Rebolusyunaryong Partido ng Manggagawa - Pilipinas
On Philippine Agrarian Question

On Philippine Agrarian Question

The purpose of this paper is to make clear RPMP’s analysis and position on the Philippine agrarian question and from these analysis and position, define its tactic and line of march in the agrarian front.

But before going any further into the details of this analysis and position, let it be said, at the outset, that RPMP has long expressed its position on this matter, albeit, not in a separate and relatively detailed thesis that would clearly guide comrades in the pursuit of revolutionary work in the rural areas.

So what is this analysis and position? It is not that Philippine agrarian political economy is semi-feudal as the Maoists, in their crass inadequacy in Marxist Theory , would assert. It is that Philippine agriculture has long been basically capitalist, though, characterized as it is by unevenness and mal-development relative to its counterpart in the West and other parts of the world. Marx, as early as a century and half ago, declared: “Capitalism subordinates to itself all varied forms of landed ownership and remolds them after its own fasion,” in reference to extreme variety of land ownership such as feudal, clan communal (and primitive squatter), state, etc. prevalent during this time. Lenin made a similar declaration in reference to varied form of landed property in Russia and elsewhere in the world. “ In all these cases, the development and victory of capitalism is similar though not identical in form.”

Capitalism has long developed and been victorious over various forms of landed property–be it feudal estate, as in hacienda and vast plantations, ancestral domains as in Lumad and Moro areas, or small owner-cultivated lands in the Philippine countryside. For the self-proclaimed Maoists to hang-on to the semi-feudal (read, feudal) thesis based on their warped analysis of the persistence of vast landed monopoly by landlord is not only completely incorrect but a gross theoretical perversion. Capitalist development is not measured in term of concentration or dispersion of land in the hands of its private owners. Rather, it is measured in terms of how far has capital in its various forms has made inroads if not engulfed agricultural production and hold it in its dominating sway.

Data from research would show that capital in its various forms–money, machinery, fertilizer and chemicals and other technology all purchased from the commodity market as well labor as commodity purchased by money in varied extent, has now almost completely overtaken agricultural production whether in vast landed estate and plantations, communal lands or small-owner cultivated lands. Agricultural products produced in these land such as rice, corn, sugar, tobacco, banana, vegetables, fruits or livestock, etc. are in turn brought to commodity market in exchange for money. Agricultural production, in other words, has now completely entered the sphere of commodity market and social production and exchange governed by the law of value.

The so-called subsistence farming by small holding peasants is fast becoming a thing of the past as even this has become a small enterprise, which in most cases, unable to survive competition, hence, only leads to bankruptcy and the rapid proletarianization of the erstwhile peasantry. Land rent of tenants whether way of share-cropping or lease-holding has shaken off its original form as surplus labor characteristic of previous mode of production, and is now, assuming a capitalist character as rent over and above average profit.

Uneven and Mal-developed Capitalism in Philippine Agriculture

But not all is well is this Philippine brand of agricultural capitalism. Its development is uneven and maldeveloped. This maldevelopment and unevenness is determined by its peculiar evolution and history. From the feudal mode in the form of encomienda system implanted by Spanish colonization, this was later replaced by hacienda system at the end of the 18th century in a way that more or less resembled the serfdom of medieval Europe. Foreign trade based on the demands of booming capitalism in Europe and America vastly expanded, thus, engendering “cash crop” specialization initially in sugar and abaca and later , indigo, coffee, tobacco, etc. from 19th century onwards. While in rice and corn areas, lands were parcelled out to sharecroppers, in cash crop-based haciendas, vast plantations tilled by wage laborers (sacadas) became a permanent fixture. Wage, as in the case of all emerging capitalism was often kept below subsistence level and landowners developed patron-client relationship with the laborers as the former continued to exercise cultural and political power over the latter.

