As surely as the Communist Party of the Philippines is being regenerated, reoriented and re-established under the supreme guidance of Mao Tsetung Thought, the acme of Marxism-Leninism in the present era, the people’s liberation army which the Party commands as its principal instrument in the Philippine revolution is likewise being regenerated, reoriented and re-established under the supreme guidance of Marxism- Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought.
In the same way that the Party is undertaking a rectification movement in the spirit of “learning from past mistakes to avoid future ones” and of “curing the sickness to save the patient,” so does the people’s army in order to regenerate itself correctly, cast away degenerates and take in new blood so as to carry out more firmly and vigorously the tasks of the people’s democratic revolution against U.S. imperialism domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The New People’s Army is definitely emergent after twenty-seven years of hard struggle and sacrifices in the people’s democratic interests by those who have persisted in revolutionary armed struggle. This army can take pride in its splendid achievements and in the glorious martyrdom of its heroic martyrs. It can also learn bitter lessons from the failure of previous leaderships to win the revolution or to preserve a single base area during the last more than two decades. It is now arduously striving to intensify the armed struggle in a number of guerrilla songs and girding for the realization of agrarian revolution as the condition for establishing a base area and an armed independent regime.
The universal truth of Mao Tsetung Thought is now being consciously and thoroughly integrated with the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. After an extended process of rectification and self-criticism lasting for a number of years reflected by the historic document of rectification, “Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party,” the Communist Party of the Philippines ratified in its Congress of Re-establishment on December 26, 1968, a new Constitution and a new Programme for a People’s Democratic Revolution in order to give new guidance, the guidance of Mao Tsetung Thought, to the people’s army and to the conduct of our revolutionary armed struggle.
The Party Constitution and Programme make it clear that the road of armed revolution is the only road for the Filipino people to take in order to liberate themselves from the exploitative and oppressive rule of U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. This basic stand of our Party recognizes the great role of the people’s army in the Philippine revolution. Since armed struggle is the main form of struggle, the people’s army is the main form of organization in the people’s democratic revolution.
As Comrade Mao Tsetung has long pointed out, “Without a people’s army, the people have nothing.” The Communist Party of the Philippines or the Filipino working class can neither lead the revolution nor fight for the people’s interest without the people’s army. Neither can a true united front be formed without armed struggle and the people’s army welding together the workers and the peasants. The people and the Party can have political power only by taking up arms, only by having a genuine people’s army as the mainstay of all efforts to overthrow the reactionaries and consolidate revolutionary power. As Comrade Mao Tsetung has said, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”
Today, March 29, 1969, on the occasion of the twenty-seventh anniversary of the founding of the people’s army, we have the best and happiest reasons for celebration. In line with the rectification, re-establishment and reinvigoration of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the powerful inspiration of the invincible Mao Tsetung Thought, we the overwhelming majority of Red commanders and fighters are convened to formalize the adoption of the proletarian revolutionary line of the Party and Mao Tsetung Thought, announce the creation of the New People’s Army and approve the draft of the Basic Rules for submission to the Party Central Committee, proclaim our irrevocable repudiation of and triumph over the bourgeois headquarters in the army which is lorded over by the Taruc-Sumulong renegade clique and express our resolute determination to combat and remove all vestiges of modern revisionism and Right opportunism, particularly the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and Tarucs which have besmirched the integrity and prestige of the Party and the army and have hindered for so long the advance of the people’s democratic revolution against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
Today, we speak of the New People’s Army because it is under the unified command of Mao Tsetung Thought and the Communist Party of the Philippines, because it truly serves the fundamental interests of the people by being the principal instrument in the agrarian revolution that we are to launch to mobilize the masses of peasants and farm workers and also in the united front against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, and because it has a style of being closely linked with the masses of the people by helping them in every possible way.
Our army is new in two senses. It is new in the sense that it is fundamentally different from the reactionary puppet Armed Forces of the Philippines (and all its supplementary forces) that wages armed suppression of the people and defends the exploiting classes. It is also new in the sense that it has repudiated the black bourgeois line that has persisted in the people’s army from the period of the Hukbalahap to that of the Taruc-Sumulong clique and sabotaged the revolutionary armed struggle for quite a long time.
That the New People’s Army is resplendently new is beyond all doubt inasmuch as it has emerged as the fruit of inner-Party struggle, the concrete result of the triumph of Mao Tsetung Thought and the overthrow of the bourgeois headquarters in the Party and army. Following the Marxist-Leninist leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army has arisen as the fresh formation of Red commanders and fighters who have rejected the bourgeois headquarters of “Commander” Sumulong and who have upheld Mao Tsetung Thought against the pernicious black bourgeois line of the Lavas and Tarucs.
Within the Party, we the Red commanders and fighters following the lead of the proletarian revolutionary cadres and inspired by Mao Tsetung Thought have set ourselves free from the two main sources of modern revisionism and Right opportunism in the Party and army.
One main source is the city-based Lava revisionist clique which engages mainly in legalist and parliamentary struggle and whose principal leaders are in the payroll of the bourgeois reactionary government. This clique conceives of the national united front as something detached from the armed struggle. It is sponsoring a reformist peasant organization that limits its activities to arbitration within the narrow channels of the bourgeois reactionary government and systematically sabotages the revolutionary work of the people’s army and harbors surrenderees, swindlers, cattle rustlers and other bad elements.
