Critique of the politico-military strategy

By Sonny Melencio and Reihana Mohideen

A number of party formations in the Philippines, such as the PMP (Workers Party of the Philippines), RPM (Revolutionary Workers Party), PMLP (Party of Marxists-Leninists in the Philippines), adopt the politico-military ("pol-mil") strategy as a reaction to the protracted people's war strategy of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It is defined as a combination of political and military struggles, with the military struggle playing a secondary or subordinate role to the political struggle.

"Pol-mil" usually means the creation of a small group of armed units, mostly in the urban areas, that undertakes special armed operations such as assassination of individual representatives of the ruling class, bombings, sabotage, "expropriations", and other punitive acts on an individual or limited basis.

For these groups, "pol-mil" has been elevated to the level of strategy. Some of the groups also trace their strategy to the Vietnamese model. It is about time that we clarify the context of Vietnam's combination model.

Vietnam's Pol-Mil

Leaders of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) regarded pol-mil not as a strategy but as a "fundamental form of revolutionary violence" during the wars of national liberation in their country.

According to Truong Chinh, a politburo member of the VCP:

… the Vietnamese revolution has always used both forms—political struggle and armed struggle—to stage insurrection and win power … Armed forces combined with political forces, armed struggle combined with political struggle—such is the fundamental form of revolutionary violence in our country."1

For the VCP, revolutionary strategy consists of determining the enemy, the motive force of the revolution and the allies of the proletariat at each strategic stage of the revolution. Pol-mil, on the other hand, is a form of struggle (or a combination of forms of struggle) that is usually associated with the question of tactics.

The point here is to be able to draw a difference between a party's strategy and tactics. For if one elevates a form (or a combination of forms) of struggle to the level of strategy, one runs the risk of excluding or denigrating other related forms of action that are as crucial to the development of the long-term goals of the party (the major concern of strategy). Propaganda and party building, for instance, are as crucial as the pol-mil forms in building and developing the revolutionary capacity of the party.

But even if we take Vietnam's pol-mil as a strategy, there are two things that we must clarify at once:

1. Vietnam's "pol-mil strategy" is not the Maoist "protracted people's war [PPW] strategy" that the CPP always made it out to be. It is not the strategy of "encircling the cities from the countryside", "building Red bases" in the countryside until the revolutionary armed forces are ready to capture political power in the main cities, the "principal area of struggle is the countryside" etc.

Horror of horrors for the CPP: the VCP's strategy is insurrectionary!—although it combines the political struggle and the military struggle in both rural and urban areas. According to Truong-Chinh, this combination "should as a matter of course combine political struggle (for instance, general political strikes, school strikes, market strikes, office employees' strikes, political meetings and demonstrations, armed demonstrations for a show of strength, etc.) and armed attacks" in rural and urban areas.2

For Vietnam, the revolution's insurrectionary character is clear. Insurrection caps its pol-mil combination. Thus: "One must raise the combination of military and political struggles to a fairly high level: combination of actions before, during and after the insurrection; during the insurrection for winning power just as in the war for liberation; in rural and urban areas as well as between rural areas and urban areas; on the operational, tactical and strategic planes in the war of liberation. The highest form of combination is that of general offensive with general insurrection."3

2. Vietnam's "pol-mil strategy" does not mean the combination of the two forms in all instances. For Truong-Chinh, "From 1936 to 1939, in the face of the danger of fascism and of aggressive war by the fascists, and preparing for favourable opportunities to fight the enemy, our Party took as a basis for action the building of the masses' political forces". It means the skilful combination of legal and illegal actions, "including the use of 'Chambers of the people's representatives' and 'Colonial councils', etc., to trigger off a seething movement of political struggle from urban to rural areas".4

Thus, it was only during the prelude to the second world war that armed insurrection began to be posed in Vietnam. From there on, Truong-Chinh said:

Our Party advanced from political struggle to the mobilization for armed struggle, from the masses' political organizations to the building of paramilitary forces of the people (self-defence units for national salvation, self-defence combat units, guerrilla units of the National Salvation Troops and the Liberation Troops). It properly combined the two forms of political and armed struggle during the years of preparations for the insurrection, during the pre-insurrection period and right in the course of the August 1945 General Insurrection.5

In Vietnam, the combination of the two forms of political and armed struggle was raised during the national liberation war of 1939-1945 (and was capped by the victorious August Revolution). And then the combined forms were waged again during the French colonialist aggression of 1945-1954. In this period, Truong-Chinh said, "The people's revolutionary violence was embodied in the combination of armed and political struggles, with armed struggle predominating."6

Thus it was clarified that although the combination of political and armed struggles constitutes the fundamental form of violence in the Vietnamese revolution, "either of them [predominates] according to the concrete situation prevailing in each period or each region."7

The VCP was very specific in the periods when the pol-mil combination became the main revolutionary form. Pol-mil was waged during the war of resistance against the French colonisers (which led to the liberation of the north) and during the US imperialist aggression in the south. The VCP noted that the "strategy" developed not only with the combination of the political and military struggle, but also with the development of the diplomatic struggle.

