• The Philippine Cultural Revolution

  • A series of articles where Jose Maria Sison discusses culture, the need for a cultural revolution, and the revolutionary process in the Philippines.
  • On Culture

  • Questions from the New Democratic Online School of Anakbayan Europa

    Answers By Jose Maria Sison
  • 18 April 2021


What Is Culture?

Culture encompasses the modes of existence and ideology of thought in philosophy, politics, economics, in the environmental and social sciences, in art and literature, in jurisprudence and morality. It is also an accumulation of assumptions, customs, traditions, and the like that may date back to ancient times and remain in the present as long as someone carries them. They constitute all the social psychology of the people.

Culture is a superstructure with a material basis. Ideas, institutions and all cultural patterns are based on the material method of existence of a society. It is ever-changing, as is all society undergoing change. Culture is a reflection of economics and politics. Dominant forces and emerging forces in economics and politics are also dominant forces and emerging forces in culture. These conflicting forces and their essential contradictions take on ideological forms and definite machinery in the field of culture.

The aim of today's discussion is to 1) Understand the importance and role of revolutionary cultural work in the general advancement of the People's Democratic Revolution; 2) 1. Understand the role, place and current level of the enrichment of our revolutionary art and literature; and the role and importance of launching mass education and healthcare in the continuous building and consolidation of our mass bases; 3) Understand and grasp the future, challenges and current duties of revolutionary cultural work in the continuous intensification and raising of the level of our people's war.


  1. a. What kind of culture exists today?
    b. What are feudal, bourgeois, and imperialist culture?
    c. What is the dominant force in Philippine culture today?

JMS: a. Philippine culture may be called semicolonial and semifeudal because culture reflects the economic and political aspects of society. Pre-colonial and and pre-feudal, colonial and feudal, semicolonial, semifeudal, liberal bourgeois and imperialist cultures co-exist and interweave with each other as the traditional and reactionary cultural forces.

b. Feudal culture is best exemplified by the ideas, laws, customs and habits generated by the Roman Catholic church since Spanish colonial times. Bourgeois culture ranges from liberal democracy to conservative liberalism generated by the state and the educational system. Imperialist culture uses bourgeois liberalism of the conservative type as sugarcoating for monopoly capitalist ideology and hegemony.

c. US imperialism is the most dominant force in its combination with such major cultural forces as the puppet state and the Catholic Church. Altogether, the three generate cultural policies, interests and influences that reflect and favor the dominance of foreign monopoly capitalism and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

  1. What are the main instruments in the colonial, neocolonial, and feudal cultural oppression of the Filipino people?

JMS: In the colonial and feudal society under Spanish colonialism, the colonial state and the Roman Catholic Church were the main instruments of colonial oppression. The former required obedience to the colonial and feudal laws. And the latter required belief in their feudal religious preachings.

US imperialism and the Philippine puppet state have generated a neocolonial and bourgeois culture through the enactment and enforcement of laws in their favor, through the bourgeois political parties and campaigns, through cultural institutions, through the public educational system and the mass media.

  1. Why is a cultural revolution necessary?

JMS: A cultural revolution is necessary to breach and disable the cultural dominance of US imperialism and the local exploitation, to prepare public opinion for carrying out the national democratic revolution and develop a portion of the existing superstructure in favor of that revolution. Without cultural revolution, the national democratic revolution as a socio-economic and political revolution cannot succeed. The people must first be aroused and enlightened before they can be organized and mobilized to carry pout the national democratic revolution.

  1. Why is a cultural revolution longer lasting than a political or economic revolution?

JMS: The cultural revolution as a process of changing fundamentally the thinking and behavior of the people comes ahead of the actual political and economic revolution. When the political and economic revolution succeeds, so does the cultural revolution succeed concurrently.

If the political and economic revolution ascends to a higher level, so does the cultural revolution. If the political and economic revolution retrogresses and is defeated at some time, the cultural revolution can still be continued by its advocates in the leading progressive class.

  1. Why does the NDR call for a national, scientific, and mass-oriented culture? What is a national, scientific, and mass-oriented culture?

JMS: The NDR calls for a national, scientific and mass-oriented culture in order to fight and defeat the colonial and pro-imperialist mentality, the anti-science obscurantism of the dominant church and the ideas, laws, practices, customs and habits in favor of the exploiting classes and at the expense of the people.

Culture is national by being based on national sovereignty, being patriotic, having a national language, uniting various ethno-linguistic communities into one nation and learning from other countries to serve the needs of the nation. It is scientific by availing of science and technology to achieve all-round progress in the economy, politics and culture and being free from feudal culture. It is mass-oriented by serving the broad masses of the people, especially the oppressed and exploited classes.

  1. What is the program of the CPP and the NDFP in regards to culture?

JMS: The program of the CPP and NDFP in culture is to oppose anti-national, anti-scientific and anti-people culture and to uphold, defend and advance a national, scientific and mass culture. This is within the framework of the new democratic revolution under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and in the direction of the socialist revolution.

  1. How can the new democratic culture be established, propagated, and deepened?

JMS: The new democratic culture can be established, propagated and deepened by employing it to build, educate and inspire the revolutionary party of the proletariat, the mass organizations of the exploited classes and sectors and the organs of political power as well as spreading the principles and policies of new democratic culture among the unorganized masses and within the reactionary institutions.

