NDFP Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison / JB

Inteview with Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant

By Andres Antonio

1. According to Presidenial Spokesman Panelo, Duterte cannot be ousted.  Is Panelo right in saying that the possible ouster of Duterte is illusory?

JMS:  The possibility of Duterte’s ouster is still running and is not illusory. The objective conditions are present for the ouster of the Duterte regime.  This regime is notorious in the Philippines and abroad for being tyrannical, treasonous, mass murdering, corrupt and swindling. Duterte is liable for impeachment if not for  the rigging the previous elections through electronic dagdag-bawas and thereby gaining a majority in both houses of Congress. 

But there is a high probability for certain factors to combine or converge in order to oust him like when Marcos and Estrada were ousted in 1986 and 2001, respectively. The factors include the intensification of people’s war,  gigantic protest mass actions in the streets, the support of the Catholic and other churches, denunciations by the political and business leaders offended by Duterte and withdrawal of suppport from him by a significant bloc of AFP rank and file.

2. Looking back, what was the concrete contribution of the revolutionary movement to  the downfall of Marcos in 1986? At this stage,  can the revolutionary movement  do again what it did to Marcos in order to cause the downfall of Duterte now?

JMS: The revolutionary movement contributed the longest and greatest efforts to discredit, weaken, isolate and overthrow Marcos. The efforts included the growth in strength and advance of the people’s war and the inspiration that this gave to the broad masses of the people and to the eventual upsurge of gigantic mass protest actions. These persuaded the US to consider Marcos a liability more than an asset, junked him and signalled to the AFP to withdraw support from Marcos.

It is obvious from the continuing people’s war that the revolutionary movement is trying its best to fight the Duterte regime.  It is doing its part to seek the ouster of Duterte. But other factors have to be taken into account. The legal democratic mass movement, the churches already offended by Duterte and the opposition groups need to cooperate and do their best to arouse and mobilize the masses for mass protests like the following: community-based noise barrages and meetings and marches from various assembly points to converge on a focal area. All these are achievable  by the people in the exercise of their democratic right to speak and assemble. 

The Duterte regime and its pro-US military officials have so far been trying to please the US with their repeated promises to destroy the revolutionary movement once and for all time. But  the US also notices that the regime itself is a provocation and challenge to the people to join or support the armed revolution. And the US is becoming resentful over Duterte’s sell-out of the West Philippine Sea and its marine and mineral resources to China and his involvement in China’s takeover  of the telecommunications system in the Philippines. 

Many of the junior officers of the AFP are already grumbling against Duterte’s sell-out of the West Philippine Sea and the surrender of the telecommunications system to China. They are insulted that the Chinese cell towers will be built in military camps and use the troops as security guards instead of hiring private security agencies. The patriotic officers within  the AFP consider Duterte traitorous and stupid for using AFP camps to accommodate both Chinese cell towers and US military facilities (under EDCA).

3. Considering the violent acts being widely committed by the state against those opposed to Duterte and the all-out war in the countryside,  is it possible for the revolutionary movement to revive and deploy “sparrow units” in order to strike back in the cities against those in power?

JMS: I have already read from publications of the CPP and NPA that they are reviving armed city partisan units and at the same time preparing commando teams that are based in the countryside but can be sent to the cities on missions to punish officials who are notorious for corruption, human rights violations and connivance with crime syndicates as well as to sabotage or destroy key military and police detachments and installations. They are reportedly studying closely the previous urban warfare conducted  by Filipino and Vietnamese revolutionaries. They are anticipating worse repression and even fascist dictatorship which will outlaw legal organizations and social activism.

Right now,  because  of  the widespread red-tagging, threats to life and liberty and actual killing of social activists, the Duterte regime is already compelling a considerable number of activists to go underground and join the people’s war in the countryside.  After politico-military training, many of these activists are expected to become good fighters in armed city partisan units and commando teams.  It can be calculated that what you might call “sparrow” warfare in the urban areas can strategically force the military and police to take guard duties or go on the defensive in the cities and have less armed personnel for combat in the countryside.

Duterte has been failing in his scheme to destroy the revolutionary movement because he is preserving and aggravating the basic problems of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism that drive the people to join and support the new democratic revolution led by the CPP.  The CPP and NPA have been  pursuing the strategic line of protracted people’s war of encircing the cities from the countryside. In more than 50 years, this strategic line has  enabled the creation of strong Party branches, more than 110 guerrilla fronts, revolutionary mass organizations and the people’s democratic government from the barangay level upwards.

Under E.O. 70, Duterte is failing in his military strategy and tactics. Most of his military and police officers preoccupy themselves most of the time with psywar activities, violating human rights, meddling with civilian agencies of the reactionary government, pocketing public funds and extorting from people, faking surrenders and encounters and deploying too many checkpoints and token patrols. Thus, they reduce the number of officers and men for combat. Furthermore, even if he increases the number of combat units, they are ineffective because they are rendered deaf and blind by the people’s support for the revolutionary movement. ###

On the so-called universality of Protracted People’s War

By Andy Belisario | 31 August 2019

Two articles by a certain Ard Kinera, “Defend and apply the universality of Protracted People’s War!” and “Again in defence of the Universality of People’s War,” have been posted respectively on 6 June 2019 and 26 June 2019 in response to Jose Maria Sison’s two articles on the same subject. Kinera’s articles were posted originally on the TFM site and reposted the same day on the Democracy and Class Struggle site. Since Kinera is raring for direct polemics on the question and feels short-changed by Sison’s replies, I’ll indulge him.

Before I comment on his articles, let me pose the question as directly as possible: Is Mao’s strategy or theory of protracted people’s war one that has universal validity in the present era, and particular applicability in capitalist countries?

Kinera will most probably answer a definitive “Yes”, while I say “No, generally”—with certain qualifications and clarifications that will be presented further below. I will also show that Kinera is wrong not only on this question, but on a number of related questions particularly raised in his polemics with Sison.

Protracted people’s war” vis-a-vis “people’s war” as a generic term 

Kinera asserts: “Maoism puts forward the universality of People’s War strategy, puts this forward as the sole military strategy of the international proletariat, applicable in each and every country applied concretely in accordance to the different concrete conditions.” In another article he says in no uncertain terms: “[T]o be Maoist is to adhere to the universality of Protracted People’s War.”

He also says: “The Maoist principle that upholds Protracted People’s War … that establish in theory the universality of People’s War in each and every country of the World, is only established with the summation and synthesis of Maoism done by Chairman Gonzalo and the Communist Party of Peru. It was only part of doctrine since 1980, and especially since the General Political Line of the Peruvian Communist Party was established in 1988. It is thus quite new. And by then it was only one single Party in the World, adhering to this line.”

Take note that in his two articles, Kinera sometimes uses the term “protracted people’s war” and at other times simply “people’s war”. But it’s clear, especially when he argues vs. Sison, that he treats the two as interchangeable terms in the context of the theory’s “universality.” 

This is a crucial weakness in Kinera’s arguments, since the protracted character of the people’s wars that liberated China and Vietnam has a precise socio-economic context and political-military meaning for agrarian or semifeudal countries that are oppressed by imperialism as colonies or semi-colonies. It is not merely expressed in numbers of years that armed revolutions in industrial countries could quantitatively measure up to.

Kinera also implies that the application of this universal theory of people’s war in different countries is a matter of simply “being flexible in tactics,” ergo, is not a question of difference in strategic line. This is another flaw, because it implies that CPs need only to concern themselves with tactics and no longer need to define their own strategies based on the particularity of their own countries—because, after all, their dear Gonzalo has already defined the Maoist “sole military strategy” of PPW for them!

The true universality of people’s war

The true universality of the term and concept of “people’s war” is that of the justness and historic role of armed revolution everywhere throughout the world when waged by exploited and oppressed classes to overthrow exploiter and oppressor classes. 

Marx and Engels had long developed this theory on the necessity of armed revolution by the masses of toiling people led by the working class, further clarifying the need to smash the existing bourgeois state machinery and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat in order to pursue and complete the socialist revolution. The basic principles of armed revolution by the proletariat and other allied classes were further elaborated by Lenin in his many works.

