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ROLE OF THE YOUTH AND TASKS OF ANAKBAYAN IN THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC STRUGGLE

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Message to the 6th Congress of Anakbayan (16-18 May, 2011)

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairperson
Kabataang Makabayan

(Translation of the Pilipino original posted on May 15, 2011)

I am delighted to express my solidarity with the leadership and membership of Anakbayan. In spirit, I am with you in your 6th Congress. I am confident that you will be able to achieve the important objectives of the congress.

Do your best in assessing the situation and experience, in forming resolutions, new policies and program, and in improving your national organization.  The lessons you will learn from analyzing the 12-year experience of Anakbayan and improving the quality of the basic documents of the organization such as the Constitution, Orientation and Program is very important.

It is necessary to know the objective and subjective factors of the fast growth of Anakbayan from 1998 to 2001 and the decline in the membership up to this year.  Anakbayan and the youth alliance played a big role in ousting Estrada in 2001.  It is also important to investigate why Arroyo remained in power for so a long time in spite of her rotting stench and the people’s loathing for her.

I am glad that you are determined to overcome the hardships, to solve the problems, and to strengthen and advance the youth movement further.The theme of the congress is the precise response to the challenges of the time: “Advance the Upsurge:  Rely on the revolutionary lessons and solid strength of the masses!  Boldly expand and strengthen yourselves towards a new level of the national democratic struggle!”

I am thankful for the presentation by Kilusang Mayo Uno of the worsening crisis of global capitalism and for that of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas of the crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines.  Thus, the general basis is clear for my discussion of the historic role of the Filipino youth, the current tasks, and prospects of the youth and the Filipino people.

Based on my knowledge of history and my own experience, the role of the youth in waging the revolution or advancing the patriotic and progressive mass movement is important and decisive.  The youth are characterized by having vigor both in thought and action, the readiness to accept new and revolutionary ideas and ways, daring in the fight against the unjust system, bravery in taking part in the revolution, and the desire to create a bright future.

In the old democratic revolution, almost all the leaders and members of the Katipunan and the revolutionary government and army that it gave birth to are from the youth.  In the new democratic revolution, Kabataang Makabayan was deliberately established as a comprehensive youth organization to link the students with their fellow youth in the toiling masses and other sectors and classes of the petty bourgeoisie and middle bourgeoisie.

From the very beginning, Kabataang Makabayan was inspired by the Katipunan and the old democratic revolution.  But based on the conditions of modern imperialism and world proletarian revolution, KM considered itself as an assistant of the proletariat’s revolutionary party in advancing the new democratic revolution in the Philippines.

KM quickly spread throughout the Philippines.  Because the old party of the communist and socialist party merger strayed into revisionism, the communists within KM became part of establishing the new revolutionary party of the proletariat.  The veteran party members who were loyal to Marxism-Leninism and Maoism joined them.  A new party was quickly born which was national in scope and was rooted in the toiling masses because of the broadness and depth of KM’s organization.

Many members of the Party and fighters of the New People’s Army came from KM.  During the period of the fascist dictatorship, KM acted underground and secretly in the cities and towns.  The Party recognized KM as the League of Communist Youth.  This increased its membership among students, workers, peasants, urban poor, professionals and other sectors of the petty bourgeois and middle bourgeois.  The role of KM in advancing the underground and the legal mass movement was decisive in bringing down the fascist dictatorship.

The role of youth organizations that uphold the national democratic line such as Anakbayan is unceasingly important.  Foreign monopoly capitalism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism are ceaseless in worsening the exploitation and oppression of the Filipino youth and the people.  The constant crisis of the ruling semi-colonial and semi-feudal system is ever-worsening, especially now that the world capitalist system is being shaken by a crisis comparable to the Great Depression.

Those from the toiling masses as well as those from the middle strata are now experiencing extreme hardship.  Unemployment is widespread. Incomes are not increasing and their real value is constantly decreasing due to the rapid increase in the prices of food, oil and other basic commodities that the masses need.  Social services such as education, health, housing and others have been privatized and the extraction of profit from these is worsening.  With regard to the remaining social services from the reactionary government, the fees being charged are high while the indirect taxes included in the prices of basic commodities are already high.

