The Mass Line: A Study in Revolutionary Methods of Leadership and Work (Part 3)
The mass line is method of leadership and work which was most clearly developed by Chairman Mao Zedong of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). It has been described as the ”concentrate[d]…correct ideas that the masses gain in everyday life.” Mao developed it into a coherent organizing methodology which has subsequently been applied by many revolutionaries since the Chinese revolution.
I firmly believe that the application of the mass line is something that must be fundamental to how revolutionary communists carry out any and all of their work, no matter whether it is in community development initiatives, the anti-imperialist and anti-war struggle, political prisoner and prisoner of war work or other progressive struggles.While the term mass line was first coined by the Communist Party of China during the revolutionary Mao period it has in fact been employed by every single successful revolutionary movement. Like the vanguard party and the united front its validity has been proven by this success.
Because of its importance to any successful revolutionary movement I have started a short series of posts that will continue over the coming days that feature articles written by prominent revolutionary thinkers and forces on the concept of the mass line. I began by going right to the source with Mao and followed up with the Communist Party of Peru. This third entry comes to us from the Communist Party of Philippines.
The Communist Party of the Philippines is an underground revolutionary party which has been waging a People’s War against the neocolonial Filipino state since its founding on December 26, 1968. It leads the New People’s Army as well as the National Democratic Front. Today it is one of the most well respected and beloved revolutionary organizations not only in the Philippines itself, but around the world as well.
The final entry to posted will come from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Mass Work by the Communist Party of the Philippines
In our mass work, we arouse, organize and mobilize the masses of workers, peasants, semi-proletarians and particular sections of the petty bourgeoisie for the people’s national-democratic revolution. We also pay attention to distinct social groups, such as women, youth, fisherfolk and national minorities who form the indigenous peoples and minority nationalities.
Mass work is so important for the party’s successful leadership of the revolution. The foundation of the revolutionary strength of the Party and the revolutionary movement is laid down through this work. The essential work is carried out in the three principal tasks—the formation of the Party, the waging of the armed struggle, and the formation of the national united front. The effective leadership of a proletarian party can be gleaned from the effectiveness of its mass work.
Our present study of mass work is the product of the development of revolutionary practice through the years. Embodied in this study are the summing-up of the Central Committee in the document, “Our Urgent Tasks,” and the summing-up of the Tenth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Party.
This chapter is divided into five parts:
- Line and Orientation of Mass Work
- Propaganda and Education Work
- Organizing the Masses
- Mobilizing the Masses
- Consolidation and Expansion
A. Line and Orientation of Mass Work
What are the principal objectives of mass work?
Our mass work has three principal objectives. The first is to form, consolidate and broaden the revolutionary unity and strength of the people through the establishment of the organs of democratic political power in accordance with the class line of the united front in the countryside, people’s committees in the cities, and mass organizations and mass movements in the countryside and the cities.
The second is to establish and consolidate the broadest and deepest foundations among the masses for the protracted people’s war. The people’s war cannot be advanced firmly without the strong support of the broad masses of the people.
The third is to establish the broadest and deepest foundation for the formation of the Party among the ranks of the people.
The Party’s implementation of mass work accords with the carrying out of its central task of seizing political power. In this work, the broadest foundations of the united front, the people’s army and armed struggle, and the formation of the Party among the masses, are prepared.
What is the mass line?
The mass line is the basic Marxist-Leninist principle which guides mass work and other tasks of the Party in advancing the revolution. It is based and conforms thoroughly to the historical materialist outlook on society and revolution.
The fundamental teaching of mass line is for us to have complete trust and reliance on the masses. It emphasizes that the revolution must depend on the masses of the people and on the mobilization of the majority. It opposes pinning one’s hope on a handful of leaders, geniuses, heroes or saviors. It upholds the view that the masses, and only the masses, are the makers of history.
At all times and places, the Party must ensure that all comrades in whatever position of responsibility are linked firmly with the masses. Each conirade must be taught to love the people and to listen to the voice of the masses; to unite with them wherever they are and to mingle with them instead of hovering above them; and to rouse them, or else, raise their political consciousness based on their level; to help them to organize themselves; and to help them launch all the important struggles which can be launched at a given time and place.
Commandism and tailism both run counter to the aspirations of the masses. We will certainly be divorced from the masses if we force them to do things which are against their wishes, or if we do not like to advance whenever they demand that we advance. These errors bring about certain failure and harm.
Commandism is not an issue of style in giving orders to the masses. Even if we employ mild-mannered speech, we become commandist whenever we exceed the level of political consciousness of the masses and we go against the volition of the masses; this only shows the sickness of impetuosity. Commandists do not take the pains to teach and encourage the masses, and instead set tasks which exceed the capability and preparedness of the masses through alternating directive and coercive means in order to carry out the work.
Tailism in any kind of work is also wrong, because it trails behind the level of political consciousness of the masses and goes against the need to provide leadership to the masses; this only shows the sickness of sluggishness. It happens frequently that the masses overtake us, and they are anxious to take actions, but the tailists are unable to provide leadership in these situations. As a result of a lack of analysis, they set policies and tasks which trail behind the capacity and preparedness of the masses and that which conditions call for. They are unable to lead because they often doubt and hesitate. They express only the opinions of certain backward elements, and they even mistake those to be the beliefs of the masses.
In order to avoid commandism and tailism, comrades must mingle among the masses and investigate. In practicing mass line, the correct political line is key, because it expresses the objective aspirations and interests of the masses.
In practicing mass line in the concrete conditions of Philippine society, the firm adherence to the general line of the people’s democratic revolution is key. It is necessary to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the people in order to advance the revolutionary anti-fascist, anti-feudal and anti-imperialist movement. It is necessary to make them understand the line of the Party, and to put into practice in their actions the policies and struggles which the Party launches in accordance with this line. The political line is the basic standard which decides whether or not we err in our work.
Both “Left” and Right opportunist lines subjectively desire the rapid and early decisive victory of the revolution beyond the actual level of strength of the revolutionary forces. The balance of forces is wrongly calculated, exceeding the analysis of the actual conditions and preparedness of the masses and the revolutionary movement.
The “Left” opportunist line of launching confrontational people’s strikes (welgang bayan), with the attendant putschist partisan actions of bus-burning, bombing of certain foreign capitalist and government establishments in order to incite urban insurrection, places the revolutionary mass movement in the city in a state of political isolation, if not a passive position. The urban mass movement loses its legal and defensive character, and is separated from the spontaneous masses. The deceit of excessive prospecting is certainly followed in quick succession by frustration and dejection.
The Right opportunist line of untimely peasant uprisings to upstage urban insurrection precipitated as reformism and putschism in the peasant movement. The peasant movement was drawn towards a principally legal and open form of struggle. Armed struggle was depreciated into a position that is secondary and only supportive of the principally legal mass movement. The victories of two decades of agrarian struggle will be rendered meaningless, and the landlords will be exalted.
