1968 - Rectify Errors, Rebuild the Party
- 1 I. MAO ZEDONG THOUGHT IS OUR GUIDE TO SELF-CRITICISM AND PARTY REBUILDING
- 2 II. SUMMING UP OUR EXPERIENCE AND DRAWING REVOLUTIONARY LESSONS
- 3 III. BRIEF HISTORICAL REVIEW
- 3.1 A. Founding of the Party and its Illegalization
- 3.2 B. Merger of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party
- 3.3 C. The Party during the Japanese Occupation
- 3.4 D. The Party upon the Return of US Imperialism
- 3.5 E. The Party in the Period of Military Adventurism
- 3.6 F. The Party in the Period of Continued Military Defeat
- 4 IV. MAIN ERRORS AND WEAKNESSES
- 5 A. Ideological Weaknesses
- 6 V. THREE MAIN TASKS
I. MAO ZEDONG THOUGHT IS OUR GUIDE TO SELF-CRITICISM AND PARTY REBUILDING
Mao Zedong Thought is the highest development of Marxism-Leninism in the present world era of the impending collapse of imperialism and the world triumph of socialism. A genuine proletarian revolutionary party must, in the present era, constantly strive for the integration of Mao Zedong Thought and revolutionary practice in order to achieve thoroughgoing victory.
Mao Zedong Thought is the supreme guide in analyzing and summing up the experience of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Our Party has been committed from the very beginning to Marxist-Leninist theory and its creative application to the concrete conditions in the Philippines in fighting US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Availing itself of the constant advance of the theory and practice of the international communist movement, our Party is consequently committed to the theory and practice of Mao Zedong Thought which is now the highest development of Marxism-Leninism.
We are at the stage of world history and of the international communist movement when all parties and cadres of Marxist-Leninist standpoint are re-examining their experience in accordance with Mao Zedong Thought. Communist parties like the Communist Party of the Philippines, which so far have not established proletarian revolutionary power, are confronted with the question of pursuing Mao Zedong Thought or otherwise. This urgent question is sharpened by the emergence and worldwide campaign of modern revisionism.
Mao Zedong Thought sets the demarcation line dividing the proletarian revolutionaries from the false pretenders to the title of revolutionaries in this period of great upheaval, great division and great reorganization of political forces. Mao Zedong Thought now guides all proletarian revolutionary movements that are inflicting mortal blows on US imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction. The continuing failures of old parties that are not guided by Mao Zedong Thought only prove that without its guidance and faithful application the revolution cannot be won and consolidated. The experience of revisionist parties the world over provides more than sufficient proof. The history of our own Party is marked by failures on account of serious errors and weaknesses that need to be rectified now in accordance with Mao Zedong Thought.
As modern revisionism is being fostered and spread by the modern revisionist clique with its headquarters in the Soviet Union, all proletarian revolutionaries are impelled to express themselves and act in accordance with Mao Zedong Thought which is the acme of Marxist-Leninism in this world era. Two steps forward are now being made with Mao Zedong Thought.
Under the direct leadership of Chairman Mao, the People's Republic of China has become the central base of the world revolution. It is the center of gravity of the world's countryside encircling the cities of the world.
In a Philippines that is not yet liberated from US imperialism and feudalism, revisionist currents are bound to develop as they have. Currents of opportunism, with the local petty bourgeoisie and bourgeoisie as their fountainhead, serve as the basis for the superimposition of modern revisionism from its world center in Moscow. If modern revisionism is not effectively combated with correct theory and practice, then US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism can persist in Philippine society.
II. SUMMING UP OUR EXPERIENCE AND DRAWING REVOLUTIONARY LESSONS
It is our urgent task to analyze and sum up our experience as a Party. The sole reason for this analysis and summing up is to draw revolutionary lessons, to identify errors and weaknesses, in order to enable us to rectify them, strengthen ourselves and rebuild a proletarian revolutionary party that is guided by Mao Zedong Thought.
When we criticize errors and weaknesses, it is "to learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones" and "to cure sickness to save the patient". In the scientific spirit of Marxism-Leninism, we make our criticism in order to rebuild the Party on stronger foundations and build up revolutionary power. As the nucleus of proletarian dictatorship, the Communist Party of the Philippines must consolidate itself through the process of rectification.
Our Party has existed for the last 38 years and yet it has not won revolutionary power. The failures it has incurred should be clearly analyzed in accordance with Mao Zedong Thought so as to enable the proletarian revolutionaries of today to act correctly.
Only the broad outlines of Party history can be herein presented with the end in view of showing its dialectical development. This summing-up cannot possibly incorporate all the details that may be available. It is for further discussions among Party cadres to do this. However, our trusted comrades, old and new, have already engaged during the last three years in thorough discussions concerning the problems of the Party.
At the outset, let it be stated that in our summing-up, the handling of the three main weapons of the Philippine revolution assumes prime consideration. These are: the building up of a Marxist-Leninist party, armed struggle, and the national united front.
Also in our summing-up, we shall cover the fields of ideology, politics, military and organization. As a matter of fact, the main body of this discussion is divided into these four aspects. However, before dealing with these, let us trace briefly the history of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
III. BRIEF HISTORICAL REVIEW
A. Founding of the Party and its Illegalization
The national democratic movement in the Philippines entered a new stage when on November 7, 1930, the Communist Party of the Philippines was founded in Manila. The founding of the Party served to signify that the Filipino working class had advanced ideologically, politically, and organizationally, and had started to seek class leadership in the Philippine revolution. Thus, the era of the new-democratic movement was ushered in with the emergence of a working class party committed to the integration of Marxist-Leninist theory and Philippine practice.
As a newly founded working class party, the Communist Party of the Philippines was immediately based in the city among the most advanced workers represented by Crisanto Evangelista. Without sufficient consideration of and safeguard against the oppressive and coercive character of the US imperialist regime and the domestic ruling classes, the Party was publicly launched on the 13th anniversary of the October Revolution. Within a short period, on May 1, 1931 and subsequently, the reactionary authorities took punitive actions against the Party. Cadres and members of the Party were arrested and imprisoned. Mass organizations under the leadership of the Party were banned. In 1932, the Supreme Court formally outlawed the Party and its mass organizations and meted out prison sentences to their leading members.
At the time that the first line of Party leaders was incapacitated, no reliable second line of Party leaders had yet been developed to carry on Party work. Nevertheless, by 1935, there were already some elements who established Marxist study groups among the petty bourgeoisie in Manila. Some of these elements had their political education under the Right opportunist Browderite leadership.
In the period that the Communist Party of the Philippines was outlawed, the Socialist Party headed by Pedro Abad Santos was building up strength on the basis of a loose mass organization of peasants and agricultural workers in Central Luzon.
B. Merger of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party
A merger was made between the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Socialist Party on November 7, 1938 after the leadership of the former was given conditional pardon by the Commonwealth government in accordance with the anti-fascist Popular Front policy. This merger came about with the assistance of James Allen, representative of the Communist Party of the USA. During this period, the Communist Party of the Philippines continued to be closely associated with the Browderite leadership of the Communist Party of the USA.
The open leadership elected by the merger congress was represented by Crisanto Evangelista as chairman, Pedro Abad Santos as vice-chairman and Guillermo Capadocia as general secretary.
The secret second line of leadership was represented by Vicente Lava whose time was mostly devoted to his full-time government employment at the Bureau of Science and whose political work was limited to leading a small progressive petty-bourgeois organization, the League for the Defense of Democracy. Lava epitomized Party members of petty-bourgeois origin who were under the influence of the Right opportunist Browderite leadership of the Communist Party of the USA. Other members of the secret second line of leadership were those who had had limited success in urban Party work, especially among petty-bourgeois elements, during the period that the Party was outlawed.
Defense of Democracy. Lava epitomized Party members of petty-bourgeois origin who were under the influence of the Right opportunist Browderite leadership of the Communist Party of the USA. Other members of the secret second line of leadership were those who had had limited success in urban Party work, especially among petty-bourgeois elements, during the period that the Party was outlawed.
C. The Party during the Japanese Occupation
When the Japanese invaders occupied Manila in January 1942, the Party leadership took no steps to leave the city in an organized way so that soon after, the first line of leadership was easily arrested by the Japanese fascists. The second line of leadership and the mass of Party members who had also been concentrated in the city spontaneously fled to the countryside in various directions. Nevertheless, the majority of Party members fled to various towns in Central Luzon but without coordination.
The Central Luzon Bureau Conference was held on February 6, 1942 to discuss Party policies in the face of the grave situation. It was at this conference that the decision to organize a guerrilla army was taken and the ascendance of the second line of leadership to the central leadership was formalized. Vicente Lava, who became general secretary, was elected in absentia as he had fled to Rizal province. Over a month later on March 29, the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon) or the People's Anti-Japanese Army was established in Barrio San Lorenzo in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.
Meanwhile, two principal leaders of the Party who had been arrested, Abad Santos and Capadocia, agreed to cooperate with the Japanese in convincing Party members to desist from resistance. However, the former was incapacitated by illness and the latter was arrested by the Party when he attempted to implement his compromise. Later on, however, Capadocia was reeducated by the Party
The Party and the army were based in the Mount Arayat area. It did not take long for the Japanese to pinpoint the area as the seat of the Party and in 1943 the Japanese launched the so-called March Raid which resulted in the capture of many leading Party cadres and members.
During the encircling raid, the people in the vicinity of Mount Arayat dispersed and tried to slip through in small groups; in the process, many leading cadres and members were captured. In an attempt to minimize losses from the enemy offensive, the Vicente Lava leadership adopted the "retreat for defense" policy.
The "retreat for defense" policy meant the breaking up of all Hukbalahap "squadrons" (of company strength) and other units of platoon strength into minuscule units of three to five fighters. It promoted tactical passivity and helplessness in the face of the enemy. It fell in line with the "lie-low" policy of the USAFFE.
It was only as late as the Bagumbali Conference of late September 1944, when the Party declared the "retreat for defense" policy incorrect, that the Hukbalahap "squadrons" were regrouped to take the offensive against the enemy. After a policy of active resistance was taken and implemented, the strength of the people's armed forces increased by leaps and bounds. But while this policy was adopted, the US air force had already started to bombard the Philippines, preparing for massive landing by the US imperialist military forces.
While the "retreat for defense" policy in particular was corrected and Vicente Lava was demoted from the general secretaryship, he retained his membership in the Central Committee to promote together with others a Right opportunist line. The Bagumbali Conference decided to prepare the establishment of the Democratic Alliance for parliamentary struggle upon the return of US imperialism and the Commonwealth government.
D. The Party upon the Return of US Imperialism
It was in the course of conducting a people's war during the Japanese occupation that the Communist Party of the Philippines gained real political power in certain areas, thus proving the great thesis of Comrade Mao Zedong that "political power grows out of the barrel of a gun".
Nevertheless, an erroneous position was taken with regard to the central question of keeping the people's armed power in the face of the return of US imperialism and the concomitant reinstatement of landlordism in those areas where the people had asserted their own armed power. Among Party members and their mass following, the aggressive nature of US imperialism was not thoroughly exposed. Neither was the armed peasantry under the leadership of the Party mobilized on the basis of the new democratic stage of the Philippine revolution of which the peasantry is the main force. In areas where the leadership of the Party had been established, the anti-national and anti-democratic links between US imperialism and feudalism were not exposed and denounced for the guidance of the people.
Aside from deficiency in ideological mobilization and in grasping the mass line with regard to US imperialism and the agrarian revolution, the Communist Party of the Philippines did not succeed in developing a Party organization and armed force of a national scale even while developing its main force in Central Luzon. To a much lesser extent, it was only in the Southern Tagalong region where Party units and armed units outside of Central Luzon were established towards the end of the anti-Japanese war.
At the end of World War II, the Party leadership decided to shift its headquarters and the center of its political activity from the countryside to the city. Relying on the word of US military agents, Party leaders took the Rightist line that the main form of struggle had changed into the parliamentary form that the people were tired of war that they could participate in bourgeois elections under conditions of "democratic peace". Thus, the central organs and newspapers of the Communist Party of Philippines were shifted to the city.
