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Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Joma Sison- on the 50th Anniversary of Communist Party of Philippines- Part 1

Interview by Harsh Thakor
Joma Sison (AKA: José María Sison)  is the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Sison reorganized the party as a Maoist group, in 1968, He is also a writer, activist and theoretician. Since 2002, Sison has been classified as a "person supporting terrorism" by the United States. The European Union's second highest court ruled to delist him as a "person supporting terrorism" and reversed a decision by member governments to freeze assets. The Communist Party of the Philippines has been classified by the US as a terrorist organization. He has been treated as a criminal by the USA and other European countries.
Harsh Thakor is a freelance writer. He writes for this blog, Otto's War Room and Democracy and Class Struggle, among other periodicals. This article also appeared in Democracy and Class Struggle.




Harsh Thakor —Below I have recorded my Interview with Chairman Joma Sison in Utrecht on December 27th and Dec 31st 2018.
I personally interviewed the great Comrade in the National Democratic Front Office in Utrecht, personally, which was an experience in a lifetime.
For half a century the CCP has displayed the tenacity of a rock withstanding every hurdle. It convinced me that no Communist party practiced mass line so penetratively or deeply as the CPP after the reversal of capitalism in China.
No party has with such fortitude and clinical analysis and practice thwarted of right and left opportunism of the CCP. It made the boldest of self -criticisms at many junctures. in consonance with Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.
May have some flaws in theoretical plane on international questions but in practice true champions.
Genuine revolutionary organs of political power have been created similar to what the Chinese Communist party did in the 1940's.,
I was astounded with how they blended political mastery with creativity. The New Peoples Army demonstrated phenomenal mobility and flexibility and was fully integrated in the lives of the broad masses.
Of great importance was the efforts of the rectification campaigns which were major stepping stones in the carving out of the revolutionary mass line.
The struggle for combating deviations and striving for mass line was similar to blood running through the veins of a body.
Revisionism was combated through revolutionary practice itself and not mere talk.
I was most impressed how they handled times of crisis in several junctures and fought back with their backs to the wall.
It depicted great dialectical approach like a surgeon performing continuous operations on the most serious patients.
Great planning was involved in every stage with the CPP traversing the most turbulent of waters.
Above all it did not impose itself on the masses but channelized every effort to establish itself as the true vanguard of the people. Resembled an architect, boulder, professor and, artist blended into one.
Above all it proved the authenticity of Maoism being invincible and correctness of theory of protracted peoples war.

Harsh Thakor: What led to the re-organization of the Communist Party of Philippines in 1969?

Joma Sison: The general secretary Jesus Lava was completely isolated from any mass movement. He adopted policies that  first liquidated the remnants of the old people's army by calling on the armed units to turn themselves into organizational brigades, and subsequently also the party by adopting in 1957 what he called the single file policy of dissolving every party collective and ordering party members to form single filer to which he sent his political transmissions from his Manila hideout.

He had no significant connections with any mass movement nor with the remnants of the peoples army which continued to exist as roving rebel bands in the plains of some central provinces of Central Luzon.

The single event that broke the long period of reaction was the demonstration of 500 students mostly from the state university ,to oppose and stop the anti-communist witch hunt in 1961.

The young proletarian revolutionaries initiated the mass peasant action ,without direction from the underground remnant of the old merger SP-CP party. Following their success, they expanded their study and organizing activities from the University of Philippines to other universities. and gained leadership over student governments. and campus publications. The young proletarian revolutionaries linked up with veteran cadres and masses in progressive trade unions and peasant associations.

The mass movement of the youth the workers and peasants grew steadily.

The Kabataaang Makabayan was formed in 1964 as a comprehensive mass organization of students, workers, young peasants and young professionals.

They became most active in promoting the study of the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich  Engels, VI Lenin, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, and in creating Party groups within the mass organizations and party branches and localities to serve as the revolutionary core of the mass movement. They were  the most militant in launching workers strikes and mass actions to expose the anti-national and anti-democratic policies of the revolutionary government.

The Lava revisionist renegades wished to impose their line of indefinite parliamentary struggles on the proletarian revolutionaries and the people.

Their line was engendered by their own bourgeois subjectivist and opportunist world outlook and encouraged by the line of Soviet revisionist renegades.

