Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution
Accomplish National Liberation and Democracy and Pave the Way for a Bright Socialist Future
Since its reestablishment on December 26, 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines has stood out as the advanced detachment of the Filipino proletariat and as the leading force in the Filipino people’s democratic revolution. It has firmly upheld its revolutionary principles and won brilliant victories in revolutionary struggles against all forces that oppress and exploit the Filipino people.
It is guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, the universal theory of the revolutionary proletariat. It uses this theory in comprehending the history and concrete conditions of the Philippines and integrates it with the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. Thus, it has led the Filipino people from one victory to another against US imperialism and the reactionary classes of the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class in the semicolonial and semifeudal society.
The Party resolutely adheres to the proletarian revolutionary standpoint, viewpoint and method and ceaselessly studies the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho and other great communist thinkers and leaders. It reaffirms the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist criticism and repudiation of classical and modern revisionism, the blatant restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries and the errors of subjectivism and opportunism that were confronted and defeated by the First and Second Great Rectification Movements.
The Party always stands ready in theory and practice to reaffirm basic revolutionary principles and to criticize and repudiate among Party cadres and members manifestations of subjectivism of the dogmatist and empiricist varieties and opportunism of the Right and “Left” varieties. In waging political struggle, the Party builds its own strength and that of the New People’s Army and the national united front by relying on the masses and doing everything to arouse, organize and mobilize them for the revolutionary struggle. In its organizational life, the Party upholds democratic centralism and rejects bureaucratism and ultra-democracy.
Victories of the Party
The victories of the Communist Party of the Philippines flow from its adherence to Marxist-Leninist theory, the correct analysis of Philippine history and society, the revolutionary leadership of the working class, the program and line of the people’s democratic revolution and the strategy and tactics of protracted people’s war. These victories are the outcome of the correct proletarian revolutionary stand in ideological, political and organizational building and the arduous struggle and sacrifices of Party cadres and members and the broad masses of the people under their leadership.
By building and tempering itself in a prolonged and ceaseless revolutionary struggle, the Party has made its own unique contributions to the development of revolutionary theory and practice. It has attained a nationwide and mass character and nurtured a growing disciplined membership which engages in criticism and self-criticism to overcome errors and weaknesses and improve on its work and working style. It has gone deep among the toiling masses of workers and peasants and accumulated victories in the people’s democratic revolution.
The Party started from scratch in resuming the Philippine revolution on the road of armed struggle. It overcame the obstacles posed by the Lava revisionist renegades and the Taruc-Sumulong gangster clique as well as the onslaughts of the reactionary state. Then it prevailed over the attempt of the US-Marcos clique to nip it in the bud and subsequently over the full-blown fascist dictatorship which sought to destroy it by the most cruel methods perpetrated against the broad masses of the people.
In the course of the antifascist, anti-imperialist and antifeudal struggle, the Party grew in strength and advanced the people’s democratic revolution. On the basis of the revolutionary mass succeeded in building a people’s army and national united front that became strong enough to cause the downfall of the fascist dictatorship in 1986,. If not for the subjectivist and “Left” opportunist errors mostly in the 1980s, the Party and the people’s army would have become even stronger. But even then, the New People’s Army stands to this day as the strongest revolutionary army that the Filipino people have ever had.
The replacement of the US-Marcos regime by the series of pseudodemocratic regimes that started with the US- Aquino regime has not solved the fundamental problems of the persistent semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system but has only aggravated them. The same oligarchy of big compradors and landlords servile to the US and other imperialist powers continue to rule the Philippines. The US has directed its puppet government to adopt and implement the neoliberal economic policy and other policies to undercut national independence, curtail democracy and violate human rights, prevent economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, suppress a national, scientific and mass culture and oppose international solidarity, peace and development against imperialist plunder and war.
The US-controlled big comprador-landlord system continues to deteriorate. The socioeconomic and political crises continue to worsen and deepen. The economy remains agrarian, poverty-stricken, deficit-ridden, bankrupt and overburdened by superprofit remittances, mounting local and foreign debt, military expenditures, bureaucratic corruption and the high consumption of the exploiting classes. The restoration of bourgeois democratic embellishments on the ruling system is exposed as hypocritical by rampant human rights violations by the reactionary armed force and by the increasing armed factionalization and violent internal contradictions of the ruling classes. The ground is therefore fertile for the growth and advance of the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.
As the advanced detachment of the working class, the Communist Party of the Philippines is ever conscious of its duty to accomplish the people’s democratic revolution and consequently carry out the historic mission of building socialism. As the most productive and progressive force in the entire history of mankind, the working class and its Party have the capability of comprehensively leading and developing the revolutionary forces for the liberation of all the toiling masses and the entire nation from foreign and feudal domination and proceeding to socialist revolution and construction.
The Party is confident of building socialism and steadily moving towards communism by following and developing Comrade Mao’s theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship by combatting revisionism, preventing the restoration of capitalism and consolidating socialism. The revisionist betrayal of socialism and the full restoration of capitalism in former socialist countries made the imperialist powers deliriously happy and even gave them the illusion that history could no longer go beyond capitalism. But since then, the increase of competing capitalist powers has resulted in the accelerated worsening of the crisis of the world capitalist system, sharper inter-imperialist contradictions and a more bitter struggle for a redivision of the world.
In the meantime, the Party carries out the people’s democratic revolution, which is correspondent to the semicolonial and semifeudal character of Philippine society. The global context of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution remains more valid and clearer than ever before. The rapidly worsening crisis of the world capitalist system is generating the global and domestic conditions favorable to the accelerated development of the Party, the New People’s Army and the united front as the three powerful weapons of the Filipino people.
In waging revolution, the Party wields armed struggle and the united front as its weapons. It exercises absolute leadership over the New People’s Army and conducts people’s war as the principal form of struggle. It builds the united front both for the armed struggle and the legal forms of struggle. It wages all forms of struggle but armed struggle is the principal form because it carries out the central task of the revolution, which is to seize arms from the enemy, build people’s democratic power and destroy the political power of the reactionary classes subservient to the US and other imperialist powers.
The Party and Armed Revolution
Without the people’s army, the people have nothing. Without people’s war, the revolutionary forces and the people are powerless and the joint class dictatorship of the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class can continue undiminished. Without the victory of people’s war and the people’s army, national liberation and social revolution are impossible.
The Party firmly applies the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside over a protracted period of time until conditions are ripe for seizing the cities in the strategic offensive. The people’s army relies on a wide and deepgoing rural mass base, builds sustainable fighting units, lures in the enemy forces deep and finishes them off in a series of death traps. It engages in counter-encirclements and counter-offensives. Whenever possible, it delivers hard blows on enemy weak points in the urban areas. In the main, it launches battles and campaigns of annihilation and accumulates strength in the countryside until it is capable of carrying out the strategic offensive against the enemy in cities and in final holdouts.
The New People’s Army is not a purely military formation. Aside from being distinctively a fighting force, it performs political, productive, cultural and other tasks under the leadership of the Party. It differentiates itself from the enemy armed forces (paid instruments of imperialism and the local exploiting classes) by serving the people and relying on them and enjoying their wholehearted participation and support in the armed struggle. The armed struggle is integrated with the carrying out of land reform and the building of the organs of political power and mass organizations in the countryside.
Short of the stage of the strategic offensive, the revolutionary movement must wage armed struggle mainly in the countryside. Here the people’s army can have the most initiative in launching successful tactical offensives and the widest room for preserving itself and growing in strength. Here the armed struggle can be based on the largest possible mass support (that of the peasantry) and be combined with the most substantive democratic reform, which is land reform, and with the building of organs of political power and the mass organizations.
The horizontal multiplication of fighting units and guerrilla fronts is necessary for building up the revolutionary forces on a far greater scale of population and territory, carrying out extensive and intensive warfare and developing the mass base capable of sustaining the people’s army. The enemy must be deprived of any visible target in the form of any armed unit which is prematurely large, nonsustainable and easily isolated. However, small units of the people’s army, if absolutely dispersed and without any center of gravity, are vulnerable to enemy surveillance and attacks. In any case, the units of the people’s army must keep a war of fluid movement and can do so only with the strong support of the masses.
The Party has successfully built the people’s army in the countryside and all over the archipelago. The enemy armed forces are being forced to divide their strength not only in the countryside, but also in so many islands as a result of the people’s war. Furthermore, they are being divided between cities and countryside and within the cities and camps as the result of contradictions among the reactionaries, military factionalism, the threats of coup and countercoup and armed challenges from the Bangsamoro struggle. The fighting units of the New People’s Army are never lacking in targets against which it can concentrate superior strength in the tactical offensives of guerrilla warfare.
