NDLINE ONLINE: Marxism – Leninism: A Review
Philippine History, Classes and Crisis, and United Front: A Review
Guest: Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Date: 28 February 2021
The study of Philippine history must be guided by the basic principles of historical materialism, Marxist political economy, and the teachings of Lenin regarding imperialism. This study centers on the people’s history based on the development of the contradictions within society—the contradiction between the forces of production and the relations of production, the contradiction between the classes, and the contradiction between the old and the new.
It is the duty of every Filipino activists to study and deepen continually one’s knowledge of the history of the Philippines. Only in this manner can the historical roots of the basic problems of the people and the semi-colonial and semi-feudal framework of Philippine society be understood. Only in this way can one comprehensively and deeply grasp the necessity of the people’s democratic revolution and the basic task to liberate the Philippines from the burden of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The fundamental conclusions drawn from the study of Philippine history may be used to guide the investigation and study the history and conditions of the regions, provinces, cities and municipalities, and even the barrios.
- Can you tell us what are the principal characteristics of the country, the Philippines?
JMS: The Philippines is archipelagic, with 7,641 islands. The eleven largest islands are inhabited by 95 per cent of the people. The country has a total land area of 300,000 square kilometers. It has forested mountains,, fertile plains and rich marine and mineral resources. The natural resources are comprehensive and can sustain agricultural and industrial development.
How about the Filipino people?
JMS: The Filipino people now number nearly 110 million. They belong to various ethnolinguistic communities. Eighty-five per cent belong to the Malay race. But they have a sense of Filipino nationhood as a result of fighting for national independence and democracy against Spanish colonialism, US imperialism and Japanese fascism. They have a national language which has spread through the educational system, mass media, political campaigns and commerce. They have a high level of literacy and have a large corps of skilled workers, professionals and technologists.
- What was the social system in various parts of the archipelago during the arrival of the Spanish colonialists?
JMS: Upon the arrival of the Spanish colonialists in the Philippines in the 16th century, the Islamic sultanates in Mindanao were the most developed form of societies. In most parts of the Philippines, there were small societies characterized by patriarchal slavery and incipient feudalism. There were already urban areas with populations of 5000 to 20,000. At the same time, there were hill tribes and the primitive communal societies of the Aetas.
- Is it true that Magellan ‘got lost’ while searching for the Spice Island, in the Moluccas, that’s why he ended up in the Philippines – as they often teach at school > at least during our youth ?
JMS: Magellan got snagged in the Philippines while he was on his way to the Moluccas. It was really his mission to find a new route for Spain in order to reach the Spice Islands by sailing on the Atlantic Ocean and through the Strait of Magellan (at the tip of South America) sailing across the Pacific to the Philippines before reaching the Spice Islands. Magellan had previously participated in the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in Malaysia and had taken from there his servant Enrique who came from the Moluccas.
How did the Spaniards colonize the country, then?
JMS: Magellan did not make a colonial foothold in 1527. He was killed by Lapulapu and his men on Mactan. The next expedition led by Legazpi on 1565 succeeded in starting the colonization of the Philippines. He established a Spanish settlement where Cebu City is now and was the first colonial governor until his death. From his Cebu base, he dispatched expeditions of his Spanish men and Visayan recruits to conquer other parts of the Visayas and Luzon. Subsequently, he would be able able to get Spanish reinforcement from Acapulco, Mexico.
- What was the principal feature of the colonial and feudal economic system maintained by Spanish colonialism?
JMS: The term colonial is distinctly political and the term feudal is distinctly economic. In conquering most of the Philippines and the people, Spain gained colonial power and authority over them and imposed on them a centralized system of administration. It also imposed the feudal system of giving land grants to military officers and colonial officials as reward for services to Spain and thereby they took control over large tracts of agricultural land and large numbers of peasants to till the land. This would become the foundation of the feudal system of haciendas.
- What important development in Philippine society resulted in the Revolution of 1896?
JMS: When foreign trade accelerated between Manila and Acapulo and then between the Philippines and Europe in the 19th century, the friar estates expanded through outright landgrabbing at the expense of the natives (Filipinos), with the peasant masses most offended. A small number of Filipinos became educated at tertiary level, at first mostly priests in the first half of the century, and then professionals among the children of landlords, bureaucrats and merchants in the second half of the century.