The other source of modern revisionism and Right opportunism is lorded over by the Pedro Taruc-Sumulong clique that usurps the name of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the people’s liberation army to advance selfish counter-revolutionary bourgeois and feudal ends that are essentially no different from those of the Lava revisionist clique.
In dealing with the present situation in the army, we have to deal at length with the Taruc-Sumulong clique which has since 1964 formally usurped the leadership over all those units of the people’s liberation army that had heroically persisted in armed struggle against the enemy. Though we, the overwhelming majority of Red commanders and fighters, have already overthrown this revisionist renegade clique in the countryside, we must expose clearly its anti-Party and counter-revolutionary crimes so as to make them serve as negative examples and to show to all comrades and to the people that the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army are capable of rectifying errors and rebuilding themselves as genuine instruments of the people’s democratic revolution against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The Taruc-Sumulong clique has deliberately encouraged the persistence of the ideology and activities of roving rebel bands for selfish counter-revolutionary bourgeois and feudal ends. Though it has usurped the name of the Party and army and even usurped high titles therein through a system of false appointments, it has outrightly taken the counter-revolutionary standpoint on many problems and issues of basic importance and has done so in open violation of the basic norms of a Marxist-Leninist party and people’s army. Like the heirs and advocates of the Lava revisionist line, the Taruc-Sumulong clique has never found it necessary during the period 1964-1969 to put forward a new party programme and constitution and other kinds of guide to replace the outmoded ones put out during the 1946-1951 period and also those put out arbitrarily by Jesus Lava until his surrender. There has never been any attempt on the part of the heirs of the Lavas and Tarucs to study the universal truth of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought and apply it on the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. On the other hand, they have consistently violated it.
Despite its presumptions of leadership, the Taruc-Sumulong clique has willfully failed to give the correct revolutionary direction to the armed struggle. It has completely shunned the principle of agrarian revolution and has never made any significant step to advance towards it. Instead, this clique has merely made use of the armed units of the people’s liberation army to compel mediation between the landlords and the peasants. Mediation has been used mainly to favor the landlords who get what they want by making financial or grain contributions to the “revolutionary” fund. In this manner, the Taruc-Sumulong clique has criminally tried to cut off the Red army from the peasant masses. This clique has promoted the outlook of the roving rebel band by its criminal refusal to base the growth and development of the people’s army on the peasant struggle for land and on the mobilization of the masses.
This clique has systematically made use of the units of the people’s army to apply coercion more on the peasant masses than on landlords whose friendship it would rather cultivate. It uses the flimsy reasoning that the landlords are needed in a “united front” solely against U.S. imperialism. But, when confronted with the specific case of poor peasants being ejected by the U.S. imperialists and their running dogs as in Concepcion, Tarlac to make way for the gigantic radio installation of the Voice of America, this clique ordered the people’s army and the peasant masses to desist from fighting the ejection. In many instances, the Taruc-Sumulong clique has acted to discourage mass protest actions and labor strikes against the U.S. military bases on the counterrevolutionary ground that Angeles City would lose plenty of business if the US imperialist were denounced and antagonized.
Shamelessly, this clique has on a big scale dictated the use of some units of the Red army as security guards for the landlords’ field and granaries again on the flimsy excuse of “actually helping out the peasants to cheat the landlords.” This is a completely wrong orientation in the revolution because the peasants do not have to limit themselves merely to “cheating” the landlords. The overriding goal of the Party and the army is to arouse and mobilize the peasants into a revolutionary mass force capable of destroying the pillars of feudalism.
The peasants still voluntarily give support to the people’s army. This is because we the majority of Red commanders and fighters have always tried to do our best beyond the bureaucratic control of the Taruc-Sumulong clique in helping the peasant masses. We the majority of Red commanders and fighters have always maintained the closest links with the peasant masses by constantly siding with them against the landlords, the armed agents and troops of the bourgeois reactionary government and such bad elements as cattle rustlers, swindlers and bandits. In many areas we have succeeded in reducing land rent and interest rates beyond the promises of the bourgeois Agricultural Land Reform Code. We have used our weapons to reduce the bullying and abuses of the landlord class and the bourgeois reactionary government by wiping out their big representatives and running dogs in many areas where as a result the people now live in conditions better than elsewhere. We have also managed to help the peasants in their daily work and life.
But, whenever the Taruc-Sumulong clique is approached by landlords regarding agrarian disputes with peasants, the interests of the latter are sold out and, thereby, the good work of the people’s army is sabotaged. Thus, peasants in particular areas become resentful over the fact that they have to give contributions to an army whose leadership takes the side of the landlords. Also in this manner are the reactionaries and counter-revolutionary reformists given the chance to malign the people’s army and to prepare the betrayal and murder of Red fighters in the field, especially in those areas where we are trying to expand for the first time.
In labor and student strikes in Central Luzon, the Taruc-Sumulong clique has not only stood aside while the exploiting classes and their armed agents, the Philippine Constabulary and the local police, wreak their vengeance on the strikers but it has also used its armed units to coerce the strikers and their organizations into submitting to the wishes of the exploiters. This has been done in exchange for a paltry sum of money.
