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revolutionary family

Love a Revolutionary, Love the Revolution

in Mainstream
by Trisha Sarmiento

The cold wind, sturdy pine trees and the scenic mountain ranges of the Cordilleras in Northern Luzon set the perfect mood for  the wedding of two guerrilla fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA).  The  ceremony was held March 29, 2017, right after the Cordillera NPA Regional Command, the Chadli Molintas Command, celebrated the NPA’s 48th founding anniversary.

It was everything a wedding should be. The bride held a bouquet and wildflowers adorned the aisle for the bridal march.  There was the exchange of marriage vows and the signing of the marriage contract issued by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The couple also had the NPA’s version of the saber arch, counseling from the members of their collectives, and tips and advice from the wedding sponsors. The much-awaited first kiss of Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy as husband and wife sealed the promise of liberating love.  

 

No ordinary love

Comrade Nancy joined the revolutionary armed movement in May 2014. Ka Guiller was her squad leader.  The attraction between the two slowly developed as they carried out their political tasks in the NPA. They started to know each other really well. Later, Guiller would convince Nancy to become a full-time member of the NPA.  Even when they were assigned to separate units, their attachment to each other grew stronger. Three months later, they found themselves in an “informal” relationship, meaning that their respective units or collectives had yet to approve of their relationship as required by the Party and NPA processes.

As part of NPA discipline, new recruits are dissuaded from entering into a relationship for at least a year to give them time to fully adjust to their tasks in the people’s army. But Guiller and Nancy pursued their relationship despite the restriction and caution from their respective units. This led to conflicts between them and between their units such that they decided to temporarily leave the people’s army.

Both went back to the city, and for more than a year, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy actively took part in the urban mass movement before they sought the consent of their respective collectives to formalize their relationship. They went through deep-going criticism and self-criticism. While in the urban mass movement, the couple faced more problems and conflicts. However, they managed to overcome these obstacles with the support of their respective groups, but what impelled them more was the love they have nurtured for each other, for the masses and for the revolution.

And so, after one-and-a half years in the urban center and, after undergoing assessment and criticism and self-criticism sessions with their collectives, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy decided to return to Cordillera to take part in the struggle they both truly love: to serve the revolution as full-time NPA fighters.

Months later, Ka Nancy and Ka Guiller exchanged vows in the presence of the Red fighters, their friends, and the rural masses.

“Marahas ang digma, pero mas marahas ang mga pinag-uugatan nito. Kapasyahan natin ang pagtahak sa landas na ito. Ang ating pagpili ay siyang ating pagtindig. Ang ating pagtindig ay atin ding panata. Panata, hindi lamang sa iyo, mahal, higit lalo sa bayan nating minamahal. Ang mga kabundukan ang ating paraisong tirahan, at sa piling ng minumutyang masa tayo ay napapanday.

Hanggang sa pagkakapatas,

Hanggang sa pagpula ng silangan,

Hanggang sa ganap na tagumpay.

Sa kahuli-hulihan, ikaw ay mananatili,

Ang aking katiwasayan sa gitna ng marahas na digmaan.”

(“War is cruel, but its roots are more violent. It is our choice to take this path. Our choice is our stand. Our stand is our commitment; a commitment, not only for you, my love, but most of all, for the people who we truly love. The mountains are our haven and with the masses, we are tempered.

Through stalemate,

When the east turns red,

To complete victory,

In the end, you remain,

My calm in a violent war.”)

“Nagmahal. Nagwasto. Nagtagumpay.” (We have loved. We have rectified. We have triumphed.).

These words sum up the love story of Guiller and Nancy.

 

Revolutionary love

Like all revolutionary couples, Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy adhere to the CPP  policy on marriage and relationships laid down in  the document “On Proletarian Relationship of Sexes” observed and followed since the 70s. In 1998, the policy was revised to include same-sex relationship and marriage apart from further discussions on  courtship, marriage, divorce, and disciplinary actions. The NPA has its own guidelines based on the principles stated in the Party policy.

Without doubt, revolutionaries, like other individuals, do fall in love.

The difference is that revolutionaries express their love for each other in the context of the revolutionary interests of the people. While there is “sex love,”  there is also “class love”,  and the latter  in fact is considered the principal aspect that defines the essence of their love.  In the service of the revolution  love springs, blooms and grows, hence love relationships cannot but serve and uphold the revolutionary aspirations of the Party and the proletariat. For revolutionaries, love is an integral part and a great expression of their revolutionary commitment.

Revolutionaries maintain the right to freely choose whom to love, but  there are restrictions as well as responsibilities.  “Free love”, “sexual freedom” or anarchy in relationships are strictly prohibited as this can lead to the violation of the rights of others, irresponsibility in the relationship, and breach of organizational discipline.

In short anarchism in love contradicts the revolution’s objective to establish a just society and the real equality of the sexes.  Hence revolutionaries find the rationale behind the guiding principles of the Party  on love, relationship and sex. Such principles draw a line between freedom and discipline, between rights and responsibilities, and between emotions and principles.

These principles aim to secure the interest of the Party and the revolution at all cost, protect the rights of every revolutionary  and other individuals who may be involved, and advance a healthy proletarian relationship between couples inside the revolutionary movement.

 

Love a revolutionary

The dominant kind of love today is just a mere reflection of the existing social order and culture. In a semi-colonial and semi-feudal system, love can be oppressive, patriarchal and decadent in character, vulnerable to abuses and violations of the rights of others.

Revolutionaries know that to liberate love from oppression one must strive harder to revolutionize and liberate the entire unjust society. This is what the love story of Ka Guiller and Ka Nancy has shown.

