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Sunday, July 21, 2019
CEBU

Wenceslao: The socialist dream

Candid Thoughts

I STILL can recall the basics of the ideology, although the memory has gotten weaker because of unuse. The goal was to establish a communist society wherein the sharing of society’s wealth follows the principle of, “from each according to his ability, each according to his needs.” But before the communist ideal could be reached, there was socialist construction and the principle of, “from each according to his ability to each according to his work.

How many nights had that thought lulled me to sleep despite the dangers of struggle? How long did that cause prod me to follow the road less traveled and strengthened my resolve to die for it?

When I was younger, the triumphant Chinese revolution and the Chinese Communist Party finally embarking on its version of socialist construction was the model. In the 1970s, a group of students hijacked a plane to go to China and live the socialist life and leave behind a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society, with all the poverty and backwardness it had spawned.

That is why I was saddened when I read a CNN report about two North Koreans who defected to China by crossing the border between the two countries and ending up in a cybersex den in northeastern China where they were held slaves for seven years. They were only able to escape to genuine freedom with the help not of communists but of South Korean Christians.

North Korea and China are supposedly communist, I mean, socialist states. Both are led by communist parties that supposedly embarked on their versions of socialist construction on the way to communism. The report showed that the rulers of the two countries may have changed, but the ills brought about by feudalism and capitalism have remained. China has progressed by leaps and bounds economically, true, but what happened? Drugs and the sex trade are but two of the problems that emanate from the “socialist” country.

One of the women said she was raised by her mother and grandparents after her parents split. She decided to take the future in her hands when her mother and grandmother were diagnosed with cancer. She and the other woman took their chances by crossing the river at the border hoping to find decent work in China and send money back home. Instead they ended up being used to lure paying clients in online chatrooms where they were made to undress and do sexual acts. They weren’t paid.

That possibility wasn’t in my mind when I was younger and dreaming about socialist China. It turned out I was dreaming of a society populated by angels and saints and not by human beings. Of course, we were told that full communism would only be realized with the full demise of the capitalist setup. So in the meantime we have to make do with the evils we are criticizing, that capitalism and imperialism fostering on backward shores? Can’t there be ways to make society better in a single lifetime?

I read the report on the two North Korean women and let out a sigh. Ahh, dreams.


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