By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Makabayan
30 January 2001
I deeply appreciate that Anakabayan is in the forefront of the youth movement and is cooperating with other youth organizations in celebrating the anniversary of the First Quarter Storm of 1970. In this regard, I am in solidarity with the youth.
The brutal attack by the state on thousands of student youth on January 26, 1970 in front of Congress, after the state of the nation address of Marcos, outraged the youth and the entire people and roused them to resist the US-Marcos regime. On January 30, the youth rallied in front of Malacanang palace and battled the armed minions of Marcos who once more assaulted them.
To sustain and intensify the resistance during the entire first quarter of 1970, Kabataang Makabayan was in the forefront and was at the core of a broad united front, the Movement for a Democratic Philippines. Almost every week, there were protest marches and rallies of 50,000 to 100,000 in Metro Manila. These spread to many cities in the entire country.
Revolutionary slogans resounded throughout the archipelago. Makibaka, huwag matakot! Ibagsak ang imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukrata-kapitalismo! Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa pambansang demokrasya! Digmang bayan ang sagot sa batas militar!
The FQS of 1970 is of great historic significance. It had profound implications and far-reaching consequences. It was an unprecedented upsurge of the mass movement along the national-democratic line. It exposed and opposed the rotten semicolonial and semifeudal system. Great numbers of youth and working people were aroused, organized and mobilized. From their ranks a significant number arose to join the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.
The US-Marcos regime would become a blatant fascist dictatorship in 1972. But ultimately, it would be overthrown by mass uprisings that drew inspiration from the FQS of 1970. The most conscious and most militant patriotic and progressive forces in the recent overthrow of the corrupt and repressive Estrada regime have likewise drawn inspiration from the FQS of 1970.
So long as the evils of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism persist, we shall continue to draw inspiration from the FQS of 1970, no matter how much higher the level of struggle we have achieved and how much higher still the level we wish further to achieve.
Once more, we have overthrown a ruling clique. But the ruling system of big compradors and landlords, servile to US imperialism, persists. It is our duty to continue the struggle until we achieve national liberation and democracy.
Our strategic line is to fight and defeat one enemy after the other, one ruling clique after another, and in the process gain strength and experience, until we can overthrow the entire ruling system and install the people’s democratic state.
At every given time, we maintain independence and initiative as revolutionary forces and build an echelon of alliances such as the basic alliance of the workers and peasants, the alliance of the progressive forces (including the urban petty bourgeoisie), the alliance of positive forces (including the middle bourgeoisie) and the alliance with unstable and unreliable reactionary allies in order to range the broadest possible array of forces against the enemy.
Unstable and unreliable reactionary allies at one given time become at another time the enemy after they take power from their reactionary rivals and begin to betray the broad united front and violate the rights and interests of the people. The Aquino ruling clique became the enemy after taking power only to serve the interests of US imperialism and a narrow faction of local reactionaries and “unsheathing the sword of war” against the revolutionary forces and the people.
Like the Aquino ruling clique of the past, the Macapagal-Arroyo ruling clique has become the chief political representative of the local exploiting classes of the big compradors and landlords. In less than a week after taking power, it has urged the reactionary armed forces to “reduce and eradicate” the revolutionary forces.
There is no fundamental difference between Macapagal-Arroyo and Estrada in terms of class position, economically and politically. In fact, the former was a part of the Estrada cabinet and was a latecomer in the movement to oust Estrada. She even imitates the pro-poor demagoguery of Estrada while she is determined to serve the interests of US imperialism and the local exploiting classes.
She is in the clutches of the military staff that catered to Estrada’s ruffian character and pushed him to wage all-out war against the Filipino people and Bangsamoro. She has encouraged Estrada to go on exile and go scot-free while she keeps the political prisoners in captivity and is deaf to the pleas of their families, human rights organizations and the people.
She has paid lip service to the need for resuming the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. But there is no concrete progress in this regard from her side. In fact, she is sharpening her knives. She has appointed as her chief intelligence officer a renegade whom she expects would make a war of quick decision on the revolutionary movement and would recycle the failed Lambat Bitag campaign plan.
She is using all tactics to press for the release of the few prisoners of war in the custody of the New People’s Army, ahead of the release of the political prisoners. The malicious objective is to impose an absurdity on entire revolutionary movement and rationalize the continued imprisonment of the political prisoners and the escalation of military campaigns.
We are confronted with a ruling clique that has a rapacious character similar to that of its predecessor. Corruption will continue to plague the Filipino people under the ruling system of big compradors and landlords. It is not merely the personal characteristic of Estrada but the class characteristic of the high bureaucrats of the exploiting classes and puppets of US imperialism. Because the state is bankrupt, we shall soon see how corruption will become more intense and how the reactionaries further split and expose each other’s scams.
The socioeconomic crisis of the ruling system will continue to worsen. The puppet state is under imperialist orders to raise tax collection, auction off public assets, liberalize trade and give priority to foreign debt service. At the same time, the country is limited to exporting raw materials, low value-added semimanufactures and contract workers which are now in oversupply and priced down in the crisis-ridden world capitalist economy. This is now afflicted by a recession and stagnation in the industrial capitalist countries and prolonged depression in most parts of the world.
The severe economic crisis will continue to generate a bitter scramble for power and private gain among the reactionaries. The political factions of Estrada, Eduardo Cojuangco and the Marcoses will collide with the various factions supporting Macapagal-Arroyo. And the latter will also be sucked into rifts among themselves. The military and police officers will continue to reflect the contradictions of their political patrons and will have their own rivalries over lucrative criminal activities.
It is a distinct possibility that the Macapagal-Arroyo regime will never be able to consolidate its position and will be scrambling for survival long before 2004. The regime is bound to discredit and isolate itself soon because it is obsessed with serving imperialist and reactionary interests and cannot make any significant response to the just and reasonable demands of the people. By clinging to the dogma of “free market” globalization, Macapagal-Arroyo will only worsen the plight of the people, weaken her own government and incite the people to wage revolutionary resistance.
You must be conscious of your highly significant role and your effectiveness in the mass movement. The youth that you aroused and mobilized in the struggle to oust Estrada was a formidable force at the mammoth gathering of people at Edsa and in the march to Mendiola which finally drove Estrada out of the palace.
You must consolidate the gains that you have made in the mass movement. You must quickly sum up the experience in the struggle and define the tasks clearly. You must raise higher the level of consciousness and militancy among your members. You must recruit the new mass activists that have come forward and provide them with the political education along the national-democratic line.
You must be relentless in making the just and reasonable demands of the youth and the people and in denouncing antipeople, antinational and antidemocratic policies and acts of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime. You must intensify the mass actions.
I am confident that you can further strengthen your organization on the basis of the strength that you have accumulated and have recently gained from the movement to oust the Estrada regime. I am certain that you will win ever greater victories in the struggle for national liberation and democracy. #