By RUDY D. LIPORADA
(Columnist’s Note: On the occasion of the Communist Party of the Philippines celebrating its 51st Year Anniversary last December 26, 2019, I am reposting my article last year when I covered the Golden Anniversary of the Party at Utrecht, The Netherlands.)
A highlight of the celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) during its 50th Year Anniversary, in Utrecht, Netherlands last December 29, 2018, was a film clip where young New Peoples’ Army (NPA) fighters and activists from schools, urban poor and varied professional and working groups thanking the “pioneers” of the Philippine revolutionary movement for their continuing guiding inspirations for the young revolutionaries. The prevailing statement was: “We thank them (the pioneers) for starting this for us. We will continue it for them.”
Indeed, most of the NPA fighters and activists now in the Philippines were not even born yet when CPP Founding Chairman Jose Maria Sison (Joma) with 11 others reestablished the Communist Party of the Philippines in December 26, 1968. And while Joma, Julieta De Lima, and others carry on with the struggle and others have already died, 10s and thousands of so-called millennials are carrying on the fire started by the pioneers 50 years ago. In between the pioneers and the millennials are conduit veterans who have learned from the pioneers and share their revolutionary knowledge with the younger generations. A Mao-Tse-Tung thought comes to mind: With the experience of the old cadres and the enthusiasm of the youth, the revolution will prevail.
And for those who have given their all, dying in the struggle, a collage representing NPA fighters, activists belonging to various sectors was presented during the function. A presentation by the youth of Netherlands emphasized that the spirit of those who have died lives in the souls of those who continue to be inspired by their example. Thus, they have not really died for they keep the movement alive and resilient.
In his culminating address during the celebration, Joma emphasized that the resiliency of the movement is based on the justness of its cause. He said that while they started only with nine high powered guns with a miniscule of 60 combatants in Tarlac, the NPAs now are in 73 of the 81 provinces in the Philippines. With fully armed thousands of fighters supported by thousands more of local militia, the company and battalion size forces are primed to “transition from the middle phase to the advance stage of strategic defensive” of the armed conflict.
Organized by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) International Information Office in Utrecht with the Linangan Art and Culture, the whole day anniversary celebration was attended by representatives of communist parties, labor organizations, and other solidarity groups from the Philippines, United States, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Denmark, France, Germany, Austria, Iceland, Norway, Peru, United Kingdom, Switzerland, India, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, and others. The Embassy of Venezuela in The Hague also sent a representative.
Apart from congratulating the CPP for reaching its golden milestone, the representatives, invariably, thanked the CPP for being a shining example on how to wage a protracted war. Following the “north star,” the CPP with its NPA is now recognized as waging the longest armed struggle against a government in the world. The solidarity speeches of the representatives always ended with chants in varied languages like Viva CPP-NPA-NDF!
Julieta De Lima, an NDFP peace panel member, emphasized in her talk, that according to Mao-Tse-Tung, a revolution is waged not only with guns but also with pens. Without each other, the revolution will fail. In arousing the masses through information of prevailing situations and solutions to problems, the written word in articles, books, scripts for theater presentations, and the like must be done through the pen. Now, with the prevalence of social media tools, the pen has become a euphemism for using these tools. Still the ideology flowing through the ‘pen’ is necessary for the masses to be aroused. They will then be convinced to bear arms to save themselves from exploitation.
Luis Jalandoni, retired NDFP chairperson and a former priest, in a segment in the film, Revolution Selfie: The Red Battalion, he was asked how he could reconcile being with the movement when a preaching in the bible says “Though shalt not kill.” His response: “That really depends on who is saying it and to whom it is directed to.” He said that the enemy could be saying this to the people to prevent the people from rising in revolt but the enemy will have no hesitation to kill, breaking the tenet without qualms.” Nonetheless, during his talk at the anniversary, he emphasized that, now a peace process consultant, the NDFP is still open to peace negotiations which President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte has virtually quashed last November, 2018.
The film, Revolution Selfie: The Red Battalion, was produced and directed by American filmmaker Steven De Castro. He depicted the activities of the NPA, particularly the Pulang Bagani battalion in the movie. To do this, he spent weeks in the NPAs’ camp, joining them in their arduous and dangerous marches and witnessing their services – medical, dental, production, lectures, celebrations, and others.
On service to the people, at a side interview, Connie Ledesma, also a peace process panel member and a former nun, when asked why she left the nunnery to join the movement, she said that: Although her name is associated with the wealthy sugar barons in Iloilo, she was with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Their congregation is dedicated to integrating with the poorer sector of society specially with women with problems. “It’s there, being with them, where I realized that there is no other solution to their problems but through the revolution.”
Youth organizations of the Netherlands also presented a Mao-Tse-Tung pen to Joma to which he remarked, attributing to De Lima’s earlier lecture, “Oh! Good. I will continue writing for the revolution then.”
Adlibbing, though, from his culminating written speech earlier, Joma taunted Digong on his earlier boast that he will annihilate the NPAs at the end of the year 2018. Glancing at his watch, Joma said “two days are left before the end of 2018 and the CPP and the revolutionary movement it leads is even growing stronger and drawing in more members and allies. He (Digong) adjusted his deadline to the middle of 2019. (Again) He will fail.”
The audience laughed.
And the solidarity group from many nations sang with more than vigor the International to move forward from what the ‘pioneers’ have started and beyond the golden jubilee celebration of the CPP. # nordis.net