Class capitulation, class collaboration and class betrayal have been carried to the extremest point by the Taruc-Sumulong clique in several ways. Politically, it has kowtowed to the biggest representatives of the exploiting classes-such as Marcos, Nepomuceno and Cojuangco. Its ringleaders have made themselves “compadres” of these reactionary politicians and made agreements of “ceasefire” and “political support” with them. This folly of embracing the enemy, of collaborating with reactionary politicians resulted in the exposure and murder of so many comrades after the elections of 1965. This class betrayal is nothing but a political reflection of the counter-revolutionary bourgeois and feudal character of the Taruc-Sumulong clique. In that regard, this clique has been blatantly spreading the philosophy of survival among the Red fighters. It has recently ordered the stopping of campaigns launched by revolutionary commanders to wipe out enemy detachments and agents in their field commands. To please the big reactionary politicians this clique has even ordered, for monetary reasons the surrender of a comrade to the reactionary government. Fortunately, this counter-revolutionary order to surrender a comrade has been frustrated.
The obvious reason for the counter-revolutionary revisionist policy of “peaceful coexistence” is that the enemy has promised to tolerate the landholdings, the investments in Angeles City and elsewhere and also the gang-style collections of the Taruc-Sumulong clique from businessmen, landlords and the peasant masses, all of which are under the one-man control and disposition of “Commander” Sumulong in the name of the Party and army. This unprincipled compromise has always been falsely justified in terms of economism. Yet the financial resources and property accumulated by this clique have been privately appropriated by the clique-masters in the most rapacious manner and have been kept away mainly from the Party and army.
The Taruc-Sumulong clique has deliberately restricted the growth of the people’s army and also smothered Party life therein so as to maintain its selfish capitalist and feudal rule. There is no democratic centralism; there is only the “centralism” of one big shot, “Commander” Sumulong. Abusing his private rule of centralism without democracy, “Commander” Sumulong has criminally made one-man decisions involving the execution of “erring” comrades and other people, the disposition of huge amounts of funds and the like. Without due process and on the flimsiest grounds that usually have something to do with finance collection or some business enterprise, he has judged many comrades as deserving of the death penalty and mass murders have actually been committed on his orders. The Taruc-Sumulong clique has been directly responsible more for the killing of comrades and other people in connection with some shady business enterprise than in connection with the revolutionary armed struggle against the enemy. Following the old sectarian style of the Jose and Jesus Lava leaderships, cases of “finance opportunism” involving the smallest amounts have been concocted to discredit and justify the mass execution of comrades who dare criticize or oppose the Taruc-Sumulong clique.
Since there is absolutely no democracy practiced by the Taruc-Sumulong clique, since there is no committee system, no system of political commissars, no report system and no accounting of funds, the clique-masters have been in a position to make arbitrary decisions, abuse the mechanical discipline of some comrades and armed units and to commit finance opportunism on a grand scale as scandalously manifested by their luxurious and corrupt living, by their having several wives and spending Party funds in such a manner, by their lavish parties for their reactionary friends and “compadres” and also by having close relatives gain private titles over some sizeable property that properly belong to the Party and the people.
Consistently importing the style of the vagabond and the lumpen proletariat into the Party and army and assuming a fascist gangster or petty-warlord attitude, “Commander” Sumulong appoints goons and police characters to high positions in his staff, mixes them with dedicated comrades, personally administers beatings to them alike and orders their execution whenever they fail to satisfy his financial demands. “Commander” Sumulong has also made use of the name of the Party and army in practicing usury among comrades and among the people at the average rate of 50 per cent a month, in forcing the sale of properties to him at the price he dictates and in extorting money and grain from the masses. He has actually manipulated units of the people’s army to conduct his evil business practices in the style of a protection gang. This man who has assumed the functions of commander-in-chief and national finance officer of the people’s army is one of the blackest scoundrels that has ever infiltrated into the Party and army. Pedro Taruc has to assume full responsibility as the principal accomplice of Sumulong.
Because of its selfish counter-revolutionary interests, the Taruc-Sumulong clique is afraid to see the building of a Marxist-Leninist Party within the people’s liberation army. It is afraid of democracy and the use of criticism and self-criticism. It is afraid of seeing Party cadres and Red fighters raise their quality and the Party and army expand under the guidance of Mao Tsetung Thought. It is afraid of being exposed, criticized and repudiated. Thus, it would rather operate as a crime syndicate. It is now clear beyond doubt why the Taruc-Sumulong clique has consistently practiced sectarianism and closed-doorism. It wishes mainly to prevent the expansion of the Party and army and the emergence of revolutionary mass organizations in order to keep out the good and keep in the bad and maintain its counterrevolutionary renegade command and its system of privately appropriating wealth. This clique wishes to lord over the Party and army in Central Luzon as if it were its “independent kingdom.” It does this at a time that the urgent need is to rebuild the Party and army as the intimate and conscientious servants of the people on a nationwide scale.
The black bourgeois line carried out by the Pedro Taruc-Sumulong clique in Central Luzon has its historical roots. It has the same root cause as the counter-revolutionary revisionism and Right opportunism of the Lava clique. It is merely a branch of the long line of Right opportunism that has run through the history of the Party and that has retarded the growth of the Party and army and prejudiced the consistent advance of the revolution. It is directly related to the Right opportunist line of the Lavas’s within the Communist Party of the Philippines for the last thirty-four years. It is immediately related to that black bourgeois line carried forward by Jesus Lava who, when already isolated from the masses of the people, the masses of Party members and masses of Red fighters, and already preparing to surrender himself to the enemy after failing to get the help of fraternal parties for him to escape from the country, made one-man decisions and appointments that benefited his close relatives and also his accomplice in counterrevolution, Pedro Taruc, who in turn appointed his close relative, “Commander” Sumulong as the commander-in-chief and national finance officer of the people’s liberation army.
