This article is based on an article originally published on La Cause du Peuple on March 30, 2019. It was rewritten in Norwegian by a contributor for TFM and thereafter translated to English.
On March 29, 2019, the Phillipines’ New People’s Army (NPA) turned 50. Some months earlier, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) celebrated its 50th anniversary.
In La Cause du Peuple, we often speak about the struggle in the Philippines. For instance, with this photo report, this article on women’s liberation, this review of the film “Revolution Selfie”, among others.
But like our article on the people’s war in India, we wish to explain in short what the people’s war in the Philippines is about.
Before 1969: The Struggle Ahead of the People’s War
The Philippines, a collection of islands in the Asian Pacific Ocean, was colonized in the 19th century by the Spanish. Through wars for independence, the Philippines made a heroic rebellion, which won and where the Republic was proclaimed. In the meantime, US imperialism seized the opportunity with a starting point in the Pacific Rim and declared war on the Philippines.
The US colonized and occupied the archipelago shortly thereafter. In the 1930s, the Communist Party of the Philippines was created, and waged war against the Japanese occupation from 1942. The Japanese had declared war against the US and invaded the Philippines. But after the end of the war, the US returned and the occupation of the country continues. They declared the country “formally” independent, but inserted their own supporters.
Throughout the 1930s, the communist party fell into pacifism. In 1968, the party was reformed by a new generation of communists, who numbered only 13. They were influenced by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and wished to develop the people’s war. On March 29, 1969 – with just a few dozen to start – they created the New People’s Army (NPA).
1969-1986: Growth and Struggle Against the Fascist Dictatorship
From 1969, the people’s war developed itself quickly on the different archipelago’s islands. Following support from the US, President Marcos declared a state of emergency and introduced a fascist dictatorship. Thousands of people were arrested, tortured, killed, or disappeared as a result of the Marcos regime. The NPA grew from the countryside, because the oppression led to resistance.
The people’s war fought against the mountains that oppressed the Filipino people: imperialism, bureaucracy-capitalism, and feudalism, which has the power in the Philippines. In the countryside, the peasant’s revolution struggles against the large landowners and the state that crushes workers and peasants.
In 1986, Marcos fled the country following popular uprisings, but the semi-colonial and semi-feudal regime in the service of US imperialism remained intact.
1986 to the Present Day: The Second Great Rectification Campaign and People’s War in 2019
In the 1990s, the communist party led a great rectification campaign against the liquidationists and ultra-leftism that wished to divert the people’s war. The mass base is suffering, but the revolution in the Philippines continues to grow.
In the past decades, the revolutionary movement has steadily advanced forward. The tyrant Duterte, who is the president of the old Filipino Republic, is perhaps the best recruiter for the revolutionary movement. The old state is a tool for imperialism, which the revolutionary movement wishes to smash. The old state is bureaucrat-capitalist, while the revolution wishes to introduce socialism as a transition to communism. The old state profits on semi-feudalism, and the people’s war abolishes it. Duterte attacks the masses, and the NPA defends them. The government wishes to shoot women NPA members in the vagina and says that 40% of NPA rebels are gay, while the people’s army supports women and the liberation of LGBTQ people. The state has disdain for the rights of national minorities, while the NPA protects them.
The NPA today has over 110 guerrilla fronts in 73 of the 81 provinces of the Philippines. An enormous mass base, consisting of millions of people, a strong communist party, and a large urban movement of mass organizations.
Briefly summarized, the Communist Party of the Philippines wishes to wage people’s war all the way until strategic equilibrium and forward towards the final victory. This struggle in the Philippines is one of the largest in the international workers’ movement today.
The original article can be read in French here: https://www.causedupeuple.info/2019/03/30/quest-ce-que-la-guerre-populaire-aux-philippines/