  1. What are the instruments of the revolution in regard to cultural work?

JMS: As the advanced detachment of the proletariat and leader of the new democratic revolution, the Communist Party of the Philippines has formed organs at the central and lower levels for leading and developing cultural work among the masses.

These are organs for publishing informative and educational materials, for conducting study courses and propaganda, for promoting revolutionary art and literature, for directing cultural work by the people's army, mass organizations and distinctly cultural groups and for facilitating the cultural campaigns of the organs of political power.

  1. Why are the revolutionary bases in the countryside the stronghold of the cultural revolution?

JMS: The revolutionary bases in the countryside are called the stronghold of the cultural revolution because the revolutionary cultural work and achievements flourish most here and are well-consolidated in a comprehensive way by the Party, the people's army, the mass organizations, the distinct cultural groups and local organs of political power.

  1. Why is the proletariat, through its party, the leading force in the cultural revolution? How does the party lead this?

JMS: The proletariat, through its party, is the leading force in the cultural revolution because it is the class that is the most progressive productive and political force and that has the ideological, political and organizational ability to bring about the defeat of US imperialism and local reaction and the victory of the new democratic revolution and the further advance to socialist revolution.

  1. What is the role of revolutionary intellectuals?

JMS: The revolutionary intellectuals with the the proletarian class stand, viewpoint and method play a decisive role in the revolution because they understand the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, they can do theoretical work and they apply it in policy-making and implementation.

These proletarian revolutionary intellectuals may originate from nonproletarian classes like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao who took sides with the proletariat and remolded themselves. But there are always a far greater number of proletarian revolutionary intellectuals from the proletariat and other toiling classes who succeed at raising their intellectual level through diligent study and practice.

  1. Why is it important to have a united front in the cultural revolution?

JMS: It is important to have a united front in the cultural revolution because it is the way to accelerate the expansion and advance of the cultural revolution. The cultural cadres of the Party can develop cultural workers among the workers and peasants and win over the cultural activists belonging to the intelligentsia and to major cultural institutions in order to isolate, weaken and defeat the dominant semicolonial and semifeudal culture.

  1. What is the role of the following in the cultural revolution?
    a. Teachers
    b. Mass media
    c. Health workers

JMS: a. The teachers can be recruited as Party members in their schools, they can propagate openly the national, scientific and mass culture and promote the discreet study of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. They can stay in the revolutionary bases to do cultural work on a temporary or permanent basis.

b. The proletarian revolutionary journalists in the revolutionary, alternative or corporate media play an important role in gathering, analyzing and disseminating the facts that concern the national and democratic rights and interests of the people in order to guide decision-making by the revolutionary force and inspire the people to act accordingly.

c. The proletarian revolutionary health workers are always urgently needed, especially during pandemics, to take care of the health of the people who are deprived of health and other social services by the reactionary government. This government allows the superprofit-taking by foreign companies, bureaucrat corruption and military overspending and emigration of health professions, instead of looking after the health of the people.

  1. Why is free and universal health care the goal of the people's democratic revolution? How can this be assured?

JMS: Free and universal health care is the goal of the people's democratic revolution because it is a basic human right and is feasible.

It can be assured if the means of production are owned by the people and the social wealth that they create is not appropriated by a few private owners of the means of production. The increase of social wealth should expand production for the social needs of the people, eliminate poverty and unemployment, raise the income and living standard of the working people, expand the educational, health and other social services and provide for adequate administration and defense.

To have a scientific view of culture as we should, we need to understand first of all that culture is a superstructure that rests upon a material basis.

The ideas, institutions and all cultural patterns are dependent on the material mode of existence of a society. These change as all societies are subject to change. There is no permanent society or culture.

The cultural balance, pattern or synthesis that exists in a society at a given historical stage is nothing but the unity of opposites — the unity of opposite cultural forces. This unity is always a temporary balance subject to the dynamism of opposites. The progressive force always outgrows and breaks the old framework which the reactionary force always tries to preserve.

Just as revolution is inevitable in politico-economic relations, revolution is inevitable in culture. A cultural revolution, as a matter of fact, is a necessary aspect of the politico-economic revolution.

In the history of mankind, it can easily be seen that even before the full development of the politico-economic power of an ascendant social class, a cultural revolution provides it with the thoughts and motives that serve as the effective guide to action and further action. A rising class achieves what we call its class consciousness before it actually establishes its own state power and replaces the old state power and its vestiges.

Long before the liberal revolution of Europe dealt the most effective political blows against feudal power in the 17th and 18th century, a cultural revolution took shape in the Renaissance which asserted secular thinking and freedom of thought. The men of the Renaissance questioned the clerical hegemony over culture and learning and they clarified the ideals and values that were still to become truly dominant later when the unity of church and state was to be broken and replaced by the modern bourgeois state. The successful revolution of the bourgeoisie in the West was prepared and guided by a cultural revolution.

In our country, there had to be a propaganda movement — the assertion of new ideas and values — before there developed the actual beginnings of the Philippine revolution that fell under the class leadership of the ilustrados or the liberal bourgeoisie that surrounded Aguinaldo. In this Propaganda Movement, Dr. Jose Rizal made patriotic annotations on Morga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas with the view of demonstrating that before the coming of Spanish colonialism there was an indigenous culture that the indios could be proud of. This was clearly an anticolonial attempt not only to show up the racial arrogance of those who belittled our people but also to develop an awareness of a national culture.