Had the bourgeois-democratic revolution waged by Katipunan towards the end of the 19th century been victorious, it would have totally altered the course of Philippine agrarian transformation in particular and Philippine history in general. Not with American colonization which overlook it which did not in any way alter the prevailing set-up of vast landed property. Private monopoly in land consistent with capitalism was made even more entrenched with the passage of land ownership legislations such as land registration, cadastral survey and titling, etc. which in the process legalized ownership acquired either by inheritance mainly from Spanish ancestry or land-grabbing or both.

Meanwhile American-imposed free trade policy structured the colonial economy into a pattern of dependence and underdevelopment as landowners were encouraged to invest heavily in the production of sugar, copra and hemp for export to the United States. American export of capital to the colony, on the other hand, were concentrated in extractive industries like mining and logging while American companies also invested heavily in agricultural commodity crops like pineapple. Ports, railways and road networks were established and developed to facilitate free movement of commodities within and outside the country.

The private monopoly in land by the landlords and the attendant exploitative and oppressive relations against the peasants that go with it as well as the colonial and later on, the semi-colonial status of the country served as material basis upon which the peasant struggle for land persisted even after the failed democratic revolution waged by Katipunan. All these, however, fell short in radically changing the basic agrarian structure and relations dominated by big landowners. If at all, these struggles won only accommodations from the vested landed interests in congress in the form of land reform measures which, at best, only served as political appeasement for what appeared to be a clamour not of a solid, but, a largely fragmented class. Its struggle has already been overtaken by rapidly changing terrain of agrarian structure and relations being held sway by the inroad and later domination of social production and exchange.

That Philippine rural economy has now assumed a capitalist character is now reality. Its transformation went through not in the way the peasants as petty capitalists may have, as their class interest would dictate, wanted it to be–accelerated and flourishing. But in the way the big landed gentry with the aid of foreign capital, mainly of American origin, based on their own class interests, wanted it to be. This landed private property of the then landlords served as material condition upon which capitalism embedded its seed, took root and broke ground. Its growth, however was unsurprisingly stunted. This became the very condition of production based on private land monopoly gave exceedingly low wage to hired laborers if not exacted grossly oppressive rent from peasants, thus, fettered the free development of the home market for products not only of agriculture but also of industry. The entry foreign capital from the booming economy of the United States and the colonial trade pattern with the latter, for its part, squeezed away much needed resources from the economy therby dissipating capital production and development.

This is not to say, of course, that capitalism of the petty type does not exist. It does in a very pervasive manner especially in rice, corn and other crops, co-existing side-by side with the large-scale plantation and corporate farms. Such development, however, came after the hacienda and plantation of landed gentry had long been drawn into social production and exchange not just in the domestic level but also in the world scale.

Analysis of various forms of Capitalist Production in Agriculture

Philippine rural reality maybe characterized by the existence of several forms of economic production and ownership intermeshing and combining with each other. Each form has its own logic and dynamism but all being held sway by the basically dominant capitalist mode in the country. The latter in turn being subordinated to overwhelmingly dominant global capitalist logic. These combining forms are: 1. Large-scale production and ownership in the form of agricultural plantation and corporate farms; 2. Petty-commodity production and ownership; 3. Remnants of the old form.

Large-scale capitalist production and ownership. This can be seen in plantation where erstwhile landlords or hacienderos as in case of Negros and other parts of the country have gradually transformed themselves into capitalist (Junker-type of capitalist evolution) and corporate farms which in most cases, capital from without are brought into an area as in the case of large corporate farms (MNCs) in Mindanao. This form represents the more advanced sector of rural economy as production here contains more value added in terms capital, technology and labor. Where in other forms of private landed property, production is largely dependent on possession land; here production is largely dependent on possession of capital and technology.

Surplus labor extraction in this case is not as intricate as in petty commodity production form because here the direct producer, the worker is relates only mainly with the capitalist5 owner/s who exploit his labor by means of surplus value.

