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Young cultural workers take lead in celebrating 50 years of art and culture in the Philippine revolution

By staff |
January 2, 2019
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Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Utrecht, Netherlands - Hundreds of cultural workers, youth, human rights and political activists, artists, academics, Filipino and other migrant nationalities and representatives of political parties and formations from all over the world, jampacked the auditorium of center for art and culture in this central Dutch city, December 29, to celebrate “Fifty Years of Art and Culture in the Filipino People’s Struggle for National and Social Liberation” and the anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26, 1968.

The celebration was organized by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) International Information Office in Utrecht, together with the Linangan Art and Culture – a network of young cultural workers and artists in the Netherlands. The Basis voor Actuele Kunst (BAK) – a leading international platform for theoretically-informed, politically-driven art and experimental research, hosted the event.

The celebration which began in the morning, was highlighted with an exhibition of art works, performances and publications, video installations and film-showings produced in the course of the struggle of the Filipino people for national and social liberation.

The celebration was capped with speeches by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman of the CPP, and NDFP chief political consultant, who spoke on the achievements of the revolutionary movement in the past 50 years; Luis Jalandoni, NDFP peace panel senior adviser, who gave a speech on building the third weapon of the revolution, the united front, and Coni Ledesma, NDFP peace panel member, who spoke on the road to a just and lasting peace.

A one-minute video on “What is Peace” preceded Ledesma’s speech. A choral singing of “Martsa ng Bayan” (March of the People) preceded Jalandoni’s talk, and a dance interpretation of the poem and song “NorthStar” preceded Sison’s input.

Earlier during the day, Julieta De Lima, NDFP peace panel member, gave a premier lecture on the role of art and culture in the struggle of the Filipino masses for national and social Liberation, and the role of the masses in the development of revolutionary art and culture.

The solidarity program included heartwarming and revolutionary performances by young militant cultural workers from the Philippines, Netherlands, the U.S., Canada, Belgium, Turkey, and Italy. They rendered revolutionary songs, dances that included the contemporary and traditional lumad (indigenous) dance, choric reading, and theater performances depicting the triumphs of the people’s army in the Philippines. These performances were always accompanied by visual presentations on the people’s struggle.

Representatives from many organizations in the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Iceland, Norway, Peru, United Kingdom, Switzerland, the U.S. and Canada, India, Mexico, Turkey, and Indonesia attended. The Embassy of Venezuela in The Hague also sent a representative.

Solidarity messages from political parties and formations from the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Turkey, Kurdistan, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, Norway, Indonesia, the U.S. and Canada. Chants of “Viva CPP-NPA-NDF!” and “Mabuhay ang CPP!” interspersed the reading of the solidarity messages from the friends of the Filipino people.

The film “Revolution Selfie: The Red Battalion” by American filmmaker Steven De Castro who tackled the portrait of the 48 year-old people’s army in the Philippines, and the documentary film “Moving Mountains” which tackles the life stories of the pioneers of the Philippine Revolution and the future of the protracted people’s war, were also shown earlier in the day.

During the solidarity program, youth organizations in the Netherlands gave a special recognition to Prof. Sison and Julie de Lima, for being among the most outstanding pioneers of the Philippine revolutionary movement and a guiding inspiration for young revolutionaries, particularly young guerrillas of the people’s army. They gifted Joma and Julie with bouquets of flowers and a Mao pen and Mao’s original classic “Red Book”. Youth activists in the audience chanted “ang karit at maso, dudurog sa estado” (the peasant sickle and worker’s hammer, will crush the state) as the couple received a standing ovation.

As a tribute, a moving video collage of contemporary Filipino revolutionaries – poets, human rights workers, cultural activists, writers, movie directors, academics, militant priests and nuns, solidarity workers, and NPA guerrillas who have passed on, became missing, killed by the Philippine military or died as guerrilla fighters and combatants, was shown.

The evening of celebration concluded with the community singing of the workers’ anthem “Internationale” while a video of exiled NDFP leaders singing the same song was also played, and was followed by a celebratory dance with indigenous music participated in by the Filipino migrants and their children who were garbed in indigenous attire from the Cordilleras and Mindanao.

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