Archive for the ‘12 February 1970’ Category

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Left to Right: The Student Activists

February 19, 2010

First published in The Sunday Times Magazine, February 22, 1970, p. 34-38

By Mila Astorga-Garcia

KABATAANG Makabayan is a name that has become synonymous to militant youth activism in Philippine setting. And no history of youth activism in the country can be written without making accreditation to the contribution of the KM in the national democratic movement. This is so because the KM has consistently stood for national-democratic ideals and militantly pursued them through democratic mass actions.

Kabataang Makabayan’s founding in November 30th 1964 was “inspired and guided by the patriotism of the Filipino youth who first formulated the terms of our nationhood in the Propaganda Movement and organized the Philippine Revolution of 1896 in order to express and realize in full the national and social aspirations of the Filipino people oppressed by foreign and feudal tyranny.”

Since its founding, the KM has staged demonstrations, seminars and teach-ins aimed at clarifying to the people the present state of Philippine society—which it calls semi-feudal and semi-colonial. The KM believes that the Filipino people are suffering and the country is backward because there is a monopoly of political and economic power concentrated in the hands of the big landlords, comprador class and big bourgeoisie and on top of them is a foreign power—US imperialism. The KM aims to break this monopoly of power by allying with workers, peasants, progressive intellectuals, professionals and the nationalist bourgeoisie in an effort to arouse and mobilize the masses towards the attainment of national freedom and democracy.

This outlook, more than anything else, explains the persistent anti-American imperialist and anti-landlord tone in the programme, pronouncements and protest mass actions of the KM. This explains why it is for the scrapping of the parity, the abrogation of the Laurel-Langley, bases treaty, military assistance treaty, mutual defense treaty—in short, the elimination of RP-US “special relations.”

The KM stand on these and other important national issues have always been pursued by its members with a militance no other youth organization has equalled. That is why the military has long ago started a hate-KM campaign that has been equally militant, although oftentimes ridiculous and silly. Whenever violence erupts in a demonstration participated in by the KM, the military authorities are quick in pinpointing the KM as the instigator of violence. Several times has it also been singled out by witch-hunters and downright reactionary officials as “communist-inspired,’ etc., in an effort to isolate the KM from the people and totally discredit it as a national democratic youth organization.

But these efforts, according to KM leaders, have fallen flat in the face of these accusers because the KM instead of being isolated had increased its members and mass following. Official listing of membership has reached the 12,000 mark the bulk of which come from the rural areas and factories. Mass following is estimated at 30,000 the bulk of which also come from the rural areas and factories. The KM maintains chapters in schools, offices, factories and city and rural community areas.

Unlike other youth organizations, the KM does not entertain the possibility of a non-partisan constitutional convention within the present status of the Philippine society. Although the convention may be made a forum in discussion of important political issues like the RP-US “special relations” the KM believes that the Constitutional Convention will be nothing better than a farce that will witness another squabble for power and horse trading among the exploiting classes, sectarian groups and US imperialism.

According to Monico Atienza, KM General Secretary, “We do not believe that a non-partisan constitutional convention could be done in our society since the powers, political and economic, are controlled by partisan interests. We have the landlords, the bureaucrat capitalist, and the big bourgeoisie. A truly democratic constitution, we believe, can be implemented only based on the initiative of the masses. It will be the masses themselves transforming the basic power relations in the society and then formulating a constitution based on new and progressive power relations. A Constitution does not precede a society. It comes after a society has been formed. That is why it is futile to hope for the Constitutional Convention as an opportunity to change our society.”

On the question of violence, the KM maintains the position that the people have the right to defend themselves against the undemocratic attacks of the state. Atienza said: “The KM is a militant participant in demonstrations, in fact some of its members were fighting it out with the forces of the state on the simple reason that if you are attacked in the exercise of your democratic rights, you have to defend yourself. It was correct for the demonstrators to defend themselves in front of an adversary.”

It is clearly indicated from the position of the KM on the abovementioned issues that the KM recognizes the “rise of fascism” as the pressing issue of the day. KM believes that a systematic method of suppressing the people’s democratic rights and civil liberties is on the rise and that state power— its military might—is increasingly being used for this purpose.

Such suppression, however, only serves to temper its activists. And this, in their view, only illustrates their point that the ruling class will never willingly surrender its privileged position.#

***

By Mila Astorga-Garcia

THAT the present temper of student activism in the Philippines can be traced, somehow or other, to the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP) could hardly be considered an exaggeration.

In the UP, long considered to be the seat of student activism, the SCAUP is recognized as the oldest and one of the major progressive student organizations.

The SCAUP, which today is a national democratic organization, has maintained a record of militance within the University even as it went through various stages of development.

Luzvimindo David, President of the SCAUP, says, “Since membership of the organization is limited within the UP, the only thing the members could do is to propagate ideas of national democracy within the UP”. That may well be the case, but the history of the SCAUP actually provides a background to student activism even outside the UP.

In 1961, the SCAUP was founded in the wake of and in reaction to the CUFA witch-hunt of the late 50’s, as well as to counter the sectarian stranglehold on the UP. It discussed and propagate liberal ideas on campus at a time (as the “old-times” in the university relate) when dissent was conducted in whispers. It was then a “non-partisan and non-sectarian” organization.

The SCAUP Inquest was published in 1962 as a forum for liberal ideas. At about this time, the SCAUP started discussing the nationalist ideas of Recto in symposia, lectures, teach-ins and seminars.

Largely as a result of the Vietnam war, the SCAUP in 1965-1968, started to assume an internationalist outlook, shunning the narrow, chauvinistic concept of nationalism. During this period, it participated actively in anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and protests against the iniquitous “special relations” between the Philippines and the United States.

1969, the year of student activism that saw Manila’s schools shaken by student strikes, also saw the transformation of the SCAUP from a “non-sectarian and non-partisan” nationalist organization into a partisan national democratic organization “partisan to the interest of the Filipino masses.” This is clearly seen and is declared in the Activist, the official publication of the SCAUP. The Activist is “guided by the ideology of national democracy.” It “takes the progressive revolutionary stand in any issue” and “refuses to engage in the empty rhetorics of frightened liberal intellectuals” (The Activist, March, 1969)

Having taken a definite stand for national democracy, the SCAUP now emphasizes the integration of the students with the workers and peasants. Towards this end, SCAUP President Luzvimindo David informs us, SCAUP members participate in workers’ strikes and constantly study the conditions of the workers and peasants. This springs from their view of student power. “It is imperative,” states the editorial of the Activist (March, 1969), “that the student movement realizes the necessity of allying itself with the social classes whose interest is to liberate themselves from the exploitation and oppression imposed by the social order.”

“At best, students can only serve as catalysts in a society ripe for a revolutionary change…Let us cast away the illusion that student power is capable of changing society and instead prepare for protracted struggle against the unjust social order…Student power, no matter how nationalistic or militant, can only rock the status quo in the university level.”

Taking a comprehensive view of Philippine society which it describes as semi-feudal and semi-colonial, the SCAUP has committed itself to working for the abolition of the iniquitous relationship between the Philippines and the US and the abolition of the feudal system in the Philippines.

Speaking of land reform, Luzvimindo David says, “The organization will not settle for the present kind of land reform…(It) is advocating a land reform without the numerous loopholes of the present code.”

Asked on the organization’s stand on the coming Constitutional Convention, he comments, “We do not believe that the Constitutional Convention will change the basic character of Philippine society. But we find a purpose for this convention — it serves as a jumping board for discussions regarding the problems of the Filipino.”

SCAUP has contributed many of its members to the nationalist movement even outside UP. Through the year, the ideas that it espoused and disseminated have gained increasing acceptance among the sectors of Philippine society interested in bringing about progressive change. At present, the SCAUP may well be on its way to becoming a national organization or at least a precursor of a Student Cultural Association on a national level. Student activists in various schools (Araneta U., Feati U., Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, and Divine Word U. in Tacloban among others) established Student Cultural Associations of their own, patterned after the SCAUP. If plans materialize, they will unite to form the Student Cultural Association of the Philippines, says SCAUP Pres. L. David.#

***

By Nancy T. Lu

THE Movement for Democratic Philippines was born out of a decision to sustain the move to democratize the system in the country shortly after the last national election. At that time there was a nationwide protest against election frauds and terrorism. The UP Student Council boycotted classes to dramatize the issue.

Nationalist democratic in orientation, the MDP group was formally organized November 20, 1969. Different schools, reform movements, and school organizations were invited to join the MDP whose aims include basic land reform, nationalist industrialization, and militant protection of the seven liberties of the people. The MDP leaders tried to forge a united front of all the progressive organizations in the society— the students, the youth, the peasants, and the workers. The organization is run “not so much as a hierarchy with authority, but by consensus.” The MDP sponsored major rallies including the one in front of the US embassy against Agnew as well as the one in front of Congress and Malacañang last January 30.

“A constitution is a mere scrap of paper,” Nelson Navarro, spokesman of the Movement for Democratic Philippines, said. “It is a passive document. It is just a manifestation of ideals. As such it is susceptible to the dynamics of the political system of the Philippines. We have a constitution that is not meaningful because we have a semi-feudal, semi-colonial society with a hypocritically vociferous republican facade. The Constitutional Convention can not bring about any meaningful change unless we develop the power relations within the society itself, that is, the relationship between the exploiting class and the exploited class,” he observed.

On fascism Navarro says: “Fascism has always been in our country ever since the puppets of American imperialism started this republican farce that we now call Philippine democratic government. Marcos has aggravated it by the use of special forces. Marcos is trying to create an armed forces of his own within the armed forces itself.” #

***

By Nancy T. Lu

“I BELIEVE that the Constitutional Convention will just be manipulated by the administration in such a way that it would not really effect substantial changes in our society,” commented Reuben Seguritan, spokesman of Student Power Assembly of the Philippines (SPAP).