As a result of “Left” and Right opportunism, grave disorientation and retreats developed in the conduct of our mass work in the countryside and cities. Many places were abandoned, and numerous mass organizations, organs of political power and Party units were dissolved. Old and more oppressive feudal and semi-feudal arrangements returned, along with criminality. The development of mass work in the cities lost vigor as a result of campaigns and mass actions which tended to wear down the people, in combination with putschist partisan actions a la agent provocateur meant to incite insurrection.
In order to regain strength, it is necessary to repudiate thoroughly the “Left” opportunist line of military adventurism and urban insurrectionism and the other Right opportunist error of capitulationism, parliamentarism and reformism.
How do we follow the revolutionary class line in mass work?
The revolutionary class line distinguishes the true friends of the revolution from the real enemies. It establishes the reliance on the most basic classes and forces while persuading and uniting with the middle forces in order to isolate the diehard enemies. This principle is in accord with the mass line and the political line of the Party.
According to the revolutionary class line, we give stress in our mass work as a whole to the toiling masses. The line of the people’s democratic revolution, on the other hand, establishes that the principal preoccupation of the Party is the mass work in the countryside, particularly among the ranks of the poor peasants, rural workers and lower-middle peasants.
In every place, it is necessary to know the class composition of the population; to determine the revolutionary and progressive classes, the middle forces, and the reactionaries; and based on this, to attempt mass work which gives emphasis to the most basic and most numerous mass forces at any given scope.
In order to strengthen further the movement of the toiling masses, it is necessary to advance the movement of women and youth. In the cities, it is necessary to give particular attention to the work among the ranks of the youth-students, teachers and government employees, which are the most concentrated and most active sectors of the petty bourgeoisie.
Why is social investigation and class analysis important in mass work?
Social investigation means the investigation of the conditions of society. The analysis of classes is the correct means of investigating society.
In Marxist social investigation, the classes which comprise society are differentiated and studied in their relations in the economy, politics and culture. The aim of our study and analysis is the condition of the people as a whole and the masses with whom we work in particular, because they are the source of our concrete data and information—their condition is the particular object of our study and analysis. Here, we apply the principle, “concrete analysis of concrete conditions.”
By means of social investigation and class analysis, we are able to grasp the concrete class outline of society, the condition of the classes, and their real relations with each other. Thus, we are able to set the correct orientation for our mass work. We are also able to determine the appropriate forms and means of propaganda, organizing and mobilization of the masses. Without a correct, thorough and comprehensive social investigation and class analysis, mass work will not become effective. The correct and sound direction and the tactics of the mass movement will also not be ensured.
Mao Zedong once said, “no investigation, no right to speak.” Let us implement and develop our mass work according to this standard.
By means of social investigation and class analysis, we are able to determine who are ones we must rely upon principally and mobilize, who are those we must win over, and who are those we must isolate and make the targets of the mass movement. Especially at the basic levels, it is necessary to have clarification of these matters, and to have a living identification with the classes with whom individuals, families and groups belong. It is necessary that we learn to distinguish the classes in real life and not just in books.
Social investigation and class analysis clarifies the principal and secondary matters, the long-term and immediate problems that the mass movement will face. Clarifying these matters is part of the orientation of the mass movement in a given place, and ensures the correct direction of the mass movement. In the countryside, for example, the forms of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation vary from place to place, and their intensity, likewise, varies from place to place. It is necessary to understand this in order to lead the peasant movement effectively.
In order for our work in propaganda, organization and mass mobilization to be effective and vigorous, their content, form and means must suit the conditions of the masses, especially their objective interests and level of experience and consciousness. The knowledge of the condition of the masses can only be derived by means of social investigation and class analysis.
However, a comprehensive and deep-going social investigation cannot be done in only a day. It is a continuous and long-drawn process. Thus, we set the level of social investigation according to the level of the mass movement and the need to arouse, organize and mobilize the masses at every stage.
For example, there is a depth and breadth of social investigation that is necessary for the stage of confiscation and distribution of land of the landlords in the countryside. There is a big difference between this and the depth and breadth of social investigation necessary to begin mass work in the barrios. In the cities as well, the data necessary for the various levels of development of the mass movement vary.
At every stage, it is necessary to accumulate knowledge of concrete conditions in order to plan and to carry out the immediate tasks of the mass movement, while social investigation continues to widen and deepen.
What is the key link of mass work in the countryside?
The anti-feudal class struggle—meaning to say, agrarian revolution—is the key link of mass work in the countryside. We must grasp this firmly, and uphold the poor peasants, rural workers and lower-middle peasants as the most basic and sturdiest revolutionary forces in the barrios.
However, the anti-feudal struggle will not reach far if it is not linked firmly with the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggle. Thus, it is necessary to give the basic anti-feudal forces the most comprehensive political outlook. Furthermore, we must mobilize actively all the different positive forces in the countryside for the revolution.
The strength of the peasant masses and rural workers will be formed from the advance of the anti-feudal struggle. It lays the foundation for winning over the middle forces in the countryside and for crushing effectively the politico-economic power of the landlord class. Thus, the anti-feudal struggle is decisive in forming democratic political power in the countryside and establishing the revolutionary base.
Wherever there are masses of workers, fisherfolk and indigenous peoples, it is necessary to set up and develop their organizations whenever there is basis in order to address their problems. In any situation, they must be part of forming the organs of political power and the united front being built in the countryside.
In order to launch and advance the anti-feudal struggle, we must establish and develop continuously the organizations of the peasants, women, youth and cultural activists in the barrios, until full-fledged mass organizations and organs of democratic political power emerge.
Mass work and the anti-feudal struggle are linked firmly to the armed struggle which is the principal form of revolutionary struggle.
The advance of the armed struggle is decisive in advancing the anti-feudal struggle in an ever-widening scope and to an ever higher level. Meanwhile, the principal objective of mass work and the anti-feudal movement in the countryside is the formation and the strengthening of the mass base foundation of the people’s war.
The minimum program of agrarian revolution (with certain select cases of confiscation and censure or punishment of despotic landlords and landgrabbers) is what must still be carried out as the general line of the anti-feudal struggle. It contains the lowering of land rent, the elimination of usury, increasing the wages of the rural workers, raising the prices of rural products, increasing agricultural production and other increases in livelihood, the establishment of simple cooperatives and cooperative labor, etc.
The premature elevation towards the maximum program (confiscation and free distribution of land) will drive the entire landlord class to unite and concentrate their strength against the revolutionary movement. This will frustrate our anti-feudal line in the united front to take advantage of the divisions between the enlightened gentry and despotic landlords. This requires a higher level of capacity, readiness, depth and breadth of the mass base and the Party and people’s army.
Let us combat the reformism and economism being peddled by the opportunist traitors and the organizations and the bureaucratic “NGOs” they lead in practices such as goading the masses into confrontational land confiscations, raiding and burning of warehouses and other property, rural strikes, so-called “macro and micro intervention,” and “claim making, claim taking.”
