Tag archive


Theoretical Conference on Imperialism and War highlights need for international revolutionary work

in Mainstream

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has successfully led the first-ever Theoretical Conference on Imperialism and War amid the intensifying crisis of the monopoly capitalist system, fueled by conflicts and wars causing greater havoc on workers and other toiling peoples. Held in a European country in the last quarter of 2023, the conference aimed to further promote and enrich Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM) in the course of resisting imperialism and waging revolution for people’s democracy and socialism.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) delivered the keynote addresses. These were followed by presentations from the following organizations:

The Communist Party of Turkey Marxist-Leninist (TKP-ML), the Party of the Committees to Support Resistance for Communism (CARC-Italy), the Freedom Road Socialist Organization-USA, the Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World People, the Russian Communist Workers Party, the (New) Communist Party of Canada, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), the Revolutionaire Eenheid (Netherlands), the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), the Communist Party of Belgium, the People’s Democratic Party (South Korea), and the Marxistisch-Leninistiche Partei Deutschlands (Germany).

Certain comrades and experts from China also participated.

Participants numbering 139 represented various proletarian-socialist, anti-imperialist, and democratic parties from Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, the United Kingdom, India, Italy, Turkey, Kurdistan, the Netherlands, North Korea, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea and the USA.

The Conference was also in line with the CPP Central Committee’s (CC) call, in its 55th anniversary statement, for rectification of subjectivism in the form of empiricism attributed to bourgeois and petty-bourgeois mindset. It was mainly manifested in politics as right tendencies and bureaucratism; and liberalism and ultrademocracy in the organization.

The rectification movement, described as an ideological and study movement within the Party and among its allied organizations, called for study campaigns and strengthening of international revolutionary work, among others. The latter in particular included strengthening fraternal communist relations with MLM parties and organizations, and strengthening international communist dialogue and cooperation. The CC also called on the revolutionary forces to wage active ideological struggle to expose modern revisionism, and repudiate Trotskyism, Gonzaloism, and other revisionist currents that misrepresent Marxism, Leninism and Maoism.

Keynote Address

The CPP keynote address laid out the key questions of the Conference: 1) the theoretical framework governing the question of the inevitability of wars—specifically imperialist wars of annexation and intervention; 2) the current balance of power among the imperialists and key flashpoints in the violent and non-violent conflicts between them; and 3) the working class attitude and policy of opposing and preventing inter-imperialist wars.

We remain in the era of monopoly capitalism and proletarian revolution as characterized by Vladimir Lenin. According to the CPP, “Lenin’s ‘Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism’ is still the most scientific and thoroughgoing analysis of the end-stage of the capitalist system. It is a theoretical progression of Marx’s Das Kapital, in which Lenin incisively points out how capital and capitalist production have become so centralized that it has rendered free competition of the previous period no longer possible.”

Written in 1917, the year of the Bolshevik revolution’s victory, Lenin’s analysis describes the essential features of imperialism which—106 years later—remain true:

(1) production and capital has become greatly concentrated that it has formed all-powerful monopolies; (2) the formation and predominance of finance capital or the financial oligarchy based on the merging of bank and industrial capital; (3) the export of capital, as distinguished from the export of commodities, has gained exceptional importance; (4) formation of international monopoly associations which share the world among themselves; and, (5) territorial division of the entire world among the biggest imperialist powers is completed.

Discussing the current flashpoints of inter-imperialist conflicts, the CPP pointed to the following major contradictions following the revisionist betrayal of the socialist revolution in the Soviet Union and China: the contradiction between monopoly capital and the proletariat in capitalist countries; between rival imperialist powers; between the imperialist powers and oppressed peoples and nations; and between imperialist powers and countries assertive of national sovereignty and socialist programs.

US imperialism has been ceaselessly fomenting wars since the 1990s. It is “driven by US finance capital, including banks and venture capitalists, which are deeply intertwined with the US military-industrial complex including arms manufacturers, defense contractors and private mercenaries.” It has been directing its might at Russia and China in its effort to assert superiority in an already multipolar world.

The CPP discussed the US-NATO proxy war in Ukraine, which was among those tackled in the Conference reflecting divergences in analysis. According to Ang Bayan, the official publication of the CPP, the Conference also discussed the current occupation and bombardment of Palestine by Israel, fueled and supported by the US.

