Testament of an Unknown Revolutionary

20 03 2011

After a one year hiatus, I am back with a repost of Testament of an Unknown Revolutionary.  Flames of revolution still continue in the Philippines and around the world despite counter-insurgency tactics led by U.S. Imperialists, their allies, and their reactionary puppets.

Testament of an Unknown Revolutionary

by Robert Whymant

Published in the Guardian on January 21, 1974

Whether Solita Esternon is her real name, her alias in the revolutionary movement, or an arbitrary invention still remains unknown to the interrogators in the military prison at Sorsogon.

What they have established so far is that the woman they are holding is a 24 year old university student and a cadre in the Maoist guerrilla organization, the New People’s Army (NPA) until she was caught in December. They have found too, that she is four months pregnant.

According to her captors, the para-military Philippines Constabulary, she’s a “hard-core” case, she was carrying a loaded .3 calibre pistol when arrested, and is believed to have been entrusted with the delicate task of establishing a base in Sorsogon City.

Her rigid espousal of the necessity for armed struggle, her refusal to compromise by disclosing information about her comrades’ whereabouts will make her a tough subject to re-educate, they say. Read the rest of this entry »


If Teachers are Boring, Why Not Sleep in Class?

23 09 2009

Reposted from Kasama

Since we are talking about early attempts at Maoist education in Nepal, it may be worth visiting what Mao Zedong himself wrote about schools and education. All his life Mao urged rebellion against official authority and the questioning of traditional teachings. Not surprisingly, that led him to have a very radical critique of the  educational system inherited from feudal, imperial China — with its worship of obediance, subservience, memorization of classic texts, divorce of theory and practice, and measuring merit by tests.

Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution

Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution

The following are excerpts from Mao’s remarks at the spring festival(February 13, 1964), given two years before the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) and before the creation of the Red Guard movement of youth to revolutionize schools and society.

Along with the real and restless radicalism of his approach, what stands out how organically rooted Mao’s analysis is in Chinese conditions — in the actual conditions of education at that time, and in the historical development of intellectual training within that society. It also stands out how difficult the struggle for transformation was — Mao expressed strong and unmistakable views here, and very specific proposals for transformation, but it would take the great storms of the GPCR to even start to revolutionize Chinese education in these new ways.

This is the talk where Mao made his quip that “It’s no fun being a running dog. ” He makes an interesting passing reference to Cuba (which had only recently completed its revolution): “Revisionism is being rebuffed everywhere…. In Cuba they listen to half and reject half; they listen to half because they can’t do otherwise, since they don’t produce oil or weapons.”

But, below we are only excerpting those sections and exchanges that deal specifically with education.

* * * * * * * *

Mao Zedong: Today I want to talk to you about the problem of education. Progress has been made in industry, and I think that there should be same changes in education too. The present state of affairs won’t do. In my opinion the line and orientation [fanchen] in education are correct, but the methods are wrong, and must be changed. Present here today are comrades from the Central Committee, comrades from within the Party, comrades from outside the Party, comrades from the Academy of Sciences.

The period of schooling should be shortened somewhat…

At present, there is too much studying going on, and this is exceedingly harmful. There are too many subjects at present, and the burden is too heavy, it puts middle school and university students in a constant state of tension. Cases of short sight are constantly multiplying among primacy and middle-school students. This can’t be allowed to go on unchanged.

The syllabus should be chopped in half. The students should have time for recreation, swimming, playing ball, and reading freely outside their course work. Confucius only professed the six arts — rites, music, archery, chariot-driving, poetry and history — but he produced four sages: Yen Hui, Tseng-tzu, Tzu Lu and Mencius. It won’t do for students just to read books all day, and not to go in for cultural pursuits, physical education, and swimming, not to be able to run around, or to read things outside their courses, etc…. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »