Youth On The March
by Jose Maria Sison
(Published in the Philippines Free Press, November 2, 1968)
A NATION that does not continuously renew itself through
progressive-minded and militant youth cannot possibly advance. A world of
timid and apathetic youth will merely feed all the regimes of injustice
and exploitation with a constant flow of manpower for exploited labor and
cannon fodder for unjust wars. Even a revolutionary society, say, a
socialist one, would stagnate and be thereafter corrupted if the process
of renewal and of continuous revolution is neglected or deliberately held
It is in the very nature of the world and of history that while there are
youth who question and fight the outdated order, striving to build a new
system or reach a new stage of development in which they stand to gain.
The problem of succession through the youth is common to both
reactionaries and revolutionaries. The reactionaries strive to preserve an
educational and cultural system that molds the thinking and behavior
patterns of the youth in a conservative way. The true revolutionaries work
to make all parts of their superstructure correspond to the mode of
existence of their society. Just as reactionaries zealously try to
preserve a heritage of exploitation, the true revolutionaries look after
their successors in the march towards greater social progress.
The youth are divisible into two conflicting sides of history, each side
trying to influence the apathetics in the middle sections of the political
spectrum. It is necessary to recognize that the youth, more than their
elders, are more receptive to what is new and progressive.
This receptiveness is sharply seen in crises, when the old ruling classes
and the old authorities no longer can rule the old way and resist change.
As the crisis ripens, a youthful movement and leadership inevitably
emerges with the new ideology, the new political program and the new
course of action. No matter what social class ascends to replace the old
ruling class, it relies on the ever expanding adherence of the youth to
what is new and progressive. Even the youth in self-satisfied centers of
learning in the Establishment raise the banner of change.
We are living today in a world of crises, marked by rapid emergence of the
new and rabid resistance of the old. Never has the world been so shaken as
now. The forces of socialism and national liberation are striking down the
ramparts of imperialism and local reactionary power with global sweep. We
are in the midst of radical choice.
We are in a world where old verities and old structures are the target of
angry yet positive, critical but constructive, mass actions of the youth
and the people.
"To rebel is justified!" is the battle cry of the youth of China. There
the youth came to be known the world over as the Red Guards. Millions
mobilized all over China and, because of our proximity to China, we could
almost hear the sound of their marches. Supported by the masses, they
brought down the bourgeois academic authorities (reactionary teachers and
administrators) and demanded a change in the educational system. Again,
together with the masses, the Red Guards gathered enough strength to
topple down degenerate government and party officials taking the
Where but in their own schools did the Red Guards start their great
proletarian cultural revolution? They saw their schools reflecting society
incorrectly. They acted to rectify the irresponsiveness of schools and
school authorities to the needs and demands of workers and peasants. At
the University of Peking, the whole earth-shaking phenomenon called the
great proletarian cultural revolution started with big posters denouncing
the highly-placed miscreants.
From the confines of academic walls, the youth took to the streets to
muster support from the masses of the people. Soon, because of the
relationship between school and society, the masses saw the point of the
ReD Guards. The Chinese youth became, in the May 4th Movement, a vanguard
force of enlightenment, arousing not only their own new generation but the
broad masses of the people. They could have been easily pushed back by the
reactionaries but for the overwhelming support of the masses who
themselves fully participated in the most extensive democracy and mass
learning ever witnessed by mankind.
What the Red Guards did in China also transpired in France, United States,
West Germany, Italy, Brazil, Uruguay, and Mexico. The youth form a
progressive force and subsequently strive to merge with the masses on the
basis of basic popular demands against U.S. imperialism and the various
stripes of local reactionaries.
The seizure of entire universities as Columbia University, the Sorbonne
and many others in Latin America and Western Europe is similar to the
seizure of Chinese universities by the Chinese youth.
In France, the youth seized the university and then took the streets in
the Latin Quarter. All this was followed by something more extensive and
more profound as the general strike of French workers and farmers which
still haunts De Gaulle's regime. A few tens of thousands of youth started
what subsequently embraced more than ten millions workers and farmers,
frightening the reactionaries and compelling them to unleash the violence
of the state. The French youth became truly strong politically with the
support given them by the masses of workers and farmers.
Let us compare the progressive actions of militant youth with those much
ballyhooed in the Western press as exemplary models of youth rebellion.
In Eastern Europe, particularly in Czechoslovakia and Poland, the
ultra-revisionist youth press for rapid liberalization, which means a
faster return of capitalism and collaborative relation with the United
States and West Germany.
In Asia, we are witness to youth movements which helped overthrow certain
regimes, Syngman Rhee's in South Korea and Sukarno's in Indonesia. These
youth actions differ radically from what transpired in China. In the
former, the existing corrupt state was retained and the old problems of
exploitation and bureaucratic corruption aggravated. The change was not
actually made by the youth, together with the masses, but by the
reactionary army which always tries to preserve the old state. In Korea,
General Park Chung Hee merely took advantage of youth unrest against
Syngman Rhee and seized power by coup d' etat over the heads of the
masses. In Indonesia, the same thing happened with Generals Nasution and
Suharto replacing Sukarno. The previous character of the state did not
Summarizing all these phenomena, we can state that the youth can be
revolutionary only if supported by the masses in effecting a basic
transformation of the state. Separated from the struggle of the masses,
the youth only lead themselves into spasms of anarchy, a situation easily
taken advantage of by reactionary army officers and other kinds of palace
It is worthwhile to differentiate revolutionary youth from
counter-revolutionary youth. If there were youth attracted to the swastika
of Hitler's Jungen, there were also youth who joined partisan movements
all over Europe, who fought fascism and triumphed in the end over the
German war machine. If there are youth enlisted in the armed forces of the
United States on missions of genocide in Vietnam, there are more American
youth in the anti-imperialist, anti-war and anti-draft movement. There are
also the rebellious black youth in the ghettoes. The young hoodlums
backstopped by the reactionary armies of Indonesia, South Korea and other
client states of the U.S. who go into rampages against progressives and
democrats of their own countries, are counterpointed by the revolutionary
youth who join the masses fighting against established system of
exploitation and suppression.
