Fulfill the requirements for the advance of the people's war
from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate*
Message of the Central Committee
of the Communist Party of the Philippines
December 26, 2010
We celebrate the 42nd founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism by renewing our resolve to fulfill the political and other requirements for advancing from strategic defensive to strategic stalemate in the people’s war for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploitating classes.
We salute all Party cadres and members for strengthening the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally, for victoriously leading the New People’s Army, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, the mass organizations, the organs of political power and the broad masses of the people for overcoming Oplan Bantay Laya I and II of the US-Arroyo regime, and accumulating the all-round strength to fight and defeat the campaigns of suppression being launched by the US-Aquino regime.
The worsening crisis of world capitalism and that of the semicolonial and semifeudal system provide us with the favorable conditions for further strengthening the subjective forces of the revolution and advancing our people’s war from one stage to another. The ruling classes of big compradors and landlords are incapable of solving the crisis and are aggravating it as a consequence of their subservience to foreign monopoly capitalism, their plundering character and their brutality. The people are suffering more than ever before and they are driven by the crisis to fight fiercely for their national and democratic rights and interests.
As the advanced detachment of the working class and as the leading force in the Philippine revolution, our Party is determined to strengthen itself and guide other revolutionary forces, such as the New People’s Army (NPA), the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the mass organizations, and the local organs of political power in further strengthening themselves. The growth in strength of all the organized forces of the revolution ensures the forward movement of the Filipino people in the new democratic revolution.
Benigno Aquino III has emerged as the chief representative of the exploiting classes, having drawn the biggest amount of campaign funds from them, enjoyed the support of the media lords, run the most guileful propaganda campaign and benefited from the manipulation of the US-controlled automated voting system. Thus, he is hellbent on continuing the US-dictated policies of neoliberal globalization, the preservation of the neocolonial fascist state and support for the global war of terror. His promise to lift the people from poverty and misery is a big lie. So is his promise to hold his predecessor Gloria Arroyo accountable for corruption and human rights violations. Poverty, corruption and human rights violations are bound to persist.
The US-Aquino regime does not conceal its objective of destroying the revolutionary movement by following the US Counterinsurgency Guide and supporting the strategic objectives of the US stated in Joint Vision 2020 to maintain world dominance. It continues the widespread militarization and brutal military campaigns of suppression unleashed by its counterrevolutionary predecessors. But it wishes to cosmetize the reactionary military, police and paramilitary forces with ever more deceptive psywar, demagogic gimmickry and doleout campaigns in the guerrilla fronts and other areas of popular resistance.
The US-Aquino regime intends to use the peace negotiations with the NDFP as an instrument for deceiving the people and pressuring the NDFP towards capitulation. It is scheming to junk the peace negotiations when these cannot be bent towards the counterrevolutionary objectives of the regime. The revolutionary forces and the people are aware of these objectives and thus, even if they push for whatever can be achieved through peace talks, they harbor no illusions that revolutionary objectives could be achieved through these alone or in the main. They are fully aware that their patriotic and democratic aspirations can only be effectively pushed in peace negotiations alongside the primacy of people’s war and mass struggles.
The best way to serve the Filipino people and to honor our revolutionary martyrs and heroes is to advance the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. Without the people’s army for waging the people’s war, the Filipino people have nothing and can never hope to complete the struggle for national liberation and democracy. And neither can they hope to have their own stable bases or liberated zones, nor to encourage and realize the possible rise of an anti-imperialist coalition government.
We stand firmly for waging the people’s war, fulfilling the requirements of full-scale guerrilla warfare and advancing it from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate by taking advantage of the crisis conditions in order to intensify the tactical offensives, carry out land reform and build the mass base and the local organs of democratic power in the countryside. At the same time, we encourage the patriotic and progressive forces in the urban areas to intensify the mass movement. We welcome mass activists who wish to join the people’s army or to work in the countryside. They are urgently needed by the peasant masses.
I. Protracted global depression and disorder
The world today is characterized by protracted economic depression and political disorder. The crisis of the world capitalist system keeps on worsening and deepening because the imperialist powers cling to the rapacious fundaments of capitalist exploitation and the dogma of neoliberal globalization. The consequent political disorder involves the rise of reactionary currents, the escalation of state terrorism, foreign military intervention and wars of aggression. Amid all this rise the people’s resistance and revolution.
The recent flurry of summits by the Group of 8, the Group of 20 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation have exposed the confusion and inability of the leaders of the imperialist states to solve the protracted economic depression in their respective economies. They openly worry about protectionist trends that run counter to the policy of neoliberal globalization. They fear both the deflationary tendency resulting from the depression and the inflationary tendency from public spending.
