Ideology and dissent

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


THE arrest over the weekend of top leaders of the CPP-NPA or the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, calls to mind the long-drawn struggle between the right and the left in our ideologically divided society.

The left likes to think of it as a clash between the rich and the poor. It was a rather awkward way of classifying our people. Some students of sociology thought of it as an encounter between the “haves” and “have-nots.”

In any case, there was an earlier period in our post-World War II history when the clash was between the western democratic ideologists--or rightist, if you may--and the communist ideologues who represented the dissenting left, often called Marxists or Leninists, if one considered them to be Russian-influenced, or Maoist, if Chinese, whose supremo then was Mao Tse-tung.

But this is really of no moment to the greater masses of our people whose great hope is to live in peace.

However, during that period after World War II, there was an immediate emergence of
the ideological conflict in Central Luzon when the occupation of the American liberation forces generated political reaction from the guerilla forces fighting the tyrannical Japanese military.

A group that called itself the Hukbalahap (Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon) turned out to be communist-inspired, and had diehard followers in the region.

The Huks, as they were called for short by the people, led then by a man named Luis Taruc, won popular support from the people, and thus, communism spread in the region as a reaction to the American presence in Clark Air Base in Tarlac, and the naval base in Olongapo.

It was the start of the painful social division of our people. But luckily, it did not effectively spread to Central Visayas, although it did, to some extent, to the western and eastern regions.

The massive graft and corruption in the national government added fire to the discontent of the people, which the Philippines Free Press weekly magazine was steadily dishing out to the impoverished and socio-economically hard-pressed so-called masses.

So it was not surprising then that activism and dissent sprouted among the students, specially at the University of the Philippines (UP) in its new site in Diliman, Quezon City, where it was just recently transferred.

The “seeds” of the growing social turmoil during that period in Central Luzon was implanted in the UP Diliman campus during those early months when young communist activists, stirred by the media reports of shenanigans in the conduct of national governance during and after the death of President Manuel Roxas, grew bolder as they increased in number.

During the first months of the Elpidio Quirino presidency, the horde of activists demonstrated, marching to Quezon City hall. It was the start of a, long tedious social travail that saw the country’s social unity rent asunder in the struggle for an ideological dominance of one, or the other. (To be continued)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 26, 2014.

Opinion

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