Again, with the advent of globalization and intense global competition it brings, agricultural workers are now being pushed to brink as wages are kept as low as possible, and contractualization and retrenchment had become the order of the day.

Petty Commodity production and ownership. It can be posed that this form still has preponderance over Philippine agriculture. This can be seen mainly in such crop-line as rice, corn, coconut, fruit and vegetables and such other rural economic activities and services as livestock, fishery, transportation and commerce. Pettiness cab be such in sense that the size of land around which production is based is small (5 has. or smaller depending the fertility of the soil) just enough for the labor of the family Ownership or relation to land or capital (in the case of non-land based rural activity) is either owner-cultivator/proprietor or tenent/leaseholder or semi-owners as in the case of settlers. This form certainly has already graduated from being feudal (in the sense of being self-contained natural economy, relation being based o rent in kind or labor rent, no employment of wage-workers and the peasants are tied up in bondage to the soil). However, it fell short of being a “full capitalist” form as there is no significant surlus as capital to be reinvested to reproduce. And if we mean by capitalist, the predominance of capital and technology in the sense of economies-of-scale. If there is any surplus, this is just enough to buy the other needs of the family. If wage workers are ever employed, it is only during planting or harvest season. In the case of owner-cultivator where land may have been acquired by inheritance, purchase or land reform, he can be considered a free man released from the bondage of relation, of non-economic nature, with the landowner. One thing about this form and all other coexisting forms for that matter is the awesome dominance of money and market as well inroads af machines, fertilizer and chemicals and other technology in all facets of production and distribution.

Surplus Extraction. In petty-commodity production, various forms of extraction of surplus labor maybe identified which show how the direct producers are being exploited or alienated from the product of their labor, which in turn determines their never-ending poverty:

The main form is profit of the merchants derived from the surplus labor of the small rural commodity producers/farmers and laborers. The merchants bought farm products in a price lower than the value of the labor time expended by the small rural commodity producers. This situation happens because of the backward state of agriculture lengthens the labor time needed to produce farm product compared to the necessary labor time defined by society. They (small rural commodity producers) expend larger/longer labor time with little harvest. This was worsened by their lack of access in market and “isolation” of the rural from the urban centers, which left the small rural commodity producers with no option but to sell their commodity to the merchants at a price which is lower than socially defined. Moreover because of so many additions like transportation and hauling expenses, and most of the times because of “overpricing” the price of farm inputs are many higher than its factory price. The merchants taking advantage of the situation, and using market mechanism (law of supply and demand, monopoly), exploitation of their workers and other form of cheating extract
super-profit from this endeavor, while the small rural commodity producers have no other destination but bankcruptcy. However, this is inevitable under the uneven and maldeveloped capitalism, the very basis for the existence of merchants.

Another form of surplus labor extraction is that of the interest on never ending loans by usurers, small lenders and banks. Since capital functioning as a loan is a commodity, thus it has a price- the interest. In the case of small producers, since capital for them is always scarce, there is no option but to turn to usurer who extract staggering high interest for loans from them than socially defined value (interest) of loan capital. Other than overpricing of loan capital, this situation happens because of market mechanism–the law of supply and demand; there are many borrowers while there are few lenders/usures. At present, various forms of usury are practiced in the counteyside, which earn interest in manifold percentage (alili, sakaan, five-six, porsyentuhan, etc). In most cases, it is also the traders who provide the necessary capital for production as financers with contract and, in turn, obligating the producer to sell their product to the financier which is staggerlying low–a classic case of what Marx said as “the fusion of merchants and usurers capital” in exploiting the small producers.

