On Mass Work

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First Episode in the Series of Introduction to Marxism-Leninism under the auspices of ND Online School o Anakbayan-Europa
Questions by Host Anghelo Godino
Answers by Guest Jose Maria Sison
January 10, 2020

  1. What are the principal objectives of mass work?

JMS: The principal objectives of mass work are to arouse, organize and mobilize the masses on long-term and immediate issues along the general political line or political program of the people’s democratic revolution defined by the revolutionary party of the proletariat in correspondence to the semicolonial and semifeudal character of current Philippine society.
The people’s democratic revolution is a mass undertaking in the interest of the people. It is only through the arousal, organization and mobilization of the toiling masses of workers and peasants that the Party can realize the revolution and have a source of increasing Party cadres and members who can lead an increasing number of masses for fighting and defeating the exploitative and oppressive ruling system.

  1. What is the mass line?

JMS: The mass line is the Party’s policy and method of learning from the masses their conditions, needs and demands in order to arouse, organize and mobilize them so that they themselves can do whatever they can to advance the revolutionary process at every stage and phase. It is wrong to tell the masses what to do without first learning from them what needs to be done and what they are capable of doing at every given time.

It is also wrong to tail after them and expect them to decide and do by themselves what needs to be done to carry out the revolutionary struggle without the general political line or program set by the Party after investigating and analyzing the general conditions and basic character of the ruling system. The revolutionary process cannot advance from one stage to another without both the leadership of the Party and the conscious and organized mobilization of the masses. One without the other spells failure.

  1. How do we follow the revolutionary class line in mass work?

JMS: The revolutionary class line of the Party requires the class leadership of the proletariat from the stage of the people’s democratic revolution to the socialist revolution. But for the stage of the people’s democratic revolution, the Party can realize its leadership only by basing itself on the alliance of the working class and peasantry, winning over the middle social strata and taking advantage of the splits among the reactionary classes.

The main content of the democratic revolution is the agrarian revolution, which can be realized only with the proletariat taking the leading role and the peasantry being the main force. Otherwise agrarian revolution and the people’s democratic revolution cannot be realized in the face of the combined efforts of the big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists in exploiting and oppressing the peasant masses as well as confusing them about feudal and semifeudal relations and bourgeois land reform.

  1. Why is social investigation and class analysis important in mass work?

JMS: Social investigation and class analysis in mass work are not only important but decisive. By doing them, you would be able to gain a working knowledge about the locality and the situation. You would learn how to approach and relate to different kinds of people. You would know their concrete conditions, problems, needs and demands.

Social investigation and class analysis allow you to know who are your potential friends and enemies according to their class character. In social investigation meetings, you gain the factual basis for knowing those you can rely on, those you need to win over and those to whom you need to be careful of. You can begin to assess and determine which persons you can rely on for arousing and organizing the poor and lower middle peasants.

  1. What is the key link of mass work in the countryside?

JMS: The key link of mass work in the countryside is the class link between the proletariat and the peasantry. The revolutionary party of the proletariat directs its cadres and members to go to the countryside to conduct social investigation and class analysis and to form the peasant associations, other mass organizations, units of the people’s army, the local party branches and the organs of political power.

However, it is the standard practice of the Party within the New People’s Army to first of all organize the barangay organizing committee to consist of the representatives of the masses (poor peasants, lower middle peasants and farm workers, the Party and people’s army) in order to have soonest a local organ of political power, pending the formation of the revolutionary mass organizations. Thereafter, the barangay organizing committee graduates into the barangay revolutionary committees constituted by the elected representatives of the mass organizations and the representatives of the Party and the people’s army.

Consequent to propaganda and agitation, organizing committees can be formed to prepare for the formation of the local organ of political power at the barangay level and the mass organizations of peasants, workers if any in the locality, women, youth and others. The initial mass base of the Party and the revolutionary movement is thus established. Various types of campaigns are undertaken to mobilize the masses to uphold, defend and promote their rights and interests.

  1. How do mass activists emerge? What mass movement do we develop in the cities?

JMS: Mass activists arise as a result of the formation of the various types of mass organizations which recruit their respective mass members. These may be called activists because they are active in promoting and realizing the principles, policies, aims and objectives of their mass organizations.

Just as there are rural-based mass organizations and movements, there are also the urban-based mass organizations and movements. Those in the rural areas are deliberately underground or clandestine in relation to the enemy. Those in the urban areas are legal and open, depending on the situation.

The mass movements that develop in the urban areas depend on what classes and sectors are there. There are the mass movements of the workers, the transport workers, the urban poor, the peddlers, the student youth, women, teachers and other professionals, government employees, human rights defenders and so on.

  1. Why is mass work important in forming the Party?

JMS: Mass work is important in forming the Party of the proletariat. In the history of the working class movement in the world and in the Philippines, the trade unions appeared as the first manifestation of the working class developing from being a class in itself, arising from the need of the need of capitalism for wage slaves, to being a class for itself with an increasing drive to uphold, defend and promote its class rights and interests and eventually forming its party not only to struggle for immediate economic and political aims but also for the ultimate goal of socialism and the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

The foundation of the old Communist Party of the Philippines of 1930 was preceded by the existence and development of the trade union movement. Likewise the reestablishment of this party under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism ln 1968 was preceded by the development of the trade union movement as well as by the Kabataang Makabayan, a patriotic youth movement dedicated to promoting working class leadership. Mass work is therefore important and decisive in forming and further developing the Party. It is the indispensable source of Party cadres and members.