Just before he surrendered himself to Macapagal through the Social Security System medical officer, Jesus Lava gave himself the title of Party chairman and appointed a number of secretaries to form the Party secretariat. Independent of the other secretaries all of whom were in Manila, Pedro Taruc made his own one-man decisions and appointments, among which was the sanctioning of “Commander” Sumulong as military and finance chieftain of the Taruc-Sumulong clique. Sumulong was appointed to his position despite the fact that the Party’s case against him in 1963 for malversation and rape had never been properly litigated.
It is possible to make an exposure and rectification of errors in the Party and in the people’s liberation army because we, the majority of the Party members and Red fighters, have remained steadfastly true to the Party and to the Philippine revolution. The Party and the army have persisted under the most difficult conditions because among the masses of Party members and Red fighters the majority have remained faithful to the interests of the toiling masses and have consistently taken the mass line. The Taruc-Sumulong clique which has usurped Party and army leadership in Central Luzon has long acted as a hindrance to the advance of the revolution and as a heavy burden on the masses of the people. Its crimes have been utilized by the enemy to discredit the Party and the people’s army. This clique has perpetrated the most grievous crimes inside and outside the Party and army. It is best, therefore, that the Party and army should wage a rectification movement, ideological, political and organizational, in order to cleanse the Party and army and make them ever stronger servants of the masses.
Comrades who are passive to or who refuse the call for rectification will only endanger themselves because if the evil practices of the Taruc-Sumulong clique are not repudiated now, then the reactionaries can use them to isolate the Party and army from the people. The Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army cannot carry out the tasks of the revolution without engaging in criticism and self-criticism, without engaging in a rectification movement and clarifying their revolutionary tasks, without arousing the people to feel free to say what they think and what they expect to be done. Certainly not all the particular crimes of the Taruc-Sumulong clique can be included in this document. Only the full play of a rectification campaign among Party members and Red fighters can unfold them most amply and clear the way for the proletarian revolutionary line of Mao Tsetung Thought.
However, to be most profound and to be of the greatest benefit to the Party and to the New People’s Army, the rectification movement should encompass not only the wrongs committed by the Taruc-Sumulong clique but also the whole history of the Communist Party of the Philippines. With such a scope of criticism, comrades will fully understand why the phenomenon of a Taruc-Sumulong clique has come to pass and why, for instance, many of those who entered the Party and army at various stages have become passive, afraid and reluctant to carry out the tasks of the revolution or have turned the other way only to strike back at the Party and army as counterrevolutionaries. To understand the present as something that develops into the future, with the true proletarian revolutionaries advancing and the degenerate capitalist- readers being thrown into the dustbin of history, we must know the past that has brought about certain wrongs and weaknesses and also that has brought about what is good and strong about us today.
An understanding of the whole history of the Party is necessary, especially because most of the Party members and Red fighters who are now actively working for the success of the Philippine revolution are literally a new generation. It is most important that we take advantage of the lessons of the past and of the positive and negative experiences of old comrades who compose a minority within the Party and army at the moment.
Hereunder we outline briefly the major stages in the development of the Party and army, with special interest in the latter and with special emphasis on the causes of failure. For an ample view of Party history, it is indispensable for comrades to adopt this document together with the more extensive document, “Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party,” issued previously by the Party.
For twelve long years after its formal establishment on November 7, 1930, the Communist Party of the Philippines failed to create a people’s army to combat the U.S. colonial regime and later the puppet comprador-landlord government of Quezon and its U.S. imperialist masters. Without a people’s army, the Party was defenseless. A few months after its public founding, repressive measures were taken by the U.S. imperialists and the puppet officials against the Party. In 1932, the Party and all the mass organizations associated with it were formally declared illegal by the reactionary government and all principal Party leaders were sentenced, imprisoned and banished to various parts of the country. Even as the Party had been declared completely illegal, the Party leadership still failed to recognize the importance of Party and army building among the peasants in the countryside. Throughout the decade of the thirties, widespread agitation for independence and land reform was conducted more vigorously by other organizations.
In 1937, the Party was again allowed to operate legally in line with the anti-fascist Popular Front and in 1938, a merger of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the Socialist Party was made under the influence of the Right opportunist leadership of Earl Browder in the Communist Party of the U.S.A. The Party leadership continued to concentrate on legal work in the city and no armed preparations were undertaken in the countryside against the impending Japanese invasion. Only campaigns for the voluntary boycott of Japanese goods were made mainly by the trade union movement under the leadership of the CPP chairman Crisanto Evangelista. The cadres of the Socialist Party continued to engage in purely legal and reformist agitation. At this time, Party members of petty-bourgeois orientation who stood out in advocating civil liberties and whose chief representative was Dr. Vicente Lava started to gain principal influence in the Party.
The people’s army in the form of the Hukbalahap was established under the leadership of the Party on March 29, 1942 in Central Luzon. Since then, confirming what Comrade Mao Tsetung has said that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, the Party and the people gained a certain amount of power and prestige in Central Luzon that they had never held before. Within one year of waging guerrilla warfare, the people’s army grew from a small force to a big one. Its strength grew rapidly as the peasants rallied around it under such favorable conditions as the evacuation of the U.S. imperialists and the commonwealth government from the Philippines, the disintegration of landlord power in the countryside and the clear need among the people to take up arms against the Japanese fascists.
