A is for Anakbayan and other activist terms in the Philippines

A 2012 KKK mural (File photo/Bulatlat.com)

Mong Palatino

A – Anakbayan is a youth group established in 1998 which became prominent in Edsa Dos and during the campaign for the abolition of ROTC. Anakpawis is a partylist group which is at the forefront of the campaign to pass the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill. Ang Bayan is the official paper of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the country’s unofficial alternative newspaper since it reports what mainstream media refuses or fails to publish. AOM or Arouse, Organize, Mobilize is how activists conduct political work among the grassroots. What about Akbayan? Well, in recent years the term has become synonymous with collaborationism and opportunism.

B – Bayan is a national multisectoral alliance and campaign center of national democratic mass organizations. Since 2001, Bayan Muna partylist has represented the country’s marginalized sectors in Congress. The common name for the stealing of taxpayers’ money by politicians, trapos, and political dynasties is corruption; activists call it Burukrata Kapitalismo: the use and accumulation of government resources by politicians to enrich themselves and to strengthen the political clout of their families. When activists extend an invitation to join a BMI, it means Basic Masses Integration; or community immersion activity either in the urban (including exposure to trade union work) or rural (farming commune, fisherfolk village, ancestral domain of indigenous peoples). Burgesya refers to the capitalist class. Burgesya Kumprador is local big business who acts as junior partner and promotes the interests of transnational or multinational monopoly capitalists. Pambansang Burgesya can be allies of the revolution since many of them are independent producers and entrepreneurs. Burgis has become a popular term to describe individuals belonging to the upper class and also those who act and behave like the rich. Bakwit is the Filipino word for refugees and internally-displaced peoples.

C – Criticism and Self-Criticism or CSC is a Maoist teaching which enjoins activists to acknowledge their personal and political errors in a collective or group meeting. In a CSC session, an individual also has the opportunity to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the political work of other individuals and the group as a whole. CPP was founded in 1930 which rallied many Filipinos to join the resistance movement during World War II. It suffered severe political setbacks in the 1950s but it was reestablished in 1968. Countryside or CS covers the areas in the guerrilla zone (sonang gerilya), the remote parts of the country, or the vast farming lands in the rural. CARHRIHL or Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law is a landmark agreement signed by the government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) in 1998; proof that peace talks can produce concrete results.

D – The philosophy of Dialectical Materialism or DM is based on the writings of Marx who applied Hegelian dialectics in studying the evolution of capitalism in society. Marx pointed out that social contradiction generates change (“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle”) and he called this philosophical approach as the materialist conception of history (historical materialism). The Democratic Reform Movement or DRM was spearheaded by student groups which successfully campaigned for the restoration of student councils, publications, and campus elections in the early 1980s. Demo has multiple meanings: In the past it refers to street demonstration. Today it either means demolition or demoralized, the latter is for activists who temporarily feel uninspired to perform a political task.

E – Educational Discussion or ED refers to the study sessions, discussion groups, and lectures organized by activists about Marxism and other revolutionary topics. Expo is another term for BMI but most of the time it means a trip to the CS.

F – Fascism is used quite differently in the Philippines as it pertains to the repressive policies of the government, most notably during martial law. Any official who acts like a dictator is called pasista. Feudalism is supposed to be obsolete but it continues to stalk the country through bogus land reforms, landlordism, colonial policies, and decadent culture. The armed struggle in the CS thrives because of popular support against feudal oppression. First Quarter Storm or FQS was a series of massive rallies in 1970 which called for a social revolution to overthrow the oppressive system. An individual who makes activism his/her 24/7 commitment is called FT or Full Time.

G – Gabriela is an organization of women activists and an alliance of advocates of women rights. China’s Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution or GPCR inspired many Filipino youth activists to read Mao and apply his teachings to the concrete conditions of the Philippines.

H – Hukbong Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon or Hukbalahap was the victorious liberation army which defeated the Japanese invaders in the 1940s. After the war, it became the Huks which attempted to topple the government in order to establish a communist state.

I – Philippine society has three basic problems: Imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. Russian leader Lenin described Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism; it is moribund and it leads to war among imperialist powers in search of colonies and markets for their surplus products. The Philippines gained formal independence in 1946 but it remained a semi-colony of the imperialist United States of America which continued to wield political, economic, and cultural influence in the country even up to the present. Thus, the passion, the clarity of the slogan Imperyalismo Ibagsak! The Internationale is a Paris Commune song. It became the anthem of the global Left because it articulates the need for the proletariat of the world to unite and overthrow the whole capitalist class. Filipino activists have translated the song and even added some lyrics to it. Communist Internationale is the unity of proletarian parties all over the world. International League of People’s Struggle or ILPS coordinates global campaigns and unites people’s movements around the world. When activists mention IPO, it has nothing to do with stock markets. It means Ideological, Political, Organizational or the proper method of planning and evaluating a program, plan, campaign or individual work.

J – Justice for Aquino, Justice for All or JAJA was a popular formation in the 1980s which denounced the human rights violations of the Marcos regime.

K – Kataas-taasang Kagalang-galangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or KKK led the revolution for independence against Spanish colonialists. The legacy of Katipunan is kept alive, among others, by these groups: Kabataang Makabayan or KM is a national democratic youth organization established in 1964, Kilusang Mayo Uno or KMU is the country’s labor center, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or KMP is the country’s largest peasant network, Kadamay is an urban poor alliance. Activists have another word for love and it becomes more special if shared with another person, your KR or Karelasyon.

