(From Liberation International, March-April 1994)
Soon after its own reestablishment on Dec. 26, 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines organized the New People's Army (NPA) on March 29, 1969. The NPA started with 60 Red fighters armed with only nine automatic rifles and 26 inferior arms (single-shot rifles and handguns).
It had an initial mass base of some 80,000 peasants in the second district of Tarlac province, which it inherited from the old revolutionary movement. This rural mass base was immediately put into coordination with the legal democratic forces and an urban mass base of no more than 15,000 people.
The Party established the NPA under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought and along the general line of the new-democratic revolution. Under the absolute leadership of the Party, the NPA wages a protracted people's war, made possible and dictated by the chronically crisis-ridden semicolonial and semifeudal conditions of the Philippines.
As the advance detachment of the working class, the Communist Party of the Philippines is determined to carry out the new-democratic and socialist stages of the revolution. By building the New People's Army, the Party answers the central question of the revolution, which is that of seizing political power, and builds in the most effective manner the basic alliance of the working class and the peasantry.
To advance the people's war, the Party wields and coordinates the revolutionary armed struggle, the urban-based legal democratic movement and the revolutionary united front encompassing the local organs of political power, the National Democratic Front and various legal alliances. The revolutionary armed struggle is the main form of struggle for seizing political power and is waged according to the strategic line of encircling the cities from the countryside and accumulating strength until it becomes possible to wage nationwide offensives and seize the cities.
The national united front musters the basic exploited classes of workers and peasants, wins over the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie and takes advantage of the splits among the big comprador and landlord reactionaries in order to isolate and defeat the worst reactionaries and their imperialist masters at every given time.
Within the framework of the new-democratic revolution against foreign monopoly capitalism and the local reactionaries, the Party and the NPA pursue the antifeudal line in order to fulfill land reform as the main content of the democratic revolution. They rely mainly on the poor and middle peasants and farm workers, win over the middle peasants, neutralize the rich peasants, take advantage of the split between the enlightened and evil gentry in order to isolate and destroy the power of the latter.
The New People's Army has won great victories under the leadership of the Party by carrying out extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare, carrying out land reform and building the mass base. These three factors are integral. When one factor is absent or done excessively at the expense of others, there are adverse consequences to the people's war as a whole.
However, armed revolution has its twists and turns. There are tremendous odds arising from the ruling system, especially its propensity for terrorism under the sponsorship of U.S. imperialism, as well as from subjectivist errors of "Left" and Right opportunism that violate the proletarian revolutionary line.
The victories of the New People's Army would have been greater had it not been for certain major errors long unrectified in the period of 1980-91. These included such "Left" opportunist errors as premature "regularization", urban insurrectionism and military adventurism and such Right opportunist errors as reformism and parliamentarism that reduced the number of cadres going to the countryside.
A comprehensive and thoroughgoing rectification movement has been carried out since 1992. It has won resounding success. The major errors and shortcomings have been rectified and overcome. This has raised the fighting will and capabilities of all revolutionary forces and the people against the enemy.
Through years of successful revolutionary armed struggle, the NPA has become a mighty force. It is battle-tested and has a wealth of revolutionary experience. It grew strong and was tempered in the crucible of struggle against the long fascist rule of the U.S.-Marcos regime and against the subsequent pseudo-democratic rule of the U.S.-Aquino regime. It continues to frustrate the U.S.-supported Ramos regime and win victories in the battlefield. The NPA has thousands offull-time guerrilla fighters with automatic rifles, excluding the more numerous forces of local guerrillas, militia and self-defense units with inferior weapons. They operate in guerrilla fronts which cover 25 percent of the villages (more than 10,000 out of 40,000 villages) or substantial portions of more than 60 of the 73 provinces.
The rural mass base runs into millions administered by local organs of political power and includes peasants, workers, women, youth, cultural activists and children. The local organs of political power are committees of people's government, assisted by various types of working committees in charge of mass organizations, education, health, land reform, production, finance, defense, cultural activities, arbitration and other functions.
The NPA had exceedingly small and modest beginnings and has reached its current level of development self-reliantly. Its victories are due to the inexhaustible participation and support of the people who cherish their own revolutionary army and fight for their own national and social liberation.
The heroic fighters of the New People's Army fear neither hardship nor death in fighting for the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people against foreign monopoly capitalism and the local exploiting classes. They are ever confident of winning greater victories. Moreover, they are conscious of performing an internationalist duty and contributing to the common revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and people of the world for their liberation from imperialism and for the realization of socialism and communism.