But after the Japanese raid on the Mt. Arayat base of the people’s army in the early part of March 1943, the Party leadership of the Right opportunist Vicente Lava was overcome with pessimism and adopted the wrong policy of “retreat for defense” which was a passive military line involving the dissolution of armed units and prevention of tactical offensive against the enemy. The Lava leadership also entertained serious doubts about the working class being able to lead under conditions that the trade union movement in the city was in chaos. It did not recognize that the Communist Party of the Philippines as the most advanced detachment of the working class was already in the countryside to lead the peasant masses.
The “retreat for defense” policy was rectified only sometime in September 1944 when the U.S. military forces and their puppet forces were already starting to make their own offensive. Because of this Right opportunist policy, which covered more than half of the three-year Japanese occupation, the Red army lost the opportunity of building up more massive fighting forces and of expanding as fast as it should have even beyond Central Luzon. On a national scale, the Party and army failed to seize the leadership in the anti-fascist armed struggle. The plan to send out cadres to other parts of the archipelago to develop armed struggle had been called off even as early as 1942. Thus, the development of armed struggle under the leadership of the Party became limited to Central Luzon and to a small part of Southern Tagalog. Furthermore, the Party leadership failed to use agrarian revolution as the basis for its strength in areas securely held by the people’s army. It also glaringly failed to expose U.S. imperialism as an enemy. It utterly failed to implement the policy of the Communist International of using the anti-fascist struggle as an occasion to establish a people’s democratic government.
As the U.S imperialist and puppet forces were advancing, the Party leadership still mainly influenced by the Right opportunism of Vicente Lava and Luis Taruc relied on the word of U.S. agents who contacted them that they could participate in the parliamentary life and economic reconstruction of the country. The Party leadership passed on to more outright Right opportunists like Pedro Castro and Jorge Frianeza who advocated an open and legal mass party in the style of bourgeois parties and who carried out further the line of separating the gun from the Red fighters. The Party leadership failed to recognize that U.S. imperialists and the landlords were systematically disorganizing the people’s army to strengthen armed counter-revolution and reimpose their control over the entire countryside and over the whole country.
Atrocious crimes were committed by the U.S. imperialist and their puppets against the Hukbalahap and the masses. Entire “squadrons” of the Hukbalahap were massacred or, as in the of case Banal Regiment, were bought off with U.S. backpay. Hukbalahap leaders were soon arrested and assassinated or imprisoned by the U.S. imperialists and their puppets. Despite these evil deeds of the enemy, the Right opportunists set up the Huk Veterans" League and the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid to supplant the Hukbalahap and the Barrio United Defense Corps (BUDC).
True to its Right opportunist line, the Party leadership shifted its headquarters from the countryside to the city, launched the Democratic Alliance which was dominated by bourgeois personalities and engaged in the bourgeois electoral game only to discover when it was too late that the U.S. imperialists, the comprador bourgeoisie, the landlords and bureaucrat capitalists would violate their own parliamentary rules to get what they wanted, such as the Bell Trade Act, Parity Amendment and other imperialist and landlord measures. During the period of the “democratic peace”, line the reactionaries were able to re-install themselves in positions of power all over the country while unhesitantly using their guns to suppress the people as in the regions of Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.
As a result of the ouster of the Party-supported members of Congress from their parliamentary seats, the murder of revolutionary leaders, Red fighters and common people, and the just clamor of the people for resuming armed struggle, the Right opportunist leadership in the Party was overthrown and the Party decided to launch armed struggle in 1948. But as no sufficient rectification movement was waged aside from organizational repudiation of the Right opportunists, the Jose Lava leadership that tried to resume the armed struggle was not able to formulate correctly the ideological, political and organizational basis for a protracted people’s war. Even as the Party was already bent on waging armed struggle, the Right opportunist Luis Taruc, who was commander-in-chief of the people’s liberation army, was allowed to negotiate the surrender and disarming of the people’s army in the same year of 1948.
Taking a dogmatic and sectarian attitude as clearly manifested by its PB Resolutions of 1950, the Jose Lava leadership adopted the impetuous petty-bourgeois line of quick military victory within two years which underestimated the enemy and overestimated the revolutionary forces. It was a complete violation of Mao Tsetung’s strategic principle of a protracted people’s war. It was merely a subjective conclusion reached by relying heavily on such external possibilities as a third world war, the absolute breakdown of the U.S. economy and the violent split among the local political factions in the country which were foretold to occur within two years. The putschist line of military victory in two years overstrained the limited revolutionary forces, made them leap over unstable areas instead of advancing wave upon wave, and impelled the imposition of bourgeois rules of war and sectarian punishments on the overstrained cadres, fighters and masses. The more Party and army leadership waved the black flag of commandism, the more the Party and army became isolated from the masses on whom sectarian abuses were committed. Those sectarian abuses were repeated in a big way by reactionary soldiers in civilian disguise and were blamed on the Party and army, thus isolating the Party and army further from the masses.
