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Experience of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the Anti-Imperialist and Anti-War Fronts
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines
Brussels Communist Seminar
4 May 2003

Dear Comrades:

Warmest greetings of comradeship and revolutionary solidarity to all the delegations in the current Brussels Communist Seminar! I am grateful to the Workers Party of Belgium for affording me the opportunity to interact with you even as certain obstacles prevent me from being with you.

The European Council of the European Union in obedience to the US government has listed me, together with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), as "terrorist". In that connection, the Dutch state has terminated the measly benefits for food, rent and medical insurance that are due to me as a recognized political refugee. My small personal bank account has been frozen. I am restrained from traversing the short distance between Utrecht in The Netherlands and Brussels in Belgium.

The US has the temerity to call the CPP, NPA and me as "terrorist" and to impose punitive measures. It uses the September 11 attacks as a license for demonising and attacking as "terrorist" national liberation movements, governments assertive of national independence and their leaders, and for launching wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq and threatening anti-imperialist leaders with assassination by the CIA.

US imperialism is the No. 1 terrorist power in the entire history of mankind. It has inflicted the daily violence of imperialist exploitation on the people in their billions. By unleashing wars of aggression, using nuclear and other high-tech weapons of destruction, sponsoring puppet regimes of open terror and instigating massacres, it has murdered and injured people by the millions.

I. CPP View of US Imperialism and War

As Lenin said, imperialism, as the highest stage of capitalism in America and Europe, and later in Asia, became defined in the period 1898-1914. He pointed out that the chief historical landmarks that ushered in the era of modern imperialism or monopoly capitalism were the Spanish-American War (1898), the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) and the economic crisis in Europe in 1900.

Having become monopoly capitalist towards the end of the nineteenth century, the US was impelled to expand its economic territory. It acquired colonies as market for its surplus manufactures, as field of investment for its surplus capital, as cheap source of raw material and as sphere of influence.

As a latecomer in the acquisition of colonies for imperialist exploitation, the US calculated that it could easily grab such colonies as Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Philippines from the old colonial power Spain. Thus, it started the Spanish-American War in 1898. It blew up its own battleship Maine in Cuba, killing nearly 300 of its own naval officers and men, and blaming Spain for this to gain a pretext for declaring war.

The Philippines was of special interest to the US imperialists as a key point in their scheme to turn the Pacific Ocean into an "American lake" and as a staging base for them to get a piece of the "Chinese melon". But the Filipino people had already begun their revolution for national independence against Spain as early as 1896. Theirs was the first bourgeois democratic revolution in Asia. And they succeeded in 1898 in liberating the entire Philippines, with the exception of the walled city of Manila.

At first, the US imperialists pretended to make friends with the Philippine revolutionary leadership. But soon enough, they revealed fully their evil intent to become the new colonial masters of the Filipino people. After purchasing the Philippines from Spain for USD 20 million in the Treaty of Paris on December 30, 1898, they ignited on February 4, 1899 a full-scale war of aggression against the Filipino people.

To justify the aggression, the aggressors spread the lie that Filipino revolutionaries were poised to massacre all white foreigners in Manila and that they were so uncivilized as to need education for self-government. President McKinley went so far as to claim that God woke him up one night and mandated him to further Christianize the Filipino people and teach them democracy.

From the beginning of the Filipino-American War in 1899 to the formal end of the so-called pacification campaigns in 1913, the US aggressors killed at least 1.5 million Filipinos. But claiming far more victims, from generation to generation, is the daily violence of imperialist exploitation: first, in the colonial and semifeudal period from 1902 to 1941, and then in the semicolonial and semifeudal period from 1946 to the present.

The Japanese fascists drove away the US colonialists in early 1942 and occupied the Philippines in 1942-45 during the second inter-imperialist world war. And for three years, the merger party of the communists and socialists led the People’s Army Against Japan in waging a successful people’s war against the Japanese imperialists and establishing a people’s government in several provinces. But in l945 the US imperialists came to re-conquer most and eventually all provinces of the Philippines.

The US granted sham independence to the country in 1946. But since then, it has retained economic, political, military and cultural dominance and has used the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords as agents of exploitation and oppression. The Philippine ruling system has remained semicolonial and semifeudal in character. Correspondingly, the Filipino people wage a national democratic revolution.

II. CPP Experience in the Anti-Imperialist Front

All Filipino communists and other Filipino patriots are keenly aware of the fact that US imperialism is responsible for the brutal conquest and colonization of the Philippines, repeated suppression of the communists since its establishment in 1930, re-conquest of the country after World War II, the crushing of the people’s armed revolutionary movement in the early 1950s and the rule of intense anti-communist reaction up to the early 1960s.

Since its reestablishment on December 26, 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has always resolutely and militantly upheld the general line of struggle for national liberation and democracy through protracted people’s war against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.

In 1968 the CPP included in its ranks proletarian revolutionaries who had been tempered in struggles against US and Japanese imperialism since the 1930s and who had been inspired by the victories of the communists and the people in the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Indochina, Cuba and elsewhere.