We see the revolutionary courage and heroism of Vietnamese youth fighting
American aggression in their country. The People's Liberation Armed Forces
of South Vietnam are youthful faces.
The Filipino youth have had their own share of revolutionary struggles -
against the Spanish colonialists, against the American imperialists,
against the Japanese fascists. A revolutionary civil war has once occurred
within the living memory of many of today's youth; constantly threatening
imperialists and landlords, it pins its hopes on the youth.
Youth is the best fighting age. This is not meant to exclude progressive
adults from the ranks of revolutionaries: after all, no matter how old
they may be, they are still young in spirit because of revolutionary
experience and continuing revolutionary commitment.
Both old and young are subsumed by classes, drawn into the contention of
classes and nations, with the young grasping earliest the new and
It is the youth in the tradition of the Philippine revolution, of Andres
Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto and Gregorio del Pilar we are most concerned
with. They shed their blood on the battle field against foreign tyrants
and their local minions. With the Philippines increasingly in crisis, we
expect more youth to take the uncompromising road of revolt against social
injustices. After a long lull in the countryside and in the cities, we can
observe the stirrings of a resurgent national democratic movement in the
womb of a mis-shapen semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The youth of
the city, especially students and young workers, are rising in dissent.
Young peasants are goading their elders; the youth are astir in Cotabato,
Negros, Quezon, Pampanga, in many places. The youth are the vanguard of
It is in this respect that Kabataang Makabayan, the national democratic
youth organization with the most profoundly articulate program and the
most widespread membership in the Philippines today, has called itself the
Second Propaganda Movement, apart from the connotation and the denotation
that it is striving to solve old problems. It is a movement that prepares
public opinion for the advance and triumph of working people under the
radiant banner of proletarian leadership. It seeks to arouse and mobilize
the masses towards the achievement of a national democracy that is new and
progressive within the context of the most radical advances made by
mankind and the working class. It seeks to project the ideological and
political principles that can provide scientific direction to social
With Kabataang Makabayan in the vanguard, the Filipino youth are striving
for progress and social justice. They have demonstrated a militance
comparable to the youth of other lands and those in previous stages of our
national history. They have manifested a profound understanding of basic
problems and of the day's issues.
With Kabataang Makabayan in the vanguard, there have been demonstrations
of such depth and magnitude never before witnessed, protesting iniquities
in our social and political system. There have been demonstrations
spearheaded by KM on the murder of Filipinos in U.S. military bases, the
Parity Amendment and the Laurel-Langley Agreement, the Vietnam war, the
Retail Trade Nationalization Law and many others.
The historic actions of October 23rd and 24th of 1966 are still fresh in
the minds of the youth; these exposed the Manila Summit and caught the
U.S. President and a big complement of Asian puppets together. There have
been workers', students' and teachers' strikes participated in by
Kabataang Makabayan. All the time the character of the bourgeois state is
displayed before the unarmed protestants.
In schools all over the country, especially in the University of the
Philippines, there is a growing ferment manifested often by student
action. In the working class movement, the young workers are reassuming
leadership. In the countryside, the youth are more articulate and critical
of the old problem of feudalism than the officials of the barrio council
and community development projects of the reactionaries.
Alone, demonstrations, speeches and leaflets cannot bring about the
fundamental change of basic governmental policies but they certainly
arouse the masses and even goad certain sections of the urban petty
bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie to question the basic tenets of
the neo-colonial regime. They also discourage blatant abuses by the
Whatever its detractors say, the Kabataang Makabayan on the basis of
present objective conditions has become a milestone in the long march of
national democratic revolution. Is there any Philippine youth organization
now, comparable in strength and achievement in the national democratic
movement? The KM has made certain achievements that can no longer be
disregarded by history. Prof. Teodoro A. Agoncillo has taken note of these
in his History of the Filipino People. Its merits lie not only in its acts
of democratic protest, in militating the people, but also in its more
quiet acts of spreading the tenets of national democracy in urban and
A whole range of challenges to the Filipino youth are contained in the
national democratic program of action of the Kabataang Makabayan. This
program defines the conditions and tasks of the Filipino youth. As we
protest, we affirm the direction we are taking.
In the political field, we want to arouse and mobilize the Filipino youth
as a powerful coordinate of the masses led by the working class in the
great movement to realize the national democratic revolution. We are
committed to assisting the development of a powerful mass movement and a
working class leadership that can transform the character of the present
state and rid ourselves of the malignant rule of the comprador
bourgeoisie, the landlords and the corrupt government officials.
