Presentation at Bagong Bonifacio Series of Anakbayan-Southern Tagalog
By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Makabayan
November 29, 2020
Dear Fellow activists,
Thank you for inviting me to discuss with you Armed Struggle and Peace Talks under the auspices of your Bagong Bonifacio Series of Webinars of Anakbayan Southern-Tagalog. This is an important and appropriate topic on this day that we celebrate the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, the great leader of the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution of 1896 against colonialism and feudalism.
This is also the day that we celebrate the anniversary of the Kabataang Makabayan, which has successfully sought to continue the Philippine revolution since 1964 against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. Most urgent and most important reason for us to discuss our topic is our being challenged today to fight the Duterte regime, which is tyrannical, traitorous, murderous, corrupt and mendacious.
I. Revolutionary Armed Struggle
We uphold the principle that democracy is the reign of the Filipino people’s sovereign will for their common well-being. It is their sovereign right to wage armed revolution against tyranny and oppression. This sovereign right is recognized and upheld by any liberal democratic and socialist constitution and by the international laws on human rights and humanitarian conduct, such as the Geneva Conventions.
The ongoing armed revolution waged by the Filipino proletariat and people through the New People’s Army under the leadership of the CPP is based on the sovereign will of the people and because of this it has been able to persevere for more than 50 years despite the the military prowess of the reactionary state supported by US imperialism.
The armed revolution is fighting for a just cause and is guided by a program of people’s democratic revolution aimed at attaining full national independence, democracy, social justice, economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, a patriotic, scientific and pro-people culture and independent foreign policy.
This program seeks to solve the basic social, economic, political and cultural problems that favor foreign monopoly capitalism and the exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists at the expense of the Filipino people.
It is absolutely clear that the armed evolutionary movement draws its strength from the participation and support of the people and does everything necessary to uphold their national and democratic rights and does not harm them with any act of terrorism. It is absolutely absurd and malicious that the Duterte regime and its military minions slander the CPP and NPA as “terrorists” for carrying out the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.
The armed revolution in the Philippines has been successful in building the leading party of the proletariat, the people’s army, the revolutionary mass organizations, alliances and organs of political power constituting the people’s democratic government nationwide. For serving the people, these revolutionary forces are invincible and are growing in strength from year to year and from decade to decade.
As a co-belligerent in a civil war with the reactionary government of the Philippines, the NDFP has submitted to the Swiss Federal Council the Unilateral Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Protocol I; and has further committed itself to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in the course of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
II. the Terrorism of the Duterte Regime
Despite the accumulated victories of the CPP, NPA and NDFP in building the people’s democratic power in the countryside , they have agreed to engage in peace negotiations with the reactionary government of the Philippines since the fall of the Marcos fascist dictatorship in 1986.
GRP president Cory Aquino at first offered peace negotiations only to limit these to ceasefire negotiations and was helpless in preventing pro-Marcos and pro-En rile military witnesses from sabotaging the ceasefire agreement since the Mendiola peasant massacre on January 22, 1987.
GRP president Fidel Ramos offered exploratory talks on peace negotiations in 1992 . This resulted in The Hague Joint Declaration of September 1, 1992 as framework agreement for peace negotiations. The formal GRP-NDFP peace negotiations started only in 1995 because Ramos in self-contradiction launched the National Unification Commission to engage in fake localized peace negotiations between the military and its own assets.
Despite the delays due to the anti-peace tactics of the GRP, especially its military officials, more than ten important agreements were forged before Ramos’ term ended. The most important of such agreements is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which was signed by the GRP and the NDFP Negotiating Panels. But GRP president Ramos did not sign it.
His successor Estrada signed it on August 7, 1998. But he terminated the peace negotiations on May 31, 1999. After he was overthrown through mass actions in January 2001, his successor Macapagal-Arroyo agreed to resume the peace negotiations. However after a few months, she took steps to “suspend” these for some nine years in favor of her military campaign of suppression. Aquino did the same rigmarole of resuming the peace negotiations and practically ended these within one year.
Duterte did the same rigmarole within a year, with the difference that he was most promising before and after resuming them in August 2016. He promised to release all political prisoners and make a final peace agreement soon. But he threatened to terminate the peace negotiations as early as in May 2017 after failing to overcome the objection of the NDFP to the inclusion of the CPP and NPA as targets of Duterte’s martial law proclamation covering the entire Mindanao.
Finally, on November 23, 2017, he terminated the peace negotiations ten days after promising to US President Trump to do so. He nullified all peace-related agreements previously signed by his predecessors. Subsequently, he designated the CPP and NPA as terrorists and formed the National Task Force-ELCAC, with the clear intent of ending peace negotiations once and for all and imposing a fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people.
Duterte has practically accomplished his plan of becoming fascist dictator. With the Anti-Terrorist Act of 2020 as his license to carry out state terrorism, he can red-tag social activists, critics and political opponents, order their arrest and detention without judicial warrant, seize their bank accounts and properties, torture and kill them, as he has already started doing by using the murderous methods of Oplan Tokhang.
State terrorism is being carried out in the name of anticommunism and anti-terrorism in order to realize Duterte’s scheme of fascist dictatorship and allow his clique within the exploiting classes to plunder the social and natural wealth of the people.
III. Concluding Remarks
While Duterte is in power and is on a fascist rampage, peace negotiations are impossible. The broad masses of the people have no choice but to do their best in waging various forms of revolutionary struggle, especially the main form of armed struggle in order to defeat and overcome the tyrannical, traitorous murderous, extremely corrupt, tyrannical and deceptive regime.
Whenever a reactionary regime offers peace negotiations, the revolutionary movement must consider whether such an offer gives the enemy an advantage if not seriously considered and tested. If peace negotiations with the reactionary government are held, the revolutionary movement must remain vigilant and have no illusion that the Devil has become St Francis of Assisi.
While there are peace negotiations, the enemy tries to use them to maneuver the revolutionary movement to capitulate and to split the ranks of the revolutionary forces. All the while the enemy tries to use psywar, intelligence and combat operations to try to destroy the revolutionary movement.
However, while peace negotiations go on, the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces and the people can propagate the program of the people’s democratic revolution and propose the basic social, economic and political reforms to address the roots of the civil war.
They can continue to uphold, defend and promote their national and democratic rights and interests and thereby grow in strength; and try to obtain mutual agreements to realize basic reforms . But they need to be vigilant. They can even continue to fight if there is no acceptable ceasefire agreement and there is yet no final peace agreement. ###