Hope against hope

Sun.Star Pampanga - - STORIES! - Or­lando P. Car­va­jal

WHO doesn’t want peace ex cept per­haps arms man­u­fac­tur­ers who make mil­lions sell­ing weapons of war? Most of us would most prob­a­bly rather go for a peace­ful yet pro­gres­sive life with family and friends.

Thus, it was good to hear that Pres­i­dent Duterte is open again to­wards re-start­ing peace talks with the CPP-NPA. With peace in Bangsamoro near­ing re­al­iza­tion, the news is cer­tainly most wel­come that the de­railed peace train of the gov­ern­ment and the CPP-NPA might be chug­ging along again.

In the same breath, how­ever, I must admit to hav­ing my doubts that a win-win agree­ment would emerge from these talks. I pray to be wrong but here’s why.

One of the most tightly held dog­mas of the CPP-NPA is that power can only come from “the bar­rel of a gun,” in other words, through armed rev­o­lu­tion. The CPP-NPA, fol­low­ing Mao Tse Tung’s ver­sion, im­ple­ments this through a pro­tracted armed strug­gle start­ing from the coun­try­side and even­tu­ally en­cir­cling the cities.

Be­cause of this dogma, the CPP-NPA did not par­tic­i­pate in the Edsa peo­ple power rev­o­lu­tion. They sim­ply do not be­lieve that en­trenched po­lit­i­cal power can be brought down with­out arms.

Pos­si­bly be­cause of this dogma, they broke the first round of peace talks by re­sum­ing their armed in­cur­sions in the coun­try­side. For how can you stop some­thing that you firmly be­lieve is the only way to gain po­lit­i­cal power?

Here comes Pres­i­dent Duterte mak­ing it a con­di­tion for the re­sump­tion of peace talks that the NPA agree to a cease­fire. Will Joma Si­son, for the sake and du­ra­tion of the talks, set aside com­mu­nism’s dogma of armed rev­o­lu­tion?

But even if he does we are not out of the woods be­cause of two strate­gic agenda the CPPNPA is pur­su­ing un­flinch­ingly and with what ap­pears to be an equally dog­matic de­ter­mi­na­tion.

The first is po­lit­i­cal. The CPPNPA has its sights on a coali­tion gov­ern­ment. But this, as Duterte has rightly said, gov­ern­ment can­not hand over to them in a sil­ver plat­ter. They have to run for of­fice and be prop­erly elected as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the marginal­ized sec­tor they claim to be fight­ing for.

The sec­ond is eco­nomic. The land re­form pro­gram of the CPPNPA is de­signed to rad­i­cally and com­pre­hen­sively scut­tle our feu­dal sys­tem of land own­er­ship and pro­duc­tion. But pre­cisely be­cause it is so, I can­not see gov­ern­ment (of, for, and by big land­lords and big busi­ness) ac­cept­ing it raw and un­treated.

The big ques­tion is... will Joma Si­son set aside dogma and agree to a cease­fire? If he does, will he, for the sake of giving peace a chance, have it in him to come down a step or two from the dog­matic plat­forms of CPP-NPA’s po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic agenda?

Dog­mas do not shat­ter eas­ily. We can re­ally just hope against hope. -

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