L – League of Filipino Students initiated the campaign for campus democratic rights during martial law. It also actively fought for the rejection of the U.S. bases treaty. Lakbayan is a long march often organized by peasant groups. Lighting Rally or LR is like the flashmob but more militant.

M – Makabayan is an electoral political party whose founding members include progressive partylist groups. Maikling Kurso sa Lipunan at Rebolusyong Pilipino or MKLRP is a short (but still very long) introduction to the history textbook of the Left: Philippine Society and Revolution. What is the mass line? Learn from the masses, trust the masses, the masses make history. In any political campaign, the essential task is to build the mass movement which can be developed through painstaking mass work of different mass organizations or MO (see AOM). Makibaka is both a verb (struggle) and a noun (revolutionary underground group of women activists). Many activists are students of MLM or Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. Communities and targeted sectors are informed about public events and campaigns through MPT or mobile propaganda teams

N – National Democracy or NatDem/ND is a political movement fighting for true independence and democratic rights. It is a struggle for national liberation against imperialist control, feudal bondage, and systemic corruption. After the victory of the national democratic revolution, it will be followed by the socialist construction of society. New People’s Army or NPA builds strength and red political power in the CS. NDF unites all revolutionary groups in establishing a coalition government. National Situation or NatSit is a common topic during activist forums and meetings. Noise Barrage is a form of protest in a particular place, building, street or even the entire city.

O – OPRS or On the Proletarian Relationship of Sexes, the CPP document on personal relationships, recognizes same-sex marriage and divorce. OUT or Our Urgent Task is another CPP document that provided the political framework on how to resist, defeat, and overthrow the US-Marcos regime in the 1970s

P – PSR, which was first serialized in the Philippine Collegian, remains one of the most read publications in the country. It is a major reference in the activist curriculum known as Padepa or Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan. People Power ousted Marcos in 1986. People’s War is still raging in the countryside. There are 537 political detainees or Poldet in the country today. People’s Organizations or POs are based in the grassroots. Pulong Masa is a participatory activity involving MO members and the general public in a community.

Q – Quick Response Team or QRT is an emergency political action, picket, or rally.

R – The first Rectification or Recti movement (Kilusang Pagwawasto) led to the reestablishment of the CPP; the second Recti led to the resurgence of the ND movement in the 1990s. During the first Recti, the principal document used by activists to sum up the experience of the Philippine revolution was ‘Rectify Errors, Rebuild the Party’ or RERP. In the 1990s, the document was ‘Reaffirm Our Basic Principles and Rectify Errors’ or RR; those who supported it were called RA (reaffirmists) while those who rejected it were known as RJ (rejectionists). Rectification is essentially an ideological movement. In the Philippine context, it exposed the political errors, blunders, excesses, and opportunism committed by some revolutionary leaders. The CPP is the only political party in the Philippines which has acknowledged and apologized for the mistakes it has committed in the past.

S – Serve the People or STP (Paglingkuran ang Sambayanan) is the most popular clarion call of activists. Less known but more radical is STR or Sa Tagumpay ng Rebolusyon. SND or Struggle for National Democracy is a compilation of articles and speeches written by KM and CPP founder Joma Sison; it’s the country’s answer to China’s Red Book. Like the KM, SDK or Samahan ng Demokratikong Kabataan organized and mobilized the youth during the pre-martial law years. When activists engage in a local political campaign or organizing, they first conduct a Sica or Social Investigation and Class Analysis. Sison’s article, SCPW or ‘Specific Characteristics of our People’s War’, is an important theoretical work on how to wage a Maoist-inspired guerrilla warfare in an archipelagic country like the Philippines. Strike (Welga) is the political and democratic action of organized labor.

T – Tibak for aktibista. TU for trade union. Baligtarin ang Tatsulok in reference to the political analysis that the 99 percent of the population at the base of the social pyramid are ruled by the elite at the top. TF or Task Force is often created to coordinate a specific or urgent campaign. Student leaders are familiar with the term TFI which means Tuition Fee Increase. Government’s inaction over skyrocketing oil prices is the reason why some groups and operators organize a Transport Strike. Taong-Simbahan is the Filipino translation of church people signifying the importance of getting the support of the religious in the struggle for social change.

U – Unyonismo, an essential task in the TU sector. UF or united front, it basically means alliance work. Many activists were forced to go UG or underground during martial law.

V – The petty bourgeoisie (intellectuals, professionals, government employees) is always Vacillating between the proletariat and the burgesya, but they can be organized to support and embrace the objectives of the revolution. The CPP calls itself as the Vanguard of the Filipino proletariat and the Philippine revolution.

W – Capital is the magnum opus of Marx but he also wrote short articles that elucidated some of his teachings like ‘Wage, Price, Profit’ or WPP and ‘Wage, Labor, Capital’. Welgang Bayan is a militant form of protest in the urban with broad community support.

XYZ – YS stands for Youth Sector. May they always reject the Yellows in the progressive movement. And may the Generations X, Y, and Z continue to study history, engage in politics, and uphold the message of radicalism, the ultimate XXX in society. In other words, at the risk of oversimplifying the language of struggle, may the flames of revolution continue to inspire them to raise the red banners of the mass movement until victory is achieved. Viva!

Mong Palatino is a Filipino activist and former legislator. He is the chairman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Metro Manila. Email: mongpalatino@gmail.com

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