KAGUMA: Commemorate the 1986 EDSA uprising, advance the people’s democratic revolution!
The Katipunan ng mga Gurong Makabayan (KAGUMA) and the revolutionary teachers movement joins the Filipino people in commemorating the 37th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA uprising that toppled the much-hated US-Marcos dictatorship. This year’s commemoration has the distinct character of being the first made after the return of the Marcos family to Malacanang 37 years after they were ousted by the Filipino people from power in the EDSA uprising. It highlights the necessity for progressive and patriotic teachers and education workers to embody the real meaning of “unity” by linking arms with other oppressed sectors to advance the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and anti-fascist struggles of the Filipino people.
The Marcoses benefited from the absence of any strong push by various post- Marcos administrations to hold the family, cronies, and military lackeys of the late dictator accountable for their many crimes against the people. The road to their rehabilitation secured by successive regimes, the Marcoses made good use of their ill-gotten wealth to feed a massive disinformation campaign that deodorized their bloody and corrupt legacy. Taking advantage of growing disillusionment with the failed promises of the bourgeois democratic order that replaced their late patriarch’s fascist rule, the Marcoses exploited the rotten education system to conjure the fantasy of the martial law years as the country’s purported “golden age”.
Revolutionary teachers and education workers must stand at the forefront of the struggle to push back against the well-funded machinery of lies and historical distortion behind the Marcos comeback and the heightening fascist resurgence in the country. We must counter the Marcos-Duterte ruling clique’s machinations to recast the real history of martial law by erasing their avaricious plunder of the economy, bloodthirsty human rights abuses, and shameless puppetry to foreign powers from the collective memory of the Filipino people. Far from being a golden era, the martial law period was an era of intense crisis and oppression on the one hand and the people’s heroic struggles against the dictatorship on the other hand.
The ruling clique’s schemes to distort this history includes efforts to denigrate the 1986 EDSA uprising as a mere consequence of the political rivalry between two oligarchic political clans, the Marcoses and the Aquinos, that did not concern the rest of the Filipino people. At the same time, various reactionary voices have sought to belittle and erase the role of the revolutionary movement as the main force that fought and weakened the dictatorship in over two decades of life-and- death struggle. We revolutionary teachers and education workers must lead efforts to look back from the people’s resistance to martial law, highlighting their sacrifices, achievements, as well as missteps, in order to draw lessons and inspiration in order to help confront the social ills and intensifying fascist terror under the second Marcos regime.
The EDSA uprising was the victorious culmination of the people’s resistance to fascist rule but it was unable to effect more fundamental changes in the semi- feudal and semi-colonial system. Fascist dictatorship was replaced by a bourgeois democratic order that perpetuated the fascist counterinsurgency campaigns and neoliberal economics of the Marcos dictatorship. The EDSA uprising ended dictatorial rule but could not push further to truly realize the people’s democratic aspirations. KAGUMA believes that only the path of the people’s democratic revolution can accomplish the promise of national and social liberation that the EDSA uprising left unfinished. Only through revolutionary struggle can the true promise of the 1986 EDSA people’s uprising be fulfilled.