Another form is land rent, be it sharing system (tercia or quarta parte) or fixed rental which goes to the landowner. This is in the case of farmer/tenant who has not yet been fully freed from the clutches of rent relation with the former. Despite several decades of land reform program since Marcos, tenant-landowner relations in varying degree still persist in the country in either of the following forms: (i) the land ownership is small enough not to be covered or is exempted from program coverage; (ii) for reason of influence, the landed estate has evaded program coverage; (iii) CLT and CLOA holders surrendered their rights to the landowner either by force which is quite pervasive everywhere or by the voluntary act on the part of the CLT or CLOA holder for lack of capital; (iv) in most cases, due to the half hearted implementation of the program and negligence on the part of the government, the tenant has not yet received his emancipation patent (EP) and is still paying land rent in the form of amortization. Let it be clarified, however, that the tenant in this case, is considered as a direct small producer and not as a tenant-peasant as asserted by the incorrect and confused theoretical proposition of the CCP ideology. Pursuing his farm activity as a petty capitalist enterprise, the rent he is paying the landowner, now assuming a character of capitalist rent, e.g, rent not its original form but as surplus value over and above average profit.

With the development of capitalism and capitalist competition in agriculture now being made more intense by globalization, these is no other prospect for petty production and small producer-farmers but bankruptcy and dislocation and be proletarianized. As it is in industry, more and more small farmers are fast falling into the ranks of the disenfranchised and the unemployed thus swelling the ranks of what is now called the informal sector of labor.

Remnats of the Old Forms. This can be seen in the persisting share and leasehold tenancy system in large part of the country; backward plantations in the sense of hacienda of the old, which also still exist in the countryside; as well as in the tribal communal forms of the Lumad and Moro. However, their existence cannot be categorized as falling under the feudal and communal forms. This can best be understood if dissected in its economic, political and cultural sense. The tribal remnants here that carry some characteristics the tribal elder’s authority and communal claim on the natural resources are found mainly in the political and cultural sphere. With the dominance of capital in production and exchange, rent relation here, whether in sharing and leasehold arrangement may now have completely assumed a capitalist character as in the case of backward plantations where, wage-relations have long been the feature of landowner and labor relations.

Failure of the Capitalist State

As Marxist revolutionaries, we do not expect the capitalist state to serve the interest of working class, much less work for socialism. But certainly, it could have done better to address the mal-development and backwardness of the productive forces especially in the countryside within the context of capitalism. That would have made our task a lot easier. A cursory look at the experience of the so-
called Asian dragons and tigers makes us to conclude that Philippine state miserably failed in this mission. How it dealt with the agrarian question and land reform in particular, modernization of agriculture, investment in science and technology, comprehensive rural subsidy, etc. While this can be explained by the specific historical experience of the Philippines which diverge from other Asian countries and other capitalist countries for such matter in the question of agrarian reform in particular and capitalist development in general–its out and out subservience to US imperialism and the 20 years of Marcos dictatorship. It is not too late for correction and policy reforms in the direction of developing the rural productive forces for the material basis of socialism to exist. We are pointing this out because this has something to do in the formulation of our specific agrarian reform policy proposal and other tactics in our engagement with the capitalist state.

Rural Classes
In concluding that Philippine countryside economy is basically capitalist integrated as it is into over-all context of basically capitalist mode in the country and awesomely dominant world capitalist system presupposes the existence of two conflicting rural classes: the capitalist class and the working class. However, characterizing such capitalism as mal-developed, and in combination with other persisting transitional forms is to characterize these classes as also diverse, generally mal-developed and unevenly distributed among many sub-sections each intricately linked and in contradiction with each other.

1. The capitalist class. Talking of the capitalist class in the rural areas is not to say that they are mainly found in the countryside itself especially the big and dominant ones. To say so is to dichotomize capitalist system as a whole as rural and urban capitalism. The following are the sub-sections depending in their size and line of ventures.

(a) Advance plantation and corporate farm owners. They represent the most advanced and determining section of the capitalism in the countryside. They are mostly big corporations engaged in corporate farming that includes the multinational corporation like in Mindanao and new breed of taipan capitalists who build-up their capital in commercial business. They also have other interests aside from those in agriculture. (Let us also include in this category capitalist fishing corporation employing capital, advanced technology and a number of workers). Within the context of present level of capitalist development, they are closely inter-linked with banks or finance capitalists, the latter being the controlling section of capitalist class.