Secondary flashpoints, according to the CPP, are results of inter-imperialist rivalries in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. At this writing, the US has expanded its imperialist war in the Middle East, bombing Houthi forces in North Yemen. The Houthis are in support of the Palestinian people’s struggle against US backed-Israel in Gaza.

Asia is also a flashpoint of inter-imperialist rivalries as the US has sought to contain China’s growth since 2011. These include increased military presence in Japan, South Korea and Singapore, and strengthened military foothold through bases, training exercises, and aid to the Philippines. The latter has largely been directed at “counterinsurgency” operations.

The CPP called on the international proletariat to “unite and condemn the war preparations and do everything to mobilize the masses to prevent the outbreak of an inter-imperialist war that can only succeed in bringing untold misery and disaster to the working class and people, especially in the smaller countries which are being dragged into the conflict between the imperialist ‘great’ powers.”

Some major points

Conference participants largely acknowledged Lenin’s identification of the essential features of imperialism as the foundation in understanding and analysis of key developments today. The Marxist-Leninist theoretical framework was affirmed as guide to building unities and identifying tasks for moving forward in revolutionary struggles.

Participants were united on the analysis of US imperialism as the world’s dominant imperialist power, even if the current period has seen the decline of its superpower hegemony especially in relation to the challenge posed by China’s rapid economic and military rise.

Acknowledging the need to constantly build and strengthen Marxist-Leninist parties in each of their countries and elsewhere, the participants stated that “Marxist-Leninist parties should support the people’s struggles for national liberation with a sense of urgency, including the Palestinian struggle against occupation and genocide.”

Some practical questions raised included the following: In our duty as proletarian internationalists, how can Marxist-Leninist parties and our movements and organization be in solidarity with each other? How do we determine alliances and relations between our parties, movements and formations? What is the role of Marxist-Leninist party in each of our countries and what should our objectives, strategies, and tactics be?

NDFP Theoretical Conferences

As reported in Ang Bayan, the participants forged a common understanding of the theoretical framework and analysis of the current state of the world.

Following the Imperialism and War Conference, the NDFP is slated to hold an International Theoretical Conference on Economic Crises of Imperialism in 2024.

These theoretical conferences aim to serve the broad united front against imperialist war within the proletarian-socialist and anti-imperialist movement. For NDFP allied member organizations, understanding the contradictions of the moribund world capitalist system is vital in resisting imperialism and all form of reaction, and advancing the national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective through people’s war. (Aya Servando, CNL) ###

Learning is a Collective Process

in Mainstream

A not so typical classroom is found usually deep in the forest. It is a regular feature whenever the red fighters are encamped. At the center of the “classroom,” nestled among trees, is a canvas or black tarpaulin or manila paper that serves as “blackboard.” Around it, members of the people’s army gather—sitting on rocks or on the ground—as they intently listen on their facilitator. At times, the seriousness is interrupted by laughter when they fumble in identifying letters or numbers.

With pens and paper, the Red fighters learn the alphabet—the vowels and consonants—as they read and write the lesson for the day. A member of the red army who had gone to school usually acts as facilitator as he/she also learns how to adapt to the students’ needs and to fashion creatively the teaching method to ease the learning process. Teaching literacy and numeracy has to be woven into the daily lives and experiences of the members of the people’s army. It makes learning easier and retention of lessons faster.

Thus, even as the sound of A-BA-KA-DA reverberates in the forests, it is not the usual “A is for apple” but “A is for Ambus (ambush), B is for baseng masa (mass base), K is for kasama (comrade), and D is for digmang bayan (people’s war).

These classrooms, like the NPA units, are mobile, too. Wherever and whenever the situation allows, the Red fighters always find time to study—literacy, numeracy, and theoretical studies. Learning is a collective practice, too. Tutorials are practiced among students, with the more advance learner assisting those who have difficulties with their lessons. The more determined students, and those who want to keep pace with their classmates, continue to study in the evenings, making do with whatever light is available or allowed in camp sites.

