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Tribunal’s guilty verdict ‘world’s judgement on war crimes in the PH’

The guilty verdict on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., former president Rodrigo Duterte, and the Philippine government, as well on President Joseph Biden and the government of the United States of America (USA) is the world’s judgements on their war crimes in the Philippines, human rights group Karapatan said.

Following the conclusion of the International People’s Tribunal (IPT) held in Brussels, Belgium last May 17 and 18, Karapatan said it welcomes the quasi-judicial body’s judgement as an opportunity to exact and accountability from the respondents.

“With this verdict from the IPT, we have judgment from some of the world’s best legal minds and the weight of international public opinion to back the victims’ continuing quest for justice and an end to impunity,” Karapatan said.

READ: Tribunal finds Marcos, Duterte, Biden ‘guilty’ of war crimes

“For years, the Filipino people have suffered a range of human rights violations as well as violations of international humanitarian law, from political killings, massacres, enforced disappearances and bombings of civilian communities,” it added.

Karapatan the IPT verdict puts on center stage the inutility of domestic redress mechanisms to exact justice and accountability in the Philippines for human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Duterte and Marcos Jr. regimes,.

It said it hopes the decision will lead to independent investigations under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council and other competent bodies from the international community.

Juror explains verdict

In a 10-page, the tribunal found “a steady rise in cases of abduction and enforced disappearance perpetrated by GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) forces against activists.”

The decision, signed by an international panel of jurors that included former legal counsel to Nelson Mandela, Prof. Lennox Hinds, was greeted with applause by more than 200 observers in Brussels.

The jurors said they heard demands for justice from expert witnesses, direct victims such as anti-Manila Bay reclamation project Jonila Castro, as well as family members of deceased victims of the US-directed counterinsurgency operations. 

“We found substantial and compelling evidence of widespread extrajudicial killings, civilian massacres, enforced disappearances, indiscriminate bombings, and other gross violations of international humanitarian law,” Séverine de Laveleye, member of the Belgian Parliament and IPT juror, said.

“The atrocities and anti-people policies and actions of Mr. Duterte appear to persist and intensify under the current Marcos Jr. administration,” de Laveleye added.

Elaborating on the basis of the guilty verdict, Laveleye said: “Our decision is founded on the comprehensive examination of the evidence presented. The testimonies of the witnesses, many of whom have shown tremendous courage by coming forward, played a crucial role in shaping our understanding of the systemic abuses perpetrated under these regimes with the tacit support of the US.”

“Ample chance were given to the respond to the charges but have failed to reply or have refused to provide witnesses, and have therefore deemed to have waived their rights,” lead juror Lennox Hinds noted.

“The evidence presented was credible and consistent,” said Hinds, adding the victims shared an inability to seek justice in the Philippines due to neglect of the judicial process and harassment and intimidation by authorities. 

Abduction survivor Jonila Castro at IPT 2024. (Supplied photo)

Survivors elated

Castro, who personally narrated her and Jhed Tamano’s ordeal during the trial, said the Marcos Jr. government has not departed from the US-inspired fascist and anti-people policies of the Duterte regime.

“We want to stop the pattern of killings, abductions, and fake surrenders — we want the government to stop equating activists as combatants, and to surface all missing activists. We demand to hold state forces accountable,” Castro said.

In the Philippines, Eco Dangla, another abduction and torture survivor said he welcomes the IPT’s verdict, saying Marcos violates human rights as worse as Dutere.

“In his two years in office, there have been nine victims of abductions in Central Luzon, including Pangasinan, alone,” Dangla said.

“While five of us have been surfaced (Castro,Tamano, Dangla, and Jak Tiaong), four remain missing,” Dangla pointed out.

Progressive party list coordinators Ma. Elena Pampoza and Elgene Mungcal went missing in July 2022 in Tarlac Province while peasant organizers Norman Ortiz and Lee Sudario were abducted in September 2023 in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) also welcomed the verdict it said affirms its condemnation of the grave human rights abuses under the Marcos government.

“The IPT verdict will counter the disinformation narratives peddled by Marcos in his junket foreign trips that his government is committed to upholding human rights,” BAYAN secretary general Raymond Palatino told Kodao.