All over the country, there are several scores of guerrilla fronts, territorially distinguishable as the central and secondary districts and qualitatively distinguishable as stable guerrilla base areas, well-developed guerrilla zones and unstable guerrilla zones. Guerrilla fronts include or influence town centers and provincial capitals and cities or portions thereof. As the people’s war progresses, the people’s army can control or liberate the less urbanized areas before taking on the urbanized areas. Major extractive and agricultural enterprises and lines of major transport, communications and power supply are always vulnerable to the actions of the people’s army.
There is dialectical interaction and coordination between the armed struggle in the countryside and the legal democratic mass movement based in the cities. As the people’s war develops and the ruling system tends to disintegrate, the legal democratic mass movement in the urban areas can surge forward more rapidly and mass actions can grow ever larger. Warfare by armed city partisans and commando units can also accelerate.
Uprisings in urban areas become possible in due time. They are best undertaken when the people’s army has reached the stage of strategic offensive. Premature uprisings must be avoided so as not to jeopardize the legal democratic mass movement. The legal and defensive character of this movement must be respected. Its measure of success lies in ever larger mass mobilizations, solid organizing, militancy and aggravation of the political crisis and ever increasing direct support to the armed struggle in the countryside, and not in running far ahead of the balance of armed power through spontaneous mass violence.
The people’s war is still in the stage of the strategic defensive and is striving to advance from the middle phase to advanced phase of this stage. It is laying the basis for the strategic stalemate. Because of the uneven development of the armed revolution and the offensive capabilities of the enemy, there will be localized stalemates of varying scales from the municipal level to higher levels (district, provincial and regional) before it can be proclaimed by the Party that the strategic stalemate has become prevalent on a national scale.
As the people’s army further grows in strength, reaching the stage of the strategic stalemate on a nationwide scale, the US imperialists and possibly other foreign forces can be expected to escalate military intervention and even undertake all-out aggression. Victory can be assured by confidently strengthening the revolutionary forces and preparing against the worst. In view of the strategic importance of the Philippines and US military presence here, it is wishful thinking to expect that the United States, Japan and their Southeast Asian puppets can be caught napping.
Because the Party and the people’s army have the determination to defeat the enemy completely on a nationwide scale up to his final holdout, it is unavoidable for them to go through the initial, middle and final stages of the process of defeating the enemy. It is necessary for them at each stage to grow in strength and change the balance of forces in their favor before going on to the next stage. The probable course of development of the people’s war includes the strategic stages of defensive, stalemate and offensive (or counteroffensive). Ultimately, the enemy must be reduced from a position of military superiority and strategic offensive to a position of military inferiority, strategic defensive and eventual total defeat.
The Party and the United Front
The leadership of the working class, through its revolutionary party, is absolutely necessary in the united front for the people’s democratic revolution. Otherwise the imperialists and the big bourgeoisie can derail the revolution before or after the seizure of power by using and manipulating any or all strata of the bourgeoisie: petty, middle and big. This has been repeatedly proven in the history of the world and the Philippines in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution.
The Party leads the basic alliance of workers and peasants; the basic forces of the revolution, including the urban petty bourgeoisie; and the positive forces of the revolution, including the middle bourgeoisie whose dual character must be recognized. By having the aforesaid alliances, the Party further broaden the alliance by taking advantage of the splits among the reactionaries, availing of temporary, unreliable and unstable allies for the purpose of subjecting the enemy to the worst possible isolation, weakness and ripeness for destruction.
Directly or through the National Democratic Front, the Party can enter into formal and informal alliances, bilateral or multilateral with other entities, be they parties, associations or individuals, in order to build national unity, strengthen the revolutionary forces and pave the way for the people’s democratic government. The Party and the people build the organs of political power along the line of the united front.
The Party always stands for the leading role of the working class in the united front and in the revolution. When it goes into any formal alliance, the Party maintains its independence and initiative; and does not allow a class other than the working class to become dominant and change the new democratic character of the Philippine revolution. Although the urban petty bourgeoisie is an important ally of the working class and is even a source of cadres who must first go through proletarian remolding, it should not be allowed to dissolve the leadership of the working class, dilute the national democratic program and derail the revolution.
By going to the countryside and building the people’s army, the peasant movement and the people’s revolutionary government, the Party builds and develops the basic alliance of the working class and peasantry as the foundation of the national united front. The national democratic revolution is thereby advanced. The antifeudal content of this revolution gets its due attention and is realized.
Within the national united front, the antifeudal united front is pursued. It involves the Party relying on the poor peasants, farm workers and lower-middle peasants, winning over the rest of the middle peasants, neutralizing the rich peasants, and taking advantage of the splits among the landlords (persuading the enlightened gentry to comply with land reform) in order to isolate and destroy the despotic evil gentry.
Upon the proven strength of the worker-peasant alliance, the Party can more easily attract the urban petty bourgeoisie, which is now suffering from the ravages of the social crisis, into the revolutionary movement and the national united front. The working class, peasantry and urban petty bourgeoisie comprise the basic forces of the Philippine revolution. The urban petty bourgeoisie is attracted to the revolutionary fold not by the weakening and denial but by the strengthening and affirmation of the working class leadership and the worker-peasant alliance.
These basic forces and the national bourgeoisie comprise the positive forces of the national united front. The latter is most cooperative in areas where the political power of the revolutionary forces is strong enough. The Party augments the strength of the broad united front by taking advantage of the splits within the reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords. The broadest range of positive forces and some sections of the reactionaries can narrow down, isolate and destroy the most counterrevolutionary force at a given time. Thus, one reactionary group after another can be defeated. The series of reactionary ruling cliques can be brought down until the entire ruling system collapses.
Self-reliance and International Support
The Filipino people have accumulated revolutionary strength through the building of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, the National Democratic Front, the people’s revolutionary government and the mass organizations. On this basis, the people can further advance in the people’s democratic revolution and ultimately win total victory.
The Party and the people have resolutely carried out the revolution self-reliantly and independently. It is the class enemy that has been dependent on a foreign power, US imperialism. It is therefore necessary and just for the Party and the people to seek international support in order to supplement internal strength and counter the escalating intervention and threat of aggression by the US and other foreign forces.
The Party firmly holds on to its perspective of carrying out socialist revolution and construction upon the total victory of the people’s democratic revolution. Further on, the achievement of socialism shall be the basis for building communism. The Party is guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and is armed beforehand by the Maoist theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through a series of cultural revolutions in order to combat revisionism, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate socialism.
In seeking to discredit the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and to demoralize the ranks of the revolutionary movement, the imperialists and the local reactionaries harp on the defeat and disintegration of socialism by revisionist ruling cliques in certain countries. The restoration of capitalism is touted as democratization. But in fact in these countries, the bourgeois liberalization of the economy, politics and culture has paved the way for the return of bourgeois class dictatorship.
The Filipino proletariat and people have continuously been under the rule of the big bourgeoisie and landlord class; they have no choice but to wage revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy against such rule. The theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is the correct guide to the national democratic and socialist stages of the Philippine revolution. The full restoration of capitalism in certain countries serves to challenge the Filipino communists to study in advance the theory of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship.
It is a key task of the Communist Party in power to maintain and develop the proletarian revolutionary consciousness of the intelligentsia, bureaucrats and technocrats and dissuade them from becoming divorced from the toiling masses and becoming bourgeoisified in socialist society. The longstanding antirevisionist position of the Party since reestablishment has been vindicated. The lessons that can be learned from the peaceful evolution of socialism through revisionism to capitalism and the class dictatorship of the big bourgeoisie, are of great importance now and in the future.
In the aftermath of the disintegration of revisionist parties and regimes, the restoration of capitalism in certain countries and collapse of the Soviet Union in the period of 1989 to 1991, the US boasted of itself as the sole superpower and winner of the Cold War and proceeded to carry out anti-communist ideological and political offensives, escalate the neoliberal economic offensive of unbridled greed and plunder and unleash the neoconservative policy of full-spectrum dominance and prime use of hightech military power for wars of aggression in order to maintain US imperialist hegemony in the 21st century.
For a while, there was a temporary ebb in the anti-imperialist and socialist movement in the world. But the fundamental contradictions within the world capitalist system have sharpened. The crisis of the world capitalist system has continuously worsened. The crisis of overproduction is accelerated by the neoliberal policy regime and the adoption of higher technology for higher profit. The reckless expansion of money and credit to buoy up or bail out the big banks and firms has served to generate one financial bubble after another which inevitably bursts and compounds the economic crisis with the financial crisis.
The strategic decline of the US has accelerated. It is well assisted by the economic competition and political rivalry provided by the former socialist countries, Russia and China. Contradictions among the imperialist powers have intensified, with the economic and security blocs of the US, European Union and Japan at odds with those of China and Russia. Social conditions are deteriorating in the capitalist countries. Social turbulence resulting from neocolonial and neoliberal impositions by imperialist powers characterizes their client-states in underdeveloped countries. The world is on the eve of unprecedented upheavals and social revolution. Time is in favor of the Philippine revolutionary forces as they persevere in struggle and accumulate victories.
