Originally published: Struggle-La Lucha on December 16, 2022
From the Philippine Revolution Web Central:
The greatest Filipino of the past century bereaved us peacefully last night.
Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines, passed away at around 8:40 p.m. (Philippine time) after two weeks confinement in a hospital in Utrech, The Netherlands. He was 83.
The Filipino proletariat and toiling people grieve the death of their teacher and guiding light.
The entire Communist Party of the Philippines gives the highest possible tribute to its founding chairman, great Marxist-Leninist-Maoist thinker, patriot, internationalist and revolutionary leader.
Even as we mourn, we vow continue to give all our strength and determination to carry the revolution forward guided by the memory and teachings of the people’s beloved Ka Joma.
Let the immortal revolutionary spirit of Ka Joma live on!
December 17, 2022
Tribute of the 2nd Congress to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison
Resolution of the Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines – November 7, 2016
The Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extends its profound appreciation and expresses deepest gratitude to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison for his immense contribution to the Philippine revolution as founding chair of the Party, founder of the New People’s Army and pioneer of the People’s Democratic Government in the Philippines.
Ka Joma is a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist extraordinaire and indefatigable revolutionary fighter. He applied dialectical and historical materialism to expose the fundamental nature of the semicolonial and semifeudal social system in the Philippines. He put forward an incisive class analysis that laid bare the moribund, exploitative and oppressive rule of the big bourgeois compradors and big landlords in collusion with the U.S. imperialists.
He set forth the program for a people’s democratic revolution as immediate preparation for the socialist revolution. He always sets sights on the ultimate goal of communism.
Ka Joma was a revolutionary trailblazer. In his youth, he joined workers federations and helped organize unions. Ka Joma formed the SCAUP (Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines) in 1959 to promote national democracy and Marxism-Leninism and wage ideological and cultural struggle against the religio-sectarians and anti-communist forces among the student intellectuals. Together with fellow proletarian revolutionaries, he initiated study meetings to read and discuss Marxist-Leninist classic writings.
Under Ka Joma’s leadership, the SCAUP organized a protest action in March 1961 against the congressional witchhunt of the Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities which targeted UP faculty members accused of writing and publishing Marxist materials in violation of the Anti-Subversion Law. Around 5,000 students joined the first demonstration with an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal character since more than ten years prior. As a consequence, Ka Joma became a target of reactionary violence and survived attempts on his life. Unfazed, he and the SCAUP continued to launch protests against the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Military Bases Agreement and other issues as land reform and national industrialization, workers rights, civil and political liberties and solidarity with other peoples against U.S. acts of agression up to 1964.
He and other proletarian revolutionaries eventually joined the old merger Socialist and Communist Party in 1961. In recognition of his communist and youthful fervor, he was assigned to head the youth bureau of the old Party and appointed as member of the executive committee. He initiated meetings to study the classic works of Marx, Lenin, Mao and other great communist thinkers which challenged the stale conditions of the old Party.
He founded the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in November 1964 and led its development as one of the most important youth organizations in Philippine history. As KM chair, and as a young professor and militant, he went on campus tours and spoke before students as well as young professionals to espouse the necessity of waging a national democratic revolution. His speeches compiled in the volume Struggle for National Democracy (SND) served as one of the cornerstones of the national democratic propaganda movement. The KM would eventually be at the head and core of large mass demonstrations during the late 1960s up to the declaration of martial law in 1972.
As one of the leaders of the old party, Ka Joma prepared a political report exposing and repudiating the revisionism and opportunism of the successive Lava leadership as well as the errors of military adventurism and capitulation of the Taruc-Sumulong gang of the old people’s liberation army. The old party had deteriorated as an out-and-out revisionist party.
Despite Ka Joma’s effort, the old party proved to be beyond resuscitation from its revisionist death. Gangsters in the old party would carry out attempts on his life to snuff the revolutionary revival of the Filipino proletariat.
As Amado Guerrero, Ka Joma led the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines on the theoretical foundations of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. He prepared the Party constitution, the Program for a People’s Democratic Revolution and the document Rectify Errors and Rebuild the Party and presided over the Congress of Reestablishment held in Alaminos, Pangasinan on December 26, 1968. In 1969, he authored Philippine Society and Revolution which presents the history of the Filipino people, analyzes the semicolonial and semifeudal character of Philippine society and defines the people’s democratic revolution. He prepared the Basic Rules of the New People’s Army and the Declaration of the New People’s Army and directed the Meeting of Red commanders and fighters to found the New People’s Army (NPA) on March 29, 1969.
He led the Party in its early period of growth. He wrote the Organizational Guide and Outline of Reports in April 1971 and the Revolutionary Guide to Land Reform in September 1972 which both served to direct the work of building the mass organizations, organs of political power, units of the people’s army and the Party, as well as in mobilizing the peasants in waging agrarian revolution. He authored the Preliminary Report on Northern Luzon in August 1970 which served as a template in the work of other regional committees.
