REMARKS AT NETHERLANDS LAUNCH
OF BUILDING STRENGTH THROUGH STRUGGLE
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
At the Mirror Centre, Amsterdam, 9 February 2014
Dear comrades, friends and compatriot,
First of all, I thank the organizers and all of you for coming. I am
overwhelmed and humbled by this celebration. I came to this event,
thinking that I would sit back and enjoy myself most of the time. But
Julie has made a proposal to further activate me in connection with the
revitalization and expansion of the work of the Center for Social Studies.
I am thus reminded that there is no sitting back and no retirement for
I am happy that Building Strength through Struggle, the third book in the
series of five books titled Continuing the Philippine Revolution, is now
being launched in The Netherlands in conjunction with the celebration of
my 55 years of service to the revolutionary cause of the Filipino people
as well as my 75 years of existence outside of the womb.
This book extends, reinforces and further develops the principles,
policies and major lines of action for carrying out the people’s
democratic revolution, as put forward by the earlier two books in the
series, Foundation for Resuming the Philippine Revolution and Defeating
Revisionism, Reformism and Opportunism. It includes the major documents of
the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
which I drafted and the major articles that I wrote under the nom de
guerre Amado Guerrero, from the formal declaration of martial law on
September 21, 1972 to my capture on November 10, 1977.
The book is indispensable to understanding why and how under the
leadership of the CPP the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces
successfully fought and defeated the US-instigated fascist dictatorship of
Marcos. The dictatorship was designed to destroy the revolutionary
movement but instead served to incite the people to rise up further
against the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. Let me cite the
major contents of the books to show how the CPP guided the revolution.
When Marcos imposed fascist dictatorship on the people and outlawed all
types of legal opposition, the CPP was already ideologically, politically
and organizationally prepared to lead the people in the revolutionary
struggle for national liberation and democracy. Soon after the declaration
of martial law, the Party issued the comprehensive statement, “Overthrow
the US-Marcos Dictatorship to Achieve National Freedom and Democracy.” It
condemned the dictatorship as an ultra-reactionary instrument of US
imperialism and the local exploiting classes and called for its overthrow
through the people’s war. It described the fundamental and fatal
weaknesses of the fascist state and the conditions for its eventual
downfall notwithstanding its appearance of overwhelming power and
Basing itself on the nationwide spread of the Party, the New People’s
Army, the underground mass organizations and the local organs of political
power, the Party issued the “Guide for Establishing the People’s
Democratic Government” to lay down the principles, policies and methods
for building the revolutionary government in the countryside in order to
replace the counterrevolutionary state of the big compradors and landlords
based in the urban areas. It was in the period of 1972 to 1977 that the
revolutionary forces struck deep roots among the people, especially among
the toiling masses, on a national scale.
The Party issued “Specific Characteristics of Our People’s War in the
Philippines” on the basis of the rich experience already accumulated by
the New People’s Army from 1969 to 1975. This historic document creatively
applies Chairman Mao Zedong’s principles, strategy and tactics of people’s
war to concrete Philippine conditions by taking into account the
relatively wide countryside and the archipelagic and mountainous character
of the country as well as the domestic and international situation. The
comprehensive and profound formulation of the strategy and tactics has
guided the New People’s Army and the revolutionary movement in growing in
number and all-round strength and frustrating the enemy campaigns to
destroy the armed revolution.
The Party issued “Our Urgent Tasks” to sharpen the general political line
as one of combating fascism, feudalism and imperialism and called on the
revolutionary forces to carry out the urgent tasks and the proper methods
and steps in building the local organs of political power and the mass
organizations of various types and waging the mass campaigns for land
reform and other social purposes Since then, the mass base of the armed
revolution has been growing wave upon wave. The requisite of mass work has
ensured the mass base for carrying out a protracted people’s war.
The “10-Point Program of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
(NDFP)” was first outlined in 1973. It was eventually elaborated upon in
1977, spelling out in major detail the method for overthrowing the Marcos
autocracy. It shows how the national and democratic rights and interests
of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the urban petty
bourgeoisie can be realized and harmonized and how the united front of the
basic revolutionary forces must be built. The NDFP has been consolidated
thereby as a united front of the basic revolutionary forces serving as a
reliable base for engaging in broader alliances in order to isolate and
destroy the enemy at every given time.
The decisions taken by the CPP Central Committee were resolutely and
militantly implemented by the Party rank and file, the New People’s Army
and the masses. The ground for fighting and defeating the Marcos fascist
dictatorship was well laid on a national scale from 1972 to 1977. Thus,
even after I was captured by the enemy on November 10, 1977, I continued
to be confident that the Filipino people and their revolutionary cause
would prevail over the enemy.
