Speech in Celebration of the 40th Founding Anniversary
of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Chief Political Consultant, National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Good afternoon, dear comrades and friends from various countries and Filipino compatriots, Warmest greetings of solidarity!
As chief international representative, Louie Jalandoni has presented the achievements of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. My assignment is to discuss the united front policy in general terms.
The Filipino people’s democratic revolution constantly needs the revolutionary united front because this is the effective way to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the Filipino people in their millions in order to advance and win total victory. The need for the united front is more urgent than ever as the socio-economic and political crisis is rapidly worsening and inflicting intolerable suffering on the Filipino people and they must intensify their struggle against those who exploit and oppress them.
The united front is one of the three most powerful weapons of the new democratic revolution. The two others are the leadership of the working class and armed struggle. The united front consists of the working class allying itself with the peasantry, winning over the urban petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie and taking advantage of the contradictions among the big compradors and landlords in order to isolate and destroy the enemy at every given time. The broad masses of the people cannot defeat the overwhelming state power and economic wealth of the exploiting classes without the application of the united front policy.
The semi-colonial and semi-feudal character of Philippine society has been aggravated and deepened by the ever worsening chronic crisis of the system and by the crisis-generating policies imposed by US imperialism. The reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords and their political representatives are subservient to US monopoly capitalism. Thus, the Philippines is being ravaged by the US-instigated neoliberal policy of “free market” globalization. It is also being subjected to US military intervention and to the constant threat of outright aggression.
Basic Alliance of the Working Class and Peasantry
The national and democratic character of the Philippine revolution is more than ever clear. In seeking to achieve the victory of this revolution, we have to know who are our friends and who are our enemies. We need to know at the very start the best of friends and the most formidable forces for social revolution. The basic exploited classes of Philippine society are the working class and peasantry. They are the most desirous of revolutionary change and they are definitely the closest and most reliable friends of the revolution.
In the present era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution, the industrial working class is the leading class and has the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as the revolutionary party. It is the most progressive political and productive class. But foreign and feudal domination limits it to around 16 per cent of the population. The working class is being subjected to a high rate of mass unemployment, loss of job tenure, reduced wage income, lack of social benefits and the suppression of trade union and other democratic rights.
By way of building the revolutionary united front, the working class and its revolutionary party have linked up with the peasantry, which is the overwhelming majority of the people, in order to form the basic worker-peasant alliance. The program for the people’s democratic revolution of the CPP recognizes the peasantry as the main force of the revolution and the fulfillment of its demand for land as the main content of the revolution.
Since its reestablishment in1968, the CPP has sought to forge the strongest links between the working class and the peasantry. It has done so by building and developing the New People’s Army and the peasant mass movement in pursuit of the agrarian revolution and in response to the repeated attempts of the reactionary state to undertake bogus land reform schemes. The CPP and the NPA pursue the strategic line of protracted people’s war, which relies mainly on the peasantry. They integrate revolutionary armed struggle, genuine land reform and the building of mass organizations and organs of political power.
They apply the anti-feudal united front policy of relying mainly on the poor peasants and farm workers, winning over the middle peasants, neutralizing the rich peasants and taking advantage of the contradictions among the landlords in order to destroy the power of the despotic landlords. To resist feudal and semifeudal exploitation, the NPA and the peasant masses have delivered lethal blows on despotic traditional landlords and the modern landgrabbing corporations engaged in plantations, mining, deforestation, real estate speculation and so-called economic zones.
United Front with the Middle Social Strata
The working class and the peasantry comprise at least 90 per cent of the people and they constitute the foundation of the revolutionary united front. But they need to win over the intermediate social strata as friends of the revolution. These are the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie. They are a small part of the population within the range of 8 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively. But they play key roles in society and are highly influential.
They have professional, technical, entrepreneurial and other capabilities which can best serve the revolution. The middle social strata have played an important role in exposing and condemning puppetry to the US and the worst forms of human rights violations. It is a necessary and crucial function of united front policy to win over the middle forces to the side of the revolution. Under the conditions of worsening crisis, they are increasingly subjected to unemployment, reduced incomes, higher taxes, bankruptcies and other difficulties. They have pĺayed an important role in the legal mass movement for national independence and democracy.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines has been the most outstanding underground united front organization for uniting and harmonizing the national and democratic rights and interests of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata. Since 1973 the NDFP has excelled at building the alliance of progressive forces of the toiling masses and the urban petty bourgeoisie against the Marcos fascist dictatorship and subsequently against the pseudo-democratic regimes. The alliance of progressive forces has taken major initiatives in the struggle for national independence and democracy.