So, yes, in this sense, there should be no debate about the universal applicability of people’s war in all countries ruled by the big bourgeoisie and its reactionary allies. Had Kinera kept his polemics within these bounds, about “people’s war” being the equivalent of “armed revolution,” then there would be essentially no debate on the question.

However, Kinera glosses over two important corollaries to this fundamental principle of Marxism-Leninism. First, his arguments assume (even though not directly) that a revolutionary situation currently (or perennially) exists in all countries. Therefore all communist parties (CPs), if they are truly engaged in revolution, must adopt a corresponding military strategy and place armed struggle on their practical work agenda. And second, he insists that the Maoist strategy of protracted people’s war is applicable to industrial capitalist countries. 

I will take these two corollary questions separately.

On the concept of revolutionary situations

While the fundamental task of armed revolution is axiomatic for all ML parties (not just Maoist parties), it is not a dogmatic imposition that disregards concrete conditions. It doesn’t oblige all these parties to adopt armed struggle as the main form of struggle in their countries, to implement a corresponding military strategy for seizing political power, and to immediately start combat preparations and build combat formations. 

The crucial question to ask is this: Is there a developing revolutionary situation in the country, or not? If there is no such revolutionary situation on the horizon, then it will be putschist if not suicidal for a party to mobilize an army and wage armed struggle in an attempt to seize political power. If there is such a developing situation, then preparing for armed struggle and mobilizing all forces under the correct military strategy certainly becomes an urgent and practical question.

The concept of “revolutionary situations” should be familiar to anyone who seriously studies Lenin’s works. From 1905-06 onward, Lenin had identified and described in detail the basic elements of a revolutionary situation through a close study of the 1905 Revolution. He further deepened his grasp of the concept in 1917. In “Left-Wing” Communism (1920), he summarized the necessary conditions for the existence of such a situation:

The fundamental law of revolution, which has been confirmed by all revolutions, and particularly by all three Russian revolutions in the twentieth century, is as follows: it is not enough for revolution that the exploited and oppressed masses should understand the impossibility of living in the old way and demand changes; what is required for revolution is that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way. Only when the “lower classes” do not want the old way and when the “upper classes” cannot carry on in the old way can revolution win.

This truth may be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nationwide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters). It follows that revolution requires, firstly, that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking and politically active workers) should fully understand that revolution is necessary and be ready to sacrifice their lives for it; secondly, that the ruling classes should be passing through a governmental crisis which would draw even the most backward masses into politics (a symptom of every real revolution is a rapid tenfold and even hundredfold increase in the number of representatives of the toiling and oppressed masses—who have hitherto been apathetic—capable of waging the political struggle), weaken the government and make it possible for the revolutionaries to overthrow it rapidly.


Lenin of course assumed the existence of a proletarian revolutionary party and its correct leadership of the masses as an additional necessary condition for such a revolution to advance and win victory.

Sison reiterates this basic Leninist view when he says, in Basic Principles of Marxism-Leninism: A Primer (1981-82):

In either capitalist or semifeudal country, armed revolution is justified and is likely to succeed when objective conditions favor it and the subjective factors of the revolution are strong enough. Objective conditions refer to the situation of the ruling system. A political and economic crisis of that system can become so serious as to violently split the ruling class and prevent it from ruling in the old way. The ruling clique engages in open terror against a wide range of people and is extremely isolated. The people in general, including those unorganized, are disgusted with the system and are desirous of changing it.


The subjective factors of the revolution refer to the conscious and organized forces of the revolution. These are the revolutionary party, the mass organizations, armed contingent, and so on. To gauge their strength fully, one has to consider their ideological, political and organized status and capabilities.

The objective conditions are primary over the subjective factors. The former arise ahead of the latter and serve as the basis for the development of the revolutionary forces. The Communist Party cannot be accused of inventing or causing the political and economic crisis of the bourgeois ruling system.

In short, an armed revolution can only be justified and possible when objective conditions favor it (serious political and economic crisis and violent splits among the ruling classes, who can no longer rule in the old way, while the broad masses are disgusted with the system and can no longer live in the old way). But the proletarian party must do its work well to develop the revolutionary forces, by undertaking serious and long-term preparations even before the revolutionary situation sets in.

The problem with Kinera is that he disregards the matter of objective conditions in specific countries, the level of crisis, the political behavior of the ruling classes, the range of responses by various political forces, the level of consciousness and readiness for struggle of the masses, and thus, a realistic evaluation of whether a revolutionary situation really exists or is at least a developing trend.

Mao on the strategy of protracted people’s war

From 1917 all the way through the 1940s, Lenin and Stalin—through their writings and through the Comintern—had consistently educated the CPs and revolutionaries of their time about formulating and implementing the correct strategy and tactics appropriate to the class structure, history, balance of forces, and concrete conditions of their corresponding countries.

Lenin, Stalin and the Comintern warned the other CPs particularly in the 1920s and 1930s of the danger of “Left-wing” infantilism, brash insurrectionism and military adventurism, especially since the victories of the Bolshevik party and the young Soviet state inspired these other CPs to emulate and replicate (sometimes dogmatically) the Russian model, often to reject the painstaking and seemingly non-revolutionary work within bourgeois parliament, reactionary trade unions and the like.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) especially under Mao had learned and benefited much from the Communist Party of the Soviet Uniion (CPSU) and Comintern, so at first they followed the strategy and overall tactics of the Russian revolution. Due to the great differences between Russia ca. 1900-1920s and China ca. 1920s-40s, however, the Mao-led CCP eventually developed its own strategy and tactics, which would lead to nationwide victory 22 years later and would be emulated by other CPs in many countries under the popular rubric of “protracted people’s war” (PPW).

The people’s war in China’s new-democratic revolution had fundamental commonalities with the 1917 October revolution but followed a distinctive strategy that was, in many ways, the latter’s opposite. The most crucial difference was that in contrast to capitalist Russia, the main force in semifeudal China was the peasantry in its huge numbers, and agrarian revolution was the main content. This meant that the main area for developing Red political power was in the vast rural areas while the ruling reactionary regimes could entrench themselves for quite some time in the cities. 

There was indeed in China, throughout the first half of the 20th century, an increasingly favorable revolutionary situation as defined by Lenin in 1920. But still, the armed revolution had to start with small and weak forces relative to the size and strength of the counter-revolutionary forces. The process of overcoming the tremendous unevenness, accumulating strength in the countryside and eating up the enemy forces piece by piece, would take some time before the revolutionary forces were ready to take the cities and win nationwide victory.

It was on such comprehensive basis that Mao arrived at the necessary conclusion that, when compared to the relatively rapid process of armed seizure of political power in Russia, the process in China would be more protracted. This is the substantial meaning of protractedness, not merely the number of years of war. Mao would later elaborate this main theme to clarify other aspects specific to China’s PPW, such as the role and principles of guerrilla warfare, army building, base-building, and the three strategic stages of the war.

The Maoist strategy of PPW and many of its operational and tactical principles clearly remain applicable, and flexible enough to be adopted further, to the different conditions in various countries that are semi-feudal or principally pre-industrial due to imperialist rule and plunder. On this there is no fundamental question, and we will not dwell much further on this point. 

On armed struggle in capitalist countries

The question however remains: What should be the strategy and tactics for armed revolution in capitalist countries? Will the Maoist strategy of PPW also apply? Sison rightfully says a different non-PPW strategy should apply. But Kinera insists that Maoist PPW strategy applies, even as he sometimes drops the term “protracted”: “Maoists define revolution just simply as People’s War, universally applicable also in the imperialist and mainly urbanized countries.” 

Since Kinera (and his idol Gonzalo) invoke Maoism as their framework, let us then go back to what Mao actually said on the matter. We quote from Mao’s Problems of War and Strategy, written in 1938 as a well-known pillar of his military writings and major source of PPW theory: 

The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds good universally, for China and for all other countries.

