Jose Maria Sison, in this interview by Angel Marrades Rodriguez of Descifrando la Guerra, discusses the history, principles, present situation and prospects of the Philippine revolution and the Communist Party of the Philippines, including his extensive role as its founding chairman. Prof. Sison also answers specific questions on the international situation, Maoism and proletarian revolutionary strategy. Descifrando la Guerra (“Deciphering War”) is a mainly Spanish-language portal dedicated to the monitoring and analysis of international politics, with focus on “conflicts, trade disputes, elections, protest movements and other key events.” The interview is posted here in full, with minor corrections which were checked with Prof. Sison.


CONCERNING THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES, THE PHILIPPINE REVOLUTION AND INTERNATIONAL SITUATION

Interview with Jose Maria Sison

Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines

By Angel Marrades Rodriguez
Descifrando la Guerra

1. Your personal political experience began with your militancy in progressive patriotic organizations. How was this experience like and to what extent is it still important?

Jose Maria Sison (JMS): To understand the importance of what little we could do for a start in 1959 on the campus of the University of the Philippines, you must know that the old Communist Party in the Philippines had been nearly decimated and the backbone of the old people’s liberation army had been broken in 1952 to 1954. Waging its Cold War in the Philippines, US imperialism directed the puppet government to enact the Anti-Subversion Law in 1957 and use it for conducting anti-communist witchhunt in collaboration with the US Central Intelligence Agency and clerico-fascist elements in the dominant Catholic Church.

We, the patriotic and progressive student activists and teachers, were not frightened at all by the Anti-Subversion Law which threatened to mete out the death penalty to anyone who was pointed to as a communist leader by two witnesses. Instead, we were challenged to fight US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. We invoked the academic freedom of the university and its constituents to do research, issue publications and speak out on any issue in the public interest. We made it a point to write and speak for national and democratic rights against foreign and feudal domination.

We formed the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP) in 1959 and I was elected the Chairman. We openly announced the objective to study and learn from the revolutionary history of the Filipino people against Spanish colonialism and then against US imperialism and to strive to continue the unfinished national democratic revolution, no longer under the leadership of the liberal bourgeoisie but under that of the proletariat. At the same time, we secretly conducted study meetings on the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism in relation to Philippine history and current circumstances of the people.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

We issued publications and conducted study meetings and mass protest actions on current national issues on and off the campus. The so-called Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities (CAFA) of the Philippine Congress held a series of hearings from 1959 onwards in order to subject the progressive faculty members and students to anti-communist witchhunt. On March 15, 1961, the SCAUP succeeded in organizing 5,000 students to protest in front of Congress. And then we stormed into the hearing hall and scuttled the hearings.

For the first time since the crackdown in the early 1950s, we succeeded in holding a demonstration in the thousands in order to defend the publication of our anti-imperialist and anti-feudal writings. We were able to put a stop to the anti-communist inquisition and generate a movement of defiance and resistance against US imperialism and the ruling system along the line of national liberation and democracy.

2. In the 1960s, you created organisations such as MAN and MASAKA to mobilise sectors from different social classes which supported patriotic and democratic-oriented struggle for the liberation of the Philippines. What led you to split from the PKP, organization where you formerly were active in, and the construction of the new party in 1968?

JMS: In the 1960s, I played a key role in the organization of several major mass formations like Kabataang Makabayan in 1964, in the consolidation of Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers’ Party) and its reconstitution as Socialist Party in 1964 and 1965 respectively and in the formation of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism as an anti-imperialist and democratic united front. I had no part in the organization of MASAKA in 1963 but I was subsequently put in charge of the refresher courses for the veteran peasant cadres openly on the worker-peasant alliance and discreetly on Marxism-Leninism.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

Following the success of the anti-CAFA demonstration in 1961, the student leaders of SCAUP were highly appreciated by the leaders and masses of students in other universities in Metro Manila. Thus, we were welcome when we made a campaign to form student groups like the SCAUP to carry out openly the study of the national democratic struggle and discreetly the study of Marxism-Leninism as theoretical guide.

The authorities in my department in the university did not like my role in the anti-CAFA demonstration and they did not renew my teaching fellowship and graduate scholarship. Thus, I gained time to organize secret study circles in Marxism-Leninism in several universities. I even found time to travel to Indonesia to study the Indonesian language and the mass movement there in the first half of 1962.

I joined the Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers’ Party) for political education work among the trade union members in the latter half of 1962. I became the head of the research and education department of the party. I was in charge of research, drafting party statements, issuing publications and holding seminars. The student activists from various universities joined the workers in seminars. Later on children of veteran peasant leaders from the rural regions close to Manila also joined.

Soon enough, we were able to launch mass actions on national issues against the reactionary government and its pro-imperialist policies, especially economic and military subservience to the US. Even before I joined the old Communist Party (CP), we in the SCAUP adopted a plan in late 1961 to form in the next two years a comprehensive youth organization, consisting of students and young workers, peasants, teachers and other professionals to be called Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth). We envisioned this as a force to assist the working class in leading the movement for national liberation and democracy.

I joined the old CP in December 1962 upon the invitation of its general secretary Jesus Lava through a nephew of his. He designated me immediately as a member of the Executive Committee which he formed and expected to be the embryo of the Central Committee, which he wished to reconstruct in the course of time. Since some years ago, there had been no single Party collective organ or any Party branch in existence. Lava was merely hiding himself in Manila without connection to any mass base or armed force since probably 1957 when he issued the “single-file policy” which practically liquidated the old CP.

Within the Executive Committee of the old CPP, I learned from internal documents of the old CPP and from my conversations with veteran worker and peasant cadres the facts about the errors of the series of Lava siblings who had become general secretary of the party (Vicente from 1942 to 1947, Jose from 1948 to 1950 and Jesus from 1951 to 1964). To know the errors fully, you can read the document titled “Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party”. I wrote the draft of this document in accordance with the decision of the five-man Executive Committee in 1965. But the document was rejected by the majority, consisting of three close relatives of Jesus, for being critical of the series of Lava general secretaries.

Vicente Lava was responsible for the Right opportunist error called “retreat for defense policy” which echoed the policy of the pro-US guerrillas called “wait and watch” policy which meant doing intelligence work in preparation for the US reconquest of the Philippines from the hands of the Japanese fascists. Jose Lava was responsible for the “Left” opportunist line of “winning victory in two years time” of the armed struggle, without minding the needed mass work and agrarian revolution. After Jose was arrested, Jesus Lava lost interest in the armed struggle and he swung to Right opportunism by deciding to liquidate the people’s army in 1955 and the old CP itself in 1957.

