MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY TO MAKABAYAN
ON THE OCCASION OF ITS FOUNDING ASSEMBLY
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle
April 16, 2009
My dear compatriots,
Having been the chairman of the Preparatory Commission that founded
in 1986 Partido ng Bayan, which the ultrareactionaries subsequently
repressed , I am happy about the remarkable success of the progressive
party list groups in the 2001, 2004 and 2007 elections and their current
initiative to establish the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan or in
brief Makabayan. I convey warmest greetings of solidarity to all of
them, their national and regional officers, the personages and the
hundreds of mass activists from various people's organizations that
are now gathered in this founding assembly of Makabayan.
This is a historic occasion that signifies, particularly in the field of
electoral struggle, a major advance of the people's movement for
genuine national independence, democracy, social justice and all-round
development. I commend and congratulate Bayan Muna, Anakpawis
and Gabriela for initiating the building of Makabayan as basically a
coalition of parties for uniting the broad masses of the people and
mobilizing them for meaningful change in accordance with their
national and democratic rights and interests.
The founding of Makabayan is timely. It comes as a consolidation
of the achievements in electoral struggle of the progressive party
list groups and related mass organizations. It is a prompt preparation
for the elections in 2010. It counters the schemes of the US-Arroyo
regime to push charter change, to prolong the power of the Arroyo
clique or to rig the 2010 elections in favor of the worst reactionaries.
It contributes to the strengthening of the broad range of opposition
forces against the detested regime.
Makabayan is a formidable combination of patriotic and pro-people
forces in comparison to the fractious state of the traditional political
opposition. Even at this very moment, it can be described as the
strongest opposition force in terms of being the most principled
instrument of the people, having the most cogent patriotic and
progressive platform, gathering the most dedicated and most active
volunteers in the service of the people and enjoying the strongest
and most reliable mass base on a nationwide scale.
At the core of Makabayan are the progressive party list groups and
their leaders and members who have proven their integrity and
effectiveness in serving the people. They are in sharp contrast to
the traditional politicians. They are well tested in resisting the temptations
of puppetry and corruption. They have been subjected to the most vicious
forms of vilification and repression. They have prevailed over these and
have become ever more determined to fight for the national and
democratic rights and interests of the people.
Under the guidance of its Declaration of Unity and Rules of Organization,
Makabayan is bound to grow ever stronger. Your principles and general
program respond to the people's demand for the politics of fundamental
change and substantial reforms, for good governance, for uplifting the
poor, for pro-Filipino economic development, for saving the environment,
for upholding national sovereignty and adopting an independent foreign
policy, for defending the people's democratic rights, for promoting Philippine
culture and for attaining justice and peace. Your cause is just and compelling.
In the face of the rottenness and much worsened crisis of the domestic
ruling system and the world capitalist system, the theme of your founding
assembly is of great importance and acute urgency: "Pilipino para sa pagbabago!
Pagbabago para sa Pilipino! This clarion call is well amplified by your proposed
platform for the 2010 elections . You stand for the politics of change and
reforms against the politics of the status quo and reaction. You have not only
the general principles to guide you in the long run but also the concrete plans
for serving the immediate needs and demands of the people, especially at this
time when they are suffering extremely from oppression and exploitation.
The US-instigated policies of "neoliberal globalization" and "global war of terror"
have brought about an unprecedented economic and political crisis on a global
scale since the end of World War II. The Arroyo regime is despicable for having
been subservient to such policies and for having aggravated the rottenness of
the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. We are now confonted by a
socio-economic and political crisis of unprecedented proportions since World
The socio-economic crisis is wreaking havoc on the lives of the broad masses
of the people because of rapidly rising unemployment, sinking levels of income,
soaring prices of basic commodities and services and other intolerable conditions.
The political crisis is characterized by the ruling clique's vicious attacks on its
intrasystemic rivals and on the broad masses of the people. The people are
suffering escalating levels of exploitation and oppression. These drive the people
to fight back and seek to change not only the current regime but the entire
In my view, it is not possible to make a fundamental change of the ruling system
through periodic elections under the rules set by the exploiting classes and their
political agents. There are various forms of mass struggles for revolutionary
change that can be carried out by the people. But the electoral form of mass
struggle is important and necessary whenever it becomes possible for the
patriotic and progressive forces to participate and push forward basic reforms
that respond to the immediate needs and demands of the people.
The electoral form of struggle can be a major part of the movement to arouse,
organize and mobilize the people to achieve immediate basic reforms or the
ultimate aim of social revolution. There is no error of electoralism or parliamentarism
when there is no foreclosing of other forms of struggle that the people have the
sovereign right to adopt and wage. There is also no error of reformism when
there is no pontification that the struggle for reforms is the sole option of the
Makabayan is inspired by high principles and must firmly adhere to them. But it
must be flexible in policy in order to wage electoral struggle effectively. It is
broad enough in having as mass base the toiling masses of workers and peasants,
the middle social strata and major sectors such as the women, youth, the various
types of professionals and the social activists in various concerns such as human
rights, development, peace, environment and so on, But you must be ready
to further broaden the united front formally or informally by availing of the
cooperation of certain sections of the ruling classes in order to isolate and
defeat the worst of the reactionaries at every given time.
As I have earlier pointed out, Makabayan is by itself a strong coalition in several
respects. But it also has limitations. Its highly motivated activists and mass base
may be strong in number and capabilities in certain areas but it may be less strong
in other areas. Definitely, Makabayan does not yet have the financial and other
material resources to field its own complete slate of national and local candidates.
There is therefore a need for you to go into further bilateral and multilateral
alliances with other entities, such as coalitions, parties, groups, personages and
On its own account, without going into any broader coalition, Makabayan can
field some candidates for the Senate and many candidates for the House of
Representatives and for local executive offices. But certainly broadening the
coalition or alliance at the national level is necessary in order to co-determine
the best possible presidential and vice presidential candidates and to ensure the
victory of Makabayan-chosen candidates for the Senate. Broader regional,
provincial, district and municipal alliances are also necessary in the choice of the
best possible candidates for the House of Representatives and the executive
offices from the level of governor downwards.
To be truly a political force advancing the politics of change and reforms,
Makabayan should always be close to the people, especially to the toiling
masses of workers and peasants, learning from them, trusting them and
relying on them. By following such mass line, you can learn how best to
engage in political education, increase your organized strength and mobilize
the masses for denouncing the oppressive and exploitative character and
policies of the reactionary government and demanding immediate basic social,
economic, political and cultural reforms in the direction of fundamental social
Makabayan must always seek to empower the people and must do its best
to represent and serve them in what is still a reactionary government under
the control of the political agents of the exploiting classes. Substantial
reforms are possible only when the patriotic and progressive elements from
Makabayan and other enlightened groups in the government draw strength
and support from the protests and demands of the mass movement and
when the politicians of the status quo and reaction become increasingly
discredited and isolated.
I wish your founding assembly the utmost success in deliberating and ratifying
the basic documents, in assessing the current and potential strength of the
coalition and its components, in exploring the arena of the electoral struggle,
in beginning to fill up your organizational structure and in inspiring your rapid
growth and further alliances with other political forces. I am confident that
Makabayan will carry forward the politics of change on a patriotic and progressive
course and bring to a new and higher level the unity and fighting capabilities of
the people for national and social liberation.
Long live Makabayan!
Carry forward the politics of change!
Long live the Filipino people!