Friday, May 20, 2005

Lecture ni Joma Sison


(Lecture in Amsterdam to Filipino Catholic priests and
seminarians in The Netherlands and Belgium)

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairman, International Network for Philippine Studies
7 May 2005

Dear friends,

The subject given to me for discussion today is quite
general and large. We need to reduce the scope to
something more manageable. I propose that we take up
the three ideologies that are historically most
influential in the Philippines or have demonstrably
most affected the Filipino people. These are
Christianity, bourgeois liberalism and Marxism.

I use the term ideology, to mean the study of ideas or
a system of ideas. For the purpose of our study, I
shall make some differentiation of the aforesaid three
ideologies at the highest level, i.e. philosophical
level, by referring at least to their respective basic
weltanschauung (world view).

We shall not go deep into philosophical questions,
like ontology, epistemology, or even ethics as such
from any viewpoint. But we shall discuss how each of
these three ideologies has taken some material,
institutional or social force in the Philippines and
how significantly it has influenced and affected the
Filipino people.

We may discuss briefly how the ideologies are
irreconcilable at the philosophical or theological
level and likewise how they are open to dialogue and
cooperation. We can discuss how these ideologies have
materialized in the Philippines and have resulted in
friendly or unfriendly relations among their
adherents. The ultimate purpose of the study is to
prove that dialogue and cooperation among adherents of
different ideologies are possible and desirable,
especially at the social level for the common benefit
of the people.


Some Christians say that there is a Christian
philosophy in several respects but other Christians
may say rigorously that Christianity is essentially
not an ideology or philosophy but a set of religious
beliefs that the best of philosophy cannot totally
explain. For instance, how can human reason explain
completely the Trinitarian mystery of three persons in
one God? At any rate, I think that all Christians
hold the view that Christian theology is the rational
study of God and related religious questions.

St. Augustine said that it is alright for Christians
to avail of philosophy so long as belief in the
existence of the Supreme Being is affirmed a priori.
Thus, he made use of Platonic philosophy (as
interpreted by Plotinus) in order to assert the
existence of God prior to all creation and shed light
on other fundamental doctrines of the church. Later
in the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas made use of
Aristotle to deal more elaborately with the relations
of the divine and the mundane in his theological work.

From the point of view of Marxists, it is idealism of
the objective type to believe in any supernatural
being existing objectively and independently of and
prior to material reality. Christian believers
consider material reality as God’s creation. At any
rate, they stand for the combination of faith and good
works as they follow the first great commandment ”to
love God above all” and the second great commandment
“to love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Christianity came to the Philippines with Spanish
colonialism in the 16th century. The early Christian
fathers acted in the service of the church and the
Spanish crown. They served as the chaplains of the
expeditionary forces and as missionaries to
Christianize the natives and persuade them to accept
Spanish colonial rule. In a manner of speaking, it
was true that the sword and cross combined to
subjugate the people.

The colonialists used divide-and-rule tactics. They
recruited native troops from one part of the country
to quell the rebellious natives elsewhere. But they
also made use of the friars to persuade the natives to
submit to the colonial authority. They made use of
the catechism, the mass and the confessional box to
great effect. They followed the line of reasoning
that it was better to colonize and Christianize the
natives than to let them be as pagans or as Muslims.

Spanish colonialism could last for so long in the
archipelago because of the network of friars in
parishes and convents. These provided a widespread
base for the development of the central administration
in Manila and the galleon trade between Manila and
Mexico. The Spanish religious orders gained authority
and wealth. A theocracy veritably came to exist.

Within the first century of Spanish colonial rule, the
Spanish friars successfully pushed the formal
abolition of slavery and the encomienda system. But
the feudal system of land ownership by the religious
orders and native landlords had already expanded.
Serfdom took the place of the pre-colonial system of
small scale patriarchal slavery. Corvee labor was
required for public works.

The religious orders engaged in works of charity. They
used these as the reason and the base for playing a
major role in the galleon trade. They made money on
the cargo space allocated to them. When agricultural
production for export and foreign trade flourished in
the 19th century, the religious orders arbitrarily
expanded their landed estates and exacted higher rent
from the tenants. Thus, the people became outraged.

Before the middle of the 19th century, most of the
indios and mestizos that reached the university level
studied for the priesthood. But upon the growth of
foreign trade, local production and domestic commerce,
more students could reach the university to study not
only for the priesthood but also for such other
professions as law and medicine.

