University of the Philippines Graduation Rites 2012:
Activist graduates call on their fellow graduates to serve the people
and to fight for the people's hopes and aspirations
UP Diliman campus
April 22, 2012
■ UP Manila ■ UP Cebu ■ UP Los Baños
■ PUP ■ UP Graduation Day scenes
■ Video ■ Bonus Tracks
Four UP Regents and the University Secretary on stage, facing the
graduating students, holding mini placards.
Photo by Prof. Judy Taguiwalo
|Photos by Arkibong Bayan, Rommel Agujilar, Nikki Gregorio, Judy Taguiwalo, Tessa Trazona and UPLB Zoom Out|
This huge tarp was put up by the UPD admininstration in front of the stage and in full view of all the graduates who are Iskolar ng Bayan and whose schooling were funded in a big way by the taxes paid by the people.
Speech to the graduating class of 2012
Iskolar ng Bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!
The Force of Relevance
AS WE FINALLY LEAVE THIS UNIVERSITY, WE SAY
TO ALL THOSE WHO WILL STAY: CONTINUE THE STRUGGLE AND SEE IT THROUGH TO
April 22, 2012
|▲Four UP regents and the university secretary and their placards|
|Four UP regents and the university secretary and their placards ▼|
Kabataan Partylist also urged the graduates to draw inspiration from UP
when reflecting on the paths they will tread after receiving their
|LFS Chair, graduating student and now lawyer, Terry Ridon, reads statement|
Talumpati sa Araw ng Pagtatapos
Ika-64 General Commencement Exercises
(Isinulat ni Carol Pagaduan sa Ingles ang
kanyang talumpati. Pero sa aktwal na pagtatapos ay sa Filipino ang kanyang
binasa. Ang Filipino ay salin ni Manny Esguerra, noon ay editor ng
Collegian at ngayon ay propesor sa School of Economics).
Prior to the university graduation, the College of Social Work held its recognition ceremonies. At the end of the program, Anton Dulce and other CSWCD graduates and students called on the graduates to serve the people.
|UP Graduation Day Scenes ▼|
Parents and Activists
Activists know that every aspect of life has
a political dimension; even the relation with one’s parents is part of the
overall political struggle. Parents whose children are not activists may
view developments with more detachment but they are still puzzled and
apprehensive. Many of the uncommitted among the young, if they are honest
and patriotic, will eventually join the movement for revolutionary change
because of the flow of history cannot be denied. Consequently, no one can
remain wholly untouched by the problem.
For a number of generations, most adults,
including the parents of today, has been concerned with the day-to-day
struggles of life solely in their personal dimensions. They were therefore
unaware of the contradictions that the operative forces of history were
building up in the society. These quantitative accretions of events have
resulted in a reality qualitatively different from the past.
Nature of activism
They know that these specific problems are
interrelated and will never be solved unless basic changes in society are
instituted. They no longer pin their hopes on the election to office of
good men as previous generations did. They know that mere changes of men
will mean nothing.
Idealism in the sense of having ideals is
not something that should be outgrown. N the other hand, philosophically
speaking, activism is not idealist; it is materialist because it is based
on social reality. It is these older people with their condescending
conclusions who are idealists – not in the sense of having ideals but
because they have unreal view of reality.
Some parents treat activism as they would an
attack of the measles. They wait for it to subside so the patient can be
normal again, which to them means being career-conscious, materially
ambitious, and moderately civic-minded.
But activism today is more than a passing
phase of youthful restlessness; it is not the same as those frivolous
activities with which many of us were expected to amuse ourselves during
our school days; it is not one of those fads which produce temporary
irritations between parents and children.
Activism is a social phenomenon because it
is an exercise in collectivity, a \rejection of individualist solutions to
purely private problems. Activism is the antithesis of individual action
which is a romantic survival of the days of so-called self-made men; it is
the negation of individual ambition because a new counter-consciousness is
contraposed to the consciousness engendered by private free enterprise, a
legacy of imperialist rule.
It is the rejection of individual ambition
that parents find most difficult to adjust to. The poorer parents,
especially, find this painfully disappointing. All their lives they worked
and sacrificed to give their children an education so that the young ones
might become successful, pore prosperous. Now they find that what they
live for is to be discarded. Instead, their activist sons and daughters
have deliberately chosen a difficult and uncertain way of life which will
bring no money, only hard work and danger, even death.
Nothing can assuage the anguish of such
parents – nothing, that is, except an understanding of their children’s
convictions. If these convictions are firm, appeals to the young person’s
individual self-interest, or pleas that he think of his personal safety
would only alienate him further. Nothing is more revolting to a committed
youth than to be told to let others “do the dirty work” and run the risks.
