A Stronger Revolutionary Movement
(Article in the December 13, 2006 issue of i Report, the online publication of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism)
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
13 December 2006
The ruling system in the Philippines is semicolonial and semifeudal. It is dominated
by foreign monopoly capitalist countries headed by the US and Japan. It is ruled
by the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class and managed by their
political representatives. The foreign and local exploiters collaborate against the
national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people.
The ruling system has its inherent weaknesses due to the backward, agrarian,
pre-industrial and semifeudal character of its social economy and is subject to
the policy impositions of the US and other imperialist powers. These powers
keep the Philippines as a reliable source of cheap raw materials and labor, a
lucrative market for surplus goods, a field of investments for surplus capital
and a source of superprofits. The illusion of development conjured by low
value-added semi-manufacturing for re-export and the boom in private
construction has been shattered since the 1997 financial crisis.
The ruling system is in a chronic and ever worsening economic and social crisis.
It is prevented from accumulating the capital for national industrial development
because the surplus product of the country is appropriated by the imperialist
super-profiteers, the local exploiting classes and the corrupt government officials.
The toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata are
subjected to an ever rising level of exploitation. The entire nation is made to
suffer ever bigger budgetary and trade deficits and ever mounting levels of
debt and tax burden.
The socio-economic crisis has been aggravated and deepened by the US-imposed
policy of "neoliberal globalization". The gravity of the socio-economic crisis has
resulted in an unprecedentedly serious political crisis, involving far sharper
contradictions among political factions of the exploiting classes within the civil
bureaucracy and within the military and police apparatuses of the state.
The ruling faction of Gloria M. Arroyo is detested not only by rival factions within
the reactionary classes but by the broad masses of the people because of its
illegitimacy based on electoral fraud, rampant corruption and gross human rights
violations. It has taken advantage of the US-dictated war of terror in order to
take the initiative of using military force and against the entire range of opposition
forces and broad masses of the people. Thus, the growing conditions of violence
and instability in the country.
I. Prospects of Reform up to 2010
The sharpening socio-economic and political crisis generates popular demands
for reforms as well as for revolution. The basic reforms most in demand are
meant to uphold, defend and promote national sovereignty and independence,
economic sovereignty and the national patrimony, genuine land reform and
industrial development, a patriotic, scientific and democratic system of culture
and education and independent foreign policy. These are demanded by the
patriotic and progressive reformers within the ruling system as well as by the
But the Arroyo regime is deaf to the demands. It continues to raise funds for
all its counterproductive and corrupt purposes by seeking foreign loans at
commercial rates, by increasing the local public debt and making heavier the
tax burden of the people. Such financial irresponsibility has clear limits. The
Philippine economy has actually been depressed since 1997. A bigger wave
of economic disaster is currently on the way from the direction of the US
economy. The unsustainability of high consumption based on borrowed funds,
the bursting of the housing bubble and the limits of high military spending as
economic stimulus are moving towards an unprecedented US recession and
drastic drop in US consumer demand for goods from China, the whole of Asia
and the rest of the world.
The Arroyo regime has always construed as the needed reforms what are the
dictates of US imperialism under the rubric of "neoliberal globalization." It has
also misrepresented as "political reforms" the changes it wants to make on the
1987 constitution. At the maximum, it wants to imitate Marcos by pretending
to shift from the presidential to a parliamentary form of government in order to
concentrate powers on Arroyo as a transitory president and to get the support
of the US by according national treatment to all kinds of foreign monopoly
investments and by allowing the return of US military bases. At the minimum,
the regime has hyped the campaign for "charter change" in a futile attempt to
distract the attention of the opposition and the people from seeking to oust
Arroyo. Up to now, Speaker Jose de Venecia is pushing a "constituent assembly"
without the approval of the Senate as a distinct body. Such unconstitutional
assembly will either be foiled by the Supreme Court or if somehow pushed through
it will generate political turmoil.
Because of the extremely reactionary and violent policies and actions of the Arroyo
regime, the honest reformers who are patriotic and progressive find themselves
completely frustrated in seeking reforms within the reactionary system. Thus,
they increasingly appreciate and welcome the revolutionary movement as a
pressure on the ruling system. Even the reformists, who denounce the revolutionary
movement and wish to use reforms for counterrevolution, find themselves totally
discredited. They are best exemplified and embarrassed by the clerico-fascist
Norberto Gonzales, the national security adviser, who long misrepresented himself
as a social-democratic reformer.