The increase of secular priests among the indios and
mestizos eventually led to the secularization movement
led by Fathers Burgos, Gomez and Zamora who demanded
that the religious orders turn over the parishes to
the secular priests. These three priests were
garroted in 1872 after having been convicted of the
false accusation of masterminding the Cavite mutiny.
Their martyrdom ignited an unprecedented wave of
national sentiment against the injustice. The moral
authority of the colonial authorities, lay and
clerical, came into question in the minds of the

In the 1880s well-to-do families sent their children
to study in Europe for several reasons, like getting a
better kind of higher education and avoiding the
repressiveness of the state and friar-controlled
university. The students who went to Spain started
the propaganda movement for reforms within the
colonial framework. Although they were reformists,
they served as the conveyor of bourgeois liberal ideas
from Europe to the Philippines.

In the 1890s the revolutionary current surged in the
Philippines. The armed revolution led by the
Katipunan of Andres Bonifacio broke out in 1896. It
called for separation from Spain. It was inspired by
the bourgeois liberal ideas of the French revolution.
It stood for national independence, republicanism,
separation of church and state, public educational
system and the promotion of industry, agriculture and

The Catholic Church hierarchy and the religious orders
served Spanish colonialism to the end. But the
Filipino secular priests in general were either
supportive of or sympathetic to the revolution. Father
Gregorio Aglipay joined the Filipino revolutionaries
and became the vicar general of the revolution after
Bishop Nozaleda sent him as emissary to them.

In both phases of the Philippine bourgeois-democratic
revolution, first against Spanish colonialism and then
against American imperialism, Filipino priests
actively participated by rallying the people to the
revolutionary cause and by being the most effective
collectors of resources for the revolutionary
government and army. After the Malolos constitution
was promulgated in 1899, Apolinario Mabini had to
propose to the cabinet the suspension of the provision
on the separation of church and state for fear that
the logistics of the revolutionary movement would be

After Spain surrendered Intramuros (the walled city of
Manila) to the US in 1898, they made the Treaty of
Paris under which the US purchased the Philippines
from Spain for 20 million US dollars and Spanish
corporations and citizens, including the Spanish
religious orders, retained their property rights in
the Philippines. This was the big compromise between
the outgoing and incoming colonial powers.

In the course of the Philippine revolution, the
Filipino secular priests came in control of the
parishes and the convents abandoned by the friars.
After the revolution, the religious orders would
recover from their losses by concentrating on their
convents and schools and by taking missionaries from
the US and Ireland to suit the circumstances of the US
colonial rule. The Society of Jesus was quickest at
taking in a mix of Spanish, American and Irish
Jesuits. The Augustinians and Dominicans were slower
in recomposing their religious personnel.

The US colonial administration expropriated large
tracts of land from the religious orders for
redistribution at a price to the tenants. The
religious orders sent a part of their cash income to
their Rome headquarters and used another part to
invest in big comprador operations run by the rich
Spanish families, Roxas, Ayala and Soriano. Thus, the
church became a major part of the comprador big
bourgeoisie ruling the semifeudal society. To this
day the Bank of the Philippine Islands is a major
factor of big comprador collaboration between the
church and the old Spanish super-rich.

As the US colonial government established the public
school system and encouraged Protestant missions to
enter the Philippines, the Catholic Church and the
religious orders (including new ones from the US)
developed their own educational system at various
levels. They used both the churches and the schools
to retain their role as the dominant church in the
Philippines. Through the Catholic schools, they
combined in the curricula religious instruction with
the subjects of bourgeois liberal education and

In the social encyclicals since Rerum Novarum, the
Popes present the Church as above Marxism and
liberalism or above socialism and capitalism and as
being in favor of some idealized medieval guild
system. But in Catholic schools in the Philippines,
there is in fact a partiality to capitalism and
bourgeois liberal ideas, especially in courses in
business, accounting, law, economics, political
science and other social sciences. The Church
believes that the encyclicals would help the members
of the exploiting classes to have a social conscience
and to cope with the social discontent and mass
movements of the working people.

