Found this while attempting to write something. Nope, I do not think the true revolution begins in the imagination--as I have read somewhere. I think, it began on the material condition of a colonized country--a particular class of the colony, where a certain Andres Bonifacio led an armed revolution. Anyway, I am not really into writing something lengthy. I just want to share this exchange of ideas between two national artists for literature. The first attachment is Dr. Lumbera's response to the speech delivered by F. Sionil Jose, when I was still a University n00b--or er.. a freshman, rather.
‘Nagsimula na ang rebolusyon’ (a transcription)
Professor Emeritus Bienvenido Lumbera [source]
Nang matanggap ko ang kay Frankie na abstract, ang una kong reaksyon ay bakit sa kanyang pagsasabi na ang kanyang papaksain ay ang University of the Philippines and the Revolution, tila nakalimutan niya na nagsimula na ang rebolusyon na kanyang hinahanap, na sa mga huling taon ng Dekada ‘70 ay lumitaw ang isang kilusan na ang layunin ay agawin ang kapangyarihan mula sa kamay ng mga naghaharing uri upang mabigyan ang mga Pilipino ng tunay na kalayaan at ng demokrasya. Para bang ang hinihingi niya ay for UP to reinvent the revolution dahil sa kanya ang rebolusyon ay tinawag niyang nationalist, at sa kanyang pagpapaliwanag kanina, binanggit niya ang pangalan ni Bonifacio at kanyang sinabi na tila pagkakamali ni Jose Maria Sison na siya ay tumanaw sa Tsina upang humango ng ideolohiya na magiging tuntungan ng rebolusyon na kanyang nilalayon.
Ngayon, kung ating babalikan ang kasaysayan ng UP at ang relasyon nito sa rebolusyon, makikita natin na ‘yung tinatawag na First Quarter Storm ay isang panimulang hakbang ng mga kabataang nasa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas kaugnay ang iba pang kabataan sa iba pang unibersidad na simulan ang pag-agaw ng kapangyarihan mula sa kamay ng naghaharing uri, na sa pananalita ni Frankie ay ang elite ng Pilipinas. Sa hanay ng mga estudyante na naging bahagi ng FQS, totoo na mayroong mga lider na bumaliktad at ito ay isang bagay na hindi kataka-taka, dahil sa kasaysayan ng anumang rebolusyonaryong kilusan, habang tumatakbo ang panahon at kilusan, mayroong mga lider na tunay na bumabaliktad, pero ating pakasusuriin ang mga taong naging bahagi ng FQS. Marami sa kanila ang nagpatuloy at hanggang ngayon ay nasa kilusang pambansang demokrasya, na ang kanilang pinanghahawakang mga prinsipyo ay mga prinsipyo na kanilang natutunan sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas bukod pa sa kanilang pag-aaral ng iba pang kaisipan mula sa ibang bansa.
So, hirap kong tanggapin na may bagong rebolusyon na dapat harapin ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. At ito ay tinatawag niyang nationalist revolution.
Ang isa pang okasyon na ipinamalas ng UP ang kanyang rebolusyonaryong orientasyon ay ang Diliman Commune. Totoo na ang Diliman Commune ay naging tampulan ng maraming puna ng mga intelektwal, ng mga lider ng bansa, dahil sa mga kalabisan o pagmamalabis na nangyari noong panahon ng Diliman Commune. Pero iyon ay isang matatawag nating necessary step, necessary preparation for stepping up a revolutionary movement.
Matatandaan din natin na noong panahon ng martial law, isang panahon na ang media ay kontrolado ng estado, sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas lamang nanatiling buhay ang tinatawag nating freedom of the press, dahil sa pamamagitan ng Collegian at Diliman Review ay napaabot sa mga tao ang mga kaisipan na hindi pinapayagang malathala sa mga medyang kontrolado ng gobyerno.
Ang tatlong bagay na ito ay pagpapatunay na mayroon nang rebolusyon na nasimulan at nilahukan ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at hindi na kailangan na umibento tayong muli ng isa pang rebolusyon upang maganap ang pagbabagong hinahangad ng mga Pilipino. Sa pananalita ni Frankie—na medyo hindi kapani-paniwala para sa akin—‘yung kanyang pagsasabi na hindi siya naniniwala na kailanman ay magtatagumpay ang isang rebolusyong pinamumunuan ng mga komunista, dahil aniya, ang mga komunista ay katulad din ng mga liderato natin na may ego at paghahangad na itampok ang sarili sa halip na ang pag-ukulan ng pansin ay ang kalagayan ng masa.