The Filipino and mestizo priests launched the secularization movement to demand that the parishes be transferred to them from the Spanish religious orders. This caused a split within the Catholic church which resulted in the martyrdom of Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora on February 17, 1872. Their martyrdom inflamed national consciousnesses against Spanish colonialism. The influence of the French Revolution reached the Philippine intelligentsia at first through European Masons and then through the Propaganda Movement based in Spain.
What is the basic character of the 1896 Philippine Revolution and how does it differ from the current revolution or social movement that is happening during our time?
JMS: The basic character of the 1896 Philippine Revolution was the old bourgeois-democratic type, heavily influenced by the bourgeois liberal ideology of the French revolution and was led by the intelligentsia who were offsprings of the native and mestizo landlord class, bureaucrats, and merchants. It was against the colonial and feudal system. Thus, it differs from the current bourgeois democratic revolution of the new type, under the leadership of the working class, guided by the theory of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and fighting for national and social liberation against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
- One of the many disputable or debatable topics taught at school is that the US saved the Philippines from the Spaniards. Some of the modern and more audacious historical films represent elseways. How and why did the US-imperialist did actually colonize the country?
JMS: Let us be clear about the sequence of historical events. First the Filipino people founded the Katipunan on July 7, 1892 and then this revolutionary organization declared independence and started the armed struggle in 1896. It was only afterwards that US representatives approached the Aguinaldo government in exile in Hong Kong to pretend offering help to the Filipino people.
The real motive of the US was to grab the Philippines from Spain and turn it into a US colony through the Spanish-American War and then peace negotiations in 1898. The Filipino revolutionaries refused to accept the US as the new colonial master. Thus, the Filipino-American war broke out, with the US conquering the Philippines by killing 1.5 million Filipinos. Since its brutal conquest of the Philippines, the US has propagandized that it has saved the Filipino people from the Spaniards and from their own “savagery.”
- What social system did the US imperialist establish in the Philippines? Is it still visible up to today or has it been wiped off by the Chinese imperialism?
JMS: US imperialism established a colonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines from 1902 to 1946, interrupted by the Japanese occupation during World War II. Then from 1946 onward, the US has dominated and maintained in the Philippines a semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. It remains this way up to now. The US is the most dominant imperialist power in the Philippines. Chinese imperialism is challenging it but is still far below in terms of foreign direct investments despite the big number of big and middle compradors of Chinese ancestry.
- What are the main features of the economic system established by US imperialism in the Philippines?
JMS: The economic system set up and developed by US imperialism in the Philippines has the following main features: the dominance of the direct investments of foreign monopoly firms and loans of foreign monopoly banks over such domestic ruling classes as the comprador big bourgeoisie, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists who ensure the production of raw materials and agricultural products for export in exchange for the importation of finished manufactures, including producer and consumer goods. This is a semifeudal capitalist economy ruled mainly by the comprador big bourgeoisie in tandem with the landlord class.
- What are the main features of the political system under the colonial rule of US imperialism?
JMS: While the Philippines was its colony, US imperialism was in charge of the governance and administration of the entire country, including the development of its political system, economy and culture. When the Philippines became its semicolony in 1946 through the grant of nominal independence, the US retained its military bases and the property rights of its corporations and citizens.
It made sure to control all aspects of Philippine society through treaties, agreements and arrangements but allowed the domestic ruling classes to take responsibility for all levels of government, from the national to the lower levels. A system of elections and appointments has been established for the ruling classes to select political leaders and bureaucrats.
How about the culture it propagated in the country – what are its main characteristics?
JMS: US imperialism has developed a pro-US colonial mentality against national or patriotic thinking and behavior, liberal tolerance for all bourgeois and feudal ideas and notions, anti-communist intolerance, rejection of the tradition and continuing validity of the Philippine Revolution and aversion to the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipinpo people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants.
- As Filipinos, we really take pride in ourselves for being revolutionaries. Dugong katipunero, sabi nga natin ; Tito, how did our ancestors resist during this period?
JMS: Starting with the declaration of independence in 1896, our ancestors rose up in arms against Spanish colonialism and they succeeded in defeating it on 1898. And they continued the revolution against the US war of aggression that started on February 4, 1899.
