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

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 | | 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 |

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.


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. ###

Reset of deadline for scheme to destroy the NPA will surely fail as people’s war will intensify

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 9, 2019

The Duterte regime has reset by three years the deadline for its scheme to destroy the New People’s Army. The scheme will surely fail from day to day, week to week, month to month and from year to year as the NPA will intensify tactical offensives and mass work. The same military and police of the same exploiting classes cannot accomplish in 3 years what they failed to accomplish in 50 years.

In the next three years, Duterte himself will have difficulty surviving politically. These are lameduck years for him, during which infighting among his followers will be debilitating and challenges will rise from within the ruling system as well as from the revolutionary forces. 

Duterte used up his first three years to discredit himself by engaging in treasonous and tyrannical acts, mass murder and mass intimidation, inordinate corruption, economic mismanagement and causing runaway inflation and sell out of sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea to China.

Were Duterte regime willing to engage sincerely and seriously in peace negotiations with the NDFP to address the roots of the armed conflict and make agreements on social, economic and political reforms, a just peace could be attained in less time than three years and at far less cost in contrast to the enemy’s futile military campaigns that are costly in terms of blood and public money. 

The problem with the Duterte regime is that it thinks peace negotiations are merely for the surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces and that the sincerity of the NDFP is merely the willingness to surrender to the unjust ruling system of big compradors, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats like Duterte. 

The demand that the peace negotiations be held in the Philippinines is calculated by the Duterte regime to put the NDFP negotiating panelists, consultants and resource persons under the regime’s surveillance, control, duress and manipulation, reducing the peace negotiations to the status of the fake localized peace talks.###

It is correct for NDFP to be for peace negotiations and expose Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 7, 2019

It is correct for NDFP to be ever willing to negotiate peace with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in order to stress the fact that the Duterte regime has been responsible for all-out war since 2016 and for the termination of the peace negotiations since 2017 and has no real intention to engage in these because these would block the Duterte scheme of declaring martial law nationwide, rigging the May 2019 elections if at all held and imposing a fascist dictatorship on the people through charter change to a bogus kind of federalism. 

The burden of proving that Duterte is willing to engage in peace negotiations belongs to him, not the NDFP. He is still engaged in self-contradictory statements like being willing to negotiate but dictating preconditions that render negotiations impossible. He has also to prove that he is in command of his own wits and his own subordinates like Lorenzana because they are increasingly exposing themselves as hypocrites combining a bit of peace pretense and obsession with all-out war against the people and the revolutionary forces.

In any case, the crisis of the already rotten ruling system and the treasonous, tyrannical, brutal and corrupt Duterte regime are generating the favorable conditions for the people’s war for the people’s democratic revolution. Thus, the broad masses of the people are waging all forms of resistance. So long as the Duterte regime engages in all-out war against the national and democratic rights and interests, it is just for the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces to resist in every possible and necessary way.

The previous scheme of the Duterte regime to destroy the revolutionary movement before the end of 2018 has already proven to be a complete failure. The reactionary armed forces, police and auxiliary forces have failed to destroy even a single guerrilla front anywhere in the Philippines and not even in Mindanao where martial law has been imposed. They can keep on moving their goal for destroying the revolutionary movement but the Filipino people and the revolutionary forces will keep on advancing in struggle and celebrating their victories from month to month and from year to year until the tyrannical and corrupt Duterte regime is gone.

It is foolish and self-defeating for the Duterte regime to wage an all out war and commit barbarous acts of state terrorism against the people and all democratic forces, whether these are engaged in armed struggle or not. The people’s war in the countryside is advancing while the broad united front and democratic mass movement in the urban areas are rising up to oust the Duterte regime. 

The Duterte regime needs the peace negotiations more than the NDFP does even if only as a futile tactic to confound the opposition and confuse the public. But the NDFP is highly principled and competent to stand firmly for the national and democratic rights and interests of the people in the exploration of peace negotiations, actual peace negotiations and otherwise. ###

On the failure to destroy the revolutionary movement and the possible ouster of Duterte

By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
January 5, 2019

In the last quarter of 2017, Duterte’s highest military subordinates were claiming to be able to destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) before the end of 2018. They have utterly failed.

They have moved their goal further to the middle of 2019. They will certainly fail again. It is pure hallucination for them to imagine that they can easily destroy an armed revolutionary movement that has grown in strength by fighting a 14-year fascist dictatorship and the strategic plans of military suppression by a series of pseudo-democratic regimes.

The reactionary military and police are in a more difficult situation than ever before. Their strength is actually limited and insufficient to destroy the revolutionary movement. The reactionary government is bankrupt and is offending the people for raising taxes that are wasted on military expenditures, bureaucratic corruption, overpriced infrastructure projects and foreign debt service.

Worst of all, the military and police are ineffective against the revolutionary movement because they serve the narrow interests of a tyrannical regime and the exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. Heaviest burden of the military and police is a president who publicly admits being a murderer, rapist, plunderer and who incites them to commit mass murder and human rights violations. 

A broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces is becoming stronger and is gaining support from military and police officers who are critical of the treasonous, tyrannical, brutal and corrupt character of the Duterte regime and Duterte himself and who are now readying their withdrawal of support from this regime in conjunction with the legal mass protest actions. 

The NDFP encourages and supports the broad united front and mass movement to oust Duterte from power. Definitely, it appreciates highly the expected intensification of NPA tactical offensives as contributory to the weakening, isolation and overthrow of the Duterte regime.###


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

The Filipino people expect that this year, 2019, the socioeconomic and political crisis of the ruling system will worsen and that the Duterte regime will not solve or soften but will even aggravate the crisis by imposing heavier taxes and causing the prices of basic goods and services to rise further and to use the tax revenues and public debt to feed bureaucratic corruption and raise spending for the military and police in order to carry out his terrorist all-out war aimed at suppressing the revolutionary movement of the people.

Within the year, the Duterte regime will further inflict grave social and economic suffering on the people and unleash mass murder and other human rights violations in a futile attempt to destroy the armed revolutionary movement and intimidate the people. The state terrorism will victimize not only the toiling masses of the people but also the middle social strata and even those in the upper classes who do not belong to the small and narrow ruling clique of Duterte. 

Duterte is hellbent on imposing on the people a fascist dictatorship ala Marcos by using de facto or proclaimed martial law nationwide in the name of anti-terrorism in order to ensure control of the results of the May 2019 elections (if still to be held) and the railroading of charter change for a bogus kind of federalism in which the fascist dictator centralizes powers in his hands and handpicks his regional and provincial agents among the local dynasties and warlords.

Duterte is not interested in serious peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict and make comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. He has issued proclamations and executive orders in order to terminate peace negotiations and further render them impossible during his rule. What he wants is the impossible, which is the surrender of the revolutionary movement of the people.

In view of the foregoing, what are the expectations of the people from the various revolutionary forces? The answer comes from the revolutionary publications that disseminate the decisions and plans of the leading organs of the revolutionary forces in the Philippines.

1. The Communist Party of the Philippines will perform its overall leading role in the people’s democratic revolution promptly, correctly and clearly. It will base its plans and directives on the strength accumulated in 50 years of revolutionary struggle and the current circumstances and demands of the people. It will carry out the tasks to further strengthen and advance the Party and the revolutionary movement of the people.

