Managing the "Main Force": The Communist Party and the Peasantry in the Philippines

James Putzel


Despite the success of the Communist Party of the Philippines in winning rural support, its work has consistently been characterized by an instrumentalist approach to the peasantry. The article begins with an examination of the foundations of the party’s attitude towards the peasantry and its roots in Marxist-Leninist theory and practice It goes to consider evidence of the party’s instrumental approach in practice, examining the impact on legal peasant organizations and the experience of socio-economic projects in the countryside. Attention next turns to an analysis of the party’s attitude towards “united front work” and its impact on coalition-building among the peasantry. Finally, the author considers the implications of the current split and debates in the ranks of the CPP for the peasantry and for the future of radical politics in the country.


Communist Party, Peasantry, Philippines

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