By Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Dear comrades and friends in Australia,
Thank you for inviting me to deliver the keynote address on the occasion of your celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). I feel highly honored and privileged to speak before comrades from fraternal parties and to all friends who are in solidarity with the Filipino people in the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle.
I agree with your theme: Celebrating the Gains and Sacrifices of 50 Years in the Filipino People’s Struggle for National Freedom and Social Liberation. In accordance with your theme, I propose to discuss the great achievements of the CPP in the fields of ideology, politics and organization.
These great achievements have been made possible by daily hard work, heroic struggles against the enemy and tremendous odds and martyrdom. Before I go any further, let us pause for a moment of silence to express our highest respects to our martyrs and heroes.
I. Ideological Achievements of the CPP
The CPP founding cadres made a great achievement on December 26, 1998 by adopting the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the guide to the Philippine revolution. This theory encompasses the struggle for realizing people’s democracy and socialism in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution and combating modern revisionism to consolidate socialism and prevent the restoration of capitalism.
At its very founding, the CPP began to apply its theoretical guide to the history and concrete circumstances of the Filipino people. It recognized immediately the semicolonial and semifeudal character of Philippine society and the need for the people’s democratic revolution with a socialist perspective, under the leadership of the working class. It was therefore able to put forward a comprehensive program of waging armed revolution.
Since then, the CPP has been clear about its ideological line and has always adhered to it in analyzing the national and international situation, in conducting revolutionary struggle and in improving work and style of work through criticism and self-criticism and rectification movements. The CPP was born out of the First Great Rectification Movement against the major errors of Right and “Left” opportunism in the old merger party of the communist and the socialist party since 1942 as well as against modern revisionism centered in the Soviet Union since 1956.
The Marxist-Leninist-Maoist foundation of the CPP has been kept strong by criticism and self-criticism in work and study meetings. With regards to major errors that occurred in the period from 1981 onwards, the Second Great Rectification was launched in 1992 and conducted in order to criticize, repudiate and rectify these errors, which arose from a wrong view of Philippine society as having become industrial capitalist under the Marcos fascist dictatorship and no longer semicolonial and semifeudal.
The CPP cadres have made outstanding theoretical works not only on Philippine society and revolution but also on the international situation and trends. They have done excellent contribution to the critique of modern revisionism as the main danger in socialist society and in the analysis of capitalist restoration in the former socialist countries. They have also studied well the US-instigated policies of neoliberalism and neoconservatism and the general direction of the world proletarian revolution amidst the escalation of imperialist wars and plunder.
Tens of thousands of Filipino proletarian revolutionaries in the CPP have undergone three levels of ideological and political education. The basic level is the study of Philippine society and revolution. The intermediate level is the comparative study of the Philippine revolution and other revolutions abroad. The advanced level is the study of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, political economy, social science and the strategy and tactics of the Philippine revolution and the world proletarian revolution.
By virtue of its ideological foundation and its adherence to and application of the correct principles and methods, the CPP has been a firm and well-disciplined party, highly conscious of its internal conditions, the national and international conditions, and what is to be done in order to develop and advance the revolutionary cause of the working class and the rest of the Filipino people.
II. Political Achievements of the CPP
The CPP has defined and developed the general political line of the people’s democratic revolution through the strategic line of protracted people’s war in correspondence with the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system dominated by US imperialism and operated by the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
To carry out the revolution, the CPP has systematically built itself as the revolutionary party of the proletariat in close alliance with the peasantry as the most numerous exploited class in the Philippines and has successfully built the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as the instruments for carrying out the people’s war and gaining the participation and support of the masses in their millions, respectively.
Since the US imperialists defeated the old democratic revolution within the first decade of the 20th century, the CPP has created the largest revolutionary forces such as the following: the CPP itself as the advanced detachment of the working class, the people’s army, the mass organizations and alliances of various classes and sectors interested in the new democratic revolution, and the local organs of political power, which constitute the people’s democratic government.
The NPA is now operating in more than 110 guerrilla fronts in 73 of the 81 provinces of the Philippines. It has overcome all the strategic plans of military suppression carried out by the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the subsequent pseudo-democratic regimes. It has accumulated victories by carrying out tactical offensives against the enemy forces, the minimum and maximum program of the agrarian revolution and the mass base building, which involves the formation of mass organizations and the local organs of political power.
The NDFP has succeeded in expanding itself internally with its component organizations and externally by relating to other forces. It has built various forms of alliances: the basic worker-peasant alliance, the progressive alliance with the urban petty-bourgeoisie, the patriotic alliance with the national bourgeoisie and the broad alliance with sections of the exploiting classes against the most reactionary section, which is the enemy.
Through the broad united front, the CPP has caused the overthrow of two ultra-reactionary regimes, those of Marcos in 1986 and Estrada in 2001. The current broad united front is aimed at fighting the tyrannical Duterte regime to frustrate its scheme to establish a full-blown fascist dictatorship and overthrowing this as soon as possible because of its mounting horrendous crimes of treason, brutality, corruption and plunder against the people.
The CPP has made great political achievements not only because it has the correct principles, policies and line and adhere to these in practice but also because it is ever willing to face up to its errors and shortcomings through timely criticism, self-criticism and rectification movements.
