Archive for the ‘18 February 1970’ Category

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The Best Since Pugad Lawin

February 19, 2010

By Gemma Cruz Araneta

Published in her column, Skin Deep, in the Graphic, March 11, 1970, p. 16

A climactic moment came unexpectedly during the second mammoth demonstration on the night of 18 February at Plaza Miranda. A labour leader started his speech with an exposé. Another labour group was allegedly given two million pesos by the CIA. Immediately, a sizeable sector of the crowd reacted noisily. There was a commotion which threatened to get out of hand as no one could tell whether they were crying for blood or were simply offended by allusions. The leaders on the platform pleaded for sobriety and, speaking in the vernacular, they reminded their companions that the struggle is far from being over and that we should all first study the issues before contemplating drastic action.

“Mag-aral muna tayo!” cried the leaders and twice the National Anthem had to be played to restrain the crowd and cool tempers. The leaders also warned against provocateurs, falling into their vicious traps and destroying the beautiful and peaceful union already formed. The pleas did not fall on deaf ears because even if the group left Plaza Miranda, no unnecessary violence ensued.

Verily, the student demonstrations are the best things that have happened since the cry of Pugad Lawin. Emulating the examples of the heroes of our Revolution, the students have shaken the nation out of its lethargy by informing the masses about the causes of economic dependence and the perpetuation of a corrupt and undemocratic social structure. The students are undoubtedly well-informed as they can see through the superficial, the symptoms and analyze the real causes of our problems, Soon, when the oppressed farmers, the exploited laborers and factory workers, the deluded masses see the advantage to nationalize strategic industries, make workers members of corporations and tenants owners of the land they till, then we can be assured of a future with social justice where the fruits of labor are distributed equitably.

Call it Congress of the People or Parliament of the Streets, the attempt to conduct nationwide “teach-ins” among peoples from all walks of life is historically and socially significant.

The Vigilantes who are safeguarding democratic processes in lawmaking bodies and government corporations have really forced our elders to be more conscious of public good rather than self-interest.

Frankly, to say that the students are demonstrating because they lack love (First Lady, Daily Mirror, 17 February) is to over-simplify matters.

The student leaders at Plaza Miranda never for a moment sounded like love-starved delinquents hungry for parental affection and attention. But there is another way of looking at it. Perhaps parents do not love their children enough. If they did, then they themselves would have demonstrated in their youth, formed parliaments of the streets and vigilantes groups. Had they not allowed themselves to be deluded by imperialist propaganda like Taft’s “Philippines for the Filipinos” or McKinley’s visions; had they remained idealistic like their grandfathers who fought the Revolution, then their children would not have to demonstrate today. The social cancer would not have festered and Rizal, as one writer so aptly put it, would have long been obsolete.

Some people have the most shocking attitude about what is going on. Those who have fled in panic are ludicrous and those who speak with contempt, calling demonstrators, rioteers (remember the word insurrectos, tulisanes, rebels?) are disgusting. Others have become nervous wrecks because of what everything has done to the stock market and the thought of losing their worldly possessions and privileges must have shattered them. Fear has made people resort to hurried charity projects thinking that alms are an adequate substitute for social justice. The callously apathetic — like that Blue Lady at a recent gathering — would rather not think about it and leave everything to the military. In another era, she probably would have said, “let them eat cake.”

When all is said and done — or in the unfortunate event that not enough was done, the student revolution will always be considered a blessing and a significant step toward enlightening the nation.#

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On the Februrary 18 Public Meeting

February 19, 2010

New Awakening Rises Higher

The February 18 Plaza Miranda public meeting, now widely called a people’s congress, has proven that the new awakening of the Filipino people against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and fascism is rising higher and can no longer be brought down by the reactionaries without being inflicted with more powerful blows.

Mass participation was even larger and even more vigorous than the February 12 public meeting. Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life thronged the plaza and filled the streets radiating from it. The public meeting was definitely larger than any held by the reactionaries of whatever party or organization.

The people who came were in outrage and shouted their determination to smash U.S. imperialism and the local exploiting classes – all on whose behalf the Marcos fascist puppet regime is resorting to the use of murder both openly and secretly. All throughout the public meeting, the speakers and mass participants vigorously demanded the overthrow of U.S. imperialism, feudalism and fascism.