Sa palagay ko, mahirap nating tuunan na mayroon na kaagad na parameters na ang isang revolutionary movement ay kinakailangang obserbahan. Ang tunay na rebolusyonaryo ay laging handang baguhin ang pagkilos, baguhin ang mga panukala, upang umangkop sa kalagayan at mapagtagumpayan ang lahat ng balakid sa rebolusyon. Kaya ‘yung inherent prejudice ni Frankie sa kilusan na pinamumunuan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas ay hindi dapat maging pananaw ng lahat ng mga taong naghahangad ng pagbabago sa Pilipinas.
Several months ago, mayroon akong ginawang pag-aaral sa isang nobela ni Frankie, ‘yung nobela niyang Ermita. Ang Ermita ay isang nobela tungkol sa isang babaeng naging puta dahil gusto niyang maghiganti sa mga elite na nagtulak sa kanya upang mapabilang sa mga mahirap, ‘yung pamilya ng driver noong mayamang pamilya. Doon sa nobelang iyon, isang pagkakataon, minor plot point pero mayroong isang kabataang babae, anak ng isang dating puta, ang pangalan ay Lily, na bigla na lamang nawala. At ‘yung nanay ng kabataan ay nag-usisa, nagtanong sa maraming tao, pagkatapos ay inireport doon sa pangunahing tauhan na si Ermita, na nawawala ang kanyang anak. Ngayon, alam na noong si Ermita na ang anak ng babaeng ito ay namundok at sumali sa NPA. Ang sabi ng pangunahing tauhan ni Frankie, si Ermita, doon sa nanay, “Alam mo, dapat mong ipagmalaki ang iyong anak kasi ang ginawa niya ay isang bagay na dapat ay ginawa ko rin noong ako ay bata-bata pa.” So, wari, sa tingin ko, nandoon sa likod ng consciousness ni Frankie na mayroong magagawa ang isang rebolusyon na sinapian ni Lily. Ang nobela ay naganap noong martial law—ang lahat ng mga aksyon ay nangyari noong martial law—at ang kabataang ito ay nagsimula bilang aktibista, inililihim sa kanyang magulang ang kanyang pagiging aktibista hanggang magsuspetsa ang nanay na marahil ang kanyang anak ay nagpuputa na rin. Kaya nabahala masyado ang nanay at inireport doon kay Ermita. At si Ermita ang nagsiyasat kung ano ang talagang nangyari sa bata. Natuklasan nga niya na naging aktibista ang bata. Nag-usap sila, sinabi ng bata na siya ay natutong magsinungaling sa kanyang ina dahil alam niya na di siya mauunawaan ng kanyang nanay sa kanyang pagpapasya na sumali sa mga demonstrasyon at mga rally. Ngayon, nang mamundok si Lily, doon nga sinabi ni Ermita na ‘yon ay dapat ginawa na rin niya. Kaya tila sa tingin ko mayroon ding pagkilala sa nobela ni Frankie na mayroong maibubungang mabuti itong pagsali ni Lily sa kilusang rebolusyonaryo.
Ngayon, sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, bagama’t binanggit ko ang tatlong pangyayari na nagpapakita ng kaugnayan ng UP at ng rebolusyon, makikita natin na pagkaraan ng Edsa, nagkaroon ng paghupa ng revolutionary fervor sa hanay ng mga estudyante at ‘di lamang ng mga estudyante kundi pati sa hanay ng mga guro. Ang pinakahuling manipestasyon nito, at palagay ko isang bagay ito na dapat ungkatin dahil may kinalaman ito sa nationalist revolution: Nang magkaroon ng muling pagsisiyasat sa general education curriculum, ang isang kapansin-pansin ay ang pagtatanggal ng mga kurso na siyang pinaka-votive power ng nationalism sa ating Unibersidad, at ito ay ang pag-aaral ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas at ang pag-uukol ng pansin sa mga usapin na may kaugnayan sa kalagayan ng Pilipinas. ‘Yung RGEP sa tingin ko ay isang manipestasyon—hindi siya mismo ang dahilan ng paghupa ng fervor kundi manipestasyon na nagkaroon na ng pagbabago sa hanay ng mga namumuno sa Unibersidad tungkol sa mga pangangailangan ng isang tunay na makabayang edukasyon. Kaya binanggit ko ito ay sa kadahilanang kung ang hinihingi natin sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas ay isang nationalist revolution, sa kasalukuyang takbo ng mga patakaran sa ating Unibersidad, tila hindi na mangyayari iyon. Inaasahan natin na magkakaroon ng muling pagsusuri sa kalagayan ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at sa mga darating na araw ay maibabalik ang pagkilala sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas bilang isang susing aralin sa Unibersidad upang mapatingkad ang nasyonalismo sa ating bansa.
