Pay attention to the well-being of the masses

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A vast area where the true political power of the masses exists. Mass organizations are active. Barrio revolutionary committees are likewise in full function. The governing body in the barrio is united in confronting the usurers and bringing down the rate of interest of debts. They have also prevented the entry of plantations that wished to displace them from their land.

We also find the masses actively participating in production work here in communal labor and farms. They aim that in two harvests, they will be able to eradicate abject hunger. And all the children are able to attend school. However poor, the masses are steadfast that every single child should be able to know his or her letters. And if able, the children will be able to continue onto high school, even up to college.

On the matter of health, they have local medics or barrio medical groups that take care of the wellness of residents, including sanitation and nutrition campaigns and programs to ensure the well-being of children and mothers.

On the matter of defense, the New People’s Army conducts its theater of war, including the People’s Militia that actively defends the barrio folk and the achievements of the people. Here, there is vast area for the Red army’s maneuver. It is able to maintain initiative because this is its base. The Red army decides the conduct of war here. It has mastered the terrain. It wields military initiative. And the Red army enjoys the full support and assistance of the wide and deep mass base, thus, it is able to hit the enemy whenever the latter ventures into its territory.

A dream? No. This is the true picture of the guerilla base or bager that we gradually establish in the more consolidated areas of guerilla fronts across the archipelago. We conceive this image into historical reality through difficult and painstaking mass work, launching armed struggle and agrarian revolution, particularly antifeudal mass campaigns.

As we smash the exploitative and oppressive structures imposed by the ruling class, we concurrently build our genuine organs of power of the people. This power emanates from the fair and just aspirations for land, livelihood, justice and peace of the poor and oppressed.

But, this power can never ever be realized by the people without an army that confronts the for-ces of the reactionary state; the people will never be able to build their own government without the armed struggle; no ruling class will ever freely relinquish its power. Until there are oppressors, the resistance of the oppressed will continue to exist. In short, the people’s war.

In our conduct of the people’s war, armed engagements are far from the only matter at hand, for we concern ourselves with the comprehensive advance in achieving our political goals and resolving the roots of the civil war. Hence, we consider at all times the three basic components of our work in the countryside—the mass base, armed struggle and agrarian revolution. Three components that support and help one another. Without one, the other two will stagnate. These three components collectively are our important yardstick for how effective and solid our conduct of the people’s war is. At the same time, this is also our measure of whether we truly have paid attention to the well-being of the masses. Have we addressed their primary interests? Have we depended and leaned on them?

In the immortal words of our great teacher Mao Zedong:

For the revolutionary war is a war of the masses; it can be waged only by mobilizing the masses and relying on them.

If we only mobilize the people to carry on the war and do nothing else, can we succeed in defeating the enemy? Of course not. If we want to win, we must do a great deal more. We must lead the peasants’ struggle for land and distribute the land to them, heighten their labour enthusiasm and increase agricultural production, safeguard the interests of the workers, establish cooperatives, develop trade with outside areas, and solve the problems facing the masses—food, shelter and clothing, fuel, rice, cooking oil and salt, sickness and hygiene, and marriage.

In short, all the practical problems in the masses’ everyday life should claim our attention. If we attend to these problems, solve them and satisfy the needs of the masses, we shall really become organizers of the well-being of the masses, and they will truly rally around us and give us their warm support.

First published as Editorial of Pasa Bilis! July 2013 issue
(Pasa Bilis! Special Issue, December 4, 2022)

Pay attention to the well-being of the masses