A dramatic presentation re-enacted the U.S. conquest of the Philippines, the local mimicry of decadent imperialist culture and the brutality of the puppet politicians. It gave focus to the heroic resistance made by the students against the reactionary troops and police in what is now known as the Battle of Mendiola.

Many people also came with numerous placards denouncing Japanese imperialism and Soviet social imperialism as partners of U.S. imperialism. The local revisionist renegades wanting to sneak into the mass action shuddered at the comprehensive scope of the protest. Previously, they had gloated over the fact that the fascist puppet chieftain Marcos had been singling out the “Maoists” as his enemy and making assurances that he would cooperate with the revisionist counter-revolutionaries.

From Plaza Miranda, a wave of people marched in the direction of Malacañang Palace. Completely outwitted, practically all the fascist brutes – from the city police to the crack troops of the reactionaries – deployed themselves in the vicinity of the fascist puppet chieftain’s fortification. Brilliantly the people marched wave upon wave towards the U.S. embassy to express their just indignation against U.S. imperialism, the No. 1 enemy of the Filipino people and master of the Marcos fascist puppet regime.

For the first time, the outer and inner gates of the U.S. embassy were broken by demonstrators charging with sticks, stones and home-made bombs. Consequently, the demonstrators were able to make their way into the embassy grounds and buildings to smash whatever they could as a forceful expression of the people’s protest against the transgression of their sovereignty and territorial integrity by U.S. imperialism.

The fascist puppets converged on Roxas Blvd. to defend their master. All major services of the reactionary armed forces and the metropolitan police came with all their available forces. Immediately, a fretful U.S. military officer in civilian clothes took command over the puppet troops and police.

But once more they were outwitted when the mass of demonstrators broke up into several groups and attacked such alien establishments as Caltex, Esso, Philamlife and other imperialist enterprise. They carefully avoided doing harm to petty bourgeois and middle bourgeois establishments, with the exception of a gossip center owned by a paid hack of the Marcos fascist puppet regime who has been virulently attacking the national democratic movement. Nevertheless, there were plainclothesmen and hooligans directed by the fascist puppet chieftain Marcos and his notorious co-puppet Villegas to indiscriminately attack private vehicles and small establishments in a futile attempt to smear the high prestige of the demonstrators.

All through the night as the fascist brutes arrested and beat up people at random, the number of those resisting them swelled. The resistance of the people of Manila spread as far as the student quarters of Sampaloc, with that portion of Claro M. Recto Avenue bounded by Legarda St. and Quezon Blvd. as the focus. The patriotic struggle against the fascist brutes continued until the wee hours of the following day. People threw every possible disposable object at them from windows and roof tops.

The Puppets Apologize to Their Imperialist Master

The Marcos fascist puppet regime, through an old running dog of U.S. imperialism, has obsequiously prepared an abject note of apology even before the U.S. ambassador and CIA agent Byroade presented his note of protest scolding the local puppets for their “dereliction of duty”. At the bidding of their imperialist master, all the local reactionaries deplored the patriotic mass action as “riotous vandalism”. The truly deplorable puppetry of these reactionaries became obvious when the people recalled that the U.S. government had not even cared to make a reply to three diplomatic letters of the Philippine reactionary government concerning the murder of Filipinos by U.S. personnel on three separate occasions.

Insinuating themselves in a meeting of the Movement for a Democratic Philippines, the counter-revolutionary revisionists masterminded by the black Lava gang raised the question of whether to condemn or not the patriotic attack against the U.S. embassy. The kind of question raised by these scoundrels exposed once more their utterly reactionary character. It also came to light that a small pack of these counter-revolutionary pretenders had joined the Plaza Miranda public meeting only to try vainly to discourage the people from marching to the U.S. embassy.

With all vehemence that they could command, the enemies of the national democratic movement condemned the revolutionary violence employed by the demonstrators as something veering from the submissive peace that they wished. The reactionaries completely obscured the counter-revolutionary violence unleashed by them against the people. The cruder propagandists among them complained most about the militant assault on the U.S. embassy. The more clever among them attempted to discredit the main current of the public meeting and subsequent demonstration by complaining about the peripheral actions of those plainclothesmen and hooligans ordered by both Marcos and Villegas to attack private vehicles and small establishments.