It was my criticism of the history of subjectivist and opportunist errors of the series of Lava general secretaries and the emergence of highly important current issues in 1964 to 1966 that led to the two-line struggle in the old CP and eventually the breakaway of the proletarian revolutionaries, including myself, from the old CP. The current issues then involved the refusal of the Lavaite revisionists to make a definite plan for the resumption of the people’s war and to take a definite stand against Soviet modern revisionism.

3. How are democratic and national objectives linked to Socialist Revolution’s objectives and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat?

JMS: The general line of the CPP is to carry out the people’s democratic revolution, with a socialist perspective, through protracted people’s war against the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system dominated by US imperialism and run by the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.

The national and democratic objective is to achieve the national and social liberation of the Filipino people by defeating US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. The CPP is now fighting a civil war against the local exploiting classes but is ready to fight a war of national liberation in case the US unleashes a war of aggression.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

It is by carrying out the people”s democratic revolution that the working class as the leading class builds the people’s army as the main component of the dictatorship of the proletariat or the worker state. Upon the completion of the people’s democratic revolution through the seizure of political power, the working class can commence the socialist revolution and socialist transformation of the economy because it has the state power to take all the commanding heights of the social, economic and political life of the nation.

4. What role has Maoism played during the construction of the CPP, which after all was founded on Mao’s 75th birthday on 26 December 1968. Did Maoism’s embrace mean to break with the previous PKP? Personally, how did you come to Mao and how did his thought influence you? To what extent were you compelled by the Chinese Cultural Revolution?

JMS: We as proletarian revolutionaries broke away from the old CP which we called the Lavaite revisionist party on issues directly pertaining to its history since 1942 up to the circumstances of 1964 to 1966 in the Philippines as well as pertaining to international issues, especially the struggle between Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism.

We were critical of the subjectivist and opportunist errors of the series of general secretaries from the same family from 1942 to 1964 and to the revisionist line of their followers that armed struggle should be avoided and that the legal mass movement should run on indefinitely without any clear plan to resume the armed struggle. We took the position that within the next 4 or 5 years the armed revolution should resume on the basis of the nationwide spread of the mass movement and the deep roots of the party among the workers and peasants.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

On international issues, we stood firmly for Marxism-Leninism against Soviet modern revisionism. We took the side of the Chinese CP on all major issues in the ideological debate. We expressed our position frankly on these issues which the Lava revisionist renegades tried to avoid. At first, they posed as having no position and then being neutral or centrist from 1962 to 1964 and finally admitted that they were pro-Soviet revisionist after all.

We were guided by Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in reestablishing the Communist Party of the Philippines. We applied this theory in the criticism, repudiation and rectification of the Lavaite errors that afflicted and weakened the old party from 1942 to the 1960s as well as in the analysis of Philippine history and the social circumstances and adoption of the general line of people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war against US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

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I had the good fortune of being in China in August 1966, when the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) was just beginning. I had very enlightening conversations with members of the CPC Central Committee and the highest responsibles of the CPC Higher Party School. I went back to China in 1967 to make a nationwide tour. It was at the seminar in Beijing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the “Talks at Yenan Forum” when I met Comrade Mao Zedong personally. This was covered by the Beijing Review.

5. Despite being such a broad topic, which lessons might be drawn from the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution? How has this historical experience been studied by the Philippine revolutionary movement?

JMS: Comrade Mao brought to a new and higher stage, the third stage, in the development of theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism, by putting forward the theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through cultural revolution (starting with the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution) to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism.

The GPCR brought to the peak Comrade Mao’s theoretical and practical achievements along the Marxist-Leninist line. It is the most important component of Mao Zedong Thought on top of its other components. It serves to underscore the series of major contributions Comrade Mao made in philosophy, political economy, social science, rectification movement in party building and protracted people’s war in the new democratic revolution. The CPP has sought to learn the principles and lessons involved in the theory and practice of the GPCR and in the earlier components of Mao Zedong Thought.

In philosophy, Mao elaborated on and developed Lenin’s identification of the unity of opposites (divide one into two) as the most fundamental law of materialist dialectics. He applied materialist dialectics in the process of gaining higher knowledge from the dialectics of theory and practice, in carrying out the new democratic revolution through people’s war and undertaking socialist revolution and construction.

In political economy, Mao had the advantage of learning positive and negative lessons from Stalin’s policy of socialist industrialization and agricultural collectivization. He criticized the revisionist reversal of socialist revolution and construction. And he put forward the line of self-reliant socialist construction by using the basic and heavy industries as the leading factor, agriculture as the base of the economy and light industry as the bridging factor under conditions of imperialist blockade, revisionist betrayal and natural calamity during the Great Leap Forward.

In social science, Mao developed further the theory and practice of the new democratic and socialist stages of the Chinese revolution. But his most important achievement in social science was in recognizing the problem of modern revisionism and the continuing fact of classes and class struggle in socialist society and in adopting solutions. He put forward a series of campaigns to uphold, defend and advance socialism, such as the anti-Rightist campaign, the Great Leap Forward, the socialist education movement and ultimately the cultural revolution as he faced greater resistance from the revisionists and capitalist roaders within his party.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

In party building, Mao adopted and developed further the Leninist teaching on building the proletarian vanguard party. He excelled at developing the rectification movement as the campaign for educating the Party cadres and members in Marxist-Leninist theory and practice, as the method for identifying the errors and weaknesses and for saving the patient from the disease and as the way for the Party to better serve the masses, mobilize them, let them acquire power and come under their supervision.

In people’s war, Mao had already demonstrated how the toiling masses of workers and peasants could defeat an enemy that was superior in military equipment and trained personnel through the strategic line of protracted people’s war by encircling the cities from the countryside in semicolonial and semifeudal countries. By winning the new democratic revolution through people’s war, the revolutionary proletariat and the people obtain the state power to proceed to socialist revolution.

The theory and practice of continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship through the GPCR was regarded as the greatest epoch-making contribution of Mao. It was aimed at combatting modern revisionism, preventing capitalist restoration and consolidating socialism. Even as the GPCR would be defeated by the Dengist counterrevolution, it still confirms and explains how socialism can be subverted and destroyed from within. Such a lesson will guide the forthcoming socialist revolutions.