But while the principle remains the same, its application by the party of the proletariat finds expression in varying ways according to the varying conditions. Internally, capitalist countries practice bourgeois democracy (not feudalism) when they are not fascist or not at war; in their external relations, they are not oppressed by, but themselves oppress, other nations. Because of these characteristics, it is the task of the party of the proletariat in the capitalist countries to educate the workers and build up strength through a long period of legal struggle, and thus prepare for the final overthrow of capitalism. In these countries, the question is one of a long legal struggle, of utilizing parliament as a platform, of economic and political strikes, of organizing trade unions and educating the workers.

There the form of organization is legal and the form of struggle bloodless (non-military). On the issue of war, the Communist Parties in the capitalist countries oppose the imperialist wars waged by their own countries; if such wars occur, the policy of these Parties is to bring about the defeat of the reactionary governments of their own countries. The one war they want to fight is the civil war for which they are preparing. But this insurrection and war should not be launched until the bourgeoisie becomes really helpless, until the majority of the proletariat are determined to rise in arms and fight, and until the rural masses are giving willing help to the proletariat. And when the time comes to launch such an insurrection and war, the first step will be to seize the cities, and then advance into the countryside’ and not the other way about. All this has been done by Communist Parties in capitalist countries, and it has been proved correct by the October Revolution in Russia.


We repeat and underscore what Mao said in no uncertain terms: The task of the proletarian party in the capitalist countries is “to educate the workers and build up strength through a long period of legal struggle… of utilizing parliament as a platform, of economic and political strikes, of organizing trade unions… There the form of organization is legal and the form of struggle bloodless (non-military). … And when the time comes to launch such an insurrection and war, the first step will be to seize the cities, and then advance into the countryside…” 

The contrast is stark as day and night: Mao says that PPW does not apply to capitalist countries, while Kinera insists it does. Mao (reiterating Lenin on the same question) says that the way to build mass strength towards eventual armed insurrection in capitalist countries is through a long period of legal struggle. Quite the opposite, Kinera says this “Petrograd model” is a “tired old strategy.” 

On this point alone, Kinera’s entire house of cards about the “universality of protracted people’s war” collapses into a heap. He claims to be Maoist but doesn’t really get Mao’s teachings. He is shown up to be an infantile Maoist, or worse, a fake Maoist. 

The specific characteristics of people’s war in capitalist countries

In his article on the same question, Sison rightfully asserts: “In industrial capitalist countries, the proletarian revolutionaries cannot begin the revolutionary war with a small and weak people’s army in the countryside and hope to use the wide space and indefinite time in the countryside to sustain the war.” He thus warns of the folly of applying the PPW strategy (“surrounding the cities from the countryside”) in capitalist countries.

Kinera says: “Who made this the defining factor of People’s War? Not the Communist Party of Peru at least. It is crystal clear from all Maoists … that the path of surrounding the cities is not a universal law of PPW.” Kinera’s problem is that he swallows Gonzalo’s distorted definition of Maoism and PPW, forgets to check with Mao’s original military writings and theory about PPW, and then complains—on that hopelessly confused basis—that Sison is making things up about the factors for a successful people’s war.

Sison’s point is that in the highly urbanized and other highly developed areas of capitalist countries, under current conditions when there is no full-scale war and revolutionary crisis, a people’s army that launches tactical offensives with no sizeable mass base (at least equivalent to rural guerrilla bases in countries such as China and Vietnam) will be hard-pressed to counter-maneuver, employ guerrilla tactics, retain initiative, and hit back at the enemy’s weak points, and much less be able to consolidate and expand their bases. In the most realistic and practical terms, such a people’s army cannot sustain itself and continue to grow into bigger formations that combine military work, political work, and production work (as Mao defined the tasks of a people’s army). 

Such a people’s army can only do so when other crucial factors favorable to the armed revolution’s advance are at play such as an intense crisis that has greatly weakened the enemy state and demoralized its rank-and-file, extensive and expanding political base engaged in mobilizing the masses of toiling people, and of course correct Party leadership.

Sison rightly asserts: “As soon as that army [in a capitalist country] dares to launch the first tactical offensive, it will be overwhelmed by the huge enemy armed forces and the highly unified economic, communications and transport system of the monopoly bourgeoisie.”

Kinera counter-argues that “this is simply not true.” Then he proceeds to mention Italy’s Brigada Rossa, Germany’s “Red Army Faction”, Japan’s “JRA”, the US Weatherman Underground and “Black Liberation Army”, the Basque ETA, and “several active armed groups in Ireland,” all of which continued to operate for a number of years before they folded up. He explains their failure this way: “… most of these groups were not armed with the omnipotent ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They were not led by a militarized Maoist Communist Party. … In most cases, the groups capitulated due to loss of morale or lack of Ideology and political leadership! That is true of many of these groups.” 

In short, Kinera focuses exclusively on subjective factors for the failures, e.g. “loss or morale” or “lack of ideology and political leadership” by a “militarized Maoist CP.” He avoids giving weight to the objective factors, which were stressed by Lenin and Mao. In nearly all cases he mentioned, there were no favorable objective conditions for an armed revolution to advance and win, in addition to big gaps in preparing the masses (through open and underground channels) for eventual armed struggle. It remains for genuine ML or MLM parties—certainly not Kinera and his Gonzaloite friends with their “militarized CP” mindset!—to make comprehensive summings-up to explain the eventual failures and draw lessons.

On Kinera’s vision of PPW in capitalist countries

But let us allow Kinera another chance to describe in detail his “Maoist PPW strategy” for capitalist countries.

If it is to be a protracted people’s war, as in Mao’s China and Ho’s Vietnam, then where in the social and geographic terrain of a capitalist country, and how exactly, will the organs of revolutionary political power be organized and sustained? 

Remember that the essence of protracted people’s war is not simply to maintain fighting teams that use guns—which the fascists, the Mafia, and conspiratorial terrorists also do—but to mobilize the masses in the armed struggle in order to dismantle the bourgeois-reactionary state machinery (especially its armed forces) step by step and in likewise fashion to build the revolutionary state machinery and use it to defend the people’s gains.

If it is to be a genuine revolutionary war, and not just idle prattle or showing militancy in street battles against the police, what is to be the main form that war is going to take? Armed insurrection in the cities? Pockets of guerrilla/partisan warfare in populated areas that will either grow into or support wider theaters of regular mobile warfare, or grow into (or support) armed insurrections? What types of military formations will be built and deployed, and from which main social class? 

The Bolsheviks in Lenin’s time, the CCP in Mao’s time, and the Communist Party of the Philippines in the current period, went into extensive and detailed description of their strategic, operational, and tactical principles in order to flesh out their theory and vision of armed revolution. Since Kinera disdains “hiding our intent from the masses,” then this is his chance to explain his own version of “Maoist military strategy and tactics” in detail. My guess is that it will be a revised edition of Gonzalo’s Peru ca. 1988, transplanted to current-day Europe. But Kinera should further expound.

On the military theory of the international proletariat

Despite Kinera’s misplaced flattery, Mao was not the original proponent or first theorist of people’s war as “the military theory of the international proletariat.” For Kinera (or his idol Gonzalo) to make this claim is a disservice to other great communist leaders who made equally valuable contributions to the proletariat’s military theory and practice, as expressed in the strategic, operational, and tactical principles that they adopted for their respective revolutions and are now available for study and creative application by all revolutionaries of the world.

Marx and especially Engels closely studied military theory based on existing armies and military doctrines of their time, actual wars and battles not just among European states but in the mass uprisings of the 1848 revolution, the 1871 Paris Commune, and anti-colonial insurrections in Asia. Lenin led the Bolsheviks in turning the principles he expounded (e.g. in State and Revolution) into the practical tasks of organizing the Bolsheviks’ armed uprising, of building the Red Army from partisan units and reorganized tsarist troops, and of organizing Soviet power in the many localities wrested from the White armies. Stalin shared his rich experience acquired as a field commander in the Civil War, and encouraged other Soviet commanders to draw from their experience of partisan warfare (e.g. a growing understanding of deep operations with a peasant rear in a long war) and systematize these in the fledgling institutes of military science and training.

