The Filipino people’s revolutionary armed struggle for national and social liberation in the past 50 years

1969 – 1977 | 1978 – 1991 | 1992 – 2001 | 2002 – 2019 | Prospects

By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist party of the Philippines
March 31, 2019

Dear Comrades and Friends,

Thank you for giving me the honor and privilege of delivering the keynote to A Tapestry of People’s Resistance, the second part of the celebration of 50 years of revolutionary arts and culture in the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation which was successfully held last December 29, 2018 in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

By way of giving a background to the celebration today, let me give you a quick review of the history of the Filipino people’s revolutionary armed struggle in the last 50 years. My focus is the development of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a brief historical narrative of five segments, including the prospects as the last segment.

1. Foundational Years, 1969 – 1977

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines conceived of the New People’s Army as the main instrument for overthrowing the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system through protracted people’s war in accordance with the people’s democratic revolution against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

The New People’s Army was founded by the CPP in Barrio Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac on March 29, 1969. It started with only 9 rifles and 26 inferior firearms for 60 Red fighters consisting of those from the old people’s army and the new recruits from Manila and Isabela who were previously given politico-military training. 

From 1969 to 1971, the revolutionary armed struggle developed in Tarlac, combining guerrilla tactical offensives and mass work and bringing about the level of NPA armed strength to more than 200 automatic rifles that were seized from the enemy forces through ambushes and raids.

When the CPP central leadership shifted to Isabela from late 1970 to 1972, the NPA started with only 20 automatic rifles and these increased to more than 300 by 1974. Hundreds of CPP cadres were given politico-military training for expansion to new areas in various regions. These cadres were subsequently dispatched to provinces in Cagayan Valley, Ilocos-Montañosa-Pangasinan, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

More expansion cadres became available after the 1971 suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and then the 1972 proclamation of martial law because the urban-based mass activists who were in danger of being arrested joined the NPA. Still a great number of underground cadres under the CPP General Secretariat were dispatched to various regions in 1974. The nationwide expansion of the CPP and NPA was facilitated by Kabataang Makabayan, trade unions and peasant associations.

As early as 1972, CPP regional committees and NPA regional operational commands were already established in Cagayan Valley, IMP, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas and Mindanao. And in 1976, the Mindanao regional Party Committee began to form several NPA regional operational commands. 

In the foundational years from 1969 to 1977, the focus of the most frequent and most successful tactical offensives shifted from one region to another, depending on the successful mass work and the daring of the Red commanders and fighters. From 1969 to 1971, the focus was Tarlac; from 1972 to 1975, it was Isabela, Ifugao, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Negros and Panay provinces; from 1975 to 1977, it was Samar and several provinces in Mindanao. 

The NPA armed strength had reached the level of 1500 automatic rifles as of 1977. However the NPA in Isabela stagnated and weakened because of the error of staying too long in the unpopulated forest region until 1976, despite the order of the central leadership in 1974 for shifting the NPA companies to Cagayan province. But the isolation of the NPA in Isabela forest region was countervailed by its growth elsewhere in Cagayan Valley, Northern Luzon and in the entire country.

2. Further Growth and Major Errors, 1978-1991

The strong foundation laid in the years 1969-77 and the preponderance of CPP and NPA rank and file who adhered to the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the general line of people’s democratic revolution and the organizational discipline of democratic centralism corresponded to the worsening socio-economic and political crisis of the ruling system and made possible the further growth of the NPA to 3000 automatic rifles in 1981 and then to 5,600 automatic rifles in 1985.

The CPP central leadership ensured that whenever certain weaker regions needed support and assistance in terms or cadres and arms, they would get such from the stronger regions. After the NPA forces in Eastern Visayas grew strong from 1976 to 1979, the Party redeployed many of its cadres, fighters and arms to Negros and Mindanao in 1979. But the NPA in every region was always urged to practice self-reliance and grow through struggle.

The most outstanding regions in the frequency and success of tactical offensives from 1981 onward were Eastern Visayas, Mindanao, Negros, Northern Luzon, Bicol and Central Luzon. The most effective formations in combat were companies or platoons augmented by armed propaganda teams and led by commanders who were excellent at planning and were daring.

The NPA forces in the regions of Eastern Visayas, Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Cagayan Valley had a good balance of relatively concentrated force (vertical) and relatively dispersed forces (horizontal) as well as good balance between offensive capability, armed force and mass base. The Party, the mass organizations and the organs of political power assumed much of the work load of the NPA units to enable these to gain more time and opportunities for launching tactical offensives.

From 1981 to 1985, the NPA in Mindanao scored the most and biggest victories in tactical offensives because it tried to build companies rapidly from three to 16 companies. But the rapid formation of the companies and the premature verticalization of forces were done at the expense of paying attention to mass work and strengthening the mass base. The “Left” opportunist error resulted in adverse consequences.

The CC Plenum in 1985 noted that the nationwide NPA armed strength reached the level of 5,600 automatic rifles in 1985 and further increased to 6,100 automatic rifles in 1986 and still further increased by some hundreds in 1987. NPA nationwide armed strength increased because of the correct line, competence, courage and high sense of self-sacrifice and service to the people of the CPP cadres and members and the Red fighters and commanders and by the accelerated deterioration of social conditions and the rising tide of the people’s struggle against the Marcos fascist dictatorship. 

The victories were achieved despite the emergence of wrong ideas and major errors in the CPP central leadership and in certain regional Party committees. In 1979 there arose the notion in the CC of the CPP that the people’s war was already in the advanced phase. This led to the further notion that the “stage of strategic counter-offensive” was in the offing.
This notion had no basis in reality and was not realized but encouraged various “Left”opportunist currents of thinking about short-cuts to final victory.

As early as 1981, the subjective notion circulated among certain CC members that the Marcos fascist dictatorship had succeeded in making the Philippines an industrial capitalist country. It gave rise to the Right opportunist and “Left” opportunist currents. 

3. Rectification and Revitalization, 1992-2001

The Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) from 1992 to 1998 saved the CPP, the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement from possible self-disintegration or destruction in the hands of the enemy. The Right and “Left” opportunists were in CPP key positions and were using these to undermine and attack Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the general line of people’s democratic revolution.

The Right opportunists prated about “popular democracy” to attack the leading role of the proletariat and the CPP in the revolution. They blamed the line of protracted people’s war for the supposed failure to be part of the ascendance of the Aquino regime over the Marcos fascist dictatorship. They spouted Gorbachoviste Trotskyite, bourgeois-liberal and other petty-bourgeois currents of thinking.

The “Left” opportunists, especially the most vocal urban insurrectionists, also blamed the strategic line of protracted people’s war for the supposed failure of the NPA to take power or get a significant share of this before the Aquino party took complete power. 

Prior to the launch of the SGRM in 1992, the central leadership had already succeeded in acting against the “Left” opportunist errors and the anti-DPA witch hunts in one region after another. But the SGRM still had to be launched and carried out in order to criticize, repudiate and rectify the errors comprehensively and thoroughly through a movement of ideological and political education. Otherwise, errors could persist to undermine and destroy the Party.

From 1994 to 1998, the forces in Mindanao were able to recover most of the armed strength and mass base that had been lost during the second half of the 1980s. They were able to retain some of the NPA companies in certain guerrilla fronts by a well-balanced correlation of relatively concentrated force for effectiveness in tactical offensives and relatively dispersed force to ensure a sufficiently wide and deep mass base. By 1998, the First Bagani Company had the honor of capturing a brigadier general in the field. 

The recovery and revitalization of the NPA occurred in various regions previously afflicted by “Left” opportunism. The NPA level of strength in 1998 exceeded the level before 1992, There were more than 110 guerrilla fronts nationwide, mostly with platoons rather than companies as the total force per front.

In the National Capital Region, the forces of the national democratic movement grew strong to the extent of generating mass protest actions that ultimately forced Estrada to flee the presidential palace and in effect resign his position. This was a crowning victory of the SGRM.

4. Growth, Conservatism and Upsurge, 2002 – 2019

This period covers the regimes of Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte which launched fierce attacks on the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement. The NPA has frustrated all the strategic operational plans aimed at destroying it. It has preserved and increased its strength despite the strategic offensives of the enemy, such as the Oplan Bantay Laya of Arroyo, Bayanihan of Aquino and Kapayapaan of Duterte.

As a result of the SGRM, NPA armed strength in high-powered rifles continued to grow and peaked in 2005 to a level surpassing the earlier 1987 peak by a few hundreds. It was a four percent growth from the 2002 level. However, from 2005, NPA strength dropped by 21.6% over the course of the next four years until 2009. 

The NPA armed strength in automatic rifles increased again but by only a few hundreds or around 11% accumulated growth in the next seven years, 2009-2016 but remained below the 12.6% below the 2006 peak. The NPA strength further grew by 9% in the second half of 2016 but remained at 4% below the 2005 peak From end 2016 to August 2017, the NPA grew more than 8% and surpassed the previous 2005 peak by three per cent.

Despite the all-out war of the Duterte regime from its continuation of Aquino’s Bayanihan to its adoption of its owned US-designed Oplan Kapayapaan, the NPA is growing in strength. The NPA in Mindanao remains the most outstanding in people’s war notwithstanding the prolonged imposition of martial law in the region and the wanton use of bombings and extrajudicial killings to suppress the armed revolution.

The CPP was able to hold its Second Congress successfully. It was able to identify the error of conservatism and over dispersal of small NPA units over a wide area as the principal error that has caused the stagnation and erosion of NPA and mass strength in Luzon and the Visayas. It is an error diametrically opposite the error of “Left” opportunism that had emerged in the years 1981-83 and grew in various regions until 1992.

The error starts with the good motivation of widening and deepening the mass base and developing all political prerequisites. And the erroneous tendency has been to over-disperse small units for mass work and neglect the main NPA task, which is to launch tactical offensives in order to seize weapons from the enemy and strengthen the NPA. 

The force deployment with no relatively concentrated force for launching tactical offensives, and with the over-dispersal of small NPA units results in roving or floating units that are easy prey to the enemy and vulnerable to being put in purely defensive actions. Conservatism amounts to abstinence from tactical offensives, which has played into the enemy campaign plans like those of Oplan Bantay Laya of the Arroyo regime, during which the NPA suffered a decrease in strength from 2005.

At first, the NPA in Mindanao had difficulties of countering enemy offensives under Oplan Bantay Laya and then Bayanihan. But eventually they were able to prevail against the enemy with the effective use of the basic tactics of guerrilla warfare and master the art and science of the tactics of counter encirclement against the enemy encirclement that were bigger but had wider gaps. The Red commanders and fighters had the wisdom to avail of a combination of mass base and rough terrain and the daring to launch tactical offensives against every enemy weak point.

5. Prospects of the NPA

The current 5-year plan (2017-2021) of the Central Committee aims to carry forward the antifascist, antifeudal and anti-imperialist movement and overthrow the ruling US-Duterte fascist and reactionary regime, and bring the protracted people’s war to the advanced phase of the strategic defensive, in order to reach the threshold of the strategic stalemate. 

The program calls for intensifying anti-fascist agitation, propaganda, organizational work and mobilization in the face of widespread killings and other atrocities of state terrorism, and schemes to establish a fascist dictatorship. Building the broadest united front and mobilizing the people in their millions is the key to defeating the fascist regime. 

First, the program calls for resolving the imbalance of strength, spread and advance of guerrilla warfare between the relatively more advanced regions in Mindanao and those in Luzon and Visayas, and attain effective cooperation and coordination in advancing guerrilla warfare nationwide. The program seeks to develop 7-10 advanced regions, each with more or less 2,000 full-time Red fighters spread throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

Secondly, it calls on the advanced regions to develop subregions with three to five interlocking company-sized guerrilla fronts, to serve as anchors and rallying points for interregional and national advance. The program estimates that we can effectively combat the sustained large-scale enemy operations in the advanced subregions with one or two full or undersized companies with nine to fifteen horizontal platoons in interlocking or adjacent guerrilla fronts, in addition to units of the people’s militias spread over several hundred villages. 