2. The New People’s Army(NPA) will intensify its tactical offensives to defeat the campaign of the enemy to destroy it while carrying out agrarian revolution and mass work. The successful NPA offensives in guerrilla warfare based on an expanding and deepening mass base will serve to strengthen the revolutionary movement by seizing arms from the enemy forces and will expose the lies of the enemy which misrepresent the character and status of the people’s army and seek to mislead the people. The intensified offensives are meant to develop a fully armed company per guerrilla front and fulfill the maturation of the strategic defensive and proceed to the strategic stalemate in a few year’s time.

3. The various types of mass organizations will be expanded as the source of strength of the CPP, NPA and the people’s democratic government. The urban-based mass organizations will supply more workers and educated youth to serve in the rural areas and in thepeople’s army. The rural-based mass organizations are urgently needed for direct support to the people’s democratic government and to the entire armed revolutionary process. The members of the mass organizations qualify as members of the local organs of political power, the people’s militia and self-defense units.

4. The people’s democratic government will be strengthened at all possible levels in order to take charge of administration and programs for the benefit of the people, such as land reform, public education, production, health and sanitation, cultural work, defense, arbitration and people’s court, environmental protection and disaster relief. The people’s government will support and facilitate the mobility and tactical offensives of the people’s army.

5. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP will further strengthen itself as the most consolidated realization of the national united front but will be able to cooperate with all possible allies in the broad united front in order to isolate and oust the Duterte regime from power. The NDFP is authorized to be open to peace negotiations with the current and prospective regime of the reactionary government but its principal work now is to work for the ouster of the Duterte regime.

We expect that the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces will win ever greater victories in the next year and thereafter. The accumulated victories of their struggle in the 50 years of revolutionary struggle since the founding of the Party under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism ought to inspire them to confront and defeat the US-Duterte regime and make further advances in the struggle for national and social liberation against the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. ###

On the pen and the gun

The CPP’s 50-year Cultural Achievements
Keynote to Golden Festival
December 29, 2018

Julie de Lima

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it.

Karl Marx, The German Ideology

Honored guests, comrades and friends!

I am honored to be able to address you today in celebration of the founding anniversary of the Reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which completed its 50th year three days ago. It is still fitting to have the celebration today because the Congress was still going on finalizing the documents and the program for distribution to the general membership.

My address on the 50-year CPP’s cultural achievements was intended to be short and sweet because Joma has written much on the subject in “Revolutionary Literature and Art in the Philippines from 1960s to the Present,” What I mean by CPP cultural achievements is the impact and influence of the Party’s cultural and artistic endeavors on Philippine society and the Filipino people’s revolutionary struggle, but not that all works cited are by Party members. 

To paraphrase the great Mao Zedong, successful revolutions employ two weapons: the pen and the gun, the cultural and the military. “To defeat the enemy, we rely primarily on the people’s army wielding the gun.  But this is not enough, we must also have an army wielding the pen.”  

It is significant that Mao mentions the pen first before the gun. Our experience shows that we must first arouse before we can organize and then mobilize people, whether it is in taking up the pen, or the gun, or further, the gun and the pen. Reviewing its 50 years of uninterrupted revolutionary struggle, we can say that the CPP has been successful in wielding both weapons,

The CPP takes the stand that even before wielding the gun, it must start wielding the pen.   Its progressive precursors understood this well  from the the historical experience of the Filipino people. In the old democratic revolution, our revolutionary ancestors waged  the First Propaganda Movement. With pens, they lobbied for reforms in the Spanish Cortes (legislature) pressing for the recognition of the Philippines as a province of Spain equal to its provinces in the Iberian Peninsula. Graciano Lopez Jaena, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Jose Rizal published La Solidaridad. Rizal wrote the novels Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo exposing the exploited and oppressed conditions of  Philippine natives under Spanish  yoke.

Having failed in the reform movement, Rizal returned home and founded La Liga Filipina, which Andres Bonifacio joined before founding  the Katipunan to finally fight for independence with the gun.  

When the Katipunan opted to wield the gun, it did not drop the pen. It wielded the pen to power the gun. Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto (Dimas Ilaw) collaborated on writing the Kartilya ng Katipunan, , a primer on how Katipunan members should conduct themselves in the fight for freedom. Bonifacio wrote the poem “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa” to instill patriotism, defense of and struggle to free the motherland at the price of sacrifices.  Jacinto edited the Katipunan organ Kalayaan, wrote manifestoes, essays and poems on freedom, work, faith, and patriotism to facilitate recruitment of members for the armed revolution, and inspire and guide the people.  

The Second or New Democratic Propaganda Movement (1959-1968)

The CPP precursors were at first informal and voluntary discussion groups, well read in liberal, progressive and Marxist-Leninist-Maoist  literature (Marxist philosophy, political economy and revolutionary practice) who whiled away their time to discuss ideas that they could not find in classrooms. They  formed small university-based groups and associations—put up their cultural, literary and artistic instruments, such as the irregular and  financially unstable little magazines (Fugitive Review, Cogent, and Diliman Observer) and rode on or used existing publications such as the UP student papers Philippine Collegian (weekly), Collegian Folio (monthly) and Literary Apprentice of the UP Writers’ Club, which had large circulation (as these catered to the  UP student body and alumni) and the quarterly Diliman Review  for their creative production of progressive propaganda literature, such as essays, poetry and literary criticism, still much influenced by progressive liberal ideas. 

When the Student Cultural Association of the UP (SCAUP) was organized, its propaganda vehicles expanded to include frequent forums and symposia in addition to the formal and informal discussion groups  to raise the political and ideological consciousness of its members and associates.  It had guest speakers from outside UP and progressive visiting foreigners. The subjects included the semi-feudal and semicolonial domestic conditions, imperialism, socialism, the Cold War and other world developments that could not be found in the university curricula. These discussion groups predated the campus teach-ins popularized by the Students for a Democratic Society from 1965 to 1968 to oppose the US war of aggression in Vietnam.

SCAUP’s initiatives served to break through the dominant climate of anti-communism flowing from the US McCarthyite witch hunt and the religious sectarianism of the feudal-patriarchal and comprador culture into the university and the country.  It served as a university within the university.  Its objective of continuing the unfinished Philippine revolution went beyond the UP confines and liberal parameters. With the defeat and almost total silence of the old merger party of the communist and socialist parties in most of the 1950s, SCAUP picked up the call of Claro Mayo Recto, a progressive nationalist and anti-imperialist, for a second propaganda movement but went beyond his call for nationalism to adopt a socialist perspective.  

SCAUP also formed regular clandestine study groups to study such works as the  Communist Manifesto, Dialectics of Nature, Materialism and Empirio Criticism, Wages, Prices and Profit, Mao’s Selected Works, “On Contradiction” and “On Practice”. Some like Edberto Villegas and a few others ventured to read and discuss Das Capital. Ideological work was very important because among the activists not a few were somehow influenced by  aesthetic theories and works adhering to currents as art for art’s sake, petty bourgeois self-titillation, mystical flights or art supposedly transcending classes but truly in the service of the exploiting classes. 

SCAUP cooperated with the UP Journalism Club, the Philippine Collegian, the UP Writers’ Club and the fraternities and sororities to promote its political line and advocacies, such as the fight against the anticommunist witchhunt undertaken by the Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities. Its members associated with progressive elders like the revolutionary poet and novelist Amado V. Hernandez, Jose Lansang, Renato Constantino,  Andres Cristobal Cruz and former members of the old merger party. They connected with trade unions and built contacts with student leaders in the downtown universities such as Far Eastern University, University of the East, Manuel L Quezon University, Philippine College of Commerce, Lyceum of the Philippines and others. 