- How about the Japanese, Tito, how and why did they invade us?
JMS: The Japanese fascists and imperialists invaded the Philippines in 1941 and occupied our country until 1945. They presented themselves as enemies of Anglo-American imperialism and as friends of Philippine national independence and offered the Philippines a place in the so-called Asia co-prosperity sphere. They put up a puppet government but they were so brutal that the Filipino people waged a resolute war of national liberation against them.
- We have had three invasions by this time, how did the ruling class react or what did they do during this third invasion?
JMS: The big compradors collaborated with the Japanese fascists, especially because the wealthiest among them were of Spanish ancestry and sympathized with the Spanish fascists. Other big compradors and many landlords tended to collaborate with the Japanese invaders.
What about the Filipino masses, how did they fight the Japanese?
JMS: The toiling masses of the Filipino people suffered the most from the severe oppression and exploitation by the Japanese invaders, especially the breakdown of production, inflation and brutality. They joined and supported the guerrilla movement against the Japanese invaders. The old Communist Party managed to form the Hukbalahap which succeeded in driving out the Japanese invaders from Central Luzon. The Igorot and Ilocano guerrilla fighters combined to wipe out 100,000 of 150,000 troops of Yamashita in the Cordilleras.
- Can you tell us the ‘return-of-the-comeback’ of the US-Imperialist in the country in 1946? Why and how did they return?
JMS: The US had the superior air, naval and infantry assets to recover the Philippines from the Japanese. They also had the USAFFE guerrilla forces to cooperate with against the Japanese. The old Communist Party and the Hukbalahap did not develop armed strength beyond Central Luzon and some parts of the Southern Tagalog region and furthermore the Lava leadership of the old CP welcomed the return of the US.
15.There was – and still is – a whole theatrical production under the US-imperialism. How did our society evolved then? What are the main features of a Philippine society under the claws of this Eagle?
JMS: Well, the Philippines has remained semicolonial and semifeudal since the grant of nominal independence to the Philippines by US imperialism since 1946.
- Tito, how does the US maintain its control over the country?
JMS: The US made sure that it got the Treaty of General Relations to continue dominating the Philippines by retaining US property rights and military bases. It made further treaties, agreements and arrangements to secure economic, military, cultural and political control over the Philippines. It has the most foreign direct investments in the Philippines and has burdened the Philippines with loans.
- Last week, we’studied imperialism; how does the US maximize or maintain its control through the use of culture?
JMS: Control of the Philippines by US imperialism through the use of culture has been effective from generation to generation because it has promoted the English language as the top language as well the so-called American way of life as supposedly the best, set up the public school system at all levels, it has promoted the higher training of academics and other professions in the US under scholarship and travel grants from the US government and private foundations, it has influenced the making of the curricula and choice of textbooks, it has dominated the mass media for information and entertainment, and so on.
- What about through international politics?
JMS: Indeed, the hegemonic position of the US imperialism in international politics is always a major consideration of the Philippine reactionary state. The US binds the Philippines to bilateral and multilateral military treaties and involves the Philippines in US acts of military intervention and aggression, such as those against Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia and many other countries.
It involves the Philippines in various types of bilateral and multilateral economic and trade agreements. It has imposed the neoliberal economic policy regime on the Philippines. It uses diplomatic agents, advisory missions, academic institutions, mass media and think tanks to influence the thinking of all its client states with regard to international politics.
- How did the Filipinos resist during this time and what did the puppet regime do to suppress this resistance?
JMS: Since 1946, there have been some organizations and movements and outstanding leaders like Senators Recto and Tañada that criticized and resisted US imperialist dominance. Since the 1960s the national democratic movement of the Filipino people has resurged in order to struggle for national and social liberation from the three evil forces of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Since 1968 and 1969, the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army have arisen to wage the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war.
- Our next question is somewhat timely, Tito as we will talk about Marcos. We just commemorated the Barikada and the Diliman Commune, and of course, we will soon commemorate the EDSA Uprising. Tito, why did Marcos and his cronies declare Martial Law in the 70s?
JMS: From 1969 onward, Marcos was harping on the line that the Philippines was a social volcano about to explode. Instead of solving the truly worsening crisis of the Philippine ruling system he was aggravating it and using it as excuse to beef up the military and police forces. He created incidents to justify the use of open terror by the coercive apparatuses of the state, He used several bombing incidents and then the Plaza Miranda grenade throwing incident as pretext for suspending the writ of habeas corpus on August 21, 1971. This was the key preparation for the martial law proclamation in 1972.