The proper time to initiate the armed or military struggle was clarified further by the VCP leader:

In the course of the revolution, one must absolutely mobilize the masses to wage political struggle in many forms, thereby educating, encouraging and organizing them; develop the Party and the masses' political organizations (to build a "mass political army"). Only at a certain point, when conditions are favourable, should one build the people's revolutionary armed forces and trigger off an armed struggle. The masses' political organizations form the basis of the people's armed forces.8

The Philippine pol-mil

Hence, the "pol-mil strategy" being advanced by a number of left groups in the Philippines (actually more in words than deeds by some groups) differs substantially from the Vietnamese model. It shows once more the penchant of some groups for creating a schema or "universalising" a form of strategy without consideration of the situation or the context in which such a form was successfully initiated.

The Philippine version of pol-mil strategy involves the formation of urban guerilla groups that undertake "single combat" operations against individual representatives or institutions of the ruling class in the forms of assassinations, bombings, sabotage, "expropriations" and other punitive acts.

At best, the purported aim of these acts is to assist or stimulate mass actions, although there have been a number of actions staged for dramatic impact, such as the RPM's admitted bombing of oil companies at the height of an oil price increase, or as a "lesson" or "advanced deterrent" to the capitalists and police who harass and violently attack the workers, such as most of the operations of the Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) in the industrial areas of Metro Manila. ("Expropriation" is another thing, as its sole aim is to collect funds for the revolutionary movement.)

Devoid of any clear political impact and divorced from the mass movement, these actions, however, have a tendency to be ultra-left and can be seen more as desperate measures rather than as subsidiary parts of the political struggle.

Pol-mil strategy here—or more precisely the military component of such strategy—refers to the individual acts of terror designed to destabilise the state, create dramatic impact, give "warning" or "lessons" to individual capitalists and the police and exert pressure on the ruling class (or its individual representatives) to change policies with regard to the masses or the mass movement.

Terrorism and terror as tactics

The military component in this pol-mil strategy means the use of terror as a form of revolutionary violence against the reactionary violence of the state and representatives of the ruling class. Marxists understand the need for revolutionary violence and are therefore not opposed to the use of terror (or guerilla actions) in the urban and rural areas if the situation warrants such action. But we should also be clear about the conditions and requirements that permit such action.

First, we need to clarify our view regarding terrorism or acts of terror elevated to the level of strategy.

In the Philippine setting, we can cite as an example the strategy instigated by the Light-a-Fire Movement, a social democratic group, during the Marcos dictatorship period. The strategy—pursued through escalated acts of arson, bombings and the like—aimed to destabilise and paralyse the martial law regime "since peaceful protests are not feasible within the system". This type of terrorism is not a proletarian but a petty-bourgeois, individualist and elitist mode of action. Like liberalism, it expresses a fundamental lack of confidence in the potential of the masses to achieve political or social change through their own actions. Terrorism as a strategy has no place in the revolutionary socialist or Marxist movement.

Second, on terror as tactics. Can a Marxist movement adopt terror as a mode of action even if it is secondary or subordinate to the political struggle (precisely what our pol-mil strategists here say)?

