Notes on People’s War in Southeast Asia

Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines


The subject of people's war in Southeast Asia is quite large. It would take at least a book to answer many of your possible questions. In a short discourse, I can only try to give you an outline of the subject, some important facts and ideas. Of course, I do so from my viewpoint. Thus, I prefer to describe my contribution as "notes" to signal that there is plenty of room for discussion.

Let me present to you the armed struggles led by communist parties in Southeast Asia before, during and immediately after World War II, focus on the people's war when Southeast Asia developed into the storm center of the world proletarian revolution from 1960 to 1975, evaluate the post-Mao China policy against people's war in the region, describe the people's war in the Philippines and explore the prospects of people's war in Southeast Asia.

Arranged chronologically according to their order of establishment were the following communist parties that led armed struggles at one time or another in Southeast Asia:

  1. Communist Party of Indonesia (organized as the Communist Association of the Indies in 1920 under the auspices of the Communist International and renamed Communist Party of Indonesia in 1924)
  2. Communist Party of the Philippines (Communist Party of the Philippine Islands in 1930, the Communist Party of the Philippines as merger party of the Communist and Socialist parties in 1938 and the Communist of the Party of the Philippines as reestablished in 1968)
  3. Communist Party of Vietnam (Communist Party of Indochina in 1930, Vietnam Workers' Party in 1951 and Communist Party of Vietnam in 1976)
  4. Malayan Communist Party (1930)
  5. Burmese Communist Party (1939)
  6. Communist Party of Thailand (Communist Party of Siam in 1942)
  7. Party of Democratic Kampuchea (Kampuchea People's Revolutionary Party in 1951, Cambodian Communist Party in 1960 and Party of Democratic Kampuchea in 1981)
  8. Lao People's Revolutionary Party (Lao People's Party in 1955 and Lao People's Revolutionary Party in 1975)
  9. North Kalimantan Communist Party (1971)