They ride roughshod over the smooth flow of mass work, destroy the unity of the masses and demolish the mass organizations and the Party branches in the areas where these projects are launched. Let us oppose actively and contend ideologically and politically with these opportunist traitors, revisionists, popdems and socdems, and let us not allow them to enter the territories within our reach. Let us eject immediately those who have entered for various reasons and launched these projects when their continued operations become a clear obstruction to our mass work.
At present, the mass work in the countryside is linked directly with the recovery, expansion and consolidation of the guerrilla bases and zones, the launching of successful tactical offensives of the people’s army, and the preparation for the anti-feudal uprising in the countryside.
What mass movement do we develop in the cities?
The mass movement that we develop in the cities is the broad democratic movement which is principally anti-fascist and anti-imperialist. It supports the movement in the countryside which is principally anti-feudal, and supports the armed struggle.
In the cities, the masses of workers and other poor, and likewise, the petty bourgeoisie (especially the students and the teachers), are aroused, organized and mobilized for the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggles, and in order to support the anti-feudal struggle in the countryside and the armed struggle.
The proletariat and the semi-proletariat is the most basic and the sturdiest revolutionary forces in the cities. Therefore, we must give them our principal attention.
Organizing and mobilizing them will form the foundation of the revolutionary strength in the cities. We must also win over and mobilize the lower strata of the urban petty bourgeoisie, especially the students and the teachers and skilled workers, in order to draw the whole urban petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie to the side of the revolution.
In order to launch and advance the mass movement in the cities, it is necessary to form and develop on a wide scale the unions of the workers and the organizations in the community, schools and others. It is necessary to advance the struggles of the workers, semi-proletarians, students and teachers, and other progressive classes and sectors, step by step, against fascism, imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. The workers’ strike movement, which targets the foreign monopoly capitalists and the local comprador-big bourgeois, is a prominent feature of the revolutionary mass movement in the cities. We must also strive to form associations and unions among the employees and workers of the government at the national and local levels, institutions and corporations, in order to shatter and paralyze them from within. Likewise, we must give the proper emphasis to the formation of unions of workers and employees in the factories and enterprises of the national bourgeoisie and the upper petty bourgeoisie, according to the class line of the united front. In this manner, we are able to attain the sharpness and breadth of the work and struggle in the cities.
It is necessary to propagate among those in the mass movement in the cities the call for the anti-feudal struggle in the countryside and the armed struggle as the principal tasks of the whole revolutionary movement. Growing numbers of revolutionary people in the cities are being encouraged to participate directly in the anti-feudal struggle in the countryside and in the armed struggle, and to extend various forms of support for them. All of the mass work of the Party must be linked consciously to the armed struggle, directly or otherwise.
The revolutionary mass movement in the cities is a militant and open mass movement which has the backbone of an extensive and intensive clandestine movement. In this open movement, we employ the reactionary state’s own laws in order to relate to the broad masses. The secret movement is formed among them, while the legal organizations are being transformed, or while new militant but legal organizations are being set up, in order to advance the national-democratic line step by step. We employ a combination of legal and illegal means in order to advance the revolutionary movement in the cities. The Party is the force at the core, guiding and nurturing the movement at every step, and seeing to it that subsequent steps are taken when conditions are ripe.
We must renounce insurrectionism and grasp firmly the correct orientation to urban struggle: it is principally legal and defensive and supportive of the armed struggle and the anti-feudal movement in the countryside. The success of the movement and struggle in the cities is measured by the growing numbers of people who participate in the mass actions, growing numbers of people who join the revolutionary mass organizations, the worsening political crisis of reaction, and the growing support for the movement in the countryside.
The thinking that we can hasten the explosion of an urban uprising through artificial military and agent provocateur means, and through general paralyzation and grand confrontations in excess of capabilities, combined with populist politics and an excessive emphasis on tactical coalitions in an effort to draw in ordinary people towards an insurrectionary position, is utterly wrong.
Why is mass work important in forming the Party?
Mass work and the revolutionary mass movement establishes the conditions for broadening and strengthening the Party among the masses.
The biggest source of members of the Party are the most advanced individuals who are produced and tempered in the revolutionary mass movement in the cities and the countryside. The roots of the Party grow deeper and more extensively while the revolutionary movement develops in the factories, barrios, communities and schools. The cadres and members of the Party must be conscious in their task to recruit new members and to establish the basic units of the Party among the ranks of the broad masses.
The Party is only an instrument that participates in, but does not dominate, the dialectical process of continuous revolution. It does not stand outside the revolutionary process with a foreknowledge of its laws. The masses are the sole creators of history, and it is from them that the Communist Party must learn. It is only by integrating with them that the Party can lead the revolution.
The broadening and the strengthening of the Party organization among the masses ensures that their revolutionary actions will persevere and advance along the correct direction. The overall Party leadership of the mass movement becomes firmer and sturdier. The line and policies of the Party are given a more concrete life in the struggles and actions of the masses. The consolidation of the Party results in the expansion and the advance of the mass movement, and the consolidation of the mass movement results in the growth and development of the Party.
The Party is composed of the most advanced elements of the class which possesses advanced revolutionary theory, knowledge of the laws of class struggle, and experience in revolutionary movement. Therefore, it has the capacity to guide all the organizations of the working class and other sectors of the people.
B. Propaganda and Education Work
Why is propaganda work important to our mass work?
Propaganda work is important because through propaganda we are able to reach the broad masses—organized and unorganized—in order to express, clarify and animate the revolutionary analysis, objectives and tasks at every period, stage and place. In this manner, the Party is able to unify the thinking, sentiments and actions of the masses.
Propaganda work is not reserved for a few specialists. This is conducted by every Party unit and member at every opportunity that they are able to mingle with the masses. Conducting propaganda is important in order to draw the Party closer to the masses, and for the masses to be able to perform well their role in the revolution.
In order for the content of our propaganda to be correct, it is necessary for every one to understand the line, program and policies of the Party, because these will guide our analysis of the facts. In order for our propaganda to be appropriate, it is necessary to be close to the masses. We will be able to draw from them the information which will provide freshness, scope and relevance to our analyses. The content and style of propaganda must suit only the present level and tasks of the masses with whom we are collaborating.
It is only by associating and integrating with the masses that the units of the Party and army are able to provide comprehensive and timely studies and analyses of the conditions of the masses and the places in which we operate. It is only in this manner that we are able to give our propaganda correct content, that our propaganda carries and reflects the conditions, aspirations and ideals of the masses and the people. It is also only in this way that we are able to ensure that the calls, policies and program of action, which we are propagating, are correct and have a firm basis.
Our propaganda work has three interrelated tasks: one, to expose the enemies of the revolution and to oppose their anti-people schemes; two, to clarify the line, program policies and the means of revolutionary action; and, three, to analyze and to illustrate the life and struggle of the masses.
