Building the Party in Re­ga­ta

This article is a contribution by Party members from the youth sector to Ang Bayan’s (AB) series featuring outstanding experiences on Party branch building in various fields of revolutionary work. AB’s editors encourage all Party committees to contribute to this series by submitting their featured stories.

Regata is a university in the national capital with a large student population and broad influence. It is also among the universities where the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is deeply rooted and where it has actively led the campaign and worked to forge a broad unity against the tyranny of dictator-wannabe Rodrigo Duterte.

On top of skyrocketing tuition and other school fees which increase annually, students are also burdened with the university’s oppressive anti-democratic policies. Organizing in this university is a rigorous task because of stringent policies on the recognition and operation of organizations. A Party group has long been operating in the university but has, however, experienced problems with expansion and consolidation.

Change, indeed, came in the university when Duterte became president and started his campaign of suppression which has killed thousands and plagued the lives of millions of Filipinos. A broad unity among students was gradually forged within the university which resulted in successive campaigns against Duterte’s “wars”–his “war on drugs”, the “war on terror” which he used as a pretext to impose martial law in Mindanao and his “all-out war” against progressive forces.

This unity has served as a springboard for the Party’s expansion and consolidation work in Regata. Starting with the broad anti-fascist sentiment within the university, the Party strove to rouse students to tread the path of the national democratic struggle by educating them on broader issues and problems that confront the Filipino masses.

Striking deep roots
Despite the relative smallness of its initial machinery, Regata strove to expand in strategic colleges and was gradually able to spearhead mass struggles within the entire university. A major factor contributing to this achievement is the determination of the students themselves to stand up for their democratic rights and to get involved with national issues that affect them and the people. Advanced elements eventually emerged from their ranks and served as seedlings for the Party’s further growth and consolidation within the university.

Party organizers in Regata seized every issue and mass struggle to educate, organize and rouse the student masses to action. Every opportunity is used for recruitment and promotion of the revolutionary analysis of the Philippine society and the national democratic alternative. Recruitment is carried out at the classroom level.

Ka Mina was among those who were recruited during the course of a national campaign. She was politically roused after attending a film showing depicting the fascist attacks of the state on various democratic sectors. Afterwards, she was invited to further discussions wherein she actively studied various local and national issues.

She was then given specific organizational and political tasks. Eventually, she was recruited into the Party and became one of the cadres responsible for building the Party in Regata.

The interplay of expansion and prompt consolidation was key to the fast development of local cadres. To reach the broadest number of students, Party members delved into their ranks. The interplay of the students’ initiative and firm political guidance enabled them to lead the sector’s struggles.

Party members carry on with organizing work even during their vacation. Semestral breaks allow them to integrate, organize and teach in urban poor communities. The experience helps shape and firm up the perspective of students for deployment to other sectors.

The prompt delegation of particular and concrete organizational tasks to new members is an effective key to recruiting new cadres who will eventually lead the university-wide mass base that is being established.

Party branches were formed in various colleges within a short span of time. Simultaneously, the number of full-time cadres grew. They took on the responsibility of leading the university-wide operations of the Party.

Education campaign
Along with ensuring political leadership and organizational expansion, the revolutionary forces in Regata are also responsible of raising the political consciousness of the studentry through constant education. Education on local and national issues are broadly conducted in the form of discussion groups and study circles. Formal courses on Marxism-Leninism-Maoism are promptly conducted to ensure the students’ ideological development. The comrades ensure that all Party members are able to study the Basic Party Course (BPC) and regularly study other Party documents. They are also striving to ensure that BPC graduates are able to immediately take up the Intermediate Party Course.

The vigorous education campaign in Regata is considered as the comrades’ most effective tool for consolidation and raising the commitment of Party cadres. After such in-depth studies on theory and practice, most of the members are often convinced to serve full-time.

To Ka Mina, such studies firmed up her decision to visit a guerrilla front and eventually join the New People’s Army. It is clear to her and other young revolutionaries that the youth has an important role in advancing the revolutionary movement in urban areas and the armed struggle in the countryside.

The congruous interplay of proper political leadership and the cadres’ eagerness to raise the political consciousness of the local Party’s general membership and of the studentry has enabled the Party in Regata to overcome the problems which hindered its development in the past. It dropped various unnecessary requisites for recruitment of new members and strategically organized local chapters of Kabataang Makabayan in every college where the greatest number of students are concentrated.

Lessons from organizing the Party in Regata are celebrated by the whole sector as it anticipates the 50th year anniversary of the Party. The sector recognizes the challenge to the youth to go the countryside and contribute to advancing the armed revolution.