Since 1968, the CPP cadres and members have gained rich experience from the antifascist, anti-imperialist democratic and antifeudal struggles from the time of Marcos to the present. They have studied, emulated and supported the anti-imperialist struggles abroad since the 1960s, especially those in Cuba, Vietnam, China and elsewhere.

The CPP has led the Filipino people in mass struggles against all unequal treaties, agreements, policies, laws and arrangements that put the US in control of the Philippine economy, politics, military and culture. Most potent of the weapons wielded by the CPP are the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The CPP leads the NPA to fight and overthrow the reactionary puppet ruling system through a protracted people’s war. This is waged mainly on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance. The people’s army fights and accumulates armed strength in the countryside until it can seize power in the cities on a nationwide scale. Currently, the revolutionary war has taken the form of intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare on an ever expanding and deepening mass base.

In carrying out the united front, the CPP develops several types of alliances: the basic worker-peasant alliance that is the foundation of the entire revolutionary movement, the progressive alliance of the toiling masses and urban petty bourgeoisie, the patriotic alliance of the progressive forces and middle bourgeoisie and the unstable and temporary alliance with sections of reactionaries in order to isolate and destroy the power of the enemy, which is the most reactionary force most servile to US imperialism.

In any kind of alliance, the CPP, as the advanced detachment of the working class, proves itself as the leading force. It makes clear the line of march and works hard to ensure the realization of objectives. It unites with other forces, in accordance with the line and objectives agreed upon, in order to gather large numbers of masses against the enemy.

The CPP also uses reasoning based on the facts to struggle against wrong ideas and acts that prejudice the interest of the alliance either through "Left" opportunist recklessness or Right opportunist yielding to the demands of the enemy. It maintains initiative and independence in order to resolutely advance the revolution even as there is flexibility in the application of united front policy and tactics.

The CPP builds organs of democratic political power and mass organizations in connection with the rural-based revolutionary armed struggle as the principal form of struggle. At the same time, it coordinates the various forms of struggle, armed and non-armed, illegal and legal, and various types of mass organizations (for workers, peasants, women, youth, professionals and so on) and mass movements in urban and rural areas.

Soon after the reestablishment of the CPP in 1968, the US imperialists and the Marcos regime calculated that they could destroy the CPP and the resurgent revolutionary mass movement by releasing more funds to increase military troops and equipment. Eventually, the US-Marcos regime declared martial law and imposed a 14-year fascist dictatorship on the people.

But the CPP and the revolutionary mass movement were not destroyed. They grew in strength by persevering in armed struggle along the anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal line. Ultimately, the CPP proved successful in using the policy and tactics of the broad united front to cause the isolation and downfall of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

Marxism-Leninism guides the CPP. The Party has firmly pursued the general line of new democratic revolution, with a socialist perspective. It has rectified major errors of subjectivism and opportunism through the Second Great Rectification Movement. As a result, it has further strengthened itself ideologically, politically and organizationally.

By using the policy and tactics of the broad united front, the CPP has succeeded in causing the downfall of the puppet president Estrada in 2001 and recently compelled his successor Arroyo to announce her withdrawal from the 2004 presidential elections. Any reactionary president or ruling clique can be isolated and removed from power through peaceful and gigantic mass actions. But it is not possible to overthrow the entire ruling system without armed revolution.

The CPP is therefore determined to pursue the strategic line of protracted people’s war by which the armed revolutionary movement encircles the cities from the countryside and accumulates armed strength until this becomes adequate for seizing political power in the cities on a nationwide scale. At the same time, the CPP uses the policy and tactics of the united front to isolate, weaken and remove from power one reactionary ruling clique after another and in the process strengthen the revolutionary movement until it can overthrow the entire ruling system.

The crisis of the world capitalist system and the Philippine ruling system is worsening so grievously. By following the US-dictated line of "free market" globalization, the post-Marcos regimes have successively generated a crisis of the domestic ruling system. This crisis is linked to and is far worse than the crisis of the world capitalist system.

The current Arroyo puppet regime has become so desperate economically and politically that it accepts the US demand to intervene militarily in the Philippines under the pretext of waging a war on terrorism in a "second front". The Bush regime is trying to deploy more US combat troops under various guises, such as training exercises and civic action, and to build US military bases in the Philippines in violation of Philippine national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The armed revolution in the Philippines has the character of a civil war between the revolutionaries and the local reactionaries. But the US imperialists are hell bent on engaging in and escalating military intervention, possibly up to the level of all-out aggression. By its own pronouncements, the CPP is prepared to lead a war of national liberation against US imperialism if necessary and to let the Filipino people avail themselves of the opportunity to exact retribution from the US imperialists for their blood debts.

III. Need for Broad Solidarity Against Imperialism and War

The CPP is engaged in a just struggle for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and local reaction. In the spirit of proletarian internationalism as well as of broad anti-imperialist solidarity, it understands and supports similar struggles waged by the people of the world against imperialism and all reaction.

