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The Filipino People's Revolutionary Struggle and International Solidarity Against Imperialism
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

26 April 2003

I am exceedingly happy to convey warmest greetings the National Council and all allied organizations of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its founding. Let us celebrate the accumulated victories of the NDFP and honor all the martyrs and heroes whose revolutionary dedication and strivings have made all these possible.

I vividly remember 24 April 1973 when, as Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist of the Philippines, I presided over the meeting in Baguio City of the Preparatory Commission of the National Democratic Front (NDF) to discuss and finalize the 10-point Guidelines of the NDF.

We were optimistic that all the patriotic and progressive mass organizations driven underground by the Marcos fascist dictatorship and all the revolutionary mass organizations in the guerrilla zones would serve as the formidable base for drawing in allies to a broad united front against the US-instigated Marcos fascist regime. The broad masses of the people were outraged by the brutal imposition of autocratic rule on them, on top of longrunning puppetry, corruption, mendacity and repression.

At the same time, we recognized the difficulties of building a united front under conditions of fascist dictatorship. Although the middle forces hated the open rule of terror, they were still frightened and extra cautious. Potential anti-Marcos reactionary allies tended to be more afraid of communists than of the fascists and speculated that they would be able make a deal with the US to bring back the situation prior to the proclamation of martial rule.

Despite the tremendous odds, including the risks to life, limb and liberty and some actual setbacks, the NDF Prepcom coordinated the active underground organizations of the workers, peasants, women, youth, professionals, religious and businessmen and scored significant achievements from year to year. I kept constant touch with the NDF Prepcom because I was conscious of its key role and I relied on its communications network to augment the National Liaison Committee of the CPP Central Committee, especially from 1974 onwards.

The NDFP as Revolutionary Instrument of the Filipino People

In waging the national democratic revolution, the Filipino people employ three weapons: the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. For the sake of discussion, appropriate to the occasion, let me use the NDFP as a starting point of reference.

The NDFP seeks to promote and realize a comprehensive united front policy, with an echelon of alliances built in order to maximize the participation of the masses through various organized forces and thereby to accelerate the advance of the Philippine revolution.

Such alliances include the basic worker-peasant alliance, the progressive alliance of the toiling masses and the urban petty bourgeois, the patriotic alliance of the progressive forces and the middle bourgeois and the unstable and temporary alliance with certain sections of the reactionaries in order to isolate and destroy the power of the enemy, which is the most reactionary puppet of US imperialism at every given time.

In any kind of alliance, the working class must hold the class leadership through its advanced detachment, the Communist Party of the Philippines, not by any self-proclamation but by dint of hard struggle and through victories along the national democratic line. The CPP maintains flexibility in adopting and implementing united front policy and tactics but it holds on firmly to the principle of carrying forward the national democratic revolution, with a socialist perspective.

To carry the national democratic revolution forward and ensure its victory in the global era of imperialism and proletarian revolution, it is necessary to have the leadership of the CPP as the representative of the most progressive and productive class and as the political force capable of comprehending fully and struggling consistently against imperialism. In the concrete semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions of the Philippines, it is also necessary for the working class to have the peasantry as its main ally. This is the far more numerous oppressed class. It is the majority of the people whose demand for land is the main content of the democratic revolution.

In building the worker-peasant alliance, the CPP deploys its cadres and members in the countryside to build the New People’s Army, the peasant associations and other revolutionary organizations. In the process, it applies the anti-feudal class line of relying mainly on the poor peasants and farm workers, winning over the middle peasants, neutralizing the rich peasants and taking advantage of the splits among the landlords in order to isolate and destroy the power of the despotic landlords.

The New People’s Army is the main instrument for fighting and forcibly overthrowing the US-dominated ruling system of big compradors and landlords. It preserves itself and accumulates strength by integrating the revolutionary armed struggle, land reform and building the mass base, which includes the mass organizations and the organs of political power. It grows in strength in the countryside over a protracted period of time until it becomes strong enough to seize power from the enemy in the cities.

The CPP and the NPA continue to develop the alliance of the working class and the peasantry. This alliance stands for the rights and interests of more than 90 per cent of the population. The NDFP also pays attention to such an alliance because this is the foundation of the national-democratic revolution and all united front work. Upon the development of the worker-peasant alliance, the NDFP can be confident of having a sound foundation and can increase its capability and prestige for attracting more people to the revolutionary cause.

As a distinct weapon of the Philippine revolution, the NDFP serves to arouse and mobilize the broad masses of the people in their millions to the side of the revolution, by coalescing with various organized forces and by undertaking sweeping mass propaganda and preparing the ground for the revolutionary forces to undertake solid mass organizing.