In the second half of the 1930s, the Commonwealth
government president Quezon raised the slogan of
social justice and offered cooperation to progressive
organizations in order to deal with the social
discontent and the threat of fascism. Fascist-minded
Spanish Dominican friars openly provoked President
Quezon when they had the school band play a Spanish
fascist march when he visited his Letran alma mater.
A fascist-minded American Jesuit also used the
Chesterton Guild to make radio broadcasts of
anti-Bolshevik propaganda.

During my years in high school at the Ateneo de Manila
in the 1950s, the Jesuits there were quite rabid in
pushing Cold War propaganda and were proud of the
Jesuit-educated Senator Joseph McCarthy of witchhunt
notoriety. They called then Senator Claro Mayo Recto a
“crazy communist”. Jesuit-trained anti-communists
like Manuel Manahan and Raul Manglapus were the
rah-rah boys of the CIA handpicked President

I was deeply pleased when Fr. Hilario Lim rebelled
against the Jesuit Order and, together with other
priests belonging to other religious orders, advocated
the Filipinization of the Catholic religious orders. I
helped him to speak in the University of the
Philippines and other universities. I was very glad
to do so because I saw the colleges and universities
run by the foreign-controlled religious orders as the
hotbeds of the most reactionary ideas, intolerant of
patriotic and progressive ideas.

The influence of Catholic thinking extended into the
supposedly nonsectarian and liberal University of the
Philippines, when I was a student and then a young
teacher. The Catholic militants among the faculty and
students tended to overreach. At one time, I
denounced the authorities in my department for
overloading a course on great ideas with the writings
of such Catholic thinkers as Cardinal Newman, G. K.
Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, the neo-Thomists Jacques
Maritain and Etienne Gilson, and totally ignoring
those of Marx and Engels.

Cardinal Santos and other bishops endorsed the martial
law proclamation of Marcos in 1972 and called for
giving the latter a chance to undertake “reforms”. But
I had high hopes that the pro-imperialist and
reactionary big comprador-landlord character of the
institutional church could be counteracted from
within. The Christians for National Liberation (CNL)
was then budding forth.

I expected that the CNL could take more courage and
strength by availing of the tradition of the
revolutionary clergy in the old democratic revolution
and the progressive provisions in the social
encyclicals of Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul II. The
CNL became a major organization in the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines in 1973. By 1974
the progressive clergy was ready to openly support the
La Tondeña strike and subsequent strikes and to press
Cardinal Sin and other bishops to speak up against the
human rights violations being perpetrated by the
Marcos fascist regime.

The patriotic and progressive clergy and church people
did splendid work in participating in the struggle to
expose, oppose, isolate, weaken and overthrow the
Marcos fascist dictatorship. They demonstrated that
their faith in God is in harmony with their
determination and passion to serve the people. After
all, the teaching of the church requires that faith
and good works must go together.


What Marxists may describe as the philosophy of
subjectivist idealism, using the perception or
cognition of the individual as the starting point,
reached the Philippines mainly in the form of the
political philosophy of bourgeois liberalism. This was
imbibed by the propagandists of the 1880s and adopted
definitively by Andres Bonifacio and other
revolutionary leaders in the 1890s through their
reading of books about the Enlightenment and the
French revolution and liberal constitutions from
abroad in order to confront the colonial and feudal
situation in the Philippines.

This bourgeois liberalism is more in the tradition of
French rational philosophy bannered by Descartes
(cogito, ergo sum) than British empiricism. The
Cartesian deduction is that God created the world and
left it like a clock to function by itself. Whether
it is that of John Locke or David Hume, British
empiricism is preoccupied with the question of
appearance and reality and the aspect of perception in
human consciousness. The Lockean type of empiricism
presumes a material substratum, while that of the Hume
type presumes reality as nothing but the complex of
sense data.

At any rate, bourgeois liberalism as it has come to
the Philippines upholds the Declaration of Rights of
Man, the principles of liberty, equality and
fraternity, science and democracy, freedom of thought
and belief, enlightenment and education. Our Filipino
revolutionary forefathers drew the ideas of bourgeois
liberalism from their original sources in continental
Europe. If we look for earlier conveyors of bourgeois
ideology other than the reformist propagandists of the
1880s, we can look at the records of the freemasons in
the 19th century.

In connection with the French revolution, exponents of
bourgeois liberalism divided into two, the Jacobins
who were determined to end the ancien regime by armed
revolution and the Girondists who wanted to peacefully
morph the monarchy into a constitutional one. A
similar dichotomy occurred in the Philippines, with
Jose Rizal seeking to establish the reformist La Liga
de los Compromisarios and Andres Bonifacio the
revolutionary Katipunan.