In the countryside, the Huk Veterans League and the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid (National Peasant Union) were set up as legal mass organizations to supplant the Hukbalahap and the BUDC (Barrio United Defense Corps). In the city, the Congress of Labor Organizations and other urban organizations were established. The Party and these mass organizations were to engage in legal and parliamentary struggle through the Democratic Alliance. Within the Democratic Alliance, the Party itself was merely one of the organizations subordinate to the bourgeois personalities leading the alliance.
The policy of disarming and disbanding armed units of the people's army was adopted and implemented. The political power that had been gained by the people's armed forces was, therefore, broken when arms became separated from the men who had wielded them. The Party leadership, however, nurtured the illusion that whereas the "democratic peace" line of making a token surrender of arms to the Military Police was merely a "propaganda line", the "true line" was that the Party was actually keeping caches of arms. Little was it realized that the enemy would not be fooled by a token surrender of arms and that the gap between the "propaganda line" and the "true line" merely confused the masses more than it misled the enemy. The basic fact was that armed units were disarmed and disbanded even as the enemy massacred entire "squadrons" of the Hukbalahap (like "Squadrons 77 and 99) and took other forms of repressive measures against the masses and the Hukbalahap.
Under the direction of US imperialism, the Military Police and civilian guards gave armed protection to the landlords to enable them to recover control over their lands in Central Luzon and even to exact excessive demand, such as the collection of arrears on land rent, on the past years of the Japanese occupation. These subsequent developments proved the bankruptcy of the counter-revolutionary line of welcoming the US imperialists and abandoning the armed struggle.
During the period that the Chinese Communist Party under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong was setting the example of heightening its armed struggle and capability at a time that the US imperialists were maneuvering a Kuomintang-controlled "coalition" government, the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines nurtured the illusion that it could engage in bourgeois parliamentary struggle through the Democratic Alliance and it did field its own candidates in the few areas where it held great political influence. Soon after the Party had taken the legal forefront in fighting against the Bell Trade Act and Parity Amendment and other imperialist-landlord measures, Party-supported members of Congress who had been elected in the 1946 elections were unjustly ousted from Congress, thus exposing once more the bankruptcy of the policy of relying mainly on bourgeois parliamentarism.
During the early post-war period, the Right opportunist trend dominated the Party. Vicente Lava was most articulate and active in providing ideological support to this trend within the Party Central Committee. However, the Party general secretaryship was left to Pedro Castro who wanted to develop a mass open party for purposes of bourgeois parliamentary struggle, and then to Jorge Frianeza who advocated a united front with the reactionary Roxas administration. The 1946 Constitution of the Party, like the 1938 merger Constitution, advocated parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle. The counter-revolutionary revisionist line within the Party was aggravated by petty-bourgeois careerism, regionalism and by individual acts of flightism which seriously undermined the Party.
E. The Party in the Period of Military Adventurism
It was in 1948 that the question of armed struggle was firmly raised by revolutionary Party cadres and the revolutionary masses in the face of fascist abuses perpetrated by the puppet government of Roxas against the Communist Party, Hukbalahap, democratic mass organizations and their leaders and the broad masses of the people. The question of armed struggle was, however, interpreted by the Jose Lava leadership mainly on the basis of external conditions. There was the one-sided expectation by the Party leadership that the near-violent split in the ruling classes due to the election frauds of 1949, the revolutionary victory of the Chinese people, the Korean War and the economic recession in the United States would absolutely open the way for the victory of the people's army in the Philippines, notwithstanding the internal weakness of the Party and the people's army due to previous Right opportunist errors. External conditions were interpreted as the very reasons for a quick military victory.
The Party leadership represented by Jose Lava failed to provide the most essential reasons for engaging in armed struggle, like a program of armed struggle against US imperialism and its local running dogs and for agrarian revolution among others, and equally it failed to recognize that armed struggle under the conditions existing in the Philippines would have to be protracted. Against the superficial reasons provided by the Lava leadership to justify the policy of striving for a quick military victory, the Right opportunists took the line of converting the Communist Party of the Philippines into a big open mass party for purposes of the parliamentary form of struggle and took the narrow view that the trade unionists should automatically prevail in the Party leadership.
Both opposing sides failed to consider extensively whether the Party's headquarters and center of political gravity should be the city or the countryside. Both Right opportunists and "Left" opportunists agreed that the Communist Party of the Philippines remain an urban Party
Despite its advocacy of armed struggle, the Jose Lava leadership decided to command the People's Liberation Army (Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan) from the city. Although it assumed the policy of armed struggle, the Jose Lava leadership did not lay down the correct theoretical and political basis for its organizational and military efforts. For this reason, it inconsistently allowed Luis Taruc as commander-in-chief of the people's army to negotiate for amnesty with the Quirino government
The Politburo conference of January 1950 assumed a purely military viewpoint and drew up the "PB Resolutions" which maintained a line of rapid military victory. The Jose Lava leadership adopted a two-year timetable for seizing political power in the cities, without an all-sided and dialectical appreciation of the strength of the Party and the people's army on the one hand and the strength of the enemy on the other.
An adventurist military policy was initiated by a city-based Party leadership which was called the Secretariat or the Politburo-In. Instead of advancing in a series of waves within a protracted period of time, the people's army in the countryside was ordered to make simultaneous overextended attacks on the enemy at widely separated points in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon as part of the plan to prepare for the seizure of Manila. The military objectives were big military camps, cities and provincial capitals. This was done in a spirit of haste on March 29 and then on August 26, 1950 in accordance with the "PB Resolutions" of January 1950, without any thought of the forthcoming counter-attack by the enemy with massive campaigns of "encirclement and suppression" and also without any serious thought of the necessity of being able to concentrate the forces of the people's army in order to deal with the subsequent enemy counter-attack.
Over-extended and inadequately armed units were also adventuristically disposed on the "gates" of Manila to bolster the illusion that the seat of reactionary rule was "soon" to fall. On the other hand, the headquarters of the Politburo-Out was snuggled in the unpopulated vastness of the Laguna portion of the Sierra Madre, isolated from the main force of the people's army. As the Secretariat or the Politburo-In (the main Party leadership) was separated physically from the Politburo-Out, so was the latter physically far separated from the people's armed forces that it was supposed to command upon orders of the Politburo-In. Military operations and the supply and communication lines were excessively stretched out over unreliable areas.
In October 1950, the Politburo-In was totally smashed in the city, with other Party members, sympathizers and couriers apprehended. A big harvest of Party documents, which included lists of members and tactical plans, was made by the enemy and this helped the enemy destroy the Party organization in the city and smash the people's armed forces in the countryside
F. The Party in the Period of Continued Military Defeat
After the capture of the Secretariat or the Politburo-In in Manila, the Politburo-Out organized a Central Committee conference in February and March of 1951 in order to discuss the new situation. As clear proof of the increasingly desperate situation of the Party, the conference itself was under heavy military pressure by a massive enemy encirclement. With only a negligible armed force for protection, the conference could only depend on mere physical concealment within the encirclement.
The Central Committee conference failed to pose and criticize the adventurist errors of the Jose Lava leadership organizationally, politically and ideologically. The Jesus Lava leadership elected by the conference was essentially a part of the previous leadership; the Politburo-Out merely replaced the apprehended Politburo-In as the main leading body. At the most, the capture of the entire Politburo-In was narrowly adduced to tactical errors like negligence of security particularly in the city. The Central Committee failed to make a profound and systematic self-criticism as basis for a rectification movement.
The CC Resolutions of 1951 merely reiterated mechanically with the same over-confidence as that of the Jose Lava leadership the PB Resolutions of 1950. Grossly ignorant of the strategy and tactics of people's war, the Jesus Lava leadership could not state categorically that the people's army was on the strategic defensive; instead it muddle-headedly considered the incumbent stage of armed struggle as strategic "counter-offensive". As in previous stages of the Party history, a new situation within the Party developed due to grave errors of a previous Party leadership and yet no rectification movement was launched to correct the basic mistakes and weaknesses in ideology, politics, organization and armed struggle.
The errors of the Jose Lava leadership were obscured by the inner-Party struggle which arose between Jesus Lava and the Taruc brothers on fragmented issues. In this regard, the Jesus Lava leadership resorted mainly to organizational maneuvers to cover up for the adventurist errors of the Party leadership and to combat the capitulationist ideas of the Taruc brothers.
As a result of the uncertified ideological and political weaknesses, and as a result of the disastrous military adventures of the Jose Lava leadership, capitulationism started to set in the ranks of the Party leadership and was represented by the disgruntled and traitorous Luis Taruc who surrendered to the reactionary puppet government of Ramon Magsaysay in 1954. The outright capitulationist trend was aggravated to become the principal current by successive military defeats and by the chronic incorrect handling of cadres and the sectarian and liberal manipulation of cadres to perpetuate the clannish chain of Lava leadership.
Upon its assumption of office, the Jesus Lava leadership was buffeted from one military defeat to another. After the 1951 Central Committee conference, the Party headquarters, with its complement of staff members and security force, divided itself into several smaller groups and these were in blind flight within the massive enemy encirclement that enveloped the Sierra Madre from Laguna to Nueva Ecija and on both sides of Quezon. At a time that the Party leadership needed to concentrate its armed forces and smash or break through the weak points of the enemy encirclement, there was no sufficient number of men it could command. From this time on, the Jesus Lava leadership was never in effective control of any sizeable armed force because the strongest regional command (Reco 2) closely associated with Luis Taruc became disaffected with the Lava leadership and all other forces had been fragmented because of the over-extended dispersal of armed units during the adventurist leadership of Jose Lava.
During the period of 1951-1954, many principal leaders of the armed struggle fell under the massive encirclement campaigns in Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon, Bicol and Panay. It was during this period that roving rebel tendencies developed in the HMB because of ineffective central command and the slicing-off tactics of the enemy.
Under the impact and conditions of military defeat, the Jesus Lava leadership decided to adopt parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle in 1955, thus falling into the same capitulationist line of Luis Taruc. The policy of armed struggle was abandoned and those who had opposed this policy before became gleeful, wrongly feeling vindicated by the adventurist error of the Jose Lava leadership and by the Right opportunist about-face of the Jesus Lava leadership.
The Jesus Lava leadership went as far as de-activating armed units that were accessible to its command, and these were converted into so-called organizational brigades. Under the impact of the world revisionist campaign that was being waged by the Khrushchev revisionists, the Jesus Lava leadership in succeeding years felt more justified in its wrong policy. Around 1958, he disbanded his own security men and fled from the countryside to the city to start the life of a city fugitive, isolated from the masses. This pattern of flight from the countryside to the city resulted in the capture of the principal leaders of the Party in the Greater Manila area. It signified the utter failure of the series of Lava leaderships in the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Living the life of a city fugitive, Lava wrote political transmissions and directives and made appointments without the benefit of collective Party discussions. It was during this period that Jesus Lava acting alone decided to adopt the liquidationist "single-file" policy. This policy required one Party member to be in contact with only one other Party member. The whole Party organization was, at first, reduced to a few one-way files until the loss of only one member in a single file would result in the automatic disconnection of several others from the Party or the complete dissolution of the entire file. This process led to the grave disorganization of the Party. After a few more years, Jesus Lava was to lose contact with both legal and armed cadres of the Party.
It was during this liquidationist period that the Party fell behind, even behind the national bourgeoisie and urban petty bourgeoisie which were raising the banner of nationalism of the Recto brand as early as 1957 and more strongly in 1961. Until new Party cadres emerged and some Party members were reactivated, the Party fell too far behind the events of the day. Meanwhile, Jesus Lava made decisions for the Party all by himself as Party discussions would now reveal. In May 1964, Jesus Lava was finally arrested in Sampaloc, Manila under circumstances which clearly showed that he surrendered himself. In the first place, he had deliberately, by his own Right opportunism, one-man flightism and liquidationism, placed himself into the urban mouth of the reactionary whale.
IV. MAIN ERRORS AND WEAKNESSES
A. Ideological Weaknesses
The main ideological weakness of all previous leaderships of the Communist Party of the Philippines has been subjectivism, appearing in the form of dogmatism and empiricism, and resulting in Right and "Left" opportunist lines. The Philippines, being a semi-colonial and semi feudal country, has a large petty bourgeoisie which serves as the historical and social basis for subjectivism. Since the Party exists in this kind of society, it is liable to reflect subjectivist trends from without and from within if it is not alert and careful in its Marxist-Leninist ideological building which is the first requirement in Party building.