Such a position is morally indefensible. Young people correctly assess it
as the product of selfish individualism and social irresponsibility.
Neither should parents offer charitable
activities or so-called civic action as substitutes for involvement in the
protest movement. Activists know that do-gooding is ineffectual in the
long run and, as practiced in conventional circles, is nothing more that
conscience pacifier or a publicity gimmick for the socially ambitious.
This does not mean that activists have no sympathy for the sufferings of
their fellowmen; in fact, it is these very sufferings that they want to
eliminate. However, they know that the real solution does not lie in
palliatives but in a change of the system.
Antithesis of the system
The youth of today are not only the products
of the system; they are also the antithesis of that system.
During our period of adjustment to the
imperatives of the times, we of the older generations allowed material and
intellectual influences to transform us into bases and pillars of the
social order. Young activists reject these material and intellectual
influences for they have developed insights in to the evils of the system;
they have seen fit to rebel not primarily against the old generation as
against the very system which the old seem to represent.
Thus many of the older generation are
appalled by the sweeping rejection of the values to which we were all
acculturized. All the verities and the comfortable platitudes under which
we had been nurtured have gone by the board.
We cannot view present militancy in the same
way that our parents regarded our own youthful rebellions. For where
before youthful frivolities were merely interruptions in a long line of
continuity, today activism is definitely a discontinuity which has
accelerated a social process that is well nigh reversible. And thus
discontinuity will represent a leap in the continuity of our social
existence – a leap that will usher in a higher level of human development.
Activism is a product of the great social
upheavals of our times which are mass movements for national liberation
from the oppressions of imperialism. Imperialist rule has progressively
depressed the lives of the peoples in the underdeveloped areas of the
world; it has deepened human alienation, cheapened human life and has been
responsible for the flagrant degeneration of culture. We are now
witnessing in our country the growth of counter-forces created by the
dynamics of imperialism.
With the few individual exceptions, previous
generations allowed and even abetted the imposition of a colonial society
in our land. Now that the young reject imperialism and are trying to
protect the possibility of a better society for all, the old complain and
even questions the motives of the youth. A few become very angry, try to
intimidate and threaten, and even precipitate a severance of relations.
That is why many of these young people have come to believe that parents
are essentially fascistic.
Question of discipline
An important condition for understanding is
the need to credit the young with good intentions and enough patriotic
dedication. They have a right to resent bitterly such false imputations as
that they are being led astray by agitators or used as tools by their
leaders. The old should make a real effort to understand their political
beliefs and instead of condemning them outright.
When the young people question the political
opinions of their parents and insists on participating in the mass actions
of the protests movement, parents should not regard this merely as a
It is true that a desire for independence
from parental authority may have been a factor in the initial stages, but,
once convinced of the correctness of his cause, the young person regards
activism as a patriotic duty. Part of his rebellion is directed
p[precisely against the values of the defenders of the status quo, and the
right to impose strictures solely by virtue of age is one of these values.
Gone is the day when the older people
supposed to do the thinking and the acting and the young were expected to
remain meekly in their classes. The old have made such mess of things that
the young feel they are no longer capable of effecting the changes
demanded by our times.
Discipline for these young people is the
discipline of their commitment. It is a self-imposed discipline, which,
ideally, should be collectively arrived at, and which derives from the
needs of the movement. Discipline in this sense is positive, not negative.
And who is to say that this is not the higher form?
Reversal of roles
There was a time when the old were supposed
to be wise. Today the old must not fall in to the error of claiming wisdom
as a prerogative of age. They may be in for a bog surprise.
A reversal of traditional roles seems to be
occurring. Traditionally the young were expected to be self-centered,
intent on only on pleasure, to a great degree socially irresponsible. The
old saw themselves as the guardians of the society, the people who worked
and sacrificed, the planners and makers of a world they would be proud to
leave to their children. Today, it seems as if it is the old who are more
guilty of social irresponsibility and the young who have taken it upon
themselves to plan and sacrifice for a better world for themselves and for
The least the parents can do is to listen to
the young, ask questions, read what they read, examine their values.
Since imperialism is the compelling fact of
present society, and since anti-imperialism is what animates the activist
struggle, parents must know more about imperialism. They must learn how
imperialism plunders the poor nations and what techniques it uses to
retain political and economic control of its neo-colonies. They must
become aware of its fraudulent use of aid and its employment of cultural
aggressions. And finally, they must understand how it uses its control,
made more secure by its military might, to force nations to adopt policies
inimical to their own interest but beneficial to the imperialist.
