Can’t say ‘No’ to the revolution: Douglas Vizmanos-Dumanon, 1954 – 2010

By Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions

Other versions: Pilipino

We in the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions-National Democratic Front of the Philippines salute the revolutionary life, struggle and contributions of Comrade Douglas Vizmanos-Dumanon! Ka Douglas, as we have come to know him, is a veteran cadre and hardworking organizer of the revolutionary trade-union movement in the country. He died due to complications caused by cancer last 25 January. We express our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and comrades, especially to his wife Beth and six children. Ka Douglas is loved dearly by comrades and working people.

Ka Douglas first got involved in the national-democratic revolution months before the declaration of martial law in September 1972. He joined the militant youth organization Kabataang Makabayan and later became the education officer of KM's chapter in the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. He was one of the countless people who were immediately arrested when martial law was imposed. He was released in 1973.

In 1977, Ka Douglas was elected president of the workers' union in Luzon Stevedoring Corporation or Luzteveco, a port company. He led his fellow workers in struggling for their rights and interests. In no time, he was playing a leading role in the legal trade-union movement in the country. He was one of the numerous courageous men and women who, despite the open repression unleashed by the Marcos dictatorship against militant organizations, led in the founding of the Kilusang Mayo Uno in 1980.

He took on leadership positions in the KMU after the mass arrest of KMU leaders and members in 13 August 1982 — the "Black Friday" of the trade-union movement in the country. In particular, he led the militant labor center's alliance work. In this task, he was able to build bridges with various independent workers' federations and unions. He was able to win over a substantial section of these formations to the side of the militant labor center. For his firmness in advancing genuine, militant and nationalist trade unionism and his openness and warmth, he earned these organizations' respect.

In the early 1990s and afterwards, Ka Douglas was one of the cadres of the trade-union movement who led in heeding the call to reaffirm the revolutionary movement's basic principles and rectify grave errors which were committed during the 1980s. He stood firmly with the revolutionary trade-union movement and didn't go with the counter-revolutionary traitors who tried in vain to destroy the movement from within.

In about the same time, he became the finance officer of the KMU. He was responsible for soliciting funds from various sources for KMU's operations after the counter-revolutionaries in the trade-union movement ransacked KMU's bank accounts. At the same time, he also assisted in directing the mass campaigns and struggles being waged by the militant labor center. He also helped in KMU's international liaison work.

Ka Douglas then became a leader and organizer of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay, the national-democratic organization of the urban poor under the KMU. He organized among the urban poor in Payatas, contributed to Kadamay's expansion drives, and led campaigns for livelihood and housing for the urban poor.

Even when he was significantly weakened by his sickness, he never lost touch with comrades in the revolutionary trade-union movement, even vowing to return to active service a few months before he died. Ka Douglas was a member of the RCTU's executive committee when he died of complications caused by cancer.

Ka Douglas was a worker-intellectual. Many people attest to his impressive intellectual capacity which he gladly, if shyly, shared with comrades and friends and the Filipino workers and people in various educational discussions and meetings. He had an extensive knowledge of the Russian Revolution of 1917, World War 2, Vietnam War, and contemporary issues besetting the peoples of many countries in the world. He kept track of the various groups and tendencies in the Philippine labor movement, and was as such highly capable of mapping the configuration of forces in the sector.

Ka Douglas embodied many good traits of a revolutionary. Despite his knowledge and successes in revolutionary work, he was always humble and open to criticisms. Despite his serious image, he was always willing to joke around with comrades and friends. Despite many problems in revolutionary work, he was always calm and soft-spoken.

He seldom gets angry, except with the exploiters of the workers and people against whom he raged in his entire adult life. Many comrades who worked closely with him describe him as incapable of saying "no" to revolutionary work. He was always willing to take on tasks, whether big or small, as long as he sees their value for the advancement of the revolution. He lived a simple life of hardwork and perseverance.

We are saddened by the death of Ka Douglas. At the same time, we welcome his respite from the ravages of his ailment. He is a hero and a martyr of the revolution, serving the working class and people to his very last breath.

We vow to continue the fight to which Ka Douglas devoted more than three decades of his active life. We vow to raise the national-democratic struggle to a new and higher level in the coming years. In this effort, we value Ka Douglas's contributions to the revolutionary movement, as well as his sterling example to comrades and the people, as simply indispensible.