KABATAANG MAKABAYAN FOUNDING SPEECH
by Prof. Jose Maria Sison
(Speech delivered before the Founding Congress of Kabataang
Makabayan at the YMCA Youth Forum Hall on November 30, 1964)
x x x Itinuturo ng katwiran ang tayo'y umasa sa ating sarili at
huwag antayin sa iba ang ating kabuhayan. Itinuturo ng katwiran
ang tayo'y maglakas na maihapag ang naghaharing kasamaan sa ating
Panahon na ngayon x x x dapat nating ipakilala na tayo'y may
sariling pagdaramdam, may puri, may hiya at pagdadamayan. Ngayon
ay panahong dapat simulan ang pagsisiwalat ng mga mahal at
dakilang aral na magwawasak sa masinsing tabing na bumubulag sa
ating kaisipan; panahon na ngayong dapat makilala ng mga Pilipino
ang pinagbuhatan ng kanilang mga kahirapan. x x x
Kaya, mga kababayan, ating idilat ang bulag na kaisipan at kusang
igugol sa kagalingan ang ating lakas sa tunay at lubos na pag-asa
na magtagumpay sa nilalayong kaginhawahan ng bayang tinubuan.
NO MORE PROPITIOUS day than this can be chosen to found Kabataang
Makabayan. Today is the 101st birth anniversary of Andres
Bonifacio, a great hero from the proletariat, who in the vigor of
his youth led the secret society of Katipunan and mobilized the
patriotic forces that generated the Philippine revolution of 1896
- the revolution which smashed Spanish colonialism throughout the
Andres Bonifacio was the disciplined revolutionary activist who
sought and found in revolution the only process that could give
full expression to the national and social aspirations of our
people which had so long been suppressed by a foreign power
prettified by the soft and evasive terms of liberal reformers.
Andres Bonifacio was the uncompromising leader who was not only
inspired by the cogitations and formulations of the Propaganda
Movement but was also ready to act in concert with his people in
armed struggle against tyranny the moment peaceful and legal
struggle reached the white wall of futility.
Thus, Andres Bonifacio today stands as a model of revolutionary
militance among the Filipino youth and among the advocates of
national democracy. His revolutionary courage is a beacon to us
all. If Kabataang Makabayan succeeds in its patriotic mission,
one important requirement it shall have met is to be imbued with
the revolutionary courage of Andres Bonifacio, the courage that
gives life and force to the principles that we now uphold in this
We recall the memory of Andres Bonifacio not only because we
happen to meet on this day but more because we understand his
continuing historical relevance to our present situation and we
perceive the leading role of his class in this epoch during which
our national efforts at basic industrialization and overthrowing
feudalism are constantly frustrated by U.S. imperialism and its
local reactionary allies.
We remember that, after the death of Bonifacio, the revolutionary
initiative of the peasants and the workers in the Katipunan and
the anti-colonialist struggle in general was undermined and
debilitated by the liberal compromises made by the ilustrado
leadership. The compromises came one after the other: the Pact of
Biak-na-Bato, Aguinaldo's trust in Yankee confidence-men in
Hongkong, the bourgeois-landlord upper hand in the Malolos
Congress, and the ultimate surrender of the ilustrados and
collaboration with the U.S. imperialist regime.
Though we are aggrieved by the fact that the Philippine
revolution has been interrupted and that U.S. imperialism has
grabbed the triumph of revolution from our hands, we must take a
scientific view of our national history. We recognize such
objective historical conditions as that no matter how sharply
anti-colonial and anti-clerical were the ilustrados they did not
yet have the ability to comprehend fully modern imperialism; that
the working class was still in the embryo stage of its
development; that the peasants in the provinces were misled by
the equivocating demagoguery of both native landlords and
liberals; and that U.S. imperialism was not only superior in
industrial might but also well-versed in a liberal jargon which
could easily deceive the newly-emerged Filipino bourgeoisie.
U.S. imperialism came to the Philippines and succeeded in
imposing its sovereignty upon our people by military violence and
by liberal guile. Whereas our people were already capable of
crushing Spanish colonialism within the archipelago, they were
still incapable of crushing a new type of colonialism, the
imperialism of the United States of America.