Bolshevik Red Guards in October 1917

Mao of course made immense contributions to proletarian military theory based on his vast leadership experience in the long years of Chinese revolution, as did Ho Chi Minh, Le Duan and Vo Nguyen Giap in the case of the Vietnamese revolution, and Sison in the case of the Philippine revolution. All of them successfully applied proletarian military theory to practical questions of people’s war in their respective countries, and in the process enriched such theory.

However, these communist leaders did not set out to “synthesize” a “universally applicable theory” on how to wage armed revolution, or forge some “military theory of the international proletariat,” as Kinera claims Gonzalo had done. In fact, these great leaders repeatedly emphasized “concrete analysis of concrete conditions” and carefully applied theory to grapple with the specific characteristics of their own countries and solve concrete problems of their own revolutions.

In one line of argumentation, Kinera even cites Thomas Marks, a US counter-insurgency expert, to show that a bourgeois-reactionary expert agrees with his distortions about the content and value of Maoist military strategy. Both Kinera and Marks bloat up notions of “asymmetric warfare” into some sort of “universal Maoist principle”. In the process, they set aside the historically specific class basis of Mao’s PPW strategy (a rural peasant war led by the proletariat) and its concrete social setting (semi-feudal country oppressed by imperialism). To strengthen his weak arguments about the universality of PPW, Kinera even goes as far as to arrogantly claim: “What bourgeois experts [like Marks] understand, many revolutionaries fail to grasp.”

In another line of argumention, Kinera belittles the proletarian strategy for armed revolution in capitalist countries, as forged by the Bolsheviks: “The plan to dogmatically repeat what they conceive as the October path of Lenin, more than 100 years later and against an enemy that has studied insurrection and how to beat it for just as long, as some kind of surprise attack, is extremely naive.” In short, Kinera believes that the all-wise enemy “has studied [Bolshevik-style] insurrection and how to beat it,” but in the same breath agrees with counter-insurgency expert Marks that “guerrilla warfare is universally applicable.” 

On a “militarized” Communist Party

What exactly is meant by a “militarized Communist Party”? Does it mean that the principle of democratic centralism, which applies to the essentially civilian and voluntary membership of a CP, will be replaced by a military command structure and its concomitant military law and military discipline? If so, that would be a monstrous distortion of the principles of proletarian Party life and would reflect an extreme case of purely military viewpoint or militarism. 

Or does a “militarized Communist Party” simply mean that the Party operates underground outside of base areas, and that Party members are encouraged to learn military work, e.g. be familiar with guns and work in tight teamwork with near-military discipline? But CPs that lead armed struggles are already expected to adopt such methods, yet have no need to enshrine it as a principle on the same level as the name “Communist Party” or “Bolshevized party” and the practice of democratic centralism. 

If the term simply means that CPs cannot viably combine open and underground channels of work, legal and illegal methods, but must choose one or the other, to either be “militarized” or be guilty of “legalism”, then Kinera is an infantile brat whose coloring pens are limited to blacks and whites. 

On protracted preparations for armed revolution in capitalist countries

Sison rightfully says: “[T]he term “people’s war” may be flexibly used to mean the necessary armed revolution by the people to overthrow the bourgeois state in an industrial capitalist country. But definitely, what ought to be protracted is the preparation for the armed revolution with the overwhelming participation of the people.” He explains, in his various writings, about the need for a strategy for accumulating strength through the legal mass movement combined with underground methods when objective conditions for armed struggle do not exist.

In fact, it was by such Bolshevik strategy that Lenin greatly contributed to, that powered the two 1917 Russian revolutions to victory, and which he brilliantly expounded at the tactical level in his work “Left-Wing” Communism as applicable to many other capitalist countries during the Comintern period prior to World War II.

Kinera accuses those proletarian revolutionaries in capitalist countries who are patiently accumulating strength in the Leninist way (which he labels “Western accumulationists”, including Sison) as “opposed to People’s War but posing as revolutionary,” as practising “reformism and legalism.” He rejects “the line of accumulation of forces through protracted legal struggle” as just passively waiting for the necessary objective conditions to arrive. He rants: “No wonder we have waited for a long time, and by this method one could go on forever, was it not for the fact that imperialism is doomed. These people want to do revolution by doing everything but revolution!” 

He complains: “Protracted, very protracted, preparation by all legal means and sometime in the future, an armed revolution. It must be said again and again, that this has never happened. Not in a 100 years has this happened, even though hundreds and thousands of groups and parties adhered to this strategy. And the practice of these groups and tendencies has always been more or less identical to the practice of the openly reformist forces.”

In short, Kinera disdains the work in reactionary trade unions and bourgeois parliaments that Lenin (in “Left-Wing” Communism and other works) had so patiently explained as important part of revolutionary tasks during a non-revolutionary period. Kinera disdains the very essence of mass line and painstaking mass work that Mao had so consistently reminded Communists to practice. He disdains the patient work of accumulating strength because he is too shortsighted to see its connection and eventual result in people’s war. He wants people’s war on the agenda, but is too impatient to build the strength needed to wage one in the future. He wants to see people’s war now.

And yet, when Sison asks Kinera to show what the so-called “Maoist” champions of “PPW in capitalist countries” have achieved so far, the latter could only shrug off the challenge with the cavalier remark: “We cannot really address the statement of no preparations being made. This might be true. It might not. … If anyone where to make such preparations, they should never tell Sison, since he feels obliged to inform the whole world of any such preparations and the seriousness of them.” So much for “not hiding our intent as Communists!” which he is so fond of invoking.

Sison’s remark about not seeing “any Maoist party proclaiming and actually starting” PPW in imperialist countries was obviously to show that truly serious Maoist formations in these countries see such course of immediate action as not viable for now. Kinera’s response to this is dishonest and disingenuous: he basically challenges Sison to publicly reveal “any Maoist party not adhering to the strategy of People’s War and being of such quantity and quality” (note that he dropped the word “protracted”). This is a cunning trap. 

Kinera rejects the so-called “strategy of protracted legal accumulation to the brink of crisis and revolution” in capitalist countries as an “old strategy,” and chides Sison of being “never tired of the protracted legal accumulation of forces, in wait and want of the cataclysm” of crisis. But he doesn’t produce any arguments that show why such strategy is incorrect. 

He simply condemns it as “the totally dominating strategy” of practically all Left forces in Europe, including those that “adhere to Mao Zedong Thought” (but not Gonzaloites). This shows that Kinera is a hopeless infantile sectarian who cannot even derive good points of tactical unity with other revolutionaries and progressives who do not kowtow to Gonzalo Thought.

Conflating the 1905 and 1917 Russian revolutions into “15 years of armed activity”

Kinera tries to prove the applicability of PPW in capitalist countries by conflating the three Russian revolutions into one: “The armed struggle of Russia in 1917 cannot be mentioned without also bringing forward the failed revolution of 1905. This was pretext to 1917. And the war lasted to 1921, over a span of 15 years, where there was a lot of armed activity not only in 1905 and 1917.” 

In short, he conflates the three Russian revolutions into “a span of 15 years” during which there was “a lot of armed activity” (ergo, supposedly long years of armed struggle). Kinera thus dishonestly conjures an illusion of a continuous PPW in a capitalist country. He conveniently forgets about the years of reaction (1907-1910) when the revolution was in full retreat, and the years of revival (1910-1914) when the Bolsheviks pursued tactics combining illegal work (but not yet armed struggle!) with the “obligatory utilisation” of many legal channels including winning seats in the reactionary parliament.

Kinera says nothing about the waves of favorable objective conditions that underlay both 1905 and 1917 (including the Russo-Japanese war, World War I, and the ensuing severe crises). In doing so, he also belittles the patient process of accumulating strength in the open (and therefore essentially legal) workers’ movement as well as in the underground before the said crises, which took many years, and which resulted in economic and political strikes and the emergence of the Soviets prior to the actual armed mass uprisings.