We expose to the masses the root causes of their problems, and we show them who their real enemies are. Based on social investigation, we identify the principal representatives of the basic problems of every class, sector, place and period. We analyze and oppose every scheme of the enemy to assert its reactionary rule and to suppress or derail the advance of the revolution. We also repudiate reformism, terrorism and other counterrevolutionary ideas and schemes.
It is also the role of propaganda to popularize the calls of the Party in order for the masses to understand them, unify around them and carry them out in their own actions. We expound on the basis of the calls, and we also teach the means for carrying them out.
Our propaganda illustrates the life and struggle of the masses in order to heighten their revolutionary qualities, and to share their experiences in order to form a broad and deep unity amongst themselves and to develop confidence in their own strength.
What are the means and forms of revolutionary propaganda?
The basic means of revolutionary propaganda are determined by the mass line and the relationship of the general and particular analyses and calls.
From the masses, we gather the concrete, particular and fresh data and events which we analyze and bring back to the masses in a synthesized form in order to be useful for the practical struggle. Apart from the information derived from social investigation, it is also important to derive data from research and readings.
Propaganda relates the general objectives, tasks and direction with the particular objectives, tasks and means. The general line and calls may be the emphasis, but these are particularized according to the masses with whom we are addressing. The particular analysis and calls may be the emphasis, but these are related to the general line and tasks.
It is necessary to attend to both secret and open propaganda work. In clandestine propaganda, we are able to conduct the broadest and deepest discussion and express the most advanced calls. According to what conditions allow, we give this an open form. In open propaganda, it is necessary to become creative in striving to balance the legal limitations with our task to reach the biggest number of people with the revolutionary line.
There are many forms of propaganda which may be utilized and developed. Mass publications, handbills, mass meetings, group discussions, slogan painting, posters, comics, house meetings, play, song and poetry productions, dance, broadcast, video and films and many others are commonplace. We must also create and utilize spaces within the mass media controlled by the enemy, such as newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations.
In addition to being correct and appropriate, our propaganda must also be effective. Effective propaganda is live, clear and sharp, because it is rooted in the actual life of the masses and uses their language. The combination of various forms also gives an exceeding effectiveness, so does the regular, frequent and rapid addressing of issues which crop up in the course of mass work.
All revolutionaries must use every opportunity to conduct propaganda among the masses in order to clarify the objectives, plans, policies and the tasks of the revolution and the masses. We must not allow any revolutionary to be separated from the masses. Every one must participate in the practical movement, organize the masses, lead their struggle, participate in production, and take part in the joys and sorrows of the masses. Not to carry this out is a form of liberalism.
Why is education work important to our mass work?
Basically, the objective of propaganda and education work is the same: raise the level of revolutionary consciousness of the masses in order for them to participate actively and wholeheartedly in the revolutionary movement.
Education is the formal, concentrated and systematic study of the revolution by the organized masses. Education work places their participation in the revolutionary struggle on a sturdy theoretical foundation. Education also develops the capacity and skill of the masses in order for them to carry out their revolutionary work and tasks more effectively.
Providing education cannot be separated from the establishment and consolidation of mass organizations. If the masses are able to study systematically and regularly, the ideological and political outlook takes root among them which will guide their every action and their long-term development in the revolution. Their capacity and skill to carry out and complete more numerous and more complex revolutionary work will continue to develop and broaden.
It is also necessary to propagate among the masses the results of the summing-up of the work of the revolutionary movement, especially the positive and negative lessons, strengths and weaknesses, successes and setbacks. The masses must conduct a detailed study of the lessons from their own revolutionary experience in order to persevere along the correct path, and to correct the errors as a result of the “Left” and Right opportunist lines. This will serve as a guide and a firm footing for the further strengthening and development of the revolutionary mass movement. The content of mass education is comprehended better by the masses when it is linked to their own revolutionary experience.
What are the types of mass education that we provide?
The principal types of mass education that we provide are the study of the special courses and the study of the general course.
The special mass courses clarify the history, character and revolutionary solution to the principal problems of the particular classes or sectors that we organize and mobilize.
The special mass course for the peasant movement discusses the problem of feudalism and the agrarian revolution. The special mass course for the workers’ movement discusses the union movement and the strike movement. The special mass course for the women’s movement discusses their problems and their liberation. And the special mass course for the youth movement discusses the problems of youth and the correct orientation of their movement. Other special mass courses may also be outlined based on need, for example, for the fisherfolk movement or for the middle forces.
On the other hand, the general mass course studies the history of the Philippines, the three basic problems of the country at the present time, and the basic principles and task of the people’s national-democratic revolution.
After the special and general mass courses, it is necessary for the masses to begin immediately the study of Marxist-Leninist principles. For example, we may discuss the basic attitude of a proletarian revolutionary in relation to serving the people, to criticism and self-criticism, to tasks and sacrifice, the basic principles of democratic centralism, collective leadership and mass line; social investigation and class analysis; and certain principles of dialectical and historical materialism.
The mass courses, and especially the introductory study of Marxism-Leninism, prepares the advanced individuals to become candidate-members of the Party.
Together with this, the masses are given education in developing their capacity and skill in leading mass organizations, propaganda work, developing production, health and medicine, culture, literacy, livelihood supplements, introductory defense training and security, and others.
It is important for our mass education work to have a program for systematically developing the consciousness and capacity of the masses, mass activists and those targeted for recruitment as members of the Party. We must make sure we allot some time for carrying out these education plans. This is one essential revolutionary work and task which we must not neglect.
C. Organizing the Masses
What are the two most important principles we must remember in organizing the masses?
The first is to base oneself and to trust the masses. This is the basic principle, the mass line, that clarifies the correct style in organizing the masses.
It is necessary to allow the masses to learn to take actions based on their own initiative and willingness to assume tasks. What the cadres of the Party must do is guide the masses and not to assume all the work. It is necessary to base oneself and to trust the masses in order to allow for the emergence of the greatest number of people ready for various tasks of the revolution. We must always remember that when the masses understand and embrace the objectives of the revolution and the formation of their own strength, they will become creative and persistent in their own actions, and leaders and activists will emerge from their own ranks. Let us not presume that only a few people can lead. Let us combat commandism and tailism in organizing the masses.
The second principle is the solid organization of the masses for revolutionary struggle. What this means is the establishment of broad, sturdy and closely knit organizations with a leadership that is unified and healthy and rooted in the mass membership.
It is not enough to have only influence among the masses in order to advance the revolution steadily. It is necessary to organize the masses solidly in order to unify them sturdily and prepare them for all-rounded struggle against their class enemies. If the masses are not organized solidly, their struggle will advance only up to a limited extent, and they will persist only in certain conditions. Our objective is for the masses to become a sturdy bastion of the revolution.