We the Filipino proletarian revolutionaries have studied the GPCR as the answer to the problem of modern revisionism arising in socialist society in view of the degeneration of the bureaucrats and intelligentsia in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. At the same time, we benefited from its underscoring of the proletarian revolutionary line of Comrade Mao in the new democratic and socialist stages of the Chinese revolution.

Like the Paris Commune of 1871 being defeated by the bourgeoisie , the GPCR was defeated by the Dengist counter-revolution and capitalist restoration but it laid down the basic principles and methods for future adoption and further development in confronting the problem of revisionism and degeneration in future socialist societies.

6. The restoration of Capitalism in China did not stop the revolutionary movement which were taking place in India or Philippines, as well as those which would develop later in Peru or Nepal. From your point of view, do you consider the lack of any other revolutionary movement across the globe, excepting the Philippines movement itself and its counterpart in India, means an ideological crisis, and therefore a political crisis, within Maoism?

JMS: We can be confident that the ever-recurrent and ever-worsening crisis of overproduction and the tendency of imperialist powers to use state terrorism and wage wars of aggression generate the conditions for the irrepressible rise of anti-imperialist and democratic struggles and the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution, despite the twists and turns and setbacks that it might undergo. Let me explain.

In my lifetime, I saw how the world anti-imperialist struggle and proletarian revolution peaked in the 1950s, with one third of humanity already governed by communist and workers’ parties and the national liberation movements advancing against colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism, after the fascist powers failed to destroy the Soviet Union and stop the Chinese revolution. Then, the Soviet Union itself came under revisionist rule in 1956 and so did China in 1976. Both became capitalist, with the Soviet Union collapsing in 1991.

From 1991 to sometime around 2008, the US enjoyed being the winner in the Cold War and sole superpower in a so-called unipolar world, while the recurrently worsening crisis of overproduction and the endless US wars of aggression accelerated the strategic decline of the US. The US and China became main partners in the propagation of the neoliberal policy of imperialist globalization for four decades. Now, they are locked in a bitter inter-imperialist competition and rivalry. The capitalist restoration in both the Soviet Union and China has aggravated in a big and deepgoing away the crisis of the world capitalist system.

The advance of anti-imperialism, democracy and socialism is cumulative but is not always on a straight line. There are the twists and turns, ups and downs in history on varying scales of geography and time. On the whole at the moment, we the proletarian revolutionaries observe the intensifying inter-imperialist contradictions and the unravelling of the extremely anti-proletarian and anti-people policy of neoliberalism. We now see the rise of the anti-imperialist and democratic struggles all over the world. And we can see the conditions for the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution precisely because of the intensifying inter-imperialist conflicts.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

The revolutionary movements in the Philippines, India and elsewhere can take pride in the fact that they have continuously stood up as torch bearers of the world proletarian revolution even in the decades of setbacks of the socialist cause on a global scale and decline of certain revolutionary movements as those in Peru or the cooptation of other revolutionary movements as in Nepal. But the conditions have arisen once more for the resurgence of the anti-imperialist struggles and the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution.

Revolutionary movements have their own share of errors and weaknesses from time to time but Comrade Mao has provided the principles and methods of the rectification movement. Entire revolutionary movements may suffer a big decline like that in Peru where the first ten years of its armed struggle in the 1980s was very heroic and promising. But only the proletarian revolutionaries in that country can rectify the errors and weaknesses of the movement. That is also true in the case of Nepal in which the Prachanda party in power is now being challenged by proletarian revolutionaries who are striving to resume the people’s war.

7. Same question I would like to pose regarding People’s War in Nepal, which, as you already know, concluded with revisionist’s victory. What reasons do you think lie behind the defeat of Nepal’s revolutionary movement, a revolution which in fact was relatively close to achieving the victory over the State? What is the CPP’s position as to Prachandaist revisionism and the current situation in Nepal?

JMS: Like the people’s war in Peru, that in Nepal was a ten-year phenomenon which was brilliantly carried out up to the point of inflicting hard and heavy blows on enemy military forces based in Kathmandu, forcing the bourgeoisie to compromise and even the monarchy to dissolve. The Prachanda leadership stopped the people’s war before it could smash totally the bureaucratic and military machinery of the reactionary state and was satisfied with the dissolution of the monarchy as the victory of the democratic revolution.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

But the Marxist-Leninist line is for the proletariat through its revolutionary party to lead the new democratic revolution and to seize political power in order to commence the socialist revolution. It is not merely to overthrow the feudal monarchy but more essentially the bourgeois state. Otherwise what purports to be a proletarian revolutionary party is merely performing a bourgeois liberal task and backing out of the proletarian-socialist revolution.

8. Which one is your personal opinion with regard to the People’s War led by the Communist Party of Peru – Shining Path? And your opinion on Chairman Gonzalo?

JMS: The people’s war in Peru broke out in the early 1980s as an exceedingly happy and inspiring event for the proletariat and people not only in Peru but in the whole world in the face of dismal events, such as the Dengist counterrevolution and capitalist restoration in China adding up to the continuing degeneration of Soviet modern revisionism and to the self-defeating adventures of Soviet social imperialism.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

But I think that certain problems or errors afflicted the party leadership and revolutionary movement and made them decline in the course of their ten years of armed struggle, especially after the capture of Abimael Guzman. But it is up to the proletarian revolutionaries of Peru to do their criticism and rectification of errors, even as many revolutionary observers have noted that the Gonzalo leadership had been ultra-Left sectarian and failed to use the united front fully as one more weapon in the course of the people’s war and that after his capture he swung to the Right by toying with peace negotiations as his possible way out of prison, with no safeguards against confusing the revolutionaries and the masses.

9. Historically, Great Leadership has been Maoism’s hallmark, but unlike it happened in Peru, in Philippines your role has not taken the same position than Gonzalo’s Thinking had? What reasons are there behind this?

JMS: Out of modesty, the Chinese comrades even during the enthusiastic years of the GPCR shied away from touting Mao Zedong Thought as Maoism as if on the same plane as Marxism and Leninism, even as paradoxically they asserted that Mao Zedong Thought was the third and so far the highest stage of the development of the theory and practice of the revolutionary proletariat. As a label to the great contributions of Mao, Mao Zedong Thought had evolved from previous labels like “Mao thinking” and then “Mao thought”, with a small letter t.

It is to the credit of the CP of Peru and the RIM that they were ahead of all other entities in using the label Maoism to supplant Mao Zedong Thought. But they were not only for the symmetry of Maoism in relation to Marxism and Leninism. They claimed that in adopting the label of Maoism they were determining and defining its content to shame all other CPs for being off the line by not using the term Maoism. Worst of all, Gonzalo or the CP of Peru adopted the phrase, Gonzalo Thought, with the immodest claim that the phrase signified his own definition of Maoism as the third stage of Marxism-Leninism and his Thought as the brilliant further development, despite the fact that he had not yet won total victory in the Peruvian revolution.