On the size of the industrial proletariat in advanced capitalist countries

Kinera responds to Sison’s explanation on differences of class composition between capitalist and semi-feudal countries, which underlies revolutionary strategy and tactics, in this way: “We must ask ourselves, what countries is Sison speaking of? There is no country in Europe or North America at least, where the industrial proletariat is the majority.” 

Again, Kinera is confused. Sison was clearly comparing the size of main productive classes in feudal vis-à-vis modern or industrial capitalist countries. In that regard, the industrial proletariat is indeed the majority class in capitalist countries compared to the peasantry. The peasantry, in turn, remains the majority class in feudal or semifeudal countries especially if other rural semiproletarians outside direct farming occupations are added up. 

Kinera claims that “[those] employed in public or private services … outnumber the industrial proletarians in most imperialist countries.” He must be reminded that the modern industrial proletariat includes such service workers, insofar as their class situation is most analogous to industrial workers. They also do not own any industrial means of production; their income comes from the sale of labor power to the capitalists; and their role in services also involves operating powered and automated machinery for mass-producing commodities (although in the form of services and not discrete material goods).

Apparently, Kinera automatically excludes from the industrial proletariat those sizeable working masses employed in major service firms in transport and storage, communications and media, health, and so on. There is no such class as “service proletariat” mechanically separate from the modern industrial proletariat, as if they are boxed off from the intense class struggles and the aspirations for socialism. If at all, the bulk of workers in service industries are a powerful motive force for revolution—if only an ML or MLM party takes serious notice and conducts painstaking social investigation, mass work, and union-based economic and political mass struggles among them.

On winning the battle for democracy

Sison explains: “Even if the material foundation for socialism exists in capitalism, the proletariat must first defeat fascism, thus winning the battle for democracy, before socialism can triumph.” He was actually anticipating the convulsions of capitalist crises and the rise of fascism, which impels all proletarian revolutionaries to prepare for future armed conflict even prior to the actual socialist revolution. This was in fact the scenario that led to Communist-led forces waging extensive partisan warfare in Europe during World War II and even earlier during the Spanish Civil War.

Incongruously, however, Kinera goes ballistic and immediately screams about errors of “revisionism” and “peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.”

It was Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto (1848) who first expressed the proletariat’s first revolutionary task in this manner:

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. (My underscore)

This concept (“winning the battle for democracy”) must be seen in multiple but related contexts. First, in the context of 19th-century Europe, the proletarian movement had to fight for bourgeois democracy as part of its first attempts to gain and exercise political power, as was shown during the 1848 revolutions.

Later (and especially after the 1871 Paris Commune), Marx and Engels concluded that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes” but had to smash the existing state machinery. Still, they continued to uphold the democratic republic as the best form for the proletarian dictatorship that would implement socialist democracy as a thousand times more democratic than bourgeois democracy. 

At the same time, in many countries with substantial vestiges of feudalism and autocracy, they saw the need for the proletariat to lead and complete the bourgeois-democratic revolution as a prelude to the proletarian-socialist revolution. Finally, since imperialism also brought forth the conditions of fascism and inter-imperialist war, it presented a still broader arena for the proletariat to lead all democratic forces in anti-fascist and anti-imperialist wars as a prelude to or as an extra dimension of socialist revolution.

In this regard, Sison mentions the possibility of “organizing proletarians with firearms” (for sport, community self-defense, voluntary security) as one of many legal ways of preparing the advanced masses in capitalist countries for armed struggle—which is very different from immediately waging armed struggle. He mentioned “current constitutional and legal standards” as one of many considerations in openly acquiring arms. This question in fact becomes an increasingly popular issue nowadays given the rapid rise of violent (even armed) neo-Nazi and ultra-Rightist movements in Europe and North America and the need for a clearcut proletarian call for combating fascism on all fronts.

But here Kinera turns ballistic again. He argues about “strict gun laws in Europe” (which of course was not Sison’s point). He also wrongly associates Sison’s ideas with the creation of Russian workers’ militia (which emerged in the extremely revolutionary situation of 1917 and certainly was not just Trotsky’s idea but incorporated into the Bolshevik program). The Red Guards were a creation of the Bolsheviks and the masses, not Kinera’s idol Trotsky.

These are all opportunities for the proletariat to arm itself and seize power when the conditions are ripe, and make the necessary but calibrated or discreet preparations prior. But Kinera doesn’t see the underlying Marxist-Leninist logic. He is singular obsessed with the template of PPW (as “synthesized” by Gonzalo) needing to be implemented now; anything outside the template is branded as revisionism, reformism, or legalism.

On other pertinent matters

Like a hyper-active puppy, Kinera’s debating style is to seize on certain phrases he doesn’t like linguistically, to tug on bits of ideas that he relishes, and to chew on them until the whole thing turns into a sorry senseless mess. Then he barks at Sison for the sorry senseless mess.

Kinera throws a temper tantrum when Sison describes the claim about “the universality of Mao’s theory of protracted people’s war” as a mere “notion of some people.” 

He even complains of Sison’s use of the terms “proletarian revolutionaries” and “the party of the proletariat” instead of “Communists” and “the Communist Party”. (The two sets of terms are synonymous or at least near-equivalent if one is not misled by pseudo-communists fixating themselves on a few terms and merely waving the communist party banner. But Kinera the nitpicker just has to have his snide comments in edgewise.)

Kinera repeatedly accuses Sison of being opportunist, of wiggling through “the narrowest cracks,” of “running away from the two-line struggle,” and of using “dishonest methods of debate” – just because his infantile mind doesn’t get Sison’s main points as well as nuanced handling of the issues at hand. He is enraged that Sison’s two articles do not name anyone, or even briefly name the Partido Comunista de Peru or quote “at least some of their documents.”

When Sison reminds readers that a Communist Party needs to take its clandestine tactics and underground methods seriously, and not publicly declare its intent to commence warfare or to build a people’s army “before the conditions are ripe for armed revolution,” Kinera labels Sison as an opportunist and launches into a sanctimonious lecture on the famous dictum in the Communist Manifesto: “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.” This guy is too funny if not too much of a nitwit!

Kinera and his group Tjen Folkdet lack self-awareness and self-criticalness. Since 1998, which is more than twenty one years ago, they have not advanced from a pre-party formation and have not become a revolutionary party of the proletariat or a Communist Party to lead the proletariat and people in any kind of armed revolution. Their protracted talk about PPW has not yet proven to be any different from the illusion of the social democratic and other reformists about the protracted evolution of capitalism to socialism. 

Despite their mantra of PPW, they have not done anything to start any kind of people’s war in Norway or assist such war if any in some other industrial capitalist country or give any significant kind of help to the people’s wars going on somewhere else in the world. They still need to grow from their small-group status and infantile mentality by doing serious mass work among the Norwegian workers and engaging in truly MLM Party-building to be able to contribute more significantly to the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution against imperialism, revisionism and all reaction.

On real and fake Maoism

But enough of Kinera’s capers. Let us end with a most serious question of principle.

Kinera idolizes Gonzalo to high heavens, for his role in “synthesizing” Maoism: “Maoism was comprehensed only through the People’s War in Peru and that the PCP was the only Maoist Party in the world in 1982.” “[T]he content of Maoism was not clearly stated before 1982 and then only by the PCP.” “[It] is well known that when Maoism was synthesised for the very first time, it was done by Chairman Gonzalo and the Communist Party of Peru. This was finalized by the Party in 1982 in the midst of People’s War.”

These incredibly arrogant claims by Kinera (following his idol Gonzalo) is a brazen insult to Mao, who after his death apparently needed another thinker to “synthesize for the very first time” his well-known teachings and to pin on it the shiny new name Maoism. It is a historic slap at the Chinese Communist Party, which up to 1976 was led by Mao himself together with other proletarian revolutionaries, and which was guided by Mao’s theories (which was called Mao Zedong Thought and eventually Maoism). 

