Display of HIMAGSIK AT PROTESTA:
Memorabilia Exhibit by KARAPATAN and SELDA
to mark the 40th year of the imposition of martial rule
UP Diliman Main Library
September 14 to 28, 2012
Photos by Arkibong Bayan
Review of Himagsik at Protesta: Apatnapung Taon ng Batas Militar
Re-collecting and re-presenting objects from the distant past is continually an act of risk. In gathering and displaying the whole array of works, there are many logistical, curatorial and archival concerns to be addressed. The act of reconciling both materiality and history is also a symbolic way of asserting power. It threads together its own story of the past, retelling it through the voices of those who persist.
Held last September, the exhibit Himagsik at Protesta: Apatnapung Taon ng Batas Militar precisely attempts to engage in this act of revisiting history. It features a collection of memorabilia, texts and images originating from the overt and covert struggles for national liberation and democracy during the days of the Marcos dictatorship. It was organized by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights) and SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto)—two organizations that have long stood against human rights abuses by past and present administrations.
The event’s banner declares that it aims to recollect the memories of struggle and protest by the Filipino people during Martial Law, forty years ago. These years of military dictatorship ushered in by President Ferdinand E. Marcos’ Proclamation 1081 on September 21, 1972 yielded among the gravest human rights violations, plunder of the nation's monetary and natural wealth, and excesses of power in the country’s history. Opposing the regime and testifying to its depravity was met with the full force of draconian rule: censorship, imprisonment, harassment, disappearance, and even death.
The ten-day exhibit was housed in the basement of the University of the Philippines Main Library, literally located underground in the hall formerly occupied by the Filipiniana archives section. Lit by the harsh glare of fluorescent light, it is an unlikely exhibition space by conventional standards. But perhaps this dissonance also aptly underscores the whole purpose of the event: to treat the experience of viewing not as an act of nostalgia or mystification, with works perched high on pedestals and illuminated against white walls, but as a process of confronting the continuing past.
The word as resistance
Dissent begins with speaking up: the creation of words and images, critique and communication, analyses and action. Perhaps this is why the first objects to greet the visitor were the rudimentary tools of the propaganda trade during those dark decades of Martial Law; an old typewriter is prominently positioned beside the event’s guest book while a bulky mimeograph stands sentinel nearby.
Owned by journalist and press freedom icon Jose “Joe” Burgos, Jr, the typewriter’s steel surface is eroded by rust and dust. Its paper finger is pushed to the extreme right, as if an unseen hand has started to type a new line, the moment frozen in time. The mimeograph is similarly situated: long retired and now serving as a frame for Papunta sa Cubao para Magpa-mimeo, Para Magpa-xerox ng Libe at Rebo, a poem by Sonia Gerilya composed decades after the regime's collapse.
It is easy to typecast these two things as quaint technological artifacts in this fast-paced era of high definition graphics, i-Pads, wireless Internet and multi-color printers, where texts and images can be endlessly generated with precision and disseminated with unparalleled ease. Yet this misses the moral and ethical weight that these objects and their users have historically embodied, the hard choices that the hands wielding these tools had to make in order to tell their stories. Back then, not only was it technically and physically more difficult to churn out pages of words against the regime; it was more politically dangerous as well. In a way, these also signify the sacrifices that had to be made.
The images of the typewriter (so central to the exhibit's concept that it was used as a recurring icon in all the exhibition texts) and the mimeograph are complemented by a collection of pamphlets, polyeto (flyers), newsletters, political tracts, poetry, books and other publications by both mainstream and underground press organizations, all liberally dispersed throughout the exhibition areas. For a generation too young to have experienced Jose F. Lacaba’s “days of disquiet, nights of rage” firsthand, it becomes possible to revisit and understand these years through such surviving texts, which contain survivor's accounts, rationales for revolution, and dispatches from the front lines.
Evidence of struggle
Proceeding to the rest of the exhibition, one encounters an overwhelming array of more images and objects. The most prominent signifier of state repression under Martial Law is an actual police helmet, surrounded by black and white photographs of urban demonstrations being violently dispersed and Pres. Marcos issuing PP 1081. They are eloquent evidences for the onset of direct dictatorship: the first onslaught that quashed and suppressed the few avenues for democratic expression.
Most of the other things of display are from those directly immersed in the struggle both in the urban and rural areas in the years that followed. Pieces of clothing, personal effects, gadgets, books, craft works by political detainees and photographs are positioned under glass cases, behind bars, attached to walls or laid bare for everyone to see. The captions attached to each reveal that these objects were sourced from various people, many of whom were and are still familiar names in the progressive, militant or revolutionary mass movement. The texts serve not just as documentation of the objects themselves; they also contain surprising and inspiring stories of the lives put on display.
Beyond becoming biographical tributes, these objects testify to the dissent rising up in various parts of the archipelago. From up north comes a gangsa from the Cordillera's indigenous peoples, undoubtedly used to convey the beats, chants and rhythms of revolution. Serving as a veil for underground publications is a carefully mended tent that belonged to guerilla leader and educator Armando Teng, sheltering him from the elements while in the mountains of the Southern Tagalog region. One wagers that more items from the Visayas and Mindanao remain uncollected and unseen, as most of the objects on display are from Luzon.
The articles of clothing included in the exhibit are of notable historic value. One can come across the worn checkered polo shirt worn by the late labor leader Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran during his daring escape from military captors in 1984. Beltran’s family helped stage the escape while the latter visited his home under police custody. It was a risky and dangerous move, but one that finally secured for Beltran the freedom denied to him by the dictatorship. Two decades later, Beltran would live in this same urban poor community as a duly elected congressman of the marginalized and toiling masses under Bayan Muna and Anakpawis party-lists. Wearing polo shirts as a trade union leader and polo barongs as a legislator, Beltran heeded the First Quarter Storm’s call to serve the people to the end.
Other garments are equally eloquent in their revelations. A blouse woven by Julie de Lima while in prison and a written testimony by a colleague silently attests to her quiet strength of character; a vest owned by Edgar Jopson underscores how he has chosen to pursue the path less traveled, instead of donning the comfort and privilege of the upper middle-class life that he was born into.
Many of the other objects in this exhibit are considered rare specimens by now: a rotary phone, an old Pentax camera model, a black and white TV set, radios and vinyl records. Included, for instance, in the exhibit is a radio and TV set used by Jose Maria Sison while confined at Fort Bonifacio’s Maximum Security Unit in 1982, won by his brother during a raffle. Nearby is a handheld radio cassette player owned by Juanito “Ka Juaning” Rivera, founding member of the New People’s Army when it emerged on March 29, 1969 in Central Luzon. The exhibit caption interestingly notes that Ka Juaning's two trusty tools were his firearm and this radio, a technological “rarity” donated by comrades based abroad. It was this radio that accompanied him in the countryside and in prison: a means to monitor news and listen to love songs. Elsewhere, vinyl records and cassette tapes remind the viewer of how the music of progressive artists such as Jess Santiago distilled the realities of repression and resistance to entire generations of listeners.
At the very least, these objects reflect how the wagers of revolution were technologically savvy and culturally adept, using the latest gadgets and expressive avenues of their time in the service of their tasks. In the context of the present, they also underscore how technology has rapidly changed while the social realities that these have been used to reflect have not.
All in all, the exhibit was able to bring together a comprehensive and diverse collection of memorabilia and documentary evidence of the people's struggle under Martial Law. Hopefully, these objects will go beyond becoming quaint curiosities, to be buried in the baul and aparador, or worse, degraded or lost through time. In the interest of historical documentation and building public awareness, perhaps the organizers and supporters of the show could consider working for an even more comprehensive and permanent collection of such objects of resistance, to better document and revisit the names, faces and voices of those who have collectively worked to change the realities that the Marcos dictatorship stood for.
Lastly, the exhibit's timeliness testifies to the need for connecting the past to the present. It’s own title—40 years of Martial Rule—is an intentional slip: underscoring how inequality and impunity has not ended with EDSA I but has permeated through to the present. For instance, the Aquino administration's attempts to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Martial Rule this year are outright contradicted by the continuing rights violations, environmental destruction by development aggression, and subservience to largely foreign and elite interests. History continues to be rewritten through the point of view of those still entrenched in power, as the controversial and contested memoirs recently published in a book by Senator and former Martial Law Defense Minister Juan V. Ponce Enrile shows. Even the public's recent brush with the anti-cybercrime law has demonstrated how shaky the ground on which our perceived freedom of expression through 21st century technology rests.
The people's movement continues to grow, decades after the regime's downfall. The challenge for projects that attempt to recollect the past, such as these, is to go beyond romanticizing and instead contribute to strengthening the public’s understanding of the historical and material basis for dissent. As the exhibit notes penned by Marijoe Monumento warns:
“Proyekto ng naghaharing sistema ang panatilihing baluktot ang ating pagsipat at interpretasyon ng kasaysayan. Ang kasaysayan nga naman ay pwedeng listahan lang ng mga petsang dapat kabisahin, o kaya’t mga bayaning dapat kilalanin sa panahon ng eksamen…pero habang ang CPP-NPA ay patuloy na binabansagang “teroristang organisasyon,” mas madalas ang papuri ng iba ay alang-alang na lang sa nostalgia, at hindi naman talaga sa taos na pagkilala sa kawastuhan ng kanilang simulain at paninindigan.”
“Ngayon, higit kailanman, ang maghimagsik ay makatarungan,” Monumento summarizes the challenge of the present time. The strength of the exhibit is its strong sense of purposiveness behind re-collecting these fragments from the shattered past and re-presenting them to a generation born long after EDSA I and even EDSA II, who face even more illusory and deceptive monsters than the generations under Martial Law ever did. The number of new writings, poems, images and artworks that were inserted in the exhibition area's remaining spaces is an indication of how the movement against repression and injustice continues to grow. In the end, the exhibit attempts to go beyond memorializing dissent, by consciously reaffirming the continuing and protracted struggle for national democracy and liberation. ##
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STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY
By Jose Maria Sison
AUTHOR’S PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
I am deeply pleased that this third edition of Struggle for National Democracy is being published in response to the demand of young activists of the national-democratic movement and in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan of which I was the founding chairman on November 30, 1964 and in which I served as chairman until I went underground in 1968.
This book is mainly a compilation of my speeches and essays in the years 1964-68 while I was chairman of Kabataang Makabayan, vice-chairman / general secretary of the Socialist Party of the Philippines and general secretary of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism.
Like the second edition, the third edition includes messages addressed to the national-democratic organizations which burgeoned as a result of the First Quarter Storm of 1970.
This book is a historical record of the legal struggle for national liberation and democracy against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism in the ‘60s and early ‘70s. It was the principal legal study material in discussion groups and schools of national democracy which educated the youth cadres and militants from 1967 through the First Quarter Storm of 1970 to the declaration of martial law in 1972.
This book was the direct precursor of Philippine Society and Revolution. As a matter of fact, the two books were like partners in the education of cadres and mass activists in the course of the First Quarter Storm of 1970.
For the simple and undeniable reason that the basic semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions and problems of the Filipino people have persisted, there is the need to read and study this book not only because of its historical value but also because of the continuing validity and relevance of its basic ideas.
Since the ‘60s, the basic problems of foreign monopoly-capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism have been deepened and aggravated by the 20-year rule of Marcos and by the succeeding regimes of Aquino and Ramos.
The people’s immediate demand for national liberation and democracy, for national industrialization and genuine land reform and for a national, scientific and mass culture and the people’s aspirations for socialism remain as valid and as necessary as ever before.
I am thankful to the publisher of the third edition for assuring me that Struggle for National Democracy is worthy of reading and study not only because of its lasting and relevant content but also because of its persuasive popular style.
I am thankful also to Kabataang Makabayan, the League of Filipino Students, the Institute of Alternative Studies and other organizations as well as concerned individuals for urging the publisher to bring out the third edition and giving the assurance that it shall be well disseminated.
Jose Maria Sison
INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION
Struggle for National Democracy, the collection of essays and speeches of Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Kabataang Makabayan, remains as valid today—if not indeed more so—as when it first came out in 1967. After the First Quarter Storm of 1970, when the national-democratic struggle picked up considerable momentum, Sison’s book became one of the most significant points of reference for the surging movement against the three main enemies of Philippine society: US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
Recognizing the importance of Struggle for National Democracy, and the fact that the book has since been out of print, the Amado V. Hernandez Memorial Foundation decided to reprint the book. In the process, the Foundation collated other essays and speeches of Sison for inclusion in this new edition.
Significant among the additions are “Student Power?” (first published in Eastern Horizon, a progressive Hong Kong magazine), which delineates the orientation that should properly guide the student movement in the Philippines; “Youth on the March” (published in the Philippines Free Press on November 2, 1968), which clarifies the actions, direction and perspective of the progressive youth movement in our country and elsewhere in the world; “Sophism of the Christian Social Movement,” which exposes and analyzes the negative characteristics and tendencies of the CSM and its “moderate” affiliates; “Land Reform and National Democracy,” which lays bare the bankruptcy of the state-inspired land reform program in the face of the demand for a thoroughgoing agrarian revolution; and Sison’s messages to the Movement for a Democratic Philippines, the Kabataang Makabayan, Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan, the League of Editors for a Democratic Society, Nagkakaisang Progresibong Artista-Arkitekto, Panulat para sa Kaunlaran ng Sambayanan, and Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan—all made after the First Quarter Storm of 1970. The Amado V. Hernandez Memorial Foundation undertook this reprinting in coordination with the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, essentially in pursuance of one of the Foundation’s objectives: to help advance the national-democratic struggle—a lifetime preoccupation of the late Amado V. Hernandez, poet laureate, proletarian leader and patriot in whose memory the Foundation has been organized.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines mainly handled the editorial aspect of the project. The CEGP based its editing of the articles on revised texts sent to the CEGP national office by mail. It may be pertinent to mention here that in the last few years of his life, Ka Amado was closely associated with Jose Maria Sison, then national chairman of Kabataang Makabayan, the pioneer youth organization in the national-democratic struggle. Ka Amado unselfishly provided the counsel and wisdom of age and experience to Sison’s youthful aggressiveness, national-democratic ideas and program of action. Subsequent events have proved these ideas and program of action correct in the context of concrete Philippine conditions. The Amado V. Hernandez Memorial Foundation takes pride in making Struggle for National Democracy available again to all supporters and students of the national-democratic movement.
Amado V. Hernandez Memorial Foundation
30 November 1971
The problems that the Filipinos faced in the backwash of the last world war, particularly after regaining their political independence on 4 July 1946, have persisted to this day with little or no prospect of being solved within the immediate future. These problems, mostly economic and social in nature, have been discussed rather timidly by some public officials and by the academic community. In the context of present-day society, in which conformism is the supreme virtue, any critical exposition of those problems, especially as they affect Philippine-American relations, is labeled communistic and, therefore, subversive of the established order. Only a few courageous souls, led by the late Senators Claro M. Recto and Jose P. Laurel, ventured into forbidden ground. Today, less than ten years after the death of Recto and Laurel, the youths and not their elders have taken issue with the defenders of the status quo and have, as a consequence, suffered harassment and insults from the professional anti-communists and witchhunters. Jose Maria Sison is the most harassed and maligned youth today, but he refuses to be cowed into silence by those who, having power in their hands and heads, have chosen to play the roles of Capitan Tiago and Senor Pasta of Rizal’s novels.
Jose Maria Sison’s collection of essays and speeches, Struggle for National Democracy, boldly delineates the crucial problems of Filipinos today. These problems are seen as historical problems which have evolved from the national experience that has its roots deep in colonialism and feudalism. The thread that runs through the essays and speeches takes the form of a demand for national liberation and democracy—a painful admission that the Philippines is still very much a colony wrapped in a veneer of democracy. As such, the book is both a criticism and a plea: a grave criticism of inadequacy in all lines of endeavor and a passionate plea for the establishment of a real and working democracy in which the people, the masses of the people and not only the privileged few, would enjoy the blessings of a free and abundant life. Consequently, Sison is starting what may be termed the Second Propaganda Movement. He states clearly the basic strategy and tactics to be employed by the Filipino people in their struggle to destroy the traditional evils of feudalism and neocolonialism, the two institutions which have given the poverty-stricken masses in Philippine history the reason to resort to arms in the fulfillment of their dream to live like human beings. To Sison, as to all Filipino nationalists, the prerequisite to the success of those strategy and tactics is the development of a robust nationalism.
Much of Sison’s effectiveness derives not only from his broad, progressive outlook, but also from his analytical method, his grasp of the historical significance of events and movements, and more importantly, from his direct involvement in political mass actions. He is General Secretary of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN), today the most advanced and sophisticated assemblage of nationalists from all segments of Filipino society; the National Chairman of Kabataang Makabayan, the most progres- sive and militant youth organization; and the Vice President of the Lapiang Manggagawa, the only political organization of the working class and its sympathizers.
Struggle for National Democracy is bound to influence the actions and thinking of the Filipino youths who have not yet sold their freedom to think and act like men. It is the distillation of the ideas, sentiments, and aspirations of the new breed of Filipinos who have made nationalism their rallying cry and a powerful weapon in the battle against feudalism and neocolonialism and their attendant evils. One may disagree violently with Sison on some points, particularly if one has a colonial mentality, but no one can question the sincerity, integrity, and courage of this young man who would rather suffer abuse and harassment than receive crumbs from some benighted neocolonialists and their hirelings who pose as benefactors.
At a dinner given a few years ago at the home of Dr. Sotero H. Laurel, President of the Lyceum of the Philippines, which is a bulwark of liberalism, a high official of the American Embassy in Manila remarked, over a glass of whiskey and soda, that Jose Maria Sison was my student at the University of the Philippines. I felt that the remark was intended to be a disguised criticism of my nationalist orientation, considering that Sison was then leading student demonstrations against certain abusive Americans in the Philippines. I smiled broadly. The American official probably did not know why.
I was flattered.
TEODORO A. AGONCILLO
Professor and Chairman
Department of History
University of the Philippines
Quezon City, 23 April 1967
1. KABATAANG MAKABAYAN FOUNDING SPEECH
x x x Itinuturo ng katwiran ang tayo’y umasa sa ating sarili at huwag antayin sa iba ang ating kabuhayan. Itinuturo ng katwiran ang tayo’y maglakas na maihapag ang naghaharing kasamaan sa ating bayan.
Panahon na ngayon x x x dapat nating ipakilala na tayo’y may sariling pagdaramdam, may puri, may hiya at pagdadamayan. Ngayon ay panahong dapat simulan ang pagsisiwalat ng mga mahal at dakilang aral na magwawasak sa masinsing tabing na bumubulag sa ating kaisipan; panahon na ngayong dapat makilala ng mga Pilipino ang pinagbuhatan ng kanilang mga kahirapan. x x x
Kaya, mga kababayan, ating idilat ang bulag na kaisipan at kusang igugol sa kagalingan ang ating lakas sa tunay at lubos na pag-asa na magtagumpay sa nilalayong kaginhawahan ng bayang tinubuan.
No more propitious day than this can be chosen to found Kabataang Makabayan. Today is the 101st birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, a great hero from the proletariat, who in the vigor of his youth led the secret society of Katipunan and mobilized the patriotic forces that generated the Philippine Revolution of 1896—the revolution which smashed Spanish colonialism throughout the archipelago.
Andres Bonifacio was the disciplined revolutionary activist who sought and found in revolution the only process that could give full expression to the national and social aspirations of our people which had so long been suppressed by a foreign power prettified by the soft and evasive terms of liberal reformers.
Andres Bonifacio was the uncompromising leader who was not only inspired by the cogitations and formulations of the Propaganda Movement, but was also ready to act in concert with his people in armed struggle against tyranny the moment peaceful and legal struggle reached the white wall of futility.
Thus, Andres Bonifacio today stands as a model of revolutionary militancy among the Filipino youth and among the advocates of national democracy. His revolutionary courage is a beacon to us all. If Kabataang Makabayan succeeds in its patriotic mission, one important requirement it shall have met is to be imbued with the revolutionary courage of Andres Bonifacio, the courage that gives life and force to the principles that we now uphold in this epoch.
We recall the memory of Andres Bonifacio not only because we happen to meet on this day but more because we understand his continuing historical relevance to our present situation. We perceive the leading role of his class in this epoch during which our national efforts at basic industrialization and overthrowing feudalism are constantly frustrated by U.S. imperialism and its local reactionary allies.
We remember that, after the death of Bonifacio, the revolutionary initiative of the peasants and the workers in the Katipunan and the anti-colonial struggle in general was undermined and debilitated by the liberal compromises made by the ilustrado leadership. The compromises came one after the other: the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, Aguinaldo’s trust in Yankee confidence-men in Hong Kong, the bourgeois-landlord upper hand in the Malolos Congress, and the ultimate surrender of the ilustrados and collaboration with the U.S. imperialist regime.
Though we are aggrieved by the fact that the Philippine Revolution has been interrupted and that U.S. imperialism has grabbed the triumph of revolution from our hands, we must take a scientific view of our national history. We recognize such objective historical conditions as that no matter how sharply anti-colonial and anti-clerical were the ilustrados they did not yet have the ability to comprehend fully modern imperialism; that the working class was still in the embryo stage of its development; that the peasants in the provinces were misled by the equivocating demagoguery of both native landlords and liberals; and that U.S. imperialism was not only superior in industrial might but also well-versed in a liberal jargon which could easily deceive the newly-emergent Filipino bourgeoisie.
U.S. imperialism came to the Philippines and succeeded in imposing its sovereignty upon our people by military violence and by liberal guile. Whereas our people were already capable of crushing Spanish colonialism within the archipelago, they were still incapable of crushing a new type of colonialism, the imperialism of the United States of America.
Dr. Jose Rizal himself in his essay, “The Philippines A Century Hence,” had predicted that the United States of America would come to conquer us. It was a necessity for a capitalist system, reaching its final stage of development—monopoly capital—to seek colonies for its sources of raw materials and a dumping ground for surplus products and surplus capital and to pass on to other peoples the exploitation and disequilibrium that would otherwise be suffered by its own people alone.
Rizal saw the United States of America as a covetous and expansionist power, no different from Great Britain, Germany, France, Czarist Russia and Japan.
It was out to rob the world, especially the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. A newly-risen imperialist power with its ultra-national capitalist objectives, the United States would be determined to take over the colonial possessions of a decrepit Spanish power in Latin America, in the Pacific and in the Philippines.
The Philippines was especially important to the imperialist planners of the United States as it could very well serve as the staging area for the U.S. venture to participate with the other Western powers in the despoliation of China. Until now, the Philippines serves as a staging area for U.S. imperialism to attack and subvert Southeast Asia and the rest of Asia.
By all means, therefore, as a matter of “manifest destiny,” the United States would beguile the credulous Emilio Aguinaldo in a maneuver to capture Manila and arrange the Treaty of Paris whereby Spanish colonialism ceded the Philippines to U.S. imperialism upon the payment of $20 million. This provoked the Filipino people into a war where 250,000 Filipino lives were snuffed out as the cost of trusting imperialism.
U.S. imperialism is deceptive and violent. The violence it unleashed against our people was justified in terms of Christianity and democracy. U.S. imperialism wanted to “Christianize” the Philippines after 350 years of Spanish clerical rule and to teach us “democracy” even after it had crushed the national-democratic movement which was tested in the fire of the revolution of 1896 and bore the first Philippine republic.
After suppressing the first Philippine Republic through the most brutal military operations, the U.S. government started to employ semantical cover for its scheme of domination and put up such hypocritical slogans as “benevolent assimilation” and “education for self-government” to justify its unwanted presence. During a full decade of the most damnable suppression of any public expression of nationalism and bribery of the native bourgeoisie, U.S. imperialism started to glamorize certain political figures as “nationalists.” These were the nationalists who compromised and accepted the U.S.-imposed limitation that they go to Washington and beg for Philippine independence. The Americans conveniently used these figures to prove their self-proclaimed benevolence and to steal the fire from the revolutionary anti-imperialists who preferred to take to the hills and prepare for a more meaningful struggle for national independence.
Until now, the Americans try to misrepresent Filipino nationalism. They would rather have what they call “positive” nationalism—a positive force in the “special relationship” between the Philippines and the United States. Compromise with U.S. imperialism is what is called positive nationalism.
There is only one nationalism that we appreciate. It is that which refers to the national-democratic revolution, the Philippine Revolution, whose main tasks now are the liquidation of imperialism and feudalism to achieve full national freedom and democratic reforms.
The Filipino nation has been formed through struggle against Spanish colonialism and, soon after, U.S. imperialism. As U.S. imperialism triumphed by brute force in the Filipino-American War, it must be vanquished by the resumption of the Philippine Revolution of 1896. There can be no genuine national democracy in the Philippines without U.S. imperialism being done away with first.
Imperialist propaganda constantly attempts to impugn Filipino nationalism and communism together. The communist bogey has always been raised with the view of frightening our people. But, little do the reactionary propagandists realize that through their own efforts the people are getting to know that it is the imperialist strategy to destroy communists first to destroy the nationalists. In the strategic thinking of the U.S. imperialists, which has been tested in their counterrevolutionary practices in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the most relentless anti-imperialists—whether communists or left-wing nationalists—must first be destroyed for any imperialist scheme of exploitation to succeed.
Thus, in the Philippines, we have seen the communists become the main target of massive attacks against civil liberties by the U.S. colonial government in 1931, by the Japanese after their successful landing in 1942, and again by the U.S. imperialists in their attempt after the Pacific War to recapture us. If we study closely the ratification of the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment, we will discover that the communists had first to be harassed, imprisoned, assassinated and provoked before the bourgeois nationalist leaders in the Nacionalista Party and in the Democratic Alliance could be discouraged and would compromise.
What the U.S. imperialists and their local cohorts, the compradors and big landlords, do not want to happen is the alliance of all anti-imperialists, as has often happened in Asian countries, with fatal effectiveness against imperialism.
With the continuing triumph of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines and the stability of its control, it is the chief task of the Filipino youth to resume and complete the unfinished revolution under the banner of national democracy, to expose and oppose the national and social iniquities caused by U.S. imperialism and its local reactionary allies.
If the Filipino youth should relent in this task, then their people shall continue to suffer the direct impositions of U.S. imperialism as well as feudalism, which the former protects for its own selfish profit.
The youth today face two basic problems: U.S. imperialism and feudalism. These two are the principal causes of poverty, unemployment, inadequate education, ill health, crime and immorality which afflict the entire nation and the youth. The youth do not only suffer with their people the iniquities of U.S. imperialism and feudalism but are also the first ones to suffer them.
It is the task of the Filipino youth to study carefully the large confrontation of forces between U.S. imperialism and feudalism on one side and national democracy on the other side. To know the nature of this contradiction of forces is to know the dynamism and internal motion of our semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
For the youth to know so much is for them to act more effectively and cooperate more thoroughly on the side of progress in the historical process of change.
Kabataang Makabayan, in its historic role as the vanguard organization of Filipino youth, should know the balance of forces between imperialism and feudalism on the one hand and national democracy on the other. On the side of U.S. imperialism are the compradors and the big landlords. On the side of national democracy are the broad masses of our people, composed of the working class and the peasantry to which the vast majority of the Filipino youth today belong; the petty bourgeoisie, composed of small property-owners, students, intellectuals and professionals; and the national bourgeoisie, composed of Filipino entrepreneurs and traders.
From the present scheme of social classes, we can derive a new and powerful combination of youth—the students, young professionals, labor youth and the peasant youth. Above all, the Filipino youth should integrate themselves with the masses in order to achieve victory in the fight for national freedom and democracy.
Kabataang Makabayan, as the vanguard organization of the Filipino youth, should assist in the achievement of an invincible unity of all national classes and forces to push further the struggle for national and social liberation in all fields—economic, political, cultural, military—against the leading enemy, U.S. imperialism, and against the persistent and pervasive main enemy, landlordism. Both have frustrated the national-democratic aspirations of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and have made the suffering and exploitation of our people more complex and more severe.
This generation of Filipino youth is lucky to be at this point in history when U.S. imperialism is fast weakening at all significant levels of conflict: that between capitalism and socialism; that between the capitalist class and the working class; and that between imperialism and national independence movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Even as the Philippines today is the scene of frantic U.S. imperialist readjustment and it appears that U.S. imperialism would succeed in controlling the country more thoroughly by destroying our national industrial base and by shifting it back to a plantation economy dominated by the U.S. agrocorporations, the Filipino youth would find it easier than they expect to overthrow U.S. imperialism provided they are inspired and guided by the new national-democratic objectives of the Philippine Revolution. ►►►
The October 2 demonstration against U.S. imperialism in front of the U.S. embassy and Malacanang Palace, whose participants and sympathizers Kabataang Makabayan should now consolidate, has already manifested the rising wave of national democracy among our people. Such a mass action has shown to us the changing balance of forces in our country.
The objective national and worldwide conditions favor a national-democratic movement of the Filipino youth. It is high time for the Filipino youth to raise and carry forward the red banner of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan, with the new emblem of the worker-peasant alliance. #
Speech delivered before the Founding Congress of Kabataang Makabayan at the YMCA Youth Forum Hall on November 30, 1964.
2. NATIONAL FREEDOM AND CLASS FREEDOM
National Democracy and Civil Liberties
Every activist of the national-democratic movement knows the important relationship between his struggle for national sovereignty and civil liberties. When he is deprived of civil liberties, his basic rights of expression and assembly, or is hampered in his pursuit of national democracy, there is a political power in the status quo which refuses to afford him those civil liberties. Necessarily this political power becomes the object of criticism of the movement to which he belongs. The political situation where activists unfailingly discover that they do not have as much freedom as they thought they had, exists in the Philippines today.
For us to understand the relationship between the struggle for national sovereignty and civil liberties, we must understand the structure of political relations and of political power in a given society. We need to consider the fact of classes and organized groups within our national society and within which conscious individuals exist and operate. These classes and organized groups mediate or bridge without exception the individual with the nation. The freedom of these classes and organizations within Philippine society and within which Filipinos necessarily find themselves must be fully taken into account if a fruitful study is to be made of the two distinct levels of national freedom and individual freedom.
The struggle for national sovereignty and civil liberties made a compound in modern bourgeois democracy, particularly in its early pre-monopoly stage. We would say that modern democracy as it evolved in Europe implied essentially the principle of popular sovereignty and the actual force of a national state dominated by the national bourgeoisie. In the bourgeois-democratic attack against the feudal order in Europe, it was necessary to define and build the national state before the Bill of Rights could be enjoyed even if only by the bourgeoisie at the expense later of the spontaneous masses inveigled by the populist and libertarian slogans of the bourgeois revolution against the theo-autocracies of feudalism.
In the Philippines, it is particularly important to assert that only after national sovereignty has been fully secured and incorporated into a genuinely free national state will civil liberties be truly enjoyed by the people. It was precisely the function of the Philippine Revolution at the outset to attack a feudal system developed in the archipelago and establish a republican government and a national state. It is historically clear that the main objective of the Philippine Revolution has been to establish a national sovereignty which is not only anti-feudal, as in the West but which is also anti-colonial and anti-imperialist. By being anti-colonial in acting against Spanish colonialism and being anti-imperialist in acting against U.S. imperialism, the Philippine Revolution carried heavier burdens than the national anti-feudal revolutions of Europe and made it starkly clear that alien sovereignty in the Philippines must first be eliminated before national freedom and individual freedom successively can be possible.
The tasks of the Philippine Revolution have been the national integration of its internal elements and national liberation from Spanish colonialism and subsequently U.S. imperialism. What follows, after national liberation, is the consolidation of revolutionary gains by the very same instruments and forces which have made national liberation possible and which enforce the national state. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 would have resulted in a Philippine state, self-determined and with free-willed international relations, had it been successful in successively overthrowing Spanish colonial power and in preventing the brutal victory of U.S. imperialism.
U.S. imperialism frustrated the establishment of a Philippine state and government that could have truly granted civil liberties to its citizens subject only to the balance of power among internal patriotic classes and organizations within the state and in accordance with the terms of the Malolos Constitution. U.S. imperialism employed the essential force of a well-established state, that is, military and coercive means, against the Filipino people who desired the establishment of their own sovereign power and national state. It was U.S. aggression, dictated by monopoly-capitalist expansionism, which set back the Filipino struggle for sovereignty and national statehood in the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902.
After the frontal clashes between the Philippine revolutionary army and the imperialist army of the U.S. government, when the so-called pacification campaign was supposed to have been finished, in the field of combat in favor of imperialism, the latter engaged in the most thorough military police work to curtail the civil liberties of the Filipino people. The suppression of what could have been a full-fledged Filipino democracy with its own national sovereignty, resulted likewise in the suppression of its particular components, individual freedom or civil liberties, as the most ignominious censorship laws, sedition laws and so-called brigandage laws were promulgated to prevent any opposition to the imperialist imposition of U.S. sovereignty over our people. Within the first decade of this century, our people were prohibited from displaying their own flag, were prohibited from reading literature with patriotic undertones or overtones, were prohibited from holding or attending meetings and public functions that did not fly the U.S. flag, were prohibited from organizing themselves into groups that suggested in any degree the desire for national independence. Instead of bringing democracy, as pro-U.S. slogans insist, U.S. imperialism came to kill national democracy in the Philippines.
The violent impositions of U.S. imperialism on our people, who were already asserting their right to self-determination, confirms the definition of the bourgeois state as essentially the institutionalization of violence or coercive force for the purpose of exploitation. The rule of law that followed our conquest by imperialism cannot be correctly viewed without paying due attention to the coercive means that the United States employed to extract from our people its imperialist privileges and to establish in our country its system of making superprofits. The enjoyment of individual freedom and class freedom of a certain kind and extent became possible only with the consent and tolerance of the ruling power.
This was the essence of such euphemistic imperialist slogans as “benevolent assimilation” and “tutelage for self-government,” which were raised to whitewash the brutal truth, in McKinley’s Instructions and in the Jones Law.
Even before the completion of the pacification drive against the revolutionary forces and the defeat of Filipino democracy, U.S. imperialism set out to take advantage of the class divisions in Philippine society. In waging national suppression, class suppression and class collaboration, U.S. imperialism used the technique of divide-and-rule. Even as the U.S. could militarily maintain strategic control of the Philippines, it needed internal collaborators in the administration of the colonial system and to restrain the revolutionary temper of the masses. These collaborators could be persons but at best they were political groups and social classes which are objectively more stable than individuals. Thus, U.S. imperialism thought it wise to accommodate the liberal bourgeoisie, the ilustrado class, as its class collaborator. The ilustrado class was immediately granted its freedom, its right of colonial expression and assembly. Its members were allowed to organize the Federalista Party, whose main plank was the annexation of the Philippine islands to the United States of America. Affiliation to this party was a sure ticket for a comfortable office in the imperialist regime. The ilustrado class selfishly alienated itself from the peasant masses and the germinal proletariat. From the narrow liberal point of view, which could easily accept the system of individual rewards and punishments in an imperialist-dominated society, the cream of Filipino ilustrados distinguished themselves by turning their family landholdings to their personal advantage, by participating in the colonial exchange of agricultural raw material exports and manufactured imports and by deriving the most spoils from their choice government positions.
The only concession that the Filipino masses got from U.S. imperialism, more as a consequence of the impact of the Philippine Revolution than of imperialist benevolence, was the establishment of a public school system which the Filipino reformists of the Propaganda Movement had already demanded from the old type of colonialism without much success. U.S. imperialism, with its capitalist-industrial base, was in a better position to afford these reforms or concessions for propaganda, for controlling the minds of Filipino children and youth, for creating local appetite for U.S. commodities and for developing a more extensive system of neocolonial clerks capable of filling up the administrative and technical requirements of imperialist domination.
The Working Class and Its Freedom
With the suppression of the Philippine Revolution and its betrayal, the Filipino masses found themselves prevented at every turn by American power from pursuing their collective interest. The Filipino peasantry realized that they had not only been frustrated by U.S. imperialism in their struggle for national liberation but also in their struggle for land reform and social justice. The Filipino working class, still at its rudimentary stage, was also frustrated. The true leaders of the revolutionary government met one fatal setback after another as opportunists took the upper hand in the struggle for national liberation. Because the peasantry was the backbone of the revolution, U.S. imperialism delivered to it the most paralyzing blows and whatever political organization was achieved among the masses by cadres of the revolution was scuttled by the marching hordes of U.S. imperialism.
Immediately after the suppression of the peasants in the countryside in the Filipino-American War, the workers in the city started to transform the gremios into modern trade unions and directly founded in 1901 the first trade union, the Union de Impresores de Filipinas—significantly, the union of printers, which became the base of such labor leaders as Isabelo de los Reyes and Crisanto Evangelista. When the trade unions federated themselves into the Union Obrera Democratica in early 1902 and held the first labor congress in the Philippines, guided by the Marxist principle that “the emancipation of the workers must be achieved by the workers themselves”—the proletarian battlecry throughout the world—all the military and intelligence personnel and facilities of U.S. imperialism became focused upon the leaders. The Union Obrera Democratica suffered an early death a few months after the conviction and incarceration of Isabelo de los Reyes on trumped-up charges and on false witness by a paid agent. The attempt of Dr. Dominador Gomez to resurrect the same federation failed, with him suffering the same fate of incarceration. De los Reyes and Gomez suffered incarceration for their leadership in mass demonstrations of workers in the interest of the working class and for their militant anti-imperialist stand. Subsequently, De los Reyes and Gomez themselves became absorbed by reactionary politics.
Seeing that the Filipino workers could not be restrained from organizing themselves, Governor Taft imported the American Federation of Labor in 1903 to see to it that a federation, the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas of Lope K. Santos, be organized along the traditional lines of U.S. yellow trade unionism and be disciplined under the anti-labor principle that “labor should not go into politics.” Thus, not only frontal but fifth column attacks against the Filipino working class were employed by the U.S. imperialist regime to curtail the class freedom of the workers and their civil liberties. It was essential, as it is still essential, to the forces of imperialist reaction, that the working class should never become a political force in the land. The American Federation of Labor doctrine of non-politics for labor and subservience to imperialist politics, however, did not gain ground among the workers as much as it was expected despite the fat imperialist subsidies given to labor crooks.
A labor congress on May 1, 1913 was held under the leadership of Hermenegildo Cruz and founded the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas. In the meantime, Crisanto Evangelista rose as leader of the premier trade union of the time, the Union de Impresores de Filipinas, and in 1918 became its president. In 1922, he established the Workers’ Party—the first of its kind in the Philippines. In the 1929 convention of the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas, the federation polarized into a group of “reds” and a group of “yellows.” The group of reds, led by Crisanto Evangelista, bolted out with the overwhelming majority of the trade unions and formed the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis. The group of yellows and Yankee agents became isolated from the working-class movement. In 1930, as the dominant number of organized workers struggled to have a bigger role in our political life, they founded the Communist Party in concert with the peasantry organized under the Katipunang Pambansang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas. A few months later in 1931, even as the left movement in the United States and throughout the West was becoming stronger with the Depression and the need to counteract fascism, the U.S. imperialist regime, consistently fearing the political potential of the Filipino working class and the peasantry together, moved to illegalize the Communist Party and imprison and banish its leaders from the masses.