An attempt was made to build a pre-party formation, the Alliance for Socialist Action (ALSA) consisting of activist leaders  among them Satur Ocampo, Carlos Padilla and others. It is unfortunate that we have not found an extant copy of its Manifesto that Joma drafted and I typed in multiple layers of bond paper with carbon paper in between each.  The project was dropped when some of its prospective founders joined the Progressive Party of the Philippines or Party for Philippine Progress, actually a CIA-instigated pro-US  religio-sectarian reactionary party put up to oppose the Filipino first policy of then President Carlos Garcia.

By 1963, the CPP precursors were able to establish Progressive Publications to publish the Progressive Review, which was relatively more stable than their earlier little magazines and the book Struggle for National Democracy (SND) in 1967However, they continued to use the Philippine Collegian and from time to time liberal publications such as the Philippines Free Press, Kislap-Graphic to which they submitted their literary works, press releases, statements and manifestoes. They made friends and recruited journalists and writers.

The writing tools were still the typewriter, the mimeograph machine-rented or owned, for periodikit & leaflets, and of course paints and brushes for posters, placards and streamers.

After Kabataang Makabayan (KM) was established in 1964, the national-democratic mass movement grew all over the country. Emulating Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto, KM had a cultural bureau which sought to organize writers and artists,and performers. The composer Felipe de Leon composed the music for the KM anthem. Amado V. Hernandez’s Kung Tuyo na ang Luha mo and other poems were set to music, and performed in dance and recitation. 

The KM systematized and conducted cultural work consistently. More  groups were formed. Social investigation and mass integration teams doubled as cultural teams to perform in factories, urban and rural communities, college and high school campuses where more performers were recruited and organized to popularize revolutionary songs and other art forms.

Doing propaganda and cultural work among the masses necessitated the use of the national language and the local lingua franca. Propaganda and other educational materials were translated into Tagalog.  English continued to be used for Progressive Review and other publications, including the book Struggle for national democracy published in 1967. The essays in this book  and statements and manifestoes were translated into Tagalog for distribution to the masses. Flyers and leaflets were printed in both Tagalog and English.

KM campaigned for the national language as the principal medium of education and literary development. University professors and instructors, high school teachers, and writers in English were encouraged to use, write, and conduct discussions in Pilipino. Tagalog and other local languages were used in the conduct of propaganda and agitation among the toiling masses.

The cultural and propaganda performing teams conducted systematic social investigation, mass integration, propaganda and organizing among the youth in urban and rural communities, in factories and school campuses (including high school) targeted for organizing into KM chapters.  Aside from staging  performances, they conducted discussion groups and meetings where  urgent issues of the day were taken up in addition to the  educational materials they brought with them, consisting of the KM Constitution and Program and mimeographed parts of SND. The schools for national democracy were organized.  

KM also stressed the importance of studying the works of great Marxist-Leninist-Maoist masters and other revolutionary literature among  activists who were honed to conduct social investigation, integrate with the masses and put what they learn into practice, in the spirit of following Mao’s mass line of learning from the masses to be able to teach the masses. 

In their mass work,  activists learned at first hand the concrete manifestations of the evils of US imperialism and their subservient domestic ruling classes of landlords and compradors; and the double exploitation and oppression these imposed on the toiling masses. They learned how to expose these evils, to imbibe the aspirations of the masses for a better life; and work out with them the tactics of fighting the manifestations of these evils in their localities. Thus they were able to produce propaganda, literature and art of social and revolutionary significance that easily resonated with the masses and inspired them to join the movement.

The CPP Reestablishment and Advance: the First Quarter Storm to Martial Law

Towards the CPP’s founding in 1968, intensive ideological, political and organizational work were conducted.  Aside from drafting and discussing  basic documents, including the rectification document, Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party, in preparation for the Congress of Reestablishment, revolutionary literary and artistic works were produced to inspire the masses.  

Philippine Society and Revolution was written shortly after the Party reestablishment, presenting from the standpoint of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism the main strands of Philippine history, the basic problems of the Filipino people, the prevailing social structure and the strategy and tactics and class logic of the people’s democratic revolution. First mimeographed in the last quarter of 1969, it was the main study material for the Party’s primary course but its circulation went well beyond the Party as this was published serially in the Philippine Collegian under the title Philippine Crisis and Revolution; the Collegian editor Antonio Tagamolila being a clandestine Party member. Its first printed edition was published in the third quarter or 1970, followed by the first foreign edition published by Ta Kung Pao in Hong Kong.

The central translation bureau was organized upon the the Party reestablishment. But the work went full blast only in the early part of 1970 when we able to organize several groups to translate the Communist Manifesto, Mao’s Selected Military Writings and Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Zedong, Lenin’s State and Revolution and Marx’s Wages, Prices and Profit, which were urgently needed for the Party secondary course.  

With the founding of the CPP in 1968, cultural work became much more systematized. The CPP more firmly wielded the pen and, shortly after, the gun. The cultural, the propaganda and the translation bureaus were organized under the Education Department. More cultural groups were organized in the regions, provinces and communities . NPA propaganda teams were dispatched to start social investigation, conduct mass work and build the mass base for more guerrilla operations.  Among the first groups they organized were those of cultural workers (painters, reciters of poems, actors, musicians, singers, dancers, etc) especially among the youth and the women in the communities.

1. Pre-Martial Law and the FQS

Cultural work was already well developed by the time the First Quarter Storm (FQS) broke out. Groups such as KM’s Panday Sining, Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan’s (SDK) Gintong Silahis and of the Philippine College of Commerce’s  (*now Polytechnic University of the Philippines) Kamanyang did outstanding work among youth organizations in Manila and became models for youth and student cultural groups that proliferated in the provinces and regions.

Performance groups arose in the late 1960s to present solo and choral singing, instrumental music, poetry recitation, dances and skits and to create illustrations on publications, posters and walls in order to enliven and invigorate the meetings, mass protests and workers’ strikes. 

Writers and artists organized themselves. Panulat para sa Kaunlaran ng Sambayanan (Pen for the propserity of the People-PAKSA) was founded  in 1971 by creative writers in Pilipino & English and other major Philippine languages,  who were determined to serve the Filipino people.

Fine Arts and Architecture students and young professionals from UP and other universities founded the Nagkakaisang Progresibong mga Artista at Arkitekto (United  Progressive Artists and Architects-NPAA) also in 1971. Most of them were members either of SCAUP or KM and had been very much involved in propaganda work in either of these organizations. 

Many creative writers and artists joined the underground and armed revolutionary movement and created more works about the dire social conditions, the sacrifices and struggles of the Filipino people. Literature and art flourished most among the NPA propaganda and cultural teams  with the masses in the countryside. The central and regional publications of the CPP, NPA, and NDF published songs, poems, short stories and illustrations. Cultural organizations published, performed or exhibited the literary and artistic works of their members. 

Songs, poetry recitations and educational lectures were popularized  through audio cassette recorders and players.  Revolutionary songs were recorded and reproduced for distribution to the provinces and regions for popularization. These were performed in celebrations and community gatherings in urban and rural communities. Primary and elementary school children sang them while at play.

The central publishing house was established as was the Revolutionary School of Mao Zedong Thought. It took charge of producing the stencils of Ang Bayan and other central CPP publications for distribution to the regions and more importantly for collating, selecting, formatting, printing and distributing  the seven-volume Philippine Selections of the Selected Works of Chairman Mao Zedong. The central publishing house had two mimeographing machines and several IBM ball-type electric typewriters to cope with the great volume of printing to be done. 