Like the Bolsheviks in the period of the Second International and the rise of modern imperialism, the Filipino communists are holding high the red banner of the proletarian leadership, armed revolution and proletarian internationalism. They take advantage of the insoluble and worsening crisis of the world capitalist system and domestic ruling system. They ceaselessly build the revolutionary forces of the people and are confident of gaining more international support and making new contributions to the resurgence and advance of the anti-imperialist and socialist cause in the world proletarian revolution.
I. Critique of the Semicolonial and Semifeudal society
The United States was able to impose its colonial rule on the Philippines as a result of the brutal conquest of the Filipino people, the defeat of the old type of democratic revolution, the cooptation of its bourgeois leadership and the retention of feudal property rights at the beginning of the century.
Unlike Spain the old colonial ruler, driven by mercantile capitalism, the United States is an industrial capitalist or modern imperialist power driven by its industrial monopoly banks and firms to dominate other countries, export surplus capital and surplus commodities, plunder the raw materials and labor in the underdeveloped countries and extract superprofits under the guise of free enterprise and free trade.
In more than 300 years of colonial rule, Spain carried out plunder through conscripted labor, trading monopolies, feudal rent, religious tribute and taxation and developed a feudal system in the Philippines that matured under the stimulus of foreign trade in the nineteenth century.
The native population of the colonial and feudal society included landlords; a thin strip of entrepreneurs, merchants, master artisans and intelligentsia and a huge mass of peasantry comprising about 90 percent of the population. On top of this were the colonial bureaucrats, the foreign traders and the friar landlords.
The Semifeudal Mode of Production
As soon as it could impose its direct colonial rule, the US started to transform the Philippine mode of production from a feudal to a semifeudal one. It expanded raw-material production for the industrial capitalist countries by introducing more equipment for the production of export crops and for opening the mines, allowing some low-value added and import-dependent enterprises subordinate to foreign monopoly and comprador firms, expanding the educational system for the needs of business and the bureaucracy, removing the feudal restrictions on the migration of peasants and improving transport and communications for increased domestic and foreign trade.
The pattern of investments is determined and limited by the dominant interests of the foreign monopoly firms and banks and by such local exploiting classes as the big compradors and landlords. To this day, the Philippine economy remains underdeveloped, agrarian and preindustrial.
Semifeudal is the most precise descriptive term for this economy because it points to the persistence of land as the principal means of production and main source of the surplus product as well as of the feudal production relations at the base of the economy and because it also points to the strategic dominance of a domestic big bourgeoisie which is not industrial but comprador and whose main source of Philippine-produced goods for trading is agricultural. Other terms, such as “free enterprise” and dependent capitalism, used by bourgeois economists refer only to certain aspects of the economy and not to the essential character of the entire economy.
The Philippines has a big population of nearly 110 million (the twelfth largest in the world) and a comprehensive natural resource base for industrialization. But imperialism and the local exploiting classes have prevented industrial development. Thus, the Philippines has remained without industrial foundation — no basic industries producing basic metals, chemicals, capital goods, core processes of electronic production and so on. The existing industrial enterprises are dependent on the importation of equipment, processed components, fuel and other raw materials.
At the peak of the Philippine social structure are the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class as principal owners of the means of production that are not totally or mainly owned by foreign corporations. They comprise only about one percent of the population. The comprador big bourgeoisie has the most concentrated financial and economic power by owning commercial banks and major enterprises. It also doubles as landlord class by owning vast tracts of land. The entirety of the landlord class, including the noncomprador members, is the more widespread exploitative class.
The intermediate social strata are the middle and petty bourgeoisie. The middle bourgeoisie has for its core the owners of medium-type productive enterprises which use a significant amount of local labor and raw materials. It includes about one percent of the population. The petty bourgeoisie may be subdivided into the urban and rural sections. The urban petty bourgeoisie includes the small entrepreneurs and traders and the intelligentsia in general and is 6 to 8 percent of the population. The rural petty bourgeoisie includes the general run of owner-tillers of the land, including middle and rich peasants, and is around 15 percent of the population.
The basic toiling masses are the working class and peasantry. They are the basic producers of goods and services and are the most exploited people in the country. They comprise around 90 percent of the population. The working class, including the regular modern machine-operating farm workers but excluding the traditional farm workers who are more than 95 percent of all farm workers, comprises 14 to 15 percent of the population. The entire peasantry comprises 75 percent of the population but the poor and lower middle peasants who often double as seasonal farm workers and as rural and urban odd jobbers are at least 60 percent of the population.
It is necessary to stress the semifeudal character of the social economy because there have been attempts to attack the general line of people’s democratic revolution and the necessity of protracted people’s war by misleading claims that the Philippine economy is already a newly industrialized country and is highly urbanized. The statistical tricks include (1) breaking apart the gross output value into agricultural, industrial and service sectors without reference to the lack of basic industries, nor to the mainly agricultural basing of the service sector and the falsity of employment statistics; (2) exclusion of the traditional seasonal farm workers and oddjobbers from the peasantry; and (3) classification of provincial cities and municipalities as urban and industrial although these are in fact basically rural in character, notwithstanding the existence of a small commercial core.
As of July 4, 1946, the United States shifted from a direct to indirect colonial rule over the Philippines by granting nominal independence to a puppet neocolonial republic and allowing the political parties and politicians of the local exploiting classes of comprador big bourgeoisie and landlords to assume responsibility for national political rule and administration.
The Philippines is semicolonial, independent in form but subservient in fact to the United States. The United States has maintained its strategic and all-round power over the Philippines through unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements in all spheres of Philippine society — socio-economic, politico-military and cultural.
The social economy is an underdeveloped and semifeudal appendage of the US and the world capitalist system. The US and other foreign monopoly capitalists control the patterns of investments, consumption, trade and credit. They plunder the economy and ruin the environment in order to extract superprofits. The local exploiting classes are their economic and financial agents. Under the direction of the US and other foreign monopoly firms, they exploit the people and keep the country backward.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the main component of the joint class dictatorship of these exploiting classes and is dependent on the US for strategic planning, intelligence, training and logistics under the US-RP Military Assistance Pact. After being prohibited by the 1987 constitution from having military bases and troops in the Philippines and failing to extend the US-Military Bases Agreement in 1991, the US has reacquired extraterritorial prerogatives of its military forces by invoking the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty and a series of pretexts, including joint military exercises, humanitarian action, war on terrorism and protection from China’s expansionism.
The US has been able to reacquire military landing and supply rights through the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement of 1992 (which would further become the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement), rotational military presence anywhere in the Philippines through the Visiting Forces Agreement of 1999 and military bases inside camps and reservations of the reactionary armed forces through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (2014). The violation of Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity continues. The Philippines is implicated and embroiled in US regional and global strategies of military intervention and aggression.
The established system of schools, mass media and other cultural institutions and mechanisms is under the ideological, political, organizational and financial control of the US and the local reactionary forces. The US has been able to influence and shape the educational and cultural system through US agencies, foundations, media corporations engaged in the dissemination of news and opinions, TV programs, movies and pop music, the World Bank and other UN agencies. Unless they undergo progressive political education and revolutionary ideological remolding, the intelligentsia and the rest of the urban petty bourgeoisie tend to be the passive transmission belt of imperialist and reactionary ideas although they may easily complain against the degree of exploitation which they suffer.
Semicolonial and semifeudal society is always in crisis because it is afflicted by the three rapacious forces of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. These have imposed extreme conditions of exploitation and oppression on the broad masses of the people. Thus, there have always been fertile conditions for armed revolution.
In the wake of World War II and the US reconquest of the Philippines, national and social contradictions continued to cause social unrest and popular resistance against the US and the local exploiting classes. There was a people’s army which had become tempered and grown in struggle against the Japanese imperialists.
However, the conditions favorable for armed revolution were not correctly acted upon by the leadership of the old merger party of the Communist Party and Socialist Party.
Such leadership did not put forward any program for a people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war and did know how to build the revolutionary party of the proletariat and how to wield the weapons of armed struggle and the united front. Errors of subjectivism and opportunism, swinging from Right opportunism (parliamentarism as principal form) to “Left” opportunism (the 1950 policy of quick military victory in two years’ time) and back again to Right opportunism (liquidationism and capitulationism) deprived the people of the revolutionary leadership of the proletariat.
Thus, the revolutionary movement was defeated and the enemy was able to consolidate its rule in the 1950s. It would be only after the resurgence of the anti-imperialist and antifeudal mass movement under the leadership of new proletarian revolutionary cadres in the 1960s that the Communist Party of the Philippines could be reestablished on the theoretical foundation of Marxism- Leninism-Maoism and could unfold clearly the program of people’s democratic revolution in 1968.
The reestablishment of the Party was timely. The chronic crisis of the ruling system was plunging to a new level of deterioration. The ruling classes and the ruling clique were increasingly incapable of ruling in the old way. The competing reactionary factions were talking of constitutional reforms and the Marcos ruling clique was clearly intending to use these in order to do away with the bourgeois-democratic facade of the big comprador-landlord system.