Nevertheless, while the Communist Party was in hibernation, so to speak, Pedro Abad Santos organized the peasantry in Central Luzon under the Aguman Ding Maldang Talapagobra and soon after launched the Socialist Party. Under the regime of Franklin D. Roosevelt when the Popular Front was needed to counteract the fascism of Japan, Germany and Italy, the Commonwealth government released its communist prisoners and allowed them to work again as a legal political party. In 1938, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party merged to form one political party. In struggling against Japanese fascism throughout World War II, this political party proved its worth to the Filipino people and became very strong.
After World War II, the attitude of U.S. imperialism to the Communist Party changed and the merest suspicion of attachment to it proved to be dangerous and fatal to anybody. The period of 1945 and 1952 proved fatal to communist lives and civil liberties. The imperialist attempt to isolate and provoke suspected communist leaders was only part of a campaign to reinstitute U.S. power in the Philippines. The U.S. authorities feared the Communists as the most uncompromising anti-imperialists.
As has been proven in the Philippines and elsewhere throughout the world where U.S. imperialism has succeeded in perpetuating its vested interest, the suppression of Communists easily results in suppression of nationalists and of democrats of whatever shade and class. The logic of this statement can easily be found in the dialectics of the imperialist suppression of the Democratic Alliance, the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magsasaka, the Congress of Labor Organizations and the Civil Liberties Union, advocates of nationalism and civil liberties. After the war, it became the policy of the U.S. government to destroy any individual or organization which stood in the path of its campaign to reestablish U.S. power in the Philippines through the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment, the Military Bases Agreement, the Military Assistance Pact and the Quirino-Foster Agreement. Through its local agents in all branches of the government, U.S. imperialism had no compunction in ordering the massacre of an entire squadron of guerrilla fighters which escorted U.S. troops from Central Luzon to Manila, the murder of the national chairman of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magsasaka and the general secretary of the Congress of Labor Organizations, and the ouster of the Democratic Alliance members from the Philippine Congress, whose number would have been sufficient to prevent the treasonous ratification of the Parity Amendment and the passage of the Bell Bill. Under these conditions, after defeating the democratic will of the sovereign people and the suppression of the freedom of expression and assembly, the organized peasantry and the workers together with the progressive intelligentsia and those businessmen who stood to suffer from free trade, were provoked into civil strife.
Those organizations which were suppressed in the second half of the ‘forties to the ‘fifties were the victims of an anti-national and anti-democratic foreign aggressor and its domestic tools. On May 10, 1964, after more than a decade of waiting for the courts to decide, the leaders of the Congress of Labor Organizations were read the decision of the Supreme Court acquitting them of the charge of rebellion and conspiracy against the Philippine state. This “vindication” has in a way exposed the extreme character of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the massive attacks against the life and civil liberties through the sona, the assassinations and bombardments which were conducted against our poor masses. Amado V. Hernandez and other labor leaders languished for years in prison only to be acquitted later. Can the Congress of Labor Organizations be easily resuscitated now to enjoy once more the Bill of Rights of the Constitution? Can the progressive workers and peasants recover from their losses and use the Bill of Rights to their advantage now after more than a decade of terror and chicanery by the CIA agents, clerics and crooks who tried to run down and own all the labor unions and peasant unions in the country and who also tried to thwart all possibility of the progressive recovery of our masses by means of the Anti-Subversion Law which is meant to perpetuate the suppression of our civil liberties?
In this country and at this stage of our development, we should never think that one class or one leader alone can achieve our national liberation. Let us think of and work for the solidarity of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal classes, groups, and individuals for the common objective of winning national freedom and democracy from that single power which dictates upon us, which exploits us and which acts as the master of the compradors, landlords and corrupt officials in our exploited society. Let us endeavor to work for a broad united front in the national-democratic movement. Let the patriotic businessmen, the students, the workers, the professionals and the peasants unite into an invincible force against U.S. imperialism and feudalism. Let the vast majority of our people—the peasantry and the working class—be the massive base of our democracy. Let a new type of leadership, that of the proletariat, emerge to show us the correct path.
We have been provided with the illusion that there is freedom of expression and assembly in this country, which is supposedly sufficient to voice out and work for the interests of the masses of our people. But if we look closely at the platforms of all those political parties which present political candidates in the false drama of neocolonial politics, we find that patronage and bribery are the real concerns of their decrepit and narrow type of leadership. We find the common devotion to a “free enterprise” monopolized by U.S. imperialism.
Let us investigate the political parties which have profited most from the status quo. Let us call them the licensed or the permitted political parties in our neocolonial society. The time for criticizing them has come and criticism must be made in order to raise the political consciousness of the people who are once more as agitated as during the days of the Katipunan, who are as ever prepared to receive progressive and revolutionary ideas, who know how well they can use their democratic rights to build their own political party and movement basically different from the NP, the LP and the PPP which are now prancing in the political hippodrome of the neocolonial circus.
1. The Nacionalista Party
Let us take the Nacionalista Party. It is the oldest conservative party in existence. It came into focus in 1907 by ostentatiously advocating “immediate, complete and absolute independence” in opposition to the outrightly pro-imperialist Federalist Party which advocated the annexation of the Philippines to the United States. Nevertheless, the Nacionalista Party was never able to regain the spirit and determination of the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution because it had the basic fault of accepting the political framework established by foreign domination, of becoming in effect the beneficiary of a perpetuated state of aggression, of being dictated by the American slogan of “tutelage for self-government” which was a direct mockery of our revolutionary masses and their patriotic heritage, and of agreeing to the basic proposition that the Filipino leaders should beg for Philippine independence from the U.S. government instead of struggling for it as an assertion of self-determination. The Nacionalista Party was the first imperialist-tolerated party to mislead our people into believing that sovereignty, instead of being fought for by our own people, can be granted by the very alien forces which suppressed it.
In the most objective sense, the Nacionalista Party helped U.S. imperialism strengthen its economic, political, administrative, educational and military control of the Philippines for more than three crucial and continuous decades before the outbreak of the Japanese-American imperialist war in the Pacific. The compromising character of the Nacionalista Party can be seen in its 1935 platform which, despite the independence oratory of Quezon, advocated the revision of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, “so that preferential trade with America may be allowed to continue after independence and shall not be terminated until the expiration of such period as may be considered reasonably necessary to permit the Philippines to make proper readjustment of her economy.” This would be the same imperialist and comprador-landlord rationale in favor of the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment after the war.
When World War II was going on, U.S. control of the Commonwealth government in exile only became stronger. The imperialist terms of the Tydings-McDuffie Law pertaining to U.S. military bases and property rights were aggravated by executive arrangements in Washington.
In 1946, the Nacionalista Party splintered into three wings, left, middle and right. The left wing tried to carry the middle wing towards the Democratic Alliance, a party deriving its strength mainly from the organized peasantry and workers. The right wing became the Liberal Party. The Nacionalista Party opposed the threat of McNutt and the U.S. business community, led by the infamous American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, to postpone “independence” and likewise opposed the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment. After the electoral victory of the Liberal Party, however, the Nacionalista Party’s opposition to imperialism weakened and became half-hearted.
Even as the Liberal Party cheated in the elections of 1949, the vehement opposition of the Nacionalista Party to electoral fraud and terrorism was not directed at the foreign power which controlled the armed forces and made possible the use of official fraud and terrorism. Ironically, it soon occurred that the Nacionalista Party adopted Ramon Magsaysay as its presidential standard-bearer in 1952 despite the fact that he was the principal agent of U.S. imperialism in effecting the suppression of the writ of habeas corpus, in the massive attacks against civil liberties and in the preparation of conditions which threatened the incarceration of such Nacionalista leaders as Recto, Laurel and Rodriguez and others for alleged involvement in alleged “subversive” activities.
The transposition of Magsaysay proved the basic reactionary character of the Nacionalista Party, its susceptibility to the maneuvers of U.S. imperialism. In the short time that Magsaysay was president, U.S. imperialism succeeded in imposing upon the Filipino people the U.S.-RP Mutual Defense Pact and the Manila Pact (SEATO) which multiplied its privileges of intervening in Philippine affairs militarily and of involving the Philippine government in U.S. wars of intervention and aggression throughout Southeast Asia. It also succeeded in making a readjustment and revision of the Bell Trade Act which made possible some minor concessions to the Philippine government but which extended parity rights of U.S. citizens to all fields of business endeavor in the Philippines.
During the term of Garcia, when the stalwarts of what is now the Party for Philippine Progress suddenly found themselves out of place in the administration, the “Filipino First” policy was raised as a reflection of and response to the growth of national entrepreneurship under conditions of controls during the ‘fifties. But, under the charges of graft and corruption and the threat of a coup d’etat emanating from the Central Intelligence Agency and its Filipino agents who were exposed by General Pelagio Cruz, Garcia made several steps backward and gave in to U.S. pressures for decontrol as early as 1960.
The imposition of full and immediate decontrol and U.S.-controlled “free enterprise,” executed through the puppetry of the United Opposition in 1962, has wrought havoc upon our national life. Our working class and peasantry have been suffering from the automatic decrease of their real income, and from the increase of unemployment, the skyrocketing of prices of all commodities and the subsidy for imported consumer goods which has undermined the financial stability of the government. Filipino entrepreneurships have been depressed by decontrol and by its concomitant of tight credit control, forced into bankruptcy and takeover by U.S. monopolies. As a result of decontrol the Philippine economy is being surrendered totally to big U.S. monopolies with their unlimited financial standing. Abusing the alienation of government from the national entrepreneurs, U.S. monopolies have subordinated government finances to their investment plans.
2. The Liberal Party
Let us take the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party started as the right wing of the Nacionalista Party in 1946. It was the reactionary wing and it did become the reactionary party given by U.S. imperialism the task of perpetuating the colonial privileges of U.S. monopoly interests even after July 4, 1946. It was the party which frustrated the Democratic Alliance with the coercive means made available to it by the U.S. military and money. It is the party responsible for the Parity Amendment, the Bell Trade Act, the Military Bases Agreement, the Military Assistance Pact and the Quirino-Foster Agreement.
Consistent with its tradition of unmitigated pro-imperialism, the Liberal Party—together with the Grand Alliance (whose leaders are now leading the PPP) fought against the “Filipino First” policy and advocated decontrol which has intensified the misery of the masses.
The aggravated condition of the nation is the joint responsibility of the Liberal Party and the Grand Alliance. Obscuring the fact that it was U.S. monopoly capitalism which manipulates them to oppose the aspirations of nationalist businessmen, these political parties endlessly harp on the issue of graft and corruption against the Nacionalista Party in the allocation of foreign exchange. After full decontrol in 1962, bureaucratic corruption merely changed places. Pure and technical smuggling and bribery in the disposition of government funds, approval of contracts and sale of government firms have become rampant.
What is supposed to be the chief achievement of the Liberal Party administration since 1962 is the adoption of decontrol and the reinforcement of a U.S.-controlled economy. As this party persists in this presumption, it must be rejected by the national-democratic movement. In conformity with the dictates of the U.S. State Department, the Macapagal administration has faithfully publicized a sham socioeconomic program, recommended by U.S. agents in the World Bank, which merely outlines what public works projects can be done by the government. Based on new tax measures and on stabilization funds and foreign investments from the United States, this program is meant to destroy the initiative and potency of the Filipino people in their economic life. This program has been nothing but a cover for further Americanization of the economy.
The original and actual intent of the Macapagal Land Reform Program was to deepen U.S. control of Philippine agriculture and agricultural credit. The amended Minimum Wage Law is also nothing but an insufficient readjustment to the harsh results of decontrol which has forced Filipino firms into bankruptcy and caused the layoffs of Filipino workers. The Filipino working class has lost more than it has gained during the Macapagal administration.
In foreign policy, the Macapagal administration has assiduously tied itself to the tactics of U.S. imperialism which are directed towards splitting the Afro-Asian anti-imperialist movement and preserving imperialism and neocolonialism. At the present stage, the Philippine government is allowing itself to be used as an instrument in the development of a so-called “moderate group”—composed of pro-U.S. governments—which is meant to counteract the will of the Afro-Asian peoples to force the retreat of colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism.
3. The Party for Philippine Progress
Let us take the PPP. The Party for Philippine Progress is the most reactionary, anti-national and anti-democratic of the three parties running district and national candidates. Analysis of the vested class interests behind it, its development and its present platform and activities reveals to us its reactionary clerico-fascist and pro-imperialist nature. This must be stated clearly because this party intends to create semantical confusion and mystification as the basis of its political program.
The PPP calls itself a “left of center” party only to be anti-left, anti-national and anti-democratic. It calls itself a “rebel against tradition” and a “revolutionary” party only to be guided by the most traditional and reactionary forces in the country such as clericalism, militarism, imperialism and feudalism. It calls itself a “nationalist” party (with such glittering generalities as “faith in the Filipino,” “love for the Philippines,” and “hope in the Filipino”) only to obscure and evade the basic and concrete iniquities in Philippine-American neocolonial relations. It calls the Philippine government “neocolonialist” because it is supposedly “overcentralized” and “too strong,” deliberately not referring to the fact that it is actually weak as a national instrument because it is subordinated to the central powers and interests of U.S. imperialism, and it is in this sense that it is neocolonialist. The PPP would like to make it appear that Filipino bureaucrats on their own account are the neocolonialists, not the imperialist and feudal interests which control and organize them.
The PPP calls for a supposed “decentralization” in order to distribute the graces of democracy but only to strengthen the provincial powers of landlords and their politicians and to negate all possibilities for any national industrial planning from a republican center. It calls for “people’s capitalism” only to rob the workers of their meager savings and to have the mass of small shareholders manipulated by a few high financiers, chiefly foreign.
The PPP can trace its beginnings from the frailes and guardia civil. Its spiritual origins and historical antecedents are manifested by its obvious schemes of disciplining voters and organizations to vote along anti-republican, colonial and sectarian lines and of developing fascist connections with the military establishment. While the PPP has the presumption of achieving these schemes, imperialist and comprador-landlord interests consider it a safety check on the two other conservative parties and a weapon of last resort in anticipation of the revolutionary advance of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
As a distinct political group, the PPP started to train itself in the Chesterton Evidence Guild before World War II. With their dramatics, the members of this guild—mostly the children of the elite—praised Franco and Mussolini and advocated their ideas. The guild was obviously inspired by Father Coughlin who, in New York, was agitating for fascism.
After the war, the members of this guild assisted in the return of U.S. imperialism and many of them were used to penetrate political and civic organizations, especially those with national-democratic tendencies. After the army raids against progressive workers’ and peasants’ organizations in 1950-52, they started their maneuvers to inveigle the peasantry and working class with their own kinds of organization and with their imperialist-inspired concept of rural community development. In 1952, as the Magsaysay-for-President-Movement boys, their political identity with those intelligence and psy-war officers responsible for the widescale suppression of democracy became more evident. It was during the time of Magsaysay that they brewed the anti-libertarian Anti-Subversion Law in order to curtail the freedom of patriotic dissent. It is the opinion of the most competent lawyers today that this is a bill of attainder and a clear attack against the right of expression and assembly.
In 1957, after the sudden death of Magsaysay, the Progressive Party of the Philippines was established. In 1959, it called itself the Grand Alliance to embrace disgruntled elements from the LP who were also close to the American Jesuits. In the elections of 1957 and 1959, the PPP failed but succeeded in holding back to some extent the faster development of the anti-imperialist movement. They were always around to make red-baiting attacks against anti-imperialists. In 1961, it coalesced with the Liberal Party into the United Opposition. The United Opposition was united by the pro-imperialist objective of eliminating the “Filipino First” policy, and of returning a policy of “free enterprise” totally controlled by the U.S. business monopolies and united by the fantastic amounts of U.S. dollars contributed by large U.S. business firms to the electoral campaign fund.
In 1962, the PPP was able to infiltrate most successfully all important branches and agencies of the government. In Congress, the PPP stalwarts, Manglapus and Manahan, and their associates stood out in proposing those bills, like the Macapagal Foreign Investments Bill, which would serve the interest of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines.
Disgusted with the inability of Macapagal to get the majority of the Philippine Senate in the 1963 elections and afraid of being implicated in the Stonehill and smuggling syndicates, to which many of their PPP colleagues could be implicated, as Macapagal did implicate Pelaez, Senators Manglapus and Manahan left the Liberal Party in 1964 and prepared the resuscitation of the PPP. So long as the three political parties, the NP, the LP and the PPP, are controlled and financed from above by the comprador-landlord class and its imperialist master, none of them can ever be expected to be truly for the development of national democracy in the Philippines. But, again, let us say that we should strive for a national united front of all patriotic and progressive forces and elements in our society, and let us open the door of national unity to those groups and elements that are truly for national freedom and democracy at any time. Let us develop a new type of political party and, at the same time, a broad alliance of political forces against U.S. imperialism and feudalism. The U.S. imperialists are once more trying to consolidate their forces and agents in this country in preparation against democratic mass actions that are now developing in defense of our national patrimony, our dignity and independence. U.S. imperialism is more worried than ever as it is now fast losing its power and influence in areas surrounding the Philippines. We are now in a period as historically momentous as the decade of the forties or the years when Spanish colonialism overconcentrated itself in the Philippines only to find itself overexposed to our people who were quick to realize that they must win collective freedom. In conclusion, let us cry: let us have national freedom; let us have class freedom; let us have individual freedom in the service of the class freedom of the workers and peasants! #
 Speech delivered before the First Student Congress for the Advancement of Nationalism at the Vinzons Hall, University of the Philippines on October 22, 1965; first draft delivered at the University of Nueva Caceres, Naga City, on October 28, 1965.
3. SELF-DETERMINATION AND FOREIGN RELATIONS
For a nation to have its own foreign policy it must first be free and secure on its foundation, which is no less than its sovereignty. Apolinario Mabini and George Washington both agreed on this fundamental necessity of statehood and relations with other nations. Both of them, as policy-makers of their respective governments, upheld the basic principle that only the sovereign people can protect themselves and seek their true national interests. As fighters of a national-democratic revolution, they knew the sacrifices that a people must pay and the victories they must win in order to establish a nation-state that is the embodiment of the people’s unity, strength and self-determination.
It is the task of the Filipino youth, amidst the chaos and confusion created by American power here and abroad, to link the present with our revolutionary fathers so that we may gain the firm purpose of recovering the international freedom of action that was totally annihilated by American imperialism and so that we may have more firm resolve and perspective in seeking relations with all peoples who are sympathetic to the reemergence of the Philippine Revolution and who are willing to deal with us fairly in the course of normal diplomatic and trade relations. In this patriotic task, the Filipino youth should seek to strengthen and extend the threads of Claro M. Recto’s logic in calling for a rejection of our mendicant foreign policy, a policy subservient to the alien sovereignty that destroyed our national freedom and prevented us from developing a truly Filipino democracy. We seek no less than the assertion of our own sovereignty.
We need always to uphold the principle of self-determination and our national interests as the starting point of our foreign relations. We need always to rely on the strength of our own people—predominantly the masses of peasants and workers—as the power of a genuine statehood. To rely on and argue for American protection and aid for our people, as all the so-called “statesmen” of the status quo or leaders of the neocolonial parties of today do, is to betray and to be traitorous to our own people. To perpetuate our inverted view of world reality that the benevolence of one world power should be the main factor of our national security and internal peace and order is to obscure and destroy the purpose and meaning of the Philippine Revolution and to give continued permission to American aggression against Filipino sovereignty. Our neocolonial politicians are blind to the fact that American power can be effectively fought and removed so long as the people are fully united and not divided against themselves by the neocolonial politics which provide false illusions and cockfight sensation, subsidized as it is by large American vested interests and their feudal and comprador allies.
Those who argue that the Philippines is under the protection of the United States and who, in that neocolonial line of thinking and acting, would narrow down the foreign policy of the Philippine government to an exclusivistic set of “special relations” with the United States that are formalized by such treaties that we now enumerate in this lecture, actually argue that the Philippines is a protectorate and not a “free” nation as often boasted by American propaganda. The argument of American protection has always been the last argument of a pro-American and pro- imperialist in justifying the overwhelming presence and power of American imperialism in the Philippines. For instance, it is absurdly argued: After the United Sates, whom would you like to take over the Philippines? This rhetorical question assumes that the Philippines should be a perpetual protectorate, either under American protection or under another alien power’s. The true and only alternative—Filipino sovereignty itself—is obscured by this neocolonial argument. This argument of American protection does not see the large implication of patriotic unity and struggle as a prerequisite for the vanquishment of American imperialism and the reinstitution of policies and instruments serving the sovereign interests of the Filipino people.
Those who argue for American aid and protection as a necessary condition for our international relations are not aware of the history of their own people. Indeed, it has long been forgotten by many of us that American sovereignty was imposed on us, in a continuous act of aggression, against our own sovereignty from the very start. They obscure the fact that American imperialism—in its essential mission of expanding its world sphere for monopoly- capitalist exploitation—came to the Philippines exactly at the time in 1898 when the Filipino people were asserting their own sovereignty—by no less than the sovereign use of arms—over another alien power and had already established their own government and put out their Constitution to guide social order. American imperialism came only to intervene and use its own military force to crush Filipino sovereignty and its revolutionary government in the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902.
We seem always to forget that American imperialist power in this country, whether in the economy, politics, culture and the military, can be no less than perpetuated aggression. Up to the present, it signifies necessarily the brutal suppression of Filipino sovereignty and democracy. It signifies the unredeemed blood and destruction, the corruption and misleading of our people. No amount of semantical trickery or ceremonial show should veil our vision from the fact that up to now American sovereignty operates without restraint in all fields of our national life. Even after the six full decades of American imperialist brainwashing, we cannot honestly accept that sovereignty and independence can be granted or given to us by another sovereign people. It is a basic principle in political science that sovereignty cannot be given as if it were a gift. Every freshman student in political science would know this and yet our political leaders and teachers have drummed into our heads that the United States granted independence to the Filipino people on July 4, 1946. It should also be noted that neither can independence be restored nor given back by an aggressor-nation like the United States. Sovereignty is not given or given back; it is asserted by the sovereign people. In this light, therefore, the Philippine independence that was granted on July 4, 1946 can be no different from the independence that was also diplomatically granted by the Japanese invaders on October 14, 1943. The only difference lies in the source of the bogus gift. We are certain that Philippine history will soon reveal to us that American imperialism and Japanese imperialism are the same, in their aggression, brutality and deceptions.
Our foreign policy, as formulated by the successive administrations of Roxas, Quirino, Magsaysay, Garcia, and Macapagal, takes its beginnings from the state of perpetuated American aggression as formalized by the U.S.- R.P. Treaty of General Relations of July 4, 1946. We take this treaty, together with the executive agreements which went into its making, as a formalization of the resumption of American military hegemony in the Philippines after the brief Japanese interregnum. This treaty was supposed to have relinquished sovereignty to the Filipino people over their own national territory but it exempted the American military bases from relinquishment and only legalized further the persistence of these alien instruments of state power within our national territory. If the state exists by virtue of the coercive means it can use to exact obedience and the character of the state takes the character of the class or power which maintains superior coercive means within the same society, then how can we say that the puny armed forces that we have, which are dependent on the surplus disposal system and guidance of the JUSMAG, are capable of securing the Philippine state in the light of the well-entrenched American military bases which maintain superior military location and capability, with its own alien purposes, and which enjoys extraterritorial rights and whose troops enjoy exterritorial rights? The strategic military reimposition of American military power, through the Treaty of General Relations and the Military Bases Agreement, was followed by the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment which were meant and which have been used to perpetuate the “parity” rights of American citizens and to reestablish American control of the Philippine economy, currency and foreign trade. In order to control further the Philippine armed forces from its military bases, American imperialism imposed the Military Assistance Pact by which logistics, intelligence, indoctrination and operation should be guided by a Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group. Altogether, these mean internal American control of the present Philippine state. In order to place the counterpart of JUSMAG in the civil bureaucracy, American imperialism imposed the Quirino-Foster Agreement by which imperialist aid is supposed to be administered more efficiently, as a departure from the surplus scandals, but actually by which the strategic branches and agencies of the Philippine government would be directed and their policies decided by overpaid American advisers who are oftentimes no better than sales agents of big American firms, and agents of the CIA. Alternately, the Mutual Defense Treaty was imposed in order to elaborate on the imperialist right of intervention in Philippine affairs which is already inherent in the extraordinary extraterritorial and exterritorial rights of American troops under the Military Bases Agreement. In 1954 came the Laurel-Langley Agreement to extend the right of American citizens to engage in all kinds of businesses. And then, the SEATO which was envisioned to involve the Philippine government in the internal affairs of the countries of Southeast Asia, particularly Indochina and Indonesia. The SEATO became the tiger on which the infamy of Filipino foreign policy makers rode, as it was immediately employed to place Southeast Asia under the gendarmerie of American imperialism.
The so-called special relations between the Philippines and the United States are defined by these said treaties and agreements which have alienated the Philippine government from the peoples both of Asia and Africa. In the historic Bandung Conference, the ebullient General Carlos P. Romulo (as Time Magazine would describe him) arrived only to try to shield American imperialism from the just denunciations of the representatives of Afro-Asian peoples. He went there only to perform the chore he had always done in the American-controlled United Nations, as the errand boy of the U.S. State Department. Even after representation in the Bandung Conference, the Philippine government continued to obscure and even oppose the revolutionary movements of Asia and Africa. It preferred to view world reality from the American viewpoint which provoked the Korean war and which cheered the fascist-led revolt against the Hungarian government. The Philippine government preferred to hold on to the coattails of Uncle Sam as the latter seesawed between pro-Arab and pro-Israel sentiments. It hollered for intervention in the Taiwan question and in Indochinese affairs. The arch-instrument of American imperialism, Ramon Magsaysay, had the temerity of pressuring Prince Norodom Sihanouk to join the SEATO. All the while supporting the actions of American imperialism, the Philippine government in its foreign policy closed its eyes to the various vicissitudes of the Indonesian people caused by the Dutch and assisted by American power, the Algerian revolution, the plight of Patrice Lumumba and other events which called for Filipino sympathy and support. Instead of being sympathetic to the Indonesian Revolution, the Philippine government tolerated the use of American military bases here against Indonesia in 1958.
“Special relations” have also involved the Philippine government in big-power bluffs of American imperialism against peoples who have already achieved the socialist revolution or who are about to achieve it. Bound as these countries are by proletarian internationalism, the Philippines has pitifully relied on the greed and deceit of American imperialism in its global maneuvers to expand its control over 60 percent of the world’s resources and maintain the 3,600 American foreign military bases. Through the American-controlled United Nations, the Philippines would become involved in the Korean War only to find that even in 1950 American imperialism could no longer exact what it wanted from peoples who unite and fight back to uphold their sovereignty and motherland.
Outline of World Events
It is necessary to present the outline of world events today to show how our American protector stands, to show how insecure and unwise is our so-called “special relations” with the U.S. and to show how detrimental they have been to us and to other peoples who have been subjected to American aggression.
On every level of international relations and struggle, American imperialism is losing its position of strength. Because of its unmitigated policy of superprofit exploitation and military aggression and intervention, arising from its imperialist nature, the U.S. government has become isolated and has become the chief target of the national independence movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America and of the socialist camp. Even its capitalist allies are increasingly anti-American as they realize that they have been cheated of their colonies in the period of weakness immediately after World War II and as they are now trying to reclaim their colonial losses.
It is clear that U.S. imperialism reached the peak of its power between 1945 and 1955. From the mid-fifties it started to meet the rising opposition of other world forces and to decline steadily, to its present status. It was within this period that it crushed the anti-imperialist movement in the Philippines and tied the Philippine government to a completely pro-American foreign policy that was marked by the errands ran by the puny and peripatetic General Carlos P. Romulo, and was climaxed by the simultaneous crushing of nationalist organizations and the dispatch of Filipino expeditionary forces to the Korean War in an atmosphere of McCarthyism.
The Cold War policies of the U.S. dominated the Philippine scene and successfully curtained off the Filipino people from the Chinese revolution of 1949. The revolution became an established fact, however, and it frustrated the expansionist advance of American imperialism as early as 1950 in the Korean War. As the Chinese volunteers in the spirit of proletarian internationalism rolled back the American-directed UN Forces, the Soviet Union in 1951 exploded its first atomic bomb and broke the American nuclear monopoly. The proletarian internationalism of North Korea, China and the Soviet Union proved more than equal to American imperialism even at that time the latter was at the peak of its relative world power.
It is true that the U.S. came out the strongest imperialist power after World War II at the expense of all other imperialist powers. It was on the basis of this strength that the U.S. easily reoccupied the Philippines and imposed all the treaties necessary to perpetuate American power in the Philippines as well as extend its influence and interests in the Far East. But World War II also gave birth to the most powerful anti-imperialist forces: the national liberation movements and the socialist camp. These two vigorous forces set into motion what we may now easily describe as the final stage of the general crisis of imperialism.
The two interrelated world movements of national liberation and socialism have developed from the basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry. These are the basic world forces against American imperialism. The internal conflict among imperialist powers themselves and their monopoly groups and the internal contradictions of American society itself have added to the decay of American imperialism as a whole.
The focal conflict in the world today is that one between the national liberation movements of Asia, Africa and Latin America on the one hand and the imperialist powers led by the U.S. on the other. It is obvious that the most intense anti-imperialist struggles have been enacted in China, Cuba, Indochina and the Congo. The Vietnamese people are now fighting the most focal struggle in the world today. It is within the intercontinental area of Asia, Africa and Latin America that America imperialism finds itself most susceptible to the most vigorous blows by the main force of the worldwide anti-imperialist revolt which continues to raise the fighting spirit of two-thirds of mankind into various forms of resistance. The oppressed and underdeveloped countries comprise the overwhelming countryside which has the metropolitan capitalist countries at their mercy. The national independence movements of the world countryside encompassing two-thirds of the world population are firmly reducing the areas of economic exploitation and military control by American imperialism. These are now forcing American imperialism to its worst and final crisis.
Deprivation of its superprofits is fatal to American imperialism. The national liberation movements are now curtailing the imperialist market and its field of investment and are now forcing American imperialism to its home grounds. Forced back to its home grounds by the anti- imperialist revolutions, American imperialism is sure to collapse under the strain of bearing the falling rate of profit which in the period of capitalist expansion has been buttressed by superprofits.
No less than in Latin America, the most probable last continental foothold of American imperialism, the Cuban people have already chosen to free themselves from foreign exploitation, rendering American military might, represented by Guantanamo, useless, sustaining successfully the unfair blows of the U.S. and the Organization of American States and therefore showing to all the peoples of Latin America that they too can fight American imperialism successfully. At present, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia and several other Latin American countries are in revolt.
In Africa, the Algerian Revolution, the Congolese Revolution, the Zanzibar Revolution and the revolutionary leadership of many African peoples are telling the American imperialists not to push their sphere of influence into Africa and subjugate them again. Thus the Peace Corps, the American lending institutions, and other imperialist instruments of subversion are being rendered ineffective. American treachery in the liquidation of Lumumba and the continued support to his killers, the American use of the UN to make possible the capture of Antoine Gizenga and the murders of tens of thousands of Congolese patriots with the paratroop drops by American helicopters in Stanleyville have enraged the entire African continent against American imperialism. The Organization of African Unity, particularly its Liberation Committee, is avowedly against colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism.
The American War in Vietnam is a shocking proof of the barbarism of American imperialism. This was the same barbarism employed by it against our own people in order to impose its sovereignty upon us in the Filipino-American War at the beginning of the century. The American aggression against the North and South Vietnamese people is challenging all peoples to struggle against American imperialism in all its forms. As a result of its aggressive war in Vietnam, the U.S. has become so isolated from the decent opinion of humanity. Its atrocities are excelling those of Hitlerite Germany and Tojos’ Japan in their genocidal extent.
Notwithstanding the selfish and narrow point of view of puppet politicians in the Philippines, the world is changing rapidly and soon enough the internal laws of motion of Philippine society will breach the neocolonial framework. Pushed leftward by the national liberation movements, the balance of forces between socialism and imperialism is changing radically in favor of socialism. Before the emergence of modern revisionism, a world socialist system came about comprising 33.6 percent of the world population (1,000 million) and roughly 26 percent of the world area. Its share in industrial output has been greater than its share in the total population of the world. Per capita production in socialist countries is on the average higher than in the capitalist camp.
The astounding scientific and technological progress of socialist counties has spelled the constant advance of their economy and political strength, particularly in the case of the People’s Republic of China. Socialist aid has encouraged fighters for national liberation to ward off the exploitation and enticements of imperialist aid, particularly American “aid.” It has provided the disinterested alternative to the selfish offers of aid by various imperialist countries. Socialist aid agrees on the most disinterested terms as seen in comparison with imperialist aid.
Socialist aid is given at 1 to 2.5 percent interest, payable in twelve years; sometimes no more interest is required. Usually, the aid means the delivery of capital goods, the development of a self-reliant economy, a diversified agriculture and the construction of basic and heavy industries; it serves to increase the industrialization and independence of the aid recipient. Payment can be made in local currency, thus the aid giver is compelled to purchase local commodities. Socialist aid, therefore, encourages equivalent exchange of exports and imports. Furthermore, it requires no economic and administrative conditions such as imperialist aid requires that loans be spent as dictated by foreign advisers of the aid giver; and it has no political and military requirements such as that the aid recipient should join a military bloc and other bilateral and multilateral entanglements.
Imperialist aid, on the other hand, dictates so many conditions on the aid recipient, which amounts to the gradual or immediate surrender of the latter’s sovereignty and industrial development. Loans from imperialist financing institutions, such as the Export-Import Bank, the Agency for International Development (AID), the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, are given at the interest rate of 4 to 7 percent and yet such basic conditions are made that the government receiving them is prevented from directly making productive investments. The aid recipient is dictated to use the funds for stabilization purposes; for public works and administrative purposes which ultimately favor the foreign investors and perpetuate the colonial trade pattern of cheap raw-material exports and high-price finished-products imports. Always, the condition is made that foreign direct investors are given extraordinary tax-exemption privileges on their investments, direct support from the loans and unlimited right to repatriate profits and capital. Commodity purchases are made only according to the advice of the aid giver. Because the foreign aid adviser supplied by the aid giver must process and control the use of resources it is possible for him to overprice the goods in favor of the forms of his country to the extent of 30 percent or more above the world price. American advisorship is spread out in the entire administrative system of the aid recipient. The advisers stay in strategic positions in the government; thus, they develop strong imperialist influence on the policies of the government. The aid recipient is compelled to be involved in political and military alliances against the interests of its people and against its own neighbors. Aid under U.S. Public Law 480 and the Mutual Security Act sets the most preposterous terms, such as the disposal of American surplus agricultural products by the recipient and the use of proceeds for controlling counterpart funds provided by the aid recipient and for cold war purposes under the direction of an overcompensated American advisorship spread out in the entire bureaucracy. Payment of imperialist loans in all cases can be paid only in the foreign exchange approved by the aid giver. Because of the wide difference in terms of imperialist and socialist aid, oppressed peoples and anti-imperialist governments always take the latter at the first opportunity.
Socialist economic aid is not only encouraging the oppressed peoples of the world to revolt against American imperialist power. The development of an Asian nuclear power, sympathetic to the national liberation movements of Asia and Africa, is bound to curtail the propensity of the U.S. to frighten the progressive peoples of the world with total annihilation. The explosion of China’s bomb, according to the anti-imperialist leaders of Asia and Africa, is now turning the nuclear stalemate in favor of socialism and the movements for national independence despite the revisionist policy of certain socialist countries.
The biggest advantage, however, to be taken from socialist countries, especially the People’s Republic of China, is to learn their principle of self-reliance.
It is not only the interrelated forces of national liberation and socialism which are forcing back American imperialism. Within the capitalist camp, the U.S. has to meet the challenge of the Common Market and more particularly the French. The developing economic split of the West has its parallel effect in the NATO and the SEATO. The French claim for gold on Fort Knox is sending shivers along the spine of the American economy with its balance of payment problems. There seems to be no satisfactory resolution of the tariff war between the U.S. and the Common Market. In the SEATO, we see how it had failed to act according to the designs of the Pentagon. The French opposition, not to mention Pakistan’s, to American total aggression against Vietnam has complicated U.S. relations with its Western allies.
In the United Nations, which has always been controlled by the U.S. since its inception, the contradictions of world reality in which the U.S. always finds itself at one end because of its greed and interventionism are beginning to rend the UN charter and structure of 1945—the year at which the U.S. came out richest and most powerful from the devastating war years.
The Afro-Asian nations resent the fact that they are unfairly represented in the agencies of the UN and many of them are appalled by the fact that China’s seat has been usurped by the puny puppet government of Taiwan in the Security Council.
Together with the socialist countries, the Afro-Asian countries always resist the payment of dues to the UN whenever they realize that the funds have been misused to install or protect puppet leaders of the United States such as in the Congo and other places.
At the moment, American society is suffering from the militarization of its economy, the balance of payments deficit, severe trade expansion difficulties, unemployment aggravated by automation, the color problem and civil rights, the rise of internal imperialist reaction and organized fascist politics.
As we continue to rely exclusively on the vaunted strength of American imperialism, we are bound to be surprised by every revolutionary turn of the world situation.
At this point of our national history, we need to set ourselves free from imperialist domination so that our sense of internationalism, our sense of community with other nations would not continue to be narrowed down to the selfish imperialist interests of one foreign nation superimposed on our own.
We need to gain national freedom so that we can broaden our foreign relations with all nations willing to cooperate and to be friends with us.
Let us not mistake the cosmopolitanism of the comprador ruling class as our internationalism. Let us think of the deeper fraternal ties that can be developed among the masses of Africa and Asia in facing our common enemy, American imperialism. Let us be one with the Afro-Asian people’s solidarity movement and let us be guided by the spirit of revolutionary internationalism. #
4. LAND REFORM AND NATIONAL DEMOCRACY
The Colonial Question and the Agrarian Question
At the present stage of our national history, the single immediate purpose to which our people are committed is the achievement of national democracy. On this single purpose, all are agreed, irrespective of social classes, unless one belongs to a class aggrandized by the perpetuation of semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions in our society. Unless one is a landlord or a comprador, one aspires to have his nation free from colonial and imperialist exploitation. Every patriotic Filipino wishes to liquidate imperialism and feudalism simultaneously in order to achieve national democracy.