The CPP in 1994 and soon after the CP of India (People’s War, later Maoist) followed suit in using the word Maoism in lieu of Mao Zedong Thought for definite reasons: First, they accept the great contributions of Mao to the development of theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism constituting the third stage after Marxism and Leninism; and second, it is a matter of language symmetry to use Maoism instead of Mao Zedong Thought alongside Marxism and Leninism.

To this day, CPP frowns on the immodest practice of certain parties naming their guiding theory after their principal leaders, like Gonzalo Thought, Prachanda Path and Avakian’s New Synthesis. These labels are immodest and are manifestations of puerile idolatry and the leaders’ own self-indulgence and self-glorification. Communists should selflessly do the best they can to wage and advance the revolution and forget about seeking personal fame or claiming for oneself the credit that belongs to the revolutionary forces of the proletariat and the people. It was not Marx and Lenin themselves who labelled their collection of ideas and actions with their respective names.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

10. Going back to the ideological crisis which Maoism seems to suffer, how do you assess the fact that both Naxalites and Philippines have not been able to serve as support bases to relaunch the Revolution in other countries?

JMS: The very cause of socialism has been in crisis in the last 70 years because of the rise of modern revisionism in the Soviet Union and then in China, the restoration of capitalism in these two big countries and the imposition of neoliberalism on the whole world by the imperialist powers. It is a good thing that in the last 50 years there have been Maoist parties leading the armed revolution in the Philippines and India, with current populations of more than 100 million and 1.38 billion, respectively.

Compared to the far bigger crisis of socialism in the last 70 years, it is much less of a crisis of any kind, ideological or other wise, that so far it seems only the CPP and CPI (Maoist) are carrying out armed revolutions that have a socialist perspective. It is a good thing that these two parties are engaged without let-up in armed revolution. But there are other Maoist parties in other countries already waging armed revolution or preparing for it, despite let-downs in the decline of armed revolution in Peru and the revisionist turnaround of Prachanda in Nepal. The rapid worsening of the crisis of the world capitalist system and the rise of anti-imperialist struggles on a widening scale signal the resurgence of the world proletarian-socialist revolution.

The CPP and the CP of India (Maoist) are parties that seriously carry out the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war in their respective countries. They also seriously carry out international work in the spirit of proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialist solidarity with all peoples. They are conscious of their revolutionary struggles being contributory to the world proletarian revolution, seek international support and are ever ready to share their ideas and experience.

But neither of them claims to be the leader or center of the world proletarian revolution. They have joined anti-imperialist as well as communist international organizations, conferences and seminars. But they do not make the immodest claim of being the center of authority or line-setter for the entire communist movement, unlike certain small groups calling themselves Maoists and exaggerating one component of Maoism like protracted people’s war and obfuscating other components of Maoism.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

Like those who were called infantile communists by Lenin, there are infantile Maoists whose main activity is to prance around and preach dogmatically that protracted people’s war is doable at all times in all kinds of countries irrespective of the actual state of domestic social conditions and inter-imperialist conflicts. But if you look at the biographies of these infantilists in imperialist countries, they have been babbling about people’s war for at least two decades to make themselves look superior to the real Maoists who are actually waging protracted people’s wars.

These pseudo-Maoists do not do any serious mass work and do not set up any self-defense organization among the people for possible armed resistance. They are little chicks in comparison to the fascist gangs. These infantile Maoists are a fringe phenomenon and do not involve or cause any serious crisis of Maoism. Neither is it a crisis that certain genuine Maoist parties are still in the process of trying to reach the level of armed struggle and prominence already achieved by the CPP and the CPI (Maoist).

11. In 1977 you were arrested by the Marcos dictatorship, and would not be released from prison until 1986 under the new Corazon Aquino government and her “national reconciliation” policies. However, shortly after that you had to go into exile, and since then you remain in Utrecht. Could you express how it was for you personally the imprisonment as for the revolutionary movement? How did the party adapt in a context of increasing repression that its main leader was arrested?

JMS: I am happy and proud to say that when I was captured in 1977 the ideological, political and organizational foundation of the revolutionary movement had become solid and strong. The Marxist-Leninist ideological and political line was well-established by basic, intermediate and advanced courses of study among CPP cadres and members, by the rectification movement against the Lavaite errors from 1942 onwards (“Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party”) and by the analysis of Philippine history and society and (Amado Guerrero’s book Philippine Society and Revolution) and by the CPP Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution.

From a little over 100 CPP members in 1969, they were already in the thousands in 1977, nationwide in scale and deeply rooted among the workers and peasants. From only nine automatic rifles at the start in 1969, the NPA had increased them to more than 2000 automatic rifles in 1977. From only tens of thousands of mass activists in 1968, they were already in the hundreds of thousands in various types of mass organizations in 1977. The rural mass base had been 80,000 in only one district in Tarlac in 1969. There was a total of two million people as mass base in some 40 guerrilla fronts in 1977. They were also under the governance of the local organs of political power or the people’s democratic government.

The foundation of the revolutionary movement was so strong that it could withstand the major errors of subjectivism and opportunism in various regions at various times from 1981 to 1991. These errors could not stop the general advance of the movement even if they reduced the rate of advance. They became the target of timely rectification campaigns as well as the Second Great Rectification Movement from 1992 to 1998, under the guidance of the CPP document “Reaffirm Basic Principles and Rectify Errors”.

When the fascist dictator Marcos was overthrown by gigantic mass actions and by withdrawal of support from him by the reactionary armed forces, the CPP had only about 6000 full-time Red fighters with automatic rifles nationwide. These were not enough for seizing any major city and changing the balance of forces which was still in favor of the US and the reactionary classes. But the broad anti-fascist united front was strong enough to free all political prisoners, including myself. The legal forces of the national democratic movement were formidable and decisive in mobilizing the gigantic mass actions.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

I went back to the university to teach political science for one semester and had the opportunity to write a book Philippine Crisis and Revolution to confront the pseudo-democratic government of Cory Aquino before I left the Philippines on August 31, 1986 for a lecture tour in the Asia Pacific region. Just like my political detention from 1977 to1986, my stay abroad from the latter part of 1986 to the present has not adversely affected the general advance of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines. I intended to return home but the Aquino government cancelled my passport and fabricated a new charge of subversion against me. Thus, I was constrained to seek political asylum in The Netherlands, instead of delivering myself to the enemy.

