Targeting Akbayan-A A +A
Saturday, October 27, 2012
GROUPS and individuals petitioning for the disqualification of Akbayan from the party-list elections in 2013 are an interesting mix.
The party-list group Anakbayan and the National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) were the first petitioners. The second were the militants’ Bayan, Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog, Ugnayan ng Mangagawa sa Agrikultura and a University of the Philippines student regent and civil society’s Kontra Daya and Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz.
I could imagine the ruling elite laughing at the folly of these groups and individuals. Instead of uniting for a common cause and to advance the interest of the marginalized sectors, these sectors’ representatives are instead battling each other. One group succeeds in clambering up a fence, another tugs it back down.
For years post-Marcos, militant and progressive groups, including the so-called civil society struggled to maintain political relevance. In a period when revolutionary fervor has ebbed, they formulated or adjusted their strategy and tactics. Some were successful, others were not.
Akbayan, I would say, is the most politically astute of the lot. It is able to discern the many opportunities for growth provided by the bourgeois political setup and readily grabs it. This is because, unlike the militants, it is not weighed down by an ideology that is finding it difficult to adjust to fast-changing times. An example: Akbayan was the most aggressive in using the party-list setup to advance its goals.
The 2010 elections are another example. Recognizing the advantage traditional political parties and politicians have over smaller groups, Akbayan grabbed at the chance to align itself with the Liberal Party and the presidential run of Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. The militants, with their lack of an effective united front strategy, swung from one extreme (disdain of elections) to the other (hitching their campaign to trapos).
But they were weighed down by old baggage and prejudices. Their leaders couldn’t, for example, suppress their ego and transcend their dislike for Aquino and for Akbayan, their competitor in the open mass struggle. So they committed the most hilarious mistake of aligning with the Nacionalista Party and the presidential run of Manuel Villlar. They ended up sharing the campaign stage with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Villar lost. But let us reverse the situation. What if Villar won and the militants, instead of Akbayan, are now the ones with one foot on Malacanang’s yard. Would they see themselves the way they are now muddying the image of Akbayan and voluntarily pull out their allied groups from the party-list elections?
To compare Akbayan with fly-by-night party-list groups created and funded by allies of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to be mentally dishonest. And who says that a party-list group that represents the marginalized sector should also be “marginalized” as an organization, so that when it gains influence it ceases to be a representative of the same marginalized sector?
The term “marginalized” applies to the sector and not to the sector’s party-list representative. In fact, the reason for being of a party-list group is precisely to gain political power so it could serve better the marginalized sectors that they are representing.
Until the militants and their allies become objective in advancing the struggle and rid themselves of age-old prejudices, they will remain as marginalized as the sectors they are supposed to be representing.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 27, 2012.