Comrades in FTP-STL (For the People – Saint Louis) read and discussed the Open Letter “The Best of My Life was in the NPA” by Ka Maria Nel of the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front in the Philippines after this week’s general body meeting. Comrades discussed what struck them the most about this piece and what can be learned from it. The responses are below:
AU: I am impressed at how much support the NPA had and has among the people. This support can only come from decades of tireless mass work, struggle, and defending the people’s interest with weapons, fighting back against the police, the fascist military, warlords/landlords, and others who exploit them. This shows that tireless class struggle is what builds a movement and that the masses are our best security.
DH: Impressed by faith in the army and contrast between NPA reception and soldiers’ reception by the masses. Hardship and isolation from the masses is not a good thing. Make things easier on the masses and they’ll return the sentiment because you represent their interests and fight for them and the liberation of working people and the poor.
ZL: Commitment to revolutionary force can be fulfillment of emotional drive to not take part in spoils of imperialism for those of us who live in imperialist countries like the United States. “I would rather be a penniless servant than be a millionaire.” – this really spoke to me. It’s essential to reject comfortable lifestyles bought with other people’s blood and seek to transform society from the root. Furthermore, if you can show non-red sympathizers what the actual people’s forces are doing and whose interests they represent, they will see that reactionary lies are just that.
CW: Really fight for revolution if we are serious about it, abandon bourgeois comforts. Comrades especially in the imperialist countries are in a constant struggle against bourgeois conditioning and sugar coated bullets and class struggle is the best way to temper yourself. There was a saying during the GPCR – fight self, combat revisionism – this is what I thought reading this piece. Ka Maria abandoned an easy university life in the city to go to the mountains and fight for the people. We can learn from this experience.
MH: She keeps reiterating that she wasn’t recruited nor was she duped. Nobody lied – she sought out the NPA and saw the armed struggle as the best and highest way to contribute to the revolution. Capitalism in a semi-colonial, semi-feudal context makes its own exploitation evident. “Winning hearts and minds” is a facade, because at the end of the day, the exploitation is still stark and clear. All of these things are counter-insurgency tactics that don’t work in the face of mass impoverishment and abuse. It creates its own contradictions and digs its own grave and makes the people rebel.
JR: Emphasis on voluntarily joining the NPA and abandoning bourgeois comforts. The pen and voice must be augmented by the gun.
T.: The nature of fascist propaganda/counter-insurgency (stewing pebbles), claiming that the only people who struggle for a better world are certain types of people who have mental or other deficiencies, of character, etc. This is exposed as propaganda through lived experience.
AA: Strongly relate to the background component and realizing that she was in an occupied state – I realized that I am part of the occupying state, when I was in college. I entered school as an apolitical liberal, and now have transformed into a revolutionary Communist. It was exposure and education – coming to STL and seeing the material conditions of the people. Instead of being recruited, she joined the NPA, much like I sought out and joined FTP-STL. Another observation – they have the support of the masses so they do not have to steal. This is the support that we are working to build – it is essential to combat American imperialist conditioning to build as anti-Communism is imbibed from the cradle.
Comrades are invited to open political education sessions hosted by FTPSTL every Friday at 8:30 PM CST. FTP-STL will begin February by reading J. Moufawad-Paul’s The Communist Necessity and will be reading Heavy Radicals beginning in March. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or message @FTPSTL on Facebook for virtual meeting links. Other FTP branches conduct regular studies as well, if there is one near you, contact them for information!