Not to be carried away by chauvinism, Dr. Jose Rizal further presented the crisis of colonial culture in the Philippines and the prospects of a national culture in terms of the liberal ideas and values of Europe which he believed could be applied in the concrete experience of his people, in as much as there was already the emergence of the ilustrados like Crisostomo Ibarra and businessmen like Capitan Tiago.

The two novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibustirismo, and his essays, the "Indolence of the Filipinos" and "The Philippines A Century Hence," were written in furtherance of a national democratic cultural revolution. It was a revolution in the sense that it contraposed national culture to the colonial culture of which the friars were the chief defenders. It was in this same spirit that the participants of the Propaganda Movement wrote as Marcelo H. del Pilar did, orated as Graciano Lopez Jaena did and painted as Juan Luna did.

All of them exposed the exploitation and brutalization of our people, thus paving the way for the clear call for separation from Spain by the Katipunan. The Katipunan, which was a vigorously separatist movement and which served as the nucleus of a new national political community carried forward into revolutionary action the aspiration for a national democratic culture, integrating democratic concepts with the indigenous conditions.

From Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto to Apolinario Mabini and Antonio Luna, the fire of cultural revolution rose higher and higher and shone with the political ideas that guided the Philippine Revolution of 1896. What came to be considered our national culture in the beginning was the integration of modern political ideas and indigenous conditions. The emergence of that national culture was essentially a political phenomenon; a national culture arose in direct and necessary opposition to the colonial and clerical culture which exploited and brutalized our people. An awareness of national culture spread among the Filipino people as fast as national sentiment and consciousness spread among them. The political awareness of a national community reintegrated the cultural patterns in the provinces, surpassing both the barangay culture of pre-Hispanic times and the feudal Christian culture under Spanish domination. The desire for a modern national democratic society opposed the feudal society developed by the conquistadores from the rule of the rajahs and the datus who submitted themselves as local puppets of the foreign dispensation.

Our people's aspiration for national democracy and for a modern culture of the same cast were, unfortunately, frustrated by the coming of US imperialism.

Taking advantage of the naivete and compromising character of our ilustrado or liberal bourgeois leaders, the US imperialists easily insinuated themselves into our country by pretending to give aid to our efforts to free our motherland. After all, did not the patriots of the Propaganda Movement praise so much the ideas of Jefferson, the American Declaration of Independence and the American struggle against British colonialism?

Alas, little was it realized that the American revolution, which we still remember today for its national democratic ideals, had taken the path of monopoly capitalist development and had become an imperialist power greedy for colonies in Asia and Latin America. Though it shouted loud its slogans of bringing democracy and Christianity to the Philippines, as required by a supposed divine mandate received by President McKinley in his dream, it came to suppress the First Philippine Republic and the Malolos Constitution which embodied our people's national democratic aspirations.

As efficiently as the Spaniards were in suppressing the rich cultural achievements of our ancestors, the US imperialists went about their work of brutally suppressing any manifestation of patriotism by the Filipino people. Today, despite the current horror of the US imperialist war of aggression in Vietnam, many still have the illusion that the US imperialists are smart, subtle and smooth operators. But what is more cruel and crude than the mass murder of more than 1.5 million Filipinos to achieve US imperialist conquest of the Philippines, as was done in the Filipino-American War of 1899-1913?

What is more rude and inconsiderate than the all-out imperialist attempt during the first decade of this century to censor and suppress newspapers, drama, poetry, and other cultural efforts which manifested Filipino patriotism and national democratic aspirations?

The mere display of the Philippine flag was enough ground for a Filipino to be punished for sedition.

Until today, many of our youth and elders are deprived of the memory of the national democratic struggle of our people. They have been made to forget. How is this possible even if there seems to be no more open coercion to prevent us from reviewing our national history?

The history of mankind shows that state power and any appearance of stability in any class society are sustained by the force of arms and other coercive means. However, in so far as forgetting one's history is concerned, control of the means of cultural development is necessary to get such a result. A state, such as one that is imperialist, does not only have the instruments for coercion but also the instruments for persuasion.

The first decisive step taken by the US government in order to develop its cultural and educational control over the Philippines was to impose the English language as the medium of instruction and as the official language. On the national scale, a foreign language became the first language in government and business. English merely replaced Spanish as the vehicle of the foreign power dominating us. A foreign language may widen our cultural horizons, opening our eyes to those parts of the world expressed by that language. But if such a foreign language is forced on our people as has been the case with Spanish and English consecutively, it undermines and destroys the sense of national and social purpose that should be inculcated. Within our nation this foreign language divides the educated and wealthy from the masses. It is not only a measure of class discrimination but also one of national subjugation. It means a cultural constriction represented a long time ago by a Doña Victorina.

The two most significant results of the adoption of English as the first language in the practice of the educated are: first, learning and the professions are alienated from the masses and only serve the ruling class in the incessant class struggle; and second, the Filipino people are actually cut off from other peoples of the world and become victimized by imperialist propaganda.

Some persons might argue that the US government had really intended to spread English among the masses by establishing the public school system. They might, with extreme nostalgia, recall the coming of the Thomasites and what had developed from their work; they might recall how American teachers taught their language better than many Filipino English teachers do today. Foolishly, they are liable to find justification in this for the Peace Corps and other cultural devices meant to perpetuate US imperialist cultural influence among the people.