Talagang copy-cat si Duterte, ano po? What are the difference and similarities of Marcos and Duterte dictatorship?
JMS: Duterte indeed is a copy cat of his idol Marcos. Marcos was far more clever than Duterte, much younger when he started to plot his fascist dictatorship and still had plenty of allowance for taking foreign loans for showy infrastructure projects. In comparison, Duterte is now old, he is sick physically and mentally, he has bankrupted the economy and his own government because of corruption and military overspending and he has little allowance for borrowing from the crisis-stricken world capitalist system.
Best thing that can happen for the benefit of the Philippine revolution is for him to impose a fascist dictatorship on the people. He will be finished off in one or two years after that. Even right now he is the best recruiter of the CPP and NPA because of his traitorous, tyrannical, genocidal, corrupt and mendacious character.
- How did fascist dictatorial rule worsen the crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal society?
JMS: Absolute power through fascist dictatorship led to absolute corruption, with no restraint whatsoever. The broad masses of the people were revolted by both the violent abuse of political power and by the most scandalous corruption connected with the infrastructure projects and the foreign loans.
- Tito, enlighten us, or better yet, agitate us, remind us why we needed to fight. How did you, Tita Julie, ,and the rest resisted during the time of Marcos?
JMS: We needed to fight the fascist dictatorship the best we could. We issued statements and other publications to encourage the people to fight the reign of terror and greed and to wage all forms of resistance, legal and otherwise. We did the best we could in helping build the revolutionary underground, waging every possible form of open resistance and, most important of all, building the CPP, the NPA and the NDFP as revolutionary weapons of the Filipino people.
If you may give your opinion or observation, how are we doing now, are we giving you, us our forerunners any justice? What else can we do better?
JMS: The legal democratic forces and the armed revolutionary movement were much smaller and weaker from 1972 to 1986 than now. They are now much bigger and stronger nationwide and are deeply-rooted among the toiling masses. It should be easier now in less time to overthrow the projected fascist dictatorship of Duterte or to oust Sara as his dynastic successor through a repeat of the 2019 rigging of the elections.
Tito, There is a growing opposition against the fascism of Duterte, how can we maximize this?
JMS: The broad united front of patriotic and democratic forces should hold gigantic mass protest actions against the Duterte regime of terror and greed not only in the national capital region but on a nationwide scale.
If we see Hong Kong, Myanmar, South America, even our neighbouring France and Germany, people are going out in AMASS! Do you see another
People Power Revolution happening against Duterte?
JMS: Yes, I foresee the people’s mass uprisings in the near future.
Pa-blast from the past naman po, Tito, how can we have a mass uprising against Duterte, any tips po?
JMS: The national democratic movement has a very deep and rich reservoir of experience, wisdom and methods for generating the mass uprisings similar to those in 1986. You can also expect the tyrannical regime to aggravate the crisis and problems and to make mistakes that will ignite the mass uprisings. Inflation, loss of jobs, mass hunger, mass murders and corruption will certainly rouse the people to rise up and overthrow the Duterte regime.
- Tito, this is to give a factual answer to the skeptics, to those who were once part of the ND movement but become weary, to those who never believed in our struggle – please tell us briefly, how did the succeeding regimes up to Duterte exacerbated semi-feudalism and semi-colonialism?
JMS: Despite the constitutional ban on foreign military bases and forces in the Philippines, the US has been able to get these in effect through a series of military agreements like the MLSA, VFA and EDCA. This makes clear that the Philippiness is a puppet state, a semicolony of the US. And of course, the Philippines is still a semicolony in an all round way: economically, politically and culturally. Under the US-imposed neoliberal economic policy regime, the Philippine economy remains semifeudal, a provider of cheap raw materials and cheap labor and importer of manufactured producer and consumer goods. It is deprived of genuine land reform and national industrialization.
- Itong si Digong, Tito no, ilang ulit na niyang sinasabi na ayaw na niya makipag- Peace Talks sa CPP-NDF-NPA > In Lorraine Badoy/ Parlade manner!<, with or without the Talks, the revolutionary forces and the patriotic or the ND forces continue to advance the struggle. How and why do you think the people and the Party do it?
