Monday, September 03, 2007

Kabataang Makabayan Founding Speech

Prof. Jose Maria Sison

(SPEECH DELIVERED BEFORE THE FOUNDING CONGRESS OF KABATAANG MAKABAYAN AT THE YMCA YOUTH FORUM HALL ON NOVEMBER 30, 1964)


Itinuturo ng katwiran ang tayo’y umasa sa ating sarili at huwag antayin sa iba ang ating kabuhayan. Itinuturo ng katwiran ang tayo’y maglakas na maihapag ang naghaharing kasamaan sa ating bayan.Panahon na ngayon, dapat nating ipakilala na tayo’y may sariling pagdaramdam, may puri, may hiya at pagdadamayan.

Ngayon ay panahong dapat simulan ang pagsisiwalat ng mga mahal atdakilang aral na magwawasak sa masinsing tabing na bumubulag sa ating kaisipan; panahon na ngayong dapat makilala ng mga Pilipino ang pinagbuhatan ng kanilang mga kahirapan.Kaya, mga kababayan, ating idilat ang bulag na kaisipan at kusang igugol sa kagalingan ang ating lakas sa tunay at lubos na pag-asa na magtagumpay sa nilalayong kaginhawahan ng bayang tinubuan.”
—- Andres Bonifacio


NO MORE PROPITIOUS day than this can be chosen to found Kabataang Makabayan. Today is the 101st birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, a great hero from the proletariat, who in the vigor of his youth led the secret society of Katipunan and mobilized the patriotic forces that generated the Philippine revolution of 1896 - the revolution which smashed Spanish colonialism throughout the archipelago.

Andres Bonifacio was the disciplined revolutionary activist who sought and found in revolution the only process that could give full expression to the national and social aspirations of our people which had so long been suppressed by a foreign power prettified by the soft and evasive terms of liberal reformers.

Andres Bonifacio was the uncompromising leader who was not only inspired by the cogitations and formulations of the Propaganda Movement but was also ready to act in concert with his people in armed struggle against tyranny the moment peaceful and legal struggle reached the white wall of futility.

Thus, Andres Bonifacio today stands as a model of revolutionary militance among the Filipino youth and among the advocates of national democracy. His revolutionary courage is a beacon to us all. If Kabataang Makabayan succeeds in its patriotic mission, one important requirement it shall have met is to be imbued with the revolutionary courage of Andres Bonifacio, the courage that gives life and force to the principles that we now uphold in this epoch.

We recall the memory of Andres Bonifacio not only because we happen to meet on this day but more because we understand his continuing historical relevance to our present situation and we perceive the leading role of his class in this epoch during which our national efforts at basic industrialization and overthrowing feudalism are constantly frustrated by U.S. imperialism and its local reactionary allies.

We remember that, after the death of Bonifacio, the revolutionary initiative of the peasants and the workers in the Katipunan and the anti-colonialist struggle in general was undermined and debilitated by the liberal compromises made by the ilustrado leadership. The compromises came one after the other: the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, Aguinaldo’s trust in Yankee confidence-men in Hongkong, the bourgeois landlord upper hand in the Malolos Congress, and the ultimate surrender of the ilustrados and collaboration with the U.S. imperialist regime.

Though we are aggrieved by the fact that the Philippine revolution has been interrupted and that U.S. imperialism has grabbed the triumph of revolution from our hands, we must take a scientific view of our national history. We recognize such objective historical conditions as that no matter how sharply anti-colonial and anti-clerical were the ilustrados they did not yet have the ability to comprehend fully modern imperialism; that the working class was still in the embryo stage of its development; that the peasants in the provinces were misled by the equivocating demagoguery of both native landlords and liberals; and that U.S. imperialism was not only superior in industrial might but also well-versed in a liberal jargon which could easily deceive the newly-emerged Filipino bourgeoisie.

U.S. imperialism came to the Philippines and succeeded in imposing its sovereignty upon our people by military violence and by liberal guile. Whereas our people were already capable of crushing Spanish colonialism within the archipelago, they were still incapable of crushing a new type of colonialism, the imperialism of the United States of America.