Those favoring the dominance of imperialist culture at the expense of our developing national culture are treading treasonous grounds. It is already well exposed by history that the public school system has served essentially as a brainwashing machine for cleansing the people's minds of their national democratic aspirations. The colonially-tutored children came to know more about Washington and Lincoln than about Andres Bonifacio and Emilio Jacinto. The national democratic concepts of our national heroes were forgotten and only innocuous anecdotes were told about them.

US imperialism became in their eyes the liberator and not the conqueror and oppressor of the people in fact. US imperialism has found more use in our learning of English than we would have found for ourselves if we developed our own national language. We have about three generations of Filipinos spewed by the imperialist brainwashing machine. The general run of these Filipinos have an intellectual orientation, habits, and consumption attitudes subordinated to the so-called American way of life.

In self-criticism, let us accept how much so many of us have become acculturized to US imperialism. To propose that we embark on a genuine program of national industrialization and agrarian revolution is to become extremely "subversive." We are eyed with suspicion by some just because we had dared to challenge the colonial character of the economy and, therefore, of the prevailing politics.

We must propose the Filipinization of schools, the press, radio and other media which are decisive in the conditioning of minds because in the hands of foreigners, these constitute direct foreign political power and intervention in our national affairs. These media of education and information immediately direct public opinion and, as it has been since the coming of US imperialism, they have served to keep permanent our cultural as well as our political bondage.

The cultural aggression of US imperialism in our country continues unabated. It takes various forms. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has a decisive say on educational policies at the highest governmental level. Textbook production and procurement are directed by it in the Department of Education. Multifarious projects designed to execute directly US foreign cultural policy are actually supported by the counterpart peso fund which we provide. To a great extent, the Philippine government is actually subsidizing USIS and other forms of "clasped hands" propaganda.

In a strategic place like the University of the Philippines (UP), General Carlos P. Romulo continues to open the door to foreign grants from such foundations as Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation. He has sought loans from foreign financing institutions like the World Bank for the purpose of his so-called five-year development program. The naive teacher, student and administrator in my Alma Mater might think that Romulo is doing a fine job for us. But actually, he is doing a fine job for the cause of a cultural imperialism which is in the service of US monopoly capitalism.

We have examined closely the present proliferation of institutes and research projects in the UP which are meant only to accommodate the cultural agents of the US government, both American and Filipino. We have examined closely how much US imperialist advice and actual direction has affected and will affect the curricula and materials for study. We have to examine closely what is the whole idea behind the USD 6 million World Bank loan to the UP.

How, for instance, is this related to present plans and operations of Esso fertilizer, International Harvester, United Fruit and others? We should inquire more critically into the increasing physical presence of US imperialist personnel in the UP. The US government plans every step it takes in consideration of the monopoly interests it must represent in its foreign policy. Unlike the Philippine government, the US government takes its action in the cultural field on the basis of national interests.

The pensionado mentality among our brighter students, teachers and professors have become so instilled that to promote their career it is a "must" for them to take one American scholarship grant or another. We must be critical of their mentality and we must pursue a new cultural revolution that should put in order the values of those who have fallen prey to this mentality. They go to the United States only to learn concepts and cases that do not apply on the concrete experience of our people. Their thinking is completely alienated from the masses and at most they become self-seeking careerists.

There is a worse kind of Filipino professional than the one who finally returns to his country. He is either a doctor, a nurse or some other professional who prefers to stay in the United States as a permanent resident or who tries to become an American citizen. This type of fellow is a subtle betrayer of his country and, in the most extreme cases, a loud-mouthed vilifier of the Filipino people. He goes to a foreign land for higher pay and that is all he is interested in. He does not realize how much social investment has been put into his public schooling from the elementary level and up, and he refuses to serve the people whose taxes have paid for his education. We criticize him but we must as well condemn the government that allows him to desert and that fails to inspire him to work for the people.

While there is an apparent exodus of our bright young men and women to the United States and other lands under the direction of the US, the US government ironically sends the Peace Corps and encourages all sorts of projects (many of which are CIA-directed) intending to send young American men and women abroad. Whereas these young Americans are going to our countryside guided by the foreign policy of their government, our bright young men and women are abandoning the countryside to crowd each other out in the city or to take flight entirely from their country. We refer to the Peace Corps here as a challenge to our youth.

These agents of a foreign government are here to perpetuate their government's longstanding policies and cultural influence. They are agents of renewed US imperialist efforts to aggravate their cultural control; thus, they are described as the new Thomasites. The presence of US imperialist agents of one sort or another in our countryside poses a threat to the development of a national democratic movement among us. Beyond their role of showing pictures of New York and Washington to impressionable children is the counter-insurgency rationale behind their organization.

While these sweet boys and girls in the Peace Corps are now immediately creating goodwill (which is a euphemism for political influence) and performing intelligence functions, these same sweet boys and girls can always come back with new orders from their government. This counterinsurgency aspect and psywar and intelligence value of the Peace Corps are what makes it subversive to the interest of a national democratic movement.

The Filipino youth should go to the countryside to learn from the people and to arouse them for the national democratic revolution.

To accomplish the Filipino people's new democratic revolution, which is a comprehensive social revolution, it is necessary to make revolution not only in the economic and political fields but also in the cultural field.

Otherwise the US and the local reactionary classes could use their cultural institutions and influence to control without cease the hearts and minds of the people and facilitate counterrevolution in every field. Up to the end of the 1950s, the attempt to resume the national democratic revolution was a dismal failure,and among the essential causes was the failure of the revolutionary party to undertake a new democratic cultural revolution.

