Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What the "Kaisa ka" , et al. are and how they fight the progressives

What the "Kaisa ka", et al. are and how they fight the progressives
(A writeup-critique on the state of the bourgeois leaning campus political parties against the progressives before, during and after elections in UE Recto and Caloocan)

Last time, I, like the others, was sitting in the desk as people, clad in yellow and white went inside. Their faces seemed to be nice, joyish and as if preparing for another "a ok". And as their leader, a curly haired girl, along with her yellow/white kind entered the platform, they started to campaign with promises to be said, and for sure as I expected, a hodge-podge of bourgeois lavishness and of sugar-coated populist thoughts trying to enter our barren minds. Lucky that I know about them-for these people, even they beated us, are still trying to put the progressives down.

Why did I say so that these people, whom they beated us in two years still trying to beat us, progressives down? These yellow/white people, goes by the name of Kaisa Ka Party Coalition, seemed to be acting as a "pro student" organization, of speaking of LOVE, SWEET and other sugar coated words being said upon to us, these people are just... doing something to counter the people who are against their "overlord's" policies.

But how come these people are trying to do their best to counter the progressives? While in general claiming to present the ideas and tactics of these true “friends of the people” in their platforms and actions, these gentlemen are arch-enemies of progressivism in the ranks of the studentry. So let us take a closer look at these yellow/white people and their counterparts,m their criticism against the known "activists", their ideas and their tactics.

According to their latest "General Program of Action", these people, claiming to be pro student, progressive, patriotic, and whatsoever that seemed copied from us; said:
"...Aiding the need to develop the leadership knack in every student..."
These people somehow tried to do so in speaking these kind of words while at the same time doing their inverse. How? Having the University Student Council office closed for keeps and sometimes acting as warehouse for posters featuring their projects of theirs? Of speaking of "seminars" and "caucuses" that emphasised much on their lavishness, of realities in an apathical perspecive than of realistic realities?

May I tell you something behind these populist "Kaisa ka" is.

These people, whose majority are coming from the College of Arts and Sciences of the University of the East, are famous for their populist rhetoric and of their intention to grab power from the progressive leaning ones. And according to some information, they are allegedly being founded by a "revisionist" posing as "radical" during the zenith of the National Democratic movement (the progressives) in that said institution, while another tends to say that the coalition was supported by the reactionary's National Youth Commission. But then, whether they are coming from the revisionist camp or from a reactionary, "Kaisa ka" is both a force of reaction and of revisonism, or rather say a "retreatist" posing as "radical".

And since that they pose as "radical", speaking off their words comig from their barren minds, these group really wanted to counter the National Democratic movement very much, first by red baiting, followed by pulling off activists into their ranks. I remmeber one of our friends being joined into their ranks, and thus becoming against us without any reason. I don't know why these people, posing as radicals do so all for the sake of "developing leadership" and other related ideas that seemed still too shallow to say.

And in addition to that,
I notice that these people are seemed to be acting too contented for they think that the entire UE studentry may vote for them, with having handsome personalities, trying hard agitators, of populist suckers and whatsoever that comes amongst their ranks, and as they continue saying off their promises, one of the listeners, a former member of that said group who end up discontented with their policies, rose up and asked the running CAS president about "accountability." And in response? With her stubbornly defensive manner, she spoke of papers, of responses coming from the administrators that she "did very well" in being "accountable."

But then,
As I continue listening to them, they even speak of LOVE and SWEET in their messages, like one of their statements, it spoke of "encouraging students to unite along with the faculty and staff", but behind these lies their intention to ailienate the studentry from the forces of progression and at the same time bannering their concept of apathy and of their "patriotism".

And one of the worst (or rather say best) examples they speak off is their stance regarding Tuition and Other Fee Increases (TOFI), and they said that "they are against TOFI" and yet they speak of "compromise with the administrators" as a means to deal with that said problem. But instead of dealing with it, the problem regarding TOFI remains as it is, as 5% of it makes a student felt a burden into it, affirming the conclusion that education is a previledge and that institution as a corporation with stocks and profit contrary to their statement as a non-profit non-stock organization!

Another is their stance regarding activism.
Activism, according to them must be productive. But how come activism must be productive by studying lessons and obeying? Obedience can be considered a good act, but then it is contrary to free will, which is a part of academic freedom, especially in a university. And how come they say so? Of believing in activism and yet they are passive, or rather say apathetic in the course of human events, especially of perennial problems like Imperialism, Bureaucreat Capitalism and Feudalism that makes the country languish in poverty and indignity? Well... to these people perhaps they may say that the Filipinos are tardy, and the system needs to be focused much on education as an arm of change which is not. Remembering Mars Lago's statement on "student activism", said:
"We are not anti-activism, but we are for the good and benefits of the students and the university."
Well said, but then her statement seemed contrary to the fact that they are doing their own brand of activism which is passive and submissive. As what Jose Maria Sison said in his book, Struggle for National Democracy (translated from the tagalog edition):
"Those who call 'extremist' coming from patriots, who are in fact, moderates, are traitors and aligned; or in some degree, who unthinkingly compromising to those who continue oppressing and exploiting the people."
And thus,
Sison's statement also shows that Kaisa Ka Party Coalition, also known as Kaisa, as well as the other student parties bearing similar instincts, tends to banner themselves as progressives, of acting like but unthinkingly compromising to the exploiters, like of accepting 5% Tuition and Other Fee Increase proposals the university administration wanted.

Another Kaisa-like organization, this time in UE Calookan, also mirrors the similarity, of passivism and of reservation to the four corners of the university. And since that organization, goes by the name of Nagkakaisang Tugon Party Alliance (NTPA), also bannering a hodge-podge of populist thought and allegiance to reactionaries through compromises. And according to their standard bearer (regarding the tution and other fee increase):
"I am against tuition fee increase. The amount that the students are paying is sufficient for the admin to provide the development to their service and also sustain the quality education we needed."
And its stance on education, it also said:
"Education is a right, but it doesn't end there. Education is also a responsibility. We students have the responsibility to make the most of it. Our responsibility is to nurture ourselves not only in academics but also in moral, spiritual, and socio-political that molds us a holistic individual."
But then,
Their stances are just a mere lip service due to the fact that they are trying to counter the progressives, or rather say the National Democrats in UE Caloocan similar to Recto. In case of the Tuition and Other Fee Increases, both Recto and in Caloocan may spoke of "UE is autonomous" to justify that UE has a right to increase its fees!

And in addition to that,
Due to what I have expected, from their lip services during their campaign, their miting de avance, and even to the election proper itself. Their tactics are seemingly too desperate-they are just looking for a position as part of their credentials rather than undertaking their tasks and prospects for the youth-student sector. Like in Calookan, as what Darwin Galbis from the NTPA (the Kaisa's counterpart) said regarding IQUAME accreditiation:
"I believe that Iuame accreditation is good and very helpful to students and the university Through this, Iquame would justify and tell that the university is one of the best institutions in the country that offers quality education to its students. We should not limit ourselves to the idea that Iquame will only results to tuition fee increase because TFI allows a process in it most be the advantage of the students."
How about in Recto? From the lip service of Mars Lago of Kaisa in regards to education?
"Education is indeed an important thing. Together with a great vision, they will be great actors that add up to success. We, in KKPC(Kaisa), value exellence in academics."
And lastly on their stand on Tuiton and Other Fee Increases:
"Nobody wants TFI! We will allow TFI provided that there will be improvement of facilities, increase in professors, and scholarships and other benefits shall be given to the students, so as to compensate the said increase."