In the imperialist countries, public funds have been used to bail out the big banks and corporations responsible for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The use of public funds for bailout in combination with tax cuts have allowed the monopoly bourgeoisie, especially the finance oligarchy to show profits and revive the financial markets. However, production and employment have continued to decline.
Public deficits and debts have mounted. Subsequently, brutal austerity measures at the expense of the workers and the rest of the people have been adopted. Workers’ economic, social and political rights are under severe attack. Wages have been pushed down. Health insurance has been made more expensive. Unemployment relief and pension benefits have been reduced. Social services have drastically been cut back.
The workers are being pressed upon by their dire conditions to wage class struggle. They are conducting strikes intermittently and on a widening scale. Among the most threatened and victimized as a result of the crisis are the blue-collar, the public sector, the young and the migrant workers. They are also the most conspicuous and most militant in general strikes and other mass protest actions. The student youth are rising due to the drastic cutbacks on education and other social services. Mass protests of millions have been sprouting in many countries in Europe and some states in the US and spreading to other countries.
The mass movement of the workers and youth is exposing the root causes of the crisis and is favoring the advance of progressive political parties. But the monopoly bourgeoisie is whipping up chauvinism, racism, religious prejudices and other reactionary currents in order to obfuscate the roots of the crisis and favor the rise of reactionary parties. A tug of war is going on between the forces of the Left and the Right in the electoral and other forms of struggle.
The imperialist states are increasingly repressive and prone to use state terrorism. The legal and political infrastructure for fascism has become well entrenched since the 9/11 anti-terrorist hysteria. The imperialist states have stepped up war hysteria and war production, and have proceeded to escalate military intervention and wars of aggression. They have taken advantage of the high rate of unemployment to recruit more troops for their armies and more police agents for breaking up strikes and street demonstrations. Fascism is rearing its ugly head as immigrants and migrant workers are scapegoated as having caused the crisis.
Contradictions among the imperialist powers on economic, financial, political and security issues are steadily growing and becoming conspicuous. But the imperialist powers still manage to maintain their alliance as they confront the oppressed peoples and nations in the underdeveloped countries. At any rate, the crisis is generating protectionism in the imperialist countries. Inter-imperialist competition is intensifying more than ever before for sources of cheap labor, oil and other raw materials, markets, fields of investments and spheres of influence.
The US is wary over the tendency of the European Union to look after its own interests in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa. The EU is currently being buffeted by the public debt crisis as a consequence of the bailouts and accumulated neoliberal spending on high consumption and on construction projects. Japan continues to hold on to the coat tails of Uncle Sam in terms of accommodation or cooperation in trade, investments, technology and security. In turn, the US wants Japan to act as a counterforce to China as part of the arc of containment against China in the Asia-Pacific region.
However, the US and China have been the main partners under the policy of neoliberal globalization, with the former serving as the main source of investments and main market for the cheap sweatshop consumer manufactures of the latter. Now the US is increasingly blaming China for the global economic and financial crisis and prating that China’s export surpluses are the cause of US indebtedness and that China is prolonging and aggravating the crisis by manipulating its currency in order to continue cheapening its exports.
The US depicts China as its current and long-term No. 1 rival in economic and political terms, notwithstanding the fact that China is a poor country with a low per capita GDP even if its total GDP now ranks second in the world. China has strengthened certain parts of the industrial base inherited from socialism, but has undermined other parts through privatization. It has large foreign exchange reserves which it has used to export capital to various parts of the world. But US and other multinational firms have a claim on such foreign exchange reserves.
China has improved its modern weaponry formidable for defensive purposes, but it is still no match to that of the US for offensive or aggressive purposes. It has sought to counterbalance the US military presence by forming the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, developing close friendly relations with Russia, and making the US dependent on its mediating role with regard to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The US is currently being weakened by the economic and financial crisis as well as by its wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan and the overstretch of its military forces elsewhere in the world. Thus, it appears weakened relative to China in East Asia and relative to the bloc of countries aligned with Cuba and Venezuela in Latin America.
The countries most devastated by the crisis of the world capitalist crisis are, of course, those underdeveloped ones in Asia, Africa and Latin America, and those degraded in Eastern Europe and certain republics of the former Soviet Union. The oppressed peoples and nations in all these countries undergo terrible suffering. They yearn and struggle for national and social liberation from the imperialist countries and the local exploiting classes.
The armed movements fighting the largest and most intense struggles are those of peoples victimized by the US wars of aggression such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Taking the revolutionary lead on a longer time scale are the Maoist parties waging or preparing to wage people’s war for national liberation and new democracy in various continents. The people’s war in India, the Philippines, Turkey and elsewhere is showing the way. Avowedly Marxist-Leninist parties like those in Colombia and other countries have also been waging revolutionary armed struggle for several decades.