“We also assail the role of the Biden government in enabling impunity as it coddles the Marcos government and legitimizes the use of fascist means in suppressing dissent. US military aid is responsible for the brutal attacks of state forces targeting critics, including those who are against the intensified military presence of the US in the country,” he added.

BAYAN said the IPT documents will be discussed among people’s organizations and in communities across the country as part of their campaign to pursue justice and accountability. The IPT verdict will be shared with various institutions such as Congress, courts, local governments, churches, and schools, the group said.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Tribunal finds Marcos, Duterte, Biden ‘guilty’ of war crimes

The International People’s Tribunal (IPT) found President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., former president Rodrigo Duterte, the Government of the Philippines as well as President Joseph Biden and the Government of the United States of America (USA) guilty of war crimes in Philippines.

In an hour-long presentation of its verdict in Brussels, Belgium Saturday afternoon (local time), the IPT said the respondents are guilty of willfully killing civilians, intentionally directing attacks against civilians and property, as well as using indiscriminate means and methods of warfare that cause injury or unnecessary suffering.

Aside from causing widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment, the Manila government’s military operations cause displacement of the civilian population, impede humanitarian aid, and commit acts or threats of violence and terror among civilians, the IPT said.

“These acts constitute serious violations of treaty and customary international law applicable in armed conflicts. In view of the foregoing factual and legal findings, the tribunal unanimously finds the defendants…guilty of all crimes and charges, including war crimes and violations of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) alleged in the indictment,” the IPT’s panel of jurors declared.

The Tribunal added that the respondents are guilty of willful killing of New People’s Army (NPA) fighters already rendered hors d’combat (French for “unable to fight”). It also found them guilty of torture and other forms of cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment as well as “outrages against personal dignity and humiliating and degrading treatment and desecration of bodies of slain NPA fighters.”

In addition, the Philippine armed forces also “committed abduction and enforced disappearance, the arbitrary arrest and detention and deliberate attacks against civilians merely suspected of having links with a belligerent party, including the filing of trumped-up charges, red-tagging, terrorist labeling and designation, threats and harassments and intimidation,” the Tribunal said.

The jurors said the prosecutors proved with “clear, convincing, credible, consistent and relevant evidence” their allegations, leading to a unanimous verdict.

The Tribunal said it heard oral evidence from victims and families, expert witnesses and resource persons. It also read affidavits, letters, written statements, reports, publications, resolutions, and similar documents, as well as saw photographs and images, watched and heard audio-video recordings in the course of its two-day deliberations that started last Friday.

“[There were] 15 witnesses in the proceedings, eight in person and seven through video depositions, who delivered in clear and coherent manner. Eleven were victims, families or colleagues while four were experts or resources persons who testified on the context, nature and scale of IHL and human rights violations,” it said.

Policy and practice

The IPT cited the massacre of the Fausto family in Negros Island, the massacre of Tumandok tribespeople across Panay Island, and the killing and persecution of the Save Our School tribal school volunteers across Mindanao as examples of the “willful killing of civilians by GRP (Government of Republic of the Philippines) forces.”

READ:

  1. Mission reports AFP responsible for Fausto massacre, other killings
  2. Gov’t troops massacre 9 Tumandok in Panay
  3. ‘Chad Booc and 4 others were massacred’ – Save Our Schools Network

It said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) uniformly claimed the victims were NPA fighters and planted evidence to bolster their canard.

The IPT also said that government air strikes and use of heavy ordnance in various places across the country were “indiscriminate.”

Many captured NPA fighters, including those already rendered hors d’combat have been summarily executed as a “matter of practice,” the jurors added, citing the cases of the five recently killed in Bilar, Bohol and of the 22-year old Jevilyn Cullamat

READ:

  1. Rep. Cullamat pays tribute to martyred daughter; condemns desecration of remains by gov’t soldiers
  2. NDFP peace consultant Randall Echanis murdered
  3. Group reports continuing surveillance on wounded journalist

“That these happened in various regions has rendered this as a matter of policy for state armed forces…The scale and frequency of these practices indicate they were deliberate and undertaken as a matter of policy by the GRP,” the jurors said.

