You are on page 1of 7

HISTORIC ROLE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF KABATAANG

MAKABAYAN
By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Mabakayan
Having been the founding chairman of Kabataang Makabayan (KM) in 1964 and having led it
until the necessity for me to go underground in 1968, I feel elated and highly honored to
participate in the KM 50th anniversary celebration. This celebration signifies and encompasses
all the struggles, sacrifices and achievements of the KM rank and file in the service of the
Filipino youth and the entire Filipino people.
In Line with the Revolutionary Tradition of the Filipino People
We wanted to base the KM on the revolutionary tradition of the Filipino people. Thus, we
deliberately founded the KM on the 101st birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio on November
30, 1964. We wished to honor him for having organized the Katipunan and having taken the lead
in proclaiming the national independence of the Filipino people against Spanish colonialism.
We drew inspiration from him as the revolutionary father of the Filipino nation and we were
resolved to follow the revolutionary tradition set by the Katipunan and to continue the unfinished
Philippine revolution by completing the struggle for national liberation and democracy against
foreign and feudal domination. We were sharply aware that US imperialism interrupted the
Philippine revolution by unleashing a war of aggression against the Filipino people, making the
Philippines its colony after killing hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and proceeding to train its
puppets for semi-colonial rule.
We were cognizant of the fact that the Philippines had entered the world era of modern
imperialism and proletarian revolution. The working class had become a significant force in
Philippine society as the most productive and progressive force. The Communist Party had arisen
to become the advanced detachment of the working class to lead the people’s struggle against
foreign and feudal domination. It fought heroically against the Japanese fascist occupation and
subsequently the US imperialist reconquest of the Philippines.
The founders of KM were highly conscious of the necessary continuity between the old
democratic revolution led by the liberal bourgeoisie against old style Spanish colonialism and
feudalism and the new democratic revolution led by the working class against US imperialism,
feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism under the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions of the
Philippines in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. Since the beginning, we
aspired to carry out the people’s democratic revolution to lay the ground for a subsequent
socialist revolution.
Patriotic and Progressive Role and Tasks of KM
The Kabataang Makabayan adopted the role of being the patriotic and progressive vanguard of
the Filipino youth. It aimed to build itself as a comprehensive organization of the young men and
women from the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata. It offered
itself as the assistant of the working class as the leading class in the new democratic revolution.
It aimed to become the training center of the activists of the legal democratic movement and the
future cadres of the revolution.
The founding Congress of the KM set forth a Constitution and Program of Action along the
general line of the people’s struggle for national and social liberation. The KM demanded
complete national independence, democratic rights and the empowerment of the working people,
genuine land reform and national industrialization, social justice, a national, scientific and mass

genuine land reform for the benefit of the landless tillers and for the purpose of national industrialization. we were determined to develop the proletarian revolutionaries from the ranks of the mass activists. We conducted study sessions on the general line of the new democratic revolution and on current issues. the peasant movements and intellectual circles. They came from the student movement. We called for the improvement of the wage and living conditions of the workers. the young teachers and other professionals. we carried out study sessions on the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism. organizing and mobilizing the youth along the national democratic line of struggle. peace and development in opposition to imperialism and reaction. the inflated prices of basic goods and services and lack or dearth of essential social services. the KM always built its own reliable strength and amplify this with alliances within definite classes and sectors . We vigorously condemned the US and its imperialist allies for their acts of military intervention and aggression and supported the struggles of the people they victimized. the trade union movement. We organized chapters in schools. They had an understanding of the new democratic revolution as a result of previous studies in the history and circumstances of the Filipino people and in the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism. and the youth section of the peasant associations. the youth section of the Lapiang Manggagawa and the trade unions. We were determined to develop the mass movement by arousing. regions or nationwide. the falling incomes. We held the puppet government culpable for servility to US imperialism and betrayal of the sovereign rights and interests of the Filipino people. Korean people and other peoples in Asia. and better study and living conditions of students. We opposed the USUK Malaysia project. We exposed and opposed the big comprador-landlord character of the reactionary government. the Mutual Defense Pact. We made statements and launched dramatic protest mass actions on current events and issues involving the national sovereignty. the Quirino-Foster Agreement and the Laurel-Langley Agreement. At the same time. We denounced the ever-rising level of unemployment. The KM became the most outstanding organization in condemning and calling for the abrogation of such unequal agreements with the US as the US-RP Military Assistance Agreement. the full-blown US war of aggression against the Vietnamese and other Indochinese peoples and the US acts of intervention and aggression against the Cuban people. Among the founders of the KM were proletarian revolutionaries and participants in mass actions since 1959. It aroused. Africa and Latin America and the peoples in the imperialist countries. We confronted US imperialism and the ruling system of big compradors and landlords on domestic issues. the Military Bases Agreement. They were of the consensus that the victory of new democratic revolution would prepare the ground for a still better and brighter future of the Filipino people in socialism. Africa and Latin America. urban poor communities and peasant communities.culture and an independent foreign policy for the solidarity of all peoples and countries. factories. Building Alliances with Other Patriotic and Progressive Forces To facilitate the expansion of the KM in particular areas. And we also stood in solidarity with the oppressed peoples of Asia. expansion of the public school system at all levels. Propelling the Mass Movement and Developing Proletarian Revolutionaries The KM propelled the national democratic mass movement in the 1960s. democratic rights and social conditions of the Filipino people and the youth. Among the most interested and most advanced activists. the US-directed massacre of the Indonesian people. organized and mobilized the students at the secondary and tertiary levels. This was in keeping with the role of the KM as the assistant of the working class and its revolutionary party.