While directing the development and training of the New People’s Army from its initial base in Central Luzon to the forests of Isabela in Cagayan Valley, he also guided the youth activists in waging mass struggles in Metro Manila against the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship.
Ka Joma was ever on top of the revolutionary upsurge of the students and workers movement in 1970 and 1971. Chants of Amado Guerrero’s name reverberates in Manila and other cities in harmony with calls to join the people’s war in the countryside.
The CPP grew rapidly in its first few years under Ka Joma’s leadership. The Party established itself across the country and led the nationwide advance of the revolutionary armed struggle. He personally supervised the political and military training of Party cadres and NPA commanders in the forested region of Isabela from where they were deployed to other regions.
In 1971, he presided over the Central Committee and presented the Summing-Up Our Experiences After Three Years (1968-1971). He prepared in 1974 the Specific Characteristics of Our People’s War which authoritatively laid out the strategy and tactics for waging people’s war in the Philippines. In 1975, he authored Our Urgent Tasks, containing the Central Committee’s report and program of action. He served as editor-in-chief of Ang Bayan in its first years of publication.
In the underground movement, Ka Joma continued to guide the Party and the NPA in its growth under the brutal fascist martial law regime of dictator Marcos. He issued advisories to underground Party cadres and mass activists. Inspired by the raging people’s war in the countryside, they dared the fascist machinery and carried-out organizing efforts among students and workers.
The first workers’ strike broke out in 1975 preceding the growth of the workers movement. Large student demonstrations against rising school fees and the deterioration of the educational system were carried out from 1977 onwards completely shattering the terror of martial law.
Ka Joma continued to lead the Party in nationwide growth until 1977 when he and his wife Julie were arrested by the wild dogs of the Marcos dictatorship while in transit from one guerrilla zone to another. He was presented by the AFP to Marcos as a trophy. He was detained, subjected to severe torture, put under solitary confinement for more than five years interrupted only by joint confinement with Julie in 1980-1981, and later partial solitary confinement with one or two other political prisoners from 1982-1985.
While in prison, Ka Joma was able to maintain contact with the Party leadership and revolutionary forces outside through clandestine methods of communication. With the collaboration of Ka Julie, lifelong partner and comrade of Ka Joma, they produced important letters and advisories. In 1983, Ka Julie released the article JMS On the Mode of Production which served as a theoretical elucidation and clarification of the nature of the semicolonial and semifeudal social system in order to cast away confusion brought about by claims of industrialization by the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship. It counterattacked claims made by pretenders to socialism who insist that the Philippines had become a developing capitalist country under the fascist dictatorship.
A powerful upsurge of the anti-fascist mass movement followed the assassination of Marcos archrival Benigno Aquino in 1983. This was principally propelled by the workers and student movement which could mount demonstrations of 50,000 or greater from the late 1970s and early 1980s. In 1984, Ka Joma released the paper On the Losing Course of the AFP under the pseudonym Patnubay Liwanag to assess the balance of forces and to signal to or sway the Pentagon to better drop Marcos, which would entail causing a split in the AFP. In September 1984, the Pentagon acceded to the Armacost formula and decided to join the U.S. State Department and other U.S. agencies to drop him. By early 1985 Reagan signed the National Security Directive with deﬁnite plan to ease out Marcos.
Ka Joma also asserted the need to weaken the reactionary armed strength in the countryside and expand the people’s army to a critical mass 25,000 rifles and one guerrilla platoon per municipality as constructive criticism of the plan to carry out a “strategic counter-offensive.”
The anti-fascist upsurge culminated in a people’s uprising supported by a military rebellion of elements in the reactionary AFP. The Party’s persevering and solid leadership of the anti-fascist movement and revolutionary armed struggle created favorable conditions that led to the overthrow the U.S.-Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Despite strong opposition by the U.S. and reactionary defense establishment, the Aquino regime was compelled to open the detested gates of the Marcos dungeons allowing Ka Joma to be released.
He wasted no time resuming revolutionary work. In a few months time, he mounted a major lecture series to propound a critical class analysis of the Corazon Aquino regime and expose it as representative of big bourgeois comprador and landlord rule. The series of lectures which later comprised the volume Philippine Crisis and Revolution countered the “political spectrum” analysis of populists which pictured the Aquino regime as a bourgeois liberal regime to goad the revolutionary forces along the path of class collaboration and capitulation.
These populists as well as other charlatans carried out a campaign to undermine the basic analysis of classes and production system in the Philippines to justify the convoluted concept of a strategic counter-offensive wishfully thinking that the people’s war can leapfrog to strategic victory bypassing the probable historical course. A number of key leaders of the Party and revolutionary forces were drawn to the self-destructive path of insurrectionism and premature regularization and military adventurism. This would later bring about grave and almost fatal losses to the Party and the NPA, as well as to the urban mass movement.