The relation between national democracy and land reform is very clear. We can achieve genuine land reform only if we, as a nation, are free from colonial and imperialist domination. In fighting for national democracy against U.S. imperialism and feudalism today, we need to unite the peasantry—the most numerous class in our society—on the side of all other patriotic classes and we need to unite with the peasantry, as the main force or backbone of our national unity and anti-imperialist struggle.
The peasantry will join the anti-imperialist movement only if it is convinced that the movement can bring about a state capable of carrying out land reform. In his long struggle for social justice, the Filipino peasant has learned that there must first be a decisive change in the character of the state, brought about largely and fundamentally by the worker-peasant alliance. He has learned the lesson a long time ago that before democratic reforms can be completely effected the national state must be secured from imperialist control and must be firmed up by the overwhelming support of the peasantry and the working class, whose alliance is far more reliable and more qualitatively powerful than the peasant-ilustrado combination which became frustrated by U.S. imperialism at the start of this century.
If we study closely the early development of the national-democratic movement, we can see its profound basis in the agrarian situation in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. The demand for political freedom became a valid demand to the masses only when they realized that a national state, their own popular sovereignty, could protect them against the exploitative colonial power which could only benefit the colonizers and their local agents. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 took full form only after the peasantry became mobilized into a powerful national liberation movement against colonialism and serfdom. The peasantry provided the mass support for the Philippine revolutionary government and fought the most intense patriotic war against colonial authority, especially in those areas where the contradiction between the peasant and the landlord was most intense. Colonial domination meant feudalism. It had to be overthrown by the armed might of the peasantry.
If we study assiduously the writings and experience of the old national-democratic heroes, we cannot help but find the insistent line that the lack of political freedom of a nation is based upon economic exploitation and control by an alien power. In the case of the Filipino people, during the Spanish era, the theocratic unity of church and state and the lack of national and individual freedom were based upon the feudal economic order and upon the mutual landlordism of lay and ecclesiastical authorities.
In Dr. Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo, you will note how the story of Cabesang Tales cries out for a nation-state capable of protecting its own citizens against foreign exploiters. The story of Cabesang Tales is no different from the lives of our peasant brothers today. He is a victim of excessive land rent, usury, servitude, extortion, insecurity from both lawless elements and legal authorities, ignorance of laws made by landlords for their own benefit, and even of his own industry which only attracts more exploitation from the exploiters. His daughter, Huli, is sacrificed to the unjust circumstances that afflict her father’s goodwill as she falls prey to the pious hypocrisies of usurious do-gooders and the local curate who would even violate her virginal virtues as she seeks his fatherly assistance. On the other hand, while her family suffers all these difficulties, her brother is conscripted into the colonial army—in the same way that our youth today are conscripted into the U.S.-controlled military machinery—to fight peasants that are in revolt in other islands and in neighboring countries. As the unkindest cut of all to her family, Tano her brother—now called Carolino after his share of fighting for Spanish colonialism against the rebellious natives in the Carolines—finds himself in his own country to hunt down a so-called bandit called Matanglawin, his own father who has turned into a peasant rebel leading multitudes of those who had been dispossessed of their own land.
In an ironic situation where the peasant conscripts must fight their own peasant brothers upon the orders of a foreign power, when the mercenaries must face mountains and mountains of guerrillas, Carolino shoots down his own grandfather, the docile and overpatient old peasant who has always advised Cabesang Tales, his aggrieved son, never to respond to the provocations of the powerful. Old as he is, representing several generations of peasant oppression and patience, he has finally become a peasant fighter after the brutal death of his dear granddaughter only to be shot down in an objective act of colonial reaction by his own unwitting grandson. It is too late when Tano or Carolino realizes it is his own grandfather he has shot, unwittingly betraying his own family and his own class. Such is the ironic situation into which many of our peasant brothers are drawn whey they enlist in the military, follow the orders of U.S.-trained officers, use U.S. arms, be guided by U.S. intelligence, ideology and advice, and allow themselves to be used against their own peasant brothers in other towns or provinces in our own country, or in foreign countries where they are used by U.S. imperialism to fight peasants who are fighting for their national freedom, as in many countries of Southeast Asia today.
The story of the peasant rebel, Matanglawin, has its basis in the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. As a young man and as a leader of his people, he showed courage in exposing the exploitative practices of the friar landlords and drew up a petition seeking redress which was signed by the tenants, leaseholders and leading citizens of Calamba. What followed the petition came to be known as the Calamba Affair. Governor General Weyler surrounded the town of Calamba, burned the homes of the people, confiscated their animals and exiled the Filipino townleaders. The colonial logic of the Calamba Affair was pursued to the end, to the death and martyrdom of Rizal and to the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution. The dialectics of history led to the polarization between the Filipino peasantry and the Spanish colonial authorities. What made Rizal unforgivable to the Spanish colonial authorities was his having exposed feudal exploitation to its very foundation.
Andres Bonifacio, the city worker feeling spontaneously the fraternal links between his nascent class and the long- standing class of the peasantry, expressed in fiery revolutionary language the peasant protest against feudalism in his poem, “Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas”:
Ang lupa at bahay na tinatahanan,
Bukid at tubigang kalawak-lawakan,
Sa paring kastila’y binubuwisan...
Ikaw nga, Inang pabaya’t sukaban
Kami’y di na iyo saan man humanggan.
Ihanda mo, Ina, ang paglilibingan
Sa mawawakwak na maraming bangkay.
Bonifacio’s call for revolt against feudal exploitation had been prepared by a long series of peasant struggles covering hundreds of years before him. Only after having waged a long series of sporadic and uncoordinated rebellions did the Filipino peasant realize that it took a well- organized and a conscious nation of peasants working as a single massive force to successfully attack feudal power and achieve the formation of a nation-state. Note clearly in the revolutionary poem of Bonifacio that the denunciation of feudal exploitation goes with his call for armed struggle against the colonial power.
Apolinario Mabini, in the Ordenanzas de la Revolucion, a collection of directives for the successful conduct of the revolution, expressed in clear terms the abolition of feudalism as a national objective:
“Rule 21. All usurpations of properties made by the Spanish government and the religious corporations will not be recognized by the revolution, this being a movement representing the aspirations of the Filipino people, true owners of the above properties.”
The Philippine Revolution of 1896 could have been the instrument of the peasant masses for redeeming the lands taken away from them by their feudal exploiters through more than 300 years of colonial rule.
U.S. Imperialism: Enemy of the Filipino Peasantry
When U.S. military intervention and aggression came in 1898 to mislead and subsequently crush the Philippine Revolution in the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902, the main revolutionary objectives of establishing a free nation-state and of achieving land reform was crushed. In order to succeed in its reactionary venture, U.S. imperialism snuffed out the lives of more than 250 thousand combatant and noncombatant peasants. They did to our people, largely to our peasant masses, what they are now directly doing again to the people of Vietnam with the same purpose of frustrating a revolutionary nation and its collective desire for democratic reforms, particularly land reform.
In order to stabilize its imperialist rule in the Philippines, the U.S. government sought the collaboration of the old ruling class in the previous colonial regime. It returned to the friars and their lay collaborators their landed estates which had been confiscated from them, and offered to the landlord class as a whole the privilege of sharing the spoils of a new colonial administration and of participating in a new pattern of commercial relations, that is, one between a capitalist metropolis and a colony. The new dispensation of U.S. imperialism required the Philippines to be a producer of raw materials for U.S. capitalist industries and a purchaser of surplus U.S. manufactures.
As a result of the continuous struggle of the peasant masses against U.S. imperialism even after 1902, when all the Filipino landlords and ilustrado elements had already the accepted U.S. sovereignty and were already collaborating with the new colonial masters, the U.S. colonial administration went through the motion of buying friar estates for the purpose of dividing and redistributing them to tenants. However, no change in the agrarian situation could really be effected. The tenants were in no position to pay the high land prices, the high interest rates and the onerous taxes. The complicated land title system confounded them and allowed smart government officials and private individuals to grab lands. The lack of governmental measures of assistance brought about the wholesale loss of holdings of tenants who did acquire them. Huge tracts of land became alienated into the hands of U.S. corporations and individual carpetbaggers in contravention of laws introduced by the U.S. regime itself. Filipino landlords and renegades of the Philippine Revolution were given more lands as a reward for their collaboration and were allowed to gobble up small landholdings both legally and illegally.
U.S. imperialism had planned that large haciendas would still remain in the hands of the landlords in order that sugar, copra, hemp, tobacco and other raw agricultural products would be immediately exchanged in bulk with U.S. surplus manufactures through the agency of what we now call the compradors. Today, if you wish to have a clear idea of compradors, observe the comprador-landlords, under the leadership of Alfredo Montelibano in the Chamber of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who are benefited by the neocolonial trade between the Philippines and the United States and who are now maneuvering the perpetuation of parity rights and preferential trade.
According to the MacMillan-Rivera report, 19 percent of the farms in the Philippines were operated by tenants or sharecroppers at the beginning of the U.S. colonial regime. By 1918, after the supposed division and redistribution of the friar estates and after a large increase in total farms through the opening of public lands, tenancy had risen to 22 percent. In the 1930s, as the peasantry became more dispossessed and poorer, tenancy further rose to 36 percent. The pretended grant of independence by the United States, far from reversing the trend of peasant pauperization, increased it and exposed the emptiness of such a bogus grant. By the late 1950s the tenancy rate rose to 40 percent.
According to figures issued by the reactionary government, tenancy in the Philippines embraced eight million out of 27 million Filipinos in 1963. In Central Luzon, 65.87 percent of all farms were tenant operated, and in the province of Pampanga it was 88 percent—the highest rate for all provinces in the country. This did not yet include an equal number of the wholly landless agricultural workers who subsisted under onerous contract labor conditions on sugar haciendas, coconut plantations and elsewhere. The displaced tenants and the irregular, seasonal agricultural workers—the sacadas—are also a part of the hapless poor peasantry.
Political Unity of the Peasantry and the Working Class
Within a decade after the ruthless suppression of the last guerrilla remnants of the First Philippine Republic, the worsened conditions of the peasantry in our barrios gave rise to spontaneous revolts and also produced peasant mass protest organizations. These unified in 1922 in the Confederacion de Aparceros y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas, which was broadened and renamed two years later as Katipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KPMP). The KPMP not only demanded agrarian reforms but also called for national independence in the same way the Katipunan of Bonifacio did. In 1930, the leaders of this peasant organization consequently united with the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis ng Pilipinas for the purpose of creating a worker-peasant political alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines marked a qualitative change in the status and thinking of the working class and a strategic portion of the peasantry. It made these two classes more capable of conducting their own class struggle and the national struggle. They challenged the liberal-democratic pretensions of U.S. imperialism and its local agents.
So long as U.S. imperialism held the reins of power in the Philippines, however, the Filipino peasantry could not raise themselves from their exploited condition. The more they manifested strength and progressive consciousness, the more they became subjected to military and police suppression unleashed by the U.S. imperialist regime. And yet, in that period, the peasant mass organizations were led into reformist activities exclusively and seemingly directed at the landlords and the trade union movement directed its main blow at the bourgeoisie “in general.” It is true that the working-class party was aware of the popular outcry for national independence, but it failed to develop the corresponding national-democratic strategy. It failed to deliver powerful blows at U.S. imperialism to expose it thoroughly and mass the forces of the nation against it. Instead, it was the puppet politicians and even the Sakdalistas who seemed to have perceived more clearly the main contradiction and the main demand and they tried to pursue the same objective of sabotaging the national-democratic movement into two disparate ways. The puppet politicians took the way of begging for independence from U.S. imperialism. The Sakdalistas took the way of anarchism.
U.S. imperialism, together with its landlord-comprador cohorts, was certain of its main enemy. A few months after the formal alliance of the KPMP and the KAP, the Communist Party of the Philippines was immediately outlawed; thus, it was deprived of its democratic rights.
The outlawing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, nevertheless, could not conceal the reality of peasant oppression during the direct colonial rule of the United States. In 1931, a local peasant revolt occurred in Tayug, Pangasinan. A bigger armed uprising of armed peasants occurred in 1936 in the towns of Cabuyao and Santa Rosa, Laguna led by the Sakdal. These peasant revolts were continuing manifestations of the unbearable exploitation of the peasantry and were at the same time the critical effects of the U.S. capitalist depression in the 1930s.
The bitterest agrarian unrest in the 1930s occurred in Pampanga where the Socialist Party and its peasant union, Aguman din Maldang Talapagobra, militantly fought the landlord and stood their ground against the civilian guards and the Philippine Constabulary. The Socialist Party led the peasants and agricultural workers in the open until anti-communist repression was eased as a result of the Popular Front tactics and the Communist party of the Philippines was allowed to surface to add its force to the worldwide anti-fascist struggle. The “social justice” program of President Quezon was articulated only as a concession to the vigorous demand of the peasantry for agrarian reform.
When World War II broke out, the dislodgement of U.S. imperialism from the Philippines and the emergence of anti-Japanese resistance became the condition for the success of the peasant movement in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon to effect land reform among themselves on the land abandoned by the landlords. Throughout the country, landlord power was generally weakened as its normal lines of control were broken by the conditions of war.
The Japanese imperialists were resisted by armed peasant masses. Where resistance was most successful, the peasant masses were able to use the land abandoned by the landlords to their social advantage. The resistance against Japanese imperialism served as a means for the peasants to assert their power over the land. The armed struggle gave them the power to eliminate the control and influence of the landlords over their land. Many landlords decided to collaborate with the Japanese imperialists. This occasion should have been an opportunity for the entire peasantry to learn that landlordism seeks protection in the bigger power of imperialism, whether American or Japanese. It was, indeed, unfortunate that while they were warding off the excesses and brutality of the newly-come imperialists, they became distracted from the similar nature of U.S. imperialism whose radio broadcasts were blatantly announcing its desire to retake the Philippines and whose motley agents were already scattered throughout the archipelago to keep USAFFE guerrillas waiting for MacArthur. The anti-fascist struggle could have been converted into a struggle against imperialism, both Japanese and American. The cadres of the peasant movement could have exposed the inter-imperialist aspect of the U.S.-Japanese war and alerted the peasantry to the return of U.S. imperialism. They could have spread out throughout the country and developed a reliable anti- imperialist guerrilla movement independent of the U.S.-directed and U.S.-controlled USAFFE. At any rate, through constant struggles against Japanese fascism and its landlord collaborators, the peasantry built up and supported a powerful national liberation army which delivered the most effective blows against the Japanese imperial army in the strategic areas of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. These areas are strategic because they envelop Manila.
The Return of U.S. Imperialism and Landlordism
When the U.S. imperialists returned in 1945, they immediately attempted to reinstall the landlords in all parts of the archipelago, particularly in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, where they went to the extent of arresting, imprisoning, coercing and liquidating the peasant leaders and their comrades. They trusted the landlords, including those who had collaborated with the fascist invaders, as their true allies and they were extremely distrustful of peasant guerrillas who were independent of the U.S.-controlled USAFFE. Not only the HUKBALAHAP became the object of U.S. discrimination and abuse after the war but also the independent guerrilla units, of which the exemplary unit of Tomas Confesor in the Visayas was typical. Post-war benefits and backpay went in bulk to prop up the recognized hero-puppets of U.S. imperialism.
Depending on the intelligence provided by the USAFFE, the Counter-Intelligence Corps and the landlords, the U.S. imperialists gave instructions to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards to attack the peasant masses and apprehend their leaders who had valiantly resisted the Japanese imperialists.
An entire squadron of anti-Japanese peasant fighters which accompanied the so-called U.S. liberators from Central Luzon to Manila was disarmed in Manila, driven off on their bare feet and massacred in Bulacan by the Military Police under secret imperialist orders. Peasant leaders were thrown into the same prisons where pro-Japanese puppets were kept. No less than the national chairman of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid was murdered while he was under the protective custody of the Military Police and while he was campaigning for “democratic peace” in the countryside. Eight members of Congress who ran under the Democratic Alliance and who were elected by the overwhelming votes of the organized and class-conscious peasantry were forcibly removed from Congress. All these provocations, which preceded the outbreak of full-scale guerrilla warfare were conducted by U.S. imperialism to clear the way for the complete return of imperialist-landlord control of the Philippines. All these provocations led ultimately to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the unwarranted murder and imprisonment of peasants and their leaders and the antidemocratic crackdown on the Communist Party of the Philippines and such mass organizations as the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid.
After the expulsion of the peasant-supported Democratic Alliance members of Congress in an all-out abuse of democracy, the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment were ratified, thus formalizing the reestablishment of the imperialist-landlord pattern of trade, free-trade so-called, and the parity rights for U.S. citizens and corporations in the exploitation of our natural resources and the operation of public utilities.
U.S. imperialism, by unilateral choice, retained its military bases at twenty-three strategic points all over the archipelago, maintained the privilege of expanding them and of moving its troops from there, and employed them to exercise coercive influence on the peasantry and the entire Filipino people. Subsequently, the U.S.-R.P. Military Assistance Pact formally sanctioned the subordination of our military to U.S. military officers in the JUSMAG and to the entire system of U.S. military bases, supplies, planning and advice. In our civil service, U.S. advisers continued to control and direct the most strategic offices. In short, U.S. imperialism retained strategic control over the coercive paraphernalia of the Philippine puppet state and over the economic foundation and civil appurtenances of daily political life.
As the landlords and the imperialists cooperated to their mutual advantage in attacking the peasant masses, the latter were compelled to fight back in order to defend their national and democratic rights. The result of the peasant struggle between the years 1946 to 1952 you already know; it is recent history and there are no better sources of information on this struggle than the veteran peasant guerrilla fighters themselves.
At the height of its world power, U.S. imperialism based its forces against the organized peasantry in order to paralyze the backbone of the Filipino nation and make its anti-national and anti-democratic impositions. In order to suppress the organized and class-conscious peasantry, the puppet agencies of U.S. imperialism recruited its troops from the peasantry only to use them against their own brothers in other barrios and towns. Thus, the story of Cabesang Tales and his son Tano or Carolino was again repeated in the ceaseless struggle of the peasantry.
The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement had emerged from the war politically unprepared to expose and fight the return of U.S. imperialism, which was the only power which could under the circumstances effectively help the landlords to retrieve their lands from the patriotic peasantry of Central Luzon and southern Luzon. Instead of exposing and fighting the revolutionary alliances between the landlords and the newly-returned U.S. imperialists who masterminded and gave full arms support to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards, the peasant movement accused the landlords only as pro-Japanese collaborators and failed to direct immediately the main blow against U.S. imperialism. The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement did not expose promptly the fact that the landlords who had been pro-Japanese collaborators became pro-U.S. collaborators. The delay in the exposure of U.S. imperialists gave the landlords the time to consolidate their positions.
The reactionary triumph of U.S. imperialism and feudalism has prolonged the suffering and exploitation of the peasant masses. Our peasant masses continue to suffer from the unfair distribution of land and the exploitative relations between tenant and landlord, unfair sharing of the crop, usury, landlord-controlled rural banks and cooperatives, profiteering middlemen, lack of price support, lack or high cost of fertilizers, irrigation and agricultural machines, inadequacy of extension work and scientific information and the deplorable conditions of the peasant in health, housing, nourishment and education. All of these difficulties and misfortunes are those of the entire nation, our agrarian nation whose numerically dominant class is the peasantry embracing more than 70 percent of our population. The specter of feudalism haunts us to this day and substantially determines the colonial character of our economy.
With the collaboration of U.S. imperialists and Filipino landlords in full swing, we observe that the supremacy of a ruling elite in this country combines the character of imperialism and feudalism. We observe the local supremacy of the comprador-landlord class which is the most benefited by the strategic U.S. control of our national economy and foreign trade. The owners of the sugar, coconut, abaca and other export-crop plantations have benefited the most from that colonial pattern of trade between our raw material exports and manufacture imports from the United States and other capitalist countries.
It was the military power of U.S. imperialism which prevailed over the peasantry in the absence of a prompt anti-imperialist and anti-feudal strategy developed by a peasant-mobilizing party. However, the myth that Ramon Magsaysay “saved democracy” has been created by U.S. imperialist propaganda. While Magsaysay was a successful propaganda weapon of U.S. imperialism and while he was able to confuse even some peasant leaders, it is clear beyond doubt now that he was responsible for the all-out abuse of democracy directed mainly against the peasantry, for thwarting the solution of the land problem by the peasant masses themselves, for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and for the brutalities of the sona, village bombardments, mass detainments and murders.
The imperialist version of land reform for which Magsaysay was glorified during his time has gone completely bankrupt. The land resettlement program intended supposedly for the benefit of the landless has only prolonged the life of feudalism in the Philippines. Landlords have taken over far vaster tracts of land in those areas of resettlement and in too many cases, they have even put into question the titles of small settlers. The program of expropriating big landholdings for redistribution to the landless has only been used by the landlords to dispose of their barren and useless lands at an inflated price to the government. The Magsaysay land reform, conducted by the Land Tenure Administration and the NARRA, have failed to improve the condition of the peasantry as the rate of tenancy has risen far beyond 40 percent. The credit system of the ACCFA and the system of FACOMAs have failed to help the tenants and the small farmers and have only been manipulated by the landlords and corrupt bureaucrats for their selfish interests. Agricultural extension workers from the Bureau of Agricultural Extension have always been inadequate. As the imperialist-landlord combination ruled over the country in the 1950s by force of its state power, the reform measures and palliatives proved ineffective in alleviating the condition of the peasantry or in whipping up false illusions. Imperialist and clerical organizations like the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the Federation of Free Farmers also proved ineffective even as propaganda instruments among the peasantry, especially among those who had experienced genuine peasant power.
If the old palliatives become totally useless, an exploiting ruling class looks for new and seemingly better ones. The exposure of the true nature of palliatives is too risky for the ruling class. It must adopt new palliatives designed to meet a possible resurgence of its suppressed adversary. Even as the class-conscious and progressive peasant movement has been quite suppressed since the middle of the fifties, the ruling classes never discount the possibility of an antagonistic resurgence of a peasantry left with no quarter. So, it must make certain concessions even only on paper. Thus, the Agricultural Land Reform Code has been proposed and passed. At the same time a new scheme of “civic action” in the countryside, directed by the JUSMAG and the “counterinsurgency” adviser, has been laid out. This “civic action” in the rural areas is to be coupled with the rural development campaign of the most numerous church.
New Conditions and the Danger of Yankee Monopolization
New conditions have developed making it necessary for U.S. imperialism to exercise direct control of Philippine agriculture. U.S. imperialism is now trying to plant its roots in Philippine agriculture and complete its control of our agrarian economy in the face of the impending termination and renegotiation of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and Parity Amendment. The policy planners of U.S. imperialism are applying the same tricks they applied on Cuba before and after the dissolution of the Platt Amendment—the Cuban version of our parity amendment. In other words, the U.S. imperialists want to preempt the negotiation table by deepening their control of our agrarian economy now. They want to continue parity rights even after the formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.
The present world condition, especially in Southeast Asia, is forcing U.S. imperialism to prepare the Philippines as a growing ground for agricultural products that it uses directly or are used by Japan, its co-imperialist in the Far East. The Philippines is now being prepared as a reagent in a U.S.-controlled U.S.-Japan axis antagonistic to the anti-imperialist peoples of Asia. If you investigate now the U.S. agrocorporations or the Japanese agrocorporations wanting to develop Philippine agriculture, you will notice how all are commanded by the U.S. cartels and finance institutions, especially the Rockefeller monopoly group. It is certain that the Agricultural Land Reform Code is directed, in its original form as well as in its present form, against old-style landlordism. Had this code in its original version been passed, the statutory retention limit of 25 hectares for landowners who refuse to mechanize and the provisions imposing heavy taxes on undeveloped lands would have severely weakened old-style landlordism. Landlords would have come under greater legal compulsion to mechanize or sell out to those who have capital to mechanize or just cheat the law by delaying it and sabotaging it through a corrupt bureaucracy. The sham liquidation of old-style landlordism is progressive on first impression. But if the vast lands will only be retained or expanded in the hands of those individuals and agrocorporations which have the necessary capital to mechanize, then we will only be developing a new type of feudalism, only in certain parts of the country, and the peasant masses, particularly the landless tenants, would not be benefited at all. The condition of the peasant masses would only be aggravated by land monopolization conducted by private agrocorporations and individual capitalists. Some tenants would be converted into agricultural workers, others would be displaced and thrown out of the farm by the process of mechanization and modern business organization. The small landowners, in due time, would be forced into bankruptcy because of higher production costs per hectare and would not be able to compete with the large plantations which maintain more economic operations. Even the rich peasants who produce more than enough for their households to be able to sell in the market would be eventually eased out by lower prices of crops produced by the modern plantations. A modern plantation economy in the Philippines will convert a relatively few Filipino peasants into wage-earners but will displace many more tenants whom it will not be able to employ promptly and in sufficient number in industrial centers made even more efficient by automation. An efficient plantation economy in the Philippines will become more of an appendage to foreign monopoly-capitalism. The Philippines will be farther from an even and well-proportioned industrial development.
Since only U.S. firms are now in a financial position in the Philippines to invest in Philippine agriculture, as our own Filipino industrialists are themselves credit-starved (now much more in the case of old-style landlord!) because of decontrol and other restrictive conditions, the process of land monopolization would become more detrimental to the entire Filipino people. The superprofits to be derived from these enterprises would be continuously repatriated and unemployment would increase faster. U.S. firms and subsidiaries are even under instruction now by the U.S. government to prevent the outflow of dollars from the United States by getting credit from local sources in the Philippines. It is a widely perceived fact that U.S. projects and so-called joint ventures are utilizing the resources of such institutions as Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and others, thus depriving the Filipino investors themselves of much-needed credit. Modern landlordism under the control of Esso, Dole, United Fruit, Philippine Packing Corporation, Goodyear, Firestone and other U.S. monopoly firms which have had the experience of ravaging Latin America is no better than the old type of landlordism.
At the present moment, we can already see how vast tracts of land have been alienated from our national patrimony by giant U.S. firms under so-called “grower” or “planting” agreements with government corporations like the National Development Company and the Mindanao Development Authority. Despite the constitutional limitation that no private corporations shall hold more than 1,024 hectares, the Philippine Packing Corporation and the Dole Corporation have separately taken hold of 8,195 hectares and 5,569 hectares, respectively, through a “grower” agreement with the National Development Company and they are supposed to hold on to these lands, with option to expand at any time, for long stretches of periods well beyond this generation and beyond 1974 when parity rights will have terminated.
The United Fruit deal involving the alienation of 10,000 hectares of highly developed public lands and the project to segregate 50,000 hectares at the Mt. Apo National Park Reservation for delivery to U.S. firms through the NDC during the Macapagal administration are convincing manifestations of a new plan U.S. imperialism has for the Philippines.
The Dole takeover of 5,569 hectares of homestead lands in Cotabato is a clear negation of the owner-cultivatorship objective of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. This particular takeover for pineapple plantation and other commercial crops has adversely affected rice production in Cotabato by reducing severely the area devoted to rice.
That U.S. imperialism is literally planting itself in Philippine soil is very evident in several other moves, which were definitely made after decontrol and the approval of the five-year socioeconomic program of Macapagal. Means for higher productivity in agriculture have been set up confidently by U.S. firms. Esso has put up a $30 million fertilizer plant which maintains a strategic role. International Harvester, including Japanese farm machinery firms, are also optimistic that they will provide the implements and machines for large-scale farms. In the long run, these modern means for higher productivity can rise in price in such a way that the big plantations, because they buy them in bulk and use them more economically and profitably, will squeeze out the owner-cultivators from the field of production and marketing. Control and ownership of fertilizer production alone provides U.S. imperialism a powerful leverage with which to squeeze out the leaseholders, the owner-cultivators and even the rich peasants.
The U.S. government has conveniently made use of the World Bank to encourage agricultural education in order to provide the necessary technical support for U.S. plantations. The tested U.S. marionette, Carlos P. Romulo, was reassigned to the University of the Philippines in order to pay special attention to the receipt of a $6.0 million loan from the World Bank for Los Banos and the procurement of P21 million from the Philippine Congress as counterpart fund. Romulo’s field of operation has been expanded by the Marcos administration in apparent concession to U.S. imperialism, by making him secretary of education. Twenty-eight million dollars of the belated $73 million in war damage payments is about to be rolled out to sustain a land reform education program to be controlled directly by the U.S. government in accordance with the Johnson-Macapagal communique of 1964. This amount is expected by the reactionaries to subvert the revolutionary peasant movement. At the moment, there is a splurge of U.S. activity in the countryside through a multifarious array of agencies such as U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), Philippine Agency for Community Development (PACD), Freedom Fighters, Peace Corps, World Neighbors, Esso, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), CDRC, CAP, AGR, COAR, ACCI, FHD, IRRI, Operation Brotherhood, CARE, DND and Special Forces, which are directly controlled by the U.S. embassy through JUSMAG and the “counterinsurgency” adviser.
Also, improvement of U.S. military bases in the South cannot but mean securing Mindanao for U.S. agrocorporations. Within the Dole plantation area, underground missile launchers are supposed to have been set up. These are bases apparently prepared to strengthen U.S. aggression in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, they can very well serve to protect U.S. agrocorporations producing crops that the United States may in the near future never be able to get from neighboring countries because of the rise of anti- imperialist movements in the region. It is highly significant that large rubber plantations are being prepared in Mindanao today. Aside from serving the needs of U.S. imperialism, technical crops are also intended to serve the needs of Japan.
The narrow foreign policy of the Philippines, which has been chiefly geared to the so-called special relations with the United States, is expected to trap land reform in the vise of U.S. agrocorporations and of U.S. global economic policy in general. The obvious lack of funds in the National Treasury has been used as an occasion to call for “land reform” loans from U.S.-controlled financing institutions like the World Bank, AID, IMF, and others. The Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit Association are bound to be controlled by the U.S. finance system.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code
The Agricultural Land Reform Code claims to seek the abolition of tenancy and the establishment of owner-cultivatorship as the basis of Philippine agriculture. It is supposed to help the small farmers, especially those with economic family-size farms, to be free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices to build a viable social productivity and higher farm income. Aside from expropriation and land redistribution, land resettlement and public land distribution are also proposed by the code. A whole chapter of the code is devoted to provisions guaranteeing the application of all labor laws equally to both industrial and agricultural wage-earners.
For the purpose of giving lands to the landless and to those who have less than enough for their respective families, a leasehold system is to be set up as the first step towards self-reliance. The national Land Reform Council, composed of the representatives of all land reform agencies and of the political party in the minority, is supposed to proclaim an area as a land reform area before its inhabitants can enjoy the leasehold system wherein the tenant becomes a leaseholder paying only 25 percent of the average of three previous annual harvests as rent to the landowner.
That only some Filipino tenants can enjoy the rent of 25 percent upon the proclamation made by the National Land Reform Council is quite puzzling to those who are convinced that such rent may as well be paid in common by all tenants to landowners all over the country by general proclamation. This general proclamation should not even carry the pretentious claim that it abolishes tenancy and replaces it with the leasehold system. For after all, both terms “tenancy” and “leasehold system,” although the former sounds more pejorative, means essentially the burden of paying rent.
The Code says that the National Land Reform Council can proclaim a land reform area only after it has considered the nature and possibilities of the proposed land reform area in accordance with priorities set by the code. It is in the consideration of these priorities and other factors that land reform in favor of the peasant masses can be delayed indefinitely, derailed and sabotaged. It is in the consideration of these priorities that the bureaucrats in the land reform agencies will find more affinity with the landlord and imperialist interests which have plans opposed to those of the poor peasants on the same tract of land.
The very idea that the NLRC may proclaim a land reform area only where the leaseholders have a good chance of developing into owner-cultivators is obviously self-defeating and deceptive. Among the several factors that must be considered in the choice of a land reform area are its “suitability for economic family-size farms,” which is unfortunately defined by the code as a “situation where a parcel of land whose characteristics such as climate, soil, topography, availability of water and location, will support a farm family if operated in economic family-size farm units and does not include those where large-scale operations will result in greater production and more efficient use of the land.” This matter of “suitability” is taken into consideration even as the leaseholders can always petition the Land Authority to acquire the leaseholdings for redistribution to them.
On the question of suitability, before any proclamation is made by the NLRC in favor of prospective leaseholders and owner-cultivators, the landlord can easily preempt altogether the leasehold system and expropriation proceedings by asserting that large-scale operations by himself on his land will result in greater production and more efficient use. The question can be reduced to a question of legal definition pure and simple by the landlord, or he can actually start what may be termed as “large-scale operations” on his land in order to prevent either the question of rent reduction or expropriation from being raised. What is absurd is that the prospect of large-scale operations by cooperatives of owner-cultivators on the same tract of land is preempted among other things by the landlord.
To evade the leasehold system and possible expropriation proceedings, the landlord has simply to mechanize, to engage in “large-scale” operations such as sugar planting, or to plant permanent trees like citrus, coconuts, cacao, coffee, durian, rubber and others. In Central Luzon and other parts of the country, the landlords are converting their rice lands into sugar lands. In the years to come, this will continue to deal a telling blow on our rice production. In Southern Luzon, those working in coconut, citrus, abaca and coffee lands as tenants are complaining and asking why they are not benefited by land reform. Those who work on fishponds and saltbeds have the same complaint of not being within the purview of land reform.
To pursue the discussion as to how the landlord can evade expropriation, let us assume that he NLRC does unilaterally and successfully proclaim land reform over a certain area. The Land Authority—the implementing arm of the council—will still have to subject its acquisitions to the following order of priorities: idle or abandoned lands; those whose area exceeds 1,024 hectares, those whose area ranges between 500 and 1,024 hectares; those whose area ranges between 144 and 500 hectares; those whose area ranges between 75 and 144 hectares. The Philippine government is obviously making a big joke by saying that it wishes to exhaust its financial resources on idle or abandoned lands which are in most cases too expensive to develop. The poor peasant cannot afford to develop such kind of land and it is simply futile for the government to purchase this.
The statutory limit of 75 hectares that a landowner can retain is big enough to perpetuate landlordism in the Philippines. Besides, a landlord can easily retain many times more than this size so long as he has enough members of his family to distribute it to. Another course of action for the landlord is to own land in many different places and keeping to the statutory limit of 75 hectares in each place. In the Agricultural Land Reform Code, there are no plugs to these loopholes.
The landlord has so many defenses to preempt the expropriation of his property. But, little is it realized that a landlord might actually offer to sell his land to the Land Authority. Because, according to the order of priorities, in the acquisition of lands by the Land Authority, idle or abandoned lands are to be purchased first. So long as the landlord can demand “just compensation” or even an overprice, he can always strike at a private bargain with the government appraiser. After getting the payment for his expropriated property, he can always acquire private lands elsewhere or public lands to perpetuate his class status. It can be said conclusively at this juncture that the Agricultural Land Reform Code allows the perpetuation of landlordism in the country. The landlords are not hindered but even encouraged to seize public lands already tilled by the national minorities and small settlers in frontier areas.
The ability of the Land Authority to relieve deep agrarian unrest and provide the landlords with “just compensation” would depend on the adequacy of funds in the Land Bank. It is already clear that the government is reluctant to make an actual release of funds to the Land Bank. The financial crisis of U.S. imperialism and all its running dogs is something to be seriously reckoned with. Even if funds of whatever enormity are to be released, these could be gobbled up by only a few landlords and bureaucrats. Past experience clearly shows that the bureaucrats and landlords collude in fixing a high price for lands that the latter are willing to part with. The result is that the landlords have more funds to acquire more lands and the poor peasants can never afford the redistribution price exacted by the government.
Except in the change in name, the Agricultural Credit Administration, is no different from its corrupt and inadequate predecessor, the ACCFA. The Commission on Agricultural Productivity is also nothing but a new name for the old Bureau of Agricultural Extension; it is nothing but an ill-manned and indolent bureaucratic agency of the ESFAC. The landlords have always used these agencies more to their advantage than the poor peasants.
There will be more severe contradictions between the peasant masses and the landlord class. The contradictions will arise from the given conditions of these classes as well as from the interpretation of the Agricultural Land Reform Code.
These contradictions are supposed to be resolved by the Court of Agrarian Relations if ever they become formal legal disputes. The Office of Agrarian Counsel is supposed to provide free legal assistance to individual peasants and peasant organizations. But judges and government lawyers are themselves landlords, landgrabbers and land speculators. Behind the facade of populist expressions, they support the landlord system.
It is relevant to cite the fact that when the Agricultural Land Reform Bill was being drafted in Malacanang and discussed in Congress, there was no representative of the peasantry there—particularly the poor peasantry—who was conscious of the class interests of the peasantry and who would have fought for those class interests. What happened, therefore, in the absence of direct political representatives of the peasant masses, was that the political representatives of the landlords and the imperialists had all the chance to finalize the bill according to their class interest and provided themselves all the escape clauses.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code will not solve the land problem. As a matter of fact, it will only aggravate the dispossession of the peasantry and intensify unjust relations between the landlord class and the peasantry. The beautiful phrases in the code in favor of the landless are immediately nullified by provisions which in the realm of reality will be taken advantage of by the landlord class.
What Is To Be Done?
For the activists of national democracy there is no substitute to going to the countryside and making concrete social investigation in order to determine the oppression and exploitation imposed on the peasantry by the landlord class.
There is no point in making a rural investigation if the facts learned from the masses are not analyzed and processed into terms for basic comprehension of problems as well as solutions. The activists of national democracy should show to the peasants, especially those who have no land at all and those who do not have enough land, the essence of their suffering and arouse them to solve their own problem.
In the present era only the peasant masses can liberate themselves provided they follow the correct leadership of the working class and its party. It is senseless to put trust in laws made by the landlords themselves no matter how gaudily they may wear the garments of bourgeois reformism.
The concrete step that can be immediately taken by the activists of national democracy is to organize peasant associations dedicated to fighting for the democratic rights of the peasantry. The present laws may be used to some extent but if they are not enough, as practice has borne out, then the peasant masses themselves will decide to take more effective measures, including armed revolution.
The activists of national democracy who go to the countryside should exert all efforts to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses into breaking the chains that have bound them for centuries. Agrarian revolution provides the powerful base for the national-democratic revolution. #
 Speech delivered in Pilipino before the first Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan at Republic Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna, on March 23, 1966.
5. PHILIPPINE INVOLVEMENT IN THE VIETNAM WAR
More and more Filipino students are becoming committed to national democracy. A new collective image of the Filipino student is fast rising. It is an image that is militantly patriotic and anti-imperialist, of one who is no longer isolated and apathetic in his narrow self-seeking careerism or of one who is no longer carried away by the trifles, frivolities and diversions that U.S. imperialist culture provides to subvert our national purposes and objectives.
As the national chairman of the Kabataang Makabayan, I have had the good fortune of observing closely the objective development of the national-democratic movement among the youth in general. I have also observed that, among the various sectors of the Filipino youth, the students have had the signal achievement of being the first to speak out boldly on the Vietnam crisis in a manner different from our so-called high statesmen who have long sold their souls in compromises with the large vested interests, chief and most strategic of which are those of U.S. imperialism.