The prospective KM chairman gave refresher courses in revolutionary studies to the veteran peasant cadres and their children. the KM intensified the deployment of urban activists in mass work in rural areas to prepare for people’s war. KM founding members could be recruited from the peasant youth in 1964. Political Education. It gave special attention to the national minorities because they continued to be the most exploited and oppressed and they had resisted foreign domination. The ED cadre made sure that the recruits gained adequate understanding of the general line of new democratic revolution. The OD cadre made sure that the organizational meetings were held in coordination with those to be organized and that the chapter was established with the election of officers. organizing unions and supporting strikes. Propaganda and Cultural Work For organizing its chapters. The student youth were beset by the rising costs of study and living. In 1966 the KM chairman became the general secretary of the anti-imperialist united front organization. It recruited student leaders from national student organizations and from the upsurge of student strikes. When the US wanted to involve the Philippines in the US war of aggression in Vietnam. Peasant associations also facilitated the rural immersion programs of the KM. It gave political education and training to some who would eventually become leaders of the revolutionary movement among the Moro and Igorot peoples.and on a multisectoral basis. the chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system worsened during the regime of Marcos. The peasants were groaning under the weight of land dispossession and rising land rent. It could recruit workers and form chapters among them by having close fraternal relations with labor federations. The KM maintained alliances with campus organizations and with national student associations as well as with the teachers and other professionals. On the basis of his close relations with the peasants. In response. Several big anti-imperialist mass actions were held under the auspices of MAN. the most important points in the KM Constitution and Program of Action and the burning issues of the day. They participated in the work of research and education. the KM always had the OD-ED team. They did so much creditable work that the prospective KM chairman became vice chairman of Lapíang Manggagawa and subsequently the general secretary of the Socialist Party. The Marcos regime was increasingly violent in reacting to mass protests on domestic issues. It had members and chapters in all regions and in most provinces. including in the Moro areas of Mindanao and in the BIBAK provinces of the Cordillera. The KM spread nationwide. . The prospective founders of the KM also started to develop close links with peasant cadres and the peasant youth in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions in 1963. they were able to develop close relations with the workers and recruit founding KM members from their ranks. Unemployment was rampant and the prices of basic goods and services were rising. Marcos readily agreed and unleashed the military and police against the KM-led youth protesting the 1966 Manila Summit of US President Lyndon Johnson with the leaders of partner countries and client states in the Asia-Pacific region. a number of the prospective founders had started to work in the trade union movement and in the Lapiang Manggagawa in 1962. Thus. Even before the KM founding. Confronting the Escalation of Oppression and Exploitation From year to year. the Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism. The broad masses of the people were suffering from the escalation of oppression and exploitation. on the strength of Kabataang Makabayan and its close connections with the worker and peasant movements and with the student movement and progressive intellectual circles.