It was in the late 1960s that the land frontier of the country became exhausted and scarce for resettlement and homesteading by the ever increasing surplus labor in the countryside. Together with some US agricorporations, the big compradors and the landlord class were grabbing the logged over lands and dispossessing the poor settlers and national minorities of their land. The lack of industrial development beyond the establishment of flimsy import-dependent manufacturing enterprises since the 1950s limited the absorption of the ever increasing surplus labor.
Simultaneous with the aggravation of the land problem, the unequal exchange of raw-material exports and manufactured imports was resulting in huge trade deficits and necessitating large amounts of foreign loans. One after the other, Philippine agricultural and mineral exports (coconut, copper, sugar, etc.) became depressed and increased the ranks of the unemployed in succeeding years. Under the stress of the socioeconomic crisis, the Marcos regime undertook further in inflationary government spending and initiated the blatant use of official and unofficial armed units to win the elections in 1969 and 1971.
The reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968, the resumption of the armed revolution in 1969 and surge of the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and the Diliman Commune of 1971, together with the protest mass actions up to 1972, inspired the working class and the entire people to intensify their struggle against the ruling system. The conflict among factions of the ruling classes also became more intense and bitter, especially after Marcos engineered the Plaza Miranda bombing and sought to scapegoat the Party and Senator Benigno S. Aquino as the perpetrators. The incident almost wiped out the national leadership of the electoral opposition party. Marcos used the incident to justify the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus on August 21, 1971 and prepare for the declaration of martial law in 1972.
The Marcos Fascist Regime
Under the instigation of US imperialism, Marcos declared martial law and imposed fascist dictatorship on the people on September 21, 1972. This categorically marked the inability of the comprador bourgeoisie and landlord class to rule in the old way. The entire bourgeois democratic facade of the ruling system crumbled as the despot subjected his political rivals, the legal democratic forces and the small clandestine revolutionary forces to brutal acts of suppression.
The United States propped up the Marcos fascist dictatorship by providing it with a massive flow of foreign loans to cover deficits, support infrastructure and other nonproductive projects, sustain a rapid military buildup as well as the high consumption and wealth-grabbing by a privileged few. The US, Japanese and other transnational firms and banks and the bureaucrat capitalists headed by Marcos looted the financial and economic system. Although Marcos and his cronies among the native exploiters got the lion’s share, the other sections of the exploiting big comprador-landlord classes were quite satisfied with the spin-off from foreign loans until the imperialist credit system increasingly tightened from 1979 onwards.
Despite the heavy inflow of foreign funds and the rapid buildup of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the fascist dictatorial regime of the US-Marcos clique failed to destroy the armed revolutionary movement led by the Party. Instead, all the legal and illegal forces of the people’s democratic revolution self-reliantly grew in strength through hard struggle and by taking advantage of favorable factors such as the Moro armed resistance, broad opposition to the fascist regime and the persistent worsening of the economic and political crisis. When repression was at its most intense, the Party had scarcely any contact with nor assistance from any fraternal party abroad. On the other hand, the fascist regime made political capital out of its diplomatic and trade relations with other countries, including those that regarded themselves as socialist.
The self-reliant and consistent revolutionary struggle of the people undermined the fascist regime and caused it to fall in the end. The US and anti-Marcos reactionaries became convinced of the necessity of letting Marcos fall only because of their counterrevolutionary fear that if he stayed longer in power the armed revolutionary movement would advance faster. Thus, there came about a convergence of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary forces to bring about the fall of the Marcos ruling clique.
Immediately after Marcos foiled the US-instigated coup attempt of the Reform the AFP Movement (RAM), the people’s uprising became dominant in isolating the Marcos regime and causing its downfall. But the balance of strength between the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary forces was still such that the US, the dominant Catholic church, the bourgeois opposition parties and the anti-Marcos sections of the exploiting classes could decide the character and composition of the new regime to be installed. The semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system remained intact.
The Pseudo-Democratic Regimes
Since the popular overthrow of the Marcos fascist regime, a series of pseudo-democratic regimes headed by big comprador-landlord cliques beholden and subservient to US imperialism has ruled the Philippines. This corrupt oligarchy has rabidly followed the US-instigated neoliberal economic policy to exploit the people and plunder their natural resources. It has carried out state terrorism and strategic military plans in a futile attempt to suppress the people and their revolutionary forces. It has applauded all the wars of aggression that the US has unleashed in the Balkans, in Central Asia, West Asia, Africa and elsewhere.
The first Aquino regime (1986-92) adopted all the Marcos decrees antagonistic to the Filipino nation and the working class and favorable to the US and other foreign investors and creditors and the local exploiting classes. It pushed trade liberalization and opposed the line of national industrialization. It agreed with the imperialist banks to pay for the most odious foreign debts of the fascist regime. It pushed a new constitution that paid lip service to democracy but deprived the landless tillers of land and social justice by defining land reform as voluntary sale of land by the landlords and just compensation for land at fair market value. Thus, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was as fake as the bogus land reform program of Marcos, it was calculated to disable the peasants from completing payments for the land.
The regime pretended to engage the revolutionary movement in a ceasefire agreement in late 1986. As soon as it thought that it had consolidated its rule, it proceeded to “unsheathe the sword of war” and unleashed Oplan Lambat Bitag I against the people and revolutionary forces. Notwithstanding its repressive policy towards the revolutionary forces, it continued to be pressured by coup threats and coup attempts by the followers of Enrile in the AFP. The regime expanded the local public debt and could not show any significant improvement on the underdeveloped economy and the conditions of mass unemployment and poverty. The Marcos family and cronies were allowed to return to the Philippines and rejoin the political game after they gave a major share of their loot to the Cojuangco-Aquino family and its dummies.
The Ramos regime (1992-1998) became the special instrument of the US in patching up the splits within the reactionary armed forces since 1986 and converting mutiny ringleaders into politicians, managers and businessmen. It connived with the US in trying to overcome the 1991 end of US military bases and reacquire the prerogatives of military intervention. It carried out Oplan Lambat Bitag II and III against the revolutionary forces even as these were engaged in the Second Great Rectification Movement and focused on political education and mass work to lay the ground for tactical offensives which increased from 1996 onwards. The regime sought to carry out peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front to obtain their capitulation. It succeeded with the latter.
It was obsessed with peace and order as a condition for implementing the neoliberal economic policy. It pushed the privatization of state enterprises and the huge Fort Bonifacio in order to obtain nonrenewable income, augment foreign and local borrowing and cover widening budgetary and trade deficits. It threw the economy wide open to foreign monopoly interests by pushing investment and trade liberalization and doing away with previous nationality requirements in mining, banking, retail trade, public utilities and other types of enterprises. It encouraged foreign corporations and big compradors firms to engage in building infrastructure and energy projects and private construction of office and residential towers and leisure facilities. The building boom seemed to be doing well forever until the Asian financial crisis of 1997 struck.
The Estrada regime (1998-2001) assumed power over a bankrupt government. There seemed to be no thriving enterprises from which to draw enough government revenues to cover expenses. The regime was advised by the IMF to reduce the budget deficit. International credit continued to be tight. The president did not have the usual money flows in government and private business from which to obtain bureaucratic loot. Thus, he sought to obtain this from the numbers game (jueteng) usually conceded to military officers and local government officials and from loans of the social security system for financing casinos. He became vulnerable to popular overthrow after being easily exposed for corruption, after up, setting the government budget by attacking the camps of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front aside from carrying out Oplan Makabayan against the revolutionary movement and after revealing himself as a puppet by concluding the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US. His successor kept him in prison on corruption charges to make sure that he could not claim back the presidency.
The Arroyo regime (2001-2010) arose after the overthrow of Estrada, with his vice president Gloria M. Arroyo taking over the presidency. Like all previous regimes, it had no program of genuine land reform and national industrialization. It relied heavily on remittances of overseas contract workers and incomes from call centers and tourism and pushed the privatization of state assets in order to raise nonrenewable revenues. When in 2004 budgetary deficits grew because of widescale tax avoidance and tax evasion, the regime pushed the enactment of the 12 per cent value added tax and the E-VAT to increase tax revenues and reduce the large deficits at the expense of the people. In the last two remaining years of the regime, the price of rice and oil became inflated and caused a fiscal crisis. This coincided with the financial crisis which began with the mortgage meltdown in the US and spread worldwide in 2008.
The Arroyo regime became politically unstable because of the public exposure of the electoral fraud that enabled Arroyo to win the 2004 presidential election. It became a target of public opprobrium also because of corruption charges against the president and her husband in various shady deals, including the NBN-ZTE Broadband Deal. It was rocked by mass protests as well by factionalism within the military and military coup attempts. Her relations with the Cojuangco-Aquino family broke down when she supported the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council or PARC to knock down the stock distribution option which enabled said family to avoid land reform of Hacienda Luisita. The Arroyo regime brutally carried out Oplan Bantay Laya I and II in a vain attempt to suppress the people and revolutionary forces. Human rights violations were so barbaric that the regime became notorious worldwide.
