A mas­quer­ade

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

COM­ING out of the wood­work, like worms wrig­gling out of a long and sat­is­fy­ing hi­ber­na­tion, were the la­tent but no less ra­bid man­i­fes­ta­tions of the dom­i­nant ide­o­log­i­cal mind­set.

The col­lapse of the peace talks be­tween the NDFP and the GRP was the clar­ion call that launched a num­ber of oped pieces and a thou­sand dispir­ited com­ments ma­lign­ing the 48-year-old strug­gle of the peo­ple’s army and the mass move­ment that sup­ports it.

No doubt, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of these are fu­eled by a well-oiled pro­pa­ganda ma­chine that has been an­i­mated on cue to am­plify ex­ist­ing anti-left dis­po­si­tions. But a good num­ber of these re­ac­tions em­anate from hon­est and pas­sion­ate con­vic­tions. How­ever, just be­cause opin­ions are meant and felt, do not au­to­mat­i­cally val­i­date them nor ex­clude them from ide­o­log­i­cal scru­tiny. It is still im­per­a­tive for us to ask: for whose in­ter­ests are cer­tain ideas prop­a­gated and am­pli­fied in me­dia and whose voices are be­ing si­lenced in the process?

The sub­stance of the script has been pre­dictable. The only vari­a­tion has been from whose pen the neg­a­tive re­gard for the move­ment em­anates from. The naysay­ers range from opin­ion writ­ers, left­ist dem­a­gogues, and paid trolls, and they all mouth the same line in vary­ing de­grees of elo­quence and gar­ish­ness.

They re­gard the move­ment present in ma­jor cities and 2,500 ru­ral vil­lages all over the coun­try rep­re­sent­ing close to 50 guerilla fronts, com­mu­ni­ties where the armed strug­gle has grown roots and ex­panded for four gen­er­a­tions, en­joy­ing the sup­port of mil­lions as part of their mass base, as sim­ply a huge per­son­al­ity cult re­volv­ing around a group of po­lit­i­cal ex­iles in Utrecht. By er­ro­neously de­pict­ing the move­ment ac­cord­ing to the terms of the old feu­dal or­der that must be de­stroyed, these crit­ics only ex­pose the sub­stance and lim­its of their po­lit­i­cal imag­i­na­tion.

It is con­de­scend­ing not just to the es­teemed men and women who were for­mer po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers but now in po­lit­i­cal asy­lum at the Nether­lands, but also to the like­minded ac­tivists who have fol­lowed their foot­steps to con­tinue the strug­gle from the time of the dic­ta­tor­ship up to the present for decades here at home, most of whom hide from the shad­ows.

The ran­cor is ex­pected from these quar­ters who boast about their ties with the Left at some point in their lives,

a past that they have traded to be­come gov­ern­ment func­tionar­ies and con­sul­tants en­joy­ing the perks and priv­i­leges of the rul­ing elite while their erst­while com­rades re­mained in the mar­gins, name­less and un­rec­og­nized.

Deep in their hearts, de­spite the trap­pings of suc­cess they have ac­cu­mu­lated, in­clud­ing the main­stream ac­co­lades and eco­nomic se­cu­rity they have se­cured for them­selves and their fam­i­lies, they know that his­tory has weighed them and their com­pro­mises and even servi­tude to main­tain an op­pres­sive sys­tem, and found them want­ing.

There is also the jeal­ous con­fu­sion of those who can­not un­der­stand the ide­o­log­i­cal dis­ci­pline and rigid­ity of the move­ment they re­gard as in­flex­i­ble and dog­matic. This set lament the sup­posed lack of joie de vivre of national democrats and car­i­ca­ture them as soul­less hu­mor­less crea­tures who are con­stantly grim and de­ter­mined, a por­tent of the kind of dan­ger­ous rev­o­lu­tion they are set out to make.

For those who have the luxury and re­sources to be con­fused, it is their pre­rog­a­tive to be play­ful and re­main to be un­de­cided while work­ers die in un­safe fac­to­ries and peas­ants fight­ing for land are be­ing shot. Any­way, there is for­eign fund­ing for one’s civil so­ci­ety or­ga­ni­za­tion for the next cou­ple of years to waste in fad­dist in­ter­ven­tions of lit­tle im­pact. While go­ing through the mo­tions, why not en­joy the perks of out-of-town meet­ings in swanky ho­tels with free beer and meals?

Ul­ti­mately, it is re­ally the de­gree of ur­gency one re­gards the un­chang­ing and wors­en­ing po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic crises in this na­tion that sep­a­rates those from the move­ment and those out­side ig­no­rant or ar­ro­gant enough to take pot­shots at it. The crit­ics come from two im­pulses to this his­tor­i­cal chal­lenge: they ei­ther shirk away and com­pro­mise them­selves to the sys­tem and/or feign con­fu­sion and at­tack the move­ment for re­main­ing stead­fast to its prin­ci­ples – both ac­tu­ally re­flec­tions of their per­sonal weak­nesses.

And for the in­tel­lec­tu­ally so­phis­ti­cated, they de­cry the sup­posed stag­nant the­o­riz­ing of the left as if the job of wag­ing rev­o­lu­tion was to come out with the­o­ret­i­cal pa­pers to re­spond to es­o­teric aca­demic con­cerns. The move­ment lives and breathes as we speak and its longevity and re­silience are proofs of its con­tin­u­ing rel­e­vance. The fidelity to a cer­tain set of core prin­ci­ples is nec­es­sary when the con­di­tions have re­main un­changed, espe­cially when crit­ics es­pous­ing new ideas en­deavor to ac­tu­ally weaken and di­vide the move­ment.

The crit­i­cisms are not new and these have been lev­eled against the move­ment time and time again. The move­ment is sure to out­last this kind of cow­ardly stance that only ex­poses their be­trayal and/or con­fu­sion mas­querad­ing as po­tent. — Arnold P. Ala­mon

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