The Aquino regime continues and aggravates the bad policies and programs dictated by the imperialists led by the US.  The economy is being opened up further to the foreign monopolies for the exploitation of the toiling masses, natural resources, and the extraction of superprofits. The landlords’ exploitation of peasants and farm workers continues and is getting worse.  The corruption of those in power in the reactionary state continues and is getting worse.

The grievances of the masses are widespread and resound everywhere.  But the state responds to their cries with repression.  In accordance with the orders of US imperialism, the Aquino regime is carrying out brutal and bloody campaigns of suppression against the patriotic and progressive forces of the Filipino youth and the people.  Military, police and paramilitary violence is accompanied by pretense at peace negotiations, and military operations are being labeled as peace and development operations.  There is more and more evidence that the US and the Aquino regime is aggravating the civil war in our country.

Do your best in attracting and enlightening the Filipino youth on the line of the national democratic revolution.  Ignite their emotions and raise the level of their consciousness through different methods of agitation, propaganda and education.  On every issue, you should immediately reach a large number of the youth through agitation and propaganda.  You should widely circulate the pamphlet of the Constitution and Program and Q & A which help in the quick understanding of the contents, especially among the youth who do not have a high level of formal education.

Find out from the youth of various oppressed classes, strata and sectors about their conditions, grievances and needs.  Thus, you can draw from them the correct slogans and ideas to be spread among them.  Thus, Anakbayan chapters can more easily and more deeply take root among the youth.  In your actions, confront the problems of the students while building a chapter in schools, the problems of young workers in factories, the problems of young peasants in the countryside, the problems of the urban poor youth in their communities, and the problems of young professionals among the ranks of the professionals.

Use the traditional methods of agitation, propaganda and education that will never disappear, such as speeches, writings, printed publications, flyers, wall slogans, posters, songs, poems, plays and cultural presentations.  Also use modern methods from electronic technology, such as e-mail, websites, blogging, social media, videos, texting, twitter, etc.  By these means, the work of agitation, propaganda and education should be far quicker than ever before.

During my youth, it was very hard to find revolutionary literature as it was banned by the American imperialists and the puppet reactionaries in accordance to the Anti-Subversion Act. Now, various kinds of material for studying the national democratic revolution and Marxism-Leninism-Maoism can be found on the internet.  Revolutionary ideas should now spread quickly and it should be easier than before to inflame the passion and raise the consciousness of the Filipino youth and people.

Do your best in organizing the youth.  It will be a waste if you do not recruit a big number of those who are reached by the agitation and propaganda and join in mass mobilizations.  It is a basic task of each member to recruit new members in the daily course of mass work and in the occasional mass gatherings.  Recruit from the ranks of students, workers, fisherfolk, urban poor, peasants, farm workers, professionals and the urban petty bourgeoisie.  It is also possible to recruit members of Anakbayan from various types of organizations and from the members and volunteers of the electoral youth party.

Make recruitment, simple, systematic and fast.  First, use the tried and tested combination of OD and ED, especially in places where there are still no chapters of Anakbayan.  The OD cadre is responsible for holding the meeting for recruitment, accepting applications and the swearing-in of new members before the meeting ends.  The ED cadre is responsible for explaining the most important points in the constitution and program of Anakbayan.  Second, the existing chapter and the OD and ED cadres must take initiative in inviting applicants and holding a meeting every week or setting a part of the meeting for recruitment.  Third, each member of Anakbayan can gather any number of applicants anytime and anywhere that she/he can reach as long as the clear process of recruitment is followed.

Any applicant can be sworn in as a member who has been enlightened and accepts the Constitution and Program of Anakbayan, is recommended by one member and examined by the officer in charge of recruitment, and is ready to go through the course on the youth and the national democratic movement.  The understanding and acceptance of the Program and Constitution is enough for an applicant to be a member.  Follow it up with the courses that take more than two whole days and give tasks according to the collective need and the personal ability of the member.