If being "secondary" or "subordinate to the political struggle" means that the aim is to stimulate or inspire the mass struggle, here is what Lenin said during his running debate with the petty-bourgeois Socialist Revolutionaries (SRs) in 1902. Lenin criticised them for the assassination of tsarist official Sipyagin (even if he acknowledged the action as a popular act that drew the sympathy of "at least all politically conscious workers"). Lenin clarified his opposition:

Without in the least denying violence and terrorism in principle [for we do not reject the use of acts of terror in PRINCIPLE—SM], we demanded work for the preparation of such forces of violence as were calculated to bring about direct participation of the masses and which guarantee that participation."9

Lenin argued that this SR type of "single combat" action has "the immediate effect of simply creating a short-lived sensation, while indirectly it even leads to apathy and passive waiting [of the masses] for the next bout".10

Trotsky, who became commander of the Red Army during the Russian Revolution, assessed it in these terms:

Individual terrorism is inadmissible precisely for the reason that it lowers the masses in their own consciousness, reconciles them to their powerlessness, and turns their eyes and hopes toward a great avenger and liberator who some day will come and accomplish his mission.11

He added:

The proletarian party does not resort to artificial methods such as burning warehouses, setting off bombs, wrecking trains, etc., in order to bring about the defeat of its own government. Even if it were successful … the military defeat would not at all lead to revolutionary success, a success which can be assured only by the independent movement of the proletariat.12

(Some groups may find our quoting Trotsky reprehensible and a proof of our being "Trotskyites"—a slander being circulated against us by the CPP. Suffice it to say that we know our Trotsky. We are highly critical of the latter's views on "permanent revolution" while we acknowledge his immense contribution to Marxist theory in such works as History of the Russian Revolution and The Revolution Betrayed.)

It is also instructive to note that between a heroic military operation (of a "single combat type") and a political demonstration, Lenin considers the latter as a "genuinely revolutionary act" compared to the former. During a strike in Rostov on Don (1902) in which six workers were murdered and their funeral served as the occasion for a political demonstration of the workers, Lenin had this to say against the claim of the SRs that the workers merely died in vain:

[The SRs said that] It would perhaps have been more "expedient" if the six comrades had given their lives in an attempt on the lives of individual police tyrants … We, however, are of the opinion that it is only such mass movements [the political DEMONSTRATION—SM], in which mounting political consciousness and revolutionary activity are openly manifested to all by the working class, that deserve to be called genuinely revolutionary acts and are capable of really encouraging everyone who is fighting for the Russian revolution.13

When terror is admissible

If Marxists reject terrorism as a strategy and even reject terror as tactics, when is the use of acts of terror admissible?

1. According to Lenin, when it is "calculated to bring about direct participation of the masses and guarantee that participation". Meaning, when it is a minor military action supplementing mass action, when it is subordinated to and absorbed by popular action or by mass struggle. When it is in fact almost a part of the mass movement, or when the act itself is beginning to acquire a mass character. For Lenin:

Terror is one of the forms of military action that may be perfectly suitable and even essential at a definite juncture in the battle, given a definite state of the troops and the existence of definite conditions. But the important point is that terror, at the present time [listen, all those who profess the pol-mil STRATEGY!—SM] is by no means suggested as an operation for the army in the field, an operation closely connected with and integrated into the entire system of struggle, but as an independent form of occasional attack unrelated to any army.14

It is in this sense that Lenin recognised and called for the implementation of guerilla actions in 1905-1906 (i.e., during the height of the "First Russian Revolution"). But even then, Lenin recognised these as "partial, secondary, and auxiliary to the main forms of mass struggles" (which took on the character of mass mobilisation) such as the political strike with local barricade fighting, mass barricade fighting and armed uprising, peaceful parliamentary struggle, partial military revolts and partial peasant revolts.15

In criticising the populist SRs (who were building "autonomous and clandestine armed groups" that carried out military operations in the cities), Lenin said that only when the RSDLP (the Russian revolutionary socialist party of Lenin) was directly leading the masses could it go over to armed street struggles.16

For Marxists, it is clear that acts of terrorism (or guerilla actions) should be subordinated to and absorbed by the mass struggle. As such, "terrorism" here is no longer the same thing. The difference is quite fundamental when it becomes part and parcel of the radicalised mass movement.

2. During periods of the "openly revolutionary phase", i.e., during periods of insurrection, uprising or civil war. This condition becomes the main qualifier in instigating minor military actions that supplements mass action. Otherwise the act is divorced from the mass struggle and can only be the outcome of the desperation of a small group or a few individuals, i.e., ultra-left in its political character. Such an act does not advance but merely obstructs the development of mass struggle.

The Vietnamese experience is instructive in that it tells us that the pol-mil combination by the VCP developed only during the insurrectionary period instigated by actual imperialist aggression (through direct invasion and occupation). The Russian experience where Lenin and the Bolsheviks called for guerilla actions in the cities occurred at the height of the 1905 revolution (Lenin maintained the call in 1906 because he thought the uprising would continue). The call for guerilla actions, however, remained secondary to the mass struggle—political strikes, mass barricades and even parliamentary struggle that drew in mass participation.