The Tribunal also found the defendants guilty of “sustained nationwide attacks against individuals and organizations led by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict through red-tagging campaigns and terrorist proscription.

Victims of such vilification campaigns often end up dead like NDFP peace consultant and peasant leader Randall Echanis, or permanently disabled such as paralegal and community journalist Beandon Lee, the jurors said.

The jurors also noted that there has been a steady rise of abduction and enforced disappearance under Marcos Jr. and his government, such as in the case of Jonila Castro and Jhed Tamano, as well as Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil de Jesus last year.

The witnesses gave “astoundingly credible detail” of the systematic nature of the abductions,” the Tribunal said.

Witnesses to include former Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat whose daughter, slain NPA fighter Juvilyn, was desecrated by government soldiers. (IPT photo)

“The lack of genuine investigations into these cases and the impunity that characterize these cases all point to to the GRP as the author,” it said.

The Philippine government could not rely on its national laws to violate IHL and human rights, it said, also noting the lack of genuine police investigations or reports of violations, “even passing the blame on the victims.”

US equally guilty

The Tribunal said Biden and the US government are similarly guilty of the said war crimes and human rights violations.

It said the US places large resources at Manila government’s disposal, including USD1.14 billion worth of military equipment.

Presidents Marcos and Biden at the White House in 2023. (Malacanang photo)

The US is also building military facilities across the country and sends thousands of troops to train the AFP and participate in war games called the Balikatan, the Tribunal noted.

It added that the Philippine counter-insurgency strategy is adopted from US doctrine.

“The US is responsible for directing, training and operating the GRP…[playing an] indispensible role in the atrocities,” he tribunal said.

International jurors and prosecutors

IPT 2024 was presided by a panel of international jurors of lawyers, parliamentarians, professors, and a Bishop.

Julen Arzuaga Gumuzio is a Basque politician, writer and lawyer, member of the Euskal Herria Bildu coalition in the Basque Parliament since 2012. He is part of the European Association of Democratic Lawyers.

Lennox Hinds is founder of the National Conference of Black Lawyers and former counsel for the African National Congress. He currently teaches in the Criminal Justice Program at Rutgers University.

Suzanne Adely is a founder of the Middle East, North Africa Labor Solidarity Network in the United States. She is a long-time member of Al-Awda-NY, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Defend the Egyptian Revolution Committee of New York.

Joris Vercammen is a Belgian cleric and archbishop of the Old Catholic Church, active in the Netherlands. Vercammen was elected to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches in 2006.

Séverine de Laveleye is a Belgian politician active for Ecolo. In 2018 she was elected as a municipal councilor of Vorst for Ecolo and was elected as as a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in 2019.

The prosecutors meanwhile were Belgian human rights lawyer Jan Fermon and his German colleagueRoland Meister.

The jurors said copies of their verdict shall be sent to the Philippine Embassy in Brussels, the US Embassy in Brussels, the European External Action Service, the European Parliament, the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, the UN High Commission on Human Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent, the UN Secretary General, and the Permanent People’s Tribunal. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

BAYAN’s Reyes says Afghan gov’t collapse is another defeat for US imperialism

The collapse of the foreign-backed government in Afghanistan is another defeat for interventionist military adventures by the United States, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said.

In a statement following reports Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghanil has fled Kabul, Reyes said US military interventionism that pushes imperialistic ends is bound to fail if the local populace see them as invaders.

“However hard the US imposes its version of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’, the Afghan people still see them as invaders. US imperialism did not bring them change and development but deeper crisis,” Reyes wrote in Filipino.

The defeat of the US-led military coalition that occupied Afghanistan is another defeat similar to what it suffered in Iraq and Vietnam, he added.

Taliban fighters have started their entry into the capital city after Ghanil has reportedly fled Kabul as the US started evacuating its diplomatic staff with helicopters, reminiscent of the chaos seen when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese in April 1975.

The Taliban first gained prominence as an anti-Soviet occupation force that implemented what is seen as a hard line form of Sunni Islam when it first led Afghanistan in the 1990s.

The US led an international military coalition that occupied Afghanistan after the 9-11 attacks in New York, accusing the Taliban of supporting Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by US commandos in Abbotville, Pakistan in April 2012.