(b) Big junker capitalist class who used to be hacienderos. They used to earn the economic and political power on the basis of their possession of land. But held sway by capitalism and market, they were gradually transformed into capitalist themselves giving importance to capital and technology in production. However, in the context of low of technological backwardness of the country’s agriculture, their production is generally labor-intensive, of low value-added and less competitive. Hence many of them border to bankruptcy, tied up in the bank loans. With low profit, they struggle to survive by paying workers very low wages and no benefits. The most backward of them, especially those unable to adjust to capitalist terrain, think they are still landlords of the old treating their workers as if they are their serfs.

( c) Junker capitalists in rice and other cash crops. They are the land-rent collecting section of the capitalist class whose land may now be covered by land reform of the government or may have have evaded the program but by reason of influence or by recovering the distributed land by force. They live by the labor of the tenants. The wiser of them may have ventured into entrepreneurship such as transportation, fabrication, construction business and in the coastal areas medium-sized fishing ventures, etc. But others remain as landowners, their life dependent on the rent they collect. They are included in the capitalist class in the sense that within the framework of capitalism, the rent they collect can now be categorized as capitalist rent, the tenant or leaseholder being a small producer drawn into the generalized commodity production and market economy.

(d) Merchants. They represent a distinct section of capitalist class in the agrarian sector because of their distinct and determinant role as “mediator” between the backward agrarian economy of the
countryside and center of trade and commerce in country and the advance industrial centers of the world. The merchants are the middlemen between the countryside and the capitalists who export and import commodities out and in of the country, respectively. By their cartel and monopolistic operation, they amass huge profits from their ventures.

(e) Usurers and Lenders. They are the maniature counterparts of finance capitalists in the countryside. Like the merchants they represent a distinct section of the capitalist class. It is to them that a large portion of surplus labor of the rural producers goes in the form of staggeringly high interest they impose. Under the present context they come in various shades and color-traders as usurer-financiers, micro-lending institutions, usury practiced by landowners, rural capitalists, relatives of Filipinos working abroad, etc. In the over-all capitalist system, it is the finance capitalists that represent the controlling section of the capitalist class with much of the surplus value produced by workers accruing to them.

(f) Other Capitalist Farmers in the Countryside. This represent a broad category in the lower strata of capitalists in the rural areas to include not just what used to be the middle peasants producing just enough for family needs but all sorts of small producers possessing their own means of production in the countryside and living sufficiently by themselves. This includes storeowners, tricycle operators, owners of carenderia and all sorts of small shops, operators of small business servicing and gravitating around agriculture. As small capitalists, they are in very real danger of falling into the ranks of the working-class especially with the rising standard of living.

2. Working class. This can be categorized into two general sections-the regular workers and the semi-workers/proletarians.

(a) The regular workers. These are of course found in plantations and corporate farms. As regular workers, they receive regular wages and benefits. These wages can range from very low not enough for family needs as in the case of backward plantations and relatively higher in the case of more or less advanced plantation or corporate farms. With globalization and intense capitalist competition in global scale and agriculture production in the country barely able to compete and survive, many regular workers are now being driven out of work if not transformed into contractual workers. With no work to turn to in the urban centers, more and more of them are falling into the ranks of the unemployed. As such, their struggle at present, aside from wage increase and other benefits, is centered on security of tenure. While some of them may have already been unionized, a large portion still remain unorganized at present.

