The Formation of MAKIBAKA

20 09 2009

“Women Hold up Half the Sky”

-Mao Zedong

“A woman’s place is in the struggle.”

-Assata Shakur

With the anniversary of Martial Law in the Philippines coming up September 21st, It is always important to remember the tragedies no matter how much they left a stain on democracy in history.  It is important to remember, but even more important to draw from the lessons of that era so the same atrocities can not be repeated today.  With the outbreak of Martial Law, Marcos waged a fight against the Communist and the New People’s Army-his target, anyone who aided the Maoist which included civilians.  Students formed Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth), an underground student organization that aimed to guide students to win a democratic revolution steered away from corrupt bureaucrats that have always been puppets to foreign powers like Spain, America, and Japan.  They went underground to protect their lives while continuing to educate and organize.  Any protests they held were considered to be anti-government and therefore communists in the eyes of the corrupt Marcos.  Last year, I paid respects to  the legacy of KM so this year, I pay my respects to MAKIBAKA.

Guerilla Woman takes up the Arm Struggle

Guerilla Woman takes up the Arm Struggle

By Judy M. Taguiwalo

The formation of MAKIBAKA

The national democratic youth organizations prior to the First Quarter Storm already recognized the need for drawing in the participation of women in the movement. A women’s bureau was part of the organizational structure of the Kabataang Makabayan upon its formation in 1964. The need for a particular machinery for women is based on the movement’s recognition of the particularity of women’s oppression and on the political premise of the crucial need to draw the support of women for the movement as they comprise “half of the sky”. Young female students and professionals joined Kabataang Makabayan and other youth organizations on the basis of the political program for national sovereignty and genuine democracy. The potential of women’s emancipation through participation in the revolutionary struggle was borne out by information on strides women have made in countries where revolutions were victorious. However, even with the rise in the number of women members and the existence of a women’s bureau within the youth organizations, theoretical and concrete practical work related to women’s issues was limited. For example, the celebration of March 8 as International Women’s Day would not be commemorated until 1971.

The reemergence of a women’s movement in the post-world war II period was marked by the formation in April 1970 of an all-women’s group, the Malayang Kilusang ng Bagong Kababaihan (Free Movement of New Women) with the inspired acronym of MAKIBAKA which is the Filipino term for struggle.

MAKIBAKA’s formation was an offshoot of the broader political movement and was influenced by the activities of the women’s liberation in the west that have been reported in the mainstream media. Women activists from the various national democratic youth organizations banded together to launch the first militant all-women activity, a picket of a major beauty contest which echoed a women’s action in London in that year. This initial activity was significant not merely because of its all-women character but also because it raised for the first time a woman-specific issue; the commodification of women through beauty contests, a concern never before addressed by the national movement. As a result of this activity, several women activists decided to transform MAKIBAKA from its initial character as a loose coalition to a distinct all-women youth organization.

Advancing the Women’s Liberation Movement in the Philippines

MAKIBAKA became one of the youth organizations espousing and propagating an anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-fascist line in what was then called the “Second Propaganda Movement” recognizing its links with the “First Propaganda Movement” which was the precursor of the founding of the Katipunan and the 1896 Philippine revolution. MAKIBAKA’s uniqueness was in its efforts to elaborate on the general statements that working class women suffer double oppression as members of their class and as women and that women can perform general and specific tasks in the movement. Read the rest of this entry »

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