JMS: It is absolutely clear that Duterte terminated the peace negotiations in order to carry out an all-out war policy and a campaign of state terrorism. The Filipino p[people have no choice but to wage all forms of resistance, especially armed revolution. Unwittingly, the Duterte regime is providing the favorable conditions for people’s war by committing so many crimes of treason, tyranny, butchery and plunder.
Classes And Crisis
A semicolonial and semifeudal society: this is the basic outline of Philippine society at present. We must grasp this objective truth firmly in order not only to understand correctly the real condition of society, the true nature and the roots of the debilitating crisis which has long afflicted the country, but also the correct revolutionary solution to this crisis.
This chapter sums up the principal issue of the country’s history and present condition—by means of clarifying the mode of production and the corresponding state of politics and culture that US imperialism and its local puppets, the comprador-big bourgeoisie and the big landlord class, maintain. The crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal society and its prominent manifestations in the crisis in economy, politics, foreign relations and culture are analyzed. This chapter also clarifies the classes in Philippine society and the basic exploitative and oppressive relations between the ruling classes and those who are dominated.
The correct analysis of the outline of classes in society is the foundation for understanding the basic character and the principal tasks of Philippine revolution. Without understanding the class analysis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal outline of present society, one cannot understand the character of the chronic crisis of Philippine society and why the objective motion of the basic contradictions of this system creates the most favorable situation for advancing the armed revolution. It will not be possible to advance the revolution steadily in the correct direction.
The correct understanding of the outline of classes in society is also the guide for the social investigation and research of the concrete conditions of the people in different levels and scope. This is the correct means of determining the concrete condition of the people and society. And this concrete analysis of the concrete condition of society is the most important basis for establishing the correct tactics and slogans for advancing the revolutionary movement and struggle of the masses of the people.
The correct Marxist-Leninist analysis of the history and present condition of the Philippines is one of the most important achievements of the re-established Party in elevating the overall level of theoretical and political knowledge, as well as revolutionary activity, of the Filipino proletariat and people. However, since the latter half of the ‘Seventies, upon the influence of assorted revisionists, reformists and fascist propaganda on the supposed capitalist development in the Philippines, certain elements within the Party began to declare and to encourage the casting of doubt on the semi-colonial and semi-feudal analysis of the country’s social system. This questioning served as the basis for all sorts of doubts to be placed on the line of the people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war, supposedly in an effort to “develop,” “refine,” and “adapt” it. These efforts resulted eventually in grave deviations of insurrectionism and military adventurism combined with bourgeois populism, economism and a united-front line which collided with and liquidated the leadership of the Party and the socialist perspective of the people’s democratic revolution.
With the Second Great Rectification Movement (SGRM), we are once again clarifying and further deepening the understanding of Party cadres and members of the correct class analysis of Philippine society as the basis for steadily and correctly upholding the revolutionary line of the Party.
- What is the crisis of the semi-feudal and semi- colonial Philippines?
JMS: The crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal Philippines arises from the continuing domination of the country by US imperialism despite the nominal grant of independence in 1946. There is an irreconcilable contradiction between the dominance of US imperialism and the desire of the Filipino people for real national independence.
The US has entrusted the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords and their political agents, the bureaucrat capitalists, to govern the people from the national to the local levels. For the ruling classes to stay subordinate and compliant, the US has kept the Philippine economy semifeudal, dependent on the production of agricultural products and raw materials for export and on the importation of producer and consumer goods, unable to produce basic metals, basic chemicals and machine tools.
This perpetuated colonial exchange of raw material exports and manufactured imports has consigned the Philippine economy to trade deficits that makes it ever dependent on foreign loans. Since the 1970s, the Philippines was allowed to produce a few semimanufactures for export and also to export cheap labor. But these have not resulted in the national industrialization of the country. There is always a grave contradiction between the policy to keep the Philippine underdeveloped and impoverished and the people’s desire for industrial development on the basis of its comprehensive and rich natural resources.
Why is it ever worsening?
JMS: The US and other foreign monopoly capitalist connive with the local exploiting classes to maintain the semicolonial and semifeudal relations for their mutual profit taking despite the growing population, unemployment and mass poverty on the one hand and the need for industrial development and social justice on the other hand.