Dr. Jose Rizal himself in his essay, “The Philippines A Century Hence”, had predicted that the United States of America would come to conquer us. It was a necessity for a capitalist system, reaching its final stage of development - monopoly capital - to seek colonies for its sources of raw materials and a dumping ground for surplus products and surplus capital and to pass on to other peoples the exploitation and disequilibrium that would otherwise be suffered by its own people alone.

Rizal saw the United States of America as a covetous and expansionist power, no different from Great Britain, Germany, France, Czarist Russia and Japan. It was out to rob the world, especially the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. A newly-risen imperialist power with its ultra-national capitalist objectives, the Unites States would be determined to take over the colonial possessions of a decrepit Spanish power in Latin America, in the Pacific and in the Philippines.

The Philippines was specially important to the imperialist planners of the United States as it could very well serve as the staging area for the U.S. venture to participate with the other Western powers in the despoliation of China. Until now, the Philippines serves as a staging area for U.S. imperialism to attack and subvert Southeast Asia and the rest of Asia.

By all means, therefore, as a matter of “manifest destiny”, the United States would beguile the credulous Emilio Aguinaldo in a maneuver to capture Manila and arrange the Treaty of Paris whereby Spanish colonialism ceded the Philippines to U.S. imperialism upon the payment of $20 million, and thus provoked the Filipino people into a war where 250,000 Filipino lives were snuffed out as the cost of trusting imperialism.

U.S. imperialism is deceptive and violent. The violence it unleashed against our people was justified in terms of Christianity and democracy. U.S. imperialism wanted to “Christianize” the Philippines after 350 years of Spanish clerical rule and to teach us “democracy” even after it had crushed the national democratic movement tested in the fire of the revolution of 1896 and which bore the first Philippine republic.

After suppressing the first Philippine Republic through the most brutal military operations, the U.S. government started to employ a semantical cover for its scheme of domination and put up such hypocritical slogans as “benevolent assimilation” and “education for self government” to justify its unwanted presence. During a full decade of the most damnable suppression of any public expression of nationalism and bribery of the native bourgeoisie, U.S. imperialism started to glamorize certain political figures as “nationalists”. These were the nationalists who comprised and accepted the U.S.-imposed limitation that they go to Washington and beg for Philippine independence. The Americans conveniently used these figures to prove their self-proclaimed benevolence and to steal the fire from the revolutionary anti-imperialists who preferred to take to the hills and prepare for a more meaningful struggle for national independence.

Until now, the Americans try to misrepresent Filipino nationalism. They would rather have what they call “positive” nationalism - a positive force in the “special relationship” between the Philippines and the United States. Compromise with U.S. imperialism is what is called positive nationalism.

There is only one nationalism that we appreciate. It is that which refers to the national democratic revolution, the Philippine revolution, whose main tasks now are the liquidation of imperialism and feudalism in order to achieve full national freedom and democratic reforms.

The Filipino nation has been formed through struggle against Spanish colonialism and, soon after, U.S. imperialism. As U.S. imperialism triumphed by brute force in the Filipino-American War, it must be vanquished by the resumption of the Philippine revolution of 1896.

There can be no genuine national democracy in the Philippines without U.S. imperialism being done away with first.

There is a constant attempt of imperialist propaganda to impugn Filipino nationalism and communism together. The communist bogey has always been raised with the view of frightening our people. But, little do the reactionary propagandists realize that through their own efforts the people are getting to know that it is the imperialist strategy to destroy communists first to destroy the nationalists. In the strategic thinking of the U.S. imperialists which has been tested in their counter-revolutionary practices in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the most relentless anti-imperialists - whether communists or leftwing nationalists - must first be destroyed for any imperialist scheme of exploitation to succeed.

