Message to the League of Filipino Students on the Occasion of Its 31st Founding Anniversary
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Makabayan
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
11 September 2008
As one who has long been in solidarity with you, I wish to express most heartfelt greetings on the occasion of the 31st founding anniversary of the League of Filipino Students (LFS). I also wish to congratulate you for the achievements that you have made in the year past, adding to the accumulation of successes of the LFS since its foundation. I urge you to move forward and achieve greater victories.
Crisis At Home and in the World
A semi-colonial and semifeudal society such as that of the Philippines is chronically crisis-stricken because of the extreme exploitation and oppression wrought by foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. But the ceaseless crisis has plunged to a new depth of aggravation as a result of the utter bankruptcy of the policy of “neoliberal” globalization and the current wave of economic and financial crisis. This has spread from the US to the entire world, wreaking the most havoc in underdeveloped countries like the Philippines.
US imperialism has imposed on our people not only the policy of “neoliberal” globalization but also that of permanent and preemptive global war of terror under the pretext of combating terrorism. This is aimed at favoring monopoly capital and suppressing the people’s resistance. It is directed mainly against the national liberation movements, anti-imperialist mass movements, progressive forces and leaders, and countries that assert national independence. The Filipino people are experiencing the brutality of state terrorism and US military intervention and are witnessing the US wars of aggression and the rise of fascism on a global scale.
The Arroyo puppet regime is accountable for treasonously carrying out imperialist orders and for escalating the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people. It is culpable for the rising rate of unemployment, the loss of income for the working people, the soaring costs of basic necessities, the intolerable rise of study and living costs for students, and the deterioration of an already niggardly social services. It is culpable for the gross and systematic violations of human rights in both urban and rural areas. It has brutally victimized the working people and middle social strata.
LFS Tradition of Militancy
This is a time of grave crisis. It is a time for militancy. You are challenged to act in defense of the rights and interests of the student sector and inextricably those of the entire Filipino people against the oppressors and exploiters, chiefly represented by the US-directed Arroyo regime. You are called upon to move in accordance with your organization’s founding principles and tradition of militant struggle along the general line of national liberation and democracy against the the three monsters that afflict our people.
The LFS was founded in 1977 when the Marcos fascist dictatorship was at the peak of its power. It was not all discouraged by the combination of state terrorism and the heavy flow of foreign loans for many graft-ridden infrastructure projects. In exchange for US support, Marcos gave free reign to foreign investments and the US military bases. But despite cruel suppression of the student movement and other mass movements, the LFS was established precisely because of the need to wage militant struggle against the intolerable oppression and exploitation inflicted on the students and the broad masses of the people.
I was deeply pleased with the founding of LFS. This was a clear manifestation of the irrepressible desire of the students and the people to free themselves from the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the entire US-controlled ruling system of big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists. When I was under military detention from November 1977 onwards, I was always happy to hear news of the growth, statements and militant actions of the LFS. These were a major source of inspiration and confidence for me. They assured me that ultimately the people would overthrow the Marcos fascist dictatorship.
Key Role of LFS in the Youth Movement
Again and again it has been proven in history that at every time of grave crisis students have stood up and stood out in response to the need for militant struggle and revolutionary action. We can recall the young students in the Propaganda Movement and the Revolution against Spanish colonialism and then against US imperialism, in the recurrent efforts to resume the unfinished Philippine revolution, in the patriotic war of resistance against the Japanese occupation, in the resumption of the Philippine revolution in our own time, in the successful overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and in the continuous mass struggles of the Filipino people against every puppet regime and the entire unjust social system.
The LFS can play a key role in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the student masses and in linking with the youth from the working class, peasantry, urban poor and the professions and in generating a powerful comprehensive youth movement. Consequently, you can encourage and conjoin with the broad masses of the people in fighting the system of oppression and exploitation and isolating and defeating the Arroyo regime, which is now the chief marionette of US imperialism and the chief representative of the local exploiting classes.
