Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison,
Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines
and Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front
By Ang Bayan
June 19, 2010
1. Could you describe in brief the conduct and results of the past reactionary elections? How would you describe the electoral victory of Benigno Aquino III? What was the role in this of the US imperialists (and other key forces) and how would this affect the incoming Aquino regime?
JMS: As a whole, the 2010 elections were dominated by the political leaders, candidates, parties and coalitions of the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords. The US had a direct control over the automated electoral system and made sure that Noynoy Aquino was elected president through electronic pre-programming. The biggest US and local businessmen in the Makati Business Club provided huge campaign funds for him. As a consequence, the Aquino regime will serve the interest of the US and the local big comprador-landlords rather than the interest of the Filipino people.
2. What do you think would be the principal differences between the incoming Aquino regime and the outgoing Arroyo regime? What would be the commonalities? What do you think would be the highlights in the next six years under the Aquino regime.
JMS: For a short while, the Aquino regime will try to differentiate itself in appearance from the Arroyo regime and will present itself through sleek propaganda in the Philippine, US and global bourgeois media as more democratic than its predecessor. But it would be essentially a continuation of the Arroyo regime in terms of subservience to the US economic policy of neoliberal globalization and the US policy of so-called anti-terrorism and counterinsurgency, which is outlined by the US Counterinsurgency Guide and combines US military intervention and state terrorism.
Like the Arroyo regime, the Aquino regime is set to be a puppet regime of the US, corrupt and brutal. In the next six years, the socio-economic suffering of the people will become intense. The reactionaries themselves will become more divided against each other. Human rights violations will become more gross and systematic than ever before. The oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people will escalate. As a consequence, the conditions will incite the people to wage revolutionary resistance more than ever before.
3. What is your assessment of the seriousness and chances of Noynoy Aquino in carrying out his campaign promise of pursuing criminal charges of corruption against Gloria Arroyo? What would be Arroyo’s chances and tactics in fighting off such plans? What would most likely be the role and handling of the US on this matter? What should the people’s democratic mass movement do to push the prosecution and eventual punishment of Arroyo?
JMS: The pre-programming of the automated electoral system in favor of Noynoy Aquino would not have been possible without the collaboration of the US, Arroyo ruling clique, the Comelec and the Aquino family. I will not be surprised if so soon in a matter of months it will become publicly evident that Aquino has no intention of fulfilling his campaign promise of pursuing Arroyo with criminal charges of corruption. But if contrary to what I say now, Aquino fulfills his promise of sending Arroyo to prison, then I will be among the first to commend and congratulate him.
There is a definite reasonable standard to apply on the question of Aquino fulfilling his promise to send Gloria M. Arroyo to prison. He will have no excuse for failing to cause her arrest and detention within the span of three months. Arroyo was able to cause the arrest and detention of Estrada for plunder in April 2001, some three months after taking power in late January 2001. As president, Aquino has enough powers to cause a speedy investigation and prosecution of Arroyo, unless he is told by the US to go slow and forget about his promise.
Arroyo still has some significant amount of power and influence. This might be enough to persuade Aquino to collaborate with her. But she does not have enough power to fight and overpower a president determined to send her to prison. As in Taiwan and South Korea, the US always sides with the new top puppet when this is really determined to send a predecessor to prison on the charge of corruption. It is up to the mass movement to press for the punishment of Arroyo for corruption and to be ready to denounce Aquino when he fails to fulfill his promise within three months.
4. Aquino has announced that it will definitely replace Arroyo-loyalist Gen. Delfin Bangit as the AFP chief-of-staff. How will this affect the fractiousness of the AFP? How much of an influence does Arroyo retain in the AFP? What are Aquino’s options to unite the AFP and consolidate it under his new leadership?
JMS: Gen. Delfin Bangit is notorious for being a running dog of Arroyo and for human rights violations. But he is a minor player. As an individual officer, even as chief of staff, he is impotent by law and habit in relation to the new president as commander-in- chief. He is a creature of the command structure. Upon the change of president, Arroyo would have automatically lost a great deal of influence beyond those officers that she has favored and promoted.
In relation to the outgoing president, the incoming president inherits the obedience of the reactionary armed forces. In the case of Aquino, he also gets the advice of former officers loyal to his mother. And he is now consolidating the officers that he considers as most loyal to him. But beneath any apparent unity of the armed forces, there are contradictions among the thieving groups and criminal syndicates and among the running dogs of conflicting politicians.