The defeat of the Tamil Tigers has been due to strategic and tactical errors but has not foreclosed the reemergence of the revolutionary armed struggle in Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka. A new revolutionary leadership has declared the continuance of the people’s war. The Maoist party in Nepal is at the crossroads of gaining control over government through parliamentary struggle and mass uprisings, or of resuming a protracted people’s war.
More armed revolutionary movements are bound to arise in various continents and countries due to the protracted crisis and its effects, such as increasingly severe forms of oppression and exploitation, more wars of aggression against the people and sharpening contradictions among the imperialist powers themselves. The ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system is favorable to the armed revolution of the Filipino people.
II. Chronic crisis of the rotten system worsens
The chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system continues to worsen under the impact of the crisis of the world capitalist system. More than ever before, the Philippines is dependent on the export of raw materials, migrant labor and low value-added semimanufactures, and the prices of these are now pressed down in the global market. More than ever, the Philippines is stricken by trade deficits, and is a beggar for foreign loans at more onerous terms and for portfolio investments in search of higher returns in the financial market.
The change of puppet administrations from Arroyo to Aquino does not involve any significant change. The Aquino regime clings to the dogma of neoliberal globalization, and shuns national industrialization and land reform. It remains dependent on foreign loans and grants for the continuance of an economy oriented to the export of raw materials, and infrastructure projects to serve agricultural and mining corporations. It has given first priority to selling the Philippines and luring more foreign investments through its Public-Private Partnership Program.
Like its predecessor regime, the puppet Aquino regime slavishly follows its US master’s bidding in its counterinsurgency drive. The content and language of Aquino’s new counterinsurgency campaign plan, Oplan Bayanihan, to succeed Arroyo’s brutal Oplan Bantay Laya—is just the same brutal dog with a different collar. It is patterned after and hews closely to the latest US Counterinsurgency Guide, with the same objectives and pretentious features. Couched in new fancy slogans, it combines all forms of deception, cooptation and brute force in seeking to destroy the revolutionary forces by all means. Like other counterinsurgency campaign plans in the past, Oplan Bayanihan has the same objective of controlling and silencing the population right down to the grassroots. It purports that the “whole-of-nation” and “people-centered” approach that it now totes is genuine and is primary over the military or “enemy-centered” approach. Its new slogans sugarcoat fascist bullets and atrocities with pretensions at reaching out to the people and respecting human rights, all to provide cover for and facilitate its brutal campaigns of suppression against the people and their revolutionary forces. In intent and reality, US counterinsurgency doctrine and practice—as more straightforwardly prescribed in military manuals—hold that, in the final analysis, military and other coercive measures are primary. As the revolutionary struggle gains strength, especially amid the ever intensifying crisis, the imperialist and puppet reactionary forces invariably resort to more and more militarist and fascist means and methods.
In conformity with the US Counterinsurgency Guide, the Aquino regime has been using the catchwords of good governance, delivery of services, economic development and security reforms in order to undertake graft-ridden programs and projects, hand doleouts for counterinsurgency purposes, aggravate the underdevelopment of the economy and divert resources from education, health and other essential social services to the military, debt service and profit remittances by multinational corporations.
The World Bank, the US Millennium Challenge Corporation and other imperialist agencies have joined the charade in announcing that they would favor and support states with development projects, such as those bandied about as Millennium Development Goals and Conditional Cash Transfers that supposely would raise the quality of life of the population, improve governance and the delivery of basic services, but whose real objectives are to keep the recipient countries backward and mendicant, and to further the imperialist neoliberal and counterinsurgency agenda.
The Filipino people suffer the impositions of a regime whose chieftain Aquino has been handpicked by the US and the local exploiters. His supposed victory in the elections was predetermined by the propaganda, financing and manipulation of the foreign-controlled automated electoral system by the US and the worst of the local reactionaries. The Aquino regime is being directed by the same foreign and domestic interests that directed the Arroyo regime. It has already exposed itself as essentially similar to the Arroyo regime in terms of puppetry, corruption, brutality and mendacity.
To surpass his electoral rivals in campaign rhetorics, Aquino promised to prosecute and try Arroyo and her accomplices for corruption and human rights violations. But the promise is not going to be fulfilled as proven by the built-in weaknesses and the waste-basketting by the Arroyo-dominated Supreme Court of the so-called Truth Commission, as well as by the continuing condonement not only of the Arroyo regime’s human rights violations but also those of the current regime itself.