The leadership of the mass organizations must be composed of the most reliable, most vibrant, and most respected leaders, meaning to say, those who hail from the basic classes and strata, who have an excellent record of humanity, who can be trusted and who have a genuine concern for fellow human beings. It is necessary to unify them through collective study of the correct line and policies, and to educate them in collective leadership of the mass organizations. The leadership will always remain healthy as long as erstwhile leaders who do not develop, are backward or are rotten, are replaced by fresh, progressive individuals from the membership. This leadership must be linked firmly with the mass membership, must consult them on important problems and decision-making, and must rely on the unified will and action of the membership principally to carry out its tasks. Solid organizations can be formed only in the midst of mass struggles.
What are the preliminary steps in organizing the masses?
The first step in organizing the masses in the barrios, factories, communities, schools or offices, is to locate reliable contacts.
Preliminary contacts may be products of mass work in other places, relatives, our friends or acquaintances, or those of other comrades, or those of the family of a comrade.
Preliminary contacts may be formed into coordinating groups in order to carry out tasks collectively.
As much as possible, the preliminary contacts must hail from the class or sector to which we are giving principal stress. They must be honest, have an excellent record of humanity, know a lot of people, and [be] enthusiastic in carrying out tasks. When in a barrio, strive to find contacts from the exploited peasants or rural workers. If there are none, the preliminary contacts may also hail from the middle forces. But at the earliest opportunity, we must allow those contacts who hail from the basic classes to emerge. Before we give them work, it is necessary to conduct a detailed investigation of the preliminary contacts, especially those who do not hail from the basic forces of the revolution.
It is the task of the preliminary contacts to link us up with other individuals from the class or sector that we would like to mobilize. They can assist in the preliminary social investigation, class analysis and preliminary propaganda among the masses. It is also their task to provide us with information on the movements of the enemy as well as the unreliable elements in the area. In the countryside, it is also their task to safeguard the security of comrades while inside as well as while leaving the barrio.
We must not divulge to the preliminary contacts the overall plan for the area and the progress of the mass organizing. Although some or all of them may become part of organizations that will be formed in the succeeding stage, it is not yet certain and will still be based on their future actions.
Why must we establish organizing groups and organizing committees? When do we form them?
We must establish the organizing groups and organizing committees step by step in order to select and train the mass leaders, to form the backbone and foundation of the mass organizations, and to launch the actions and struggles that the masses are capable of doing.
We set up the groups and committees in the various classes and sectors that we want to organize. In the barrios, we form the organizing groups and organizing committees of the peasants, women, youth, cultural activists, and wherever there is a basis, fisherfolk and workers. In the cities, we form the organizing groups and organizing committees of the workers in the factories, of the community in the urban poor communities, organizing groups and organizing committees in the schools.
We form the organizing groups based on division of the class and sector, and division of the various parts of the territory. In the countryside, we form the organizing groups of the various classes and sectors in the sitios and various parts of the barrio. In the factory, we form them in every department or section; in the communities, in every street or important segment; and, in the schools, in every college or important part of it.
In organizing the masses, we must follow the revolutionary class line strictly. In a typical farming barrio, those who may join the organizing group of the peasants must hail from the ranks of poor peasants, rural workers, and the lower-middle peasants. In a fishing barrio, those who may join the organizing group must hail from the ranks of poor and middle fisherfolk, fishing workers, and from the ranks of the exploited peasants and rural workers, if there are any. In setting up the organizing groups of the youth in the countryside, we may allow those who hail from the upper strata of the peasantry, but the emphasis remains on those who hail from the ranks of the exploited peasant youth. In the communities of the urban poor, we must rely principally on the workers and semi-proletarians, and secondarily on the youth-students. In the schools, the organizing groups must be formed by the students, teachers and lower-level school employees.
The organizing groups begin to set up the organized strength of the people in the most important parts of the place that we are organizing. They link us up with the broad masses. They propagate among the masses the objectives of the revolutionary movement through propaganda and study. They lead the preliminary actions of the masses. Their principal task is to arouse and unify the oppressed and exploited classes, to recruit new members, and to begin the transformation of the legal organizations or the formation of new organizations within their scope.
We form the organizing committees in the sectors which already have standing organizing groups in the various important parts of a given scope, and where advanced individuals capable of leading mass organizations have already emerged.
In the factories, communities and schools in the cities, we may first form the organizing committee and subsequently form the organizing groups, if we are able to gather the mass activists who have proven themselves to be reliable in other places.
The organizing committees will lead the organizing groups, mobilize them on the basis of set tasks, and will continue to develop them. Under the leadership of the committee, the work of deepening the social investigation will continue; the transformation of open organizations or the setting up of new ones will go on; so will the invigoration of mass actions and struggles; and so will the study of the political line and Marxist-Leninist principles.
In the countryside, the organizing committees will form the committees for organization, education, economy, health and defense. In the beginning, the committees and organizing groups of peasants will mobilize as leagues of poor peasants, rural workers and lower-middle peasants. Once they have developed, advanced individuals from the other levels of middle peasants will slowly be brought into the organizing groups. The principal basis for accepting them is their support for the anti-feudal struggle.
The committees and organizing groups are secret organizations. They must excel in clandestine tactics and means of mobilization while leading and participating in the open organizations and mass mobilizations.
How do the full-fledged mass organizations, revolutionary committees, and units of the people’s militia emerge in the barrio?
Full-fledged mass organizations are set up in the barrio if there are already strong and sturdy committees and organizing groups; if the influence and leadership of the committees and organizing groups is already widespread and rooted among the masses; and if there are already proven leaders who are capable of leading, and who are reliable, and who have a sufficient grasp of the line and policies of the Party and revolution, especially with regards the anti-feudal struggle and the armed struggle.
The full-fledged mass organization will be formed by means of listing the members and the election of its leadership. When conditions demand it, we may digress from this procedure as long as we can assure the participation and approval of the masses in the formation of the organization and its leadership. Once the full-fledged mass organizations of the revolutionary classes and sectors are formed, and there are already Party branches that are capable of leading the revolutionary movement in the barrio, and there are already local units of the New People’s Army (NPA) that cover the scope of the locality and local people’s militia, we may now form the revolutionary committee. This will stand as the local organ of democratic political power under the leadership of the Party. This will be formed by gathering representatives of the Party, the basic masses, the people’s army and allies.
Even at the level of the barrio organizing committee, we must already begin to provide politico-military training to men and women who are ready and are capable of conducting military work, and to form units of the people’s militia. In every typical sitio or barrio center, we may form a squad or a half-squad of the people’s militia armed with indigenous weapons or weapons provided for their disposition.
It is the task of the people’s militia to lead in providing revolutionary peace and order, and in providing security to the revolutionary forces in the barrio. It also carries out tasks assigned to it by the Party or by a higher command of the people’s army in relation to the plans and military operations of full-time and regular forces of the people’s army. Although they have military tasks, members of the people’s militia still attend to their day-to-day livelihood duties. They comprise the core of the armed strength of the people in the barrio, together with the defense groups of mass organizations.