The CPP regards as just the revolutionary wars waged by the people against the imperialists and their reactionary puppets. And it opposes as unjust all wars of aggression and other violent actions unleashed by the imperialists. It adheres firmly to the line of struggling against imperialism and stopping imperialist war with the anti-war mass movement and, wherever possible, with revolutionary war.

US imperialism is by its nature aggressive. It uses terrorism in order to extend and strengthen its hegemony. It is the biggest producer, stockpiler and user of weapons of mass destruction. It engages in military intervention and aggression in order to have its way. It installs and props up puppet regimes of open terror and uses them to attack the people and revolutionary forces.

The crisis of overproduction within the world capitalist system has become so grave that the US has become more rapacious and more aggressive than ever and is intensifying the exploitation of the people of the world and exacerbating the inter-imperialist contradictions by seizing the lion’s share in the spoils of war. The monsters of chauvinism, racism and fascism are rearing their ugly heads in all imperialist countries and are indicating more violent strife in the struggle of the imperialist powers to redivide the world.

The current leaders of US imperialism calculate that they can revive the US and world capitalist economy by putting more capital into the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie, whipping up hysteria over the 9/11 attacks, encouraging war production, unleashing wars of aggression and capturing additional economic territory, especially sources and supply routes of oil. The US is extremely arrogant with its position as sole superpower and its high-tech weaponry.

In fact, US imperialism is afflicted with hyperpower hubris. It is overextended and continues to overreach. Its aggressive actions generate resistance from national liberation movements, people’s revolutionary movements, and governments assertive of national independence. Other imperialist governments are squeezed and offended by the US drive for greater hegemony.

Since its reestablishment in 1968, the CPP has taken the initiative and cooperated with various forces in the Philippines to arouse and mobilize the broad masses of the people against imperialist wars of aggression, military intervention, threats of war, nuclear blackmail, foreign military bases and economic and military blockades against countries asserting national independence and nations and people struggling for national liberation and social revolution.

The CPP is ever conscious of the fact that the Philippines is an archipelago and that the people and revolutionary forces must be self-reliant and must advance wave upon wave through expansion and consolidation. It is careful not to overextend itself beyond its current capabilities. It is also conscious of avoiding dependence on external factors. It welcomes support from abroad but does not depend on it. It supports revolutionary forces abroad and exhorts then to be self-reliant.

As communists, the cadres and members of the CPP wish the Philippine proletariat and people to seize political power in order to complete the national democratic revolution and proceed to socialist revolution. They wish thereby to contribute to the development of a broad anti-imperialist movement and the world proletarian revolution.

The CPP has engaged in certain types of relations with foreign parties and organizations. Some relations are distinctly within the ideological framework of Marxism-Leninism and others within the framework of broad anti-imperialist solidarity. The CPP promotes direct people-to-people relations through mass formations on the basis of broad anti-imperialist solidarity. In opposing imperialism and war, the CPP directly or through the NDFP strives to develop relations of cooperation with some foreign governments and intergovernmental agencies.

There is an acute need for all possible forces in the world to engage in mutual support and cooperation in order to build a broad anti-imperialist solidarity. An international united front is needed to confront the No. 1 imperialist and terrorist power and be on guard against other imperialist powers. The revolutionary proletariat, through communist parties, trade unions and states committed to socialism, must somehow be involved and active in such an international united front and must give full play to the broad mass movement.

As in the national united front, there are pitfalls and there are ways of avoiding them in the international united front. The communists leading the progressive forces must see to it that the international united front is not led astray, shrunk or disintegrated by either "Left" or Right opportunist errors. The forces of the Left must always strive to win over the Middle and take advantage of splits within the Right in order to isolate and defeat the enemy US imperialism, which is now the worst of the imperialists.

It is inspiring to see the growing mass movement throughout the world against imperialism and against war, particularly the US war of aggression against Iraq and the subsequent occupation of this country. This global mass movement has been successful. Communist parties have supported it and have consciously avoided prejudicing the broad united front and mass character of the movement. Thus, a broad range of political forces and the organized and the spontaneous masses come together easily to rise up and rally against the imperialist war.

Recent public pronouncements of the CPP express the hope that the mass movement will continue to develop extensively and vigorously so that US imperialism will be discredited, isolated and ultimately defeated despite its powerful high-tech weaponry. The internal rottenness of US imperialism as a politico-economic system has become conspicuous. It is only a matter of time that US military power is exhausted by its own success in carrying out aggressive acts and driving the people of the world to rise up in revolutionary resistance.

The cadres and members of the CPP have constantly called for a common front against US imperialism. They are determined to carry forward the Philippine revolution and to extend moral and political support to the revolutions of other peoples all over the world. They are grateful to the people abroad who support the Philippine revolution by their revolutionary movements. They have drawn lessons and inspiration from them.

In their very formation as communists, they have committed themselves to advance the Philippine revolution as well as the world proletarian revolution. They hope that someday imperialism would be defeated, socialism becomes dominant in the whole world and communism becomes possible. They look forward to a bright future without imperialism, without war and without exploitation of one class by another. #

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