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From: Junji, Philippines
To:   Info@socialistproject.ca
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2006 05:43:19 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Comrades,

   Good day...

   I am a dock worker by day and a student by night here in one of the
agricultural provinces in the Philippines. Our dockyard was having a
strike last December and at this moment we were in a stalemate situation
at present because the government labour agency never help us since the
dockyard owner was financer of local politicians during election here in
our province. At the time of the strike, a number of outside people
helped and supported us. Then they introduced themselves as member of
the local branch of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). After
that, they frequently visited my boardinghouse and at this time I was
invited recently to join the CPP but haven't confirm the invitation since
I have to study first the theories of Marxism. I have a small number of
articles about Marxism and how it help to liberate workers like me.

But my apprehension was this, if I become a member of the party, am I
obliged to arm myself? Because the CPP's principal form of struggle
(according to the lecturer) is the armed struggle and has its own armed
group, the New Peoples Army (NPA). I would like to know more about the
Socialist Project's view of the worker's struggle and especially on Marxism.

Are you really an advocate of armed struggle? Like the peoples war?
Because I don't think revolution only means war. I think there is another
strategy - different from the CPP-NPA strategy of people's war. I
don't want to become a martyr, I just want to live and help the struggle,
but I have one problem. My financial capabilities has its limitations since
I don't have personal computers and every time I use computers is to rent
it in an hourly basis. My wage is not enough to rent and read the different
theories of Marxism. Hope you can help me to procure books so that I could
read it thoroughly in my room. And hoping it does not cost that much.
Can you help me?

Comrade,

The CPP has a long and interesting history of struggle in the Philippines. In its heyday, it was associated with the armed struggle, centred in the countryside, mostly through the New Peoples Army, as well as working through trade unions and workers struggles. The CPP had a hard time moving out of the period of armed struggle in the countryside, to the mostly open political agitation and organization of urban mass movements. In the current period, with increasing government repression, this is even more difficult.

In the past couple of years another, extremely serious issue has been raised. There have been allegations made by members of the NGO and global justice community that people from the CPP have threatened to assassinate those who have renounced the revolutionary road to social transformation. It is difficult to see exactly what has been happening with this and it certainly creates a cloud over the current situation with the CPP.

As for Canada, in every country, forms of struggle vary and class struggle includes working in different terrains. In countries where the struggle against authoritarian forms of political rule are dominant, open, legal and non-violent forms of struggle are more difficult, and can become subordinate to organizing armed resistance. This is especially true in environments where rural power is exercised through landlord militias or armed policy and armies that directly repress rural workers or peasants. Even in these instances, political organizing is the key to mobilizing people, either through armed activity or open political activity.

Class rule by capital and its allies always combines reliance on economic coercion and oppression, ideological "hegemonic" forms of rule (where people are convinced that there cannot be any alternative to the existing system) and repression. In developed countries with long traditions of capitalist democracy, the "hegemonic" component is clearly dominant. But it is also tied to peoples' acceptance of the legitimacy and autonomy of the rules of the capitalist economy and forms of direct repression. For the most part, in a country like Canada the issue is not armed struggle, but organizing working people as a class to struggle through trade unions and other open mass institutions that democracy allows and, to win them over to a critical understanding of capitalism, their role in challenging it and the possibility of an alternative society.

In this context, talk of "armed struggle" does not make sense. We don't even have a separate working class party or parties at this moment. But even more, the approach that most revolutionary Marxists have in developed countries like Canada involve developing a socialist program, building a base for it amongst the masses, developing our capacity as a class to organize, mobilize and challenge capital in workplaces, communities and political institutions. Perhaps, someday we will create different political institutions of worker political power and transform the way that current political institutions work for capital. That is in the future.

This is different than in many developing countries. It is up to your own working class parties and organizations to develop their own strategies. There is no single strategy - or balance between "convincing" and working through institutions on the one hand, and armed struggle on the other hand.


The CPP website is here: www.philippinerevolution.org

A good Marxist resource on the internet is Marx.org. They offer an archive of their website on DVD.

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