At different points in Metro Manila the youth. For the purpose. In growing columns of marchers. The KM Education and Propaganda Department developed the writers and speakers for the purpose. They criticized and repudiated the long history of Lavaite opportunism and prepared for the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1968. cultural numbers were performed in the streets and on improvised stages. When one of the Lava scions. 1968 and the founding of the New People’s Army became publicly known.For the purpose of political education. Student protest rallies against the Marcos regime and student strikes against ultra-reactionary school authorities also continued to spread like wild fire. local buildup meetings and rallies were held. usurped authority from the executive committee and secretariat of the old party in 1966. The slogans were sharpened. Workers’ strikes against oppressive and exploitative employers became widespread. they converged on the center of Manila and rallied in front of Congress. A large contingent of peasants from Central Luzon came to Manila to demand land reform. The manifestoes were formulated and distributed. The young proletarian revolutionaries who founded the KM had gotten their revolutionary education in Philippine history and current major issues in the light of Marxism-Leninism since 1959. They served to inspire the mass movement in the national capital region and on a national scale in 1969. Each book was avidly read and studied by the KM rank and file. independent of the old merger party. the KM handbook of basic documents was the basic tool in recruitment of members and establishment of chapters. supported the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China and promoted in the Philippines the general line of people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. Agitational street broadcasts were done. regional and central leading organs. They studied the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought. To make the mass actions even more interesting and engaging. Further Rise of the Mass Movement The reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26. the presidential palace and the US embassy. They ranged . Proletarian Revolutionaries against the Lavaite Revisionists A significant number of KM advanced activists joined the old merger party of the Communist and Socialist Parties like the KM chairman who had earlier joined it in 1962. This party became practically non-existent as early as 1957 when its general secretary promulgated his liquidationist “single file” policy. They constituted the biggest and most conscious part of the party. When mass actions were undertaken. It was reinforced by the publication of the KM Chairman’s book Struggle for National Democracy in 1967. The First Quarter Storm of 1970 burst out and was inflamed by the violent dispersal of the protest rallies and marches. He took an onlooker’s interest in the rising youth movement only when the anti-CAFA rally occurred in 1961 and never offered any kind of guidance. At the establishment of the KM city. criticized and repudiated modern revisionism centred in the Soviet Union. who was divorced from the mass movement and was a full-time employee of the reactionary government. It was further reinforced by Amado Guerrero’s Philippine Society and Revolution in 1969. the KM ascertained discreetly that there was a KM core of cadres who had already studied the basic principles of Marxism-Leninism. The agitational speakers were readied. the KM Cultural Bureau promoted the organization of cultural groups and the development of the performers in various art forms. the proletarian revolutionaries within the KM and senior cadres in the trade union and peasant movement joined up to launch the Rectification Movement in 1966 and to organize the Provisional Political Bureau in 1967. the workers and the people in general assembled. provincial.

Marcos pretended to lift the suspension of the writ. In 1971 he masterminded the Plaza Miranda grenade attack on the miting de avance of the opposition Liberal Party. But the students and faculty members resisted by setting up barricades and occupying the buildings and grounds of the university. It was ignited by the rising costs of fuel which led to higher costs of study and living. Due to the mass protests spearheaded by the Movement of Concerned Citizens for Civil Liberties. health workers. Marcos showed signs of planning to stay in power indefinitely. He ordered the nationwide raids on the offices of the Kabataang Makabayan and other national democratic mass organizations and the arrest of their leaders. KM officers and members became cadres and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines. he blamed this on the Communist Party of the Philippines and his main political rival Sen. huwag matakot (Fight. The Marcos regime ordered the police and military to enter the campus. But after the proclamation of martial law. teachers. Driven to the underground. They became commanders and political officers of the New People’s Army.000 to 100. don’t be cowed)! People’s war is the answer to martial law!” The Diliman Commune arose at the University of the Philippines in early 1971. the KM prepared itself against the widely anticipated proclamation of martial law. “Makibaka.from 50. Within a few hours after the incident. They cried out. He schemed and encouraged his own political subalterns and the clerico-fascists to call for a drastic change of the 1935 constitution of the Philippines as the way for him to remove the maximum limit of two 4-year presidential terms and to realize his ambition of becoming a fascist dictator. As a result of the 1971 suspension of the writ and the raids and arrests directed against the national democratic movement. Mass protest actions by the youth. Benigno Aquino Jr. Even then. In the 14-year course of the Marcos fascist dictatorship. peasants. . 1973. the KM was already deploying the CPP members and advanced mass activists among the KM members to join the New People’s Army or rural mass work to prepare local areas for guerrilla zone development. the KM accelerated the deployment of its most exposed and “wanted” leaders in the urban underground and in the guerrilla zones. which was done by Marcos formally on September 21. and proclaimed the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. He harped on the line that the Philippines was a social volcano and that extraordinary measures were needed. It became an important part of the process of building the National Democratic Front that began with the promulgation of the 10-Point Guidelines of the NDF on April 24. KM Contributions to People’s War and the United Front The Communist Party of the Philippines owes to the KM its nationwide scale and deep roots among the masses. the KM came under the supervision of the Preparatory Commission of the National Democratic Front. women.000 in number per weekly mass action. The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was the dress rehearsal for the fascist proclamation of martial law in 1972. youth. They participated in building and activating the organs of political power. workers and peasants occurred on a nationwide scale during most of the year. a far greater number of KM members joined the people’s army and conducted rural mass work. 1972. cultural activists and so on. They occupied responsible positions in the leading and staff organs of the CPP. Even before 1972. They organized the various types of revolutionary mass organizations for workers. It kept open the Bonifacio Center and its other urban offices but reduced the appearance of KM officers who were in the “wanted list” of the military or who were most vulnerable to arrest. Marcos Preparations for and Conduct of Fascist Dictatorship After winning the 1969 presidential elections by means of fraud and terrorism and inflationary spending of public funds.