If an insurrectionary mood among the masses is the requirement for a pol-mil struggle, a civil war situation is the condition for it to thrive and prosper. Civil war is a war, and has its particular laws. In civil war, bombings, sabotage and other forms of terror are inevitable. Civil war is a situation of mass struggle of the most profound kind, and is usually characterised by a combination of spontaneous uprising at the local level, a bloody coup by counter-revolutionary forces, a revolutionary general strike, an insurrection for the seizure of power and others.

Civil war is a situation of heightened mass struggle, involving not simply a pre-revolutionary situation but a fully revolutionary one in which the question of seizure of state power is actually posed to the masses. Thus, we can outline a range of situations pertaining to the level of the mass struggle, or the level of its breadth and militancy: a non-revolutionary situation is one in which the mass struggle is still at its incipient stage; a pre-revolutionary situation is when it rapidly gains breadth and militancy (the period of "upsurge"); and a fully revolutionary phase is when the seizure of state power becomes sharply posed to the masses.

The martial law dictatorship of Marcos in the Philippines was clearly a civil war period, a war initiated by a faction of the ruling class itself. The condition then was developing towards an inevitable showdown of class forces (which was derailed by the liberal bourgeoisie taking the lead in the Edsa uprising of 1986). We are concerned here, however, with the viability of a guerilla war that had been waged by the New People's Army (NPA) of the CPP even before the martial law or civil war period, i.e., in 1968.

During such a period of civil war, the inevitability and necessity of guerilla war are posed sharply—not only in terms of a PPW strategic scenario, but also of a pol-mil or insurrectionary scenario. The "necessary minimum" for conducting guerilla activity exists, as Che Guevara said. (Contrary to the "romantic image" of Che, this exemplary revolutionist had written that there was a "necessary minimum" for conducting guerilla activity. He referred to a situation of civil war, where "people … see clearly the futility of maintaining the fight for social goals within the framework of civil debate" or "when the forces of oppression come to maintain themselves in power against established order", and "when peace is considered already broken". He added, "In these conditions, popular discontent expresses itself in more active forms. An attitude of resistance finally crystallizes in an outbreak of fighting, provoked initially by the conduct of the authorities."17)

It is no wonder then that the guerilla activity of the NPA reached its peak during the Marcos dictatorship, especially during the 1980s or the latter period of the regime, when popular discontent acquired more active forms in the cities and in the countryside. It was also during this period that guerilla activity in the countryside begun to spill over to the urban areas (the "sparrow units" in Mindanao, and the ABB in Metro Manila). The guerilla activity was being fuelled by a growing mass resistance to the dictatorship.

But in today's conditions, even Che's "necessary minimum" is sorely lacking. Che said:

Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted.18

1986 was a turning point in the Philippines. The "Edsa Revolution" was a people's uprising cum military rebellion. It was a political revolution only in the sense that a new faction of the bourgeois class took over. The civil war situation ended with the Cory Aquino liberal faction of the bourgeoisie assuming state power. They turned the developing revolutionary explosion into a counter-revolutionary one by simply dismissing people's power and reimposing the old pre-martial law order, complete with its old trimmings (Congress and a bourgeois constitution). Partly to be blamed for the victory of the counter-revolution was the CPP's PPW strategy itself, which ignored the gathering mass struggle and the insurrectionary situation in the cities by holding on to the schema of liberating the countryside first.

A new situation has unfolded, but it took more than a decade again for the revolutionary left in the Philippines to take note of the changes in the political arena. A re-examination of the CPP's strategy led to a myriad of views on how the revolutionary movement can respond to the changed scenario. For the CPP itself (or what's left of it following the splits from 1992 onwards) the failure in strategy is merely rooted in the flawed policy of "regularisation" of the people's army and the "insurrectionism" of some party units in the cities.

For those who left the CPP, some groups and former party personalities such as the popdems [popular democrats] under Boy Morales and company have moved further to the right while adopting the liberal and fashionable (among NGOs) "civil society strategy". A number of those remaining in the Marxist-Leninist framework, however, have started to advance the so-called pol-mil strategy.

