ON THE PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION
Prof. Jose Maria Sison answers questions of host Anghelo Godino
Chapter 3 of Philippine Society and Revolution: The People’s Democratic Revolution, NDLine Online: National Democratic Online School, Pinas Serye with Tito Jo, June 28, 2020
1. What are the aims of the National Democratic Revolution? How is it different from other revolutions that have happened throughout Philippine history?
JMS: The most important aim of the national democratic revolution is to achieve full national independence and people’s democracy. The old democratic revolution of 1896 was led by the liberal bourgeoisie and was aimed at building a bourgeois democratic republic. This time the new democratic revolution is led by the working class and is aimed at proceeding to the socialist revolution in consonance with the era of modern imperialism and the world proletarian revolution.
The revolutionary leadership of the working class and its vanguard party ensures that the new democratic revolution has a socialist perspective, takes a socialist direction and is the preparation for the socialist revolution. With the peasantry as the main force of the revolution, it is certain that the main content of the democratic revolution is fulfilled with the satisfaction of the peasant demand for agrarian revolution through free land distribution. And the line is set for agricultural cooperatization and mechanization in socialist society.
2. Why is it necessary for the revolution to study the different classes in the Philippine society?
JMS: It is necessary to study the different classes in Philippine society in order to know who are the friends and who are the enemies of the revolution.
The friends of the revolution are the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie. They are the motive forces of the revolution.
The enemies of the revolution are the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists. They are the forces of counterrevolution that wish to perpetuate the ruling system of oppression and exploitation.
3. Please discuss the different classes in the Philippines. How do we determine who is the enemy and who are our friends in struggle?
JMS: In the long course of the people’s democratic revolution, the enemy classes are the comprador big bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists.
The comprador big bourgeoisie is the chief financial and trading agent of the US and other imperialist countries. The landlord class perpetuates private ownership of lands and subjects the peasants and farm workers to feudal and semifeudal conditions of exploitation.
The bureaucrat capitalists are the political agents of the big compradors and landlords but they have become a distinct class by accumulating power and wealth by using their governmental authority. They have gained notoriety as political dynasties wanting to perpetuate themselves in power in order to accumulate private capital and land
The big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists are considered the class enemies because they exploit the people, especially the workers and peasants, and they use the semicolonial state to oppress the people and keep them within the bounds of the ruling system through violence and deception.
Within the framework of the broad united front policy and tactics, the CPP refers to these enemy classes as the reactionary classes in order to focus the term “enemy” on the most reactionary clique that is in power.
The sharpening of the term is meant to take advantage of the splits and among the reactionaries and narrow the target of the revolution to the ruling reactionary clique as the enemy in a given period.
I have previously explained that the friends of the revolution are the following: a. the working class as the leading class from the new democratic stage to the socialist stage of the Philippine revolution, b. the peasantry (essentially the poor and middle peasants and the seasonal farm workers) as the main force or democratic majority of the people and c. the middle social strata of the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie).
They are the friends of the revolution because they constitute the people and are the motive forces of the revolution. Their needs and demands are expressed in the program of people’s democratic revolution. And they participate on order to realize said program. Their participation in the revolution spells the growth and advance of the revolution towards victory.
4. Why are the workers called the leading class of the revolution?
JMS: The working class is the leading class of the revolution because it is the most advanced productive and political force among the various classes in Philippine society and in the world.
It is the class that can sustain and further develop the industrialized economy even without the bourgeoisie. It is indispensable in the development of an industrialized socialist economy.
It is the class that is capable of overthrowing the state power of the bourgeoisie and replacing it with the state power of the proletariat and fulfilling the historic mission of socialist revolution and construction.
The working class has the most developed theory for revolutionary change and the accumulated practice of leading successful socialist revolutions. The theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism encompasses philosophy, political economy and social science.
The working class has created the Communist Party as the vanguard party to focus on revolutionary theory and practice on the basis of the revolutionary mass movement. The Communist Party is the instrument of the working class for leading the revolution from the people’s democratic stage to the socialist stage of the revolution.
5. Why are the peasants the “pangunahing pwersa” or the main force?
JMS: The peasant class (mainly the poor and middle peasants and traditional seasonal farm workers) is still the most numerous class in the Philippines and comprise the democratic majority of the people. The satisfaction of their demand for land through agrarian revolution is the main content of the revolution.