The second Aquino regime (2010-2016) benefited from a US scheme to use it for destroying the revolutionary movement or at least reducing it to “inconsequentiality” under Oplan Bayanihan. The scheme was to create the illusion of high growth of the Philippine economy with the use of “hot money” or portfolio investments from US and other foreign hedge funds. At the peak in 2013-14 these accounted for 65 per cent of the money flow. They went mainly to the stock and bond markets and were coursed through the banks which also used these to finance consumption-oriented enterprises, especially in real estate, and make possible higher government revenues for pork barrel allocations, military operations, big public-private partnership projects and doleout programs called PAMANA and Conditional Cash Transfer. But the “hot money” started to flow out in 2014 on expectations of interest hikes in the US and worse conditions of production slowdown and excessive debt in China.
Oplan Bayanihan was frustrated by the revolutionary forces of the people in Mindanao, Visayas and Luzon. The regions, subregions and guerrilla front that were under enemy attack prevailed and inspired other regions, subregions and guerrilla fronts to launch offensives. The bureaucrats and military officers headed by Aquino also rendered themselves ineffective because of their conspicuously extreme corruption and wealth-seeking. The scheme to prolong the ceasefire with the MILF and free more troops to fight the New People’s Army by making false promises in the Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law was also rendered useless by the growth of the revolutionary strength of the NPA and the disgust of the MILF and the Moro people with the chicanery of the Aquino regime.
The Aquino regime displayed unabashed subservience to the US. It allowed more frequent US military exercises, naval dockings and other operations. It gave the US military direct supervision over special police forces in conducting the operations leading to the Mamasapano incident. It signed the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in April 2014 which allowed the US military to build restricted military facilities inside AFP camps and other arranged locations.
Revolutionary Forces of the Filipino People
The small and weak revolutionary forces which the Marcos regime could not destroy from 1969 onwards, despite the fascist dictatorship from 1972 to 1986, are now much bigger and stronger than before. They have continued to grow in strength, advance and be tempered through fierce struggle, against a 14-year fascist dictatorship and a series of pseudo-democratic regimes that exploit and oppress the people and carry out US-designed strategic operational plans of counterrevolutionary violence and deception against the people and their revolutionary forces.
At this point in time, it is clear that the ruling system cannot realize its constant objective to destroy the armed revolutionary movement. Sometimes, a ruling clique seeks to confuse and swindle the movement and people with the use of peace rhetoric which is nothing more than a call for pacification and surrender. The firm stand of the Party and the people is that a just peace is not possible without the satisfaction of the people’s basic demands for national and social liberation.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, the National Democratic Front and the people’s revolutionary government are invincible and victorious because they fight for a just revolutionary cause, which is the national and social liberation of the people from US imperialism and the local reactionary classes, because they are the instruments of the Filipino people for national liberation and democracy.
The most noteworthy achievement of these revolutionary forces is that they have preserved and strengthened themselves self-reliantly, without any substantial material assistance from abroad, against tremendous odds posed by a fascist dictatorship and a succession of pseudo-democratic regimes enjoying huge US military and financial assistance.
The objective domestic conditions for the further growth in strength and advance of the revolutionary forces are exceedingly favorable. The Filipino people, the Party and all other revolutionary forces have the resoluteness, tenacity and confidence to continue the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war on the fertile ground of chronic economic, social and political crisis in the country aggravated by the world crisis. They feel well rewarded by the spread of Red political power in the countryside and enjoy high morale until it is time to seize the cities from the enemy.
They can see clearly the ever worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. US imperialism is in strategic decline and tries in vain to reverse the process only at the expense of other industrial capitalist powers but without hope of unilinear success. Economic competition and trade wars among the United States, Japan and Western Europe are now complicated and aggravated by the rise of China and Russia as capitalist rivals, amidst the increasingly depressed conditions of underdeveloped client-states. A struggle for the redivision of the world is occurring among capitalist powers in accordance with their relative strengths. The contradictions of the capitalist powers are sharpening in a crisis-stricken, stagnant and increasingly depressed capitalist world.
In the meantime, the United States is amicably seeking the sharing of military burden with Western Europe and Japan. The Japanese big bourgeoisie is taking advantage of the US decline and is building up its capacity to guarantee and support its economic expansionism with military power. At the same time, the US and Japan are combining to contain China. Insofar as the Philippines is concerned, they will increasingly cooperate to oppose the armed revolution in the Philippines.
As a result of the worsening conditions of exploitation and oppression, social and political turbulence is spreading and intensifying in the developed capitalist countries. In the underdeveloped countries and in the countries where the revisionist regimes gave way to the full restoration of capitalism, the social and political turbulence involves the emergence of the most reactionary monsters, including fascism, racism and religious bigotry. But ultimately the anti-imperialist and socialist cause will surge forward again.
II. Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution
The general program of the Filipino people and the Communist Party of the Philippines is a people’s democratic revolution. All Filipino communists must work and struggle to realize this long-term program and must be ready to sacrifice their lives if necessary in the struggle to bring about a new Philippines that is completely independent, democratic, united, just and prosperous.
US imperialism and the local reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords will never voluntarily give up their power to oppress and exploit the people. They use armed violence to guarantee and preserve the system of exploitation. To end the semicolonial and semifeudal system, the people have necessarily taken the road of armed revolution and they must persevere in waging a protracted people’s war until total victory is won.
In the political field, the Party must advance the revolutionary leadership of the proletariat and be at the core of the revolutionary mass movement of the basic toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata; fight to overthrow the reactionary state and the reactionary classes behind it; empower the people, especially the toiling masses, and establish a people’s democratic government, a coalition or united front government of the working class, peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie. The imperialists lose the privilege to exploit and oppress the nation, and the exploiting classes the privilege to do likewise to the toiling masses.
In the economic field, the Party must establish a self-reliant economy freed from foreign monopoly capitalism and feudalism; carry out genuine and thoroughgoing land reform; undertake national industrialization; guarantee a just and prosperous people’s livelihood; conserve the national patrimony and protect the environment; and make socialist construction possible. The commanding heights of the economy, including the banks and other financial institutions, existing strategic enterprises, major sources of raw materials and main instruments of transport and communications must be in the hands of the people’s democratic state in order to ensure the planned development of the economy and lay the foundation of socialism.
In the military field, the Party must command and build the New People’s Army as the main instrument of the people for smashing—through a people’s war–the bureaucratic and military machinery of the joint class dictatorship of the comprador big bourgeoisie and the landlord class and for enabling the current organs of political power to develop the people’s democratic state to arise on the basis of the local organs of political power. The strategic line of the people’s war and the people’s army is to encircle the cities from the countryside for as long as necessary until it becomes possible to seize power in the cities.
In the cultural field, the Party must promote among the people a national, scientific and mass system of culture and education, and combat all counterrevolutionary trends of thought through campaigns of education and information and with due respect to freedom of thought and belief. The patriotic spirit of the Filipino people must be intensified against imperialism and colonial mentality. The national cultural heritage must be cherished. Scientific education must prevail over superstition and obscurantism. Science and technology must serve the Filipino nation and its drive for all-round development. Free public education must be expanded. Education and culture must honor the heroic toiling masses and revolutionary cadres and fighters, and respond to their demands for social liberation and development.
In the field of foreign relations, the Party must realize an actively independent and peace-loving foreign policy and develop relations at the level of countries, peoples, parties and governments under the over-all guidance of proletarian internationalism. Priority must give to fraternal relations with revolutionary forces and movements abroad that are fighting for national liberation, peace and development against imperialism. The people’s democratic state must have diplomatic and trade relations with all friendly countries, regardless of ideology and social system, in accordance with the policy of peaceful coexistence.
For greater clarity, the Party hereunder states ten points for its general program:
1. Overthrow the Forces of US imperialist and Feudal Oppression.
The overriding interest of the Filipino people now is to fight for the total victory of the people’s democratic revolution. This can be achieved by defeating and overthrowing the forces of US imperialist and feudal domination whose basic interests lie in the continued national and class enslavement and exploitation of the Filipino people. The bureaucratic and military machinery of the big comprador-landlord state must be smashed and the fascist criminals and traitors must be punished.
Armed revolution must be waged to defeat the armed counterrevolution and the united front must bring together all positive forces and take advantage of the splits among the reactionaries in order to isolate and destroy the enemy. The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces must extirpate the power and influence of the US imperialists and the local exploiting classes.
The Party must build the people’s democratic power in the countryside before it can seize the cities. It must fight, discredit and isolate the monopoly of political power by the reactionaries in the cities. In this regard, the armed revolutionary movement and the legal democratic mass movement must complement and help each other in disintegrating and destroying the power of the enemy.
