CPSO-Toronto commemorates the life of Jose Maria Sison, or Ka Joma, who passed away on December 16th in Utrecht, Netherlands. Ka Joma founded the Communist Party of the Philippines on this day in 1968, and was later a peace consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Phillipines, dedicating his entire life to the emancipation of the Filipino people from the grips of US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism. We are saddened to hear of the loss of a great revolutionary, theoretician, poet who lived in service of the people.
Jose Maria Sison was a key figure in opposing the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. During the First Quarter Storm, he founded many organizations that stood against the fascist government and fought for the freedom of the Filipino people. He spent almost nine years as a political prisoner, many of which he spent in solitary confinement. His contributions and influence on the political history of the Philippines could not be denied — former president Rodrigo Duterte, whose human rights violations Sison staunchly opposed, even said “While Mr. Sison and I have had many disagreements—especially in the ways in which he chose to pursue and effect change in the country—I would like to believe that, at the end of the day, we shared the same dream of creating a better future for every Filipino.”
Living in exile as a political refugee in the Netherlands since 1987, he has lived in the city of Utrecht ever since, writing and serving as the NDF’s chief political consultant in peace negotiations with the reactionary Government of the Republic of the Philippines. He worked tirelessly, publishing books on the advancement of the revolution and doing speaking tours as often as he could.
Even in exile, state powers did not let him rest easy. He has previously been declared an international terrorist by both the governments of the U.S and the Philippines in 2001, and in 2007 was arrested by Dutch authorities under false murder charges and placed in solitary confinement with no access to his medication. He was eventually released as the alleged crimes took place while Sison was imprisoned under the Marcos regime.
Friends and comrades of Ka Joma knew him for his vigorous speaking style, his wit and his insatiable love for karaoke. Mabuhay Ka Joma – may your revolutionary spirit live forever.