Revolutionary ideology may come from abroad because
the revolutionary movement developed there ahead and
won power earlier. But it is not only a matter of
subjective borrowing from abroad. The ideas must first
of all be applicable to the general level of social
development and motivate the local revolutionary class
and the people to wage revolution. In struggling
against the colonial and feudal situation, the nascent
bourgeoisie adopted bourgeois liberalism as the
guiding ideology rather than Marxism, which then was
also available.

It was fine enough that the Filipino people and
revolutionary forces pioneered the bourgeois
democratic type of revolution in colonial Asia. The
Philippine revolution won resoundingly against Spanish
colonialism. The revolutionary leaders and government
produced political writings and adopted and
implemented policies, which reflected the Filipino
people’s conditions, needs, demands and aspirations
for national independence, democracy, social justice
and all-round social progress.

But US imperialism intervened and launched a war of
aggression against the Philippine republic. To
succeed, it used not only superior military power and
tremendous economic resources but also ideological and
political deception. To justify the aggression, it
claimed to bring Christianity and democracy to the
Filipino people. It proclaimed a policy of benevolent
assimilation. It was monopoly capitalism on the
rampage but used the Jeffersonian slogans of liberal
democracy to deceive and co-opt the bourgeois
leadership of the revolution.

Bourgeois liberalism bifurcated in the Philippines.
One was the progressive kind still held onto by those
who sought to pursue the revolutionary struggle for
national independence. The other was the
pro-imperialist kind that became increasingly dominant
as the official signboard of the US colonial regime.
The false claim to liberalism by the imperialist power
had some semblance of truth because it had the leeway
to carry out certain changes that appeared to make the
Philippines freer and more progressive than under the
decrepit colonial and feudal system under Spain.

The US colonial regime established the public school
system. It expanded the system of transport and
communications. It carried out some amount of land
reform, which at first was impressive. It allowed the
peasants free movement either to have homesteads in
frontier areas or become farm workers in the expanding
export-oriented plantations. It opened the mines.
Its corporations established some manufacturing
enterprises. The US was indeed a modern imperialist
power that could make direct investments and impose
loans on the Philippines for the purpose of bringing
about a semifeudal economy and drawing superprofits
from it.

Even after its proclamation of the defeat of the
Philippine revolution, the US prohibited the public
display of the Philippine flag and suppressed other
manifestations of Filipino patriotism. At the same,
because the popular demand for immediate, absolute and
complete independence could not be silenced, the US
kept on promising the grant of national independence
on the precondition that the Filipino leaders and
people submitted themselves to the new colonial power
and fulfilled their training in “democracy”.

American teachers came in large numbers to teach in
public schools at various levels. The University of
the Philippines was proclaimed as a nonsectarian
liberal institution of higher learning. In the
Philippine Normal School and the regional teacher
training schools John Dewey’s books were used as
textbooks. His utilitarian brand of pragmatist
philosophy was thus propagated. It asserts that only
through experimentation and practical results can the
truth or meaning of a proposition be proven.

The US colonial regime developed the public school
system to assure itself of personnel for the expanding
bureaucracy and the professions. It also pushed the
pensionado system, which involved the sending of
Filipino bureaucrats and academics to the US for
further education in various professions. Thus, in
education, government, politics, professions and other
spheres, Filipinos with a pro-US colonial mentality
ultimately outnumbered those who held allegiance
either to the previous colonial and clerical
authorities or to the Philippine revolution.

By 1946 when it granted nominal independence to the
Philippines and turned it into a semicolony, the US
was confident that it had adequately trained puppets
to replicate themselves in the political, economic and
cultural fields. A bourgeois liberal constitution had
been made since 1935 in the name of a commonwealth
government, in preparation for the neocolonial
republic. The economy was securely semifeudal, under
US hegemony and run by the big compradors and
landlords. Politics and the bureaucracy up to the
national level could be turned over to the politicians
of the big compradors and landlords.

The educational system and mass media spread the
ideas, information and entertainment that jibe with
the US-controlled semicolonial and semifeudal system.
The US uses scholarships and travel grants under US
official agencies (e.g. Fulbright, Smith-Mundt, US
State Department, AID, etc.) and US private
philanthropic foundations (e.g. Ford, Rockefeller,
etc.,) in order to influence and control the thinking
of the politicians, mass media personnel, academics,
cultural workers, the intelligentsia in general and
the masses. US commercial films and pop music have a
strong impact on the minds of the people.

