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BRIEF MESSAGES & LETTERS, 2001 - Present
Reply to Open Letter of Alejandro Lichauco
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Utrecht, The Netherlands
By Jose Maria Sison
Thank you for your open letter dated September 9, 2004 in your op-ed column in the ABS-CBN.news.com. I appreciate the serious patriotic intent and urgent tenor of the letter. Indeed, in this time of unprecedentedly grave crisis, we are all challenged to do what best we can do to overcome the lethal problems besetting our motherland.
I understand and respect your reasons for not responding to my request in 1995 to help the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in drafting a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms. Anyway, your writings have been important reference materials. What is important now is that you, the distinguished nationalist, are making a proposal to the NDFP.
I agree with you that imperialist globalism is the evil that all of us must abhor and combat. The myth of “free market” globalization has been used by the United States and its camp followers to prettify the rapacity of the monopoly capitalists. This is diametrically opposed to the people’s demand for national liberation, nationalization of the economy and socio-economic reforms.
The purpose of the NDFP in negotiating with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is not to compromise with or capitulate to the evil of foreign monopoly capitalism but to propagate the people’s program for national liberation, democracy, development, social justice and peace. The NDFP avails of every possible way to broadcast this program.
I welcome your declaration that the time has come for you to make a proposal to the NDFP. As you say, the situation is a lot different now from 1995 and we should talk about now and the future as Filipinos racing against time.
You refer to mass hunger as a common adversary of the GRP and the NDFP. You also point to the looming collapse of the Western financial system as the most disturbing aspect of the situation. I agree with your critical view that the GRP is not prepared to deal with the problem like a first grade pupil not prepared with an exam in calculus.
Thus, you observe that “the Filipino people might just have to take matters in their own hands and act as if there isn’t any government except that which they can put up themselves.” You urge that the people put up one soon if they are to avert what is an imminent catastrophe.
Let me point out that a people’s democratic government already exists, consisting of the organs of democratic power established by the people and revolutionary forces in the countryside. It is basically a revolutionary government of the workers and peasants in opposition to the counterrevolutionary government of big compradors and landlords headed by the Macapagal-Arroyo reactionary ruling clique.
In peace negotiations with the GRP, the NDFP has been the people’s
democratic government, the communist party, the people’s army and the
Truce and alliance between the NDFP and the GRP are realizable if these
contending forces succeed in following up the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive
Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian
Law with comprehensive agreements on social, economic, political and
constitutional reforms. These agreements can be reached only if the
people and the patriotic and progressive forces can prevail over the
US imperialists and their most rabid
You seem to have given up on the GRP because of the puppetry and corruption of its officials. The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations have come to a standstill because of US intrusions and interferences that the NDFP consider unacceptable. The GRP has shown complete incapacity to go along with the NDFP on asserting national sovereignty and independence against US interventions and obstructions in the peace negotiations.
By listing the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the NDFP chief political consultant as “terrorists”, the United States violates the national sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Filipino people over events in the Philippines. It also transgresses the safety and immunity guarantees for duly authorized persons in the peace negotiations. It has shown utter contempt for the civil and political rights of Filipinos and the Hernandez political offense doctrine pertaining to armed revolution.
The GRP has failed to oppose US encroachment upon the national sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Filipino people and has even applauded it. At this time of severe economic and financial crisis, the GRP does not seriously seek the alliance of the NDFP. It does not seek the support of the people but it imposes on them all the burdens of crisis, especially mass unemployment, peso depreciation, a heavier tax burden and austerity measures.
It continues to sink the country in underdevelopment, deficits and indebtedness. Being so bankrupt not only in economic and financial terms but also in political and moral terms, it follows the US dictat of neoliberal globalization and collaborates with the US in the worst crimes of terrorism, such as wars of aggression and the brutal repression of entire nations and peoples.
In general, the NDFP can easily agree with you that there is a need for a new government established by the people and serving them. But would the US and the current reactionary government allow such a new government to exist? Would both of them not use the coercive apparatuses of the state to suppress those forces trying to establish the new government?
As NDFP chief political consultant, I estimate that the NDFP would welcome your proposal for the establishment of a broad united front government through a Congress of the People, using the 1966 Program of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism as a starting point for deliberating on a program of government. I think that the NDFP would be open to considering the possibility of a broad-based government of national unity against the domination of foreign monopoly capitalism.
But I do not think that the NDFP will ever declare any indefinite ceasefire or truce prior to a clear program and solid foundation for a united front government that is much broader than the current worker-peasant government in the countryside. I think that the NDFP would be willing to explore the possibilities for such a government either through peace negotiations with the GRP or through an assembly of the patriotic and progressive forces of the people.
Louie Jalandoni and I would have no problem of returning to the Philippines permanently and calling on the patriotic and progressive sections of the bureaucracy and military of the GRP to cooperate with the broad united front government if in the first place the revolutionary forces and people recognize and accept that there is a program and organizational basis for such government. Maoists, nationalists, Christians, Muslims and other people can support such a government in their best possible common interest.