Thirdly, the program aims to strengthen the NPA several times over and raise its capability in annihilating enemy teams and squads, and later, platoons. Every region and subregion must have a company as vertical force following the ratio of one vertical company to every nine horizontal platoons (or 1:3). There must be recruitment campaigns to increase the NPA guerrilla units and people’s militia units and campaigns to generate material and other forms of support. 

The NPA must be strengthened through ideological building, strengthening absolute Party leadership, systematic politico-military training and raising its combat capability, in terms of weaponry and technique, active political work to raise the political consciousness, the will to fight and offensive spirit of the Red fighters, strengthen their iron discipline and their close links with the masses. 

It calls for building the NPA operational command at the national level down to the subregional level to develop planning, coordination and leadership of the NPA work. It also calls for the recruitment of cadres from workers and the educated youth and for developing, training and promotion of military cadres. It calls for further expansion and training of units of people’s militias, self-defense units of mass organizations to develop their capability in waging mass guerrilla warfare. It calls for building partisan units. 

Fourthly, the program calls for intensifying guerrilla warfare nationwide and waging all-out resistance against the enemy’s all-out war, gradual constriction and win-hold-win and TRIAD campaigns. It calls for carrying out annihilative basic tactical offensives to deliver solid blows against the enemy, punish the worst fascist criminals, weaken the enemy, seize its weapons, strengthen the people’s army, advance the masses’ antifeudal and other struggles and expand the democratic people’s power. 

The program calls for firmly opposing military conservatism and repudiating the wrong ideas that bring about such weaknesses such as overestimating the strength of the enemy and underestimating the strength of the people and their army; fear of sacrifices and aspiring for comforts and failure to grasp the crucial necessity of intensifying guerrilla warfare in advancing other military and political tasks, locally and in general; lack of attention of leading Party committees on military work; overconfidence, passivity, over-dispersal of forces and so on. The program calls for maximizing NPA armed strength and its deep and wide mass support it enjoys in order to deliver bigger and more frequent blows against the enemy. 

The NPA has already spread nationwide and is deeply rooted among the toiling masses. It occupies most of the terrains favorable for guerrilla warfare. It takes full advantage of the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside as well as orchestrating tactical offensives in an archipelago according to the principle of centralized leadership and decentralized operations. The NPA is now in a position to deliver lethal blows to the enemy forces anywhere in the archipelago and thereby raise the level of its armed strength. 

The Filipino people and all their revolutionary forces are confident that they will make great strides towards total victory in the revolutionary war for the people’s democratic revolution because they are gaining political and armed strength as the crisis of both the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and that of the world capitalist system are simultaneously worsening at an accelerated rate. 

The inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening and resulting in worse forms of exploitation and oppression, unprecedented crisis of global proportions, widespread state terrorism and wars of aggression. These are signals for the further rise and eventual victory of the people’s democratic revolution in the Philippines and the resurgence of the anti-imperialist movements and the world proletarian revolution.###

The New People’s Army in Mindanao has unwaveringly served the people and gained victories for the People’s War

Ka Joaquin Jacinto
Spokesperson, National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Mindanao
Press Statement | 29 March 2019

On the occasion of the 50th founding anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA)

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao (NDFP-Mindanao), together with all revolutionary forces in the island, celebrates the New People’s Army’s (NPA’s) 50th founding anniversary with unbounded joy. It lauds the NPA for gaining victories through the years towards the aim of bringing the people’s democratic revolution to complete victory and paving the way for a socialist Philippines.

We salute all Red fighters and commanders and members of the People’s militia and barrio self-defense units who sacrificed their lives for the people’s democratic revolution. They displayed unwavering resolve to overcome difficulties, which must serve as an inspiration to and should be emulated by all revolutionaries. 

The revolutionary masses, together with the NPA, have been hard at work in carrying out the programs of agrarian revolution through anti-feudal mass campaigns and united front work.  Hundreds of thousands of poor peasants and Lumad have benefitted from the agrarian revolution’s minimum program, such as reduction of land rent, increase in the wages of farm workers, increase in the farm gate prices of agricultural products and reduction of usury.

The US-Duterte regime is desperate to overturn such gains of the people and crush the CPP, the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement by mid-2019 through the implementation of Oplan Kapayapaan and imposition of martial law in Mindanao.  These fascist policies have sowed terror throughout Mindanao’s countryside through non-stop combat operations, characterized by aerial bombings, artillery shelling and the extensive use of drones for surveillance; as well as psy-war operations through the infiltration of the AFP’s so-called “community support program” and the installment of army and paramilitary detachments in most of Mindanao’s rural communities. 

These have also caused untold suffering on the people in the form of extra-judicial killings, massacres and the massive displacement of peasant, Lumad and Moro communities, especially in Compostela Valley, Caraga, Davao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, the Zamboanga Peninsula, the Lanao provinces and North Cotabato. Illegal arrests and the filing of trumped up charges against mass leaders, activists, church people and other professionals, including the media, have also increased.

Further, the Duterte government’s insistence on “localized peace talks” demeans the people’s demands for genuine land reform, national industrialization and national sovereignty; and is merely a ploy for the revolutionary movement to capitulate.

The US-Duterte regime has deployed 35 AFP combat battalions in Moro areas in Mindanao to suppress the on-going struggle of the Bangsamoro. The massive combat operations, including aerial bombings and artillery shelling, have led to the mass murder and displacement of thousands of the Moro people. 

The Duterte regime has also railroaded the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law with the intent to contain the Bangsamoro struggle for the right to self-determination within the framework and control of the reactionary government and focus the full force of the AFP and PNP against the revolutionary movement. However, the US-Duterte regime’s outright acts of fascism and the imposition of the bogus BOL has only further ignited their armed resistance. The NDFP and the entire revolutionary movement continues to promote and support the Bangsamoro’s fight for their genuine right to self-determination.

Clearly, Duterte is delusional if he thinks he can destroy the revolutionary movement.  For as long as the root causes of the armed conflict are not resolved, the flame of the people’s war can never be extinguished and instead will continue to intensify and rage on towards total victory.

LONG LIVE THE 50TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY!
LONG LIVE THE 50TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES!
LONG LIVE THE FILIPINO PEOPLE!

The Filipino people’s revolutionary armed struggle for national and social liberation in the past 50 years

By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines
March 29, 2019

Let me do a quick review of the Filipino people’s revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation in the past 50 years. My focus is on the development of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in a brief historical narrative of five segments, including the prospects as the last segment.

1. Foundational Years, 1969 – 1977

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines conceived of the New People’s Army as the main instrument for overthrowing the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system through protracted people’s war in accordance with the people’s democratic revolution against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

The New People’s Army was founded by the CPP in Barrio Sta. Rita, Capas, Tarlac on March 29, 1969. It started with only 9 rifles and 26 inferior firearms for 60 Red fighters consisting of those from the old people’s army and the new recruits from Manila and Isabela who were previously given politico-military training.

The recruits from Manila were CPP and Kabataang Makabayan members who came from various regions and were intended to form the NPA in their respective regions after serving in Tarlac. The recruits from Isabela were given priority for dispatch to their province for the purpose of CPP and NPA expansion. They were provided with a senior cadre who had long experience in armed struggle and mass work in Central Luzon.

The years 1969 to 1977 may be considered as the foundational years of the NPA. They were years of ideological study for those CPP cadres assigned to the NPA, political-military training for the Red commanders and fighters and deployment of expansion teams to various regions under the direction of the CPP Central Committee.

The NPA National Operational Command was formed under the Military Commission of the Party Central Committee. The following departments were slated to be formed: political education, planning, personnel and training, intelligence, military operations, production, logistics, ordnance and medical.

The Regional Operational Commands were also to be formed under the leadership of the Regional Party Committees. Provincial and district operational commands were also slated to be formed by the leading Party territorial committees concerned.

The NPA became trained and experienced in waging guerrilla warfare and doing mass work, which included mass education, mass organizing, land reform and production, health and sanitation, cultural work, people’s self-defense, arbitration and justice, disaster relief and protection of the environment.

From 1969 to 1971, the revolutionary armed struggle developed in Tarlac, combining guerrilla tactical offensives and mass work and bringing about the level of NPA armed strength to more than 200 automatic rifles that were seized from the enemy forces through ambushes and raids.

When the CPP central leadership shifted to Isabela from late 1970 to 1972, the NPA started with only 20 automatic rifles and these increased to more than 300 by 1974. Hundreds of CPP cadres were given politico-military training for expansion to new areas in various regions. These cadres were subsequently dispatched to provinces in Cagayan Valley, Ilocos-Montañosa-Pangasinan, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

More expansion cadres became available after the 1971 suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and then the 1972 proclamation of martial law because the urban-based mass activists who were in danger of being arrested joined the NPA. Still a great number of underground cadres under the CPP General Secretariat were dispatched to various regions in 1974. The nationwide expansion of the CPP and NPA was facilitated by Kabataang Makabayan, trade unions and peasant associations.

As early as 1972, CPP regional committees and NPA regional operational commands were already established in Cagayan Valley, IMP, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Central Visayas, Western Visayas and Mindanao. In subsequent years, NPA regional operational commands arose in Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos, Southern Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Eastern Visayas. And in 1976, the Mindanao regional Party Committee began to form several NPA regional operational commands.

In the foundational years from 1969 to 1977, the focus of the most frequent and most successful tactical offensives shifted from one region to another, depending on the successful mass work and the daring of the Red commanders and fighters. From 1969 to 1971, the focus was Tarlac; from 1972 to 1975, it was Isabela, Ifugao, Quirino, Aurora, Pampanga, Bataan, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Negros and Panay provinces; and from 1975 to 1977, it was Samar and several provinces in Mindanao.

The NPA armed strength had reached the level of 1500 automatic rifles as of 1977. However the NPA in Isabela stagnated and weakened because of the error of staying too long in the unpopulated forest region from 1974 to 1976, despite the order of the central leadership to the regional Party committee in 1974 for shifting the NPA companies to Cagayan province. But the containment of the NPA in Isabela was countervailed by its growth elsewhere in Cagayan Valley, Northern Luzon and in the entire country.

2. Further Growth and Major Errors, 1978-1991

The strong foundation laid in the years 1969-77 and the preponderance of CPP and NPA rank and file who adhered to the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the general line of people’s democratic revolution and the organizational discipline of democratic centralism corresponded to the worsening socioeconomic and political crisis of the ruling system and made possible the further growth of the NPA to 3000 automatic rifles in 1981 and then to 5,600 automatic rifles in 1985.

The CPP central leadership ensured that whenever certain weaker regions needed support and assistance in terms or cadres and arms, they would get such from the stronger regions. After the NPA forces in Eastern Visayas grew strong from 1976 to 1979, the Party redeployed many of its cadres, fighters and arms to Negros and Mindanao in 1979. But the NPA in every region was always urged to practice self-reliance and grow through struggle.

The most outstanding regions in the frequency and success of tactical offensives from 1981 onward were Eastern Visayas, Mindanao, Negros, Northern Luzon, Bicol and Central Luzon. The most effective formations in combat were companies or platoons augmented by armed propaganda teams and led by commanders who were excellent at planning and were daring.

The NPA forces in the regions of Eastern Visayas, Bicol, Southern Tagalog and Cagayan Valley had a good balance of relatively concentrated force (vertical) and relatively dispersed forces (horizontal). This also meant a good balance between offensive capability and mass base. The Party, the mass organizations and the organs of political power assumed much of the work load of the NPA units to enable these to gain more time and opportunities for launching tactical offensives.

From 1981 to 1985, the NPA in Mindanao scored the most and biggest victories in tactical offensives as it increased the number of companies to five. But the further rapid formation of ten more companies and the premature verticalization of forces were done at the expense of paying attention to mass work and strengthening the mass base. The “Left” opportunist error resulted in adverse consequences.