The big hullabaloo raised by the reactionaries about the well-placed blows against U.S. imperialism dealt by the demonstrators was actually meant to obscure the fact that scores of patriotic demonstrators were brutally treated by the reactionary troops and police in the vicinity of the U.S. embassy and Malacañang Palace. No greater harm could be made by these fascist brutes only because the demonstrators had learned how to resist and outwit them.

The broad masses of the people, including positive elements in the metropolitan newspapers, whole-heartedly welcomed the patriotic attack against the U.S. embassy. In answer to the reactionary comments that it was uncalled for, they angrily retorted that the demonstrations had cost U.S. imperialism only a few dollars worth of glass and furniture. Even if the U.S. embassy had been leveled to the ground, the amount of destruction is nothing compared to a day’s profit or bloodsucking by U.S. monopolies on the oppressed and exploited Filipino people.

For the last seven decades, U.S. imperialism has continued to enjoy the fruits of conquest which entailed the murder of at least 250,000 Filipinos in the Filipino-American War. Until now, U.S. military base personnel continue to murder Filipinos and go scot-free with the full protection of their government.

More powerful blows against U.S. imperialism and its local puppet die-hards are bound to come. The symbolic attacks against the U.S. embassy are but appropriate part of general preparations for more sanguinary struggles to resist and oust U.S. imperialism. Even as the puppet reactionaries threaten to unleash campaigns of suppression, the Filipino people are bracing themselves for a more sustained and more determined revolutionary struggle.

Fascist Puppet Chieftain Marcos Widens Field of Combat

Refusing to learn the lesson that more counter-revolutionary violence begets more revolutionary violence, the fascist puppet chieftain Marcos called to Camp Aguinaldo provincial governors and city mayors and instructed them to organize “strike forces” against the people. Little does he seem to realize that he can no longer intimidate the people who are becoming increasingly angry at him for intensifying their exploitation at the bidding of U.S. imperialism and the local ruling classes.

Many, if not most, of the students now fighting him in the streets of Manila will themselves go very soon to their respective home provinces to explain the issue of imperialism, feudalism and fascism and express them in the most concrete terms that they will learn from the masses themselves. As of now, people in the provinces have already started to manifest their indignation against Marcos as the chief political representative of the entire rotten system. As armed force is being prepared against them by the local tyrants, they should consider as a good opportunity for exposing in a sharper way the tyranny being suffered by the people and for proving the necessity of people’s war in the countryside. As the field of combat widens, the Marcos fascist puppet regime and its imperialist masters as in Vietnam will find their financial and manpower resources more depleted.

The Marcos fascist puppet regime cannot always fool the people. It cannot indefinitely shoulder the expenses for “loyalty” rallies and for a bigger military machine. It will do so only by aggravating the inflation that has already beset the nation and by exposing further the malevolence of his puppetry to U.S. imperialism. U.S. imperialism itself is now disastrously over-extended all over the world and is suffering grave political and economic crises. In the long run, the foolish effort of the Marcos fascist puppet regime to save itself with more vicious means will only result in its more rapid downfall.

At the moment, the counter-revolutionary dual tactics being employed by the Marcos fascist puppet regime only reveal the desperate situation into which it has plunged itself. At one turn, it tries to sound ferocious in boasting about 50,000 fascist brutes and yet even at this early stage militant demonstrators have already shown greater number and unprecedented militance. At another turn, it tries to sound sweet and cajoling and yet it is ruthlessly exposed as hypocritical by the objective course of events and by the powerful analysis made by the Communist Party of the Philippines, now employing Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought as the theoretical weapon.

The Marcos fascist puppet regime wishes to silence the revolutionary mass movement by murdering its leaders and activists. But it can no longer do so without attacking the people and committing serious political errors. The Communist Party of the Philippines is now deeply embedded among the broad masses of the people.

Ang Bayan

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Paradoxes, Alarm, and Scandal

February 19, 2010

By Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil

First published in her column, Consensus of One, in The Sunday Times Magazine, March 22, 1970, p. 11.

We take demonstrations at once too seriously and not seriously enough. More than a month after the January riots which set every one on his head, that is the first paradox of the political scene.

At the first hint of a march, teach-in or picket line, Manila becomes a ghost town inhabited by blanched-faced wretches quaking in their shoes. All public life is suspended, schools and offices closed and the Manilan, once so garrulous and peripatetic, barricades himself behind a fortress of hastily-nailed plywood, armed guards and hoarded canned goods. This exaggerated fright makes a ludicrous contrast to the stolid and carefree sophistication of Tokyo, Calcutta, New York or Paris where the demonstrations are larger, fiercer and several years older. But the Manilan is nothing if not adaptable and perhaps in a few more weeks he will learn to live with student unrest and decide that despite all, life cannot just grind to a complete halt but must go on and on.

At the same time, and despite this overreaction of panic and hurt price, we are not taking demonstrations seriously enough. We refuse to see that they represent an irreversible trend towards radical reform (not to say revolution) and that they are not just a fad or youthful exuberance or a particularly nasty type of juvenile delinquency but a strong and perhaps irresistible public will to change. Many still hope to turn the tide with smiles and subsidies and perhaps a few plane tickets to the Osaka Expo, or with free clinics and bundles of old clothes distributed among the squatters, or a new set of government officials to answer complaints faster. But the handwriting on the wall is there, even if we won’t read it.

True, attendance in Congress and most other government offices has risen to a spectacular and unprecedented ideal and there are suddenly very few parties (mostly held “underground”), the society page has turned overnight into a prissy, highbrow bluestocking, and there will be thousands of housing units to go up in Tondo. But one misses a really dramatic turning over of a new leaf: for instance, a realistic living wage, confiscation of idle lands to support land reform a tax law that will make the Establishment a little less established, the prosecution of the really big grafters and warlords.

The second paradox about the quality of Filipino life these days is that public reaction to demonstrations is much more acute than it has ever been to the evils that provoked the demos in the first place. a few broken glass windows, some amateurish gasoline bombs fashioned out of whiskey bottles and a score of placards in ribald Tagalog seem to have caused much more anguished soul-searching than the millions of deprived farmers, workers and children. Why? The wrongs which the demonstrations are protesting have been with us for a long time, perhaps not writ so large as now, but it was not till a handful of student leaders (abetted or not, if you like, by mobsters and rioters) threw a few stones and taunts that people up there began to see them.

Poverty, social injustice, graft, legal inequality, the intolerable conditions under which millions of our people have lived for decades and centuries—did not appear out of the blue in January 1970. They have in fact been the mainstays of our life for as long as anyone can remember, yet our behavior would lead a stranger to believe that they did not exist till now. They did, of course, but we were determined to ignore them and have continued to ignore them if it had been possible to do so without rousing so much alarm and scandal.

A third paradox is that the very things some of our new revolutionaries want is what the rebels elsewhere would like to discard. The abuses of capitalism and freewheeling democracy are equaled only by those of existing socialist systems. The Soviet Union and the People’s China have succeeded in changing the subhuman conditions of their masses in a few years (50 in the first case and 20 in the second) and in making themselves into world powers, but they are quite as guilty as the capitalist, liberal-democratic world in committing excesses of imperialism (overseas and international dominance and exploitation) and fascism (thought control, force and police power). Indeed Moscow’s neo-capitalism and ruthless repression of young writers has turned many student activists away from Marxism-Leninism.

This leads one to believe that the change we need in the Philippines is not merely away from the sins of one established order to the sins of another established order, but towards an entirely different new system, evolved on home grounds, according to our own lights, a new kind of ism that will be partly this and partly that, completely eclectic but completely suitable to our own nature and to our own needs.

The saddest paradox, however, is that President Marcos is getting what has been coming to all of us during the last four hundred years. The sins of Spanish colonialism, with its mixture of innocence and callousness, American “manifest destiny,” with its cynical benevolence, domestic tyranny, all the sores and cankers of our tortuous history are now being visited on his head. We should be able to see the bitter inevitability of what is happening, but no less than us, President Marcos should see it too.#

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Molotovs Vs. Teargas

February 19, 2010

By Nancy T. Lu

First published in The Sunday Times Magazine, March 8, 1970, p. 14-19

Since the violent January 26 and January 30 outbreaks the public has been kept in tenterhooks by threats of disorder posed by mammoth rallies that continue to be staged by youth groups.

While student activists have proven themselves responsible by trying to secure all massive gatherings the mounting tension finally erupted into anarchistic showdowns last February 18.

