Amado Guerrero

Table of Contents 

Chapter 1 
Review of Philippine History 

Chapter 2 
Basic Prolems of the Filipino People 

Chapter 3 
The People's Democratic Revolution 

Specific Characteristics of Our People’s War

Specific  is a rich, multifaceted document.  At the same time that it deepened the process of rooting Marxism-Leninism in the particularities of the Philippines, it offered lessons of revolutionary practice for movements in other archipelagic countries.

Its main contribution lies in its exciting application of the general lessons of protracted people’s war to Philippine conditions.  On the surface, according to Guerrero, it might seem that because of its fragmented island character and the absence of contiguous borders with friendly countries which might serve as rearguard areas, waging people’s war might seem to be an impossible task in the Philippines.  However, this fatalistic notion which had been advanced by the old revisionist leadership of the PKP in order to justify its embrace of the  “parliamentary route to socialism,” could be overcome if the country’s island character and other apparent geographical constraints on people’s war were turned  into its strengths.  In masterful dialectical fashion,  Guerrero showed that by adopting to, rather than resisting, the archipelagic character of the country and creating a number of guerrilla fronts on major islands,  the NPA could force the enemy to disperse its forces and prevent it from concentrating them on one central base area.  Moreover,  “the mountainous character of the country countervails its archipelagic character from the start.”  The mountain ranges which crisscrossed the major islands could be turned into a great advantage by converting them into bases from which guerrilla units could maintain political and military influence on a number of provinces bordering its range.  Especially when populated by sympathetic mountainfolk, mountainous areas offered singularly difficult fighting terrain for regular enemy troops.

Armed with these and other path-breaking theoretical insights, CPP and NPA cadres have been able to rapidly fan out to nine regions and twenty fighting fronts throughout the country, covering especially the major islands of Luzon, Samar, Panay, Negros, and the key island of Mindanao, where the NPA and the fraternal Bangsa Moro Army of the National Liberation Front have forced the reactionary army to divide its forces in a debilitating two-front war.  To overcome the constraints imposed by geographical dispersion, the CPP and the NPA have evolved the organizational principle of “decentralized operations and centralized political leadership.”  Regional bodies, in other words, are expected to exercise a great deal of self-reliance and local initiative, while subject to general political guidelines issued by the center on Luzon island.

While emphasizing the priority of armed struggle in the countryside, the “weakest link” of the enemy, Guerrero did not neglect to underline the importance of building up a broad and effective urban resistance movement:
“We should excel in combining legal, illegal, and semilegal activities through a widespread and stable underground. A revolutionary underground developing beneath democratic and legal or semilegal activities should promote the well-rounded growth of revolutionary forces, serve to link otherwise isolated parts of the Party and the people’s army at every level and prepare the ground for popular uprisings in the future and for the advance of the people’s army.”

National-democratic activists swiftly rebounded from the initial blows of martial law and, since 1973, they have led in the effort to forge or strengthen semilegal or illegal human rights monitoring bodies, slumdwellers’ protective associations, labor unions, and student organizations.  The power of this underground network first surfaced in late 1975, when workers in Manila launched a one-year long wave of over 400 strikes, with the open support of a varied movement of students, religious and urban poor.  At the same time, a string of huge demonstrations unfolded in the period 1976-78,  hitting the regime every time it tried to launch a major initiative to legitimize its repressive rule and progressively incorporating more and more people in spite of the savage repression-and-dispersal operations mounted by the Marcos security police.  When the dictator relaxed martial-law restrictions on the freedom of assembly and called “elections” to the National Assembly on April 7, 1978 in order to touch up his tattered international image, the sight of the 200,000-person rallies that the anti-fascist movement was able to mount threw him into such panic that he totally undermined his propaganda objectives by violently beating down the people and even imprisoning the anti-fascist candidates.

In 1966, Jose Maria Sison asserted that the challenge to his generation was “to have the idea of the national-democratic revolution transformed into a material force.”  Thirteen years later, the idea of national democracy has become an overwhelming reality.  The creative and bold use of revolutionary theory combined with courageous and determined practice has made the National Democratic Front a material force cutting across all progressive social classes and extending from the far northern province of Cagayan to the far southern province of Davao del Sur.  The fact that the repression of martial law has spurred the geometric growth of the movement since 1972 assures us that revolutionary theory has indeed become an invincible force rooted in increasing numbers of the Filipino masses.

To conclude, the consistent employment of theory to guide practice and practice to enrich revolutionary theory has been one of the principal strengths of the Philippine Revolution.  Perhaps, no documents illustrates this dialectical relationship more clearly than Philippine Society and Revolution and Specific Characteristics of Our People’s War.  We in the International Association of Filipino Patriots are proud in offering to the international public these two major works from the theoretical arsenal of the Philippine Revolution.