In This Review

Inside the Philippine Revolution: The New People's Army and Its Struggle for Power
Inside the Philippine Revolution: The New People's Army and Its Struggle for Power
By William Chapman
Norton, 1987, 288 pp

An enterprising journalist has put together all the bits and pieces about the Communist New People's Army and offers the first complete account of this revolutionary movement, which is active in 62 of the country's 73 provinces and has approximately 20,000 full-time armed guerrillas, as well as a mass base of about a million. Chapman argues that the new Philippine establishment under President Aquino is poorly informed about the Communists and the leftist movement more generally. The image in Manila of an NPA guerrilla is still largely that of a University of Philippines dropout hustling an assortment of dumb peasants. The reality is that NPA leadership positions are increasingly filled by men and women with little formal education whose young adulthood has been spent fighting and organizing and whose roots in the countryside are deep. Chapman also presents evidence that the NPA-because of its interest in obtaining more sophisticated arms-is reassessing its previous hostility to the Soviet Union and is now prepared to accept Soviet assistance. He also sees some evidence that Moscow is displaying "a growing interest in the Philippine radicals."