As enforcers of revolutionary laws and justice, the NPA, the people’s militia, and the defense units, must study the basic democratic rights of the people and individuals; and they must understand the correct principles and methods in carrying out their appropriate tasks in civil and criminal cases.
How are the basic units of the Party formed among the masses?
Even at the level of the organizing groups and organizing committees, we must already begin to provide Marxist-Leninist education to the advanced individuals. We can already tell who are enthusiastic in accepting the ideological line of the Party. We continue to analyze the actions and participation of the active individuals and whoever else displays honesty, enthusiasm and skill in organizing. We ensure that the mass activists are given systematic political education in preparation for their study of the basic Party course. After a certain period of time has lapsed, based on their record of actions and participation in study, we can recruit the most advanced among them and set up a basic unit of the Party.
At the basic level, Party branches will be formed, and likewise, Party groups in the mass organizations. The branches and groups ensure the Party’s leadership of the mass movement, and welds the sturdiest link between the Party and the masses. The Party branches and groups continue to temper and strengthen themselves by continuing the study of the line and policies of the Party, by leading the mass movement, and by recruiting new members. In the factories, we dissolve the organizing groups and organizing committees once we have set up the Party branches and Party groups inside the union and important parts of the enterprise, and all of the activists have already entered the union.
We also dissolve the organizing groups and organizing committees of the community and the school in the cities, once we have set up the Party branch and the Party groups in the mass organizations and other important parts of a given scope. In large schools, Party organizations may be developed until the section committee and the branches in the colleges are formed. In developing the work in the communities, Party branches may be formed based on street blocks.
How do mass activists emerge?
Mass activists are individuals among the ranks of the masses who are active in revolutionary work and in advancing the mass movement. Numerous mass activists will emerge if the masses with whom we link and mobilize are encouraged to take initiative, are assisted in raising their political consciousness, are given concrete guidance, are aided in summing up their own experience, and are supported in resolving their personal problems.
An important objective of mass work is the emergence and training of numerous activists in the countryside and in the cities. In order to carry out the numerous and heavy tasks of the revolution, we need to learn how to combine a few experienced cadres with numerous mass activists. This is a concrete expression of trusting and basing ourselves among the masses. Even at the stage of preliminary contacts and forming coordinating groups, the emergence and training of mass activists already begins. Even at this stage, we already select those who have initiative, have a good record of humanity, relate well with others, are responsible, are disciplined and have dedication. We train and provide them with preliminary studies in order for them to carry out the tasks they face. We continue to raise their capacity by continuously providing studies, by assessing and summing up their work, and by helping them in their problems with the work, in their studies or personal problems. We test them in more important undertakings, and we elevate their tasks and responsibilities in the work or organization.
As our mass work and revolutionary activities develop and become more complex, the need for more leaders/ mass activists who can manage different lines of work becomes more important. We need a program for the emergence of mass activists that can ensure that there will always be those who can attend continuously to the different lines of work. This program includes the criteria for selection, education and training programs, and assistance in work problems as well as personal problems. We must ensure that the mass activists have sufficient skill and readiness, because it is not enough to have only good intentions in the practical movement.
Why is the combination of legal and illegal forms of organization necessary?
In the countryside or in the cities, the illegal Party and the secret or illegal mass organizations form the backbone of the mass movement. This is where we find in concentration—and where we can develop to the hilt—the most active, the most basic leaders and individuals of the mass movement. The illegal Party is the leading force at the core, guiding the advance of the revolutionary mass movement step by step. Without a broad and sturdy secret movement, the mass movement will not be able to persevere in the correct direction, especially in the face of enemy attack or difficulty.
In the countryside, even though the illegal organizations can lead the broad masses directly, it is still necessary to form the open and legal organizations. Because clandestine organizations are organizations which must be secret in the eyes of the enemy and people who cannot be trusted, it is also necessary to have open organizations. The open organizations serve as the channel of our legal mobilizations, a shelter for our secret organizations, a means for reaching and linking up with other classes and sectors we can draw closer, and a tool for the masses to take advantage of all the possibilities in order to advance their own revolutionary actions. In forming the open and legal mass organizations in the countryside, we must always bear in mind linking its actions with the tasks of the armed struggle and the agrarian revolution. At all times, the legal organizations must not be the channel for the illegal anti-feudal demands. We must be on guard against allowing the illegal and the secret to drag in the legal.
In the cities, the need to set up open and legal mass organizations is more acute. These open and legal formations serve as the channel to reach, mobilize and for the Party to lead the broad masses in the cities.
D. Mobilizing the Masses
What are mass actions and mass campaigns?
A mass action is any planned collective mobilization of the masses for a definite objective. The most important mass action is the mass struggle or the planned collective confrontation of the masses against their enemies. Examples of such actions and mass struggles are workers’ strikes, confrontations of peasant masses against their landlords to lower the land rent, the organized support of the masses for the military operations of the people’s army, collective protests against their abusers, collective work in the field, and others.
Mass campaigns are planned, organized and persevering series of mass actions of a broad scope in order to achieve a set objective. There are different types of mass campaigns according to objective: there are mass political campaigns, military, organizational, education, economy and health campaigns.
Whatever mass campaign is launched, we need to ensure that its content and direction is in accordance with the line and orientation clarified in the first part of this study on mass work.
In the countryside, what we must launch first and foremost are the mass campaigns which have an anti-feudal character and which advance the armed struggle. In the cities what we must launch first and foremost are the mass campaigns which assert the democratic rights of the basic masses against fascism and bureaucrat capitalism, which advance the struggle of the working class against foreign imperialists and comprador- big bourgeois, and which support the anti-feudal movement in the countryside and the armed struggle.
There are mass campaigns which have a character of struggle for reforms. We recognize the importance of these mass campaigns in forming the unity of the masses. However, these campaigns must be launched in such a way as to highlight the revolutionary initiative of the masses, and to draw them closer to supporting and participating in the revolutionary armed struggle.
Likewise, it is important to mobilize the masses in contributing their different technical and material skills to the revolution, such as logistics and finance, technical know-how in livelihood, culture, personal skills, communications and transportation, health and other facilities.
Mass mobilizations—the actions, struggles and campaigns that the masses participate in—are important. In reality, the advance of the revolutionary mass movement is centered on the mobilization. Efforts to arouse and organize the masses have the objective of preparing them to launch and advance the mass mobilizations. By having the masses participate in these actions, we develop them and they are able to achieve the following:
- they are given political experience and their political consciousness is raised in conftontations with their enemies;
- their unity is tempered, and confidence in their own strength and ability to resolve problems develops; and,
- they achieve concrete development in their political, economic and cultural conditions.
What must be done before launching mass actions and mass campaigns?
Investigate well the problem that we would like to address or solve. Understand its nuances and the forces involved, and in relation to this, be clear about its objectives, draw up a concrete plan, set the appropriate means of mobilization and struggle, and prepare the organization. Ensure that the three principles guiding our actions are followed: One, there is a just basis; two, we have the upperhand; and three, act with self-restraint.