The vigorous ideological and other cultural work of proletarian revolutionaries in the 1960s ushered in the new democratic cultural revolution which broke out in the 1970-1972 period starting with the First Quarter Storm of 1970. This cultural revolution would help carry forward the new democratic revolution in a big way.

The New Democratic Cultural Revolution

Pursuant to the dictum that there can be no revolutionary movement without a revolutionary theory, the proletarian revolutionaries engaged in ideological work despite the dangers posed by the Anti-Subversion Law.

Ideological work involved the study of the classical works of Marxism-Leninism, the contemporary works of successful proletarian revolutionaries in other countries and the writings of Filipino revolutionaries. It necessarily involved the study of Philippine history and circumstances with close attention to the basic social problems of the Filipino people and the Philippine revolutionary movement from 1896 to the 1950s.

The point was to integrate the revolutionary theory of the vanguard class and party with the concrete practice of the Philippine revolution. The ideological work resulted in the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, and on the basis of the program of people's democratic revolution.

What the proletarian revolutionaries did was no different from what the principal leaders of the Katipunan and the Philippine revolution had done in applying the principles of revolutionary liberal democracy on the concrete conditions of the Philippines.

The proletarian revolutionaries challenged the dominant pro-imperialist and feudal culture in three ways: the adoption of Marxism-Leninism as their theoretical guide; the application of this on Philippine conditions through the program of people's democratic revolution; and the promotion of a national, scientific and mass culture.

Soon enough, the new democratic cultural revolution broke out. This took the form of massive rallies and marches, widespread teach-ins and discussion groups, the vigorous promotion of the national language, the efflorescence of protest art and literature, and the reorientation of social research and science teaching among many teachers and students. All these were undertaken along the new democratic line.

The popular call for a national, scientific and mass culture was resounding. The students, labor leaders, teachers and other professionals were in the forefront of the new democratic cultural revolution. They formed organizations in the Manila-Rizal region and other urban areas to pursue the new democratic revolution and create a new democratic culture.

At the same time, proletarian revolutionaries who were in the countryside intensified their ideological work and promoted a new democratic culture. As a matter of course, they were engaged in theoretical and political education but they also conscientiously established cultural organizations in the rural areas.

It can be assumed that the proletarian revolutionaries have advanced in their ideological and other cultural work as they have advanced in other aspects of their revolutionary work despite the rigors of the life-and-death struggle between revolution and counterrevolution.

To speak of a new democratic cultural revolution espousing and creating a national, scientific and mass culture is necessarily to affirm the fruitful activism of proletarian revolutionaries in ideological and other cultural work.

But the progressive liberal democrats have also made significant contributions to the preparations and conduct of the new democratic cultural revolution. They have done well in recalling the revolutionary spirit of 1896, joining the anti-imperialist and antifeudal struggle, combating the reactionary character of the dominant church and defending civil liberties.

The progressive liberal democrats can make bigger contributions to every major aspect of the new democratic revolution only in combination with the proletarian revolutionaries. Both proletarian revolutionaries and progressive liberal democrats recognize that together theycan win the new democratic revolution and create a national, scientific and mass culture.

Under the impact of the new democratic cultural revolution, which has militated large numbers of educated youth, quite a number of professors and other professionals who have taken higher studies in American and local reactionary schools, and even priests and nuns of the dominant church, have recognized the need for a national, scientific and mass culture.

The new democratic revolution is creating its own organizations and means and at the same time penetrating and taking portions of cultural institutions and processes which have been used to dominate the people.

The National Aspect

The new democratic culture has a national character. It upholds, defends and promotes the national sovereignty and independence of the Filipino people. It celebrates the revolutionary struggle and achievements of the Filipino nation. It inspires this nation to realize its aspirations and attain greater achievements.

It does away with colonial mentality and confronts every form of US cultural aggression. It enhances patriotism, the self-respect and the self-reliance of the nation. But it is ever ready to learn and accept foreign things that benefit the nation.

It preserves and cherishes the national cultural heritage from as far back in time as can be brought to light. It seeks to learn from the past in order to serve the present without prejudice to the future.

It promotes the use of the national language as the principal medium of official communication, education and information. The point is to facilitate the common understanding of the entire nation. The dominance of English must be ended although this language may remain the principal language for foreign intercourse. While it is concerned with maintaining and developing a modernnation-state, the new democratic culture embraces, respects and promotes the local languages and cultures, especially those of national minorities that have rebelled because of Filipino chauvinism and discrimination. Linguistic and cultural plurality enriches Philippine culture. US control of Philippine educational and cultural policies through direct official and unofficial instruments and indirect ones like the World Bank must be terminated. Foreign assistance for education must not result in foreign control of educational policies, staffing, scholarship and research grants, construction of facilities, acquisition of materials and textbook content and production.

Educational policies, courses of study and textbooks (especially in the social sciences and humanities) must be made by Filipino educators imbued with the national spirit and patriotic ideas of the new democratic culture. Textbook writers must be encouraged and well remunerated.

All imported cultural materials like movies, TV programs, books, periodicals and the like as well as cultural performances which do not help in the cultural progress of the Philippines should either be highly taxed or banned, if corrupting.

Filipino writers and artists and their cultural productions must be supported with grants and other incentives through their organizations and must not be taxed. They must be enabled to live on their cultural work rather than depend on other means of livelihood.

No foreign entity whatsoever should own any major medium of communication, education or information. Political propaganda by any foreign entity would be prohibited. Commercial advertising by US and other transnational corporations shall be under strict supervision and control.

