By Jose Maria Sison
As author, I am deeply pleased and honored that this forum and the launch of the five-book series under the general title, Continuing the Philippine Revolution, are a major part of the program of the Informative and Cultural Gathering. I thank the International Network for Philippines Studies and the Linangan Art & Culture Network for arranging this event. And I also join them in thanking the New World Academy and the Basis voor Actuele Kunst for facilitating it.
I am elated by the coincidence with and relevance of the book launch to two major events. First, the Filipino people continue to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, who founded the Katipunan and launched the initial battles of the Philippine revolution of 1896. Second, the Communist Party of the Philippines is now celebrating the 45th anniversary of its re-establishment under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought or Maoism in 1968.
Continuing the Philippine Revolution encompasses the following books: Foundation for Resuming the Philippine Revolution; Defeating Revisionism, Reformism and Opportunism; Building Strength through Struggle; Detention and Defiance Against Dictatorship; and Continuing the Struggle for National and Social Liberation. The contents of these books span the years 1968 to 1990.
Available for sale in the current launch are Foundation for Resuming the Philippine Revolution and Defeating Revisionism, Reformism and Opportunism. It is fine to have these two books at the same time. They are complementary.
The CPP as Leading Force in the People’s Democratic Revolution
The first book presents comprehensively the principles, policies and program of action of the Communist Party of the Philippines in leading the Filipino people’s revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy against their barefaced and frontal adversaries, US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The second book shows the adversaries on the flanks, such as revisionism, reformism and opportunism, which if unchecked could be detrimental to the people and the revolution.
Foundation for Resuming the Philippine Revolution contains the founding documents of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), such as its Constitution and the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution; and of the New People’s Army, such as its Declaration and its Rules. It contains the articles that I wrote in the period of 1968 to 1972. These reflect the circumstances and initial efforts of the Filipino people and the Party to continue the Philippine revolution.
The CPP was re-established under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. It adopted the general political line of the Filipino people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. This is aimed at fully reizing national liberation and democracy, and thereby putting an end to the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and paving the way for the socialist revolution. The CPP and other revolutionary forces strengthen themselves by arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people in their millions.
The leading force of the revolution is the working class, which is the most advanced productive and political force. The CPP is its advanced detachment. The main force of the revolution is the peasantry, especially the landless peasants and farm workers. The workers and peasants constitute the basic revolutionary alliance. This is augmented by the urban petty bourgeoisie; and further by a patriotic alliance with the middle bourgeoisie. All together they confront and seek to defeat US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords. They also take advantage of contradictions among these reactionaries under certain conditions.
The program of the CPP is to complete the struggle for national independence and empower the workers and peasants in a people’s democratic state system, carry out land reform and national industrialization, achieve social justice, promote a national, scientific and mass culture, uphold proletarian internationalism and develop relations of international solidarity among the peoples and their institutions.
From the book you can gain insights into why and how the revolutionary movement has been able to win the support of millions of Filipinos, withstand the brutal campaigns of suppression designed by US strategic planners and unleashed by the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the post-Marcos pseudo-democratic regimes, and to grow in strength and advance from one stage to another.
After 45 years of revolutionary struggle, the CPP has increased from only 80 members to around 150,000, and has become national in scale and is deeply rooted among the workers and peasants. It leads the New People’s Army which has thousands of Red fighters in more than 110 guerrilla fronts in large parts of 71 provinces. It also leads the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which includes 17 revolutionary organizations of various social classes, professions and causes. It has established the people’s democratic government in the form of local organs of democratic political power in order to supplant the reactionary state.
The Struggle Against Revisionism, Reformism and Opportunism
The CPP and the Filipino people have demonstrated that they can make revolutionary advances despite the dismal turn of events on the world stage in the years of 1989 to 1991, when the socialist cause was put on a strategic retreat as a result of the full blast restoration of capitalism in what were then revisionist-ruled countries. At that time, China was in social turmoil, the revisionists of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe sped up their privatization of state assets, and the Soviet Union no less collapsed and disintegrated.
The imperialists and their camp followers declared the death of socialism forever. Francis Fukuyama became an ideological shooting star by proclaiming that the end of history is capitalism and liberal democracy. The US was overbrimming with arrogance as it became the sole superpower and pushed further its ideological, political, economic, military and cultural offensives. The anticipated so-called peace dividends from the end of the Cold War became a license and big financial allowance for the US to instigate wars of aggression.