In a historic manifesto entitled, “Peace Manifesto on South Vietnam,” signed on August 11, 1964, student leaders—all of whom are members and high-ranking officials of the Student Councils Association of the Philippines (SCAP) documented their basic views and commitments on the Vietnam crisis in the following terms:
“We, students of various colleges and schools in the Philippines, condemn the clear attempt of the United States to provoke an international war in Asia, involve the Filipino youth in another futile war of U.S. imperialist expansion as in South Korea, contravene our fundamental law which renounces war, and moreover, endanger the lives and homes of our people who themselves have more than enough problems of their own due to colonialism and imperialism.
“We know for a fact that the United States, in taking over what the French left in South Vietnam after Dien Bien Phu, has been in direct violation of the Geneva Agreements which prohibit foreign intervention. The bogey of Communism has been raised only to justify the suppression of the South Vietnamese peasantry and strengthen U.S. imperialism through the successive “free world” dictatorships of Ngo Dinh Diem and Nguyen Khanh and the brutal use of strategic hamlets (barbed wire enclosures), noxious chemicals and other forms of ‘special warfare.’ We know for a fact that the South Vietnamese movement now bravely opposing the full power of the United States is neutralist and nationalistic in policy and would have none of imperialism.
“Now, as if it were not satisfied with the senseless killing and oppression of the South Vietnamese peasants, the United States is trying to provoke a northward war against the Democratic Republic of North Vietnam.
“We condemn both the basic act of U.S. intervention in Indochina and the heightened provocation against a people wanting to live peacefully within their own territories. We hereby affirm the principles of national freedom and peace to which we are deeply committed in the Manila and Bandung Declarations and the UN Charter. The U.S. has always been flagrantly too far out from its own national territory.
“We see clearly that our military treaties and commitments with the United States negate our constitutional process and would be the very cause of our doom if a general nuclear conflagration breaks out in Asia. And, death shall not be our only share but also shame—shame for allowing the military bases of the United States in the Philippines to be the staging grounds for attacks against our Asian brothers.”
As militant student leaders, the signers of this document were not satisfied only with signing it but they acted together to picket in protest before the fortress-like U.S. Embassy, symbol of alien exploitation in our country.
This patriotic action of the students in 1964, no matter how small and modest, was demonstrative of a great spirit that has since materialized into bigger and broader mass actions as those of January 25 and June 18 of this year. The students have proven once more to be capable of initiating movements that bring away their people from the spell of imperialist domination.
On the basis of that student manifesto, there is adequate reason to believe that a good number of us know well the facts and implications of the Vietnam crisis, especially as they affect us today.
But in order to set the record straight and remove the confusion that U.S. imperialist propaganda is constantly making, let us once more review certain basic facts about Vietnam and the U.S. imperialist intervention there.
The Vietnamese people immediately accomplished their August Revolution, founded the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on September 2, 1945, and asserted their sovereignty in both North and South Vietnam. Nevertheless, only a few months after the proclamation of independence, in line with the secret agreements at the Potsdam Conference, Jiang Gaishek’s troops—supported and encouraged by the United States—entered North Vietnam while British troops advanced into South Vietnam. These two invasions paved the way for the return of the French colonialists. The direct arm of U.S. imperialist intervention—the Guomindang troops—was driven out in 1946, but the French colonialists were able to encroach upon the territory of Vietnam, North and South. They subsequently provoked the outbreak of the French-Vietnamese war on December 19, 1946.
The United States promptly took a direct part in the anti-Vietnamese aggression by sanctioning the French military plans, shouldering a great part of the war expenditures, and setting up in Saigon a military mission, the Military Aid Advisory Group (MAAG - the Vietnam version of our JUSMAG).
Even when the French were already facing defeat at Dien Bien Phu, the U.S. interventionists took massive efforts to protract the war and assume the initiative. Together with the French advocates of attritive war, they mapped out the “Vautour Plan” for massive bombing of the northern part of Vietnam in order to extricate the French from certain defeat at Dien Bien Phu. Despite such joint U.S.-French efforts and despite U.S. military support amounting to $2.6 billion, hundreds of thousands of tons of armaments and 200 military advisers to help destroy Vietnamese aspirations for independence and national democracy, the vigorous struggle of the Vietnamese people had already sealed the fate of the elite 200,000 troops of French colonialism at Dien Bien Phu on May 7, 1954, and thereby shifted decisively the balance of war in favor of the Vietnamese people. On May 8, 1954, the Geneva Conference on Indochina held its opening session.
Despite the attempts of the United States to sabotage and frustrate it, the Conference was successful and was determined in the main by the Dien Bien Phu victory. At the closing session on July 21, 1954, the U.S. government representative was compelled to issue a declaration respecting the Geneva Agreements.
Let us refer to two important provisions of the Geneva Agreements:
First, on the Partition of Vietnam. The state of Vietnam would be partitioned into two approximately equal areas by a demarcation line near the 17th parallel, the northern part (including the ports of Hanoi and Haiphong) passing under the control of the Vietnamese government and the southern part remaining under the control of the Bao Dai government.
Second, on Vietnam Elections. Elections would be held simultaneously in both parts of Vietnam by July 20, 1956, with the aim of establishing a unified government. They would be organized after consultation between the Vietminh and Bao Dai governments, and carried out under the supervision of an International Supervisory Commission consisting of India, Canada and Poland.
According to the Geneva Agreements, Vietnam was temporarily to be divided into two zones for purposes of eliminating the state of war, mainly for the French Expeditionary Corps withdrawing into South Vietnam, and withdrawing thereafter to France as it did. And on July 20, 1956, elections were to be held to elect a single government unifying the temporary governments in the North and the South under the one state that had been proclaimed and had come into being on September 2, 1946.
Before the ink had dried on the Geneva Agreements, the U.S. government engineered the Manila Pact, organized the SEATO and brazenly, in violation of the Geneva Agreements, placed South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the so-called “protocol area” of the bloc, which was equivalent to placing South Vietnam under the command of the United States.
True enough, Ngo Dinh Diem, who had been brought back into Saigon by the U.S. government from New York, and who acted beyond doubt in his capacity as Prime Minister to Emperor Bao Dai as a puppet of U.S. imperialism, consolidated his position with the U.S. Military Aid Advisory Group and the CIA (particularly the Michigan State University group led by Wesley Fischel), giving the necessary fire power and money to back him up. Soon enough he deposed the French-backed Emperor Bao Dai by coup d’etat.
In violation of the Geneva Agreements, particularly its provision requiring elections on July 20, 1956, to elect a single government for the entire Vietnam, the United States—through its puppet Ngo Dinh Diem who could not rule for a single day without military support from the MAAG and the CIA—decided to establish South Vietnam as an “independent” state and put up the Ngo Dinh Diem government as the government of the state.
On July 16, 1955, the bogus state of South Vietnam—militarily supported by the U.S. government—announced its opposition to the holding of a plebiscite on July 20, 1956.
The installment of Ngo Dinh Diem and his corrupt family did not mean the ascendancy of democracy in South Vietnam, but it only meant the replacement of the effective power of French colonialism with that of U.S. imperialism. It meant the suppression of national democracy in one-half of Vietnam by U.S. imperialist global power.
As the student manifesto we have just reviewed would reveal, I presume that you know much of the barbarism that has been conducted by U.S. imperialism by misusing such slogans as “defense of democracy,” “free world,” and so on and so forth. The non-communist Bertrand Russell can always provide us with an authentic picture of the series of U.S. imperialist atrocities in Vietnam, such as those committed under the Staley-Taylor Plan, the McNamara Plan and the W.W. Rostow Plan Six, if you care to read the Progressive Review.
To provide you with relief from the overdose of slanted reports made through the USIS, UPI, AP, VOA, Time and Newsweek, I wish to refer you to the Philippine Committee for Freedom in South Vietnam for more facts.
At this juncture, let us round out two basic facts. First, U.S. intervention in Vietnam dates back as early as that time it tried to help the French colonialists suppress the Vietnamese government under Ho Chi Minh. Second, the United States government broke the Geneva Agreements by encouraging and militarily supporting the unlamented Ngo Dinh Diem to seize power in complete disregard of the provisions governing the nationwide free general elections of July 20, 1956 to reunify the entire Vietnam.
It is necessary to keep these facts in mind to fortify our just position that the Philippines cannot involve itself in the Vietnam crisis simply because the United States has embroiled itself there on its own account. The United States embroiled itself there in order not only to cheat the Vietnamese people but also to cheat its fellow capitalist nation, France, and gain South Vietnam for its own imperialist interests. What is extremely lamentable is that U.S. imperialism, in the wake of its selfish expansion in Asia after World War II, has deprived the Vietnamese people in South Vietnam of the basic right to national self- determination.
The U.S. government, in flaunting this basic right, has illogically described the North Vietnamese as the aggressors in South Vietnam despite the fact that the South Vietnam National Liberation Front, which came into being only in 1960 in the heart of South Vietnam, has always maintained its own patriotic and neutralist policies independent of North Vietnam. If one were simply to recall that there was once only one Vietnam undivided by U.S. imperialism, how can one say that the North Vietnamese are aggressors even if we were to assume that they actually give moral and material support to their brothers in the South? Who are the U.S. interventionists, who come from more than 7,000 miles away, to tell the North Vietnamese that they are aggressors within that single state of Vietnam recognized by the Geneva Agreements? Who are these U.S. interventionists to say that they are for Vietnamese freedom when they impose one puppet-dictator after another on the South Vietnamese and move in hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops and drop hundreds of thousands of tons of bombs and deadly chemicals on the Vietnamese people of both South and North? Despite the ever-increasing military expenditures that the U.S. government is now shouldering in the Vietnam War, all the huge American manpower, all the modern weapons used against the South Vietnam National Liberation Front and all the 600,000 U.S.-paid South Vietnamese mercenaries, the South Vietnamese people ceaselessly fight U.S. imperialism without any fear and they increase their number as well as their territory, which is now more than four-fifths of South Vietnam.
The South Vietnamese men, women and even children are resisting the intensified conscription, and the reserves of the reactionary government are already admittedly exhausted. Thus, the American youth themselves are now being marched to their death in Vietnam by the hundreds of thousands. If the U.S. imperialists cannot even motivate their mercenaries to fight and their conscription efforts are resisted by the South Vietnamese themselves, why should they expect other countries, such as the Philippines, to intervene with them? The United States cannot even maneuver the SEATO wholly to “protect” South Vietnam, as its supposed protocol area. Certainly, within the SEATO, there is no communist to blame. The bankruptcy and isolation of the U.S. position is becoming evident even among its fellow capitalist nations.
Within the United States itself, students like you are now becoming a force to be considered seriously by the military-industrial complex and the government policy- makers. More and more American students are resisting the government policy of aggression and escalation in Vietnam. They burn their draft cards, they hold teach-ins, they demonstrate and engage in many kinds of mass actions in protest against U.S. intervention in South Vietnam.
The American students are now patriotically and heroically opposing the Hitlerite policies of the ruling monopoly-capitalist class which are bound to waste their lives and energies in wars of imperialist aggression.
Philippine intervention in the Vietnam crisis is inconceivable under the present circumstances without being directly related to U.S. intervention. Thus, the prior discussion on U.S. intervention.
U.S. intervention in Vietnam has been facilitated from the very beginning by the jump-off bases, such as its military bases in the Philippines. It is well-known that these U.S. military bases are being used as launching grounds against the Asian peoples. The people of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have felt too often the dangers coming from the direction of these U.S. military bases and they have actually suffered attacks from Philippine-based U.S. military crafts.
Through the SEATO, the U.S. government has made the Philippine government an accomplice in its intervention in and rape of Vietnam. The SEATO has been internationally recognized as the imperialist weapon which made a mockery of the Geneva Agreements.
Ramon Magsaysay was also acting as an agent of U.S. imperialism when in 1955 he extended recognition to South Vietnam as an independent state notwithstanding the Geneva Agreements.
The late Senator Claro M. Recto, as early as 1955, exposed the foolhardiness and puppetry in the policy of Magsaysay to recognize the bogus state of South Vietnam and to risk deeper Philippine involvement in the U.S. policy of intervention in the affairs of the Vietnamese people. Filipino technical men, engineers, nurses, pilots and outright military personnel and so-called social workers have been used by CIA-operated firms in Vietnam as instruments for the U.S. imperialist subversion of South Vietnam.
Now that the U.S. imperialists have a difficult time getting more mercenaries for their projects, especially their last desperate efforts to control South Vietnam, they have resorted to ordering the Philippine government to provide “2,000 Filipino technical men with combat support” to work under the U.S. imperialist command in South Vietnam at the cost of P-35 million for this year alone, with the Filipino people paying the bill.
You remember that our Congress appropriated P1 million for medical aid to the Saigon government in 1964. In the following year, P-25 million was being demanded for an engineering battalion and combatants to be sent to the battlefronts. This year, the escalation continues and we are being asked to contribute P-35 million to the U.S. war effort. At the rate the Philippine government is involving itself, it will certainly abuse the Filipino people increasingly while it helps U.S. imperialism destroy the freedom and welfare of a brother Asian people.
The puppet government of South Korea started to commit 3,000 combatants to the Vietnam War; now it has more than 18,000 men in active combat duty there. The U.S. government used to spend only P-2 million a day in the war; now it is spending $20 million a day—with no effect but continued defeat.
These various forms of Philippine intervention under U.S. direction in Vietnamese affairs mock our own independence as they try to subvert the sovereignty of a brother Asian nation.
These, however, have received their corresponding rebukes from the various sectors of the population, especially the patriotic students and youth led by the Kabataang Makabayan.
As the U.S. imperialists continue to use our military bases to commit aggression and expand their sphere of influence, then these U.S. military bases should be removed or taken over by the Filipino people.
The SEATO has always been used to advance U.S. imperialist interests but it cannot be used now for such a purpose in South Vietnam because of inter-imperialist contradictions between France and the United States. Pakistan, too, has found out that it is against her self- interest to help in U.S. imperialist adventures while the United States supports India, not a SEATO member, against Pakistan, a SEATO member. It is a matter of national interest, dignity and sanity to withdraw from the SEATO.
As the U.S. imperialists continue to hire and use our professionals, technical men and military men, let us remind our own countrymen how injudiciously an alien power is depriving us of the forces and funds badly needed by our own people in our own national crisis.
In response to the continued attempts of U.S. imperialism to deepen Philippine involvement in the Vietnam crisis, let me reiterate the position of Kabataang Makabayan which was stated on the occasion of that memorable demonstration of June 18 attended by 10,000 men and women against U.S. intervention in South Vietnam and Philippine involvement on the side of U.S. imperialism.
We vigorously condemn U.S. intervention in South Vietnam which began in 1954 after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. We abhor the barbarous use of strategic hamlets (concentration camps), lethal gas, napalm bombs, genocide and mass torture and other forms of “special warfare” against the South Vietnamese people. We hereby declare to our people the hypocrisy of U.S. propaganda that dishes out such slogans as “democracy” and “free world” only to suppress the democratic and libertarian aspirations of Afro-Asian peoples like the Vietnamese and establish the worst puppet dictatorships which depend for their existence on imperialist military support.
We consider it unconstitutional, criminal and immoral for Filipino citizens to be involved in one way or another in the war efforts of U.S. imperialism against the South Vietnamese people; and there is no valid reason for declaring war, in accordance with the Philippine Constitution, against the South Vietnamese people, the vast majority of whom, two-thirds, have successfully freed themselves from the Saigon puppet government maintained by U.S. imperialism. If the South Vietnamese people are at war with any foreign nation, it is basically with the United States whose insatiable greed and violence are victimizing people everywhere. Otherwise, a state of civil war in South Vietnam must be respected by all other nations.
We condemn with all our strength the reactionary and imperialist scheme of making the Filipino youth die and suffer injury in foreign battlefields in the ignoble service of U.S. imperialism. We refuse to be mercenaries of a foreign power which deprives and oppresses our own people. We refuse the imposition of war upon the youth for the sake of imperialist interests. The efforts of the Filipino youth must be directed towards building up a national democracy that is free from U.S. imperialism and from those iniquitous encumbrances exposed by the January 25 demonstration—such as the Parity Amendment, the Laurel-Langley Agreement, the Quirino-Foster Agreement, the U.S.-R.P. Military Bases Agreement, the Military Assistance Pact, the Mutual Defense Pact, SEATO, the Peace Corps and countless other agreements and devices—which stifle and destroy our freedom as a nation. We condemn the waste of precious and limited resources, such as the P-35 million appropriated by the House of Representatives for the sake of advancing the material and expansionist interests of U.S. imperialism. These resources must be used for improving our socioeconomic condition, for employing our unemployed youth in productive endeavors and for paying adequately those employees in the government who do not even receive their salaries on time and who are often victimized by layoffs and insecurity.
To contribute anything to the U.S. war effort in any form is criminal, whether that contribution be called combat aid, economic aid, technical aid or medical aid. Anything that contributes to the military aggression is military in character; the distinction can only be semantic and not substantial. We condemn those who advocate sending combat aid and also those who advocate “technical and economic” aid. We know very well that the U.S. government has been step by step aggravating Philippine involvement in the South Vietnam War. Before, it was an appropriation of P-1.0 million for “civic action” and “non-military” aid; now, the stupendous amount of P-35 million is being appropriated, with the military intent more and more evident and demanded by the reactionary politicians and military officials. U.S. policy-makers and propagandists, as a matter of fact, have long announced to the entire world that the Philippines has always been a willing instrument in the U.S. imperialist war in South Vietnam.
In opposing the involvement of the Philippines in the Vietnam War, we, the Kabataang Makabayan, are motivated by the deepest patriotic concern for the welfare and dignity of our people, for the future of the Filipino youth, and for our fraternal bonds with the South Vietnamese youth who must liberate themselves from foreign tyranny.
In conclusion, let us tell the imperialists that if ever the Filipino youth have the opportunity of their own to fight on the side of the Vietnamese people against them, they shall gladly do so as they recall the same brutalities that the same U.S. imperialist power inflicted upon the Filipino people in the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902 and as they still suffer from the exploitative conditions determined and imposed upon them by U.S. imperialism.
If we must fight for democracy, let us first fight for it in our own country against U.S. imperialism which continues to subvert our nationhood, exploits our people and deprives us of the substance of democracy. Let us first free ourselves from U.S. imperialist control formalized in such treaties and agreements as the Parity Amendment, the Revised Bell Trade Act, the U.S.-R.P. Military Assistance Pact, the Quirino-Foster Agreement and others which make us economically, politically, culturally and militarily subservient to U.S. monopoly capitalism.
Let us not be like the colonial conscript, Tano, or the self-seeking careerist, Basilio, in Dr. Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo, so low in sociopolitical consciousness that we can be carried away from the basic problems of our motherland, Sisa, and our own oppressed peasantry, Cabesang Tales. Let us not be carried away from our own land oppressed by U.S. imperialism in overt and covert ways. Let us not kill our fellow youth and the peasants in Vietnam for the cause of U.S. imperialism here and there. #
 Speech delivered before the 19th National Assembly of the Student Councils Association of the Philippines (SCAP) at the YMCA Youth Forum Hall on December 19, 1965.
6. THE LABOR MOVEMENT
Labor and the Philippine Revolution
A review of Philippine history will show that the Filipino proletariat emerged before a determined national liberation movement could be formed. The Katipunan was initially based among the city workers and it was steered by a leadership epitomized by Andres Bonifacio.
The revolutionary movement included the shipyard workers and warehousemen whose considerable number signified the great impact of the opening of the Suez Canal and the opening of the ports of Manila to foreign trade since 1815. Commerce and liberal ideas came to the country more easily and stirred a trend towards bourgeois democracy and jarred the old colonial and feudal order. Andres Bonifacio who embodied this new development in Philippine society was both a bodeguero and a student of the French revolution.
The revolutionary movement also included the clandestine printers’ union inside the UST press which secretly printed some materials for the Katipunan and brought out some types for the printing machine of Kalayaan. The immediate involvement of the printers in the revolutionary movement was again indicative of the progressive character of the struggle.
The first elements of the Filipino proletariat—the shipyard workers, warehousemen and printers—were immediately in the forefront at the very outset of the national liberation movement, only to be pushed aside by the more articulate advocates of liberalism, the ilustrados. The Tejeros Convention clarified the class leadership of the old type of national-democratic revolution.
One might say, however, that earlier, through more than three centuries, forced labor in encomiendas, in timber-cutting, in shipbuilding, in church and government house constructions, in mining and in building roads and bridges spurred the continuous occurrence of localized revolts which were the objective preparation for the Philippine Revolution.
One can be more pointed and definite about the role of the Filipino worker in the preparation of the Philippine Revolution by citing the fact that the Cavite Mutiny of 1872, besides being the occasion for the Gomburza martyrdom, was in the first place a strike of the shipyard workers who demanded better living and working conditions and who were violently suppressed by the colonial authorities.
Significantly these workers had organized themselves into a mutual aid and benefit association as early as 1861. But, even as we recognize the decisive role of the Filipino proletariat in the preparation and initiation of the Philippine Revolution and in making the clear call for national liberation, let us also recognize the fact that the Filipino proletariat was still in its germinal stage in 1896 and that at that time it was more influenced by the liberal ideas of Europe and of the ilustrados than imbued with the proletarian ideology of Marx which was already quite a specter frightening the ruling bourgeoisie of Europe. In other words, the workers were more patriotic in a spontaneous way than class conscious. The Katipunan, though steered by men from the proletariat, was basically a patriotic movement embracing the masses in the most general sense. Andres Bonifacio could only realize that the Filipino ilustrados were reformistic and the masses were revolutionary and that the Filipino rich tended to associate themselves with the colonial authorities against whom the masses were already in revolt.
The importance of an ideology which is truly that of the proletariat and which guides all the toiling people according to their own national-democratic interests is starkly demonstrated by the ease with which the ilustrados and landlords derailed the Katipunan from its original course and weakened the entire revolutionary movement as soon as they combined to form the leadership of the Aguinaldo government and command the peasant masses. The liberal frame of mind which prevailed in the higher councils of the movement led eventually to a series of compromises like the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, and the naive agreement with the clever representatives of U.S. imperialism in Hong Kong and Singapore, the proclamation of a republic under the “noble protection” of the United States and capitulation to the U.S. “pacification” campaign in which the masses fighting for national freedom suffered and died in their hundreds of thousands.
Guided by their self-seeking liberalism and their genteel tradition, the representatives of the ilustrados—such as the Buencaminos, Legardas, Paternos, Pardo de Taveras and others—sat back in their comfortable chairs as the plundering hordes of MacArthur stamped their bloody feet on the face of our nation. The most traitorous section of the ilustrados had clapped their hands when the price of $2O million was settled in the U.S.-Spanish Treaty of Paris in payment for the Philippines. With their creole mentality, the renegades embraced the imperialists as fast as they had first refused to heed the Cry of Pugad Lawin.
U.S. imperialism marched in to cheat our people of their freedom and to massacre them for refusing to submit. But the proper blood money was available, the proper spoils were in government offices and in commerce, and the proper liberal language was employed to veil the brutal reality of imperialist conquest. U.S. imperialism made use of deceitful slogans like “democracy,” “Christianity,” “benevolent assimilation” and “tutelage for self-rule” as they dealt brutally with non-compromisers who refused to take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. flag and who continued to fight for Philippine independence.
Though we are highly critical of the inadequacy of the liberal frame of mind and method of struggle which in the long run weakened the Philippine Revolution, we recognize the revolutionary government of Aguinaldo at the height of its strength as objectively a bourgeois-democratic formation. The spontaneous masses, including the proletariat, found their rights formally respected in the Malolos Constitution and in practice. The government needed their strength to fight Spanish colonialism and U.S. imperialism.
At the height of the Filipino-American War, the printers working in the press of the revolutionary government and led by Hermenegildo Cruz, Felipe Mendoza and Arturo Soriano struck to protest the supercilious behavior of the foreman and to demand better working conditions. The revolutionary leaders could have invoked the critical war situation as an excuse for quelling the just demands of the workers but, because of the national and democratic character of the revolution, the strikers found ready and warm sympathy among them, particularly from General Antonio Luna, editor of La Independencia, who declared: “We are actually for the honor, independence and prosperity of the Filipino people. I see no reason why we should not give the demand of the strikers if we really are for the improvement of the Filipino workers. The first concern of the Filipino government is to give protection and prosperity to the Filipinos.”
We relate this incident not only to belabor the fact that workers continued to be an organic part of the revolution but also to show that they were beginning to be conscious of their class interests even as they had entered into a bourgeois-democratic alliance. From that time on, even through the harshest years of the U.S. imperialist regime, the Filipino working class continuously developed in ideology, in politics and in organization.
Union Obrera Democratica
The return of Isabelo de los Reyes in 1901 from the prisons and barricades of Barcelona invigorated to some extent the Filipino workers as a distinct class. Isabelo de los Reyes smuggled in a broad range of socialist reading materials to be read by workers and immediately made contact with Hermenegildo Cruz and other leading organizers from the ranks of the working class.
The workers recognized De los Reyes as a fearless Filipino patriot who defied the Spanish colonial authorities and suffered incarceration several times. They also saw in him a man who understood the international brotherhood and experience of the proletariat and who was prepared to provide leadership to the Filipino proletariat. In a way, at that time, De los Reyes comprehended the popular advance in the storming of the Bastille and the proletarian advance in the Paris Commune.
On December 30, 1901, when for the first time Rizal’s martyrdom was commemorated, the leaders of various printers’ unions and gremios met and decided to integrate themselves under the name of Union de Impresores de Filipinas (UIF). Participants in the meeting were Isabelo de los Reyes, Hermenegildo Cruz, Arturo Soriano, Melanio de Jesus, Luis Santos, Juan Geronimo, Timoteo Anzures, Nazario Pasicolan, Leopoldo Soriano and Margarita Pasamola—all leading pioneers in the Philippine trade union movement. In this meeting, the Marxist slogan of the First International, “the emancipation of the working class must be the task of the workers themselves,” was adopted by the men who formed the Union de Impresores de Filipinas, the undisputed premier trade union which served as the base for the first labor federation, the Union Obrera Democratica (UOD).
The Union Obrera Democratica was established on January 2, 1902, in the first labor congress ever to be held in Philippine history. The Congress also approved the UOD Constitution which embodied the principles adopted from the books Vida e Obras de Carlos Marx by Friedrich Engels and Los Dos Campesinos by the Italian radical socialist, Malatesta. Isabelo de los Reyes was elected president and Hermenegildo Cruz, vice president.
All the speakers in the Congress attacked U.S. imperialism and the Catholic Church while secret agents listened and took notes. While advancing the economic demands of the labor movement, the UOD expressed its purpose to encourage the people’s movement for independence. Alleging that the trade unionists were “subversives” and “anarchists,” Governor General Taft himself directly ordered their blacklisting and surveillance. Thus, U.S. imperialism proved alert to the patriotism and class-consciousness of Filipino workers and prepared its instruments of coercion and suppression.
On August 2, 1902, when the UOD waged the first general strike of the Filipino labor movement to protest the rejection of their demand for a general wage increase as an adjustment to the inflationary crisis, the U.S. colonial government moved to charge Isabelo de los Reyes with sedition and rebellion and convicted him upon the false witness of a striker who turned out to be a secret service man. The charges and conviction were based on a Spanish conspiracy law. Soon after, Isabelo de los Reyes who had withstood various vicissitudes in the Spanish era succumbed to the antilabor tactics of imperialism and resigned from the UOD to concentrate on his religious activity in the Philippine Independent Church.
UIF president and UOD vice president Hermenegildo Cruz acted to have Dr. Dominador Gomez replace De los Reyes in the leadership of the labor movement. The UOD was renamed Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF). In his proclamation speech as UODF president, Gomez said:
“Do not be like some of our countrymen who are wise and able but have no courage to fight our masters and oppressors. They are timid and would like always to retreat. The banner of Union Democratica de Filipinas is dynamic nationalism against any form of imperialism, against oppression.”
In spite of U.S. imperialist repression, the labor federation under Gomez grew by leaps and bounds from 33 to 150 unions. Fearing the growth of organized labor, the U.S. imperialists instructed the ever-useful colonial errand boys, Pedro Paterno and Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, to persuade Gomez to resign as UODF president and accept a high government post. Gomez was only enraged to hear the two promoters of compromise and told them that he had already committed himself to the labor movement and to militant nationalism.
On May 1, 1903, despite the refusal of the U.S. colonial government to give UODF a permit to demonstrate, the federation staged a demonstration of 100,000 workers to celebrate labor day for the first time in the Philippines. The demonstration was held in front of Malacanang and the workers shouted: “Down with U.S. imperialism!”
As recorded by Hermenegildo Cruz, Dr. Gomez spoke before the demonstrators:
“We were told that America is the mother of democracy, but the American government in Malacanang is afraid to talk with the people who want democracy. The Americans said that they are for freedom, but why is it that they want to curtail our freedom by displaying fixed bayonets? The workers will not accept from the capitalists even a single centavo without an exchange of its equivalent in honest labor. What we are against is the practice of the capitalists of robbing the workers of the product of their sweat by not giving them what is due them. The workers should always bear in mind that they must achieve their emancipation themselves. We will not win without a struggle. We need strength in our struggle. We must always be united. In our struggle for better working and living conditions, we must at the same time struggle for the liberation of the motherland.”
Within the same month of May, 1903, the home of Dr. Gomez and the printing press where the UODF organ was printed were simultaneously raided by American and Filipino policemen in violation of the right to home and the right of free press and free assembly. The UODF president, like his immediate predecessor Isabelo de los Reyes, was charged with “sedition” and “illegal association.”
What U.S. imperialism resented in the leadership of these two men was the conjunction of the labor movement and a militant anti-imperialist movement which, it was afraid, would pursue the Philippine Revolution. The UODF was accused of giving assistance to the persistent armed struggle of Macario Sakay against the U.S. imperialists. Afterwards, the U.S. colonial regime stirred the rumor that Dr. Gomez had betrayed Macario Sakay. Immediately after the crackdown on the UODF which was intended to silence anti-imperialist workers, the agents of the American Federation of Labor tried to take over the Philippine trade union movement and to propagate the bourgeois-liberal concept that labor be separated from political activity and that it be always in unity with capital. To pursue its imperialist and anti-labor aims, the American Federation of Labor encouraged Lope K. Santos to organize the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas (UTF) and to stress the separation of labor and politics and the unity of the working class and the capitalist class. The UTF, in contrast with the UODF, enjoyed the full backing of Governor General Taft.
However, despite U.S. imperialist sponsorship, the UTF failed to deceive the workers. The stalwarts of the premier labor organization, the Union de Impresores de Filipinas, like Hermenegildo Cruz, Felipe Mendoza and Arturo Soriano, exposed the attempt to mislead the Filipino workers. Their experience in the struggle for national liberation and for workers’ rights and their exposure to Marxist ideas, chief of which is that the proletariat must win political power, had taught them how to withstand brutal repression and deception even if done in the style of U.S. imperialism.
With the disappearance of De los Reyes and Gomez from the trade union movement by force of imperialist power, Hermenegildo Cruz found himself at the helm, and he concentrated on transforming the craft unions (gremios) into full-fledged industrial unions so that these would be the stronger basis for a new labor federation. On May 1, 1913, he organized the Congreso Obrero de Filipinas and was elected its president.
Congreso Obrero de Filipinas
The Congreso de Obrero de Filipinas (COF) continued to expose and condemn the American Federation of labor, its racial policies and its attempts to subvert the Philippine trade union movement and subordinate it to the U.S. colonial government. The COF vigorously advocated the independence of the Philippines from U.S. imperialism.
In the era of imperialism, the COF was not free from splitters. In order to pursue their pro-imperialist tendencies and their U.S. style of political muckraking, Vicente Sotto, Ramon Diokno and Lope K. Santos formed a faction and split away to form the Asemblea Obrera in 1917. In order to pursue his program of company unionism, Joaquin Balmori also split away in the same year and formed the Federacion del Trabajo de Filipinas. Balmori advocated that labor unions should charge no membership dues and should receive financial support from management. His federation even made a resolution against strikes and so-called subversive ideas.
In the meantime, in the strongest single labor organization of the period, the UIF, a reorganization was made on March 1, 1918, in which Crisanto Evangelista was elected president. The period was marked by an atmosphere of militancy in the trade union movement as the October Revolution ushered in the first proletarian state.
In the entire trade union movement, the emergence of the young Crisanto Evangelista as a leader marked a new era. Upon his assumption as UIF president, he created a committee, composed of Hermenegildo Cruz, Pablo Lucas and himself, to make a labor survey in the various printing establishments and to draft a general petition to be presented simultaneously to all managements. A campaign for a strike fund was immediately launched in preparation for a general walkout if the petition was rejected. The press capitalists were so impressed with the determination and unity of their workers that they submitted to the demands which included wage hikes ranging from 100 to 500 percent. As a result of this successful campaign, the prestige and leadership of Crisanto Evangelista rose.
President Quezon, in an attempt to undermine the proven strength of the UIF, appointed Evangelista as a member of the Philippine Independence Mission to the United States in 1919. The mission though gave Evangelista the chance to meet and evaluate the various American labor leaders and organizations. He noted the reactionary and racial policies of the American Federation of Labor led by Samuel Gompers. He also came across more materials on scientific socialism and he was positively influenced by the widespread enthusiasm of the workers to launch a Third International.
Maintaining a high political consciousness over its daily economic struggle, the UIF, under the energetic leadership of Crisanto Evangelista, struck for the cause of national freedom and integrity in 1920 against all the American-owned and American-controlled newspapers which had suddenly waged a press campaign to forestall the movement for national independence and denigrate the Filipino people as incompetent for self-government and, therefore, deserving of further U.S. imperialist “tutelage.”
In 1922, Evangelista established the Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party), the precursor of the Communist Party of the Philippines. On May 1, 1927, the COF elected Francisco Varona president and Crisanto Evangelista secretary. On this day, it decided to affiliate with the Red International of Labor Unions. This was the culmination of Filipino labor participation in the Canton Conference of 1925, and in the conferences where the Filipino representatives discussed with the representatives of other national labor organizations (especially those from the East), shared their experiences in economic and political struggle and arrived at the conclusion that since they all faced Western imperialism they needed to band together in equality and in coordination against the common enemy.
In 1928, a more extensive contact of Filipino labor leaders with the international labor movement occurred. The leaders of COF, headed by Crisanto Evangelista, attended conferences in Shanghai, Moscow and Berlin. This development frightened the U.S. colonial government and it instructed its agents to make trouble in the COF. U.S. imperialism was afraid that the Filipino proletariat would derive greater strength by coordinating its efforts with the international labor movement.
On May 1, 1929, the COF split into the yellow faction led by Ruperto Cristobal and the red faction led by Crisanto Evangelista. The former packed the meeting hall with his own men and the latter had no alternative but to bolt. In this manner, the COF became inutile and a more militant and more progressive labor federation, Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis, arose in June 1929. At the close of the third decade, Crisanto Evangelista emerged as the most outstanding leader in the trade union movement, extending his influence to Visayas and Mindanao by maintaining fraternal relations with the Federacion Obrero de Filipinas of Jose Maria Nava.
The Communist Party of the Philippines
Pursuing the objective of creating a solid political instrument of the working class, which he had earlier attempted in the Partido Obrero, Crisanto Evangelista established the Communist Party of the Philippines which would be imbued with Marxism-Leninism. Supported by the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis and the Katipunang Pambansang Mambubukid sa Pilipinas, the chief organizations of the trade union movement and the peasant movement respectively, the Communist Party of the Philippines was founded on August 26, 1930, and formally launched on November 7, 1930, thus bringing into an alliance the working class and the peasantry.
The Communist Party of the Philippines immediately became the object of concerted vilification and provocations by the ruling class and the U.S. colonial government. It faced immediately the same reactionary forces of imperialism and feudalism which thwarted the Philippine Revolution at the turn of the century and the first labor federation, the Union Obrera Democratica, in 1902 and 1903.
On May 1, 1931, workers marching under the two o’clock sun were bombarded with jets of water at Maypajo, Caloocan, upon the orders of the U.S. colonial regime. Subsequently, the meeting of the workers to celebrate the day was raided by American secret policemen and constabulary soldiers. The jails of Manila were filled with industrial workers and peasants. Twenty-eight communist leaders headed by Crisanto Evangelista, Juan Feleo, Guillermo Capadocia and Mariano Balgos were singled out from hundreds of arrested workers and were accused of sedition and illegal assembly. The leaders were given considerably long prison terms, others were banished. The Communist Party was outlawed, only a few months after its establishment. Provincial governors and town presidents were instructed by the U.S. colonial regime not to give any permit to the KAP and KPMP for any gathering.
It was only when the demand for the Popular Front grew stronger, as a result of the depression and worsened condition of the masses, that President Quezon pardoned the imprisoned and banished labor leaders in 1936. The Roosevelt government, in an antifascist act of expediency, acceded to the clamor for the release of the Communist Party leaders; communist parties in all parts of the world had become the most reliable antifascist fighters.
At the same time, Quezon tried to establish labor “unity” under his leadership and he tried establishing the National Federation of Labor with government subsidy. His attempt failed and Evangelista succeeded in upholding as a matter of principle and in practice the independence of the working-class movement from the Commonwealth government.
Come 1938, the Communist Party of the Philippines became numerically stronger as it merged with the Socialist Party led by Pedro Abad Santos. Through this merger, it made up for the years when it was outlawed and its leaders were either in prison or banished. The Socialist Party, which had become strong in the countryside, brought the peasantry in greater number to the Communist Party of the Philippines. The latter party had continued to enjoy the support of the proletariat even in its underground years, as proven when it again emerged.
In 1939, Crisanto Evangelista made another consolidation in the trade union movement and organized the Collective Labor Movement. This later became an organic part of the anti- Japanese resistance movement.
At this point, we give recognition to the profound development of the ideology, politics and organization of the working class under the leadership of Crisanto Evangelista. With respect to ideology, the working class started to grasp the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism. With respect to politics, the Communist Party started to make the working class a significant force in the struggle for national democracy. With respect to organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines was established as a definite working-class party.
A serious shortcoming of the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, before the contradiction between the Filipino people and Japanese fascism became the principal contradiction, was the failure to place the principal stress on the national and agrarian struggle against U.S. imperialism and feudalism. The leadership was well-versed in the contradiction between the proletariat and the capitalist class in general, but it failed all the time to stress the fact that the main contradiction within the Philippine society then was between U.S. imperialism and feudalism on the one hand and the Filipino people, mainly the workers and peasants, on the other hand. While all the workers, Marxist or not, demanded Philippine independence from U.S. imperialism, the matter of national liberation was obscured by the slogans of class struggle between the capitalist class and the working class.
