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Remembering a Filipino Working Class Hero

by Union of Filipino Workers Monday, Feb. 07, 2011 at 6:12 PM

February 6, 2011 marks the 10th death anniversary of our leader and slain comrade Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman.

Remembering a Filipi...
02-06-01-justice-for-ka-popoy-lagman.jpg, image/jpeg, 226x175

Ten years have passed, but there’s still no justice for Ka Popoy. A working class hero, Ka Popoy was the president of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP - Union of Filipino Workers) from 1995 until he was killed by assassin's bullets on that fateful day in 2001, nearly two weeks after the Edsa Two revolution. But his assassins can’t kill his ideas. They had wiped out his body but not his legacy. We’re still here to pursue Ka Popoy’s dream – our dream – to emancipate the working class from the bondage of capitalist oppression, corruption, poverty and deceit, a dream of a socialist revolution to be led by the working class.

Our dream, like Ka Popoy’s, will continue to inspire us to work hard with the fire in our hearts, carrying our socialist ideals to pursue what Ka Popoy has dreamed - a society where there are no slaves of capital, a socialist revolution to be led by the proletariat, a classless society, a victory for the working class. Ten years since his death, poverty and injustices still continue to plague our nation, continue to cripple the life of the poor, contractualization is rampant, the system of greed that Ka Popoy wants to get rid of still continue to destroy the honor and dignity of the working class.

Ka Popoy was an embodiment of a great socialist revolutionary, a hero of the proletariat, a leader beloved and feared, a great teacher, a fearless activist, a prolific writer, a great agitator. More than any activist of his generation, Ka Popoy is the most conscious about developing the proletarian line. He thought and wrote about Philippine society and the working class revolution through Marxist-Leninist line; and even criticizes the Stalinist-Maoist line that led to the split in the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1991. A Marxist-Leninist through and through, he viewed the working class as the main force of change instead of the peasants, which Joma Sison advocates. Ka Popoy advocated the working class-led revolution that will emancipate all the toiling masses from the claws of capitalism.

We started this day by a wreath-laying activity at Ka Popoy’s monument at Marikina on 7am, then we proceed at Loyola Memorial Park to visit and pay respect to Ka Popoy. After that, hundreds of workers and urban poor marched from Loyola to UP Bahay ng Alumni, where he was gunned down a decade ago. We ended the program there, but we didn’t end our crusade.

As we commemorate this day, we are renewing our vow to continue Ka Popoy’s fight, to pursue his dream for system change, to carry on the fight until socialist victory will be achieved. We will continue to organize the workers and the poor to fulfil our goal of a socialist system that will emancipate us, most especially the working class, from the onslaught of capitalism, from the bondage of greed. Ka Popoy’s spirit lives on.





The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.

- Lois McMaster Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity, 2002

For us alumni of KAMALAYAN (conciousness) youth organization, we wish for a new system where there will be liberty, equality and fraternity, just like the slogan in the French Revolution. We organize ourselves and join our hands to live an activist life with a dream of a socialist system that will emancipate us, most especially the working class, from the bondage of poverty. We dream what our leader Ka Popoy Lagman has dreamed - a society where there are no slaves of capital.

Some says that Kamalayan died a couple of years ago, but we have proven to those who "killed" this organization that we are still alive. That we continue to live with our socialist aim intact. That we are capable of doing something to continue the revolution waged by Ka Popoy - a socialist revolution with the working class as the main force, a socialist revolution with Marxism-Leninism as our guide. Kamalayan will restore itself as one of the main socialist youth organization in the country, with the honor and dignity as an activist organization. Kamalayan Alumni will continue to organize and guide youth and students, most especially the sons and daughters of the working class, to pursue our socialist aim.

In 1993, the League of Filipino Students - National Capital Region (LFS-NCR) chapter broke away from LFS-National and formed the KAMALAYAN (Kalipunan ng Malayang Kabataan - Free Youth Society). KAMALAYAN was conceived on November 30, 1993. Kamalayan was born together with different mass organizations who declared their autonomy from their national leadership, when the leading mass movements in the country were marred by debates and disputes in the early '90s. Throughout its actions and activities, KAMALAYAN adopted the Marxist-Leninist ideology, and debunked its former national democratic ideas and its Stalinist-Maoist venom. They broke away from their national democratic groupings to get rid of their Sisonite heritage. From Kalipunan ng Malayang Kabataan as our acronym in 1993 to Kalipunan ng mga Anak ng Manggagawa, the KAMALAYAN, together with our sister organization, the National Federation of Student Councils (NFSC), pursue and organized students from different schools, to enlighten them that the system of greed can be abolished and a new system is possible. Ka Popoy Lagman as one of the leaders of the working class group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) earnestly supported Kamalayan in its ideological direction.

In this commemoration of Ka Popoy's 10th death anniversary, we wish that Ka Popoy's legacy will continue to fire our hearts and mind to achieve our socialist aim. We also wish that Ka Popoy's assassins be brought to justice. We will continue pursuing his dream - our dream - for a socialist revolution until the old system of capitalism, corruption, egotism, elitism, false honor, love of money, vanity, insolence, tyranny, intrigue, miserable life, and poverty will vanish in the face of the earth. We will fight with passion, with Marxism-Leninism as our guidance, with the working class as our main force, with our socialist vision as our guide to action.

Continuing Ka Popoy's dream until socialist victory is achieved is one of the greatest gift that we can give this nation, the working class, the children of today and the next generation. Kamalayan, alive as it was, will continue working and fighting to achieve socialist victory, a victory of the working class, a victory that will not end our revolution, but will theoretically continue to its next step, the transition from capitalism to socialism.

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