Friday, August 06, 2021

Carvajal: Hope against hope

WHO doesn’t want peace except 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 CPP-NPA is pursuing unflinchingly and with what appears to be an equally dogmatic determination.

The first is political. The CPP-NPA 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 CPP-NPA 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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