The NDFP also promotes the patriotic alliance of the progressive forces and the middle bourgeoisie. It supports the aspirations of the middle bourgeoisie for Filipino-owned industrialization. Such aspirations have been undermined and frustrated by a series of US-dictated neocolonial economic policies: the import-substitution reassembly of the 1950s and 1960s and the export-oriented semi-manufacturing which began in the 1970s and expanded under the neoliberal economic policy since the 1980s. Thus, industrial development of the Philippine has been stunted. Large numbers of Filipino professionals, technologists and skilled and workers have been forced to separate from their families and seek jobs abroad.
Temporary and Unstable Allies
The basic exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords are the class enemies of the revolution. They rule over the cities and the countryside, respectively. They have intertwining interests. They have the most economic wealth and the most political power . They have put up one reactionary regime after another to deceive and suppress the people. They have benefited most from the US-dictated neoliberal economic policy. We may call them reactionaries in general. But we may undertake the broadest possible united front by narrowing the target on the worst of the reactionaries and designating these as the enemy.
The reactionary classes are divided according to their clans, the kind and magnitude of wealth, political affiliation and the degree of their anti-national and anti-people character. The contradictions among the reactionaries often become bitter and violent, especially under conditions of worsening crisis. The revolutionary forces can take advantage of such contradictions and derive from reactionary ranks temporary allies, even if unstable and unreliable, in order to bring about the broadest kind of united front against the worst enemy, which is the most reactionary force in the civil war or the foreign aggressor in a war of national liberation.
The CPP, NPA and the NDFP have firmly stood in principle against the ruling system of the big compradors and landlords. However, as a matter of flexibility in united front policy, they have encouraged and extended cooperation to political groups and leaders of the middle social strata and even some of those from the exploiting classes to take anti-imperialist and democratic positions on major issues within the institutions and processes controlled by the reactionaries. The revolutionary forces avail of every opportunity to cause the immediate defeat of the current enemy and the long-term disintegration of the entire ruling system.
United Front Policy in Peace Negotiations
The NDFP and all the revolutionary forces within its fold have gone as far as to engage the reactionary government in peace negotiations and even to offer immediate truce and alliance on the basis of a clear declaration of patriotic and progressive intent. They are exercising initiative in applying the united front policy and offering even the ruling clique the opportunity to join the struggle of the people against foreign and feudal domination.
The NDFP has succeeded with the reactionary government in making the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and other major agreements. But so far every reactionary clique that has come to power has refused to join the NDFP in confronting the basic social, economic and political problems of the people, addressing the roots of the armed conflict and forging the comprehensive agreements on basic social, economic political reforms.
Under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, the US-Aquino regime regards the peace negotiations as a mere means of demanding the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and people and as a minor dispensable part of the overall military plan to destroy the revolutionary movement. The same ultra-reactionary kind of bureaucrats and military officers are sabotaging the peace negotiations.
The NDFP has persevered in peace negotiations to demonstrate the just and reasonable cause of the revolutionary movement, to spread the content of the program for people’s democratic revolution and to anticipate the advance of the people’s war and the further worsening of the crisis. It is possible that a significant change in the balance of forces between revolution and counterrevolution would persuade the reactionary government to engage in serious peace negotiations.
In any case, the NDFP resolutely calls for genuine national independence, democracy, social justice, economic development through national industrial industrialization and genuine land reform, a patriotic, progressive and people-serving culture and independent foreign policy.
International United Front Policy
The national united front policy of the NDFP and its revolutionary components have an international dimension. It includes arousing, organizing and mobilizing the migrant workers and other overseas Filipinos to stand for their democratic rights and interests and to develop their solidarity relations with the host people and international organizations.
In representation of the entire Filipino people at home and abroad, the NDFP develops the broadest range of solidarity and cooperative relations with foreign governments and their appropriate agencies, various types of people’s organizations, parties and national liberation movements. The NDFP also facilitates the international relations of its component organizations with existing and potential partners abroad.
The Communist Party of the Philippines is well known for developing relations with communist and workers’ parties in the spirit of proletarian internationalism as well as with various types of parties, people’s organizations and movement within the framework of international united front along the anti-imperialist and democratic line. The other components of the NDFP also develop relations with their counterparts in various countries and participate in international gatherings, movements and campaigns along the anti-imperialist and democratic line.
Perspective of the Philippine Revolution
The Filipino people persevere in waging revolution because the reactionary state persists in being a puppet to US imperialism and in inflicting counterrevolutionary violence to preserve the exploitative and oppressive ruling system. Thus, the revolutionary forces and the people are determined to complete the people’s democratic revolution through the nationwide seizure of political power and thereafter proceed to the stage of socialist revolution under the leadership of the working class. The national united front shall be further developed in order to uphold, defend and promote the cause of national independence, democracy and socialism.
The socialist features of the people’s democratic state system shall include the leadership of the working class and the Communist Party of the Philippines, the people’s army as the main component of state power, the nationalization of the commanding heights of the economy, the planned advance of the economy on the road of socialist industrialization and agricultural cooperation and mechanization, the hegemony of a national, scientific and mass culture and an independent foreign policy of international solidarity, peace and development.###