All the Filipino people of different philosophical persuasions, religious beliefs, social circumstances and ethno-linguistic background should take pride in living up to the revolutionary legacy of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan and be able to unite on a program of establishing and developing a government that upholds the national sovereignty and independence of the Filipino people.
I agree with you that the program of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism in 1966 is still valid and relevant today. Such basic problems of the Filipino people as US monopoly capitalism, feudal and semifeudal exploitation and bureaucratic corruption, have persisted and have become aggravated. Thus, the MAN program is still a useful guide or reference material for all patriotic and progressive Filipinos.
It is fine that you invoke the memory of MAN. I continue to cherish how at best we, together with the late Senator Lorenzo Tanada, Renato Constantino, Dean Jose Lansang, Rogaciano Mercado, Felixberto Olalia, Ignacio Lacsina, Satur Ocampo and many other patriots and progressives, could formulate a program and work together to advance the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people.###
Nine years ago, in a letter dated January 29, 1995,you invited me 'to provide the National Democratic Front with a draft comprehensive agreement on economic and social reforms as a contribution to the talksbetween the GRP (Government of the Republic of the Philippines) and teh NDF."
I didn't respond to your letter for two reasons:
One, I believed then, and I still believe even more so now, that the NDF couldn't possibly have been serious about negotiating with a government as committed to globalization as the the NDF is committed to nationalism. Globalism and nationalism are as oil and water to each other, and I couldn't see how both could possibly mix.
Globalism, in my view, is the incarnation of evil and one doesn't talk and negotiate with evil, either as a communist or an anticommunist.
The other reasons was that if I had acceded to your invitation and
submitted a draft agreement to the NDF, that would have made me a de
facto consultant of the
But the situation is a lot different now; and weshould talk about now and the future. We, as Filipinos, are racing against time.
The government has really one adversary to worry about-- and that isn't
the CPP/NDF. That adversary is mass hunger and it is the adversary of
the CPP/NDF, too.But mass hunger isn't reallyl the most disturbing aspect
of our situation. The most disturbing aspect isthat, anytime, Osama's
zealots might just succeed in realizing their long cherished dream of
seeing the Western financial system collaps and all it might take
Which brings me to the point. And my point is this: This government
isn't any more prepared to deal with the problem either of mass hunger
or a radiation bomb
If that perception is correct, then the Filipino people might just have to take matters in their own hands and act as if there isn't any government except that which they can put up by themselves. And they have to put up one soon if they are to avert what seems to me could easily be an imminent catastrophe.
What then do I propose? I propose the following:
That the CPP/NPA unilaterally announce that they are declaring a ceasefire
-- without in any way surrendering their arms -- and to make that announcement
by way of giving proof to the whole world, including to the world of
that imbecile at the
With that announcement, you and Louie Jalandoni then come back to the Philippines to talk about the needed economic, social and political reforms that in your view should be mounted immediately if this country is to escape the catastrophe which even a sixth grader can see is coming and the problem particularly of hunger.
Simultaneous with the announcement of your return, we can invite all concered to convene as a Congress of the People. Such a congress should operate separately from and parallel with the present Congress, whose main concern isn't really about the hunger but about how much of their pork to give up, or how much of their pork to retain while seeming to give up every piece of pork.
Instead of professional politicians, the Congress of the People shall be composed of delegates from the various sectors of society -- labor, farmers, business and industry, academe, professionals, artists, the aged and the handicapped, and the like -- whose interests haven't only been ignored by Congress but defiled as well as when Congress ratified the nation's accession to GATT and the WTO.
You and Jalandoni might even consider extending a public invitation to progressive elements of the Armed Forces who, after all, are under constitutional command to "protect the people and the State."
You might make clear whether you are first and foremost a Maoist, as you once proclaimed yourself to be, or whether you are first and foremost a Filipino revolutionary nationalist in the mold of Bonifacio and his revolutionary Katipuneros; and that you will be negotiating peace as such.
If you were to talk so, I have no doubt that we shall be able to mount that Congress of the People and by that take the first step in the proverbial journey of a thousand miles to establish a government that is truly sovereign and truly representative of the Filipino people.
On that basis, I think we can talk and get every Filipino of good will intelligent enough to perceive that this social order nobody, including the rich, to talk with us through the Congress ofthe People here proposed.
As to a program of government which we might ask the proposed Congress of the People to use as a starting point of deliberation, I would suggest the program which the MOvement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN) crafted in the late 1960s.
After all, you and I were members of that body, which had for its chairman the late senator Lorenzo Tañada and embraced a broad coalition of elements representative of the major sectors of PHilippine society.
If the proposal here conveyed is acceptable to you, let me know so that I can take steps, with colleagues in MAN, for the convening of a Congress of the People.
We aren't talking, Joe, of the future of Maoism in this country but
of the entire Filipino people living under a social system which, to
paraphrase a mutual friend -- the late Pepe Diokno -- works for the
interest of all Filipinos and not only in the interest
Tha's what MAN stood for; and so I address you as one MAN member would
address another in the name of our numerous colleagues who made up MAN
and lived under