The coalition reportedly spent about $3 trillion dollars in the two-decade conflict, with the US shouldering about $978 billion from 2001 to 2020.

US President Joe Biden earlier ordered the withdrawal of soldiers and urged peace negotiations between Kabul and the Taliban.

Reyes said the US occupation of the country has led to the worst reported cases of human rights violations in the world in the last two decades.

He said that civilian deaths has been treated a mere “collateral damage” that has also bred continuing armed resistance against the occupation.

Reyes added that future developments would indicate whether the Taliban would commit human rights violations it was accused of in the past.

Meanwhile, United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres urged the Taliban to exercise utmost restraint as he voiced concern about the future of women and girls under another Taliban regime.

The Taliban are being accused of curtailing women’s rights to education, work, free expression and others.

Pope Francis on the other hand Pope Francis called for an end to the conflict in Afghanistan so its people “can live in peace, security and reciprocal respect.”

In his Sunday address in Vatican City, Francis said, “I join in the unanimous worry about the situation in Afghanistan. I ask you to pray along with me to the God of peace so that the din of weapons ends and that solutions can be found around a table of dialogue.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Lessons from the attack on the U.S. Capitol

By Phil Wilayto

What happened last January 6 at the U.S. Capitol was a violent takeover of Congress by a fascist mob, not a “protest by Trump supporters.” And, although five people died and there were more than 50 arrests, it’s obvious to the wide public that these overwhelmingly white lawbreakers were handled much differently than they would have been had they been Black or other people of color.

You can call it an attempted coup d’etat. But it was not a sign of imminent fascism. It was a mob egged on by a deranged egomaniac enraged that he has become the only incumbent president in nearly 30 years to be defeated in an election.

The pro-Trump mob clashes with the police at the steps of the US Capitol building. (Supplied photo)

Why is this important to point out? Because we need to know what we’re up against so we can be prepared to deal with it.

Fascism came to power in the 1930s in Spain, Italy and Germany because significant sections of those countries’ wealthy elites were afraid that militant workers’ movements in their own countries could lead to the overthrow of their capitalist rule. Remember, this was just a few years after the Russian Revolution.

We are not in the same situation today in the United States. In the midst of a dangerous pandemic that has led to an economic crisis for millions, and a spring and summer of sustained protests against police murders and systemic racism, the widespread anger against the system was successfully diverted into an electoral struggle between the two parties of capitalist rule. And because the ruling elite had decided it was time for Trump to go.

The attacking pro-Trump mob scale the walls of the US Capitol building. (Supplied photo)

Donald Trump was allowed to become President and stay in power for four years because he was able to cut taxes for the rich, deregulate business, roll back social gains and oversee a skyrocketing stock market, all of which resulted in the very rich becoming very much richer.

Not all the elite were happy with everything Trump did, but the very wealthy can live with immigrant children left alone in cages, the steady deterioration of the environment, accelerating climate change and worsening racial oppression. They have lived with far worse since the founding of the Virginia colony in 1607.

What they could not tolerate was the steady erosion of the dominance of the United States on a world scale. The growing hostility to China by all sections of the ruling class is because that country, which still has significant state control over important sections of the economy, is making a serious bid for world economic dominance, and Trump has been letting it happen. The U.S. is no longer seen as the leader in technology, finance, even health care. Its only remaining serious claim to “leadership” is as a military power, albeit one that is now abandoning the longest war in its history because it couldn’t defeat a reactionary but determined enemy in Afghanistan, the 16th poorest country in the world.

The Washington DC police are accused of treating the pro-Trump mob that assaulted the US Capitol building different as when people of color are holding protest actions. (Supplied photo)

So the ruling class came up with a safe alternative, an establishment figure who has long proven his commitment to defending and expanding the American Empire – Joe Biden. In the long run, this is more important to the one percent than tax cuts and short-term profits. The transition has been threatened because of the deep divisions in the country, but even Trump has now committed to a “peaceful transition of power” on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

So how does all this relate to the mob action of Jan. 6. in Washington, D.C.?

What we need to look for is any support for an actual or even symbolic coup by some section of the ruling class, as would be evidenced by involvement of any significant section of law enforcement or the military. If that involvement existed, it wasn’t evident.