Mao’s Selected Works, his many other writings and CCP documents ascribed to him, and unpublished talks (representing his immense contributions to Marxist-Leninist theory and revolutionary practice) have been in wide circulation outside China since the 1950s. These have been studied by countless proletarian revolutionaries in many countries, have been applied to varied conditions, and have inspired and helped guide many people’s wars and internal rectification movements. Mao’s works (and the theories of Maoism that run through them) remain publicly available for every serious revolutionary activist to study and grasp. 

Kinera’s claim that PCP was the “only Maoist Party in the world in 1982” is a blatant lie, if only because the Communist Party of the Philippines had already been reestablished earlier in 1968 on the basis of its founding cadres’ firm grasp of Maoist theory and its application to concrete Philippine conditions. In Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party (a major CPP document of reestablishment issued in 1968), Mao Zedong Thought was already repeatedly and correctly described as the acme of Marxism-Leninism in the current world era. The CPP has been assiduously building itself and achieving victories in people’s war on the basis of MLM since then, as its voluminous documents, publications, and study courses show. 

Kinera and his kind of infantile communists are grossly ignorant of the pronouncements of the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Mao since the onset of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966. Far ahead of Gonzalo, the Chinese communists have upheld the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through cultural revolution in order to combat modern revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism.

They have considered the cultural revolution as the greatest and most original contribution of Mao to the development of Marxism-Leninism and the guarantee for imperialism heading for total collapse and socialism marching towards world victory in the next 50 to 100 years from 1969. The have regarded the cultural revolution as the hallmark of the third stage in the development of Marxism and as surpassing his major contributions in philosophy, political economy, social science, rectification movement in Party building and people’s war.

Despite his great theoretical and practical revolutionary achievements, Mao was modest enough to resist the superlative titles (except teacher) being addressed to him by his comrades. It took sometime for the comrades to gradually modify the reference to Mao’s theoretical work from “Mao’s thinking” to Mao Zedong thought (with a small “t”) and finally to Mao Zedong Thought (with a big “T”). The significant content and consequences of Mao’s theory and practice were already summed up and recognized upon his death in 1976.

It is laudable if indeed in 1982 Gonzalo was the very first to transcribe Mao Zedong Thought to Maoism. It is another matter whether his supposed “synthesis” of Maoism would surpass the summing up by his own loyal Chinese comrades. By itself, the transcription from Mao Zedong Thought to Maoism is not a great achievement. Marx berated Paul Lafargue in 1883 for using the term Marxism for revolutionary phrasemongering against the struggle for reforms. Even then, Karl Kautsky popularized the term Marxism and subsequently used it to deny the Marxist character of Lenin’s theory and practice which he termed as Leninism.

To differentiate “Maoism” from “Mao Zedong Thought” is to nitpick and invent a false distinction. Even Gonzalo used the phrase Mao Zedong Thought until 1982. Whichever term is used, we certainly have no need for the dubious genius of a Gonzalo to “comprehense” or “synthesize” or canonize or reinvent it anew for the world’s benefit. He could not have added to the achievements of Mao himself after his death in 1976. It is pure nonsense to make it appear that the continuous significance and consequentiality of Mao’s theory and practice depend on the words of Gonzalo.

On Gonzalo’s revolutionary and opportunist record

The infantile or pseudo-Maoists characteristically use such expressions as Maoism and Gonzalo Thought to browbeat other people or trample on others as “revisionists” and “opportunists” without the concrete analysis of concrete circumstances and issues. As dogmatists and sectarians of the worst kind, they use such expressions as “Gonzalo is the greatest after Mao”, sounding like evangelists who proclaim Jesus is the Lord. Mistaking struggle mania for revolutionary struggle, they are quick to throw invectives and do not really engage in a serious substantive debate.“Gonzalo thought”, as painted by Kinera, is not ideology but IDOLOGY.

Kinera and his fellow dogmatists and sectarians are incapable of recognizing the egotism, immodesty and arrogance of certain leaders who wish to proclaim their universal greatness even before winning the revolution in their own country and who actually brand their own theories and practices with their own names, like Gonzalo Thought, Prachanda Path and Avakian’s Synthesis (to proclaim himself the great leader of the new wave after MLM).

Let us focus on the idol of Kinera. Gonzalo may be praised for founding the PCP (Sendero Luminoso) in 1969 under the guidance of Mariategui and Mao Zedong Thought. But despite his belief that people’s war can be started at the drop of a hat, Kinera does not take Gonzalo to task for being a sluggard, starting the people’s war only in 1980 (eleven years after the PCP-SL founding), so different from the CP of the Philippines being founded on December 26, 1968 and starting the people’s war on March 29, 1969 (three months after the CPP founding).

Despite his gross failures at building the united front as a political weapon from 1969 to 1992 , Gonzalo may still be praised for engaging in the building of the Party and the People’s Guerrilla Army up to late 1980s when without respect for the facts of the revolutionary armed struggle he invented the illusion of “strategic equilibrium” and proceeded to seek a “Left” opportunist short cut to victory through urban insurrection. Inasmuch as he abhors stages, Kinera can praise Gonzalo for disregarding the probable stages in the development of protracted people’s war as previously defined by Mao. But Gonzalo is a gross violator of Mao’s teachings on protracted people’s war.

After his capture in 1992, Gonzalo was quick to captitulate to the Fujimori regime and become a Right opportunist by offering peace negotiations and peace agreement with the regime, causing costly splits among the members and supporters of the PCP-SL. Since then, the infantile Maoists have made a blanket denial of Gonzalo’s capitulation and Right opportunism despite subsequent manifestations of the truth since 1993, such as his public TV appearance, confirmation by his wife and testimonies of his lawyer who visited him weekly. On this basis, RIM started to become critical of Gonzalo’s behavior.

Notwithstanding his flip-flop from “Left” opportunism to Right opportunism, which has caused the people’s war to decline and nearly total defeat in Peru, Gonzalo deserves compassion for having been imprisoned for more than 27 years and for having suffered so many violations of human rights. The campaign to seek amnesty and release from prison deserves support and international solidarity, provided he does not call on the Peruvian revolutionaries to surrender and stop the people’s war even under the revisionist pretense that the people’s war can be resumed after his “genius” or “great thought” becomes available in the battlefield. ###

Why the Duterte regime cannot wipe out the armed revolution of the Filipino people

Photo NDFP Archive

By Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant
September 1, 2019

From the revolutionary publications of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, I have been able to gather the ten points enumerated below to demonstrate why the Duterte regime cannot wipe out the armed revolution of the Filipino people.

1. The crisis of the world capitalist system is at its sharpest in countries like the Philippines which are semicolonial and semifeudal. The evil forces of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism exploit and oppress the Filipino people and incite them to wage the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.

2. In committing mass murder and other gross crimes with impunity, the Duterte regime aggravates the chronic crisis of the domestic ruling system, which is dominated by imperialism and run by bureaucrat capitalists who represent the big comprador and landlord classes. The gross crimes that the regime commit characterize it as treasonous, tyrannical, murderous, and corrupt. They give no choice to the people but to engage in armed revolution.

3. The so-called whole nation approach, which is being carried out by the National Task Force to militarize and spread anti-communism in all branches and agencies of the government and all sectors of society involves huge wastage of public funds in an already bankrupt government and outrages the people who perceive it as a brazen scheme to impose fascist dictatorship through red-tagging, persecution, murders and widespread violation of democratic rights.

4. The Philippine economy is characterized by underdevelopment, misallocation of resources, mass unemployment and widespread poverty and the absence of any plan to industrialize and develop the economy, generate employment and improve the living conditions of the people. Public funds are being used to serve the interests of foreign corporations, the exploiting classes, the corrupt bureaucrats, the military and police.

5. The armed revolution is led by the Communist Party of the Philippines, which has a correct ideological, political and organizational line and which has the experience of overcoming the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the subsequent pseudo-democratic regimes. It always carries out theoretical and political education among the Party cadres and members, and political education on the Philippine society and the people’s democratic revolution among the masses of workers and peasants, the indigenous peoples, women and the youth who fight for national and social liberation.