2. Establish a People’s Democratic State and a Coalition Government.
The ultimate goal of the people’s democratic revolution is the establishment of the people’s democratic state and a coalition or united front government. The people’s democratic state shall be under the leadership of the working class, founded on the basic alliance of the working class and peasantry, and shall include such other democratic classes as the urban petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie. The Party as the ruling party, in representation of the working class, shall form the government as a coalition or united front of all democratic classes.
The National Democratic Front is a major and organized part and the most consolidated part of the united front. It serves to promote the united front for armed struggle, combine all available forces and elements to isolate and destroy the enemy and pave the way for higher organs of political power, a people’s consultative assembly and a democratic coalition government of the broadest possible character.
In the course of protracted people’s war, the working class and peasantry under the proletarian leadership and with the assistance of the New People’s Army, establish organs of political power to form the armed independent regime or people’s revolutionary government in the countryside and elsewhere possible. The people thereby learn to govern themselves, defend and advance their national independence and democratic gains and manage their relations with all friends and sympathizers. The people’s revolutionary government is the preparatory government of the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines.
3. Fight for National Unity and Democratic Rights.
The Party shall guarantee the firmest national unity based on the assertion of national sovereignty, the liberation of the entire nation from US imperialism and its stooges, the liberation of the working class and peasantry and the promotion of the rights and interests of all working people.
All patriotic and progressive classes, groups and individuals shall enjoy in principle and in fact civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights which have been trampled upon by US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. Consequent to the national freedom of the entire people toiling masses from class oppression and exploitation, individual freedom and public participation shall be promoted to the utmost, with guarantees of such democratic rights as freedom of person, domicile, thought, belief, religious belief, speech and assembly and other rights in a democratic bill of rights in the constitution of the people’s democratic state.
All efforts shall be exerted by the state, cooperative and private sectors to provide every citizen a decent livelihood. Individual initiative and enterprise on the part of workers, peasants, fishermen, handicraftsmen, intellectuals, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie shall be respected, encouraged and assisted. The people’s economic and political rights, the right to social services, health, education and others shall be guaranteed.The struggle of women for equal rights and equal opportunities shall be pursued against male chauvinism and feudal patriarchal values, institutions and mechanisms. The rights and welfare of children, as well as the elderly and persons with disability shall be ensured. Uphold the right of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders to express their gender identity and support their struggle against all forms of discrimination.The rights and interests of overseas Filipinos shall be protected; they shall have the amplest contacts with kith and kin in the Philippines or shall be encouraged to return to their motherland and contribute their knowledge and skills to national development.
4. Uphold the Principle of Democratic Centralism.
The Party shall uphold the principle of democratic centralism in the people’s democratic state system. The national government shall have central authority over the lower levels of government; and shall base its policies and decisions on the needs, demands and aspirations of the broad masses of the people and the lower levels of government. There shall be democratic deliberations and decision-making at every level of government; and there shall be consultations between higher and lower levels of government and between every level of government and the people. This is centralized leadership based on democracy and democracy guided by centralized authority.
At every level of the government (barrio, municipality, city, district, provincial and regional), there shall be elected representative bodies where decisions are taken democratically for their respective jurisdictions. A lower representative body shall be subordinate to the people’s revolutionary congress which represents nationally the sovereign Filipino people. In all elections or voting on any question, the rule of the majority shall be followed.
The people shall be provided with all the means to express to the Party and the government their varied interests and views at anytime. They shall supervise the Party, the government and its officials, criticize their errors and shortcomings and have the power of recall over government officials and effect the removal of Party officials who violate the rights and interests of the nation and the people. The people’s democratic dictatorship, whose essence is proletarian dictatorship against the exploiting classes, shall promote socialist democracy and legality.
As the ruling party representing the proletariat and people and constitutionally committed to the historic mission of building socialism, the Party shall uphold and employ the principle of democratic centralism to further develop the intimate links between the Party and the state on the one hand and the broad masses of the people on the other hand, guarantee basic democratic rights and democratic life, develop the civil society and prevent bureaucratism or bureaucratic centralism and the subversion of the new state by modern revisionism and the bourgeoisie under the guise of classless or supraclass populism, liberalism, technocratism and other bourgeois trends of thought.
5. Build and Cherish the New People’s Army.
There can be no people’s democratic government without a people’s army whose principal and most essential function is to defend and secure it. In the first place, the people’s democratic government cannot be established without the victorious advance of the people’s army. The people’s army, composed mainly of fighters from the peasantry, must be under the leadership of the working class through the Party.
So long as there is a need for proletarian dictatorship and for building socialism, the people’s army shall be under the direct and absolute leadership of the Party and this shall not be diminished by arguments of classlessness or supraclasslessness by nonproletarian, bourgeoisified and revisionist sections of the state.
The most pressing task of the people’s army now is to defeat and destroy the US-created and US-supported reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines and all other kinds of armed power in the hands of the exploiting classes and the reactionary state at all levels. The New People’s Army shall develop several forms of armed forces: guerrilla units, regular mobile forces and regular forces on certain conditions. It shall also develop auxiliary and reserve forces as the people’s militia, self-defense units based on mass organizations and armed city partisans. It shall be a force for fighting, politico-military training, propaganda, cultural work and production.
The people’s army is closely linked with the toiling masses of the people. Under the leadership of the Party, this army constantly strengthens itself ideologically, politically and organizationally and through politico-military training and the armed struggle. The Party and the people must cherish the New People’s Army and see to it that the people’s fighters are well-provisioned and the needs and welfare of their immediate families are well attended to.
6. Solve the Land Problem.
The main content of the people’s democratic revolution is the struggle of the peasants to solve the land problem. The revolution must satisfy the basic demand of the poor peasants and farm workers for land. The agrarian revolution is the necessary requirement for the vigorous and successful conduct of the armed struggle and the creation and consolidation of revolutionary base areas. The current minimum program of land reform is merely a preparation for the maximum program, which is the complete solution of the land problem.
Land shall be distributed free to the landless tillers. Land rent, exploitation of hired labor, usury, price manipulation and other feudal and semifeudal evils shall be wiped out. Mutual aid teams and labor exchange systems shall be promoted as the preliminary step towards higher forms of agricultural cooperation. Through agricultural cooperation, production shall be raised and well-planned, the sale of produce shall be assured at the best price possible and welfare services shall be guaranteed.
The Party shall ensure that the people’s democratic government extend all possible and necessary support to raise agricultural production through capital construction, mechanization, technical assistance, financial assistance and so on. The expanded and higher purchasing power of the peasantry shall stimulate and increase industrial production. The basis of the national economy shall be agriculture because it fulfills the food and raw material requirements of expanding industrialization and because for some time the peasantry will constitute the majority of users and consumers of the products of industrialization.
Plantations and estates already efficiently operated on a mechanized basis shall be converted into state farms where the workers shall establish proletarian power and provide themselves with better working conditions. The vast tracts of export cropland in excess shall be subject to land reform and planted to other crops needed for domestic processing or consumption.
After the victory of agricultural cooperation and socialism in the countryside through a transition period, the Party shall ensure that there is no retrogression into the privatization of the use or ownership of the land, rural industries and other major means of production. Otherwise the restoration of capitalism will gain a wide base and agricultural production will eventually deteriorate as already proven in history.
7. Carry Out National Industrialization.
Foreign monopoly capitalism and domestic feudalism have hindered the growth of national industry and are therefore firmly opposed by the people’s democratic revolution. The private ownership of the means of production and distribution by the big bourgeoisie and landlord class must be abolished. The strategic enterprises used by the US, Japanese and other foreign monopolies to dominate the entire Philippine economy must be nationalized while thoroughgoing land reform and the building of heavy and basic industries capable of producing basic metals, basic chemicals and capital goods must be carried out in order to achieve a well-founded comprehensive development of the national industry and economy.
Heavy and basic industries shall be the leading factor of the economy. Light industry shall be immediately undertaken to bridge heavy industry and agriculture and provide the producer and consumer goods most needed by the working people. The people’s democratic government shall muster all efforts and resources needed for national industrialization, taking advantage of the large work force and comprehensive natural resource base of the country. In the transition period, when socialist and bourgeois-democratic economic measures overlap, there shall be such sectors in the national economy as the state sector, the cooperative sector, the joint state-private sector and the private sector of small and medium enterprises.
All major financial institutions, major sources of raw materials and energy, all heavy and basic industries, major lines of domestic and foreign trade and all nationalized enterprises shall be run by the state sector. All peasants, fishermen, handicraftsmen and the like shall be encouraged and provided with incentives to organize themselves into cooperatives to increase their productivity and assure themselves of a ready market. The joint state-private enterprise shall be a way for ensuring the operation of large enterprises previously owned privately and allowing the state to take ownership in phases. The private sector consisting of the mass of petty commodity producers and the patriotic entrepreneurs and merchants shall be encouraged to contribute positively to the economic construction.