Aquino can increasingly lose his grip on the military when his favoritism offends most officers and men, when he commits his own crimes or abuses of authority and becomes unpopular and isolated within and outside the military and when as a consequence a broad united front of opposition forces become strong and effective against him.
5. How would you picture the contradictions between the Aquino camp and the Arroyo camp vis-a-vis Congress, the Supreme Court and other aspects of the state that the Arroyo camp tries to maintain its hold on, and what effect do you foresee these contradictions would have on the functioning and effectivity of the Aquino regime and the reactionary state? What opportunities does such a situation open for the revolutionary forces?
JMS: There is potential sharpening of contradictions between what you call the Aquino and Arroyo camps. Aquino now might seriously try to cause the arrest and detention of Arroyo on the charge of corruption or plunder. Arroyo might someday find cause to rally her loyalists in the House of Representatives to threaten Aquino with impeachment. The Arroyo appointees in the Supreme Court might make a decision against the Cojuangco-Aquino interest in Hacienda Luisita.
However, do not be too sure about dramatic clashes between the Aquino and Arroyo sides in various branches of the government even as contradictions between both camps may persist. Do not discount the proofs or indications that the Aquino and Arroyo families have already secretly made agreements of convenience during the electoral campaign. These two families have a long history of collaboration. At any rate, Arroyo’s remaining power and influence are dwindling. Thus Arroyo would be more inclined to retain as much of these by seeking and making compromises with Aquino.
6. The American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in the Philippines and big comprador business groups such as the Makati Business Club and Management Association of the Philippines that have supported the Aquino campaign are now putting their agenda and blueprints forward, including on matters of the government deficit, taxes, investments and workers’ wages. How do you see the economic prospects under the Aquino regime vis-a-vis the interests of imperialist and local big business on the one hand and the toiling masses and the Filipino people on the other?
JMS: The incoming Aquino regime follows the US-dictated neoliberal line of denationalization, liberalization, privatization and deregulation at the expense of the working people and the entire nation. Under conditions of a depressed agrarian and underdeveloped economy, the imperialists headed by the US and their big comprador-landlord partners will maintain or raise their profits by pressing down wages and exporting raw materials at a low price and will accumulate and concentrate land in the hands of a few at an accelerated rate.
Despite the depressed condition of the economy, the announced policy of Aquino is to impose new taxes and improve tax collection in view of the bankruptcy of the reactionary government. From year to year, austerity measures will be adopted at the expense of the working people. The public debt is now 4.5 trillion pesos and debt service has a crippling effect on the state. And yet the reactionary state is bound to escalate military spending and all kinds of counterproductive activities. The public debt will continue to mount because the trade and budgetary deficits are ever growing and new debts are incurred despite more onerous conditions of borrowing.
The toiling masses of workers and peasants and the entire people will suffer increased oppression and exploitation. They will be driven to make demands for the improvement of their living conditions and respect for their national and democratic rights. But the regime is predetermined to be servile to the economic dictates of the US and the exploiting classes and would be predisposed to blame communists for the ills of the rotten ruling system and to unleash state terrorism.
7. The Arroyo clique is now on a propaganda binge to cover up its corruption, gross human rights violations and socio-economic malaise with false claims of economic progress under its rule and calls for reconciliation under the incoming Aquino regime. It is likely that the Arroyo camp will also be in a fast draw to also expose corruption under the Aquino regime. What are her chances of getting away from people’s historical judgment in much the same way Estrada was allowed to elude justice under the Arroyo regime.
JMS: The economy has deteriorated drastically since the 2001 beginning of the Arroyo rule. There has been no industrialization and land reform. Incomes of the working people and even the middle social strata have gone down in real terms. Poverty has been aggravated. A quick way of indicating the economic deterioration is to mention the fact that the level of public debt rose from 2.2 trillion pesos in 2001 to 4.5 trillion pesos now.
It is a nasty joke on the people for Arroyo to depict as economic growth the heavy electoral spending in the first half of the 2010. The reality of economic deterioration is too harsh and too clear for Arroyo to be able to get away with false claims to bringing about economic progress.. Puppet regimes have kept the Philippines backward, agrarian and semifeudal and have always misrepresented consumption driven by foreign and domestic borrowings by the state as real economic growth.