Intensity of discontent
Many of the older generation have known
economic want and oppression in the society but they fail to attribute the
suffering of the workings of the imperialism. Instead they tend to condemn
only the leaders of the country for the evils they see, little knowing
that these men are merely agents of the system or oat most active
Activists have dramatically brought out the
fact that our colonial condition is the root of all problems. Most parents
do not understand this. Many are self-complacent apologists for the
system. That is why the young resent their hypocritical attitudes and
their selfish indifference to their country’s plight.
It is not my intention to idealize the
protest movement nor the typical activist. I have deliberately described
activism at its best and highest level – what it could be rather than what
it is – in a n attempt to purge parents of their prejudices and
misgivings. After all, a movement’s political and ethical aspirations are
as valid as a yardstick as it presents achievements. Furthermore, I trust
the activists, conscious of the need to be profoundly self-critical, are
aware of their own deficiencies.
Discontinuities in continuity
Perhaps activists cannot be blamed
completely for their quick and total rejection of present institutions and
values. The situation is really that desperate. But they must bear in mind
that we are living in a reality which changes because of the
contradictions arising from within. The continuity of society exists
through discontinuity of basic change.
Radical change cannot be wrought overnight.
Revolution is not a moment in the course of history; it is a process that
encompasses broad historical periods. The new comes from the old and
New institutions are not imposed from the
outside; rather, these institutions develop in the course of the struggle.
That is why the techniques of struggle must take cognizance of existing
reality, and this reality includes the very institutions and ideas that
continue to control the consciousness of the majority.
Knowledge of local reality
Activists must know their reality and work
within that reality in order to change it. Parents are very much part of
Their success in involving their parent – at
least to some degree – will be a test of their ability to rally other
sectors of society.
A thorough understanding of Philippines
reality will insure correct techniques of struggle. To persist in
mastering only foreign models based on the experience of other nations
would result in a doctrinaire and sectarian point of view.
The theory that activist study is a
distillation of concrete experiences which have both universal and
particular validity. If this theory is to guide local experience
effectively, it must be applied creatively and this means recognizing its
universal and particular character.
The correct determination of what is
applicable to the local situation will depend on the depth of our
understanding of local reality. Later on, local experience can become the
basis for a further development of theory which will have universal and
Theory is practice congealed. Therefore,
reading and studying theory can be considered a form of practice. This
theory should guide practice, but not blindly. Our duty is to be able to
derive our own theoretical formulations from our own practice in order
that our experiences may also become of practice congealed.
Activists need more thorough grounding in
Philippines history and society. Concomitant with this weakness is the
failure to remember that, to effect revolutionary change, there is need to
rally the most diverse elements of society to form a united front of all
sectors that see the need for change. Or, perhaps the need is recognized
but there is insufficient understanding of how this is to be achieved.
Some activists disdain those who only
partially accept their goals. They may have failed to appreciate the fact
that the struggle must be undertaken on various levels of consciousness
and therefore they must give special regard for allies who may not yet
have the same level of awakening that they have.
The struggle is a protracted one. The power
of the state and the influence of imperialism still cannot be minimized.
That is why the battle must be waged with extreme creativity on all fronts
and the knowledge that a protracted struggle may consume lifetime of
endeavor. What is needed is patience, humility, integrity, dedication, and
patriotism. A resolute struggle must be waged against impatience,
arrogance, intellectual dishonesty, instability and opportunism.
Changing people is a long and difficult
process, for it requires not merely change in political viewpoint but also
change in character. Part of the struggle, then, has to be internalized,
since some activists still carry with them many attitudes of the society
they reject such as dogmatism, opportunism, vindictiveness, vanity,
anti-intellectualism and lack of discipline.
In the struggle with older people and with
the rest of society, a change in attitude, emanating from an internal
change will be more effective than a thousand manifestoes. For in the
behavior of the activists themselves the rest of society expects to see an
aspect of the future society that is being advocated.
Growing up and growing young
The young are growing; the old must grow
young. In situations develop and eventually fossilize and along with them
the thinking of men.
If parents of today do not march with the
youth, they will be left behind and will deserve only the censure of
history. If the youth fail to enlist the active participation of other
sectors of society, their movement will suffer from a fatal distortion.
In an intolerable society, the task of working for revolutionary change is the duty and the privilege of all patriots, young and old.
|UP-Manila Graduation rites, April 20, 2012 ▼|
University of the Philippines - Cebu
Photos and caption by Tochi Pat
University of the Philippines - Los Baños
April 28, 2012
Photos by UPLB Zoom Out
UPLB Zoomout members face police and military harassment while on
immersion with local farmers
PRESS RELEASE APRIL 27 ,2012
|Polytechnic University of the Philippines|
UP Graduation rallies in early 70s