REVOLUTION & UP [source]
(Speech delivered by the F. Sionil Jose at UP Diliman on Nov 23, 2004)
What is an old man like myself doing here, talking about revolution? Hindsight is the lowest form of wisdom. I can tell you what it was like when your campus was nothing but cogon waste, when all those trees that line your streets were just saplings.
I can tell you also, why we were left behind by all our neighbors when in the Fifties and the Sixties we were the richest, most progressive country in the region, when Seoul and Tokyo were ravaged by war; Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta were mere kampongs; when Bangkok was a sleepy town crisscrossed by canals. I never
was in China till 1979, but I know in the Forties that country was always threatened by famine. It had a population then of only half a billion. Now, with more than a billion people famine is no longer a threat, although hunger still lurks in some of its distant regions.
Hunger has always been with some of us, too, but not as much as it now when so many poor Filipinos eat only once a day. Altanghap, I wonder how many of you know what that word means.
So then, why are we poor? Why do women flee to foreign cities to work as housemaids, as prostitutes?
We are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings, despite of those massive religious rallies of El Shaddai, those neo-gothic churches of the Iglesia ni Kristo sprouting all over the country, in spite of the nearly 400 years of Catholic evangelization.
How can we build an ethical society? We must remember that so-called values are neutral -- that so much depends on how people use them. James Fallows' thesis on our damaged culture, which many of us understand, is neither permanent nor inherent.
Ramon Magsaysay infused public life in the Fifties with discipline and morality, Arsenio Lacson as mayor of Manila cleaned up City Hall. Even today, shining examples of honesty among in our public officials exist, but they are few and far between and they are not institutionalized.
And it is precisely here where the university comes in with its courses in the humanities.
Of all the arts, only literature teaches us ethics. Literature presents us with problems, complex equations that deal with the human spirit and how often the choice between right and wrong is made. In this process, we are compelled to use our conscience, to validate the choices we make, and render the meaning, the
pith of our existence.
The university then is the real cathedral of a nation, and its humanities, particularly its literature department, the altar. But how many possess this sense of worth and mission?
To know ourselves, to make good and proper use of our consciences, we must know our own history. So few of us do, in fact, we nurture no sense of the past.
If our teachers know our history, if they soak it in their bones, then it follows that they also impart this very same marrow to their students.
If this is so, how come that when Bongbong Marcos visited Diliman sometime ago, he was mobbed by students who wanted his autograph? How come that in La Salle, business students cited Marcos as the best President this country ever had?
Not too long ago, I spoke before freshmen at the Ateneo and was told that since so many practice bribery, it must be right, or how could anyone get things done if palms are not greased?
In this university are professors who served Marcos. Have they ever been asked what their role was?
We are poor because we are not moral. Can this immorality as evidenced by widespread corruption be quantified? Yes, about P23 billion a year is lost, according to NGO estimates.
We are poor because we have no sense of history, and therefore, no sense of nation. The nationalism that was preached to my generation by Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tanada was phony; how could they have convinced so many intellectuals to analyze that inward, socially meaningless nationalism.
Recto and Tanada opposed agrarian reform, the single most important political act that could have lifted this country then from poverty and released the peasantry from its centuries-old bondage.
We are poor because our elite from way back had no sense of nation -- they collaborated with whoever ruled the Spaniards, the Japanese, the Americans and in recent times, Marcos. Our elite imbibed the values of the colonizer.