The Scientific Aspect

The new democratic culture has a scientific aspect. It adopts a scientific outlook and methodology. It combats the pro-imperialist and reactionary ideas of feudal metaphysics and bourgeois subjectivism. But it does not waste its time in public on theological and philosophical issues. It respects the freedom of thought and belief. And it seeks the united front and practical cooperation of all scientists, engineers and technologists for the industrial and all-round development of the motherland whether they be dialectical materialists, bourgeois empiricists or believers in a deity.

Science and technology is promoted with the clear purpose of developing the country industrially and economically. The ranks of scientists, engineers and other technologists will be rapidly expanded. Their scientific and technical expertise shall be used creatively and productively. No longer shall their priorities be limited to seeking positions as sales executives or minor technicians in foreign transnational corporations here and abroad. They shall be in charge of basic processes and full-scale construction.

Programs of study in the basic sciences, engineering, and modern agriculture shall be rapidly expanded. Teachers and students in these fields shall be given top priority and all-out support in remuneration and facilities. They shall be given opportunities to learn the most adaptable and latest advances in science and technology abroad through exchange programs and the acquisition of new equipment from abroad. The scientific outlook and methodology shall prevail in the social sciences. Social science studies and research shall concentrate on the processes of oppression and exploitation through the ages and in recent or current circumstances and on the struggles of the oppressed and exploited to liberate themselves. The point is not only to understand or interpret the laws of social change, but to change oppressive and exploitative social conditions.

The social scientists should be encouraged to do their social research among the people and not to limit themselves to library research. The point is to learn how thepeople themselves can change their own conditions for their own benefit without the strictures of dogmatism and bourgeois scientism and the unreasonable trends of thought and belief among the people.

In the humanities, it is part of the scientific outlook and methodology to know and respect all the cultural accomplishments of the past, preserve them for appreciation or criticism, and adopt traditional cultural forms for the promotion of revolutionary ideas and sentiments.

Social realism, revolutionary romanticism, social criticism and other healthy schools of thought and trends of style must be encouraged in new artistic and cultural creations and in critical work. Large numbers of artists must be able to live on their artistic professions through their own organizations and cultural production units. Health, sports, entertainment and all other cultural programs must be geared towards the mental and physical well-being and fitness of the people for social revolution and construction.

Within and outside definite programs in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, in direct relation to definite programs of the social revolution and construction, full play must be given to the initiative and creativity of individuals and collectives.

The professionals and technicians of the country would not have to go abroad if opportunities for their gainful employment and creativity were assured and expanded by the industrial and all-round progress of the country.

The Mass Aspect

The new democratic culture has a mass character. It serves the people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants, in their all-round revolutionary struggle and productive work.

To raise their own consciousness and effectiveness in revolution and production, the people must become literate. The public school system must be expanded and highschool education for the youth must become universal. Campaigns must be waged to wipe out illiteracy, and must be effective because they are related to revolution and production.

The higher the level of formal education that certain persons attain, the greater is their tendency to be divorced from the toiling masses. To close the widening gap between those who have higher education and those who have lower education, there must be no let-up in promoting the revolutionary spirit that binds the two and there must be practical programs of bringing to the people the direct service of the educated as well as programs to raise the educational level of the people who have had no opportunities to enrol in formal schools.

The print and electronic media must be used to bring complete courses of study to the unschooled as well as to popularize scientific and technical knowledge on current problems in social revolution and production.

Artistic and other cultural creations that are of high aesthetic standards and that reflect the sufferings, struggles and achievements of the working people must be promoted. At the same time, a great mass of artists and cultural activists must be developed to create what they can, using traditional and modern forms.

There must be cultural cadres who live with the people and lead the educational and cultural work among them through educational and cultural organizations.

There must be cultural cadres deployable from centers ranging from the national to the municipal. And there must be cadres who come from local communities which sponsor their higher education and training for the purpose of serving them for a definite period of time.

The revolutionary orientation of education and culture and the spirit of service to the people are the motivation that will keep the professionally and technically trained in the country. So long as these motivations are instilled inthem, and they get decent remuneration, the educated will not leave the country only to get higher remuneration but suffer the pain of exile.

In the course of the new democratic revolution, cultural cadres arise in the urban centers and in the local rural communities. The new democratic revolution will win because these cultural cadres do their work well, increase their ranks, and serve the people well.

Fellow cultural workers, compatriots and friends,

I am highly honored and deeply pleased to be invited as your keynote speaker in your Cultural Conference 2016. I thank the organizers, Concerned Artists of the Philippines and Sinag­bayan for inviting me. And I congratulate the organizers and all participants for their accomplishments in cultural work and creative output.

In 1966, I delivered a speech on the need for a cultural revolution in the Philippines. I showed how the Propaganda Movement and the revolutionary issuances of the Katipunan and the Philippine revolutionary government overcame the Spanish cultural domination that had preconditioned the minds of the colonized people.

The Filipino revolutionaries of 1896 put forward a culture that was national, liberal democratic and pro-poor against what had been colonial, religio-sectarian, obscurantist, medievalistic and unconcerned about the dispossession and poverty of the Filipino people. They had to wage a cultural revolution that denounced colonial and feudal injustices and put forward a national and democratic line in order to prevail over more than three centuries of Spanish colonial rule.

