1. Can you please first introduce your self and your party?
JMS: I am Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines and Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
2. As we know, your party has a large area of Philippines under their control. Can you briefly summarize to us the process and development of the people’s war?
JMS: The Communist Party of the Philippines was reestablished on December 26, 1968 in order to repudiate the revisionist party and adopt Marxism-Leninism-Map Zedong Thought as the theoretical guide to the Philippine revolution. It established the New People’s Army on March 29, 1969 to begin the people’s war. It also wielded the united front as a weapon complementary to the armed struggle.
To carry out the people’s war, the Party deployed communist cadres to link up with the good remnants of the old people’s army in Central Luzon and to sow the seeds of people’s war in several other regions. People’s war was developed in the countryside by integrating revolutionary struggle with agrarian revolution and building of the revolutionary mass base. The mass base consisted of the organs of political power and the mass organizations of peasants, workers, youth, women, cultural activists and others.
3. One of the remarkable sides of your party, based on the various parallel and a widespread network of organizations in the people’s war. In which relationship are these organizations with the people’s war, how they support it?
JMS: There is a comprehensive array of revolutionary mass organizations listed as allied forces within the framework of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. These organizations are directly involved in the people’s war.
At the same time, there are legal patriotic and progressive organizations which also serve the people. Some of them field candidates in the reactionary elections along the line of developing the united front with other forces for the purpose of exposing the rottenness of the ruling system and putting forward the people’s demands against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.
4. What is your point of view to the parliamentary struggle?
JMS: Even while the people’ war is raging against the reactionary state, the reactionary leaders wish to wear the mask of democracy and wish to conjure the illusion of democracy by offering the leaders of the revolutionary movement and the leaders of the legal patriotic and progressive forces opportunities to win a few seats in Congress or in parliament.
It is Right opportunism or reformism to believe that fundamental changes can be achieved only through the bourgeois Congress or parliament. It takes more than any kind of legal struggle to achieve the national and social liberation of the oppressed and exploited people.
But the revolutionary movement can allow legal patriotic and progressive forces to engage in various forms of legal struggle, including electoral struggle and debates in parliament by way of carrying out a united front policy: expose, discredit, undermine and weaken the enemy in his own centers of power by intensifying contradictions among the competing reactionary factions.
5. Not long ago it was published that your party will restart peace talks with the Philippine government. What is the content, the process and your expectations? Please can you tell us your opinion?
JMS: The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (which includes the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army) has resumed formal talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines since August 22, 2016. The negotiations are supposed to arrive at comprehensive agreements of social and economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms in order to address the roots of the armed conflict and lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.
The Duterte government appears to be easier to negotiate with on such reforms because President Duterte has declared himself that he is the first Left president of the Philippines, he is a socialist and he is opposed to US imperialism and the local oligarchy of big compradors, landlords and corrupt high bureaucrats. He has a record of cooperating with revolutionary forces in Davao City for almost 30 years.
He has put in his cabinet patriotic and progressive leaders. But there are also reactionaries in the cabinet. It still remains to be seen whether he will amnesty and release all political prisoners and agree to a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms for carrying national industrialization and genuine land reform. Let us see whether he is really determined to fight imperialism and the local reactionaries.
6. We know that women have a special standing inside your party and the peoples army. Can you explain to us the experience of the Philippine women’s struggle, the participation of women in the people’s war and their combat experience?
JMS: Indeed, women have a special standing inside the CPP and the NPA. Women are in the Central Committee of the CPP and various levels of command of the NPA. They have become unit commanders and command both male and female Red fighters. There are also detachments, special operations teams and medical teams consisting solely or mainly of women Red fighters.
Women have always played leading roles in the revolutionary struggles against the Spanish colonialists, US imperialists, the Japanese fascists, the local Marcos-type fascists and against the post-Marcos pseudo-democratic regimes. Gabriela Silang is chosen as the icon of the revolutionary woman fighter from a long list of revolutionary women fighters. The principal legal women’s organization GABRIELA is named after her. Her example inspires many women to join the armed revolution. The principal women’s organization MAKIBAKA is also inspired by Gabriela Silang.
7. Are there any other revolutionary parties, oppressed nations or oppressed religious groups in the Philippines? What is your relationship to them?
JMS: There are several organizations of oppressed peoples and oppressed religious groups which are allies of the CPP and are within the fold of the NDFP. These include organizations of the Cordillera peoples, Bangsamoro, the Lumad hill tribes and the Aetas (or Negritos). They also include the Christians for National Liberation and various ecumenical alliances with the Muslims. The Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are outside of the NDFP but are alllies of the NDFP.
8. How is your relationship to revolutionary forces from Turkey, Kurdistan and the Middle East?
JMS: We are always desirous of developing comradely and friendly relations with the revolutionary forces in Turkey, Kurdistan and the Middle East. We are always supportive of their struggles for national and social liberation against US imperialism, the NATO and the Israeli Zionism and against all the local tyrants who are usually puppets of the imperialists.
9. What is your opinion about the Rojava Revolution, the war and the developments in the Middle East?
JMS: We are strongly supportive of the Rojava Revolution. We hope that this will further strengthen the Kurdish people against their oppressors. We are inspired by the heroic armed struggle of the Kurdish women against the Daesh or Islamic State. We are confident that the Kurdish people will prevail over their imperialist and local adversaries and rise from the harshness and complexity of the struggles.