The Party could be penetrated by a considerable number of Party members of petty-bourgeois orientation (middle peasants, intellectuals, handicraftsmen and other petty producers) who fail to remold their world outlook and methods of thinking in accordance with Marxism-Leninism and who fail to integrate revolutionary practice with dialectical materialism and historical materialism.
Although the first Party members were mainly from the working class represented by Comrade Crisanto Evangelista, the Party leadership erroneously put much reliance on open, legal, parliamentary and urban political activity which resulted in the paralyzation of the Communist Party of the Philippines once it was outlawed by the US imperialists and their running dogs. A revolutionary and thoroughgoing proletarian world outlook would have made the Party recognize the dialectics of the whole Philippine situation and would have enabled it to adopt the correct methods of legal and illegal struggle.
It was around 1935, however, while the Party was still outlawed by its class enemies when a considerable number of Party members of petty-bourgeois class status crept into a fluid underground Party that was deprived of a definite central leadership and tried to carry on political work, bringing with them their unremoulded petty bourgeois and bourgeois ideas. At the helm of this petty bourgeois element within the Party were those who were greatly influenced by the empiricist and Right opportunist current spread by Browder. At this time, the Communist Party of the Philippines, under the auspices of the Communist. International was assisted by the Communist Party of the USA by seeing to it that cadres like Vicente Lava who became its leading representative would carry on Party work.
Subjectivism of the empiricist type was manifested by major political policies and developments such as the principal importance given to urban Party work before the outbreak of the Pacific war; the merger of the Socialist Party and the Party which artificially increased the membership of the latter; the Rightist preamble in the merger constitution; capitulationism towards US imperialism and the Commonwealth government; the absence of any plan to shift the Party headquarters from the city to the countryside; the adoption of the "retreat for defense" policy of 1943 and the belief of Vicente Lava that there could be no proletarian leadership in the countryside; the purely anti-Japanese line during the war period and the shift of the Party central organs to the city after the anti-Japanese war and the blatantly Right opportunist policies of Vicente Lava, Jorge Frianeza and Pedro Castro during the period of 1945-1948.
Empiricism grows on a static underestimation of the people's democratic forces and on a static overestimation. Of the enemy strength. Party work becomes dictated by the actions of the enemy instead of by a dialectical comprehension of the situation and the balance of forces. Revolutionary initiative becomes lost because of a static, one-sided, fragmented and narrow view of the requirements of the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-fascist struggle.
Thus, there is the over concentration on urban political work because of the subjectivist and opportunist desire to compete or collaborate with bourgeois parties and groups, and beg for "democratic peace" from the US imperialists and local reactionaries in their own urban citadel. The countryside is grossly underestimated and thus, revolutionary initiative, the indispensable mass support of the peasantry, and a wide area for maneuver are ignored. There is also the personal desire of the petty bourgeois to enjoy the comforts and prestige of city life.
There is, however, the other side of the coin of subjectivism. Between 1948 and 1955, subjectivism of the dogmatist type prevailed during the first two years of the Jose Lava leadership and the first five years of the Jesus Lava leadership. This dogmatism grew on an overestimation of the people's democratic forces and an underestimation of the enemy strength, without taking into full account the painstaking process of a protracted people's war. Under the Jose Lava leadership, the strategic view was adopted that, in a brief period of two years, the Party was certain to seize power. The Jose Lava leadership did not take into full account the necessity of a concrete and extended process of Party building, building of a people's army and the building of a revolutionary national united front.
The Jose Lava leadership was fond of "Left" jargon so unrelated to the whole basic situation, a manifestation of subjectivism of the dogmatist type. This leadership took the style of confounding comrades with book knowledge and some supposedly special knowledge about the world situation and about the inner circles of the enemy. On the basis of such knowledge it took decisions that over-strained the Party and the masses beyond their capability and understanding. It did not care for painstaking work among the masses in the development of a protracted people's war.
On the other hand, subjectivism of the empiricist type manifested by the Vicente Lava leadership and the Jesus Lava leadership was the cowardly reaction to the incumbent military superiority of the enemy. These leaderships took the line of passivity both strategically and tactically. They lost sight of the possible development of revolutionary principles and policies correctly adopted and applied on the basis of the internal laws of development of Philippine history and society. They simply went with the tide of defeat, without trying to seize revolutionary initiative.
Empiricism and dogmatism are two sides of the same petty-bourgeois coin. A twirl of the coin of subjectivism will abruptly show this or that side. The subjectivist errors of the Vicente and Jose Lava leaderships were mainly empiricism and dogmatism, respectively. These errors spring from the same petty bourgeois disease of subjectivism that has afflicted the Party and that has wrought havoc to the revolutionary movement.
Reversals from empiricism to dogmatism and from dogmatism to empiricism are peculiarly common to those who still retain the petty-bourgeois world outlook. Nevertheless, when one is the principal aspect of a subjectivist stand, the other is bound to be the secondary aspect and the secondary aspect becomes the principal aspect at another moment. That is the dialectical relationship of empiricism and dogmatism. Comrades should not wonder why under a dogmatist leadership there should be cases of empiricism; what is common between dogmatism and empiricism is the use of narrow and limited experience as the basis for over-all subjectivist decisions. Also, comrades should not wonder why a leadership with the same petty-bourgeois orientation should swing from empiricism to dogmatism and back to empiricism, and so on and so forth. All subjectivists fail to grasp the laws of dialectical development and so they are volatile and erratic.
In 1951, the Jesus Lava leadership continued to carry the dogmatist line of the Jose Lava leadership. But after a few years, subjectivism of the empiricist type started to dominate because of military defeats. The Jesus Lava leadership started to overestimate the strength of the enemy and it adopted parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle, took flight from the countryside and then took up the so-called "single-file" policy based on its narrow individual experience.
In summing up the series of subjectivist leaderships, we can state that Vicente Lava, Jose Lava and Jesus Lava were responsible for the petty-bourgeois disease that has long afflicted the Communist Party of the Philippines. The black bourgeois line of the Lavas continues to promote revisionism in the Philippines. It is essentially the inability to grasp proletarian revolutionary ideology and apply this on the concrete conditions of Philippine society. The usurpation of the Party leadership by the Lavas during the last more than 30 years accounts for the fact that the Communist Party of the Philippines is still weak. Although the political errors of each Lava leadership became exposed in the wake of far-reaching damage, no thoroughgoing rectification movement had ever been conducted to expose and correct the basic errors in ideology.
Despite the fact that Vicente Lava's subjectivism as expressed by his "retreat for defense" policy had resulted in great damage to the Party, there was no subsequent rectification movement that could have prevented the Right opportunist errors of the subsequent early post-war years. Also, despite the serious errors of the Lava leadership, the subsequent leadership did not engage in any serious rectification movement. Until now, despite the grave errors of the Jesus Lava leadership and those of other previous leaderships, there has been strong resistance to ideological, political, and organizational rectification. The Party flounders from error to error when there is no systematic and objective evaluation of each error ideologically, politically and organizationally.
The fact that Party leadership was passed from one blood brother to another, a singular phenomenon in the entire international communist movement, could be taken as a magniloquent symptom of the subjectivism that had predominated within the Party.
The black bourgeois line of the Lavas is careerism on a grand scale within the Party. A dangerous pattern has been established wherein Party responsibilities are apportioned to blood relatives on the basis of personal trust rather than on the basis of ideological and genuine Party trust. In this manner a mechanical and slavish artificial majority could always be depended upon to elect the Lava brothers as general secretaries of the Party in a series.
The evil of subjectivism is still persistent within the Party and must be eradicated. It still appears in the form of sentimentalism on the part of elder cadres who had received their ideological training from the previous leaderships. Sentimentally, they recognize the personal sacrifices of the Lava brothers but at the same time they do not see how many lives of people and cadres have been sacrificed at the altar of subjectivist errors and failures and they do not see that the so-called personal sacrifices of the Lava brothers were the very product of their subjectivist errors and failures.
This sentimentalism has become a hindrance to the rectification of ideological, political and organizational errors. It is combined with subjectivist awe for high bourgeois academic degrees that some cadres have. It also appears in the form of personal trust for those who have had ideological training from and those who enjoy the sanction of the series of Lava leaderships.
The black bourgeois line of the Lavas as it has developed on the basis of subjectivism now nourishes the growth of modem revisionism in the Philippines. Since we are determined to rebuild the Party, the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and all errors of subjectivism must be resolutely opposed and weeded out by a thoroughgoing rectification movement. In conducting such a movement it is not so much the persons of the Lava "dynasty" that we are after; what we are after is the rectification of subjectivist errors. If no rectification movement is to be undertaken, if no ideological consolidation of the Party is to be made, then modern revisionism would flourish to disarm and undermine the people's democratic revolution.
Lava revisionism has been persistent for decades within the Party only because rectification, as demonstrated by Comrade Mao Zedong in the Chinese Communist Party, has never before been conducted as we have decided to do. A rectification movement within the Communist Party of the Philippines, the nucleus of the proletarian dictatorship, should be conducted in the Marxist-Leninist way that a cultural revolution is conducted under the proletarian state in order to combat Right opportunism and modern revisionism.
B. Political Errors
Right opportunism and "Left" opportunism have been committed in the history of the Communist Party of the Philippines. These political errors have emanated from the subjectivist world outlook. They have restricted the building of a Marxist-Leninist party that is firmly and closely linked with the masses on a national scale, that has a correct style of work and conducts criticism and self-criticism, that implements a program of agrarian revolution and that makes use of the national united front to broaden its influence and support in its struggle against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The urban, parliamentary and open character of the Communist Party of the Philippines during the early months of its existence in 1930 and 1931 was mainly responsible for the political disaster and difficulties that it soon suffered. During this early period, the Party leadership was given to the use of "Left" language in public against the entire Bourgeoisie, and illegal work was not effectively carried out together with legal work.
The Party did not arouse and mobilize the peasantry as the main force of the revolution. Even when the principal leaders of the Party and its mass organizations were banished to different provinces, they were not conscious of the significance of planting the seeds of the new democratic revolution in the countryside. The idea of the national united front was not also immediately taken up and adopted. Even the urban petty bourgeoisie was not given serious attention as a class ally and as a source of cadres.
However, during the period that the Party was outlawed, cadres of petty-bourgeois origin crept into the Party and by 1935 their presence therein became marked. Because of their continued petty-bourgeois social status and their failure to remold their outlook, these cadres restrained the putting of emphasis on Party work among the toiling masses, especially in the countryside. In the trade unions, Party cadres working illegally could be counted on one's fingers. As late as 1937, only a few cadres were working among the peasants in a few towns of Central Luzon. It was the Socialist Party of Pedro Abad Santos, however, which had a large but loose mass following in the countryside. A few activists of this reformist party actually read Marxist literature but were lacking the discipline of Communist cadres.
It was through the merger of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Socialist Party in 1938 that the black bourgeois line of revisionism became formalized. The constitution of the merger party contained in its preamble the clause that it "defends the Constitution (of the US puppet commonwealth government) and the rights proclaimed therein..." and in Section I of Article III, the statement it "opposes with all its power any clique, group, circle, faction or party which conspires or acts to subvert, undermine, weaken or overthrow any or all institutions of Philippine democracy whereby the majority of the Filipino people have obtained power to determine their own destiny in any degree." Getting the good wishes of Quezon in the Popular Front preoccupied most of the Party leaders then.
The necessity of preparing and developing rural bases in the face of the growing threat of fascism was not fully grasped by the Party leaders; and even if it were so surmised, no adequate preparations for armed struggle were made. The international situation that was already clearly pointing to the imminence of World War II was not fully related to the Philippine situation. From 1938 to 1942, the first and second lines of leadership agreed on the principal importance of urban Party work and over concentrated on defending "civil liberties" while minimizing the importance of Party building and army building among the peasants. It was simply assumed that the merger of the Communist Party and the Socialist Party would enmass the peasantry to the side of the Party. Under the banner of the Popular Front and under the auspices of the commonwealth government, leading Party cadres ran for electoral offices in the reactionary government especially in Greater Manila and in some few provinces and they did not pursue what was principal revolutionary work in the countryside.