The CC Plenum in 1985 noted that the nationwide NPA armed strength reached the level of 5,600 automatic rifles in 1985 and further increased to 6,100 automatic rifles in 1986 and still further increased by some hundreds in 1987. NPA nationwide armed strength increased because of the correct line, competence, courage and high sense of self-sacrifice and service to the people of the CPP cadres and members and the Red fighters and commanders and by the accelerated deterioration of social conditions and the rising tide of the people’s struggle against the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

The victories were achieved despite the emergence of wrong ideas and major errors in the CPP central leadership and in certain regional Party committees. In 1979 there arose the notion in the CC of the CPP that the people’s war was already in the advanced phase. This led to the further notion that the “stage of strategic counter-offensive” was in the offing.

This notion had no basis in reality and was not realized but encouraged various “Left”opportunist currents of thinking about short-cuts to final victory.

As early as 1981, the subjective notion circulated among certain CC members that the Marcos fascist dictatorship had succeeded in making the Philippines an industrial capitalist country. It gave rise to the Right opportunist and “Left” opportunist currents.

The Right opportunist current wanted to take out the leadership of the CPP and the working class from the National Democratic Front and make the legal form of struggle principal to the armed struggle in obeisance to the anti-Marcos reactionaries. The “Left” opportunist current was initially based on the wrong notion that the NPA had reached the “advanced stage” of the strategic defensive and could carry out next the strategic counteroffensive.

The most disastrous line was that of the “Left” opportunist Red Area- White Area (RAWA) line in Mindanao, which called for people’s strikes in urban areas, intensification of armed city partisan warfare and the premature regularization of the NPA and reduction to being a purely military force.

When the line resulted in setbacks, the “Left” opportunists generated panic, blamed “deep penetration” agents for the setbacks and punished suspected cadres and mass activists without due process through Kampanyang Ahos. As a result of the “Left” opportunist errors, the mass base shrank drastically by more than 50 per cent in Mindanao and the NPA armed strength fell by more than 1000 automatic rifles.

Similar “Left” opportunist errors followed by anti-DPA witch hunts occurred in other regions but on a lesser scale at various times in Negros island, Manila-Rizal, Southern Tagalog, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley. Most of the time NPA foundational strength and the preponderance of good cadres and members continued to prevail over the “Left” opportunism and over the emergence of anti-DPA hysteria.

The central level “Left” opportunists subsequently pursued the line from 1986 to 1989 that total victory could be obtained only with military assistance from abroad; otherwise the revolution would stagnate and then be defeated. When the efforts to import weapons failed, they became demoralized and were joined by the Right opportunists in opposing the strategic line of protracted people’s war.

3. Rectification and Revitalization, 1992-2001

The Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) from 1992 to 1998 saved the CPP, the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement from possible self-disintegration or destruction in the hands of the enemy. The Right and “Left” opportunists were in CPP key positions and were using these to undermine and attack Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the general line of people’s democratic revolution.

The Right opportunists prated about “popular democracy” to attack the leading role of the proletariat and the CPP in the revolution. They blamed the line of protracted people’s war for the supposed failure to be part of the ascendance of the Aquino regime over the Marcos fascist dictatorship. They spouted Gorbachovite, Trotskyite, bourgeois-liberal and other petty-bourgeois currents of thinking.

The “Left” opportunists, especially the most vocal urban insurrectionists, also blamed the strategic line of protracted people’s war for the supposed failure of the NPA to take power or get a significant share of this before the Aquino party took complete power.

The “Left” opportunists in the highest positions babbled that to avert stagnation and defeat, the NPA must benefit from the importation of weapons, even if these were to be secured by considering the Soviet Union as no longer revisionist and social-imperialist. At the same time, they obscured the disastrous results of their line in Mindanao, which included the witch-hunt called Kampanyang Ahos.

Prior to the launch of the SGRM in 1992, the central leadership had already succeeded in acting against the “Left” opportunist errors and the anti-DPA witch-hunts in one region after another. But the SGRM still had to be launched and carried out in order to criticize, repudiate and rectify the errors comprehensively and thoroughly through a movement of ideological and political education. Otherwise, errors could persist to undermine and destroy the Party.

The SGRM faced difficulties because the “Left” and Right opportunists in general combined to attack the Party and take away the Party personnel and resources that they controlled. But the loyal Party cadres and members and the Red commanders and fighters prevailed. They worked hard and succeeded in recovering most of the Party personnel and mass base which had been lost through the errors, crimes and wrecking operations of the “Left” opportunists.

From 1994 to 1998, the forces in Mindanao were able to recover most of the armed strength and mass base that had been lost during the second half of the 1980s. They were able to retain some of the NPA companies in certain guerrilla fronts by a well-balanced correlation of relatively concentrated force for effectiveness in tactical offensives and relatively dispersed force to ensure a sufficiently wide and deep mass base. By 1998, the First Bagani Company had the distinct honor of capturing a brigadier general in the field.

The recovery and revitalization of the NPA occurred in various regions previously afflicted by “Left” opportunism. The NPA level of strength in 1998 exceeded the level before 1992, There were more than 110 guerrilla fronts nationwide, mostly with platoons rather than companies as the total force per front.

In the National Capital Region, the forces of the national democratic movement grew strong to the extent of generating mass protest actions that ultimately forced Estrada to flee the presidential palace and in effect resign his position. This was a crowning victory of the SGRM.

4. Growth, Conservatism and Upsurge, 2002 – 2019

This period covers the regimes of Arroyo, Aquino and Duterte which launched fierce attacks on the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement. The NPA has frustrated all the strategic operational plans aimed at destroying it. It has preserved and increased its strength despite the strategic offensives of the enemy, such as the Oplan Bantay Laya of Arroyo, Bayanihan of Aquino and Kapayapaan of Duterte.

As a result of the SGRM, NPA armed strength in high-powered rifles continued to grow and peaked in 2005 to a level surpassing the earlier 1987 peak by a few hundreds. It was a four percent growth from the 2002 level. However, from 2005, NPA strength dropped by 21.6 per cent over the course of the next four years until 2009.

The NPA armed strength in automatic rifles increased again but by only a few hundreds or around 11 per cent accumulated growth in the next seven years, 2009-2016 but remained below the 12.6 per cent below the 2006 peak. The NPA strength further grew by 9 per cent in the second half of 2016 but remained at 4 per cent below the 2005 peak From end 2016 to August 2017, the NPA grew more than 8 per cent and surpassed the previous 2005 peak by 3 per cent.

Despite the all-out war of the Duterte regime from its continuation of Aquino’s Bayanihan to its adoption of its own US-designed Oplan Kapayapaan, the NPA is growing in strength. The NPA in Mindanao remains the most outstanding in people’s war notwithstanding the prolonged imposition of martial law in the region and the wanton use of bombings and extrajudicial killings to suppress the armed revolution.

The CPP was able to hold its Second Congress successfully. It was able to identify the error of conservatism and over dispersal of small NPA units over a wide area as the principal error that has caused the stagnation and erosion of NPA and mass strength in Luzon and the Visayas. It is an error diametrically opposite the error of “Left” opportunism that had emerged in the years 1981-83 and grew in various regions until 1992.

The error starts with the good motivation of widening and deepening the mass base and developing all political prerequisites. And the erroneous tendency has been to over-disperse small units for mass work and neglect the main NPA task, which is to launch tactical offensives in order to seize weapons from the enemy and strengthen the NPA.

The force deployment with no relatively concentrated force for launching tactical offensives, and with the over-dispersal of small NPA units results in roving or floating units that are easy prey to the enemy and vulnerable to being put in purely defensive actions. When these small units are squashed by the enemy, the mass base that they have created eventually disappears, although available for recovery in the future. Conservatism amounts to abstinence from tactical offensives, which has played into the enemy campaign plans like those of Oplan Bantay Laya of the Arroyo regime, during which the NPA suffered a decrease in strength from 2005 onwards..

At first, the NPA in Mindanao had difficulties of countering enemy offensives under Oplan Bantay Laya and then Bayanihan. But eventually they were able to prevail against the enemy with the effective use of the basic tactics of guerrilla warfare and master the art and science of the tactics of counter encirclement against the enemy encirclements that were bigger but had wider gaps. The Red commanders and fighters had the wisdom to avail of a combination of mass base and rough terrain and the daring to launch tactical offensives against weak points of the enemy.

In the same way that they benefited from the experience and revolutionary cadres and commanders that came from Eastern Visayas in the 1980s, the CPP and NPA in Mindanao have been sharing the fruits of their victories with their comrades in Luzon and the Visayas their experience and battle-tested cadres and commanders by their redeployment to the regions of Luzon and the Visayas. Since 2017, they have been able to counter and prevail over the escalation of enemy attacks under the conditions of martial law.

A strong nationwide basis for the further advance of the people’s war has been established. It is now possible to launch more frequent and more daring tactical offensives on a national scale against the weak points of the enemy. These weak points are in far more areas than the enemy can reinforce and even where the enemy force is focused it exposes its weak points as soon as it is deployed.

Since the last quarter of 2017, there has been a significant increase of NPA tactical offensives on a nationwide scale than a long while before. After concentrating 75 per cent of their strength in Mindanao, the enemy armed forces have sent back more than 10 per cent of their strength to the Visayas and Luzon because of the intensified armed resistance here.

5. Prospects of the NPA

The current 5-year plan (2017-2021) of the Central Committee aims to carry forward the antifascist, antifeudal and anti-imperialist movement and overthrow the tyrannical US-Duterte regime, and bring the protracted people’s war to the advanced phase of the strategic defensive, in order to reach the threshold of the strategic stalemate.

The program calls for intensifying anti-fascist agitation, propaganda, organizational work and mobilization against the mass murders and other atrocities of state terrorism, and the scheme to establish a fascist dictatorship through charter change for a bogus kind of federalism. Building the broadest united front and mobilizing the people in their millions is the key to defeating the regime of terror and greed.

First, the program calls for resolving the imbalance of strength, spread and advance of guerrilla warfare between the relatively more advanced regions in Mindanao and those in Luzon and Visayas, and attain effective cooperation and coordination in advancing guerrilla warfare nationwide. The program seeks to develop 7-10 advanced regions, each with more or less 2,000 full-time Red fighters spread throughout Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Secondly, it calls on the advanced regions to develop sub-regions with three to five interlocking company-sized guerrilla fronts, to serve as anchors and rallying points for inter-regional and national advance. The program estimates that we can effectively combat the sustained large-scale enemy operations in the advanced sub-regions with one or two full or undersized companies with nine to fifteen horizontal platoons in interlocking or adjacent guerrilla fronts, in addition to units of the people’s militias spread over several hundred villages.

Thirdly, the program aims to strengthen the NPA several times over and raise its capability in annihilating enemy teams and squads, and later, platoons. Every region and sub-region must have a company as vertical force following the ratio of one vertical company to every nine horizontal platoons (or 1:3). There must be recruitment campaigns to increase the NPA guerrilla units and people’s militia units and campaigns to generate material and other forms of support.

The NPA must be strengthened through ideological building, strengthening absolute Party leadership, systematic politico-military training and raising its combat capability, in terms of weaponry and technique, active political work to raise the political consciousness, the will to fight and offensive spirit of the Red fighters, strengthen their iron discipline and their close links with the masses.

It calls for building the NPA operational command at the national level down to the sub-regional level to develop planning, coordination and leadership of the NPA work. It also calls for the recruitment of cadres from workers and the educated youth and for developing, training and promotion of military cadres. It calls for further expansion and training of units of people’s militias, self-defense units of mass organizations to develop their capability in waging mass guerrilla warfare. It calls for building partisan units.

Fourthly, the program calls for intensifying guerrilla warfare nationwide and waging all-out resistance against the enemy’s all-out war, gradual constriction and win-hold-win and TRIAD campaigns. It calls for carrying out annihilative basic tactical offensives to deliver solid blows against the enemy, punish the worst fascist criminals, weaken the enemy, seize his weapons, strengthen the people’s army, advance the masses’ anti-feudal and other struggles and expand the democratic people’s power.