  1. Why is propaganda work important to our mass work?

JMS: Propaganda is the propagation of the general line or program of people’s democratic revolution and the specific policies and lines on issues that arise from social investigation and class and analysis of concrete conditions. It means carrying out the first task of mass work, which is to arouse the people, in connection with the further tasks of organizing and mobilizing them. You cannot proceed to these two latter tasks without performing first task.

In a new area of expansion, the mass work is preceded by propaganda because of the information that spreads and reaches the people about the mass line, accomplishments and good standing of the Party and its mass organizations in upholding, defending and advancing the rights and interests of the toiling masses of the people. Thus, the Party and its mass organizations are welcome.

  1. What are the means and forms of revolutionary propaganda?

JMS: In the broadest sense, revolutionary propaganda ranges in meaning from agitational speech and leaflets on specific issues to a somewhat more extended written or oral presentation of issues and further to courses of Party and mass education. Actually, propaganda begins when the Party and mass activists start to explain issues and possible courses of action to personal contacts in the localities, prior organizations and institutions for the purpose of starting mass work.

Such contacts can lead to social investigation and class analysis, the formation of organizing committees, the founding and development of the mass organizations and mobilizing the people to act and speak up on burning issues. All these forms of mass work entail propaganda. And the propaganda work becomes more substantial and effective as it is carried out by the mass organizations and by mass mobilizations in the course of information and work campaigns.

  1. Why is education work important to our mass work?

JMS: Education work is important because it provides the information and ideas that motivate and inspire to engage in organized revolutionary work and struggle for the just cause of the people’s democratic revolution against imperialist domination and the local reactionary classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.

Education work practically covers what propaganda covers as the propaganda of information and ideas to motivate and inspire revolutionary work and struggle. But education work has the nuance of systematic and concentrated study of certain subjects in work-related study meetings as well in formal study courses of political and theoretical education of the Party and the mass organizations.

  1. What are the two most important principles we must remember in organizing the masses?

JMS: I think that the first principle is to serve the the masses. You will do the work necessary to organize them because you adhere to the just cause of national and social liberation against the oppression and exploitation that they suffer. It is your duty to organize them so that they themselves can liberate themselves under the leadership of the Party.

The second principle is to learn from the masses their conditions, needs, demands and aspirations. You have your earlier experiences and education in theory and practice. But stay humble and do not think that you can dictate what the masses are supposed to do. You have to learn from them first so that you would know what is to be done and how to persuade them to act for their own benefit.

There is mutual learning between the organizer and the masses but the organizer must first learn from them and does not stop doing so even as they learn from the propaganda and education from the Party and the mass organizations. Party leadership and mass participation are necessary for carrying out revolutionary tasks.

  1. What are the preliminary steps in organizing the masses?

JMS: First of all, every mass organization must have a plan to expand itself by calling on all its existing leading organs at various levels and its general membership to help recruit more members and form new chapters and by forming organizing groups or committees. There should also be a direct call to the masses concerned to join the mass organization and to contact its nearest office.

Where there is a number of prospective members, on the basis of the report and recommendation of an organizing group or committee, the mass organization must assign one member responsible for education to explain its constitution and program of action and another member responsible for swearing in the new members, forming the chapter and ensuring the election of the chapter officers. New chapters may arise either because of wave-upon-wave or leapfrog expansion.

  1. Why must we establish organizing groups and organizing committees? When do we form them?

JMS: We must establish the organizing group or committee to prepare for the formation of a chapter in order to ensure collectivity in assessing and evaluating the initial recruits in the formation of a new chapter. Decisions of a collective are better-rounded than those of an individual.

The organizing group or committee is formed because an established chapter or any of its members has contacts with persons or groups in an adjoining or nearby area who are interested in joining the mass organization and forming their own chapter. There are also persons who respond to the general calls for recruitment by the mass organizations.

  1. What are mass actions and mass campaigns?

JMS: Mass actions are conducted singularly either to arouse the masses on certain issues by explaining these to them and eliciting from them protest and demands, to make calls for recruitment or to engage in mass recruitment or to mobilize support for a certain campaign of the mass organization or any of its allied organizations in the Philippines or abroad.

The mass campaign of the mass organization is definitely a series of mass actions devoted to arousing mass support for a definite cause or demand, gathering material and moral support and mobilizing the masses inside and outside of the mass organization for the purpose.

  1. What are the tasks after every mass action and mass struggle?

JMS: After every mass action and mass struggle, the tasks include assessing and evaluating it, learning lessons and taking the decisions to improve and intensify the struggle, further develop relations with other mass organizations, recruit new members from the non-members who have participated in the mass action or mass struggle, provide political education and integrate them in the mass organization.

16.What is meant by consolidation? What is meant by expansion and how are they related?

JMS: Expansion means using the quickest possible ways of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses inside and outside of the mass organization in order to recruit new members and form new chapters.

Consolidation means using principally education to deepen the revolutionary commitment of members, raise the level of consciousness and inspire them to attend study meetings, participate in work and become more integrated in the mass organization.

Consolidation is the educational and organizational strengthening of the foundation of the mass organization for raising the level of revolutionary consciousness and militancy of members as responsible individuals and as a collective force. ###

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