Members of the US Congress scramble for safety as the pro-Trump mob threatens to breach the session hall. (Supplied photo)

Yes, the Capitol police proved woefully unprepared for the attack most likely because they didn’t view overt fascists as threatening as they had earlier Black Lives Matter protests. Yes, there were reports of individual police officers taking selfies with members of the mob and opening barriers to allow them into the Capitol. But when the D.C. National Guard was activated and joined by hundreds of state troopers from Virginia, Maryland and even New Jersey to assist Capitol and D.C. police in removing the mob, they responded. Officers fought with mob members, one of whom was fatally shot. Three other people died from what have been described as medical conditions. One police officer died from injuries sustained in the confrontation.

This is important to note because cops and the military take their orders from higher-ups, and evidently there was no high-level support for the attack on Congress.

Members of US Congress cower as the pro-Trump mob threaten to breach session hall. (Supplied photo)

And since these events there have been condemnations of the attack from across the political spectrum. Seven of the 13 senators who earlier had said they would challenge electoral votes from a handful of states withdrew their support for that effort. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), leaders of the senate rebels, both tweeted condemnations of the mob action.

Among business leaders, the National Association of Manufacturers, representing leading Fortune 500 companies like Exxon and Toyota, called for ousting President Trump under the 25th Amendment, which allows for removing a sitting president deemed incapable of executing the duties of the office. No significant section of the ruling class supported the violent invasion of the Capitol.

But none of this means the mob action wasn’t an extremely serious, dangerous and unprecedented development. In Washington, D.C., and at state capitols around the country, thousands of right-wingers came out to oppose what is called the democratic process. In D.C., hundreds showed they were willing to physically confront police officers, openly breaking the law – and windows – and risk arrest and even death to push their agenda.

The pro-Trump mob breaches the hallowed US Capitol building. (Supplied photo)

And it’s important to note that, while seven of the 13 U.S. Senators abandoned their challenge to the electoral votes of some states, six maintained their opposition. This doesn’t only mean they were pandering to a reactionary voter base. It also means they weren’t worried about losing financial support from the corporate interests who largely fund them, which means there are sections of the ruling class who, while not necessarily supporting the mob actions, still continued to support what essentially was the legal version of the mob attempt to overthrow the presidential election.

This time, the police, national guard and military opposed the action. We can’t assume this will always be the case.

US Capitol building guards draw guns against the pro-Trump mob outside the door of the session hall. (Supplied photo)

What should concern us more is that we now know – if we needed any more proof after Charlottesville – that there is a growing fascist movement in this country violently opposed to everything a progressive movement stands for. That fascist movement attempted to congeal at the “Unite the Right” rally of August 2017, but suffered a major setback when anti-racists, primarily youth, came out to oppose it. That counter-mobilization was critical, since the local, county and state police and Virginia National Guard were all under orders to stand down. (Thank you, then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe.) And, unlike during the Black Lives Matter protests this summer, it was correct for white youth to take the lead in engaging the fascists. (The Defenders are proud to have been in the thick of those confrontations.)

But that right-wing movement has since recovered, grown, and has broadened beyond the overtly fascist organizations to include thousands of largely unaffiliated individuals euphemistically referred to as “Trump supporters.” These overwhelmingly white men may have some legitimate grievances against the anti-working-class neoliberalism policies of the Democratic Party, but they are moved to violence primarily by their own white-supremacist hostility to the Black community, immigrants, LGBTQ people, women and the Left. They are here, they are growing in numbers and the police will not always be willing – or inclined – to stop them from attacking their targets.

US Capitol building staff barricade themselves as the pro-Trump mob breached the inner chambers. (Supplied photo)

In response to yesterday’s events, there have been a lot of comments on social media suggesting that this was a confrontation between reactionary civilians and reactionary cops and of no great concern to the Black community. This is a dangerous conclusion to draw.

The rise of the Nazis to power in Germany is most closely associated with the Holocaust, which took the lives of six million Jews – one-third of European Jewry. But Jews were not the only people targeted by the Nazis, nor were they the first. The first target was the German Communist Party, which at the time was the largest communist party in the world outside of the Soviet Union, a fact which terrified the ruling class.