Thus, in the Philippines, we have seen the communists as the main target of massive attacks against civil liberties by the U.S. colonial government in 1931, by the Japanese after their successful landing in 1942, and again by the U.S. imperialists in their attempt after the Pacific War to recapture us. If we study closely the ratification of the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment, we will discover that the communists had first to be harassed, imprisoned, assassinated and provoked before the bourgeois nationalist leaders in the Nacionalista Party and in the Democratic alliance could be discouraged and would compromise.

What the U.S. imperialists and their local cohorts, the compradors and big landlords, do not want to happen is the alliance of all antiimperialists as has oftentimes happened in many Asian countries with fatal effectiveness against imperialism.

With the continuing triumph of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines and the stability of its control, it is the chief task of the Filipino youth to resume and complete the unfinished revolution under the banner of national democracy, to expose and oppose the national and social iniquities caused by U.S. imperialism and its local reactionary allies.

If the Filipino youth should relent in this task, then their people shall continue to suffer the direct impositions of U.S. imperialism as well as feudalism which the former protects for its own selfish profit.

The youth today face two basic problems: U.S. imperialism and feudalism. These two are the principal causes of poverty, unemployment, inadequate education, ill-health, crime and immorality which afflict the entire nation and the youth. The youth do not only suffer with their people the iniquities of U.S. imperialism and feudalism but are also the first ones to suffer them.

It is the task of the Filipino youth to study carefully the large confrontation of forces between U.S. imperialism and feudalism on one side and national democracy on the other side. To know the nature of this contradiction of forces is to know the dynamism and internal motion of our semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.

For the youth to know so much as for them to act more effectively and cooperate more thoroughly on the side of progress in the historical process of change.

Kabataang Makabayan, in its historic role as the vanguard organization of Filipino youth, should know the balance of forces between imperialism and feudalism on the one hand and national democracy on the other. On the other side of U.S. imperialism are the compradors and the big landlords. On the side of national democracy are the broad masses of our people, composed of the working class and peasantry to which the vast majority of the Filipino youth today belong; the petty bourgeoisie, composed of small property-owners, students, intellectuals and professionals; and the national bourgeoisie, composed of Filipino entrepreneurs and traders.

From the present scheme of social classes in the Philippines today, we can easily observe that the forces of national democracy - the motive forces of the Philippine revolution - are now far stronger in the 1960’s than they were in 1899-1902 when U.S. imperialism first trampled upon our national freedom with the most brutal success.

From the same scheme of social classes, we can derive a new and powerful combination of youth - the students, young professionals, labor youth and the peasant youth. Above all, the Filipino youth should integrate themselves with the masses in order to achieve victory in the fight for national freedom and democracy.

Kabataang Makabayan, as the vanguard organization of the Filipino youth, should assist in the achievement of an invincible unity of all national classes and forces and to push further the struggle for napolitical, cultural and military - against the leading enemy, landlordism, both of which have frustrated the national democratic aspirations of the Philippine revolution of 1896 and have made the suffering and exploitation of our people more complex and more severe.

This generation of Filipino youth are lucky to be at this point of history when U.S. imperialism is fast weakening at all significant levels of conflict; that between capitalism and socialism: that between the capitalist class and the working class; and that between imperialism and national independence movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Even as the Philippines today is the scene of frantic U.S. imperialist re-adjustment and it appears that U.S. imperialism would succeed in controlling the country more thoroughly by destroying our national industrial base and by shifting it back to a plantation economy dominated by the U.S. agro-corporations, the Filipino youth would find it easier than they expect to overthrow U.S. imperialism provided they are inspired and guided by the new national democratic objectives of the Philippine revolution.

The October 2nd demonstrations against U.S.imperialism in front of the U.S. embassy and Malacanang Palace, whose participants and sympathizers Kabataang Makabayan should now consolidate, has already manifested the rising wave of national democracy among our people. Such a mass action has shown to us the changing balance of forces in our country.

The objective national and world-wide conditions favor a national democratic movement of the Filipino youth. It is high time for the Filipino youth to raise and carry forward the red banner of Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan, with the new emblem of the worker-peasant alliance. ###

for more speeches and other facts about Prof. Sison and his continuing detention, go here.



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