The protracted people’s war in the new democratic revolution is possible in the Philippines because the peasant class has provided the people’s army with the social and physical terrain as the widest area of maneuver for the people’s war against the enemy that is superior in terms of military personnel, equipment and training before the people’s army gains the upperhand by capturing the weapons from the enemy.
The actual social investigation and class analysis done by the CPP belies the claim of the enemy that the Philippines is already a newly-industrialized country, even without having the capability to produce industrial capital goods. The trick of the enemy is to claim that of the 45 million labor force or manpower in the Philippines 58 per cent are workers in the service sector and 19.1 per cent are workers in the industry sector. Thus, the working class is now supposedly 77.1 per cent, while the peasantry has dwindled to 19.1 per cent without the need of genuine land reform and national industrialization.
The purpose of the enemy in making the peasantry dwindle and disappear is to conjure the illusion that industrial development is already removing the ground for protracted people’s war. The statistical trick of the enemy is to credit the import-dependent service sector, bloated by neoliberal financing, with the employment of most of the rural and urban oddjobbers in the informal economy who are outflows of the rural surplus population, who still maintain connections with their peasant families and who seasonally work with them during planting and harvest periods.
The bourgeoisie can further make the peasants disappear by considering the family head as the only peasant in the family, by denying the fact that every able-bodied member of the peasant household participates in agricultural work and by making no differentiation between the few whole-year farm workers who operate hacienda machines and warehouses on the hand the traditional seasonal farm workers who have existed since biblical times on the other hand.
6. What is the Communist Party of the Philippines and what role does it play in the national democratic revolution?
JMS: The Communist Party of the Philippines is the advanced detachment or vanguard party of the Filipino working class. It is the principal instrument of the working class for leading the national democratic revolution and then the socialist revolution. The role of the CPP is to build itself as an ideological, political and organizational instrument of the working class and to realize the class leadership of the working class in the entire revolutionary movement of the people.
As the ideological instrument of the working class, the CPP is guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and has applied this theory on the history, circumstances and revolutionary practice of the proletariat and people.
As political instrument, it has formulated the general line of people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war and with a socialist perspective and has done the political work to build itself, the people’s army, the revolutionary mass organizations, the united front and the revolutionary organs of democratic power.
As the organizational instrument, it has built itself organizationally under the principle of democratic centralism in order to make collective decisions on the basis of democracy.
7. Why is it erroneous to put the principal stress on mass work in the cities instead of in the countryside? Can you elaborate on the importance and balance of organizing in the cities and in the countryside?
JMS: As far as I know, there has never been any CPP policy to put the principal stress on mass work in the cities instead of in the countryside. The objective fact is that historically and currently the urban-based mass movement has been the source of workers and educated youth redeployed for mass work or assignment to the people’s army in the countryside.
The policy of the CPP has always been to dispatch Party cadres and members and mass activists to the countryside from the cities in order to help strengthen the CPP, the people’s army, the mass organizations, the local organs of political power and the united front.
To favor mass work in the countryside, the CPP has always stressed that the general line is people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war and that the principal form of struggle is the revolutionary armed struggle which aims to overthrow the ruling system.
The CPP has always expected that the more revolutionaries from the cities joining their comrades in the countryside the faster would the armed revolution develop and build the people’s democratic government in the countryside until this can get rid of the government of the big comprador, landlords and corrupt bureaucrats in the cities.
The strategic line of protracted people’s war is to accumulate political and armed strength in the countryside until it becomes possible to overthrow the urban-based counterrevolutionary state.
8. Is armed revolution necessary?
JMS: History has shown that the proletariat has never won a new democratic revolution and establish socialism without armed revolution. There has never been a case of the bourgeoisie giving up its state power and its private ownership of the means of production voluntarily and peacefully.
The necessity of armed revolution is not due to any one-sided desire of the proletariat to use armed revolution. It arises because the bourgeoisie uses its class dictatorship or its organized system of violence called state power to prevent the proletariat from establishing socialism.
9. Is participating in the the parliamentary struggle important?
JMS: Whenever there is space for participation in parliamentary struggle within any bourgeois ruling system, the communists and other progressives avail of that space while possible in order to push for reforms without becoming reformists and in order to indicate the need for revolutionary change.
Parliamentary struggle has its own distinct importance. It facilitates the spread of the program of struggle for national and social liberation. It contributes to the efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the people for that struggle. But the genuine communists and revolutionaries are ever vigilant against the counterrevolutionary policies and acts of the reactionary classes.