Ensure that there is sufficient preparation for the participation of the greatest number. The masses must understand and agree with the need of the planned action or struggle. In order for any action or struggle to be successful, the thinking of the masses must be prepared and their determination formed.
Prepare the organization of the masses. It is difficult to succeed if this is loose or weak. Whether the plan is successful or suffers a setback, the organization of the masses must be prepared to persevere in unity and collective action. Prepare for retaliation from the enemy.
Form and prepare the group that leads and sets the pace. This group takes the lead in conducting propaganda among the masses about the objectives and the means of mobilization or struggle. They take the lead in unifying the masses and preparing them and getting support from the middle forces. They observe the actual course of the mobilization or struggle and take the necessary steps in order to resolve the problems that arise. They will lead the advance of the mobilization until it is successfull, or they will lead the organized retreat if unsuccessful.
What are the tasks after every mass action and mass struggle?
After any mass action or mass struggle, whether it is successful or a failure, whether the results are positive or negative, it is necessary to sum up experiences together with the masses—analyze the experiences of the masses and draw lessons from them for the Party—and afterwards, propagate the summed-up experiences among the masses. In this manner, the meaning of their experience becomes clear to the Party and the masses. They are able to grasp its lessons, to raise their political consciousness, and to develop their capacity to advance the revolutionary movement.
The mass leaders are tested in these mass actions and mass struggles, and those who are enthusiastic and advanced among the masses emerge. After the mass actions and mass struggles, we must help those in leadership to sum up their experience and analyze their performance of the tasks. We must also pay attention to the newly-emergent forces who are enthusiastic and advanced in carrying out the actions. We must encourage them to take further initiative and to participate more in the work. If necessary, those in leadership who have proven to be unreliable or not capable must be replaced by those who are more developed.
Why do we need a combination of legal and illegal forms of mobilization and struggle?
In the countryside and in the cities, the effective combination of legal and illegal forms of mobilization and mass struggles is necessary. The revolutionary mass movement is able to advance most rapidly, most vigorously and most comprehensively in utilizing all forms appropriate to the conditions.
In the present strategic defensive stage of the people’s war, when the revolutionary forces are gathering strength step by step, the people’s army is not yet big and strong. The fighting fronts are only small guerrilla bases and zones that the big and strong enemy forces can still venture into. Thus, while we advance the armed form of our struggle, it is necessary to invigorate the open and legal forms of mobilization and struggle, in order to advance the revolutionary mass movement in the most rapid way.
In the cities, the principal form of struggle is open and legal in recognition of the concentration and strength of the enemy here. In order to advance the revolutionary mass movement in the cities, it is necessary to advance the open and militant mass struggles.
Legal mobilizations and struggles must serve the illegal struggle. Meaning to say, they must be in accordance with and serve the central task to seize political power, and in particular, serve the advance of the armed struggle.
On the other side of our correct and successful use of a combination of armed and legal forms of struggle, there were also deviations and a disorientation brought about by “Left” and Right opportunist lines, which resulted in damage and setbacks.
The armed and legal or unarmed forms of struggle are both forms of political struggle. It is often said correctly that war is a continuation of politics by other means. The New People’s Army and the people’s war have a revolutionary political character, and are the political weapons of the people.
Relative to armed struggle, the legal forms of struggle are secondary because, by themselves or if considered principal, they are unable to seize the political power for the proletariat and the people. The social revolution necessitates the total victory of the armed struggle. However, the legal forms of struggle are important and are indispensable for the advance of the armed revolution. Each form has its unique characteristics, and each has its role to play. Legal forms are defensive in the face of the overwhelmingly large police and military forces of the enemy, but are intended to win over the largest number of the people to fight the enemy.
The Party needs to coordinate the armed and the unarmed, the legal and the illegal, the secret and the open forces and forms of struggle in the cities and the countryside. The advance of all forces and forms of struggle must become the product of this coordination. We must repudiate the Right opportunist lie that the Party neglected the legal struggle by launching the revolutionary armed struggle. The Right opportunists would like the Party to put a stop or tone down the emphasis on the principal form of revolutionary struggle. The truth is the Party continues to stand as the leading force in the legal democratic movement. In order to make the legal democratic movement in the cities more effective, the Party needs to lessen the proportion of cadres confined to offices, institutions and coalitions, and to assign and develop more cadres in the factories, urban poor communities, and schools. Instead of stopping or lessening the emphasis on armed struggle, the Party needs to correct the reverse flow of cadres from the countryside to the cities, and to start sending more cadres and mass activists to the countryside.
Legal struggles have already assumed concrete forms. The most important of these are the mass education efforts, mass organizing, and mass mobilizations which are always carried out in accordance with the national-democratic program. These can be gleaned dramatically in the strikes, demonstrations, marches and other forms of coordinated mass actions of the class, sectoral and multisectoral issues.
The preliminary peace talks between the Ramos regime and the NDFP is yet another form of legal struggle. Through these negotiations, an illegal force such as the NDFP is allowed to propagate through legal means its national-democratic line as a line for a just and lasting peace and to attain international recognition of its status of belligerency. However, we must be alert to the danger of sending the wrong signal to the revolutionary forces, that the enemy is easy to talk to, and of creating illusions among the people. The revolutionary forces must always be ready to break off from preliminary or bilateral peace talks when they serve only to weaken instead of strengthening the revolutionary forces.
The progressive organizations must give highest priority to their own political education, to strengthening their organization and to the mass campaigns. They may propagate the national-democratic line in any legal field. However, this program must not be exclusive or principally devoted to any bourgeois electoral contest; influencing any institution or branch of the reactionary government; or even the framework of the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the reactionary government; or even all of these. All revolutionary cadres in the legal democratic movement must grasp the correct relation and coordination between the armed and legal forms of struggle, as well as between the various forms of legal struggle.
The Right opportunists exaggerate the importance of all legal forms of struggle, or else, they select one of them and blow up their importance and place the legal struggle on a higher plane than armed struggle. One way of distinguishing revolutionaries from reformists is how they regard the importance of armed struggle and how they correlate the armed and legal forms of struggle.
Reformism is exposed whenever it denies the necessity of armed revolution in the Philippines today. On the other hand, “Left” opportunism denies the necessity and importance of the legal democratic movement, and confines itself to armed struggle until it reaches the point where it can no longer see the correct relation and coordination of armed struggle and the legal democratic movement.
Those who do not recognize or understand the big importance of the organs of political power and mass organizations established in the countryside in the course of the people’s war may feel disillusioned by the protractedness of the armed revolution. These people usually exhibit the petty-bourgeois thinking that the success of the armed revolution can be measured only by how much political power we have already attained in the cities. Of course, the final part of the armed revolution is the seizure of the cities. However, we might be drawn farther away from attaining this objective if we are to wallow in “Left” opportunism or if we are to allow Right opportunism to obstruct the armed revolution.