The program calls for firmly opposing military conservatism and repudiating the wrong ideas that bring about such weaknesses such as overestimating the strength of the enemy and underestimating the strength of the people and their army; fear of sacrifices and aspiring for comforts and failure to grasp the crucial necessity of intensifying guerrilla warfare in advancing other military and political tasks, locally and in general; lack of attention of leading Party committees on military work; overconfidence, passivity, over-dispersal of forces and so on. The program calls for maximizing NPA armed strength and its deep and wide mass support it enjoys in order to deliver bigger and more frequent blows against the enemy.

The program calls for strengthening vertical forces as the NPA leading force in mounting tactical offensives. Compared to horizontal forces, vertical forces are more concentrated in order for them to move quickly, by itself or together with horizontal units, when necessary to hit at the isolated and vulnerable enemy units. However, they should also make use of every opportunity to arouse, organize and mobilize the masses, help in waging mass campaigns and struggles, participate in production and conduct training, education and political work in between battles.

The horizontal or front guerrilla forces, on the other hand, ensure widespread and intensive guerrilla warfare by all-sidedly developing guerrilla fronts in the military, political, economic, organizational and cultural fields. At every given time, the optimum is for 60 per cent of the NPA units to engage in mass work and political work and 40 per cent to carry out tactical offensives.

The program clarifies that mass work in guerrilla fronts is armed propaganda-type, that is, military work, tactical offensives, combating enemy attacks and operations and raising the military capability of the army and the people. Local guerrilla forces serve as centers of gravity of people’s militia units and village self-defense units. There must be a principal front guerrilla unit to serve as anchor and rallying point of all combat maneuvers and resistance.

Mass work should result in building local Party branches and groups, section committees, mass organizations and organs of political power, in addition to people’s militia and self-defense forces. The capacity of local revolutionary forces must be raised to carry out their tasks on their own in order to unburden the local armed units with details of daily administrative work and allow them to concentrate on various aspects of military work.

The program calls for mounting well-planned tactical offensives with the aim of annihilating enemy units and seizing their weapons. The general guidelines and the tactics include the following: Concentrate a bigger force to mount surprise attacks against weaker, smaller and isolated enemy units. Combine numerous body blows with occasional head blows.

Develop inter-front, regional, inter-regional and national planning and coordination of campaigns and operations to boldly intensify guerrilla warfare by taking hold of the entire strength of the people’s army and carrying out direct and indirect coordination of various guerrilla forces. Raise the capacity for intelligence work at all levels. Carry out partisan operations in order to punish the enemy in the cities and in their main lines of communication and transportation.

The NPA has already spread nationwide and is deeply rooted among the toiling masses. It occupies most of the terrains favorable for guerrilla warfare. It takes full advantage of the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside as well as orchestrating tactical offensives in an archipelago according to the principle of centralized leadership and decentralized operations. The NPA is now in a position to deliver lethal blows to the enemy forces anywhere in the archipelago and thereby raise the level of its armed strength.

The Filipino people and all their revolutionary forces are confident that they will make great strides towards total victory in the revolutionary war for the people’s democratic revolution because they are gaining political and armed strength as the crisis of both the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and that of the world capitalist system are simultaneously worsening at an accelerated rate.

The inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening and resulting in worse forms of exploitation and oppression, unprecedented crisis of global proportions, widespread state terrorism and wars of aggression. These are signals for the further rise and eventual victory of the people’s democratic revolution in the Philippines and the resurgence of the anti-imperialist movements and the world proletarian revolution.###

Duterte will go down in history as a scourge to the Filipino people

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
March 27, 2019

By his own policies and actions, Duterte has already defined himself and his ruling clique as treasonous, tyrannical, mass murdering, plundering, and swindling. He will certainly go down in Philippine history as a scourge to the Filipino people.

1. Supreme Protector of Drug Lords
Duterte misrepresented himself as a crusader against the illegal drug trade and promised during the 2016 elections that he would solve the problem in three to six months. He used a bogus war on illegal drugs to incite and order the police to carry out the mass murder of 30,000 poor people tagged as drug users and peddlers and to spare the drug lords and smugglers under his protection..

Duterte has fully exposed himself as the supreme protector of drug lords and drug smugglers, that include his close Chinese friends and his close relatives. By his own admission, the drug problem has worsened, with drugs being freely smuggled and distributed to a clientele rising in number from 1.8 million to 8 million. Shamelessly, he uses his deliberate failure to stop the drug lords and drug smugglers as the pretext for perpetuating his license to engage in mass murder at the expense of the poor people.

2. Anti-Peace Scheme for a Fascist Dictatorship
Duterte has terminated the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines since 2017 in order to use the continuing armed conflict as the reason for his tyrannical rule, de facto martial law nationwide and his scheme of fascist dictatorship through charter change to a bogus federalism in which the powers of government are concentrated in his hands and by which he can handpick his regional and provincial agents.

Duterte’s obsession with seeking to establish a fascist dictatorship is driven by his scheme to get a lion’s share in the plunder of the social and natural wealth of the people, to engage in selective and mass murders so as to entrench himself in power and prevent his arrest, prosecution and trial for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court and by the people’s court of the people’s democratic government.

3. Chief Plunderer and King of Corruption
Duterte raised his 2016 electoral campaign funds from Chinese financiers and from such notorious Luzon-based plunderers as the Marcoses, Arroyos, Estradas, Enriles, Revillas and others who provided him with funds and bailiwick votes. Thus, he has gotten them off the hook in their plunder cases through the corrupt Supreme Court in exchange for their financial and political support.

Having become the president, Duterte is now the chief plunderer who cuts into all kinds of illegal and legal business enterprises, into big loan contracts with state banks and social insurance corporations, into the discretionary, intelligence, pork barrel and other accounts in the government budget and into contracts with Chinese and other foreign companies related to his infrastructure-building projects and other projects requiring the approval of the office of the president.

4. The Butcher Extends the Scale of His Butchery
Duterte has formed the national task force to destroy the revolutionary movement. This is both continuation of his all-out war against the people and the revolutionary forces and escalation of the same through the militarization of the civilian agencies, increased re-channeling of public funds for racketeering by the military and local officials, the faking of “localized peace talks”, ”mass surrenders” and “development” projects to divert funds from civilian agencies to military psywar and racketeering.

The worst and most brutal aspect of Implan Kalasag of Duterte’s national task force is to apply Oplan Tokhang methods of frame up and murder on the critics of his regime and suspected revolutionaries. These are red-tagged and listed. The list is used to label people as “communists or terrorists” and make them targets of “legal offensives,” and available for abduction, torture and murder by Duterte death squads embedded in the military and police. The murder of social activists, lawyers, human rights and peace advocates is now on the upsurge.

Duterte has turned the reactionary armed forces and police into his private armies by making their officers and men complicit with him in the commission of mass murder, corrupting and rewarding them with cash rewards and promotions and assuring them of presidential protection and immunity. The relatively more patriotic and saner elements of the reactionary armed forces and police have been offended by the privatization, criminalization and corruption of their armed services and are desirous of withdrawing support from their butcher commander-in-chief.

5. Puppet of Two Imperialist Powers
Duterte claimed that he was for an independent foreign policy and was favoring China only to even it up with the US. But in fact he is a puppet of both the US and the Chinese imperialists. All the treaties, agreements and arrangements that keep the US as the dominant imperialist power in the Philippines remain. But what makes Duterte’s connection with China outstanding is that he has received bribes in advance to allow China to build and militarize artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea and to turn the Philippines into a debt colony.

The Philippines is being turned into a debt colony of China by becoming burdened with high interest loans for overpriced infrastructure projects, which require the use of Chinese contractors, consultants, suppliers of equipment and construction-materials and even workers from the Chinese mainland. All the loans and construction projects are subject to Chinese laws and courts and to the conversion of loans to Chinese equity and acquisition of Philippine assets and natural resources as a consequence of defaults in loan payments.

6. Sabotaging the Philippine Economy
Duterte has kept and aggravated the same kind of agrarian, semifeudal and pre-industrial kind of Philippine economy by making it even more dependent on the export of raw materials and importation of foreign manufactures, principally catering to the upper class and mass consumers, and secondarily for semimanufacture of goods for re-export. 
There is no industrial development. And yet agricultural production at 7.4 per cent and import-dependent manufacturing have drastically fallen. The service sector is bloated at 58.6 per cent of GDP. 

What is passed off as industrial development is expanded mining, import-dependent semimanufacturing, private construction for the benefit of the big compradors and infrastructure building to facilitate the old pattern of economic and trade relations between the Philippines and foreign monopoly interests. Some 10.9 million or nearly a quarter of the work force of 44.1 million Filipinos are unemployed. More than 12 million Filipino are abroad as migrant workers for lack of employment in the Philippines . A big number are also underemployed. Thus, poverty has spread and become worse. 

The budgetary deficit keeps on rising because of accelerated unproductive government spending for the military and the corrupt bureaucracy, financial outflows and the trade deficit keeps on widening because of the prolonged domestic conditions of semifeudal exploitation and stagnation as well as the global economic depression. The Philippines is more than ever dependent on onerous foreign loans and the foreign exchange remittances of overseas contract workers.

7. Generator of Inflation
Duterte is a generator of inflation in the Philippine economy. He is spending public funds at an unprecedentedly accelerated rate, raising taxes at the expense of the consumers, wantonly expanding credit to his cronies and outrightly printing money without support from real growth in production. 

The tax burden in becoming heavier to cover the government budgetary and trade deficits and to assure foreign lenders that they have the priority in being paid back. The people are victimized by rising excise taxes on fuel and basic consumer goods and the soaring costs of imports due to the deterioration of the economy and the depressed incomes from mineral and agricultural exports.

Duterte is earning money for himself and his clique by increasing the budget for buying weapons from abroad and for intelligence funds which are not audited. In collaboration with the Chinese cartels in the trade of food staples (rice and corn), he allows them to manipulate the supply and prices in the country and at the same time to import the food staples by way of increasing their leverage against local food production by the peasants.

8. Patron of Land-grabbers
Duterte has boasted that he can carry out land reform and that the New People’s Amy is not needed for the purpose. In fact, he is distributing mere scraps of paper reminding so-called agrarian reform beneficiaries of their duty to pay for their arrears in land amortization. Ninety percent of so-called land reform beneficiaries in the bogus land reform program of the reactionary government have failed to make amortization payments. 

In fact, Duterte is the patron of all land grabbers and land accumulators. He is accelerating the conversion or reclassification of land designated as subject to land reform to non-agricultural purposes. He is unleashing military offensives, bombing and forcing the communities of indigenous people and poor peasants to leave their land for the benefit of foreign and local mining, plantation and logging corporations. Thus, the people being displaced and dispossessed of their land are resisting and are relying on the armed democratic revolution to solve the land problem by undertaking genuine land reform.

9. Enemy of the Working Class
Duterte promised to end the practice of short-term contractualization, subjecting workers to a series of work contracts for less than six months. But he would make fun of his own lie by stating only fools could believe him because he would never do such a thing. Unemployment has worsened under the Duterte regime. Thus, the wage conditions of the working class have further deteriorated. 

The regime is bound by neoliberal policy of unbridled greed, which his economic advisers pursue. The capitalist employers are allowed to employ more five-month contractuals and to press down wages in the face of growing unemployment. Thus, the surplus population in both urban and rural areas is rapidly increasing and is inclined to join the armed revolutionary movement. The pressing down of wages and suppression of workers’ trade union rights are effected by compulsory arbitration and state terrorism against the patriotic and progressive trade unions.

10. The Misogynist and Anti-Church Demagogue
To entertain his followers, Duterte loves to use vulgarity to slander and humiliate the women and the bishops and priests of the Catholic and other Christian churches. It is his way of generating an image of the strong-man in the same way that he uses the mass murder of the poor tagged as drug suspects and the social activists tagged as “Red”. 