(b) The irregular workers. They constitute the bulk of the workers in the countryside and even relative to the entire rural population. They are generally referred to as the rural poor. Their ranks also could be divided by several sub-sections:

(I) The poor land-tillers. They are either small owner-cultivators, sharecropping tenants or leaseholders, amortizing tenants, settlers, etc. By the smallness of the land they till (2 hectares or less depending on the fertility of the soil) and lack of capital by which to finance production, income from farming alone is far from sufficient for their family needs. They are then forced to look from other means of survival by selling there labor power, whenever work is available as seasonal workers whether in the farm during planting and harvest season, or out of farm as construction workers, trisikad drivers, or into vending, handicrafts, etc. in which case they are also workers in the framework of capitalism. As poor land tillers, they hold on to the land as a means of survival especially for production of rice, corn, fruits, vegetables, livestock for consumption and for market. It is in this section of rural population where land struggle is pervasive especially in cases where landowners intend to recover or directly possess the land whether for production, sale, or conversion to housing or other purposes, etc.

(II) Poor fishermen. They contitute as fairly large segment of rural population. Like land tillers, the means of production they posses (small fishing boats and backward gears) ire not enough for bare family survival. As such, they are forced to look for other means of survival including selling their labor power or any other means especially during off-season. With the depletion of marine resources due to destructive fishing methods, their economic condition is getting worse everyday.

(III) Landless seasonal rural worker and the unemployed. The former are composed of poor land tillers dispossessed out of land by bankcruptcy or by other processes or workers driven out of work. With no means of production of their own, their only recourse is the sale of their labor power whenever farm or out of farm work is available in order to survive. In the case of the unemployed which presently constitute a growing portion of rural population (about 15% by government statistics), they are either out of school youth unable to go to school for reason of poverty and not involved in farming or graduates looking for work but unable to find it. Along with the underemployed poor farmers and farm-workers, they are reserve over-supply of labor.

On Our Tactics and Line of March in the Agrarian Front.

After having discussed in quite detail our analysis of the rural political economy, we are now in the position to define our general and specific tactics and line of march on the agrarian front.

Democratic and Anti-Imperialist Struggle for Soscialism.

The basically capitalist character of the Philippine economy in general and rural economy in particular, dominated and held sway as it is by the logic of commodity production and overpowering monopoly market economy in the world scale defines the anti-imperialist, democratic and socialist framework and character of the Philippine agrarian struggle. (Democracy here should be understood more in the economic sense and not in the bourgeois democratic political sense.) This is notwithstanding the dominance of petty-commodity production therein. This defines the formation of anti-imperialist, democratic and socialist organization of the rural workers and rural poor working for the unity of rural working class against imperialism and for democratic reforms and educating the rural working-class on socialism. This struggle should be closely linked and unified with the urban working class especially the industrial workers in particular and working-class in other parts of the country in general. Said struggle should also be linked and in solidarity with the international struggle of the working class versus world imperialism and capitalism.

Ownership and control of land and other capital resources by a few landowner and capitalists provide the material basis for the exploitation and oppression of the masses of the working class in the market-oriented agricultural production. The agrarian question, therefore, refers not only to the interest of the working class for land as one of the basic means of production and other resources in the capitalist agriculture. It revolves around the interest, issues and demand of the masses of the working class composed of the agricultural workers and then semi-proletarian seasonal, contractual workers and then poletarianized peasants. It is a broad concern that encompasses not only the land question but the over-all agricultural backwardness and development of rural productive forces as a whole and the relations of production therein. Our agrarian struggle therefore should be directed at addressing this backwardness and towards resolving the various exploitative relations that stand in the way of development of the productive forces in the countryside and towards agricultural modernization, which will serve as a basis for socialist transformation.

Democratization in Agriculture – A Minimum Program.

Under the condition of the uneven mal-developed capitalism, capitalist relations dominate the agrarian situation in the country. Production, distribution and consumption of products from the land are already dictated primarily by a cash and market-oriented economy and not by the needs of a self-sufficient economy of small communities.