I would expect that as soon as the Aquino regime engages in corruption Arroyo and her followers will expose it, unless the Aquino and Arroyo followers agree or come to a mode of collaboration and mutual benefit in a new wave of corruption. Like the two previously feuding wings of the Cojuangco clan, the Arroyo and Cojuangco-Aquino families are not beyond reconciling and collaborating. The imprisonment of Arroyo might never happen. Even when it happens as in the case of Estrada, Arroyo would not be at a loss as regards to ways of getting off the hook.
8. The return to power of the Aquino-Cojuangco family and the Kamag-anak Inc. fuels speculation that corruption and bureaucrat capitalism will definitely worsen under the Aquino regime. What do you think would be the key issues and tactics in exposing corruption in the incoming regime? Aside from those mentioned, could you identify the biggest comprador-landlords and bureaucrat capitalists who are poised to benefit the most under Aquino’s regime?
JMS: The biggest comprador-landlords and bureaucrat capitalists that will benefit from the Aquino regime include the resurgent Kamag-anak Inc. headed by Jose Cojuangco and the business empire of Eduardo Cojuangco and all the other business moguls in the Makati Business Club who contributed heavily to the Aquino campaign fund, like the Ayalas, Lopezes, Razons and Pangilinans.
The list of donors and contributions for the Aquino campaign fund is obviously incomplete. . Aquino is a liar for claiming to have spent only a little more than 400 million pesos and having for donors only those openly listed. . Right from the beginning, his lack of personal integrity and credibility is showing. He is firmly on the path of deceiving and trying to make fools out of the people. This is clear no matter how much the clowns and sycophants try to hype his supposed cleanliness.
On top of the heap of big comprador-landlord families that are poised to benefit from the Aquino regime are the two wings of the Cojuangco clan, previously feuding but now collaborating to enrich themselves further through corrupt practices. From the very beginning of the Aquino regime, Danding Cojuangco is poised to overcome all the claims of the government against the ill-gotten wealth accumulated by him directly as well as put under his name by the fascist dictator Marcos. Is this not corruption on a grand scale now in the making right before our eyes?
It will take a little length of time before more scandalous cases of corruption will arise under the Aquino regime and make the regime stink to high heavens. Noynoy was lying when he said during the campaign that he could solve the problem of poverty by eliminating or reducing corruption. Corruption and poverty are inherent to to the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system that he wants to preserve. Foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism are the cause of poverty and corruption. No amount of crap from any reactionary politician can conceal this fact.
Even if Noynoy Aquino is given the benefit of a doubt, the mass movement must develop enough strength to be able to compel the new regime to cause the arrest and detention of Arroyo and her top criminal accomplices and to get back the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and his big cronies like Eduardo Cojuangco, Lucio Tan, Jose Campos and others. The progressive forces must also be keen at spotting, denouncing and taking action against the new cases of corruption that will occur under Aquino regime.
The people and the broad range of opposition forces must be vigilant and militant in connection with such issues as the aforesaid ill-gotten wealth in previous regimes. There are also giant cases of tax evasion, smuggling and other major economic crimes. There are the backlog cases and there will be new cases involving Noynoy Aquino’s giving big deals and privileges to his relatives, friends and other donors to his campaign fund.
Factual and legal researches must be done without let-up so that the opposition forces and the mass movement will be well-equipped in exposing and opposing corruption. There are research organizations, lawyers organizations and civic-spirited organizations concerned with good governance and corruption. They must be mustered to provide facts and support the mass movement. Definitely the mass movement must fight for national liberation and democracy against the imperialists, the local exploiting classes and the high bureaucrats who altogether are culpable for corruption and the poverty of the people.
9. The issue of land reform is one of the critical nagging questions that will continue to be faced by the incoming Aquino regime, considering that Aquino belongs to the Aquino-Cojuangco haciendero clan that has no intention of giving up Hacienda Luisita and has in fact so declared, contrary to Aquino’s loose campaign promise to distribute the hacienda land by 2014 (although he also said the problem of HLI’s debts that are bigger than its assets has to be solved first). What are Aquino’s options in facing the widespread demand for land reform, including Hacienda Luisita? In the face of Aquino’s expected failure (or more, exactly, lack of real interest) to implement land reform in the country, do you see any prospect in regard to the rise of the peasant movement’s demand for genuine land reform?