In fact, he has threatened to have his armed minions to shoot women suspected as NPA fighters in the vagina and to kill bishops and priests whom he ridicules as useless, stupid and gays because they are defending the people’s rights and opposing his mass murder of the poor people tagged either as drug users and peddlers or as “communist terrorists”. 

Already in power, he is not at all afraid of what the women’s movement and the churches can do to defend themselves because he is confident that he can prevail with the use of the government, opinion and poll surveys and mass media and he can also use the Comelec and the military to rig any process to determine the people’s will, like the forthcoming elections. It is after being elected to the highest office that the modern bourgeois tyrant or fascist dictator can do anything criminal with impunity. It takes an armed revolution to overthrow such a monster.###

Duterte is the best recruiter and best transport and supply officer

By Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant | March 23, 2019

The Filipino people and the revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) have a lot to thank Duterte for. Though unwittingly, like the tyrant Marcos in his own time, Duterte has become the best recruiter and the best transport and supply officer of the New People’s Army (NPA).

As the best recruiter of the NPA, Duterte has driven so many people to join the NPA by running a tyrannical, treasonous, mass murdering, plundering and inflation-generating regime. The people have no choice but to fight such an evil regime.

By terminating the peace negotiations, he compels the armed revolutionary movement to concentrate on intensifying the people’s war and cast away any illusion that this regime of terror and greed can negotiate social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict in order to achieve a just and lasting peace.

The more direct kind of assistance that Duterte gives to the armed revolution is splitting up his military and police forces into two parts, one part for psywar and mass intimidation and the other part for blind and deaf armed offensives against the people.

The part for psywar and mass intimidation is for engaging in fake peace-and-development activities, rounding up people for fake localized peace negotiations, fake surrenders, occupation of civilian offices, too many checkpoints, guarding pro-Duterte politicians and business enterprises, over-enlarged surveillance and intelligence operations, widespread red tagging, urban arrests and death-squad operations.

The part for combat is weakened with less personnel for field deployment. In any case, whatever is the number of combat personnel of the reactionary armed forces, they are rendered blind and deaf by the lack of popular support wherever they dare to move against the guerrilla fronts.

Duterte is the best transport and supply officer when he sends his troops and police to attack the guerrilla fronts. When they advance in superior force, the NPA retreats and gives the enemy an illusion of winning. But when they camp and take over rough terrain, their strength is thinned out and they leave gaps between units and make small detachments and patrol teams, which are easy targets for the counteroffensives of the NPA.

Duterte’s scheme to destroy the NPA in Mindanao and then in Luzon and the Visayas has utterly failed. The predictions of Ano and Duterte that they could destroy the NPA before the end of 2018 have proven to be false. Duterte’s prediction that the NPA would be destroyed before the middle of 2019 have been debunked by DND secretary Lorenzana himself who begged for more time until 2022.

The NPA has become stronger in Mindanao, with more enemy units being annihilated and disarmed. At the same time, the people’s war in Luzon and the Visayas has successfully intensified. Thus, Duterte is compelled to redeploy some of his forces from Mindanao to the Visayas and Luzon. The 75 percent of his military forces concentrated in Mindanao since 2017 are now down to 64 percent, according to inside AFP sources.

The diehard reactionaries like Duterte and his armed minions always fail to appreciate the strategic line of protracted people’s war in pursuit of the people’s democratic revolution. This strategic line gives the wide space and time for the NPA to grow from small and weak to big and strong and to lure in the enemy forces to spread out thinly in the countryside and to so many islands for NPA tactical offensives to become more effective.

It is impossible for the reactionary military, police and paramilitary forces to defeat the NPA through sheer military operations and puerile psywar. The NPA already has nationwide strength and is deeply rooted among the toiling masses. It occupies almost all the strategic areas favorable for guerrilla warfare in the stage of strategic defensive and for the prospective regular mobile warfare in the strategic stalemate.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has wisely changed the NPA force structure, with 40 percent of its units relatively concentrated for tactical offensives and 60 percent relatively dispersed units for mass work in each of the 110 guerrilla fronts. By seizing more arms from the enemy forces, the NPA is increasing its ability to hit the weak points of the enemy at will all over the archipelago.

At this time, the termination of the peace negotiations seems to benefit Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship but in fact, it drives the broad masses of the people and the organized revolutionary forces to wage all forms of resistance to isolate and intensify them in order to isolate and defeat the tyrannical US-Duterte regime.

As an observer of the current civil war in the Philippines, I have learned from CPP revolutionary publications that the best way to frustrate Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship, to puncture its arrogance and debunk the fake surrenders and fake encounters staged by the regime and its armed running dogs is for the NPA to deliver more lethal blows on weak points of the enemy forces in the countryside and deliver head blows to the regime’s most brutal, corrupt and drug-trading officials in the urban areas. ###

The Role of the Communist International in the Formation of the Communist Party of the Philippine Islands (1930)

By JOSE MARIA SISON
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines
(Reestablished in 1968)

I. The Communist International vis-à-vis the Colonies like the Philippines
II. Initial Contacts with the Comintern and American Communists
III. Evangelista Visit to Moscow and Filipino Workers as Students
IV. The Foundation of the Communist Party of the Philippine Islands
V. First Congress of the Newly-Founded Party
VI. Underground Years of the CPPI, 1933 to 1937
VII. Legalization of the CPPI and Merger Party of the CP and SP
VIII. Founding of the People’s Army Against Japan and Dissolution of the Comintern

We joyously celebrate this year the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Third International or the Communist International (Comintern) by its First Congress in Moscow on 2-6 March 1919. The Comintern succeeded in encouraging the formation and development of Communist Parties in many countries and in advancing the world proletarian revolution. It has had far-reaching revolutionary influence and consequences beyond its 1943 dissolution.

The Comintern was the logical and necessary outcome of the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which made Russia the center of the world proletarian revolution. It was in clear repudiation of the bankrupt opportunist and revisionist line of the Second International, which had turned the social democrats into social-chauvinist and social-pacifist subalterns of imperialism in capitalist exploitation, colonialism and waging aggressive war.

Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines Jose Maria Sison (Reestablished in 1968)

Even as the Bolsheviks were under the pressure of the Civil War and the foreign interventionist war of the Entente powers, Lenin saw the necessity of founding the Communist International in order to promote the proletarian revolution, especially in Germany and other European countries exhausted by World War I and disgusted with their rulers. He was motivated by the spirit of proletarian internationalism and he calculated that further revolutions in Europe would be helpful to the survival of the Soviet Union.

Concurrently, he recognized the revolutionary potential of the working peoples in the colonies in the East as the imperialist system was breaking down. It was the duty of the Soviet people to themselves and to other peoples to advance the world proletarian revolution. When the revolutionary flow in Europe ebbed, the revolutions of the East were bursting out, especially in neighboring China.

I. The Communist International vis-à-vis the Colonies like the Philippines

The program of the Comintern optimistically declared that the imperialist system was breaking down and that there was ferment in the colonies, among the former dependent small nations, insurrections of the proletariat, victorious proletarian revolutions in some countries, dissolution of imperialist armies, complete incapacity of the ruling classes to guide the destinies of the people. The program expected the working class to create genuine order–a communist order–by destroying the rule of capital, making war impossible, abolishing state frontiers, changing the entire world into one cooperative community, and realizing the brotherhood and freedom of the peoples.

The great Lenin challenged the delegates to the Congress of Communist Organizations of the Peoples of the East in Baku on November 22, 1919: “You are representatives of communist organizations and communist parties of various Eastern peoples. I must say that the Russian Bolsheviks succeeded in forcing a breach in the old imperialism, in undertaking the exceedingly difficult, but also exceedingly noble, task of blazing new paths of revolution,whereas you the representatives of the working people of the East have before you a task that is still greater and newer. … The period of awakening of the East in the contemporary revolution is being succeeded by a period in which all the Eastern peoples will participate in deciding the destiny of the whole world, so as not to be simply an object of the enrichment of others. The peoples of the East are becoming alive to the need for practical action, for every nation to take part in shaping the destiny of all mankind.”

In his “Draft Theses on the National and Colonial Questions” for the Second Congress of the Comintern on June 5, 1920, Lenin declared: “…the Communist International’s entire policy on the national and colonial questions should rest primarily on a closer union of the proletarians and the working masses of all nations and countries for a joint revolutionary struggle to overthrow the landowners and the bourgeoisie. This union alone will guarantee victory over capitalism, without which the abolition of national oppression and inequality is impossible.”

Lenin further wrote, “With regard to the more backward states and nations, in which feudal or patriarchal-peasant relations predominate, it is particularly important to bear in mind: first, that all Communist parties must assist the bourgeois-democratic liberation movement in these countries, and that the duty of rendering the most active assistance rests primarily with the workers of the country the backward nation is colonially or financially dependent on”.

In the “Theses on the National and Colonial Questions” it adopted in July 1920 during its Second Congress, the Comintern proclaimed: “All communist parties must support by action the national-revolutionary movements in colonial countries. The form which this support should take should be discussed with the communist party of the country in question, if there is one. This obligation refers in the first place to the active support of the workers in that country on which the backward nation is financially, or as a colony, dependent.” The Program of the Comintern would subsequently include the following: “The Communist Parties in the imperialist countries must render systematic aid to the colonial revolutionary movement, and to the movement of oppressed nationalities generally.”

In its 5th Plenum in April 1925, the Comintern approved its first resolution on the Philippines. This urged the American communists to support the national liberation movement in the Philippines and to encourage the formation of a Communist Party from the revolutionized trade union and peasant movement as well as that of a national-revolutionary mass party from all groups actively campaigning for national independence. Through the Communist Party of the USA (then known as the Workers Communist Party up to 1930), the Comintern would take the task of encouraging and assisting the organization of the communist party in the Philippines.

The Filipino workers themselves would have to organize their own party, taking into account objective conditions and subjective capabilities. Since its Second Congress in 1920, the Comintern had adopted the terms of admission which required that all decisions of the Comintern are binding on all affiliated parties but at the same time enjoined itself and its Executive Committee to take into account the diversity of conditions in which the various parties have to fight and work and to adopt decisions binding only on matters in which such decisions were possible.

II. Initial Contacts with the Comintern and American Communists

The Comintern established a number of revolutionary organizations of working people. These included the Red International of Labor Unions (or RILU or its Russian abbreviation Profintern) which was organized in 1921 and the Peasants’ International (or Krestintern) in 1923. Subsequently, subsidiary offices of these were established in China in order to cover 3the Far East and Pacific area.

Under the auspices of the RILU, the Conference of the Pacific (Oriental) Transport Workers was held in Canton, China on June 18-24, 1924. Five Filipino delegates were able to attend. To enable them to attend, the American Communist named Alfred Wagenknecht (otherwise known by his alternate names as William Elliot or Mateus Girunas) brought the invitation to the Philippines, made a survey of the labor organizations and arranged the trip of the chosen delegates who accompanied him to Canton.

The delegates came from various Philippine trade unions. They were able to meet and discuss with labor leaders from China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Australia, USA, England, France and USSR. They were also able to bring home a resolution of the conference calling for the immediate independence of the Philippines from US colonial rule and another resolution urging the Asian workers and peasants to organize unions and struggle against imperialism and the local exploiters. Upon their return home, they were enthusiastic and formed a “Bolshevik secretariat” to issue a secret periodical.

The communication links with Comintern organizations, the flow of publications from the Communist International and consultations with visiting American, Chinese and Indonesian communists had begun and eventually helped to stimulate a leftward trend in the Philippine labor movement, amidst the worsening social conditions and upsurge of anti- imperialist and class struggles.

