Prospects and Challenges of the People’s Struggle
Against the US-Duterte Regime
By Jose Maria Sison, Book Author
February 8, 2019
I thank BAYAN and the International Network for Philippine Studies for organizing this book launch. I also thank the distinguished reviewers and all of you for coming to this gathering. I am elated and honored that my four most recent volumes are being launched at the same time on this occasion.
The book titles are: Combat Neoliberal Globalization, Struggle Against
Imperialist Plunder and War, Strengthen the People’s Struggle Against Imperialism and Reaction and People’s Resistance to Greed and Terror.
The first three titles belong to the 5-volume series, People’s Struggles Against Oppression and Exploitation, Selected Writings 2009-2015. And the fourth book is autonomous and covers the last six months of the Aquino regime and the first six months of the Duterte regime in 2016.
These books have accumulated during the last three years without the benefit of a launch because, as I understand, we have been preoccupied with many other tasks in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people against the US-Duterte regime. Now we are pausing for this book launch before we plunge deeper into mass work and mobilize more people to engage in mass protest actions to oust the US-Duterte regime. I assume of course that there will be periods for reading and studying the books.
I. Prospects of the People’s Struggle
After the full restoration of capitalism in revisionist-ruled countries in the years of 1989-1991, US imperialism and all its followers were jubilant and concluded that history cannot go beyond capitalism and liberal democracy, that neocolonialism and neoliberalism would prevail without challenge and that the US would remain the sole superpower. With overweening arrogance, the US proceeded to give economic and trade concessions to China to hasten its integration in the world capitalist system and to launch a series of costly wars of aggression, thus accelerating the strategic US decline.
The increase in the number of imperialist powers, which now include China and Russia, has led to a multipolar world and to more intense inter-imperialist contradictions, which have been so conspicuous since the big economic and financial crisis of 2008. This has been the worst since the crash of 1929. It has resulted in global depression and is heading for the worse at an accelerated rate. All the wise guys of monopoly capitalism admit that they have run out of tools to solve the problem. The crisis inflicts more severe suffering on the proletariat and people of the world and drives them to resist imperialism and all reaction.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, the chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system has worsened under the weight of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The ruling system has become so rotten that the factional rows and confusion among oligarchs have allowed Duterte to become president. His election to the presidency in 2016 is a stark manifestation of how far the ruling system has become rotten. We are once more confronted with a tyrant who idolizes and apes the fascist dictator Marcos.
By all indications, the tyrannical US-Duterte regime is hell-bent on imposing a full-blown fascist dictatorship on the Filipino people by proclaiming martial law nationwide, scrapping or rigging the May 2019 elections and railroading charter change to a bogus kind of federalism in which the omnipotent fascist dictator is at the peak of a highly centralized hierarchy of dynasties, warlords, corrupt bureaucrats, drug lords and corrupt military officers.
Duterte has rolled out the following measures of state terrorism to achieve his objective: the propagation of the notion that the illegal drug trade and other social problems can be solved through extrajudicial killings; the anticommunist witch hunt against the legal democratic forces and social activists; the increasing harassment, abduction and murder of activists; the planting of evidence, fake surrenders and fake encounters to frame up the victims and enable military and police officers to collect cash rewards; the Tokhang-type mass murders of the urban poor, workers, peasants and indigenous people and the wanton use of bombings and artillery fire against rural communities.
To achieve his objective of imposing a fascist dictatorship on the people, Duterte has deliberately and systematically engaged in mass intimidation and mass murder and viciously slandered the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) to make them his scapegoats for proclaiming martial law in Mindanao and prospectively nationwide. Thus he is not at all interested in peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). He needs to escalate the armed conflict to justify and accomplish his evil objective.
In response, the NDFP has consistently expressed its desire for the resumption of the peace negotiations in order to stress the point that it is Duterte who has terminated the peace negotiations and refuses to resume these, that it is the NDFP which is desirous of a just and lasting peace through basic social, economic and political reforms and that it is the GRP and Duterte himself that want to continue the civil war in order to preserve the ruling system and to subject the people to worse forms of oppression and exploitation.
The obsession of the US-Duterte regime is to wage all-out war against the people under “Oplan Kapayapaan”. Whenever it pretends to be for peace negotiations, it means negotiations for the surrender of the revolutionary movement either through localized talks or bilateral talks of the GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels in the Philippines under the control, surveillance and manipulation of the regime. There is therefore no choice for the Filipino people and the revolutionary forces but to persevere in the armed revolution for national and social liberation.
II. Challenges to the People’s Struggle
The US-Duterte regime is seeking to destroy the people’s democratic revolution at a time when the revolutionary forces, especially the CPP, NPA and the NDFP have gained strength nationwide among the toiling masses after more than 50 years of continuous revolutionary struggle. The revolutionary movement is well-experienced and is ready to frustrate and cause the soonest possible ouster of the regime.
We are challenged today by a regime whose chieftain exposes and aggravates all the decadent and despicable features of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system. He boasts of state terrorism and mass murder of suspects, puppetry to the imperialist powers, open contempt for the toiling masses, hostility to Christians, misogyny and brazen mendacious self-contradictions. He is crazed by power and drugs. He is like a loose live wire short-circuiting the entire ruling system. He acts as if the people can never act against him.
His government is bankrupt and he resorts to heavier taxation and bigger foreign borrowing to feed the insatiable appetite of his fellow bureaucrat capitalists for corruption; bloat expenditures for the military and police at the expense of public education, health and other social services; engage in overpriced and graft-laden infrastructure projects; widen the budgetary and trade deficits; and amortize the growing accumulated public debt.
Duterte seems not to realize that the broad masses of the people detest him for violating human rights, causing the prices of basic commodities and services to soar, engaging in corruption of unprecedented scale (theft of 565 bilion pesos of public funds in a matter of two years) and treasonously selling out the sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea and the national patrimony to all the imperialist powers.
The people and their armed revolutionary forces are intensifying their efforts to build their strength and defeat the armed minions of the US-Duterte regime. The CPP, NPA and NDFP, the mass organizations and the people’s government are thriving in the countryside. Despite its all-out war, the US-Duterte regime has not been able to destroy a single guerrilla front, not even in Mindanao where 75% of the maneuver battalions of the reactionary state have been concentrated.
It is possible to oust the US-Duterte regime by intensifying the protest actions of the legal mass movement of the people under the policy of broad united front and by encouraging the relatively patriotic and democratic-minded sections of the reactionary military and police to withdraw support from the regime as in the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship in 1986 and the corrupt Estrada regime in 2001.
As soon as the hundreds of thousands of people appear on the streets of Metro Manila and millions nationwide, the reactionary armed forces and police will find it futile to oppose the sovereign will of the people. The biggest challenge to the Filipino people and all patriotic and progressive forces is to rise up soon and oust the US-Duterte regime.
The ouster of Duterte will not yet end the ruling system but the national democratic movement will become stronger and will be in a better position to cause a fundamental transformation of the ruling system through the needed basic social, economic and political reforms. The way will be open to further advance the people’s democratic revolution.
If for any reason, internal or external, to the broad united front and the legal mass movement, Duterte manages to stay longer in power, he will cause the ruling system to rot further and gain further the wrath of the people and generate the conditions for the people to overcome any obstacle to the process of ousting him.
It is obvious that time is running against him because of his deteriorating physical and mental health and the worsening crisis of the ruling system. All his violent attempts to prolong himself in power will only generate more favorable conditions for the rise of various forms of mass struggle and for the advance of the new democratic revolution through people’s war.
Mabuhay ang kilusang pambansa demokratiko!
Mabuhay ang rebolusyong Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!