E. Consolidation and Expansion
What is meant by consolidation?
Consolidation means the mobilization and the development of the consciousness and organization of the masses at each stage.
In the countryside, this means the formation of the guerrilla bases and zones; the establishment of basic mass organizations and organs of political power; the formation of units of the Party and the NPA; the launching of anti-feudal mass campaigns; the convening of mass education courses, etc.
In the cities, consolidation means advancing the democratic movement of the workers, other urban poor, and lower levels of the petty bourgeoisie (especially the students and teachers) in the factories, communities and schools; the formation of unions of workers and mass organizations in the communities and schools; the establishment of Party branches and groups; the formation of alliances based on the principles of united front; the formation of secret mass organizations; and the convening of mass education courses, etc.
The ongoing mass education campaigns are an important tool of consolidation in order to raise the level of consciousness, capacity and experience of the masses. These education campaigns always prepare them to face new problems which are a result of the heightened level of struggle or a retreat from the previous level.
What is meant by expansion?
Expansion means adding more places or groups to the scope of mass work. It means opening up new places, sectors and groups that we are able to reach and mobilize. In the countryside, we open up barrios and localities and we begin mass work in them. In the cities, we increase the factories, communities and schools that we are able to reach and we begin mass work in them.
First and foremost, we expand by means of forming coordinating groups and organizing groups of the people in the places where we are starting mass work.
What is the relation of consolidation and expansion?
We conduct expansion based on consolidation, and we consolidate while conducting expansion. Expansion with consolidation is the effective way of rooting the revolutionary movement on a wide scale. Even though we are already mobilizing in new places, we must ensure the continuous development of previous areas of mobilization.
On the other hand, we must be on guard as well of the danger of being dragged into consolidation to the neglect of expansion. We would like the revolutionary movement to spread out on the broadest scope possible. It is wrong to be satisfied with a narrow place.
In the countryside, the units of the people’s army need sufficient expanse, depth and sturdiness in order to maneuver. In the cities, it is necessary to reach the broad masses and people continuously in order to make them participate in the political struggle, principally the anti-fascist and anti-imperialist struggle. It is necessary to cast the net of the secret movement on the widest scale possible.
In order to combine consolidation and expansion correctly, it is necessary to plan all of the work, taking into account the needs, targets and capabilities. At every period, we must determine which of the two we must give principal attention to, without neglecting the other. The basic principle we must bear in mind is, “expand based on consolidation, and consolidate while expanding.”
Our overall guide to expansion work and consolidation is the wave upon wave advance according to the present line of waging extensive and intensive guerrilla warfare based on an ever widening and ever deepening mass base.
We must rectify and combat the “Left” opportunist line of military adventurism and urban insurrectionism which took away units directed at the expansion work and consolidation of the mass base and the guerrilla zones. Likewise, we must also rectify and combat the Right opportunist line of capitulationism, parliamentarism and reformism which surrenders to the enemy the proletarian class leadership of the people’s national-democratic revolution.
Rectification must continue to reinvigorate and to sharpen the quality of mass work and the formation of the mass base in the countryside. There is an immediate big need to expand the guerrilla fronts and to recover lost territories, together with immediately facing the problems of consolidation which are now relegated to the secondary position. What is needed is grasping and carrying out solid organizing; and the correct balance of expansion and consolidation, the anti-feudal class line, ongoing education and propaganda work, and advancing various types of mass campaigns.
We must take advantage of the enemy’s loosening up over a large part of the countryside in order to concentrate the bulk of its forces and resources in attacking a few priority targets. We must learn to adjust and persevere and develop our mass work even in situations and scopes where jostling with the enemy is more intense. We must not abandon or just neglect populated areas, those along transportation, communications and supply lines, and those important to the links and support of the movement in the cities, just because of enemy surveillance. We must learn to excel in combining according to the changing military situation and the particularities of the places (secluded and mountainous, lower elevation and plain, or along the town and highway); of organization and secret and open struggle; illegal, semi-legal and legal forms; of traditional and non-traditional forms; likewise, armed and non-armed struggle—in order to maintain as much as possible the links, the guidance and the development of the movement and the mass base. In organizing the masses, we must avoid the premature verticalization, and emphasize instead the widescale strengthening at the level of the barrios and municipalities.
Recovery work is much more complicated and more difficult than the expansion work of the past. In order to advance our mass work and mass movement, we must conduct surveillance and clean up the informers planted by the enemy in places where they stayed for a long time or still controlled by the military. If necessary, we must go around those places “hardened” by the military and first go after those “softer” places.
There is also the various remnant baggage of previous errors and shortcomings and the disruption of traitorous and rotten elements. The summing-up of experiences, criticism and self criticism, and study with the participation of the masses, are important in order to draw the correct lessons from experiences, to put in proper perspective the negative experiences, to place the active and militant thought over adversity, and to rouse the masses for a resurgence of the struggle.
Expansion and recovery work can be done only with the guidance of the line and principles of the rectification movement. Reorientation and retraining is necessary, so is a firm grasp of the mass line and holding up solid organizing in greater importance. We need education work and training to catch up with a large number of those who were recruited and subsequently elevated but whose knowledge and experience of many aspects is sorely lacking. We need to educate them with the principles and means of social investigation, mass organizing, step by step advancing of the anti-feudal movement, and the formation of the basic Party units, and the launching of the anti-feudal and other mass struggles.
We must support the all-sided and diligent gathering of revolutionary strength of the movement in the cities in order to raise the spiral of interaction of the armed movement in the countryside—for a non-stop but step-by-step strengthening of the revolution and weakening of reaction.
The work of consolidation and solid organizing must not lag behind expansion and work. We will be able to launch various types of legal struggle if we have conducted solid organizing of the masses at the basic level beforehand. Through the mass organizations, we will be able to mobilize a large number of people, and launch all types of democratic actions in their work places, communities, foyers, streets, and even the backyards of reactionary government offices.
We need to launch propaganda-agitation, education campaigns and mass struggles of the sectoral or multisectoral issues in relation to the worsening socio-economic crisis, against the anti-people and counterrevolutionary policies, programs and schemes of the ruling regime, and against US imperialism. From time to time, we must set at the national and regional levels of the appropriate organs letting loose big mobilizations, depending on the prevailing socio-political situation of the country.
Central Committee, CPP, Our Urgent Tasks, 1976 (Rebolusyon, Vol. I, No. 1)
Central Committee, CPP, Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors, 1992 (Rebolusyon, Special Issue No. 1 Series 1993).
Central Committee, CPP, General Review of Important Events and Decisions (1980-1991),1992 (Rebolusyon, Special Issue No. 2 Series 1993).
Mao Zedong, “On Practice” (July 1937), Selected Works, Vol. I.
EC-CC, “On the September Thesis of the Peasant Secretariat,” Rebolusyon, No. 3 Series 1993.
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