NDFP archive

6. The CPP leads and provides the New People’s Army with the strategy and tactics of protracted people’s war for fighting the enemies of the people. The NPA now operates in more than 120 guerrilla fronts nationwide and can at will strike at the weakest points of the counterrevolutionary military and police in order to seize and increase its arms. It is carrying out land reform as the main content of the democratic revolution and is enabling the establishment of the democratic organs of political power which are growing in waves against the counterrevolutionary state.

7. The relatively stronger forces of the NPA have assisted the relatively weaker forces with the redeployment of cadres and arms. The problem of conservatism is now being solved. The overdispersal of NPA squads and small teams for mass work is now being corrected by the necessar balance of combat and mass work units in periodic rotation under the appropriate command. The “local guerrilla units” or people’s militia units are tasked to concentrate on internal security, instead of being expected to serve as combat units.

8. The NPA is determined to secure the people from the enemy military, police and paramilitary forces and from local tyrants and bad elements. Armed city partisans and rural-based commando teams are also being deployed to punish the big criminals in power and the criminal syndicates that are in urban areas and to disable or destroy the installations that allow the exploiters to control and exploit the people. Thus more and more armed forces of the enemy will be forced to do guard duty and become defensive.

9. The peasant masses in the countryside are being driven by the brutal enemy campaigns to support the revolutionary armed struggle, carry out land reform and other social reforms, strengthen their mass organizations and the organs of political power and to adopt necessary security measures. They are effectively applying the anti-feudal united front, neutralizing by persuasive means the unreliable sections of every locality and rallying to the democratic organs of political power.

10. The anti-communist witch hunts, the constant threats and violent attacks of the enemy against patriotic and progressive organizations in town centers and cities are generating widespread resistance, inducing said organizations and other democratic entities to fight back in defense of their democratic rights. Many social activists who are in danger of arrest or murder go underground and join the armed revolution. They are welcomed by the revolutionary forces and people in the countryside who need more personnel for military and civil tasks.

While the Duterte tyranny persists, the armed revolution will grow in strength and advance. The drive of the Duterte regime to impose fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people will be defeated, like the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The revolutionary forces and people will emerge ever larger and stronger as a result of the revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation.###

Scheme of mass intimidation and mass murder against critics and opponents of Duterte regime

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 22, 2019

The tyrant Duterte and his political, military and police agents are labeling the critics and opponents of his regime as “communists” and “terrorists” and claiming that they are the biggest problems afflicting the country and that they deserve to be subjected to all kinds of measures to intimidate, silence and even kill them extrajudicially or under flimsy legal pretenses.

Of course, the biggest problems plaguing the Filipino nation are imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, which the chief oligarch Duterte wishes to preserve through state terrorism. And the world’s No.1 terrorist is US imperialism with the assistance of terrorist puppets like Duterte and his armed minions. All of these real terrorists are driving the people to fight for national liberation and democracy.

The criminal methods of labeling and then killing drug suspects extrajudicially by using death squads are now being increasingly used against critics and opponents of the regime in the countryside and even in urban areas. Duterte has openly instigated the campaign to red-tag, discredit, threaten and then kill them under the pretext that they “resist arrest” (nanlaban) or on the false claim that they kill each other.

The perpetuation of martial law in Mindanao and the actual implementation of martial law nationwide (without formal proclamation) are being used by the Duterte regime to intimidate the entire Filipino nation and murder those labeled as enemies of the state and thus allow the regime to engage in the most brazen acts of treason, corruption, rigging of the 2019 elections and other criminal acts.

Not satisfied with his “nanlaban” doctrine of killing any one on the pretext of resisting arrest, Duterte is trying to reinforce this license to kill by seeking to amend the Human Security Act or the Anti-Terrorism Law in order to facilitate his political and military agents in labeling his critics and opponents as “terrorists”, allow his armed agents a period of two months to make anyone disappear temporarily or permanently and remove any liability of his armed minions for the arbitrary detention of people.

There is also the move of Duterte’s agents to revive the old discredited Anti-Subversion Law as if the Anti-Terrorism Law and other repressive measures were not enough. The purpose of reviving the latter is to terrorize the people with the provisions for outlawing democratic organizations and suppressing democratic rights and imposing the death penalty on those who are deemed as criminals on the basis of guilt by association, even before they are tried and convicted by any court.

The Anti-Terrorism Law if amended and the Anti-Subversion Law if revived amount to overkill in view of the law on rebellion whose penalty has been raised to reclusion perpetua of up to 40 years. But this law has been either set aside or augmented by charges of common crimes against suspected political offenders in violation of the long-established Hernandez political offense doctrine, which prohibits complexing the charge of rebellion with charges of common crimes.

While Duterte’s political and armed agents are drawing attention to proposed amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Law and the proposed revival of the Anti-Subversion Law, the regime is actually engaged in mass murder under the “nanlaban” doctrine and under the cover of fake encounters. Duterte’s armed minions also use the method of planting firearms and explosives in making arbitrary arrests to detain indefinitely or kill extrajudicially those targeted.

Many people wonder why the US, which is still the dominant imperialist power in the Philippines, has tolerated the Duterte regime in boasting that it is becoming independent of the US and is becoming closer to China, in fact going to the extent of selling out Philippine sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea and favoring China in infrastructure-building and technology agreements.

The reason is that Duterte and his highest pro-US military advisers and officers have assured the US that they will end the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Filipino people’s democratic revolution and that the US can continue to ride roughshod over the people and can get bigger gains through charter change

But Duterte can be undone by his failure to end the CPP and the people’s democratic revolution and by his success in aggravating the crisis of the ruling system and inciting greater numbers of the Filipino people to join the armed revolution. Duterte can end up like Marcos who became more of a liability than an asset to the US and was junked in 1986.

China has delayed the implementation of infrastructure projects as a way of pressuring Duterte to declare in more explicit terms his sell out of the sovereign rights over the exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, especially with regard to the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas resources and the several islands built and militarized by China.

Duterte can be dumped by a combination of pro-US military officers and patriotic elements in the Armed Forces of the Philippine who are opposed to Duterte’s traitorous dealings with China as well as his notorious collaboration with Chinese criminal triads in the smuggling of illegal drugs, rice and other commodities and the operation of casinos and offshore gambling.###


Full Text of Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison (JMS) by Dempsey Reyes, which serves as basis for Manila Times report of August 21, 2019 on Sison’s views on student activism.

1. What do you think has been the difference between student activism in the past and present?

JMS: The struggle for national independence and democracy against Spanish colonialism emerged because of the student activism of Jose Rizal, Emilio Jacinto and many others in the late 19th century. 

The new democratic revolution for the national and social liberation of the Filipino people is a resumption of the unfinished Philippine revolution started by Andres Bonifacio. It has been sustained with the major and vital participation of student activists from the 20th to the 21st century.

We, the student activists of the late 1950s and the 1960s, were conscious of continuing the struggle for national liberation and democracy and overcoming the anti-democratic crackdown by the US and its Filipino puppets in the early 1950s on the patriotic and progressive forces in the Philippines.

The current student activists are similar to their precedessors in being patriotic and progressive. The differences from the past arise from their being able to take advantage of the revolutionary legacy bequeathed to them and from being confronted by new challenges from foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

2. In the past, has there been red-tagging already among student activist groups?

Yes, certainly. Immediately after we established the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP) in 1959, we were soon assailed by the anti-communist witch hunt instigated by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA). 

We the student activists then were not cowed or silenced by the red-tagging and anti-communist tirade, which invoked the 1957 Anti-Subversion Law. But we became more inspired to fight back and to assert and exercise our democratic rights. We stood for the national and democratic rights of the student masses and the Filipino people.

The Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities (CAFA) headed by Rep. Leonardo Perez tried to witch-hunt, frighten and silence the progressive facculty members and students of the UP as a result of their progressive publications. I was one of those targeted for organizing the SCAUP and for writing “Requiem for Lumumba” in praise of the Congolese leader and in comdemnation of the CIA which instigated his murder.