In the economic field, we seek national industrialization independent of
the foreign monopolies on the basis of an agrarian revolution that
liberates the peasants from feudal and semi- feudal oppression. We
envision a just and prosperous society that is made possible only by the
most intense and most effective political struggles of workers and
peasants. We do not seek crumbs from the well-laden table of the almighty
few but we seek general economic conditions that will not foster class
In the cultural field, we demand the national democratic re- orientation
of our educational system, mass media and other parts of the social
superstructure. We reject the colonial-feudal and bourgeois-imperialist
culture that restrain the advance of the exploited masses and all other
progressive sectors of the population. At a time when the youth are
corrupted by a backward and decadent culture, we urge the rising Filipino
youth, a fresh force,to overthrow such regressive and anti-popular culture
and make possible a new and progressive one responsive to the aspirations
of the nation and the masses.
In the field of social welfare and mass work, we seek the improvement of
the working and living conditions of the masses of workers, peasants,
fishermen and all semi-proletariat. The youth must help them develop the
political strength that can guarantee whatever economic gains have been
made. They must take the mass line, that is, rouse them on the basis of
their own concrete demands and rely on their massive efforts to contend
with the exploiters. They must help heighten the political consciousness
of the masses in the course of participating in their economic struggle.
In the field of national security, we demand the abolition of the
country's dependence on foreign military bases and dictation. We base our
concept of national security on the sovereign democratic powers of the
masses. If the masses can succeed in freeing themselves from U.S.
imperialist control and from their local exploiters, it will be impossible
for another foreign power to subject them to another successful
aggression. The mythical possibility of another foreign aggression is no
justification for the reality of a perpetuated aggression against the
nation and the masses by U.S. imperialism and local exploiting classes.
Our well-entrenched enemy keeps saying our friends are our enemies in
order to present himself as our friend.
In the field of foreign policy, we seek an independent diplomacy and
trade, a broadening of the present state of our foreign relations and a
rejection of the stultifying "special relations" with the U.S. government,
U.S. imperialism has so much control over our national life that the
simpletons and deliberate liars in our midst keep spreading that we rally
merely on foreign policy issues when the fact is that there are perfectly
domestic issues even as a foreign power is the target of our opposition.
That is because such a foreign power is well-entrenched in our politics,
economy, culture and security system; this is all-round domination by the
imperialists on the basis of the semi-feudal debility of the country.
The tasks of the national-democratic movement, the entire Filipino youth,
and the Kabataang Makabayan are clear. In schools, farms, factories and
communities, new cells of change are multiplying before the sweep of the
Second Propaganda Movement.
The unfulfilled aspirations of the nation and the masses throb in the
hearts and minds of the young. This generation strives to recoup the
failures of the past and girds for the triumphs of the future. As the
progressive youth movement and the Kabataang Makabayan struggle for
fundamental changes, they will be defamed by the overt and covert enemies
of national democracy but they will triumph in the end.
Only through militant struggle can the best in youth shall emerge. Only
through the struggle can become more evident the constant replenishment of
the fighting forces by the ceaseless flow of new blood.
THE MERCENARY TRADITION OF
by Jose Maria Sison
(Speech delivered by Jose Maria sison before the Junior and Senior classes
of the Philippine Military Academy, Fort Del Pilar, Baguio City on October
I UNDERSTAND that an increasing number of officers and rank and filers of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines are reconsidering their traditions and
the basic postulates by which commands have been sent down from the top
with the most rigid discipline characteristic of the military
In the Philippine Military Academy, I would presume that the fresher minds
of young men are striving to clarify that the true military tradition
which every Filipino must be proud of and whose spirit must be imbued with
should hark back to the Katipunan and the Philippine revolution.
On the surface, every soldier of the government carries with him the
initial of the Katipunan on his uniform. The Philippine Military Academy
carries the name of the great anti-imperialist general, Gregorio del Pilar,
who fought both against the Spanish colonialism and U.S. imperialism. He
died fighting U.S. imperialism, faithful to the sovereignty of the
Filipino people but betrayed by a fellow Filipino who showed the
imperialist soldiers how, in familiar Yankee slang, to rub him out at
We are once again at a point in our national history where the body
politic is pervaded by the collective desire to assert our people's
sovereignty and to give substance to those forms of seeming independence
that a foreign power has conceded as a measure of compromise and chicanery
in its favor. There is now an evident political flow involving all
patriotic classes, groups and individuals. Our people as a whole,
including those who have been conservative, are beginning to re-examine
the status of our national life and the strategic relations that have
bound us from the beginning of this century.
An intensive inquiry is now being made as to how our society has remained
semi-colonial and semi-feudal; as to how our political system has not
actually permitted the masses of our people to enjoy the bounty of genuine
democracy; as to how an imperialist culture wedded to a colonial culture
has persisted; as to how some of us have persisted in considering
themselves under the protection of a foreign power which extracts
super-profits from our country and which constantly involves it in selfish
imperialist enmities throughout Asia and throughout the world in the guise
of a religious crusade called anti-communism.
We fear aggression and supposedly we prepare for it. But many of us forget
the aggression that has succeeded in perpetuating itself within our
shores. Many of us lose sight of the fact that actually a foreign
aggressor persists within our territory, always trying to cause petty
confusion among our people and trying to retain the present local
officialdom as a mere bunch of overseers for its selfish imperialist
A conservative man like Speaker Cornelio Villareal has exposed in a series
of articles in the Manila Times, the fact that the Joint United States
Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) has developed a built-in control of our
armed forces through its firm control of logistics, intelligence, planning
and personnel training on a strategic level. Guided no less by his
experience, Rep. Carmelo Barbero, an ex-army officer, has also made
statements in support of the contention that an undue amount of foreign
control exists within the very machinery upon which the people are
supposed to depend for their national security.
