What is Anakbayan?
Anakbayan Canada is an overseas chapter of Anakbayan in the Philippines. Anakbayan is a comprehensive National Democratic mass organization of the Filipino youth that aims to arouse, organize and mobilize youth for national democracy with a socialist perspective.
It unites youth workers, farmers, urban poor, students, professionals, women, migrants, Moro and other national minorities to contribute to the advancement and success of the National Democratic struggle of the Filipino people. Along with the struggle for the immediate and long-term needs of the youth, it will strongly and deeply integrate with the strength and the struggle of the toiling masses.
Founded on November 30, 1998, the day of birth of the great revolutionary Andres Bonifacio and the founding of the first comprehensive youth mass organization, it holds the principles and upholds the great and honorable tradition of Kabataang Makabayan (KM). As a continuation of the beginnings of the Katipunan and KM, it strongly stands for, unites, and advances the struggle of the people for national freedom and democracy against the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system that is governed by imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism.
Since its founding, Anakbayan has been arousing, organizing and mobilizing thousands of youth for National Democracy through its chapters across the country. It tightly unites the struggles of the youth sector with the struggles of all the masses.
What is the situation of the youth and the Filipino?
The Filipino people are stuck in an unparalleled crisis, extreme poverty and oppression because the foreign and local ruling class control and take full advantage of the national resources of the country for their own benefits. Through their exploitative schemes that abuse the toiling masses, they extract huge profits from the labor, knowledge, and wealth created by the people.
The small ruling class
US imperialism and its allies from the comprador big bourgeoisie and landlords in the local ruling class control and indulge in the country’s wealth. They compose 1% of our population.
a. The Big Landlord Class
Big landlords own at least 50 hectares of agricultural land. They do not participate in production and they exploit the peasant masses through the exaction of land rent, taxes and lending with usurious interest rates, land grabbing, cheating in the accounting for the expenses for seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, irrigation and supplies for production. They pay the farm workers the lowest wages or force them to work.
b. The Comprador Big Bourgeoisie
The comprador big bourgeoisie accumulates the most capital as the principal trade and financial agent of US imperialism. They are closely linked to the landlords (or they themselves are landlords) because their economic interest lies on the production of cheap raw materials. Their wealth is derived mainly from the export of local raw materials (like sugar, coconut, lumber, minerals etc.), importing finished products, and by minimizing the salaries of the workers.
The majority exploited and oppressed classes
Ninety-nine percent of our population is composed of workers, peasants, semi-proletariat, the petty-bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie. Their strength and knowledge is the foundation of the wide agriculture, factories, mining, transportation, and communication that gives life to Philippine society. They are a powerful force for progress.
a. National Bourgeoisie
The national bourgeoisie is composed of businessmen in the cities or the countryside who are interested in “nationalist industrialization.” They compose 1-2% of the population. Their economic interest lies in having small factories, light manufacturing (e.g. alcohol, shoes and leather, tobacco, coconut oil, flour, textile etc.), and business from the sale and transport of products that are dependent on imported raw materials. They have the ambition of becoming the big bourgeoisie and building a capitalist state but they are exploited because of the dumping of finished products and US imperialism and the comprador big bourgeoisie’s manipulation and monopoly over the local economy.
b. Petty bourgeoisie
The petty bourgeoisie includes the vast majority of the intelligentsia like teachers, student youth, low-income professionals, lower government officials, relatively well-paid skilled workers, etc, and composes 8% of the population. They have the least amount of properties among the bourgeoisie. They are relatively self-sufficient through either ownership of a small quantity of productive means or by having some special training or skills. Their livelihood is declining because the real value of their small salary is decreasing, they have no job security, or cannot find a job.
c. The Peasantry
Composing 75% of the country’s population, they are the main force of the national economy. 7 out of 10 peasants don’t have their own land and more is being taken away from them, forcing them to pay more than half of their harvest as rent for the land that is owned by the landlord. They are extremely victimized by the usurious lending interest rates, cheating in accounting for the expenses, and slashing on the price of their harvest. They are usually obliged to sell their labor for a low price and become a farm, plantation, or construction worker.
d. The Proletariat or the Working Class
It is the class that does not own any means of production and is obliged to sell its labor power to capitalists. They compose 15% of the population (e.g. workers in mines, textile and drug factories, food and beverage plants, printing presses, farm workers in sugar plantations, coconut oil refineries, copra, etc). From their measly wages, they are forced to create surplus value or profit for the capitalists. Unemployment or underemployment force them to enter exploitative contracts and agreements that keep their wages low and force them to live in poverty.
Part of this class is the semi-proletariat, which is dispossessed, has insufficient wages, irregular work, and no job security. They are usually found in urban poor communities: carpenters, repairmen, peddlers, small stall keepers, dock porters, market cargadores, house servants, shop assistants, tricycle and jeepney drivers, etc.
Particular conditions of the youth
A majority of the youth is part of the working class and the peasants. Being workers like their parents, the youth workers’ wages as casual or contractual workers are usually lower. A big problem among the youth peasants is the lack of or insufficient farming lands. They are usually forced to give unpaid services as tenants or receive meager wages and work in bad conditions as farm workers.
Most of the youth in the petty bourgeoisie receive very small fixed wages that are insufficient for the increasing prices of goods and taxes, cannot find work, or can only find work that does not match their college degrees.
The youth do not enjoy the right to education because schools are run like profit-yielding businesses. Many of the youth have to stop with their studies and find a living because they can no longer catch up with the yearly increases in tuition and other expenses. Many students become call center agents, clerks, house servants, drivers, factory workers, etc. to earn a living and to pay for their tuition. They usually come from proletarian and peasant families, which, because of shrinking government funding for education, has limited or no opportunities to go to school.
Because of poverty and the lack of opportunity for work or education, there are youth who are attracted to join to the fascist armed forces and pursue the dangerous livelihood of being a soldier of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU), or paramilitary forces. The political and civil rights of the youth and the people are also being oppressed. Numerous demonstrations are dispersed and countless youth are also victims of arrest, imprisonment, torture and killings from the fascist state.
What are the roots of the problems of the youth and the Filipino people?
The youth have no bright future to look forward to in a society that is constantly in crisis due to the foreign monopoly’s control over the local economy and the feudal oppression in the countryside, which is characteristic of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal social-economic system.
The semi-colonial and semi-feudal system is governed by the three basic problems, which are US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism, that mercilessly exploit the broad masses of the Filipino people. These three are the fundamental problems that oppress the Filipino people.
US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism
Imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism. The free market system gave way to the concentration of production and capital into the hands of a few. It emerged when the monopoly capitalists gained control over the economy, politics and culture of the most advanced capitalist nations. It also means waging wars to maintain and to take over territories because this is the way in which they can temporarily solve their crisis of overproduction. The imperialists need colonies and semi-colonies like the Philippines because it is through direct investments, colonial trade, and lending that they accumulate their super profits.
Feudalism is the system of production where the primary forces of production are the peasants and the land that they till. The basic characteristic of their relations of production is the very high land rent imposed by the few landowning class on farmers through their monopoly on the land. The peasants are victims of usurious lending rates, forced slavery, low wages for farmers and land grabbing. Feudalism is imperialism’s social base, as this maintains the backwards and small-scale farming from which they accumulate their profits through the exploitation of the cheap labor and raw materials.
Bureaucrat capitalism is the system of running the government like a business. The puppet bureaucrats or officials of the reactionary government take the special role of linking the interests of the imperialists and local oppressors and to crush the determined struggle of the oppressed people. In maintaining the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system, those in power gain more wealth by using their position for corruption and to broaden their lands and businesses. This is the social basis of fascism.
The Philippines is semi-colonial and semi-feudal.
The semi-colonial characteristic of Philippine society is primarily established through the indirect rule of US imperialism in the economy, politics, military and culture of the Philippines.
The semi-feudal characteristic is primarily imposed through subordinating domestic feudalism to the monopoly capitalism of the US.
The concrete result of the intertwining of these two dying forces – US monopoly capitalism and domestic feudalism – is the erosion and dissolution of the natural economy of self-sufficiency in favor of a commodity economy. This leads to the lack of progress in the economy, unparalleled crisis, absence of basic industries, big trade deficits, indebtedness, poverty and oppression.
Ever since it became chained to the international system of monopoly capitalism, the local economy has not seen any real improvement. Feudal bondage is perpetuated in order to create and maintain a huge reserve army of cheap labor. Agricultural production is geared towards the production of export crops needed by the imperialist countries. Local production died out due to the onslaught of the neoliberal policy or globalization in agriculture, the removal of tariffs and subsidies that give protection to them, and the flooding of cheap imported agricultural products.
Because US imperialism restricted the development of national capitalism, basic industries were not developed in the country. The country’s balance of trade is constantly in crisis because of its being export-oriented and import-dependent. The national economy suffers by exporting cheap raw materials and semi-processed products and commodities while it imports expensive essential commodities and finished products, such as oil, from imperialist countries.
Because of its losses through unequal trade and the absence of basic industries based on a developed agriculture, the Philippines is indebted to the US imperialists and the financial oligarchy.
Foreign direct investments in the country only lead to more de-industrialization. The capital investment of the US and other imperialist countries into the country is not meant to improve the local economy and create jobs for the workers. It aims to earn superprofits from the cheap raw materials and labor.