12. The “EDSA Revolution” took place in 1986, leading to the end of Marcos’ dictatorship. It can be asserted that during this period the Communist Party and the New People’s Army presented themselves as the vanguard of this democratic movement. However, it was Corazón Aquino, supported by the USA, who finally managed to take the control of the country. How did the revolutionary movement face this historical moment? What mistakes led to the later dissolution of many political cadres?

JMS: Since its founding in 1968, the CPP had always described itself as the advanced detachment of the Filipino working class and as the leading force in the people’s democratic revolution as a matter of principle, policy and line. The extent of development of the revolutionary movement was significantly large despite the tremendous odds but it was not yet enough to overthrow the entire ruling system. It was just enough to cause the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and participate in the broad united front to overthrow Marcos and release all the political prisoners. US imperialism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists were still dominant.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

During the 14-year resistance against the fascist dictatorship from 1972 to 1986, the CPP had grown to some tens of thousands. The NPA had acquired 6000 automatic rifles through armed struggle and had organized auxiliary and reserve forces like the people’s militia and the self-defense units of the mass organizations. A few millions of people were in underground mass organizations and under the governance of the people’s democratic government. The legal mass organizations of the national democratic movement could muster hundreds of thousands in demonstrations in Manila. But these were not enough to overthrow the entire ruling system.

As part of consolidating her power, Cory Aquino asked for ceasefire negotiations in Manila. A ceasefire agreement for 60 days was reached for the purpose of negotiating the substantive agenda for the peace negotiations. But the ceasefire negotiations were surveiled by enemy intelligence and would lead to the arrest and killing of some negotiators and staff. Before the ceasefire agreement ran out, the presidential security guards murdered and injured peasant demonstrators and their urban supporters in the infamous massacre near the presidential palace on January 23, 1987. This led to the discredit of the Aquino regime and further inflamed the people’s war.

The most important guarantee for the continuance of the Philippine revolution is the perseverance of the CPP, NPA and NDFP on the road of protracted people’s war along the line of the people’s democratic revolution with a socialist perspective. In time of a crackdown on patriotic and democratic forces in urban areas, they have somewhere to go in the countryside in order to fight even better and in a more advantageous way for the national and social liberation of the people.

13. In 1992, as you argue in your texts, the Second Great Rectification Movement was launched to correct errors of the party’s political line and the deviations thereof. Both of a left and right-wing nature. Would you say that the revolutionary movement was strengthened? To what extent were the objectives of the Second Great Movement of Rectification achieved for the current revolutionary period?

JMS: The Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM) was launched in 1992 to rectify the subjectivist and opportunist deviations from the CPP’s correct ideological, political and organizations line. The CPP and the revolutionary movement became much stronger as a result of the SGRM. They became more vigorous and more productive.

Mass work was emphasized to make up for the loss of mass base due to the premature formation of NPA companies and neglect of mass work. Increased Party recruitment and expansion of mass organizations also made up for the loss of CPP members and activists who had been punished without due process by the “Left” opportunists when their line was grossly failing from 1985 to 1988.

Where the errors had taken effect, the rectification movement resulted in the reinvigoration of the revolutionary forces and expansion of the mass base. The strong guerrilla fronts helped the guerrilla fronts that had been weakened by the errors. Before 2000, the NPA was able to kill one general in the field and capture another one. And a third general defected to the NPA.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

I cite the cases of these generals to indicate that the revolutionary movement became stronger and was successful in both annihilation and disintegration of the enemy. By 2000 and 2001, the CPP was once more able to cause the overthrow of a president, Joseph Estrada, for corruption but also once more could not yet overthrow the entire ruling system.

Because of the SGRM, the revolutionary movement made great strides up to 2005. The CPP membership grew by some tens of thousands. The guerilla fronts increased to more than 120 from about 40 in 1986. The NPA increased by the thousands and exceeded the losses in areas where these resulted from errors.

The underground mass organizations and the local organs of political power continued to gain adherents by the millions. But there was a downside to the emphasis on mass work by the SGRM to combat the purely military viewpoint and the previous premature regularization of NPA forces in the 1980s.

All NPA units were so preoccupied with mass work that they could not respond effectively with counter-offensives against the enemy campaigns of suppression from 2005 onwards. It would take sometime before the decision was made to have one third of every NPA platoon and company on combat duty with short rest periods and two-thirds for mass work.

Combatants are rotated so that everyone has combat experience and contribute to the drive for increasing the arms of the NPA by launching tactical offensives to wipe out enemy units. The long-running plan of the CPP is to raise the armed strength of the NPA from 10,000 high-powered rifles to 25,000 in order to reach the strategic stalemate and launch tactical offensives with companies and battalions.

14. The NPA promotes the creation of “New Power” and the “People’s government”, what do they consist of and how are they organized? What role does “Remolding” play in this in the last decades?

JMS: Building the new power or the people’s democratic government means creating the local organs of political power from the level of villages up to the municipal, district and provincial levels. The people’s government serves to shadow the reactionary government and render services to the people by carrying out land reform, raising production, improving the social infrastructure, providing health, education and other social services, settlement of disputes, internal security and people’s self-defense, disaster relief and environmental protection.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

Depending on the circumstances, the Red organs of political power can either fight and supplant the local governments of the reactionary classes or engage them in united front cooperation against the higher level of reactionary government or the entire national reactionary government. The Filipino people are quite experienced in having their own revolutionary system of government against a foreign colonial power or a tyrannical government.

Remoulding means ideological, political and moral remoulding. The proletarian revolutionaries of whatever class origin should take the proletarian class stand by grasping the basic concepts of Marxism-Leninism not only by reading books and attending formal courses of study but having close relations with the toiling masses, learning from them through social investigation and class analysis, engaging in mass work to arouse, organize and mobilize them and joining them the struggles to advance the revolution.

15. One of the main questions which the revolutionary movement must address concerns the entry in urban centres. This seems to be a military question and the way in which guerrilla should work and the strategy to pursue. Nonetheless, it could also be linked to the relationship between the Party and the people and how both connect. In this way, what efforts are being undertaken to achieve the aforementioned aims?

JMS: Prior to the resumption of the armed revolution in 1969, there was nearly a decade of developing the legal anti-imperialist and anti-feudal or national democratic movement. The legal forces of this movement prepared the ideological, political and organizational factors for resuming the armed revolution. Even when Marcos outlawed them when he proclaimed martial law in 1972, the aforesaid forces went underground and facilitated the integration of thousands of mass activists in the armed revolutionary movement.

