40 Years of Philippine Society and Revolution:
Interview with Comrade Jose Maria Sison (Amado Guerrero)
By Ang Bayan
has been 40 years since the Central Publishing House of the Communist
Party of the Philippines (CPP) first published Philippine Society and
Revolution (PSR). In the past 40 years, PSR has served as the CPP's
principal reference and guide in laying down the basic principles of
the two-stage revolution in the Philippines based on the analysis of
concrete conditions of the semicolonial and semifeudal system. To
commemorate the anniversary of PSR and reaffirm the principles it laid
down, Ang Bayan decided to interview Comrade Jose Ma. Sison who, as CPP
founding chair Amado Guerrero, was the principal author of the PSR.1.
Can you relate to our readers certain historical facts about PSR? When
did you start writing it? Who were involved in the research and
writing? When was it first published and in what form? To your
knowledge, how many times has the book been printed?
Maria Sison (JMS): I wrote it soon after the launching of the people's
war and on the eve of the First Quarter Storm of 1970. I started
writing and finished it in the third quarter of 1969. Some comrades in
the EC/CC like Charlie del Rosario and Monico Atienza brought me the
reference materials that I needed. When I finished the
around August 1969, I gave it to Julie de Lima and other individuals
and the members of the Central Committee to gather their suggestions
The first edition of PSR was published in
mimeographed form in October 1969, a copy of which was submitted for
publication in the Philippine Collegian under the title Philippine
Crisis and Revolution (this can be considered the second edition).
Pulang Tala Publications published the third edition and Ta Kung Pao of
Hongkong, the fourth edition in 1970. The fifth and sixth editions in
English and Pilipino were mimeographed by the CPP Central Publishing
House in 1971. In 1977, the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino
published the seventh edition in the US. This can be considered the
fourth edition if the mimeographed editions are excluded.
Other editions were released after my capture in 1977. There were even German and Turkish translations and a comics edition.2.
PSR is one of the most important Marxist-Leninist theoretical works of
the revolutionary movement in the Philippines. What theoretical
challenges faced its writing? What do you think are the key
contributions of PSR to the theory of revolution in the Philippines?
Has it made any contribution to theory that is relevant beyond the
practice of the Philippine revolution?
The biggest theoretical challenge was the application of
Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought to Philippine history and
circumstances. It necessitated the concrete analysis of concrete
conditions. The key contributions of PSR are its characterization of
Philippine society as semicolonial and semifeudal and the corresponding
line of national and democratic revolution under the leadership of the
In this regard, PSR specified the allied classes
(workers, peasants, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie)
and the class enemies (big compradors and landlords) in the new
democratic revolution. It also laid down the principal task: national
liberation and democratic revolution. It defined as well the stages of
the Philippine revolution: people's new democracy and socialism.3.
Before PSR, there were Struggle for National Democracy (SND) and the
document "Rectify Errors, Rebuild the Party" (RERP) which were among
the first major theoretical works of the national democratic movement
in the Philippines. Can you recount the history of the development of
the theory of Philippine revolution up to the publication of PSR in 1970?
The publication of SND and the RERP document was necessary and
essential. SND paved the way for the exposition of the people's basic
problems and the possible revolutionary solution in legal and
persuasive language. It was in line with the tradition of the old
democratic revolution of 1896 and the new democratic revolution under
the leadership of the working class. It was based on the prevailing
conditions and needs of the Filipino people, especially the toiling
RERP was seminal in the analysis of the experience of
the old merger party of the Communist and Socialist Parties. It exposed
the errors and weaknesses which led to the failure of the revolution.
It had therefore laid down what must be done in order to realize the
ideological, political and organizational requirements to rebuild the
revolutionary party of the proletariat, the people's army and the
united front and to rekindle and advance the revolution towards victory.4.
What was the biggest contribution of PSR to the course of the
Philippine revolution in the past 40 years? What role did it play in
the different stages of development of the Philippine revolution?
PSR greatly strengthened the general line earlier laid down by the
Party Constitution and the Program for a People's Democratic
Revolution. Since the first year of the people's war up to the present,
PSR has played a key role in shedding light about the history, the
basic problems and the revolutionary solution of the Filipino people.
has played such an important role in every stage of the revolution. PSR
further enlightens with the help of recent writings based on the
advances of the revolution and the worsening of the crisis of the
rotten sytem. PSR has been an effective tool of the Party in raising
the consciousness and fighting will of Party members and mass activists.5.
The fourth edition of PSR included "Specific Characteristics of Our
People's War" and "Our Urgent Tasks" which emphasized the theoretical
importance of this document. What other theoretical works of the CPP do
you think have equal weight and significance in terms of the
development of the theory of revolution in the Philippines?
The fourth edition (if the three mimeographed editions are not counted)
indeed emphasized the theoretical importance of the two supplementary
documents, which in turn further enhanced PSR. The documents of similar
importance and significance in the development of the theory of
revolution in the Philippines are "On the Mode of Production in the
Philippines" (1983), "Philippine Crisis and Revolution" (1986), "Stand
for Socialism Against Modern Revisionism" (1992) and "Reaffirm Our
Basic Principles and Rectify the Errors" (1992), the basic documents of
the Second Great Rectification Movement, and basic documents against
the policy of neoliberal globalization and other offensives of
imperialism.6. It has been
over 40 years since the PSR was first published. How would you compare
Philippine society today to the conditions then? Do you think PSR
remains an effective guide for the Philippine revolution? Do you see a
need for a new edition, revision or supplement to PSR?
The continuing semicolonial and semifeudal conditions are further
worsening and deepening. Thus, PSR remains an effective guide for the
Philippine national and democratic revolution. The Party continues to
issue new editions of PSR and supplement it with new related documents.
However, I am tempted to write a new edition with expanded text dealing
with the past four decades.7.
How can PSR further benefit the current stage of the revolution,
especially in line with the CPP's call to achieve the strategic
stalemate in five years? What do you think are the crucial issues that
have to be studied by Philippine revolutionaries in order to further
invigorate the different fields of struggle?
Always review PSR and apply it to current circumstances and events.
Under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought (or Maoism),
PSR explains why the people's war is necessary and how to advance it in
stages: from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate and
from the strategic stalemate to the strategic offensive. PSR also laid
down the need to fulfill the political requirements in order to advance
the people's war from one stage to the next.
The Party must be
strengthened ideologically, politically and organizationally. The
people's army must be strengthened through armed struggle, agrarian
revolution and the building of the mass base and organs of political
power. There must be a united front policy involving certain types of
alliances: the basic worker-peasant alliance, the progressive alliance
of the toiling masses and the urban petty bourgeoisie, the patriotic
alliance of the progressive classes and the national bourgeoisie and
the temporary and unstable alliance with reactionaries fighting the