It is necessary to read and study all the contents of Building Strength
through Struggle in order to understand why and how the people’s
democratic revolution had led to the overthrow of the Marcos fascist
dictatorship, how it has continued to fight and win victories against the
pseudo-democratic regimes, how it has frustrated subjectivist and
opportunist trends and how it has excelled as a torch bearer of armed
revolution led by the proletariat amidst the dominance of neocolonialism
in the underdeveloped countries, the full restoration of capitalism in
former revisionist-ruled countries and the neoliberal plunder and
aggression of the imperialist powers worldwide.
The CPP, NPA , NDFP and the people’s democratic revolution in the
Philippines enjoy the respect, appreciation and support of the world
anti-imperialist movement and the international communist movement. This
book Building Strength through Struggle illumines the path to
understanding the fact. Thank you. ###
ON KA JOMA
By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chief International Representative, NDFP
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel
We are celebrating Ka Joma’s 55 years of service to the Filipino people
together with his 75th birthday. He studied the revolutionary experience
of the Filipino people against colonialism and imperialism and understood
the revolutionary ideas of the working class as the guide to continuing
and accomplishing the Philippine revolution. He became active in the
people’s movement for national liberation and democracy in the late 1950s.
He organized in 1959 the SCAUP, a patriotic and progressive organization
of students in the University of the Philippines. Then in 1961, he led the
mass occupation of the lower house of Congress to protest the
anti-communist sessions. In most of the 1960s he devoted himself to
educational and organizational work among the youth, workers and peasants.
In 1964 he organized the Kabataang Makabayan, KM – Patriotic Youth, of
which he was the founding Chairman. He held leading positions in the
Lapiang Manggagawa (lated named Socialist Party) and in the united front
formation, Movement for the Advance of Nationalism.
Together with 12 young revolutionary colleagues, he founded the Communist
Party of the Philippines on December 26, 1968 under the guidance of
Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. A few years earlier in 1967 he led
the First Great Rectification Movement by breaking off from the Old
Communist Party, exposing its revisionism and opportunism. He led the
formation of the New People’s Army on March 29, 1969, with only 9
automatic rifles and 26 inferior firearms against the US-backed Marcos
regime. He co-founded the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in
Ka Joma’s daring, vision and trust in the masses have borne rich fruit.
Despite massive attacks by the US-Marcos regime and succeeding reactionary
governments, the CPP has grown to 150,000 party members throughout the
country. The New People’s Army operates in more than 110 guerrilla fronts
in 71 out of a total 81 provinces. Organs of democratic power, alternative
people’s governments, based on revolutionary mass organizations of
workers, peasants, women, youth, children and cultural activists, carry
out land reform, health and education, and cultural programs. They
organize people’s militias and self-defense units of people’s
organizations which assist the people’s army.
Even under prolonged torture, isolation and imprisonment by the US-Marcos
dictatorship, from November 1977 to March 1986, he continued to inspire
the revolutionary masses. Posters such as “You can imprison a
revolutionary, but not the Revolution.” sprouted with his image. He wrote
poems and articles while in prison.
After his release from prison, during a world lecture tour in 1987, the
Corazon Aquino regime cancelled his passport to pressure him to return to
the Philippines. He decided to apply for political asylum in The
Netherlands. Despite two decisions of the highest administrative court,
the Raad van State, officially recognizing him as a political refugee, the
Dutch government has refused to grant him residence.
In 1992, he played a key role in the CPP’s launching of the Second Great
Rectification Movement. This was an educational movement to identify,
repudiate and rectify major ideological, political and organizational
errors of a group of renegades within the party leadership which had
caused major losses. Again, with characteristic daring he exposed the main
perpetrators, beaming the light on them while they made their attacks from
the darkness. This rectification movement was embraced by the overwhelming
majority of the members of the Party, the people’s army and the
revolutionary masses. It has resulted in the reinvigoration of the
revolutionary movement, with the recovery of lost mass base, and its
further expansion and consolidation.
While abroad, Ka Joma has been participating in conferences, seminars and
other activities of revolutionary parties, organizations and mass
movements in order to promote and develop the solidarity of the Filipino
people with the people of the world.
In 1999, he led the Initiative Committee that prepared the founding of the
International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) in 2001. He is now the
Chairperson of the ILPS, which has held four International Assemblies and
has more than 300 member organizations in more than 40 countries. The ILPS
is now a major force in the anti-imperialist and democratic movement of
the people of the world.
Upon being put on the terrorist list in 2002 by the US, the Council of the
European Union and other foreign governments, Ka Joma initiated a legal
battle to get his name off the EU terrorist list. With the help of
outstanding lawyers, led by Jan Fermon of Belgium, and assisted by other
lawyers from the Philippines, Germany, France and The Netherlands, he won
the seven year legal battle. In December 2009, the Council of the EU, upon
orders of the European Court of Justice, took his name off the EU
In 2007, he again fought a successful legal battle against trumped up
charges of murder filed by the Arroyo regime in the Philippines in
collusion with the US and Dutch governments. Imprisoned in isolation in
The Hague for 17 days, his brilliant lawyer, Michiel Pestman of Amsterdam,
ably assisted by Romeo T. Capulong of the Public Interest Law Center, won
the case after a year and a half.