received their political education and training when they were KM members and leaders. They were a binding force among the youth from the various patriotic and progressive classes and sectors. We can proceed to the socialist stage of . Following the Aquino assassination. the Igorot people. They were in the anti-fascist alliances. They operated through unexposed activists in the aboveground organizations and institutions. tortured and murdered by the Marcos fascist regime came from the KM or received their political education and experience from the KM. In so many ways. the underground mass organizations and organs of political power in the countryside. They were in every effort to revive the urban mass moverment where the fascist regime appeared to have silenced the people in the 1970s and early 1980s. They did hard work and made sacrifices in the urban and rural areas. They were in the Communist Party of the Philippines. the Moro and Lumad peoples of Mindanao. paint slogans on walls and paste posters in public places. distribute leaflets. They were involved in the open reestablishment of patriotic and progressive trade unions.The KM officers and members spanned the toiling masses of workers and peasants. They maintained and developed urban underground networks. New People’s Army. the other hill tribes and the Aetas have taken the revolutionary path. the Kabataang Makabayan decided to persevere in the revolutionary underground as one of the major components of the National Democratic Front. the KM has served as the Communist Youth League. Ever since the struggle against the fascist regime. All over the Philippines. student organizations and other types of mass organizations. This is in consonance with the commitment of the KM since its founding 50 years ago to be the assistant of the working class as vanguard of the people’s democratic revolution and the training center of the youth for the revolution. including Nur Misuari. in order to assess and evaluate its record. Indefatigably. They suddenly appeared and disappeared to make lightning demonstrations. KM officers and members participated in the people’s war to fight the fascist regime and the entire ruling system. they were among the most resolute and most militant activists in the groundswell of the mass movement that eventually toppled the dictatorship. I have covered the tasks and achievements of the KM from its founding in 1964 to fall of Marcos in 1986. They conducted surveillance on the enemy forces and provided the necessary intelligence for the armed city partisans. The KM became an outstanding component of the National Democratic Front. especially from 1986 to the present. the KM encouraged the oppressed national minorities to assert and exercise their right to national selfdetermination. They were in a position to help in the building of the united front at various territorial levels and in various fields of social activity. Perseverance in the Underground and Long-Term View After the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship. There is still a tremendous lot of hard work. A high proportion of those who were abducted. sacrifices and militant struggle needed to achieve the basic completion of the people’s democratic revolution through the overthrow of the USdirected ruling system of big compradors and landlords. the middle social strata and the various sectors. Thus. Leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front. they made important contributions to the advance of the revolutionary struggle for national and social liberation. Overthrow of the Fascist Dictatorship The KM was a significant force in the 14 years of struggle against the Marcos fascist dictatorship from beginning to end. The current leadership of the Kabataang Makabayan is in the best position to look back to its history. to set forth the tasks and methods for further advances and to look forward to greater victories in the future.

the further teachings of Lenin. But even right now. fight and defeat the big bourgeoisie. From then on. we can proceed to plan and carry out socialist revolution and socialist construction. Stalin and Mao on winning the proletarian revolution and building socialist society in the period of Marxism-Leninism and the initial attempt by Mao to consolidate socialism. The KM is responsible for the revolutionary education and training of the youth.the Philippine revolution only after the proletariat and the people have seized political power and have established the people’s democratic state system. in having a clear socialist perspective. The protracted and ever worsening crisis of the world capitalism. It also has the theory of continuing revolution and the initial practice of consolidating socialism. This encompasses the foundational teachings of Marx and Engels in the era of Marxism. It has the revolutionary theory and the practical experience to confront. combat modern revisionism and prevent capitalist restoration in the period of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. it must propagate the study of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. To uphold the socialist perspective. characterized by the boundless greed of the monopoly bourgeoisie and financial oligarchy under neoliberalism and mounting state terrorism and wars of aggression.### . we look up to the leadership of the working class as the most progressive and most productive force in completing the people’s democratic revolution and carrying out the socialist revolution. combating modern revisionism and preventing the restoration of capitalism. urges us to struggle ever more resolutely and militantly for the completion of the people’s democratic revolution and proceed to the socialist revolution.