The tactical direction in the agrarian front therefore is to lead the masses of the proletarians in the struggle for democratization of agriculture. This means organizing the initiatives of the masses towards affecting a change in the ownership, use and management of land and other agricultural capital resources in their favor. Gains and victories in this endeavour will serve to provide concrete
solutions to their immediate and partial demands for their well-being while at the same time building-up their independent political strength. Only through this process will the rural proletariat and semi-proletariat gain political experience and advance in the struggle for socialism.

Learning from the error of the past, our line on this question will no longer be basically distributive or breaking up otherwise productive capital intensive plantations. The policy whether directed to the state or to the plantation owner should be along the line of wage and benefit struggle and democratizing the ownership, use of land and agricultural resources. This should also include the struggle for comprehensive protection of the worker, together with the women and children, including subsidy and social safety nets against the impact of globalization. In the case of the tenanted landholdings especially in rice, corn and other crops, the line is to support the struggle of the poor land tillers/semi-proletarians. However, they should be educated on the backwardness of small-scale agriculture and persuaded on the advantage of co-operation along the socialist perspective.

Several decade of redistributive approach in land reform of Sison’s Communist Party have brought almost completely nothing in terms of concrete benefit to the hapless rural poor, more so, with the countryside having long been put under the powerful sway of capital. Worse, the analysis and the revolutionary strategy, where it is premised only resulted to never-ending war and destruction to the detriment of the rural masses they so profess to serve.

Neither did the government’s much-vaunted land reform program ever resolved the problem and the long-standing land problem and the long-standing rural backwardness and mass poverty. Decades of said land reform program have passed and yet vast landed monopoly persists and rural modernization remains an elusive dream.

For one, the landed gentry strongly resisted it. Two, the rural poor beneficiaries direly need capital with which to finance their small enterprise in the face of almost total absence of support from the government. Three, its implementation is brazenly marred with politics and corruption.

But while Sison’s party simply finds comfort in the abstract slogans of “scrap crap,” and “Implement Genuine Land Reform,” our attitude should be one that would maximize whatever concrete gains the working class masses can get. This can be done by putting forward such demands as collective ownership, infrastructure support and subsidies and in the process reach out to beneficiaries for organizing and socialist propaganda and education.

Adapt Forms that Would Reach the Broadest Masses

Poverty and the pressing need for food and employment is the main and immediate concern of the rural masses, even among the rural masses with high level of consciousness, organization and active participation during the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship. Extreme economic difficulties are driving the masses to migrate and/or become roving job seekers. Political matters to them are of secondary concern in the daily realities of their struggle for economic survival. It is common occurrence for the rural masses to show active interest on issues and activities that answer their immediate need for food or income.

Forms of organization that promote immediate their economic needs and well-being should therefore be promoted as effective channels for reaching, organizing and educating the masses. After all, the economic as well as related political issues around these needs are concrete manifestations and results capitalist exploitation and oppression.

The rural working masses should be organized around unions, associations, cooperatives and related service institutions along these concerns to advance their struggle for immediate demands that would effect changes on the relations of property, privilege and power in their favor. While open, legal, militant and non-armed forms of actions are proven to advance the struggle of the masses for concrete gains under condition of struggle for reforms, other forms that effectively defend the gains of the working class have also been favourably employed in specific conditions.

Advance the Agrarian and Rural Mass Movement Around the Tasks of the Minimum Program.

Mass struggles and the action of the masses themselves for their interests against the oppression and exploitation of capital can only be the basis for the advancement of the class struggle towards socialism.

The masses of the “proletarianized” peasantry and the proletariat in the rural areas must, therefore, be organized to work and fight in a militant and continuous manner for their immediate and specific economic and political interests towards the attainment of socialism.

This struggle must advance the democratic, anti-imperialist and socialist program as the direction for advancing the working class struggle towards socialism in the particular conditions of the country. Through this, relation of property, power and the privilege between the capitalist class and the working class should be changed and at the same time, well-being of the masses of working class must be improved by achieving gains for their particular and immediate demands.