The Communist Party of the Philippines was so immersed in legal and urban struggles that it was unprepared to wage armed struggle against Japanese fascism immediately. Crisanto Evangelista and other leaders of the Party were apprehended in the city by the Japanese a month after enemy occupation of Manila. Evangelista died a patriotic death in the hands of the Japanese fascists.
During the war, the CPP failed to make use of the Popular Front and the antifascist struggle as an occasion for building up anti-imperialism that would last the duration of the war and be capable of meeting the return of U.S. imperialism. Had the people been prepared to fight the return of U.S. imperialism, the slogan of “democratic peace” would not have been raised to allow the U.S. imperialists to crush the forces of national democracy, which broadly included not only the Communist Party of the Philippines and the HUKBALAHAP but even such a party as the Democratic Alliance.
The Japanese Occupation put the trade union movement into disarray as industrial and commercial activity became irregular and fell under the control of the aggressor.
Congress of Labor Organizations
In 1945, therefore, the Committee of Labor Organizations practically started from scratch after the ruin of war. It emerged from the ranks of the newly installed workers and came under the leadership of Mariano Balgos, Amado V. Hernandez and Manuel Joven, Felixberto Olalia, Pedro Castro and Cipriano Cid—to mention only a few. The committee within a short time became the Congress of Labor Organizations, embracing all genuine labor organizations.
As the leading and most comprehensive organization of the workers, the Congress of Labor Organizations became a massive force for national democracy. It became an effective instrument of the working class in seeking economic welfare and also in fighting for the true independence of the Filipino people.
Led by ardent patriots, the CLO found itself in the city fighting vigorously against the measures the U.S. government and the monopoly-capitalist class behind it wanted to impose upon the Filipino people in order to perpetuate colonial control and influence over our national life.
Against the basic principle of self-determination, the U.S. government arrogated into itself the power to “grant” sovereignty and independence to the Filipino people in an act of the U.S. Congress. In the U.S.-RP Treaty of General Relations of July 4, 1946, which made the “grant” of independence, it is stated that the U.S. government would retain control over military bases strategically placed all over the archipelago.
Against this background of imperialist chicanery and a treaty which retained the basic coercive instruments of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines, the Congress of Labor Organizations girded itself for other measures that were still to be rammed down our throats. It opposed the Bell Trade Act, which would extend the conditions of “free trade” and grant to U.S. citizens the right to exploit our natural resources and operate public utilities, necessitating the Parity Amendment of the Philippine Constitution.
U.S. imperialism prostituted democratic processes by expelling through its puppets the duly-elected members of Congress belonging to the Democratic Alliance and to the anti-imperialist wing of the Nacionalista Party, who were determined to block the passage of the Bell Trade Act and the ratification of the Parity Amendment in 1948. Despite the broad character of the Democratic Alliance, the reactionaries tried to pin it down as a subversive organization.
Not satisfied with expelling the duly-elected members of Congress who opposed its anti-Filipino designs, U.S. imperialism also engaged in sinister actions which did physical harm to members of the Democratic Alliance and the mass organizations supporting it. The Congress of Labor Organizations became the object of imperialist-guided attacks in all forms, in propaganda and actual murder. Its Secretary General, Manuel Joven, became a victim of kidnapping and assassination.
In 1951, in the course of the white terror campaign against persons and groups suspected of having association with the Communist Party of the Philippines, the national headquarters of the Congress of Labor Organizations was raided and its leaders and members were arrested en masse. The Congress of Labor Organizations was forced out of legal existence at the prompting of U.S. imperialism. This abuse of democracy was made in the name of democracy by the CIA-directed Ramon Magsaysay.
As borne out thirteen years later by a Supreme Court decision on Amado Hernandez et al, on May 30, 1964, acquitting Hernandez and other leaders of the CLO and “upholding” the right of expression and free assembly, the action of Magsaysay was indeed an attack against democracy, particularly those rights piously invoked by the Supreme Court, and also a dastardly attack against the national-democratic movement in which the CLO had excelled by fighting for our most basic national interests.
After every major imperialist crackdown on the Filipino labor movement, attempts are made by reactionary agents to take over the field. Since 1951, various attempts have been made to take over where the CLO left off. The American Jesuits put up their Institute of Social Order and the Federation of Free Workers. The U.S. imperialists—through their labor attaches and the AFL-CLO representatives—have directly extended subsidies to all sorts of puppet organizations and organizers. The International Labor Organization has also been used to subvert and redirect the labor movement in the Philippines, ideologically, politically and organizationally. The Philippine Trade Union Council was put up under the direction of U.S. agents in the International Labor Organization. The Asian Labor Education Center was also put up and assured by American foundations of continuous subsidy in order to subvert the thinking of the Filipino working class. The line of the counterrevolutionaries, as before, is to make the working class bend backwards to suit U.S. imperialism and to prevent it from developing a revolutionary consciousness.
Together with the agents of imperialism and clericalism, labor racketeers have flourished on the seeming carcass of a labor movement. But a class-conscious and anti-imperialist proletariat, with a clear socialist perspective, will surely rise up.
The CLO was busted to stop it from rallying the workers under the banner of national democracy and to leave the field wide open for all sorts of misleaders. U.S. imperialism was the leading enemy force behind the suppression of the CLO as it was previously in the case of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, the UOD, the COF and the CPP.
But the Filipino workers will prevail in the long run as they have always risen from the most trying crises imposed by their class enemy, U.S. monopoly capitalism. They know well now that their class enemy is U.S. monopoly capitalism, which squeezes the surplus value created by Filipino labor in the most exploitative way by bringing out of our country superprofits from its investments and in this way depresses internal economic growth. They also know well now that it is U.S. imperialism, through its military instruments, agents and bases right here within our national territory, which provides the puppet state with its coercive power. They now see through the subtlety of U.S. power and influence in all organs of the ruling class, whether bureaucratic, political, cultural, economic or police and military.
The progressive labor leaders of today are again developing the labor movement as an instrument of national democracy. As they realize that other patriotic classes, groups and elements are involved in the anti-imperialist struggle, they are learning in practice how to move with them and how to mass themselves against the chief enemy, U.S. monopoly capitalism or imperialism.
That the labor movement has consistently advanced despite the difficulties already described is best proven by the establishment of the Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers’ Party) in 1963. It was established with the biggest number of labor following at that time. However, at the present moment, it is seriously faced with the danger of disintegration from which it has evidently suffered through four years of existence, apparently, because of the deleterious impact of bourgeois politics which wracks the leadership every election time and because of the right-wing opportunism of certain elements and also because of narrow interfederation amor propio. But in the most objective manner of criticism, let me state that a party like the Lapiang Manggagawa, which tries to assume the role of leadership, will be strong only if it fulfills certain conditions in the fields of ideology, politics and organization.
In the ideological field, a working class party must have a truly proletarian world outlook, must be able to comprehend strategic principles and must maintain a socialist perspective and orientation. It must set up an educational program which promotes among the workers a proletarian outlook, a scientific viewpoint of history, an analysis of capitalist economy and imperialism, and socialism and a new democratic line. It must maintain workers’ schools at all levels. It must hold conferences on problems affecting the working class. It must set up a newspaper to serve as an ideological vehicle. Above all, it must, through actual mass struggle, raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people.
In the field of political activity, a workers’ party must be able to daily carry out concrete militant struggle for national democracy. It must build itself up not only among the workers but also among the peasants. It must arouse and mobilize the peasant masses for agrarian revolution, the key to the victory of the national-democratic revolution. It must respond promptly to the daily shifting demands of the anti-imperialist and the anti-feudal struggle, independently and in cooperation with all other anti-imperialist and anti-feudal forces and organizations. It should be alert to valuable alliances and keep on the alert after such alliances have been formed. It must have the firm and single objective of developing and acquiring political power for the masses.
In the field of organization, a workers’ party must be guided by the principle of democratic centralism. It must require individual membership from masses of all patriotic classes willing to assume the proletarian viewpoint. It must draw the greatest number of members and put up the greatest number of branches among the workers and peasants. It must build up itself on a nationwide scale to achieve the capability of withstanding the well-oiled bourgeois parties of the ruling class. It must arrive at organizational plans and must be able to fulfill them within the given period of time with all given party assets and resources clear beforehand. Organizations at all levels, from the branch upward, must be maintained on a daily basis and not on a seasonal basis during election years as it is in the NP and LP.
In our review of the trade union movement and its connection with the national-democratic movement, we have concluded with the tasks of building up a proletarian party. Without a proletarian party to provide leadership, the struggle for national democracy cannot be won. #
 Speech delivered in Pilipino before the 64th Anniversary Conference of the Union de Impresores de Filipinas on February 6, 1966; published in English in Progressive Review No. 9.
7. U.S. IMPERIALISM AND REVOLUTIONARY INTERNATIONALISM
As Philippine delegate, I am happy to extend my people’s warmest greetings of friendship and solidarity to the Japanese people and to the various countries participating in this 12th World Conference Against A & H bombs.
I have come with the high hope that we shall be able to share our experiences in the struggle for freedom and truly lasting peace, arrive at the correct methods of struggle, and reinforce our common determination to fight today’s chief cause of war and national oppression—U.S. imperialism. In this regard, let us take advantage of the opportunity presented by the highly representative character of this world conference which embraces six zones: Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, Oceania, and the United States.
The Philippine delegation in this conference is of the view that the struggle for national and social liberation is inseparable from the struggle for a lasting peace. So long as colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism—spearheaded by U.S. imperialism—exist and so long as U.S. imperialism effects the subjugation and exploitation of peoples throughout the world, no truly lasting peace can be created by any people without resolute revolutionary struggle. Only by continuing the resolute struggle against U.S. imperialism can we achieve genuine peace instead of a capitulationist postponement of struggle or a prolongation of imperialist domination.
U.S. imperialism tries to perpetuate its worldwide system of exploitation by constantly threatening a nuclear war. It is fear of this nuclear blackmail that is precisely desired by U.S. imperialism so as to weaken the resistance and determination of peoples through the world.
The answer to U.S. nuclear blackmail is revolutionary struggle. The power of U.S. imperialism is already overextended throughout the world. Its foundations are overstrained as may be confirmed by the American delegates here. All that we, the peoples of the world, have to do is to strike at that link of the imperialist chain which falls on each of our own countries. Every link of the U.S. imperialist chain at this stage of world development has become brittle and can easily be broken by the revolutionary struggle of the masses of the people.
The nuclear power of the United States becomes useless if all peoples of the world, including the American people, will engage in revolutionary struggle. The threat of a global nuclear war becomes effective only if the peoples of the world become frightened and do not perform their internationalist duty of fighting U.S. imperialism within their respective spheres of action and thus fail to scatter the attention of U.S. imperialism from the present world focus of struggle: Vietnam.
As long as there is no revolutionary opposition to imperialism in North America and Europe and no militant attempts to develop it there, U.S. imperialism will always take the opportunity of concentrating its aggressive forces in Asia and attempt to destroy the worldwide struggle for freedom part by part. In this light, we can see the counter- revolutionary character of modern revisionism, particularly its capitulationism, which genuine anti-imperialists readily recognize.
At this stage of world history, no strategy and tactics can be pursued in one part of the world without reference to other parts of the world. There is only one main line and that is: every people of the world must resolutely perform their internationalist duty of striking at the chief cause of war, U.S. imperialism.
After clarifying with you the essential principle that revolutionary struggle is the sure guarantee for world peace and the prevention of nuclear war, I wish to apprise you of the degree of imperialist domination in my country. You can easily imagine how much contribution to the worldwide struggle for freedom would my people be giving by breaking the aggressive power of U.S. imperialism in their own sphere of action.
You are, of course, aware of the fact that the Philippines was conquered by the United States at the beginning of this century. The main purpose of the U.S. then as it still is now was to make use of my country as an advance base for its monopoly-capitalistic expansionist drive towards the whole of Asia, particularly towards China under the aegis of the Open Door policy.
In order to achieve its imperialist purposes, the U.S. government had to murder more than 250,000 Filipinos within the short period of 1899-1902. With or without nuclear weapons, it is in the nature of U.S. imperialism to murder so many of our people, burn down our homes and commit many more bestialities. As in the Vietnam War, there is really no difference in the deadly effects of nuclear weapons and those of the weapons now currently used.
What really matters is whether U.S. imperialism should be done away with now or given a new lease on life by capitulationism through an inordinate fear of nuclear weapons.
In my country alone, you can very well see the results of flabbiness and capitulationism. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the ilustrado or liberal-bourgeois leadership tried to give class leadership to the masses, but it was not really clear about the process of revolution. When the U.S. imperialists came to destroy the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine revolutionary government, these capitulationists in the ranks of the revolutionaries were taken in by the U.S. slogans of “benevolent assimilation,” “education for self-government,” and “pacification,” which actually meant the mass murder of the Filipino people and the destruction of our national-democratic values.
These capitulationists have become the active collaborators of the U.S. imperialists in the exploitation of the Filipino people. To continue the unfinished Philippine Revolution today, more difficulties and more sacrifices must be made because of previous compromises and capitulation and betrayals.
The U.S. imperialists cleared the path for widespread aggression throughout Asia more than six decades ago by frontally attacking the frustrating the Philippine Revolution of 1896, which was the first national-democratic revolution in Asia and Africa. Simultaneously, they were aided by the capitulationists who sabotaged the revolution from within.
Today, the Philippines remains an important link in the U.S. imperialist chain. It is the country in Asia whose economy, politics, culture and military are most controlled by U.S. imperialism and yet having the most appearance of autonomy. The Philippines has served as a base for U.S. economic, political, cultural and military aggression.
With more than twenty military bases strategically located all over the Philippine archipelago, you can very well see the gravity of the task facing the Filipino people for their own sake and for the cause of the international struggle for freedom and genuine peace.
Against our sovereignty, the U.S. government exercises extraterritorial rights within large areas of our national territory and its troops enjoy exterritorial rights extending to every corner. The system of U.S. military bases in the Philippines has always served as the launching ground for U.S. aggression against neighboring brother peoples, particularly our Vietnamese brothers at present.
The U.S. government has succeeded in forcing the Philippine puppet president and congress to dispatch 2,000 combat troops to South Vietnam and appropriate P35 million for this year alone at the expense of our people who are badly in need of these funds to alleviate their poverty and suffering. This step taken by our government brings to a new level its involvement in the U.S. war of aggression against the Vietnamese people of both South and North. This step is a shameless act before all freedom-fighting and peace-loving people of the world.
This step was taken over the heads of the Filipino people and must be roundly condemned by this conference.
Cherishing our own revolutionary traditions and our national-democratic aspirations we, the Filipino people, vigorously oppose the U.S. war of aggression in Vietnam. We have experienced and we know that we are still going to experience what the Vietnamese people are now experiencing from U.S. imperialism in their struggle for national liberation.
We are of the view that the United States and its co-aggressors should withdraw immediately from South Vietnam and allow the Vietnamese people to attain their own demands. The U.S. government’s attempt to suppress the national-democratic aspirations of the Vietnamese people is basically similar its effort to suppress our own in the past six decades and more.
We are familiar with the U.S. imperialist siren call for peace and negotiations as a smokescreen to bring its policy of aggression and war to a new and more dangerous level. No amount of whitewashing can remove from our view the blood on the murderous hands of those thrill killers and pyromaniacs in Washington and Wall Street.
The bombing of the periphery of Hanoi and Haiphong is nothing but an act of desperation, a clear sign of the accelerating collapse of the Saigon puppet government and the failure of the all-out U.S. aggression.
For the first time in the history of Gensuikyo, I have been informed, the Philippines is represented in its World Conference. We, the Filipino people, take a special interest in this conference because we have hoped that in the light of recent and extremely vigorous attempts of the United States to use Japan as a shield in its aggressive acts and maneuvers, we may be able to derive deeper knowledge and better perspective of the developing situation.
We, the Filipino people, are very much concerned about the consistent remilitarization and nuclearization of Japan. We suffered severely during World War II from the atrocities and depredations of Japanese imperialism. We have not forgotten these and no amount of reparations goods going into the hands of a few corrupt men in my country will give your monopoly-capitalists enough license to reappear on the scene of their crime. We are once more alerted to Japanese militarism, a partner of U.S. imperialism in the exploitation of the unliberated areas of Asia, particularly Southeast Asia.
The Japanese people themselves, as the Philippine delegation has observed, condemn the reemergence of Japanese militarism under the wing of U.S. imperialism. Like the Filipino people, they have suffered much because of imperialist wars.
We are in deep sympathy with the struggle of the Japanese people against the militarization and nuclearization of Japan, against the persistence and expansion of U.S. military bases and facilities within Japanese territory, against the docking of nuclear-powered submarines, against the development of F-105D nuclear-capable bombers in Japan, against the criminal neglect of atomic bomb sufferers.
We are against the impending dispatch overseas of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, against the continued U.S. possession of Okinawa and Ogasawara, against the revision of the Peace Constitution, against the Japan-ROK Treaty and the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty and against the implementation of the “three arrow” operation plan.
The Philippine delegation takes note of how well-entrenched U.S. imperialism is in Japan even until now. We wish to expose before this conference the role of fugleman that U.S. imperialism has assigned to the Japanese monopoly-capitalists in such U.S.-inspired maneuvers as the Asian and Pacific Conference (a preparation for a new military alliance embracing American puppet-states) and also the Southeast Asian Economic Development Ministerial Conference (dubbed as “independent Asian diplomacy”).
By putting Japan at the forefront, U.S. imperialism has the sinister motive of making the Japanese people share the blame and the costs of U.S. aggression in Asia, and making the Japanese government take a belligerent attitude towards the Chinese people and support fascist regimes like those of South Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and others for the benefit of monopoly-capitalists.
The Japanese people know the horrible effects of nuclear weapons as demonstrated by the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and by the Bikini tests. The U.S. government tested its weapons on the Japanese people in an obvious act of racial discrimination. They are, therefore, very much concerned about the possession of nuclear weapons by imperialist states. This concern is shared by the Philippine delegation.
The Moscow Tripartite Treaty or partial test ban treaty has not brought us any closer to the prevention of nuclear war. It has, on the other hand, brought us closer to it because it has served only to legalize the nuclear stockpile of U.S. imperialism and it has allowed it to develop and improve its nuclear weapons through underground tests. The worst result of this treaty, of course, has been the further befuddling of the minds of revisionists.
The “non-proliferation” treaty being proposed by the United States and endorsed by its revisionist partners does not also bring us any closer to the prevention of nuclear war. On the other hand, it is intended to bring us closer to it because it obscures further the basic problem of imperialist possession of nuclear weapons, both strategic and tactical.
All countries of the world must heed the call of the People’s Republic of China for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons. All nuclear weapons must be banned and entirely destroyed. A common agreement to this effect, and no less, must be immediately made by all nuclear-armed countries. Nevertheless, if a complete prohibition of nuclear weapons cannot as yet be achieved, then there is no substitute for persistent militant struggle of all peoples of the world against U.S. imperialism. Let us simply remember that there was once a time when U.S. imperialism had nuclear monopoly and it engaged in nuclear blackmail. But, both nuclear monopoly and nuclear blackmail were rendered useless by revolutionary struggles. Why fear nuclear blackmail when the nuclear monopoly has been broken by revolutionaries?
On the part of the Filipino people, we realize fully that we can help prevent the outbreak of a nuclear war by setting ourselves free from U.S. imperialist domination. We know that we must first be freed of those U.S. military bases in our national territory to free ourselves from those nuclear weapons which they contain and which are poised against our brother Asian peoples. And we must also be freed of the U.S. economic, cultural and political domination for which these foreign military bases exist.
In conclusion, let me assure my brothers here that we, the Filipino people, shall prove ourselves worthy of your fraternal consideration only through militant struggle.
Long live all anti-imperialist movements in the world! #
 Speech prepared for the 12th World Conference Against A & H Bombs, Japan, July 28 to August 29, 1966.
8. THE NEED FOR A CULTURAL REVOLUTION
To have a scientific view of culture as we should, we need to understand first of all that culture is a superstructure that rests upon a material basis.
The ideas, institutions and all cultural patterns are dependent on the material mode of existence of a society. These change as all societies are subject to change. There is no permanent society or culture.
The cultural balance, pattern or synthesis that exists in a society at a given historical stage is nothing but the unity of opposites—the unity of opposite cultural forces. This unity is always a temporary balance subject to the dynamism of opposites. The progressive force always outgrows and breaks the old framework which the reactionary force always tries to preserve.
Just as revolution is inevitable in politico-economic relations, revolution is inevitable in culture. A cultural revolution, as a matter of fact, is a necessary aspect of the politico-economic revolution.
In the history of mankind, it can easily be seen that even before the full development of the politico-economic power of an ascendant social class, a cultural revolution provides it with the thoughts and motives that serve as the effective guide to action and further action. A ruling class achieves what we call its class consciousness before it actually establishes its own state power and replaces the old state power and its vestiges.
Long before the liberal revolution of Europe dealt the most effective political blows against feudal power in the 17th and 18th centuries, a cultural revolution took shape in the Renaissance which asserted secular thinking and freedom of thought. The men of the Renaissance questioned the clerical hegemony over culture and learning and they clarified the ideals and values that were still to become truly dominant later when the unity of church and state was to be broken and replaced by the modern bourgeois state. The successful revolution of the bourgeoisie in the West was prepared and guided by a cultural revolution.
In our country, there had to be a propaganda movement—the assertion of new ideas and values—before there developed the actual beginnings of the Philippine Revolution that fell under the class leadership of the ilustrados or the liberal bourgeoisie that surrounded Aguinaldo.
In this Propaganda Movement, Dr. Jose Rizal made patriotic annotations on Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas with a view of demonstrating that before the coming of Spanish colonialism there was an indigenous culture that the indios could be proud of. This was clearly an anti-colonial attempt not only to show up the racial arrogance of those who belittled our people but also to develop an awareness of a national culture.
Not to be carried away by chauvinism, Dr. Jose Rizal further presented the crisis of colonial culture in the Philippines and the prospects of a national culture in terms of the liberal ideas and values of Europe which he believed could be applied in the concrete experience of his people, inasmuch as there was already the emergence of the ilustrados like Crisostomo Ibarra and businessmen like Capitan Tiago.
Rizal’s two novels, Noli and Fili, and his essays, “The Indolence of the Filipinos” and “The Philippines A Century Hence,” were written in furtherance of a national-democratic cultural revolution. It was a revolution in the sense that it contraposed national culture to the colonial culture of which the friars were the chief defenders.
It was in this same spirit that the participants of the Propaganda Movement wrote as Marcelo H. del Pilar did, orated as Graciano Lopez Jaena did and painted as Juan Luna did. All of them exposed the exploitation and brutalization of our people, thus paving the way for the clear call for separation from Spain by the Katipunan.
The Katipunan, which was a vigorously separatist movement and which served as the nucleus of a new national political community, carried forward into revolutionary action the aspiration for a national-democratic culture, integrating democratic concepts with the indigenous conditions. From Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto to Apolinario Mabini and Antonio Luna, the fire of cultural revolution rose higher and higher and shone with the political ideas that guided the Philippine Revolution of 1896.
What came to be considered our national culture in the beginning was the integration of modern political ideas and indigenous conditions. The emergence of that national culture was essentially a political phenomenon; a national culture arose in direct and necessary opposition to the colonial and clerical culture which exploited and brutalized our people. An awareness of national culture spread among the Filipino people as fast as national sentiment and consciousness spread among them. The political awareness of a national community reintegrated the cultural patterns in the provinces, surpassing both the magical barangay culture of pre-Hispanic times and the feudal Christian culture under Spanish domination. The desire for a modern national-democratic society outmoded the feudal society developed by the conquistadores from the primitive rule of the rajahs and the datus who submitted themselves as local puppets of the foreign dispensation.
Our people’s aspirations for national democracy and for a modern culture of the same cast were, unfortunately, frustrated by the coming of U.S. imperialism. Taking advantage of the naivete and compromising character of our ilustrado or liberal bourgeois leaders, the U.S. imperialists easily insinuated themselves into our country by pretending to give aid to our efforts to free our motherland. After all, did not the patriots of the Propaganda Movement praise so much the ideas of Jefferson, the American Declaration of Independence and the American struggle against British colonialism?
Alas, little was it realized that the American revolution, which we still remember today for its national-democratic ideals, had taken the path of monopoly-capitalist development and had become an imperialist power greedy for colonies in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Though it shouted loud its slogans of bringing democracy and Christianity to the Philippines, as required by a supposed divine mandate received by President McKinley in his dream, it came to suppress the First Philippine Republic and the Malolos Constitution which embodied our people’s national-democratic aspirations.
As efficiently as the Spaniards were in suppressing the rich cultural achievements of our ancestors, the U.S. imperialists went about their work of brutally suppressing any manifestation of patriotism by the Filipino people. Today, despite the current horror of the U.S. imperialist war of aggression in Vietnam, many still have the illusion that the U.S. imperialists are smart, subtle and smooth operators. But what is more cruel and crude than the murder of more than 250,000 Filipinos to achieve U.S. imperialist conquest of the Philippines, as was done in the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902?
What is more crude and inconsiderate than the all-out imperialist attempt during the first decade of this country to censor and suppress newspapers, drama, poetry, and other cultural efforts which manifested Filipino patriotism and national-democratic aspirations? The mere display of the Philippine flag was enough ground for a Filipino to be punished for sedition.
Until today, many of our youth and elders are deprived of the memory of the national-democratic struggle of our people. They have been made to forget. How is this possible even if there seems to be no more open coercion to prevent us from reviewing our national history?
The history of mankind shows that state power and any appearance of stability in any class society are sustained by the force of arms and other coercive means. However, in so far as forgetting one’s history is concerned, control of the means of cultural development is necessary to get such a result. A state, such as one that is imperialist, does not only have the instruments for coercion but also the instruments for suasion.
The first decisive step taken by the U.S. government in order to develop its cultural and educational control over the Philippines was to impose the English language as the medium of instruction and as the official language. On the national scale, a foreign language became the first language in government and business. English merely replaced Spanish as the vehicle of the foreign power dominating us.
A foreign language may widen our cultural horizons, opening our eyes to those parts of the world expressed by that language. But if such a foreign language is forced on our people as has been the case with Spanish and English consecutively, it undermines and destroys the sense of national and social purpose that should be inculcated in our youth and in those who are supposed to be educated. Within our nation this foreign language divides the educated and the wealthy from the masses. It is not only a measure of class discrimination but also one of national subjugation. It means a cultural constriction represented a long time ago by a Dona Victorina.
The two most significant results of the adoption of English as the first language in the practice of the educated are: first, learning and the professions are alienated from the masses and only serve the ruling class in the incessant class struggle; and second, the Filipino people are actually cut off from other peoples of the world and become victimized by imperialist propaganda.
Some persons might argue that the U.S. government had really intended to spread English among the masses by establishing the public school system. They might, with extreme nostalgia, recall the coming of the Thomasites and what had developed from their work; they might recall how American teachers taught their language better than many Filipino English teachers do today. Foolishly, they are liable to find justification in this for the Peace Corps and other cultural devices meant to perpetuate U.S. imperialist cultural influence among the people.
Those favoring the dominance of the imperialist culture at the expense of our developing national culture are treading treasonous grounds. It is already well exposed by history that the public school system has served essentially as a brainwashing machine for cleansing the people’s minds of their national-democratic aspirations.
The colonially-tutored children came to know more about Washington and Lincoln than about Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto. The national-democratic concepts of our national heroes were forgotten and only innocuous anecdotes were told about them. U.S. imperialism became in their eyes the liberator and not the oppressor of the people in fact.
U.S. imperialism has found more use in our learning of English than we would have found for ourselves if we developed our own national language. We have about three generations of Filipinos spewed by the imperialist brainwashing machine. The general run of these Filipinos have an intellectual orientation, habits, and consumption attitudes subordinated to the so-called American way of life.
In self-criticism, let us accept how much so many of us have become acculturized to U.S. imperialism. To propose that we embark on a genuine program of national industrialization and agrarian revolution is to become extremely “subversive.” We are eyed with suspicion by some just because we had dared to challenge the colonial character of the economy and, therefore, of the prevailing politics.
We must propose the Filipinization of schools, the press, radio and other media which are decisive in the conditioning of minds. Because in the hands of foreigners, these constitute direct foreign political power and intervention in our national affairs. These media of education and information immediately direct public opinion and, as it has been since the coming of U.S. imperialism, they have served to keep permanent our cultural as well as our political bondage.
The cultural aggression of U.S. imperialism in our country continues unabated. It takes various forms.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has a decisive say on educational policies at the highest governmental level. Textbook production and procurement are directed by it in the Department of Education. Multifarious projects designed to execute directly U.S. foreign cultural policy are actually supported by the counterpart peso fund which we provide. To a great extent, the Philippine government is actually subsidizing USIS and other forms of “clasped hand” propaganda.
In a strategic place like the University of the Philippines, General Carlos P. Romulo continues to open the door to foreign grants from such foundations as Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation. He has sought loans from foreign financing institutions like the World Bank for the purpose of his so-called five-year development program. The naive teacher, student and administrator in my Alma Mater might think that Romulo is doing a fine job for us. But actually, he is doing a fine job for the cause of cultural imperialism which is in the service of U.S. monopoly-capitalism.
We have to examine closely the present proliferation of institutes and research projects in the U.P. which are meant only to accommodate the cultural agents of the U.S. government, both American and Filipino. We have to examine how much U.S. imperialist advice and actual direction has affected and will affect the curricula and materials for study. We have to examine closely what is the whole idea behind the $6 million World Bank loan to the UP. How, for instance, is this related to present plans and operations of Esso fertilizer, International Harvester, United Fruit and others? We should inquire more critically into the increasing physical presence of U.S. imperialist personnel in UP. The U.S. government plans every step it takes in consideration of the monopoly interests it must represent in its foreign policy. Unlike the Philippine government, the U.S. government takes its action in the cultural field on the basis of national interests.
The pensionado mentality among our brighter students, teachers and professors have become so instilled that to promote their career it is a “must” for them to take one American scholarship grant or another. We must be critical of their mentality and we must pursue a new cultural revolution that should put in order the values of those who have fallen prey to this mentality. They go to the United States only to learn concepts and cases that do not apply on the concrete experience of our people. Their thinking is completely alienated from the masses and at most they become self-seeking careerists.
There is a worse kind of Filipino professional than the one who finally returns to this country. He is either a doctor, a nurse or some other professional who prefers to stay in the United States as a permanent resident or who tries to become an American citizen. This type of fellow is a subtle betrayer of his country and, in the most extreme cases, a loud-mouthed vilifier of the Filipino people. He goes to the foreign land for higher pay and that is all he is interested in. He does not realize how much social investment has been put into his public schooling from the elementary level and up, and he refuses to serve the people whose taxes have paid for his education. We criticize him but we must as well condemn the government that allows him to desert and that fails to inspire him to work for the people.
While there is an apparent exodus of our bright young men and women to the United States and other lands under the direction of the U.S., the U.S. government ironically sends the Peace Corps and encourages all sorts of projects (many of which are CIA-directed) intending to send young American men and women abroad. Whereas these young Americans are going to our countryside guided by the foreign policy of their government, our bright young men and women are abandoning the countryside to crowd each other out in the city or to take flight entirely from their country.
We refer to the Peace Corps here as a challenge to our youth. These agents of a foreign government are here to perpetuate their government’s long-standing policies and cultural influence. They are agents of renewed U.S. imperialist efforts to aggravate their cultural control; thus, they are described as the new Thomasites.
The presence of U.S. imperialist agents of one sort or another in our countryside poses a threat to the development of a national-democratic movement among us. Beyond their role of showing pictures of New York and Washington to impressionable children is the counterinsurgency rationale behind their organization.
While these sweet boys and girls in the Peace Corps are now immediately creating goodwill (which is a euphemism for political influence) and performing intelligence functions, these same sweet boys and girls can always come back with new orders from their government. This counterinsurgency aspect and psy-war and intelligence value of the Peace Corps are what make it subversive to the interest of a national-democratic movement.
The Filipino youth should go to the countryside to learn from the people and to arouse them for the national-democratic revolution. #
 Speech delivered at the UP Baguio College, Baguio City, on September 30, 1966; sponsored by the UP Baguio Student Council.
9. THE MERCENARY TRADITION IN THE AFP
I understand that an increasing number of officers and rank-and-filers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are reconsidering their traditions and the basic postulates by which commands have been sent down from the top with the most rigid discipline characteristic of the military establishment.
In the Philippine Military Academy, I would presume that the fresher minds of young men are striving to clarify that the true military tradition, which every Filipino must be proud of and whose spirit he must be imbued with should hark back to the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution.
On the surface, every soldier of the government carries with him the initial of the Katipunan on his uniform. The Philippine Military Academy carries the name of the great anti-imperialist general, Gregorio del Pilar, who fought both against Spanish colonialism and U.S. imperialism. He died fighting U.S. imperialism, faithful to the sovereignty of the Filipino people but betrayed by a fellow Filipino who showed the imperialist soldiers how, in familiar Yankee slang, to rub him out at Tirad Pass.
We are once again at a point in our national history where the body politic is pervaded by the collective desire to assert our people’s sovereignty and to give substance to those forms of seeming independence that a foreign power has conceded as a measure of compromise and chicanery in its favor. There is now an evident political flow involving all patriotic classes, groups and individuals. Our people as a whole, including those who have been conservative, are beginning to reexamine the status of our national life and the strategic relations that have bound us from the beginning of this century.
An intensive inquiry is now being made as to how our society has remained semi-colonial and semi-feudal; as to how our political system has not actually permitted the masses of our people to enjoy the bounty of genuine democracy; as to how an imperialist culture wedded to a colonial culture has persisted; as to how some of us have persisted in considering themselves under the protection of a foreign power, which extracts superprofits from our country and which constantly involves it in selfish imperialist enmities throughout Asia and throughout the world in the guise of a religious crusade called anti-communism.
We fear aggression and supposedly we prepare for it. But many of us forget the aggression that has succeeded in perpetuating itself within our shores. Many of us lose sight of the fact that actually a foreign aggressor persists within our territory, always trying to cause petty confusion among our people and trying to retain the present local officialdom as a mere bunch of overseers for its selfish imperialist interests.
A conservative man like Speaker Cornelio Villareal has exposed, in a series of articles in the Manila Times, the fact that the Joint United States Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) has developed a built-in control of our armed forces through its firm control of logistics, intelligence, planning and personnel training on a strategic level. Guided no less by his experience, Representative Carmelo Barbero, an ex-army officer, has also made statements in support of the contention that an undue amount of foreign control exists within the very machinery upon which the people are supposed to depend for their national security.
It should be pertinent to ask whether we should allow the Armed Forces of the Philippines to continue in the mercenary tradition of the Civil Guards of Spanish times, the Macabebes, the Philippine Scouts and the USAFFE under direct U.S. command and the Ganaps and puppet constabulary of the Japanese imperialists. Is the military willing to reject this mercenary tradition and replace it with the revolutionary spirit of the Katipunan?
After the successful U.S. imperialist aggression which started in 1898, the aggressor has made use of so many devices in the exercise of its superior military and financial power, converting so many of our countrymen into their mercenaries and puppets. We have indeed come a long way from the martyrdom of General Gregorio del Pilar and the uncompromising stand against U.S. imperialism of General Antonio Luna. Only the slogan of “benevolent assimilation” seems to be able to ring a bell and make some of us the running dogs in a successful Pavlovian experiment of U.S. imperialism. These running dogs in every field of our national life can only respond to the imperialist bell; they forget the principle of redeeming themselves as true patriots in the present situation and of redeeming the hundreds of thousands of patriotic Filipinos who died in fighting the U.S. aggressors only a few decades ago.
From the point of view of our revolutionary patriots who would rather die than surrender and compromise with the U.S. imperialists, our fellow countrymen who went over to the side of the enemy and became the core of the American-trained Philippine military were no different from the Civil Guards who were indios but who served the interests of the Spanish colonizers.
No foreign aggressor can successfully stay in the Philippines without adopting a divide-and-rule policy; without being able to direct a significant number of our countrymen to fight their fellow countrymen. If we trace the military history of the Philippines, we would realize that a foreign power succeeds in imposing its rule by making use of a part of our countrymen against fellow countrymen. The Spaniard Magellan thought it wise to side with King Humabon against Lapu-Lapu. This was the pattern of military activity that the colonialists employed to retain control of the Philippines for more than three centuries. One barangay cooperative to the colonizers was used against another uncooperative barangay. Visayan recruits impressed into the Civil Guards were used to pacify Tagalog areas and keep colonial peace and order while fostering regional antagonism. The recruits in one island were used to quell resistance in another island. In trying to expand the area of its colonial domination, the Spaniards made use of their recruits in Luzon and Visayas to fight the great people of Mindanao. Peasant recruits whose own class was being oppressed in the Philippines were sent on expeditions to fight Spanish wars in the Moluccas, Borneo, Carolines, and Indo-China.
Dr. Jose Rizal depicted this colonial irony in the story of Cabesang Tales and son Tano in El Filibusterismo. The former was being oppressed by the colonial masters, the friar landlords, but his son was impressed into the colonial military service to fight the inhabitants of the Carolines. Subsequently, when he was reassigned to his own country, Tano was perplexed why he had become the instrument for the suppression of his own people. In one engagement he had to fight his own father, with the nom de guerre Matanglawin, and in the process killed his own grandfather, Tandang Selo. That is a sad story of a peasant enlisted to fight his own peasant brothers.
Under U.S. imperialism, many Filipinos have been converted into mercenaries and with their military service set back the Philippine Revolution. It was with the help of such traitors that General del Pilar was killed in battle, Aguinaldo captured and the Philippine Revolution subsequently broken. After the pacification of Luzon and Visayas, the mercenaries from these islands were employed as the first units of the Philippine Constabulary that helped General Pershing pursue his bestial mission of subjugating the people of Mindanao by military force. Under Japanese imperialism, many Filipinos also became the armed agents used to kill and suppress the patriotic movement of their own people. In the style of all foreign aggressors, the Japanese imperialists made use of Korean and Taiwanese conscripts to help them overrun Southeast Asia.
In this same fashion, U.S. imperialism has used Filipino troops in Korea and South Vietnam to fight their fellow Asians. Vietnam today suffers from military campaigns waged by a mercenary Vietnamese army and by mercenary troops from other Asian countries under the command of U.S. imperialism. The shameless dispatch of Filipino troops in the guise of “civic action” to Vietnam is no different from the sending of Filipino expeditionary forces to the same place in Spanish colonial days in the middle of the last century.