At the height of student demonstrations in February, 1969, some members of the UP Student Council called on the student leaders all over the country. Together they organized the First National Conference on Student Power for National Democracy.

Aware of the ascendancy of student power in the Philippines, the student leaders became very enthusiastic about forming a national organization that would more or less coordinate or consolidate the different activist organizations in the schools. On March 9, 1969, they formally ratified the general declaration which they called the Diliman Declaration. Since then they have adopted the campus as the initial battlefront. They also went beyond the campus by demonstrating against the fundamental issues concerning the ills afflicting the nation. They participated actively in the Boycott-the-Election movement. They also took interest in other major issues.

“The land reform policy of the Marcos administration suffers from many inequities,” lamented Seguritan. ‘There is, for instance, the non-inclusion of sugar lands within the provision of the act. Then there is the problem of finance and this only illustrates the insincerity of the Marcos administration as far as the alleviation of the plight of the masses is concerned.”

On violence Seguritan says: “The fascistic tactics and methods which have been adopted by the Marcos administration are meant to counteract the growing mass movements. President Marcos sees in the growing consciousness of the people a threat to his authority and power. Because violence has been inflicted upon the people, the students themselves will have to defend themselves through violent means, too.”#

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By Millet G. Martinez

SAMAHAN ng Demokratikong Kabataan is another national-democratic organization whose following comes from young students, farmers, workers, intellectuals and professionals. From a handful of progressive-minded students and instructors of the University of the Philippines who founded the SDK, it has spread to other schools and in the rural areas, notably University of the East, Lyceum of the Philippines and the provinces of Rizal and Nueva Ecija.

SDK was formed as an offshoot of an internal conflict in the leadership of Kabataang Makabayan. It is said that those who formed the first batch of SDK leaders were disgruntled KM elements who were expelled for anti-KM activities. These elements conducted a systematic campaign to discredit the KM leadership to such extent that the KM leaders were constrained to expell them from the organization.

The founding of SDK in 1968 was followed by a rash of activities and recruitment motivated by a desire to put up a militant youth organization with the calibre of the KM. The UP campus was witness to this. Almost all protest actions in the UP during that time saw the SDK participation. It put out manifestoes on the UP Administration, Dow Chemicals, Vietnam demonstrations, Los Baños unrest and the February UP strike of students, faculty and non-academic workers. In all of these, SDK seemed to be bent on driving the KM from the national democratic movement.

But SDK was not entirely free from internal bickerings among its leaders. At least two major conflicts came to be known and which almost developed into a split among the rank and file members. One was when some SDK personalities bolted the organization as an expression of their dissatisfaction with the way the leadership was running the organization. One of them remarked that a certain leader developed an arrogance to the extent of considering himself a leader with the stature of Mao Tse-tung. The other conflict resulted in the repudiation of two ranking leaders by the mass membership for their arrogance, wrong style of work and for some ideological inconsistencies. Ironically, these two repudiated leaders were the most vehement in denouncing the KM leaders for wrong methods of leadership.

After going through these tests, SDK has emerged with broader organizational experience and clearer political line. With a new breed of leaders who so far have proven their mettle in the recent rash of protest mass actions, it expects to develop into a nation-wide militant national-democratic youth organization. From its active participation is mass action and from its pronouncements, it is not unlikely that the coming years will see its further growth into a major national youth organization.

SDK spokesman Gary Olivar, a UP student leader, in an interview gave the position of his organization on certain national issues.

According to Olivar, the present land reform program is a “mere palliative designed to appease the peasants’ revolutionary clamor for land.” With all the defects that go with it, notable of which is the financing problem of the farmers, the land reform program does not guarantee a better livelihood for the farmers. What is needed is genuine land reform that answers the basic demands of the farm people. This, the present state can hardly implement.”

Genuine land reform, according to Olivar, must go hand in hand with “nationalist industrialization which excludes the US imperialists, and the local big bourgeoisie.”

On the constitutional convention, the SDK believes that “The convention will focus the attention of the people on political issues. Remedial measures to achieve reforms within the present state will be presented to the people, in the same manner that civil liberties can be strengthened through a cautious and conscientious formulation of a constitution by progressive delegates.

“However, the Marcos political machine might use the convention to strengthen itself. We should expect that the exploiting classes, especially the Church oligarchs, will interfere to make the convention a convenient instrument to further entrench themselves in the government machinery and in the Establishment. Changes in laws don’t change society. It’s the society that needs change and not our laws.”#

***

By Millet G. Martinez

BRPF

AS ITS international symbol denotes, the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation (BRPF) is concerned with the quest for peace. But its struggle for peace is quite different from the pacifist approach of passive resistance.

The BRPF Philippine Council is a nationalist organization dedicated to a struggle against monopolistic capitalism, imperialism and feudalism. Founded in May 1965, it is part of the international BRPF established in 1963 under the leadership of Lord Russell. However, the BRPF Philippine Council exists as an autonomous body, free to formulate its program of action without consultation with its London office.

Composed of about 600 professionals, students, peasant leaders and barrio school teachers, the BRPF’s main function is to help mass organizations in their educational program, for the purpose of evating the political and social awareness of the people, particularly the oppressed masses. It is presently headed by Professor Hernando Abaya of the University of the Philippines.

“The BRPF is anti-war and at the same time a socialist organization in the sense that it is opposed to monopolistic capitalism,” Francisco Nemenzo Jr., past BRPF chairman, explains. The BRPF vehemently denounces US aggression in Vietnam as a grave threat to world peace. It has consistently voiced out its protest against the Laurel-Langley and the American bases agreement.

“The Laurel-Langley agreement has rendered so much damage, so that even if it is abrogated, its evil consequences still remain. We should also cancel off the consequences of this agreement. American controlled-industries should be taken over by our people,” Nemenzo declares.

“And we should be vigilant and watch out for substitute agreements meant to perpetuate the same American interests,” he further asserts.

“The BRPF views the Marcos administration as a neo-colonial government just like the previous ones. It also denounces the clear trend towards fascism, as evidenced by the state’s increasing militarization and suppression of the nationalist movements,” Juan Tapales, Jr. BRPF general secretary declares.

As regards the Constitutional Convention, the BRPF officers explain, “You cannot change the nature of society by changing its Constitution. It will continue to reflect the same alignment of the powerful elite in Congress.”

“The slogan of having a ‘non-partisan convention’, even if attractive to those disgusted with the present political system, is utterly misleading. Even if you disqualify Nacionalista and Liberal party men, the convention would still be partisan because the composition will come from the oligarchy and the Filipino executives of American corporations. What we want is a national democratic government with a wide participation of the masses.”

Nemenzo explains that the concept of “student power” is misleading and divisive. Instead, he advocates a “People’s Power,” composed of the mass action of students together with peasants and laborers. “Students alone cannot effectively bring change unless they unite with workers in their joint struggle for real democracy,” he says.

The BRPF has specially been active in agitating for the release of the political prisoners. So far, about 28 prisoners have been released, and the BRPF continues to help release more. The BRPF is also actively involved in supporting labor strikes, as those staged by Pantranco, SSS, New Frontier workers, to whom they gave assistance recently.

Liling Magtolis, head of the BRPF Cultural Bureau, explains that the BRPF also composes songs which reveal the plight of oppressed workers. She states that these songs have been presented before labor strikers.

MPKP

An allied but entirely different organization is the Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP), composed of some 1,000 members, 80% of which are peasants and workers.

Ruben Torres, MPKP president, explains that the MPKP is a movement for national democracy, with special emphasis on helping peasants. “The land reform program is not the genuine code which peasants are asking for. It has plenty of loopholes which lead to more oppressing conditions for the peasants.”

MPKP general secretary Romeo Dizon asserts, “The Marcos administration is not sincere in implementing reform. It is part of the deteriorating system approaching bankruptcy. Marcos is however, only an agent— a conscious agent—in this feudalistic, fascistic and neo-colonial system.”

“It is time for the Filipino people to realize that the liberation of the working class is primarily the task of workers themselves. So long as it is under the sway of the capitalist class and so long as it serves as a puppet of American imperialism, the government is in no position to look after the interests of labor,” explains Ana Maria Nemenzo, MPKP vice-president for organization. #

***

By Recah Trinidad

TWO VOICES, the mellow and the fiery, speak for the NUSP, the single biggest student union in the country.

Voices of the young, they come from disenchanted throats.

Ateneo’s Edgardo Jopson, the twenty-one-year-old chieftain of the National Union of Student of the Philippines speaks the union’s mellow voice.

“For our part, we have chosen to take the peaceful revolution through the constitutional convention next year,” Jopson said.

But Jopson’s tone, his thinking that social change can be achieved by taking the tamer, safer path, does not carry the whole NUSP rank.

De La Salle’s Santiago ‘Chito’ Sta. Romana, a progressive and, influential figure within the student union, voices NUSP’s fiery sentiment. The mop-haired student leader can go as far as accusing the Marcos Administration of having strong fascist tendencies.

“Fascism is the suppression of democratic rights. The use of force to suppress our rallies, particularly the one held in front of Congress January 26, is a clear display of fascism,” Sta. Romana said.

Actually, if NUSP were to live its true blood, it won’t be speaking in its chieftain’s soft voice alone. For one thing, NUSP was born out of dissension 13 years ago. The largest union of students in the country was founded by student leaders who seceded from the now-defunct Student Council’s Association of the Philippines (SCAP).

An NUSP official record listed many factors that led to the secession: “The SCAP recognized proxy voting, thus leadership was controlled by professional student leaders. These leaders promised votes to politicians, subjecting the SCAP to political pressures and silencing student opinion upon the dictates of the politicians.”

But is NUSP, which ultimately blossomed into an influential force with its 72 member-schools and some 400,000 student following, itself free from political pressure?