The “free marketplace of goods and ideas” is the most
repeated liberal slogan used by the defenders of the
status quo to describe the system. The glorification
of the market is founded on bourgeois liberal
philosophy and is sustained by the view of Adam Smith
that the social good is attained through the invisible
hand of self-interest in the market. The semicolonial
political system controlled by foreign monopoly
capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat
capitalism is called a “liberal democracy”. The
semifeudal economic system is variably called “free
enterprise”, “market economy” and the like.

The US and the Filipino puppets play semantical games
to deceive the people. From one puppet regime to
another, they describe as land reform what amounts to
an offer of commercial sale of land at a prohibitive
price for the landless poor. They describe as
industrialization the establishment of reassembly and
repackaging plants to serve domestic consumption as in
the 1950s or the export market in current times.

They scoff at the proposal of national
industrialization on the basis of local resources as
“backward integration” and putting up raw-material
mills and sweatshops for low-value added
semimanufacturing for export as “forward integration”.
Since the neoliberal shift of economic policy stress
to “free market’ globalization, the puppet regimes
have played up the myth of the “free market” to
obscure the need for development through national
industrialization and land reform.

In the final analysis, the semicolonial and semifeudal
system is a system of violence. This includes the
daily violence of exploitation in factories, farms and
service lines and the conspicuous brutal force for
assaulting striking workers and protesting people and
for suppressing the people’s revolutionary movement.
The imperialists and reactionaries justify such
violence in various clever ways.

Since the launch of the Cold War after World War II,
they have used the spectre of communism as supposedly
destructive of freedom in order to justify the
anticommunist hysteria and witchhunts and the violent
suppression of the patriotic and progressive mass
movements. Despite the successful bloody suppression
of the people’s revolutionary movement in the early
1950s, the US imperialists and reactionaries proceeded
to enact the Anti-Subversion Law of 1957 for the
purpose of conducting an anticommunist witchhunt.
According to its main proponent, Rep. Joaquin Roces,
the real main drafters of the law behind the scenes
were an American Jesuit priest teaching at the Ateneo
de Manila and the political secretary of the US

As earlier pointed out, a socioeconomic, political and
legal compromise or alliance exists between the forces
of imperialism and reaction and the institutional
This partnership provides the widest base for the most
effective kind of anticommunist propaganda. In
philosophical and theological terms, a close kinship
exists between the church and the secular oppressors
and exploiters. Of course, the relationship of the
ideas and their history need to be examined if we hope
for a change of situation or direction for the better.

The anti-communist propaganda of the Cold War and the
Anti-Subversion Law prepared the climate for the
emergence of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the
persistence of the most reactionary policies against
the working people in the post Marcos regimes. Once
more in a big way the US-instigated “permanent war on
terror” emboldens pro-US bourgeois governments the
world over to adopt the open rule of terror under the
pretext of antiterrorism and drives the US to unleash
preemptive strikes and wars of aggression.

Before, during and after the Cold War, the US
imperialists and their puppets have used all forms of
anticommunist propaganda, ranging from the crudest
military psywar and political rabblerousing to the
most sophisticated intellectual and philosophical
anticommunist lines of thinking in universities,
seminaries and the like. I have mentioned some basic
positions and variants in bourgeois subjectivist
philosophy. It is not necessary to try mentioning all
of them here. They are too many. They are churned
out daily by the university presses that publish
doctoral dissertations. It is in the nature and
method of subjectivist philosophy to be one-sided,
fragmentary, self-indulgent, narrow-minded, too
shortsighted sometimes and too farsighted at other

Certain bourgeois philosophical trends have influenced
academics and professionals in the Philippines. They
do not spread right away to the mass media and to the
masses. But they serve to reinforce the more secular
kind of bourgeois subjectivism such as liberalism.
They include logical positivism, existentialism,
phenomenology, art for art’s sake in aesthetics,
behaviorism, behavioralism, structuralism, post
structuralism, postmodernism and relativism. So much
philosophizing has been done in the service of the
Cold War and modern revisionism by those who present
themselves as Marxists, neo-Marxists or quasi-Marxists
but who are actually anti-Marxists.