To sum these things up,
Their stances are really more into compromising, of emphasisisng much in the four corners of the classroom and of submission to the will of the administrators with their sugar coated messages of "improvement", but then as what we all know UE really gain profit much coming from the increases in tuition fees, discarding UE's profile as a non-stock, non-profit institution and replaced by a Corporation limited to the profiteers who use education as a means to gain profits. And as what I rememeber, UE increased its profits in 2008 and 2009, all of these are due to the 5% increase without any improvement at all! How come these people who spoke of exellence didn't notice these kinds of problems? Are they also didn't notice that the majority of the UE students, both Recto and Caloocan are mostly from the lower classes, that gained reputiation that UE is a school of the common man? A poor man's university? But now, a trying hard exclusive institution?

And for another quotation, coming from Mars Lago (of Kaisa), which seemed contrary to the fact that the economy experienced depression and of increase in poverty rates, of problems in food security, or rather say the problem of the Philippines as a third world country whose emphasis much is "import dependent export oriented"?:
"The economy is striving however, the government, I think is doing its best to save it. But of course, its success will really be dependent on the leaders who will win the 2010 elections."
And due to that said quote, she emphasised much in the Kautskyite, or rather say a social democratic-revisionist leaning like those of elections and thinking that the economy improved. To me, how come the economy improved especially after Ondoy and Pepeng?
Of the financial crises and scandals?
Of the current El Nino phenomenon?
And what shall they do then in response?
Study lessons while acting apathetically on realities and contented in the elections and of short term goals and band aid solutions of this rotten state?

It all reminds of the writeup made by Anton Dulce, and said:
"...In his Facebook status yesterday, Bikoy Villanueva said "Here you go again with these illusions of social change through individualism--pay taxes? Clean your backyard? Pray?? Isn’t that what you're supposed to do regardless of any campaign for social change?"
"...A lot of Facebook-ers and bloggers would react (or already have reacted) "What's wrong with that?". Some would argue that before one can change society, one must change individually. Others go even further, and argue that one can only change society on an individual basis. As for finding any arguments to justify Pacquiao pride as a basis for being nationalistic, one has to bring his thinking back to the grade school level."
"...Nowadays, it seems money, DVDs, noses, boobs, vendors' partylist groups, and perjury charges, are not the only things being faked: so is Nationalism..."

And Kaisa Ka Party Coalition in UE Recto, of Nagkakaisang Tugon Party Alliance in UE Caloocan, and even other shallow minded student organizations in other colleges and universities are the examples of what Anton Dulce said.

To these people, they're just mere scholars who tried to shut their eyes outside while open inside the four corners of the classroom and working to preserve their grades. They may even be cowards, cowards that is, in dealing with the administrators and instead accepting their messages while at the same time opposing the progressives with a hodge-podges of thoughts coming from their barren mindsets, as in the end, the political color of student power will always be red. Warriors, take up the ideological weapon and join hand in hand with the National Democrats, the genuine progressives in the phase of popular struggles in the youth-student sector!

DAWN vol.61 Issue 26 25 feb. 2010
DAWN vol.62 Issue 27 26 feb. 2010
Struggle for National Democracy by Jose Maria Sison
Ako mismo, Pacquiao: When Reality is made to Conform to Theory, Not the Other Way Around by Anton Dulce

Sunday, February 21, 2010



Last time, I read an online Inquirer post, made last august 22 2008 entitled "No to fascism, yes to fashionalism" made by a desparate bourgeois writer named Talz Diaz. This kind of writeup somehow seemed interesting, since it emphasised much of nationalism as a means of fashion statement rather than a means to inculcate the popular thought. And somehow it carries a word that seemed bourgeois in that appeal, especially in the shirts being spoken upon:
"...These shirts are but an example of a growing pop culture trend that finds fashion cohabitating with patriotism, producing offspring with a catchy name: Fashionalism..."

But then,
Upon reading that post, that desparate writeup seemed to be un-nationalistic despite its nationalistic tone. Cosmopolitan rather in that sense and at the same time advocating a sense which is contrary to the apirations of the masses of ages ago-of a different social system and instead? Preserving the status quo which caters to the elite and of the imperialists.

One quotation seemed to be an example of bastardising nationalist sentiment, coming from a bourgeois "nationalist":
“...Fashionalism is the thrust of our My Pilipinas series,” shares Eala. “We’ve infused fashion, art, and nationalism into our clothing line. We want to make nationalism hip and relevant to today’s generation...”
Is that'so?
Making nationalism hip and relevant to today's generation through fashion instead of social liberation? Well... I in fact look at it as pleasing but still carries less content despite saying it promotes national pride in an organic way.

Then that writeup again speak of its beat:
"...Now here’s the caveat: When does fashionalism become more of “fashion” and less of “statement?” Will the symbol eventually outweigh its substance? Will Ninoy’s face become the local equivalent of Che Guevara’s stylized image—a counterculture symbol that has overshadowed the revolutionary’s principles?..."
This desparacy of that beat seems to be as same as what the clothes bearing "nationalist sentiment" show. Remember, 21st century nationalism is not the nationalism of the bourgeoisie like those of Lamartine or any other leader of that time; for 21st century nationalism, like the 20th, bears a new kind which is based on the aspirations of the many, like Mozambique, Cuba, China, Vietnam and even today's Nepal. And Mao Caps, Ho Chi Minh liberation sandals, and even Keffiyeh of the Arab struggle showed genuine popular sentiment unlike those coming from the elitists who advocated "fashionalism".

And another,
Pilipino pride is not through that kind of sense, of their "fashionalism" and of "hiphop" and any kind of that "suicidal" cosmopolitan tendency made by the west though its wholesale westernization. why not go to the people instead of contenting in those attire? Does it change, uplift the nation from poverty? Even Ninoy Aquino (if he lives) may think of it as a cheap message although he may find it amusing to see dresses featuring his glasses. But still, Pilipino pride, this time driven by the national democratic aspirations of the working people means social liberation and genuine social justice in order to make a nation attaining peace, land, bread, freedom all with dignity. And in case of fashion, mirrors the sentiment of the many which is genuine and realistic in both style and content and not of a bannerish kind.

If all of them continue doing so, of wearing "I AM NINOY" or "PILIPINAS", they're just wasting their time barrering alongside the ones doing armchar activism.

for the article:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Open Letter to UP Mass Communication Students Administrative staff and Alumni

Open Letter to UP Mass Communication Students Administrative staff and Alumni

Jaqueline Gonzales is one of the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal and is now detained by the AFP. Fellow Masscom students, Jaq is a former Chairperson of the College of Mass Communication Student Council. We remember her as the student leader who constantly fought for our rights and against tuition fee hikes and other exorbitant fees. We saw her in the streets fighting against corruption and the tyranny of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We were not surprised when she decided to become a fulltime community organizer in the countryside.

The AFP claims that the 43 arrested are hardcore members of the New People’s Army. We say Jaq’s only guilt is caring for the oppressed masses and being a staunch critic of the GMA administration. Whether they are members of the NPA or not is irrelevant. No one has a right to illegally arrest, physically nor emotionally abuse anybody for any reason at all.

Fellow MassComm students, this is a time when our solidarity is most needed. We must condemn the illegal arrest of Jaq and the 42 other health workers. We must call for their immediate release. We urge Journ students to write reports and articles on this issue. We call on Broadcast majors to talk about it in your organizations, classes and peers. We urge Communication Research students to conduct studies involving similar atrocities and injustices brought about by this regime. We urge film students to shoot documentaries or create short film clips calling for their release. We call on every MassComm Professors, lecturers, administration staff and alumni to be involved in calling for the immediate release of the 43 health workers.