Even while eloquent speakers were still delivering their impassioned speeches rumors that some restive groups would proceed elsewhere upon the termination of the demonstration at the Plaza Miranda were being spread. But every attempt at provoking the crowd to march to Malacañang was quickly suppressed by alert student leaders.

Shortly after the organizers of the Movement for Democratic Philippines—coordinated rally ended, the thus far peaceful affair speculations ran high that it was unlikely that the crowd of students, peasants, and laborers would disperse quietly and head for home.

The night was young and the first invitation to join the mass trek to the U.S. embassy reaped quick response.

For the first time in weeks the imperialism issue took the front seat. This was presaged by the picketing of different embassies a few days before. As succeeding events would bear out, feudalism, capitalism and rising fascism in the government became major issues quickly overshadowed as anti-American sentiment reached an all-time high that Wednesday night. The storming of the American embassy premises followed attacks against “an unholy alliance among the few rich politicians and feudal landlords all under the control of American imperialism.”

Less than an hour after members of what had been billed as “the first people’s congress” at Plaza Miranda left the demonstration site, molotov explosions rocked the U.S. embassy, drowning out instantly the sounds of stones crashing the embassy’s glass windows. In an hour-long siege, waves of demonstrators surged to the dim gate, throwing molotovs through every visible crack of security and concrete, but scampered back to their zone before the bombs would explode.

As their fellow rioters hurled bombs, stones and invectives at the embassy in their fiery denunciation of “U.S. imperialism”, other demonstrators, in guilt or not, stuck to their role of preventing news reporters and photographers from going on with their usual task of recording the evening event, threatening the media men with bodily harm if they wouldn’t oblige.

But the rioters’ siege of the American embassy was to end in time for the warnings to be cried out that the anti-riot squads were coming: “ayan na ang  riot squad; lumulusob na ang Metrocom!” Soon, the encounter between the demonstrators and the unusually cool government troopers would turn the evening of February 18 into a most tearful night along the usually gay Roxas Boulevard. Unsuccessful with their truncheons, the troopers were able to disperse the rioters with tear gas.

The troops’ entry into the riot area could be reminiscent of great field wars of the past. The government men, more organized now than in previous encounters with demonstrators, came in droves from five strategic entry points in a virtual aim at dispersing the rioters. The main drove, and the first to be noticed by the rioters, walked in from the boulevard area along the Army and Navy Club. The demonstrators at first tried charging in the direction of the riot squads, hurling big chunks of stone and molotov bombs, but spread out and dispersed after seeing the riot squad members close in on them from four other points: from inside the U.S. embassy itself moved in helmeted and truncheon-wielding Metrocom troopers; from the other north end of the boulevard rushed in members of the MPD special squad; and from two exit points— United Nations avenue and Padre Faura— poured in the main faction of the riot squad. The students left the riot area, the government troops held formation and ended the first part of what could have been another bloody head-on clash between demonstrators and government troops. The government men asked the demonstrators to go home, leave the site.

But, outwitted in the first part, the students had other plans. And they executed it in a violent replay of the destructive part of the January 30th riot along Malacañang. The students regrouped along a “liberated” area of Padre Faura,—at one point declaring a corner “a Red Cross relief area,” to the polices contempt—walked in droves, hurling stones, crashing windows of big stores and other establishments they would chance upon. Two cars were burned. Molotov bombs rocked the Philamlife building, disturbed the guests at the Hilton Hotel. A home-made bomb hurled at the lightless hotel extinguished itself at mid-air, but the demonstrators did not leave it at that. They hurled stones and burned a wooden portion of the hotel lobby; and the violence went on. At the usually serene Rizal Park, troopers were soon running after vandals who tried to set fire to stalls and other portions of the park.

By midnight, all was quiet at the embassy front, but not in the C. M. Recto-Legarda-Mendiola vicinity where splinter groups from the Plaza Miranda teach-in had headed for. Tension prevailed over the area as though it was night of January 30 again, as around bonfires, a phalanx of demonstrators kept vigil face to face with three truckloads of army troopers, the students earlier having taken command of Recto by barricading the street with logs, drums and other materials which closed it to vehicular traffic.

To the few who watched the bonfires die down at about 2 a.m. February 19, the tense moments in the area appeared ended as the police finally dispersed the student flanks. #

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To be launched on January 26, 2010

January 20, 2010

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