The portable V-type silkscreen printing was developed to decentralize the printing of Party and other publications for education and propaganda. This was also used for producing art works. The stencils were produced centrally for better quality control and sent out to the regional committees for reproduction (using the v-type portable printers) and distribution to the Party membership.  

2. Martial Law: from 1972 until the fall of Marcos in 1986

When martial law was proclaimed, artists and creative writers joined the underground and became Red fighters and at the same time practiced their craft.  Their works were published in the revolutionary publications.  

Many writers and artists became martyrs, and many more were imprisoned. (The latter were the lucky ones because quite a number were killed while fighting or captured and tortured to death.)

Fascist repression took a toll as Party cadres and members were captured and imprisoned. It was futile for the fascist regime to detain and silence them. But neither prison walls nor barbed wire fences could silence them. In prison, they reflected on their experiences, maintaining their strong ideological viewpoint and political  standpoint, nurturing and polishing their craft with even more revolutionary relevance.  

Arts and crafts flourished and flowed out of prisons to celebrate and inspire the struggling masses in songs, poetry, paintings, drawings, carvings, and  myriads of handicrafts from materials that could be found in prison.  Though they lost grip of the gun, the imprisoned cultural activists firmly grasped the pen to inspire their comrades and friends outside wielding both the gun and the pen.

The poems in Prison and Beyond were written in an isolation cell in Fort Bonifacio and smuggled out by the author’s defense lawyer, passed on to definite activists and sent abroad to be published by Epifanio San Juan, who led a signature campaign of prominent writers and artists all over the world for the author’s freedom. 

Prisons all over the country became crucibles of artistic creations, especially because despite the deprivations, these were ideal venues for reflection (even for those in isolation cells) and for continuous regular revolutionary education. ( songs, poems paintings, drawings, carvings, pins, cards, handicrafts and others). Their works could be brought outside in various open and clandestine ways; and were sold and circulated far and wide; to help boost the spirit of antifascist and anti-imperialist international solidarity among solidarity groups in Europe and North America and to a lesser extent domestically among allies and friends.

Among the outstanding songs created in prison were the lyrics and composition of Kay Taas ng Pader by Aloysius “Ochie” Baes, Awit sa Kasal by Jose Lunetaandthe music of Andres Bonifacio’s Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa by Luis Jorquein Bicutan. The Bicutan political detainees also wrote and performed plays on the struggles of the workers, peasants and the urban poor. They staged under direction of Behn Cervantes Bonifacio Ilagan’s Pagsambang Bayan, the Sinakulong Bayan or street version of the Passion of Christ and Aurelio Tolentino’s Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas (a play written 115 years ago in 1903 on the struggle against US imperialism (Bagong Sibol) with a look back on Spanish colonialism (Halimaw) and China’s economic dominance (Haring Bata) relevant then and still today.

Despite  intense repression, cultural and propaganda groups and cultural work  proliferated. Elaborate stage presentations and socially relevant mainstream movies were produced by such directors as Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, Behn Cervantes and Mike de Leon.  The movies had popular stars and were box office hits. Among these were Brocka’s  Bayan Ko Kapit sa Patalim (My Country, Grip the Knife), Insiang, Manila, sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag (In the Claws of Light), and Tinimbang ka Ngunit Kulang (You were Weighed but Found Short;  Bernal’s Nunal sa Tubig (Mole in Water), Himala (Miracle), and Hinugot sa Langit (Pulled Out from the Sky); and and Mike de Leon’s Batch ’81, Sister Stella L. and Kisapmata (Twinkling of an Eye). Many won national and international awards.

Graphic and visual artists organized themselves. Pablo Baens Santos,  Antipas Delotavo, Renato Habulan, Papo de Asis, Orlando Castillo, Edgar Fernandez, Al Manrique,  Neil Doloricon and Jose Tence Ruiz organized Kaisahan in 1976, which defined artists’  role in society and produced works depicting the oppression of workers, peasant and urban poor by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.  

Cultural groups and organizations proliferated and their various  productions increased. Anniversaries of the Party, NPA and NDF were celebrated with much cultural fanfare.  Revolutionary songs and poems were recorded in cassette tapes and distributed to the regions and provinces for popularization such that one would know the guerrila areas by hearing children singing.  

Anthologies of literary works and songs were published in the Philippines and abroad, under the direction of the Party’s  National Commission on Culture.  The Instityut sa Panitikan at Sining ng Sambayanan (Institute for the People’s Literature and Art-IPASA) published Akdang Pandigmang Bayan, Ulos; and Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win(1973); Hulagpos(1981); Mga Tula ng Rebolusyong Pilipino 1972-80; and more. 

Literary works circulated among the people.  Lightning cultural performances were held even in city centers.  Protest graffiti, periodikits and sticker-posters of various sizes could be found  on walls, waiting sheds, and inside buses and jeepneys.  A collective of creative writers and illustrators were able to illustrated version of Philippine Society and Revolution in Tagalog translation.  Prison & Beyond 1985 (JMS prison poems mostly) was published in 1985 and won the Manila Writers’ Award and later the Southeast Asian Write Award.   

National Midweek Magazine (1984-1991)and New Progressive Review;  together with Philippine Collegian, Diliman Review, as well as campus publications continued to criticize the fascist regime and reported on the state of the national-democratic struggle and on issues confronting the Filipino people.

T-shirts with slogans and creatively designed placards and streamers, to huge murals  and paper mache effigies were displayed at big marches and rallies. Protest music and street theater became widespread and popular through many small musical and theater groups based in unions, urban poor communities and schools, and through the more regularized or professionalized ones such as Philippine Educational Theatre Association (PETA). The resurgence of revolutionary art in the urban areas ran parallel to the constantly rising artistic and other cultural activities in the countryside.

To this day, the richest sources of literary and artistic works of revolutionary writers and artists are the central and regional publications and literary journals of the CPP, the NPA and the NDF.  They publish songs, poems, short stories, illustrations and comic strips, aside from disseminating news and information about the revolutionary forces and the people in their respective areas. For an enumeration of these publications, you may refer to 

The best known central publications are: Ulos  (literary journal of ARMAS-NDF),  Sine Proletaryo  (video production-CPP Information Bureau),  Kalayaan (Freedom-KM),  Liyab (Flame-KAGUMA) and Malayang Pilipina (-Free Filipina-MAKIBAKA). 

In  Northern Luzon:  Baringkuas (Breaking out-Cagayan Valley),  Dagitab (Spark-ARMAS-TK), Dangadang (Struggle-Northwest Luzon),  Ramut (Root- revolutionary edication and culture -Norhwestern Luzon) and Rissik (Light Rays – revolutionary cultural journal-Cagayan Valley). 

In Central Luzon:Himagsik (Revolt), Inang Larangan (Mother Field-cultural anthology, Central Luzon),  Lakas ng Masa (Strength of the Masses-Central Luzon), Dyaryo Pasulong (Forward newspaper-Revolutionary People of Mount Sierra Madre),

In Southern Tagalog region: Diklap (Spark-South Quezon-Bondoc Peninsula) and  Alab (Flame-a revolutionary publication for the masses in Mindoro),  In Bikol region: Gerilya (NPA Bicol Regional Command)  Punla (Seedling-literary publication-Bicol Region), Silyab (Flame – CPP-NPA in Bicol), and Ang Kusog (Strength – Masbate)

In the Visayas, Ang Panghimakas (Struggle – Negros Island), Ang Budyong (Trumpet – Leonardo Panaligan Command-Central Negros), Daba-daba (Panay), Sublak (revolutionary cultural magazine-Panay) Pakigbisog (Struggle – Central Visayas)

In Mindanao, Ang Kahilukan (NDF in Northern Mindanao), Asdang ( Advance – NDF-Far South Mindanao), Lingkawas (Liberation – CPP-Northwestern Mindanao), Pasa-bilis (NDF-Southern Mindanao), Sulong! (Advance – NDFP-Mindanao).