The anti-communist witch hunt by the CAFA failed to intimidate us but it merely succeeded in rousing the students and faculy members to rise up in protest. The SCAUP organized a broad alliance of campus organizations in order to uphold and defend academic freedom. Thus, we were able to mobilize 5000 students to rally in front of Congress on March 15, 1961. A major part of the demonstrators poured into the hearing hall of the CAFA and literally scuttled its hearings.

3. Would you say that despite all that has been happening now with the red-tagging and conduct of probe on NPA recruitment supposedly because of student activism, do you think student activism will be impacted?

JMS: Student activism will not be silenced or die because of the current red-tagging and anti-communist witch-hunt by all branches of government under the Duterte tyrannical rule and its Executive Order No. 70. It is ludicrous that student activists are being persecuted merely because of the ultra-reactionary fear that they are being recruited to the NPA.

The student activists and student masses are defying the attempts to intimidate and suppress them and intensifying their efforts to inform and educate themselves on social ills and issues, organizing themselves and mobilizing themselves. The campaign to persecute and deprive them of their democratic rights is driving them to fight back.

It is not student activism that is the cause of many students and other people joining the NPA. The cause of the rising of the broad legal democratic movement as well as the armed revolution is the persistence of the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and the aggravation of basic social problems by the tyrannical, traitorous, murderous, plundering and swindling regime of Duterte.

4. For you, should student activism continue?

JMS: Of course, student activism should continue. In the first place, it is unstoppable and is needed by the students themselves and the entire Filipino people. The students activists and the student masses must struggle for better conditions and a brighter future by opposing the rotten ruling system dominated by imperialism and ruled by the brutal and corrupt politicians of the big compradors and landlords.

It is not the fault of student activism that there are oppressive and exploitative conditions that they must criticize, repudiate and overcome. It is the escalating conditions of oppression and exploitation that are driving more students activists to join the armed revolution. Thus, the tyrannical Duterte regime is now known as the best recruiter of the NPA.

(AP Photo / Aaron Favila)

On the proposal to revive the Anti-Subversion Law

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 14, 2019

The proposal of General Ano, secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government, is one more manifestation of the frenzied drive of the tyrannical Duterte regime to impose a thoroughgoing fascist dictatorship on the people in a vain attempt to end the armed revolutionary movement as well as the broad legal opposition through red-tagging, harassments, threats, abductions and murders.

In line with the Duterte tyranny, the most vicious and bloodthirsty officials who love to kill people to solve problems are enamoured of the long-discredited Anti-Subversion Law because it provides for the death penalty, for the prejudgment of people on the basis of guilt by association and for the arbitrary listing of people as “communists” for the purpose of extortions and mass slaughter.

Contrary to the view of the chief suspect in the abduction and forced disappearance of the young activist Jonas Burgos, the revival of the Anti-Subversion Law will not eliminate the Communist Party of the Philippines and the people’s democratic revolution. It will only serve to further violate the national and democratic rights of the people and will thus incite the broad masses of the people to rise up.

The fundamental cause of the armed revolution in the Philippines is neither the existence of the Communist Party in the Philippines nor the communist ideas of Marxism-Leninism but the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in a semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system now lorded over by the tyrant and plunderer Duterte.

The revival of the Anti-Subversion Law can give further license to Duterte’s armed minions to violate human rights and can further embolden them to witchhunt, harass, threaten and kill those that they arbitrarily list as “communists” among the critics of the regime and the people in general. Such law can result in bigger mass murders than those perpetrated under Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Kapanatagan.

It must be recalled that the Anti-Subversion Law has long been discredited as an unjust and anti-democratic law by which anyone can be subjected to punishment on the basis of guilt by association, without the need to present evidence for the personal culpability of the accused for any crime.
Such law has long been condemned as a poison to the freedom of thought, expression and assembly.

Violations of democratic rights under the Anti-Subversion Law will drive more people to further oppose the regime and rise up in arms against it. Threatening to kill and actually killing people for their political ideas will compel them to act in a revolutionary way in order to get rid of the regime of terror that deprives them of the basic freedoms of thought, expression and assembly.

In my personal experience, red-tagging or anti-communist witchunts under the Anti-Subversion Law of the past never deterred me from studying Marxism-Leninism and aspiring to becone a communist. Whenever the great anti-imperialist and patriot Senator Claro Mayo Recto was castigated as a communist, I became even more inspired to study the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism and learn how to apply the theory on the concrete conditions of the Philippines.

When I became a student activist in the University of the Philippines in the late 1950s, I was never afraid of the death penalty under the Anti-Subversion Law but on the contrary this anti-democratic law challenged me to organize Marxist-Leninist circles for the noble and patriotic purpose of reestablishing the Communist Party and continuing the democratic revolution started by Andres Bonifacio and frustrated by the war of aggression launched by US imperialism in 1899.

When the anti-communist witchhunt was carried out by the Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities from 1959 to 196i in order to suppress academic freedom with the use of the Anti-Subversion Law, we the students and teachers of the University of the Philippines stood up for academic freedom and all democratic rights. Ultimately, we organized the 5000 protesters that literally scuttled the anti-communist witch-hunt on March 15, 1961. A major part of the demonstrators flooded into the CAFA hearing hall and put a stop to the proceedings.

The Anti-Subversion Law did not stop the rise of Filiipino proletarian revolutionaries and their mass work. They succeeded in rebuilding the Communist Party and carrying out the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. Fidel V. Ramos repealed the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 after recognizing the failure of this anti-democratic law to stop the growth and advance of the Communist Party of the Philippined and the revolutionary movement, 

In the concrete semicolonial and semifeudal conditions of the Philippines, the Filipino communists are of the view that neither socialism or communism is the current issue. Thus, they have excelled at leading the people’s democratic revolution, which strives to realize full national sovereignty, democracy, social justice, economic development through national industrialization and genuine land reform, a patriotic, scientific and mass culture and international solidarity and cooperation of peoples for peace and all-round progress.###

Red-tagging, harassments and extrajudicial killings drive many legal activists to join the people’s army

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
August 8, 2019

As in the time of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the Duterte de facto fascist dictatorship is using Executive Order No. 70 for red-tagging, harassments and extrajudicial killings of patriotic and democratic activists among workers, peasants and indigenous people, students and youth, religious, journalists, lawyers, environmentalists and human rights defenders in a futile attempt to suppress the people’s movement for national and social liberation.

But the aforesaid repressive tactics of the tyrannical Duterte regime achieve the opposite. Legal activists in both urban and rural areas are being driven to join the people’s armed revolution in order to defend themselves and obtain justice by revolutionary means for those already abducted, tortured and murdered by reactionary military and police operations.

Like Marcos, Duterte is unwittingly proving himself to be the best recruiter of the New People’s Army (NPA). The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has welcomed and reported the sharp increase of people, especially young men and women, going underground and proceeding to the countryside for politico-military training and combat duty.

The NPA Red commanders and fighters are happy with their growing ranks and ridicule Duterte not only as the best recruiter for the NPA but also as their chief transport and supply officer. They aver that Duterte sends his military and police minions to the countryside only to be blown up by command-detonated explosives as well as struck down by NPA ambush units, thus unwittingly transporting and supplying arms to the NPA.

The number and capacity of the armed minions of the Duterte terrorist regime are limited and spread thinly nationwide. The NPA units can therefore easily choose the weak points of the enemy forces for tactical offensives in the form of ambushes, sniping, raids, sabotage and arrest operations.

The broad masses of the people and the legal democratic organizations of various classes and sectors anticipate that the Duterte regime will declare martial law nationwide and try to wipe out all organizations critical of the regime. It is therefore also anticipated that the armed city partisans and commando teams of the NPA will arise on a wide scale to fight the fascists in their urban lairs.

The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces, including the CPP, the NPA, the revolutionary mass organizations and organs of political power enjoy a high level of morale because of their growing strength, the worsening socioeconomic and political crisis of the ruling system and the increasing isolation and debility of the treasonous, tyrannical, brutal and corrupt Duterte regime.###