iba’t ibang parte ng mundo sa kanilang mga kapitalistang kaaway; hinati nila ang uring manggagawa at tinulungan nila ang pagsikat ng pasismo; bumuo sila ng mga alyansa sa mga imperyalistang pwersa at pinailalim nila ang mga kolonyal na mamamayan sa kanilang mga panginoong imperialista; at sistematiko nilang pinatay ang mga Marxista na tumutol dito, ang kilusang Trotskyista.

Gayunpaman, ang kasaysayan, gaya ng sinabi ni Hegel, ay isang katakot-takot na hukom. Ang Stalinismo ay ganap na nalantad bilang isang nasyonalistang, kontra-Marxista na pagtataksil sa uring manggagawa.

Ang pananaw naman ni Leon Trotsky at ng kilusang Trotskyista ay ganap na nabigyang-katwiran. Ang pananaw na ito ay ipinagtanggol at isinusulong ngayon ng World Socialist Web Site.

Ang mga manggagawa ng Pilipinas, sa buong Asya at sa buong mundo ay may dahilan upang ipagdiriwang sa muling paglunsad ng World Socialist Web Site, sapagkat ito ang kanilang tinig. Salamat.