Free Jacqueline Gonzales!
Free the 43 health workers!
Stop Gloria’s regime of fascism!

Armin Adina
Chairperson, UP College of Mass Communication Student Council
AY 1997-1998

Khei J. Sanchez
Chairperson, UP College of Mass Communication Student Council
AY 1998-1999

Kristine Clare Bugayong
Chairperson, UP College of Mass Communication Student Council

Emil James Mijares
Chairperson, College of Mass Communication Student Council
AY2001-2002 Archie Padalhin

Josser Alex Quilendrino
Chairperson, College of Mass Communication Student Council
AY2002 - 2003

Archie Padalhin
Chairperson, College of Mass Communication Student Council

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The "Impossibility" of the "Possibility" or the "Possibility of the "Impossibility"- a challenge to the Third World

The "Impossibility" of the "Possibility" or the "Possibility of the "Impossibility"
- a challenge to the Third World

Many years ago, people from all walks of life were blessed by nature's gifts that made themselves contented to it. These people, living in those prosperous lands, felt somewhat a sense that as if being blessed by nature and enjoying its riches.

These enjoyments became short-lived as anything coming from theirs became someone else's property. During the era of colonization, of the growth of imperialism, these countries that became colonized may ought to cultivate things around, but then their produce, which was intended to be possessed by those who cultivate end up in someone else's while a small portion retains. And for sure after reading history books (which we mustly don't like) we may conclude that these same people who once attain enjoyment are now end up in squalor. And although they attain "independence", "autonomy" or " whatsoever regarding "sovereignity," these people remained neglected, of having "possible" things turned out to be "impossible."

And most of us may consider these poor people living in these prosperous but exploited islands to be known as the "third world." And since that they are endowed with rich natural resources, these nations, despite having these kind of things that may likely for them to prosper still remained underdeveloped or developing due to their system's approach to things that seemed contrary to the people's will-especially regarding their actions done on behalf of those who "preserve" the so called "order of things."

Being a part of the third world may consider anything life as "difficult." Marred by the dictatons of the developed countries who kept on exploiting other people's riches, the system tends to accept it in exchange for a kickback or whatsoever just to make that nation weak and helpless, and despite having enough or even more "possibilities" for which a third world can lead to progress, the system, acting on behalf of their former colonizers, made some measures to hinder action, making anything "possible" "impossible".

And somehow according to the books we read about the third world, whether it is the Philippines or Africa, being underdeveloped, or developing, are rather facing extreme measures, of indebtedness and practises that benefits the few while the rest remained in squalor, in suffering like those from the slum areas due to the corrupt practises the system has.

The imperialist countries, like the U.S, Europe, and Japan as well as the social imperialist ones like China took some measures in retaining the weakness of the third world and making it as a trash can full of physical, moral, spiritual and cultural garbages coming from them. Again, making the third world "impossible" to rise up on its own and instead lying hopelessly in a sea of debt and unequal treaties vested upon to them.


Despite all these, the only way is to subvert the rotten system by grabing economic, political and cultural power and re-develop the society as a means to break the "impossibility" of the "possibility" coming from the reactionaries in the third world. Somehow this kind of action meant to say "a need for a revolution", true-for the sentiments of the third world wanted change, and change means social liberation to fulfill the nationalistic aspirations they wanted to achieve-by all means necessary.

And somehow this kind of struggle is also a part of a greater concept of class struggles in the history of humankind-as the proletariats and the peasantry of the third world, alongside the ones in the first world, are trying hard to destroy the capitalist system what imperialism emanates from them, paving way to the dictatorship of the proletariat, all though a series of revolutionary actions in a protracted people's war mode that may affect both countryside and the city in destroying the enemies.

In South East Asia during the early 20th century, Wenceslao Vinsons, also considered to be a foreruner of all the third world unity, sought a need for a Malayan unity that encompasses the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. And that kind of unity, according to him, was coincidentally racialistic due to his ideas regarding Malayan unity in lands being "artificially" separated by its colonizers like the Dutch, the British and the Americans at that time. But then, that concept somehow can be a part of a greater unity of oppressed peoples with a socialist perspective and a classless society. Since without unity for kindred Malayan peoples, according to Vinsons, lies the impossibility of a classless society and a socialist perspective, which today in lieu of Malayan would be the third world and specifically the working class around the world.

Vinsons somehow tried much to think that "pipe dream" as what Salvador Lopez said so. But his concepts of unity, disregard the racialistic view, is somewhat a need in order to break off the impossibility, of the hindrance to create progress in the third world. And although not a socialist (but he understands much of his concept) the concept of unity, a socialist perspective and a classless society remains in every "utopian" minded individuals with "scientific" basis like those of Mao, Kim and even Ho Chi Minh whose their nationalism also inculcate internationalism and a view wherein mutuality, fraternity, respect, and equality; while in practice involves the dignity of labor and productivity in order to attain needs in every community.

And in lieu of the racialist aspect, and instead of a socio-economic, political view, the concept of Vinsons, along with Mao and other scientific socialists and revolutionaries then and now remains applicable as most countries, whether it belongs to the third world or not wanted to be genuinely united, classless, equal and socialist with Marx said:
"In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!"
In order to fulfill lies a simple reason to call for a revolution. That revolution somehow is not like those being seen on books but also an inspiration to create a new concept to destroy the systems and those who manipulate it. As well as to break of hindrances, "impossibilities" to seek out the "possibilities" to create a prosperous society which includes socialism and eventually communism. And I notice that Vinson's idea is somewhat also aligned with Marx's and Engels's dream, and of Lenin and Mao's action, and since he emphasised on the South East, why not in every corner of the globe? Like the third world that is in need of unity, cohesion and force alongside the oppressed masses of the world to destroy the reaction, paving way to the dictatoship of proletariat towards communism?
That is the "impossibility" of the "possibility", and only unity of the oppressed masses within struggle can make the impossible possible.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010



Last February 6, 2010, 43 health practitioners and volunteers were abducted by the fascist military in the town of Morong in the province of Rizal. This desperate action made by the fascist military thugs is a part of a "counter-insurgency" action made to destroy the revolutionary forces in the Philippines.

According to the statement made by the Health Alliance for Democracy, a progressive leaning organization for health workers and practitioners:
"Around 300 soldiers and police of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Rizal Philippine National Police and headed by Colonel Aurelio Baladad and Police Superintendent Balonglong, respectively, forcibly entered the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte around 6:15 this morning. The training participants were then lined up, frisked, blindfolded, and forcibly brought to Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, AFP."

For sure this kind of action made by the fascist thugs are seemingly also creating fabricated reasons as a "proof" that they are terrorists. And according to theirs:
" of the arrested NPA, Valentino Paulino or "Ka Beloy" already confessed that he and the 42 others were members of guerilla movement that even his two (2) companions were amongst who hostage a police inspector sometime in 2009. This was published by Jocelyn Uy in the February 11 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer entitled, “Self-confessed NPA says he, 42 health workers are rebels."
And thus,
these shows how the fascist military thugs creating a fabricated action wherein calling them as rebels and in a pretext of "urging them to return to the fold of law", creating false "confessions" and forcing them to say to the abducted as a fact. This desperate action for sure may call it as a ploy and a means to underestimate and generalize the progressive leaning health practitioners as rebels. With some fabricated causes, justifying their illegal action, as what the fascists said:
"...Their charges includes three counts of illegal possession of firearms, three counts of violation of the Commission on Election gun ban and one count of illegal possession of explosives. Several firearms and explosives were also seized from the group during the arrest..."