The CPP and the national democratic movement in both urban and rural areas gained momentum  and grew in size and strength during the pre-martial law and martial law rule of Marcos, despite  the  counterinsurgency strategy using the triad concepts of intelligence, psywar and combat operations under the AFP Oplan Katatagan.

Marcos’ assassination of Aquino led to an  upsurge in the antifascist struggle that before long convinced the US policy makers to drop Marcos, encourage a fraction of the military to organize themselves into the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM)  against Marcos and support the anti-Marcos reactionaries to try to drive a wedge between the rapidly  growing alliance  between anti-Marcos reactionaries and the revolutionary forces.   Marcos followed the US pressure to call for a snap election.  

The US-supported opposition candidate was Aquino’s widow, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, who since 1983 after her husband’s assassination had been working closely with the revolutionary mass movement. Unfortunately the CPP made a tactical error by calling for an election boycott on the ground that Marcos would stack the cards and win the elections anyway.  Thus the Party-led mass movement or advanced section of the broad masses missed  an opportunity to take advantage of the anti-Marcos electoral  campaign as venue for reaching the greater number of the masses  to raise popular consciousness from the usual politicking issues to more fundamental issues affecting people’s lives and to raise their struggle to the level of necessary reforms against the US imperialists and the worst among local exploiting classes of compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists that had further enriched themselves through land-grabbing and corruption with Marcos in power.  

Indeed Marcos won the elections using sheer fraud and intimidation. But this further so outraged the people that again they took to the streets. RAM took this as a signal and attempted a coup against Marcos. However, they were foiled by the Marcos loyalists in the military. Fortunately for the RAM, the mass movement combining with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (Church) led by Jaime Cardinal Sin and the Aquino supporters came to their rescue in the EDSA Uprising that led more of the military to abandon Marcos. Finally the Marcos fascist dictatorship fell.  

3. Cory Aquino’s regime: 1986 until 1992

Marcos’ fall catapulted Corazon Aquino to the presidency.  She declared a revolutionary government and made good on her word of freeing all political prisoners, against opposition from the US and the military. The goodwill built through the united front with the anti-Marcos reactionaries during the anti-Marcos struggle lasted for a while. Rumors were floated that a national reconciliation commission would be put up having the CPP founding chairman as head or that  representatives of the revolutionary forces would be appointed to the Constitutional Commission to draft the prospective 1987 Constitution.  

All these remained rumors as the US and the military were against having representatives of the revolutionary masses in these bodies and in other agencies of the government. However, three clandestine Party member became members of the Constitutional Commission. One of them was the movie director and revolutionary cultural activist Lino Brocka, who vigorously pushed for progressive reforms, especially in the field of art and culture but he resigned in protest when he saw that many of the policies adopted worked against the rights and interests of the Filipino people and took back to the streets and of course to directing social realist films such as Ora Pro Nobis that won him the Palm d’Or award and Gumapang Ka sa Lupak (Crawl in Mud).  

Other progressive individuals that Aquino appointed and later removed or resigned were Joker Arroyo, her first executive secretary ; Augusto Bobit Sanchez, her Secretary of Labor blamed by the reactionaries for the many workers’ strikes and the growing strength of Kilusang Mayo Uno.

Ceasefire negotiations were supposed to graduate into peace negotiations of substantive issues but failed due to the opposition from Aquino’s US handlers and the military. Aquino proved to be putty in the hands of the military of which she was to be the commander-in-chief. The presidential security guards with some reinforcements carried out the Mendiola massacre of peasants demanding implementation of agrarian reform on January 22, 1987.

By February 1987, Aquino unsheathed the sword of war. Behind the bourgeois constitutional processes, militarization was intensified and the fascist repression of the basic masses and the progressive forces returned and continued to be widespread. In June 1987 there were the attempts to assassinate Buscayno, the former NPA chief; and shortly after, Dr. Nemesio Prudente the revolutionary patriot ex-president of the Philippine College of Commerce and cooperator in the NDF founding.  

Then there were the assassinations of legal leaders of the national democratic movement, among them Rolando Olalia, KMU and Partido ng Bayan chairman and his driver Leonor Alay-ay who were tortured, mutilated and murdered on November 12, 1987, and Lean Alejandro Bayan secretary general, on September 19, 1987.

These atrocities were part of Aquino’s Oplan Lambat-Bitag I and II campaigns, with her AFP Chief of Staff and later Defense Chief, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos as chief implementor. The campaign did some damage to the revolutionary movement but failed to destroy its strong Marxist-Leninist-Maoist foundation even as the enemy campaign coincided with the growth of internal ideological and political errors within the CPP, the NPA, and the NDF, which loosened their grip on the gun as they did on the pen. 

The loosened grip on the gun was ironical because, the revolutionary armed struggle had reached a new peak in 1983 as both the urban and the rural mass movement and revolutionary propaganda successfully supported the  expansion efforts of the revolutionary movement in the countryside, especially the armed struggle. 

Ironically, the successes in the armed struggle induced erroneous notions of quick victory deviating from the line and strategy of the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war, of building strength in the countryside to surround the cities before the strategic offensive to seize the cities. Ideas of insurrectionism gained ground.  The Party and NPA leadership adopted a so-called strategic counteroffensive (SCO) program, whipping up erroneous currents in various parts of the movement, including the premature and unsustainable ”regularization” of the guerrilla units from the main formation of platoons into companies and all-out armed partisan warfare, the obsession with “general paralyzing actions” and the reckless concept of peasant uprisings.

Operatives of the NPA were dispatched abroad as early as 1983 or 1984 to find connections to the Soviet Union, wishing to acquire from there the  “heavy” weapons the leadership thought was necessary for raising the level of the armed struggle, even as the number of NPA fighters and the company formations had already started to decrease from 1986 onward as a result of Kampanyang Ahos hysteria and similar phenomena.  

The inroads and propagation of big errors and deviations in almost a decade were traceable to the main weaknesses and shortcomings in building the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally. Within the Party, the comprehension and distinction of what is right and wrong on many issues regarding the theory, principles, history and practice of the movement got blurred.

The Education and Propaganda Commission and the National Instructions Bureau were dismantled in 1982. Education work at the basic and intermediate levels was passed on to the territorial commissions and the regional committees while the Executive Committee of the Central Committee assumed responsibility for the advanced course and the publication of a theoretical journal. But these works were not attended to as the cadres were too busy trying to build up the factors for their would-be insurrections and seizure of the seats of power and in the process dropped the pen.  Attention to the ideological, political and organizational work at the basic levels and the localities slackened.

Liberalism ran rife, muddled thinking and confusion proliferated.  Trotskyism and Gorbachovism made some inroads among some leading cadres, the Party’s revisionist critique were muted or stopped, leading later to groups splitting from the Party and the people’s army.

4. Four succeeding regimes: 1992-2016 

The  four following regimes (Ramos, Estrada, Arroyo and Aquino II) were not much different from each other.  General Fidel Ramos succeeded Cory Aquino to the presidency (1992-1998).  Although as Aquino’s chief of staff and later secretary of national defense, Ramos obstructed peace negotiations with the NDF, he moved and made feelers to the NDFP for the preparation and resumption of the peace negotiations. The Hague Joint Declaration was signed and approved on September 1, 1992. Two years and six months after he assumed the presidency, the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations formally opened in June 1995. Negotiations succeeded in completing the first substantive agenda with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) between the negotiating panels. However, Ramos as GRP principal did not sign it.  