“We can’t be subjected to political pressures because we have never asked money from politicians for operational expenses,” Jopson said: “Last night, however, President Marcos offered money for the victims. I objected.

“Last night” was the riot-shattered evening of January 30 during which four students were slain and more than a hundred injured in a night-long battle between students and government forces inside and along the Malacañang Palace.

For his “subtle” role in the January 30th rally, during which Jopson had a dialogue with the embattled Chief Executive in the palace, the NUSP head had been dubbed a collaborator, a traitor by other student leaders. Jopson disproved the accusations.

“I’ve been unrelenting in my criticism of the Marcos regime. In fact, I condemned him for exploiting the mock elections and also for using the youth congress in Marikina, Rizal as a political fulcrum,” he said.

From his dialogue with the President, Jopson went where he had parked his car and found it badly smashed in front of the palace. He escaped being hurt in the riot by leaving the scene through the Pasig with other student leaders.

Explaining his moderate role during the rally, Jopson said he signalled an official end to the NUSP demonstration at 2 p.m. But other NUSP members and other students from other groups, refused to disperse; instead took part and endured the one-sided battle against the burly-but-frantic government troops.

Progressive Chito Sta. Romana might as well speak the fiery, militant voice of the students who faced the government troops that black January night.

“The violence that we saw was a response, rather than an initiative. If it were premeditated, I don’t think President Marcos would be alive by now,” Sta. Romana said. “If it were well-organized, the students wouldn’t be carrying sticks and stones alone.”

The rebellious De La Salle Student Council head believes there is a growing feeling among the members of the studentry that they should take adequate preparations, that they should be more determined “because with the downfall of the Liberals the students have assumed a fiscalizing role.”

“Maybe like what he did with the Liberals, Marcos will try to win the students. This I fear is the next danger,” Sta. Romana warned.

But why all these anti-Marcos sentiments?

“Because he is the Head of State, of a captive state, not a representative state. It is a state captive of a powerful elite,” Sta. Romana explained.

And so, who instead of FM?

“It seems that you don’t have much choice. You must object a guy and put up with that guy at the same time,” Sta. Romana said.

So, it would seem, the clamor was not really just for a Marcos ouster.

“Even if you put another guy, he will still be captive of the powerful elite,” Sta. Romana said. “And taking for granted that you take away Marcos, then you get the Vice-President. Well, the very name symbolizes,” he hinted.

As clearly evident , the restive studentry knows more what it doesn’t like than what it wants. It speaks in negative terms.

But as Sta. Romana would later explain, what they really want to work for is a change in the country’s social structure. While the NUSP wants to help in the political re-structuring of society, Sta. Romana said, it is hampered by its membership which is not by individuals. The NUSP is composed of a majority of student councils in the Philippines.

“The student council leadership changes every year and that prevents us from having a fixed program,” Sta. Romana lamented.

In the meantime, how do they intend to change the social structure of the country?

“The people themselves will have to play a vital role in restructuring society. The role will come in terms of representations in the forthcoming constitutional convention.” Thus the clamor for a non-partisan constitutional convention.

Sta. Romana and Jopson, the two leading figures within the current NUSP set-up, speak in conflicting voices. But it’s almost a phenomenon that the much-feared rift within the biggest union of students in the Philippines has never developed.

“We are moving as a group, despite our minor differences,” Jopson said. “The technique,” Sta. Romana explained, “lies in working on issues that would unite us more.”

The students are more united today than before, “Then you would never find NUSP, NSL or KM members in the same rally, the feeling of antagonism was high,” Sta. Romana observed. “But now the ranks are closer.”

But will the deaths and injuries suffered by the student side during the one-sided battle of Malacañang finally soften the fiery, restive studentry?

“This is just the start. The names of our fallen comrades will be our battlecry.”#

***

By Nancy T. Lu

“WE there the first to demonstrate for a non-partisan constitutional convention,” pointed out Benjamin G. Maynigo, secretary-general of the Young Christian Socialists Movement (CSM).

“We have a vision,” explained the twenty-two-year-old student leader. “We want a truly and fully human society — free from human misery, based on the respect for human dignity, built on justice and dedicated to progress — where every man may develop and fulfill himself according to his ability and in the service of his fellowmen,” he went on.

Organized in September 1967, the CMS is deeply involved in uprooting the various ills entrenched in the society.

“What is wrong in our society is the unbalanced social structure,” noted Maynigo of San Beda College. “We are for change in the society. For the reason we are against conservatism. We are against conservative people including certain members of the clergy because with conservative people in the coming constitutional convention, for instance, we may be brought back to the very same system we are trying to change,” he continued.

Maynigo defined the target enemies of his nationalist group to include present oligarchs, government officials, and imperialists. To make sure the sincere, hardworking, and committed legislators speak the people’s will the CSM has organized the “Project Vigilante.” The young “vigilantes” are assigned to keep an eye on the congressmen and senators when they are supposed to be working. Their presence is conspicuous because the CSM does not want the members of Congress to make a mockery or farce out of the whole project.

“With regard to our findings we intend to make a report to the nation every week,” revealed Maynigo, a second year law student. “We also intend to send copies of the reports to the civic organizations of the respective constituencies of the solons just so the people will know what their congressmen are doing,” he continued.

The CSM boasts of a nationwide membership which is 200,000 strong. This includes some 20,000 YCSP members coming from almost all schools. The CSM projects are funded by contributions from CSM members mainly. With communitarian socialism or “bayanihan” as their ideology, the CSM members seek to introduce change in the social order.

“The recent student riots should serve as a warning to the powers that be that it is time they do their duty,” Maynigo sounded out a common sentiment. At this point he is in favor of more student demonstrations because a dialogue with the president will not bring about fruitful results.

The CSM in the wake of reports of police brutality in the meantime condemned the rise of fascism. As Maynigo put it, “The fascistic tendencies are evident in the Batanes case, Corregidor, Lapiang Malaya, the last elections.”

Maynigo likes to think that the position of CSM in the ideological spectrum is left of center although many are inclined to classify CSM on the right wing. The word “Christian identifies the group with the church. And yet the church has been subjected to CSM attack because of the church’s conservatism.

“With regard to leftist groups like the Kabataang Makabayan, separately we are doing well together,” he noted. “They provide the threat and warning while we go on the move. Our differences lie in the means of bringing about change and in the ideology. As you can see Jose Ma. Sison condemned the CSM rally last year because they see in us an enemy. We are trying to suspend the revolution they are advocating,” Maynigo opined.#

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By Bibsy M. Carballo

EVEN as a brewing rift within its ranks initiated by the UP group threatens to split the National Students League, the organization together with the National Union of Students of the Philippines, has been catapulted into the forefront of student activism as a proponent of non-violence in its demands for change.

Organized in 1963, the NSL is composed of 23 state colleges and universities and government-owned institutions. It seeks to look after the welfare of students in the institutions but a primary objective is the seeking of change through revolutionary but peaceful means.

Before the January 26 and 30 debacles, the NSL led a four-day sit-down rally in front of Malacañang which resulted in the acceptance of 90 per cent of its demands, which proves, acting president Portia Ilagan says, “that peaceful means are more effective than violence.” Deploring the violence of January 30, the 18-year-old sophomore BSEE major at the Philippine Normal College observed that “if your methods are peaceful you can think of so many ways to gain acceptance while if you are violent there is only one road open.”

“Aside from being destructive you lose public sympathy,” she observes but is quick to qualify that if all peaceful means have been exhausted they are willing to utilize violent methods to achieve their aims.

Primary in the agenda of the NSL is the assurance of a non-partisan constitutional convention which is to be achieved through politicizing the students and the people by means of seminars and teach-ins to which leaders are sent.

“We have already begun our meetings and soon simultaneous lectures will be conducted in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao,” Portia says.

To charges from the UP group that she has been holding her position illegally since a UP councilor, Jelly Nacino, was purported to have been elected as president of the organization, Portia explains that in elections held last December in which she said the majority of member schools were represented, Ernesto Ocampo of PCC was elected president and she, Portia, vice president. With Ocampo away on a study grant, Portia took over in an acting capacity.

While it is unfortunate that splits in the organization tend to distract the students from the pertinent issues of the day, it also remains a challenge to them and to student unity. For student power is very strong, says Portia, “although we differ in the means that we use.” The NSL also advocates dialogue with labor organizations, the peasants, and the workers so as to present a unified front.

On the issue of fascism, she says, there is indeed a rise of fascism, but those groups denouncing fascism do not seem to be aware that they too are in some way using fascism.

On the Marcos administration — “Let us give him a chance. This time he appears to be sincere.”

On land reform — “it is not adequate but only the constitutional convention can change that.”

On the two party system — “It would be better if we could have no political parties and everyone has an equal chance of running for public office.”

On the American bases agreement and the Laurel-Langley agreement — “The Philippines should be left to stand on its own but we have to do this through a gradual programming.”

Meanwhile, the NSL campaign for the non-partisan constitutional convention gained more advocates as 65 members of Congress gave their written assurances that they will not run as delegates. “This is our only hope for change now,” Portia says. #

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By Millet G. Martinez

“STUDENTS and workers are discontented over state affairs. The January 26 and 30 incidents reflect not a Communist stand to take over Malacañang as Marcos says, but a belief that change is necessary — that is, changes in our political, social and economic set-up,” thus spoke Fernando T. Barican, chairman of the UP Student Council.

“The bravery of students in waging their militant struggle cannot be questioned. But the butchery and savagery of the police cannot also be denied. Fascism has become evident with the abuse of state troops for the purpose of suppressing dissent,” Barican continued.

The 20-year-old political science senior stated, “The Marcos administration has completely lost credibility with the students. His statements and his acts don’t jibe.”