Dr. Jose Rizal himself in his essay, "The Philippines A Century
Hence", had predicted that the United States of America would
come to conquer us. It was a necessity for a capitalist system,
reaching its final stage of development - monopoly capital - to
seek colonies for its sources of raw materials and a dumping
ground for surplus products and surplus capital and to pass on to
other peoples the exploitation and disequilibrium that would
otherwise be suffered by its own people alone.
Rizal saw the United States of America as a covetous and
expansionist power, no different from Great Britain, Germany,
France, Czarist Russia and Japan. It was out to rob the world,
especially the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America. A
newly-risen imperialist power with its ultra-national capitalist
objectives, the Unites States would be determined to take over
the colonial possessions of a decrepit Spanish power in Latin
America, in the Pacific and in the Philippines.
The Philippines was specially important to the imperialist
planners of the United States as it could very well serve as the
staging area for the U.S. venture to participate with the other
Western powers in the despoliation of China. Until now, the
Philippines serves as a staging area for U.S. imperialism to
attack and subvert Southeast Asia and the rest of Asia.
By all means, therefore, as a matter of "manifest destiny", the
United States would beguile the credulous Emilio Aguinaldo in a
maneuver to capture Manila and arrange the Treaty of Paris
whereby Spanish colonialism ceded the Philippines to U.S.
imperialism upon the payment of $20 million, and thus provoked
the Filipino people into a war where 250,000 Filipino lives were
snuffed out as the cost of trusting imperialism.
U.S. imperialism is deceptive and violent. The violence it
unleashed against our people was justified in terms of
Christianity and democracy. U.S. imperialism wanted to
"Christianize" the Philippines after 350 years of Spanish
clerical rule and to teach us "democracy" even after it had
crushed the national democratic movement tested in the fire of
the revolution of 1896 and which bore the first Philippine
After suppressing the first Philippine Republic through the most
brutal military operations, the U.S. government started to employ
a semantical cover for its scheme of domination and put up such
hypocritical slogans as "benevolent assimilation" and "education
for self-government" to justify its unwanted presence. During a
full decade of the most damnable suppression of any public
expression of nationalism and bribery of the native bourgeoisie,
U.S. imperialism started to glamorize certain political figures
as "nationalists". These were the nationalists who comprised and
accepted the U.S.-imposed limitation that they go to Washington
and beg for Philippine independence. The Americans conveniently
used these figures to prove their self-proclaimed benevolence and
to steal the fire from the revolutionary anti-imperialists who
preferred to take to the hills and prepare for a more meaningful
struggle for national independence.
Until now, the Americans try to misrepresent Filipino
nationalism. They would rather have what they call "positive"
nationalism - a positive force in the "special relationship"
between the Philippines and the United States. Compromise with
U.S. imperialism is what is called positive nationalism.
There is only one nationalism that we appreciate. It is that
which refers to the national democratic revolution, the
Philippine revolution, whose main tasks now are the liquidation
of imperialism and feudalism in order to achieve full national
freedom and democratic reforms.
The Filipino nation has been formed through struggle against
Spanish colonialism and, soon after, U.S. imperialism. As U.S.
imperialism triumphed by brute force in the Filipino-American
War, it must be vanquished by the resumption of the Philippine
revolution of 1896. There can be no genuine national democracy in
the Philippines without U.S. imperialism being done away with
There is a constant attempt of imperialist propaganda to impugn
Filipino nationalism and communism together. The communist bogey
has always been raised with the view of frightening our people.
But, little do the reactionary propagandists realize that through
their own efforts the people are getting to know that it is the
imperialist strategy to destroy communists first to destroy the
nationalists. In the strategic thinking of the U.S. imperialists
which has been tested in their counter-revolutionary practices in
Asia, Africa and Latin America, the most relentless anti-
imperialists - whether communists or leftwing nationalists - must
first be destroyed for any imperialist scheme of exploitation to
Thus, in the Philippines, we have seen the communists as the main
target of massive attacks against civil liberties by the U.S.
colonial government in 1931, by the Japanese after their
successful landing in 1942, and again by the U.S. imperialists in
their attempt after the Pacific War to recapture us.