It should be pertinent to ask whether we should allow the Armed Forces of
the Philippines to continue in the mercenary tradition of the Civil Guards
of Spanish times, the Macabebes, the Philippine Scouts and the USAFFE
under direct U.S. command and the Ganaps and puppet constabulary of the
Japanese imperialists. Is the military willing to reject this mercenary
tradition and replace it with the revolutionary spirit of the Katipunan?
After the successful U.S. imperialist aggression which started in 1898,
the aggressor has made use of so many devices in the exercise of its
superior military and financial power converting so many of our countrymen
into their mercenaries and puppets. We have indeed come a long way from
the martyrdom of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar and the uncompromising stand
against U.S. imperialism of Gen. Antonio Luna. Only the slogan of
"benevolent assimilation" seems to be able to ring a bell and make some of
us the running dogs in a successful Pavlovian experiment of U.S.
imperialism. These running dogs in every field of our national can only
respond to the imperialist bell; they forget the principle of redeeming
themselves as true patriots in the present situation and of redeeming the
hundreds of thousands of patriotic Filipinos who died in fighting the U.S.
aggressors only a few decades ago.
From the point of view of our revolutionary patriots who would rather die
than surrender and compromise with the U.S. imperialists, our fellow
countrymen who went over to the side of the enemy and became the core of
the American-trained Philippine military were no different from the Civil
Guards who were indios but who served the interests of the Spanish
No foreign aggressor can successfully stay in the Philippines without
adopting a divide-and-rule policy; without being able to direct a
significant number of our countrymen to fight their fellow countrymen.
If we trace the military history of the Philippines, we would realize that
a foreign power succeeds in imposing its rule by making use of a part of
our countrymen against fellow countrymen. The Spaniard Magellan thought it
wise to side with King Humabon against Lapu-lapu. This was the pattern of
military activity that the colonialists employed to retain control of the
Philippines for more than three centuries. One barangay cooperative to the
colonizers was used against another uncooperative barangay. Visayan
recruits impressed into the Civil Guards were used to pacify Tagalog areas
and keep colonial peace and order while fostering regional antagonism. The
recruits in one island were used to quell resistance in another island. In
trying to expand the area of its colonial domination, the Spaniards made
use of their recruits in Luzon and Visayas to fight the great people of
Mindanao. Peasant recruits whose own class was being oppressed in the
Philippines were sent on expeditions to
fight Spanish wars in the Mollucas, Borneo, Carolines, and Indo-China. Dr.
Jose Rizal depicted this colonial irony in the Story of Cabesang Tales and
son Tano. In El Filibusterismo, the former was being oppressed by the
colonial masters, the friar landlords, but his son was impressed into the
colonial military service to fight the inhabitants of the Carolines.
Subsequently, when he was re-assigned to his own country, Tano was
perplexed why he had to become the instrument for the suppression of his
own people. In one engagement he had to fight his own father, with the nom
de guerre Matanglawin, and in the process killed his own grandfather,
Tandang Selo. This is a sad story of a peasant enlisted to fight his own
Under U.S. imperialism, many Filipinos have been converted into
mercenaries and with their military service set back the Philippine
revolution. It was with the help of such traitors that Gen. del Pilar was
killed in battle, Aguinaldo captured and the Philippine revolution
subsequently broken. After the pacification of Luzon and Visayas, the
mercenaries from these islands were employed as the first units of the
Philippine Constabulary that helped Gen. Pershing pursue his bestial
mission of subjugating the people of Mindanao by military force. Under
Japanese imperialism, many Filipinos also became the armed agents used to
kill and suppress the patriotic movement of their own people. In the style
of all foreign aggressors, the Japanese imperialists made use of Korean
and Taiwanese conscripts to help them overrun Southeast Asia.
In this same fashion, U.S. imperialism has used Filipino troops in Korea
and South Vietnam to fight their fellow Asians. Vietnam today suffers from
military campaigns waged by a mercenary Vietnamese army and by mercenary
troops from other Asian countries under the command of U.S. imperialism.
The shameless dispatch of Filipino troops in the guise of "civic action"
to Vietnam is no different from the sending of Filipino expeditionary
forces to the same place in Spanish colonial days in the middle of the
What seems to obscure the fact that U.S. imperialism continues to
perpetuate its aggression in the Philippines is our World War II
experience. Because we were on the same side against Japanese imperialism
and because there was a brief interruption of direct U.S. rule, many fell
into the misconception that U.S. imperialist aggression had already been
superseded once and for all by the Japanese imperialist aggression and,
furthermore, by the promise of fake independence. In truth, when World
Ware II ended and after the July Fourth proclamation of "independence",
the United States had succeeded in reasserting its military and economic
power over the Philippines. Its reoccupation and recontrol of the
Philippines were essentially no different from the re- institution of
Spanish colonial power after the brief British occupation of the
Philippines during the latter part of the eighteenth century. The USAFFE
siding with the U.S. imperialist against the Japanese was essentially no
different from Filipino civil guards siding with the Spaniards against the
Dutch and the British. We fought a second aggressor only to be more
subjugated by the first aggressor. We failed to make use of the war of two
aggressors to build up our own national liberation forces that could
eliminate both aggressors.
