Caricaturing the local revolutionary movement
JE: The Pol Pot regime has been accused of murdering thousands of its citizens and the general ideological bases of their struggle were similar with the national democratic revolutionary movement in the Philippines. What could be the reason why the mass killings, like that of the Pol Pot Regime and the bloody purges in the revolutionary movement here, have to happen, even as the two groups were definitely different in contexts?
LJ: You must interview the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge, so they can tell you how well they fought against the enemies of the Cambodian people and how complicated was a situation in which there were as many as three armies supposedly in alliance. The NDFP does not agree with superficially and sweepingly caricaturing and making the Philippine revolutionary movement the same as any of the caricature of another revolutionary movement abroad. This would be as ridiculous as denying the progressive character of the French bourgeois democratic revolution just because of the French Terror or blaming all Christians for the millions or tens of millions of people killed in the witchhunts and inquisitions under the Roman Catholic Church, in the colonial wars of conquest and global imperialist wars done by states professing themselves as Christians.
JE: The Rectification Movement of the national democratic revolutionary movement in the Philippines was a means to learn lessons, rectify errors and deepen the ideological foundation of revolutionaries. How far has the revolutionary movement achieved its goal?
LJ: The rectification movement was mainly a campaign of education and the return to the correct revolutionary path. It has been a resounding success. It has been embraced by the masses and has led to the consolidation and expansion of the revolutionary movement. The basic documents of the rectification movement (Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors, General Review of Important Events and Decisions from 1980 to 1991, and Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism), as well as subsequent national and regional summings-up, have been the subject of deep study followed by summing-up, criticism and self-criticism, and definition of tasks.
Thanks to the rectification movement, the people and the revolutionary forces have won resounding victories in all forms of struggle, legal and illegal, non-armed and armed. The most significant of the victories are in further building the people’s army and waging the people’s war. The total number of Red fighters runs into the thousands, equivalent to several regiments or brigades. It has increased by 222% from 1980 to 2001 and by 53% from 1994 to 2001. The number of high-powered rifles also runs into thousands increasing by 197% from 1980 to 2001. The full-time Red fighters of the NPA are augmented by the militia units, acting as the local police force of the revolutionary movement and serving as the auxiliary and reserve force of the NPA.
The CPP membership has increased by 235% from 1980 to 2001 and by 129% from 1994 to 2001. It has developed the mass movement in both rural and urban areas. From the rural mass movement, the NPA has drawn its predominantly peasant Red fighters. From the urban mass movement, the NPA has attracted the workers and educated youth to serve in its ranks and the people in the countryside.
The NPA is now operating in 128 guerrilla fronts that cover 823 or more than half of the total Philippine towns and cities. These guerrilla fronts cover 8,500 barrios or almost 1/5 of the total number of barrios. Membership in mass organizations has increased by 71% from 1980 to 2001 and by 235% from 1994 to 2001. More data on the revolutionary movement’s consolidation and expansion may be found in the CPP Message on the 33rd anniversary of the New People’s Army, March 29, 2002.
JE: Is the reflected growth of the number of guerillas and fronts from 1997 to 2001 that the Philippine military estimated, an impact of the Rectification Movement or just a plain result of the deepening crisis of the status quo?
LJ: The growth of the number of NPA Red fighters and guerrilla fronts is the result of the Second Great Rectification Movement launched in 1992. The deepening crisis of the semifeudal and semicolonial system creates favorable conditions for the growth of the revolutionary movement, but the cause of the growth is the internal strength of the revolutionary movement. To appreciate well the significance of the rectification movement, one must consider the immense damage caused by the ideological, political and organizational errors. Sixty percent of the mass base had been lost by 1990. Through the rectification movement, the Party overcame major errors and shortcomings and prevented the destruction of the entire revolutionary movement. Since 1992, all sorts of anti-communists have claimed that the CPP was imploding due to the rectification movement and not due to the serious errors and crimes of the renegades. But they have been proven wrong by the outcome of the rectification movement.
JE: The NDF as a 33-year revolutionary movement, the oldest Marxist revolutionary movement in Asia, has its own system of governance and its authority operates in the guerilla fronts through a shadow government. With the greater number of the masses still under the control and dominance of the ruling system, how can the revolutionary movement make headway in making the masses comprehend the bloody purge that happened?
LJ: In nearly all places where “Kampanyang Ahos” occurred, the revolutionary movement has regained mass support because of the rectification movement. It took pains to explain to the masses what had happened, made its self-criticism, paid indemnification to the extent possible and gave certifications to the victims as comrades in good standing so as to remove the stigma of being suspected as enemy agents. The people recognize the real communists and real revolutionaries from the fake ones. By continuing to uphold and defend the people’s interests, the revolutionary movement through its concrete programs like land reform will be able to reach more and more of the masses and explain the causes of “Kampanyang Ahos” and counter the schemes of demonification by the anti-communists.
JE: Is the NDF ready to name individuals, still active in or expelled from the revolutionary movement, who were proven responsible of the bloody purge and individual crimes? And what were their respective responsibilities in the bloody purge and the punishments imposed on them?