In the specific conditions of the Philippines, encircling the cities from the countryside in the protracted people’s war involves a certain class line. It means that the revolutionary party of the proletariat must base itself among the peasant masses as the basic revolutionary ally of the proletariat. The great number of peasants and the vast scale of the countryside provide the wide social and physical terrain for maneuver in order to preserve the people’s army, fight the enemy and accumulate arms seized from the enemy through ambushes and raids.

At the current strategic defensive stage of the people’s war in the Philippines, the CPP has stressed waging intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base. The CPP hopes to produce from the guerrilla warfare squads, platoons and companies in the maturation of the strategic defensive the companies and battalions that shall carry out regular mobile warfare in the strategic stalemate.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

While the revolutionary armed struggle is mainly in the countryside in the Philippines, the NPA has also the armed city partisans and commando units to carry out certain types of offensives in urban areas, highways and centers of logging, plantations and mining operations. These are areas relatively well-guarded by the enemy but they are isolated and vulnerable. With mass support, the NPA can learn how to approach and attack these targets. Tactical offensives against valuable sites of the enemy compels him to take defensive positions and have less forces for offensives against the NPA in the countryside.

16. How has the NPA developed its relations with the native people? How does the NPA manage to respect native culture with the idea of building a new society?

JMS: Since the years of developing the national democratic movement in the 1960s and since the resumption of the reestablishment of the CPP in 1968, serious attention has been paid by the revolutionary movement to indigenous people who are some 15 percent of the population but occupy large parts of the Philippine territory, which are in the hilly and mountainous regions and are favorable for people’s war. It was of the highest social concern for the CPP that their oppression and exploitation must be solved, that they exercise their right to national self-determination, wage revolution for their national and social liberation, enjoy respect for their previous roles in the revolutionary struggles against colonialism and imperialism and for their cultural heritage and avail of their terrain which is exceedingly favorable for people’s war.

The CPP, NPA, NDFP and the mass organizations gave the highest priority to the political education and organization of the workers, peasants, students, teachers and other professionals from the indigenous communities. Thus, since the beginning, they have played a major role in the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. Many of them have become leading cadres in the central and regional organs of all revolutionary forces. And their peoples enjoy self-determination, autonomy and self-government in their communities. Where the local communities are mixed in border areas, the rule of proportionate representation is followed in order to allow their participation in discussing issues and making decisions.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

The 1968 Program of People’s Democratic Revolution of the CPP, NPA, the mass organizations and the local organs of political power criticizes the oppression and exploitation of the indigenous people and other national minorities in the following terms:

National minorities in the Philippines have been abused and grossly neglected. U.S. imperialism, the local reactionary government and the Christian churches have too long regarded the national minorities as mere objects of bourgeois charity and Christian proselytization. The four million people belonging to the national minorities, especially those of Mindanao and the mountain provinces, can be powerful participants in the revolutionary overthrow of U.S. imperialism and feudalism. The bourgeois government, reactionary scholars and Christian chauvinists talk loud about national integration but they stand in reality for the exploiting classes that are the main sources of abuse and oppression.

The Program declares the following course of action:

The main concern of the national minorities is land; the abuses of landlords, loggers and landgrabbers; and exploitation in mines and plantations. A new type of leadership, a revolutionary one must be encouraged to rise among them so as to supplant the traditional leadership that has failed to protect them and has merely contributed to and participated in their exploitation. With regard to naturalized Filipinos and foreign nationals, the class approach must be firmly taken so as to do away with “Malay” racism and chauvinism.

17. Focusing now on the affective relationships between individuals who live within the New Power bases created by the NPA where it is assumed that a couple not only does affect those involved but the whole community, how, despite in socialism coexists elements which belong to the classist society and others which represent the new society which is to come, can the persistence of marriage be explained as an institution product of class society?

JMS: The CPP has promulgated a Code on Family Relations for Party members and the masses. When a Party member intends to court someone, he or she must inform his or her Party branch. If the other party in the courtship is not a Party member, efforts are exerted to develop him or her at least to become a Party candidate-member before the marriage is approved and realized so that the couple will be helpful to each other in revolutionary work. The couple are required to remould themselves and develop as proletarian revolutionaries.

There is the assumption of romantic or sexual attraction between the parties in the courtship but the relations must be developed and raised to the level of proletarian class love and revolutionary partnership. Marriage among Party members is monogamous. And there is a recourse to divorce if incompatibility, infidelity or political betrayal by the offending party is proven. Care of the children if any is taken into account.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

Among the masses in the guerrilla fronts, the most responsible official of the people’s democratic government, the CPP, NPA or any of the mass organizations concerned can approve the marriage and be the officiating officer. But the partners may also get married upon the approval of their religious organization of choice. They may step out of the guerrilla front to hold the marriage ceremony officiated by an official of the reactionary government or religious organization, as a matter of social custom, a matter of united front policy and a matter of letting as many relatives and friends as possible of the couple to attend the marriage ceremony.

All couples, whether they belong to the CPP or not, are required to follow the policies, laws and regulations that govern family relations and all matters pertaining to good social relations for the benefit of the community. Good social relations involve respect for fundamental freedoms and democratic rights and cooperation to realize social, economic, political and cultural reforms for attaining social justice and better conditions of life.

18. In 2016, Duterte’s election victory was welcomed as an opportunity to relaunch the peace negotiations and as a president who could be progressive against US imperialism. How do you assess those positions? Were they correct?

JMS: Duterte had a long record of being a bureaucrat capitalist and an unreliable and unstable ally of the NDFP in Southern Mindanao in a number of struggles against the common enemies, including the reactionary military and other bureaucrat capitalists. One more point: he was a former student of mine in political science and became a member of the Kabataang Makabayan.

When he became presidential candidate, he offered to form a coalition government with the NDFP if elected and unconditionally to amnesty and release all political prisoners even before the start of the peace negotiations. Still the electoral parties of the legal democratic movement, the Makabayan Bloc, did not support him but Grace Poe. Even then, Duterte offered peace negotiations when he became president.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

He did not issue any general amnesty for all political prisoners but offered to appoint to his cabinet four communists to entrap the CPP in the position of capitulation. But I told him publicly to appoint people on their individual merits because there was yet no peace agreement. Instead of amnesty for all political prisoners, only 19 of them were released and he tried to obtain indefinite protracted ceasefire in exchange. We rebuffed him. Thus, the peace negotiations practically died in the water in April 2017 although there were actions and statements from both sides manifesting both breakdown of the peace negotiations and attempts to revive the peace negotiations.