Indeed, the anti-Japanese struggle could have given the Filipino people
the chance to build up their own national liberation forces. The masses of
our people became armed and became highly organized. But they were not
armed with the correct thought of fighting for their independence from
both Japanese and U.S. imperialism. Instead, the widespread USAFFE forces
accepted and were even proud of their American commanders and they were
childishly carried away by MacArthur's seemingly innocent and romantic
slogan of "I shall return". Little did they realize that it would mean the
return of U.S. imperialism, with its bag of unequal agreements which up to
now keep our people in bondage. Despite the fact that Wainright
shamelessly surrendered to the Japanese imperialists as a mock climax to
the mock glory of Bataan and despite the fact that we, the Filipinos, did
the fighting and dying in multitudes in the absence of our American
"protectors", we would still acclaim the latter as our
"liberators". So servile are some of us to U.S. imperialism that we
obscure the fact that it was the genius, courage and patriotism of the
Filipino people which unfolded a widespread guerilla movement undermining
the substance of the Japanese aggression and breaking its backbone before
the other imperialist power came to reclaim its colony, destroy Filipino
lives and property in its mopping-up operations.
The singular achievement of the Japanese imperialists during World War II
was the brutal destruction of Filipino lives. The singular achievement of
the U.S. imperialists was the wanton destruction of Filipino homes and
property under the pretext of engaging in mopping-up operations despite
the fact that the Japanese had already fled the towns and cities in the
face of avenging Filipino partisans. The U.S. imperialists wantonly
destroyed Filipino property with their air bombardment and artillery fire
as if to prepare us for war damage payments, the war damage payments by
which we were to be forced to approve the Bell Trade Act; the war damage
payments which were given mostly to big U.S. corporations, U.S. citizens
and to church institutions. These facts are attested to by the records of
the U.S. Congress and the War Damage Commission.
In its attempt to re-institute the mercenary tradition in the military,
the U.S. government made it clear that only those guerillas it would
recognize would receive backpay and unrecognized ones had better disband
or submit themselves to American purposes. Otherwise, they would be
punished for war crimes. Filipino patriots who fought in Central Luzon and
Southern Luzon and who wished to remain independent of the imperialist
purposes of the United States were arrested, disarmed and subjected to
massacres as in the cases of Huk Squadrons 77 and 99. The conditions for
civil strife, wherein Filipinos would kill Filipinos, were prepared by the
imperialists in order to successfully re-establish their political,
economic and military power over the Philippines.
Using its armed power and its local agents, the United States succeeded in
destroying the national democratic forces opposing the Parity Amendment
and the Bell Trade Act. Likewise, under the guise of protecting the
Philippines from the Soviet Union and Communism, its erstwhile ally in the
great anti-fascist struggle, the United States succeeded in extorting from
the Filipino people a series of military agreements which directly
transgress our national sovereignty.
The 99 year U.S.-R.P. Military Bases Agreement was affected by the United
States. It has meant U.S. extra territorial control of close to 200,000
hectares of Philippine territory. More than that, it is supposed to grant
to U.S. troops exterritorial rights -- the "right" to move any part of
thee country without being bound by Filipino jurisdiction and sovereignty,
particularly when such troops are on military duty. By this "right" the
United States assumes that the Philippines is under its occupation and
Philippine sovereignty dissolves as U.S. troops by the presumption of
their government more to any point in the country. What an arrogant
presumption! The U.S. military bases as they are now, represent the
reinstallation and perpetuation of U.S. aggression against Filipino
These U.S. military bases, as they have been so in other countries serve
as the trump card of U.S. imperialist power in the country. They serve as
the grim reminder of the U.S. capability for violence against the Filipino
people in the event that they effectively reassert their sovereignty in
the uncompromising tradition of the Philippine revolution. Of course,
these military bases will be used only after so many intermediate measures
of political maneuver by American interests shall have failed. U.S.
propaganda will always claim that these military bases are here to prevent
a "communist take-over" or to prevent "communist aggression". A national
democratic take-over will certainly be called a communist take-over.
In a clear analysis of the problem of U.S. military bases in the
Philippines, Senator Claro Mayo Recto gave the lie to the claim of Yankee
protection. These bases serve only to oppose the advance of national
democratic forces and to protect U.S. investments in time of peace and
these actually serve to attract nuclear belligerence from other countries
-- enemies of the United States, not our own in time of war.
For a long time it may remain unnecessary for the U.S. government to make
any overt use of its military base in order to protect its foreign
investments in the Philippines. It has been said that after all it
controls the Armed Forces of the Philippines; that the latter can be used
to oppose the national democratic movement that wishes to remove U.S.
imperialist power in the Philippines. The national democratic movement can
always be represented as an exclusive communist "conspiracy" and its
organized forces can be subsequently attacked by the puppet armed forces.
Even the President of the Republic of the Philippines himself has to be
careful of an imperialist-inspired or CIA- inspired coup d'etat in the
event that he dares to be nationalist in the anti-imperialist sense.
President Carlos P. Garcia himself was once threatened with a coup d'etat
for dilly-dallying on decontrol.
What the Filipino people should see with regard to other military
agreements like the U.S.-R.P. Mutual Defense Treaty and the Military Pact
or SEATO Pact is the formal recognition of the "right" of the United
States to make military intervention in Philippine affairs, in the case of
the first, and the extended "right" of the United States to other
countries, in the case of the second. At this moment, while the
reactionaries in the Philippines do not yet need overt foreign troop
intervention to maintain their rule, the Philippine government is being
required to expend its limited resource for foreign adventures in the
guise of helping put out the fire on a neighbor's house. Many of us do not
yet realize that in joining U.S. imperialism, the Philippines becomes an
accomplice of the real arsonist.