Being a progressive or rather say a "left-leaning" individual won't make you a terrorist. And for sure living in a democratic country means to say that we need to respect each other's views and yet the fascists, in a pretext of "saving the republic and protecting democracy" do illegal means to conclude these progressive leaning persons as terrorists! And for sure we all remind of the case, Burgos vs. Chief of staff, wherein Burgos was imprisoned for a mere cause of having subversive documents and yet without any warrant of arrest (with a cause) to justify in capturing him! Same as the Morong 43 who are captured without any cause but of a mere allegation of "colliding with the enemy" and of "having firearms" which in fact not but of a fascist ploy! In short: these feeble minded fascists are as stupid as ever, if they want to be an emissaries of peace, of seriously undertaking peace and willing to enter a parley, then enough this stupidity!

Imagine, doing an illegal abduction in a pretext of arrest? Of doing fabricated reasons and ploys to call them as terrorists? Then who's the terrorist then? The ones who provide health or the ones who provide death?

And out of this kind of action the fascists being undertaken, the progressive peoples both Philippines and of the world are strongly condemned this desperate kind of action the military hath set. Of blaming these progressive health practitioners, who served the poor for free as terrorists, same as those who experienced these kind of actions that affected the rest of the people not only here but also around the world.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Seeing bloody backs (For Christ's sake)

Seeing bloody backs (For Christ's sake)

Summer is coming, but as we started to enjoy the first warm sunshine and the ripening of fruits, lies the day wherein anything is sacred and of course sorrowful-starting with daily devotions to god, especially of seeing men with bloody backs.

And in every television show, whether it is a part of the news or a feature in a saturday or sunday show, lies the scenes wherein we may call it gory, of sorrowing, and to others a sadist mean of devotion, as these people are marching, flogging and having their backs red with their fresh blood. With the reason of invoking their prayers, of curing their illness or even fulfilling their wishes.

But then,
This sadist way to be with god was and is controversial. Being a part of a pagan festivity and being "Christianized", flagellation began as a militant pilgrimage and was later condemned by the Catholic Church as heretical. But despite the prohibition, the followers were noted for including public flagellation in their rituals.

And according to Wikipedia:
"...At first, flagellation became a form of penance in the Christian church, especially in ascetic monastic orders. For example, the 11th century zealot Dominicus Loricatus once repeated the entire Psalter twenty times in one week, accompanying each psalm with a hundred lash-strokes to his back. The distinction of the Flagellants was to take this self-mortification into the cities and other public spaces as a demonstration of piety. As well as flagellation, the rituals were built around processions, hymns, distinct gestures, uniforms, and discipline. It was also said that when singing a hymn and upon reaching the part about the passion of the Christ, one must drop to the ground, no matter how dirty or painful the area may seem. Also one mustn't move if the ground has something on it that may cause an inconvenience..."

For sure Filipinos who practise that kind of sadistic action also do the same procedure as what the people of the Mediaeval age do-praying, flogging their backs, lying and marching over the rising midday sun and feeling its hottness in their blood stained bodies. And these people somehow are sacrificing their bodies for their common cause, even life is at stake just to fulfill it!

How wonder as we starting to enjoy the heat and preparing to take a dip into the cool waters we need to see these people marching with bloodstained scarry backs and even seeing a crucified man first as part of the holy week festivity within the summer holiday, well... as what Leo Tolstoy said: "God sees the truth but waits."

As May day comes

As May day comes

Many people around the world for sure are waiting for this one of a kind special day, and that is the day wherein the harvests are ripe and ready to be harvested, followed by a celebration-starting in the first of May.

Morris Dancing in England, a part of a May Day event

May Day, as what most people called, is the festival wherein most people are dancing, enjoying the first harvests and even attending mass since that day also connotates with the Blessed Virgin Mary, but in a societal sense, it is more related to harvest and of labor, and in case of pagans-of the goddess flora and other deities related to the month of may.

An early Russian May Day poster

An old East German May Day stamp

But then,
Despite its festival like intentions, May Day, in a contemporary sense is rather synonymous to our Labor Day, especially in the Philippines. Wherein in lieu of dance, wine and song of joy, protest marches and songs of labor and even dances against the system were being made as the rest of the world also do so, both enjoyment and of protest, made during the first of may.

And for sure most of us, the slackers and the confessed apathetics around, also think of it as a start for taking advantage in completing the entire summer holiday, like the first part-enjoyment and pleasure makes May Day a part of a happy holiday people, especially the youth liken, as they tried much in filling every month before the common day of classes starts! Well... it all happens in that last resting month, starting with the first of may!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On the "Lords of the press" and its stupid actions

On the "Lords of the press" and its stupid actions

I. Attacking and criticizing the "Lords of the press"

In a society where oppresion is escalated lies the peoples call for emancipation. And most are directly turned into the newspapers in searching or propagating the truth given.

Not all "truths" are being said compltely. For as we all know that truth is sometimes "painful" to know or to say, and most articles or criticisms being truthfully said are often "intervened" by the administrators of every mass media institution, and on the threat of expulsion-forcing every writer not to tell completely or saying it underground just to tell the truth directly to the masses.
Restricting the dissimination of truth may likely to be a violation of basic rights-especially of speech, press and information as well as of expression, making every man continue searching for it continuously until its finale.

All of these restrictions in telling truth, criticism and information is the work of the "lords" of the press. Known for controlling the machinery, money and power within the press, these lord tend to restrict dissimination of truth, of not criticizing its own paper, and even firing progressive-leaning writers, commentators and staff, all in pursuit of maintaining its own control, of their "objectivity", which in fact, "apathy."

In fact,
Monopolizing truth is one of the problems in mass media, one of which is the countless use of "attack" and "defence" carrying half or no factual information, as well as taking any criticism from the writer as well as from the staff as if or totally a "personal" attack. The worst is tht they are not naging in "self criticism", despite being known as propagators of truth and of reality.
That is what the "lords" of the press do all the time, anything around them is their "personal" matter, including a right to criticize and not to be criticized objectively, the worst? Taking it subjectively as owners, and if this so called "tradition" continues to prevail? Of monopolizing truth, of not engaging in "criticism" and "self criticism" as writers and press administrators may likely to end up calling as "reaction", "backward", or worse? "Self centered".

Being a so-called "lord" of the press and other mass media tends to be good, especially in handling things and giving the "truth", but they cannot withstand a greater flood of truth despite controlling it, including their own words being said directly to the staff. And being a "commandist", a trait of a "leader" as what other think so, tends to do something that can lead to self-centered prespectives, involving "picking" of certain articles that they may interested instead of the people's yearning to get societal doings, of stereotyped writing and so forth.

Being a journalist may consider this experience a hasty one. And the worst is that the owners tend to "play" them, aside from being as "coffee makers", of "peons", or even end up having their articles as well as themselves subjected to severe criticism, their criticisms given by their "bosses" may likely to call as "subjective", since they taught that this is the way to become better writers, and yet there are the same people who tend to do "too subjective" than the ones being criticized by them. Are they engaging in self criticism the way as they criticize their staff?

Engaging in self criticism and self criticism, assessing their works objectively, as well as treating their work as professional same as their profession is a good example of a press coordinator, of a caretaker and in-charge of the press, and not of a press "lord who does not recognize the ability of the majority as well as in monopolizing truth and editing them excessively. They are intended to be "exposed" and "criticized" due to their acts from their work, their concept of trut and of treating its workers. Somehow, not all things inside the newspaper are "good", since most newspapers that bear absolute truth are rather "bad" to be read. That;s better than of reading a fabricated "truth", or a mere "lie" being typed and printed.