At the outbreak of World War II, the Party submitted a memorandum to commonwealth president Manuel L. Quezon for arms support from the bourgeois government; but the latter, sure of his class interests, refused despite the Popular Front. Instead of putting the main stress on the revolutionary work of arousing and mobilizing the peasant masses, the Party leadership chose to put the main stress on the secondary, which consisted of legal and urban work under the banner of the Popular Front. It was misled by the false prospect of arms support from a puppet government under US imperialist control
When the Japanese imperialists invaded Manila, the first line of leadership was apprehended in the city and the rest of the city cadres did not exactly know where to retreat. At this point, we can see the error of Right opportunism as having grown within the Party without having been the object of critical exposure and thoroughgoing rectification
Focusing Party work on parliamentary struggle, the merger party failed to make the most essential preparations for the anti-fascist armed struggle. The city cadres who fled to the countryside at the time of the Japanese invasion were unable to withdraw in an organized way thus exposing the failure of the Crisanto Evangelista leadership to build up the Party with deep foundations among the peasant masses on the basis of their struggle for land which is the main content of the people's democratic revolution. There was no rural base prepared for waging a people's war against the Japanese fascists.
Taught nevertheless by the immediate situation, the Party leadership held the Central Luzon Bureau Conference and soon after organized the People's Army against the Japanese (Hukbalahap) to lead the popular resistance against the Japanese invaders and the puppet government. With the Hukbalahap under its command, the Party began to build political power in the countryside.
But the Right opportunist political line persisted and when the Party and the Army met their first serious setback in the anti-Japanese struggle during the "March raid", the Vicente Lava leadership promoted Right opportunism by adopting the "retreat for defense" policy. It was a policy that contravened the Marxist-Leninist principle that Red political power could be built only by waging armed struggle. This policy was nothing but a variation of the USAFFE "lie low" policy of avoiding armed struggle with the Japanese invaders. This Right opportunist line restricted the rise of people's democratic power not only in the short run but even long after it was declared an erroneous policy.
The spontaneous resistance of the masses exposed the bankruptcy of the "retreat for defense" policy and the Bagumbali Conference declared this policy erroneous. Although the conference resulted in the demotion of some Right opportunists and in the regrouping of Hukbalahap "squadrons" for intensified resistance, the Right opportunist error was not thoroughly rectified and the Right opportunists still retained a big say in the Central Committee. Furthermore, the "Socialists" who had automatically become "Communists" by virtue of the 1938 merger were not provided by the Party leadership with the correct Marxist-Leninist education and were always susceptible to Right opportunism. The capitulationist and renegade Luis Taruc would remain to be the general representative of a great many of them who failed to advance to the level of Marxist-Leninists.
The abandonment of the "retreat for defense" policy resulted in some limited successes for the Party and the army. In a few months' time, the area and the population covered by both increased to the extent that the greater part of Central Luzon came under the effective leadership of the Party and that the people's army could send out sizeable units to establish or reinforce armed bases in the Southern Tagalog area.
However, at the end of the anti-Japanese struggle when the US imperialists landed to reconquer the Philippines, the Right opportunist line would again strikingly emerge as the main line. There arose the illusion that the people were tired of war and that the Party could strive for the realization of its principles under conditions of "democratic peace" granted by US imperialism and the landlords. Against this illusion were the brutalities committed by the military police, the civilian guards and all kinds of American agents against the people and the unjust arrest and incarceration of the principal leaders and fighters of the Hukbalahap. Thus, a strategic dual line was adopted with the so-called "propaganda" line differing from the so-called "true" line. The "propaganda" line was that the Party was publicly desirous of "democratic peace", of participating in bourgeois politics through the Democratic Alliance; and the "true" line was that it was actually keeping its armed power in the form of concealed arms caches. The Party leadership ordered the disbanding of the majority of Hukbalahap "squadrons" and token arms surrender were made. It shifted back the center of its political activity to the city under the banner of bourgeois parliamentarism.
With the adoption of this strategic dual line, deception was idealistically intended as an essential component of the strategic line. But while the enemy was not fooled by the token surrender of weapons by the Hukbalahap, confusion was introduced into the ranks of the cadres and masses. The Party leadership failed to establish the correct mass line as it adopted a strategic dual line and lost its grip on the gun.
The 1946 constitution of the Party continued to carry the black bourgeois line of revisionism by stating in its Article VIII, Section 2, "Affiliation with or participation in the activities of any group, class, faction or party which aims or acts to destroy, weaken or overthrow the democratic Constitution of the Philippines shall be punished with immediate ouster from the Party".
Until May 1948, when the Jose Lava leadership assumed central responsibility, the Party experienced the blatant reign of Right opportunism or revisionism. During the early post-war period, the Right opportunist influence of Vicente Lava, Pedro Castro and Jorge Frianeza prevailed. The Pedro Castro leadership was denounced and replaced for Right opportunism and tailism and for advocating the development of a mass and open Party that was supposed to engage solely in bourgeois elections. But the errors of this leadership were never consistently rectified ideologically and politically all throughout the Party although drastic organizational measures were taken against those who took sides with Pedro Castro without so much as an explanation to the masses of Party members. Jorge Frianeza replaced him and was soon removed from the secretaryship and expelled for Rightism but again no thoroughgoing rectification movement was conducted to weed out the persistent roots of the errors.
Without clarifying the ideological, political and organizational grounds for a protracted people's war, the Jose Lava leadership merely took advantage of the Party's and the people's clamor that armed struggle was necessary on account of the fascist attacks against them and a number of duly-elected representatives in Congress who opposed the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment. This leadership automatically expected revolutionary triumph on the basis of external conditions.
Because of the absence of a thoroughgoing rectification movement against the previous Rightist leadership being conducted aside from organizational and administrative measures, Right opportunism could still persist as a strong undercurrent or secondary aspect of opportunism even under the "Left" opportunist leadership of Jose Lava. Soon after its assumption of office and adoption of the line of armed struggle, it actually permitted Luis Taruc to negotiate the terms of surrender and amnesty for the people's armed forces with the Quirino government. This was another instance of an opportunist line that undermined the revolutionary will of the masses more than it deceived the enemy. No genuine Marxist-Leninist party leadership would ever consider surrendering to or seeking amnesty from the enemy. To do so would be to betray the fighting masses, promote capitulationism and serve the enemy.
The Jose Lava leadership committed mainly the error of "Left" opportunism by dogmatically assuming that the class enemies of the proletariat were weakening and splitting up all the way on a straight line and that the Party could seize power within a very short period. There was a failure to recognize that in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, a protracted people's war would have to be waged with due regard to the strength of the enemy.
The Party could depend only on the people in areas covered by the Hukbalahap and the Barrio United Defense Corps during the anti-Japanese struggle. Because of previous failure to distribute cadres to important parts of the country other than Central Luzon, Manila, Rizal and Southern Tagalog and because of the Right opportunism of previous years, the Party and the people's army were not able to build up on a national scale and, therefore, were not able to unite with the people on a national scale. It would require a protracted period of time for the Party to convert into a revolutionary advantage the initial disadvantage of fighting for people's democratic power in an archipelago like the Philippines
The "Left" opportunist leadership of Jose Lava failed to understand comprehensively the requirements of a people's democratic revolution. It failed to see the necessity of solid party building, the development of armed rural bases on the basis of an agrarian revolution and the national united front. If it recognized the necessary combination and correct use of these weapons, then it could have easily taken the view that people's war is protracted and painstaking.
During this period, the notion became prevalent that the establishment of rural bases was a strange and utopian idea "because the Philippines are a small country and an archipelago having no rear adjacent to and contiguous with a big friendly country". Jose Lava as general secretary dismissed arrogantly the concept of rural bases as a grandiose idea. Little was it realized that the rural base was itself the center of gravity or great rear of guerrilla zones. The camp of the Politburo-Out in the Laguna portion of the Sierra Madre depended merely on a hidden physical base instead of a rural base where the people's support is strong by virtue of armed struggle and agrarian revolution.
A protracted revolutionary armed struggle should have been waged in combination with an agrarian revolution and the development of rural bases. The people's army should have advanced in a series of waves from stable base areas but a petty-bourgeois leadership was too much in a hurry, too impetuous to capture within so short a period the bourgeois state power centered in Manila. This petty-bourgeois leadership never realized that the Party could fight the bourgeois state by establishing the people's democratic power in the countryside. At the height of the adventurist folly, Party leaders would bid each other good-bye in public with: "See you in Malacanang!" This infantile talk reflected the adventurist desire of the Jose Lava leadership to move the people's army to the city gates within a short period of time without first developing the armed power of the masses and then advancing in a series of waves from well-consolidated rural bases.
The Central Committee plenary session which was held by the Politburo-Out under the Jesus Lava leadership in February-March of 1951 after the capture of' the Politburo-In failed to clarify fully the building and wielding of the three weapons of the Philippine revolution; namely, party building, armed struggle and the national united front. It obscured the basic errors of the Jose Lava leadership by superficial rationalization such as "carelessness" of the captured Party leaders and the tactical errors of lower cadres and commanders and the rank and file. A rectification movement would have unfolded the ideological and political basis of the failure of the Jose Lava leadership and thus removed the danger of opportunism continuing in its Right or "Left" form.
Jesus Lava's assumption of the Party leadership did not mean an immediate reversal of Jose Lava's "Left" opportunist political line. It was when the Jesus Lava leadership lost effective central command over all units of the people's army and was further burdened by the series of military difficulties exerted by the enemy and by the capitulationism and splittism of Luis Taruc and his Titoite cohorts that it swung to the Right opportunist line. Its Right opportunism became most evident in the formal adoption of parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle in 1955 and in the disbandment of armed units under its command. This Right opportunism would continuously be further borne out by the subsequent one-man flights of principal leaders of the Party from the countryside to the city. This one-man flightism resulted in the worst policy of the Jesus Lava leadership, the "single file" policy, which meant the liquidation of the collective life of the Party and the dissolution of practically all Party units and armed units, thus defeating even the Right opportunist objective of engaging mainly in parliamentary struggle.
The militant resurgence of the Communist Party of the Philippines has been on account of the emergence of new Party cadres and reactivated Party cadres who are now guided by today's highest development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought.
At the present moment, however, the black bourgeois line of the Lavas remains a pernicious influence within the Party. Afflicting the Party for an exceedingly long period, without having been profoundly criticized before this present stage of the development of our Party, this black bourgeois line cannot be defeated within a few weeks, months or years. It cannot be removed from the Party even if its direct representatives are overthrown from their positions of Party authority unless we combat the ideological and political roots of their errors. Considering the present circumstances, the dangers of Right or "Left" opportunism will always confront us. But those who hold on to the living study and application of Mao Zedong Thought and to the correct mass line of the Party wi1l always maintain and heighten their revolutionary strength and courage in order to prevai1.
It should be kept in mind, though, that the black bourgeois line of the Lavas is mainly Right opportunism and secondarily "Left" opportunism. Today, some Party members overestimate the value of legal urban-based "nationalist" mass organizations like the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism and such government measures as the Magna Carta of Labor, the Agricultural Land Reform Code and others. On the other hand, there is a minor undercurrent of infantile "Left" opportunism of excessively underestimating the value of legal mass organizations and of resorting to "Left" phrase mongering without actually engaging in thoroughgoing mass work and struggle against the exploiters of the people.
Modern revisionism has gained a small foothold in Philippine society through the Lava revisionist renegades and other Right opportunists. It is necessary to combat modern revisionism with the revolutionary theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.
Otherwise, the Communist Party of the Philippines will continue to suffer stagnation and reverses in the struggle for people's democratic power
C. Military Errors
Errors in ideology and politics always lead to errors in the armed struggle. A party that does not seriously pay attention to this relationship is bound to fail in performing its central revolutionary task of seizing political power and consolidating it.
Armed struggle is the main weapon of the Communist Party of the Philippines in carrying out the people's democratic revolution. Without a people's army under the command of the Party, the people have nothing as Comrade Mao Zedong has taught us in his theory and practice of the Chinese revolution. Being in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, our Party must integrate three necessary and inseparable components in waging a people's war in the countryside; namely, armed struggle, agrarian revolution and rural base building.
During the first 12 years of the existence of the Party, 1930 to 1942, the Party did not immediately develop these three components. In 1931, it met its first concrete experience of suppression by US imperialism and its running dogs. The reactionary state with all the weapons of coercion at its command succeeded in creating grave difficulties for the Party for so many years.
When the Party finally organized the guerrilla forces of the Hukbalahap on the basis of the popular anti-Japanese resistance, the Party leadership did not have a clear understanding of what it took to wage a people's war. When the Party and the army had their first serious setback at the hands of the Japanese fascists, the Party leadership adopted the "retreat for defense" policy. This policy involved the dissolution of the Hukbalahap "squadrons" and the formation of minuscule units composed of only three to five men at a time that the people's army needed to concentrate larger forces to deal punishing blows on isolated parts of the Japanese invasionary forces and their mercenaries. The dissolution of the Hukbalahap "squadrons" had far-reaching debilitating effects on the people's army.
The Party leadership had to abandon the "retreat for defense" policy and remuster the Huk "squadrons" in the face of persistent popular demand to annihilate the enemy. However, when US imperialism returned to reoccupy the Philippines, the Party and the Hukbahalap leadership again surrendered the military initiative to the USAFFE forces. Hukbalahap "squadrons" were too ready in welcoming and in merely assisting the US reoccupation forces when what was needed was for them to keep their forces distinct in fighting the retreating Japanese fascists. The Party leadership was too ready to abandon the military initiative to US imperialism for it was bent on returning to the city and conducting peaceful parliamentary struggle.
Even when US imperialism attacked the people and the people's army in a campaign to restore landlord power in areas that the Party and army controlled, the Party leadership ordered the disbandment of armed units of the people's army under the erroneous banner of "democratic peace" unlike in China where the vanguard Party held on to its arms and fought.
Under the Jose Lava leadership, the error of military adventurism and purely military viewpoint was perpetuated as an extreme counter-development of Right opportunism. The petty bourgeois world outlook was at the root of the "Left" subjectivist error of military adventurism. This outlook prevented the Party leadership from understanding the laws of development of a people's war in Philippine society and thus from adopting the correct strategy and tactics.
The Jose Lava leadership was marked by military impetuosity and petty-bourgeois vindictiveness manifested inside and outside of the Party. What was, however, in common between the "Left" opportunism and the Right opportunism it opposed was the petty-bourgeois illusion that the people's forces could be commanded from the city and that the city of Manila, the strongest base of the bourgeois state power, could be easily seized without building rural bases.
The selfish desire to seize power in the city in so short a time as two years without having laid down an extensive ground work among the people showed lack of understanding of protracted people's war. As "Left" opportunism emerged as the principal aspect of the Jose Lava leadership, Right opportunism persisted as a secondary aspect or as an undercurrent represented by Luis Taruc. As the power of the reactionary ruling classes was estimated to be weak because it was wracked by an internal split, the Jose Lava leadership gave orders to direct fire only against Filipino puppet troops and to strictly avoid attacks against US military personnel.
The underestimation of US military support for the local reactionaries was primarily "Left" opportunism. At the same time, there was the false belief that avoiding military engagement with US military personnel would make the fight for the Red army easier. This was Right opportunism lurking behind "Left" opportunism and was still a carryover of the counterrevolutionary rightist line during the anti-Japanese war that the United States would return to the Philippines in order to restore "democratic peace" after overcoming the Japanese fascists.
It was "Left" opportunism to hope for rapid military victory on uncertain grounds, such as the illusion that the bourgeois politicians, Laurel and Rodriguez, would lead revolts against the Quirino government from Batangas and Rizal in concert with the People's Liberation Army. And yet the element of Right opportunism is to be found in giving bourgeois politicians a decisive role in so central a question as the actual seizure of power. At this time the HMB had not yet gained enough strength to capture Manila: no more than 3,000 Red troops could be massed for the purpose, with the sure difficulties of over-straining the people's armed strength in all other places.
The predominating "Left" opportunist line of the Jose Lava leadership was evident in the issuance of military orders to the people's forces in the countryside from the city-based Secretariat or Politburo-In. Even in the countryside the Politburo-Out was distant from the main military forces and relied on camouflage rather than on developing a stable rural base on which it should have relied. There was still a great gap between the Party leadership and the masses consisting of unstable areas in Central Luzon and blatantly White areas in Southern Luzon.
While the Party headquarters in the city was distantly separated from the Politburo-Out and the latter was in turn distantly separated from the main forces of the people's army, orders were brought down making the people's armed forces leap over unstable and unreliable areas to simultaneously attack widely separated targets such as military camps, cities and provincial capitals. This kind of armed movement over-extended the strength of the people's army and further strained what had already been the over-stretched lines of communications and supplies. The raids of March 29 and August 26, 1950 conducted by the people's army in accordance with the "PB Resolutions" of January 1950 demonstrated fully the adventurist impetuosity of the Jose Lava leadership. In essence, it failed to recognize dialectically the ability of the enemy to make a counter-attack that could break the over-extended lines linking the Politburo-Out to the regional commands and so on and so forth. The enemy did counter-attack after the March and August raids by pitting 25,000 troops against the people's army of a lesser number dispersed all over Central Luzon, Manila, Rizal, Bicol and Panay.
A short while after the raids of August 26, the Party headquarters in the city was smashed systematically by the enemy in October 1950. Considering the extent of enemy success in this crackdown, the policy of rapid recruitment of Party members in the city was demonstrated to be a folly and a violation of the defensive and underground requirements of urban party work. No less than the highest organs of the Party were infiltrated by the enemy.
The failures of the military policy vis-à-vis the enemy were aggravated by the incorrect handling of Red cadres and fighters. Under the guise of "Bolshevization", the Jose Lava leadership adopted harsh methods on those who were found committing even minor errors. The death penalty was imposed on cadres and fighters even where a lighter punishment would have sufficed. In meting out punishments, the life history of erring cadres and fighters was not considered seriously and oftentimes the immediate error was isolated from the circumstances. What was mistaken for "Bolshevization" were the rules of war from bourgeois military books? This mishandling of cadres and fighters worsened as the people’s army suffered an increasing number of setbacks and a tendency towards disintegration occurred.
In its petty-bourgeois eagerness to seize power, the Jose Lava leadership instructed Party organs to put the military viewpoint in command, to make military-technical articles dominant in the HMB Bulletin and to study and adopt as a basic training guide the 90-week "Master Training Schedule"- a manual used by the US Army and the reactionary armed forces of the Philippines. These specific instances showed the utter lack of understanding of the nature of people's war.
As the armed struggle started to ebb during the latter part of 1951, the relationship between the people's army and the people was mishandled in a serious way. Distinctions were made between friendly and hostile barrios. The distinctions were made not for purposes of waging the correct propaganda campaign to win over the people from a hostile attitude to a friendly attitude but for purposes of making retaliatory and vindictive foraging attacks even against ordinary peasants some of whose work animals were confiscated to provide food for the beleaguered fighters of the people's army. It was not fully realized that aside from being a fighting force, the people's army was a propaganda and productive force.
It was as a result of the serious mistakes of the Jose Lava leadership and the effective counterattacks of the enemy that a tendency towards roving rebel bands and a degeneration of these bands became more pronounced. The absence of genuine proletarian discipline, the wanton dispersal of the people's army and the concomitant loss of effective central command led the Party from one disaster to another.
After the Jesus Lava leadership assumed command, "Left" opportunism continued in the form of roving rebel tendencies on the basis of forced dispersal of armed units. With the central command lacking in a main armed force, the dispersed armed units now subject to massive "encirclement and suppression" operations of the reactionary army committed in the name of "struggle for survival" or "economic struggle" many abuses and excesses that the enemy used to its "psy-war" advantage. Taking advantage of real abuses and excesses of the "people's army", the reactionary army systematically used reactionary troops in civilian clothes to make their own abuses and excesses and blamed them on the people's army. A deep line of sectarianism within the Party leadership of Jose and Jesus Lava was taken advantage of by the enemy.
The Jesus Lava leadership could not correct the military adventurism of the Jose Lava leadership because it did not have any comprehensive understanding of the nature and requirements of a people's war. It was completely ignorant of how to conduct a people's war at its stage of strategic defensive and tactical offensive. As before, it was completely ignorant of how to smash an enemy campaign of encirclement and suppression. Because of its failure to grasp Marxism-Leninism, it was never able to regroup the dispersed armed units of the people's army which were attacked in a massive way by the reactionary army continuously from 1951 to 1955.
In 1955, under conditions of military defeat, the Jesus Lava leadership took a Rightist line and adopted parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle. Jesus Lava became guilty of liquidationism when he actually disbanded armed units, including his own armed security, and chose to live the life of a city fugitive. The individual flights of the commander-in-chief of the people's army, Castro Alejandrino, and the general secretary of the Party, Jesus Lava, from the countryside to the city and their subsequent capture in the city proved conclusively the erroneous military line of the Party leadership.
It has only been in the area of Regional Command No. 2, particularly in the province of Pampanga and partially in Tarlac, Bataan and Nueva Ecija where remnants of the People's Liberation Army have persisted. It is not those who have slavishly followed the leadership of the Lavas who are now waging the armed struggle. Nevertheless, a thoroughgoing rectification of the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and the capitulationism of Luis Taruc must be waged particularly in this area. Roving rebel tendencies and practices must also be corrected here. What is to be generated is a genuine people's army that is under the effective command of a Marxist-Leninist party guided by Mao Zedong Thought that is a weapon for agrarian revolution and that builds up stable base areas.
It has been a disadvantage for the Party to have established its strength only in the areas of Greater Manila, Central Luzon and partially in Southern Tagalog although these areas have strategic value because it is here where bourgeois state power is most concentrated throughout the archipelago. However, new military strategy and tactics in line with Mao Zedong Thought must be adopted taking into full account the weak links of the bourgeois state power on the basis of class analysis and turning the archipelago from a short-run disadvantage into a long-run advantage for the Party and the People's Liberation Army. The development of the people's main military forces and rural bases in Luzon other than in Central Luzon should be well-considered; and the other islands of Visayas and Mindanao should be utilized to disperse and dissipate the main forces of the enemy concentrated in Luzon.
D. Organizational Errors
Organizationally, the main disability of the Communist Party of the Philippines has been its failure to build up an organization that has a broad mass character and that is national in scale. Where the Party has been built, the principle of democratic centralism has not been applied correctly in the organizational life of the Party, resulting in errors of sectarianism and liberalism, and commandism and tailism, because of subjectivism and opportunism.
Building a party of a broad mass character requires a national system of party cadres who build up a great mass following. Under the difficult conditions existing in Philippine society, it is a wise policy to build the Party carefully. Recruitment and development of cadres must always conform to the standards of a proletarian revolutionary party.
A party with a broad mass character means that party cadres have a big mass following through the adoption of the correct ideology, political line, and principles and methods of organization. The Communist Party of the Philippines can have a broad mass character only if its cadres could truly lead masses of workers and peasants in revolutionary struggle. The Party guides the revolutionary struggle of the masses and in turn the struggle produces the best and most advanced fighters of the revolution who become party members.
Closed-doorsism was a marked tendency of the Crisanto Evangelista leadership. Party work was concentrated in the trade union movement.
The Party gained strength during the anti-Japanese war only by waging revolutionary armed struggle and leading the peasant masses. In 1948, the Party regained revolutionary strength for some time until the errors of adventurism of the Jose Lava leadership undermined the revolutionary resurgence. In this instance, in was shown that the Party could gain real mass strength only to the extent that it merged with and led the peasant masses. In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country like the Philippines, the Party can gain strength only by arousing and mobilizing the peasant masses in line with the agrarian revolution as the main content of the people's democratic struggle. In the final analysis, the proletarian revolutionary party in the Philippines can have a broad mass character only if it gains the mass support of the peasantry, particularly the poor peasants and farm workers.
Until now, Party members are relatively over-concentrated in Central Luzon and in the ManilaRizal areas. Even in the previous high tides of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines, the Party did not succeed in broadcasting sufficiently on a national scale the people's democratic revolution through the systematic disposition of cadres.
In the course of his long period of being a trade union leader, Crisanto Evangelista developed a small amount of relations with other trade union leaders in the Visayas. But he himself, even as late as the later part of the thirties, had the illusion that if the Party could gain control over Central Luzon, then the whole of Luzon would easily follow; and if the Party could gain control over Luzon, then the whole archipelago would follow.
