by Gregorio V. Bituin Jr.
BEYOND THE ASSASSINS’ BULLETS
A long time ago, one man said to his assassin, “Come, shoot me! You’ll just kill a man!” That was Comandante Che Guevara, who comes face to face with his assassin Bolivian soldier Mario Teran, and was killed while doing his revolutionary work in Bolivia. They killed the man, but not his ideas, which today endured the test of time.
Likewise, Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman was just a man. But his assassins can’t kill his ideas. They had wiped out his body but not his legacy.
Ka Popoy was an epitome of a great political thinker, a hero of the proletariat, a critical analyzer of the issues of the time, a prolific writer, a dedicated ideologue, an indefatigable leader, and a fearless revolutionary. He led the split in the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines and advanced the idea that the working class and not the peasants are the main force that will emancipate all the toiling masses from the claws of capitalism. His legacy lies in his writings and in the heart and minds of the Filipino working class. His work inspired others to aspire for a society where there are no slaves of capital and no private property of the means of production.
He contributed much to the advancement of revolutionary thought. He wrote the counter-thesis, which produced great works such as PSR: A Semi-feudal Alibi for Protracted War, 1994. This is a critique of Joma Sison’s book (under the pseudonym Amado Guerrero) Philippine Society and Revolution, which characterized Philippine society’s mode of production as semi-feudal and semi-colonial; PPDR: Class Line vs. Mass Line, 1994, which is a critique of the CPP’s ‘People’s Program for a Democratic Revolution, which laid down its standpoint on the bourgeois democratic revolution and the agrarian question; and third is the PPW: A New-Type Revolution of the Wrong Type, 1994, which is a critique of Sison’s dogma of the armed struggle as the primary form of struggle for the Filipino proletariat, a review of Chinese society and history.
He also wrote deep political and economic analysis of the Philippine society in his work Aralin sa Kahirapan, also known as ARAK; and Puhunan at Paggawa (Capital and Labor), which he profoundly discussed in Tagalog Marx’s Das Kapital.
His contributions for the emancipation of the toiling masses from the bondage of poverty are his road to immortality. Offering his time, his talent and his life for a greater cause for the betterment of others while advancing socialist ideas is what made him immortal in the eyes of the working class.
Together with proletarian thinkers and revolutionaries such as Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Crisanto Evangelista, Teodoro Asedillo, Felixberto Olalia, and the like, the name Filemon “Ka Popoy” Lagman will be engraved in the pantheon of working class heroes.
History is kind enough that as I researched and compiled the works written by different people and put them together in this book, I learned many things that made me think and feel that activist like me should continue to propagate the ideas of the working class and help in their struggle until the day has come that the victory of socialism worldwide will become a reality. I believe that others who will read this book will agree.
Through their articles and poems, those who have known Ka Popoy - friends, comrades, admirers, and even enemies - salutes the man whom many feared because of his tenacity in propagating his ideas and in advancing the working class interest. They salute the man who called for a revolution in Ayala.
Filemon Lagman is dead, but the assassins’ bullets didn’t kill and cannot kill the legacy of the man many called Ka Popoy. They didn’t stop and cannot stop working class revolutionaries and activists from dreaming, pursuing and struggling for the advancement of socialism and for the emancipation of the working class.
This compilation is a testament that beyond the assassins’ bullets, Ka Popoy’s legacy will forever be enshrined in the history of the Filipino working class. Long live Ka Popoy!