JMS: Noynoy Aquino has made clear that there will be no land reform in Hacienda Luisita until 2014. He wants the stock distribution option swindle to continue. Quite obviously he is in agreement with the scheme of his family to use the next four years to further encumber Hacienda Luisita, Inc. with debts and other obligations to other Cojuangco corporations, to reclassify parts and parts of the hacienda and transfer them to other Cojuangco corporations, to lay off all or most of those farm workers and tenants who previously agreed to the stock distribution option and to buy off the minor shares of any remaining farm workers.
Noynoy Aquino wants to cast away the decision of the Agrarian Reform Council under Arroyo that rejected the stock distribution option and put Hacienda Luisita under land reform. He is also bullying the Supreme Court in order to soften up the Arroyo appointees into consenting to uphold the SDO scheme. The position of Aquino on the issues of land reform and the Hacienda Luisita massacre shows that he has no interest in genuine and thoroughgoing land reform under his own nose and anywhere else.
Aquino wants to retain CARP-ER in order to allow landlords to sell land upon their sole volition and to evade land reform by demanding fair market value for their land, by reclassifying the land to put it beyond the scope of land reform and by using the stock distribution option in order to deceive the landless tillers. Aquino is most likely inclined to give way to the US-instigated global policy of landgrabbing by multinational corporations. It is inevitable for the peasant movement to rise and advance in order to demand genuine and thoroughgoing land reform. The landless tillers are hard pressed by the ever worsening social and economic conditions. They have no choice but to fight for land.
10. How would you describe the social democrats and other pseudo-progressive and reformist groups that were active in the Aquino campaign? How much influence would they be able to wield in the incoming Aquino regime? What role do you see them playing?
JMS: The social democrats and other pseudo-progressive and reformist groups that were active in the Aquino campaign are special agents of the counterrevolutionar y state and do the dirty propaganda job for the worst of the reactionaries. During the electoral campaign, they specialized in Red-baiting the two senatorial candidates of Makabayan and the progressive party list groups. They acted in concert with their military psywar partners.
The most powerful components of the Aquino regime are the moneygrubbers of the Cojuangco and Aquino families in back offices and their favorites among other big businessmen and the top-rung military and police officers. Relative to them, the social democrats or clerico-fascists and other special anti-communist agents are minor players but will have a major special role in continuing with their Red-baiting and anti-communist functions. They are inserted in presidential staff units, press office, education, finance, national security and so-called peace processes.
11. The fascist violence and violations of human rights perpetrated by the Arroyo regime under Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 generated widespread national and international condemnation. Should not the Aquino regime release immediately the political prisoners and cause the investigation and prosecution of human rights violations, including the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal detention and torture of activists and other unarmed critics of the reactionary government under the Arroyo regime?
JMS: The widespread national and international condemnation of human rights violations under the Arroyo regime should have an impact on the incoming Aquino regime and should move it to order the immediate release of all political prisoners and cause the investigation, prosecution, trial and punishment of the human rights violators, from the level of Arroyo downwards. But even Philip Alston has expressed doubts that the new regime would dare to act against them and incur the risk of losing the support of the military and police.
Experience has shown that Cory Aquino could easily order the release of all political prisoners in 1986 but she did not dare to go after the human rights violators under the Marcos dictatorship. The victims had to file their tort case in US courts. Cory Aquino was not able to cause the punishment of the masterminds in the murderof her own husband. Now, Noynoy Aquino is reconciled with Eduardo Cojuangco who used to be regarded as the co-mastermind of Marcos in having Ninoy Aquino murdered.
Noynoy Aquino himself is probably inclined not to go after human rights violators under the Arroyo regime because of his apparent complicity in the Hacienda Luisita massacre and the subsequently killings in Tarlac. Like his late mother, Aquino is again under advice by US operatives to concentrate on armed counterrevolution rather than to hold the military and police accountable for human rights violations. Aquino himself has already started to retreat from his previous promise of stopping and punishing violators human rights despite his continuing pretense at promoting democracy and avowals of defending the rights of his opponents.
It is important for the human rights organizations, the lawyers and other professional groups, the religious organizations and the broad masses of the people to persevere in the campaign against human rights violations and demand the punishment of the human rights violators, up to the level of those with command responsibility. With such a campaign, there is a chance for obtaining some amount of justice or reducing the human rights violations. But without such a campaign, the human rights violators would be further emboldened to commit their heinous crimes with impunity.
12. Would we expect the incoming Aquino regime to support the long standing demand for the compensation of the victims of human rights violations way back under the Marcos dictatorship?