One reason being advanced for the pol-mil strategy in today's context is the instability of liberal bourgeois rule given the authoritarian tendency of the Estrada regime and the increasing divisions between factions of the ruling class (with some even threatening to stage a coup d'etat or to impeach Estrada). But even today, when a "governmental crisis" (not a state crisis) is forming, when the clamour for Estrada's resignation or ouster is gaining ground, we cannot say that a pre-revolutionary situation is right around the corner. The "crisis" at this stage does not indicate a rise in the class struggle or a prelude to an open revolutionary phase in which the mass struggle starts to pose the state question (the mood of the revolutionary left is of course a different matter).

To sum up, as Marxists we are not opposed to the use of acts of terror (or guerilla actions) under conditions of insurrection or civil war. However, we are opposed to terrorist acts—whether as a strategy or tactics—i.e., acts carried out outside the context of an insurrectionary situation or civil war or acts carried out by individuals or small groups separate from a mass armed struggle.

Pol-Mil versus mass struggle strategy

It is clear that the pol-mil strategy is as confused as the PPW strategy. The problem is that both regard their specific forms of struggle as a question of strategy. At the very least, both seek to place the military struggle on the same level as the mass struggle.

For Marxists, the appropriate use of the military struggle depends on the level of the mass struggle, its breadth and militancy. That's why the Sosyalistang Partido ng Paggawa (SPP) defines its strategy as developing the mass struggle. This mass struggle strategy encompasses different forms of direct mobilisation of the masses, of direct action by the masses.

Strategy referring to the determination of the main enemy, the motive force of the revolution and the allied forces of the proletariat at a given juncture is of course a discussion of strategy on a programmatic plane. It involves an analysis of the character, tasks and the alignment of class forces at a given period of the proletarian revolution.

But a strategy referring to the goal of seizure of power by the proletariat, one that involves the form and method by which the proletariat can win power—a strategy built up on the basis of the abovementioned programmatic questions (for these differ from country to country according to the specific nature of its socioeconomic formation and the balance of class forces)—is a strategy that uses the dynamics of the development of the class struggle.

The first time that strategy was used by the international communist movement was in the 1921 document of the Third Congress of the Third International ("Counterpose the Strategy of the Proletariat to the Strategy of Capital"). At that juncture, the strategy of capital was presented as a strategy of war, of preparing for civil war:

The Third Congress of the Communist International warns all Communist Parties that the proletarian struggle for power is threatened by the fact that the ruling and propertied classes have a well thought-out strategy, while the working class is beginning to develop a strategy.19

The document warned:

If the vanguard [party] is not in a position to avoid a fight and if this fight has the potential of hastening the mobilization of the entire working class, it should accept the capitalist challenge. But [it] should not forget that as long as it is alone and isolated, it must not involve itself in any crucial battles; if the isolated vanguard has no option but to fight, it must try to avoid any armed confrontation with the enemy, for only the masses can ensure victory for the proletariat over the armed White Guards.20

The proposed strategy of the proletariat was:

Action must be prepared and organized in such a way that the broadest masses recognize the struggle as one for their own most pressing needs and therefore rally to the movement … Initiate a mass agitational campaign that reaches and rouses all sections of the working people … engage in energetic organizational work that strengthens the Party's influence on the broad masses and makes possible a sober evaluation of the field of struggle … and … adopt the tactic of retreating when the enemy has superior forces and attacking when the enemy forces are scattered and the masses united …21

Towards this strategy of capturing state power, two major interrelated tasks are crucial: (1) winning over the class-conscious section of the working class (the proletarian vanguard) to the communist movement; and (2) winning over the broad masses of the working class to the revolution (consisting of various forms and methods necessary in order to educate, organize and mobilise the masses). In both cases, direct mass mobilisation of the working class and direct experience in the struggle are the key.

In this sense, the strategic task can be formulated as: to build a mass-based revolutionary socialist party which can unite, mobilise and lead the working class and its allies in the struggle for political power. Party building becomes a central factor in the strategy, as the strategy itself is carried out by the party.

It is also in this sense that tactics (as forms of struggle) reflect the mass struggle strategy; i.e., the perspective should be the direct mobilisation of the working masses. These take the form of direct action of the masses through strikes, demonstrations, rallies, barricades etc., and the development of the self-organisation of the masses in new forms of organization independently of the capitalist state.

These forms of struggle and the character of the self-organisation of the masses develop through the dynamics of the class struggle. The forms of struggle range from local strikes to general strikes, rallies to street barricades, demonstrations to takeovers of factories. During non-revolutionary period, the self-organisation of the masses takes the form of unions, community organisations, peasant associations and the like. During revolutionary upsurge, newer forms of organization that challenge state power or prototypes of state power (if not constituting "dual power" itself), like soviets or workers councils, are developed.

