NDFP @50 In Europe:Celebrating and Strengthening Revolutionary Solidarity

As part of its two-day 50th anniversary celebrations, the National Democratic Front of The Philippines (NDFP) held a conference on national liberation movements and cultural workshops at the Kurdish Democratic People’s Center in the Hague, The Netherlands on April 23, 2023

Waving the theme, “Celebrate 50 years of the united front against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism”, the second day conference started with a keynote from Luis Jalandoni, NDFP Chief International Representative.

Jalandoni stated: “the strategic importance of sharing revolutionary reciprocal solidarity,” stressing the need “to learn from each other’s struggle. We have a common enemy, which is US Imperialism. We have to help each other. We have to find the most creative ways of supporting each other. This reciprocity among us is a necessity of our times…We must creatively find and effectively build the revolutionary solidarity among us, among various revolutionary movements.”

The representatives of several national liberation movements present positively responded to Jalandoni’s call by articulating their own revolutionary struggles as well as sharing their history and experiences of suffering from and struggling against repressive regimes, fascist dictatorships and imperialist domination. At the same time, they also shared various significant lessons in peace negotiations and tactics in united front work.

Through a video message, former political prisoner Sayang Mandabayan of Front National Mahasiswa Pemuda Papua (West Papuan Student National Front) briefly chronicled the history of the neocolonial legacy of the US, the Netherlands and Indonesia in West Papua and the intensified militarization of their communities by the Indonesian government, which could lead to the “extinction of Papuan people in the next 20 years”.

The leader of the Burmese Karen movement via a recorded video, meanwhile, recalled the military dictatorship, its repressive policies and the assassinations of their revolutionary leaders. Both West Papuan and Karen peoples engage in the armed struggle for genuine liberation. The West Papuan National Liberation Army has been waging people’s war since the 1960s, while the Karen National Liberation Army with its seven brigades of red fighters is the strongest independent armed movement in Myanmar.

Association of Latin American and Caribbean Refugees’ (ARLAC)Ringo Guzman imparted two significant lessons the Colombian revolutionaries have learned from the FARC’s (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombian Army)failed 2012 and 2016 peace deals with the Colombian government. According to Guzman, “It is impossible to desire a peace deal if the conditions are more about demobilization, disarmament and reintegration of guerrilla forces into the government, which is exactly what happened when the peace deal was signed. The FARC was disarmed, which meant they could not defend themselves.” Another lesson Guzman shared was that countries that guaranteed the peace deal did not push to accomplish it, resulting to the killings and assassinations of guerrillas.

In terms of tactics, Nilufer Koc of KNK, emphasized the importance of building strategic alliances with all oppressed peoples and freedom-loving forces to bring down the enemy. In their particular situation, Koc explained, “It means bringing together all revolutionary, democratic and progressive forces in Turkey against Erdogan and his Turkey First policy.” She also added, “This tactic also means being inclusive, that is forging an alliance with the peoples of Middle East — the Arabs, Persians, Turks, Armenians, Chechnya’s, and Assyrians, whom we share thousands of years of colonial oppression.”

NDFP Peace Panel interim chairperson Juliet De Lima focused on the CPP, NPA and NDFP as the Philippine revolution’s three invincible weapons. Concisely, she illustrated: “The Philippine national democratic revolution is of a new type led by the proletariat embodied by the Communist Party of the Philippines…[with] a socialist perspective…[it] leads both the armed struggle waged by the people’s army [and] the united front. The people’s army uses the strategy and tactics of protracted people’s war by surrounding the cities from the countryside…[while] the united front…is an instrument for splitting the ranks of the enemy forces, and in the course of doing so, uniting the broadest number of people in defeating the enemies part by part, one by one.”

The conference concluded with a strong call for revolutionary solidarity with each other’s struggles and liberation movements.

Cultural Workshops and Protest Action

Following the conference was a cultural workshop on theater, dance, rap and poster-making. Guests participated in a workshop of their choice, and collectively produced various creative pieces, which were presented in the plenary.

Before the actual workshops, Antonio Tujan of the Institute for Political Economy (IPE), gave a motivational input on cultural work as a task of all revolutionaries. By dismissing the prevailing notion that one must be an artist to do cultural work, Tujan encouraged, “We are all cultural workers…Each of us has a different level of artistic sense, proclivity or capacity but everyone has a level for which he/she can participate to create and realize in the cultural process.”

Tujan also noted the vital role of cultural work in changing one’s behavior and attitude: “Cultural work assists in the process of remolding of every individual and community to inculcate attitudes, inspire and steel their determination to persevere in the struggle. It uses art and literature processes…to advance the spiritual level of the individual and the collective.”

The workshops outputs reflected the collective and propaganda aspects of cultural work as well as the depths of solidarity and political awareness.

The dance workshop group interpreted Jose Maria Sison’s, “I Am Always with You”, while the theater workshop group presented the people’s movement and the armed struggle. Revolutionary reciprocal solidarity is re-echoed by the rap workshop group, with their piece: Struggles, Struggles Everywhere/All We Need to Do Is To/Keep Up the Fire and Share it Everywhere/Your Fight, I Share/My Fight You Share/Will Keep Up Fighting/And Make Sure We Sharing/To Win All the Battles/That We Really Believe in/Struggle, Struggle Everywhere.

The poster-making workshop group paraded the posters they colorfully painted and drawn with images while chanting, “Long Live, NDFP! Long Live International Solidarity!”

These chants reverberated in the hall as the whole group along with the representatives of the NDFP and national liberation movements ended the two-day celebration in high morale and spirits. ###