We can discuss any of the major or minor bourgeois
subjectivist philosophies if you can raise the point
or question pertinent to our topic today. None of
these subjectivist philosophical trends has more
influence and effectiveness in Philippine society than
the political philosophy of liberalism.


As a system of ideas established by Marx and Engels,
Marxism has three basic components: the philosophy of
dialectical materialism, political economy as critique
of the capitalist system and social science revolving
around the concepts of class struggle and the class
dictatorship of the proletariat. Each component is
supposed to have come from the best sources at the
time of Marx and Engels.

To develop dialectical materialism, Marx and Engels
studied German philosophy, particularly the works of
Hegel and Feuerbach. Hegelian dialectics was the best
of idealist philosophy as it sought to explicate
development, even if through the thought process of
thesis-antithesis-synthesis, which is to be realized
subsequently in history. The problem with this
concept of the self-development of thought was that it
does not originate from material reality and it ends
with a “final perfection” in the form of the
“transcendental state”.

With the help of the materialist ideas of Feuerbach,
Marx turned Hegel upside down to establish the
philosophy of dialectical and historical materialism,
which recognizes matter as the starting point and
which explains development through the contradictions
within matter as well as contradictions between matter
and consciousness. Engels tried to explain the laws
of contradiction in terms of the natural sciences.
Marx thoroughly applied the law of contradiction
(materialist dialectics) in his works.

To develop Marxist political economy, Marx studied
British political economy, particularly Adam Smith and
David Ricardo who recognized labor as the source of
value. The labor theory of value is not original with
Marx. What is original with him is the penetrating
study of the commodity as the basic cell of the
capitalist economy and the definition of the theory of
surplus value. The surplus value is the unpaid labor
from which the industrial capitalist gets his profit
and pays interest to the bank and rent to the

To develop the Marxist social science, Marx and Engels
studied French social science (particularly the
democratic-minded historians and writers) from which
they drew the concept of the class struggle. They
developed this further to the level of the concept of
the class dictatorship of the proletariat. They
asserted that the class dictatorship of the
bourgeoisie (the bourgeois state) must first be
overthrown in order to establish the class
dictatorship of the proletariat (the socialist state).

According to a labor historian, the acclaimed founder
of the Philippine trade union movement Isabelo de los
Reyes came back to the Philippines at the beginning of
the 20th century from his imprisonment in Barcelona,
bringing with him the works of Marx and the
anarcho-syndicalists. At that time, Marxism was
already the dominant trend in the European trade union
movement. But it would take some decades before
Marxism came to be adopted by a definite Philippine
organization as the ideological guide to action.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was first
established by Crisanto Evangelista and other working
class leaders in 1930. It categorically adopted
Marxism as the revolutionary guide to action. It was
inspired by the Bolshevik revolution and the Third
International. At the same time, it was well founded
on the circumstances of the Filipino people and
achievements of the Philippine working class movement.
It directed the proletariat and the people to fight
for their rights and interests.

Like the early Christians persecuted by imperial Rome,
the Filipino communists were persecuted by the
colonial regime of US imperialism. A few months
after the founding of the CPP, the colonial
authorities disrupted a peaceful mass rally of the
workers and urban poor. Then, they falsely accused
the CPP leaders of sedition and had them arrested,
imprisoned and convicted for sedition. They banned the
CPP until President Quezon of the Commonwealth
government agreed, for the sake of promoting his call
for social justice and supporting the international
popular front against fascism, to release the CPP
leaders and allowed the CPP to operate legally in

Even when it was banned, the CPP did everything it
could to develop the mass movement of the workers and
peasants. It continued to do so after regaining
legality in 1937 and going into a merger in 1938 with
the Socialist Party headed by Pedro Abad Santos.
When they occupied Manila in 1942, the Japanese
fascists arrested and murdered Evangelista and Abad
Santos, respectively chairman and general secretary of
the merger party of the CPP and SPP.

The people’s army led by the merger party was
patriotic and independent of the other guerrilla
forces who had sworn allegiance to the US within the
USAFFE framework and who were ordered by MacArthur to
wait for the return of US military forces. It fought
the Japanese occupation fiercely. It carried out land
reform. It established democratic organs of political
power up to the provincial level in Central Luzon.