Forced to exile in 1987 by the Aquino regime which canceled his passport and travel papers, Ka Joma sought political asylum in The Netherlands while on a lecture tour. He eventually resided in Utrecht and work with other comrades in the international office of the National Democratic Front. Although thousand of miles away from the Philippines, he continued to maintain close contact with the Party leaders in the country and provide advise and guidance to help them in their work.
Ka Joma served as one of the steadfast exponent of the Second Great Rectification Movement launched by the 10th Plenum of the CPP Central Committee in 1992. The Party leadership actively sought Ka Joma’s theoretical insights and analysis. In preparing the key document Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors, the Party leadership referred to Ka Joma and the Party’s founding documents which he authored. With Ka Joma’s full support, the rectification campaign of 1992-1998 united and strengthened the Party to ever greater heights.
Ka Joma also played a key role in authoring the paper Stand for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism which illuminated the path of socialist revolution during the dark hours of the complete restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union in 1990 touted in the monopoly bourgeois mass media as the fall of socialism, a refutation of communism, and the “end of history” and final victory of the capitalist system.
Reflecting Ka Joma’s sharp Maoist critique of modern revisionism, the paper presented a clear historical understanding of the process of capitalist restoration in the USSR from 1956 onwards. This served as key to understanding the continuing viability of socialism and to inspiring the Filipino proletariat to persevere in the two-stage revolution and the international proletariat to carry forward the socialist cause.
Ka Joma’s Utrecht base eventually became a political center of the international communist and anti-imperialist resistance movements. He played an important role in the centennial celebration of Mao Zedong in 1993 which served as a vigorous ideological campaign to reaffirm Marxist-Leninist views and to proclaim Maoism as the third epochal development of Marxism-Leninism.
Up to the early 2000s, he also played a lead role in the formation of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) which serves as a center for ideological and practical exchange among communist and workers parties which stood for socialism and opposed modern revisionism. He provided valuable insights and practical assistance to numerous communist parties from Asia to Europe and the Americas.
Over the past decade, he has led the International League of People’s Struggles or the ILPS which has served as coordinating center for anti-imperialist movements around the globe. He authored the paper “On imperialist globalization” in 1997 which clarified that the proletariat remains in the era of imperialism and socialist revolution.
Because of his role in guiding the advance of the international anti-imperialist struggle, Ka Joma was put in the crosshairs of U.S. imperialism. He was included in the U.S. list of “foreign terrorists”, together with the CPP and NPA. At 68 years old, he was arrested in 2007 by the Dutch police and detained for more than 15 days.
Since 1992, together with the NDFP Negotiating Panel, Ka Joma has also ably represented the interests of the Filipino people and revolutionary movement in peace negotiations with successive representatives of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). He has been appointed as Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP Negotiating Panel and has deftly guided it in negotiations with the GRP over the past 25 years.
Over the past several years, Ka Joma continued to provide invaluable insights into the domestic crisis and the situation of the revolutionary forces. He continues to provide advise to the Party and the revolutionary forces in the Philippines on resolving the problems of advancing the revolution to a new and higher stage.
He has set forth critical analysis of the objective international conditions. He has put forward a Marxist-Leninist critique of the capitalist crisis of overproduction which is at the base of the international financial crisis and the prolonged depression that has wracked the global capitalist system. He has reaffirmed that we are still at the historical epoch of imperialism, the last crisis stage of capitalism.
Ka Joma is the torch bearer of the international communist movement. Through the dark period of capitalist restoration, he has kept the flames of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism burning and inspired the proletariat to take advantage of the crisis of global capitalism, persevere along the path of socialism and communism and bring the international communist revolution to a new chapter of revival and reinvigoration.
The Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) resolves to give the highest honors to Comrade Jose Ma. Sison, great communist thinker, leader, teacher and guide of the Filipino proletariat and torch bearer of the international communist movement.
In recognition of Ka Joma’s immense contribution to the Philippine revolution and the international workers movement, the Second Congress further resolves:
1. to instruct the Central Committee to continue to seek Ka Joma’s insights and advise on various aspects of the Party’s work in the ideological, political and organizational fields.
2. to endorse the five volume writings of Jose Ma. Sison as basic reference and study material of the CPP and to urge the entire Party membership and revolutionary forces to read and study Ka Joma’s writings.
The Second Congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is certain that with the treasure of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist work that Ka Joma has produced over the past five decades of revolutionary practice, the Party is well-equipped in leading the national democratic revolution to greater heights and complete victory in the coming years.
MR Online, December 19, 2022, https://mronline.org/