10. What are the three weapons of the revolution and what are the roles of each one?
JMS: The three weapons of the Philippine revolution are the revolutionary vanguard party of the proletariat, revolutionary armed struggle and the united front. These are embodied by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front, respectively.
As vanguard party of the proletariat, the CPP realizes best the leading role of the working class by building itself through ideological, political and organizational work .
The NPA integrates the revolutionary armed struggle with the agrarian revolution and mass base building. Mass base building involves building the revolutionary mass organizations and the local organs of political power.
The NDFP does its best to help build the basic worker-peasant alliance, win over the middle social strata and take advantage of the splits among the reactionaries and isolate, weaken and destroy the power of one enemy ruling clique after another.
11. Please elaborate on the tasks of the revolution on the following fields: a) political field b ) economic field c) military field d) cultural field and e) foreign relations field.
JMS: The main tasks of the revolution in the political field is to propagate and apply the general program of people’s democratic revolution and do everything necessary to arouse, organize and mobilize the people for strengthening the revolutionary forces and advancing the revolution towards total victory.
The main tasks of the revolution in the economic field is to uphold national economic sovereignty, protect the national patrimony and demand genuine land reform and national industrialization. When the revolutionary forces are effective in the countryside, they can carry out land reform from the minimum to the maximum program and other socio-economic programs for the benefit of the people.
The main tasks of the revolution in the military field is to fight the enemy and build the people’s army as the main fighting force, the people’s militia as local police force and as auxiliary of the people’s army and the self-defense units within the revolutionary mass organizations as active defenders of the people and reserve force for the people’s army and the people’s militia.
The main tasks of the revolution in the cultural field is to promote and realize the national, scientific and mass culture and education. The revolutionaries carry out all kinds of cultural work to raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people by undertaking study sessions, publications, protest meetings, artistic works and performances.
The main tasks of the revolution in the field of foreign relations is to undertake campaigns of information, organizing and mobilization among the overseas Filipinos and the host and other peoples in various countries in order to build international solidarity and realize practical cooperation of mutual benefit among all peoples in the common struggle against imperialism and all reaction.
12. The national democratic revolution has a socialist perspective. How can the transition from the people’s democracy to socialism be guaranteed?
JMS: The national democratic revolution is the preparation for the socialist revolution. Through the national democratic revolution, the working class and its vanguard party learn how to lead the broad masses of the people in waging revolution, set the socialist direction of the revolution and develop the forces and mass strength for establishing socialism.
The successful leadership of the working class in the national democratic revolution and the revolutionary forces it has built guarantee the establishment of socialism. At the same time, there shall still be some transitional measures of a bourgeois democratic character, like completing the land reform program and integrating the patriotic bourgeoisie into joint state and private enterprises.
The national democratic revolution is basically completed upon the seizure of political power from the bourgeoisie and other reactionary classes and thus the socialist revolution can commence immediately with the working class and its vanguard party building immediately the political system to unite and govern the people and taking over all the commanding heights of the economy, all strategic industries, main transport lines and all sources of energy and raw materials. The state proceeds to build socialist industry and cooperativize and mechanize agriculture in a series of five-year plans.
13. What are the major differences between a people’s democracy and socialist state?
JMS: As in the historical example of China, the people’s democratic form of government based on the worker-peasant alliance and the broad alliance of democratic forces can be maintained. But the essence and core of state power shall already be the class rule of the working class and shall be socialist. The big comprador-landlord-bureaucrat capitalist dictatorship shall be ended. Thus, the state power shall exist and run as the class dictatorship of the proletariat.
14. Do you think that Marxism-Leninism-Maoism will still be relevant after the national democratic revolution has claimed victory? How?
JMS: Marxism-Leninism-Maoism will become an even more necessary and relevant guide to the socialist revolution that follows the national democratic revolution. The revolutionary teachings and successful practice of the great communists in the fields of philosophy, political economy and social science will shed light on what the revolutionary proletariat and people can do, with due respect to history and circumstances of the country.
The proletarian revolutionaries will be guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and will apply it creatively in the concrete conditions of the Philippines in order to carry out socialist revolution and construction, combat imperialism, revisionism and all reaction, prevent capitalist restoration and consolidate socialism under proletarian class dictatorship until imperialism is defeated and can no longer obstruct the road to communism.###