What seems to obscure the fact that U.S. imperialism continues to perpetuate its aggression in the Philippines is our World War II experience. Because we were on the same side against Japanese imperialism and because there was a brief interruption of direct U.S. rule, many fell into the misconception that U.S. imperialist aggression had already been superseded once and for all by the Japanese imperialist aggression and, furthermore, by the promise of fake independence. In truth, when World War II ended and after the July Fourth proclamation of “independence,” the United States had succeeded in reasserting its military and economic power over the Philippines. Its reoccupation and recontrol of the Philippines were essentially no different from the reinstitution of Spanish colonial power after the brief British occupation of the Philippines during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The USAFFE siding with the U.S. imperialists against the Japanese was essentially no different from Filipino civil guards siding with the Spaniards against the Dutch and the British. We fought a second aggressor only to be more subjugated by the first aggressor. We failed to make use of the war of two aggressors to build up our own national liberation forces that could eliminate both aggressors.
Indeed, the anti-Japanese struggle could have given the Filipino people the chance to build up their own national liberation forces. The masses of our people became armed and became highly organized. But they were not armed with the correct thought of fighting for their independence from both Japanese imperialism and U.S. imperialism. Instead, the widespread USAFFE forces accepted and were even proud of their American commanders and they were childishly carried away by MacArthur’s seemingly innocent and romantic slogan of “I shall return.” Little did they realize that it would mean the return of U.S. imperialism, with its bag of unequal agreements which up to now keep our people in bondage. Despite the fact that Wainright shamelessly surrendered to the Japanese imperialists as a mock climax to the mock glory of Bataan, and despite the fact that we, the Filipinos, did the fighting and dying in multitudes in the absence of our American “protectors,” we would still acclaim the latter as our “liberators.” So servile are some of us to U.S. imperialism that we obscure the fact that it was the genius, courage and patriotism of the Filipino people which unfolded a widespread guerrilla movement undermining the substance of the Japanese aggression and breaking its backbone before the other imperialist power came to reclaim its colony, destroy Filipino lives and property in its mopping-up operations.
The singular achievement of the Japanese imperialists during World War II was the brutal destruction of Filipino lives. The singular achievement of the U.S. imperialists was the wanton destruction of Filipino homes and property under the pretext of engaging in mopping-up operations despite the fact that the Japanese had already fled the towns and cities in the face of avenging Filipino partisans. The U.S. imperialists wantonly destroyed Filipino property with their air bombardment and artillery fire as if to prepare us for war damage payments, the war damage payments by which we were to be forced to approve the Bell Trade Act; the war damage payments which were given mostly to big U.S. corporations, U.S. citizens and to church institutions. These facts are attested to by the records of the U.S. Congress and the War Damage Commission.
In its attempt to reinstitute the mercenary tradition in the military, the U.S. government made it clear that only those guerrillas it would recognize would receive backpay and unrecognized ones had better disband or submit themselves to American purposes. Otherwise, they would be punished for war crimes. Filipino patriots who fought in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon and who wished to remain independent of the imperialist purposes of the United States were arrested, disarmed and subjected to massacres as in the case of Huk Squadrons 77 and 99. The conditions for civil strife, wherein Filipinos would kill Filipinos, were prepared by the imperialists in order to successfully reestablish their political, economic and military power over the Philippines.
Using its armed power and its local agents, the United States succeeded in destroying the national-democratic forces opposing the Parity Amendment and the Bell Trade Act. Likewise, under the guise of protecting the Philippines from the Soviet Union and Communism, its erstwhile ally in the great antifascist struggle, the United States succeeded in extorting from the Filipino people a series of military agreements which directly transgress our national sovereignty.
The 99-year U.S.-R.P. Military Bases Agreement was effected by the United States. It has meant U.S. extraterritorial control of close to 200,000 hectares of Philippine territory. More than that, it is supposed to grant to U.S. troops exterritorial rights—the “right” to move to any part of the country without being bound by Filipino jurisdiction and sovereignty, particularly when such troops are on military duty. By this “right” the United States assumes that the Philippines is under its occupation and Philippine sovereignty dissolves as U.S. troops by the presumption of their government move to any point in the country. What an arrogant presumption! The U.S. military bases, as they are now, represent the reinstallation and perpetuation of U.S. aggression against Filipino sovereignty.
These U.S. military bases, as they have been so in other countries, serve as the trump card of U.S. imperialist power in the country. They serve as the grim reminder of the U.S. capability for violence against the Filipino people in the event that they effectively reassert their sovereignty in the uncompromising tradition of the Philippine Revolution. Of course, these military bases will be used only after so many intermediate measures of political maneuver by American interests shall have failed. U.S. propaganda will always claim that these military bases are here to prevent a “communist takeover” or to prevent “communist aggression.” A national-democratic takeover will certainly be called a communist takeover.
In a clear analysis of the problem of U.S. military bases in the Philippines, Senator Claro Mayo Recto gave the lie to the claim of Yankee protection. These bases serve only to oppose the advance of national-democratic forces and to protect U.S. investments in time of peace and these actually serve to attract nuclear belligerence from other countries—enemies of the United States, not our own—in time of war.
For a long time it may remain unnecessary for the U.S. government to make any overt use of its military bases in order to protect its foreign investments in the Philippines. It has been said that after all it controls the Armed Forces of the Philippines; that the latter can be used to oppose the national-democratic movement that wishes to remove U.S. imperialist power in the Philippines. The national-democratic movement can always be represented as an exclusive communist “conspiracy” and its organized forces can be subsequently attacked by the puppet armed forces. Even the President of the Republic of the Philippines himself has to be careful of an imperialist-inspired or CIA-inspired coup d’etat in the event that he dares to be nationalist in the anti-imperialist sense. President Carlos P. Garcia himself was once threatened with a coup d’etat for dilly-dallying on decontrol.
What the Filipino people should see with regard to other military agreements like the U.S.-R.P. Mutual Defense Treaty and the Manila Pact or SEATO Pact is the formal recognition of the “right” of the United States to make military intervention in Philippine affairs, in the case of the first, and the extended “right” of the United States and other countries, members of the SEATO, to make multinational intervention, in the case of the second. At this moment, while the reactionaries in the Philippines do not yet need overt foreign troop intervention to maintain their rule, the Philippine government is being required to expend its limited resources for foreign adventures in the guise of helping put out the fire on a neighbor’s house. Many of us do not yet realize that in joining U.S. imperialism, the Philippines becomes an accomplice of the real arsonist. It is clear that we need to reject the mercenary tradition in every field of our national life, especially in the military. We propose the full adoption of the patriotic tradition of the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution.
The Filipino people fought under the banner of the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution not because they were paid to fight but because they considered it a patriotic duty to do so. It was a people’s war; and as a people’s war, our revolutionary fighters had to merge with the great masses and they had to keep away from the city strongholds of the alien enemy until such time that the latter had been weakened in the countryside where its forces were thinly spread and where the forces of the revolution could develop strong political bases over expanding areas. As it was applied, the Filipino people’s war effectively weakened Spanish colonialism despite meager weapons at the start.
Before the Filipino revolutionary forces could reach Manila, however, the U.S. imperialists forced, as in a coup, the transfer of power over Manila from the Spaniards to themselves. Subsequently the Filipino people’s power had to be directed against U.S. imperialism. But it failed because of the flabby class leadership of the Filipino ilustrados which initiated severe dissensions within the very ranks of the revolutionary government. The liberal-bourgeois character of the ilustrados enraged the anti-imperialist leader, General Antonio Luna, for compromising with the enemy and for their gullibility in the negotiations presided over by the enemy. The ilustrado leadership resorted to murder; it had to kill General Luna in order to clear the path for compromise.
During the Japanese occupation, we showed our capability for fighting against modern imperialism. We showed that we were capable of fighting successfully against the Japanese invaders despite the deliberate absence of arms distribution to the masses by the U.S. imperialists before the imminent outbreak of the war; despite the American evacuation and Wainright’s surrender order. As a matter of fact, the U.S. imperialists refused a petition for arms distribution to anti-fascist organizations and the masses as a measure of preparing the people for the anti-fascist struggle.
In the course of the Japanese occupation, the U.S. command in Australia ordered all anti-Japanese forces to maintain a “lie low” policy. This imperialist command obviously implied distrust in the Filipino people.
It was afraid of allowing the Filipinos to develop armed self-reliance. The U.S. imperialists cunningly planned to land arms massively to their own agents in the USAFFE only when they themselves were about to land.
We gained experience and confidence in the people’s war of resistance against the Japanese, nevertheless. Although we have again fallen into the hands of the U.S. imperialists, we gained experience as a people in the anti-Japanese war of resistance. We have shown our mastery of the techniques of guerrilla war and our ability to merge with the masses in time of crisis; but we need now to realize that we have to be guided by a thorough understanding of the tasks of a genuine national and social liberation and the motive forces that need to be impelled with the proper demands so as to move correctly against the current enemy and then the subsequent one, both of whom we should clearly identify.
We fought successfully against Japanese imperialism; we were successful in fighting and in arming ourselves. But we were inadequate in so far as it concerned arming ourselves ideologically and politically. Many fell for America’s false promise of independence. Many thought that genuine independence could be granted by a foreign power. The “independence” that was indeed granted was empty of substance, particularly for the masses of our people. By arming ourselves with the correct ideology, all of us could have acted more independently and used our resistance forces to assert our independence from both Japan and the United States. For instance, we could have allowed the peasant masses all over the archipelago to enjoy land reform immediately on the lands abandoned by the landlords who sought safety in Manila under the care of the U.S. imperialists. Instead a few American stragglers were allowed to lead the USAFFE. The leadership of the guerrilla movement was submitted to them on a silver platter. The mercenary backpay mentality was allowed to seep and corrode the patriotic movement. Until now, some of us suffer the humiliation of mercenaries; of constantly begging for veterans’ pay from a foreign government.
If an occasion like the anti-Japanese struggle should again arise, we must make use of all our lessons as a people and strike out on our own as an independent force, independent of the strategic demands of a foreign power like the United States. It is not only that we on our own have learned our lessons or that we have developed as a more forceful nation, but it is also that we find ourselves now at a certain level of world development that is far higher than that on which we found ourselves during the Japanese occupation. National liberation movements are now all over the world; the socialist states have become more powerful. These two forces combined have now the capability of scattering and weakening the imperialist power of the United States; U.S. imperialism is increasingly weakened by the overextension of its power and the consistent opposition of peoples all over the world.
The diabolic stories of “communist aggression” concocted and circulated by U.S. propaganda have become too overused in the Philippines. More people are reading about the experience of the socialist countries and how on the other hand they have been the ones subjected to imperialist intervention. The true facts about the Korean War and Sino- India border dispute are now coming to light before the Filipino intelligentsia; and the U.S. aggression against South and North Vietnam, U.S. occupation of Taiwan and the hundreds of U.S. intrusions into Chinese territory certainly debunk the claim that China is the No. 1 aggressor and the United States is the No. 1 peacemaker.
“Communist aggression” is one of the myths we are beginning to perceive with greater clarity. As a matter of fact, our reactionary leaders have started to use such contradiction of terms as “internal aggression” and “aggression by proxy.” Whenever there are labor or peasant unrests and strikes, or anti-imperialist demonstrations of students and the youth, the pathological anti-communists see in these dynamic expressions of popular demands “the scheming hands of foreign communists using local agents.”
The soldiers of the government should ask themselves why in strikes they find themselves categorically on the side of the capitalist establishment or in agrarian conflicts, on the side of the landlords. In anti-imperialist demonstrations, they also find themselves together with the police lined up against unarmed ordinary people. Oftentimes, they find themselves being briefed that these strikers and demonstrators are “subversive” agitators.
I know for a fact that most of the enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines come from the peasantry. But why is it that in disputes between the landlords and the peasants, the soldier who is actually a peasant in government uniform finds himself being used as a tool of the landlord? Why point your guns at the masses and not at the foreign big comprador and feudal interests that exploit the people?
The officers and rank-and-file of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should have the honor and conviction to fight for the interests of the people. If they should find themselves being ordered from the top to take the side of the U.S. imperialists, the compradors, the landlords and bureaucrat capitalists and fight the peasant masses, the workers, progressive intelligentsia and other patriots, they should have the honor and conviction of changing their sides and throwing in their lot with the oppressed who have long suffered from their exploiters.
“Peace and order” or “rule of law” has become the convenient slogan for motivating the soldier against the masses who resort to their right of free assembly and expression. In the first place, it should be asked: Peace and order for whom? Rule of whose law? The exploited masses who daily suffer from deprivations and exploitation must be allowed to organize and express themselves freely. Why should they be quieted down by the force of arms, under the pretext of maintaining peace and order and rule of law? Why should they be prevented from making clear their demands? In taking your side against the oppressed masses, you become no different from the civilian guards of the landlords, the private security guards of the capitalists and the sentrymen of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. military bases.
In tracing the chain of armed power in the country, we can see that the possession of arms is attached to property as indicated by the license laws. So, the private entities who have the most private arms are the big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists and yet they have the most access to the use of the government police and armed forces. When a certain local situation cannot be taken care of by the civilian guards, the municipal police comes in and in a series, the Philippine Constabulary, the Philippine Army, Air Force and ultimately, U.S. military intervention.
The chain of armed power leads to U.S. imperialism. With this understanding, the masses have a strategic hatred for U.S. imperialism. The exploiters and their armed satellites are recognized as being within the same hierarchy of power, with U.S. imperialism as the presiding power. U.S. imperialist propaganda keeps on harping that there would be no more serious threat to national security and internal peace and order without the Communists here and abroad. People were compelled to hate Communists or those who are construed to be Communists in the same way that the Spaniards and the friars tried to play up hatred against Filipinos who were called Masons and filibusteros. The Philippine military is indoctrinated to have a violent unreasoning hatred for Communists in the same way that the Civil Guards were indoctrinated to hate filibusteros by the Spaniards in order to maintain their colonial loyalty.
We must realize that the masses will always be restless so long as they are exploited. At certain stages, they may actually be quieted down by the violent force of the state. But when they rise up again, their previous rising, though defeated, serves as a mere dress rehearsal for a more powerful and sweeping revolution. In 1872, our colonial masters thought they had finished once and for all the popular protests. Only fourteen years later, they reaped a whirlwind—not only a stronger wave of the secularization movement among priests but a widespread separatist movement which wanted national independence no less.
During the ‘50s, the U.S. imperialists might have thought that they had suppressed the national-democratic movement for good. But as they continue to deprive the Filipino people of true independence, they shall certainly reap the whirlwind—an even more powerful national-democratic movement. As the compradors and landlords have repressed the people for so long, they await a time when the people shall in a revolutionary tempest sweep them away from the land.
U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism are not the creation of communist agitators. They are objective results of extended historical processes. If the people join the nationalist or communist movement, we should first of all consider that it is the imperialists, the compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists who shall have forced them to lose trust in the present system. It is wrong to blame the Communists and all other patriots for the failure of the present system that is dominated by U.S. imperialists, compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
I understand that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is now trying to engage in a “civic action” campaign more massive than the one initiated by the late President Ramon Magsaysay. It is also sending “civic action” groups abroad to help in the U.S. war of aggression in South Vietnam.
As a piece of psychological warfare, “civic action” has only a tactical, superficial and temporary value if the basic problems of U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism remain unsolved. Even as a tactic, it can easily be counteracted by the masses becoming conscious that “civic action” comes only to critical areas where more basic demands for change are being raised. Thus, there is an overconcentration of “civic groups” in Central Luzon. The masses of many more neglected areas are complaining that they are not being benefited by “civic action” and that South Vietnam has been given priority. They regard the phrase “civic action” as a mere euphemism to deceive the people of its real military content, particularly its psychological and intelligence functions.
Many intelligent people have access to the literature and armed forces manuals on “civic action” provided by the Pentagon through JUSMAG. They have expressed disgust over the emphasis placed on psychological warfare and deception of the people. The are disgusted over the obsession of hating the Communists and trying to gain the initiative from them through deception.
We can see very clearly that the “civic action” groups of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will not at all disturb the unjust structure of private ownership of land and the feudal and semi-feudal relations in the countryside. As a matter of fact, they would only attempt to create the superficial image that they are friends of the people while at the back of that image they uphold the rule of the landlords, the U.S. imperialists, the compradors, and the bureaucrat capitalists. They may build roads and bridges, they may build irrigation works and help in agricultural extension work, they may engage in sanitation work and they may perform so many other traditionally non-military projects. They will not change the basic social structure that keeps the masses exploited.
It was U.S. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara who first announced that the United States will make its client-states field indigenous military forces in the guise of “civic action” groups. The idea is to build a different image of the local military and make it more effective in counterinsurgency. The United States is supposed to continue providing the military hardware as the shield but this new dimension, “civic action,” is created to deceive the people that the local military is no longer the instrument of feudal and foreign interests or the obnoxious parasite on the national budget. This entails the intrusion of the military in fields which have been traditionally in the hands of the civilians. In other words, this requires the militarization of operations formerly civilian in character. It is anticipated that the military will gobble up funds that should be allocated to the departments of public works, of health, of education and of others.
An increasing number of constitutionalists are seriously questioning the intrusion of the military into civilian affairs. They are wary of a developing process of fascization that might eventually push out civilian supremacy, what with the increasing control by military men of civilian offices. In accordance with this new method adopted by the Pentagon and implemented locally by the JUSMAG, the military is being made to operate in such a way as to take over civilian operations and to gain political influence. Indeed, it is evident in Asia, Africa and Latin America that when the United States becomes insecure over its control of the client-states it resorts to local fascism; for after all a local fascism depends on the military hardware and financial support of its imperialist master.
Another subversive development that needs careful watching is the reverse intrusion of certain civilian organizations into the military. There are those narrow-minded forces wanting to develop a clerico-fascism of the Franco and Salazar type. They wish to combine the sword and the cross. Not yet satisfied with the undue amount of foreign control and influence in the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a certain sectarian movement has carried over from Spain and Portugal certain fascist techniques and has been systematically “brainwashing” military men and police officers in a manner opposed to the principle of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and rendering unto Christ what is Christ’s.
Again under the banner of anti-communism, men are being led into anti-democracy. As believers of the freedom of religion, we need to be alert to any clerico-fascist movement that will reverse Philippine history to that long period wherein the exploiting power had a cross in one hand and a sword in the other. We do not want to revive a monster. Those who believe in liberal democracy are now deeply troubled by certain Jesuit priests with CIA credentials. Certainly, we do not wish to have a large-scale revival of the Padre Damasos and Padre Salvis.
Let us above all strive for national democracy in this country. For our national security, let us rely above all on the strength and national unity of the people. That national unity can only be created if we are bound with the masses in a common struggle against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The political system is dominated by the political agents of the U.S. imperialists, big compradors and landlords. The officers and men of the Armed Forces of the Philippines themselves have become victims of both the petty and grand political discriminations made by one political faction or another of the ruling class of exploiters.
Officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should learn to disobey U.S. imperialism and the local exploiting classes and learn to side with the masses in their basic demands. Of course, it is really futile to expect the entire machinery of the state to go over to the masses even in time of the most decisive crisis when the ruling classes are entirely discredited. But these officers and men who join the masses in their fight against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, can always hasten the victory of the masses.
A movement within the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be started to reclaim alienated territory of the Philippine government from the U.S. government. We must uphold Filipino sovereignty over the U.S. military bases in the Philippines. We must place these military bases under Filipino command. We should demand the immediate termination of the U.S.-R.P. Military Bases Agreement as an instrument nullifying our sovereignty.
The true sons of Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Gregorio del Pilar and Antonio Luna within the armed forces should reject U.S. military dictation. They should reject the Military Assistance Pact and the JUSMAG as instruments of foreign control and influence over the Philippine military. They should reject all psychological warfare measures such as “civic action” and others, that have been proposed by U.S. counterinsurgency experts to deceive the people who must be patriotically assisted in their struggle to liberate themselves from U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
Let us not depend on one power which abuses our sovereignty and takes advantage of our people. Let us stop U.S. indoctrination in the armed forces and the police force so that an anti-imperialist and democratic orientation can be propagated among them.
We should rely on the patriotism, courage and capability of the people in defending themselves. We demonstrated in the anti-Japanese struggle and other struggles that we could actually convert the enemy into a supplier of arms for the masses by capturing them. Let us dismiss the imperialist presumption that we can only be under the protection of a foreign power.
In this era of worldwide people’s war against colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism, we are in a position not only to learn from our local experience but also from the struggles of so many other peoples. Let us not repeat the mistakes of Aguinaldo in the Filipino-American War. Let us not again make the mistake of being fooled by U.S. imperialism. In this era of mounting worldwide anti- imperialist movements, the main enemy has become unmistakably clear, and objectively the national struggle shall be assisted by external developments to an extent higher than any other point in Philippine history.
Let us withdraw from the U.S.-R.P. Mutual Defense Treaty because it is a license for the United States to intervene militarily in our national affairs.
Let us withdraw from the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization because it is essentially an anti-Southeast Asia compact controlled by non-Southeast Asian imperialist powers. Let us redeem ourselves in the eyes of our fellow Asians from the ignominy of having long been dominated by U.S. imperialism.
We have long been curtained off by the United States from a huge part of the world. Many of us have long believed in the servile line that the enemies of the United States are also the enemies of the Philippines.
Let us be more aware of the present world reality. Let us be aware and let us take advantage of the contradictions among the imperialist powers and the contradictions between socialism and capitalism. Let us be aware of alliances against U.S. imperialism. Let us join the international united front against U.S. imperialism and its accomplices. Let us turn the present world situation to our national-democratic advantage. #
 Speech delivered before the Junior and Senior classes of the Philippine Military Academy, Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City, on October 12, 1966.
10. THE TASKS OF THE SECOND PROPAGANDA MOVEMENT
The Second Propaganda Movement
It was Senator Claro Mayo Recto who first expressed the need for a second propaganda movement. It was his intention in 1960 to engage in an intensive and extensive anti- imperialist campaign tour after coming from his journey abroad. He was never able to do what he intended, but his anti-imperialist legacy remains with us.
This anti-imperialist legacy consists of the body of ideas and principles which he defined in the course of his nationalist crusade which he launched in the early 1950s. There was really no need for him to make any formal announcement that he and other patriots would embark on the Second Propaganda Movement. He had started it the moment he began to relate the struggle of the present to the struggle of those who had successfully fought and isolated the first colonial tyranny, but who did not quite succeed in preventing the coming of a new foreign tyranny, U.S. imperialism.
It is important to speak of the Second Propaganda Movement because we need to recall the unfinished tasks of the Philippine Revolution. The Second Propaganda Movement is required to arouse our nation anew to the struggle for the fulfillment of the national-democratic tasks of the Philippine Revolution.
The Second Propaganda Movement occurs as a resumption of the First Propaganda Movement and of the Philippine Revolution even as conditions are far different from those obtaining during the time of the first nationalist propagandists. While old problems have been carried over to the present, new ones have also arisen to make our national struggle more difficult and more complicated.
The Second Propaganda Movement must therefore be more vigorous and resolute. It should be a propaganda movement of a new type, with a new class leadership and a new alignment of forces and with a new ideological and political orientation more advanced and more progressive, if we are to be on the tide of a higher stage of historical development and if we are to win the struggle against an enemy far stronger and far more clever than the old type of colonialism. In other words, the Second Propaganda Movement must surpass the first because it occurs at a higher stage of historical development and because the enemy we face, with its domestic allies, is stronger and more advanced than the old colonialism it replaced.
At the present, however, U.S. imperialism and feudalism, which are the principal targets of the Second Propaganda Movement, are strategically weak as these are confronted with the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal unity of the people under the leadership of the working class. Furthermore, on a world scale, U.S. imperialism and feudalism are fast losing out before the surging forces of national-democratic and socialist revolutions. The present tasks of the Second Propaganda Movement are huge but conditions for its success are also good.
The Second Propaganda Movement is first of all a political movement. It is an educational movement with political aims; for after all there is no type of education or culture that is detached from politics. It aims to replace the old type of education and culture while retaining only its progressive elements. It aims to prepare and guide the people for struggle against their foreign and feudal exploiters. It aims to effect results and it proceeds from a particular political standpoint. Class interests, whether of the exploited or of the exploiters, generate political ideas, values and attitudes that inspire and guide men to action.
Learn from the Masses
In order to move the people to obtain certain results by their collective action, one must first determine their motives based on their concrete conditions and class interests. It is necessary for the Second Propaganda Movement to learn from the masses their conditions, problems, interests and aspirations before it dares teach them what to do. The Second Propaganda Movement is a mass movement in the most genuine sense with the mobilization and victory of the masses as the main objective.
The principle of learning from the masses should never be forgotten even if at this point we are able to take advantage of a fund of general knowledge gathered from past experiences. General or second-hand knowledge is important but what is always more important is the first-hand knowledge of the masses or learning from the masses because it assumes being constantly with them and merging with them. Learning from the masses and being with them will make our generalizations for action and formulation of solutions more correct and more dynamic. We become immediately one with the masses in their mobilization.
The Second Propaganda Movement should never be a campaign to command or dictate above the heads of the masses. One should not throw big theories and big slogans without first learning the concrete conditions and problems of the people. A knowledge of these from first-hand observation, from practice with the masses and from listening to the masses, would enable us to test and verify theories, enrich them and explain them to the people in the most concrete terms that they immediately understand.
We must advance from the behavior and performance of the First Propaganda Movement which unfolded as a movement of exiles in a foreign city while it was supposed to be concerned with Philippine conditions and problems. It will also not do now for the ilustrados or the petty bourgeoisie to assume leadership by simply brandishing their formal or artificial classroom knowledge, or by impressing the people with their bourgeois education.
The agents of U.S. imperialism, the landlords and religious sectarians themselves are trying to mingle with the masses, under the cover of the powerful mass media that they own and control and under the cover of many pretexts with the sole objective of confusing and deceiving the people.
The activists of the Second Propaganda Movement have no alternative but to take the mass line, merge with the masses and learn from the masses. It does not suffice now even to issue manifestoes and proclamations from the cities and big towns where the lazy “leaders” are fond of sitting out a “revolution.” The success of the Second Propaganda Movement will be determined by those who choose to go to the masses and be with them.
In the Second Propaganda Movement, it is necessary to determine whose political ideology should lead the people.
There is a presumption on the part of the bourgeoisie and the landlords that only those with high formal schooling are fit to lead the people. They talk of the people disdainfully as illiterate and uneducated. By asserting that only those educated in the bourgeois or conservative fashion are fit to lead, they wish to entrap the masses deeper within the system of exploitation.
The Second Propaganda Movement should reject this dangerous and undemocratic presumption as a lie intended to mislead the masses. We have given to the products of colonial and neocolonial education more than three centuries and many more decades to solve the problems of the masses. But what have they done? We have given the bright boys or the technocrats of the bourgeoisie and the landlord class more than enough time and yet they are either too dull or too dishonest to see such basic problems as U.S. imperialism and feudalism.
What a pity that the educated elite does not see clearly the basic problems that are U.S. imperialism and feudalism which the masses, with lesser formal education, can see and feel most acutely, as they are the ones most adversely affected. The masses are in a position to perceive not only their own sufferings but also the benefits that accrue to a few from U.S. imperialism and feudalism.
What the masses experience they can immediately grasp. They can also easily grasp the correct solutions based on the correct analysis of their problems. It is the self-satisfied statesmen, educated men and publicists of the bourgeoisie and the landlords who will consider such terms as imperialism and feudalism too high above their heads, not so much because they are dull but because they are dishonest and are afraid of exposing the negative character of the system that benefits them.
The national and social liberation of the masses will come only from the masses themselves. Only they themselves can understand their problems most profoundly. The activists of the Second Propaganda Movement can only generalize and formulate solutions from the experience of the masses.
The Scientific and Democratic World Outlook
Reliance on the masses and rejection of bourgeois and egotistic education can be understood only if one has a scientific and democratic world outlook.
The scientific and democratic world outlook should be even more advanced than the liberal-democratic outlook that the First Propaganda Movement had as a matter of political posture. The proletarian world outlook is today the most scientific and democratic outlook. It is superior to the narrow viewpoint of the “enlightened” liberal bourgeoisie. It sees clearly the entire range of the opposing class forces operating in society today with their respective viewpoints. It comprehends their basic relations and contradictions and it so masters the situation as to be able to change it through revolutionary practice.
It recognizes the progressive force in any contradiction and at this stage of world history it recognizes the proletariat as the progressive class in the struggle between the U.S. monopolists and the proletariat going on all over the world and in our country. It does not only recognize every progressive force but it takes sides as a matter of commitment. A man who has a scientific and proletarian outlook knows that no man or no small group of men can be detached or excluded from basic social struggles. Outside of one’s consciousness, this class struggle is objectively occurring; one can only side with the progressive or the reactionary force in the moment of crisis. To assume the posture of neutrality is actually to become an appendage of the stronger force.
The class struggle is objectively going on in the Philippines but it has taken the form of a national struggle, with patriotic classes—the working class, peasantry, intelligentsia and the national bourgeoisie—aligned against the U.S. imperialists, compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. The working class is the leading class, with the peasantry as its most reliable ally, and it conducts its struggle against the U.S. monopoly capitalists and the local comprador bourgeoisie, supported by the landlord class.
The Second Propaganda Movement should advance a modern scientific and democratic world outlook that rejects the religio-sectarian culture of feudal times, the decadent imperialist culture and the egotistic petty-bourgeois mentality. The schools as they are now in the Philippines are the purveyors of these that we must reject.
Alienation in the Present Culture
There has to be a complete overhaul of the entire educational system. But the initial necessary step to be taken is to advance a national-democratic culture of a new type. This national-democratic culture is a part of our political struggle to achieve national democracy. Education must serve our national struggle to gain independence and self-reliance in every field of endeavor, whether political, economic, social, cultural, military and diplomatic.
As a whole, the present educational system in the Philippines is in the hands of forces inimical to the principles of national democracy. Its control is shared by the agents of an imperialist culture and those of a regressive feudal-sectarian culture. It is an educational system which actually shields the ruling class and alienates the formally educated from the masses. It does not at all propagate a healthy scientific and democratic viewpoint; even the exceptional children of the poor who manage to acquire a high degree of education inevitably adopt the decadent and corrupt values of the ruling class and abandon the cause of national and social liberation. This kind of education is a device by which the betrayal of the masses by a few of its own children is assured.
In a period where the ruling class has stability of power, the educated middle class serves as the transmission belt of the ideas and values of the ruling class to the lower classes. Before it is won over or neutralized by the organized masses, the middle class functions as the instrument of the exploiting classes.
As clear manifestation of the alienation of our educational system from the cause of national democracy, it does not perform the function of teaching the students to merge with and mobilize the people for, say, national independence, land reform, national industrialization or any such urgent tasks.
The activists of the Second Propaganda Movement should patiently arouse and mobilize the masses, win over the intelligentsia and develop an alliance with the national bourgeoisie, on the basis of its self-interest, under the banner of national democracy.
Filipinization of the Educational System
One immediate step that can be taken with regard to the present educational system is its Filipinization. This should be taken with the view of replacing foreign ownership, control and influence over the schools with that of Filipinos imbued with the spirit of national democracy.
Teachers educated in the old way should themselves be reeducated. The process of their education will accelerate as the political situation consistently develops in favor of the revolutionary masses.
The adoption of textbooks and other study materials that are Filipino-oriented and progressive should be used to counteract the hundreds of years of our colonial, imperialist and neocolonial mental subjugation. Filipino authors should struggle to replace the materials and textbooks now being used which are alienated from the conditions and problems of the masses.
The Filipino students and the people should be alerted to the foreign agencies and devices by which the colonial and feudal mentality is meant to be perpetuated. The imperialist and subversive character of the activities and influence of the AID, USIS, the Peace Corps, U.S. scholarships and grants, the ALEC, IEDR, the research grants extended by U.S. corporations, Asia Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Congress for Cultural Freedom should be thoroughly exposed. These agencies have been exposed before as imperialist agencies or as CIA fronts and conduits.
When your enemy makes you think the way he does, he becomes your friend superficially even if he takes advantage of your interests and exploits you. As Senator Recto said in a message addressed to the youth, a “brainwashed” generation followed the military defeat of the Philippine Revolution. The result has been the abandonment of national-democratic tasks.
As proof of the abandonment of the historical tasks of the nation and the betrayal of the Philippine Revolution, it has been deemed “subversive” for the youth and the people now to recall the Philippine Revolution and to strive for national democracy.
The Second Propaganda Movement should likewise be alert to the friar enemies of the First Propaganda Movement. They are now, in collaboration with the imperialists, fast expanding their ownership and control of the educational establishments. The religious hypocrisy of a Padre Salvi and a Padre Damaso should not deceive the people again.
As we all believe in the freedom of religion, they are free to preach in their churches, but they should not oppose the struggle for national democracy and try to discredit us as heretics and filibusters by abusing the credibility that they have among their faithful. Religion should not be used as a cover for the people’s enemies. Both the church and those striving for social change should avoid the conversion of a national and social struggle into a religious one. Otherwise, those who claim to be concerned with the spiritual welfare of their faithful will only be exposed as tools of those who want to perpetuate the political power of the exploiting classes. It is the prevalent imperialist culture and the decadent feudal values of the exploiting classes which create the monsters and demons of this society.
A scientific and democratic type of education should be fostered by all means and should not be run down by the expanding schools of foreign friars. The national-democratic movement, that is, the Second Propaganda Movement, should demand that the clerical type of education should not be allowed to prevail over a scientific and democratic type of education. Clerical schools have only become bastions of class discrimination, authoritarianism and anti-secularism.
Within and outside the schools, progressive scholars and researchers who consider themselves part of the Second Propaganda Movement should work assiduously for the replacement of those historical writings and social researches which unilaterally misrepresent the colonial and imperialist aggressors as great conscious benefactors of the Filipino people.
There should be an objective presentation of our historical development as a nation. The struggle of social opposites must be objectively presented with a clear appreciation of our national efforts and with the clear understanding that the revolutionary masses make history.
Our colonial-minded and bourgeois historians and scientists have even gone to the extent of obscuring the most important historical documents of the Philippine Revolution in their attempt to play up their colonial heroes and their intellectual subservience.
The step taken by an increasing number of scholars in taking the Filipino orientation in the writing of Philippine history is a positive step which does credit to the national-democratic efforts of our people. The most progressive step to be taken by our Filipino scholars now is to present objectively the struggle of the nation and of the various patriotic classes in our society for democracy and progress.
A National Language and Revolutionary Arts and Letters
In language, literature and arts, vigorous efforts should be exerted for these to serve the interests of the masses.
While we should preserve the culture of localities and minorities as part of our cultural heritage, we should develop a new and truly national culture by propagating and making use of a national language that is a cognate to all our local languages and can therefore, unlike English, be easily grasped by the masses everywhere. Vigorous steps must be taken to make Pilipino a language ascendant over English. The main reason for this is to have a medium for the rapid promotion of national-democratic understanding among the people of the entire archipelago. The educated elite has made use of a foreign language as a language of conceit over the heads of the masses. The laws are still in Spanish and English; this is one sign of how alienated are the laws of the ruling class from the masses.
In literature and the arts, the process of raising aesthetic standards and popularization should go hand in hand. For the masses who constitute our biggest audience can appreciate our literature and art only if our writers and artists make use of the life and struggles of our masses as raw material. If we adopt this raw material, it can be given the form that our artistic talents are capable of making.
Our heroes and values must change if we are truly for revolutionary progress. The workers, peasants and revolutionary fighters should prevail in our representation of life. The content and themes of our literary and artistic efforts must shift from pseudo-aristocratic and petty bourgeois concern over a narrow and limited portion of our national reality. The task of our writers and artists now is to turn to the great drama of the struggle of the masses for national and social liberation.
Those creative writers and artists who fail to use the life of more than 90 percent of our people for their raw material must be pretty narrow-minded. Or, they are too misled by or absorbed with getting travel grants and other concessions from the Rockefeller Foundation, the USIS and other imperialist institutions which have calculatedly planned to make our writers and artists flighty and escapist.
The petty-bourgeois writer or artist should realize once and for all that there is no such thing as being declasse, above classes, apolitical or detached from politics. An honest analysis of the work of the people who take this presumption will show their real objective partisanship on the side of the ruling classes which give them the crumbs and the plums. They are actually reactionary through and through, either praising the regressive values of the primitive or feudal life or presenting the helpless or the self-indulgent individual who is trapped by a system which he does not care to understand or which he deliberately mystifies.
Those who write for the proletariat or the masses and for their cause are regarded by the imperialist, feudal or petty-bourgeois writer as being gross and utilitarian. But look at the works of our supposedly refined and arty writers or artists: the presentation of their egotistic obscure concerns actually represent a narrow-minded grossness and incapability to grasp the basic tensions of life. They are capable only of presenting a narrow part of reality, the alienation and psychology of the individual alienated from the more dynamic forces of society.
The Second Propaganda Movement should be pushed forward by cultural workers who can surpass even the tradition of critical realism of Dr. Jose Rizal in his novels, the Noli and the Fili, and Juan Luna in his painting, La Spoliarium.
Literature and the arts are a concentrated expression of reality. In the present era, one must unswervingly take the proletarian standpoint in order to achieve the greatest progress in art and literature. Literature and the arts should reflect the revolutionary struggle and point towards its triumph.
Science and Technology for National Industrialization
Let us consider science and technology. It is not true that science and technology are free from political or class dictation. The feudalists and imperialists have a particular way of using them or restricting them and for definite reasons.
The feudalists wanted to restrict science and technology because they did not want their religious dogmas to be challenged and exposed. Today, imperialists use science and technology to make weapons of destruction for their wars of aggression and they also restrict production for the sake of maximizing their rate of profit.
In the Philippines, we wish to make use of science and technology for our industrial progress and for producing more for our people. In intellectual perspective, we have advanced far from that period when the friars opposed scientific knowledge as “heretical” and mishandled “A Class in Physics” in order to subvert our intellectual development.
When U.S. imperialism took over the Philippines, it first showed, relative to the friars, some desire to share science and technology with us; but now, as we want to use science and technology to pursue national industrialization and effect economic emancipation, we find the American capitalist society, with its own scientific and technological progress, inimical to our progress. U.S. imperialist politics does not permit us to make full use of the science and technology within the grasp of our scientists, technologists, and our people because the economic development we would create will set us free and cut down the market and profits of U.S. industries. It is wishful thinking, therefore, to consider that science and technology have no necessary connection with politics and with class dictation.
Science and technology and production in socialist countries are within the realm of politics, that is to say, of satisfying the needs of the people. But, in capitalist countries, despite the high level of development in science, technology and the forces of production, altogether these are made to serve the profit-making and political power of the monopolies against the interests of the masses and nations abroad.
In the Philippines, we should pursue a thoroughgoing program of increasing our scientific and technological knowledge for political and economic purposes; that is, for our political emancipation and economic welfare. We want to have the skills for national industrialization and agricultural development. In order to ensure the participation of the masses of our people in production and in accelerated social development, we should popularize the most advanced skills; but, before we can put these to use, the masses must first arm themselves politically, liberate the nation and themselves from the political forces that restrict our economic growth and our scientific and technological progress.