Make the power of the press stronger than the "Lords of the press", let truth prevail over them, and despite their attempts to manipulate, continue having their tactics expose as earlier and be criticized as much due to their intention to do so; for what is their want and thus we will recieve them.

II. Regarding the actions taken by the "Lords of the press"

Stereotypism, bastardising people and events, sensationalizing tragedies and successes, and subjectivism are the actions taken by the "lords of the press" as well as their idea what they got used to all in pursuit of profit and of attracting readers. For sure most people condemn this kind of idea-action well, for it spoils the topic and worse? Corrupts ideas especially through its exaggerateness given in its articles instead of straight to the point ones.

As most people use to read some articles that carries a "booze" like appeal to them. Especially regarding life, like heroes, sex scandals, murder cases, anything that seemed abusive into the eyes and minds of people. Murder cases are intended to be "straight to the point", in a police like manner-especially regarding the cause, the action as well as the results given. But most tend to be exaggerated, especially the victim-being overkilled by the press itself! Same as the people who hath won in a prize in a contest, we may give some insights about that person and its contribution, as well as itslesons to be said, but most, lke he ones I have said seemed too exaggerated to say, as if they create an idol, a god, and not thinking that person as a man. People who contrinute well for the cmon good are intended as heroes with lessons in order for others to emulate, but not as idols to be worshipped. And reading articles about hem are inteded to inform and give ideas as well as lessons, not to bastardize people and in case of dead ones, to be overkilled by words. And all of these is what the "lords" of the press thinks of it, all for profit through its exaggerated articles given from paper to visuals.

Just like Mao Zedong said about "stereotyped" writing in Yenan last 1942, he told that "subjectivism" is the instrument of writers as propaganda or as a form of expression. And he urged them to destroy these "monsters" like rats running accross the street with everyone yelling: "Kill them! Kill them!" That's true, since subjectivism creates stereotypes badly, especially regarding man, its life and contributions. Or tragedies happened. The effects are quite simple to say-overkilling, idol worship and other ideas that worsen man and its thinking upon reading, listening or watching.

To a "lord", he or she does not matter for that person wanted profit by monopolizing truth and thinking of "truth searching" as its own business and not as a daily devotion. Only to get criticized much by the staff, the other writers, or worse? The readers.

In addtion to that,
As every article started to grow steretypical and bastartdised, it negates much of information as well as the truth given. And perhaps, instead of creating heroes with lessons, we create clowns and jesters in a circus called "society". Somehow these "lords" of the press, in trying to accumulate enough profits or more tends to "invent" heroes than knowing about them clearly, about their lives, contributions and lessons.

Due to the fat that writers tend to be objectie at all times, the "lords" of the press likely "turned" the into subjective ones. Although some tend to cling to their principlesfor the sake of handling truth in a careful manner. Most of the papers, especially ones catering to the middle and upper class, tends to say much of "anniversary statements", of messages bearing "optimism" as well as of the growing economy that seemed too contrary to the realities being seen in our daily lies! All of these are the works of the "lords" of the press, whose another objective is to curry favor to the upper and middle classes. The worst? Of giving them half-truths and fabricated lies. The lower classes, despite reading it word by word nd understanding it may never accept it clearly-for they experienced the contrary, and too intelligent to accept these sugar-coated messages given whose facts asolutely bitter to accept through!

Just like the first writeup regarding the "lords" of the press, as they control anything connected to mass media, (equipment, building, budget, etc.) they have their "right" to manipulate and choose truth according to their own taste. Kinda stupid since it absolutely negates the dissimination of truth although they record the daily doings of the society

And thus,
In order to "negate" their attempts, of using poison to counter the poison (antidote), the possibility of using their idea and concept.

First and foremost, is that the writers ususally filled the pages wit das that seemed too contrary. For example, they tried to connect child deliquency to leftist activism, of rape victims to poverty, kinda desparate isn't it? And as they continue filling it, it may look pleasing, but the thought in connection to the reality is empty.

Second, is that writers seemed deaparate to tell something although the event being recorded is fit to be written. But, instead of writing the entire events, the basics, and the "know, how, and why", it turned out to be too irrelevant,a truthless "praise" than of a "straight to the point" information, or in case of editorials, a "mere feature" than of a "societal criticism". How would you imagine a certain writer wrote about his/her "vacation" whilst the rest are deeply concerned about the crisis?

And third, writers ought to "escape", as some articles seemed contradicting to the realities happened. (With the excemption of literary pieces, and other works that stimulate imagination and entertainment) creating exaggerated messages, especially leading to an empty substance out of a known "truth" in an event, or in a person, is a form of escapism. "For writers tend to make it longer, literally applicable-but truthfuly empty."

These are the few attempts that part of a greater tactic in order to carry favor wth the upper and middle classes that the "lords" of the press trying to cater, especially when it comes to giving information and truth. Like what I have said-their actions negate truth, for they bastardise and invent rather than to give what is exact and concise to the ideas of the people. Not noticing that they are giving the right information based on what being said or the evidences being told through.

Every media practitioner are advised to dissiminate truth, but as they enter the actual, they end up being controlled by those who monopolize truth and advised to write what seemed pleases to them. Remember, we record truths to be dissiminated to the people, and not to any particular sector that the "lords" of the press wanted. If we wanted "balanced news" and "fearless views" as the "exponent of Philippine progress", "truth shall prevail"-for that is what every media practitioner ought to be.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mass strike to Armed strike

Mass strike to Armed strike
by Anya Rotstrel

Long after a major fabricated distress lies the reactions coming from the people. Day by day, protests, like flowers sprung up from small batches to big mobs, venting the anger against the everyday oppressor.

Not all mobilizations are not as "heavily militant" like the 1917 and in the middle to late decades of the 20th century. Since the days what I or rather we see today are mostly those of a "overstreamish" ones that seemed too trendy to see-to the point of joining without any reason at all, in short for an aesthetic reason.

But then,
Through countless assessment, education, and organizing, every activist hath learned their actions pretty well, especially on their actions regarding strikes. Strikes are intended to voice out the call of the majority, as well as a force to subvert the state's power back to the society, but not all strikes are "peaceful" to the eyes, for there's a possibility of getting themselves into a heay brawl against the state's armed power.

For sure we see a big mob carrying streamers and flags as well as some of their things, but behind these lies the idea, or perhaps a capacity to bring makeshift arms to defend and to cripple the state's power as possible, like Molotov and pillbox bombs, stones, or even pistols ready to fire during reprisals made by the riot police and some of its cohorts.

This insurrectionary practise may ought to consider as "goog" since having a total armed mass strike, coordinated with a couple of armed offensives outside the urban areas may undermine much of the enemy's capacity to recover. Striking around and at the same time within may hasten its downfall, regardless of number of casualties in a battle.

Before these lies the basics, of countless education and organization of oppressed peoples to become good activists, comrades, fighters against the rotten state. 1917 in Russia was more of that since the protesters, although they started as "peaceful" marches, end up restorted to armed strikes courtesy of themselves, who usually faced the guns and the blades of the enemy then followed by partisan units who also fought against them (like Stalin) as well as the striking soldiers coming from the trenches.

Or even the failed German revolution, which was set forth in the last days of world war I, most of the German workers, both Communist and Social Democrat set forth mass strikes while the soldiers and sailors started to engage in mutiny, but internal problems and mismanagement, followed by reprisals from the conservatives resorted to its defeat.