The neocolonial state plays a key role in upholding and implementing policies according to the interests of the foreign imperialists and the local ruling class who are indulging in the wealth of the country. The dictatorship of US imperialism and its comprador big bourgeoisie agents and landlord allies make sure that their class interests in the system of production and the semi-colonial, semi-feudal social superstructure are upheld and protected.
What is the solution to the problems of the Youth and Philippine Society?
The long-term solution to the crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal society is the continuation and victory of the national democratic struggle with a socialist perspective of the Filipino people – a struggle that fights for the freedom of the Filipino people from foreign and feudal oppression and exploitation.
It is national because we are calling for the Filipino people to wage a struggle for liberation to demand national sovereignty and the downfall of US imperialism.
It is democratic because we are calling for the broad masses to wage a democratic revolution, mainly an agricultural revolution in the countryside, to crush the feudal social basis of the ruling imperialists and for land distribution to the peasants. It upholds the democratic rights of the people against the fascist state.
Although it can be considered as a continuation of the Philippine Revolution of 1896 and the Philippine-American War, our National Democratic struggle is of a new type, for the class leadership is in the hands of the toiling masses (the proletariat in a strong alliance with the peasants). This is in recognition that the toiling masses are the most determined to successfully carry forward national democracy to socialism.
What we fight for
We stand for the following policies and program for various National Democratic aspirations:
Nationalization of the economy against the control of the imperialists
- National industrialization as the first step to a planned and balanced development of the local economy
- Implementation of a genuine agrarian reform as the basis for the development of national industries
- Ending the domination of US imperialism and the comprador bourgeoisie in important industries, agencies, and financial institutions
- Nationalization of strategic industries
- Termination of unequal treaties and laws that favor the foreigners
- Upholding worker’s rights, raising the quality of life, and developing social services
In politics, military, and foreign relations/affairs:
- Set up a people’s democratic government that is lead by the working class and is based on the broad alliance of the working class, the peasantry, petty bourgeoisie, and national bourgeoisie
- Set up an army that is patriotic and oriented towards serving the masses that will protect the national territory and will combat foreign invasion
- Uphold and defend democratic rights – both political and civil – of the people
- Recognition and respect for the rights to self-determination of the Moro people and other national minorities
- Advancement of women’s liberation in all aspects
- Adaptation of an independent foreign policy that is anti-imperialist, independent and peaceful
- Advancement of a mass-oriented, scientific and patriotic culture against colonial, feudal, and anti-popular culture
- Democratization of the educational system, free education from the lowest to the highest levels
National Democracy with a socialist perspective
Our National Democratic struggle has a socialist perspective. Socialism is a social system where the control of the state is in the hands of the working class and the means of production are public property. In socialism, the anarchist system of profit-oriented production of capitalism will be replaced by planned production that is based on need. This system will be governed by the policy of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.”
The socialist revolution and construction will begin immediately upon the victory of the people’s national democratic struggle – when imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism have been crushed and the people have seized political power in the whole country.
What is the role of Filipino Youth?
The youth plays an important role in the struggle of the Filipino people for genuine national freedom and democracy. The militancy of the Filipino youth can be seen in the tradition of the Philippine revolution: from the youth members of the Katipunan who sacrificed their blood in fighting against the foreign colonizers to Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth) who played the important role of arousing the masses against the rotten social system and spreading the National Democratic line and program.
There is no bright future in a society where the youth is timid and ignorant. The lack of a patriotic and progressive youth movement is an advantage for the foreign and local rulers to be able to exploit more. On the other hand, the National Democratic struggle can only succeed if it attracts the youth in its largest numbers to the National Democratic line and program.
The youth is vacillating between two contradicting sides of history that are both determined to win them over – between the foreign and local ruling class who spread a culture shaping the bourgeois way of thinking and behaving to maintain exploitation; and the force of the revolution that cooperates with the youth in advancing a more developed and just society.
The youth is in their best age to fight. They are open to revolutionary ideas, sensitive to injustice, in the best physical condition, and are ready to do whatever needs to be done, not only for the youth, but for the people as a whole. They are firm, have fearless dedication, militancy, and irrepressible strength.
The desire for fundamental change beats in the hearts and minds of the youth. The ultimate goal of their struggle is to achieve national democracy to dismantle the semi-colonial and semi-feudal system and crush US imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.
Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge. It is only through struggle that the fighting force can be renewed in the eternal flow of new blood of the revolution.
What is the task of Anakbayan?
A comprehensive organization of the youth such as Anakbayan is needed as a basic force for the victory of the national democratic movement. The absence of a comprehensive Filipino youth organization would mean the aging and death of the revolutionary movement.
The tasks of Anakbayan are to:
- Arouse, organize, and mobilize the biggest numbers of the youth to join the National Democratic struggle of the toiling masses against imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.