- What is the most dominant class in a semi-feudal society?
JMS: The most dominant class in a semifeudal society is the comprador big bourgeoisie, which is is the chief financial and trading agent of foreign monopoly capitalism. It often overlaps with the landlord class because of their need to produce agricultural products for export. Big compradors are often big landlords.
Do we have the same dominant class in the cities as well as in the countrysides?
JMS: The comprador big bourgeoisie is based in the cities. Most of the landlords are based in the countryside.
Let us talk about the urban petty bourgeoisie tito, how are they being exploited?
JMS: The urban petty bourgeoisie includes the intelligentsia and petty entrepreneurs and merchants. The intelligentsia receive fixed incomes termed as salaries and the entrepreneurs and merchants have fluctuating incomes within a certain range. The urban petty bourgeois can be in a very precarious situation when inflation arises and their incomes fall short of their subsistence needs. They are in the danger of losing their white collar jobs or joining the proletariat.
How about the workers, Tito? How bad is the exploitation of the workers under the Duterte government, especially under this pandemic?
JMS: The workers and peasants have suffered the most under the Duterte regime, especially during the pandemic. The workers were deprived of wages because of the lockdown. And they did not receive the promised economic assistance and mass testing. They have no income and yet prices of basic commodities have been rising fast.
- How do the comprador-big bourgeoisie and the big landlord class use the neo-colonial state?
JMS: They finance the bourgeois political parties and candidates in order to dictate the policies of the neocolonial state. Their own family members and political agents become the bureaucrat capitalists who represent and favor the interests of the big compradors and landlords.
- What may be considered as the main periods of intensified crisis in the history of the neo-colonial state?
JMS: The main periods of intensified crisis have been during the fascist dictatorship of Marcos and now the tyrannical rule of Duterte.
- Tito, please briefly explain – as review, what do we mean by culture?
JMS: The term culture encompasses the ideas, beliefs, customs, social habits, the level of intellectual development, the language, literature, music and arts, cuisine, mode of dressing and ornaments of an entire community.
By this definition of ‘culture’ ; what is then crisis of the Philippine culture based upon?
JMS: The crisis has arisen from the use of culture to oppress and exploit the broad masses of the people. The Filipino people have been subjected to cultural domination that is colonial and imperialist, feudalist and obscurantist and prejudicial to the toiling masses of workers and peasants. Therefore, the people’s democratic revolution fights for a national, scientific and mass culture.
What are the dominant forces in our culture?
JMS: The dominant forces in current reactionary Philippine culture are US imperialism, the Catholic Church and the local exploiting classes of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. They set the rules, patterns and direction of the reactionary culture.
- How do the US and the Catholic Church promote the anti-scientific culture?
JMS: The US has utilized science and technology in the service of monopoly capitalism or imperialism but is anti-scientific by violently opposing socialism as the way to respect the social character of the forces of production and to do away with the selfish anti-social character of the private capitalist appropriation of the product of labor.
As a matter of theology or philosophy and in its long history , the Catholic Church has super-imposed belief in the supernatural and dogmas on science. It has a historical record of obscurantism and hindering the advance of science and giving legitimation to the reactionary interests of exploiting classes as well as to colonialism and foreign monopoly capitalism.
But of course, better than US imperialism., the Catholic Church has adjusted its doctrines in response to the needs and demands of the oppressed and exploited classes. Under the influence of the Second Vatican Council and the theology of liberation, the Christians for National Liberation has arisen and become an outstanding participant in the NDFP and in the revolutionary struggle of the people.
- What are the guiding principles in recognizing classes and differentiating them from one another in society?
JMS: First of all you have to know the mode of production at the material or economic base of society: the forces and relations of production. The forces of production are the people in production and the means of production at their disposal. The relations of production refer to the ownership of the means of production, the organization of labor and the distribution of the product of labor. Thus, you can find out what are the exploiting and exploited classes in an exploitative class society.
- Tito, we are often mixed up with ‘big-comprador landlords’, ‘compradors’, and ‘land-lords’ , and can you tell us the main characteristics of each?