And they are not alone.  Revolutionary love blossoms in many NPA camps, farms, workplaces, campuses, communities and institutions where the national democratic revolution has taken its roots. Indeed, no love is sweeter and nobler than revolutionizing society in the company of one you truly love and want to share the rest of your life with.  Hence loving a revolutionary is experiencing a kind of love that is selfless and liberating, guided and grounded so that it genuinely serves the people.

Building a Revolutionary Family

in Mainstream
by Pat Gambao

In a society divided into social classes, the family, its smallest unit, is prime and sacred. Its interest and concern, next to self, is foremost.  One’s goal and aspirations are usually directed towards the welfare and good of this small band of people.  One has to depart from convention to realize and embrace the whole society as one’s family.

“In my early days with the New People’s Army (NPA), I felt lonely. I longed for home, for my family.  But comrades were quick to console me and their advice was enlightening and heartening. Likewise, I found solace from my immersion with the masses of Lumad people. I felt they were my family.  Everyone is my brother, my sister, my mother, my father.  I realized that the society I wanted to serve and change is the family in itself,” narrated Ka Roberto.

As Ka Roberto stayed longer in the people’s army, the greater demands of work and the fruitful results of their efforts which benefited the masses left him no time to brood, to long for home.

Home is where Ka Roberto and his siblings were guided during their formative years.  Exposure to the harsh realities of the unjust social structures tempered them in life.

Ka Roberto’s parents were young activists in the 80s, later becoming  full-fledged members of the Communists Party of the Philippines (CPP). They had been emphatic about the many things that need to be done and that time was of the essence.  They made the children understand their hectic schedules and that all the things that they were doing were not necessarily for their own good only, but also for the many downtrodden, as well as for the total liberation of the country; that to succeed in this formidable task, profound commitment, selfless sacrifice and tremendous effort are required.

Like most couples in the movement, Ka Roberto’s parents strove to raise their children according to revolutionary  principles, virtues, and discipline.

The family was accustomed to simple living—simple home, simple food on the table, simple clothes, and simple other needs.  The children were  given their needs, but not everything they fancied. Whatever little luxuries they enjoyed at times came from their grandparents, uncles or aunts who were quite well off.  Their mother referred to their kin as their support system as they were the ones they ran to in times of need.  Through all these, the siblings felt a need to act on something that only dawned on them slowly, persistently, as they were introduced to the circle that their parents  moved in.

Often, the siblings had been brought along to meetings and rallies where the country’s situation was discussed and varied issues and problems were brought up.  Though their young minds could not fully comprehend them, they became familiar with slogans and calls that defined the issues. They mingled and played with children of other activists whom they found out were also familiar with the chants.  Later, the siblings attended workshops with their playmates and friends and learned more. Gradually, they came to understood more—why and how poverty, injustice, and revolution arise.

Their parents’ openness about their activities and the rationale behind these had great impact and influence on Ka Roberto and his siblings.

In grade school, the young Roberto was the typical boy on the go—inquisitive, naughty, and dogged. Together with some classmates, he at times figured in petty brawls that prompted his teachers to call on his parents. In class, he busied himself doodling and drawing. But later, his skills in illustration would come in handy when he himself would lecture on Philippine society and revolution.

In high school, Ka Roberto and his siblings were active in progressive youth organizations.  They became adept at organizing and instruction work.

Never did their parents restrain them from their activism, but continued to give them advice and shared lessons from their own experiences. They also encouraged them to integrate with the peasants in the countryside and the urban workers in the factories.  Exposure to the life and struggles of the poor peasants and workers further kindled the siblings’ revolutionary spirit.  Soon, they too were initiated into the Party.

When Ka Roberto dropped out of school and decided to work full time in the movement, his parents respected his decision, no matter how much they wanted him to finish his studies to enhance his capabilities in fulfilling revolutionary tasks. He gave up the opportunity to enroll at the UP College of Fine Arts and a scholarship in another state university. Upon reaching 18, he opted to join the New People’s Army, convincing his parents that whatever skills were available in school, he could also learn from his work with the masses in the revolution. His parents fully understood him.  In fact, they were elated over his decision, which inspired and made the whole family proud. Everyone felt that every single addition to the people’s army is a valued reinforcement, a multiplier-factor for the growth and strength of the revolution.

Providing deeper insight into his decision, Ka Roberto explained: “I had been with the urban movement for a long time before I decided to join the revolutionary army,   The current situation of the Philippine society and the growing demand of the revolution spurred me to take a new course in my life.  I don’t want to waste my time on trivial things, like engrossing in senseless games and chats on the internet.  I prefer to offer the vigor and sinew of my youth for the revolution.   We are young only once.  I do not want to squander the time of my youth and forever regret it.”

For a moment he was pensive, then shared what had preoccupied his mind. “Have we pondered why the farmers who till the soil and produce the food have nothing to eat?”

In Mindanao, the land of promise, Ka Roberto found his niche among the Lumad people.  He mastered not only their different spoken languages — Visayan, Ilonggo, Mandaya, Bagobo, Manobo — but also their way of life which he imbibed.  For two years now he has been assigned in different guerilla fronts under the Pulang Bagani Battalion (PBB) of the Southern Mindanao Region.

Last year, Ka Roberto got married to his comrade-in-arms.  He is now a proud father to a child who will be raised the way he and his siblings were brought up.  This child and those who will come after him will be nurtured by—and, in turn,  will manifest selfless love for—the revolution and the masses.

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