An indefatigable fighter, he continues to fight for his rights. A week
ago, the Raad van State issued a negative decision, denying his right to
residence and a passport. He and his lawyers insist that a European law of
2004 entitles him, as a recognized political refugee, to residence and a
passport. He and his lawyers are considering further legal steps to assert
Despite all the harassments, he continues to be politically active.
Through so many years, Ka Joma has guided the NDFP Negotiating Panel in
the peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines. He has played a key role in the forging of such peace
agreements as The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, the Joint Agreement on
Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG, 1995), the Reciprocal Working
Committees agreement (1995) and its supplement (1997), and the
Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International
Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL, 1998). He has also been the moving force in
the CPP and NDFP Declaration of Adherence to the Geneva Conventions and
Protocol I of 1996. In the twists and turns of the peace negotiations with
the reactionary Philippine government, he has upheld the equal footing of
the NDFP and the independence and revolutionary integrity of the people’s
Ka Joma, as we all know, is also a writer and poet. The documents he
authored, the poems and songs he wrote, the revolutionary struggle he
launched, and his sense of humor, these are part of his revolutionary
legacy to the Filipino people. Mabuhay si Ka Joma, his daring and vision,
and his trust in and reliance on the masses. #
9 February 2014
Thomas van Beersum giving his reaction to Prof. Jose Maria Sison´s latest
book Building Strength Through Struggle at the Mirror Centre in
Amsterdam, Netherlands on 9 Feb. 2014
MY BOOK REVIEW OF “BUILDING STRENGTH
THROUGH STRUGGLE” @ JMS 55/75
Magandang hapon, mga kasama!
Thanks to the organizers for inviting me. I’m here to give a reaction
about Joma’s new book “Building Strength Through Struggle”. The book has
already been introduced so I’ll just dive in to talk about the most
important parts and give some comments.
The book offers important information about the nature of the fascist
dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, and gives profound insights on his
schemes before and during martial law. Especially how he, with active
support from US Imperialism, under the guise of building a “new society”
set up an autocratic regime where he held absolute power and authority.
Imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism were the three basic
problems in the Philippines at the time, and they continue to be so.
It is both important and necessary to study and analyze the Marcos era in
order to investigate the practical similarities and differences between
the Marcos regime and the tyrannical US-backed Aquino regime, which
through the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan conducts state
terror against its population and indiscriminately kills, tortures, rapes,
and massacres with impunity in order for foreign capital to plunder and
pillage the Philippines. Can we really say that after Marcos the
Philippines became a free country? Or are the same foreign and local
ruling elites still in power?
Another important part of the book reaffirms the Maoist principle that
principled unity can only be created through struggle and by “dividing one
into two”. This part contains the staunch critiques against revisionism,
adventurism, and pluralism, which are still major dangers in the
International Communist Movement today. These critiques were widely used
to counter the subjectivist and opportunist trends in the 1980s. Many of
these reactionaries created their own groups which either immediately
collapsed, or now act as armed thugs for criminal syndicates, private
capitalists, or as the backbone of Aquino’s own criminal administration.
The need for a Protracted People’s War is also accurately explained and
defended in the book. It is the answer to solve the fundamental question
and strategic goal of the revolution, which is to capture state power.
Protracted People’s War allows the people’s forces to grow from small to
big and from weak to strong and gradually builds power by establishing
parallel structures of government in the countryside which pave the way
for the establishment of a people’s democratic republic.
Revolutionary violence can not be equated with reactionary violence by the
state forces. To do so is to legitimize the status quo. Revolutionary
armed struggle is counter violence. Unlike reactionary violence, it is not
violence which maintains or is brought out by the most brutal
manifestations of exploitative and oppressive conditions. It is violence
to end it.
Armed struggle is the principle form of struggle, but it goes hand in hand
with the mass movement which arouses, organizes and mobilizes the broad
sections of the people to actively support and participate in the
revolution. Without them, the people’s war cannot survive.
To conclude, the documents in this book are a must-read for
revolutionaries not just in the Philippines, but in all countries. Its
lessons and the practical application it brought out is not only a source
of inspiration. It should also be studied in our own respective countries,
to see what we can learn from it for our own revolutionary praxis. I would
like to thank the organizers for organizing this important event and I
would like to specifically thank Jose Maria Sison for his 55 years of
service to the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social
Ang bayani ay naglilingkod sa bayan hanggang sa kanyang huling hininga!