In a manifesto on “The Real State of the Nation,” passed last January 26, the UP Student Council denounced Marcos’ “farcical misrepresentations and patent falsehoods.” It said that “while Mr. Marcos II loudly proclaims a program of ‘austerity’ and ‘self-discipline,’ prices continue to escalate, wages are pegged to a sub-survival level, while the country’s affluent minority of American imperialists, feudal landlords and bureaucrat-capitalists persist in their ruthless exploitation of the masses.”

When asked about the possibility of implementing change through the Constitutional Convention, Barican explained, “Under the present oppressive set-up, it is difficult to have change through this convention. We must first change the neo-colonial structure of our society. And any change in the Constitution must reflect the will of the people.”

However, in the same manifesto, it is stated “while the more visionary students noisily hold aloft the 1971 Constitutional Convention as our last hope for progress, we maintain that any such hope will be crushed by the money and power of American imperialists and their traitorous Filipino allies.

“Because of these considerations, while we may support certain candidates on a principled case-to-case basis, particularly those who have supported nationalist student activism, we must gird ourselves for the final battle against imperialism and feudalism,” the manifesto warned.

The UP Student Council believes that change can be effected only through the joint militancy of the students together with workers. “Students are not an elite with special rights in our society; they are not a ‘fifth estate’ so to speak,” asserts Barrican. “They have, and should, support workers in the struggle for meaningful change.”

The UP Student Council has actively given support to laborers, specially to the Pantranco, San Miguel, and Northern Motors strikers, to cite the more recent examples.

Barican explained that the UP Student Council denounces the exploitative and harassing acts committed by alien capitalists in the country, in the same way that it is against oppressive American imperialism. This is evident in the council manifestos issued recently in support of workers.

As regards the land reform issue, Barican agrees that land reform is essential to agrarian change and improving the lot of peasants in this country. “But there are no significant changes taking place through land reform. Much of it is mere publicity.”

The UP leader said “The forces of change lie in the students together with the peasants.

“This small elite which occupies the seats of Congress cannot be depended upon to bring justice to the masses of Filipino people they themselves have so long exploited, let alone allow them to dissent,” Barican continued.

“It is under President Marcos and now that fascism is reaching its full maturity, as the intent of past international agreements with imperialists are being enforced with expertise. Thus, no justice for the oppressed can be expected from the government and its network of economic, cultural and political apologists,” the UP Council chairman explained. #

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Marcos and the Jesuit ‘Subversives’

February 19, 2010

By Amadis Ma. Guerrero

First published in Graphic, March 18, 1970, p. 6-7.

“Absolute obedience” was the command on which Ignatius of Loyola founded the Society of Jesus more than four centuries ago. Today the word “obedience” is rarely uttered when young Jesuits get together. Their ranks include protest marchers, draft-card burners, bishop-baiters and jailbirds. The community of 8,000 American Jesuits is caught in profound internal ferment …

— from the Atlantic Magazine, November, 1969

THE HEADLINE in the afternoon daily caught one’s startled eye: Marcos Tags Jesuits on Revolt, and the reader’s instinctive reaction was that the President was giving the SJs more credit than they deserved.

“President Marcos today accused the Jesuits of inciting revolution in the Philippines,” the report began, bylined by a veteran Malacañang reporter. “Mr. Marcos hurled the accusation during a conference with newsmen this morning (March 2), adding that he will not countenance the ‘continued acts of rebellion’ by the religious order.’ The story was substantially duplicated in the other afternoon paper, and its lead was even more dramatic: Marcos declared today an open war against the Jesuits…

The Malacañang ploy however backfired, and reaction set in favor of the Jesuits. The following morning the Palace issued a blanket denial of the reports. Its tone was typically self-serving and innocucus:

“The President believes that the Jesuits in the Philippines are fully aware of the separation between the church and the state and will not risk being publicly condemned for interference in the affairs of government.”

Two leading Jesuit officials immediately took up the cudgels for their order. The reaction of Fr. Horacio de la Costa, provincial superior of the Society, was a model of understatement: “If the President has been correctly reported as saying what he did, I would like to state, with all due respect, that he must have been misinformed …

“As for interfering with the affairs of the state, I would simply say that those of us who are Filipinos believe that, as citizens of a free country, we have the right, and occasionally the duty, to speak our minds on what we believe to be the state of the nation, and how we believe that state can be improved to provide justice and a better life for all.”

The rejoinder of Fr. Pacifico Ortiz, Ateneo president, was more blunt: “It would be a tragedy which could bring us even nearer to revolution if no persons or institutions in this land could speak the truth about the state of the nation as he sees it without being branded as inciters of revolution.

“If we have come to such a pass, as indeed this accusation of the President might lead us to believe, then thought-control and fascism are just around the corner.”

An original impression of newsmen was that the President’s remarks had been printed in one of those “onion skin press releases.” In the trade, this means that a reporter’s contacts give him some “background” material, printed on onion-skin paper, “not for attribution.” The real story, however, subsequently filtered out to the press. Marcos had let down his guard, and revealed his feelings during an informal afternoon chat with newsmen while playing golf at the Palace greens.

The radicals were understandably annoyed, feeling that the President had conferred on the Jesuits a badge of honor reserved exclusively for their own militant groups. Those who know the Jesuits well were amused: very flattering really, but we haven’t reached that stage yet and we probably never will, unless we’re driven to it.

There may be one or two far-out radicals among the SJs, but the truth is that most of them have come out for peaceful reforms. And if only for this reason, they constitute no immediate, violent threat to men like Ferdinand E. Marcos.

Why FM Dislikes the Jesuits

The Jesuits for years now have been crying out for reforms, warning that the alternative would be a bloody revolution. This call naturally has not endeared them to the One in Power (and we do not mean the other world), it being a reflection on his Administration.

The Presidential distaste surfaced for all to see during the opening of the Seventh Congress, when Marcos openly seewled while Fr. Ortiz was delivering his invocation, causing newsmen present to exchange meaningful glances. Fr. Ortiz’s phrase — “trembling on the brink of revolution” — may sound a bit poetic, but his invocation also contained the following passage:

“With us into this hall, O God, we bring the growing fears, the dying hopes, the perished longings and expectations of a people who have lost their political innocence; a people who now know … that salvation, political or economic, does not come from above, from any one man or party or foreign ally; that in the last analysis, salvation can only come from below — from the people themselves …”

There are other reasons for the Presidential distaste for Jesuits and Jesuit-influenced laymen. Let us cite them here:

—Mr. Raul S. Manglapus, whom Mr. Marcos tried to win over to his side, unsuccessfully, not too long ago, and whose ideas he does not share. Item: Manglapus’ Decentralization bill, which sought to clip the powers of the Presidency, was opposed by Mr. Marcos. Item: the nationalistic Congressional Economic Planning Office (CEPO), which Mr. Manglapus staunchly supported, was suppressed by Mr. Marcos;

—the National Union of Students (NUSP), headed by an Atenean, Edgar Jopson, and the Young Christian Socialists (YCSP), headed by a Manglapus-influenced Bedan, Ben Maynigo, have been breathing down the Olympian neck of the President;

—A pamphlet by Fr. Vitaliano Gorospe, SJ, entitled “The Morality of Violence and Demonstrations,” which stated that violence on the part of the exploited masses is justifiable as a last resort. Now this may cause concern to those in the Establishment (particularly to those who may have been warned by their seeresses that they will be assassinated by a young man in the guise of a priest), but it is old hat really. It is inscribed in the Catechism books, and even Pope Paul — hardly a revolutionary — is not against it.

—The mysterious figure of one Fr. Jose Blanco, SJ, alleged to have unseated Mr. Sukarno with one fell swoop of his slender arms, and alleged further to have told a CSM seminar: the people better “rise up in arms before others will do it for them.”

In an interview with the Chronicle, Fr. Blanco said he had been misquoted, and that what he had actually stated was “what we need is a revolution of a change of heart… to convert someone to a real Christian, that is the revolution I sell.”

As for the allegations that he had been involved in the student uprising in Indonesia, Fr. Blanco said he had stayed in that country for six years as an English instructor, then had to leave when summoned to be near his ailing father. This slim and tall (for a Filipino) Jesuit is no stranger to controversy. Last year his remarks before another seminar — that Christ is not in the Sacrament but in the heart — were distorted and made to sound “heretical” and “communistic,” leading to a confrontation with the Archbishop of Manila which still has to be resolved satisfactorily.

Jesena and the Sacadas

—The report by Fr. Arsenio C. Jesena, of the Loyola House of Studies, which exposed the miserable conditions of the sacadas in Negros and which alienated President Marcos because his closest political allies belong to the Sugar Bloc.

The exposé opened with this sentence, almost Hemingway-like in its simplicity: “In April 1969 I went down to Negros to live as a sacada among the sacadas.” But as it began to describe in graphic detail the exploitation of the migrant workers under the hands of the hacenderos and the contratistas, the report took on a tone of bitter indictment:

“I saw the injustice of it all, and I began to understand why the Communists are Communists.”

The Jesena disclosures were an outstanding piece of Jesuit enterprise which capped the last year of the decade just over. In its wake came a challenge from the Christian Social Movement to the sugar planters to submit to an investigation. The planters agreed, then resorted to all sorts of delaying tactics. Early last month, impatient NUSP students took to the streets, and one of their demands was the immediate prosecution of sugar planters found violating labor laws.

This time a new task force team was formed, headed by Undersecretary of Labor Raoul Innocentes, and its findings substantially confirmed the Jesena report. From all indications a better deal is in store for the sacadas, thanks to Fr. Jesena and to others like him who in the past tried to secure justice in sugarland. May their tribe increase.

Through the Pages of History

The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by Ignatius of Loyola, the soldier-saint — a symbol, to all Ateneans, of manliness and virtue. Under his unwavering tutelage, the vow of obedience became an asset rather than a liability. Jesuit influence spread, and by 1650, 500 colleges had been established on the European continent. “This was the great baroque period when Jesuit drama, ballet, art and music flourished,” notes the contemporary Jesuit poet and writer, John L’Heureux.