- Build the strong alliance of the Filipino youth; youth workers, farmers, urban poor, students, professional, women, migrant, Moro and other national minorities;
- Expand and consolidate the struggle of the masses; fight for the just and immediate interests of the youth for jobs, land, education, political and civil rights, social services, and strongly link them to the National Democratic struggle of the people;
- Raise the political and national democratic consciousness of its members and the youth; study and spread the National Democratic line, program, and analysis among the youth and the people.
- Consciously and systematically implement mass work and integration of the youth into the ranks of the workers and peasants on the picket lines and in the countryside, and actively participate in their struggles.
- Be a strong ally of the toiling masses and train chapter leaders and youth cadres for the National Democratic movement.
- Associate and cooperate with other youth organizations and groups in their concrete goals and struggles.
- Strongly unite with youth organizations abroad and form a broad anti-imperialist front of the youth; form chapters of Anakbayan among the ranks of the Filipino youth abroad.
Who can be a member of Anakbayan?
Any Filipino youth from thirteen (13) to thirty-five (35) years old who believes and adheres to the principles, program and guidelines of Anakbayan can become a member.
As a comprehensive organization, Anakbayan targets members from the working class, peasants, urban poor, students, professionals, women, migrants or Filipino youth abroad, Moro and other national minorities who are ready to join the powerful national democratic movement of the toiling masses.
Anyone who is below thirteen (13) and wants to join can be a “probationary member.” Anyone above thirty-five (35) can be considered an “honorary member.”
Any youth organization that believes in the principles and is ready to advance the goals and guidelines of Anakbayan can become an “affiliate organization” of Anakbayan. Anakbayan will automatically consider individual members of the affiliate organization as members of Anakbayan.
As a member of Anakbayan, it is our task to receive political education on the line and program of the national democratic struggle. It is sufficient to study the Orientation, Program, and Constitution of Anakbayan at the beginning. We should eventually deepen our understanding of the studies under the National Democratic School (PADEPA). Political education is a guide to doing our basic task of agitation propaganda to the masses and to recruit new members.
It is our basic right as members to express our opinions and give suggestions, volunteer for tasks, elect and be elected, be criticized and receive disciplinary action. It is our duty to attend meetings, accept tasks, recruit members, participate in activities, and pay dues.
What is a chapter?
A chapter (balangay) is the basic unit of Anakbayan. This is the material expression of our unity in politics and the solid strength of the organization. We aim to build large and strong chapters from the basic to the national level to effectively carry out the National Democratic line and program, and lead campaigns and mass struggles.
A chapter is consisted of no less than 11 members. These are built wherever there is a concentration of Filipino youth – in factories, farming communities, urban poor communities, schools, etc.
The tasks of an Anakbayan chapter are:
- To promote the line, program, and principles of ANAKBAYAN.
- To build the structure for the democratic participation of the membership.
- To recruit new members, collect membership dues, and build new chapters.
- To hold educational discussions for its members.
- Regularly launch integration with the basic masses – picket lines, farms, and communities.
- To study and analyze the needs, condition, and interests of the youths.
- To undertake activities that will unite and mobilize the membership.
- To advance the struggle for the interests and welfare of the youth and the people.
- To disseminate publications and reading materials of ANAKBAYAN.
The General Assembly (GA) of the chapter is the most decisive body for all the activities of the chapter. The GA decides according to the consensus of the National Congress, National Council, and the National Executive Committee and other higher organs. The GA consists of all the members of the chapter. It is held once a month in order to assess and outline plans and resolutions for a certain period of time.
The everyday tasks of the chapter are lead by the Executive Committee. Every chapter will elect its chairman, vice chairman, general secretary, education and integration officer, and financial officer. The EC can be broadened by electing other officials according to the actual needs and abilities of the chapter (such as separate officials for mass integration or for cultural work).
AOM teams (propaganda and organizing group) are built within chapters of Anakbayan to ensure that each member carries out their basic task of arousing, organizing, and mobilizing the masses.
It aims to mobilize more mass members in the task of directly AOM-ing the masses and to ensure the fast and systematic progress and development of each member as a mass activist of the national democratic movement.
Three members or more are collectivized into teams with a common Team Leader and Vice Team Leader for Organization and Education. The chapter outlines the overall plans, tasks, and its emphasized task. The particular plans of the AOM teams are based on these.
As the membership of the chapter grows due to the launching of increasing agitation propaganda and quick recruitment of AOM teams, Chapter Committees can and should be set up. As the work of the chapter broadens, it is beneficial to have committees that specialize and ensure that important work such as campaigns, mass struggles, education, organization, mass integration, and financial work is done.
While the AOM Teams are the ones doing the direct daily propaganda and recruitment of the masses, the committees ensure the particular plans of work in the chapter and assist in directing the work of the AOM teams and the chapter.