If we study closely the ratification of the Bell Trade Act and
the Parity Amendment, we will discover that the communists had
first to be harassed, imprisoned, assassinated and provoked
before the bourgeois nationalist leaders in the Nacionalista
Party and in the Democratic alliance could be discouraged and
What the U.S. imperialists and their local cohorts, the
compradors and big landlords, do not want to happen is the
alliance of all anti-imperialists as has oftentimes happened in
many Asian countries with fatal effectiveness against
With the continuing triumph of U.S. imperialism in the
Philippines and the stability of its control, it is the chief
task of the Filipino youth to resume and complete the unfinished
revolution under the banner of national democracy, to expose and
oppose the national and social iniquities caused by U.S.
imperialism and its local reactionary allies.
If the Filipino youth should relent in this task, then their
people shall continue to suffer the direct impositions of U.S.
imperialism as well as feudalism which the former protects for
its own selfish profit.
The youth today face two basic problems: U.S. imperialism and
feudalism. These two are the principal causes of poverty,
unemployment, inadequate education, ill-health, crime and
immorality which afflict the entire nation and the youth. The
youth do not only suffer with their people the iniquities of U.S.
imperialism and feudalism but are also the first ones to suffer
It is the task of the Filipino youth to study carefully the large
confrontation of forces between U.S. imperialism and feudalism on
one side and national democracy on the other side. To know the
nature of this contradiction of forces is to know the dynamism
and internal motion of our semi-colonial and semi-feudal society.
For the youth to know so much as for them to act more effectively
and cooperate more thoroughly on the side of progress in the
historical process of change.
Kabataang Makabayan, in its historic role as the vanguard
organization of Filipino youth, should know the balance of forces
between imperialism and feudalism on the one hand and national
democracy on the other. On the other side of U.S. imperialism are
the compradors and the big landlords. On the side of national
democracy are the broad masses of our people, composed of the
working class and peasantry to which the vast majority of the
Filipino youth today belong; the petty bourgeoisie, composed of
small property-owners, students, intellectuals and professionals;
and the national bourgeoisie, composed of Filipino entrepreneurs
From the present scheme of social classes in the Philippines
today, we can easily observe that the forces of national
democracy - the motive forces of the Philippine revolution - are
now far stronger in the 1960's than they were in 1899-1902 when
U.S. imperialism first trampled upon our national freedom with
the most brutal success.
From the same scheme of social classes, we can derive a new and
powerful combination of youth - the students, young
professionals, labor youth and the peasant youth. Above all, the
Filipino youth should integrate themselves with the masses in
order to achieve victory in the fight for national freedom and
Kabataang Makabayan, as the vanguard organization of the Filipino
youth, should assist in the achievement of an invincible unity of
all national classes and forces and to push further the struggle
for national and social liberation in all fields - economic,
political, cultural and military - against the leading enemy,
landlordism, both of which have frustrated the national
democratic aspirations of the Philippine revolution of 1896 and
have made the suffering and exploitation of our people more
complex and more severe.
This generation of Filipino youth are lucky to be at this point
of history when U.S. imperialism is fast weakening at all
significant levels of conflict; that between capitalism and
socialism: that between the capitalist class and the working
class; and that between imperialism and national independence
movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Even as the Philippines today is the scene of frantic U.S.
imperialist re-adjustment and it appears that U.S. imperialism
would succeed in controlling the country more thoroughly by
destroying our national industrial base and by shifting it back
to a plantation economy dominated by the U.S. agro-corporations,
the Filipino youth would find it easier than they expect to
overthrow U.S. imperialism provided they are inspired and guided
by the new national democratic objectives of the Philippine
The October 2nd demonstrations against U.S.imperialism in front
of the U.S. embassy and Malaca¤ang Palace, whose participants and
sympathizers Kabataang Makabayan should now consolidate, has
already manifested the rising wave of national democracy among
our people. Such a mass action has shown to us the changing
balance of forces in our country.
The objective national and world-wide conditions favor a national
democratic movement of the Filipino youth. It is high time for
the Filipino youth to raise and carry forward the red banner of
Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan, with the new emblem of the