Philippine students scoop up communist literature

By Ron Poulsen
April 30, 2018

MANILA, Philippines — Members of the Communist Leagues in Australia and New Zealand took advantage of an invitation from PUP SPEAK — the Student Party for Equality and Advancement of Knowledge — to set up a literature table at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines with books by leaders of the Socialist Workers Party and other revolutionary leaders.

Three communist workers, this author and Linda Harris from Australia and Janet Roth from New Zealand were here March 6-10 to explain how these books help working people understand and change the world. A Pathfinder books stall was also set up at the University of Philippines, hosted by the Department of English and Comparative Literature.

The tables were always busy, as young people looking to understand the crisis of capitalism today and read about revolutionary working-class politics bought 113 books and six subscriptions to the Militant.

Jona Claire Turalde from the Philippine Safe Abortion Advocacy Network said next time she wanted to get the pamphlet on abortion rights that had been already sold out. Books on the fight for women’s liberation were snapped up.

Some students were attracted to titles on labor struggles and working-class politics, including Is Socialist Revolution in the US Possible?

Books on the history of the popular insurrection by Cuban workers and peasants led by Fidel Castro and the July 26 Movement, and on the way millions of men and women transformed themselves in the course of the socialist revolution there, were a main attraction. Quite a few of those who swarmed around our stalls were looking for an alternative to Maoism, and its Stalinist counterrevolutionary program and thug methods, which have dominated the left and labor movement here for decades.

Glecy Atienza, a teacher at the University of the Philippines, bought a range of titles to help restock her department’s library, which was lost when a university building burnt down.

We widely distributed the SWP statement, “For Recognition of a Palestinian State and of Israel,” which outlines a perspective for revolutionary struggle uniting working people in the Middle East and worldwide. Giane Solacito, a University of Philippines student, said she grew up in Dubai where her parents are overseas Filipino workers. They are Christian, she said, and supported Israel, but her classmates had all been Muslim, and she had joined them backing Palestine. After discussing the statement, she said she was glad she read it because it points a way for Palestinian and Jewish workers to build mutual solidarity.

The Communist League members also made arrangements for Pathfinder Press to participate in the Manila International Book Fair at the Mall of Asia Sept. 12-16.