It was also the period, he adds, “when the accusations of ‘Jesuit price’ began, the political machinations of court favorites that would finally lead to the suppression of the Jesuit order.” The Jesuits had become a threat to the absolutist monarchs of France, Spain and the two Sicilies. The autocrats banded together and applied pressure on Pope Clement XIV. Accordingly, in 1773 a papal decree outlawed the Society. The reasons have never been clarified to the present day, and the Pontiff’s statement at the time, since then often quoted by historians, said his move was “suggested to Us by the principles of prudence and which We retain concealed in Our breast.”

The Society was restored in 1814, but the old militancy was gone. “Tradition,” says Fr. L’Heureux, “with its safety and its aura of respectability, embalmed the restored Society of Jesus … The spirit was crushed beneath mountains of legislation, and the Jesuits became a group of dedicated and harmless schoolteachers for the sons of the upper middle class.

“When a few years ago change finally came to the Jesuits, it came with a rapidity and a violence which neither they nor the Church was prepared.”

The history of the Jesuits in the Philippines is divided into two, the period of 1581 to 1768 and that of 1859 to the present. The first period is more colorful, and Fr. De la Costa in his voluminous work on the subject, tells of how a Jesuit secured the allegiance of Portuguese Macao to the Spanish crown, and of how a Jesuit represented the conquistadores of the Philippines.

Jesuits were also accredited ambassadors to the sultanates of Mindanao and the Moluccas. They sailed as chaplains in the Spanish ships that fought the Dutch for the sea lanes of Eastern Asia. The epoch of the Jesuits unfolds before a panorama of “sea battles, native customs, Portuguese rivalry, court intrigue, the opening of China, martyrdom and hard work.”

Although the Society was restored in 1814, the Jesuits did not return to the Philippines until 1859 and they, like their colleagues around the world, confined themselves to the schools, to missionary work and scientific study.

The SJs in the ’50s, ’80s

A Jesuit product acquires an extreme consciousness about his background. The feeling can be an ambivalent (accept-reject), one, and perhaps one could quote here the words of an American correspondent, a hardened newsman, to a young Filipino friend: “A Jesuit education is something to be thankful for, but it is also something to be suspicious about.”

Those fortunate (or, in the view of others, unfortunate) enough to receive an Ateneo education are immediately tagged as “Jesuit boys” — in derision or in envy. But you seldom hear the label applied to the products of the Christian Brothers, the Benedictines and the Dominicans. For when an Ateneo boy goes out into the world, he identifies himself with his Jesuit mentors — or rejects them altogether.

—The author studied for seven years under the Jesuits, during the ’50s, and the pleasant memories of that seemingly distant period go hand in hand with the unpleasant ones. Academic standards were maintained at all costs, and often at a heartbreaking cost. One student was not allowed to graduate because he had a grade of 74 in Social Science, and a 71 in Latin. This youth — an orphan whose mother toiled as a teacher so he could get a good education — was only 14 years old, and so the good fathers decided he was not fit to graduate from High School. He was told to repeat the year. His mother refused, and sent him to another college.

Discipline was exerted most during High School because this is the period when the student’s character is being formed. Punishment was swift, and, depending on the gravity of the offense, could come in the form of expulsion, suspension or the Saturday morning “post.” The latter consisted of strenuous calisthenics, forced marches around the campus, the “gripping” session, during which the student gripped his fingers unrelenting, and other devices worthy of the Inquisition. The atmosphere of the school was rigid, spartan.

But in the ’60s, the winds of change blowing throughout the Jesuit world reached our shores, and what a welcome breeze it was. Student dissent was now tolerated, even encouraged. Ateneans began to expand their horizons, and to involve themselves more extensively than before in social and political issues. A more aggressive nationalism reared its head, and the American Rector — “liked as a friend but disliked as a symbol” — resigned. The torch has been passed on to Fr. Ortiz, the second Filipino to become President of the Ateneo.

Extent of Jesuit Involvement in Social Action

The Jesuits run an Institute of Social Order, whose members conduct courses on credit unions, training programs, agricultural projects, family development and research. Complementing the Institute are the smaller like-minded organizations, like the Corps Youth Group of Fr. Blanco and the Mindanao Community Development Center.

In addition there are individual Jesuits who fan out to the barrios, to the slum districts and other underprivileged areas to improve conditions. You will find a Jesuit working with the parish priest of Sapang Palay, coordinating with Maryknoll students in Pansol, a small barrio behind that school, and with Ateneo students in Barranca another small barrio, in Marikina.

The Jesuits have a common ideology calles SPES, which stands for the Social, Political, Economic and Spiritual aspects of Filipino life. Within his field of competence, a Jesuit is expected to promote the common good in these four spheres.

In their drive to give the people a better life, the Jesuits are armed only with their ideas. Perhaps they provoke so much irritation among those in power because to the totalitarian mind, an idea can be just as dangerous as a Molotov cocktail hurled by an agent provocateur.#

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Moderates and Radicals

February 12, 2010

By Rodolfo G. Tupas

Published in The Manila Times, February 5, 1970

It was incredible. President Ferdinand Marcos was hardly out of the first month of his unprecedented second term when pandemonium broke loose in the streets: students – the very students who made him win in last year’s mock elections – clashed with the police and government troops.

It was as if Pandora’s Box had been flung open again. The crack of the police rookies’ clubs on young skulls signaled the start of the war between the students and the police on Jan. 26 but nobody seems definite as to what caused the Jan. 30 demonstration to erupt into a miniature revolution.

The Jan. 30 convulsion that shook the nation left four students dead in the streets.

The turbulence before Congress and Malacañang caught the nation’s attention but many are still in the dark over the why, who, where, and what of student demonstrations.

But, however vague the country’s idea about the most massive of student uprisings, most Filipino parents and adults were shocked and horrified to see on TV teenagers and undergraduates being bludgeoned unmercifully by rookie policemen and members of the anti-riot squad which was supposed to have been trained in the ungentle art of suppressing riots.

If Jan. 26 is remembered for the rain of truncheon blows, Jan. 30 will be remembered as the night the fired-up students, waving a red flag, “captured” a fire truck and used it to ram through Malacañang’s Gate 4 in a manner reminiscent of the storming of the Bastille.

A survey of student leaders who participated in the two demonstrations showed that the students were not led and directed by one mastermind organization.

All the demonstrating student leaders were activists but, remarkably, a new, if somewhat strange alliance, has been formed, whose ideological spectrum ranges from moderates to the radicals, from the convent-bred to the militants.

The moderates are led by Atenean Edgar Jopson, president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP); Portia Ilagan of the Philippine Normal College, acting president of one wing of the National Student League; and Benjamin Maynigo, secretary general of the Young Christian Social Movement.

These are the active reformists who believe they are left of center but who are viewed by the leftwing groups as conservatives.

However, the NUSP and NSL, themselves have their “progressives,” or the more aggressive or more free-thinking elements who have found it easier to conduct dialogues with the leftists. They are led by Chito Sta. Romana of La Salle and Ferando Barican of UP. It is this group that has developed some kind of working relationship with the left-wing sector of the studentry. It has also been responsible for making the issue of “rising fascism” a common ground between the moderates and the revolutionary group.

Sta. Romana of the NUS, a senior A.B. economics student explained: “Students are more united now. Before you would never find the NUSP, NSL, or KM in the same rally, so high was the feeling of antagonism among rival groups. But now that the ranks are closer, we have been trying to emphasize the issues that would unite us more.”

Needless force is part of the “rising fascism” issue that has united the moderates and the radicals. Although both persuasions disagree on various aspects of “imperialism” and “feudalism,” they are terms that are no longer taboo in the campus.

The Kabataang Makabayan (KM), which is headed by Nilo Tayag, remains the radical hard-core of the student movement. It has now found allies in the Student Power Assembly of the Philippines (SPAP), headed by Reuben Seguritan; the Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP), which coordinated the Jan. 30 rally; the Student Cultural Association of UP (SCAUP), whose president is Luzvimindo David; the Samahang Demokratikong Kabataan (SDK); and the Student Reform Movement, which engineered last year’s demonstrations in Lyceum, FEU, UST, and UE.

The student groups massed before Congress on Jan. 26 for two different purposes. The NUS-NSL-YCS combine staged a rally for a non-partisan Constitutional Convention. The left-wing student groups, who were first asked to coordinate with the NUSP, marched to Congress to protest the deteriorating state of the nation, the rise of “fascism,” and the perpetuation of “imperialism” and “feudalism.”

The left-wing students do not believe that a constitution can truly embody the aspirations of the people unless Philippine society first undergoes basic structural changes.

In the words of the KM’s Monico Atienza: “It is only through the transformation of the basic power relations in our society that a truly democratic society can some into being.”

The leftists fear that the Nacionalistas and the Liberals will use the Constitutional Convention merely “to ventilate their own issues.”

The moderates believe that a more responsive Constitution could be evolved but they concede it will be a “long struggle.”

Barican is afraid that “President Marcos has lost his credibility” with the students although he and Sta. Romana still believe that on short-term demands, like the release of funds or the disbanding of certain groups, it is possible to see eye to eye with the President.

But as Sta. Romana insists, “in terms of abolishing feudalism or others of the like, you cannot negotiate with President Marcos.”

The radical left rules out any dialogue or attempts of reconciliation with the President. The President is no longer on their wave length, as far as the radicals are concerned.

The left-wing leadership believes in the inevitability of violence and, if present conditions persist, in the inevitability of a revolution.

KM spokesman Atienza explained: “We believe in going to the people, in politicizing the people. Once they have been politicized, they will know what to do.”

Whether moderate or radical, the students are increasingly feeling alienated from the system. This is one of the principal reasons why student activism, once confined to the University of the Philippines, has mushroomed in other places. It has spread to Lyceum, Philippine College of Commerce, Manuel L. Quezon law school, University of the East, Far Eastern University, Feati, Jose Rizal College, and even to sectarian schools.