But then,
In this century, where technology became a part of human life, this kind of action will always be a part of people's struggles, and for sure we see the growth of offensives in the countryside as well as the protests in the cities, especially those in the third world; and somehow every wave may have the capacity to resort to another form with the objective to cripple enemy's power both around and within- by having coordinated "offensives" of mass strikes in the cities and armed attacks in the countryside, this continuous cycle may step-by-step cripple the ruling class, its power, its capacity and even the property despite their reprisal. Since the objective of a united front action of workers, pesants and progressive intellectuals is to grab state power from the ruling class and making state dissolve into the society all in the name of the workers.

Once, I think that peaceful demonstrations are more of a bourgeois fad. Although it shows benefits, not all peaceful demonstrations like the EDSA revolt lie struggles, and the worst is that some joined for nothing; and just like what I have said in the first part, joining it, wearing it for an aesthetic reason, for a "sake" in other words. But through organizing, education and training them makes every activist a better one than of a fad minded nothing, although they may have the "urge" to join in that kind of event.

In addition to that, every collective has its own set of plans for a major event to be given. It must not be as "pushy" or "late", but of carefully being set though. But when it comes to armed ones, lies the idea of a drastic measure in order to cripple the enemy on its weak portion-as most revolutions using mass actions are more into the front rather than encircling and surprisingly repel them. For sure in an armed mass strike also lies the lumpenproletarian-like actions being undertaken. Brawls, bomb throwing, gun firing and the like within the revolution may likely to rise, epecially out of a policeman or a soldier's naughtines and eagerness to beat them.

The possibility of an "armed strike" alongside the ones in the countryside, may likely to be considered-especially regarding the situation as well as the insight regarding about this questionable concept. Especially the involvement of any indirect action, like the use of explosives in urban areas like those of the Light a Fire Movement, the Irish Republican Army and the like, as well as politically motivaed reprisals against the police, the army, etc. like those of the ETA in Basque Herria and Hamas in Palestine.

Armed struggle, in general does not necesarilly meant to be into the countryside nor in te urbanside. Armed struggle of that is protracted, may likely to be coordinated from both countryside and the urbanside, in a way that, as what I have said earlier, to "strike" at the nes inside while the ones encircling made them "weak", all despite its so called "modernity", of having modern technology, the peoples war can become modern-for the objective, was and is to liberate the laboring people from the unending oppression of the ruling class.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sympathy and Struggle

Sympathy and Struggle

Cooperation and struggle are two contradicting concept-doctrines that affect the society. Whereas, the doctrine of class struggle urges the lower classes to overthrow the ruling class and the existing social order for the purpose of establishing equality, while the doctrine of class cooperation urges them to accept inequality as part of the natural state of things and preserve the social order. But then, cooperation has different purposes. It can be preserving the social order or even changing it, and cooperation as a means of change lies accepting of struggle, of accepting the fact that the main force lies in the productive forces and be guided by a vanguard, of equality and of overthrowing the social order to attain a just society and happiness to all mankind. For in fact, Within struggle lies sympathy and cooperation of all the affected sectors of the society in pointing against the oppressor and in developing the socialist state, whose inclination is progressive and willing to change the society through all means necessary. Cooperation in a sense that involves arousing, organizing and mobilizing in accelerating the struggle against the reactionary forces and its cohorts, of integrating one's own with the productive forces and finally of proletarianizing the society to liberate from the centuries-old system which is rotten and degenerated.

And one of the examples would be China.
China is one of the examples of having cooperation as a part of revolutionary struggle to attain socialism-for they enter directly into socialism through a coalition of progressive-leaning classes (an example of cooperation) fighting the old ruling order that involves the reactionary-leaning ones and its cohorts. And this coalition is subsumed under the leadership and guidance of the working class and its communist party, and that coalition involves the patriotic and progressive leaning intelligentsia, who opted to integrated ones self to the people and contribute to the struggle in itself both in liberating the nation and to proletarianize themselves to contribute to the struggle towards socialism and eventually to communism.

And since cooperation is within struggle (and vice versa), it becomes a part of human progress since it involves mutuality, especially to those who are affected in the stage of human struggles man hath experienced, and it involves continuous energy, extreme consolidation and coordination of all progressive classes to grab state, economic and cultural power as unity becomes stronger and paving way to integration with the productive forces-as the progressive leaning ones, including those who are enlightened despite reactionary backgrounds to remold and become a part of the primary forces.


According to Sun-Yat-Sen:

"The main force of human progress lies in mutual help", but then that mutual help involves collective action and unity to the productive forces as means to spearhead the revolution both as a battle for national survival and for class liberation-since it is a two phase struggle and most of the oppressed masses are not fighting for mere "independence" but also for "land and bread" and a society wherein anything "is according to work" to attain "need", and somehow that kind of mutual help amongst the oppressed and progressive sectors within social struggles inculcates sympathy as they accept the fact that the masses, to be led by the proletariat are the makers of the society, having the power to create and as the masters of human fate. And that kind of mutual help, of integrating to the basic sectors ought to remold and rejuvenate social spirit in creating a liberating tomorrow what the masses wanted as they understand the reason of joining or even the intention of struggle.
From the basic unity of the workers and peasants to the progressive alliance with the patriotic and progressive leaning intelligentsia lies a straight path towards a just tomorrow, guided by the productive forces and of the vanguard, that kind of unity also serves as a nucleus of protracted revolutionary process as it restructures the society and advancing towards the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat, for we all know that the proletariat serves as the leader of the struggle being set upon.
Lenin, in his work also stresses a need for cooperation. In his work, concerning a possible unity with the peasantry, said in his work "To the rural poor":
"...meanwhile, after the abolition of serfdom, a new class struggle arose, the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie...The urban workers started a new great struggle of all the poor against the rich...The peasants were defeated [in the past] but they will rise again and again...[and] the class conscious workers will do in their power to help..."
As what he have said, Lenin wanted a stronger unity with the peasantry, of uniting Marxism with Russian populism against the reaction, although at first he opposed that kind of idea, Lenin finally understood since he felt a need for a "unity" of all the poor and exploited sectors like those of the peasants and even the petit bourgeoisie with progressive inclinations, somehow, the Hammer and the Sickle is the proof that the unity between the exploited, poor workers and peasants are for.

And perhaps,
The potentiality and the possibility of the unity of all progressive leaning peoples with the exploited may carry through within the revolution, for they may rather wanted to give all and contribute to the cause wherein it would benefit all sectors according to their productive work to sustain their need. Somehow their understanding may lead to a change that affects their past lives as they enter a different setting as they studied every fact, every situation that no band aid solution can cover it and end up fail as they do so, and a need for a revolution would be its solution as it carries a long term series of program-action that may benefit from it.

And for sure the fascists and "left" opportunists may oppose this kind of idea, but they didn't notice that struggle has phases that involves both cooperation, integration and eventually struggle to accelerate the transition to a degree. Even Gregor Strasser (of the black front) affirms that National Socialism had a phase wherein struggle involved, but Strasser, like any other National Socialist leaders stress much of their Anti-semitic appeal rather than the general anti-capitalist appeal in repelling capitalism and the forces of reaction.

