As Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, I wish to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the leadership and members of Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA on the occasion of its second founding anniversary and Second Year General Assembly. In so short a time, you have come to be known nationwide for your advocacy of genuine land reform and rural development.
We appreciate highly your commitment to arouse, organize and mobilize the artists and the creative and knowledge workers and muster their creativity, their talents and skills to serve the peasant movement. You have made a noble decision to help the most numerous exploited class in the Philippines in the struggle to realize their democratic rights to life, to food, to decent work, to justice, to land and self-determination.
We recognize that your innovative strategies, methods of production and platforms for action respond to the needs and demands of the peasant masses and that your constant struggle for artistic freedom finds common cause with their struggle for freedom from feudal and semi-feudal conditions within the framework of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation.
The peasant masses, including the indigenous people and farm workers who are largely land tillers, produce the food for the entire people and yet find themselves in dire straits in obtaining sufficient food and other basic necessities. Thus, they need to engage in organized actions, occupation protests, and collective cultivation activities. They uphold fundamental human rights and civil liberties.
It is correct that you have worked closely with peasant organizations of the movement for national democracy in popularizing the demand for genuine agrarian reform and re-imagining forms of democratic participation beyond traditional politics bound by the ballot. You have achieved much in carrying out the mandate to raise the visibility of the peasant struggle.
You have done so through online and on-ground campaigns, hosting educational forums and discussions, organizing solidarity cook-outs, and—most notably—launching the Bungkalan LAND (Learning and Demonstration) project that sparked renewed interest not only in organic agroecology but in collective farming as both a viable and creative means of political action.
Through its volunteer illustrators, writers and comic artists, SAKA has raised public consciousness of peasant killings, most recently the massacre of 14 farmers and farm workers from Negros island. Its creative products have underscored and generated the just demand for the redistribution of land to poor farmers, civil vigilance, and fair investigation of human rights violations.
We share with you the optimism that, on the basis of your accomplishments, you will bring further to the forefront of creativity, experimentation, and artistic practice the demand for free land distribution, national industrialization, and people-led democratic development. May your assembly achieve the utmost success in carrying out the following tasks:
1. Take stock of the heroic efforts preceding SAKA’s establishment, especially the successes of the people’s struggle for land, justice, and life. Be critical of the reactionary government’s bogus land reforms programs and the persistence of feudal and semi-feudal conditions of exploitation and oppression
2. Strengthen your participation in creating the conditions that will shift power from the landlord class to the peasant class, to move the control of land from the hands of transnational corporations and their partner compradors to those of the workers who participate directly in production.
3. Reaffirm your commitment to the national democratic revolution, started as the anti-colonial struggle led by Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan and renewed as the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggle that upholds the Filipino people’s right to self-determination—the right to determine and develop our national and human resources for our own needs and development.