But upon US reconquest of the Philippines, the US
puppet troops viciously attacked the revolutionary
forces and people, despite the declared policy of the
merger party to welcome the return of the Commonwealth
government and participate in the new republic to be
established. The US imperialists were hell-bent on
retaining and expanding economic, political, military
and cultural control over the Philippines under the
cover of the nominal grant of independence.

The merger party launched what it called an all-out
armed struggle to win power in two year’s time. The
US-propped puppet government broke the backbone of the
armed revolutionary movement in the first two years of
the 1950s. In 1957 it enacted the Anti-Subversion Law
in order to destroy every trace of Marxist ideology,
politics and organization by penalizing any vestige,
substitute, extension or successor of the CPP. But
conditions in the Philippines continued to deteriorate
at the expense of the working people and broad masses
due to the oppression and exploitation perpetrated by
foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and
bureaucrat capitalism.

The patriotic and progressive mass movement, generated
by the forces of the workers, peasants, youth, women,
professionals, religious and others, became resurgent
in the 1960s. In 1968 the Communist Party of the
Philippines was reestablished under the guidance of
Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and on the basis
of opposing modern revisionism, rectifying errors in
the history of the merger party and setting forth the
tasks for waging revolution.

The reestablished CPP is of the view that it has
benefited from the three basic components of Marxism
and from the contributions of Lenin, Stalin and Mao to
develop them. It has learned from the lessons of
carrying out socialist revolution and socialism under
Lenin, Stalin and Mao as well as from the negative
lessons of revisionist betrayal. It considers as
matters of the utmost importance Mao’s penetrating
analysis of the law of contradiction, epistemology and
social practice and his theory of continuing
revolution under proletarian class dictatorship to
consolidate socialism, combat revisionism and prevent
the restoration of capitalism. .

However, in terms of the class analysis of Philippine
history and current circumstances, the reestablished
CPP considers as an advance on its predecessor CPP and
the merger party of the CPP and SPP its explication
of the semicolonial and semifeudal conditions, the
need of a new type of national democratic revolution
led by the proletariat, the friends of the revolution
such as the toiling masses and the middle social
strata, the enemies such as the exploiting classes of
big compradors and landlords, the basic tasks of
struggling for national liberation and democracy and
the socialist perspective.

The CPP has been able to strengthen itself
ideologically, politically and organizationally
despite tremendous odds. It has succeeded in building
its own nationwide organization among the toiling
masses, the people’s army, the democratic organs of
political power, the mass organizations and various
types of alliances. It has prevailed over a 14-year
fascist dictatorship that aimed to destroy it as well
as over succeeding regimes. It has prevailed over the
ideological, political and military attacks unleashed
by all these puppet regimes under US direction.

Sometime ago, the imperialists, their puppets and
other camp followers have claimed that the history of
humankind has reached its end in capitalism and
liberal democracy and cannot go any further towards
socialism. They have obscured the work of the modern
revisionists in undermining and destroying socialism
for decades and exaggerated the role of Reagan and the
Pope in this regard.

They have gone so far as to claim that the success of
neocolonialism in undermining and negating the
national independence of the backward countries has
rendered futile the struggle for national independence
against imperialism, its neoliberal pretence of “free
market globalization” and its neoconservative drive
for wars of aggression in a bid to impose a Pax
Americana on the people of the world in the entire
21st century.

Let me say with scientific certitude and revolutionary
optimism that so long as the people are oppressed and
exploited they will resist and fight for a new and
better world.
They will fight for national liberation, democracy and
socialism. Indeed, as oppression and exploitation are
now worsening, the people’s resistance is steadily
spreading and intensifying throughout the world.


In this concluding part of my presentation, let me
discuss how Marxism, Christianity and liberalism can
be related to each other in certain terms. To
facilitate my discussion, let me proceed from the
viewpoint of Marxism. I think that you expect that
from me.

Marxists recognize that Christianity, liberalism and
Marxism have appeared on the high road of civilization
in that historical sequence in the world and in the
Philippines. Each of these is supposed to offer
something radically new and progressive relative to
something old and reactionary in a certain period of

Christianity asserts the dignity of the human person,
freedom of conscience and love of and service to
others. These are principles that made Christianity
radically new and progressive relative to those of the
period of slavery. But Christendom and its theocratic
presumptions became suffocating relative to the
advance of science and the Enlightenment, the rising
aspirations of the bourgeoisie and the common people
who began to demand a new society, the separation of
church and state and a comprehensive definition of
rights, including the freedom of thought and belief.

