BRIEF ADDRESS ON KABATAANG
ON ITS 45TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
It is a great honor for me to have been the founding chairman of Kabataang
Makabayan (Patriotic or People's Youth). And it is my pleasure to talk to
you about KM on the occasion of its 45th founding anniversary.
The KM was founded on November 30, 1964, the birth anniversary of the
great worker and founder of the Katipunan, Andres Bonifacio. Since the
beginning, the KM has been dedicated to the just cause of continuing the
revolutionary struggle of the Filipino youth and people for national
liberation and democracy against foreign and feudal domination.
The Filipino people are proud for being the very first nation in Asia to
fight and defeat a Western colonial power, specifically Spain. But
unfortunately, a modern imperialist power, the United States, intervened
and launched a war of aggression against the Filipino people to destroy
the Philippine republic and kill 1.5 million Filipinos in order to
recolonize and occupy the Philippines. To this date, the US continues to
dominate the Philippines through the local exploiting classes and their
The KM has inherited the rich revolutionary tradition of the Filipino
people in fighting against Spanish colonialism for more than three
centuries, in defending their national sovereignty against the US war of
aggression, in resisting the colonial power of the US and the Japanese
fascist invasion during World War II and in carrying out a people's war
against the semicolonial and semifeudal system under the US and the local
exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.
Since the beginning, Kabataang Makabayan has been determined to carry out
a national democratic revolution under the class leadership of the working
class in the global era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution.
This new type of national democratic revolution is meant to overcome the
weaknesses and failures of the bourgeois leadership in the old democratic
revolution of 1896.
The KM has assumed the task of assisting the working class in carrying out
a new democratic revolution on the basis of the worker-peasant alliance,
with the augmentation of further alliances with the urban petty
bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie against the big
comprador-landlords and their foreign masters. Under certain
circumstances, the united front is further broadened against the narrowed
The KM is conscious of the fact that in Philippine history and current
circumstances the Filipino youth have been in the forefront at every
upsurge of the Philippine revolution. This is not surprising because the
youth are receptive to revolutionary ideas, they tend to rebel against the
reactionary system, they are energetic and are willing to contribute their
time, effort and abilities to a just cause.
The KM did not drop from the sky. It emerged in response to the extreme
reaction and rabid anti-communism that followed the defeat of the old
people's army and the armed revolutionary movement of the people in the
early 1950s. It arose from the concrete conditions of sharpening
oppression and exploitation of the Filipino youth and people from the
early 1960s onwards.
The KM is a comprehensive youth organization of the students and the young
workers, peasants and professionals. The student component of what would
become the KM took shape in the late 1950s in the form of study circles on
the Philippine revolution and Marxism-Leninism under the auspices of the
Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP).
The university study circles arose ahead of the youth contingents from the
working class, peasantry and the professionals.
After a decade of intense reaction since 1950, the first protest mass
action with an anti-imperialist and anti-feudal character occurred on
March 15, 1961 upon the initiative of the SCAUP in a united front with
other campus organizations. Five thousand students literally scuttleda
hearing of Committee on Anti-Filipino Activities of the reactionary
congress conducting a witchhunt against UP faculty members and student who
had written anti-imperialist and anti-feudal articles.
As a result of the anti-CAFA mass action, I was removed from my teaching
fellowship in the UP. But I gained time to do further revolutionary
student organizing in several universities in a clandestine way and
encouraged the formation of progressive student organizations on a
national scale. I went to Djakarta to study the Indonesian language and
observe the strong mass movement there during the first half of 1962. When
I returned home in the second half of 1962, I joined the trade union
movement and the Worker's Party. In both I was assigned to do research and
As vice chairman for education of the Workers' Party, I organized seminars
for trade unionists from several major labor federations and big
independent unions. . Then, I established the youth department of the
Workers' Party. This would become the source of young workers for KM. I
wrote articles on land reform and from early 1963 gave refresher courses
to peasant leaders and veteran fighters of the old people's army. They
recommended their children and other young relatives to become members of
the KM at the preparatory phase of its founding starting at the beginning
The young professionals that had been the first to join the KM came from
the ranks of teachers. Eventually, they came from the various professions
because they had become progressive while they were still students. It is
not surprising therefore that in the succeeding years the progressive mass
movement would have activists from the ranks of health professionals,
lawyers, scientists, engineers, artists, cultural workers and other
After its founding in 1964, the KM became a training school for activists
in the national democratic movement for the purpose of arousing,
organizing and mobilizing the youth in the schools, factories, farms,
communities and offices. The schools for national democracy were
instituted at various levels of the KM and in various spheres of work. The
emphasis was on training young cadres for the trade union and peasant
movement and students and young teachers for rapid nationwide expansion of
The KM became outstanding in mobilizing the youth in mass protest actions
against the unequal treaties with the US in the economic and military
fields, against new dictates by the US in every field, against the killing
of Filipinos in US military bases, against the puppetry of the reactionary
regime, against the big compradors and landlords, against oppressive and
exploitative school authorities and against the US war of aggression in
Vietnam and elsewhere.