Notwithstanding the peace negotiations, Ramos continued his regime’s “counterinsurgency” plans under Oplan Bantay Laya III and IV.  The peace negotiations came under the rubric of the low intensify conflict strategy of these operational plans. The NDFP competently managed the propaganda and educational aspects of the peace negotiations and continued to wage tit-for-tat struggles to counter every attempt of the reactionaries and the military to undermine and violate the agreements reached. The start of the Ramos administration coincided with the start of the Party rectification movement.  

The significant losses in some parts of Party work–ranging from the Party itself to the people’s army, the united front and the mass movement, drove the  leadership to reassess their experience and identify the reasons for the revolutionary movement to fall into such a threatening situation.  They held the 10th Plenum which decided to conduct the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) in all aspects of the Party’s work.  The Party started again to tighten their grip on the pen and the gun. All the regional Party committees made their respective summings-up, identified their errors and weaknesses and started to correct and overcome them.  

The rectification documents, “Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors”, “Stand for Socialism against Modern Revisionism” and “General Review Of Important Events and Decisions (1980 To 1991)” were issued and distributed for study by the entire Party membership. The SGRM was a massive education movement conducted to reaffirm the CPP’s  ideological and political line. Regular Party education on the basic and intermediate courses were revived. Social investigations, including grievance sessions to ferret out errors and shortcomings, reassessments summings-up  were conducted to regain the trust and confidence of Party members and the masses, especially in the abandoned guerrilla areas 

NPA units worked hard to recover and expand the mass base in the countryside. The NPA strove to overcome the series of “counterinsurgency” plans of successive post-Marcos presidents after Aquino’s Lambat Bitag I and II, Oplan Lambat Bitag III, IV and Oplan Pagkalinga under President Ramos; Oplan Makabayan under President Estrada; Oplan Enduring Freedom (Bush’ so-called anti-terrorism plan) adopted by President Gloria Arroyo; and Oplan Bayanihan by Aquino II.

Incorrigible advocates of anti-Party ideas were either booted out or got out of the Party as they continued to attack the basic principles of the Party in an all-round way. They had to be combated. Wielding the pen, the loyal Party cadres and members set out to fight the propaganda battle on two fronts, the reactionary media of the ruling classes and those produced by the anti-Party breakaway groups that found favor in the enemy media. The anti-Party elements eventually nestled themselves in the reactionary regime, with some of them becoming highly placed officials in the government and becoming silent as they were too busy enriching themselves and building their mansions. The loyal Party cadres and members had to work doubly hard to be able to win over those whom the anti-Party elements had misled.  

Ang Bayan the Party organ was reoriented from the liberal and revisionist direction to which it was steered by the former editor who got enamoured with the Gorbachov’s  ideas of glasnost and perestroika and turned out be an incorrigible anti-Party element. Revolution the CPP theoretical journal was revived and carried the rectificaiton documents of the central organs and the regional committees as well as theoretical articles on people’s war, the united front and the international communist movement.

The regional Party publications that had fallen silent for some time were revived. They started to use the internet and posted their works. Cultural and artistic activities all over the country steadily picked up in variety, volume and quality reached during the anti-Marcos dictatorship struggle. 

Alternative online media outfits, such as Bulatlat and Kodao Productions, were established since 2001, and have since then published commentaries, special reports, multimedia productions and poetry. 

Like all his precedents since Marcos, Ramos  embraced the neoliberal policy regime of trade and investment liberalization, deregulation and privatization. He artificially buoyed up the economy with foreign loans and investments for a boom in private construction until the disastrous Asian crisis of 1997, at the expense of the people‘s sovereignty and national patrimony as he proceeded to sell off government corporations such as the Metropolitan Waterworks & Sewage System and even Fort Bonifacio to foreign monopoly corporations. 

When Estrada was elected and assumed the presidency in June 1998, he approved and signed the CAHRIHL. This  seemed to augur well for the peace negotiations.  But less than two months after, he ratified the Visiting Forces Agreement and the NDFP called him to task for violating Philippine sovereignty and integrity.  When the NPA captured and took as prisoners of war two ranking AFP officers, Estrada declared a unilateral suspension of the peace negotiations and the JASIG in May 1999. The peace negotiations stopped until it was resumed after his ouster and the assumption of the presidency by his vice president Gloria Arroyo.

Estrada’s tenure was very short. In October 2000 a corruption charge was brought against him involving the acceptance of bribes from a number of game operators. Impeachment proceedings were brought against him by leaders of the mass movement but the members of the Senate blocked the presentation of evidence.  As a result, mass protests mounted against him and on January 20, 2001, he was driven off Malacañang and his vice president Gloria Arroyo ascended to the presidency.  

During the mass campaigns to oust Estrada, Arroyo declared that if and when she assumed the presidency, she would “reverse the all-out-war policy of the Estrada government and resume peace negotiations with the  NDFP and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)”.  Shortly after being sworn into office, Arroyo reconstituted the GRP negotiating panel for talks with the NDFP.  Again, this seemed to augur well for the peace negotiations. 

In April 2001, formal talks in the peace negotiations resumed in Oslo, Norway, with the the Royal Norwegian Government as facilitator.  A second round was held in June with a four-day agenda to start substantive discussions on social and economic reforms.  However, the GRP panel was ordered to suspend the talks on the second day as a protest against the killing of the most notorious human rights violator during the Marcos fascist regime. Later Arroyo requested the US government to designate the CPP, NPA and the CPP founding Chairman as terrorists by November 2001.

In August 2002, shortly after the visit of US State Department Secretary Colin Powell to Manila, Arroyo declared all-out war against the revolutionary movement and ordered offensives under Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines, a US-instigated COIN plan against a so-called war on terrorism against various NPA guerrilla fronts. The USSD Secretary announced the listing of the CPP-NPA in the US list of foreign “terrorist organizations” and the NDFP chief political consultant among the specially designated nationals (SDGN) and specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) of the US Dept. of the Treasury.  

The military implemented the US-Arroyo campaign of terror under what it named Oplan Bantay Laya. Kidnappings, torture, killings of mass activists, including peasants, workers, students, human rights advocates and defenders, lawyers and priests ran rampant, surpassing post-Marcos levels. The mass movement responded with sizeable mass protests and demonstrations in the Stop the Killings campaign but could not muster numbers reaching hundreds of thousands to cause the ouster of Arroyo. Several books were published and circulated in the Philippines and abroad exposing the crimes of the  regime and complaints brought to agencies of the United Nations.

The Hacienda Luisita massacre of peasants in November 2004 with seven killed, more than a hundred, including women and children, injured, also more than a hundred arrested and subsequent killings of 7 supporters and advocates  sparked outrage among the people.  Artists and writers rallied to the cause of the peasants with songs, poetry, dances, paintings, drawings and other art works. Campaigns worldwide were launched  to condemn the massacre and support the cause of the peasants and sugar farm workers.  

Arroyo was brought to trial and found guilty by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Second Session on the Philippines held in The Hague, the Netherlands on March 21-25, 2007 for gross and systematic violations of 1) civil and political rights; 2)  economic, social and cultural rights; and 3)  right to national self-determination and liberation. Worldwide campaigns on these comprehensive issues were launched, boosting solidarity for the Filipino people’s struggle.