And worst of all, these wealthy Filipinos did not modernize this country - they sent abroad their wealth distilled from the blood and sweat of our poor. The rich Chinese to China, to Taiwan, to Hong Kong, the rich mestizos to Europe and the rich Indios like Marcos to Switzerland and the United States -- money that
could have developed this nation.
How do we end this shameless domestic colonialism? The ballot failed; the bullet then ? How else but through the cleansing power of revolution. Make no mistake about it -- revolution means the transfer of power from the decadent upper classes to the lower classes. Revolution is class war whose objective is justice
Who will form the vanguard of change? Who else but the very people who will benefit from it.
Listen, when I was researching for my novel POON at the New York Public Library, I came across photographs of our soldiers of the 1896 revolution felled in their trenches by American guns. I looked closely and found that most of them were barefoot. They were peasants.
The peasant is the truest nationalist. He works the land with his hands, he knows instinctively what the term Motherland means. He loves this earth, even worships it. The Ilocano farmer calls it Apo Daga.
But never romanticize the poor. Once, a group of PhDs lamented the futility of their efforts in organizing and motivating them. When the elections came that year, the poor sold their votes or voted for Erap.
Understand why they are often lazy, contemptible, fawning, cheating and stealing. Imagine yourself not having a centavo in your pocket now, and you don't know if you will eat tonight. There is nothing honorable about poverty -- it is totally dehumanizing and degrading. But once the very poor are roused from
their stupor, they become the bravest, the most steadfast. Remember, those Watawat ng Lahi followers felled by Constabulary guns on Taft Avenue in 1965? They believed that with their faith they were invincible.
It is with such faith and righteousness that our peasants rebelled in living memory, the Colorums in 1931, the Sakdals in 1935, and the Huks in 1949-53.
The Moro rebellion, the New People's Army -- the cadres of both are from our very poor, just like it was in 1896. And now, here is the most tragic contradiction in our country. Our Armed Forces -- its officers corps -- many come from the lower classes, too; they go to their exalted positions through public examinations and entry to the Philippine Military Academy. Our Armed Forces enlisted men -- most of them come from the very poor.
When the poor kill the poor, who profits?
THE IDEOLOGY OF THE REVOLUTIONS
Revolution starts in the mind and heart. It alters attitudes to enable us to think beyond ourselves, family and ethnicity to encompass the whole nation. If the communists win, and I don't think they ever will, they will rule just as badly because they are Filipinos unable to go beyond barnacled habits of mind, hostage as they always are to friends and family and to towering egos. The same egos aborted the revolution in 1896, the EDSA revolution in 1986, and now, we see the same egos wrecking havoc on the Communist Party. We see these egos eroding our already rotten political system.
The core belief that should guide us in redeeming our unhappy country is in our history, in our peasantry. It is not in textbooks, in foreign intellectual idols, in Marx. And what is this ideology which Bonifacio believed in? Which those barefoot soldiers killed by the Americans believed in? Pedro Close, the peasant leader who led the Colored uprising in Taut, Parnassian in 1931, said is this: "God resides in every man. God created earth, water and air for all men. It is against God's laws for one family or one group to own them."
God and country; translate this belief into your own words and there you have it in its simplest terms the creed with which the unfulfilled revolution of 1896 was based, and which should be the same creed that should forge unity among us.
Who will lead the revolution?
Certainly, not the masa, but one from the masa who understands them, who will not betray them the way our leaders betrayed the masa. Estrada is the most shameful example of that leadership that betrayed.
The leaders of the revolution could be in this university who have the education, but who are not shackled by alien concepts, or the attitudes of superiority that destroy leadership. Such leaders, like Ho Chi Minh, must lead by sterling example, with integrity, courage, compassion and willingness to sacrifice, who know that when the revolution is won, it is time to change from conspirators to even better administrators, remembering that they must now work even harder to produce better and cheaper products. And this massive work of modernization can be achieved in one generation. The Koreans, Taiwanese and the Japanese did it. It is not the Confucian ethic that enabled them to do this; they understood simply the logic of government, which is service, and that of commerce, which is profit.
By what right do I have to urge revolution upon our people who will suffer it? What right do I have to urge the young to sacrifice, the poor to get even poorer, if they embrace the revolutionary creed?
