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Letters to Jose Maria Sison






Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines

31 July 2001

Let me express my wholehearted and militant greetings of solidarity to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in celebrating its 16th anniversary with the theme "Relive and Uphold the Lessons and Victories of KMP's Sixteen Years of Continuing Peasant Struggle". I join the broad masses of the Filipino people in commending and congratulating the KMP for resolutely and vigorously upholding and fighting for the fundamental interests of the peasantry through all the years since its foundation.

We celebrate the outstanding achievements the KMP in the legal democratic struggle. Your victories inspire your ranks and all other people to struggle further. At the same time, you are well aware of the adversaries, the tremendous odds and the shortcomings that need to be overcome. Much hard work, sacrifice and arduous struggle still lie ahead. However, steeled as you have been in struggle, your accumulated victories and experience serve as bases for further advance.

KMP and its allied organizations have been at the forefront of the struggle for genuine land reform and you continue to make a significant contribution to the overall struggle of the peasantry. You do this by constantly broadcasting the basic demand for genuine land reform, by exposing the deceptive schemes and programs of every reactionary regime pretending to be interested in land reform, by fighting old and new forms of exploitation and oppression against the peasantry and by organizing and mobilizing the peasants for programs of immediate benefit and for the long-term struggle.

Genuine and thoroughgoing land reform is the main content of the new democratic struggle being advanced by the Filipino people. It is meant to realize the socioeconomic, political and cultural emancipation of the peasant masses that continue to comprise the majority of the people. The democratic revolution can be completed in the Philippines only upon the liberation and empowerment of the peasant masses. National industrialization and further social progress are possible only with genuine and thoroughgoing land reform.

The KMP has addressed the demands not only of the peasantry but also of the entire nation. It has linked up with the other sectors of society like the workers and the middle strata to fight alongside them on various national issues like the oil price increases, against the Visiting Forces Agreement, against imperialist globalization, and other issues of great import and concern to the Filipino people. Recently, the KMP played an outstanding role in the ouster of the US-Estrada gangster clique, mobilizing thousands of peasants in marches and rallies and playing a decisive role in exposing the pro-poor pretensions of Estrada.

Every reactionary puppet regime, including the current one, has failed to address the age-old land problem of the Filipino peasantry. In the long period of fascist dictatorship, Marcos pretended to use the police power of the state to carry out land reform but did not go further beyond tokenism. Since the fall of Marcos, his reactionary successors have blatantly opposed land reform in the name of the "free market". Land reform is obfuscated by the interpretation that it is the voluntary sale of the land by the landlords at market value, sale of corporate stocks and raising of productivity.

The imposition of "free market" globalization on the Philippines has aggravated and deepened the semifeudal and agrarian character of the economy. Tenancy is widespread with the landlords extracting high land rent and charging exorbitant prices for such inputs as agri-chemicals and for equipment rental. Usury is a big burden on the peasantry. It keeps them in perpetual debt to landlords and merchant usurers.

Parts of the public domain and land redistributed under the tokenistic land reform programs of previous reactionary regimes are being reconcentrated through such land reclassification schemes as the so-called land-use or crop conversion. Big landlords and compradors in cahoots with local and foreign real estate speculators and agro-industrial corporations use these schemes to grab vast tracts of land and drive away the peasants from their land.

Foreign agro-industrial corporations virtually own vast tracts of prime agricultural land running into hundreds of thousands of hectares planted to export crops. Mining companies are also being allowed control over vast tracts of land, including forest and water resources. Cargill, Bayer, AgrEvo, DOW and DuPont control the supply of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and agricultural equipment. Nestle, Unilever, Dole and Del Monte dominate the processing, sale and export of food and other agricultural products.

The local ruling classes of big comprador-landlords collude with the imperialists in exploiting and oppressing the peasantry. The Cojuangcos, Sorianos, Floirendos, Lorenzos, Yuchengcos, etc. supply the big TNCs with the agricultural products which the latter export. The local big compradors also act as the distributors of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers and farm equipment of the big TNCs.

Local agriculture has been devastated as a result of the neoliberal policy implemented by the local puppet government under the dictates of GATT-WTO. Local production favor a few export crops to the detriment of local food production and food security. Our country has been flooded with cheap agricultural goods from the US, Australia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, The Netherlands, and others destroying local agricultural production and displacing and ruining the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of peasants. Our country has become a net importer of rice, corn, sugar, meat and so on, especially of we take into full account smuggling of these goods.

The peasants bear the brunt of military operations of the reactionary armed forces in the countryside, which are aimed at seizing the land and suppressing the armed revolutionary movement. The reactionary troops perpetrate the worst human rights abuses in the countryside murdering, raping, torturing, burning houses, stealing and the like. Peasant leaders and members of militant peasant organizations fighting for genuine land reform are prime targets of state terrorism.

You are well prepared to struggle against the US-directed Macapagal regime. This is a regime that is bound by its imperialist masters to stay within the framework of "free market" globalization. Like its predecessors, the current regime shuns the simultaneous necessity of land reform and national industrialization. It considers the land problem as merely a matter of raising productivity and modernization under imperialist and landlord control.

The peasant masses cannot depend on the Macapagal regime for the solution of the land problem. Neither can they depend on the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations on social and economic reforms for such solution because the Macapagal regime has shown no interest in this and has been putting up obstacles to this.

The peasant masses have no choice but to pursue the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. They need to resist the escalating level of oppression and exploitation under "free market" globalization and take advantage of the weaknesses of the domestic ruling system and the world capitalist system buffeted by rapidly worsening crisis.

In her recent state-of-the-nation address, Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo has exposed her utter inability to propose any viable solution to the socioeconomic and political crisis of the ruling system. We are certain that the crisis will worsen from day to day, week to week and month to month. The Macapagal-Arroyo regime is becoming isolated. It is already faced with the prospect of being toppled by a people’s uprising before 1994.

I am confident that you will continue to reap more victories and further make important contributions to the advancement of the peasant movement as well as to the overall advancement of the Filipino people’s struggle for national freedom and democracy against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.





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