In undertaking peace negotiations, the CPP and NDFP have to be guided by united front policy and tactics. They could not just dismiss Duterte’s offer of peace negotiations without exposing him first as being actually hostile to peace negotiations. To reject outright Duterte’s offer of peace negotiations would have made the CPP and NDFP appear as the bellicose party and they would thus be offending the broad range of peace advocates and millions of people.

19. There is a clear trend to identify Duterte’s government and Marcos’ dictatorship. It is explicit the former is undertaking a repressive policy against the Filipino people which might be similar to Marcos’ rule. In which way this strategy, if pursued by the Party, is positive for the revolutionary movement. And taking into account the experience of the so-called “EDSA Revolution” which might be different in its development, or what result the revolutionary movement can expect from an eventual fall of Duterte.

JMS: As you observe, it is positive or beneficial for the revolutionary movement to stress the similarity of the Marcos and Duterte regimes for taking a repressive policy against the Filipino people. Indeed, they are similar in engaging in the open rule of terror. Duterte has signed into law his state terrorism law in the name of anti-terrorism. And he openly idolizes Marcos and emulates him in butchery and plunder.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

If Duterte were to fall before his mandatory six-year term ends in 2022, or soon after should he attempt to prolong his rule beyond what the 1987 Constitution allows, it will be because of gigantic mass actions and the consequent withdrawal of support from him by the pro-US reactionary military officers. These pro-US military officers will still be able to transfer power to the Vice President or the opposition presidential candidate in 2022 in a way similar to the instalment of Cory Aquino as president in 1986. The legal forces of the national democratic movement have the capacity to mobilize people for gigantic mass actions. But the NPA does not yet have enough armed strength to seize power in Manila.

In the meantime, it is best for the NPA to accumulate armed strength in the countryside and help the people’s government to strengthen itself there. All efforts are exerted to strengthen the worker-peasant alliance, win over the middle social strata and take advantage of the splits among the reactionaries. The best thing that can happen by way of taking advantage of the splits among the reactionaries is when they fight each other violently. But that is not yet going to happen soon.

20. What is the current situation in Philippines after the pandemic? How has been this situation managed by the Philippines’ Revolutionary Movement and which work or task has been set with regard to Filipino People?

JMS: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis of the ruling system had become worse than ever before. Since the pandemic lockdowns, Duterte has used his emergency powers to apply more repressive measures against the people and steal the public money promised to support the medical fight against the pandemic and to provide economic assistance to the people who have been deprived of their jobs and other means of livelihood. The people are hungry and exceedingly angry against the Duterte regime.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

The legal forces of the national democratic movement are using the social media and webinars to take up issues against the regime and encourage the arousal, organization and mobilization of the people in all possible ways despite the lockdowns implemented by the military and police.

In the countryside, the revolutionary forces have more freedom of action because of lessened number of troops as a result of their preoccupation with enforcing the lockdowns. But in a number of areas in the countryside, the military are engaged in so-called focused military operations. But the space is wide in the countryside for maneuver by the NPA for the purpose of evasion, defense or offense.

21. Amid a global pandemic, in your personal opinion, toward which direction does Duterte’s bourgeois foreign policy point to? Is it still favourable towards the USA or do you think it is shifting in favour of China?

JMS: Duterte has always remained loyal to US imperialism. He has retained all treaties, agreements and arrangements that make the US still dominant over the Philippine economy, politics, culture and the military. And the big deal between the US and Duterte is for the latter to eliminate the armed revolution and give the US unlimited ownership of land, natural resources, public utilities and all businesses.

The big deal between Duterte and China is for the latter to deliver the promised high interest loans amounting to USD 24 billion for overpriced infrastructure projects. But China has been slow in fulfilling its promise because it wants Duterte first to surrender in an outright and flagrant manner Philippine sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea. Duterte is getting more money from the Chinese criminal triads smuggling in illegal drugs and operating casinos in the Philippines.

Serving two imperialist powers that are now conflicting can become a big problem for Duterte. He has allowed China to build and militarize seven artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, to own 40 percent of the national power grid and worst of all to have China Telcom erect cell towers in military camps and assist the military and police in improving their communications system. At the same time, the US maintains personnel and facilities in these military camps under the Visiting Forces Agreement and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

22. What is the position adopted by the CPP as to the existing rivalry between China and the USA, currently materialised by a trade war?

JMS: The CPP condemns the US and China as imperialist powers because of their respective violations of Philippine national sovereignty. The US and China were the two main partners in the propagation of the neoliberal policy in the last four decades. But now they are increasingly in conflict with each other because the US policy makers have come to the conclusion that China has taken advantage of its two-tiered economy (state capitalism and private capitalism) to achieve strategic economic and military goals, has manipulated trade and currency policies to gain undue advantage, has used its export surplus and foreign exchange reserves to export capital and take over markets, and has stolen US technology from US subsidiaries in China and research laboratories in the US.

The US government has to blame China in order to mislead the American public about the crisis of overproduction in the world capitalist system, to obfuscate the fact that the US government had committed the folly of overspending for US military forces abroad and for wars of aggression and making concessions to China such as outsourcing manufacturing to it (to avail of cheaper Chinese labor at the expense of employment in the US), increasing US investments in China after the mass uprisings of 1989 in scores of Chinese cities and allowing China to enjoy large trade surpluses and to undertake ambitious projects like the Belt and Road Initiative.

The crisis of overproduction in the world capitalist system has become so bad that the inter-imperialist contradictions are worsening and the service sector and public debt bubbles are already in the process of implosion. The inter-imperialist contradictions of the US and China have taken center stage because they are now the biggest economies and the US finds it convenient as well as necessary to oppose China as its chief economic rival capable of reproducing and rebranding products that used to carry US brands and as its main political rival with hightech military weapons.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

23. Given the current situation characterised by an increase of global tensions and struggle among imperialist powers, how do you assess the current international situation? Is there any country which might bolster Philippines’ revolution? What is your opinion about countries such as Cuba, North Korea, or Venezuela?

JMS: Neoliberalism is unravelling. It has served to aggravate the crisis of overproduction. The inter-imperialist contradictions are intensifying. The US and China are now cutting each other down. We can expect that the imperialist powers become more engrossed with their own internal problems even as they are at the same time entangled in inter-imperialist contradictions and they overextend themselves in so many other countries in acts of aggression.

