By LUIS G. JALANDONI
NDFP Chief International Representative
Member, NDFP National Executive Committee
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
30 March 2014
It was in the hinterlands of Negros in Central Philippines, shortly after Marcos imposed martial law. Poor peasants discussed with me their struggle to hold on to their land. Big landlords supported by the military were driving them out. One peasant declared: “Hasta may hangin and ilong ko, indi ko gid pagbaya-an and duta ko!” In his down to earth peasant way he asserted: “As long as there is air in my nostrils, I will not leave my land.”
Comrades and friends, I wish to speak about the anti-feudal united front of the revolutionary movement. I cite this concrete experience with the poor peasants, because their resolute determination to fight for their land is the rock-like foundation of the anti-feudal united front.
The Main Content of the People’s Democratic Revolution
The main content of the people’s democratic revolution is agrarian revolution. This is the basic demand and aspiration of the overwhelming majority of the Philippine population, which is the peasantry. Seventy-five percent of the 100 million population of the Philippines consists of peasants and farm workers. The advance and victory of the people’s democratic revolution depends on the fulfillment of this basic aspiration. It constitutes the most fundamental democratic content of the Philippine revolution.
It is therefore most fitting that the Communist Party of the Philippines sets the anti-feudal united front as a centerpiece of the Philippine revolutionary struggle. “Rely on the poor peasants and farm workers, win over the middle peasants, neutralize the rich peasants, take advantage of the contradictions between the despotic and big landlords on the one hand and the enlightened gentry on the other, in order to destroy landlord power in the countryside. Thus runs the CPP’s policy of anti-feudal united front.
Combination of Agrarian Revolution, Mass Base Building and Armed Struggle
Through the 45 years of the Philippine revolutionary struggle, the combination of agrarian revolution, mass base building and armed struggle has resulted in the building of Red political power in more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 71 out of 81 provinces of the country. The people’s democratic government has been set up in more than ten thousand barrios (villages) and some municipalities.
The minimum program of agrarian revolution consists of the lowering of land rent, the eradication or lessening of usury and the raising of farm workers’ wages. This is carried out in the guerrilla fronts. In some areas, where the peasant association and the people’s army are sufficiently strong, the maximum program of land confiscation and free distribution of land is carried out. The gains in the agrarian revolution benefit many millions of peasants and farm workers.
Additional gains in the agrarian revolution are the improvement of farmgate prices for the peasants’ products, setting up of simple cooperatives, and sideline occupations to increase income. These gains are made possible by the implementation and strengthening of the CPP’s anti-feudal united front. The peasant masses are organized by the CPP and ably supported by the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The NPA defends the peasant masses and their gains.
Health, Education and Cultural Programs
Other campaigns of the peasants and farm workers such as health campaigns, education including revolutionary education, literacy and numeracy, and cultural programs, serve the consolidation of the peasant organizations. People’s medics conduct Klinika ng Bayan(people’s clinic), wherein medical care, acupuncture, herbal medicines, and some Western medicine are provided to the barrio residents. They also give education in hygiene and preventive medical care. Campaigns like anti-malaria are conducted.
Schools on the primary and secondary levels provide literacy and numeracy classes and revolutionary education on Philippine history, the basic problems of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, and the program of the people’s democratic revolution.
Cultural groups carry out programs of revolutionary songs, poems, theater to inspire the masses and promote a pro-people, scientific and mass culture, drawing from the rich traditions and experience of the revolutionary struggles of the people.
Firm Leadership of the Poor Peasants in the Peasant Associations
The poor peasants and the lower middle peasants who comprise the overwhelming majority of the peasantry take the leadership in the peasant associations. Middle middle and upper middle peasants, driven to deeper poverty by the US-backed Aquino regime’s anti-people and anti-national policies, join the poor and lower middle peasants in militantly opposing the despotic landlords and the Aquino regime.
Rich peasants, many of whom are impoverished by the landgrabbing big landlords, corrupt politicians and military, are neutralized and won over by the peasant associations.
Peasant associations unite with indigenous peoples who struggle against foreign mining companies, that grab their ancestral lands and destroy their livelihood and the environment. They also unite with the fisherfolk who struggle against foreign owned trawlers that destroy their fishing grounds and corrupt politicians who receive bribes from the foreign fishing companies. Lately, the peasants, indigenous people and fisherfolk have endured massive destruction caused by calamities and the Aquino regime’s anti-people policies.
Aquino’s No-Build No Dwell Zones in Yolanda Affected Areas
Aquino has declared “no build and no dwell zones” extending 40 meters from the coastline. This is depriving millions of fisherfolk and- peasants any place to live.
Aquino has allocated these lands to crony capitalist businessmen for building resorts. This scandalous policy of Aquino has enraged the peasants and fisherfolk who mount their militant resistance.
Organs of Political Power in 71 Provinces
Among the gains of the anti-feudal united front is the setting up of organs of political power, based on the mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth and children and cultural activists. These organs of democratic power form the people’s democratic government on the barrio level, and in some areas on the municipal level. Red political power has spread throughout 71 provinces of the country.
The gains of the agrarian revolution fire up the enthusiasm of the peasantry for the revolution. They are ready to give their best sons and daughters to the New People’s Army. As the agrarian revolution grows and the mass base building and organs of political power consolidate, the People’s War advances.
The CPP has declared that it aims to reach the stage of strategic stalemate in people’s war, from its current stage of strategic defensive, in the coming years.
Comrades and friends, at the very fundament of all these gains in the wide countryside, correlating dynamically with NDFP and the national united front and revolutionary mass movement in the cities, is the peasant’s love for land and his undying resolve to fight for it. To close my speech, I wish to recite a poem that speaks of the peasants’ love for the land.
IF THE LAND COULD SPEAK
If the land could speak
It would speak for us,
It would say, like us, that the years
Have forged the bond of life that ties us together.
It was our labor that made the land what she is,
And it was her yielding that gave us life,
We and land are one.
But who would listen?
Will they listen,
Who, from an unfeeling distance, claim
The land is theirs?
Because pieces of paper say so?
Because thee pieces of paper are backed by men
Who speak threatening words’
Men who have power to shoot and to kill,
Men who have power to take our men and our sons away?
If the land could speak
It would speak for us!
For the land is us!