This fact was driven home to me in very graphic ways a few years ago when my wife, Ana Edwards, and I visited the government-run Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland. Even under the reactionary populist rule of the federal Law and Justice Party, the plaques and signage made it clear that communists were the first to be arrested, imprisoned in concentration camps like Auschwitz and tortured, worked to death or simply murdered. Jews who thought the repression would stay merely political would be tragically corrected.

In a similar way, the fascists who gathered in Charlottesville in 2017 claimed they were defending “Southern Heritage” and opposing Antifa (a left-wing anti-fascist and anti-racist political movement). But when their rally was finally shut down by the cops (McAuliffe’s plan evidently was to let things get out of control so the rally could be suppressed without the city or state being sued on First Amendment grounds), they regrouped to march on a nearby Black housing development. Hearing the reports of those plans, anti-racists, including the Defenders, mobilized to block them. That’s what Heather Heyer was doing at that intersection when she was fatally struck by a car driven by one of the fascists. She died defending the Black community, a fact that has never received its proper recognition.

In short, while their stated enemy may be Antifa, anarchists and communists, today’s fascists are fundamentally white supremacists deeply afraid of being “replaced” by the changing demographics that are projected to make the United States a country of majority people of color as soon as 2040.

A participant in the assault of the US Capitol building at the Speaker’s chair. (Supplied photo)

Conclusions

So what conclusions can we draw from all this? What are the practical consequences? Because it’s not enough merely to analyse the situation – we need to decide what to do.

These times are crying out for an independent, multi-issue, anti-imperialist organised Left that can develop and promote a program to unite all working people and communities of color, a program that emphasizes class solidarity while promoting the right to self-determination of all oppressed peoples. And that movement must have the capability of physically defending itself from threats from the fascists. To date, our side has been woefully inadequate on that score.

Our people aren’t lacking in courage, we are lacking in numbers, organization, resources and a unified program. Decades of raising the tactic of nonviolence to the level of a moral principle has effectively disarmed large sections of the progressive movement to the point where some activists believe that defending themselves and their communities means “sinking to the level” of the right wing. Years of promoting the idea that the Democrats could be a bulwark against the Right has weakened the understanding that real defense can only come from an independent movement. And the rise of the non-profit complex, with its dependence on liberal funders tied to the Democrats, has contributed to the demise of the anti-war, anti-imperialist consciousness that was a hallmark of the independent, multi-issue, multi-racial militant movements that led the historic struggles of the 1930s and 1960s.

A pro-Trump assault participant occupies a Congressman’s chair. (Supplied photo)

So as we look over the events of Jan. 6, we shouldn’t draw the conclusion that we are on the edge of a fascist takeover. But neither should we ignore the very real and growing threat of a genuine fascist movement.

Much will depend on the emergence of a charismatic leader who can really unite the right. That could be Trump, if he decides to go that route instead of just going back to being a corrupt, venal businessman. Personally, I think the fear-of-prosecution-fueled speech he gave Jan. 7 condemning his loyal mob for “infiltrating” the Capitol probably ended his chances of becoming the American Fuhrer.

Chaos inside the US Capitol building. (Supplied photo)

At any rate, more will depend on a significant section of the ruling class deciding that an extra-legal paramilitary force is needed to suppress a threatening Black or general working-class rebellion. Some will depend on those sections willing to finance such a movement. This is how fascist organizations emerged in Ukraine before, during and after the right-wing, U.S.-supported coup of 2014 that supposedly supported democracy but resulted in an even more authoritarian government. (https://odessasolidaritycampaign.org)

But whether or not any of that develops, what is clear is that the Left needs to greatly broaden its influence as well as its practical ability to defend itself, its events, its organizations and the community at large from the determined right-wing streetfighters that we now cannot deny exist.

To ignore that threat is to contribute to our own defeat. #

Police officers and guards inside the US Capitol building. (Supplied photo)

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This opinion piece, earlier published by US-based Red Vis Lamp, was submitted for republication by Kodao.

Phil Wilayto is a co-founder of the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, editor of The Virginia Defender newspaper and coordinator of the anti-fascist Odessa Solidarity Campaign. He can be reached at [email protected].