From 1924 to 1928, cadres of the CPUSA (known up to 1925 as the Workers Party of America and then as the Workers Communist Party), who were linked to the China-based RILU Pan-Pacific branch, visited the Philippines and interacted with Filipino labor leaders. They included Harrison George (who represented the union of the US railroad workers) and Earl Browder before he became the secretary of the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat (PPTUS). They represented the CPUSA-led US Trade Union Educational League (TUEL) in the RILU’s Pan-Pacific branch, located at different times in Canton, Hankow and Shanghai.

A permanent Pan Pacific Trade Union Secretariat (PPTUS) was established. On behalf of American workers, Harrison George pushed a resolution expressing solidarity with the workers and peasants in the Philippines and support for their struggles for national freedom and emancipation from exploitation. In its 15th convention on June 30 to July 1, 1927, the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas declared its adherence to the PPTUS and pledged efforts towards the realization of the Program adopted in the Hankow conference. The COF and the Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KPMP, National Federation of Peasants of the Philippines) affiliated with the PPTUS. The KPMP also started to communicate with the Peasants’ International (Krestintern).

III. Evangelista Visit to Moscow and Filipino Workers as Students

In March 1928 the RILU invited Crisanto Evangelista and Cirilo Bognot of the COF to attend the 4th congress of RILU in Moscow. At the same time, the Peasant International also invited Jacinto Manahan of the KPMP to attend its conference. They passed through Shanghai in February to consult with Earl Browder and other PPTUS cadres. Evangelista and Manahan stayed for three months in Moscow. They had lengthy discussions with the Political Secretariat of the Comintern on the question of organizing the vanguard working class party in the Philippines.

The Secretariat adopted a resolution on April 20, 1928, “The Main Tasks of the Communists in the Philippines”. It put forward the following: “the primary and necessary condition for the establishment of a communist party is the formation of an initiating communist group that has educated itself in the revolutionary spirit of Marxism-Leninism, that has studied the principal lessons of the experiences of the international communist movement, that has learned how to apply that experience to the particular conditions of the working class movement in the Philippines, and that can undertake to transform gradually the Labor Party (Partido Obrero) into a party of the masses, into an effective communist party.”

Evangelista proposed the sending of Filipino workers to study in Moscow in April 1928. He visited the Communist University of the Toilers of the East and talked with the director and educational coordinators of the Profintern and Krestintern. Earlier in October 1927, after his visit to the Philippines in September, Harrison George had already recommended that the Comintern invite six Filipinos every year to study in Moscow at the communist university.

Upon his return to the Philippines, Evangelista arranged for three young workers to study in Moscow. They studied at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East. This was a special secondary school for students from Asia, preliminary to admission to the higher institute Lenin School. The schoolmates of the Filipinos were from China, Indochina, Mongolia, Korea, India, Indonesia and the autonomous Soviet Asian republics in the Caucasus and Siberia. The biggest number of non-Soviet students were the Chinese.

The subjects in the university included dialectical and historical materialism, political economy, world history, history of the labor movement, natural sciences, physics and mathematics. They had rudimentary military training and educational tours. Their teachers were English speaking Soviet professors and an American communist cadre in the Comintern, Eugene Dennis, who gave lectures on trade unionism. He would later travel to the Philippines under the name of Tim Ryan.

One of the young Filipino workers finished the full course of three years and joined the KOMSOMOL or Young Communist League of the USSR. The American communist cadre Sam Darcy assigned to the Comintern gave him briefings on Party work. Upon his return to the Philippines in November 1931, he became active in the work of Party education. Another young Filipino worker who finished only two years of the course, returned earlier to the Philippines and became a delegate to the First Congress of the CPP on May 30, 1931.

In June 1929 two more Filipino workers were sent to Moscow to study at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East. One of them, Emilio Maclang, finished the three-year course and stayed on for one more year to translate texts and documents into the Philippine national language. Upon return to the Philippines in 1933, he was chosen as the head of the second line of leadership. He became the underground secretary of the CPP as soon as the open leaders of the CPP were imprisoned and banished in 1931.

American communist cadres appeared prominently as the most helpful to the Filipino cadres in the formation of the CPPI. But comrades of other nationalities, especially the Chinese were also helpful, especially because they had their own labor and youth organizations in the Philippines. The Philippine branch of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was established in the early 1920s, much ahead of the establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippine Islands (CPPI). “Comrade C” who led the aforesaid branch was a longtime close comrade of Crisanto Evangelista in the trade union movement. .

The Chinese communists organized the Philippine Chinese Labor Federation (PCLF). This had close ties with the COF and the Partido Obrero. In October 1929 the Chinese Communist Party and its Young Communist League decided that the Chinese communists should assist the efforts of Partido Obrero in forming the Communist Party of the Philippine Islands (PCCI). At the same time, the contacts of the PCLF with the Profintern were coursed through the leadership of the Partido Obrero. When the PPTUS transferred from China to Vladivostok, the PCLF continued to receive Chinese language publications through Partido Obrero.

IV. The Foundation of the Communist Party of the Philippine Islands

In the year before the establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippine Islands (CPPI), the Great Depression engulfed the world capitalist system. The economic and social conditions deteriorated rapidly. The toiling masses of workers and peasants were restive. Workers’ strikes and peasant uprisings spread. There was widespread clamor for national independence against the US colonial regime and class struggle intensified against the local comprador big bourgeois and the landlord classes. The objective conditions were rife for establishing the CPPI.

Twenty-seven out of the 35 labor federations and associations in the COF broke away to form the Katipunan ng mga Anakpawis ng Pilipinas (KAP, Proletarian Labor Congress of the Philippines). The KAP and the Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KPMP, National Federation of Peasants in the Philippines) became the organized mass base of the prospective CPPI. The PPTUS recognized the KAP as the legitimate representative of the organized workers in the Philippines. The CPUSA-led Trade Union Unity League (TUUL) reserved a seat in its National Executive Committee for a KAP representative by way of honoring the KAP.

After the formation of the KAP, the Committee for a Vanguard Workers’ Party was set up in order to recruit the initial communist members. By June 1930, there were 96 of them. Fifty per cent were industrial workers, 25% peasants and 25% handicraft workers and office clerks. Most were recruited from the KAP unions. At about this time, 60 Chinese communists from the PCLF and YCL were ready to join the CPPI but retained their autonomous all-Chinese nuclei.

A convention organized the party on August 26, 1930 and elected the First Central Committee, with 35 members. The Political Bureau was composed of Crisanto Evangelista, Antonino D. Ora, Jacinto G. Manahan, Juan N. Feleo, Felix Caguin Urbano Arcega and the Chinese “Comrade C”. It elected Evangelista as general secretary and Antonino D. Ora as chairman. Subsequently, the party was formally launched at a public rally on November 7, 1930, to mark the anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. During the rally, 3000 of the 6000 attending masses of workers and peasants filled up the forms to apply for party membership.

Among the aims of the CPP were the following: to struggle for the immediate, complete and absolute independence of the Philippines, to fight for the overthrow of American imperialism that dominates the Philippines, to struggle against the exploitation of the masses and to defend their liberties, to struggle for the overthrow of the capitalist system, to strengthen the unity of the labor movement and in particular the unity of the workers and peasants; to struggle against reformism and opportunism in the labor movement, to establish a Soviet or communist form of government under the authority and direction of the masses; and to unite with the revolutionary movement internationally, including the Soviet Union and liberation movements in the colonies.

Unlike other communist parties in East Asia, the CPPI was established legally and openly, despite its proclaimed aim of overthrowing US imperialism and the capitalist system. It was therefore vulnerable to illegalization a few months after its establishment. The US colonial authorities conducted close surveillance on and disrupted the legal mass actions of the newly-founded party in 1931. They made a mass arrest of the leaders of the CPPI and the delegates to the First Congress of the Party. They filed charges of sedition and illegal association against the party leaders, who were subsequently sentenced to imprisonment and exile in 1933 after a series of court appeals.

V. First Congress of the Newly-Founded Party

Soon after the founding of the CPPI, the Comintern sent the American communist Eugene Dennis (Tim Ryan) to the Philippines in order to inquire into and report on the Party’s situation and make recommendations. He reported that the CPPI had considerably broad influence and that its crystallization was of tremendous significance to the workers and peasants and to the revolutionary movement as a whole and laid the basis for the rapid development of the national liberation movement under proletarian class leadership. But he also found out that the party was lagging far seriously behind in the development of the strike movement among the workers (with only a few of the strikes led by the CPPI) and in organizing the growing mass discontent of the peasantry.

Following the recommendations of Dennis in his “The Present Situation in the Philippines and the Immediate Tasks of the Communist Party,” the Comintern advised the CPPI to hold the First Party Congress within six months and to make intensive preparations for it at lower levels of the party, including discussion of a draft program. The party was warned that its legal existence would be of short duration because US finance capital was preparing to suppress the party. It was therefore advised to build an underground apparatus that was not isolated from the masses but still linked to them through mass organizations and mass struggles.

The CPPI took the Comintern advice and held its First Congress on May 30, 1931. The 400 delegates were very representative of the toiling masses. The resolutions tackled the political and organizational problems in line with Comintern recommendations. The spirit of proletarian internationalism was manifested by resolutions in solidarity with the Chinese workers and in support of the Soviet Union and by decisions strengthening ties between KAP and the PPTUS as well as with the Trade Union Unity League led by the CPUSA. The Congress passed a resolution formally applying for affiliation to the Comintern. The CPPI received a reply dated September 7, 1931, with the following content:

“The Executive Committee of the Communist International greets the formation of the CPPI and approves the decision of the 1st Congress of the CPPI in May 1931 to request affiliation to the CI. This decision will be presented to the 7th World Congress of the CI for confirmation.

“The establishment of a new sector of the CI in the Philippines reflects the rapid growth of the national revolutionary movement in the colonial countries. Moreover, it marks an historical turning point in the development of the Philippine revolution away from the treacherous path of national reformism and on to the road of organized revolutionary struggle under the banner of the Communist Party, the vanguard of the working class. It indicates the developing revolutionary upsurge in the Philippines and the political awakening of the Filipino proletariat and peasant masses. It expresses their determination to fight for a revolutionary way out of the capitalist crisis, for the complete and immediate emancipation of the Philippines from the rule of American imperialism and its native lackeys, and for the establishment of a workers’ and peasants’ government.

The organized crystallization of the Communist movement in the Philippine Islands and its affiliation to the CI—the leader of the world organized revolution—further signifies coordination of the national liberation movement in the Philippines with the revolutionary struggle in other colonial and semi-colonial countries and with the proletarian movement in the Soviet Union and in the capitalist countries, particularly in the United States; and represents the surest guarantee for the victorious carrying through of the anti-imperialist and agrarian revolution in the Philippines. Simultaneously, it strengthens the international fighting front of the workers and peasants and colonial slaves the world over, and expresses their growing confidence to struggle under the leadership of the CI which alone is able to help and guide them to victory in their fight for final liberation from the yoke of imperialism.”

VI. Underground Years of the CPPI, 1933 to 1937

Immediately after the US colonial authorities cracked down on it in 1931, the CPPI membership of 2000 abruptly shrank to only a few hundreds. It was a membership with a generally low level of ideological and political consciousness and with no experience and organizational preparation against repression. The CPPI leadership had not yet applied Marxism-Leninism comprehensively and profoundly on Philippine history and circumstances in order to define the character of Philippine society and the corresponding stage of the Philippine revolution, the friends and enemies of the revolution, the strategy and tactics, basic tasks and perspective of the revolution.

After serving their prison sentences, the CPPI leaders were banished to different provinces in the Philippines. They could have easily escaped their banishment and pursued the line of anti-imperialist and agrarian revolution. But they did not. They preferred to be where they were banished, although they continued their links with the CPPI underground.

As second line leader, Emilio Maclang who had studied in Moscow under the auspices of the Comintern took the place of Evangelista from 1933 to 1935. He could not stem the weakening of the CPPI organization. Rufino Tumanda replaced him as general secretary from 1935 to 1938. He had been a Filipino member of the CPUSA and had founded the Filipino Anti-Imperialist League in Brooklyn. He carried the endorsement of the CPUSA on a bilateral basis and within the Comintern framework. He could not stop the shrinkage of the CPPI membership to only 197 in 1938.