The “Left” opportunist leadership of Jose Lava (PB-In and Secretariat) was isolated in the city from which it dictated its adventurist orders. It had a sub-command under Jesus Lava (the so-called PB-Out) which was likewise isolated in a physical base not a political base in the Sierra Madre fastnesses of Laguna, far away from the main military forces in the plains of Central Luzon. After the March and August 1950 raids conducted by the people’s army, the Jose Lava leadership was quickly smashed by only a few enemy counter-attacks such as the total capture of the central Party headquarters in the city, the massive encirclement of the Sierra Madre, the slicing-off of over extended supply and communication lines, large-scale enemy imitation of the roguish sectarian activities of a big number of Red army units and heavy enemy infiltration of the Party headquarters because of a liberal policy of recruitment in the city. The Jose Lava leadership was criminally responsible for the almost total obliteration of the people’s army within the short period of two years and for the most wanton sacrifice of the lives of Party cadres and Red fighters in the entire history of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
After the enemy had smashed the Jose Lava leadership, Jesus Lava assumed the Party leadership and together with Casto Alejandrino as commander-in-chief, continued the “Left” opportunist and sectarian line of his brother. Adducing the failure of the Jose Lava leadership to mere negligence and tactical errors of some comrades and to mere accidence, Jesus Lava carried further the line of his brother and failed to launch a much-needed rectification movement. Revealing its utter ignorance of the theory of people’s war, the Jesus Lava leadership asserted that the strategic phase that the people’s liberation army had been in since 1949 was neither the strategic defensive nor the strategic offensive but what it muddle-headedly called the “strategic counter-offensive.” The Central Committee conference of February-March 1951 which elevated Jesus Lava to the general secretaryship did not find any substantial ideological, political and organizational errors in the previous leadership. Jesus Lava was more concerned then with outwitting and outmaneuvering the equally careerist renegade Luis Taruc to assume the Party leadership.
Taking advantage of the defeats suffered by the people’s army, Luis Taruc and his clique pushed forward the Right opportunist line of seeking peace negotiations with the enemy. This capitulationist line had disastrous results inasmuch as it encouraged the mood of many soldiers to surrender even in areas where the people’s army was still strong. In 1954, the renegade, traitor and scab Luis Taruc surrendered to the enemy under the auspices of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
While the enemy launched a series of massive campaigns of encirclement and suppression during the period of 1951, the Party and army were severely split between two factions and the Jesus Lava leadership failed to give the unifying ideological, political and organizational leadership for a protracted people’s war. The relationship between the Party and army on the one hand and the people on the other, between Party officials and army officers on the one hand and soldiers on the other, and among soldiers worsened without let-up. The Jesus Lava leadership failed to grasp the mass line, failed to overcome but even increased the harsh sectarian activities of the previous leadership and continued to propagate a purely military viewpoint.
In 1955, the Jesus Lava leadership was overcome with pessimism about the armed struggle as a result of its ceaseless military defeats and its isolation from the masses. Its dogmatism, "Left " opportunism and sectarianism easily reversed into empiricism and Right opportunism. As a result of continuous military defeats, this leadership subsequently adopted the line of parliamentary struggle, it went out of its way to dissolve those armed units of the people’s army that it had access to and convert them into “organizational brigades.” As Jesus Lava himself prepared to abandon the armed struggle and the countryside, he dissolved his own security unit. During this period, the Khrushchov revisionist renegades of the Soviet Union were already waging a worldwide campaign for the “parliamentary road” and “peaceful transition.” In 1958, Lava took flight from the countryside and began his career of “general secretary” in his secluded city room from which he issued political transmissions and directives without the benefit of collective discussions and concrete experience. This flightism was imitated by other principal Party leaders, particularly by the commander-in-chief of the people’s army, Castro Alejandrino.
But even the efforts of the Party in the parliamentary struggle did not directly bear fruit. In political agitation, the Jesus Lava leadership tailed behind the leaders of the national bourgeoisie and the urban petty bourgeoisie through whose independent efforts the line of anti-imperialism was advanced. What crippled the Party most during this period was the one-man decision taken by Jesus Lava that the Party must pursue the “single file” policy in organization. This is liquidationism pure and simple, destroying the collective life of the Party. The vast majority of Party members became disconnected and became passive as they were easily cut off from their “single file” due to the arrest of a single Party member, the increasing passivity and opportunism of others, or the infrequency of contacts. It would only be in 1960 that new Party members in both legal and illegal fronts of the struggle emerged to reinvigorate the Party and army.
Further carrying out his flightist policy, Jesus Lava sought vainly to leave the country. After failing to do so, he tried to cajole President Macapagal with several letters of support for his bourgeois policies and finally wrote him a treasonous letter offering his surrender. Before his “capture” by the enemy in 1964, he alone made appointments to the Party leadership. These appointments were characterized by nepotism, thinly camouflaged by the nominal appointment of Pedro Taruc as the “secretary for peasants.” Other appointees to the Party secretariat were close Lava kinsmen who had never before excelled in Party work or mass work.
The Right opportunist line of the Jesus Lava leadership resulted in two degenerate and counter-revolutionary trends. Feigning loss of contact with the people’s army and Party cadres therein led by Pedro Taruc, the heirs in the leadership of the Lava revisionist renegade clique took the blessings of the Soviet revisionist renegade clique, held a conference of its own in April 1968 to perpetuate the “noble lineage” of the Lavas and put forward formally the line of opposing those engaged in armed struggle, of accepting the leadership of the reactionary government in land reform, of contraposing the united front with the armed struggle and of repeating the error of letting bourgeois personalities assume the leadership in what they conceive to be a formal united front organization. On the other hand, also feigning loss of contact with the bare-faced city-based local revisionist renegades, the Taruc-Sumulong clique defined a limited area in Central Luzon as its own independent “kingdom” and put forward its won line of Right opportunism and revisionist treachery in the countryside as explained previously. Pedro Taruc, acting alone, committed the serious crime of appointing Sumulong as commander-in-chief of the people’s army and also as national finance officer despite the fact that the latter was still facing the serious charges of malversation and corruption made in 1963.