Intense pressure, including heavy criticism of the ridiculously trumped-up charges, widespread demands nationwide and abroad, the detainees’ resolute struggle for justice and freedom and their hunger strike compelled the Aquino government to drop the charges against the Morong 43 and have them released. The AFP still has to answer for the injustice, torture and sufferings inflicted on the victims. The Aquino government has still failed to clear and release hundreds more political detainees who have also been falsely charged, including those whose scurity is guaranteed by the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). It has not rendered justice to the thousands of victims of human rights violations.
By all indications, the Aquino regime is hellbent on using the slogan of human rights in order to continue the gross and systematic human rights violations. It is obviously going to use the peace negotiations with the NDFP and the MILF as an occasional propaganda device and to block the demands of the people for basic social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace. So far, most important to the Aquino regime is beefing up the military, police and paramilitary forces and unleashing them against the people and the revolutionary forces.
The contradictions between the Filipino people and the Aquino regime will sharpen. The people will resent Aquino for failing to fulfill his promise to solve the problem of poverty by eliminating corruption. The regime has practically condoned the crimes of corruption committed by the Arroyo clique and allows the continuing rampage of corruption. To end poverty, it is not enough to stop corruption. Social justice and development through national industrialization and land reform are necessary. But the Aquino regime is opposed to these as well, as proven by his actuations on the Hacienda Luisita issue and his policy pronouncements and acts that exceedingly tout foreign investments and favor the imperialist policy of neoliberal globalization.
The people cannot tolerate extreme forms of exploitation and oppression inflicted on them. Social discontent is more widespread and intense than ever before. The mass organizations of the toiling masses and the middle social strata are girding for concerted mass actions. Strikes and mass demonstrations have begun to break out and are bound to spread. The armed revolutionary struggle is intensifying. The people’s army is launching more tactical offensives than ever before in order to realize the objective of advancing from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in five years.
As the crisis worsens and the people’s resistance rises, the contradictions among the reactionaries intensify. The economic and financial basis for mutual accommodation among the reactionaries has further narrowed. The ruling reactionaries headed by Aquino tend to monopolize the spoils of power. The reactionaries in the opposition are pushed to expose the corruption and other crimes of those who are in power. They are obliged to criticize the ruling clique in order to seize the political initiative and prepare for the next electoral contest.
At various levels of the political system, the competing reactionaries build their respective armed strength by cultivating factions within the military and police and by organizing their own armed body guards and private security agencies and militia units. GRP president Aquino as commander-in-chief of the armed forces has the advantage over his political opponents in using the military and police chain of command and his own private security corporation. But the regime is vulnerable to the changing alignments among the armed factions that struggle for power and spoils, especially in lucrative official assignments and criminal activities.
There is no sign whatsover that the war between the Manila government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would be resolved under the Aquino regime. The regime and its imperialist master seek the capitulation of the MILF so that they can exploit and plunder the natural resources in Bangsamoro land in Mindanao. But the MILF is unwilling to give up the right of the Bangsamoro to self-determination and to their ancestral domain.
While the war continues in Bangsamoro land, the Manila government has less deployable military forces against the New People’s Army. At the same time, while the people’s war advances throughout the Philippines, the MILF and the Bangsamoro have better prospects of achieving their revolutionary aspirations. The revolutionary forces and people led by the Communist Party of the Philippines have always recognized the right of the Moro people to national self-determination. The Moro people have the right to secede from an oppressive state as well as to opt for autonomy in a centralized or federal state that is nonoppressive.
The contradictions between the US imperialists and the Filipino people are sharpening in every field—economic, political, military and cultural. The US has tightened its grip on the Philippine economy under the policy of neoliberal globalization. At the same time, it has increased its military intervention under its policy of “global war on terror” and particularly under the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the US Counterinsurgency Guide. Under various pretexts, the US has realized the permanent basing and deployment of US military forces in the Philippines. US military officers have openly acted as the bosses of the Filipino puppet forces.
The US is bent on escalating its military intervention to a war of aggression against the Filipino people as the revolutionary forces gain strength towards the strategic stalemate. But US military forces are being adversely affected by the domestic US economic and financial crisis, by being sucked into the quagmires of two wars of aggression and by being overstretched in overseas deployment.
The possibility of a US war of aggression against the Filipino people can be diminished by the rise of more armed revolutions in the world and by diplomatic actions taking advantage of growing contradictions between the US and certain countries in East Asia, like China and the DPRK. But the most important consideration is that the Filipino people and the revolutionary forces shall have gained a great amount of strength and experience from advancing towards the strategic stalemate and shall have prepared to fight a US war of aggression.
III. The Party leads the revolution
The Communist Party of the Philippines has successfully led the Philippine revolution for over 42 years since its founding. It has defeated all the military campaigns of suppression unleashed by the Marcos regime to “nip the revolution in the bud” from 1969 to 1972 and the 14 years of fascist dictatorship from 1972 to 1986; and thereafter, the various campaigns of the post-Marcos regimes from 1986 to the present.
