Serve the People, Ang Kasaysayan ng Radikal na Kilusan sa Universidad ng Pilipinas: A Book Review

An alternative centennial?

At the beginning of the book, a question was posed regarding whether the book intends to present an alternative history or a different or counter presentation of history from the one being presented officially by the UP administration. The position of the editors of the book is that it is a counter-history.

But the question being posed could also be viewed from another perspective.

How can the relevance of a university be measured? How can the relevance and impact of a center of learning be measured?

Will it be measured in terms of how it expounds on current knowledge and maintains a current system, especially an oppressive one? Definitely not.

The relevance and impact of a new idea is measured by how it revolutionizes thinking and ways of doing things. Albert Einstein is an important figure in science. But would he have attained this level of importance if he merely expounded on Isaac’s law of motion? Definitely not. Einstein’s theory of relativity is significant because it revolutionized the thinking during that time, which, in turn, revolutionized science.

The same could be applied to a university. A university’s significance or impact in society is not measured simply by the number of times it imparts the same knowledge over and over again. Neither is its impact measured by the number of students it produces, especially if they end up merely doing the same things to maintain the oppressive relations in society.

The significance or impact of a university in society is measured by the revolutionary ideas it generates and the way it radicalizes current thinking, the number of revolutionaries it produces in all fields -arts and letters, natural and social sciences- and its contribution to revolutionizing society. Taken from that perspective, we could therefore say that the book “Serve the People, Ang Kasaysayan ng Radikal na Kilusan sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas” is the true history of UP.

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