Questions from the ND Online School of Anakbayan Europa
Pointers to Full Answers by Jose Maria Sison
25 April 2021
The history of the international communist movement can be told by spelling out the outcome of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, which laid down the fundamental guiding principles of the working class in the revolutionary struggle up to the present. It has inspired and guided the great revolutionary victories of the communists and the working class since it was first published in February 1848. Marx and Engels were commissioned by the Communist League in November 1847 to write the manifesto as a program. They wrote it from December 1847 to January 1948. It was published in February 1848 before the outbreak of the February Revolution in France.
The Manifesto of the Communist Party laid out the general principles of scientific communism. It challenged the bourgeoisie and other reactionary forces in Europe who intimidated the public with stories about the “ghost of communism”. It opposed the various types of unscientific socialism, those deceptive versions sold by the feudalists, by the petty-bourgeois and German idealists, those sold by the shameless conservatives or bourgeois, and those naive and caring as socialism. The Manifesto was first published in German before the workers’ uprisings of 1848 in Europe.
- What is the relevance of the Manifesto of the Communist Party in the judgment of the Communists in Cologne in November 1852 and in the Paris commune in 1871?
JMS: As you correctly point out, the Manifesto of the Communist Party (finally titled the Communist Manifesto in 1872) was first published just before the workers’ uprisings in 1848. But it had no influence on them. Nonetheless, it was relevant to these uprisings as well as to the judgment of the Communists in Cologne in November 1852 insofar as it (the Manifesto) expressed and reflected the historical background and reality of class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat in capitalist society.
The Communist Manifesto had influence in the Paris Commune in 1871 insofar as the groups and members of the International Workingmen’s Association (First International) under the well-known leadership of Karl Marx were in the leadership and conduct of the Paris Commune.
The brutal suppression of the workers’ uprisings of 1848, the judgment against the Communists in the Cologne trial in 1852 and the victory and eventual massacre of the proletarian Communards in the Paris Commune of 1871 verify the bitter truth about the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie would go to any extent to suppress any attempt of the proletariat to end the bourgeois class dictatorship and system of exploitation.
- What is the contribution of Lenin and Stalin on Marxism?
JMS: Lenin made contributions to the further development of Marxism in the fields of philosophy, political economy and social science. He extended the applicability of Marxism as guide to revolutionary action in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. He built and led the first Communist Party that established the first socialist state through the Great October Socialist Revolution.
Stalin also made major theoretical and practical contributions to the further development of Marxism-Leninism. His greatest achievements included the successful socialist revolution and construction in the Soviet Union and the defeat of Nazi Germany and the fascist Axis Powers in World War II. But he also made certain errors that would subsequently be taken advantage of by the modern revisionists after his death.
Lenin and Stalin were champions of proletarian internationalism. They opposed the social chauvinism, social pacifism and social imperialism of the Second International. They established the Third International in 1919 in order to promote proletarian internationalism, cause the founding of communist parties in various countries and advance the world proletarian revolution.
- Why do we say that the world proletarian revolution and the broad anti-imperialist movement culminated in the simultaneous advancement of wars for national liberation in Indochina and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China from the 1960s to the 1970s?
JMS: By 1956 one third of humankind was already under the governance of communist and workers’ parties in the Soviet Union, the Mongolian People’s Republic, China, the East European countries and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. And the national liberation movements under communist leadership were growing stronger. But modern revisionism started to undermine and destroy socialism in the Soviet Union in 1956 under the anti-Stalin leadership of Khrushchov.
The categorical defeat of US imperialism and victory of the Vietnamese and other Indochinese peoples in 1975 and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China from 1966 to 1975 appeared as powerful developments to counter imperialism, revisionism and reaction.
But subsequently the Dengist counterrevolution restored capitalism in China from 1976 onward, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and the anti-imperialist movements in both developed and underdeveloped countries became confronted by the increase of capitalist powers (with China and Russia), neoliberalism, state terrorism and imperialist wars of aggression.
- What happened to the Third International?
JMS: The Third International was dissolved in 1943 because its International Executive Committee was prevented by World War II from having prompt and effective communications with the communist and workers’ parties in various countries. Thus, the principle became established that the aforesaid parties are fundamentally responsible for applying the theory of Marxism-Leninism in their respective countries. But the communists in China had the advantage of having common borders and continuing communications with the Soviet Union.
- What is the basis of proletarian internationalism and solidarity?
JMS: The basis of proletarian internationalism and solidarity is the common class interest of the proletariat against the the bourgeoisie as class enemy. The Communist Manifesto called on all workers of all countries to unite in order to carry out class struggle and social revolution against the bourgeoisie.
To the call of Marx, Lenin added the call on all oppressed nations and peoples to unite against monopoly capitalism in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. Obviously there are varied concrete conditions in various countries, which must be subjected to concrete analysis for the revolutionary practice to succeed under the guidance of the Marxist-Leninist universal revolutionary theory of the proletariat.
- What is proletarian internationalism for the Communist Party of the Philippines?
JMS: For the Communist Party of the Philippines, proletarian internationalism is as what I have said in response to the preceding question. But I can elaborate on certain points, like all workers of the world have a common interest and a common cause against imperialism as class enemy.
The workers of the world have a common interest in the new democratic revolution and in socialism because this is in accordance with the rising social character of production through collective labor and the application of science and technology; and with the need to stop the monopoly bourgeoisie from extracting surplus value, exploiting the workers, and generating the crisis of overproduction, state terrorism and wars of aggression.