It is clear that we need to reject the mercenary tradition in every field
of our national life, especially in the military. We propose the full
adoption of the patriotic tradition of the Katipunan and the Philippine
The Filipino people fought under the banner of the Katipunan and the
Philippine revolution not because they were paid to fight but because they
considered it a patriotic duty to do so. It was a people's war; and as a
people's war, our revolutionary fighters had to merge with the great
masses and they had to keep away form the city strongholds of the alien
enemy until such time that the latter had been weakened in the countryside
where its forces were thinly spread and where the forces of the revolution
could develop strong political bases over expanding areas. As it was
applied, the Filipino people's war effectively weakened Spanish
colonialism despite meager weapon at the start.
Before the Filipino revolutionary forces could seize Manila, however, the
U.S. imperialists forced, as in a coup, the transfer of power over Manila
from the Spaniards to themselves. Subsequently, the Filipino people's
power had to be directed against U.S. imperialism. But it failed because
of the flabby class leadership of the Filipino ilustrados which initiated
severe dissensions within the very ranks of the revolutionary government.
The liberal-bourgeois character of the ilustrados enraged the
anti-imperialist leader, Gen. Antonio Luna, for compromising with the
enemy and for their gullibility in the negotiations presided over by the
enemy. The ilustrado leadership resorted to murder; it had to kill Gen.
Luna in order to clear the path for compromise.
During the Japanese occupation, we showed our capability for fighting
against modern imperialism. We showed that we were capable of fighting
successfully against the Japanese invaders despite the deliberate absence
of arms distribution to the masses by the U.S. imperialists before the
imminent outbreak of war; despite the American evacuation and Wainright's
surrender order. As a matter of fact, the U.S. imperialists refused a
petition for arms distribution to anti-fascist organizations and the
masses as a measure of preparing the people for the anti-fascist struggle.
In the course of the Japanese occupation, the U.S. command in Australia
ordered all anti-Japanese forces to maintain a "lie- low" policy. This
imperialist command obviously implied distrust in the Filipino people. It
was afraid of allowing the Filipinos to develop armed self-reliance. The
U.S. imperialists cunningly planned to land arms massively to their own
agents in the USAFFE only when they themselves were about to land.
We have gained experience and confidence in the people's war of resistance
against the Japanese, nevertheless. Although we have again fallen into the
hands of the U.S. imperialists, we gained experience as a people in the
anti-Japanese war of resistance. We have shown our mastery to the
techniques of guerilla war and our ability to merge with the masses in
time of crisis; but we need now to realize that we have to be guided by a
thorough understanding of the tasks of a genuine national land social
liberation and the motive forces that need to be impelled with the proper
demands so as to move correctly against the current enemy and then the
subsequent one, both of whom we should clearly identify.
We fought successfully against Japanese imperialism; we were successful in
fighting and in arming ourselves. But we were inadequate in so far as it
concerned arming ourselves ideologically and politically. Many fell for
America's false promise of independence. Many thought that genuine
independence could be granted by foreign power. The "independence" that
was indeed granted was empty of substance particularly for the masses of
our people. By arming ourselves with the correct ideology, all of us could
have acted more independently and used our resistance forces to assert our
independence form both Japan and the United States. For instance, we could
have allowed the peasant masses all over the archipelago to enjoy land
reform immediately on the lands abandoned by the landlords who sought
safety in Manila under the care of the Japanese imperialists and in
Washington under the care of the U.S. imperialists. Instead a few American
stragglers were allowed to lead the USAFFE. The
leadership of the guerilla movement was submitted to them on a silver
platter. The mercenary backpay mentality was allowed to seep and corrode
the patriotic movement. Until now, some of us suffer the humiliation of
mercenaries; of constantly begging for veteran's pay from a foreign
If an occasion like the anti-Japanese struggle should again arise, we must
make use of all our lessons as a people and strike out on our own as
independent force, independent of the strategic demands of a foreign power
like the United States. It is not only that we on our own have learned our
lessons or that we have developed as a more forceful nation, but it is
also that we find ourselves now at a certain level o world development
that is far higher than that on which we found ourselves during the
Japanese occupation. National liberation movements are now all over the
world; the socialist states have the capability of scattering and
weakening the imperialist power of the United States; U.S. imperialism in
increasingly weakened by the very over-extension of its power and the
consistent opposition of peoples all over the world.
The diabolic stories of "communist aggression" concocted and circulated by
U.S. propaganda have become too over-used in the Philippines. More people
are reading about the experience of the socialist countries and how on the
other hand they have been the ones subjected to imperialist intervention.
The true facts about the Korean War and Sino-Indian border dispute are now
coming to light before the Filipino intelligentsia; and the U.S.
aggression against South and North Vietnam, U.S. occupation of Taiwan and
the hundreds of U.S. intrusions into Chinese territory certainly debunk
the claim that China is the No. 1 aggressor and the United States is the
No. 1 peacemaker.
"Communist aggression" is one of the myths we are beginning to perceive
with greater clarity. As a matter of fact, our reactionary leaders have
started to use such contradiction of terms such as "internal aggression"
and "aggression by proxy". Whenever there are labor or peasant unrests and
strikes, or anti- imperialist demonstrations of students and the youth,
the pathological anti-communists see in these dynamic expressions of
popular demands "the scheming hands of foreign communists using local
The soldiers of the government should ask themselves why in strikes they
find themselves categorically on the side of the capitalist establishment
or in agrarian conflicts, on the side of the landlords. In
anti-imperialist demonstrations, they also find themselves together with
the police lined up against unarmed ordinary people. Oftentimes, they find
themselves being briefed that these strikers and demonstrators are
I know for a fact that most of the enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines come from the peasantry. But why is it that in disputes
between the landlords and the peasants, the soldier who is actually a
peasant in government uniform, finds himself being used as a tool of the
landlord? Why point your guns at the masses and not at the foreign big
comprador and feudal interests that exploit the people?