Towards this objective, the organization and struggle of the rural proletariat must be formed and led based on the following specific agrarian and land reform direction and policy demands:

1. Equity in agriculture to mean the ownership, optimum use and productive management by the rural poor of the land and other agricultural resources.

Monopoly of land by big capitalist landowners must be opposed and democratization of land ownership, use and management must be pursued as the basis of ensuring the interest and benefit of the broadest masses in the rural areas composed of the proletariat and semi-proletarial. Based on the specific wants and material conditions of the rural poor masses, individualized , collectivized and broad scale farming can be combined to ensure their maximum benefit.

Rational agriculture that responds to the present needs, interests and well being of the masses and working class and the whole society that at the same time safeguards their long term interest to protect the natural resources of the needs of the future generations of human kind must be promoted.

The capitalistic profit orientation with total disregard for the sustainability of the natural resources and at the most times, at the expense of the well being of the general interest of humanity must be opposed. Instead, an orientation in agriculture that considers both the food and other basic needs of society and is environment-friendly must pursued.

3. Development of the capabilities, skills, and capacities of the rural proletariat that would serve to ensure their success in changing the status of property, power and privilege of the capitalist class in their favor should also be worked for.

All these must be given specific expression in each particular place and time that will serve to give flesh and blood to the struggle of the working class against the exploitation and oppression of capital under globalization.

In the engagement with the capitalist state, the following policy demands may be advanced:
(a) Comprehensive agricultural subsidy program package to include credit, production, marketing, etc. channeled through cooperatives and farmers associations to draw away producers from dealing with usurers and trading monopolist.

Alongside with these, demands should be forwarded for the strict enforcement of laws against cartels and such nefarious practices as hoarding, profiteering, etc. and the imposition of stiff penalties against violators.

(b) Policies that give due importance in terms of budget and resource development to science and appropriate rural technology and modernization including effort to develop organic farming. This is to eventually reduce if not do away the harmful and costly imported technology, which eats up their large share of production expenses.

(c ) Policy reforms directed towards the protection of the rural economy from the onslaughts of competition from outside. This would mean major policy changes in trade and in dealing with WTO and other multilateral free trading bodies.

( e) Immediate measures that would distribute idle, abandoned and unproductive lands to qualified beneficiaries to be utilized for productive uses.

(f) Immediate completion of unfinished program of governments’ agrarian reform; correction of the overwhelming infirmities in its implementation; resolution of cases to beneficiaries favor and; prosecution of corrupt agrarian reform officials then and now and from top to bottom offices.

(g) Policies that would encourage and promote cooperative enterprise among agricultural producers and rural workers.

On our Socialist Agrarian Program

Lenin clearly spelled out the outline of his revolutionary program on the agrarian question in Russia generally as follows:
(a) Massive collectivization of already developed lands runs along capitalist line.

(b) Expropriation of vast landed estates and its conversion to model state farms financed by the state. 

( c) Massive cooperativization of small tiller landhoding where small land tillers shall lump their lands together to facilitate rapid modernization with all the necessary state support. This, however, shall be done not by force but through persuasion and education.

The above shall be undertaken within the context of land nationalization program that would abolish absolute private ownership in land towards stewardship, in which case lands shall be put into optimum use while doing away with mindless land speculation.

Let it be put in context that the above general outline of socialist program in agriculture was put forward by Lenin after the victory of October Revolution. That was when the Bolshevik party was in position of power to transform the Russia agrarian economy along socialism. Similar maximum program may be implemented in our case as soon as we are in the position of power to do so.

For now that we are in the framework of struggle for reforms, our minimum agrarian reform program may serve as our guide in the conduct of agrarian struggle. That is to reach out to the broad masses of rural proletarians in the countryside to organize and build their independence as part of the necessary preparations for socialism. Part of the said preparations is to make clear among the rural masses the socialist direction of our agrarian struggle and the specific content of said socialist agrarian program.