At the beginning of the anti-Japanese war, there was an attempt to send a team of cadres to the Visayas but it was called off. During the war, the Party and the Hukbalahap were built up mainly in the single region of Central Luzon. Even in the accessible region of Southern Tagalog, the Party was not able to seize leadership and initiative in the anti-Japanese war from pro-American guerrilla units. After the war, the question of sending cadres out to other islands was not immediately taken up seriously.
It was only at the height of the armed struggle under the Jose Lava leadership that Party cadres were sent out to Cagayan Valley, Bicol, Panay, Ilocos and Mindanao to build the Party and army. But these pioneering comrades were clearly not able to build the Party and army on strong foundations. They did not have sufficient time to do so because of the failure of the Party leadership to adopt a correct political line. The main policy of rapid military victory did not allow the cadres sufficient time to build the Party, the army and the united front on a more massive and nationwide scale and to develop all requisites for people's democratic power.
During the entire period of the Jesus Lava leadership, the failure to build a national organization persisted. This leadership merely presided over and hastened the destruction of old Party units as well as new ones established outside of Central Luzon. Even during the later part of the 1950s when legal mass organizations under the leadership of the Party could be established, there was no serious attempt made by the Party to build up legal mass organizations as the medium for Party expansion. It would only be after 1960 that, through the initiative mainly of new and reactivated old Party members, the Party would dare to push forward the resurgence of the revolutionary mass movement. Now the Party has started to make modest gains in building a Party that has a broad mass character and that is national in scale.
Through a national united front, the proletarian revolutionary party which is carrying out agrarian revolution, with the full support of the oppressed peasantry, can still broaden its support by allying itself with such supplementary revolutionary forces as the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie.
In the Philippines, the Party first experienced a united front policy when it opposed fascism during the days of the Popular Front. But during this period, the powerful influence of the petty bourgeoisie within the Party started to corrode the revolutionary will of the Party in a subtle way.
After the war, the Democratic Alliance was put up as a formal unified front organization. But this alliance served only to support Right opportunism and allowed some bourgeois personalities to assume the leadership. The Party practically carried the sedan chair for them for some time until they scurried away when the armed struggle became intensified.
During the Jesus Lava leadership, no genuine united front could be built because of the failure to build a strong people's army and legal mass organizations under the leadership of the Party. At the time that the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie were being agitated by Claro Mayo Recto to join the anti-imperialist movement, the Party failed to take advantage of the situation fully because of the liquidationist policy that gravely hampered and threatened the very organizational existence of the Party.
The Party failed in many instances to combine legal and illegal struggle in its organizational work. At the time that the Party was outlawed for the first time soon after its founding, there was no secret second line of leadership that could carry out Party tasks legally and illegally. At the beginning of the war, a second line of leadership replaced an incapacitated first line but the former had in the main been detached from mass work previously, having only engaged in limited political work among urban petty bourgeois elements.
As a result of erroneous political lines, grievous organizational errors were committed. Democratic centralism did not come into full play in order to arrive at the correct decisions.
The development of the black bourgeois line of the Lavas is the result of gross violations of democratic centralism. The astounding series of Lava leaderships has been the result of bourgeois maneuvers chronically causing falling-off and demoralization among Party cadres through a period of more than 30 years. Liberalism in the most vulgar forms like nepotism and favoritism was practiced in the making of assignments and appointment or election to leading positions.
Liberalism marked the merger of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Socialist Party. Members of the Socialist Party were taken wholesale into the Communist Party notwithstanding the ideological requirement of a Marxist-Leninist. The first and second lines of leadership adopted a liberal attitude to Party organization as they concentrated on urban and legal political work before the outbreak of the anti-Japanese war.
The big upsurge of 1iberalism and legalism represented by Vicente Lava, Jorge Frianeza and Pedro Castro after the anti-Japanese war had dialectical connections with an unrectified Right opportunist trend starting before the war. Jorge Frianeza advocated the complete dissolution of the people's army and a "united front" with the reactionary Roxas government; and Pedro Castro advocated the organization of a "mass party" for parliamentary struggle and the liquidation of illegal Party work. Within the Democratic Alliance, a liberal policy of allowing the predominance of bourgeois personalities occurred. It was itself an act of liberalism to allow the Democratic Alliance to play the central role in the political struggle of the masses.
Sectarianism was the principal organizational error of the Jose Lava leadership while liberalism was its secondary error. Isolated from the concrete conditions of the armed struggle in the countryside, this leadership was commandist in bringing down its orders. Among the fighting forces in the countryside, sectarian excesses occurred under the cover of the slogan of "Bolshevization". Contradictions among the people and minor infractions within the Party were considered as contradictions between the people and the enemy. Whereas a policy of persuasion and leniency was required in many cases, the harshest penalties were imposed on erring Party members and Red fighters. In the city, sectarianism was also practiced in relation to the national united front. As a result of the failure of the Democratic Alliance, the importance of a consistent united front policy towards the middle forces was immediately discounted by the Jose Lava leadership.
Although the main organizational error of the Jose Lava leadership was sectarianism, it perpetuated liberalism in appointing to high Party positions and recruiting into the Party persons who happened to be relatives, personal friends and townspeople of the Lava family, without benefit of undergoing the tests of revolutionary mass struggle. Certainly, liberalism was essentially involved in the rapid recruitment policy in the city of Manila, a policy which allowed the penetration of the Party by enemy agents. The cornerstone of this policy was personal trust. The ludicrous example of liberalism was the appointment of Taciano Rizal to a decisively important position on the narrow consideration that he bore the name of the bourgeois national hero, Jose Rizal.
The Jesus Lava leadership carried substantially for some time the sectarianism of the Jose Lava leadership. For a number of years, the Party leadership represented by Jesus Lava resorted to the sectarian method of intimidation to put Party members into line and there were many cases of cadres executed for flimsy reasons. On the basis of mere suspicion, Party members suffered the death penalty.
When Right opportunism prevailed, the Jesus Lava leadership practiced liberalism by coddling Party members whom it dissuaded from joining the revolutionary mass struggle. The main line of parliamentary struggle inevitably degenerated into liquidationism. The flight of the Party leaders from the countryside to the city resulted in the neglect of Party organizations in the countryside and in the disastrous liquidationist "single file" policy which destroyed in a big way the collective life of Party organizations, cut off lines of responsibility between higher organs and lower organs and isolated the Party from the people.
The Jesus Lava leadership became reduced to the general secretary alone, made one-man decisions, issued political transmissions from some secluded room and made appointments to high Party positions on the basis of blood and personal relations. During the late fifties, opportunities for regrouping Party and armed units in the countryside were completely disregarded and parliamentary struggle itself was not properly conducted. It would only be during the early sixties that party rebuilding and the establishment of mass organizations was effected by the Party members independent of the isolated Party leadership.
In the main, the black bourgeois line of the Lavas is organizationally the disease of liberalism, liquidationism and the consistent violation of democratic centralism. A thoroughgoing rectification movement to remove the ideological, political and organizational roots of the black bourgeois line of the Lavas must be conducted in order to rebuild the Party in accordance with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. The black bourgeois line of the Lavas can still persist if no serious efforts are taken to repudiate organizationally its ideological and political agents within the Party.
V. THREE MAIN TASKS
A. Party Building
Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement. In this era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is advancing towards worldwide victory, there can be no revolutionary movement without being guided by today's highest development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought. In rebuilding the Communist Party of the Philippines, therefore, we must apply the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought on the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution; in party rebuilding, in developing the armed struggle and in utilizing the national united front to achieve the people's democratic revolution.
What we need to rebuild in the Philippines today is a proletarian revolutionary party that is armed with Mao Zedong Thought. The Philippine revolutionary movement cannot possibly advance without moving ahead with the theory and practice of the world proletarian revolution. The proletarian revolution has been continuously advancing, passing three major stages: the first stage was led by Marx and Engels by developing the theory of scientific socialism; the second stage was led by Lenin and Stalin by developing the theory and practice of proletarian dictatorship in the era of imperialism; and the third stage is now guided by Comrade Mao Zedong. Even in the second stage, Comrade Mao Zedong was already in the vanguard of the international communist movement by outstandingly developing the theory of people's war in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country.
In this era of Mao Zedong Thought, the Communist Party of the Philippines cannot achieve its immediate goal of people's democracy and its ultimate goal of socialism without applying Mao Zedong Thought on the concrete conditions of the Philippines and without grasping the six components of today's Marxism-Leninism: philosophy, political economy, social science, people's war, party building and the proletarian cultural revolution. The Communist Party of the Philippines can be a proletarian revolutionary party only if it grasps the advances in philosophy, political economy and social science contributed by Comrade Mao Zedong and his theory and practice of people's war, party building and the great proletarian Cultural Revolution.
As a proletarian revolutionary party, the Communist Party of the Philippines comprehensively differentiates itself from bogus and revisionist parties and groups by adopting Mao Zedong Thought as its supreme guide and by applying it in revolutionary practice. The Party sets itself free from subjectivism, Right and "Left" opportunism and other manifestations of the black bourgeois line by adhering to Mao Zedong Thought in theory and in practice. Only with the guidance of Mao Zedong Thought can the Party cleanse itself of the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and all other ideological, political and organizational errors that have hampered and hindered the victorious advance of the people's democratic revolution in the Philippines.
Mao Zedong Thought draws the demarcation line between the true proletarian revolutionaries on the one side and the bourgeois pseudo-revolutionaries and revisionists on the other. In an international revolutionary movement that is beset with modern revisionism directed and led by the revisionist renegade clique in Moscow, Mao Zedong Thought stands out to illumine the whole world including the Philippines and to push to the darkest corners the treasonous modern revisionist concoctions of the three "peaceful" and two "wholes". Adhering to Mao Zedong Thought and holding firmly that the central task of a revolutionary movement is the seizure and consolidation of political power, the Communist Party of the Philippines cannot be confused by the false revisionist theory of peaceful coexistence, peaceful transition, peaceful competition, party of the whole people and state of the whole people being peddled by the Soviet revisionist ruling clique internationally and by the Lava revisionist renegades locally. Modern revisionism is the main danger today in the international communist movement and likewise in the Philippine revolutionary movement.
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in the People's Republic of China, however, has consolidated a great base area, an iron bastion, of the world proletarian revolution under the leadership of Comrade Mao Zedong and has arisen as the epoch-making weapon against modern revisionism in the whole world and against the restoration of capitalism within socialist society. The People's Republic of China serves today as a stable base area of all revolutionary peoples now surrounding the cities of the world from the world's countryside of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Mao Zedong Thought has taken deep roots among 700 million Chinese people and in the whole world through genuine Marxist-Leninist parties that uphold Mao Zedong Thought as the Marxism-Leninism of this era.
In the Philippines today, Mao Zedong Thought is guiding a rectification movement within the nucleus of the proletarian dictatorship, the Communist Party of the Philippines. A thoroughgoing rectification movement, which is a widespread movement of education in Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought, is being waged to rid the Party and its mass organizations of the failures and errors of the Lavas that are persisting ideologically, politically and organizationally. The black bourgeois line of the Lavas is in the main Right opportunism which is the bourgeois soil for modern revisionism in the Philippines. The treasonous current of modern revisionism has taken roots in the subjectivist and Right opportunist line that the Lavas have perpetuated for the last more than three decades and that the semi-colonial and semi feudal condition of Philippine society has encouraged. Under the banner of modern revisionism, the political agents of the Lavas are striving hard to cut off the armed struggle from the legal struggle by spreading slanders and lies against those engaged in developing armed struggle and against the most militant cadres of the Party.
A thoroughgoing rectification movement chiefly directed against the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and modern revisionism should be carried out through to the end among cadres, following the pattern of unity-criticism-repudiation-unity. This rectification movement is a test of the ability of the Communist Party of the Philippines to make self-criticism and to rid itself of longstanding and major errors and shortcomings that have too long undermined the Philippine revolutionary movement and deprived the people of revolutionary triumph. Without this rectification movement, party rebuilding cannot be achieved.
