april theses / blog posts politics November 28, 2019

Anak ng Bayan

An ode to the youth

In Negros Island in the Philippines where I spent a month this summer, I was guided by mostly youth around various peasant communities in the countryside.

They were able to express to me clearly the issues and problems of the working and oppressed people around them because they had consciously integrated with them to learn these problems.

They had done so because they had been properly inculcated with the ideas and values of a national, scientific, and mass-oriented culture. They had learned that, if they wanted to progress society in any meaningful way, they would have to truly Serve the People.


When I came to Manila, I again stayed with the youth organizers. I went with them as they went from classroom to classroom on a campus, introducing students to their organization.

The youth and student organizers did so by first speaking to the students about their problems; the week that I was there, the students in that school had spontaneously risen up to protest against mandatory drug testing, restrictive uniform rules, impossible testing standards.

But more importantly, the Y/S organizers took the particular struggle in the school and raised it to another level.

They brought with them the striking workers from a kitchen supplies factory, who showed the students pictures of the burns and scars they got at work from producing caustic soaps, and also from being beaten on the picket lines.

The workers were brought to the students so as to inculcate among them the ideas and values of a national, scientific, mass-oriented culture. The students were being taught that their problems are among the problems of the whole society, and that the solutions to their problems are within the solutions to the problems of their people as a whole.


The next step for students who consciously showed interest in the workers' struggle was to bring them from the campus down to the picket line itself, so that they could integrate with the workers and eventually come to organize with them, for them.

The most conscious students learn quickly that their task is to organize the workers and the oppressed, and to bring other students with them from the schools to the pickets, to the urban poor demolition zones, to the countryside.

The youth are at the forefront of all struggles in the Philippines, from the cities to the countryside, and it's because they are taught the ideas and values of a national, scientific, and mass-oriented culture.

Kwame Ture taught me this, so that when I saw it in person this past summer, I immediately recognized it.

Andy Tran

Written by Andy Tran. All thoughts posted here are mine, and are not indicative of positions held by any organization or group I affiliate with.