Sison: A Living Revolutionary

Solidarity message and appreciation for Prof. Jose Maria Sison’s 50 years of struggle for national and social liberation

From Secretary General
Alliance of Agrarian Reform Movement (AGRA)
Member of International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)

Warm greetings of solidarity!

It is very great honor for us to give solidarity message and appreciation for Prof.Jose Maria Sison, a living revolutionary. His contributions to the revolutionary struggles of the Filipino people and the people of the world are well very known and inspiring us all.

My first encounter with Prof. Sison was through his great book Philippine Society and Revolution (1979), given by a friend from KMP (Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas), when I attended “the Asian Workshop on Landlessness, Imperialist Globalization and the Peasants’ Struggle for Liberation” in June 1997. This book has become the first and foremost, a popular educational tool, a basic primer for national-democratic activists. Prof. Sison through the book told us about the application of historical-materialist analysis to Philippine history. In my opinion, Prof.Sison continued his contributions to Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought through this book Philippine Society and Revolution (1979).

His contributions to the rectification movement in the Philippines during 1966 to 1968 formed and determined the current and living revolutionary struggles in the Philippines today, which plays very important role in the current global struggles against imperialism and remnants of feudalism. Sison’s thoughts and explanations on semicolonial and semifeudal society are great signifinance for national and social liberation in the democratic struggles of every agrarian society in the world. His propositions on the remnants of feudalism especially on the relations of production between the landlord class and the peasantry are still valid and should be the guidance in forming and advancing any peasant struggle.

If we looked from the Indonesian history, during the same time when Prof.Sison struggled for the rectification movement in the Philippines, the core of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) leadership had become rotten with years of revisionism (Historical Document: Self-Criticism by the Indonesian Communist Party, 1966). The PKI put forward a wrong view of the state and in practice participated in and glorified Sukarno and the coalition government, which decidedly was not under proletarian leadership. The PKI also went down the revisionist path on the question of the process of revolution, seconding the thesis of a “peaceful road to socialism” advocated by the Soviet revisionists who came to power in 1956.

The self-criticism says that the disaster which has caused such serious losses to the PKI and the revolutionary movement of the Indonesian people after the outbreak and the defeat of the September 30th Movement has lifted up the curtain which for a long period has hidden the grave weaknesses of the PKI. Starting in October 1965 and continuing into 1966, pro-U.S. fascist militarists unleashed a massacre of horrible proportions against the Indonesian people. Several hundred thousand PKI members and sympathizers as well as masses not involved in any political activity were murdered in cold blood. The number of people shot in the streets or arrested, tortured, and killed in prison is still not known with any accuracy. The massacre resulted in the crushing of the PKI, the fall of Sukarno government, and the rise to power of a right-wing military clique led by Suharto which still holds sway in Indonesia today. The current President General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia is the son-in-law of General Sarwo Edhie who was then the butcher under Suharto’s command during the PKI crushing in 1965-1966.

The U.S. imperialists openly applauded the fascist takeover in Indonesia. “We must say it’s refreshing to read of young Moslems burning down Communist Party headquarters for a change and shouting ‘Long Live America’, “ said a Chicago Tribune editorial in October 1965. In July 1966, when the immensity of the bloodbath in Indonesia was already becoming clear, Time weekly magazine declared that the ousting of Sukarno was “the West’s best news for years in Asia.”


The self-criticism points out that today rebuilding the Party is under the reign of counter-revolutionary white terror which is most cruel and ferocious. The legality of the Party and the basic human rights of the Communists have been wantonly violated. The Party, therefore, has to be organized and has to work in complete illegality. While working in complete illegality, the Party must be adept at utilizing to the full all possible opportunities to carry out legal activities according to circumstances, and to choose ways and means that are acceptable to the masses with the aim of mobilizing the masses for struggle and leading this struggle step by step to a higher stage.

In rebuilding the Party, the Indonesian Marxist-Leninists must devote their attention to the creation of the conditions to lead the armed agrarian revolution to the peasants that will become the main form of struggle to win victory for the people’s democratic revolution in Indonesia. This means that the greatest attention should be paid to the rebuilding of Party organizations in the rural areas. The greatest attention must be paid to the solution of the problem of arousing, organizing, and mobilizing the peasants in an anti-feudal agrarian revolution.

The Indonesian peasants are the most interested in the people’s democratic revolution. Because, only this revolution will liberate them from the life of backwardness and inequality as a result of feudal suppression. It is only this revolution that will give them what they have dreamt all their lives and which will give them life: land. That is why the peasants will surely take this road of revolution for land and liberation, no matter how arduous and full of twists and turns this road will be.

No matter how protracted, tortuous and full of difficulties, this is the only road leading to a free and democratic New Indonesia, an Indonesia that will really belong to the Indonesian people. For this noble cause, we must have the courage to traverse the long road.

The self-criticism points out that the Indonesian Marxist-Leninists and revolutionaries on the basis of their own experience in struggle and by correcting the mistakes made by the Party in the past, do not have the slightest doubt about the correctness of Comrade Mao Zedong’s thesis that “the imperialists and all reactionaries are paper tigers. In appearance they are terrifying, but in reality they are not so powerful. From a long-term point of view, it is not the reactionaries but the people who are really powerful.”

To end this solidarity message and appreciation, I would like to quote Prof. Sison’s statement on his book (1979: 167): “We are in the era when imperialism is heading for total collapse and socialism is marching toward world victory. All peoples fighting imperialism, modern revisionism and all reaction are creating the conditions for the advent of socialism in more countries. The world proletarian revolution is vigorously advancing. This international factor is hastening the advance of the people’s democratic revolution and thereafter the advent of socialism in the Philippines. ”

Prof. Sison is really a living revolutionary! His dedications for national and social liberation for almost 50 years of struggle will always inspire and guide the people’s democratic revolution in his country and the current global struggle against imperialism and feudalism!

Warm greetings from the militant, young, and oppressed people of Indonesia for his courage, determination, struggle, and thoughts!

Long Live International Solidarity!

Thank you.

Jakarta, 14 November 2008