The Second Great Rectification Movement successfully criticized, repudiated and rectified the “Left” opportunist errors of absolute verticalization in the NPA, militarism and adventurism that resulted in big losses of mass base and armed strength and even in crimes violative of due process in the latter half of the 1980s. It dealt also with the Right opportunist errors of seeking to take out the CPP and the working class from the united front in the early 1980s and becoming obedient to the pseudo-democratic regime of Cory Aquino.
Currently, the CPP is engaged in criticizing and rectifying the error of conservatism, over-emphasizing mass work and deploying mostly armed propaganda teams to the extent of neglecting the planning and implementation of tactical offensives by higher formations to increase the armed strength of the people.
At the same time, the rectification movement has the principled and practical purpose of defeating the strategic operation plan of the Duterte regime by waging guerrilla counter-offensives in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon; and thereby gaining strength from the over-aggressive offensives by overstretched enemy forces.
The Duterte regime has concentrated more than 70% of the maneuver battalions of the reactionary armed forces in Mindanao in order to destroy the NPA. But the enemy campaign plan has utterly failed to accomplish its objective. It has not destroyed a single guerrilla front. But the tired and overstretched enemy forces are now vulnerable to guerrilla counter-offensives in Mindanao and elsewhere.
Under CPP leadership and on the growing strength of the NPA and NDFP, the people’s democratic government is now advancing wave upon wave from the countryside in its protracted strategic encirclement of the cities. The time will surely come when this government shall have accumulated the armed strength and political power to overthrow the reactionary government of the exploiting classes, which is based in the cities.
The people’s war in the Philippines stands out today both as a brilliant realization of the Philippine revolution and as a torch-bearer of the world proletarian revolution, exactly at a time that the world capitalist system is in a worsening severe crisis, escalating the conditions of oppression and exploitation and thereby goading the proletariat and the people of the world to rise up against imperialism and all reaction.
III. Organizational Achievements of the CPP
The CPP adheres strictly to the organizational line of democratic centralism. This is centralism based on democracy. It has allowed the CPP to concentrate the will, strength and efforts of the Party rank and file against the enemy on the basis of democratic gathering of the fullest possible information at a given time and the democratic processes of making decisions from the grass roots to the level of the Central Committee.
Since its founding, the CPP has expanded nationwide and taken deep roots among the toiling masses of workers and peasants. In recruiting Party members and establishing Party branches, the CPP has run ahead of the people’s army through legal and underground mass organizations. Although it relies mainly on the workers and peasants, the CPP values highly the formally educated youth of whatever class origin who are determined to learn from the masses, serve the people and take the road of revolution.
The CPP now has 70,000 members and plans to use this as basis for increasing its membership to hundreds of thousands in the next three years, as a result of the intensified revolutionary work and studies at the three levels of Party education. The members of the CPP come from the ranks of the activists of the mass movement of workers, peasants, national minorities, women, youth, professionals and advocates of human rights, just peace, environmental protection and other causes. They seek to fulfill the immediate demands of the proletariat and the people and are committed to the historic mission of the working class to bring about and build socialism.
The CPP has grown because it has consistently fought the oppressive and exploitative ruling system, from the tyrannical regime ol Marcos to the current one of Duterte. Right now, the revolutionary mass movement is growing fast in the urban and rural areas because the broad masses of the people detest the traitorous, tyrannical, brutal and corrupt Duterte regime and strongly desire to get rid of it. The broad masses of the people are fiercely desirous of stopping the frenzied drive of the regime to establish a fascist dictatorship under the pretext of bogus federalism, a hierarchy of oligarchs, warlords and dynasties.
The CPP has built itself as a strong and powerful organization. But it is not immune to organizational errors and shortcomings, such as commandism, bureaucratism, sectarianism, ultrademocracy and liberalism. It is therefore ever alert to these unhealthy currents and overcome them when they arise in any organ or unit on any scale. They are dealt with promptly through criticism and self-criticism or in due course through a rectification movement of significant duration and scale.
Since May 1969, the CPP has selected and assigned personnel abroad in order to recruit Party members and build mass organizations among overseas Filipinos and to promote and develop anti-imperialist solidarity relations with host peoples and their organizations and fraternal relations with communist and workers’ parties abroad. Patriotic and progressive Filipino mass organizations and CPP branches exist in the Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, Middle East and other regions.
The CPP has been maintaining bilateral and multilateral relations with parties and people’s organizations abroad on the basis of either anti-imperialist solidarity or proletarian internationalism. It has always sought mutual understanding and cooperation for mutual support and mutual benefit. It is ever grateful for the solidarity and support that it has thereby gained and is ever willing to reciprocate these according to its ability.
The CPP is determined to advance the Philippine revolution and attain total victory in order to obtain the national and social liberation of the Filipino people and in order to make significant contribution to the world proletarian revolution and to the various struggles of the people of the world for national liberation, democracy and socialism against imperialism and all reaction.
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the Filipino proletariat and people!
Advance the people’s democratic revolution!
Long live international solidarity of all peoples!
Long live proletarian internationalism and the world proletarian revolution!