Since its founding, the NDFP has relied on the strength of the worker-peasant alliance, as developed by the CPP and NPA, and has sought to persuade more workers and peasants to get organized along the general line of national democratic revolution. But it has been most effective in linking and coordinating the underground mass organizations of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and so many sections of the petty bourgeois and thus in building the alliance of progressive forces.

Known for having within its framework the progressive forces, the basic revolutionary forces, the NDFP has gained the respect of the middle bourgeois forces and has often been approached by these to act as the bridge in dialogue and cooperation with the CPP and the people’s democratic government. Nevertheless, elements of the middle bourgeois still prefer cooperation with the NDFP from the outside rather than from within its fold.

The NDFP has scored brilliant victories in promoting the alliance of all patriotic and progressive forces with sections of the reactionaries that are opposed to the reactionary ruling clique. The alliance with such reactionaries is an unstable and temporary alliance. But whenever it comes into force, it brings about instantly the biggest gatherings of the organized and spontaneous masses. This broadest kind of alliance was used effectively to overthrow the Marcos fascist dictatorship in 1986 and the corrupt Estrada regime in 2001.

The US-directed Arroyo regime has declared all-out war against the revolutionary forces and people. It has sought to demonize the CPP, NPA and this speaker (who is the NDFP chief political consultant) as "terrorist" in a malicious and futile attempt to blackmail the NDFP to capitulate to the reactionary state. It is following the Bush pretext of "war on terrorism" in order to unleash military campaigns of suppression against the revolutionary forces of the Filipino people and Bangsamoro.

The rising economic and political costs of state terrorism have rapidly worsened the crisis of the ruling system. The Arroyo regime has in effect invited the broad united front to isolate her. Thus, Arroyo has been compelled to announce and to reiterate that she will not run for the presidency in 2004. Once more the policy and tactics of the broad united front have proven to be successful.

Through peaceful means, the broad united front with reactionary forces can bring millions of people out to the streets in order isolate and overthrow a ruling clique. But it cannot overthrow the entire ruling system. It can allow the reactionaries out of power to replace those in power and take their turn in oppressing and exploiting the people.

But what the revolutionary forces can gain from the broad alliance is the repeated exposure of the rottenness of the ruling system and the development of further strength and experience from the process of overthrowing one ruling clique after another. Ultimately, radical social change can be achieved in the Philippines upon the victory of the armed revolution led by the advanced detachment of the proletariat and supported by the people in their millions through the united front.

The Need for International Solidarity

US imperialism and its local reactionary puppets oppress and exploit the Filipino people. They violently oppose the national democratic revolution of the Filipino people. Armed with more powerful means of violence and deception than ever before, the US is ready and willing to kill Filipinos as it did before. It killed 1.5 million Filipinos from the beginning of the Filipino-American War in 1899 to the end of the so-called pacification campaigns in 1913.

We have seen in contemporary times, especially in the most recent US war of aggression against Iraq, the unbridled barbarism and terrorism of U.S imperialism in using high-tech weapons of mass destruction to destroy people, governments, infrastructure, schools, hospitals and the environment in order to impose its will on the people and grab their natural and social resources.

The military strength, aggressiveness and destructiveness of the US imperialists are no argument for any revolutionary movement to submit to them. On the contrary, they should drive such a movement to fight even more fiercely for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and its local puppets and to seek a new and higher level of international solidarity against imperialism.

Giving up revolutionary struggle against the oppressors and exploiters does not mean any escape from them. It only means accepting the worst that they can do and depriving the people of the conditions, means and opportunity to liberate themselves through their own struggle. In fact, the imperialists kill far more people through the daily violence of exploitation than through the use of guns and other deadly weapons. They killed many millions of Filipinos from generation to generation, after it succeeded in conquering and colonizing the Philippines.

By continuing the struggle for national liberation and democracy, the Filipino people can win victories for their own benefit, contribute these to the advance of the broad anti-imperialist movement and the world proletarian revolution and inspire many more peoples to rise up. The Filipino people are grateful that the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world are steadily rising in resistance to imperialism.

The huge mass protests of millions of people throughout the world against the war of aggression against Iraq and the ensuing occupation are a harbinger of more revolutionary resistance to come. In due time, US imperialism will pay dearly for overstretching itself, for escalating oppression and exploitation and for destroying too many lives through wars of aggression and the most inhuman forms of exploitation.

The crisis of overproduction is rapidly worsening. It is driving US imperialism to become even more rapacious and bellicose. Thus, contradictions among the imperialist powers are surfacing and sharpening. The people of the world, in both imperialist and dominated countries, are resisting more than ever the mounting burden of crisis being shifted to them by the imperialists under the slogan of "free market" globalization. The growing world disorder is a prelude to social revolution on an unprecedented scale. #

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