It has grown from small to big and from weak to strong through fierce revolutionary struggles. It has become tempered in battles against the enemy forces and overcome tremendous odds and difficulties. It has gained rich experience from which to draw lessons in order to advance the people’s war from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in five years.
The Party has won great victories in the fields of ideology, politics and organization. It has upheld, defended and promoted Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as the theory of the revolutionary proletariat. It has applied this theory on Philippine history and circumstances in order to determine the character of Philippine society and to draw the general political line of new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. It has adhered to the principle of democratic centralism in building an organization that is deeply rooted among the toiling masses throughout the country.
The Party has gained strength and competence in leading the Philippine revolution because it has resolutely and diligently built itself ideologically, politically and organizationally. Criticism and self-criticism are conducted regularly and in a timely way in all organs and units to identify and overcome errors and shortcomings and to improve work and style of work. When errors and shortcomings of major proportions are committed, higher organs conduct rectification campaigns of varying scale and duration.
The CPP Central Committee initiated and led the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) from 1992 to 1998 that identified, criticized, repudiated and rectified major errors of Left opportunism and Right opportunism arising from the subjectivist notion that the Philippines has ceased to be semifeudal. The Left opportunists who pushed the lines of “strategic counteroffensive” and “urban insurrectionism” (Red Area-White Area, etc.) departed from the strategic line of protracted people’s war and undermined the mass base of the revolutionary movement. Subsequently, they conjoined with the Right opportunists who got carried away by Gorbachovism, Trotskyism, bourgeois liberalism and other petty bourgeois trends and who were most vocal in espousing the liquidation of the Party.
The Party held its ground against the opportunists and called for the reaffirmation of basic revolutionary principles and the rectification of errors. It confronted and defeated the opportunists on all major issues, renewed the criticism and repudiation of modern revisionism in view of the blatant and full-scale restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries. It combatted the ideas and policies related to the ideological, political, economic and military offensives of the US and its allies against the cause of national liberation, democracy and socialism.
The SGRM held the incorrigible opportunists and renegades accountable for gross ideological and political errors and for crimes arising from hysterical anti-informer campaigns. It frustrated and defeated the wrecking operations of the opportunists who eventually exposed themselves as renegades and special agents of the enemy.
Ideological work was intensified. Through vigorous efforts, the Party successfully recovered and expanded the mass base in rural and urban areas. But certain aspects and areas of work did not get prompt and proper attention until after the SGRM.
The Party was able to preserve itself and gain strength under the worst conditions of adversity. It was still in the process of laying its foundation when Marcos imposed the fascist dictatorship and sought to destroy the revolutionary movement. In the time of the first Aquino regime, the military campaigns called Lambat Bitag coincided with the opportunist lines still at work within the Party. The Ramos and Estrada regimes continued the campaigns of suppression while the Party concentrated on the rectification movement and the recovery of the mass base.
The Arroyo regime carried out Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) for nearly ten years. The victories gained from the SGRM served the revolutionary movement well. In certain regions, the revolutionary forces that came under concentrated enemy attack became stronger. Others maintained their strength to be able to fight back in armed and legal struggles. One region was able to surmount the whole course of OBL I but declined in both armed and legal forms of struggle in the course of OBL II. In certain regions, the revolutionary forces grew because the enemy military forces were sparse due to overextension elsewhere.
Even when the enemy forces launched the most brutal campaigns of military suppression, the Party has been able to engage in ideological building by undertaking courses at the primary, intermediate and advanced levels in many rural and urban areas. It is impossible for the enemy to stop ideological and political studies in so many guerrilla fronts, mountainous sites, private homes, offices and campus grounds apart from studies conducted in guerrilla fronts under concentrated attack by the enemy forces.
It is absolutely necessary to have Party cadres and members who have a sufficient level of theoretical knowledge of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They serve as the hard core of the revolutionary movement. The long life and victories of the Party and the entire revolutionary movement are assured as the number of Marxist-Leninist-Maoists keep on increasing.
Theoretical and political studies have been facilitated and accelerated by the translation of the classics and major Party documents in various Philippine languages, by the legal availability of these in hard copies and on the internet in digital copies, by simplified study materials and by the use of audio-visual media and illustrations in hard and digital copies,The Party has consistently promoted the general political line of democratic revolution through protracted people’s war in response to the semcolonial and semifeudal conditions that have not only persisted but also worsened and deepened under the policy regime of neoliberal globalization and the global war of terror pushed by the US imperialists. The Party has taken up all the major political, economic, social, cultural and military issues related to the general line of the revolution. It has debated with and defeated the exponents of blatant counterrevolution and reformism.