Filipinization of the Mass Media
Let us consider the newspapers, radio, TV, movies and other like media of information, opinion and entertainment which are now powerful instruments of either progress or reaction in this era of the Second Propaganda Movement. We know that these are not controlled by the masses. The masses, on the other hand, are reduced to passivity in relation to the emissions of these mass media.
Because of the fact that most of the corporations owning these media or sponsoring the programs are imperialist and imperialist-oriented, our mass media at present cannot be used for propagating national democracy. On the other hand, it is through the mass media that the glorification of sex and violence, characteristic of imperialist culture, is propagated to the detriment of our youth and people. Just take note of the James Bond cult and the cowboy fare and the rat-race mercenary kind of justice dished up by the imperialist-controlled mass media. They are the vehicles for imperialist propaganda and likewise for anti-Filipino and anti-democratic prejudices. Because of commercial advertising, the tastes, attitudes and consumption habits of the Filipino people are anchored on the products of U.S. imperialism. As a whole, foreign control of the mass media and their content (ranging from local sensationalism to slanted reports of U.S. press agencies like AP and UPI) constitutes intervention in our political life; and, in the most subtle way, it actually conditions the minds of the people to accept not only the commercial products but also the political products in the form of political agreements and fair-haired boys of U.S. imperialism.
In the field of mass media, let us recall the glorious tradition of Kalayaan and La Independencia, which were the genuine journalistic instruments of the national-democratic movement. In the spirit of these publications, let us convince our journalists that the truth does not lie only within the framework of imperialist and landlord political power. Many of them have realized this; and they are bound to widen their freedom of expression more and more.
There is no such thing as freedom of the press in the abstract. Only a liar or a dull person would make that claim. The reporters are bound by editorial policy; the editorial policy is in turn bound by the publisher’s policy or that of the company board of directors; the publisher or the board is in turn bound by the advertisers’ policy. It is foolish to make the liberal argument that by having different or several advertisers, none of them would be able to control the paper. The advertisers are well organized in their chambers of commerce and national advertisers’ association and in many more business groupings. If the press depends on them for survival, it is bound never to violate the basic class “truths” of their interests.
It is common knowledge how U.S. companies have tried to quell the expression of national-democratic views in the press. The patriotic and progressive members of the press should struggle for greater press freedom by siding in so many ways with the forces of national democracy.
Professionalism in the service of the exploiters means political subservience to them, inasmuch as it serves to shape and foster opinions in the service of the exploiters.
One concrete step that can be taken by the Second Propaganda Movement is to fight for the Filipinization of the press so that direct ownership by foreigners of such anti-national and anti-democratic media like Philippines Herald, Manila Daily Bulletin, DZBB, DZHP, DZBU and others can be removed. If we succeed in Filipinizing the press, the popular support we shall have generated will automatically serve to back up national-democratic publications. At present, we should consistently expose and isolate all those anti-national and anti-democratic media directly owned, supported or controlled by foreign monopolies and compradors.
If our newsmen should wish to play a role in the national-democratic tradition of Jose Rizal, Lopez Jaena, Del Pilar, Jacinto and Luna, they should organize themselves as militantly progressive journalists and workingmen who wish to broaden their freedom of expression. Their unity should serve to counter the power of decision of the publisher who is tightly bound by financial compromises with the anti-national and anti-democratic advertisers and stockholders.
Within and outside the field of journalism, the Second Propaganda Movement can vigorously call for the nationalization of the economy and for national industrialization so that ultimately the foreign advertisers can no longer have the press at their mercy.
What the Second Propaganda Movement can do now by itself in widening press freedom is to establish a publication where there is the untrammeled freedom to express and advocate national-democratic views. This publication, as envisioned by Senator Claro Mayo Recto, should articulate and organize the resurgent forces of the Philippine Revolution. It should therefore be guided by the patriotic style of our revolutionary forefathers and the true revolutionaries of the present. The Second Propaganda Movement should use this publication to help break down old ideas, old customs, old habits and old attitudes and help the Philippine Revolution advance.
The Second Propaganda Movement should be a thoroughgoing cultural revolution. It should shatter the present semi-colonial and semi-feudal superstructure. A new national and democratic culture is crying out to be born. Mass organizations, especially of the youth, play a great role in promoting this new culture under the leadership of the proletariat. #
 Speech delivered at the St. Louis University, Baguio City, on October 12, 1966; sponsored by the St. Louis University Student Council.
DEVELOPMENT, CURRENT STATUS AND PROSPECTS
OF MAOIST THEORY AND PRACTICE IN THE PHILIPPINES
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Conference on Maoism
Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht
05 September 2012
Introduction: Definition of Maoism
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was reestablished on the theoretical foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought on 26 December 1968. Since 1995, it has officially used the term Maoism as synonym for Mao Zedong Thought. The adoption of the term is due to language alignment in relation to Marxism-Leninism rather than due to any change of meaning or line in relation to Mao Zedong Thought. Since 3 September 1993 in his message to the Symposium on Mao Zedong Thought in Manila, the founding chairman of the CPP has referred to adherents of Mao Zedong Thought as Maoists.
The Communist Party of the Philippine stands by its definition of Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism as the third stage in the development of the theory and practice of the revolutionary proletariat towards the ultimate goal of communism. The ongoing stage of Maoism proceeds from the previous stages of Marxism and Leninism, respecting and upholding the theoretical and practical achievements of each stage, extending and developing them further and making new achievements.
Maoism has arisen thus far as the highest stage in the development of the theory and practice of proletarian revolution by confronting the problem of modern revisionism and putting forward the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through cultural revolution in order to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism. Among the many great achievements of Mao, the aforesaid theory and practice constitutes his greatest. This inspires hope for a socialist and communist future against imperialism, revisionism and reaction.
Mao is indubitably correct in identifying the revisionism of degenerates in power in socialist society as the most lethal to socialism, and in offering the solution that succeeded in China for ten years before it was defeated in 1976. The disintegration of the Soviet Union and the full restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries in the period of 1989-91 have vindicated Mao´s position on the crucial importance and necessity of the struggle against revisionism and the theory of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) can be regarded as the prototype for the ample realization of the theory of continuing revolution in socialist society, like the Paris Commune of 1871 was the prototype for the proletarian class dictatorship that won victory in the October Revolution of 1917. Proletarian revolutionaries can be confident that they are forearmed with the theory behind the GPCR and the experience gained from it in order to face the challenge of revisionism in socialist societies.
Maoism encompasses the major contributions of Mao to further develop such basic components of Marxism as philosophy, political economy, and social science as first laid down by Marx and Engels in the period of free competition capitalism and the rise of the modern industrial proletariat in the 19th century. Maoism also encompasses Mao´s major contributions to further develop Lenin´s earlier theoretical and practical achievements in developing the aforesaid components and to carry forward the great victory of Lenin and Stalin in socialist revolution and construction in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution.
In philosophy, Mao made a penetrating study of the unity of opposites as the most fundamental law in materialist dialectics. He explained the wave-like alternating and interactive advance of theory and practice, and social practice (i.e., production, class struggle and scientific experiment) as the source of knowledge. In political economy, he based himself on the Marxist critique of capitalism and the Leninist critique of modern imperialism, learned from the Soviet experience in socialist revolution and construction, and put forward a political economy of socialism that sought to improve on the pioneering experience of socialist revolution and construction in the Soviet Union.
In social science, Mao followed the teachings of Marxism and Leninism that class analysis is applied on a class society, that class struggle is the key to social progress and that class struggle in bourgeois society must lead to the class dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie in the attainment of socialism. Mao´s class analysis of the semicolonial and semifeudal society enabled the Chinese Communist Party to win the people's democratic revolution with the correct program and strategy and tactics, and proceed to the socialist revolution.
Subsequently, his class analysis of Chinese society in the period of socialist revolution and construction showed the correct handling of contradictions in such society. He reiterated the Leninist thesis that classes and class struggle would continue to exist in socialist society, that the resistance of the defeated bourgeoisie would increase 10,000-fold, and that it would take a whole historical epoch for the proletariat to completely defeat the bourgeoisie. He was well grounded in recognizing the threat of modern revisionism in China and the need for the theory of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship.
Mao stressed the necessity and importance of working class leadership through the Party and the basic alliance of the working class and peasantry in the new democratic revolution. He posited that the semicolonial and semifeudal society is in chronic crisis, and that the huge peasant population in the countryside serves as the basis for the strategic line of protracted people's war and establishment of the revolutionary organs of political power even while the reactionary state still sits in the urban areas.
He developed further the Leninist theory and practice of Party building and pushed forward the rectification movement as an educational method through the mass movement for rectifying major errors and strengthening the Party by raising the revolutionary consciousness and capabilities of the Party and the masses. The rectification movement in the Party was the seminal basis for the conception of the cultural revolution in socialist society.
Mao pointed out that the bourgeoisie, after being politically and legally deprived of the private ownership of the means of production, retreats to the cultural realm to survive and make new recruits even among the children of the working people being educated under the socialist system. The cultural sphere can thus become the breeding ground for bourgeois subjectivist ideas, revisionism and retrogression, unless an indefinite series of proletarian cultural revolutions are undertaken.
Mindful of the way modern revisionism arose in the cultural sphere and then the political sphere in the superstructure in the Soviet Union, Mao put forward the theory and practice of continuing revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. This involves a process of revolutionizing the relations of production and the superstructure through a mass movement led by the proletariat and its party.
I. Development of Maoism in the Philippines
Prior to the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968, we the proletarian revolutionaries in the Philippines, adhered to the teaching of Lenin that there can be no revolutionary movement without revolutionary theory, and that the first requisite in Party building is ideological building. We applied the revolutionary theory of Marxism and Leninism in the formulation of the basic documents of the Congress of Reestablishment: Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party, Constitution of the Communist Party of the Philippines and Program for a People´s Democratic Revolution.
We read and studied the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, These included the Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, Wages, Prices and Profit, Anti-Dühring, Critique of the Gotha Program, Civil War in France, What Is to Be Done, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism, State and Revolution, Two Tactics of Social Democracy, “Left Wing” Communism: An Infantile Disorder, Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Foundations of Leninism, Short History of the CPSU, Selected Works of Mao Zedong, the Polemics on the General Line of the International Communist Movement, the little Red Book of quotations from Mao and major documents of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
We sought to understand Marxist-Leninist philosophy, political economy, social science, the history of the international communist movement, and the strategy and tactics of the Russian and Chinese revolutions, the then ongoing Vietnamese revolution and other revolutions. With the aid of theoretical studies, we tried to understand the history and situation of the world, the Philippines and the old Communist Party of the Philippine Islands established in 1930 and merged with the Socialist Party in 1938. We read and studied the documents of the old communist party before and after its merger with the socialist party.
We adopted the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as the guide to revolutionary action. We considered Mao Zedong Thought as the fruit of the long revolutionary experience of the world proletariat under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, and as the latest, most comprehensive, most profound and most effective instrument for analyzing the history and circumstances of the Filipino people and for setting forth the tasks to accomplish the people's democratic revolution in preparation for the socialist revolution.
We sought to integrate Maoism with the concrete conditions of the Philippines and with the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. In this regard, we applied materialist dialectics and class analysis in summing up and analyzing the history of the Filipino people, defining the basic character of Philippine society and recognizing the need for a people´s democratic revolution. These were clearly stated in the basic documents of the Congress of Reestablishment and would be further developed in the book of Amado Guerrero, Philippine Society and Revolution, first published in mimeograph form in 1969 and subsequently in several more editions and translations to this day.
We were inspired and guided by Mao's class analysis of the semicolonial and semifeudal society. Thus, we were able to understand the character of Philippine society and clarify the need for the people's democratic revolution, the class leadership of the proletariat, the basic alliance of the workers and peasants against the joint dictatorship of the comprador big bourgeoisie and landlord class servile to foreign monopoly capitalism, the united front policy, the strategic line of protracted people's war, and the socialist perspective.
With the aid of Mao´s teachings on the building of the Party, the people´s army and the united front, we were able to sum up and analyze the history of the old Communist Party, We criticized the defective ideological foundation of the merger of the communist and socialist parties and mainly the bourgeois subjectivism and major Right and “Left” opportunist errors of the succession of Lava brothers who became general secretary of the Party. Ultimately, we decided to break away from the old party in 1966 and launched in 1967 what is now known as the First Great Rectification Movement (FGRM) that laid the basis for the reestablishment of the Communist Party in 1968.
We issued the basic document of the rectification movement, Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party, both to criticize and repudiate the errors of the Lava revisionist renegades and to proclaim the urgent necessity of waging the people´s war along the general line of people's democratic revolution against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords. We committed ourselves to building the three great weapons of the revolution, namely, the Party as the advanced detachment of the proletariat, the revolutionary armed struggle on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance, and the united front of patriotic and progressive forces.
We criticized and repudiated the Right opportunist line of Vicente Lava, which was responsible for breaking up the people's army into small armed teams of only five members under the “retreat for defense” policy in 1942, generating pessimism and passivity during the war of resistance against Japan, subordinating the people's army to the US strategic plan to reconquer the Philippines and subsequently welcoming reconquest by the US in 1945, echoing the Browderite “peace and democracy” slogan of the Communist Party of the USA, and demobilizing the people's army for parliamentary struggle within the framework of the 1946 puppet republic.
We criticized and repudiated the “Left” opportunist line of Jose Lava, which called for waging “all-out armed struggle” and “winning victory in two year's time”, without paying attention to painstaking mass work and land reform, overestimating the so-called “geometric progression” of the people's army due to the people´s growing hatred for the corruption of the regime of Elpidio Quirino in 1949, basing the main force of the people´s army in a series of isolated camps in the unpopulated areas of the Sierra Madre mountain range, and launching one wave of offensives and ultimately failing to overcome the enemy counter-offensive in a situation that became purely military.
We criticized and repudiated the “Right” opportunist line of Jesus Lava, which consisted of ordering the conversion of the people's army into “organizational brigades” for legal struggle in 1955, liquidating the Party branches with the “single file policy” in 1957, disconnecting the party leaders from the remaining units of the people's army, and failing to generate even a legal mass movement. When we the proletarian revolutionaries started to join the old Communist Party in 1962, not a single Party branch existed. We were the ones who formed the Party branches in localities and Party groups in mass organizations in the 1960s.
The First Great Rectification Movement under the guidance of Mao Zedong Thought provided a sound basis for formulating the Program for the People´s Democratic Revolution, and the Constitution of the Communist Party of the Philippines. In preparing the founding of the New People´s Army on 29 March 1969, we drew inspiration from the victorious people´s war in China and the war of national liberation in Vietnam against the US war of aggression in order to formulate the Rules of the New People´s Army. We criticized and repudiated the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique for usurping authority over remnants of the old people´s army as well as for perpetuating the mentality and practice of roving rebel bands.
The process of reestablishing the CPP was interconnected with the world proletarian revolution and the struggle against imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction.
We upheld Marxism-Leninism against modern revisionism, which was first espoused by Khrushchov and then by his successor Brezhnev. We had an adequately full view of the ideological debate between the Chinese Communist Party and the Soviet Communist Party. We avidly read and discussed the polemics between the two parties. We sided with the Marxist-Leninist anti-revisionist position of Mao and the Chinese Communist Party.
We studied how modern revisionism had developed to dominate the Soviet Union and other communist parties in Eastern Europe and elsewhere and how the danger of modern revisionism had also emerged in China. On such grounding, we welcomed the theory and practice of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. We took a Marxist-Leninist position against modern revisionism not only on the basis of studying the pertinent events abroad but also on the basis of the struggle against the Lava revisionist renegades who were acting under the influence of the Soviet-centered modern revisionism.
Since 1963, we had criticized and repudiated Khrushchov´s bourgeois populist notions of the “party of the whole people” and “state of the whole people” which denied the proletarian character of the Soviet party and state; and his bourgeois pacifist views, such as “ peaceful transition to socialism” which denied the necessity of revolutionary violence against counterrevolutionary violence, “peaceful economic competition” which gave primacy to economic struggle over political struggle and “peaceful co-existence” which was overstated as the general line of the international movement and not simply the policy governing the diplomatic relations of socialist states with other kinds of states, irrespective of ideology and social system.
The Lava revisionist renegades sought to prevent the criticism of the serious opportunist errors of the Lava brothers from 1942 onwards, and used the Khruschovite notion of “peaceful transition” to buttress their position that there must be an indefinitely long period of legal struggle leading to the general offensive in the form of uprisings. The proletarian revolutionaries took the position that the legal mass movement -- especially that of the workers and peasants which they had already started to develop -- must serve as the basis for organizing the people´s army and starting the people’s war. We argued that the semicolonial and semifeudal society was in chronic crisis and that the countryside and the peasantry could provide the physical and social terrain for building the people´s army and accumulating strength in stages in accordance with Mao´s teaching on the strategic line of protracted people’s war.
We studied how among various ways the Khruschovite revisionists breached the socialist system by decentralizing the economy and making enterprises and collectives autonomous and individually responsible for their cost and profit accounting, and how in contrast the Brezhnevite revisionists subsequently recentralized major enterprises along the line of state monopoly capitalism in order to assure the central authorities of funding and the ability to engage in the arms race. We studied how the socialist system had been built and how the revisionists were dismantling it in the philosophical, socio-economic, political, military and cultural spheres.
The CPP Congress of Reestablishment in 1968 was attended by twelve delegates (with one in absentia) representing around 80 Party cadres and members. These led hundreds of advanced mass activists who were being prepared for Party membership, and most of whom were leading trade unions and mass organizations of urban poor, peasants, women, youth, professionals and cultural workers. The total number of the organized urban mass base nationwide was at least 30,000. Party membership rose by the hundreds from 1968 to 1971, reaching the 2000 level in 1972 and 4000 in 1974. The Party members came mainly from the trade unions, urban poor community associations and peasant organizations, and from the Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth).
The Party established the New People´s Army on 29 March 1969 by combining the proletarian revolutionaries and the good elements of the old people´s army who had broken away from the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique. The Party central leadership based itself in the second district of Tarlac province where the good remnants of the old people´s army had a mass base of 80,000 in several municipalities. Here the New
People´s Army started with 60 Red fighters armed with only nine automatic rifles and 26 inferior firearms. Despite starting from scratch, we were optimistic because of the justness of our revolutionary cause and because we were inspired by Mao´s teaching that we could grow from small to big and from weak to strong.
The Party cadres and the armed propaganda teams spread out to do mass work in the countryside of Tarlac and nearby provinces. They formed the barrio (village) organizing committees as the temporary appointive organs of political power. They established the revolutionary mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, children and cultural activists. Drawing the best elements from the mass organizations, Party branches were established as the leading force in the locality and the barrio revolutionary committees were established as elected bodies and as the relatively stable organs of political power.
The Party led the organs of political power and the mass organizations supported them in undertaking mass campaigns and activities related to mass education, mass organizing, land reform, production, health and hygiene, arbitration, and cultural work. To augment and assist the people´s army, the militia units were formed in the villages and all able-bodied men and women in mass organizations served as self-defense units. When a platoon-size strike force was subsequently formed, it coordinated daily with the local guerrilla units, armed propaganda teams and the militia units.
On the basis of the strong mass base, the New People´s Army was able to launch an increasing number of tactical offensives against the enemy. The offensives were carried out by teams, squads and a platoon-size strike force. Through these offensives the NPA increased the number of its automatic rifles from only nine in 1969 to more than 200 by the end of 1970. The enemy reacted with the 5000-strong Task Force Lawin consisting of army, police and paramilitary forces. Known peasant leaders in every village were assassinated. It became a daily and nightly occurrence for the enemy to raid 5 to 10 villages at every given time with the aim of locating the Party central leadership.
Even prior to the formal founding of the New People´s Army, politico-military training was conducted from January to March 1969 in order to prepare the deployment of a few politico-military cadres to a few provinces in other regions for opening new guerrilla zones. The most successful of these expansion efforts were in the province of Isabela in Northeast Luzon. The three politico-military cadres assigned there created a mass base of 150,000 before the end of 1970. In view of the bigger mass base and the better terrain for guerrilla warfare, the Party central leadership began to transfer to Isabela in 1970.
In the forest region of Isabela, hundreds of politico-military cadres were trained for expansion within the region and nationwide. The Party and the mass organizations in Manila and other parts of the country sent cadres there for politico-military training and participation in mass work. The trained politico-military cadres were re-deployed to establish or strengthen regional Party committees and NPA regional commands in all regions of the Philippines from 1972 to 1974. Ten regional Party and army organizations had been formed by 1974 and these increased to fifteen before 1977 as a result of the division of the Mindanao island organization into several regional organizations.
The NPA used and improved upon the strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare and methods of expansion and consolidation which had been successfully tried out in Tarlac and Isabela. By the 1975 plenum of the CPP Central Committee, the nationwide strength of the NPA had reached more than 1000 high-powered rifles, with the full-time Red fighters augmented by the people´s militia and the self-defense units of mass organizations. The Party employed the policy of united front for armed struggle in order to take advantage of violent splits among the reactionaries, to open new guerrilla zones, and to acquire weapons and other forms of support from allies.
Under the direction of the newly reestablished Party, the urban-based mass movement expanded more rapidly and became more militant than ever in Manila and on a nationwide scale. It led to the First Quarter Storm of 1970. In Metro Manila alone, for three months weekly mass actions of 50,000 to 100,000 people marched from several directions and rallied at major public places and in front of the presidential palace, Congress and the US embassy in order to condemn the anti-people, anti-national and anti-democratic policies and acts of the US-directed Marcos regime. The demonstrations spread to provincial capitals and cities. Their principal slogans included: “Dare to struggle, dare to win!
People´s war is the answer to martial law!” Amado Guerrero wrote the First Quarter Storm, a series of articles, to track and define the protest mass actions against the three evils of US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The US-Marcos regime tried with brute force to suppress the First Quarter Storm and the subsequent protest mass actions until 1972. It suspended the writ of habeas corpus on 21 August 1971 and then proclaimed martial law on 21 September 1972 in order to impose a fascist dictatorship on the people. This compelled the legal forces of the national democratic movement to go underground and encourage their activists to participate in the people’s war. The Party steadily developed its strength in the underground and encouraged indoor and outdoor protest actions.
On 24 April 1973, the Preparatory Commission of the National Democratic Front issued the 10-Point Program of Revolutionary Action (or NDF Manifesto: Unite to Overthrow the US-Marcos Dictatorship) for developing the united front in support of the revolutionary armed struggle, thus signaling the founding of the National Democratic Front (NDFP). The NDF succeeded in creating its own cells and it focused on united front work among aboveground unions and peasant associations not identified by the enemy as Party-led, among associations of urban petty-bourgeois intellectuals and professionals, among the religious and among the anti-Marcos reactionary politicians. In 1975 the Party and NDF underground in Manila carried out the La Tondeña strike which sparked off strikes in 300 workplaces nationwide. The Christians for National Liberation in the NDF played a key role in helping the workers to defy the fascist authorities.
The years of 1968 to 1977 may be considered as the foundational years of the CPP, the NPA and the NDFP under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The early development of the revolutionary forces was guided by the basic documents in the reestablishment of the CPP, the NPA and the NDFP, and by Philippine Society and Revolution. The Party was focused on waging the revolutionary armed struggle as the main form of struggle while it continued to encourage and revitalize the legal urban mass movement even with the fascist dictatorship ruthlessly ruling the country.
For the purpose of ideological building, the Party translated and published the short classic works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. It arranged and published handy volumes of Mao´s works under seven general headings: On Class Analysis and Social Investigation, On Party Building, On Building the People´s Army, On Armed Struggle, On the United Front, On Economic Work and Land Reform, and On Propaganda and Cultural Work. These were translated into Pilipino, the national language. Regional Party organizations translated them into the regional lingua franca and disseminated them within their areas of responsibility.
The CPP issued the Organizational Guide and Outline of Reports in 1971 to guide mass work and require prompt and accurate reporting of results. The Summing Up of the First Three Years in 1972 showed the results of the various aspects of the revolutionary struggle. The CPP promulgated in 1972 the Guide for Establishing the People's Democratic Government as the people´s constitution to serve as framework for the organs of political power. It also promulgated in 1972 the Revolutionary Guide for Land Reform. Amado Guerrero´s Specific Characteristics of People´s War in the Philippines was issued in 1974, drawing on our experience in applying the strategic line of people’s war in our archipelagic country. As a result of the 1975 Plenum of the Central Committee, Our Urgent Tasks was issued in 1976 to further clarify the ideological, political and organizational line and tasks and show the methods for accomplishing them.
The decisions and directives of the Central Committee and other central organs, the reports to the Central Committee on the regional investigation of social conditions and revolutionary work, the exchange of communications between higher and lower organs of the Party leadership and other writings of Party cadres and members are a rich source of information on how the CPP applied Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory in the practice of the Philippine revolution. Ang Bayan served as the official publication of the Central Committee for news reporting and analysis of domestic and global events and issues, Special pamphlets carried important articles. Subsequently, Rebolusyon was published as the theoretical and political organ of the Central Committee.
From 1969 to 1977, the Party established regional Party organizations and regional commands of the NPA: Northeast Luzon, Northwest Luzon (including Cordillera), Central Luzon, Manila-Rizal (national capital region), Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, and several regions of Mindanao. These covered the entire country. Tarlac and Isabela set the pattern for opening and developing guerrilla zones, which basically involved creating the mass base and commencing land reform, showing to the masses the necessity and importance of the people’s army in the elimination of despotic landlords, local tyrants and bad elements, and proceeding to tactical offensives against the enemy armed forces carried out by teams, squads and platoons of the NPA.
Guerrilla zones were established in areas favorable for guerrilla warfare. They were consolidated to become guerrilla bases through painstaking mass work, land reform, and the building of the organs of political power and the mass organizations. Subsequently, clusters of guerrilla zones and guerrilla bases were consolidated to become the guerrilla front, with the district Party committee and the guerrilla platoon serving as the main strike force and center of gravity for the relatively dispersed squads and armed propaganda teams. Millions of people were in the guerrilla fronts. The NPA in Mindanao was the first to adopt the term “guerrilla front” and to build main guerrilla units and secondary guerrilla units.
In 1976 the NPA platoons in the region of Eastern Visayas were showing to the entire revolutionary movement how to launch frequent tactical offensives in an extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base, with the use of platoons against municipal police forces and small army detachments, and accumulate weapons rapidly despite ferocious enemy campaigns of encirclement. The Party central leadership considered it wise to multiply the platoons on a nationwide scale for the purpose of delivering effective blows against the enemy forces and seizing weapons.
Comrade Mao´s strategy and tactics of people’s war, as applied by the Specific Characteristics of People´s War in the Philippines, and as practiced by the Party cadres and NPA commanders and Red fighters, ensured the self-reliant advance of the revolutionary armed struggle in the country. The archipelagic character of the Philippines did not confound the Party. It was considered merely as an initial disadvantage but eventually a long-term advantage.
The expanse of the countryside, the archipelagic and mountainous character of the Philippines allowed the Party to divide and disperse the strength of the enemy armed forces by giving utmost importance to the principle of centralized ideological and political leadership and decentralized operations, the principle of self-reliance, and the principle of advancing in phases and eventually in stages in the people’s war. By 1977 the NPA had established more than 30 guerrilla fronts nationwide, on terrain favorable for guerrilla warfare.
In an effort to supplement and boost the self-reliant conduct of people´s war, two attempts were made to import weapons in 1972 and 1974. The first one was partially successful but in the main failed; and the second attempt completely failed. The Party summed up and drew lessons from these negative experiences. Without a common land border with a helping state, the people´s army would have to practice the principle of self'-reliance by seizing arms from the enemy forces and making the reactionary armed forces its unwitting chief transport and supply officer.
The Party summed up and analyzed its conduct of people´s war and practiced criticism and self-criticism to correct errors and improve methods and style of work. Among the notable errors criticized were the introduction of firearms without prior mass work in Negros Occidental in 1969, bypassing the Visayan peasants and going straight to the hill tribes in Mindanao in 1972 to 1973 and the concealment and passivity of two full companies of the NPA in the Isabela forest region from 1972 to 1974. The Party learned lessons from setbacks and the death or capture of Party cadres and Red commanders at various times. The revolutionary movement on the whole kept on advancing, despite some major errors and setbacks. The capture of no less than the Chairman of the Party Central Committee in 1977 did not dampen or disrupt the advance of the people´s war.
The CPP, NPA and other revolutionary forces in every region have a long and rich story to tell about how in their formative years they grew in strength and advanced against tremendous odds, how they combined the armed struggle and united front, how they coordinated the legal and illegal forms of struggle, how they at certain times committed serious errors, suffered setbacks and overcame these through criticism and self-criticism, actual rectification and revitalization. Time prevents me from giving even only a summary of the story of every region. I can only give the salients in the development of Maoism in the Philippines.
In the period of 1978 to 1986, the strength of the revolutionary forces continued to grow due to their adherence to the teachings of Mao and the leadership of the CPP, and of course due to the Filipino people’s increasing hatred for the Marcos fascist dictatorship. The armed revolutionary movement in the countryside grew steadily. In 1978 the mass movement in urban areas engaged in widespread open mass protests, including noise barrages in the national capital region and provincial cities. It was growing steadily until the Marcos regime assassinated Benigno Aquino in 1983. The Party seized the opportunity to undertake the broadest possible united front and generate the rapid upsurge of the urban mass movement. The broad masses of the people rose up in their millions to bring down the fascist regime in 1986.
The largest mass organizations in the protest mass actions belonged to the national democratic movement. At the same time, the NPA intensified its tactical offensives against the enemy. The CPP applied the policy of the broad united front in order to isolate and destroy the power of the US-propped Marcos fascist regime. It relied mainly on the basic worker-peasant alliance, gave full play to the alliance of the progressive and patriotic forces and made a temporary alliance with unreliable reactionary groups like those of Aquino and others. After the fall of Marcos, the Aquino regime was obliged to release all political prisoners but later on claimed that the revolutionary movement had nothing to do with the overthrow of Marcos.
Party membership had risen to more than 30,000 by 1986. The guerrilla fronts had increased to more than 60 in 14 regions outside the national capital region. In most regions of the country, the organs of political power and rural-based revolutionary mass organizations thrived. A total of seven million people were in guerrilla fronts. The armed strength of the NPA increased to more than 5000 high-powered rifles in 1983. The growth of the people´s army decelerated because of the errors of “Left” opportunism. The NPA strength was recorded at 5,600 at the time of the 1985 Plenum of the Central Committee. This increased to 6,100 in 1986.
Relative to the military strength of the enemy, the strength of the NPA was far smaller but it was augmented by the tens of thousands of people´s militia with inferior firearms, and by the hundreds of thousands of self-defense units of the revolutionary mass organizations. Contrary to persistent claims of the enemy armed forces and the bourgeois mass media, the NPA never reached 25,000 high powered rifles in the 1980s.
Even while the strength of the CPP, NPA, NDFP, the organs of political power and mass organizations grew from 1978 onwards because of the excellent Maoist foundation of the CPP and the perseverance of the Maoist proletarian revolutionaries, anti-Maoist elements in high positions in the CPP started to generate subjectivist and opportunist lines, especially from 1981 onwards. They spread the subjectivist line that the Philippine economy was no longer semifeudal but semicapitalist, in effect claiming that the big comprador-landlord Marcos fascist regime had industrialized and urbanized the Philippines by some 40 per cent.
The detained founding Chairman of the CPP was able to make in 1982 the long interview, “On the Mode of Production in the Philippines”, to counter the subjectivist line and to sustain with statistics and analysis the position that the Philippine economy was still agrarian and semifeudal. The interview served to support the proletarian revolutionaries in holding their ground and stopping the subjectivist line from spreading and gaining the upper hand in the entire Party. In 1983 he wrote in “The Losing Course of the Reactionary Armed Forces” that NPA strength could grow very rapidly upon reaching the critical mass of 5000 high powered rifles but warned against premature verticalization or the formation of unsustainable larger units.
“Left” and Right opportunist lines bifurcated from the subjectivist line. The “Left” opportunist line was stronger than the Right opportunist until 1987. The new Party leadership misconstrued the early phase of the strategic defensive -- the phase at which the people´s war still was -- as the advanced phase, and aimed to undertake what it inappropriately called the phase “strategic counteroffensive” as the final phase of the strategic defensive ushering in the strategic stalemate. The rhetorical “advance” in the people’s war concealed the fact that in 1978 the strength of the people´s army was around 1500 high powered rifles. It was still a period in which the example of building platoons and using them for frequent offensives as in Eastern Visayas, particularly Samar, still needed to be replicated in other regions.
Impetuosity afflicted not only the central leadership but also the regional leadership in Eastern Visayas when it decided in 1979-80 to build companies and two battalions. But the regional leadership was dissuaded from carrying out its plan and was directed to expand in the region by using platoons and to make its tested cadres available to the central leadership for redeployment to help other regions, especially Negros, Panay and Mindanao. In the entire country as a whole, the Party and the NPA were able to expand the mass base and wage successful tactical offensives.
The central Party leadership was not able to carry out its so-called “strategic counter-offensive”. However in 1981, the Mindanao Commission invented its own brand of military adventurism, which it called the Red Area-White area (RAWA) strategy. It decided that the time was past for mass work and that it was time to build in Mindanao 15 NPA companies as a purely military force as soon as possible by putting together the smaller NPA units which had been doing mass work. At the same time, it considered the armed city partisans and the spontaneous masses in the cities as the politico-military leading force for winning the revolution through urban insurrection. Carried away by impetuosity, underground Party cadres participated openly in mass actions dubbed as people´s strikes.
The first three companies showed good military results in offensives against the enemy. But as more companies and more staff units were formed, the mass base became weakened and eventually eroded. At the same time, the companies became vulnerable to enemy attacks as they were easily sighted by enemy informers and army reconnaissance teams. When the policy of prematurely forming NPA companies resulted in enemy successes at ambushing the NPA units and when urban underground cadres were being raided and captured or killed, the Mindanao Commission resorted to blaming “deep penetration agents” (DPAs) as the cause of the setbacks instead of reviewing and casting away the wrong policy. In 1985, the caretaker committee of the Mindanao Commission decided to launch a hysterical putschist campaign supposedly to ferret out and rid the region of so-called DPAs. It called the campaign Kampanyang Ahos, which turned out to be a criminal bloody witch hunt within revolutionary ranks.
The grave errors of “Left” opportunism were not promptly rectified and led to successful enemy attacks and such anti-informer hysteria as Kampanyang Ahos in 1985 to 1987 in Mindanao and at various times the so-called June breakthrough in Manila, anti-DPA campaigns in Northern Luzon and Negros island and Operation Plan Missing Link in the Southern Tagalog region. The advance of the armed revolution was undermined and slowed in various areas for certain periods. The premature formation of big military units resulted in the neglect of mass work and the contraction of the mass base. Lacking a deep and wide mass base, and with greatly reduced flexibility and mobility, the big NPA units became more vulnerable to enemy detection and attack. For the most part of the 1980s, it was the turn of the Bicol regional Party organization to provide the exemplary well-balanced development of the Party, the people´s army and mass base among the regional organizations.
Right opportunism reared its ugly head in 1980, when the so-called popular democrats proposed to convert the National Democratic Front into a “New Katipunan” by taking out the leadership of the proletariat, supposedly to make the united front more attractive to the bourgeoisie. A new draft program that diluted the revolutionary content of the previous program and echoed the bourgeois ideas of the Dengist counterrevolution in China was put forward but was opposed and shelved. A proposal was also made to reconsider the character of the Soviet Union as a social imperialist power in order to facilitate approach to the Soviet Union and its allies for military assistance.
The Right opportunists were stopped from pushing the proposal to change the character of the NDF and dilute its program. Their move was easily repudiated by the proletarian revolutionaries as the people’s war intensified towards the overthrow of the fascist dictatorship in 1986. But after the fall of Marcos, the Right opportunists overstated the boycott policy of the Party leadership in the 1986 presidential snap election as a strategic error and whipped up recriminations against the central leadership. They were openly grateful to the US-directed Aquino regime for the so-called democratic space and sought to ingratiate themselves with the Aquino regime.
Following his release from prison, the founding chairman of the CPP delivered a series of 10 lectures, titled Philippine Crisis and Revolution, at the University of the Philippines in 1986. It was intended to counter and clear up the confusion being sown by the “Left” and Right opportunists about the downfall of Marcos and the character of the Aquino regime, and more importantly to update Philippine Society and Revolution and clarify the new situation and the new tasks of the revolutionary movement. The compiled lectures served to firm up the revolutionary principles and raise the fighting spirit of the Party and the revolutionary movement in the face of the attempts of the Aquino regime to carry out a scheme of destroying the movement through a combination of violence and deception.
By this time, the “Left” opportunists had conjoined with the Right opportunists to exaggerate the boycott error as the worst error of the CPP, in order to cover up the far more disastrous character and consequences of their grave errors of principle and line and their crimes in the anti-DPA witch hunts. They were prating that only urban insurrections and importation of arms could successfully counter the gradual constriction of guerrilla fronts under the enemy´s war of quick decision.
After the failure of their policy of so-called nationally coordinated operations in 1987-88, which consisted almost entirely of harassment operations and which wasted a lot of ammunition, the “Left” opportunists were basically a spent force and became dispirited and defeatist. Some of them joined the Right opportunists in praising Gorbachov for his “new thinking” and then celebrating the full restoration of capitalism of the revisionist-ruled countries in 1989 to 1991. Together they started to jockey for staff positions in various reactionary parties and in various agencies of the reactionary government,
In the years from 1988 to 1991, the Party surveyed the extent of the loss of the revolutionary mass base as a result of the self-constricting line of the “Left” opportunists. It became clear in 1991 that the loss of the mass base had reached 60 per cent nationwide. The handful of “Left” opportunists who were incorrigible increasingly became anti-CPP, anti-Mao and anti-communist . They collaborated with the incorrigible Right opportunists in anti-communist propaganda and racketeering in NGOs funded by the imperialists and local reactionary politicians. In 1991, the Party Central Committee prepared for the Second Great Rectification Movement by drafting its most basic document, based on the reports and recommendations of lower Party organs and organizations.
II. Current Status of Maoism in the Philippines
The current status of Maoism in the Philippines can be understood and appreciated only by observing how the Maoist theory has been successfully applied to the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution in the new democratic stage, how it has been used to confront and overcome tremendous odds in the objective situation and solve problems in the development of the Party and other revolutionary forces; and how it has guided all the revolutionary forces to preserve themselves, grow in strength and advance.