The terrorist listing met with mass  actions and demonstrations, editorial cartoons, internet postings, petitions and fund campaigns in several countries abroad among the Filipino community and solidarity friends  The proceedings and documents of the Tribunal were published in book form and online.  The trial itself was supported by a  broad range of organizations and prominent human and people’s rights activists, including lawyers, jurists, academicians, bishops, priests of various religious denominations, artists, etc. and was attended by hundreds of delegates and guests from 18 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It was well-covered by both Philippine and foreign media.  

To some extent, the campaign against the atrocities lowered the level of human rights violations.  When Noynoy Aquino (Aquino II) succeeded  to the presidency, the level of human rights violations and military atrocities remained where this settled toward the end of the Arroyo regime. Nonetheless, thiswas  still high enough for the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines, a global network of organizations campaigning for human righs and Filipino people’s rights, in cooperation with Permanent People’s Tribunal and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)  to bring  a case against him and his imperialist master US President Barack Obama.  The trial was held in Washington, DC on July 16-18 2015 and, found them  guilty of all the charges brought against them: gross and systematic violations of 1)civil and political rights, especially but not limited to extrajudicial killings, disappearances, massacre and torture, arbitrary arrests and detention as well as other vicious, brutal and systematic abuses and attacks on the basic democratic rights of the people; 2)  human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino people through the imposition of neoliberal “free market”  globalization to exploit the people; transgression of their economic sovereignty and plunder of their national patrimony and economy; and attacks on the people’s livelihoods  and the destruction of the environment; and 3) the rights of the people to national self-determination and liberation through the imposition of the US war of terror and US military intervention; as well as the perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes; misrepresentations of the people’s right to national liberation and self-determination as “terrorism” and the baseless “terrorist” listing of individuals, organizations and other entities by the US and other governments. 

Generally propaganda and protest art from 1992 to 2016, remained the same in substance and variety.  An abundance of books of poetry and short story collections, conferences and assembly proceedings, commemorative volumes of major and minor national and regional organizations were published. This particular period is very well docunmented in books, pamphlets, videos, internet blogs, and others. 

 Altermidya <> (People’s Alternative Media Network) which describes itself as a network of independent and progressive media outfits, institutions and individuals was established in 2014.  It conducts regular newscasts, commentaries on issues  and media production training among mass activists and mass organizations.  Tudla Productions <>, a multimedia production outfit has been reactivated since 2011 to produce progressive and revolutionary videos reporting on current issues and cultural activities among the masses.

Mass demonstrations, though not as large as those during the Marcos fascist regime and Aquino I regime were enlivened with placards, tarpaulin, streamers, t-shirts, and elaborate effigies. Movies and documentaties were made; the Green Guerrillas a film on the NPA campaign in Mindanao for the protection of the environment and the culture of the indigenous people, released in 1995. The feature length documentary on the Philippine-American war in 1899, Memories of a forgotten war, was produced in 2001. Sa Liyab ng Libong Sulo, the documentary  based on PSR to mark the 30th NDF founding anniversary  was released in 2003. So many more video documentaries and some feature fims followed from 2003 onward, including The Guerrilla is a Poet (2013)  and Ang Kababaihan ng Malolos (2014). 

Theatrical productions on the history of the national-democratic movement were also produced, among them Kalibre45 (2004) and the more elaborate intermedia production Ang Mandirigma’y Makata, ang Makata’y Mandirigma (2015) and recorded in a video. 

5. Duterte regime: 2016-present

A major victory of the revolutionary movement in the Duterte period is the holding of the Party Congress in the fourth quarter of 2016, which was  ceremonially capped  with the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the victory of the Great October or the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.   

Party cadres and members representing the regional committees, staff organs and departments assembled to strengthen the Party’s unity, amend its program and constitution based on accumulated victories and lessons; and elect a new set of leaders.  The theme “Greater unity, greater victories,” guided the Congress in reviewing the Party’s 48 year history, taking stock of the current objective and subjective conditions and reaffirming the Party’s determination to advance the national democratic revolution to greater heights.  

It updated the the Party’s Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution, presenting an updated critique of the semicolonial and semifeudal social system, with particular attention to the post-Marcos succession of pseudo-democratic regimes, the worsening forms of oppression and exploitation of the broad masses of workers and peasants and the deteriorating socio-economic conditions of the Filipino people in almost four decades under the neoliberal regime. 

The Congress took a significant step to ensure a Party leadership that is vibrant, closely linked with the lower levels of leadership and capable of leading the practical work and day-to-day tasks of the Party, especially in waging revolutionary armed struggle against the reactionary state through the combination of senior Party members with the young and junior Party cadres to ensure the ideological, political and organizational training of a new generation of Party leaders who will be at the helm of the Party in the coming years.  

With renewed vigor, the Party is entirely capable of confronting the challenges posed by the US-Duterte fascist-terrorost regime.  It is  already well on the way to frustrating the regime’s Oplan Kapayapaan whose objective is to destroy the revolutionary movement through violence and deception. Having survived and prevailed over so many failed US-instigated and supported Oplans from Marcos’ down to Aquino II, the Party and the people are confident and certain that Duterte’s Oplan would fail miserably and the national democratic movement would grow in strength and move closer to victory.

When Duterte made a feint at peace negotiations with the NDFP as soon as he assumed office, the Party saw through his real intent and gave guidance to the NDFP negotiating panel.  It became clear after the third meeting held  in Rome that what Duterte really wants is the surrender and  destruction of the revolutionary movement; not social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict.  Now it is entirely clear that what he desperately wants to the point of lunacy, is absolute power through a fascist dictatorship with him as dictator for the rest of his life, and perpetuated through his children so that they can continue grabbing wealth through bureaucratic corruption.

The Party and the legal mass movement are growing. New alliances are forming to intensify the struggle against the tyranny and state terrorism of the Duterte regime. The Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) is gradually gaining ground and needs solidarity from peoples all over the world.  Organizations of Filipinos abroad, must expand on existing formations and initiatives and strengthen themselves to build a broad united front of solidarity organizations to expose, oppose and fight the Duterte terrorist regime. 

The International People’s Tribunal held in Brussels, Belgium  September 18-19, 2018,  found Duterte, US President Donald Trump and the US government guilty.]of gross and systematic violations of [all the charges brought against them: 1) human rights, particularly civil and political rights, with focus on extrajudicial killings, massacres, trumped-up charges, arbitrary arrests and detentions, the imposition of martial rule in Mindanao; 2) human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, with focus on labor, peasant, women, and migrants rights, and the rights to education, livelihood and housing, through the imposition of neoliberal policies and other imperialist impositions to exploit the people; transgression of their economic sovereignty and national patrimony; and various forms of economic plunder;  and 3) the rights of the people to national self-determination and development and violations of international humanitarian law, with focus on attacks on civilian communities and schools, massacres of hors d’ combat, “terrorist” labeling and profiling, destructive mining and environmental degradation, and crimes against humanity; and misrepresentations and attacks on the people’s right to national liberation.

Using this document, the campaign must broaden to include lobbying in parliaments, United Nations agencies  and other relevant international bodies to act on the various aspects of the criminal acts and violations.

There are more media channels available now and their use must be maximized.  I visited a lot of websites of mass organizations and discovered that the majority are not updated, have scarce significant educational and propaganda materials, tend to be rather parochial in their coverage of issues, and insipid and uninteresting.  Even major NDF member organizations only have Facebook pages with scarce content.  We would expect KM having millennials for its members to be internet savvy in reaching out to the youth but it is not. Only some of its regional chapters have facebook accounts. 