The state and cooperative sectors of the economy shall be built up as factors of proletarian leadership and socialism. But all private initiatives in industry shall be encouraged and supported by the people’s democratic government so long as such initiative does not monopolize or harm the people’s livelihood or subvert the socialist sector of the economy. The government shall regulate private capital to protect the people’s livelihood, promote the growth of the socialist economy and undertake measures to rehabilitate and protect the environment.
Upon the basic completion of the national democratic revolution through the seizure of political power, socialist revolution and construction shall commence. Public ownership of the means of production shall become dominant and state economic planning will direct the development of a well-balanced socialist economy. However, there shall be transitional concessions to certain positive forms of private enterprise.
After the socialist transformation of industry and the entire economy, the Party shall ensure that there is no retrogression into private ownership of the means of production. Otherwise the restoration of capitalism will occur and the foreign and domestic bourgeoisie will again exploit and oppress the people.
8. Promote a National, Scientific and Mass Culture.
A people’s democratic cultural revolution is necessary to rid the nation of the stultifying dominance of imperialist and feudal culture and education, including a colonial or fascist mentality, bourgeois decadent behavior and superstition. The cultural revolution must advance and promote a national, scientific and mass culture.
The working class through the Party assumes leadership in the field of culture and education in line with its leading revolutionary role; and provides the opportunity for all democratic intellectuals to raise their revolutionary consciousness and serve the people. While freedom of thought and religion are safeguarded and respected, there shall also be proper safeguards to keep this freedom from being systematically employed against the people’s democratic revolution or the people’s interest.
In the course of the protracted people’s war, the Party wages mass campaigns to transform the backward villages into cultural bastions of the Philippine revolution. Cultural cadres and cultural battalions arise in the countryside. Illiteracy and superstition are diminished and eventually wiped out through education. The scientific spirit of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the program of people’s democratic revolution are propagated. The cultural revolution, aimed at defeating all forms of exploitation and developing socialism, is a mass movement that is educative and persuasive and is facilitated by the modern means of communications.
The Party, the people’s democratic government and all democratic forces shall see to it that the educational system and the mass media serve the national, scientific and democratic interests of the people. Education at all levels shall be free to everyone, depending on ability and without any discrimination due to lower economic class origin, gender, ethnicity, race, religion or lack of religious belief. The courses of study and study materials in the social sciences, philosophy, law, arts and letters and so forth shall be cleansed of pro-imperialist, feudalist, fascist and other pernicious biases and misinformation.
The Party promotes the national language as the principal medium of education, information and official communications, while at the same time giving due respect to other Philippine languages. National achievements in the arts and in literature shall be cherished. Current arts and literature with revolutionary content and expressing the struggles and aspirations of workers, peasants, fighters and other participants in the revolution shall be encouraged. Old forms as well as foreign forms of art and literature shall be adopted and infused with revolutionary content reflecting the needs and aspirations of the people.
The Party shall strive to gain greater access to the scientific knowledge, technology and cultural achievements available abroad to benefit the Filipino people and to encourage them as well to contribute to the progress of humanity and civilization. Filipino compatriots abroad shall also be encouraged to return to and serve the motherland continuously or for certain periods of time.
The Party shall promote proletarian revolutionary and socialist consciousness among the youth and the people through the instrumentality of institutions and the mass movement in the prospective socialist society. It shall adopt democratic and legal safeguards to prevent the old bourgeoisie and feudal reaction as well as a potential new bourgeoisie from eventually taking power from the proletariat and the people. The premature declaration of the end of classes and class struggle and the emergence of a bourgeoisified intelligentsia breed bureaucratism, revisionism and peaceful evolution from socialism to capitalism.
9. Respect the Right to Self-Determination of the Bangsamoro and other National Minorities.
All national minorities in the Philippines are entitled to the right to self-determination, including regional autonomy and the right to secede. They have the right to decide their own destiny; free themselves from national oppression, exploitation, chauvinism, racism and discrimination; achieve democracy; and pursue social progress in an all-round way. Such right can be invoked and exercised against a state that is oppressive or becomes oppressive.
The Party and the people’s democratic government shall always uphold the national and democratic rights of the national minorities who compose 15 percent of the Philippine population. The national minorities shall be encouraged to take their rightful role and place in the people’s democratic state and shall receive special consideration because of the extreme oppression and exploitation that they have suffered for so long in the hands of Spanish colonialism, US imperialism and the local reactionary classes. The Bangsamoro people, the largest national minority in the Philippines, have long developed their national self-identity and perseveres in their struggle for self-determination.
The Party leads the struggle against national oppression. The revolutionary forces must grow in strength among the national minorities and foster unity, cooperation and coordination between them and the rest of the people in combating the brutal campaigns of armed oppression, the grabbing of land from them, the plunder of natural resources in their areas, the imposition of absurdly low wages in plantations and mines, the paucity or lack of a just share in the social wealth and taxes produced from their areas, and all other phenomena of abuse, chauvinism and discrimination.
A new type of leadership, a revolutionary one, must be encouraged to rise from the national minorities so as to transform the traditional leadership and supplant those that have not only failed to fight for their rights but has also participated in their exploitation. Cadres of the Party and the revolution must be developed from among the national minorities.
10. Adopt an Active Independent Foreign Policy.
The US, together with its imperialist allies, continues to impose the neoliberal economic policy on the Philippines, extract superprofits by plundering the natural and human resources and escalate its military and other forms of intervention in Philippine affairs. It is bound to threaten or actually launch all-out aggression when the people’s war reaches a certain stage of development. Thus, international support is absolutely necessary to supplement and complement the independent and self-reliant efforts of the revolutionary forces and the entire people.
The Party through the various revolutionary and progressive formations shall foster the development of the broadest possible international relations with all forces — be they parties, movements, institutions or governments — abroad. The largest and widest possible moral and material support from abroad is greatly needed for winning total victory in the people’s democratic revolution.
Upon its establishment, the people’s democratic government under the leadership of the Party shall abrogate all unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements with the US, Japan and their imperialist allies and shall proclaim an active independent foreign policy based on the national sovereignty of the Filipino people and consonant with the five principles of peaceful coexistence with all countries irrespective of ideology and social system.
The People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines shall develop the closest relations with the anti-imperialist and socialist countries, the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the Pacific and all the third world and other oppressed and exploited countries; and shall also undertake normal diplomatic and trade relations with capitalist countries. The People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines shall assume its rightful place in the United Nations and all other international organizations.
All levels of Philippine foreign relations shall be under the overall guidance of proletarian internationalism. The countries struggling for independence; nations, for liberation; and peoples, for revolution against any superpower and any form of reaction shall obtain all possible and appropriate support from a Philippines engaged in socialist revolution and construction.
In the pursuit of proletarian internationalism and an active independent foreign policy, the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines and all revolutionary forces and the people of the Philippines shall respect the independence and territorial integrity of all countries and support the just revolutionary cause of the people; shall oppose colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism and all forms of foreign intervention and aggression; and shall fight and work for justice, social progress, greater freedom and world peace.
III. Our Specific Program
So long as Philippine society remains semicolonial and semifeudal, our general program for a people’s democratic revolution shall remain fundamentally unchanged. But from phase to phase in the general stage of people’s democratic revolution, our immediate specific demands shall be subject to modification according to the changes in the situation.
In the course of revolutionary struggle, the Central Committee of the Party has the authority and duty to initiate and carry out the necessary modifications, subject to review by the next Party Congress.
Hereunder are our immediate specific demands:
In the Political Field
1. Unite the entire Filipino people along the line of the people’s democratic revolution, wage a people’s war against the US-controlled big comprador-landlord state and destroy its military, police and paramilitary forces as well as any foreign element or agency that engages in military intervention or aggression.
2. Build the armed independent regime or people’s revolutionary government (organs of political power) in all possible areas at every possible level and develop the people’s capability in the conduct of government in the course of armed struggle.
3. Uphold the class leadership of the proletariat along the general line, strengthen the ranks of the revolutionary forces ideologically, politically and organizationally, promptly rectify errors and shortcomings and exercise vigilance against wrong ideas in the movement as well as deceptive propaganda of the aggressive or sugarcoated type from the enemy and other reactionaries.
4. Propagate the program of the people’s democratic revolution and the provisional rules of the people’s revolutionary government, condemn the pro-imperialist and reactionary essence of the big comprador-landlord constitution and reject all counterrevolutionary laws, treaties and executive agreements made by the reactionary government.
5. Encourage the legal struggle of the patriotic and democratic parties, mass organizations, alliances and the people in general; and campaign against the continuing suppression of the political rights of workers, peasants, intelligentsia, women, youth, national minorities, overseas Filipinos and other patriotic Filipinos fighting against imperialist and feudal oppression.
6. Prepare against the reemergence of an outright fascist regime, combat the persistent forces of fascism within and outside the Armed Forces of the Philippines and seek justice for the people, their leaders and organizations against the atrocities and abuses inflicted on them by the enemy.