The main form of struggle differs at each juncture and cannot be "universalised" to fit all situations (i.e., the idea that armed struggle or guerilla war is always the main form of revolutionary struggle). It can only be characterised as one that carries out the strategy of mass struggle, or one that directly involves the mass of the working class towards a revolutionary goal.

As such—at today's juncture—the mass struggle or the direct action of the masses through strikes, rallies, demonstrations, and other militant mass protest actions can only be the primary form of struggle. These are not just the "ordinary run" of protest actions, as others would like to see them. (The problem with many left groups in the Philippines is that they view political demonstrations and rallies as merely "calendar activities" for the progressive forces. Political demonstrations in this sense are divorced from the actual development of the class struggle. Propaganda activities that should aim at winning over to our political line the advanced sections of the masses [or during periods of heightened class struggle, agitating the masses to take direct action] are not considered crucial. Most of the propaganda activities become mere occasions for the left to adopt some recent organisational posturing.)

The varied forms of mass struggles, such as strikes, rallies etc., cannot be demoted to a secondary role (i.e., to that of armed struggle) because they are based on the following principles of proletarian class struggle:

1. The greatest weapon that the working class has in its struggle to overthrow capitalism is the power of the collective action of its vast numbers and its economic role in society.

2. It is primarily through their direct participation in the struggle that the masses learn and develop class consciousness.

On the other hand, there are forms of struggle that are by nature not in the terrain of the development of revolutionary politics of the masses or forms that are undertaken by a small elite group which sometimes hinder the development of mass participation. One is the parliamentary struggle or running for elections in the representative institutions of capitalist democracy, i.e., parliament or other popularly elected bodies at regional or local level. But this is also a form of struggle that may be permissible at a given period. Military struggle or guerilla warfare can also be a permissible option. Both, however, are in general subordinate to the main form of struggle, which is in line with mass struggle.

The mass struggle strategy and its tactics also go beyond the party's organising of rallies, demonstrations and other militant mass actions. It involves the organising of the spontaneous class struggle of the masses to a higher level. This means intervening in the already existing spontaneous struggle of the masses and developing that struggle through further education, organisation and mobilisation to such a level that it can shift the relationship of class forces in favour of the masses.

It is only when the struggle of the masses enters the openly revolutionary phase, i.e., the phase of insurrection—or during a period of civil war—that the military forms of struggle become inevitable and necessary. (In the case of oppressed nations that are put under effective military occupation by the oppressing state, the right to self-defence and armed resistance are also inevitable and necessary.)

However, upholding the principle that the direct action of the masses is the most effective form of action (a principle that emanates from the fact that the revolution is the act of liberation by the entire working class itself, not only by its party), the SPP subscribes to the view that the military struggle itself should involve the masses. This means arming the masses in their factories, communities or places where they are, such as in the eventuality of a civil war. The party should then use every opportunity to train and prepare the masses for such an eventuality.


1. Truong Chinh, Selected Writings, Hanoi, 1977, p. 602.

2. ibid., p. 606.

3. ibid., p. 607.

4. ibid., p. 602.

5. ibid., p. 603.

6. ibid., p. 604. Italics ours.

7. ibid., p. 606. Italics ours.

8. ibid., p. 607. Italics ours.

9. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 6, p. 195.

10. ibid., p. 193.

11. Leon Trotsky, Against Individual Terrorism, p. 7.

12. Writings of Leon Trotsky, 1938-39, p. 6.

13. Lenin, CW, Vol. 6, pp. 279-80.

14. Lenin, CW, Vol. 5, p. 19.

15. Lenin, CW, Vol. 11, p. 215.

16. Lenin, CW, Vol. 6, p. 262.

17. Che Guevara, Guerrilla Warfare, Penguin Books, p. 14.

18. ibid., p. 14.

19. Theses, Resolutions and Manifestoes of the First Four Congresses of the Third International, Pluto Press, London, pp. 303-4.

20. ibid., p. 304.

21. ibid., pp. 304-5.

Sonny Melencio is the chairperson of the Socialist Party of Labour (SPP) in the Philippines. Reihana Mohideen is a member of the Executive Council of the SPP. This article is part of a longer paper by the author entitled "On Strategy and Tactics", which provides polemical support to the SPP's discussion of strategy and tactics in its program, The Continuing Revolution in the Philippines (1999).