We are the youth of this generation. Fed with the prejudices of our predecessors and numbed from the constant barrage of popular culture that inculcated in us the values of a crass materialistic world.

Those in power and authority have told us that conformity is good. We were trained to believe that the only way to achieve success is to maintain, accept and serve the status quo.

In a profit-driven world where individualism and self-preservation are held as the highest ideals, we were taught to value self-interest above the welfare of the millions who are wallowing in the mire of degrading poverty.

But as we gather today, we sought the meaning of our existence and evaluate our role in society.

We started by realizing that poverty, corruption, war and bigotry – this vicious cycle of hate and suffering – endures also because of our own collective apathy. We humbly admitted that turning a blind eye to the suffering of the weak and the weary – the dispossessed masses – is tantamount to compounding the problem instead of solving it.

But even as our realization impelled us to listen to the cry of the masses, our collective consciences were never be laid to rest until we truly unearthed the root causes of these social problems.

We now comprehend that the truth behind poverty and misery, despite the tremendous advancement of human knowledge, is an “open secret” that must be disclosed.

The scourge of poverty persists because:

  • Human wants and needs – although graciously provided by nature and collectively harnessed by labor – are primarily being used by huge corporations in their private pursuit of considerable profit margins;
  • The “right of property” of the minority continues to dominate over the “right to live decently” of the majority;
  • The privileged few have the monopoly not only of material wealth – natural and man-made – but also of political power;
  • And because governments serve as the instrument of the elite to preserve and promote their selfish ends.

No other word can best describe the basis of poverty but exploitation. Meaning, the oppression of the many by the few

And so, we – the youth of this generation – are now aware that they have lied to us in their newspapers, in the books they wrote for us to memorize in school, in their honeyed speeches inside the various halls of government, in mass media, and in electoral sorties when they court our votes.

We now know that the “truth” was kept away from the prying eyes of the youth because they did not want us to rise from the rubble. The elite does not want us to channel our innate energy and youthful fervor in confronting the unjust and immoral social order.

Because, certainly, this truth would suffice to compel the youth to strive for a future that is different from the world of today.

And we deserve a better society that moves toward the:

  • Eradication of poverty and misery not just by wealth generation but, more so, through its equitable distribution to ensure an improved quality of life for everyone;
  • Recognition to the importance and dignity of labor. Human life could not exist without the creation of human necessities by Nature and Labor. Hence, those who work must enjoy the fruits of their labor;
  • Elimination of discrimination based on age, gender, ethnic, cultural, social, political and economic background;
  • And, the establishment of a government that genuinely reflects the will and welfare of the majority. Workers, farmers, fishers, the urban and rural poor should be included in decision-making processes and government structures.

Thus, we – the inheritors of the future – openly declare social change as the order of the day. Yet, our burning desire for social transformation is tempered by our understanding on the role of the youth in changing society.

The idealism of the youth is simply not enough. We place our hopes on the collective action of the enlightened masses – the majority in society who alone has the strength to move the levers of history.

And we would not hesitate to rebuke anyone who would look down on the masses with contempt and aversion.

Hence, we regard the slogan of “Serve the Masses!” as a noble responsibility and moral obligation. Not just because there is nothing more virtuous than to serve the masses from whom we owe our very existence.

But more so, because the youth of this generation could secure its future only by contributing to the enlightenment of the masses and by assisting their effort to organize themselves.

We, members of the SDK, swear this solemn vow:

The time has come for the youth to take charge of their future. And with all our hearts and minds, we would be tireless advocates for social justice, dedicated defenders of the well-being of the majority, and ardent supporters of the self-organization of the masses. Now is our defining moment. Seize the day.

And with so doing, the youth of today’s generation like the galaxy of heroes and martyrs of the old SDK and the First Quarter Storm shall earn its niche in the annals of Philippine history.

 Mabuhay ang Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan!

Mabuhay ang Kabataang Pilipino!

Convenors Assembly for the Re-establishment of the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan or Democratic Association of the Youth (SDK)

January 30, 2004,

Sampaloc Manila, Philippines