The revolutionary demands for national independence and free economic development beyond the sway of colonial plunder would not have gained ground and enabled the victory of the Philippine revolution without the cultural revolution to win the hearts and minds and inspire the people to fight for their national liberation running ahead of the armed forces of the revolution..

US Military Force and Liberal Democratic Deception

Even as the Jacobinist essence of the French Revolution had strong influence on the Filipino revolutionaries, from Andres Bonifacio through Apolinario Mabini to General Antonio Luna, they could not overcome the combined brutal use of superior military force and the deceptive liberal democratic language of the US, a newly-emergent modern imperialist power.

To deceive the leaders of the revolutionary government like Emilio Aguinaldo, Felipe Buencamino, Pedro Paterno and the like, the US aggressors and their emissaries paid lip service to patriotic and liberal democratic ideas. Even when they slaughtered the Filipino people by the hundreds of thousands, they always took pause to assure them that they did not intend to colonize the Philippines.

They pitched their imperialist propaganda mainly to the native liberal bourgeoisie in a bid to recruit more puppets.The Hearst newspaper chain drummed up the duty of the US aggressors to colonize the Filipino people, to train them for self-government and to grant them independence in due time. After all, the objectives of US imperialism was to secure fields of investment, cheap sources of labor and raw materials, a market and strategic base in the Pacific for participating in the plunder of China.

Like the Spaniards for more than three centuries of colonial dominance in the Philippines, the US knew the importance of cultivating the colonial mentality among the colonized people. The best way to promote colonial mentality is to use the language of the colonizer as the principal medium of governance, education, arts and literature and mass commun­ications.

US imperialism surpassed Spanish colonialism in the speed, sweep and depth of US propaganda and education in English. It established the public school system. It mobilized the US troops and teachers from the US to serve as public school teachers. It brought in the Protestant missionaries to serve as teachers in the hinterlands. Early on it created the pensionado system to train Filipino government officials in the US.

It developed all levels of education to train the personnel for the bureaucracy, businesses and the professions. It was a colonial power determined to change the feudal system into a semifeudal one before the outbreak of World War II. It put up some manufacturing, using local raw materials. It developed the mining industry and increased the mechanization of plantations for export. It improved the system of transport and communications.

In promoting a colonial mentality in the English language, a conservative kind of liberal democracy and the supposed primacy of the free market, US imperialism availed not only of the educational system but also the churches, mass media and entertainment, especially Hollywood films, radio broadcasts and pop music since before World War II and the avalanche of US produced television programs and glossy magazines laced with consumerist advertising and ultra-reactionary values after World War II.

After the US grant of nominal independence to the Phil­ippines in 1946, the political system may be described as semicolonial, no longer under direct colonial rule of the US but under an indirect one through unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements that have lopsidedly favored the US. The top dogs of government were no longer the American colonial officials but the political agents and trained bureaucrats of the big compradors and landlords.

To keep the economy semifeudal, the US also relies on these local exploiting classes to make the Philippines dependent on the export of raw materials and import manufactures, to beg for loans and foreign investments to keep consumption and foreign trade going and to undercut any popular demand for genuine economic development of the Philippines. The strong demand for national industrialization in the 1950s and 1960s was derailed by the US and local oligarchs by opting for the so-called import-substitution industries which resulted in some reassembly and repackaging plants.

The US enhanced its cultural influence over the Philippines in many ways. It used scholarships and travel grants to win over the brightest of Filipino students, teachers, writers and artists, journalists to the point of view of US imperialism. US military bases were not just launching pads of attacks against neighboring countries but also to prettify its aggression by encouraging Filipinos to serve in the US armed forces and to enjoy PX goods.

In addition to its own direct cultural conduits such as the USIS and ostensively philanthropic foundations, it used the mass media, the schools and churches as tools of the Cold War in order to justify continuing US dominance over the Philippines and discredit as communist or pro-communist any thinking or work critical of US dominance and assertive of national independence.

Challenging the Semicolonial and Semifeudal Rule with a Cultural Revolution

It was in 1966 when we called for a national, scientific and mass culture in order to resist the semicolonial and semifeudal system of oppression and exploitation. We wanted to arouse, organize and mobilize the students, teachers and other professionals, the writers and artists, journalists and all cultural workers and activists to rally to the call for a national, scientific and mass culture and get rid of the colonial mentality, obscurantism and anti-people bias that block the way to full national independence, democracy, development, social justice and all round progress.

Since 1966 the semicolonial and semifeudal conditions have become aggravated and deepened. The educational and cultural system that has promoted it has become even more powerful. The Marcos regime had a knack for using outstanding issues with the US as bargaining tools in his scheme to establish a dictatorship. He assured the US that it could continue to have military bases in the Philippines. He also assured the US corporations of the ways to circumvent nationality restrictions in the ownership of land, exploitation of natural resources, operation of public utilities and other busi­nesses.

His most important objective was to change the 1936 constitution through the constitutional convention of 1971 to suit his imperialist maters and his own fascist dictatorial ambitions. In the process, he used and outwitted the clerico-fascists who had long advocated constitutional amendments as the supposed way forward for the nation.

When he declared martial law in September 1972, he justified his brazen power grab and open terrorist rule with an immense array of fascist philosophy and myth-making. Martial rule conjured a false sense of public acceptance by creating a media monopoly and using it to harp on such deceptive slogans as "build the new society" "constitutional authoritarianism," "discipline" and "revolution from the center".

