NewsfeaturesWHO IS JOMA SISON?



by Ted Tuvera
Posted on October 14, 2013

Who is Joma Sison?

(This essay was written after watching the film ‘The Guerrilla is a Poet’. I wrote this, supposedly, as an outline for a friend I brought with me to see the film.)

The tix for 'The Guerrilla is a Poet'

The tix for ‘The Guerrilla is a Poet’

To date there is indeed a very influential political analyst that defines the prevailing political issues  in the Philippines (and even the whole world) in a very radical way, but is still very relevant and in a way gives an alternative solution that makes a lot of sense in terms of practicality for the benefit of the vast masses.

Prof. Jose Ma. Sison indeed gave the youth of his generation and even the activists of today a lasting influence in criticizing and analyzing the political phenomenon in Philippine society. His brand of politics is different from the traditional ones, for he agitates with the revolutionary lines that are based from Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and translates it to fit the particular situation of the Philippines.

Sison was the founding chairman of the largest youth organization during the pre-martial era, the Kabataang Makabayan (KM); he also was the founding chairman of the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968 and was the lead-initiator of the New People’s Army in 1969, and; as of now he works as the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the peace-talks between their movement and the Manila-based government.

Joma Sison as the legendary "Amado Guerrero" in arms, sometime in the '70s

Joma Sison as the legendary “Amado Guerrero” in arms, sometime in the ’70s

Sison’s poltics is basically understood as subversive and  is even a “terroristic threat” to the United States and Philippine governments. But in essence, the politics of Sison seeks to engage the masses in organizing themselves for a national democratic struggle. The politics of Sison is summarized in his monumental “Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino” (1970) which serves as a “textbook” for leftists up to date.

Even though some would say that Sison’s revolutionary ideas are already passé (although, really it is not, in my opinion), but looking through his works, even the issue of the Pork Barrel Scam fits in for criticism as a fruit of one of Philippine society’s peril that is bureaucrat capitalism.

Bureaucrat capitalism is defined by Sison as “a guise of collecting support for their political parties, [and to] get funds and facilities from their imperialist, comprador and landlord masters. Even before winning the elections or even in losing out to their opponents, they become wealthy on account of the large campaign contributions that they get. In return for the largesse that they collect, they become bound to the class interests of their supporters.” (Sison/Guerrero, 1970)

With such attentive eye even on a modern political issue, Sison’s political views has still proved its relevance.


Amado Guerrero’s Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino (a treasured bible for me)


Sison’s political influence could reach and even inspire different sectors of society to be involved in the revolutionary struggle: his politics could be understood (even with its academic prestige) by the peasants and workers who are not that fortunate of having formal education. It could be discussed among intellectuals, too! His political writings could relate the masses with the three perils of Philippine society (as Sison has pronounced after years of studying and observing the political phenomena in the Philippines with a keen eye of the Marxist dialectical materialism): Imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

Only Sison’s politics would define the Philippine social realities in a perspective that is deeply rooted from studies of history, philosophy, economics, and culture, which somehow proves that Sison’s politics is relevant in positing a social movement for change, that serves as an alternative from the traditional political movements and trends in the reactionary state.

The politics of Jose Maria Sison may not be easily accepted by the liberally conservative standards in the contemporary formations of students: but by understanding his political stand as a patriot, statesman and an international proletarian revolutionary, one would be inspired to do move in advancing genuine politico-social changes.

The only thing that the film missed is how did the young Joma Sison provoked the youth of his time to be organized for a revolutionary cause.


Karl Medina as Joma Sison in the film. (This scene portrays the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines, 26-December-1968)

And true enough, after sending congratulatory PMs to Joma’s facebook, Joma said that (and I hope so much) that there will be a prequel or a sequel to the Guerrilla is a Poet.
This entry was posted on Monday, October 14th, 2013 at 8:14 am and is filed under Essays. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


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