7. Develop and apply a system of revolutionary justice for investigating, trying and punishing the die-hard fascists, the evil gentry, corrupt government officials and other antipeople criminals.
8. Cooperate with all organizations, groups and individuals in order to build the national united front for national liberation, democracy and a just peace and isolate the die-hard enemies of the people’s democratic revolution.
9. Replace, reorganize or render ineffective the agencies of the reactionary government at every level and make the revolutionary organs of political power more effective by every possible means.
10. Encourage career officials and rank-and-file employees in the reactionary government to cooperate with or support the revolutionary movement and assure all of them that, with the exception of those who have committed crimes, they shall be retained and shall enjoy tenure in the people’s democratic government. Encourage the pro-people, democratic and patriotic elements within the reactionary military and police to repudiate their fascist, puppet and mercenary orientation.
In the Economic Field
1. Condemn and reject all economic policies, treaties, executive agreements, investment laws, loan agreements, tax laws and other arrangements which grant US and other transnational corporations and banks excessive privileges and gains to the detriment of the Filipino people and the Philippine economy.
2. Encourage the people, including the national bourgeoisie, to build a self-reliant economy and discourage by whatever means possible (including boycott and confiscation) the importation of goods detrimental to the local production of goods by patriotic entrepreneurs.
3. Launch the mass campaigns for the reduction of land rent and interest rates and the raising of farm wages and prices of farm products in pursuance of the minimum program of land reform in the guerrilla fronts and carry out land redistribution at no cost to the landless tillers wherever possible, defensible and sustainable; and promote agricultural production through labor exchange and mutual aid teams and other forms of cooperation under the auspices of the peasant associations.
4. Improve the livelihood of the people by launching mass campaigns to promote production in an all-round way, generate employment, arrange fair wages and reasonable interest rates, exercise price control and organize people’s cooperatives wherever possible.
5. Support the struggle of the various patriotic and progressive classes, parties and mass organizations for better economic and social conditions, rehabilitation and protection of the environment, and expose and oppose the destructive policies and the deceptive features of palliative reforms offered by the multinational corporations and the reactionary government.
6. Support the national minorities and other people in their struggle against landlords, landgrabbers, mining companies, logging concessionaires, plantations, government agencies and projects, military installations and reservations and ecozones that violate the people’s rights and destroy or deprive them of their ancestral domain, properties and livelihood.
7. Encourage Filipino-owned industry and commerce by providing protection, market guarantees and other advantages in areas under the control of the revolutionary movement.
8. Outlaw and confiscate all ill-gotten wealth in the form of capital, land or otherwise and either restore this to the legitimate owners or appropriate it for the benefit of the revolutionary government or the people.
9. Adopt a system of collecting taxes and contributions on the basis of ability to pay and benefits gained from the revolutionary movement in order to support the work and social programs of the people’s revolutionary government and the people’s army.
10. Mobilize the people in the guerrilla fronts in organizing the provision of all necessary resources and possible social and technical services, especially in the spheres of education, health, production and so on.
In the Military Field
1. Accelerate the formation and politico-military training of the full-time and part-time guerrilla units of the New People’s Army, the armed propaganda teams, the people’s militia, self-defense units and armed city partisans on a nationwide scale; and build higher sustainable formations (with center of gravity in relative concentration and peripheral units in relative dispersal) that do not strain the mass base and exhaust cadres and resources and are always open to the multiplication of forces and coverage of more people and territory upon the seizure of more firearms.
2. Carry out actions against the US military bases and detachments, the US control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a puppet force and the escalating US military intervention; and condemn the treaties, executive agreements, arrangements, projects and exercises that militarily prop up the reactionary government and armed forces and perpetuate their puppetry to US imperialism and its war machine.
3. Expand and intensify the tactical offensives (ambushes, raids, arrests, sabotage and other operations) against the regular, police and paramilitary forces of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, capture and accumulate military equipment and bring the stage of the strategic defensive to the stage of strategic stalemate and further on to the stage of the strategic offensive.
4. Carry out extensive and intensive warfare against the escalating US military intervention, prepare against all-out aggression by the US or any other foreign power by multiplying guerrilla fronts and the appropriate armed units and upgrade the weapons and technology, mainly through confiscation and self-reliant production, and be ready to inflict high casualties on the US aggressor troops.
5. Arrest and detain for trial and punishment by the proper authorities all the counterrevolutionaries who have committed serious crimes as well as the spies and all subversive agents of foreign interventionists and aggressors and their local reactionary cohorts.
6. Campaign against the mustering of the youth, workers, peasants and national minorities for military training and service by the reactionaries and at the same time redirect those who cannot avoid such training and service to take up the revolutionary cause.
7. Disarm and disband the military and police bodyguards as well as private gangs of criminal syndicates and counterrevolutionaries and eliminate drug trafficking, cattle rustling, piracy, banditry and other forms of criminality preying on the people.
8. Encourage and organize the oppressed national minorities to take up arms against imperialist and feudal oppression.
9. Wage a war of annihilation but exercise leniency on captured combatants so as to demoralize and disintegrate the enemy forces.
10. Cooperate with all other armed organizations and movements fighting against imperialist and feudal oppression and take advantage of the factionalization of the ruling classes and the reactionary armed forces.
In the Cultural Field
1. Wage mass campaigns to develop a national, scientific and mass culture responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Filipino people and against imperialist and feudal control and influence over the educational system, mass media and other cultural institutions.
2. Cherish the national heritage and propagate Filipino or Pilipino as the national language and principal medium of instruction and official communications and the local languages for the benefit of the masses.
3. Build a new democratic system of education and mass media and reorient and reeducate the teachers and students, the professionals and the entire people on the need to develop Philippine society in all-round way.
4. Promote the people’s democratic line in the study and practice of the social sciences, natural sciences, arts and letters, law, medicine, engineering and other fields of study and stress the need for harnessing science and technology for national industrialization, agricultural modernization and development and balanced development of the Philippine economy and protection of the environment. Develop the spirit of cooperativism among the peasantry.
5. Respect the freedom of thought and belief, use patient persuasion in gathering support for the people’s democratic revolution and promote the united front of proletarian revolutionaries and progressive liberals in the intellectual field.
6. Support the progressive movements and actions among students, teachers and all intellectuals for better study, creative and living conditions, for a higher educational and cultural level, and for greater intellectual freedom.
7. Wage mass campaigns to fight for free education at all levels and to wipe out illiteracy and superstition among the masses and promote the scientific and revolutionary spirit among them.
8. Encourage the development of progressives within the religious institutions, prevent such institutions (especially the dominant church) from becoming an effective tool of US imperialism and big comprador-landlord interests and combat Christian chauvinism against the Bangsamoro and other national minorities.
9. Wage relentless mass campaigns to expose and oppose every scheme of the US to use its direct agencies, US-controlled multilateral agencies and third countries to perpetuate and aggravate US imperialist dominance in Philippine education and culture.
10. Develop scientific health care through the promotion of health education, general sanitation, prevention of illnesses, sports, physical education and activity especially among the youth.
In the Field of Foreign Relations
1. Uphold proletarian internationalism as the highest principle guiding all levels of foreign relations of the revolutionary movement, the growing people’s revolutionary government and the prospective People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines.
2. Gather the largest and broadest possible international support for the revolutionary struggle of the Filipino people and victory of the people’s democratic revolution against foreign domination and domestic reaction.
3. Develop close relations of solidarity and mutual support between the Philippine revolutionary movement, people’s movements, mass organizations and alliances in the Philippines and those abroad, and together develop the international movement against imperialism and all reaction.
4. Develop close relations of the Communist Party of the Philippines with fraternal proletarian parties and other friendly parties in other countries.
5. Arouse, organize and mobilize Filipino compatriots abroad to uphold, defend and promote their rights and interests, directly participate in the Philippine revolution while abroad, and encourage them to return home to join the revolutionary struggle now and in the next stage of the Philippine revolution.
6. Work for the recognition of the status of belligerency of the Philippine revolutionary forces under the name of the National Democratic Front or the People’s Revolutionary Government and pave the way for the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines to have normal diplomatic and trade relations with other countries irrespective of ideology and social system and assume its rightful place in the United Nations and other international organizations.
7. Uphold a Philippine foreign policy anchored on national sovereignty and independence and in accordance with the five principles of international relations: a. mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty; b. mutual nonaggression; c. noninterference in each other’s internal affairs; d. equality and mutual support and e. peaceful coexistence.
8. Develop the closest relations of the People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines with the anti-imperialist and socialist countries, the neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the Pacific and all the third world and other countries which are oppressed and exploited.
9. Extend moral and other possible support to other revolutionary parties and people’s movements and win total victory in the people’s democratic revolution as a matter of internationalist duty.
10. Oppose the use of the United Nations and other international agencies (International Monetary Fund, World Bank, etc.) as tools of domination by the United States and other capitalist powers.
Approved by the Second Congress
Communist Party of the Philippines
November 5, 2016