Although the party membership remained small, the active party members within the KAP and the KPMP had wide influence in Manila factories and certain Central Luzon towns, respectively. Also, the CPPI-led League for the Defense of Democracy had increasing influence among the urban petty bourgeois, especially the intelligentsia. Its core included a few university-based intellectuals as well as Filipino members of the CPUSA (Dr. Vicente Lava was a prominent example) who returned to the Philippines. The Popular Front was formed in 1936 as an anti-fascist united front. It gave the underground CPPI a relatively wider room for maneuver.

Despite being underground, the CPPI could dispatch a three-man delegation to the exceedingly important 7th World Congress of the Comintern in 1934, with the assistance of the CPUSA. Because the congress was postponed to 1935, they had the opportunity to study for a year at the Communist University of the Toilers of the East.

The 7th Comintern Congress of 1935 laid stress on developing a broad anti-fascist and anti-war united front of communist and non-communist forces and targeting fascist powers as the gravest dangers to humanity. The congress also approved the 1931 CPPI application for Comintern membership although conditionally due to the inability of the CPPI to station a leading cadre in the Moscow headquarters.

A batch of five Filipino young communists went to Moscow in 1935 via China and the Trans-Siberian Railway. They were escorted by CPUSA cadre Isabelle Auerbach, wife of the writer Sol Auerbach, otherwise well-known by his pen-name James S. Allen. The Filipinos were able to return in 1937 and 1938 via Western Europe and the United States. Further attempts of the CPPI to send Filipinos to Moscow through China and the Trans- Siberian Railway failed in 1936 and 1937 because of the full-scale war of aggression of Japan against China.

The CPPI had a highly creditable record of proletarian internationalism from the beginning. It supported the revolutionary movements of the Indonesian, Chinese, Indochinese, Malayan, Indian and other peoples against the colonial powers and their puppets. Filipino- Chinese communists belonging to the CPPI either supported the Chinese revolution from the Philippines or went to China to join the CCP and the people’s army. Filipino members of both the CPPI and the CPUSA joined the Abraham Lincoln Battalion to fight on the side of the Spanish republicans against the fascist forces of Franco in the Spanish civil war.

VII. Legalization of the CPPI and Merger Party of the CP and SP

The CPUSA directed James S. Allen (Sol Auerbach) in 1936 to go to the Philippines to promote among the Filipino communists the implementation of the anti-fascist popular front line of the 7th World Congress of the Comintern. It also mandated him to work for the release of the imprisoned and exiled CPPI leaders and the legalization of the CPPI and explore the merger of the CPPI and the Socialist Party led by Pedro Abad Santos. Allen traveled to the Philippines as a correspondent of the prestigious liberal US magazine, The Nation. He and his wife Isabelle Auerbach stayed in the country from August to November 1936.

They knew very well the underground CPPI general secretary Rufino Tumanda, who had been a CPUSA member in New York City. He arranged their meetings with Crisanto Evangelista, Guillermo Capadocia and Mariano Balgos in their places of exile. He eventually organized a conference of 25 central cadres for briefing James S. Allen and consulting with him about the situation, views and plans of the CPPI. He was also able to consult and develop close relations with Pedro Abad Santos, chairman of the Socialist Party, the Supreme Bishop Gregorio Aglipay of the Philippine Independent Church and personalities in intellectual circles.

On September 20, 1936 the CPPI Central Committee issued a manifesto entitled, “Forward for the Formation of the Popular Front”. It called for an alliance of all labor, peasant and middle class organizations and political and social groups who were in opposition to the policies of the Commonwealth government, particularly the Quezon-Osmeña coalition and were willing to work for better social conditions and absolute national independence. It announced as the aim of the Popular Front “to save the Filipino people from the danger of imperialist war, dictatorship and fascism, to improve the conditions of the masses and obtain independence”.

On New Year’s Day of 1937, Quezon used his presidential powers to release the exiled CPPI leaders through conditional pardon. At first, they refused to accept the terms of release. But on October 16, 1937, they agreed to be released. Upon the request of the CPUSA, Quezon permitted Crisanto Evangelista to get medical treatment for tuberculosis in the Soviet Union, where he stayed for more than a year.

Against the reality of US colonial rule, the CPPI Central Executive Committee issued a statement on September 7, 1937 declaring that the immediate recognition of Philippine independence would save the Philippines from possible invasion by Japan. The statement prompted James S. Allen to write a long letter to Socialist Party chairman Pedro Abad Santos to explain that the demand for immediate independence or US agreement to such a demand would be precisely the invitation to invasion by Japan. The letter served clear notice to the CPPI to direct its fire against the threat from Japanese fascism. Much earlier in 1936, in view of the impending Japanese attack on Indochina, the Communist Party of Indochina had withdrawn the demand for independence from France upon the advice of the French Communist Party within the Comintern frame.

On August 18, 1938 James S. Allen was back in the Philippines to be present for consultations in the preparation and holding of important gatherings of the CPPI. The CPPI Central Committee held a meeting on August 28-30, 1938 to discuss and approve the two documents, “Memorandum on the Chief Tasks of the CPPI” and “Independence, Democracy and Peace”. The memorandum declared that the central task of the CPPI was to organize a national democratic front against Japanese militarist fascism as the main obstacle to the establishment of an independent democratic Republic of the Philippines and to ensure its security.

On October 29-31, 1938 the Third Congress of the CPPI was held, with the theme: For a National Democratic Front Against Reaction and Japanese Aggression, For Security, Democracy, Peace and Freedom! It marked the surfacing of the CPI from the underground to legality. The CPPI accepted the Commonwealth government, its constitution and the US promise of independence to be granted in 1946. The congress also served to merge the CPPI and the Socialist Party to become the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It approved a new party constitution and elected a new Central Committee, which in turn elected the Political Bureau. The highest party officials were Crisanto Evangelista as Chairman, Pedro Abad Santos as Vice Chairman and Guillermo Capadocia as General Secretary.

The threat of Japanese invasion was strongly discerned in the Philippines from 1938 onward. Japanese economic interests and pro-Japanese politicians, businessmen and organizations had become exceedingly conspicuous and alarming. Japanese aggression in China and against Indochina served as a forewarning to all Asian peoples. The Chinese residents in the Philippines were active in campaigning for support for China against Japanese fascism. The Spanish Civil War was also strongly felt in the Philippines as the Spanish superrich (Roxas, Soriano, Ayala, Zobel and Ortigas families) and the Spanish- dominated Dominican and other religious orders provocatively sided with the Franco falangistas and as the progressive forces and the people opposed them.

VIII. Founding of the People’s Army Against Japan and Dissolution of the Comintern

In less than two months before the Japanese invasion on December 8, 1941, the CPPI Central Committee called on its organized masses to prepare for armed resistance and appointed a second line of leadership headed by Dr. Vicente Lava to assume the leadership in case the first line of leadership would be eliminated by the Japanese invaders. Indeed, Chairman Evangelista, Vice Chairman Pedro Abad Santos and General Secretary Capadocia were soon captured in Manila by the Japanese fascists.

The People’s Army Against Japan (Hukbalahap) was founded only on March 29, 1942 and the plan for building the Barrio United Defense Corps was also laid out belatedly. The principal leaders of the CPPI did not heed much earlier the urging of “Comrade C” and other Chinese comrades in the Philippines to build the people’s army and incorporate the Chinese fighters, whose units would come to be known as the Wa Chi. It would be in the course of fighting the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945 that the CPP would be able to develop armed revolutionary strength, carry out land reform, expand the mass base and establish local organs of political power.

The CPUSA disaffiliated from the Comintern in 1940 after the Voorhis Act was adopted by the US government, requiring the CPUSA to register with the office of the US Attorney General as a foreign agent of the Soviet Union seeking to overthrow the US government. The CPPI thereby lost its connection with the Comintern. On May 15, 1943, the Comintern adopted a resolution to dissolve itself because of the raging war conditions.

The final words of the resolution are the following: The Presidium of the Executive Committee of the Communist International being unable in the conditions of the world war to call a congress of the Communist International:

  1. The Communist International, as the directing centre of the international working class movement, is to be dissolved.
  2. The sections of the Communist International are to be freed from the obligations of its rules and regulations and from the decisions of the congresses of the Communist International.
  3. The Presidium calls on all supporters of the Communist International to concentrate their energies on whole-hearted support for and active participation in the war of liberation waged by the peoples and states of the anti-Hitlerite coalition for the speediest defeat of the enemy of the working class—German fascism and its associates and vassals.“

QUESTION EVERYTHING / The problem with Jose Maria Sison

Introduction to the book “Strengthen the People’s Struggle against Imperialism and Reaction” read last February 8, 2019 at UP Diliman, Solair

Mong Palatino is a Filipino activist and former legislator

By Mong Palatino | Bulatlat.com | Pilipino
14 February 2019

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is that he has set a high standard on how to analyze the political conditions in the country. After reading his works, his comprehensive and sharp grasp of politics will be impressed upon you. As activists, we read and evaluate what many people, including what we call intellectuals and political analysts, say. Many of them can weave events intelligently, armed with diverse data, and advance interesting discourses. But the message seems lacking, it does not directly hit the totality nor emphasize what is to be done. In other words, unlike how Jose Maria Sison through his writings, breaks the dominant narrative and as importantly offers the progressive alternative.

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is that he shows it is possible to be a theorist without being complicated. Some critics say that Jose Maria Sison’s formulations are simplistic. Perhaps simple, yes; but simplistic, no. The pull of his thinking is deep and the view he puts forward are based on theory. But his articulation of points is easily understood even by ordinary readers who are not familiar with the language of the academe. Thus, we can say that his method is effective. It is now fashionable to let go of needless things or what is called decluttering which was made trendy by one called #KonMari. But it is not #KonMari but the example of #Jose Mari which can be our guide. That in writing we should discard too much flowery words and avoid analyses that create confusion instead of clarifying the issues. We write to arouse, organize and mobilize.  #KonMari says spark joy. #JoseMari says, spark a revolution.

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is that his teaching is consistent since 1960s to the present. According to his critics, the writings of Jose Maria Sison are repetitive. True, the flow of his fundamental arguments does not change. But the essence of things does not change. Our situation then holds true in the present. Even some scholars just added garnishing to their writings and incorporated postmodern views but the content is just hot air. It is easy for Jose Maria Sison to do what politicians and other apologists of the system do who constantly change and waver on their understanding of events in the country; but if the books of Jose Maria Sison are the basis, he chose to focus on the truth and divulge the rottenness of the system. It is also not true that his writings are repetitive. His arguments are anchored on particular and concrete situation, on the revolving and turning of situations, on the possibility of acceleration or remolding of the people struggling. He continues to condemn the imperialism he analyzed during 1960s but is focused on the particular political objective which is different then and now. Perhaps in the past, the analysis of imperialism was in the framework of how to serve the rectification campaign; today, it is on how to further strengthen the mass movement and create resurgence.

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is that his voice and intervention are being sought as a counter to the attacks of Rodrigo Duterte. Aside from Duterte being his former student, his blows are thrashings and are effective antidote to the poison spread by the president and Malacanang (presidential palace). Therefore, he is able to expose the posturing and lies of the regime. He easily connects the current crisis to the widespread scandals and how these should be challenged by the movement for liberation.

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is he clarified the correctness of the struggle even in times when there was no open threat of a dictatorship in the country. Duterte had no pretension that he is a dictator, pro-Marcos and a criminal. But his predecessor pretended to be democratic and respectful of human rights. Is the national democratic line of struggle still reasonable in times when there is supposedly space for progressive forces in molding democracy in the country?