Ideological building with Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is the first requisite in rebuilding the Communist Party of the Philippines. The Revolutionary School of Mao Zedong Thought within the Communist Party of the Philippines is doing great service to the cause of the Philippine revolution by propagating Mao Zedong Thought and by playing a decisive role in the present rectification movement. This rectification movement has to be done, especially at a time that we need to rebuild the Party on the solid foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and the activities of the local revisionist renegades are being intensified with the aid of the Soviet revisionist ruling clique and US imperialism to spread modern revisionism, develop a city-based and city-oriented Party that is afraid of armed struggle, foster relations between the reactionary Philippine government and the revisionist renegade ruling cliques and disarm the peasants politically by relying mainly on the reactionary government's "land reform" program.
Comrade Mao Zedong has said: "A well-disciplined Party armed with the theory of Marxism-Leninism, using the method of self-criticism and linked with the masses of the people; an army under the leadership of such a Party; a united front of all revolutionary classes and all revolutionary groups under the leadership of such a Party - these are the three main weapons with which we have defeated the enemy." These are the three main weapons that the Party and all its cadres and members must strive to develop in order to achieve the present main task of seizing political power.
The Communist Party of the Philippines must be rebuilt as the highest form of organization of the leading class, the proletariat. To be such, it must be armed with Mao Zedong Thought, the acme of Marxism-Leninism in this era. By grasping the proletarian revolutionary ideology, our Party affirms its class nature in a clear-cut way; but the ultimate test lies in revolutionary practice and further revolutionary practice. It is not enough to lay down a nicely drafted program. It is necessary to sustain it with consistent and arduous mass struggle, transforming Mao Zedong Thought into a powerful material force by arousing and mobilizing the broad masses of the people to take revolutionary action. In other words, our Party as a proletarian revolutionary party must integrate theory and practice. Our cadres must go deep among the masses of workers and peasants. They must be well-distributed on a national scale in order to build up a nationwide party. The Party must concentrate on arousing and mobilizing the peasant masses, including the farm workers, as the main ally of the proletariat and as the main force of the people's democratic revolution.
The Party must implement the great strategic principle of making the countryside surround the cities and put principal stress on party work in the countryside instead of in the city, but without neglecting party work in the latter. Our cadres must conduct their political work with the style of hard work and frugality and in the creative spirit of self-reliance and must always be ready to make self-criticism in order to improve their political work constantly. They must trust and rely on the masses, arousing and mobilizing them against the exploiters.
In the countryside, the people's army should be constantly built up from among the exploited peasantry under the leadership of the proletariat and the Party. A program of agrarian revolution should be implemented in order to fulfill the main content of the people's democratic revolution. To make possible and protect the gains of the agrarian revolution, the Party should develop rural bases and direct a wide range of fighting areas, from stable base areas to guerrilla zones.
The Communist Party of the Philippines makes class analysis and distinguishes its friends from its enemies. The Party recognizes the poor peasants and farm workers as the most reliable allies of the working class. To succeed in the people's democratic revolution, an alliance of the working class and the peasantry must be developed as the basis for a national united front which includes the urban petty bourgeoisie and the patriotic sections of the national bourgeoisie as supplementary allies. At the same time, the Party is ever alert to the dual vacillating class character of the national bourgeoisie as an ally in the people's democratic revolution. The Party, in keeping and utilizing the national united front, realizes that it should maintain its class leadership, independence and initiative. Proletarian class leadership, independence and initiative are best maintained as our cadres constantly build Party and our people's army. The national united front should be lined up primarily against the class forces of counter-revolution, the US imperialists, the compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists and serve the establishment and advance of Red political power. In the concrete conditions of the Philippines today, the Party should employ armed struggle and the national united front skillfully and likewise, legal and illegal methods and secret and open work.
Imbued with proletarian internationalism, the Communist Party of the Philippines is determined to fulfill its international obligation to fight US imperialism and all its local reactionary agents, the compradors, the landlords and bureaucrat capitalists through to the end. The Party assumes it as an international obligation to combat modern revisionism and a resurgent Japanese militarism now increasingly in alliance with US imperialism to keep the Philippines in colonial bondage. The struggle of the Filipino people against these enemies of national independence, social liberation and progress is a contribution to the worldwide struggle now being waged by all oppressed nations and peoples. In Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, the Philippines have too long served as the bastion of US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. If the Filipino people are to deal powerful blows against these, then they shall have assisted other oppressed nations and peoples through common struggle. The Communist Party of the Philippines is aware that all other nations and people fighting US imperialism and its reactionary allies are reciprocally assisting the Filipino nation and people through common struggle. The Filipino proletariat is bound by the spirit of proletarian internationalism with all workers and peoples of the world.
B. Armed Struggle
It is a fundamental task of the Communist Party of the Philippines to give proletarian revolutionary leadership to the peasantry. The people's democratic revolution which our Party is waging is essentially a peasant war. The struggle for land among the vast majority of our people is the main content of the people's democratic revolution that we are trying to achieve in our semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. The liberation of the peasantry from feudal exploitation and its mobilization as the main force of the people's democratic revolution are of decisive significance to the revolutionary triumph of the proletariat as the leading class.
Since industry is not well developed in our semi-colonial and semi-feudal country, the number of industrial workers is small. The proletariat through its party must therefore develop its alliance with the peasantry and lead the peasantry as the main force of the people's democratic revolution. Because of its exploited condition, the peasantry is the most reliable ally of the proletariat. Its massive strength provides the overwhelming popular support for the proletarian revolutionary party. By giving this support, the peasantry ensures the victory of the proletarian class leadership. As a proletarian revolutionary party, the Communist Party of the Philippines must rely mainly on the peasantry to conduct armed struggle and seize power. The people's democratic revolution is basically a peasant war under the leadership of the proletariat and its party guided by Mao Zedong Thought.
In going to the countryside, the Party must make the correct class analysis and take the correct class line. In our semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, the peasant problem constitutes the main problem both politically and economically. It is therefore necessary for the Communist Party of the Philippines to conduct thoroughgoing class analysis to be able to understand the problem in the countryside so that in giving leadership to the class struggle in the countryside it will be able to distinguish between its real friends and its real class enemies; so that it can mobilize the correct class forces to train their guns against their class enemies.
The basis for class analysis is the relationship between the exploited and the exploiter and the ownership of the means of production. By knowing the relations of exploitation we determine the economic position of each class or stratum and their corresponding political attitudes. Through their ownership of the means of production, the exploiting classes maintain a system of exploitation. In the countryside, they maintain a feudal and semi-feudal system of exploitation. In waging the people's democratic revolution, the Party aims at overthrowing this system of exploitation by launching a peasant war against the feudal and semi-feudal exploiters. In the countryside, the main exploiter is the landlord class. This class relies mainly on feudal exploitation. The landlord owns lands tilled by poor peasants who pay rent to him and who are further exploited in several other ways, such as usury, menial service and tributes.
The rich peasant stratum also engages in exploitation; a considerable part of its living depends on exploitation but the rich peasant is distinguished from the landlord in that although he owns lands more than sufficient for his household, he still tills the soil. The rich peasant participates in exploitation by hiring farm workers, renting out surplus land, surplus work animals and implements, by practicing usury and other forms of exploitation. The middle peasant owns a piece of land sufficient for his family; but his status ranges from being on the edge of bankruptcy to having a piece of land a little more than sufficient for his household needs and having other sources of income. The poor peasants and farm workers are those who have to work mainly for the landlords and be exploited by them. They are the most oppressed stratum of the peasantry and they are, therefore, the most interested in the people's democratic revolution and the most reliable allies of the proletariat. They compose the majority of the rural population in the Philippines.
The correct line in the countryside can be implemented by arousing and mobilizing the poor peasants and farm workers mainly and by winning over and uniting with the middle peasants, especially the lower middle and middle peasants, into an anti-feudal revolutionary united front. The rich peasants, including those who have traditionally taken leading positions in the barrios, can be neutralized with the growing might of the poor peasants and farm workers. The Party must do painstaking work to arouse and mobilize the poor peasants and farm workers and raise their prestige so that they can assume responsibility for the revolution. The Party must see to it that a revolutionary anti-feudal barrio committee, controlled by the poor peasants and farm workers must ultimately replace or take over the "barrio councils" controlled by the landlords, corrupt government official and rich peasants.
The implementation of the class line in the countryside would depend on painstaking remolding of the attitudes of Party cadres towards the poor peasants, lower middle peasants and farm workers. The Party must educate its cadres through revolutionary practice to make them understand that once the poor peasants, lower middle peasants and farm workers have been aroused and mobilized them are the staunchest supporters of the revolution. We cannot rely mainly on the middle peasants. The social base of the revolution in the countryside is the poor peasants, lower middle peasants and farm workers. The middle peasants may accept the leadership of the Party when it suits their interest but when it will suit their interest to accept the class leadership of the bourgeoisie, they will do so. In times when reaction becomes ruthless, the middle peasants may vacillate and may even betray the movement. It is important to keep this in mind in our mass work in the countryside among the peasantry. It is not only in the national democratic revolution that we must rely mainly on the poor peasants, lower middle peasants and farm workers; after the seizure of state power by the proletariat and during the period of transition to communism, these strata will continue to be the social base for the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat.
The Communist Party of the Philippines must rely on peasant revolutionary bases to defeat the reactionary state power in the countryside before capturing the cities. Comrade Mao Zedong has extensively shown with genius in theory and in practice how the countryside can encircle the cities in the course of armed struggle in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. The universal truth of the theory of using the countryside to encircle the city has been proven invincible. There are, however, the local revisionists who reject the universal truth of this revolutionary theory and who overstress the fact that the Philippines is an archipelago, unlike China with a vast contiguous land area and population, with the view of obscuring and denying the basic class analysis and dialectics involved in the theory of using the countryside to encircle the city.
The theory of people's war is universal and applies to Philippine conditions. Because of the uneven development of politics and economy in the era of imperialism, the weak links of bourgeois state power are to be found in the countryside. The counter-revolutionary army is spread thinly over the country in maintaining control over main communication and transportation lines. This disposition of counter-revolutionary forces would leave the widest areas of the countryside for the development of the peasant war under the leadership of the proletariat. In the countryside, the Party must go deep among the peasant masses in order to develop the main force of the people's democratic revolution. The people's democratic forces should develop and accumulate their armed strength in the backward areas in the countryside and turn them into the most advanced political, economic, military and cultural bastions from which a protracted struggle can be waged by the people's army in order to win over-all victory over the counter-revolutionary army. The countryside certainly provides so many times vaster an area for maneuver than the cities. In the Philippines, the area for maneuver in the city is extremely limited for armed struggle. The cities are actually the bastions of bourgeois state power before the people's democratic forces develop the capability of capturing them. The counterrevolutionary army must first be defeated in the countryside. What also makes bourgeois state power weak in the countryside is that contradictions within the counter-revolutionary front keep on arising. By its own laws of motion, whichever group in the counter-revolutionary front is ascendant would keep a big armed force in the city to maintain its city-based political power.
In line with Mao Zedong Thought, the Communist Party of the Philippines must consciously shift its center of gravity to the countryside. All previous Party leaderships in the Philippines have suffered failures that were singularly characterized by political activity that had its center of gravity in the city of Manila. The shift from the city to the countryside means that the headquarters of the people's democratic revolution should be shifted from the city to the countryside where the main forces of the revolution are to be found. This shift does not mean the neglect of the urban struggle but it is a matter of determining which the principal is and which is secondary. The principal form of struggle is waged in the countryside; the secondary one, in the city. It is in the countryside that the people's armed forces can take the offensive against the enemy, while in the city the revolutionary forces must take the defensive until such time that the people's armed forces in the countryside can seize the city.
Developing the people's war in the country entails three inseparable components, namely, armed struggle, agrarian revolution and rural bases. By engaging in armed struggle and winning more battles, conditions are created for enlarging base areas. The base areas are utilized by the people's armed forces to entrap the enemy forces, whether they are in the form of "special forces", big operations or what else the enemy can launch. By having more base areas, there are more areas where to wage the agrarian revolution. By waging the agrarian revolution, the base areas become more consolidated because the feudal forces and their political power are wiped out. The political power of the revolutionary forces is developed as the peasants become enthusiastic and join the advancing Red army. Armed struggle, agrarian revolution and rural bases promote each other. The people's democratic power is developed in the countryside through warfare. As rural bases become consolidated politically and economically, a state within a state is created. An armed independent regime, a base government of the people is created in the countryside.
