KABATAANG MAKABAYAN AND ITS RELEVANCE TODAY

Message to the League of Filipino Students
and the Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante
January 29, 2013

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Kabataang Makabayan

Thank you for inviting me to speak on the Kabataang Makabayan and its relevance today for  your forum on the theme, “Relevance of the Youth and Student Movement: Past to Present.”  The forum is supposed to be a major event in the celebration of the Nationalist Youth Week with the theme, “Resurgence: Continuing the Tasks of the First Quarter Storm!”

The Kabataang Makabayan was founded in 1964 as a comprehensive  organization of patriotic and progressive young men and women, ranging in age from 15 to 35,  from the ranks of students, workers, peasants,  professionals and other sectors.  The  KM mission was to continue the unfinished Philippine revolution against foreign and feudal domination and to support the working class as the leading class in the new democratic revolution. The KM vision extended to a socialist future.

The student component of the KM  had originated from the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines  that was established in 1959 and had expanded through  the nationwide spread of the national democratic movement among college and high school students since 1961.  This was the year when 5000 students  flooded into the halls iof the reactionary Congress and protested against the CAFA anti-communist witchhunt for the professors and students who had written anti-imperialist and anti-feudal articles.

The most politically advanced student activists  joined the  Workers Party and  the trade union movement  and  initiated revolutionary research, studies  and  anti-imperialist mass actions from 1962 onwards.  They developed the component of young workers who would join the KM. Through the veteran revolutionary trade union leaders, they  also became connected with veteran peasant leaders and began to encourage student activists to  visit the countryside and learn from the peasant masses their needs and demands against the feudal and semi-feudal conditions.

The component of young professionals consisted mainly of teachers.  While they minded their own expansion, they served to encourage, develop  and stabilize the patriotic and progressive student organizations and eventually the KM chapters.  They also persuaded the professionals of various types to join or support the KM.  These included lawyers, health professionals, scientists and technologists, journalists, writers and artists, government employees, small entrepreneurs and traders and the religious.

The KM activists engaged in two levels of study.  At one level, they studied the  revolutionary theory and practice of the proletariat, which is Marxism-Leninism, and discussed how relevant and applicable this was to Philippine history and  the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions. They studied  Marxism-Leninism discreetly because of the Anti-Subversion Law.  At another level, they studied openly the old type  democratic revolution in the Philippine revolution and discussed how this could be continued as a new type of democratic revolution in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution.

The KM was ideologically, politically and organizationally prepared to lead the Filipino youth, to be in the forefront of the people´s movement for national independence and democracy and to assist the working class in fulfilling  its leading role in the new democratic revolution.   The KM  strongly criticized the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions and advocated the completion of the struggle for national independence and democracy, national industrialization and land reform, a national, scientific and mass culture and independent foreign policy.

The KM took clear positions on major domestic and international issues that affected the Filipino people and involved their national sovereignty and democratic rights.  The KM initiated and joined mass actions to uphold, defend and advance the rights and interests of the entire people, especially the toiling masses.  The KM was in all major  mass actions of the workers, peasants, students and youth, women and other people from 1964 to the early 1970s.

The KM was in the forefront of the First Quarter Storm of 1970 and in all succeeding mass actions.  Thus, it was  among those organizations targeted for destruction by  the US-Marcos regime  initially through the suspension of the writ of habeas  corpus  in 1971  and eventually through the proclamation of martial law in 1972.  All known leaders and members of the KM were subject to arrest, torture, detention and even murder.

The KM was forced underground and continued to help the revolutionary party of the proletariat, the Communist Party of the Philippines, to expand nationwide and strike deep roots among the toling masses.  It  became the Communist Youth League even as it retained its patriotic name in the underground. Many of the KM activists became  cadres and members of the CPP,  Red commanders and fighters of the New People’s Army and organizers of the underground mass movement in both urban and rural areas.

The KM played a significant role in bringing about the downfall of the Marcos fascist dictatorship, no matter how hard the imperialists and reactionaries try to deny the fact.  It has continued as a living revolutionary force.  It has become an ever more powerful force because   it has developed its own distinctive strength as a revolutionary youth organization and because it has contributed greatly to the development of other revolutionary forces.

Under the Marcos fascist dictatorship, the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions were aggravated and deepened.  The overthrow of  Marcos  left intact the ruling system of big compradors and landlords servile to US imperialism.  The unarmed uprising of the people in February 1986  was capable of removing from power a brutal and corrupt  autocrat  but could not bring down the entire exploitative ruling system.  History has shown time and again that a revolution entails the smashing and dismantling of the military and bureaucratic machinery of the reactionary state.

The Marcos fascist dictatorship has been merely replaced by a series of sham democratic regimes of big compradors and landlords who are obedient to the dictates of US imperialism. Their false claim to democracy is based on periodic elections by which reactionary cliques of the same exploiting classes take turns at benefiting most from the  exploitation  and oppression of  the people.  The pseudo-democratic regimes have perpetuated and further aggravated the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions under the auspices of neocolonialism and neoliberalism. The need for a new democratic revolution is clear and urgent.

Certainly, the KM is relevant to the students and youth of today because of  the persistence of semi-colonial and semifeudal conditions and the ever pressing need to struggle for national liberation and democracy.  The KM continues to exist as an underground revolutionary youth organization and continues to attract  to its ranks the most resolute and most militant young activists.   The record of the KM in legal youth activism from 1964 to 1972 is an excellent example for the legal student and youth activists of today to emulate.  The brilliant character and achievements of KM have been defined by their program of struggle for national independence and democracy.

This program remains valid and relevant today.  The students and youth must fight for national independence and democracy against US imperialism and the local reactionaries.  They must fight for national industrialization and land reform in order to develop the economy against foreign and feudal exploitation.  They must fight for a national, scientific and mass culture against pro-imperialist, feudalist and bourgeois elitist ideas and values.  They must fight for an independent foreign policy that  is for world peace and development and  opposes  imperialism,  aggressive wars and all kinds of  interferences.###

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