JMS: It should be far easier than anything else for Noynoy Aquino to support and give way to the demand for compensation of the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship. He should be able to sympathize with the victims because he, his parents and his entire family were also victims. The US court system decided the case against the Marcos estate and determined those victims that must be indemnified.
The beneficiaries in the US court decision must first be served in one act before there is another act to benefit other victims who are not covered by the said decision. Otherwise the charade will continue from year to year of denying indemnification to the clear beneficiaries and ridiculing them as greedy under the pretext of aiming with one legislative act to indemnify all victims of human rights violations, including those who did not join the suit against the Marcos estate in the US.
By the way, the indemnification of the victims of human rights violations, as determined by the US court decision, is stipulated in the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The Aquino regime needs to be reminded that there can never be a final peace agreement without fulfilling the demand for the indemnification of the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime.
13. Do you think Aquino will pursue the same program as the OBL or even a worse one in confronting the ongoing people’s war?
JMS: There are clear indications that Aquino is bound by the US Counterinsurgency Guide and will continue Oplan Bantay Laya under a new name. In a speech on peace and security before foreign correspondents on April 22, he did not point to the importance and necessity of peace negotiations as the way of addressing the roots of the armed conflict and forging agreements on social, economic and political reforms in order to lay the basis for a just peace.
He echoed the line of the US Counterinsurgency Guide that the reactionary government can destroy, coopt or render the revolutionary movement inconsequential by operating efficiently without the necessity of peace negotiations. In that context, he presented four guideposts: good governance, delivery of services, economic rehabilitation and development and security reforms. The clear implication is that he can ignore all the demands for peace negotiations so long as he operates according to these guideposts.
Aquino has been chosen as the new chief puppet of the US because he is seen as having the penchant for unleashing violence against the working people and their supporters as in the Hacienda Luisita massacre and subsequent killings in Tarlac. He is already mouthing the terms of the US Counterinsurgency Guide and he is already assuring his US and Filipino handlers that he will allow the review of the Visiting Forces Agreement if only to satisfy the demands of some senators, allow some adjustments but keep the agreement intact and further legitimize the interventionist presence and entry of more US military forces.
14. The NDFP peace panel has said that it is open to resuming peace talks with the GRP under the Aquino regime. What would you say are the conditions and prospects of the talks?
JMS: In expressing its willingness to resume peace negotiations with the GRP, the NDFP has made clear that the two sides must reaffirm, comply with and carry forward The Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, the Joint Agreement on the Sequence, Formation and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees, the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and other agreements. There is no precondition whatsoever. The two sides are simply to comply with existing agreements.
There is yet no serious preliminary approach from the GRP to NDFP. The GRP-NDFP peace negotiations might never be resumed or will be delayed for a long time if Aquino takes orders from the US regarding peace negotiations and let military morons and the clerico-fascists control the GRP side of the negotiations like during the time of Arroyo. Like before, the GRP might be interested only in conjuring the illusion of GRP-NDFP peace negotiations to serve as a minor adjunct of the escalating brutal military campaigns of suppression cum fake local peace talks and fake social integration program.
15. In the past, what were the obstacles to the continuous progress of the GRP-NDFP negotiations? Why such obstacles?
JMS: First, let me point out that the peace negotiations would have progressed greatly since a long time ago if the GRP had complied with The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements. It is well proven by the successful forging and mutual approval of the CARHRIHL that the GRP and NDFP can make a comprehensive agreement if the GRP does not insist on putting up obstacles in violation of The Hague Joint Declaration.
For long stretches of time, the GRP put up obstacles like 1) the demand for holding the peace talks in the Philippines, 2) the demand to take up all four items of the substantive agenda all at the same time in a maneuver to frontload the fourth and final item on ending hostilities and to lay aside the second item on social and economic reforms and the third item on political and constitutional reforms, 3) the precondition of an indefinite ceasefire, 4. informal talks until a final agreement is to be formalized, 5) the terrorist blacklisting of the CPP, NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant, 6) the illegitimate so-called suspension of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and 7) the abduction, torture and murder of NDFP consultants and staffers.
It was clear that the GRP became a party to the bilateral agreements with the NDFP, not to address the roots of the armed conflict and forge agreements on basic reforms for the purpose of attaining a just peace, but only to create the illusion of peace negotiations for the simultaneous purposes of deceiving the people, probing for ways to undermine the revolutionary movement and escalating the military campaigns of suppression against the people and revolutionary forces.