The Party has vigorously aroused, organized and mobilized various sections of the masses to undertake various forms of struggle against the current enemy and the entire ruling system. The mass movement has continued to persevere and grow in both urban and rural areas. It can grow faster than ever as it responds to the demands of the masses themselves and members of mass organizations are recruited in accordance with easily understood constitutions and programs of such organizations.
There is no way for the enemy to stop the mass organizations, especially because of the worsening political and economic crisis of the ruling system. But certain mass organizations and alliances have declined not so much because of the enemy campaigns of suppression but because of errors and shortcomings of leadership in the Party organs concerned.
The mass movement of workers, peasants, youth, women, professionals and other people is the source of Party members and NPA fighters. It is the force by which the masses themselves express their needs, demands and aspirations. It is the force by which they can build and appreciate their own strength. It is also the force by which various types of alliances can be formed.
The New People’s Army has 110 to 120 guerrilla fronts that cover significant portions of 800 municipalities in 70 provinces. The number of guerrilla fronts fluctuates because of concentrated enemy attacks with varying durations. The enemy has no capability to concentrate attacks on more than 10% of the guerrilla fronts at every given time.
To frustrate and defeat concentrated attacks by the enemy forces, the NPA can shift its forces, leave units to pin down the enemy and launch offensives at the weakest points of the enemy elsewhere. While the enemy can concentrate strength on less than 10% of the Philippines, the NPA can move around freely in more than 90%.
The NPA continues to integrate the revolutionary armed struggle with genuine land reform and the building of the mass base and organs of political power. It is invincible because it smashes the bureaucratic military power of the state, responds to the peasant demand for land and realizes land reform as the main content of the democratic revolution and because it builds the people’s democratic state of workers, peasants and other people.
The National Democratic Front is effectively harmonizing 17 revolutionary forces consisting of the Party, the NPA and the underground revolutionary mass organizations of workers, peasants, national minorities, women, youth, teachers, health professionals, lawyers, scientists and technologists, writers and artists, the religious and other sectors. It is a united front for armed struggle. At the same time, all the revolutionary forces have authorized it to engage in peace negotiations with the reactionary government.
The peace negotiations have dragged on because one reactionary regime after another has sought to use it in futile attempts to deceive the people, split the revolutionary forces and press the NDFP towards capitulation and pacification. But the NDFP has correctly and consistently asserted that the framework agreement, The Hague Joint Declaration, must be followed and that the roots of the armed conflict must be addressed through basic social, economic and political reforms to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.
The Party and the NDFP have served well the people and the revolutionary forces by declaring that the line of negotiations for a just peace is no different from the line of struggle for national liberation and democracy. A just peace can be achieved in the following ways: the complete victory of the armed revolution, the emergence of an anti-imperialist coalition government or an anti-imperialist alliance and truce.
None of these possibilities is easily attainable because the enemy persists in trying to destroy the revolutionary movement of the people. The NDFP carries on the peace negotiations because these provide the opportunity to articulate the program for a people’s democratic revolution, to win more adherents to the revolution and to be open to possibilities presented by the worsening crisis of the ruling system and the world capitalist system.
IV. The new fighting tasks
It is an achievement of great national and world significance that the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Filipino people have carried forward the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war for more than four decades and in the process overcome the most vicious campaigns of suppression unleashed by US imperialism and the local reactionary classes.
The Party has taken an outstanding role in exposing and opposing the ideological, political, economic, cultural and military offensives of the US and other imperialist powers abetted by the revisionist betrayal of socialism. It has analytically anticipated the resurgence of the forces of national liberation, democracy and socialism as a result of the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system under the policy of neoliberal globalization.
It is fine that the Party has resolved to advance the people’s war from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in five years’ time. The sight of the near horizon has aroused the optimism and heightened the vigor of the revolutionary forces as they rise in triumph over the harse difficulties and trials inflicted in the course of the enemy’s vicious Oplan Bantay Laya just as they have triumphed over all past similar counterinsurgency campaigns, and rallied to push forward and make a new leap in the struggle, armed with deep resolve, valuable lessons and increased strength. Inspired by their victories accumulated in more than 40 years of ardent struggle and the higher new challenge, the Party membership, NPA units and revolutionary forces are resolved to raise the level of intensity and quality of their struggle, fulfill the requisites, carry out the required tasks, and advance the people’s war. The Party must take advantage of the favorable conditions created by the crisis of the world capitalist system for waging revolution. It must confront and defeat the scheme of the enemy to destroy the armed revolution in the Philippines. It must make great strides in realizing the people’s aspirations for national and social liberation.
Certain requirements have to be fulfilled in order to advance the people’s war. We must be clear about the tasks to be carried out in order to fulfill such requirements.
