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Message of Solidarity to Bayan on its Twentieth Anniversary

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
NDFP Negotiating Panel
May 5, 2005

I am deeply pleased to express greetings of solidarity to the leadership and participating organizations of BAYAN on the occasion of its twentieth anniversary. I congratulate all of you for having overcome tremendous obstacles and made significant advances in the struggle of the Filipino people for national freedom and democracy against US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

BAYAN has brilliantly succeeded in becoming the central multisectoral democratic alliance of the patriotic and progressive forces. The participating mass organizations have strengthened BAYAN by expanding and consolidating themselves and by responding to its calls. BAYAN has inspired its participating organizations and the broad masses of the people through campaigns of information, education and mass actions on all major issues. It has stood out in exposing and opposing all major US and puppet policies that oppress and exploit the Filipino people.

BAYAN is a united front formation tested in the crucible of the ever worsening crisis of the ruling system, the intolerable suffering of the people and the irrepressible struggle of the people. It was formed in the high tide of the people's resistance against the Marcos fascist dictatorship and in defiance of a monster that had not yet run out of tricks and brutal power. At the same time, certain unstable and unreliable allies, including big ones like the Aquino clique and their retinue of bootlickers, were out to use BAYAN as footstool and to push it away or even destroy it as soon they could get power for themselves.

BAYAN played a decisive role in the overthrow of the Marcos fascist regime by bringing the most determined organized masses of working people and intelligentsia to Edsa, to the front of Malacanang palace and to the centers of provincial cities and capitals. Subsequently, the Aquino reactionary regime, together with its pseudo-progressive hangers-on, denied the crucial role of BAYAN. It was hell-bent on keeping out BAYAN, murdering leaders like KMU chairman Rolando Olalia and BAYAN general secretary Lean Alejandro and destroying the Partido ng Bayan.

For a while, certain putschists exaggerated the role of the armed city partisans and the potential spontaneous mass uprisings, violated the legal and defensive character of struggle in the cities and put BAYAN at grave risk. At the same time, reformists consistently sought to undermine the patriotic and progressive integrity of BAYAN by harping on its supposed failure to join the Aquino regime. In the 1990s they sought to destroy BAYAN before they left it and openly became bootlickers of the Ramos and Estrada regimes.

It was from 1992 onwards that BAYAN and its participating organizations gradually strengthened themselves, despite some twists and turns and ups and downs in some major organizations and regions. From 1994 to 1996, BAYAN and some of its major organizations made important manifestations of strength on certain issues. In 1997 all political forces in the country, including adversaries and scoffers, took notice of the way BAYAN maintained its independence and initiative and yet became linked to the broad united front in big mass actions against the scheme of the Ramos regime to amend the 1987 constitution and perpetuate itself in power.

Once more BAYAN played an outstanding role in opposing, isolating, and weakening the corrupt Estrada regime from 1998 onwards until this could be ousted from power in January 2001 by the predominantly young militants of BAYAN. From the time that we said in the 1998 Baguio conference that Estrada would suffer the same fate as El Loco of Ecuador, the forces of BAYAN conspicuously took the initiative to arouse and mobilize the people against the Estrada regime. After the fall of Estrada, some detractors of BAYAN tried in vain to airbrush its role and exaggerated the role of the military and some political stooges of the US.

Today BAYAN is again confronted with the possibility and necessity of playing a major role in a movement to oust a puppet regime from power. Here is the Arroyo regime that knows no bounds in oppressing and exploiting the Filipino people. It does nothing to alleviate the people's suffering as a consequence of the rapacious policy of "free market" globalization. But it does everything to aggravate the people's misery and engages in a policy of violently suppressing the people's protest. It takes a ride on the Bush policy of permanent "war on terror" and begs for US military intervention and inter-operability with the local puppet troops.

BAYAN is expected by the people to participate in a popular democratic movement to oust the Arroyo regime from power. The purpose is at least to punish a regime for its puppetry, profligacy, corruption and cruelty. If the entire ruling system cannot as yet be overthrown by the armed revolution, the broad united front in a legal democratic movement can oust the regime and enable the representatives of patriotic and progressive forces to take part in a new government that can adopt and implement social, economic, political and constitutional reforms. Otherwise the ruling system can just continue to rot with the persistence of the Arroyo regime.

As in 1986 and 2001, BAYAN can participate in a broad united front, including some unreliable and unstable allies, against the common enemy. But it must demand that patriotic and progressive forces be well represented in the council of the broad united front, that every one of the leaders of the forces in the united front declare the irrevocable commitment to the movement for ousting the regime, that military and police officers vow to uphold civilian supremacy and the principle of democracy and withdraw support from the regime and that the transitional government pave the way for the election of a new government within a short period of time.

A broad array of leaders and forces have already publicly declared their commitment to the movement for ousting the regime. A significant number of them are retired officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who are speaking out the grievances and demands of military officers and men in active service. As the socio-economic and political crisis of the ruling system is daily worsening, we can expect further declarations and actions that would steadily isolate the regime and ultimately lead to the ouster of the regime.

From what I know as chief political consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel, the resumption of formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations has become nil or dim under the Arroyo regime. The regime is already so weak and so isolated and yet it seeks to impose preconditions in violation of the existing agreements on the framework and modalities of the peace negotiations. Thus, Ka Roger of the CPP Information Bureau has publicly declared that it is excellent now to intensify the people's war in order to further weaken the regime, cause its soonest possible ouster and pave the way for a new government that can comply with the existing agreements in the peace negotiations.

I hope that BAYAN can study the situation comprehensively and profoundly and find out what it can do to further strengthen itself as a multisectoral alliance and its participating mass organizations, to fight the oppressors and exploiters of the Filipino people and to make new advances in the struggle for national liberation and democracy against the US and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords now chiefly represented by the Arroyo regime. ###

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