The agrarian revolution that the Party should strive for in waging people's war should entail essentially the confiscation of lands from the landlords and distribution of these lands to the peasants without cost. Feudal land ownership is to be eliminated within the base area. Pursuing the correct class line in the countryside, the Party and the people's armed forces should rely on the poor peasants and farm workers, unite with the middle peasants, neutralize the rich peasants and wipe out landlordism and promote production.
In waging the agrarian revolution, the Party and the people's armed forces should be aware of two basic stages of development. At a stage when an area is unstable, they should make constant preparations for converting it into a base area by exercising armed power in wiping out the local tyrants, enemy detachments and spies, bandits and cattle rustlers and in compelling lower rent and lower interest rates in order to weaken the enemy and mobilize the masses. As the masses are fully mobilized organizationally, politically and ideologically and a well-consolidated base area has emerged from the struggles of the masses themselves, confiscation of lands from the landlords and equal distribution of these lands to the peasants can take place.
The Party and the people's armed forces should trust and rely on the masses in raising their political consciousness. They should let the masses educate themselves. Initially, they should recognize the roots of suffering among the masses; and subsequently, through reason and struggle meetings, grievances against the exploiting classes can be poured out by the peasants to educate themselves. As the Party and the people's armed forces direct the peasant war against the three pillars of feudal power, the big landlords, the despotic landlords and the landlords in authority, the peasants gain experience in class dictatorship over the exploiting classes. Through reason and struggle meetings and through the people's courts and the rendering of sentences commensurate to the crimes of the feudal exploiters and other criminals, the peasant masses become more deeply committed to the people democratic revolution and they willingly let their best sons and daughters join the Communist Party of the Philippines and the people's army.
Comrade Mao Zedong has said: "The seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution. This Marxist-Leninist principle of revolution holds well universally for China and for all other countries. But while the principle remains the same, its application by the party of the proletariat finds expression in various ways according to varying conditions"
The central task of the Communist Party of the Philippines is to seize political power. In waging armed struggle to achieve the people's democratic revolution, the Party must grasp Comrade Mao Zedong's theory of using the countryside to encircle and capture the cities and likewise his analysis of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. In the Philippines, however, there is the special condition of being an archipelago that requires particular attention. While it is necessary to build the people's military forces in the main island of Luzon to overthrow the bourgeois state power that is centrally seated in the city of Manila, the other islands of Visayas and Mindanao can be converted from an initial disadvantage to a long-run advantage by establishing there armed fronts and rural bases that can disperse and dissipate the counter-revolutionary armed power now concentrated in Luzon, particularly in Central Luzon and Greater Manila. At any rate, taking into consideration all special conditions, Comrade Mao Zedong's theory of using the countryside to encircle the city and his class analysis hold true universally, for the Philippines and for every significant island of the Philippines. In the stage of strategic defensive, the development of guerrilla warfare on a national scale will surely dissipate and prepare the total destruction of the strength of the enemy.
Comrade Lin Piao has brilliantly systematized and extended on a world scale Comrade Mao Zedong's theory of people's war by developing the thesis that the world's countryside, that is, Asia, Africa and Latin America, encircle the cities of the world. US imperialism, the main enemy of the peoples of the world and principal guardian of reaction, is over-extended throughout the countryside of the world. It is in this countryside of the world that the oppressed peoples, like the Filipino people, can have plenty of area for maneuver and deal deadly blows on every weakened link of the over-extended imperialist chain. US imperialism is in no position to maintain even an effective strength throughout the world's countryside while it has to impose its class interests against the national liberation movements, the socialist states, the Afro-American people, the American working class, and even against its own capitalist rivals in so many parts of the world all at the same time. While the manpower and resources of US imperialism are limited, what is most essential is that its aggressive class character is hated by all peoples of the world and is met by just and progressive revolutionary people's wars. In Vietnam alone, US imperialism and its allied troops cannot win over the valiant and patriotic Vietnamese people. In many more places, it will continue to be defeated resoundingly by revolutionary armed struggles. Armed with invincible Mao Zedong Thought, the peoples of the world are waging people's wars and thus, are proving the historical truth that this is the era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching towards worldwide victory.
C. The National United Front
The national united front is a component part of the political line of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The Philippine revolution is a revolution of the toiling masses against US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The national united front must serve this political line.
The highest task of the people's democratic revolution is the seizure of state power by armed force and the consolidation of people's democratic power as the transitional stage toward socialism. The national united front must serve this central task. The Communist Party of the Philippines stands firmly wielding and utilizing both weapons of armed struggle and the national united front against the enemy. Through the national united front, the Party extends widely its political influence and gains the widest support of the masses and other progressive classes and strata as it establishes the independent strength of the leading class, the proletariat, through a national war or an agrarian revolution supported mainly by the peasantry.
For failure to clarify and use correctly the national united front as a weapon of the people's democratic revolution, previous Party leaderships have been responsible for several revisionist misconceptions regarding it. There are those who regard the national united front as the opposite of armed struggle. Violating the Marxist-Leninist theory of state and revolution, they also consider the national united front as the main weapon and parliamentary struggle as the main form of struggle. The Lavas are mainly responsible for this revisionism, this treason to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.
Before the outbreak of the anti-Japanese war, the Popular Front was considered by the Party leadership as merely the license for engaging mainly in parliamentary struggle; no preparations for anti-fascist armed struggle were seriously made. During the war, the Right opportunists ludicrously maintained the anti-fascist united front against Japan as a "united front" mainly with US imperialism and the commonwealth government so that the line of opposing the return of US imperialism and its puppet commonwealth government was obscured. After the anti-Japanese war, the Democratic Alliance, as a formal united front organization, assumed leadership over all progressive forces; and bourgeois personalities close to the Lava brothers assumed the leadership and initiative therein. The Party lost strength, initiative and independence when its leadership decided to lay down its arms and to engage mainly in parliamentary struggle through the Democratic Alliance.
Until now, there is the false notion fostered by Right opportunists and revisionists that a national united front must always have a definite organizational form like the Democratic Alliance or the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism whose unity, for the purpose of parliamentary struggle, must be preserved by all means and above all. In the broad experience of successful revolutionary movements, the national united front does not necessarily have a formal organization. Neither is its function limited to parliamentary struggle. As a matter of fact, the best form of united front is wherein the Party has an independent and strong people's army to command. If the Party is involved in any formal united front organization in the course of either armed struggle or legal struggle, it must always be prepared by having its own independent strength and initiative to meet any betrayal or compromise with the enemy that the national bourgeoisie might make due to its dual class character.
The key question in the national united front is whether a proletarian revolutionary class leadership is at the helm of all other progressive forces fighting in common against the enemy in the armed and legal fronts. Whether there is a formal united front organization or not, the Communist Party of the Philippines must maintain its revolutionary vanguard role, its independence and initiative.
The Communist Party of the Philippines must engage in the national united front in order to tap all positive forces in the armed and legal fronts against the enemy. The national united front policy is pursued in order to expand the influence of the revolutionary armed forces, isolate the enemy and its die-hard elements and recruit the broad masses of the people to the side of the people's democratic revolution.
The special task of the national united front is to win over the middle forces and elements in order to isolate enemy die-hards. To be able to do this, the Party must make clear and repeated class analysis which can distinguish the middle forces and elements from the die-hard reactionaries, the principal enemies from the secondary enemies, the enemies of today from the enemies of tomorrow; and among friends, the reliable from the unreliable.
The Party's policy of the national united front is a proletarian policy concerning classes in Philippine society. In developing the national united front, we must distinguish our enemies from our friends and vice versa.
Chairman Mao has said: "Who are our enemies? Who are our friends? This is a question of first importance for the revolution.... A revolutionary party is the guide of the masses, and no revolution ever succeeds when the revolutionary party leads them astray. To ensure that we will definitely achieve success in our revolution and will not lead the masses astray, we must pay attention to uniting with our real friends in order to attack our real enemies. To distinguish real friends from real enemies, we must make a general analysis of the economic status of the various classes in Chinese society and of their respective attitude towards the revolution."
The national united front should be based on the alliance of the working class and the peasantry under the leadership of the working class and the Communist Party of the Philippines. The national united front should include other progressive classes and strata in Philippine society which unite with the masses on the basis of a common political program. This political program, accepted in common by the working class, the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie, should correspond to the general line and program of the Communist Party of the Philippines. This political program must serve to weld together the broadest unity of progressive forces and groups to isolate US imperialism and the die-hard reactionaries, composed of the comprador bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalists.
The program of the Party and the national united front should include mainly the liquidation of feudalism and the free distribution of land to poor peasants, lower middle peasants and farm workers, and the nationalization of industries and enterprises owned and controlled by the foreign monopoly capitalists and the compradors bourgeoisie. This program can be achieved fully only with the seizure of state power through armed force by the people under the leadership of the proletariat. The state sector in the present economy and "land reform" under the reactionary state should not be confused with the real nationalization of the economy and agrarian revolution in the liberated areas or in the people's democratic state.
In adhering to the national united front, the Communist Party of the Philippines must maintain its independence, ideologically, politically and organizationally. It must unite with the progressive forces within the national united front but it should not surrender its fundamental class interests and those of the proletariat and the peasantry to the bourgeoisie. It must always conduct independent mass work, mainly among the peasants, so that it has its own political strength to rely on in any event. The national united front is essentially an instrument to win over the middle forces and elements and to isolate enemy die-hards.
It is the relationship of the Party with the national bourgeoisie within the national united front that requires special attention. This is primarily because the national bourgeoisie has a dual class character, one aspect of which is progressive and the other reactionary. In dealing with the national bourgeoisie, we must avoid two dangerous pitfalls; namely, "Left" opportunism and Right opportunism. To dismiss the national bourgeoisie as completely reactionary is "Left" opportunist and sectarian; and to regard the national bourgeoisie as completely revolutionary is to be Right opportunist and capitulationist. It is necessary at all times for the Party to adopt a revolutionary dual tactic towards the national bourgeoisie, combining unity and struggle. If the Party loses sight of the reactionary aspect of the national bourgeoisie, it would be unprepared for any betrayal of the revolution by this class. Revolutionary vigilance is required in our relations with the national bourgeoisie. If the Party loses sight of the progressive character of this class and does not recognize it as an ally within a certain period of time and to a certain limited extent, it would fail to take advantage of actual contradictions between this class on the one hand and foreign monopoly capitalism and feudalism on the other.
In order to develop the cooperation of the national bourgeoisie, the Party must have its own strength; otherwise, this class and its representatives would be reluctant to cooperate. The Party must respect the legitimate interests of all middle forces, with concessions actually granted to them without undermining the interests of the people and the leadership of the proletariat. At all times, resolute struggle must be waged against the enemies of the national united front so that trust in the Party would grow among the people and all middle forces.
In its relations with revolutionary forces throughout the world, the Party pursues the policy of the international united front. All revolutionary and progressive forces that can be united against the main enemy of the peoples of the world, US imperialism, should be united. Modern revisionism with its slogan of "united action" should be rejected as the ideology of the international scabs that are serving and seeking peace and d‚tente with US imperialism.
In the international communist movement, the biggest danger today is modern revisionism. Likewise in the Philippines the main danger is modern revisionism in the form of the Lava revisionist renegade line and all other forms of Right opportunism. The collaboration between US imperialism, modern revisionism and all forms of reaction should be continuously exposed and attacked by the international united front and the national united front.
US imperialism and all other reactionaries are paper tigers. All the nuclear weapons and all the military technology of US imperialism cannot frighten us. Although our fraternal people, the Chinese people, have the atom bomb for the defense of the revolutionary peoples, what is more important for all fighting peoples is the human factor, the surging forces of the masses under the inspiration of Mao Zedong Thought and under the leadership of the proletariat and the Communist Party. Mao Zedong Thought is their spiritual atom bomb. They are bound by the spirit of proletarian internationalism in the world proletarian revolution and in the international united front against US imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction.
Although our Party and people welcome political and material support from fraternal parties and peoples, under the spirit of proletarian internationalism and within the framework of the international united front, we must rely mainly on ourselves first of all and wage the people's democratic revolution as part of the world proletarian revolution.
Armed with invincible Mao Zedong Thought, the Communist Party of the Philippines will surely triumph and the Filipino people under the leadership of the revolutionary proletariat will achieve people's democracy first and socialism next.
Ratified by the Congress of Re-Establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines
26 December 1968