The worsening crisis of the world capitalist system is generating conditions favorable to the Philippine revolution. Being in an archipelago, the Filipino people have to be self-reliant in waging revolutionary struggle. In their history, they were able to defeat Spanish colonialism and were the very first Asian people to defeat a Western power and then they were able to give a good fight against the rising imperialist power of the US from 1899 onwards.

I admire the anti-imperialist forces and peoples of Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and in other countries for standing up against US imperialism and waging struggles against it and its lackeys. Their just struggles serve to support the Philippine revolution. In turn, the Philippine revolution supports their own struggles.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

Good if the US gets tied down in its own home ground and in many other countries so that it has less force to focus on the Philippines. It is also good if any revolutionary force in another country can extend moral support and concrete assistance to help the Filipino people in their revolutionary struggle. But it is best that the Filipino people rely on themselves and not to become dependent on foreign assistance even when it materializes.

The ongoing people’s democratic revolution in the Philippines has proven that it can grow in strength and advance even as the the big socialist countries are gone and no foreign country of whatever kind has extended any kind of assistance for the armed revolution. The Filipino people are confident that they will be making greater strides on their own as the crisis of the world capitalist system worsens and the imperialist powers and the local reactionary classes find themselves in a worse situation than ever before.

24. In one of your documents, “On the Question of People’s War in Industrial Capitalist Countries” is denied any chance of waging a People’s War in an imperialist centre. Why do you think so? What should be the role played by revolutionaries in these countries? How the revolutionary proletariat can constitute as ruling class if it is not applying the tenets of the People’s War?

JMS: To be precise, I have stated that the protracted people’s war that is possible and viable in a semi-colonial and semifeudal society like pre-1949 China and current India and Philippines cannot be universally doable in any imperialist country at any time. Under conditions of direct inter-imperialist war like World War II, without the use of nuclear weapons, it was still possible to do partisan or guerrilla warfare for a number of years in both the urban and rural areas of Western Europe.

Right now, the farm population in the imperialist countries has become quite small. In both the US and Norway where a few infantile Maoists are blabbering about carrying out a protracted people’s war, the farm population is around two percent of the national population and consists of both monopoly farm capitalists and rich farmers, using a great deal of mechanization, unlike the traditional landlords of China exploiting a great mass of poor and middle peasants using primitive tools of agriculture.

Mao’s strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside in protracted people’s war works in countries where the peasants are the majority of the national population and the semi-feudal economy is in chronic crisis. Mao himself said that protracted people’s war, which could be done in China, cannot be done in any imperialist country with a highly unified and centralized economy and system of communications and with a paucity of poor and middle peasants.

Let the infantile Maoists start armed struggle now in the countryside of the US or Norway. They will be wiped out in less than 30 minutes by SWAT teams of the local police. Until now, no group advocating protracted people’s war has started it in any imperialist country. Small conspiratorial armed groups with no wide mass base among the workers or in an oppressed national community cannot go far within an imperialist country, as soon as the shooting starts.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

There should be no confusion between Mao’s practice of protracted people’s war in semicolonial and semifeudal China as a particular form of warfare and the general Marxist concept of the proletariat overthrowing the bourgeois state by armed force as taught since a long time ago by the Communist Manifesto. Especially when a group calls itself Maoist, it should understand why protracted people’s war was possible in China and why since then we have not seen such type of warfare occurring and succeeding in the imperialist countries.

Revolutionaries in imperialist countries can propagate the line in the Communist Manifesto, Civil War in France and in Lenin’s State and Revolution for the proletariat to establish its class dictatorship by overthrowing the bourgeois state. Towards that goal, the communists can develop a strong working class movement through effective ideological, political and organizational work attuned to the worsening crisis of the capitalist system and prepared to fight the desperate effort of the monopoly bourgeoisie to use fascism against the working class.

It is easily conceivable, based on historical experience and current circumstances, that politico-military preparations can be made for the overthrow of the monopoly bourgeoisie, such as exercises in mobilizing the people for mass protests and blockades against the class enemy, the formation and training of self-defense units in trade unions and other mass organizations as well as in communities, Bolshevik-style work within the imperialist army for future mass defections of the troops to the revolutionary side, discreet accumulation of weapons in the hands of the revolutionaries, and so on and forth.

25. Have there been any intention in the CPP to reconstitute the Communist International? What is your opinion about the International Party and its role? Formerly within Maoism movement itself, there has been some attempts, being the Revolutionary International Movement can be highlighted. Which opinion does it deserve to you?

JMS: I do not speak for the CPP in this interview. And I am not aware of any intention of the CPP to reconstitute the Communist International. But I think that it makes more sense for the CPP to do its best in leading the Philippine revolution for the time being in order to make significant advances and thus make a significant contribution to the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle and to the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution.

Illustration by Max Santiago/Paaralang Jose Maria Sison

Those communist parties with more resources and with more political space can try to bring together communist delegations from various countries for conferences or seminars. But I do not think that it is wise and workable for any party or group of parties to constitute any international party that puts various CPs under the principle of democratic centralism as the RIM tried to do. RIM got into deep trouble over issues like Gonzalo’s reported desire for peace negotiations and then Avakian’s new synthesis.

Since the dissolution of the Third International in 1943 due to the conditions of World War II, the concept of an international communist party treating communist parties of various countries as national sections has become outmoded. The principle and practice have been for communist parties of various countries to be equal and independent and respect each other as such, whether they are in power or not or whether they are big or small. They are responsible for the application of Marxism-Leninism in their respective countries, while they are bound by the spirit and principle of proletarian internationalism.

26. On this matter, what can the Philippine Revolutionary Movement contribute to the International Communist Movement? Is currently the Philippine Revolutionary Movement ideological vanguard within the International Communist Movement?

JMS: At the moment, the CPP can make a significant contribution to the international communist movement by leading the Philippine revolution and in the process by growing in strength and making advances in the struggle. When it wins the Philippine revolution, then it shall have the resources and political space to host international conferences or seminars in the Philippines. What the CPP can do now is to share its revolutionary experience and views on domestic and international issues with other communist parties through publications, conferences and seminars.

In the meantime, the International Department of the CPP can facilitate the participation of CPP delegations in international anti-imperialist and conferences and seminars. The CPP is convinced that it takes the correct position on national and international events and issues. But I do not think that the CPP is inclined to proclaim itself immodestly as the ideological vanguard of the International Communist Movement. That is best proven by revolutionary practice rather than by any self-proclamation.###

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