But then, Strasser, like Mao, somehow tried much to make it into a more radical, mass-action and worker-based form, to be initiated alongside nationalism.
But then, Since the struggle towards communism is on its way, the idea of the fraternal unity and partnership of all progressive classes and eventual integration to the working people (the proletariat) will always be a part of it-especially in the undeveloped and developing countries and nations that end as pawns of the imperialists. And this kind of unity also involves unity of oppressed nations pointing against domestic oppressors and even the ones who ought to dictate domestic policies since struggle will always be both national and class whose victory of the oppressed would lead to eventual fraternal unity and brotherhood of nations and a system wherein "in each according to work done, in each according to need."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Watching Mrs. B

Watching Mrs. B

It was 3:16 PM as I sat on the cinema chair waiting for the event to start, waiting as more and more spectators are starting to seat in their respective chairs as the presentation nearly started over.

That event, as I watched over, is a realistic one-it mirrors a mother's life and one of the major atrocities the reactionary government of the Republic of the Philippines unleashed against the progressives.

Entitled "Mrs. B" based on Editha Burgos's life, was about a mother's life, from being a Carmelite nun wannabe only to become a wife of a journalist and a mother of an activist who end up disappeared last 2007. For sure most news reports were even tackled about it-from blaming the military courtesy from the progressives to blaming the communists by the reactionaries like the AFP and its cohorts.
And yet,
Editha Burgos struggled to search Jonas, as she called every agency both local and international to surface her son and even the others who became victims of forced disappearances around the country. And as always, the right-wingers continue branding Burgos as a communist or whatsoever against him-that makes the former Carmelite nun wannabe rose up, joined in the ranks of the protesters and as if becoming like her beloved son.

As I continued watching every scene, Gina Alajar, taking up the role of Mrs. Burgos, spoke of her beloved family, of fried lechon, of other delicacies she taught from home economics class during her college days, of being obedient to her parents (as she clings to the statement 'obedience is a virtue') and even the days with her beloved husband, Mrs. B gives us a slice of her life alongside her continuous defiance against the system whom involved with the abduction of her beloved Jonas.

Somehow, I was nearly wept too as I listened to every word being stated in every scene-with the finale saying "justice, freedom and democracy," And in the end, after the show, I congratuated director Socrates Jose (who directs shows on GMA channel 7) who even asking me if I wept, and I replied by saying "almost" that make both of us laughed, same as the two actors who played as soldiers abducting Jonas, along with signing at the back of the ticket I have bought upon watching.

To make the story short,
A mother, just like any other closed one, will always be looking for her beloved; beyond life and death, a mother will always do her part especially in making her children happy no matter how life is, but as for Mrs. Burgos's case-she will continously searching for her beloved Jonas, whether he is still alive or as a battered corpse, just only to be with him-same as others who are still looking at persons who became victims of forced dissapearances, not just in the Philippines but in the world.

Monday, February 1, 2010




The Philippines was not spared from the political ferment generated by student protest movements that shook the world from the mid to the late 60s. Taking the cue from their counterparts in the United States, Europe and Asia, Filipino students took to the streets in increasing numbers starting in the mid-60s to demand academic freedom and an end to the Vietnam War. The protest actions, sparked by a nationalist reawakening in the 1950s, peaked in 1970, when students along with other sectors launched a series of demonstrations, now collectively known as the “First Quarter Storm”, whose political repercussions are felt even today, four decades later.

The Gathering Storm

I was a freshman student of Political Science at the University of the Philippines as the decade of the 70s started. The university campus was already in ferment then, with teach-ins and discussion groups, and many students joining protest rallies and demonstrations. I was not a member of any of the radical student groups in 1970, but I found myself, like many others in my gen¬eration, drifting more and more to¬wards radicalism, and inexorably drawn right into the eye of a gathering storm.

The portent of things to come was January 26, 1970. Out of curiosity, I joined a march that started from the Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City to the old Congress building in Intramuros, Manila—a distance of about five kilometers—where then President Ferdinand Marcos was to deliver his State-of-the-Nation address. We gathered in front of the parliament building along with thousands of moderate and radical activists listening to speakers denounce the existing state of affairs in the country. Then, as Marcos was leaving the Congress premises on board a shiny black limousine, I saw a wooden coffin symbolizing the death of democracy being thrown his way. That’s when all hell broke loose, the riot squad swinging their rattan truncheons at hapless demon¬strators and bystanders alike. We scampered in all directions, running as fast as our feet could carry us. But a number of rallyists were not so lucky: a group of students aboard on board a UP Ikot jeepney were beat¬en black-and-blue. The next day, I learned that my brother Antonio, also called “Tonyhil” by friends and comrades, was confined at the University of the Philippines Infirmary, where he had been brought the night before for injuries suffered during the po¬lice mopping-up operations. Like the others who were caught inside the jeepney, he was severely beaten by truncheon-wielding policemen. When we visited him at the infirmary, his head was covered in bandage, and he complained of aches and pains all over his body. But he seemed to be in high spirits despite his injuries, and true enough, he was up and about after a few days and looking forward to the next demonstration.

Which came four days later, on January 30. We retraced our earlier route, starting off again from Quezon City and making our way to the Congress building, where speakers lambasted the Marcos regime for subservience to the United States and doing nothing to help the poor.

Shortly before sundown, I decided to go home and call it a day. But the estimated 30,000 or so demonstrators headed towards Malacañang Palace—a few kilometers away—punctuating the creeping nightfall with rhythmic chants of "Makibaka, Huwag matakot! (Fight, be not afraid!) Upon reaching the palace grounds about an hour later, a stone flew above the heads of the crowd and found its mark on a light bulb, sending shards of glass crashing down the pavement. Not long after, the police came and chased the demonstrators away, sending them fleeing towards the warren of streets in nearby University Belt. Thus began a seesaw battle between the police and soldiers on the one hand and radical youth and students on the other that raged throughout the night.

The revolution had begun, but the Philippine version of the storming of the Bastille was no dinner party. It exacted a heavy toll on life and limb. By crack of dawn, the insurrection had been crushed, the city pervaded with the unmistakable miasma of agony and death. Four youths lay dead, while scores of others writhed in pain in various hospitals as a result of injuries sustained in pitched battles that erupted throughout the night in the labyrinth of streets and alleys near the presidential palace.

For the radical activists who laid siege on Malacañang Palace on the night of January 30, 1970 and kept the whole nation teetering on the edge of turmoil throughout the first three months of the decade of the 70s, there was no turning back. As Philippine society stood on its head, they reasoned, it needed to be turned upside down. Armed with nothing more than angry slogans and sticks and stones, those who manned the barricades during the First Quarter Storm would undergo a baptism of fire that would change their lives forever.

The demonstrations on January 26 and 30 were but the opening salvoes of bigger protest actions or¬ganized by radical groups. For the next two months, the nation seethed with unrest as militant youth and students, joined by intellectuals, professionals and contingents of workers' and peasants' organizations, took to the streets in increasing numbers to clamor for radical changes in society. In February, thousands of people converged at Plaza Miranda in downtown Manila in three huge public meetings to ventilate their opposition to the Marcos gov¬ernment and what they perceived to be American imperial outreach. In March, leftist groups organized two big marches that snaked their way through the streets of Sampaloc, Quiapo, Sta. Cruz and Binondo districts in Manila and culminated in violent confrontation between rallyists and police in front of the US Embassy premises.

These protest actions rocked Philippine society to its foundations, sending chills of apprehension down the spines of those in positions of wealth and power, who saw in the rallies not the manifestations of a chronic social crisis, but the ominous signs of an impending communist takeover.

