Recall the people’s epic resistance to martial law

Communist Party of the Philippines, September 01, 2022

This month of September, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in marking their epic democratic resistance against Ferdinand Marcos Sr’s martial law dictatorship during the period 1972–1986.

During this month, the Party pays tribute to all the heroes and martyrs of the democratic mass struggles against the US-Marcos dictatorship including the leaders and cadres of the Party who firmly carried the torch of resistance to serve as a beacon especially during the darkest hours under the tyrannical and terrorist Marcos I regime. They are among those who bore the brunt of the dictatorship’s brutality and became targets of the most cruel forms of state terrorism.

The Party also salutes all the veteran fighters who joined the fight against the Marcos I dictatorship. Many of them remain militant and stand against the continuing reign of terror, political repression and fascist deception under the Marcos II regime.

The Party, the New People’s Army and the underground mass organizations allied with the National Democratic Front served as the steel core of the Filipino people’s resistance against the tyrannical regime. They led the Filipino people in waging all forms of resistance to the Marcos I dictatorship. They proved correct the slogan “people’s war against martial law” which the broad masses chanted even before Marcos made true his threats to impose military rule.

In the face of widespread arrests, torture, killings, massacres and brazen suppression of all democratic rights, Marcos Sr instigated the Filipino people to take the path of armed resistance and join the guerrilla war in the countryside. The NPA served as the Filipino people’s strongest weapon against the US-Marcos dictatorship which dealt heavy blows against the armed pillars of the dictatorship.

The Party and the national democratic forces were the most persevering in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Filipino people against the US-Marcos dictatorship. Their unwavering efforts created the conditions for the emergence of a broad antifascist alliance which ranged together all democratic and patriotic classes, as well as those in the anti-Marcos ruling elite, which caused the isolation and weakening of the tyrannical regime.

Their militant efforts shattered the fear of martial law and emboldened the broad masses of workers, peasants, students and various professionals. From the mid-1970s, the Filipino people were boldly advancing their mass struggles in the form of factory strikes, campus walk-outs and mass demonstrations. These din of protests of tens upon thousands of people further rose after the 1983 assassination of Aquino and would hit a crescendo in the 1985–1986 period leading to the ouster of Marcos Sr and his family from power.

While the ouster of the Marcoses in 1986 led to the formal restoration of democratic rights (as contained in the 1987 constitution), the fascist structure which Marcos Sr built to prop up his martial law regime were not completely dismantled. Especially in the countryside, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has continued to impose its armed might on the broad peasant masses.

Under the US-instigated counterinsurgency, large swathes of rural areas are placed under the power of the military. The past few years under the Duterte regime saw the increasing powers of the military with former officials playing key roles in the state under the so-called National Task Force (NTF)-Elcac. The fascists are waging a relentless war against unions and other legal forms of organizations and associations in a futile attempt to take away the people’s capacity to defend their rights and welfare.

Despite overwhelming evidence of gross abuses of human rights and large-scale corruption, Marcos Sr and his henchmen remain unpunished for their crimes. In fact, the political rehabilitation of the Marcos family would soon take place under successive governments which allowed them to use their estimated stash of more than $10 billion to restore themselves in power. In the past elections, the Marcoses colluded with the Dutertes and Arroyos to install the son and namesake of the former dictator, Ferdinand Jr, as president by rigging the automated counting and conjuring an impossible “31 million votes” to steal the results of the elections.

On the one hand, it is like a cruel joke of history that the Filipino people will mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law right on the moment that the dictator’s son and family, repudiated and driven away through a people’s uprising, are now back in power.

On the other hand, it is also, in a way, propitious, as it will serve as an occasion for the people to recall the evils of the US-Marcos dictatorship and draw lessons and inspiration from the sacrifices and achievements of their antifascist resistance. These lessons are invaluable as they continue their fight against fascist tyranny and terrorism and confront a burgeoning authoritarianism under Marcos Jr and the ruling clique.

The Communist Party of the Philippines, tempered in over five decades of struggle, remains in a position to lead the Filipino people in their revolutionary resistance. It is presently infinitely far stronger and far more wiser than what it was when Marcos I imposed his fascist dictatorship.

It is widely and deeply rooted among the workers and peasants, among fisherfolk and minority peoples, among the petty-bourgeoisie, among the mass of unemployed and the rank and file employees and small-income earners. The Party is ever expanding with the infusion of fresh blood from among the new generation of revolutionaries.

The Party continues to lead the New People’s Army with a few thousand Red fighters who are determined to wage guerrilla warfare across the archipelago to defend the Filipino people. It has surmounted a number of US-supported large-scale military offensives over the past decades and will surely gain more strength in the coming years. It is far more stronger than during the height of Marcos I’s fascist tyranny. It is in a good position to further expand its territories, gather armed strength and strike bigger blows against the fascists terrorists.

The chronic crisis of the ruling system continues to deepen and wreak havoc on the lives of the Filipino people. The rise of the Marcoses show the extent of the rottenness of the semicolonial and semifeudal system under which foreign monopoly capitalist companies and their local partners of big bourgeois compradors, big landlords and bureaucrat capitalists plunder and accumulate vast amounts of wealth while most Filipinos find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

The vast majority of the people are impoverished and downtrodden. They suffer from spiralling prices, low wages and salaries, widespread unemployment, landlessness and landgrabbing, higher taxes, import dumping and smuggling, ballooning foreign debt and other ills of neoliberal policy. They are also the one who suffer the worse of the effects of environmental plunder and climate change, as well as the crisis wrought by the militarist response to the pandemic.

In the face of the worsening crisis of the ruling system, the Party and all revolutionary forces are determined to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipino people in their millions. As we mark the 50th year of the declaration of martial law, the Party vows to continue leading the broad masses of the people in advancing their revolutionary struggle through to the end to achieve their aspirations for national freedom and genuine democracy.