The workers of the world have a common cause in fighting the monopoly bourgeoisie in their respective countries as well as the international monopoly bourgeoisie, be they divided into conflicting blocs or united in the United Nations and multilateral agencies against the proletariat and the oppressed nations and peoples. The victory of socialism in any country of the world cannot be secure until capitalism is defeated on a world scale.
- What is solidarity work?
JMS: Under the principle of proletarian internationalism, there can be solidarity and practical cooperation of the communist and workers’ parties of the world in order to realize and advance the world proletarian revolution under the guidance of the universal revolutionary theory of the proletariat.
Regardless of ideology, religion, nonexploitative class, race and gender, there can also be moral and political solidarity and practical cooperation among the peoples and nations and their various social institutions and people’s organizations against imperialism and all forms of reaction. Bilateral partnerships, international federations, alliances and other formations of anti-imperialist and democratic solidarity can be built.
There can also be solidarity relations among states and countries on a diplomatic basis of mutually respecting their independence and equality, promoting human rights, peace and development and opposing oppression and exploitation, state terrorism and wars of aggression. The diplomatic relations should not be used for imperialist purposes and countering the revolution of the sovereign people.
- What are the basic principles that guide proletarian parties?
JMS: a) The proletarian party must be guided by the universal revolutionary theory of the proletariat, b) It must apply it correctly on the concrete conditions of the country where it wages revolution. c) It must serve as the advanced detachment of the working class and must carry out the historic mission of building socialism. d) It must wage revolution to overthrow the state power of the bourgeoisie and establish the socialist state. e) It must emancipate not only the working class but also the other exploited classes. f) It must carry out socialist revolution and construction to defeat imperialism and thereby advance towards communism. g) It must oppose imperialism, revisionism and all reaction. h) It must adhere to and practice proletarian internationalism and realize the solidarity of all communist and workers’ parties, all peoples and nations and all people’s organizations.
- What is our responsibility to the anti-imperialist united front and the wide network of solidarity allies?
JMS: The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces are self-reliant in their revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation against foreign monopoly capitalism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. By waging revolutionary struggle, they fulfill their duty of contributing to the strengthening of the anti-imperialist united front and the wide network of solidarity allies.
At the same time, they are grateful to the anti-imperialist united front and all solidarity allies for their moral and political support and any amount direct or indirect material assistance. They urge all anti-imperialist forces and solidarity allies to win ever greater victories in their anti-imperialist and democratic struggles and thereby advance in the direction of socialism and extend greater support to all revolutionary forces in the world.
- What is proto-diplomatic and diplomatic work?
JMS: The National Democratic Front of the Philippines has been engaged in proto-diplomatic relations with foreign governments (like the Norwegian, Dutch and other governments) in connection with peace negotiations with the Manila government, even if said foreign governments do not explicitly declare that they are dealing with the NDFP as an agency or representative of the underground people’s democratic government in the Philippines.
In contrast, there have been instances when socialist and anti-imperialist governments have received official delegations of the people’s democratic government, whether these delegations be of the CPP or the NDFP at the same time. These relations amount to diplomatic relations between governments even when these relations are not publicly announced as diplomatic or state-to-state.
- How does the CPP form relations to foreign countries and governments?
JMS: The CPP forms relations with foreign countries and governments through its counterpart party on the basis of comradely relations under proletarian internationalism or on the basis of anti-imperialist solidarity. The CPP has an International Department that deploys CPP representatives and delegations for the purpose of developing relations with foreign communist and workers’ parties and national liberation movements.
- What are the root causes of forced migration of Filipinos to foreign countries?
JMS: Because of the underdevelopment, high unemployment and widespread poverty in the Philippines, more than 10 million or more than 21 per cent of the Philippine labor force of 45.9 million (July 2020) have been forced to migrate to foreign countries in order to seek jobs. Another 10.9 million are unemployed but stay in the Philippines. The unemployment has become worse as a result of the lockdowns related to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the policy of the reactionary government to export cheap labor in the form of live men and women, instead of developing the country through land reform and national industrialization.
The root causes of the forced migration are the high rate of exploitation by the foreign monopoly capitalists, the big compradors, landlords or corrupt civil and military officials, dependence of the economy on the export of raw mineral ores, agriculture products, low value-added semimanufactures and cheap labor in exchange for foreign manufactures, ever widening trade and budgetary deficits and the mounting burden of public debt and debt service payments,
- What is the relevance of proletarian internationalism and the work of the Party among our compatriots abroad?
JMS: Proletarian internationalism and anti-imperialist solidarity are relevant and highly important and urgent in the work of the CPP among Filipino compatriots because they need the support and assistance of communist and workers’ parties and people’s organizations and institutions in fighting for the democratic rights and welfare of the overseas Filipinos.
The overseas Filipino workers get the more difficult, dirtier and more dangerous jobs but get lesser pay and have lesser rights than the citizens of their host countries. They are also the target of national chauvinism, racial discrimination and fascist currents which are now escalating because of the worsening crisis of the capitalist ruling system.
There is therefore the need for the various organizations of overseas Filipinos to unite and cooperate with the communist and workers’ parties and the people’s organizations and institutions in their host countries. The CPP and the NDFP have been active and successful in availing of the sense of proletarian internationalism of the working class and the anti-imperialist solidarity of the broad masses of the people in the host country.###