Because the System is suffocating or does not measure up to its own slogans, NSL’s Portia Ilagan has noted the “growing impatience” of the studentry.

The activist groups have become magnets for the students who feel estranged from the System and have developed the itch to condemn the abuses of power by rocking the Establishment.

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On the February 12 Demonstration

February 12, 2010

The February 12 demonstration at Plaza Miranda shows beyond doubt that the revolutionary mass movement has already grown to such an extent that it cannot be trifled with. It is the fruit of a long period of consistent revolutionary efforts, especially of revolutionary propaganda during the last decade. The revolutionary mass movement is now thriving on objective conditions that are extremely favorable for advancing the national democratic revolution.

The February 12 demonstration at Plaza Miranda, attended by 100,000 people despite clever counter-revolutionary efforts to sabotage it, has strengthened the revolutionary spirit of the broad masses of the Filipino people. It has stirred simultaneous demonstrations in almost all major cities, provincial capitals and other places in the country. It is fired by the selfless sacrifice of four student martyrs, thousands of gravely injured people and hundreds of others arrested en masse by the fascist brutes under the orders of the Marcos fascist puppet clique acting on behalf of U.S. imperialism and feudalism.

The February 12 demonstration proves that the Filipino people are courageous in the face of enemy intimidation and deception. It brilliantly shows that the struggle for national democracy is surging forward ever more vigorously under the powerful illumination of the universal ideology of the proletariat Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought. Never before has there been such a demonstration as huge as the February 12 demonstration in the entire history of the revolutionary mass movement, not even in the 1946-50 period.

Marcos “Nationalists” and Lava Revisionist Renegades

That the February 12 demonstration was almost completely sabotaged by counter-revolutionaries should deserve the keenest perception and study. The Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionist renegade worked in concert with each other in a vicious attempt to scuttle the demonstration by using the tactic of raising the red banner only to attack it.

In a calculated attempt to minimize the responsibility of Marcos as a top running dog or as a big fascist puppet of U.S. imperialism and as the chief political agent of the local exploiting classes, the Lava revisionist renegades took the initiative of peddling through the MPKP spokesman as early as February 4 the erroneous line that “Marcos is only a small, although significant part” of “the neo-colonial-bourgeois political system” (whatever that means) and to complain about a “purely anti-Marcos line.” Taking the pretense of being more left than the Left, the Lava revisionist renegades actually tried to maneuver mass organizations into the idealist and rightist position of flying away from the concrete dialectics of the struggle, of glossing over the fascist brutality and puppetry of Marcos under the guise of being concerned with bigger issues beyond the current issue. The reactionary line of the Lava revisionist renegades ran counter to the correct line that Marcos is a fascist puppet of U.S. imperialism and chief representative of such local exploiting classes as the comprador bourgeoisie and the landlord class. In broadening the issues, we should never belittle the militant mass demonstrations of January 26 and 30-31 (and the criminal responsibility of Marcos) so long as we base ourselves on the mass mobilization ignited by them.

In a counter-revolutionary maneuver, the Marcos “nationalists” echoed the Marcos line of intimidation by spreading fear among the people that if the militant mass movement were intensified by Marcos might be forced to seek further support from U.S. imperialism or a CIA coup might occur. And the Lava revisionist renegades, always boastful of their connections in the innermost sanctums of the state and now so hopeful of manna from the Marcos reactionary regime, converged with the Marcos “nationalists” on the line of intimidation against the people. The rightist essence of their “Left” phraseology is to prettify Marcos as one who neither belongs to the Left nor to the Right, as one who is not at all the principal rightist hatchetman of U.S. imperialism and domestic feudalism today and as one who does not enjoy the support of the CIA. The Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionist renegades would like to exculpate Marcos from the murder of four student heroes and two other people, the maiming of several thousands and the arrest of hundreds of people. What a treachery to the revolutionary movement! There was even the insidious and slanderous attempt by these counter-revolutionaries to picture the revolutionary mass movement as a plaything of the CIA if it continued to take its militant course.

What was the result of the erroneous line of intimidation and deception of the Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionist renegades? It led to a “dialogue”, empty concessions from Marcos and a vile agreement to call off the February 12 demonstration. The Lava revisionist renegades celebrated their treason the morning of February 12 with a press release in the name of the bourgeois pacifist organization BRPF that “dialogues with President Marcos may be resorted to only as an occasion to further intensify the national democratic struggle.” In another press release of the same morning, the Lava revisionist renegades through the MPKP spokesman announced that they were in a quandary as whether to join or not the February 12 demonstrations in a vile attempt to confuse the masses. It was good that the genuine leaders of the revolutionary mass movement were able to counteract firmly the malicious efforts of the Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionist renegades. They realized that the dialectics of revolutionary struggle is concrete and that any political struggle develops step by step. They were clear-headed enough to see that the more Marcos resorts to violence the more will the people resist. Only the Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionists will cower with their philosophy of survival in an attempt to protect their lucrative personal income and employment in the reactionary state.

What were the results of the vicious attempts of the state to suppress the militant mass demonstrations of January 26 and 30-31? A bigger avalanche of mass protest, which was February 12. Now, Marcos the fascist puppet chieftain should realize that he can no longer intimidate or deceive the people. He can just imagine how he would fare if 100,000 people marched on Malacañang Palace or even if only 1,000 activists would choose to go to the countryside to fight his rightist regime. The more he tries to intimidate or deceive the people the more will he accelerate the downfall of the counter-revolutionary state of which he is now the commander-in-chief.

If the fascist puppet chieftain Marcos should come to the brink of being overthrown and the CIA should try to salvage him or put another puppet in his place, then the revolutionary mass movement will only step up its revolutionary struggle, especially in the countryside. How much nicer it would be if the U.S. imperialists and reactionaries in the Philippines can no longer boast of their regular elections! That would be a striking manifestation of how strong the revolutionary mass movement has become. Indeed, before an entire counter-revolutionary state as that of the Philippines falls, it could come to be steered by a series of tyrants and it will certainly do it worst with the aid of the imperialists. But this would not deter real revolutionaries from fighting continuously from one phase to another phase. It is stupid to blame revolutionaries for the rise of fascism and the supposed possibility of a rightist coup just as it is stupid to blame the heroic revolutionary Vietnamese people for the series of rightist coups and the large-scale invasion of south Vietnam by U.S. imperialism. The Vietnamese people have continued to fight fiercely against the chain of puppet replacements for Ngo Dinh Diem made by the CIA.

The Swindle That Failed

What were those things promised by Marcos in exchange for calling off the February 12 demonstration? He promised thirteen nothings:

1.  An inter-departmental committee will be constituted immediately to undertake a comprehensive review of American aid programs and foundations to find out if these are compatible or not to the nationalist aspirations of the Filipino people and whether these should be scrapped or not. Particular attention will be focused on American influence in the military, educational, economic and labor fields.

Our observation: Another committee of running dogs is another farce. A “review” by it is meaningless for the revolutionary mass movement. A comprehensive review of all these have already been made in the programmes of militant mass organizational and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

2.  The relief of three pro-American cabinet-members – Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Finance Secretary Cesar Virata and Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile – shall be considered seriously.

Our observation: “Serious consideration” amounts to nothing. In the same tete-a-tete with the Movement for a Democratic Philippines, Marcos defended these well-known U.S. agents as “nationalists”. What about Ople who has been a CIA agent since his Magsaysay days? And Marcos himself who bragged of CIA support in 1965.

3.  The nationalist sector shall have a choice in all appointments to vital government departments and educational institutions particularly in education, labor, military, agriculture, economic planning bodies and the University of the Philippines.

The recall of the appointment of Alexander Sycip and Leonides Virata to the U.P. Board of Regents will be studied.

Our observation: What does Marcos mean by “nationalist sector”? Besides, offering government offices to bribe revolutionary activists is malicious. Puppetry to U.S. imperialism characterizes the highest appointees of Marcos.

4.  Trade and cultural ties will be instituted with Eastern European countries immediately with the sending of officially accredited representatives. The possibility of securing loans or aid from said countries shall be explored. Official attitude toward Peking and Moscow shall be taken up immediately with the Foreign Policy Council.

Our observation: This is obviously the booty being dangled before the Lava revisionist running dogs of Soviet social-imperialism for their cooperation with the Marcos fascist puppet regime. U.S. imperialism has already instructed the Marcos fascist puppet clique to accommodate Soviet social-imperialism in line with the global counter-revolutionary alliance of opposing the people, communism and China. This is no concession. Relations with Soviet social-imperialism or the so-called “community of socialist states” referred to by the Lava revisionist renegades will only add to the intensification of the exploitation of the Filipino people. The Soviet Union is no longer a socialist country; it has become capitalist, social-fascist and social-imperialist. Soviet social-imperialist “loans” and “aid” are no different from U.S. imperialist “loans” and “aid”, as proven in the cases of India, Indonesia and so many others.

5.  Court charges against the staff members of the Dumaguete Times will be recommended for dropping. Majority of the cases filed for the Jan. 26 and 30 demonstrations will likewise be dropped. The President will take a “bend backward” attitude towards cases that cannot be compromised in the interest of peace and order.

Our observation: There is no prima facie evidence against the staff members of Dumaguete Times. The charges against them should have been dropped a long time ago at the fiscal’s office. With regard to those charged in connection with the demonstrations, the reactionary state has no right to make charges invoking the name of the people if it cannot even pinpoint the murderers of six people and all the perpetrators of the maiming and illegal detention of demonstrators.

6.  The President will order an investigation of military and police authorities responsible for the death of four students and two non-students and the maiming of hundreds in the Jan. 26 and 30 demonstrations.