Making up for government neglect in education

Majority of the Red fighters came from the peasantry; many of them have not gone to school or had stopped schooling at an early age. Despite the free tuition in public schools, children stop going to school because their families cannot afford the cost of transportation, the expenses for school projects, and a host of other expenses, even snacks. Other families who survive on a daily basis need their children to lend a hand in household or farm chores, or to do odd jobs as in the case of urban poor dwellers. Illiteracy has been a cause of discrimination as well as exploitation especially for peasants and indigenous peoples when they trade with other sections of the population.

Hence, literacy and numeracy become part of the daily lives of the people’s army. It strengthens the Red fighters’ confidence when they know how to read and write. It also facilitates their study and grasp of Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism. This improves the knowledge and skills they impart to the masses.

In some guerrilla zones in Mindanao, for example, Red fighters were also taught basic science before they attend the Basic Party Course. These basic science concepts aid the members of the people’s army in understanding the core concepts of dialectical and historical materialism.

The revolutionary movement’s education program

Literacy and Numeracy is only among the many courses offered by the Party to its members, the Red army, and the masses.

As part of its cultural revolution, and guided by nationalist, scientific, and mass-based principles, the Party consolidates its membership and the masses through its education program. The various courses also prepare the NPA and the masses in establishing and administrating the revolutionary organizations and the organs of political power in the countryside.

The three-level education in the Party—basic, intermediate, and advance—aims to deepen the members’ understanding of Marxism, Leninism, and Maoism, and how they are applied to Philippine society and revolution.

Activists also learn from various courses on national democracy through the Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan (PADEPA) or the national democratic school. Subjects on Philippine society, the national democratic revolution, revolutionary perspective and attitude, special courses on women, indigenous peoples, peasants, and workers, and analyses on various national issues such as the peace negotiations are among those taught in the PADEPA.

Special courses and skills training on various fields are also available—military, health and medicine (including surgery), math and science, arts and literature, leadership and management, national and international laws and protocols, philosophy, etc.—given for free in the people’s army and the Party.

These courses, along with revolutionary practice, steel the members of the revolutionary movement, strengthen their will to fight and win the national democratic revolution.

Meet the Graduates

(Adapted from “Mandirigmang mag-aaral, gerilyang paaralan” Bigwas, February 2022 issue, official publication of West-Central Luzon)

Ka Dyun, a red fighter from the Aeta indigenous group

One of his teachers called him bobo (stupid) because he was unable to read a word written on the board. He was shut in a room until he filled the board with that one word, which surprisingly he couldn’t remember anymore. Ka Dyun was traumatized by the experience, he lost his confidence that he decided to leave school at an early age. He only finished grade one. Little did he know that when he joined the red army he would attend school again, this time, in the pulang paaralan (red school.)

Ka Dyun was motivated by his desire not just to serve the people, but to serve them the best he could. He learned how to read and write to gain confidence and to hone himself as a capable and skilful Red fighter. With the help of his comrades in the people’s army, he diligently studied writing and reading during classes and in the evenings, when their schedule allowed.

Bit by bit, he learned to write his name, then the letters of the alphabet; write and read words related to their situation and surrounding until he was able to construct and read sentences.

The daily accounting of his platoon’s supplies and resources was his practical exam in addition, subtraction and multiplication. How to determine the rate of exploitation of traders and landlords among the peasants and indigenous peoples where they operate became a higher learning in arithmetic.

Slowly but progressively, he and his collective succeeded in Ka Dyun’s schooling. Ka Dyun was especially grateful to Ka Islaw, a martyred comrade who used his drawing skills to facilitate Ka Dyun’s learning. To Ka Dyun, Ka Islaw’s inspiration will continue to propel him to learn and hone his skills and become a well-rounded revolutionary for the victory of the revolution and the masses.

Ka Baytan, Ayta from Zambales

It took him and his brother two hours to reach their school, alternately crossing river tributaries and lahar several times. At school, Ka Baytan and all the other pupils were cramped in two small rooms. One room is shared by those in Grades 1 to 3; the other room for pupils in Grades 4 to 6.

In a room, a teacher segregates the pupils by row per grade level but they are either seated side-by-side or back-to-back; each grade level doing their own activity simultaneously. One grade level may be reading, the other writing, and the other reciting. This is what the Department of Education calls the “multi-grade system” which is implemented in far-flung communities because of lack of teachers and school facilities. The set-up discouraged Ka Baytan to continue studying such that when he reached Grade 3 he stopped.