The Filipino people resisted the US-backed Marcos dictatorial regime through a broad anti-fascist and anti-imperialist mass movement, with the national-democratic revolutionary forces at the forefront. They fought back through various forms of armed and legal, underground and open struggles. In every arena of struggle, used all available means of propaganda and agitation to break the Marcos media monopoly and push the cultural revolution forward.

While in power, Marcos sought to favor his upstart group of bureaucrat capitalists and cronies to come on top of the old cream of the super-rich big compradors and landlords. He overborrowed from abroad to engage in graft-ridden infrastructure projects. He passed off as industrialization the import-dependent construction projects.

Subsequently, he put forward export-oriented manufacturing as the way to industrialize. This employed less people and involved even less processing of imported components than the import-substitution enterprises. With employment opportunities ever dwindling, Marcos adopted the policy of exporting cheap labor. All these would persist when the US instigated the big policy shift to economic neoliberalism. The Marcos regime completely ignored the demand of the third world for a new international economic order and even the requirements for an economy to become a newly-industrialized one like Taiwan and South Korea.

The neoliberal economic policy regime subdued all the pseudo-democratic regimes after Marcos. The global forces of anti-imperialism and socialism took a strategic retreat when the revisionist-ruled regimes and the Soviet Union disintegrated and gave way completely to the full and open restoration of capitalism. Consequently, the US and its imperialist allies gleefully spread the ideological and political offensive with the line that there is no alternative to capitalism. They pushed the neoliberal economic offensive and unleashed a series of aggressive wars in the Balkans, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Since 1966 the national democratic movement in the Philippines has steadily pursued the people's resistance to the persistent and aggravated semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and demanded a national, scientific and mass culture. It has aroused increasingly larger mass participants and audiences. It has created cultural formations on a multisectoral and sectoral basis. There is no major organization of any kind without a cultural troupe. Cultural work has been a key factor in strengthening the various types of mass organizations and has been responsible for the militant participation of the people in mass mobilizations.

In this regard, I have written a quite extensive paper entitled, "Revolutionary Literature and Art in the Philippines from the 1960s to the Present," which I delivered in abridged form as my speech at the Alternative Classroom Learning Experience (ACLE) Program at the University of the Philippines Diliman on October 15, 2015.

Continuing Need for the Cultural Revolution

There is continuing need to wage the cultural revolution because the chronic crisis of the ruling system continues to worsen and there is the need to pursue the all-round people's democratic revolution continues. The need to continue the cultural revolution is underscored by unprecedented opportunities for advancing the revolutionary cause on the scale of the Philippines and by the fact that the neoliberal economic policy regime is unraveling and the aggressive wars the US has unleashed in many countries of the world have become quagmires for US imperialism.

We must have a national culture that unites the people with a national language and a common cultural heritage and yet cherishes the local languages and diverse ethnic cultures. We have a rich national history of revolutionary struggles against Western colonizers and against foreign and local fascists..

Without a high sense of patriotism, we would only worship foreign cultures, neglect our own and lose the desire to learn from ourselves and from others for building the nation. We need to respect our own products, be proud of being able to create or manufacture them and not have awe and taste only for the imported products.

We must have a scientific culture. We must recognize the necessary role of science and technology to secure our own national independence, promote democracy and realize social and economic development. We must put into play science and technology and the broad range of professional knowledge and skills in realizing national industrialization in the country.

We must mobilize the working class as the most productive and progressive force in the country. We must avail of the knowledge and skills of scientists, engineers, technologists and professionals in the natural and social sciences. We can avail of the international solidarity and a broad range of foreign sources of science and technology.

We must have a mass culture. Always the main point is to serve the people, especially the toiling masses of workers and peasants who are oppressed and exploited in our country. Their full participation is needed in asserting national independence, in exercising their democratic rights and developing the economy. Their working and living conditions must always be improved as a result of their own work.

They and their children must have full access to social services, especially education, health and housing. Increasingly, education for the masses must also include their full access to other vehicles of information and culture such as the conventional and digital mass media, which must be democratized rather than just serve the elite and middle classes. The aim is to realize their social liberation of the toiling masses of workers and peasants in their millions.

At the moment, we are engaged in a peace process in which the leadership of the GRP assures us of the opportunities for obtaining social and economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms under conditions of truce and cooperation. Le us see what we can obtain in terms of gaining national independence, democracy, social justice, development and all-round progress.

There is a definite series of tests to prove whether the current peace negotiations is the way to obtain those reforms that are significant enough to enable a just and lasting peace.That the GRP finds it necessary to negotiate seriously with the NDFP is a testimony to the principled and excellent way that the Communist Party of the Philippines has led the people's democratic revolution.

We can hope to build a new democratic society in the Philippines only if the working class can play its leading role through a revolutionary party by carrying out ideological, political and organizational tasks. At best, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism provides the ideological framework and the program for a people's democratic revolution and for a national, scientific and mass culture. This revolutionary ideology emphasizes the international character of the working class, and links the new-democratic culture being generated by the Filipino people to the much richer treasure-house of socialist, anti-imperialist, and progressive cultures in other parts of the world.

A new democratic society should prepare the way for a bright and happy socialist future in the Philippines. There is no way to reach socialism but to take ever major opportunity to advance the national and democratic rights of the Filipino people against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. We need to prevail over these monsters in order to lay the ground for the advance to socialism. In the process, we must continue to wield the weapon of the cultural revolution as it helps consolidate and enhance the victories of the Filipino people at every stage and prepares them for still greater advances and victories in the future.