It has been a great historic feat for the CPP to have overcome the tremendous attempts of the US imperialists and the local reactionary forces to destroy the Party and the entire revolutionary movement with the use of task forces (Lawin and Saranay) against the NPA supposedly to “nip it in the bud” from 1969 to 1972, the 14-year long fascist dictatorship of Marcos from 1972 to 1986 and the succession of pseudo-democratic regimes which have pretended to give “democratic space” to those who seek national independence and democracy but have never ceased to use brutal campaigns of anti-communist and anti-people suppression.
The CPP has been guided well by Maoist theory that the new democratic revolution, through the strategic line of protracted people´s war, is the correct and just response of the people to the joint dictatorship of the big comprador and landlord classes ruling the semicolonial and semifeudal society under the hegemony of US imperialism. It is well proven that the US and the local exploiting classes have been unable to defeat the revolutionary movement of the people with the use of violence and deception.
In more than four decades of revolutionary armed struggle, the CPP has been able to lead and build the people´s army, the organs of democratic power in the countryside, the revolutionary mass organizations, and the united front of patriotic and progressive forces. On the basis of the ever growing mass base, the CPP has been able to establish Party branches in the localities. Under its leadership, the people´s democratic government is growing against the reactionary government and the ruling system in chronic crisis.
The reactionary government is compelled to recognize the revolutionary government by engaging in peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). A series of foreign governments (Dutch, Belgian and Norwegian) have facilitated the peace negotiations. In the light of international law, the NDFP negotiates with the Manila government on an equal footing as a co-belligerent in a civil war. In this regard, the CPP founding chairman has clarified the NDFP framework of negotiations in Two Articles on the People´s Struggle for a Just Peace.
The Hague Joint Declaration sets the mutual framework of peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Manila government. The NDFP has asserted in its Unilateral Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions and Protocol I the existence of the revolutionary organs of political power as constituting the people´s democratic government. So far, the peace negotiations have resulted in the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human rights and International Humanitarian Law, signed and approved by the principals of the negotiating parties in 1998.
The revolutionary forces and people led by the CPP adhere to the principle and line that the struggle for a just and lasting peace is exactly the struggle for national liberation and democracy. Peace negotiations can succeed only if such struggle of the people is fulfilled. The revolutionary forces cannot be led astray by false illusions about the peace negotiations. Instead, they have been able to avail of the peace negotiations as a means to put forward just and reasonable demands for social, economic and political reforms for the immediate and long-term benefit of the Filipino people and have been able to broadcast internationally the program for a people´s democratic revolution and to expose the anti-national and anti-democratic character of the Manila government.
Consequent to the long-term subversion and betrayal of socialism by modern revisionism and the complete victory of the capitalist counterrevolution in China, Soviet Union and other former socialist countries, the US imperialists and the Filipino reactionaries have been prating that socialism is hopeless and that history cannot go beyond capitalism and liberal democracy. They have tried to demoralize the people and the revolutionary forces with the assertion that there is no more socialist country to aid them and that there is no other way but to capitulate to imperialism and its reactionary stooges.
But thanks to the teachings of Mao on the new democratic revolution, on the principle of self-reliance and on the mass line, the revolutionary movement of the Filipino people has been able to grow in strength and advance without having to depend on material assistance from abroad. More than 98 per cent of the NPA armed strength comes from fighting the enemy. Less than two per cent comes from donations by local allies. Again, thanks to Mao´s proletarian revolutionary line against modern revisionism since the latter half of the 1950s, the CPP has been founded on the line of upholding Marxism-Leninism and opposing modern revisionism.
All revolutionary forces of the Filipino people comprehend the degeneration and ultimate disintegration of socialism in countries ruled by the modern revisionists. They are further armed with the Maoist theory of continuing the revolution under proletarian dictatorship in socialist society. They are not only well-grounded in the practice of the new democratic revolution but have the foresight to build socialism and combat the danger of revisionism and capitalist restoration. The socialist revolution commences upon the basic completion of the new democratic revolution through the nationwide seizure of political power.
A revolutionary party of the proletariat like the CPP is subject to the law of contradiction at every stage of the revolution. It must be alert to the incessant need to struggle against the bourgeoisie that exerts influence from the outside or manages to creep into the Party through unremolded or retrogressive petty bourgeois elements who misrepresent petty bourgeois ideas as proletarian ideas and attack the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line either subtly or crudely.
Being well versed on the teachings of Mao, the CPP was in a position in 1992 to identify, criticize and repudiate the major errors of subjectivism and opportunism from 1980 to 1991 that were aimed at undermining and liquidating the Party and the revolutionary movement. It successfully launched the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) in 1992, with the overwhelming support of the Party cadres and members who have remained loyal to the Party and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
Exactly at the time that the incorrigible opportunists imagined that they could deliver the death blow to the CPP, the central leadership issued the rectification documents: Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors, General Review of Major Events and Decisions from 1980 to 1991 and Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism. Indeed, without the Second Great Rectification Movement, the CPP and entire revolutionary movement would have disintegrated from within, as openly wished by a US intelligence asset collaborating with and pushing the incorrigible opportunists.
Instead, the Maoist proletarian revolutionaries carried out the Second Great Rectification Movement from 1992 to 1998 as a campaign of theoretical and political education to reaffirm basic revolutionary principles, criticize and repudiate the major subjectivist opportunist errors, and revitalize the revolutionary forces and movement. The SGRM also involved practical measures to counter the wrecking operations by the highly-placed degenerates and renegades, to recover the personnel and resources misappropriated and messed up by them; to reorient and redeploy cadres; and to revitalize the entire Party and revolutionary movement.
In presenting the current status of Maoism in the Philippines, it is necessary to take up the ten issues raised in the Second Great Rectification Movement and to narrate the positions and actions taken by the Party and the consequences. The issues are the following: 1. the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism; 2. the anti-revisionist line; 3. the semifeudal and semicolonial character of Philippine society; 4. the general line of new democratic revolution; 5. the Party as the vanguard force; 6. protracted people's war and guerrilla warfare; 7. revolutionary class line in the united front; 8. principle of democratic centralism; 9. the socialist perspective; and 10. proletarian internationalism.
1. Upholding the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism
The CPP took note that the subjectivists and opportunists had deliberately put aside the study of the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism within the organs and units in which they were supposed to be Party cadres. They stopped such study in order to impress and bamboozle other Party members that they had better ideas, which were actually drawn from non-Maoists and anti-Maoists. They displayed an eclectic array of anti-communist petty bourgeois ideas.
Under the pretense of refining, improving or even surpassing Marxist-Leninist theory, they put forward forward the subjectivist line that Philippine society was no longer semi-feudal but “semi-capitalist” and proceeded to put forward all sorts of harebrained notions to make quick and easy the process of taking power and effecting social revolution. The “Left” opportunists offered armed urban insurrection and military adventurism in lieu of protracted people´s war. And the Right opportunists offered legal struggle and reformism as the protracted way for making the ruling system ripe for overthrow.
Among the “Left” opportunists were military putschists who fancied themselves as generals of large army units without a mass base and urban insurrectionists who wanted to mimic the anti-authoritarian insurrection in Nicaragua. At the start of the SGRM, the exponents of these variants of “Left” opportunism were already discredited by their dislike for the study of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought, well-known failures and criminal acts and were exposed as aliens to the Party.
But some “Left” opportunists occupying high positions in the Party committee in the national capital region sought to stop the SGRM and in the process exposed thoroughly their Trotskyite notion that the urban uprisings of workers made unnecessary the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside for a protracted period. They had been able to camouflage their Trotskyite position previously by paying lip service to people´s war, until they thought that they had enough anti-Maoist following within the CPP.
Among the Right opportunists were exponents of bourgeois populism, liberalism, social democracy, Gorbachovism and Trotskyism. All of them concurred with the “Left” opportunists” on the subjectivist notion that the Philippine economy ceased to be semifeudal and had become “semicapitalist” upon their presumption that a significant increase of industrialization and urbanization had been accomplished under the big comprador-landlord economic policy of the US-directed Marcos fascist regime.
They invoked and mimicked Gorbachov´s “new thinking” and claimed that anti-communist thinking could strengthen the Communist Party and the new democratic revolution. They used empiricist, reformist and revisionist thinking and simply cussed as “orthodox” and “fundamentalist” the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. They posed as sophisticates in justifying eclecticism and touting a petty bourgeois supermarket of ideas in a futile attempt to swamp the theory and practice of proletarian revolution.
The Central Committee of the CPP issued the basic rectification documents in order to confront and defeat the incorrigible subjectivists and opportunists. In addition, the founding chairman of the CPP issued the article, “Critical and Creative Tasks of the Rectification Movement in the Communist Party of the Philippines”. This further clarified the rectification movement as a process of education and the tasks to be carried out in order to raise further the revolutionary consciousness and fighting capabilities of the Party and the people.
To uphold the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the Second Great Rectification Movement re-instituted the three levels of study courses for Party cadres and members. To become full Party members, candidate members are required to finish the primary course, which integrates the Maoist theory with the history and circumstances of the Filipino people. The intermediate course involves the systematic study of Maoist theory and comparative study of revolutions in various countries. The advanced course involves the study of philosophy, political economy, social science, strategy and tactics, and the history of the international communist movement from the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao.
The Second Great Rectification Movement revived the critique and repudiation of modern revisionism and its latest variants, especially neo-revisionism. It exposed and opposed the neoliberal economic policy, the security policy of military intervention and aggression, cultural imperialsm and related policies of US imperialism. It criticized and condemned all the major trends of anti-communist petty bourgeois thinking, including liberalism, neoliberalism, bourgeois populism, social democracy, Gorbachovism, and Trotskyism.
The living study of Maoism is encouraged above all. It means applying Maoism in social investigation and decision-making in order to solve current problems in the revolutionary struggle. Major domestic and international issues are discussed and resolved in the light of Maoist theory. The Party publishes statements and resolutions on issues and informative and analytical articles and books.. These are published in the website www.philppinerevolution.net. Audio-visual productions and illustrations of study materials are used to facilitate the theoretical and political studies of Party cadres and members who come from the working class and peasantry and have limited formal education.
2. Pursuing the anti-revisionist line
The US imperialists and the Filipino reactionaries were beside themselves gloating over the social turmoil in China, the disintegration of the revisionist regimes in Eastern Europe, and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the period of 1989 to 1991. They boasted that the CPP would weaken and disappear because supposedly it had no more foreign benefactors.
In fact, the CPP soberly regarded these events as vindication and verification of Mao´s anti-revisionist line and prediction that modern revisionism would lead to full capitalist restoration. The CPP raised even higher its appreciation for Mao´s theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism. Those incorrigible opportunists who had claimed that Gorbachov´s perestroika and the Dengist counterrevolution were meant to save and strengthen socialism were thoroughly discredited and embarassed.
The Filipino Maoists laughed at the absurdity of the US imperialists and Filipino reactionaries in pretending to forget that the CPP was established under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, that it was founded on the line of opposing modern revisionism, that it arose and developed self-reliantly, and that it understood and was enlightened by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Nevertheless, the CPP gave serious attention to the continued attempts of the incorrigible opportunists to spread within the Party their bourgeois liberal, Gorbachovite and Trotskyite interpretations of the disintegration of the revisionist-ruled systems and collapse of the Soviet Union in the period of 1989 to 1991.
It was of crucial importance that Armando Liwanag published Stand for Socialism against Modern Revisionism in 1992 to explain the long struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in socialist countries, and how socialist revolution and construction had advanced until the modern revisionists succeeded in usurping power and carried out capitalist restoration. The modern revisionists captured and kept power for the purpose of capitalist restoration by casting away the revolutionary class struggle, by using the “theory of productive forces” against the socialist relations of production and promoting bourgeois and backward modes of thinking and behavior in the superstructure.
Most importantly, the work of Liwanag clarified how monopoly capitalism would continue to be stricken by ever worsening crisis and engender ever greater resistance by the proletariat and people. The anti-imperialist struggle of the people and the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie would go on to make way for socialism and communism. This renewed and strengthened the resolve of the entire Party to pursue the anti-revisionist line and dismiss as rubbish the outlandish claims that there is no alternative to capitalism or that history cannot go beyond capitalism and liberal democracy.
Filipino Maoists are proud to be among the proletarian revolutionaries upholding Marxism-Leninism-Maoism against imperialism, revisionism and reaction amidst the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. The total bankruptcy of the US-instigated neoliberal policy of “free market” globalization has brought about a protracted global depression and the increased tendency of the imperialist powers to whip up state terrorism and unleash wars of aggression. Revolution is bound to reemerge as the main trend in the world as all major contradictions intensify.
3. Confronting the semifeudal and semicolonial character of Philippine society
The incorrigible subjectivists and opportunists claimed that the Philippine economy was no longer semifeudal in order to attack the general line of new democratic revolution through protracted people´s war. The CPP thoroughly debunked the claim and stressed the fact that the Marcos fascist dictatorship aggravated and deepened the underdeveloped and agrarian character of the economy by directing resources away from national industrial development and genuine land reform.
The economy remains pre-industrial and semifeudal. It continues to be plundered and impoverished by imperialist powers headed by the US and by the local exploiting classes of big compradors in cities and landlords in the countryside. The post-Marcos regimes have further aggravated the underdeveloped character of the Philippine economy and have further devastated the environment by following the neoliberal economic policy which dictates labor flexibilization, trade and investment liberalization, privatization of public assets, deregulation, and denationalization.
Industries that exist are dependent on imported equipment, components and fuel. The so-called manufacturing industry involves mere assembly of imported components for re-export. In fact, the share of manufacturing in the gross national product has dropped drastically since the shift from import-substitution manufacturing to export-oriented manufacturing. Major issuances of the CPP and the book co-authored by the CPP founding chairman with Julie de Lima, Philippine Economy and Politics, maintains that the Philippine economy is semifeudal.
Since the time of the Ramos regime from 1992 to 1998, key incorrigible Right opportunists have declared that the issue of national sovereignty is passé, blatantly denying the semicolonial character of the ruling system. They argue that it is pointless to assert national sovereignty under the US-instigated policy of neoliberal globalization. They endorse this policy even as from time to time, they pretend to criticize some of its worst features only to beg that these be reformed or improved.
They have become racketeers in non-government organizations (NGOs) and intelligence consultants of some US agencies and the Manila government. Many of them are now close advisors of the current Aquino regime on how to use psychological warfare against the revolutionary movement, within the framework of the US-designed counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. Some hold key positions in government agencies concerned with media manipulation, phony anti-poverty work, covering up human rights violations, sabotaging peace negotiations, and whipping up the anti-China scare in order to justify and facilitate US military intervention in the Philippines.
4. Carrying out the general line of new democratic revolution
True to the teachings of Mao, the CPP carries out the new democratic revolution through protracted people´s war against the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system of the big compradors and landlords subservient to US imperialism. The leading class of the revolution is the industrial proletariat. It maintains a basic alliance with the peasantry as the main force of the revolution. It wins over the urban petty bourgeoisie to form the alliance of the basic forces of the revolution. It wins further the national or middle bourgeoisie to form a patriotic alliance.
The three great weapons of the new democratic revolution are: the proletarian revolutionary party, the people's army, and the national united front. They have brought about the revolutionary strength of the people by arousing, organizing and mobilizing them. The people’s democratic government keeps on growing in the countryside, challenging the reactionary government of big compradors and landlords, and displacing this in a growing number of localities.
The organs of democratic political power have been built in more than 110 guerrilla fronts, covering extensive portions of 70 of the 81 Philippine provinces, more than 800 of the nearly 1500 municipalities, and thousands of the more than 40,000 villages in the country. They are supported by mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, children, cultural activists, teachers and other professionals and the broad masses of the people.
Nothing is being done by the US and the local reactionary classes to change the character of Philippine society. Thus the general line of the Philippine revolution stands. The neoliberal economic policy continues to aggravate and deepen the agrarian and semifeudal character of the Philippine economy. The crisis of the world capitalist system continues to ravage the economy. The ruling reactionaries are so desperate that they allow 100 percent foreign-owned corporations to exploit and plunder the natural resources and destroy the environment. The private-public partnership program, especially in infrastructure projects, is reminiscent of the similar imperialist-big comprador program of the Marcos fascist regime.
The current US-Aquino regime is obsessed with seeking to destroy the revolutionary movement through Oplan Bayanihan, and has completely sabotaged the peace negotiations by violating agreements already made between the NDFP and the Manila government. It refuses to do its part in addressing the roots of the civil war and paving the way for a just and lasting peace through mutual agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms. It refuses to take up the offer of the NDFP for an immediate truce and alliance for the purpose of achieving national independence, people´s democracy, national industrialization and land reform, and an independent foreign policy of peace and development.
5. Building the Party as the vanguard force of the proletariat and the people
The Party is the advanced detachment of the working class. It is the vanguard force of the proletariat and people. It bears the responsibility of the working class to lead the people’s democratic revolution and to bring it forward to the socialist revolution. Being the most progressive and most productive force, the working class has the historic mission of bringing about the socialist revolution.
The CPP adheres to the teachings of Mao regarding the building of the revolutionary party of the proletariat ideologically, politically and organizationally. The ideological line of the CPP is Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Its current political line is the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. Its organizational line is democratic centralism. By applying Marxism-Leninism-Maoism on the concrete conditions of the Philippines and on the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution, the CPP has become the largest and strongest revolutionary party of the proletariat in the entire history of the Philippines.
Through the SGRM, the CPP has reaffirmed all its basic principles and revitalized itself ideologically, politically and organizationally. It has emphasized the living study of Maoism through the concrete analysis of concrete conditions for the purpose of waging revolution. At the same time, it has strengthened the formal study courses to ensure ascending levels of revolutionary practice and theoretical knowledge. It has advanced politically by wielding the people’s army and the united front effectively. It has strengthened the Party as an organization deeply rooted among the toiling masses nationwide.
Under the SGRM from 1992 to 1998, the CPP underwent a process of all-round strengthening by consolidating and expanding the ranks of the Maoist proletarian revolutionaries while combating and rectifying the major errors of subjectivism and opportunism in the 1980s, and rebuilding those parts of the Party that were damaged or destroyed by the incorrigible opportunists and renegades. These were defeated and they left the Party in grouplets before the end of 1994. Many of those who had been previously misled and confused criticized them as well as themselves.
The CPP increased its Party membership at a cumulative rate from 1994 onwards in response to the demands of mass work and campaigns, people´s government and revolutionary armed struggle. Solid Party organizing has been demanded on the basis of the solid mass organizing. The most advanced activists are encouraged to join the Party. According to a recent report, CPP Party membership has increased from the level of 50,000 as of 2009 to the current level of 100,000. Under the SGRM from 1992 to 1998, the CPP underwent a process of all-round strengthening by combating and rectifying the major errors of the 1980s to 1991.
The CPP has announced the plan to increase its membership to 250,000 in connection with the overall plan to advance the people´s war from the stage of the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate. The current policy is to boldly expand the Party without letting in a single undesirable. Acceptance of the Party Constitution and Program for a People´s Democratic Revolution suffices for an applicant to become Party candidate member. Full membership comes by performing duties in a Party branch or group, and finishing the basic Party study course within the period of candidature.
6. Waging the protracted people's war and guerrilla warfare
The SGRM criticized and repudiated the “Left” opportunist line of presuming that enough mass work had been accomplished and that the point had been reached to build absolutely concentrated companies and battalions, with adequate staff units at various levels, in order to accelerate the victory of the Philippine revolution. The Party pointed out that the revolution would be lost if it gave up mass work and its political superiority over the enemy and placed itself in a purely military situation, fought the way the enemy does and allowed the enemy’s military superiority to prevail.
The SGRM also criticized and repudiated the Right opportunist line that armed struggle should be reduced and made secondary to the legal democratic mass movement. The Party pointed out that the revolutionary armed struggle was the principal form of struggle for seizing political power and that the depreciation, decrease and debilitation of this form of struggle would surely lead to defeat. Indeed, as Mao emphasized, the people have nothing without a people´s army.
Under the SGRM from 1992 onwards, the Party took vigorous efforts to stress the correct line of people´s war in the entire people’s army in accordance with Mao´s teachings. In commands and units influenced or affected by the “Left” opportunist line, the Party reoriented, reorganized and redeployed the Red commanders and fighters. The prematurely formed NPA companies and battalions were reduced to platoons or oversized platoons in order to serve as the center of gravity for platoons, squads and teams that were dispersed over a wider area for maintaining and developing intimate links with the masses.
Consequently, the NPA grew in strength and advanced. This was manifested by the increase of tactical offensives and by the ability to capture enemy officers, up to senior level ranks. On the downside in certain areas, as a result of prolonged mass work, made difficult by previous errors and anti-informer hysteria, inertia developed in certain NPA units as these tended to overconcentrate on mass work and be conservative with regard to planning and carrying out tactical offensives. By and large, the NPA has overcome conservatism and is availing of the mass base for intensifying the people´s war nationwide.
Under the absolute leadership of the Party, the New People´s Army has become the largest and strongest revolutionary army since the defeat of the Philippine revolutionary army in the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902. The politico-military training of the Red commanders and fighters includes learning the teachings Mao on people´s war and the strategy and tactics of guerrilla warfare. The NPA has thousands of Red fighters with high-powered rifles, and is augmented by tens of thousands in the people´s militia and hundreds of thousands in self-defense units within the mass organizations. It is operating in 110 to 120 guerrilla fronts which covers large portions of 70 of the 81 provinces in the Philippines.
It is carrying out extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base, firmed up by carrying out land reform and building organs of political power and mass organizations. It is seeking to bleed the enemy to death by an ever rising number of tactical offensives and to foil enemy campaigns of encirclement with the tactics of counter-encirclement on the scales of the guerrilla front, inter-front, regional and interregional. It is determined to bring the people´s war from the strategic defense to the strategic stalemate according to a five- year plan. It aims to develop the rudiments of regular mobile warfare on the basis of guerrilla warfare. It plans to bring the level of its armed strength to 25,000 high-powered rifles and to increase the number of guerrilla fronts to 180.
The Party branches, the organs of political power and the mass organizations are consciously assuming appropriate functions in localities in order to allow units of the people´s army to devote more time to politico-military training and to waging tactical offensives. In this connection, the self-defense units in mass organizations can perform appropriate security functions. The people´s militia acts as the local police force and may undertake certain combat functions that are well within their capabilities. At any rate, units of the people´s army rotate at performing combat, training, mass work, production and cultural work so that they continue to be closely linked to the masses.
As the CPP has announced, the NPA will intensify not only the tactical offensives to wipe out enemy units. It will also subject to attrition enemy units, facilities and convoys. To make more land available for land reform, protect the environment and conserve natural resources for future industrialization, the NPA is striving to dismantle plantations, logging and mining operations that belong to foreign companies and big compradors. It is also determined to arrest and submit to the people´s court system those human rights violators, plunderers, drug operators and other criminals liable for the most serious offenses which are being condoned and committed by the reactionary authorities.
7. Pursuing the revolutionary class line in the united front
The SGRM asserted the necessity of class analysis and class struggle, the leadership of the working class and the revolutionary class line in the national united front. It combated the Right opportunist line of seeking to delete the working class leadership from the program of the National Democratic Front with the avowed objective of attracting more people and further encouraging bourgeois middle forces to join the revolution. It also rejected the proposal of some “Left” opportunists to replace the vanguard role of the Party with that of the united front.
The Party pursues the policy of the united front for the purpose of advancing the armed struggle, serving the interests of the broad masses of the people, and reaching and mobilizing the masses in their millions. As explained in 1998 in “The Requirements of the Revolutionary United Front” by the CPP Chairman Armando Liwanag, the united front encompasses an echelon of alliances under the revolutionary leadership of the working class, such as the basic alliance of the workers and peasants, the progressive alliance of these toiling masses and the urban petty bourgeoisie, the patriotic alliance of the aforesaid progressive forces with the national bourgeoisie, and the temporary and unstable alliance with those reactionary forces that are against the enemy, which is either the most reactionary force at a given time or an invading imperialist power.
The revolutionary class line runs through the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside and accumulating armed strength here until the revolutionary forces and the people gain overwhelming capability for a strategic offensive to destroy the last holdouts of the enemy, seize the cities one after the other and take power nationwide. The anti-feudal united front belongs to the national united front; the working class and its party rely mainly on the poor peasants and farm workers, win over the middle peasants, neutralize the rich peasants, and take advantage of the splits among the landlords in order to isolate and destroy the power of the despotic landlords.
In any alliance with the national bourgeoisie or sections of reactionary classes opposed to the enemy, the Party and the working class have to exercise independence and initiative in order to avoid being compromised in anything unacceptable or being caught flatfooted in case of betrayal. The objective is to defeat one enemy after another, gain strength in the process, and become capable of winning greater victories in the anti-imperialist and class struggles.
As in the overthrow of the Marcos fascist regime in 1986, the CPP once more successfully applied the policy of the broad united front, which extended to having a temporary alliance with unreliable reactionary allies, in order to isolate and overthrow the corrupt Estrada regime from 2009 to early 2001. The objective is to take advantage of the contradictions among the reactionaries, defeat one enemy after another and strengthen the revolutionary forces in the process. However, the CPP did not succeed in overthrowing the more brutal, more corrupt and more hated Arroyo regime due to the US dictation to the anti-Arroyo reactionaries to refrain from the extra-constitutional ouster of the sitting president and to use the elections as method for regime change and also due to shortcomings of the legal progressive forces in the implementation of the broad united policy.
It is not a fixed rule that the CPP uses the broad united front policy to target only the ruling reactionary clique. It is possible to use such policy to target and terminate the US domination of the Philippines and have a temporary alliance with the ruling clique for the purpose. But so far every ruling reactionary clique has been a craven puppet to US imperialism and had refused to take an anti-imperialist and patriotic position and enter into an alliance with the revolutionary forces.
In the course of peace negotiations, the NDFP has repeatedly offered to forge with the Manila government an immediate truce and alliance in order to realize the Filipino people´s aspiration for complete national independence and real democracy. But the puppet rulers have no shame and are incapable of taking the patriotic and progressive path. So far, their intention in going through the peace negotiations is to cosmeticize their anti-national and anti-democratic character and goals. They even have the gumption to seek vainly the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces.
8. Following the principle of democratic centralism
The SGRM criticized and repudiated the bureaucratism and commandism that the incorrigible opportunists had exercised over CPP organs and units under their authority, as well as the ultra-democracy and anarchy that they indulged in for a long time in relation to higher organs. Their anarchy peaked as they formed factions and intensified their opposition to the Party and the rectification movement. Ultimately, they blatantly brought themselves out of the Party and exposed their degenerate and renegade character.
The Party follows the organizational principle of democratic centralism. This is centralized leadership based on democracy and democracy guided by centralism. The essence of centralism is adhering to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and unifying and concentrating the will of the Party and the masses for waging the revolution. Democracy is the process by which opinions and recommendations are expressed and decisions are taken. In every collective, the individual must follow the decision of the majority. The higher organ relies on the lower leading organs for reports and recommendations. The lower organs and organizations are subordinate to higher ones and must follow their decisions.
In every organ of the Party, decisions are made by the majority or by consensus. There is freedom to discuss issues and present facts and arguments in order to arrive at decisions for improving work and work style, achieving better and bigger results and advancing the revolutionary struggle. Once a decision is taken, there is collective discipline to follow and implement the decision. A decision may be reconsidered only upon the presentation of new facts and new arguments that were not previously available or not fully considered.
All individual Party members are subordinate to the collective and the entire Party. An individual may continue to hold his or her own opinion against a decision but must follow and implement it. Freedom is necessary for presenting the facts and arguments and for discovering the truth and arriving at the best possible decision. At the same time, centralized leadership and collective discipline are necessary to concentrate the will and strength of the Party in order to defeat the enemy and advance the revolution.
Democratic centralism is not merely a set of rules governing the organizational relationship between the individual and the collective and the minority and the majority. It ensures the entire Party’s revolutionary commitment and unity under the Party program and line. No faction or individual is allowed to remain in the Party while opposing the basic principles and program of the Party. Any individual or group is free to leave the Party when it can no longer accept such principles and program. It is a matter of democratic right of the Party to uphold, defend and promote these.
9. Looking forward to the socialist revolution
The SGRM exposed the fact that the incorrigible opportunists had degenerated into anti-socialists and anti-communists. They were united in seeking to liquidate the Party but fragmented into various grouplets espousing bourgeois populism, liberalism, neoliberalism, social democracy, Gorbachovism and Trotskyism. They echoed the imperialist propaganda that the socialist cause is impossible and hopeless, and that there is no alternative to capitalism. The worst of them went into racketeering in imperialist-funded NGOs and joined the reactionary government as anti-communist propagandists and research analysts and spies of the reactionary intelligence services.
The Party steadfastly disseminated in 1992 Stand for Socialism against Modern Revisionism, showing the glorious achievements of socialism and the way the modern revisionists subverted and destroyed it. The Party stressed that the class struggle of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie would continue, and that the proletariat would successfully lead the people to national liberation, democracy and socialism in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. The CPP founding chairman made in 1994 a long interview on “Socialism and the New World Order” to counter the claims of the US about the demise of the socialist cause and the perpetuity of Pax Americana.
The aspiration for a socialist future cannot be suppressed for as long as the proletariat and people are exploited and oppressed. They are compelled by the imperialists and their lackeys to wage resistance against intensifying oppression and exploitation as the crisis of monopoly capitalism worsens. Mao has shown proletarian revolutionaries the way to fight the imperialists and local reactionaries, build socialism, combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism, and ensure the development of socialism towards the goal of communism.
Since the period of 1989-1991, a new world disorder has arisen, with one major country or region of the world capitalist system after the other plunging into a severe socio-economic and political crisis. The neoliberal economic policy has continued to intensify exploitation and result in an ever worsening crisis of overproduction due to the over-accumulation of capital by the monopoly bourgeoisie and its finance capitalist cream. The global depression now is comparable to the Great Depression which brought about fascism and the second world war.
Bourgeois states have become more repressive than ever before. Under the pretext of anti-terrorism, they engage in state terrorism against the people. The imperialist powers have launched wars of aggression against certain countries that do not submit to their dictates. At any rate, they are increasingly at odds with each other as the worsening crisis impels them to struggle for a re-division of the world. The working class movement is resurgent in major industrial capitalist countries and the broad masses of the people are rising in the underdeveloped countries.
10. Carrying out the Philippine revolution in the spirit of proletarian internationalism
The SGRM criticized the notion that the Philippine revolution can advance only with material support, especially military assistance, from abroad. This notion was spread by some of the “Left” opportunists who had sought to get foreign assistance from 1980 to 1987 and became defeatist when they could not secure such assistance. It was contrary to what the CPP had previously decided in accordance with Comrade Mao´s teaching that the people must wage revolution self-reliantly. They should not be dependent on foreign assistance, whether it is available or not.
The CPP is waging the Philippine revolution in the spirit of proletarian internationalism. The revolution is for the benefit of the proletariat and people of the Philippines as well as of the world. It is proud to engage in an armed revolution at a time when the proletariat and people of the world are suffering from the consequences of the colossal betrayal of socialism by the communist and workers parties that succumbed to modern revisionism; and the destructive multi-pronged offensives of the US and other imperialist powers. It hopes that the Philippine revolution can inspire the people of the world to rise up and wage revolution. It has described itself as a torch bearer of the world proletarian revolution at a time that this has suffered a serious setback and is in an historic trough.
The CPP took a leading role in the preparation and holding of the International Seminar on Mao Zedong Thought on the 100th birth anniversary of Mao Zedong in Germany in1993. The seminar issued the General Declaration on Mao Zedong Thought which summed up the theoretical and practical achievements of Mao and pointed to his theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship as his greatest achievement and his legacy for the continuance of the socialist cause. The long article of CPP Central Commmitte Chairman Armando Liwanag titled “Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought as Guide to the Philippine Revolution” is part of the book compilation of seminar contributions titled Mao Zedong Thought Lives!
The CPP has participated and taken a prominent role in the annual International Communist Seminar in Brussels, the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations and other international gatherings od communist and workers´ parties. It has made major contributions by way of sharing its experiences and ideas and helping to illuminate the road of the international communist movement and the world proletarian revolution.
The CPP has shown interest in close relations with other Maoist parties in the world and is in general aware of their strengths and weaknesses. But it does not limit its relations to any of the existing Maoist parties. It seeks to develop relations with all communist and workers´ parties under the auspices of proletarian internationalism and/or anti-imperialist solidarity.
It is interested in building a broad international united front of anti-imperialist forces of national liberation, democracy and socialism. It recognizes the need for the widest possible exchanges of ideas and experiences, mutual learning and cooperation among all revolutionary forces of the world, for the purpose of advancing the anti-imperialist movement and the world proletarian revolution.
The CPP shares its ideas and experiences worldwide. For this purpose, it uses the internet and sends delegations to international forums, seminars and conferences in order to explore and arrive at resolutions of common understanding and practical cooperation for fighting and defeating imperialism and all reaction and in the process strengthening the anti-imperialist movement and the international communist movement.
The CPP is known to discuss with other communist and other workers parties the possibility of organizing a new Communist Internationale. But it has not declared that there are already conditions for its formal establishment. It looks forward to the time that such conditions would arise. It is of the view that in the meantime the revolutionary parties of the proletariat must wage revolution, strengthen themselves in their respective countries and seek to establish revolutionary states in order to pave the way for the organization of a new Communist Internationale.
III. Prospects of Maoism and the Philippine Revolution
Prospects for the further development of Maoist theory and practice in the Philippines are bright. The proletariat and people of the Philippines can be confident of completing the new democratic revolution and proceeding to the socialist revolution. Such optimism is based on the following factors: the worsening crisis of global capitalism and the domestic ruling system of big compradors and landlords, the advances being made in the democratic revolution in the Philippines as well as in the anti-imperialist and socialist movements around the world, and having Maoism as the compass of revolution -- from winning the new democratic and socialist stages of the revolution to combating revisionism and consolidating, developing and advancing socialism towards the ultimate goal of communism.
The adoption of higher technology has intensified the contradiction between the social character of production and the private character of appropriation in the capitalist mode of production. The neoliberal policy of “free market” globalization has served to accelerate the crisis of overproduction and the over-accumulation of capital by the monopoly bourgeoisie and finance oligarchy. The wanton abuse of finance capital in a futile attempt to override the crisis of overproduction has led to a severe economic and financial crisis comparable to the Great Depression in the 1930s. The entire world economy is afflicted by depression. The imperialist powers have been unable to stop the descent of the global economy from one level of crisis to another.
The imperialist powers and their client states are intensifying repression of the toiling masses of workers and peasants, and even the middle social strata, and trying in vain to stop their mass protests and resistance. The imperialists are whipping up currents of fascism, xenophobia, racism and religious bigotry in order to obscure the roots of the capitalist crisis. The legal and political infrastructure for fascism and state terrorism has been set up and is increasingly being used. The imperialist powers are stepping up war production, war mongering and the actual launching of wars of aggression, which have been so far directed mainly against resource-rich underdeveloped countries assertive of national independence and countries opposed to the US-Zionist combine in the Middle East.
Despite their attempt to override their contradictions by uniting against the oppressed peoples and nations in underdeveloped countries, the imperialist powers are driven by the worsening crisis of global capitalism to a struggle among themselves for a re-division of the world. The full reintegration of China and Russia into the world capitalist system is a major factor in cramping of space for the imperialist powers, in the worsening of the global crisis and the intensification of inter-imperialist contradictions. Major differences of position and interest have arisen between the Western imperialist powers on the one hand and China and Russia on the other hand.
The crisis of the world capitalist system is aggravating the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines. The economy is depressed as a result of decreasing income from its raw material exports and low value-added re-exports; and mounting foreign and local debt obligations. The export of contract workers is increasingly being pressed down by the depression and anti-migrant propaganda in host countries. Unemployment, reduced incomes, soaring prices of basic commodities and services, deterioration of social services and the frequent calamities caused by wanton plunder of natural resources and destruction of the environment are aggravating the poverty and misery of the broad masses of the people.
The social and economic crisis inflicts intolerable suffering on the toiling masses of workers and peasants and an increasing number of the people among the middle social strata. It incites them to wage various forms of resistance. The legal democratic mass movement is growing in strength by engaging in strikes and mass protest actions. The soil has become more fertile than ever before for the further growth and advance of the revolutionary armed struggle for national liberation and democracy.
The political crisis of the ruling system is sharpening as a result of the worsening socio-economic crisis. The struggle for power and bureaucratic loot is intensifying among the reactionaries at various levels. Every regime that arises tends to monopolize power and the economic spoils, and to intimidate or coopt the intrasystemic opposition. The rival political factions compete for the support of the foreign monopoly firms and big compradors and landlords. They also compete for armed strength by collaborating with various factions within the reactionary armed forces and national police and by building their own private armies. The revolutionary forces can have unstable and unreliable reactionary allies whenever possible in order to isolate and defeat the main enemy at every given time.
It is highly probable for the CPP to realize its plan of advancing the people’s war from the strategic defense to the strategic stalemate in the next five to ten years. The strength of the CPP, NPA, NDFP, the organs of political power and mass organizations shall have increased several-fold. The frequency of tactical offensives on a national scale shall have also increased several-fold. The alliance and mutual support between the NDFP and the revolutionary forces of the Moro people shall have become ever more firm and more productive.
Even now, US military intervention in the Philippine is increasing under the pretext of combating terrorism and containing China. It is going to be more conspicuous and more offensive. The revolutionary forces and the people are doing their best to gain the most from the civil war in order to prepare against a US war of aggression. They are preparing the ground, the forces and the strategy and tactics to defeat US forces of aggression and attain retribution for the killing of 1.4 million Filipinos by the US from the beginning of the Filipino-American War in 1899 until 1913.
The military force that the US can concentrate on the Philippines can be mitigated by intensified armed struggles against the US elsewhere, and by fiscal constraints due to its ever worsening economic and financial crisis. The US is already overextended by its overseas military bases and forward stations, and by wars of aggression directed mainly against the oppressed peoples of the world and against countries that are assertive of national independence.
The world proletarian revolution will surely advance in the years to come as the major contradictions in the world intensify and preoccupy the US and its imperialist allies. The contradictions between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples, between the imperialist powers and countries assertive of their national independence, among the imperialist powers themselves, and between labor and capital in the imperialist countries and on a global scale are intensifying, resulting in greater disorder and more upheavals and are generating favorable conditions for the anti-imperialist and socialist movements in the world and in particular for the new democratic and socialist stages of the Philippine revolution.
Marxist-Leninist theory can fully explain how the four major contradictions work to rend global capitalism asunder and thus can guide the revolutionary parties of the proletariat and the people in winning their respective new democratic and socialist revolutions. The Maoist theory of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship, to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism provides the answer to those who question the capability of the proletariat to learn from the betrayal and reversal of socialism by modern revisionism and to uphold, defend and develop socialism onward to communism.###
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