I have no such right, nor will I call it such. I call it duty, duty, duty. Duty for all of us rooted in our soil, who believe that our destiny is freedom.
Not everyone can bear arms, or have the physical strength to stand up, to shout loudly about the injustices that prevail around us.
Those who cannot do these, who cannot be part of this radical movement, must not help those who enslave us. Do not give them legitimacy as so many gave legitimacy to Marcos. Recognize, identify our enemies and oppose them with all your means.
This will then test integrity, commitment.
Nobody need tell us the exorbitant cost of revolution, the lives that will be lost, senselessly even as when Pol Pot massacred thousands of his own countrymen in Cambodia. We who lived through the Japanese Occupation know what hunger, fear and flight mean.
Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus and Jose Rizal -- writers I admire deeply, all warned against revolution because it breeds tyrants, becaust it does not always bring change. But look around us, at the thousands of Filipinos who are debased and hungry, who are denied justice. Be shamed if you don't act. And as Salud Algabre, the Sakdal general said in 1935, "No rebellion fails. Each is a step in the right direction."
Revolution need not even have to be bloody. How many lives were lost at Edsa 1? Not even 20. So Cory goes around telling the world that she had restored democracy in the Philippines. Sure enough, we know have free elections, free speech, free assembly but these are the empty shells of democratic institutions because the real essence of democracy does not exist here. And that real essence is in the stomach -- as when the taxi driver in Tokyo eats the same sashimi as the Japanese emperor, or the bus driver in Washington who can eat the same steak as President Bush in the White House. Contrast these with that jobless Cavite laborer whose two children died because he fed them garbage. No, Cory Aquino's EDSA revolution could not even have our garbage properly collected. Worse, 19 farmer demonstrators were killed near Malacanang because she refused to see
them. True to her oligarchic class, she declared a revolutionary government without doing anything revolutionary; instead, she turned Edsa 1 into a restoration of the old oligarchy. So today, we are reaping the results of her negligence, ignorance and folly.
Yet, even capitalism can be very helpful. South Korea is a very good example of how capital was formed by corruption, and how a single-minded general lifted that nation from the ashes of the Koren War, into the thriving economy, which Korea is today.
Remember the slogans of American capitalism -- a chicken in every pot, a Ford in every garage. Money is like fertilizer -- to do any good it must be spread around. Those robber barons at the turn of the 19th century were rapacious, they exploited their worker, but they built industries, railroads, banks, the sinews
of American capitalism. And the most important thing - they kept their money home to develop America. Unlike our rich Chinese, our rich mestizos and the likes of Marcos who sent their money abroad to keep us poor. They are the enemy.
It has been said again and again that we are, indeed, a young nation compared with other Asian countries whose august civilizations date back to 2,000 years or more. Indeed, so are the Filipinos who shaped this nation --- those who led the revolution against Spain -- they were all young, like you are, in their 20s
or early 30s. Rizal was 34 when he was martyred.
How then do we keep young without having to grow old only to see the fire in our having to grow old only to see the fire in our minds and hearts die? How does the nation's leading university maintain its vitality, its youth against the ravages of consumerism, of globalism?
How else but to keep the mind ever healthy, ever alive by empowering it with those ideas that nurture change and revolution itself, by ingesting the technological age so that we can use technology for realizing our ideals.
How else but to embrace the ideas that make us doubt technology, society, even revolution itself, but never, never about who we are, what we should do and hope to be.
We cannot be beholden to any other nation. Jose Maria Sison doomed his revolution when he turned to China for assistance; he ignored the "objective reality" -- the latent anti-Chinese feeling among Filipinos, in fact among all Southeast Asians who fear a Chinese hegemony.
We must mold our own destiny, infusing it with the strength of a sovereign people. The Americans, the English, French, Russians, Cubans, Chinese, and Vietnamese -- all achieved their unique revolutions. We must have our very own, defined only by us.
How to build it, direct it, use it for the betterment of our lives, the flowering of liberty -- I see all these as the major function of the university which, after all, shapes our leaders. I pray that UP will graduate the best
doctors, the best engineers, the best teachers, the best bureaucrats. The revolution needs them all. But most of all, let this university of the people produce the ultimate modernizer, the heroic nationalist revolutionary -- we need him most of all.