If there is a bourgeois headquarters within the Party and army and also factions within the same bourgeois headquarters, the counter-revolutionary line its puts forward is bound to be opposed by a revolutionary line put forward by the proletarian revolutionary headquarters within the same Party and army. During the years 1964 to the present, when the one-man decisions and appointments made by the renegade Jesus Lava was creating confusion within the Party, those upholding Mao Tsetung Thought led by Comrade Amado Guerrero rose up to criticize and repudiate modern revisionism and the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and Tarucs and thus prepared the way for the re-establishment and rebuilding of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the supreme guidance of Mao Tsetung Thought. At the same time, within the people’s army, Comrade Dante with the late Comrade Delio, struggled hard to put other Red commanders and fighters on the revolutionary path, continued to wage armed struggle most militantly and fostered the revolutionary spirit of serving the people and making the Red fighter merge with the people like fish with water. Today, the efforts of the overwhelming majority of the Red commanders and fighters led by Comrade Dante who remain ever faithful to the people’s democratic revolution and to Mao Tsetung Thought are crowned with the transformation of the old Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan (People’s Liberation Army) into the New People’s Army under the supreme command of Mao Tsetung Thought and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Under the Marxist-Leninist principle that the Party commands the gun, the New People’s Army follows the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the supreme command of Mao Tsetung Thought. The New People’s Army is an instrument for implementing the Party Programme for a People’s Democratic Revolution. It is, as matter of fact, the principal organization under the command of the Communist Party of the Philippines, an organization for waging the main form of struggle, armed struggle in the people’s democratic revolution.
The tasks of the New People’s Army are comprehensively outlined in the Party Programme for a People’s Democratic Revolution. Both the general and specific programmes are therein stated. But, in another comprehensive manner, we outline hereunder its urgent tasks:
1. The New People’s Army Must Engage in Party Rebuilding.
It is by propagating Mao Tsetung Thought in the army and among the masses, applying it in revolutionary practice and organizing Party branches and committees inside and outside the army that the New People’s Army engages in Party rebuilding. The New People’s Army is not only a fighting force, it is also a propaganda and organizing force. It must propagate and apply Mao Tsetung Thought as the highest development of Marxism-Leninism in the present era. Its cadres, commanders and fighters must all instill themselves with Mao Tsetung Thought by undertaking study classes under the direction of the Revolutionary School of Mao Tsetung Thought, under the army political department and under the political officer appointed by the Party to supervise Party life and political education in every Red armed unit. All Party cadres in the army, commanders and fighters should in turn effect an ideological mobilization of the masses under the guidance of Mao Tsetung Thought and they should see to it that the most advanced elements among the masses, as among the Red fighters, are taken in as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the course of mass struggle. All daily problems of the Party, army and the masses in politics, armed struggle, culture and economic work should be solved by applying the universal truth of Mao Tsetung Thought.
As an organized force, the New People’s Army must see to it that Party branches at company level, Party groups in every squad and Party committees at every level from the company upwards are established. As an organizing force, it must establish Party branches and local Party committees among the people. The New People’s Army must always be conscious that the Communist Party of the Philippines is at the core of the revolutionary mass movement.
In instilling itself with Mao Tsetung Thought, the New People’s Army instills itself with the spirit of serving the people and repudiating selfishness. It rejects modern revisionism and subjectivism in its dogmatist or empiricist form, Right and “Left” opportunism, sectarianism and liberalism, commandism and tailism and all other weaknesses and mistakes that have obstructed the advance of the people’s democratic revolution. Mao Tsetung Thought is the most precise instrument for rectifying and weeding out all the weaknesses and the black bourgeois line of the Lavas and Tarucs and all other evil sources of errors in the Philippine revolutionary movement.
The New People’s Army has a conscious iron discipline. It follows the principle of democratic centralism. Centralism is essentially the supreme command of Mao Tsetung Thought. At its core is the subordination of the minority to the majority, the lower organ to the higher organ and the individual to the Party. Inner democracy shall be fully enjoyed by all Red fighters and shall serve as the means for the practical and concrete application of Mao Tsetung Thought. Criticism and self-criticism shall be given full play in order to raise the political and combat effectiveness of the New People’s Army.
There shall be political democracy in the New People’s Army with the soldiers having the right to hold meetings and speak out freely on any worthwhile subject or problem that confronts them.
There shall be economic democracy, with all officers and men enjoying equal material conditions, such as allowances and rations, with the men having the right to elect representatives to assist the company leadership in managing their material conditions and with all officers and men having the right to look into the books of accounts at any time.
There shall also be military democracy, with the officers teaching the soldiers, the soldiers teaching the officers and soldiers learning from each other with regard to military plans, methods and techniques of fighting. As much as possible, meetings shall be held before and after battles in order to raise fighting knowledge and effectiveness. Bourgeois and feudal practices between officers and men, such as bullying, shall be absolutely prohibited. The best of relations shall therefore be developed between officers and men within the army so that the army as a whole shall always be oriented towards the maintenance and development of the best relations with the masses.