In this book which contains the articles he wrote in 2014 and 2015, Jose Maria Sison referred to the continuing existence of a system that is anti-worker, anti-peasant and anti-poor. As chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, Jose Maria Sison studied the relation of countries, the contradictions in a capitalist system, and the effect on the country’s politics.  That is why it is a good guide to further understand the events today in Venezuela, the pivot to Asia of the United States, the rise of China as a superpower, the peace process, a summary of the history of the country’s protracted struggle, and other manifestation of the economic crisis.

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is that now more than ever his works are weapons of the people against reaction and a guide to the continuing revolution in the country.

The problem with Jose Maria Sison is that he will continue to be hated by the ruling class. And this book, together with the other books being launched today, is a testimony to why to date and even at the age of 80, he continues to be a pillar and an essential voice of the revolution in the Philippines.


QUESTION EVERYTHING / Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison

Mong Palatino is a Filipino activist and former legislator

Ni Mong Palatino | Bulatlat.com

Introduksiyon sa aklat na ‘Strengthen the People’s Struggle against Imperialism and Reaction’ na binasa noong Pebrero 8, 2019, UP Diliman, Solair

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison ay naglatag siya ng mataas na pamantayan kung paano suriin ang pulitikal na kalagayan ng bansa. Pagkatapos mo siyang basahin, tatatak sa iyo ang kanyang kumprehensibo at matalas na gagap sa pulitika. Bilang mga aktibista, binabasa at inaalam natin ang sinasabi ng maraming tao, kabilang ang mga tinatawag nating intelektuwal at political analyst. Marami sa kanila ay may matalinong paghahabi ng mga pangyayari, armado ng samu’t saring datos, at interesante ang sinusulong na diskurso. Pero parang kulang ang mensahe, parang hindi natutumbok ang kabuuan at hindi nadidiin kung ano ang dapat gawin. Sa madaling salita, hindi sila tulad ni Jose Maria Sison na kung paano sa kanyang mga sulatin ay binabasag ang dominanteng naratibo at kasing halaga nito’y naghahain ng progresibong alternatibo.

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison ay pinakita niya na posible ang maging teorista nang hindi kailangang maging kumplikado. Sabi ng ilang kritiko, simplistiko ang mga pormulasyon ni Jose Maria Sison. Maaaring simple, oo; pero simplistiko, hindi. Dahil malalim ang hugot ng kanyang pag-iisip at nakabatay sa teorya ang kanyang inaabanteng pananaw. Pero ang artikulasyon ng mga punto ay madaling maunawaan kahit ng mga karaniwang mamababasa na hindi pamilyar sa wika ng akademya. Kaya masasabing mabisa ang kanyang paraan. Uso ngayon ang pagbabawas ng mga bagay na hindi natin kailangan (decluttering) na pinasikat ng tinatawag na #KonMari. Pero hindi si #KonMari kundi ang ehemplo ni #JoseMari ang pwede nating gabay. Na sa pagsusulat ay winawaksi ang sobra-sobrang mabulaklaking mga salita at iniiwasan ang mga pagsusuring lumilika ng kalituhan sa halip na makapaglinaw ng mga usapin. Sumulat upang magpukaw, makapag-organisa, at magpakilos. Sabi ni #KonMari, spark joy. Ayon naman kay #JoseMari, spark a revolution.

Photo by Kodao Productions

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison ay consistent ang kanyang tinuturo mula dekada sisenta hanggang sa kasalukuyan. Sabi ulit ng ilang kritiko, paulit-ulit na lang ang mga sinusulat ni Jose Maria Sison. Totoo, ang daloy ng kanyang mga pundamental na argumento ay hindi nagbago. Subalit ang esensiya naman ng mga bagay-bagay ay hindi rin naman nagbago. Ang sitwasyon natin noon ay totoo pa rin para sa kasalukuyan. Kahit naman yung ilang mga iskolar ay naglagay lang ng palamuti sa kanilang mga sinusulat at nilangkapan ng mga postmodernistang tingin pero ang laman naman ay ampaw. Madaling gawin ni Jose Maria Sison ang ginagawa ng mga pulitiko at iba pang apologist ng sistema na pabagu-bago at urung-sulong ang pag-unawa sa nangyayari sa bansa; pero kung ang mga aklat ni Jose Maria Sison ang batayan, mas pinili niyang tukuyin ang katotohanan at isiwalat ang kabulukan ng sistema. At hindi rin naman totoong paulit-ulit ang kanyang mga sinusulat. Nakaangkla ang kanyang argumento sa partikular at kongkretong kalagayan, sa umiinog at pumipihit na sitwasyon, sa mga posibilidad na pwedeng pabilisin o hulmahin ng mga taong lumalaban. Ang imperyalismong kanyang sinuri noong 1960s ay patuloy niyang kinukundena ngayon subalit nakatuon sa partikular na layuning pampulitika na magkaiba noon at ngayon. Maaaring noon, ang suri sa imperyalismo ay nasa balangkas kung paano magsilbi sa kampanyang rektipikasyon; at ngayon naman ay kung paano higit na palakasin (resurgence) ang kilusang masa.

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison ay hinahanap ang kanyang boses at interbensiyon bilang pantapat sa mga atake ni Rodrigo Duterte. Bukod sa dati niyang estudyante si Digong, humahataw ang kanyang mga banat at epektibong antidote ito sa mga lasong pinapakalat ng pangulo at ng Malakanyang. Kaya niyang hubaran ang mga pagpopostura’t kasinungalingan ng rehimen. Madali niyang nauugnay ang krisis ng kasalukuyan sa mga sumusulpot na iskandalo at kung paano dapat ito hamunin ng kilusang mapagpalaya.

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison ay nilinaw niya ang kawastuhan ng pakikibaka kahit sa panahong walang lantarang banta ng diktadurya sa bansa. Si Duterte, walang pagpapanggap na siya ay diktador, maka-Marcos, at kriminal. Pero ang kanyang sinundan ay nagpakilalang demokratiko at kumikilala sa karapatang pantao. Makatwiran pa ba ang pambansang demokratikong linya ng pakikibaka sa panahong may espasyo diumano ang mga progresibong pwersa sa paghubog ng demokrasya sa bansa? Sa librong ito na naglalaman ng mga artikulong sinulat noong 2014 at 2015, tinukoy ni Jose Maria Sison ang patuloy na pag-iral ng isang sistemang kontra-manggagawa, kontra-magsasaka, at kontra-maralita. Bilang tagapangulo ng International League of Peoples’ Struggle, inaral ni Jose Maria Sison ang relasyon ng mga bansa, ang mga kontradiksiyon sa sistema ng kapitalismo, at ang epekto nito sa pulitika ng bansa. Kaya mainam itong gabay upang higit na maunawaan ang nangyayari ngayon sa Venezuela, ang pivot to Asia ng Estados Unidos, ang pag-angat ng Tsina bilang superpower, ang dinaanang proseso ng usapang pangkapayapaan, ang buod ng kasaysayan ng mahabang pakikibaka sa bansa, at ang iba’t ibang manipestasyon ng krisis sa ekonomiya.

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison, ngayon higit kailanman, ang kanyang mga sulatin ay sandata ng mamamayan laban sa reaksyon at gabay sa pagpapatuloy ng rebolusyon sa bansa.

Ang problema kay Jose Maria Sison ay patuloy siyang kinamumuhian ng naghaharing uri. At ang librong ito, kasama ang iba pang inilulunsad sa araw na ito, ay patunay kung bakit hanggang sa kasalukuyan at kahit sa edad na 80, siya ay nananatiling isang haligi at mahalagang boses ng rebolusyon sa Pilipinas.

ON THE BOMBING OF THE CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL IN JOLO CITY

Comment by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 29, 2019

First of all, I wish to express most heartfelt sympathy to those killed and wounded in the bombing of the Catholic Cathedral in Jolo City and to all their families and friends. As a matter of principle, I condemn the bombing as an act of terrorism directed against civilians and a place of worship. 

I agree with the Catholic clergy and laity and other people on holding Duterte responsible for inciting the violence against the Catholic Church. This tyrant has called on his followers to kill and rob the bishops whom he has maligned as useless and do nothing else but enrich themselves.

The local authorities and the people of Jolo have observed that the military minions of Duterte have been tightly guarding the Cathedral for a long time under conditions of martial law. They are surprised how the bombers were able to penetrate the military cordon. 

Whoever did the bombing, Duterte will seek to benefit from the terrorist act again by using it as an excuse for further prolonging martial law in Mindanao or even for proclaiming it nationwide or worst of all, for amending the Human Security Act to make it an instrument of state terrorism far worse than martial law.

In line with his violent personality, Duterte will call for more measures of state terrorism under martial law and be oblivious to the fact that martial law failed to stop the bombing. Martial law has been violative of human rights and has served to facilitate state terrorism as well as to embolden the terrorism of the US CIA-created Islamic State and other groups that physically attack civilians..###

Duterte sets the stage for bigger war in Bangsamoro

Comment by Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 20, 2019

The MILF seems to be satisfied with the BOL. But many people and forces in Bangsamoro are resolutely and vigorously opposed to it. They call it BOL-shit. 

Those prominently opposed include the MNLF under the leadership of Nur Misuari, several sultans and government officials from the level of governor to mayor in Sulu, Lanao and Maguindanao provinces. 

Both the governor and sultan of Sulu are openly and strongly against the BOL. The former filed before the Supreme Court the petition to freeze the plebiscite on BOL on constitutional grounds. Even Duterte did a double face or had no choice in acquiescing to the filing of the petition.

Thousands of MNLF followers in red shirts and Cotabato city officials made it a point to demonstrate at city hall to counter Duterte’s presence and campaign for BOL in the vicinity. In Maguindanao, the BIFF and other forces do not agree with MILF’s collaboration with Duterte on BOL. 

Duterte presumes wrongly that the Maranaws are in his pocket. Despite his claims to being a Maranaw, he is now hated by the Maranaws for destroying Marawi City, failing to make prompt rehabilitation and preventing the residents from returning to their homes and livelihood.

Duterte is quite heavy-handed and yet so sloppy in failing to offer satisfactory terms and secure the agreement of those strongly opposing the BOL. He is railroading the BOL through the plebiscite, under the duress and unfair condition of martial law. 

He is setting the stage for a bigger armed conflict in the Bangsamoro and adjoining areas. The MNLF enjoys the support of the OIC and is angry that previous agreements and arrangements it has made with the Manila government under OIC auspices are being swept away so arbitrarily by Duterte.

The main enemy of the Bangsamoro is still the oppressive Manila government that violates their right to self-determination. What Duterte is doing is to use the BOL to divide and rule the Bangsamoro by making the various Bangsamoro forces fight each other. 

Although Duterte comes from Mindanao, he is in cahoots with the oligarchs of “imperial Manila and Luzon” in subjugating the Bangsamoro and in controlling and plundering their human and natural resources in collaboration with imperialist powers. ###

Peace agreement is more plausible and less costly than for GRP to destroy the revolutionary forces

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 10, 2019

On the surface, Duterte’s threat to arm mayors and “every one” (or the public) sounds very offensive to the revolutionary movement. 

In that sense, the revolutionary movement can easily make a riposte that the arms put in the hands of so many people can be ultimately turned against the Duterte regime because of its policies and acts detrimental to the people.

But I also take note of Duterte’s qualification of his threat that he would be willing to go back to peace negotiations on his premise that the revolutionary movement could tone down its offensives against the military and police.

There is some silver lining in his threatening statement: that he is willing to engage in peace negotiations. In this regard, the NDFP is open to exploring whatever opening the GRP is willing to offer.

If peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP resume and reach a point where substantial agreements are made, ceasefire can be agreed upon by the two negotiating parties.

In the next three years, it is possible for the GRP and NDFP to make a peace agreement if the Duterte regime is serious and sincere about negotiating and ending its all-out war against the revolutionary forces and the people.

It is even more plausible and less costly for a peace agreement to be made by the two parties than for the GRP to seek in vain the destruction of the revolutionary forces in the next three years. ###