The KM became the largest militant youth organization. Its members had a
high level of political education and training for the advance of the
national democratic movement. Thus it became a major part of the Workers'
Party in 1964 and then its successor the Socialist Party of the
Philippines (SPP) in 1966. It also became the major part of the Movement
for the Advancement of Nationalism (MAN), a national united front
formation in 1966. I became the general secretary of SPP and MAN because
of the well-rounded political and organizational strength of the KM.
At the core of Kabataang Makabayan were proletarian revolutionary cadres,
who had become members of the old merger party of the Communist and
Socialist parties (OMPCSP) since 1962 and who from year to year became
dissatisfied with the growing current of modern revisionism. From 1964
onwards, the proletarian revolutionaries increased and outnumbered the old
members of the old merger party. They demanded a rectification movement to
criticize the major errors and shortcomings of the old merger party since
The Lava revisionist renegades opposed the rectification movement and
sought to expel the proletarian revolutionaries. The young proletarian
revolutionaries and their senior comrades separated from the Lava
revisionist renegades in April 1967, intensified the rectification
movement and began preparations for the reestablishment of the Communist
Party of the Philippines (CPP) under the theoretical guidance of
Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought on December 26, 1968.
The newly-reestablished CPP benefited from the nationwide scale and
grassroots organizing of the KM among the workers and peasants, youth,
women and professionals. The proletarian revolutionaries linked up with
their counterparts in the old people's army, repudiated the Taruc-Sumulong
gangster clique and formed the New People's Army on March 29, 1969.
The KM became an even larger and more effective assistant of the working
class and the CPP when the protest mass actions that had been intensifying
since 1969 peaked in the First Quarter Storm of 1970. This involved the
weekly mass actions of 50,000 to 100,000 people in Metro Manila and spread
to many provincial cities and capitals. It provided thousands of KM
recruits on a national scale and led to the strengthening of KM regional
and provincial committees and KM chapters at the grassroots level.
But at that time, Marcos became ever more determined to impose a fascist
dictatorship on the Filipino people. He engineered the Plaza Miranda
bombing in order to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and start
suppressing the KM and other progressive mass organizations on August 21,
1971. Subsequently, he declared martial law on September 21, 1972 to
suppress the entire range of opposition.
Since 1971, when its national and regional offices were raided and some of
its leaders were arrested, the KM had made a systematic retreat from the
aboveground level of mass struggle. It organized the underground in Metro
Manila and other cities in order to provide immediate safety for the known
KM activists and to prepare for their systematic distribution to the
guerrilla zones in the countryside and to underground work in other cities
where they were not known to the enemy and could find support.
The KM played a key role in the Filipino people's struggle against the
Marcos dictatorship. It was broadcaster of the revolutionary message and
organizational seeds. It supplied cadres and mass activists for the
expansion of all revolutionary forces, including the CPP, the NPA, the
mass organizations, the organs of political power and the alliances.
Wherever they went to perform their revolutionary duties, the KM cadres
and activists were tempered further as revolutionaries and developed
others to become revolutionaries.
Many KM cadres and activists became martyrs for the revolutionary cause
but many more prevailed over tremendous odds and assumed higher
responsibilities in the revolutionary movement. After the fall of the
Marcos fascist dictatorship in 1986, the KM could have chosen to surface,
pursue the legal forms of struggle and benefit from the prestige of having
fought valiantly and effectively against the fascist dictatorship. But it
decided to stay underground and perform the role of the Communist Youth
League and be a key member of the National Democratic Front.
The Kabataang Makabayan continues to carry out the tasks of arousing,
organizing and mobilizing the Filipino youth in line with the Filipino
people's struggle for national liberation and democracy. It provides
ideological, political and organizational training to the mass activists
to become advanced and to the advanced mass activists to become
proletarian revolutionaries and become full-fledged members of the CPP. It
deploys the personnel with a high level of revolutionary consciousness,
competence and militance to all kinds of work demanded by the
revolutionary movement in the political, economic, military, cultural and