In the Philippines, the political and ideological agents of US imperialism and the local reactionary classes were beside themselves with glee, and boasted that the CPP, NPA, NDFP, and the revolutionary mass movement would wither away for lack of external support because of the integration of China and Russia into the world capitalist system.
Conveniently, they obscured the fact that the CPP arose from the revolutionary tradition of the Filipino people (starting fully from the anti-colonial and democratic revolution of the Katipunan and Andres Bonifacio) and adopted a program of people’s democratic revolution based on the needs and demands of the Filipino people against the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. The basic documents and successful revolutionary practice of the CPP prove this point.
US imperialism and its camp followers pretended not to know that the CPP was re-established in opposition to modern revisionism centered in the Soviet Union, in opposition to the long line of opportunism of the Lava revisionist clique in the old Communist party and the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique in the old people’s army, and in opposition to the reformism peddled by the Jesuitic anti-communists and paid hacks of every passing regime in the Philippines, who were usually drop-outs or betrayers of the national democratic movement. In this connection, it is important to read and study the second book, Defeating Revisionism, Reformism and Opportunism.
The CPP took seriously Mao’s critique of modern revisionism as well as his theory and practice of continuing revolution under the proletarian state through cultural revolution, in order to combat revisionism, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate socialism. Even as it was defeated in China itself after some years of victory in the period of 1966 to 1976, the anti-revisionist struggle of Mao has a strong influence on the CPP in terms of firming up the revolutionary will and inspiring the militancy of cadres and members; and most importantly it explains why and how socialist societies degenerate from within and disintegrate without suffering any defeat from an imperialist war of aggression.
The Filipino proletarian revolutionaries are confident that they can win the democratic and socialist stages of the Philippine revolution, and can further develop the theory and practice of continuing the revolution in socialist society against the danger of revisionism and capitalist restoration. Remember that the Paris Commune of 1871 won and was defeated but it yielded the lessons for Lenin to win the first socialist revolution. To obfuscate the fact that modern revisionism was the main cause of the degeneration and disintegration of previous socialist societies is to becloud the road of advance for the proletariat in the continuing era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.
While it might still be difficult for some people to appreciate the continuing and long-term value of the anti-revisionist struggle, let us puncture from another angle the arrogant claim of the imperialists and their puppets that socialism is dead forever because even the big socialist countries of the past have turned capitalist and have become absorbed by the world capitalist system. In fact, the addition of two big capitalist powers now cramps the global ruling circle and hampers the expansion of the prior imperialist powers.
The former big socialist countries acquired a high sense of national sovereignty (within the framework of proletarian internationalism) and developed an industrial base while they were still engaged in socialist revolution and construction. Now two additional big capitalist powers are competing with the previous imperialist powers. They are nationally willful and have expanded their capitalist base. They now pose an increasingly big problem for US imperialism and the world capitalist system.
Many strategic planners and pundits of US imperialism are now most worried about China. They regret that in a big way the US manufacturing base has been undermined by outsourcing the production of consumer goods to China to take advantage of cheap labor in the Chinese sweatshops. They realize that concentration on the high-end production of big items and the financialization of the US economy cannot compensate for the loss of jobs in the decline of the manufacturing sector.
Even as a large part of the export income of China belongs to US and other foreign multinational firms, China has been able to use for its own purposes the foreign exchange holdings of the Chinese Central Bank: to buy US treasury securities and thus put the US in debt to China; finance the expansion of Chinese economic activity domestically and externally; increase military expenditures at home; and directly seek out sources of fuel and other raw materials abroad.
In the 1990s and in most years of the first decade of the 21st century, the US enjoyed the status of sole superpower and used this to the hilt in waging wars of aggression in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Central Asia. China and Russia went along with the US in its so-called war on terror in the wake of 9-11. But they have eventually tended to look after their own interests and declared a preference for a multipolar world.
Thus, they have formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS economic bloc, and they have taken positions divergent from the US position in the UN Security Council and in various multilateral agencies over major economic, financial, trade, political, security and other issues. The big capítalist powers still try to maintain their unity against the working people and the third world countries. But contradictions among the big capitalist powers are being fuelled and driven by the current crisis and self-serving US impositions.
