Remarks at the booklaunch: Building People’s Power

By MALCOLM GUY
ILPS General Secretary

I am honoured today to speak in the name of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, the ILPS, at the launching or the newest book by the Chair of the ILPS, Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Building People’s Power, Vol 2.

I do not know how many more books, Jose Maria Sison has in him. But I am impressed and challenged by each one. I am also very pleased that Professor Sison has undertaken this process of organizing his substantial writings into what is now a collection of dozens of books, so many in fact, that even his editor could not remember how many he has written. This is an important legacy to share with the revolutionaries of today and tomorrow, both within the Philippines… and beyond.

I have now been working with Joma, if I may call him that, for several years as part of the International Coordinating Group of the ILPS, that organization’s executive committee.

It has been a wonderful learning experience. My time with Joma taught me that revolutionaries could be both profound, determined and occasionally very firm, yet still be engagingly funny and self deprecating. And that they could be enthusiastic, if not always totally coordinated, dancers, and energetic, even if often out of tune, singers.

I have sat in ILPS ICC meetings, and been awed by the depth and breadth of Joma’s analytical skills and his seemingly limitless knowledge of world economics, political movements and philosophy. The hardest part was often having the difficult talk of asking Joma to wrap up his intervention since we had so many other points on the agenda we could not afford another 30 minutes on this single topic!

I am working on a documentary film on JMS and his revolutionary partner, Julie de Lima, the editor of the book that is being launched tonight. Once again, this filming process has been an honour and a challenge. How to you shoehorn the story of two such revolutionaries who have lived such full lives into a documentary film, even if it is 90 minutes long.

Joma, and Julie have been extremely generous with their time and ideas during the filming process, yet respectful of our independence and vision.

I think this combination is part of the key to their success.

As part of the filming for the documentary of Julie and Joma, last December 26, I got to attend the anniversary of the Communist People of the Philippines, the party that the author of tonight’s book helped to set up back in 1968. We went to north east Mindanao, riding a van for several hours, a tricyle and then “sky lab” until be reached the barangay where the anniversary would be held. I know when we had arrived since we were suddently surrounded by dozens of New People’s Army fighters, which Joma had also helped to set up on March 29, 1969, preparing their show of force to be presented a couple of days later, on December 26th, along with their cultural presentations.

5000 people would climb the tough mountain path to attend the celebrations.

The NPA fighters put on an impressive show. I was struck that many of the fighters were women and that there was an impressive number of indigenous people among the fights, mostly Manobo. They were extremely smart, energetic and brave, and clear about their revolutionary goals, and ready to give their lives for that goal of freeing the people of the Philippines from reaction and imperialism.

And as I talked with them I realized that they all had studied at least one of Professor Sison’s other books, the famous Philippine Society and Revolution.

Once again I realized the power of Prof Sison’s writings. These were not theretical treastices, but books written in the heat of the the revolutionary struggle, books with a purpose, books arising of our practice, books to help guide the revolutionary struggle in the Philippines… and the world.

I thank Professor Sison and his editor, Julieta de Lima, for producing yet another book, Building People’s Power, Volume 2, 2010-2011, part of the collection of books under the title, Peoples’ Struggles against Oppression and Exploitation, Selected Writings 2009-2015. These are an important addition to the collection of writing over the last half century from one one the world’s top 100 Marxist writers. I have not yet read the book, but I have a long flight ahead of me to start that process. I know that tonight’s book will once again become required reading for genuine revolutionaries.

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