By Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
22 January 2001
To Bayan as a whole and to each of its participating organizations, I wish to convey special congratulations for the successful ouster of the Estrada ruling clique from power.
Since Estrada came to power in 1998, your ranks of workers, peasants, fishermen, national minorities, women, youth, teachers, government employees, lawyers, artists and writers, health workers, scientists and technologists, other professionals, religious, human rights activists, small entrepreneurs and other people have been the most resolute and militant in fighting the antipeople, antinational and antidemocratic policies of the Estrada ruling clique.
You have thereby assumed a leading and decisive role in the overthrow of Estrada. You have aroused, organized and mobilized a great number of people in Metro Manila and nationwide. In the broad united front, you have maintained independence and initiative and at the same time cooperated well with your allies, be this within the Erap Resign Movement or in coordination with the Council of Philippine Affairs, People’s Consultative Assembly, Kangkong Brigade, Kompil II and so on.
As soon as the suppression of evidence at the senate trial occurred, you recognized the tidal wave of public outrage. You were the first to call for convergence at Edsa and to bring people there. The great number of organized and spontaneous masses at Edsa and the anticipation that they would march to the palace persuaded key cabinet members and military and police officers to withdraw support from Estrada.
You were the most determined to march to Mendiola, encircle the palace and compel Estrada to vacate his office. Terrified by the developing siege and possible storming of the palace, Estrada abandoned the palace and fled on a barge. The “macho” chickened out at the appearance of 75,000 people at Mendiola and could not wait for at least one million to come.
You were able to do again what you had done to Marcos in 1986, when you encircled the palace and compelled him to flee the palace by taking a US helicopter. The reactionaries and their camp followers hype Edsa to the point of airbrushing Mendiola and obscuring the decisive importance of encircling the palace and forcing the president to flee in both 1986 and 2001.
You have gained strength and experience in the process of ousting Estrada from power. All your efforts in the struggle have thereby been rewarded. All your participating organizations are now in a better position than ever to expand and consolidate their respective ranks in order to prepare for a new and higher level of struggle.
Your unstable and unreliable reactionary allies in the broad united front are now preoccupied with dividing the spoils from the downfall of Estrada, distributing the praises among themselves, forgetting to thank you properly for your decisive role in the overthrow of Estrada and mouthing the platitudes of the fallen president.
While the new set of reactionaries in power plunge into a process of isolating themselves and acting against the interests of the people, you must further strengthen your ranks, develop closer links with the broad masses of the people and raise the demands of the people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants.
The Macapagal-Arroyo ruling clique is in the process of unfolding. You respond to its policies and actions accordingly. At the same time, accelerate and intensify efforts to consolidate and expand your forces. Seize every moment and opportunity to further strengthen the national-democratic movement.
It would be foolhardy for the new regime to ignore the demands of the people or act against their national and democratic rights and interests. You are prepared to fight one regime after another and to carry forward the long-term struggle for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.
I am confident that you will win ever greater victories. The crisis of the ruling system and the world capitalist system is daily worsening and is favorable for the advance of the legal democratic mass movement and likewise the overall new-democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. #