If the aim is building the broadest united front for the ouster of the Duterte fascist-terorist dictatorship, the NDF member organizations need to improve on their record in using the fastest methods of communications and propaganda to reach out to the general public. Of course, the internet is not enough. Nothing beats going among the masses, conducting social investigations for the purpose of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the backward sections of the public to join in the endeavor to oust Duterte and his corrupt bureaucrat capitalist clique of plunderers and murderers.

It is heartening that special formations of artists against Duterte tyranny such as  RESBAK (Respond and Break the Silence Against the Killings), SAKA (Sama-Samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo), LODI and Artist Forces of the Philippines (AFP), as well as existing artist organizations and collectives such as the revitalized Concerned Artists of the Philippines are bringing art and culture to the revolutionary mass movement and into their mass actions and demonstrations in well designed giant tarpaulins, streamers and posters with well couched slogans in brilliant colors and in elaborate depictions of Duterte’s tyranny and terror, effigies reflecting the monstrosity of his criminal acts burning and aflame at the height or end of massive demonstrations, spectacular but ephemeral images signifying the people’s  victory and  recorded for posterity on video posted on the internet to heighten the anger of the masses and inspire them further to resist and fight.  

Many cultural activists of today were shaped and tempered in the struggle against the Marcos fascist dictatorship when both repression and resistance were most intense. The practitioners of resistance and revolutionary art and literature produced exemplary works of great sociopolitical and revolutionary significance as they drew inspiration from the heroic struggles of the people. Since then, the revolutionary movement has accumulated their songs, dances, poetry, drama, short stories, novels, plays, playlets and skits, video documentaries, movies, painting, posters, streamers, murals,  sculpture, carvings, handicrafts, etc., reflecting the sufferings, the struggle, the achievements and the victories of the people against the enemy and which are still very relevant today.

Now, we see extreme repression under the current regime several times worse than that of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.  Duterte fascism surpasses Marcos’ in infamy: tens of thousands of people massacred or tortured to death, and intended still to be brought to millions, massive impoverishment of the people through the anti-people economic, financial and fiscal policies, utter subservience to wishes and demands of two imperialist masters to satisfy his own greed for wealth to the detriment of the people’s sovereignty and national patrimony, and so forth.

Would the intensity of the people’s resistance against this evil regime produce, shape and temper new cultural activists to create great literary and art works from all the media available to them, surpassing in quantity, quality and variety those of their predecessors? Can we discern signs that they would? The new cultural activists born of the struggle against the evils of Duterte have a lot to learn from their predecessors’ experiences and works.  

Although the mass street actions and demonstrations have have not yet reached the levels reached  even only during the Estrada regime, they are now now picking up. The leaders and cadres of the Party need to exert more efforts to revive the mass movement to levels reached in the struggle to topple the US-Marcos fascist dictatorship, considering that the current regime has by far already surpassed the latter by its extreme violations of human rights and people’s rights. Using the internet, the revolutionary propagandists and artists today can very easily overwhelm the rants and raves of Duterte and his paid hacks with their bots that spout nothing but senseless curses.  

 Cultural workers and artists now must take up such protest themes as agrarian problems, foreign economic domination, export labor, exploitation of women and children, and ecological damage, while they express their aspirations for genuine freedom and combat the neoliberal attacks on progressive Philippine culture. For example, the ongoing struggle of Tanggol Wika or Alyansa ng mga Tagapagtanggol ng Wikang Filipino (Alliance of Defenders of Filipino) to restore the subject of  Filipino language and Philippine literature that was removed from the core curriculum for college courses need to be supported. As Rizal wrote, “While a people preserves its language; it preserves the marks of liberty.

I would like to cite a successful and vibrant propaganda campaign worthy of emulation. One Billion Rising (OBR <>) came on the international scene in 2012 and found its way to the Philippines. It started as a movement of feminist or gender identity politics.  In 2014, by focusing on justice for all survivors of gender violence, it escalated the demand for justice to revolution, exposing the root causes of violence; and calling in 2015 for a “Rise for Revolution” demanding accountability and system change. 

The theme of revolution, solidarity, and resistance continued through  2016 to 2018, from adding focus on marginalized women, solidarity against exploitation of women and girls through layers of exploitation, the patriarchal structure, economic exploitation and oppression within capitalism, imperialism, colonization, environmental plunder and war–to unity against the fierce escalation of fascist, imperialist, neo-liberal attacks on the lives of people around the world with the rise of more anti-women, anti-people leaders and governments all over the the world. Now for 2019 the call for resistance continues against fascism and tyranny.  

The OBR global risings looked beyond itself and engaged with other social movements to build deep and vigorous solidarity everywhere for the advocacy of women’s rights, the protection and defense of indigenous lands and the rights of indigenous peoples, struggle against fascism and tyranny, discrimination and racism, environmental plunder and destruction, corporate greed, economic violence, poverty, state brutality and repression, war and militarism.  

Women from all countries worldwide  responded to the calls and acted on them. The OBR makes very effective use of the internet. Its website is distinctively slick, well maintained and its contents constantly updated with news, blogs on women’s oppression and important issues affecting the lives of women. A very broad spectrum of women in the Philippines have since 2014 actively participated in the campaigns. It forms a very broad cultural united front, which although focused on the issue of gender,  encompasses all the fundamental issues confronting humanity–from gender oppression to class war and environmental plunder. Their cultural activities, such as theatre and other intermedia productions in between the risings presents excellent opportunities for our cultural workers to expand their reach and organize multimedia productions. 

The evolution of OBR from gender to comprehensive anti-imperialist and anti reactionary concerns owes much to its dynamically creative Filipino international coordinator Monique Wilson, activist, theatre director, performer as actor & singer, campaigner, organizer.  OBR presents an excellent vehicle  and opportunity for expanding and consolidating our cultural and propaganda work. This means further organizing and education work deepen revolutionary commitment and militancy among the masses.

Let me end with a quote from my concluding exhortation to cultural workers in my keynote address to the ILPS 5th International Assembly Commission No. 14 Workshop on the Imperialist Cultural Offensive : 

Let us train ourselves to understand and deal with facts and events, as these unfold in the real-world conditions experienced by the masses. Let us not confine ourselves in ivory towers, honing our individual imaginations and crafts, away from the real world and the masses, but let us study current events, study history, immerse ourselves with the masses in their struggles, and in the course of our struggle develop, together with them the peoples´s culture based on concrete realities.

  • Let us all contribute our utmost to the peoples’ unified cultural offensive  against imperialism, aware that its overwhelming dominance necessitates strong organizations with strong leaderships guided by the ideology, politics and methods of a party of the most advanced and most productive class in our society today. Especially in this age of the Internet and multimedia, let us also help build powerful alternative and counter-media—powerful in that they are able to support the people’s struggles and effectively amplify the people’s voice, and in turn find resonance in and draw concrete support from the masses in their millions. It is not enough for us to compete with the imperialists in such superficial terms such as trending hashtags, viral Youtube views, and TV ratings. 
  • More important to us are the long-term results, measured in the sustained growth by leaps and bounds of the anti-imperialist mass organizations and mass movement at the national and international levels. Let us help build many channels, flowing in one general direction. An apt analogy is that of the people’s struggles as many small rivulets eventually conjoining into one endless current of strength to swamp the cultural bastions of the enemy.

The essential task of progressive and revolutionary forces all over the world today is developing unity, cooperation and coordination of all peoples and raising their level of struggle to weaken and defeat imperialism and reaction, in particular against imperialist plunder and war led by US imperialism, the foremost terrorist power, towards building a society that is just, peaceful and progressive. ###