The First Quarter Storm of 1970: Its Significance

In retrospect, the First Quarter Storm was bound to happen. Nearly a quarter of a century after the grant of formal independence in 1946, the Philippines remained a backward agricultural nation with per capita income among the lowest in the world. Feudal structures in the coun¬tryside kept the majority of Filipinos in extreme poverty. The inequitable distribution of wealth and the gap between the rich and the poor in Philippine society was often de¬scribed by radical activists in terms of a pyramid where a mere five per¬cent representing the ruling elite controlled the nation's wealth and kept the broad base consisting of 90 percent of the total population—workers and farmers and other low-income folk—in a state of perpetual dependency.

As Filipinos reeled under the weight of poverty, graft and corrup¬tion became endemic in the government bureaucracy. The political system itself afforded little hope for change since neither the two political parties then offered the people a real choice in terms of alternative programs. Political warlordism was on the rise. Despite five changes in government administration in the post-independence era, the nation remained mired in the politics of patronage and personalities. When the Sixties ended, there¬fore, the nation was in the grip of economic crisis, and popular clamor for change was beginning to reach fever-pitch.

The First Quarter Storm of 1970 was the logical outcome of two decades of nationalist re-awakening in the post-World War II era. This nationalist re-awakening gave impetus to the growth of a popular movement aimed at ex¬posing American dominance of Philippine economic and political life. Claro M. Recto and other nationalists questioned parity rights given to the Americans in exchange for post-war rehabilitation and reconstruction. Recto also criticized the presence of huge American military bases in the country as an affront to Philippine sovereignty. For his part, Renato Constantino, a prominent historian, focused his writings on how the Americans had imposed their own values on the Philippine educational system, leading to what he said was the “miseducation” of the Filipino. Constantino also ventured a radical reinterpretation of Philippine history that put a high premium on the struggles waged by popular move¬ments against colonialism.

The nationalist awakening of the 1950s led to the establishment in the early 1960s of the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN). This was followed by the creation in 1964 of the militant Kabataang Makabayan (KM), which stood in the forefront of mass protests against the Vietnam War and American military presence in the Philippines starting in the mid-60s. Other youth-student groups, notably the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (SDK), came to the fore and joined the KM in exposing the ills of Philippine society through protest rallies and demonstrations as well as teach-ins and discussion groups in university campuses and urban communities.

All this, situated within the context of the worldwide upsurge in the student movement, the rise of Black con¬sciousness and the emergence of a strong antiwar movement in the United States, made the First Quarter Storm inevitable. By 1970, as the radical groups saw it, the Philippines was ripe for a revolu¬tion. If the First Quarter Storm held any significance, it was to bring to the light of day the problems of poverty and inequity bequeathed by history. At the same time, it served to popularize the need for a radical solution to the Philippine crisis.

Student activism in the late 1960s and early 1970s thrived on various issues. Among them was academic freedom. But the student movement soon began to look outside the walls of academe and increasingly took positions against oil price hikes, foreign monopoly control of the oil industry, the presence of US military bases on Philippine soil, the US military involvement in Vietnam, graft and corruption, foreign domination of the economy, and state fascism as exemplified by police brutality and suppression of popular protest actions.

More than anything else, the First Quarter Storm was an assertion of Filipino identity. The radicals who shouted "Down with American imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism!" were serving notice to the generation before them that they were breaking free from the past and charting a new future for themselves and succeeding generations.

After the tumultuous months that made up the First Quarter Storm, the history of this nation was dramatically altered. The Marcos regime, its capability to effectively govern thrown under a shadow of doubt, began to increasingly isolate itself from the very people it swore to serve, the most telling manifestation of which was that the streets leading to Malacañang Palace were perma¬nently barred from being used as venues for protest until 1986. Refusing to heed the handwriting on the wall, the Marcos government chose to bend the rules to suit its own purposes, suspending the writ of habeas corpus on August 21, 1971 and a year later, on September 21, 1972, usurping all power by imposing martial law.

For many of those who took part in these rallies and demonstrations, the First Quarter Storm was a valu¬able training ground for the revolutionary enterprise, a period in their lives like no other. For it was the time that they first opened their eyes to what was happening in their midst, and made them realize that change in the Philippine society lay not in the peaceful pursuit of piecemeal reforms, but in the radical overhaul of power relations, that is, giv¬ing the poor and powerless majority the means to take their future in their own hands. And it was the time when the activist culture took root, a counter-culture that developed in opposition to the escapism of the hippie movement. It emphasized Mao's dictum of serving the people. This meant simple living and hard struggle, and working for change in society despite tremendous odds.

The First Quarter Storm of 1970 was a dress rehearsal and a sneak preview of the People Power Revolution of 1986 that the world applauded because it represented a clear victory over tyranny.
Observers of the Philippine political scene have pointed to the assassination of opposition stalwart Benigno Aquino in August 1983 as the nodal point that marked the beginning of the end of the Marcos regime. I am not inclined to dispute this assertion. But I believe the link between the First Quarter Storm and the People Power Revolution of 1986 has not been given the importance it deserves. The historical continuity between the two events must be established because they represent important landmarks in the Filipino people's long struggle for democracy.

For all intents and purposes, the mainstream Left was instrumental in laying the ground, preparing public opinion for the People Power Revolution of 1986 that ousted Marcos. And yet, in a twist of fate, when the Marcos dictatorship was finally overthrown, the Left was nowhere to be found. In a way, the Left is now in search of another revolutionary surge that will relive its days of glory and attest to the correctness of the radical option.

The First Quarter Storm of 1970: Its Impact on the Present

The First Quarter Storm of 1970, as has been pointed out, served as dress rehearsal for the 1986 People Power Revolution. But its impact extends even to the present. While many student radicals eventually joined the New People’s Army to take part in armed struggle against the Philippine government—the country now hosts the longest-running Maoist insurgency in Asia—many others have continued their activism through others means.

The Philippines claims the distinction of having the liveliest civil society movement in the world with the proliferation since the 1980s of various NGOs engaged in various issues: development, human rights advocacy, and environmental concerns. Many former activists are now working in NGOs and people’s organizations (POs) where they take part in social development, human rights advocacy, and environmental protection. For them, this is merely a continuation of the radical politics they espoused in their youth.

A few former FQS activists have joined government where they feel they can make a difference in the lives of Filipinos. Several veteran activists have entered mainstream politics, either as party-list representatives or as local government officials. The militant party-list groups offer a refreshing departure from the traditional politics characterized by the dominance of political dynasties that manage to hang on to power through the use of guns, goons and gold in elections often marred by cheating and violence.

The influence of the radical left in Philippine politics is also evident in the cooptation by the establishment of their language. When traditional politicians in the Philippines today speak of ‘empowerment’, what they simply mean is that they want to provide livelihood to their constituents or put up irrigation ditches in rural farms. But for radicals, empowerment is a complex process of organizing and mobilizing people for definite political ends, not for political expediency.

Towards the Future

Mendiola Bridge sits at the approach to Malacañang Palace, the seat of government where the Philippine president resides and holds office. The bridge is an unprepossessing structure, no more than several hundred yards in length. But what was it about this bridge that irresistibly drew the citizens of the nation, like moths to a flame, to repeatedly cross its short span, fearing neither hail of bullets nor history's harsh judg¬ment?

Forty years ago, Mendiola Bridge stood guard at the gates of political power, a mute witness to the lamen¬tations that were sent to the heavens by those crying for deliverance from their wretched lot. Today, many years later, it occupies a central place in the consciousness of many Filipinos, serving as a grim reminder of their long struggle against political repression, and as a fitting symbol of their continuing search for a better future.

•(The author writes a weekly column for the Business Mirror OP-ED page. This article was originally published in German in the September 2008 issue of the quarterly journal Südostasien)