JMS: I have already defined the comprador big bourgeoisie as the chief financial and trading agents of foreign monopoly capitalism. They are often big landlords themselves because historically and currently they use haciendas or plantations to produce export crops. But, there is a far greater number of landlords who use the traditional way of exacting land rent from their tenants in the production of food crops for domestic consumption.
- Who are exploited and oppressed in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society? Why are they exploited?
JMS: In the semifeudal economy of the Philippines, the basic exploiting and oppressive classes are the big compradors and landlords and the basic exploited and oppressed classes are the workers and peasants.
What are the main characteristics of the national bourgeoisie, rich peasants and middle peasants?
JMS: The national bourgeoisie is called the middle bourgeoisie because their enterprises are not as big as those owned by the imperialists and the big compradors. The rich peasants are sometimes called the rural bourgeoisie. They do token farm work themselves but in the main hire farm workers and rent out work animals and implements that they own. The middle peasants earn just enough to subsist.
Can we ally with the middle-class, rich and middle peasants and the national bourgeoisie against the ruling class and the US-Imperialism?
JMS: In the anti-feudal united front in the countryside, the proletariat and the Party rely mainly on the basic alliance of the poor peasants and farm workers, win over the middle peasants, keep the rich peasants neutral and take advantage of the contradictions between the enlightened gentry and despotic landlords in order to isolate and defeat the latter as the enemy.
In the national united front, the proletariat and the Party rely mainly on the basic alliance of the workers and peasants, win over the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle or national bourgeoisie and take advantage of the splits among the reactionaries in order to isolate and defeat the imperialists and the worst of the reactionaries as the enemy at every given time.
Tito, we hear the term, DESPOTIC LANDLORD, what is it? Is there such a thing as non-Despotic landlord – aren’t they all despotic since they own the land of our farmers?
JMS: Despotic landlords are those who have local political authority and act as local tyrants, deal harshly with their tenants and even incur blood debts. Enlightened landlords follow the laws and rules regarding land reform issued by the people’s democratic government. They agree with the land reform policy and in return they get concessions.
- Tito, who are the proletariat? What are their main characteristics?
JMS: The proletariat can be strictly described as the industrial workers in factories, warehouses, trading enterprises, mines , transport lines, operation of farm machines and other enterprises where the workers are paid wages. The traditional seasonal farm workers who receive wages and do not operate farm machines are also called rural proletariat.
Say for instance, you are a factory worker or a miner; are you automatically a proletariat? What if I am not a worker at all but I adhere to the principles of the proletariat, am I a proletarian then?
JMS: I have already explained which are the industrial workers, the modern proletariat by occupation. But it is also possible for an industrial proletarian to gain the status of the proletarian revolutionary by becoming a Communist Party member. Some who do not originate from the proletariat can also become a proletarian revolutionaries by remolding thermselves ideologically and politically and joining the Communist Party.
Who are the lumpens or the semi-proletariat?
JMS: The lumpens refer to anti-social elements. They may be disposessed and disemployed elements who turn to anti-social or criminal activities to earn a living. They are vulnerable to recruitment by the enemy against the proletariat, unless the revolutionary organizations know how to handle them. Examples of the lumpens are those who engage in thievery, scamming, peddling illegal drugs, operating gambling and prostitution dens and cattle rusting.
- Do we have a special group in our society? Who are they then?
JMS: You can define a certain special group according to occupation, gender, race, nationality, religion or otherwise in order to acknowledge it as worthy of attention and consideration. The individuals belonging to a special group may belong to different classes.
- Tito, sunod-sunod ung atake laban sa mga pambansang minorya sa pagpasok pa lang ng taon! We could only wish that there was a Dragon Dance and that they took Duterte with them! Why are they being oppressed, tito? What is their social condition?
JMS: Indeed, the national minorities are being terribly oppressed. They are being subjected to state terrorism, including the bombing and destruction of their homes. Their right to self-determination is being violated. They are being driven out of their ancestral domain so that the landgrabbers, the plantation owners, the loggers and mining corporations can take over the land and plunder the natural resources.
How about the settlers; what is the social condition of the settlers?
JMS: The settlers are mostly poor peasants who come from other parts of the country. They go to the land frontier and to the ancestral domains of the indigenous people. They are peasant class brothers of the indigenous people and can be accommodated. They can be united against those foreign and domestic exploiters and oppressors who wish to grab the land and other natural resources.###