The officers and rank and file of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
should have the honor and conviction to fight for the interest of the
people. If they should find themselves being ordered from the top to take
the side of the U.S. imperialists, the compradors, the landlords and
bureaucrat capitalists and fight the peasant masses, the workers,
progressive intelligentsia and other patriots, they should have the honor
and conviction of changing their sides and throw in their lot with the
oppressed who have long suffered from their exploiters.
"Peace and order" or "rule of law" has become the convenient slogan for
motivating the soldier against the masses who resort to their right of
free assembly and expression. In the first place, it should be asked:
Peace and order for whom? Rule of whose law? The exploited masses who
daily suffer from deprivations and exploitation must be allowed to
organize and express themselves freely. Why should they be prevented from
making clear their demands? In taking your side against the oppressed
masses, you become no different from the civilian guards of the landlords,
the private security guards of the capitalists and the sentrymen of the
U.S. Embassy and U.S. military bases.
In tracing the chain of armed power in the country, we can see that the
possession of arms is attached to property as indicated by the license
laws. So, the private entities who have most private arms are the big
compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists and yet they have the
most access to the use of the government police and armed forces. When a
certain local situation cannot be taken care of by the civilian guards,
the municipal police comes in and in a series, the Philippine
Constabulary, the Philippine Army, Air Force and ultimately, U.S. military
intervention. The chain of armed power leads to U.S. imperialism. With
this understanding, the masses have a strategic hatred for U.S.
imperialism. The exploiters and their armed satellites are recognized as
being within the same hierarchy of power, with U.S. imperialism as the
U.S. imperialist propaganda keeps on harping that there would be no more
serious threat to national security and internal peace and order without
the Communists here and abroad. People are compelled to hate Communists or
those who are construed to be Communists in the same way that the
Spaniards and the friars tried to play up hatred against Filipinos who
were called Masons and filibusteros. The Philippine military is
indoctrinated to have a violent unreasoning hatred for Communist in the
same way that the Civil Guards were indoctrinated to hate filibusteros by
the Spaniards in order to maintain their colonial loyalty.
We must realize that the masses will always be restless so long as they
are exploited. At certain stages, they may actually be quieted down by the
violent force of the state. But when they rise up again, their previous
rising, though defeated, serves as a mere dress rehearsal for a more
powerful and sweeping revolution. In 1872, our colonial masters thought
they had finished once and for all the popular protests. Only fourteen
years after, they reaped a whirlwind -- not only a stronger wave of the
secularization movement among priests but a widespread separatist movement
which wanted national independence no less.
During the fifties, the U.S. imperialists might have thought that they had
suppressed the national democratic movement for good. But as they continue
to deprive the Filipino people of true independence, they shall certainly
reap a whirlwind -- an even more powerful national democratic movement. As
the compradors and landlords have repressed the people for so long, they
await a time when the people shall in a revolutionary tempest sweep them
away from the land.
U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism are not the creation
of communist agitators. They are objective results of extended historical
processes. If the people join the nationalist or communist movement, we
should first of all consider that it is the imperialists, the compradors,
landlords and bureaucrat capitalists who shall have forced them to lose
trust in the present system. It is wrong to blame the Communists and all
other patriots for the failure of the present system that is dominated by
U.S. imperialists, compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists.
I understand that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is now trying to
engage in a "civic action" campaign more massive than the one initiated by
the late President Ramon Magsaysay. It is also sending "civic action"
groups abroad to helping the U.S. war of aggression in South Vietnam.
As a piece of psychological warfare, "civic action" has only a tactical,
superficial and temporary value if the basic problems of U.S. imperialism,
feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism remain unsolved. Even as a tactic, it
can easily be counteracted by the masses becoming conscious that "civic
action" comes only to critical areas where more basic demands for change
are being raised. Thus, there is over-concentration of "civic action"
groups in Central Luzon. The masses of may more neglected areas are
complaining that they are not being benefitted by "civic action" and that
South Vietnam has been given priority. They regard the phrase "civic
action" as a mere euphemism to deceive the people of its real military
content, particularly its psychological and intelligence functions.
Many intelligent people have access to the literature and armed forces on
"civic action" provided by the Pentagon through JUSMAG. They have
expressed disgust over the emphasis placed on psychological warfare and
deception of the people. They are disgusted over the obsession of hating
the Communists and trying the gain the initiative from them through
We can see very clearly that the "civic action" groups of the Armed Forces
of the Philippines will not at all disturb the unjust structure of private
ownership of land and the feudal and semi-feudal relations in the
countryside. As a matter of fact, they would only attempt to create the
superficial image that they are friends of the people while at the back of
that image they uphold the rule of the landlords, the U.S. imperialists,
the compradors, and the bureaucrat capitalists. They may build roads and
bridges, they may build irrigation works and help in agricultural
extension work, they may engage in sanitation work and they may perform so
many other traditionally non-military projects. They will not change the
basic social structure that keeps the masses exploited.