1. The Party must expand boldly without letting a single undesirable in. It must increase its membership to an extent that it has a Party branch in a majority of barangays and in every NPA company and it has Party groups at various levels of mass organizations and institutions. It must be able to recruit Party members from the urban and rural-based mass organizations as well as from units of the NPA.
The main source of Party recruits is the revolutionary mass movement. The mass organizations of workers, peasants, national minorities, urban poor, women, youth, migrants, professionals and others must run far ahead of the Party in recruiting their own members from the unorganized masses. Recruitment can be carried out in large numbers, because acceptance of the constitution and program of the mass organization with patriotic and progressive character suffices for a recruit to become a member. Members thus recruited take general and special mass courses to deepen their understanding, adherence and commitment to the national and democratic cause. Rapid expansion of membership can be realized especially when these mass organizations are at the lead of propaganda campaigns and mass mobilizations of the people to fight for their immediate and strategic aspirations.
The Party can expand easily upon the rapid growth of the mass organizations. It gives priority to the recruitment of the most advanced mass activists at every given time. Any resident of the Philippines at least 18 years of age who accepts the Party Constitution and Program can qualify immediately as a candidate-member. Within the period of candidature, the recruit is provided with the basic Party course and has the same rights and obligations as the full members, except the right to vote.
The period of candidature for workers and peasants is six months; for those of the urban petty bourgeoisie, one year; and for the middle bourgeoisie, two years. Kabataang Makabayan Communist Youth League members automatically become full members of the Party upon reaching the age of 18, provided they have finished the basic Party course.
The Party must enforce the provisions on Party membership as stated in the Constitution. Any notion that there are rules and standards for membership other than those in the Constitution must be dispelled. The long-running neglect and indefinite delay in the promotion of candidate-membership to full membership must be rectified. Party candidate-members must be provided with the basic Party course promptly, tasked and promoted to full membership upon completion of their period of candidature.
After the candidate-member becomes a full member, he/she must take the intermediate and higher Party courses as soon as possible. A full Party member is expected to become more inspired and more active in fulfilling tasks within the Party and the revolutionary mass movement or in any unit of the people’s army.
All Party organs must continually conduct assessments and summing up of their experiences to determine their strengths and weaknesses and draw new plans for their work. The Central Committee of the Party must require all regional Party Committees, Commissions and similar leading organs to make reports and recommendations on the status of the revolutionary forces in their respective areas and lines of work, find out from them their strengths and weaknesses, and provide them with guidance for enhancing their strengths and overcoming their weaknesses. It must require strong and well-developed regions to help weaker ones in augmenting cadres and resources for strengthening the Party, the people’s army and people’s mass organizations and the united front. Every higher Party organ must inquire from the organs below it what are their strengths and weaknesses and what are the errors and shortcomings of leadership as well as the impact of enemy campaigns of suppression and the interrelation of the subjective forces and the circumstances.
2. The Party must direct the New People’s Army to increase the number of full-time fighters. Every fully developed guerrilla front must have a total strength of at least one company. It should develop in stages from the seed unit deployed from a previously existing guerrilla front. Developing a guerrilla front entails integration of the revolutionary armed struggle, the agrarian revolution and building the mass base and the organs of democratic political power under the leadership of the Party.
The leadership of the Party over the NPA is ensured with the Central Committee and the Military Commission making the strategic policies and plans on the basis of reports and recommendations below and then issuing the directives to the NPA National Operational Command. At every level of command are a political department and a political officer to maintain the dual leadership with the commander in charge of military command and operations. Every company or platoon has a Party branch and every squad a Party group.
The units of the NPA must be increased by fighting the enemy forces and seizing their weapons. The NPA units must wage only battles that they can win. They do so by concentrating enough strength to wipe out an enemy force, using such elements as surprise, favorable terrain and favorable conditions. They must give priority to battles of annihilation that take the form of ambuscades and raids. By annihilation, we mean taking away by armed force the capability of enemy units to fight but treating the captives leniently after they are disarmed or they lose the ability to fight.
The tactics of annihilation must be complemented by tactics of attrition at the sure expense of the enemy. The NPA must train from the ranks of the full-time fighters and the militia special teams for reconnaissance, sniping, producing and employing command-detonated explosives and other means, with the objective of destroying moving and parked vehicles used for transporting military personnel, weapons, fuel and other war materiel as well as storage facilties for these.
Enterprises that do not comply with the rules and regulations of the people’s democratic government, disregard and violate the welfare and interests of the people, and conduct abusive and antagonistic actions against the people must be banned, disabled or dismantled. These include those that engage in destructive large-scale logging, mining and plantations for export; plunder nonrenewable resources; ruin the environment and take land away from land reform. The military forces and security agencies protecting these enterprises are targets for annihilation by the people’s army.