Revolutionaries are necessarily reformers even as they are definitely not reformists.
They seek reforms in being open to peace negotiations with the reactionary
government. They also wish the better elements in the reactionary government
to prevail over the bad ones on the matter of reforms. The Hague Joint Declaration
of 1992 clearly states the basic economic, social and political reforms that the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) seek in order to address the
roots of the armed conflict in negotiations with the reactionary government (GRP).
The NDFP has already demonstrated that it is capable of arriving at a comprehensive
agreement on respect for human rights and international humanitarian law. And it
has demanded that the economic, social and political reforms be negotiated and
agreed upon. But the Arroyo regime has treacherously sabotaged the peace
negotiations by collaborating with the US in putting the Communist Party of the
Philippines (CPP), the New People's Army (NPA) and the NDFP chief political
consultant in the so-called terrorist list and in launching Oplan Bantay Laya in order
to carry out the extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture, massacres and so many
gross human rights violations.
II. Prospects of Revolution and Outcome of Armed Struggle
The Arroyo regime has repeatedly declared that it has no interest in peace
negotiations with the NDFP and that it is determined to destroy before 2010
the revolutionary mass movement led by the CPP. In view of the intransigent
position of the regime, the revolutionary forces and people cannot pursue the
peace negotiations and have no choice but to defend themselves and defeat
the all-out war policy of the regime.
It is out of a narrow-minded kind of self-interest that the Arroyo regime wants
the civil war to continue and rage in the country. Arroyo herself has publicly
admitted several times that the all-out war policy is intended to rally and unite
the military and police forces under her baton and in order to gain economic
and military support from the US in line with its policy of "war on terror". She
has deliberately pushed higher the level of US intervention from year to year.
There are yet no clear indications that she wants to resume the formal talks
in the peace negotiations. She seems to be unaffected by the fact that the
Bush war of terror (wars of aggression and global promotion of fascism) has
been repudiated by the American electorate. It is very likely that the regime
will continue to escalate the military and police campaigns against the people
in suspected guerrilla fronts and the cowardly extrajudicial killings and abductions
of unarmed progressive party list leaders, workers, peasants, women, youth,
journalists, lawyers, religious and human rights activists.
Because of its fear of impeachment and conviction by Congress, the Arroyo
regime is hell bent on either pushing the unconstitutional "constituent assembly"
in order to cancel the 2007 elections of congressmen and senators or cheating
in these elections in order to control Congress. Either way there will be political
turbulence. Arroyo is determined to use violence against the opposition and the
people in order to keep herself in power.
In response to the all-out war policy and Oplan Bantay Laya of the regime, the
CPP, NPA, NDFP and the broad masses of the people have resolutely and militantly
fought back. They have issued publications (see www.philippinerevolution.net)
informing us that they have been able to frustrate the military and police campaigns
of the regime and to launch various forms of tactical offensives within the strategy
of defense. They are successfully waging an intensive and extensive guerrilla
warfare based on an ever widening and deepening mass base. They have seized
more arms from their enemy, often without firing a single shot. They are therefore
increasing the number of their fighting units and are forming more guerrilla fronts,
organs of political power and mass organizations.
They are becoming stronger from year to year. They can contribute significantly
to the ouster of the Arroyo regime before 2010 or they can at least help ensure
that the Arroyo regime is finished in 2010. They expect to deliver the hardest
blows on the worst rascals of the regime as these become more brutal and vicious
but are fast weakening or about to exit from political power. They look forward
to resume the formal talks in the peace negotiations with a new regime, especially
because this will be a product of the struggle against the Arroyo regime by a
broad united front of patriotic forces and by the broad masses of the people.
III. Direction of the Filipino People in 2010
The Filipino people will demand more strongly than ever before that reforms be
made to advance national independence, democracy, social justice, all-round
development and peace. By then, the socio-economic and political crisis of
the ruling system shall have become worse, despite the loss of power by the
Arroyo ruling clique. The reforms can be arrived at and implemented through
peace negotiations between the revolutionary movement and a government
that is more enlightened and more reasonable than the present one. Otherwise
oppression and exploitation will persist at intolerable levels. Thus, the revolutionary
forces and people will continue to wage armed revolution for national liberation
and democracy against US imperialism and its local lackeys. ###