Remember that it is meaningful and is a big thing for the applicant and for Anakbayan for the applicant to take the oath and become a member. This is a recognition of the patriotic and progressive aspirations of the applicant.  In this recognition, surely or most probably the applicant will strive further to raise the level of his/her consciousness and actions.  Any applicant would lose interest if subjected to difficulties in becoming a member because of the  absence or complexity of steps in recruitment or because of promises to be given
long and many courses that are not promptly fulfilled.  Do not use the word consolidation to stifle expansion.  Expand to have people to consolidate, especially if the number of members is declining.

Every recruit needs to be enlisted in a chapter that is already existing or one that is going to be immediately built.  The chapter is the anchor and the basic collective of the members.  In the beginning, it is enough to have three or five members to build a chapter in a certain place.  If the membership reaches thirty, a new chapter can be built.  The new members should be encouraged to recruit from their old and new acquaintances.  It is the basic task of each member to recruit others.

Anakbayan should be made a wellspring of new cadres and members for various types of revolutionary formations and work.  Before or after members of Anakbayan pass the maximum age limit, they should be prepared to become active in other suitable formations or work.  In this connection, Anakbayan should emulate the Kabataang Makabayan in developing cadres and members for various formations and work.  Those who were members of Anakbayan who exceed the maximum age limit should remain in the suitable progressive and patriotic formations.

The mobilization of the masses in centers and the streets is very important.  Through these, important issues are fully exposed and the people’s anger is expressed.  If truly large and strong, the campaigns can result in substantial changes, even up to ousting leaders such as Marcos and Estrada.  They strengthen the patriotic and progressive forces of the Filipino people.  They open and widen the path towards bringing down the rotten ruling system in the future.

The strength of Kabataang Makabayan had a great leap because of the First Quarter Storm in 1971.  The same goes for the strength of different organizations from the campaign to bring down the fascist dictatorship in 1983-86 and the strength of Anakbayan from the successful campaign to oust Estrada in 1999-2001.  The Arroyo regime remained in power until 2010 because there were no big and militant mass actions on the streets.  At any point then, there were no protest actions that reached 100,000 in spite of the strong propaganda against the regime and the intense anger of the masses.  In such a situation, the membership of Anakbayan decreased and weakened.

Do your best in mobilizing the youth for collective actions on boiling issues that concern the youth and the Filipino people.  You must mobilize the organized masses to reach and mobilize the bigger number of masses that are not yet organized or are under other organizations or institutions.  Use the united front policy to reach and mobilize the youth who are not yet organized by Anakbayan.

Maintain the integrity, initiative and militancy of Anakbayan and other progressive forces.  Use the broad united front to increase the mass participation, not only to carry out token protests nor to just tail after allies that do not bring any mass of people.  Do not be content with rallies in Ayala Avenue, Makati, or any other particular places, but launch mass actions on many streets. Those in power become more arrogant and oppressive if the protest actions of the masses are not big, widespread and militant.

To increase participation in mobilizations, such as in marches and rallies, time should be allotted for preparations that include wide scale agitation and propaganda and local meetings and rallies.  On the designated day of mobilization, agitation and propaganda should reach its peak and as much as possible, the primary and secondary columns of marching demonstrators should be increased to converge on the central meeting place.

In the activities to prepare and carry out mobilizations, those who turn out to be active should be recruited to Anakbayan in order to have a prompt, solid organizing in the midst of a broad campaign.  Organizers should always carry with them the basic pamphlet (Constitution and Program) and application forms of Anakbayan to give out to those participating in the mass actions.  After the mobilization, continue recruiting those who turn out to be active.  The mobilization would be a waste if the masses who attend would just disappear like bubbles. There should be immediate solid outcomes through the recruitment of new members of Anakbayan.

Anakbayan can hope to make great and meaningful contributions to the advance and triumph   of the national democratic movement if the work is effective and fruitful in arousing, organizing and mobilizing hundreds of thousands and even millions of Filipino youth.

Like Kabataang Makabayan, in the course of struggle, Anakbayan can contribute many     resolute activists or militants to strengthen and advance various types of organizations, work,  and forms of struggle for national independence and democracy. ###

Long live Anakbayan!

Advance the National Democratic Movement!

Long live the Filipino youth and people!

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