Struggling in a changed setup

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Sunday, November 25, 2012


EVERY activist used to look up to the People’s Republic of China in the ‘60s, ‘70s and, to a certain degree, the ‘80s. After all, the national democratic revolution (NDR) waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that Amado Guerrero and the then young communists founded in 1968 was patterned after China’s revolution that triumphed in 1949. CPP’s ideology is Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought.

Much of that admiration has changed in the past few decades, though. China’s brand of “socialist construction” that allows capitalism to flourish but guided by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has led the CPP to label China as “capitalist-roader.” And most recently, China’s attempt to wrest control of South China Sea territories exposed what many now see as China’s imperialist designs.

China’s latest controversial move has been to issue passports to its citizens showing a map that owns even the disputed territories. The Philippines has issued a diplomatic protest for the inclusion of areas in the West Philippine Sea in the map. The move also angered Vietnam and prompted India to stamp its own version of its territorial map on visas given to Chinese visitors.

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China’s recalcitrance has resulted in strained relations with most Southeast Asian nations and even Japan and India. It will be interesting to find out if China will keep this up with a new CCP leadership in place. But even now, China’s acts have already pushed most of its neighbors toward rival US, an old imperialist power.

The US, in turn, is using the conflict to increase its influence in Asia. US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have increased their presence and upped their rhetoric the past years when it comes to Asia. They must have realized that, because of China’s expansionist moves, anti-US sentiment in this part of the world has lessened or has been muted altogether.

I don’t know what the stand of the current CPP leadership is on the matter. It’s possible it will insist on its reaffirmist (RA) view and continue to base its reaction to latest development on an ideology that has been unchanged half a century later and despite shifts in the world setup.

NDR espouses a struggle against the three basic problems of feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and US imperialism. Of the three, the latter has itself become problematic because of the country’s changed relationship with the US. Our own version of diaspora has increased the number of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans residing in the US, and changes in the US economic position affect them directly.

This is the reason the CPP has not been able to raise its anti-US imperialist propaganda to a higher level despite recent US designs in the country. Filipinos in the country who have relatives in the US are not receptive to such propaganda. The situation has been complicated by China’s recent acts in South China Sea. It has made advancing the anti-US imperialism struggle doubly tricky.

Which begs the question of whether the current CPP leadership is up to the challenge posed by a setup different from the ones it dealt with during the rule of Ferdinand Marcos from where it gained its initial strength? Considering its errors even in such a less intense arena as elections and alliance work, I am beginning to doubt it.

(khanwens@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 26, 2012.

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