It was Defense Secretary Robert McNamara who first announced that the
United States will make its client-states field indigenous military forces
in the guise of "civic action" groups. The idea is to build a different
image of the local military and make it more effective in
counter-insurgency. The United States is supposed to continue providing
the military hardware as the shield but this new dimension, "civic
action", is created to deceive the people that the local military is no
longer the instrument of feudal and foreign interests or the obnoxious
parasite on the national budget. This entails the intrusion of the
military in the fields which have been traditionally in the hands of the
civilians. In other words, this requires the militarization of operations
formerly civilian in character. It is anticipated that the military will
gobble up funds that should be allocated to the departments of public
works, of health, of education and of others.
An increasing number of constitutionalists are seriously questioning the
intrusion of the military into civilian affairs. They are wary of a
developing process of fascization that might eventually push out civilian
supremacy. What with the increasing control by military men of civilian
offices. In accordance with this new method adopted by the Pentagon and
implemented locally by the JUSMAG, the military is being made to operate
in such a way as to take over civilian operations and to gain political
influence. Indeed, it is evident in Asia, Africa and Latin America that
when the United States becomes insecure over its control of the
client-states it resorts to local fascism; for after all a local fascism
depends on the military hardware and financial support of its imperialist
Another subversive development that needs careful watching is the reverse
intrusion of certain organizations into the military. There are those
narrow-minded forces wanting to develop a clerico-fascism of the Franco
and Salazar type. They wish to combine the sword and the cross. Not yet
satisfied with the undue amount of foreign control and influence in the
Armed Forces of the Philippines, a certain sectarian movement has carried
over from Spain and Portugal certain fascist techniques and has been
systematically "brainwashing" military men and police officers in a manner
opposed to the principle of rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's and
rendering unto Christ what is Christ's.
Again under the banner of anti-communism, men are being led into
anti-democracy. As believers of the freedom of religion, we need to be
alert to any clerico fascist movement that will reverse Philippine history
to that long period wherein the exploiting power had a cross in one hand
and a sword in the other. We do not want to revive a monster. Those who
believe in liberal democracy are now deeply troubled by certain Jesuit
priests with C.I.A. credentials. Certainly, we not wish to have a
large-scale revival of Padre Damasos and Padre Salvis.
Let us above all strive for national democracy in this country. For our
national security, let us rely above all on the strength and national
unity of the people. That national unity can only be created if we are
bound with the masses in a common struggle against U.S. imperialism,
feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
The political system is dominated by the political agents of the U.S.
imperialists, big compradors and landlords. The officers and men of the
Armed Forces of the Philippines themselves have become victims of both the
petty and grand political discriminations made by one political faction or
another of the ruling class of exploiters.
Officers and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should learn
to disobey U.S. imperialism and the local exploiting classes and learn to
side with the masses in their basic demands. Of course, it is really
futile to expect the entire machinery of the state to go over to the
masses even in time of the most decisive crisis when the ruling classes
are entirely discredited. But these officers and men who join the masses
in their fight against U.S. imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat
capitalism, can always hasten the victory of the masses.
A movement within the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be started to
reclaim alienated territory of the Philippine government from the U.S.
government. We must uphold Filipino sovereignty over the U.S. military
bases in the Philippines. We must place these military bases under
Filipino command. We should demand the immediate termination of the U.S.-R.P.
Military Agreement as an instrument nullifying our sovereignty.
The true sons of Bonifacio, Emilio Jacinto, Gregorio del Pilar, and
Antonio Luna within the armed forces should reject U.S. military
dictation. They should reject the Military Assistance pact and the JUSMAG
as instruments of foreign control and influence over the Philippine
military. They should reject all psychological warfare measures such as
"civic action" and others, that have been proposed by U.S.
counter-insurgency experts to deceive the people who must be patriotically
assisted in their struggle to liberate themselves from U.S. imperialism,
feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism.
Let us not depend on one power which abuses our sovereignty and takes
advantage of our people. Let us stop U.S. indoctrination in the armed
forces and the police force so that an anti- imperialist and democratic
orientation can be propagated among them.
We should rely on the patriotism, courage and capability of the people in
defending themselves. We demonstrated in the anti- Japanese struggle ad
other struggles that we could actually convert the enemy into a supplier
of arms for the masses by capturing them. Let us dismiss the imperialist
presumption that we can only be under the protection of a foreign power.
In this era of worldwide people's war against colonialism, imperialism and
neo-colonialism, we are in a position not only to learn from our local
experience but also from the struggles of so many other peoples. Let us
not repeat the mistakes of Aguinaldo in the Filipino-American War. Let us
not again make the mistake of being fooled by U.S. imperialism. In this
era of mounting world-wide anti-imperialist movements, the main enemy has
become unmistakably clear and objectively the national struggle shall be
assisted by external developments to an extent higher than any other point
in Philippine history.
Let us withdraw from the U.S.-R.P. Mutual Defense Treaty because it is a
license for the United States to intervene militarily in out national
Let us withdraw from the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization because it is
essentially an anti-Southeast Asia compact controlled by non-Southeast
Asian imperialist powers. Let us redeem in the eyes of our fellow Asians
from the ignominy of having long been dominated by U.S. imperialism.
We have long been curtained off by the United States from a huge part of
the world. Many of us have long believed in the servile line that the
enemies of the United States are also the enemies of the Philippines.
Let us be more aware of the present world reality. Let us be aware and let
us take advantage of the contradictions among the imperialist powers and
the contradictions between socialism and capitalism. Let us join the
international united front against U.S. imperialism and its accomplices.
Let us turn the present world situation to out national democratic