The LFS has certain advantages in its field of mass work. The students have the ability to grasp patriotic and progressive ideas easily as soon as you can draw them to sessions of serious study. They can be convinced to join the LFS on the basis of the LFS constitution and program. They constitute that sector of society which is most ready to protest and make demands. They do not have as much fixed preoccupations as their elders. They have the flexibility to move around and draw their fellow students to a common cause. They can be motivated and militated. They have the intelligence and energy to act.
Tasks of the LFS
You can expect to win greater victories in the struggle to uphold, defend and advance the rights and interests of the student masses and those of the entire Filipino people only if you are clear about your tasks of arousing, organizing and mobilizing the student masses and you are determined to carry them out along the general line of people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy against the Arroyo regime and the entire ruling system.
- Educational Task. The LFS must arouse the student masses along the general line of struggle for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the local exploiting classes. It must do so through agitational speeches on the burning issues in indoor and outdoor meetings as well as the big marches and rallies. It must issue written statements and articles and encourage discussions on the issues. It must use wall slogans, posters, murals, songs, dances, poems and other forms of cultural work. It must run schools of national democracy in chapters that exist and those to be established. The basic course must be simple, easy to learn and designed to be accomplished in a single weekend for every batch of students. Copies of study materials and lists of references for the basic, intermediate and advanced courses must be made available not only for the purpose of formal study courses but also for the purpose of individual and collective reading and study within the chapters and other units of work.
- Organizational Task. The LFS must swear in as a member any applicant who accepts the LFS Constitution and Program and is willing to take the basic course of study and become active in the work of a chapter or any work unit of the LFS. LFS chapters must be established at various levels: university, college and department. They must likewise be established in high schools. High school students should not be underestimated. The LFS must open itself to all students who take a patriotic and progressive stand on issues. Solid mass organizing must be proven by the number of active chapters and their members. Only on the basis of these can the LFS build a strong organization at all levels: city or town, district, province, region and the entire country.
- Task of Mass Mobilization. The LFS must use its organized strength to drum up the issues and to attract and mobilize the student masses. It must explain the issues in mass meetings, in classrooms and in school lobbies and corridors and call on the student masses to participate in carrying out the various aspects of a mass campaign. Moreover, it must seek and develop alliances with other student organizations, with the faculty members and with the non-academic employees in order to amplify and further strengthen its ability to mobilize the student masses. The mass campaigns must raise the patriotic and progressive consciousness of the students and must encourage more students to join the LFS and support the alliances of the LFS on the campus.
On Ousting the Arroyo Regime
For several years already, the LFS has been aiming to cause the ouster of the Arroyo regime. You can succeed by carrying out the aforesaid tasks. You have the accumulated experience and strength upon which to launch your efforts to mobilize the student masses. The LFS was in the forefront in putting away the barbed wire barricades on Mendiola and pressing on the gates of the presidential palace during the ouster of Marcos in 1986. Once more the LFS spearheaded the tens of thousands of students that marched from Edsa to the presidential palace during the ouster of Estrada in 2001.
You can set as your objective in the national capital region the mobilization of the student masses to occupy the streets in the University Belt and choke the presidential palace. You can also set as your objective in the provinces the massing of students in front of provincial capitols, city halls and municipal halls to support the central action in Manila and to demonstrate the people’s repudiation of the Arroyo regime throughout the country. The broad masses of the people will certainly join the student masses when they succeed in launching gigantic protest actions.
But whether you succeed or not in ousting Arroyo before 2010, you stand to gain strength by striving to do so. More struggles lie further ahead to advance the just cause of national liberation and democracy against the rotten and crisis-stricken ruling system. By its shameless puppetry, exploitativeness, corruption and brutality, the Arroyo regime has aggravated the rottenness and crisis of this system.
Despite expending great amounts of resources for the reactionary armed forces and the gross and systematic violations of human rights under Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2, the Arroyo regime has clearly failed to destroy or debilitate the legal democratic mass movement and the armed revolutionary movement. On the contrary, it has driven the Filipino people to raise their fighting will and capabilities to wage all forms of resistance against the unjust ruling system.
Under the current circumstances, the League of Filipino Students is required to raise to a new and higher level its resolve and militant efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the student masses in universities, colleges, institutes and high schools against US imperialism and the worst of the reactionaries in power.###