Because a Red fighter is also a cultural worker, Ka Baytan’s interest in music and learning to read and write converged. He did not only sing during cultural activities but copying lyrics of revolutionary songs to his notebook taught him writing and eventually reading.

His interest in studying was definitely revived when he joined the people’s army. For one, he had 10 Red fighters who alternately taught him to read, write, and count. He was also encouraged to continue learning because he realized that his lack of education from the bourgeois school system did not hinder him to learn Marxism-Leninism, and Maoism.

When he finished the Basic Party course, Ka Baytan was in high spirits, having experienced for the first time to graduate. “Dito lang ako sa hukbo nakaranas na grumadweyt”, he said during the graduation rites held by his unit of the people’s army. (Iliya Makalipay) ###

The Jennifer “Maria” Cariño Command

in Cherish

In 2017, the New People’s Army (NPA) in Benguet province launched a successful raid in a police outpost in the town of Buguias. Aside from confiscating firearms and ammunition and radio sets, the action was “punitive” because of the illegal and anti-social activities of the Buguias policemen, among them: extortion activities from vegetable farmers, drug trafficking, and operation of bars. The raid was led by the Jennifer Cariño Command-NPA.

Long before Jennifer Cariño became a command, she was Jingjing, born on March 4, 1950 in Baguio City to a well-to-do and respected Ibaloy family. Her mother hails from Cebu. She was bequeathed the beautiful features of an Ibaloy-Cebuano blend. Her grandfather was the first Igorot Mayor of Baguio City where the family owned the land now occupied by the Camp John Hay.

Why would a young woman gifted with beauty and brains leave behind her affluent family and all the opportunities for a comfortable life and distinguished place in the professional arena for a risky and difficult life in a guerrilla zone, among the most impoverished masses, her kailian?

In Jingjing’s veins ran the blood of a fighter. Her grandfather, Mateo Cariño, filed a suit in the US court against the American intrusion into their land. In high school, Jingjing wrote an article in their school organ in protest of the remark of then Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo that Igorots are not Filipinos.

Jingjing was a conscientious student. She was often seen alone in the campus grounds pensively poring on a book. In the classroom, she was never satisfied with mere statement of facts. She would dig deeper, posing no nonsense questions to her professors. She wanted more—realities and truths. She was indeed a no nonsense student. She was an A-1 student especially in Physics and Math courses at the University of the Philippines-Baguio.

But it was not all cerebral work for Jingjing. The music in her soul brought her to folk houses around the city, singing with the strum of her guitar. She idolized the Beatles.

In her junior year, Jingjing ran for the student council under the Progressive Party taking up the issues of lower tuition fees and removal of the Spanish course. That probably started her activism years.

In 1969, she became a member of the Kabataang Makabayan-Baguio Chapter. She led student actions supporting market vendors in their fight against demolition and striking workers in their demand for higher wages and better working conditions. Later, she dropped out of school and became full time activist. The music in her soul was shared with activists as they sang protest songs and staged cultural presentations in rallies.

In 1972, Jingjing married Gilbert Pimentel, an activist from the Lyceum University in Manila who was organizing Benguet farmers at that time. Gilbert also hails from the Cordilleras. They had a meeting of the minds on many political issues, particularly the national minority question. It was also on the same year when their house raided but she eluded arrest. Later, she left Baguio disguised as a nun.

When Gilbert was arrested after, Jingjing left her baby with her family with the fervent request that Malaya, her daughter, be apprised when she grew up of what her parents had fought for. She joined the NPA and lived in Ifugao serving the most impoverished masses in the Kalanguya territory. Ka Maria, as she became known in the guerrilla zone, taught the illiterate masses how to read and write. She also served as medical staff. And she did what she loved most, wrote revolutionary songs and taught these to the masses.

Her enlightenment from the campus DGs (discussion groups) on Marxism, Leninism and Maoism, the truth and realities she found from her integration with the masses, the oppression and exploitation doubly experienced by the national minorities of which she belonged and the invincible aspiration of the revolutionary movement to dismantle the unjust structures and end man’s inhumanity amplified her resolve to serve the revolution. And this resolve warranted yielding all her privileges and giving all her endowments for the revolution.

Ka Maria, the beloved comrade of the tribe, died in 1976 in Hungduan, Ifugao.

Go to Top