The 2 line struggle between the Lava revisionist renegades and the proletarian revolutionaries became so intense that the former wished to inflict physical harm on the latter.

The task of demarcating from the counter revolutionary revisionists and to wage a relentless campaign against them was the order of the day.

Preparations began with consolidation meetings of the proletarian revolutionaries and mass activists and drafting the documents of re-establishment "Rectify errors and Rebuild the party " and the CPP constitution and Programs for a Peoples Democratic Revolution.

The Congress of re-establishment had only 12 delegates representing only a few scores of party members and candidate members in the trade unions and youth movement.

Soon after the re-establishment of the party in 1968 the proletarian revolutionaries linked up with the majority of the remnant peoples army with rural mass base of 80,000 peasants ,in the 2nd district of Tratiac in Central Luzon.

In the urban and rural areas, the reestablished party inherited the fine revolutionary tradition of the proletariat as well as the senior and middle aged cadres of long drawn workers and peasants movement.

The mass organizations of workers, peasants and youth condemned both the Lava revisionist group and the Sumolong gangster Clique.

The Lava revisionist renegades prated about parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle but it was the proletarian revolutionaries who actually continued to lead the legal democratic movement.

The proletarian revolutionaries wished to create a nation wide party organization with a cadre and mass character, deeply rooted among the working people, and building a peoples army waging protracted peoples war. They realized they had to expand the party base from region of Central Luzon. They also saw the necessity of creating guerrilla zones.

Thus from the very outset members of the party central committee were deployed in particular regions to facilitate nation wide expansion. They understood the importance of building guerrilla zones in different regions, in various strategic points.

The mass organizations were virtually the nursery's for building the party members which is significant. The party membership originated from the peoples organizations which is an important component of the mass line.

All types of mass organizations were built amongst workers, peasants, youth, women and cultural activists. In April 1969 the party led a legal peasant demonstration of 15000 in Manila and another of 50,000 in Tarlac.

Great mass demonstrations were led against US occupation of Vietnam.

The urban based Kabataang Makayaban acted as the leading organ of the national democratic revolution. It became the most important source of cadres who were immediately responsible for urban work..

It encouraged the use of progressive unions and federations such as KASAMA and PAKMAK and the transformation of reactionary unions into progressive ones.

A most crucial base was laid after the 1st rectification campaign from 1969 itself It laid the base for challenging the fascist role of Dictator Marcos and firmly upheld that Philippine s was an under developed semi-feudal state, with only semi-industrialization or capitalist development.

It challenged the rightist reformist line of Ramorez and also the line that adopted the path of strategic counter offensive which in my view was premature to implement at that time.

The chief protagonists or cause of right deviation was the NGO's and religious institutions that countered Marxist ideology.

The revisionist trend even denied correctness of Mao's theory ,need of united front and mass activists. The fortes of movement from 1972-77 laid the base for foundation in Minando .From 1981 a new cc was selected. Struggles were developed in urban areas with strikes.

The New Peoples army was regularized, 16 companies were formed in no time. A foundation was laid for Maoism by 1977 with regards to United front.

In breaking out of the
 Merger Party of the Communist and Socialist Parties (MPCSP), they launched the First Great Rectification Movement in 1966. 

This criticized and rectified the subjectivist and the ¨Left¨ and Right opportunist errors from 1942 to 1966, the year when a scion of the Lava family imposed his revisionist line and grabbed leadership in the MPCSP.

The proletarian leaders who developed from the workers and youth mass organizations pursued the rectification movement and cleared the way for the foundation of the Communist Party of the Philippines from 1966 to 1968.

The CPP has waged rectification movements to overcome major errors in ideology, politics and organization.

It successfully waged the Second Great Rectification Movement from 1992 to 1998 as an education movement in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to criticize and repudiate major subjectivist and ”Left” and Right opportunist errors in the period of 1981 to 1992.

It debunked the subjectivist notion that the Marcos fascist dictatorship had made the Philippine economy industrial capitalist.

This subjectivist error gave rise to Right and ¨Left¨ opportunist errors. The Right opportunists advocated a united front without the leadership of the revolutionary proletariat and kowtowing to the anti-Marcos reactionaries,

The ”Left” opportunists rejected Mao´s strategic line of protracted people's war and promoted adventurism and the premature regularization of the NPA at the expense of mass work.