As a matter of revolutionary law and justice, those who have committed murder and other serious crimes against the people and the revolutionary forces, including human rights violations and plunder, must be arrested by the people’s army and militia, investigated by the people’s prosecution and tried by the people’s court. Such criminals are subject to the necessary amount of force by the arresting units if they are armed and dangerous, resist arrest or are protected by bodyguards and units of the reactionary military or police.
The NPA must use the tactics of concentration in order to win the tactical offensives against target enemy units. But it must also be vigilant against the enemy using the same tactics of concentration. When a superior enemy force comes looking for a fight and implements a plan to occupy an area, be it a guerrilla front or a part of it, the NPA must be ready to use the tactics of evasion or shifting in order to avoid being put at a disadvantage, to trade space for time and to move to an advantageous position for conducting a counteroffensive at a later time or at a location where the enemy is weak. When the enemy forces set camp, the NPA must harass and inflict damage on them and be on the lookout for opportunities to annihilate any enemy unit or element going out of the camp.
The NPA must use the tactics of dispersal to cover a wide area for mass work and develop a wide network of mass organizations, self-defense units and militia against the enemy. In a guerrilla front, the NPA must always maintain a relatively concentrated unit (e.g., a platoon) and relatively dispersed units (e.g., two platoons divisible into squads and propaganda teams).
The NPA can carry out intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare and flexibly use the tactics of concentration, shifting and dispersal only if it has an ever widening and deepening mass base. The peasant masses are ever willing to let their best sons and daughters join the people’s army. They are the active base and limitless source of Red fighters and resources for the armed revolution because the NPA is their instrument for fulfilling their demand for land and for realizing their economic, social and political liberation.
The NPA must promote the establishment and development of the mass organizations of workers, peasants, youth, women, cultural activists and other sectors of people in the localities. It must help build the organs of political power. Initially, these are appointive committees of the people and eventually elected by the representatives of the mass organizations or by the entire community. The Party must systematically deploy urban-based mass activists to the countryside so that they can learn from the peasant masses, render service to the peasant communities and in due course join the people’s army. Party cadres and members from the ranks of the workers and educated youth are urgently needed for strengthening the people’s army and the Party in the countryside.
3. The Party must strengthen the basic alliance of the working class and peasantry. This is the combination of the leading force and the main force of the new democratic revolution. Through the Party as the advanced detachment, the working class is the leading force because it directs the current course of the revolution towards the socialist future. The peasantry is the main force because it is the most numerous exploited class whose struggle for land is the main content of the democratic revolution. The proletariat and the peasantry constitute more than 90% of the people. Their combination is indispensable and decisive for winning the new democratic revolution.
The basic worker-peasant alliance must win over the urban petty bourgeoisie as allies in order to constitute the alliance of progressive forces. The National Democratic Front is the best expression and most consolidated underground alliance of the workers, peasants and the urban petty bourgeoisie. It must be strengthened further. The urban petty bourgeoisie is a small part of Philippine society and constitutes the lower part of the bourgeoisie. It suffers a certain degree of oppression and exploitation and it can be won over to contribute its capabilities and influence to the revolution.
The Party must further win over the middle bourgeoisie to cooperate with the alliance of progressive forces and become active in a formal or informal alliance of patriotic forces interested in strengthening the anti-imperialist and democratic movement of the entire people. The middle bourgeoisie is interested in national industrialization and can understand land reform as a way of releasing capital, expanding the domestic market and serving as the source of food and raw materials for industry. The alliance of patriotic forces is interested in the rise of an anti-imperialist and democratic government.
The Party must be open to the broadest possible alliance, which includes the reactionary forces opposed to the enemy that is the most reactionary and most servile to the imperialists. Reactionaries are temporary and unreliable allies. They join the alliance because of their self-interest and they are inclined to attack the revolution once they come into power. But alliance with them is necessary in order to isolate and destroy the enemy. Relative to the broadest possible alliance, the Party must maintain its independence and initiative and must draw benefits for the revolutionary movement from the conflicts of the reactionaries and build its strength for eventually overthrowing the entire ruling system.
So far, in the history of our Party, the reactionary force considered as the enemy has been the ruling clique. But the Party does not foreclose the possibility of an anti-imperialist alliance and truce with a regime in power that takes an anti-imperialist and democratic position. It considers the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations as a way of encouraging and stimulating the emergence of a government of national unity against the imperialists and their unrepentant puppets.
For as long as no possibility exists for such a government to arise, the Party and the Filipino people must exert all efforts to carry forward the new democratic revolution through people’s war. After we succeed in advancing from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate, our task is to fully develop the strategic stalemate until the conditions are ripe for the nationwide seizure of power through the strategic offensive.