By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Makabayan
and Communist Party of the Philippines


January 31, 2009

I am deeply thankful that Bishop Felixberto Calang, Chairperson of INPEACE, has honored me with the invitation to give an inspirational message to the Cultural Forum entitled “Remembering the First Quarter Storm: Four Decades of the People’s Movement for National Liberation.”

I have great appreciation for the Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao, the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao, Kasimbayan and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Northern Mindanao for conjoining to organize this forum and to manifest the high and broad significance of the FQS to the entire Filipino people.

You have chosen well as main speaker Bonifacio Ilagan, one of the most distinguished leaders of the FQS, who has been outstanding in adhering to the revolutionary spirit and principles of the FQS, in promoting the FQS as a beacon to the continuing struggle of the people for national and social liberation and in developing the arts in the service of the people.

The FQS was an unprecedented event in Philippine history in terms of significance, scale, intensity and consequences. It was a crucial turning point in the people’s movement for national liberation and democracy. It confronted the drive of the Marcos regime to aggravate and deepen the oppression and exploitation of the people by the evil triad of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

The best and brightest sons and daughters of the nation participated in the FQS. The more the reactionary state unleashed violence against them, the more the masses of youth and people became resolute and militant in standing up and fighting for national and democratic rights.

The FQS was centered in Manila, the seat of reactionary power. But it spread the revolutionary message to the entire nation in an immediate and lasting way. In response to the escalation of violence by the Marcos regime, it urged the broad masses of the people to fight back with the call, “Makibaka, huwag matakot!” Against the rising trend of state terrorism or fascism, it raised the battlecry, “Digmang Bayan ang Sagot sa Batas Militar”.

The FQS generated a sustained popular movement upholding national independence and democratic rights, demanding national industrial development and genuine land reform, promoting a national, scientific and mass culture and espousing international solidarity of peoples against imperialism and all reaction and for justice, peace and development.

Many of those who directly participated in the FQS and those who were inspired by it became the most conscious and the most energetic militants in a wide array of patriotic and progressive formations, including the revolutionary party of the working class, the Christians for National Liberation, the progressive sections of institutions and the sectoral mass organizations and multisectoral alliances of the workers, peasants, youth, women, professionals and national minorities.

Since the occurrence of the FQS, all those who have been moulded and inspired by it have been a significant driving force in the sustained resistance of the people to the anti-national and anti-democratic policies of the Marcos regime and the 14-year reign of fascist terror, in the mass movement that eventually caused the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and in the continuing opposition to the persistence of anti-national and anti-democratic policies under the post-Marcos regimes.

The memory and spirit of the FQS and its consequences in the people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy continue to live on and grow in strength. But all of us must always consciously cherish the FQS in our hearts and minds, lest it be taken for granted and pass into oblivion. It is fine to celebrate the FQS in the entire year before and in the entire year after its 40th anniversary.

I call on the present mass activists, the church people, the lawyers, educators and other professionals to draw inspiration from the FQS. Let us emulate the FQS participants in their eagerness to learn the history and the basic problems of the Filipino people, in grasping the need to continue the Philippine revolution and carry out the new democratic revolution and in fighting courageously and tenaciously for the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people.

We are confronted today by problems far worse than those during the time of Marcos. The semicolonial and semifeudal character of Philippine society has persisted. The problems of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism have been aggravated and deepened by the US-instigated policy of “neoliberal” globalization, which has accelerated superprofit-taking, and the policy of “global war on terror”, which has stirred up state terrorism, US military intervention and imperialist wars of aggression.

Now, an unprecedented global financial and economic crisis, generated from the US, has descended upon the frail pre-indusrial semifeudal economy of the Philippines. The broad masses of the people are suffering acutely from the depressed economic and social conditions and from the escalating campaigns of state terrorism by the Arroyo puppet regime. We must draw from the FQS the fighting spirit, the principles and the methods of generating resistance in the national and provincial capitals and on a nationwide scale in both urban and rural areas. ###