16. It looks like the feuding families of the Aquinos and Marcoses are happily living together in the enclave paradise of the big compradors and landlords in the Philippines. The feuding branches of the Cojuangco clan have also reconciled with each other and are together poised to take advantage of the Filipino people. How do you respond to them and their propagandists when they attack you as merely on self-exile and enjoying yourself abroad? How do you respond in case Noynoy Aquino himself or any of his major subalterns rhetorically invite or challenge you to return home and they also call on the NDFP negotiating panel to hold formal peace talks in the Philippines?
JMS: It is unfair even for the reactionary mass media to keep on describing me quite casually as self-exiled. The public knows that in 1988 Cory Aquino cancelled my passport in order to compel my return home and set me up for arrest by the military at the airport in Manila. But I applied for political asylum. Since then, I have been on forced exile and I have been recognized as a political refugee.
The wealthy and powerful Aquinos, Cojuangcos, Arroyos and Marcoses and their propagandists are not any better than me just because they are in the Philippines. They are malefactors responsible/ accountable for exploitation and oppression. They are in the Philippines to exploit and oppress the Filipino people. Their exploitative class of big comprador-landlord- bureaucrats and their military and police minions keep me out of the country and are always on the lookout for my return so that they can do something against me.
Even while abroad, I have been subjected to all kinds of attacks by the US and the Philippine rulers. They have acted to block my asylum, to slander me continuously in the bourgeois press, to subject me to assassination attempts, to put me on the terrorist blacklist, to prevent me from compensated work, to deprive me of social benefits, to arrest and detain me on the trumped-up charge of murder and to continue imposing on me many kinds of restrictions and prohibitions even now, after the Dutch and European court decisions nullifying the false charges of murder and terrorism against me. Would any sane person say that I enjoy the material comforts that my adversaries and detractors enjoy in surfeit.
You can be sure that the Aquino regime is not interested in resuming the formal peace negotiations as soon as it uses the tactic of calling on me and on the NDFP negotiating panel to go the Philippines for formal peace talks. This kind of tactic would be in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees which stipulates the neutral foreign venue for the negotiations. It would be a tactic to put the NDFP panelists, consultants and staffers under military surveillance for eventual bloody suppression as had happened during the time of Cory Aquino in 1986 and 1987.
Formal talks even in the countryside are not acceptable to the NDFP because of the need for the large mobilizations of forces on both sides and the danger of sabotage from those who oppose the peace negotiations and because the revolutionary forces would be vulnerable to surveillance with the use of drones, GSP, monitoring of electronic communications, thermal heat sensing, night goggles and other technical devices. The NDFP is already well informed about the military objective of the GRP in wishing to have the formal peace talks in the Philippines.
17. Are you optimistic that the CPP will greatly develop guerrilla warfare and advance the people’s war from the stage of strategic defensive to that of the strategic stalemate in the next five years under the US-Aquino regime? What can the Party and the revolutionary movement do in the new situation and the areas of work that particularly need to be stressed?
JMS: Far more important than my optimism about anything are the clear public pronouncements of the Communist Party of the Philippines on the concrete conditions, political requirements and the strategy and tactics involved in the plan to accelerate the development of guerrilla warfare and advance from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate in the people’s war.
The CPP has pointed to the ever worsening socio-economic and political crisis of the domestic ruling system and likewise of the world capitalist system as the most important objective conditions for advancing the people’s war. The toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata are suffering extreme forms of exploitation and oppression. And the widespread social discontent gives rise to various forms of mass resistance by the people.
The political requirements involve arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses along the general line of struggle for national liberation and democracy through the strategic line of people’s war. I presume that the CPP has definite ideas about expanding the various types of underground mass organizations in the guerrilla fronts and the urban underground. I also presume that it welcomes and encourages the mass organizations and other progressive formations based in the urban areas.
In its recent message to mark the anniversary of the New People’s Army, the CPP Central Committee called on the New People’s Army to intensify its tactical offensives in order to seize more arms and build more NPA units and more guerrilla fronts, to complement the tactics of annihilation with the tactics of attrition in order to further debilitate the enemy, to enable the building of the organs of political power and mass organizations in the guerrilla fronts, to train the people’s militia and self-defense units as auxiliary forces and to support the undertaking of land reform and other mass campaigns for the benefit of the people. All these foretell the bright future for the revolutionary movement of the people.