Crisis of Global Capitalism and Protracted Global Depression
Even before the years of 1989 to 1991, the US and other imperialist powers were already confronted with the problem of the recurrent and worsening crisis of overproduction. They thought that the problem of stagflation could be solved by the neoliberal economic policy. This puts the blame for the crisis on rising levels of wage incomes and social spending by government and prescribes maximizing and accelerating the accumulation of both productive and finance capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie which is misrepresented and magnified as the creator of wealth and jobs.
Now we see the ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. A global depression has gripped the world. The imperialists and their puppets are once more afraid of the resurgence of the anti-imperialist and socialist movements. Gone are the days when the ideologues and propagandists of imperialism could boast of capitalism and liberal democracy as the end of history and the presumed death of socialism. Nowadays, even Pope Francis is strongly critical of capitalism, openly takes a friendly look at the theology of liberation and suggests that communists who do good can also go to heaven.
The neoliberal economic policy has brought about the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression by accelerating the accumulation and concentration of capital in the hands of a few through the most vicious means of pressing down wages; the wanton liberalization of investments, trade and finance; the most corrupt privatization of state assets; the reckless deregulation of social and environmental restrictions; and the overbearing denationalization of the economies of underdeveloped countries.
In a vain attempt at concealing the capitalist roots of the crisis, the imperialist powers are whipping up ultra-reactionary currents, such as chauvinism, racism, religious bigotry, anti-migrant bias, fascism and war mongering. The imperialist powers are also saying that war production is a stimulus to economic recovery and that the overseas deployment of military forces is the way to expand the sources of cheap natural resources and cheap labor, the market, field of investments and spheres of influence. Thus, they are more prone than ever before to engage in military intervention and unleash wars of aggression against third world countries.
We see how workers, migrant workers, women and youth and the rest of the people are adversely affected by the crisis of overproduction and the bursting of one kind of financial bubble after another in the capitalist countries. States are afflicted by the public debt crisis and impose austerity measures on the people in order to further pass the burden of crisis to them. Mass unemployment is rising, wage incomes are further declining even as the costs of living are rising, social services are deteriorating and yet becoming more expensive.
As a result of the financial meltdown and economic crisis since 2008, a global economic depression has gripped the entire world, especially the underdeveloped countries. In the Philippines, the export income from semimanufactures and raw materials has fallen while the costs of imports have risen. Mining is being done all over the country and the mineral ores extracted are underdeclared and undervalued. The widening trade and budgetary deficits are further increasing the debt burden. The tax burden is increasing, with most of the state revenues going to counterproductive programs and projects, bureaucratic corruption through the pork barrel system, military overspending and debt service.
The US-Aquino regime boasts of economic growth in the Philippines. But this is generated by hot money (portfolio investments) from abroad which go mainly into the stock market and the money market and at best encourages the private construction bubble and consumerism of a small part of the population. The lack of genuine land reform and national industrialization keeps the Philippines underdeveloped and impoverished. Unemployment has risen abruptly, incomes have plunged and the costs of basic goods and services are soaring.
A great number of Filipinos continue to seek employment abroad in the absence of jobs at home. But the worsening crisis of global capitalism, the turmoils in an increasing number of host countries and the ultra-reactionary political campaigns against migrant workers prejudice and put the migrant workers at great risk. According to a report, overseas employment of Filipinos has actually decreased but the increase of money remittances from them are accounted for mainly by the nurses and caregivers in North America.
Under conditions of worsening economic and social crisis, the people are made to suffer rising levels of exploitation and oppression. They are driven to fight for their basic democratic rights and legitimate interests. We therefore see the spread of mass protest rallies and general strikes in both developed and underdeveloped countries. In the underdeveloped countries, armed revolutionary movements are gaining ground. In the Philippines, the revolutionary forces and people are determined to advance from the strategic defensive and strategic stalemate in the people’s war.
The broad masses of the Filipino people cherish their revolutionary tradition. Thus, they are joyously celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio.They understand their own needs and they want to liberate themselves from foreign and feudal domination. Thus, they celebrate the 45th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and they resolutely and militantly participate in the ongoing democratic revolution for national and social liberation. They draw confidence from the resurgence of the antiímperialist and socialist movements as a result of the protracted and ever worsening crisis of global capitalism. Thank you.