In Philippine history, Christianity has had its
positive and negative manifestations. Marxists
acclaim the secularization movement and the Gomburza
martyrdom, the partisanship of the Filipino secular
priests to the Philippine revolution, the Christians
for National Liberation, the outstanding resistance of
the priests, nuns and church people against the Marcos
fascist dictatorship and their continuing
participation in the struggle for national liberation
and democracy. These are in contrast to the long
colonial history of the Catholic Church and its
continuing institutional service and attachment to the
secular powers of the semicolonial and semifeudal

Marxism appreciates the progressive role of the
bourgeoisie against feudalism in world history. It
honors the revolutionary bourgeois liberalism that
guided the old democratic revolution. It continues to
consider as a basic force of the revolution the urban
petty bourgeoisie, which advocates a patriotic and
progressive kind of liberalism. However, it upholds
the leading role of the proletariat in the new
democratic revolution. It condemns the pro-imperialist
and reactionary kind of liberalism. It criticizes and
repudiates bourgeois rule and the bourgeois concept of

In bourgeois liberalism, the democratic rights and
freedoms are attributed to the individual in the
abstract. The difference between exploited and
exploiting classes is glossed over. The difference
between the ownership of the means of production and
the ownership of the means of subsistence is obscured
by the generalized right to own property as means to
pursue happiness. The difference between oppressor
countries, as colonialists and imperialists, and the
oppressed peoples and nations, is not at all taken
into account in the bourgeois bill of rights.

What Marxism requires is that aside from guarantees
for the rights of the individuals and groups there
must be guarantees for the rights of the exploited
class of individuals against the class of exploiters.
Further there must be guarantees for the rights of the
entire people or nation against imperialism,
neocolonialism and colonialism. Marxists
Fight for a new state and new constitution that
guarantees freedom from oppression by a class, state
and foreign oppressors.

It is already well proven in history that Christians,
liberals and Marxists can live together, dialogue and
cooperate with others for the common good of the
people. They can enjoy in common the freedom of
thought and belief. They can coexist without giving
up their distinctive philosophies and beliefs. In the
course of the new democratic revolution, the CPP has
been leading the process of building various
revolutionary forces (people’s army, organs of
political power, mass organizations, alliances etc.)
in which Marxists, Christians, liberals and people of
other persuasions live in harmony and cooperate each
other. They can stand on the same common social ground
and negotiate and agree on social, economic, political
and cultural guiding principles and policies that are
beneficial to all.

In recent times, they were able to unite against the
Marcos fascist dictatorship, oppose its grave human
rights violations and overthrow it in 1986. Once more
they were able to unite against the corrupt Estrada
regime and removed it from power in 2001. Right now,
they are considering how to oust the Arroyo regime.
They can agree on the most resolute and militant
course of action for the good of the entire people.
They can go as far as overthrow the current unjust
ruling system and replace it with a patriotic and
democratic government.

It is possible, desirable and necessary for Marxists,
Christians and liberal to dialogue, cooperate and work
together in the struggle for national liberation,
democracy, social justice and all-round development.
Those who do not comprehend or who lag behind in
comprehending this proposition can be persuaded
through patient reasoning. There are other methods
than information, education and well-reasoned
persuasion for raising the level of common
understanding and cooperation.

But of course there are rabid anti-communists,
pro-imperialists and die-hard reactionaries. If their
position is a matter of conviction or opinion, they
have the right to hold on to it and there is no other
way to deal with them but through debate or dialogue.
It is an entirely different matter if they wield and
use state power to suppress the Marxists and other
people. The problem of armed counterrevolution is
different from counterrevolutionary thinking and has
to be dealt with differently.

But even when there is already a clash of arms, peace
negotiations are possible. Thus, the National
Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has agreed
to undertake peace negotiations with the Government of
the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The
substantive agenda includes respect for human rights
and international humanitarian law, social and
economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms
and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

If the pro-imperialists and die-hard reactionaries
succeed in scuttling the peace negotiations, it only
means that they want to settle the civil war through
the application of the so-called purely military
solution. They are carried away by the Bush line of
permanent “war on terror”. The revolutionary forces
and people have to prepare against the worst in order
to be able to hope for the best.