In the case of Manuel Alabado, U.S. Tobacco Corporation union official, the President will order the prosecution of Tarlac provincial commander Col. Tomas Diaz.

Our observation: “Investigations” and “prosecutions” of military and police authorities have always ended up in their exculpation and commendation in cases where they commit the crime at the bidding of Marcos himself. Is it easily forgotten that Marcos commended and promoted his military accomplices in the murder of four students and two other people, maiming of thousands and mass arrests of hundreds of people?

7.  The military harassment, surveillance and wire-tapping of the U.P., P.C.C., Lyceum, the headquarters of the K.M., S.D.K., M.P.K.P. and other nationalist groups will be stopped immediately.

Our observation: So many times has Marcos previously made orders for the military to stop its harassment, surveillance and wire-tapping of the headquarters of organizations and homes of individuals.

8.  Material assistance will be extended to the families of the victims of the January 30 rally.

Our observation: It is callous for Marcos to put on the bargaining table the question of extending material assistance to the families of the victims of his fascist brutality.

9.  President Marcos will proclaim a Jan. 30 Educational Fund Campaign to last 60 days to enable youth-peasant-labor groups represented to raise funds for the advancement of nationalism.

Our observation: So Marcos wants to seize the leadership over the revolutionary mass movement by issuing a proclamation to guide it in an educational and fund campaign. The target of the revolutionary mass movement becomes the principal motive force after one dialogue. That is a big joke. He arrogantly underestimates the revolutionary masses.

  1. A thorough assessment of the Central Luzon problems will be made. The Monkees will be disbanded. Pampanga Gov. Francisco Nepomuceno and Angeles City Mayor Eugenio Suarez will be requested to go abroad so that armed elements and private armies which are not members of the AFP services in their areas can be disarmed and arrested.

The Home Defense Forces will be reassessed for possible scrapping and the dissolution of the Special Forces and their reintegration to regular services shall be effected.

Our observation: How many times have Marcos and his military henchmen “disbanded” the “Monkees”. This beats the cat with nine lives. Only the New People’s Army, through its policy of annihilation can do this.

Marcos has the temerity to say that the AFP is the best among the devils and it wants to lord over Angeles City in the absence of Nepomuceno and Suarez.

Even as Marcos promises to reassess the Home Defense Forces for possible “scrapping” and “dissolution”, Brig. Gen. Garcia is supposed to have “scrapped” and “dissolved” them by press release. After all, scrapping and dissolution in the dictionary of Marcos and his military henchmen are synonymous to relabeling or reintegration into the same counter-revolutionary armed forces.

  1. The administration will consider an increase in minimum wage both to industrial and agricultural workers. It will undertake a thorough probe of the sacada problem in Negros with the immediate dispatch of 15 impartial investigators. It will also consider a profit-sharing plan involving private industries.

Our observation: Real wages have rapidly fallen under the rightist regime of Marcos. Mere consideration of wage adjustment at this stage is meaningless unless the workers themselves hold general strikes which will certainly come again into conflict with the military.

So many times in press releases, Marcos and Ople have investigated the sacada problem and they wish once more to launch an “investigating” expedition.

“Profit-sharing” is a device being propagandized by pseudo-nationalists to cover up foreign monopoly control of Philippine corporations. It is also a device for capturing the meager savings of workers and dissuading them from exercising their democratic right to strike.

  1. Government hospitals and medical services particularly the PGH and Dr. Jose Reyes Memorial Hospital shall enjoy priority status over other government programs.

The Medicare program shall be implemented and a broader coverage will be proposed to include workers in the private sector.

Our observation: These things were promised so many times before to other organizations and in other demonstrations.

  1. The administration shall give top priority to the demands and problems of state college and universities.

Our observation: These things were promised so many times before to other organizations in other demonstrations.

The Lessons That We Have Learned

The Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionist renegades apologize for the Marcos reactionary regime that it should not at all be blamed for the “accumulation” of wrongs left by “history”. The quickest riposte to this bit of counter-revolutionary idealism is that the Marcos reactionary regime is not only trying to perpetuate the imperialist and feudal oppression of the broad masses of the people but in his role as a fascist puppet is also trying to use every possible cruel means to intensify it. Certainly, Marcos all by himself cannot change the accumulation of historical wrongs without the support of the people but what he has been doing precisely is to aggravate the oppression of the people.

One important lesson that has been gained by revolutionary militants in the course of preparing for and executing the February 12 demonstration is to maintain initiative and independence in a united front of various organizations and also not to engage in a “united front” with the Lava revisionist renegades and Marcos “nationalists”. It is impossible to have a united front with these counter-revolutionary scoundrels who will only take every opportunity to sabotage the revolutionary mass movement. After transforming the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism into an instrument of Marcos “nationalism” and modern revisionism, the Marcos “nationalists” and the Lava revisionist renegades are now maneuvering to sabotage further the revolutionary mass movement outside the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism. The Lava revisionist renegades have been particularly clever in sneaking into the ranks of militant organizations while at the same time slandering the militant mass demonstrations of January 26 and 30-31 as actions going “along a disastrous adventurist line”.

It should always be kept in mind by all proletarian revolutionary cadres that a firm, clear and correct political line is necessary to undo our doubts, fears and vacillations and frustrate the most clever saboteurs who try to creep into the revolutionary mass movement. Those who have been misled by the Marcos “nationalists” and Lava revisionist renegades should rectify their errors. They should not be misled by any attempt of the Lava revisionist renegades to cover up their ugly tracks even if they go to the extent of attacking the Marcos “nationalists” because the former have bigger pretensions as revolutionaries although they are in fact counter-revolutionaries and they always make it a point to attack real revolutionaries.

To underscore the heroism of the masses in militant demonstrations, the leading activists should cease to make too much protestations about their pacifist intentions and to broadcast that they could be infiltrated by “provocateurs”. The central fact in the January 26 and 30-31 demonstrations was that the masses were frontally and criminally attacked by the fascist henchmen of Marcos and that the masses in turn counter-attacked in courageous self-defense. The leading activists and the masses should not flinch from pointing the accusing finger at the enemy is the most forthright manner.

The masses have correctly taken up the battle cry, “Makibaka, huwag matakot!” (Fight, don’t be cowed!”) This is certainly far better and more inspiring than the bourgeois-pacifist top tune “We shall overcome” of the local revisionist renegades. There would have been no February 12 if there had been no January 26 and 30-31.

Ang Bayan
Published in the book, First Quarter Storm of 1970

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People’s Congress: The New Radicalism

February 12, 2010

By Mercedes A.B. Tira

Published in Graphic, March 4, 1970, p. 10-12

How will it be with kingdom and with kings,
With those who shaped him to the thing he is

When this dumb terror shall rise to judge the world
After the silence of the centuries?

— Edwin Markham in his poem, “The Man With The Hoe”

The unforgettable tragedy of January 26 and 30 came out with two results. First, bitter quarrels divided the students. Charges were hurled against those students who utilized the previous, mass actions for prestige-building, and in the process managed to expose themselves as nothing but “gadflies of society.” Still, several students leaders, drawing support from the established Church and from the Manglapus cult of Christian Socialism, pigheadedly clung to the ecclesiastical idea of a peaceful revolution. (They were aptly labeled the “clerico-fascists.”) According to a student leader, however, a revolution is not a revolution if it insists to be peaceful.

Whether or not the student leader was right, the studentry’s conflict of loyalties brought about factionalism in their ranks. Desperately disoriented by the riotous January rallies, most of them were cowed when introduced to the brass tacks of running a nation. Be that as it may, the internal wars and rejection moves of our student activists are natural and simply organic. The Japanese students’ Zengakuren movement has no less than 60 rival groups; the Chinese Red Guards, to continue, were also unspared from factionalism; the Puerto Rican and Mexican activists, the London progressives and even those of Paris were similarly plagued.

In fact, an astute observation on this student factionalism has been rendered by the celebrated Swiss journalist Andre Depeursinge: “Once the tumult and collective delirium of the revolutionary psychodrama was past, after the intoxication of having terrorized and shaken society, the students found themselves isolated, deprived of their dreams, alone before the debris of what they had overthrown, burned or adored. They were revolted, disenchanted  and resigned.”

Down with Frivolities

Second, despite their bickerings, the local activists learned from their tragedies. Moreover, they have, of late, finally if not completely, resigned from the fetish of frivolities including the worship of the Beatles, Dustin Hoffman, discotheques and exclusive-school-soirees. The activists are now determined to continue their protest struggles. This they started by introducing the “teach-in” to the masses. The teach-in, an innovation of revolutionaries from the academe, is now better known as “the people’s congress.”

What is this teach-in movement? Prof. Dolores Feria, herself an enlightened progressive, defines the teach-in as the “setting up of sidewalk universities.” It is one of the most positive aspects of local radicalism after the passage of 10 years. It is an experimental class “without credits, which can be scheduled anywhere at all except in classroom-in-basements, empty rooms, in teachers’ houses and cafes will do — where chairs are unnecessary not only because more people can be accommodated on the floor, but also because new forms of grouping lessen the traditional distance and sense of classroom alienation… Human concerns, not mere information dominate the scene. The questions raised are those which the student is inhibited from raising in the classroom either because of the primacy of curriculum… or because it is conventionally forbidden.”

The recent amalgamation of student power with the combined strengths of the worker-peasant front is an assertion of their maturity. In the protest congresses of February 12 and 18, the mingling of age groups was evident. This is significant in the sense that for an effective Left to take form, there is a crying need for unity. Why? Because the students alone, despite their condemnations of “elder-irrelevance,” do not constitute an Opposition. Note that our history of radicalism dawned as an isolated juggernaut, a movement of pure protest and rampage. The massive politicalization at Plaza Miranda was indeed a commitment to the futuristic task of teaching the silent majority and not the task of raking them.