A major element was the contrasts between concentration and dispersing of forces. Often there was a weakness to absolutely concentrate forces and not disperse.

There was also over caution of penetration of spies .

Of major significance was my being a part of the revisionist CPP where I learnt some of the most fundamental lessons. The National Democratic Front placed great emphasis on uniting with non party forces.

There are legal anti-imperialist and democratic parties and mass organizations that do not wage armed revolution and always test how far they can go in elections staged by the reactionary parties.

The CPP does not participate in the reactionary elections because it wages armed revolution and is outlawed as a party in rebellion.

HT: What was the cause or significance the 2nd rectification campaign?

JS: From 1988 the mass base was diminishing and right opportunism was in ascendancy.50% of party members had capitulated to right or left opportunism. Many even rejected Mao.

Thus the party literally had to be resurrected to be saved from death. The biggest liquidator was Ramos.

Again mass work of NPA was restored.

It successfully waged the Second Great Rectification Movement from 1992 to 1998 as an education movement in Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to criticize and repudiate major subjectivist and ”Left” and Right opportunist errors in the period of 1981 to 1992.

The Second Great Rectification Movement criticized, repudiated and rectified the Right opportunist error of taking out the leadership of the communist party and the working class from the national united front supposedly to attract more people and make the united front the main weapon of the struggle; and several trends of ¨Left¨ opportunism, the most damaging of which over stressed the verticalization of the NPA at the expense of horizontal deployment of the NPA for mass work and which upon failure resulted in blaming those tagged as deep penetration agents as causing the failure and subjecting them to punishment without due process.

As a whole, the CPP has learned well from the Second Great Rectification Movement by developing the balance between armed struggle and mass work and the center of gravity in a relatively concentrated force (e.g., command platoon of a company or the command squad of a platoon) and the relatively dispersed force for mass work (two-thirds of a formation deployed on a wider scale).

The line for the NPA is to wage intensive and extensive guerilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base. But the erroneous currents of conservatism and roving rebel bands, which neglect the waging of guerrilla tactical offensives by overemphasizing mass work by armed propaganda teams, has afflicted some regions for extended periods, especially in Luzon and the Visayas.

The plenum of the Central Committee in 1980 encouraged the opponents of "Left " and "right" opportunism to espouse urban insurrectionism and parliamentaryism, respectively, by allowing both opportunists to spread doubts about the strategic line of peoples war. The Politburo meeting favoured both types of opportunism.

The left opportunists were lumped together and reject both liberal democrats and the anti-Marcos reactionaries as 'bourgeois reformists' along the line of monopolozing victory in the anti fascist struggle which was anticipated as forthcoming..

The line of strategic counter offensive and regularization encouraged the more blatant militarist line of combining urban insurrectionism with military adventurism, in Mindanao from 1982 to 1985.

Mass organizing was totally abandoned and underground cadres exposed themselves to the enemy in small provincial cities. There was also a trend that was seeking military and financial assistance from the Soviet Union. by through importing heavy military weapons.

Couriers were already dispatched to contact Soviet parties by them.

In common with Left opportunism the right opportunists gave utmost importance to legal struggles.-not revolutionary armed struggle.

As early as 1978-79 one group of right opportunists in the Manila -Rizai Party Committee provoked a struggle with the central leadership by insisting on the participation of the Communist Party of Philippines in the farcical elections held by the Marcos regime. debate was erroneously formulated as one of choosing between participation or boycott in elections.

It led to disruption ion the Manila-Rizai party committee.

Disruptive elements promoting such punitive measures were punished with disciplinary actions.

In 1981,the Right Opportunists were already advocating replacement of the vanguard proletarian party with a vanguard front' called 'New Katipunana.'

However the party thwarted this liquidationist proposal. The right opportunist line ran so deep that 'national democrats' from the ranks of the masses were enrolled into the party without any Marxist-Leninist education.

The right opportunists proceeded to realize their concept of strategic alliance, which meant denying the role of the party on the anti-fascist alliance They drew cadres from the countryside to the cities.

To be continued =>

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