The officers and men of the New People’s Army shall be strictly bound by Comrade Mao Tsetung’s Three Main Rules of Discipline and Eight Points of Attention and shall always go out of their way to serve the people, aside from performing well their fighting tasks.
2. The New People’s Army Must Carry Out Agrarian Revolution, Build Rural Bases and Advance the Armed Struggle.
Since the people’s democratic revolution is essentially a peasant war under the leadership of the working class and Communist Party of the Philippines, and since the peasant struggle for land is the main content of the people’s democratic revolution, the New People’s Army must launch an agrarian revolution and mobilize the peasant masses, the vast majority of the Filipino people, for the people’s democratic revolution. A revolution is a mass undertaking and so the New People’s Army as a revolutionary army must rely on the masses for increasing its fighting strength, preserving itself, winning battles, winning the whole war and consolidating the power won.
It is only through agrarian revolution that rural bases can be created as great rears for the emergence of more rural bases and more guerrilla zones and that the great masses of the people are mobilized against U.S. imperialism, the comprador bourgeoisie, the landlord class and the bureaucrat capitalist. Only by destroying the feudal base of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines can the people’s democratic revolution be won against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
It is only by having stable base areas that the New People’s Army can wage a protracted people’s war. From these stable base areas, it can advance wave upon wave against the enemy. By building stable base areas to encircle the city, the biggest graveyard of the enemy forces are created. It is here in the countryside that the enemy is compelled to spread out thinly, lured in and destroyed piece by piece over a long period of time. It is here in the countryside that the enemy becomes exhausted and defeated before the main forces of the New People’s Army march in on the cities to seize power finally with the help of workers in a general strike or in a general uprising together with the urban petty bourgeoisie.
It is now the urgent task of the New People’s Army to establish the armed independent regime in the countryside on the basis of agrarian revolution. The armed independent regime shall become the focus of an ever expanding wave of guerrilla zones throughout the country. All commanders and fighters must study with Party cadres how to raise the guerrilla zone to the level of a base area.
The New People’s Army must establish its main fighting forces in Luzon to defeat the enemy forces concentrated in Luzon and in the Greater Manila Area, and also big forces at certain points of Visayas and Mindanao to compel the enemy to disperse its forces at great costs across the archipelago. We must disperse the enemy in two ways: first, throughout the countryside and second, throughout the archipelago. Then we can destroy it piece by piece. For this purpose great rural bases must be created in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The nationwide expansion of the Party and army should be made in the light of this consideration.
To carry out the armed struggle, the New People’s Army should develop four types of armed units: the regular mobile forces, the guerrilla units, the militia or self-defense corps and the armed city partisans. The New People’s Army must learn from the experiences of the Chinese and the Vietnamese in conducting people’s wars and must be trained to employ new and old fighting methods and military techniques. Aside from developing marksmanship with various types of guns, the New People’s Army must train in night operations, bayoneting, using land mines, mortar fire, tunnel warfare and the like. It must also be able to master all the indigenous methods of fighting that the workers, fishermen, peasants and national minorities know.
In building itself, the New People’s Army must be guided by the principle of self-reliance. So long as it is closely linked with the masses of the people and enjoys their support, the New People’s Army shall find its efforts adequate for a protracted armed struggle. The Party committees in the army and in local areas must closely unite to carry out the tasks of the people’s democratic revolution.
3. The New People’s Army Must Build the National United Front.
The New People’s Army must build the national united front by upholding and following the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, by welding together through armed struggle the workers and peasants whose alliance serves as the basis of the national united front and by attracting the urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie to the fold of the people’s democratic revolution.
Because of the anti-national, anti-democratic and corrupt character of the state that it seeks to destroy and replace, the New People’s Army can easily attract the urban petty bourgeoisie which inevitably joins the ranks of the exploited in sentiment and material condition as the crisis aggravates. Because the New People’s Army shall confiscate imperialist goods and deprive the imperialists of markets in the provinces, the national bourgeoisie and all small patriotic businessmen shall be encouraged to produce goods locally and to support the revolutionary forces.
In the countryside, the New People’s Army must forge an anti-feudal united front to unite the poor peasants and farm workers as an invincible political base, win over the middle peasants and neutralize the rich peasants.
The New People’s Army shall be willing to establish a national liberation front as an armed united front of all patriotic and progressive classes, groups and individuals. It welcomes the formation of other armed groups that wage armed struggle against the enemy. The New People’s Army shall extend to them as much support and cooperation as it can.
In every instance of cooperative unity, the New People’s Army must take firm hold of the revolutionary class line. So long as the goal of any class or group is the destruction of the power of U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism, the New People’s Army shall always be willing to extend its cooperation and helping hand. But it shall always be alert to enemy infiltrators and revisionist saboteurs of the armed struggle.
In performing its revolutionary duty of fighting U.S. imperialism, modern revisionism and local reaction, the New People’s Army is highly conscious that it is contributing to the development of the international united front and that it is upholding the principle of proletarian internationalism. Revolutionary armed struggle in the Philippines is certainly an effective part of the worldwide struggle of all oppressed peoples against U.S. imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction. The overthrow of U.S. imperialism and domestic reaction in the Philippines will be a great contribution towards the total collapse of imperialism and the worldwide triumph of socialism.
Long live Mao Tsetung thought!
Long live the Philippine revolution!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines!
Long live the New People’s Army!
Issued by the Meeting of Red Commanders and Fighters
29 March 1969
Approved by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines
13 May 1969