“The better our knowledge of social systems, the more likely are we to avoid any unintentional consequences. It is important, therefore, for the protesters to have some theory of protest and to be sensitive to those circumstances in which protest is effective in achieving its intended consequences, and those circumstances in which it is not,” observed Prof. Kenneth Boulding of the University of Michigan.

Mammoth Ralllies

The early afternoons of February 12 and 18 saw an escalation of protesters. The 10,000 peaceful demonstrators and “usiosos” swelled to a 15,000 crowd on the 18th, The crowd stood, sat, climbed roofs of the Lacson Underpass and spilled into the adjacent streets of Plaza Miranda.

The February 12 demo was a better-disciplined one, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the student leaders and the Manila Police Department officers in charge with the security of the demo: Col. Enrique V. Morales, Majors Alfredo Lim, Narciso Cabrera, Jr., and Moises Matawaran. The only uncomfortable incident, which happened as the rallyists were dispersing, was the attack done upon an impersonating PC serviceman from Central Luzon who donned the uniform of the hated Special Forces. The demonstrators chased him and gave him a taste of manhandling. This incident, however minor, is valid proof that the uniformed minions of the law have become a bete noire of rallyists.

The mammoth rally, six days after, was sober and more enthusiastic in its first five hours. It was, however, climaxed with more extensive, insistent violence and vandalism: clashes with the police, edifice-stoning, vehicle-burning and apprehension of scores of demonstrators and even bystanders. These firebrands, manacled with rolled handkerchiefs for lack of handcuffs, were however unperturbed. There were Enrique Voltaire Garcia II and Rene Navarro, both student leaders turned lawyers, who would come to their rescue, anyway. Besides, one jailed demonstrator, after emerging from the prison house, predicted that Siempre, masasanay din kami sa labas-pasok sa city jail, at tuloy pa rin ang rebolusyon, bakit hindi? Irresponsibly said, it is clear, but Rennie Davis of the Chicago Seven and his prediction was echoed by this student. The prediction of Davis was hurled against Judge Julius Hoffman: “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail a revolution.”

We noticed that the language of the Plaza Miranda congress was more plebeian and profane than before. Where hitherto only placards bore the language of the streets, at the mammoth rallies, profanities were the spice and humor of the protesters’ oratory. The sight of placards and words written on them, not to mention the Hitlerized Marcos calendars, was somehow amusing, if not shocking. Placards for instance, screamed “Mother America — Putang Ina”; “Marcos Fascist — Iginuhit Ng Demonyo” — undoubtedly clear departures from Emily Postian etiquette.

Sympathy and Defense

Sympathy indignation rallies were also heretofore and simultaneously aired over the country. Most remarkable of these out-of-town rallies was the February 10 demo at Angeles City, considering the acute tension that is rife within the city. One of the Angeles demo leaders said that in their city there was lesser friction between demonstrators and police because “hindi grabe ang alienation ng mga estudyante.” No untoward violence has occurred, so far.

At the defensive front — the Administration and its fortified properties including the Malacañang Palace were veritable citadels of heavily armed troopers. Armed perhaps with all the combat gear that are American handouts — these included chemical war wares and high-powered rifles — the faithful military lined the parapets of the Palace.

Likewise, Manila, the epicenter of all sorts of storms, once again paused in its hustle-bustle. Stores were barricaded with boards; classes and traffic were halted and thousands of employees abandoned their offices as early as 12 high noon. The hoity-toity rich, holed up in their suburban villages, were — expectedly — in jitters, even as they viewed with alarm the demonstrators’ threat to set their properties and mansions to the torch.

Speakers from all walks of life took turns attacking the Establishment, informing the crowd of the malignant ills of Filipino society. Among them were Ruben Torres of the Malayang Pagkakaisa ng Kabataang Pilipino (MPKP), Gary Olivar of the Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP), Crispin Aranda of the Youth League Against Fascism (YLAF), Rudy del Rosario of the NATU, Ramon Sanchez of the Philippine College of Commerce faculty, Francisco Cortez of the Kabataang Makabayan, Antonio Gutierrez of the University of the East, Alfredo Paras of the AKSION youth group Victor Felipe, a farmer of Sta. Rosa, Laguna, Oscar Lazaro, a jeepney driver, Antonio Peregrina, a kargador and a student leader of the Masbate Youth Movement for Justice and Reforms.

Their fiery speeches were ably supported by the dramatic performance of the Kamanyang Players, the PCC drama guild whose plays constitute the only real honest-to-goodness national “theater of cruelty.” One of their plays, the “Battle Of Mendiola,” depicting the symbolic prostitution of Filipino society by the feudal lords and foreign capitalists, and the consequent “Makibaka, Huwag Matakot” counteraction of the oppressed, moved most of the demonstrators to tears and to raise thousands of clenched fists higher in disgust.

Real Adversaries

A tripod of enemies were brought a little bit closer to the masses. These were feudalism, imperialism and fascism. It was stressed that, while feudalism is within the periphery of agrarian troubles, peasants continue to suffer and landlords, sugar and tobacco barons intensify in their exploitation.

On imperialism, particularly the American brand, the MPD manifesto explained that “under the Marcos Administration, US imperialism has succeeded in tightening its stranglehold of the Philippine economy.”

The KM manifesto, however, clarified the fact that “while the students denounce Marcos for being the chief agent of American imperialism, it must not be forgotten that Marcos is only a small but significant part of a giant exploitative system which we are fighting.”

The issue of fascism was illustrated as having been unleashed in all its fury on the January 26 and 30 demonstrators. In the rural areas the peasant’s are continuously harassed by the Monkees, Special Forces and the Phileag. Fascism was also said to be represented by the American-trained riot squads of the police and the constabulary.

An afternoon daily columnist also added that issues such as the CIA interloping in domestic strife and its predilection for overthrowing governments and instigating coup d’etats under the mask of war against Communism; anti-Americanism which somehow gets stretched as racism; and other remote issues, very much the “wild weeds in a fertile garden” — Alexis de Tocqueville’s unequivocal description of pre-revolutionary France in the 18th century — have been particularized in these massive teach-ins.

Demands running the gamut of necessities, were of course presented and cheered by the enthusiastic crowd. These demands articulated by the MDP manifesto included the nationalization of petroleum and mining industries, public utilities, educational institutions and hospitals; immediate expropriation of all haciendas and their redistribution free to all peasants; resignation of well-known “militarist and pro-American officials in the government;” disbandment of the Home Defense Forces, Special Forces, Monkees and private armies and the repeal of the Anti-Subversion law and release of all political prisoners. Also presented were dropping of charges against all demonstrators; minimum wage of ₱10 for all workers; termination of lopsided treaties with the United States such as the Laurel-Langley Agreement and the Military Bases and Assistance Pacts; establishment of diplomatic trade and cultural relations with all socialist countries and withdrawal of the Philippine Contingent (PHILCON) from Vietnam.

Effect of Massive Teach-ins

It is sufficiently clear that several notable points emerged out of these post-January demos. First, a marked by developed involvement among all activists; second, their acceptance of their own limitations and third, the apparent cooperative gesture of the Administration gods.

Totally different from our real bicameral congress in the aspect of relevant concerns, the People’s Congress was a significant success. As the parliament of the streets commenced, the ivory-towered Congress at Padre Burgos street was a session of stupid bigotries mouthed by balding politicians. One can very well say that, aside from its being a pathetic Congress, enduring its sessions can really force one to wish that revolution must come tomorrow.

The People’s Congress marks the positive development of our radicalism. Of our merged student-worker-peasant activism. Although its debut at Plaza Miranda was disturbed by an ensuing violence, it was a laudable consolidation of efforts. Of course, it is to be expected that occasional outbursts of violence would persist, for violence is an inevitable manifestation of dissent within a cruel, callous and exploitative society. Remember that in India, Mahatma Gandhi, father of the swadeshi or non-violence movement, was assassinated because the Indians were impatient of change. But, perhaps in time, violence would reach the status of being passé — as some people believe — when the teach-in, effective in its sobriety and sincere in its aims, would have surmounted it.

We are prone to conclude that educative activities for the sake of the proletariat will, in the coming days, occupy the activists. These would be seen and exercised inside classrooms in the form of protest classes, in the streets and perhaps even in the pulpits. The teach-in has preceded a forceful microcosm that expands from the campuses to the scorched provinces of our land. This would reach far and wide into the remote oft-ignored aspects of our national life. No mere gripe sessions, this. In more ways than one, it means an arrival at direct interchange of purposes and actions between the leading articulate front and the mass of convinced followers.

The People’s Congress must, henceforth, be sustained, so that new approaches for information, public education, for strategic protest and social criticism would deny stultification. Otherwise the target to politicalize the people would qualify to nothing, would mean political impotence and intellectual boredom.

Outgrowing Violence

Battling with the inequities of the Establishment, the ultimate goal of the activists, absorbed in the idea of popularized teach-ins, “is part of the struggle to mobilize the masses, crystallize to them the problems of the nation, point out alternatives and let the Filipino people decide.”

A protracted struggle must be emphasized — a collective effort that would eventually bring about a pambansang demokrasya. Thus a student leader explained, “Ang pakikibaka natin ay hindi minsanan, kundi isang pangmatagalang labanan. Huwag tayong magpakamatay para sa isang pagkakataong ningas-kugon lamang.”

Violence and tumultuous protest are justifiable, true, when all forms of peaceful expressions have become futile. To the young leaders, who, we would like to think, have peen tempered by the lesson of January 30, vehemence and vandalism means suicide in the process of politicalization. In efforts to expose the rottenness and sterility of the social system, nothing can be more defeating, more crippling and more irascible than unwanted, uncalled-for chaos. There is, we submit, something hopeful and happy in the educative approach of the teach-the-people rally.

One can be convinced indeed that, with the teach-in experience, the radicals have reached their coming of age, and there is a fighting chance for a better informed people to effect the basic justice and panacea they have been clamoring for.