Sunday, October 17, 2021

Carvajal: The issue is violence

Break Point

A RECENT editorial (“So ‘80s”) in this paper premised its defense of the Makabayan bloc on the generally admitted fact that it is “the whole sickening thing of inequity in this country that breeds insurgency.” It tagged the whole spectrum of the dissent movement as a “positive development” just because there is “a whole history of legitimate grievances that the whole spectrum of the movement shares.”

I am taking issue with this because the CPP-NPA does not comprise “the whole spectrum of the movement.” It is the extreme left and violent part of the spectrum; and the issue at bar is not just any dissent. The issue is violence. The issue is the Makabayan bloc’s refusal to denounce the violent dissent (armed revolution) of the CPP-NPA.

I wonder if the writer was old enough in the ‘80s to know that the CPP-NPA did not join Edsa because it does not believe in a peaceful revolution. Edsa’s success in ousting a dictator proved the CPP-NPA wrong in their ideology-based position that political power can come only from the barrel of a gun.

True, oligarchs are only interested in protecting their economic and political interests from being taken over violently by the CPP-NPA. Nevertheless, armed revolution is not the only way to loosen the ruling elite’s vise-grip on power. As F. Sionel Jose once put it, Marx is right but the communists are wrong. Class struggle still prevails in Philippine society but armed revolution as a tool for its dissolution is, to say the least, passe.

I agree with the editorial that for the above-stated reasons the military should change their mainstream strategy. But the CPP-NPA too should change strategy. If it cannot get out of its ideological prison and insist on a violent protracted armed struggle, the military can reasonably not be faulted with countering bullets with bullets.

What we need is a peaceful revolution. But this time people have to be organized to take over government instead of being ambushed for the third time by oligarchs. (First ambush was of the Philippine revolution by Ilustrados, second was of people power at Edsa.)

We need a peaceful revolution against the violence and impunity of the extreme right (oligarchs and their political allies) and of the extreme left (CPP-NPA and its political allies). Call me old-fashioned but one does not fight fire with fire. One douses it with water. Similarly, one does not fight violence with violence. Sanity must douse it with peaceful albeit radical moves for social reform.

The Makabayan bloc must denounce violence. Otherwise they have no business being in a government that the CPP-NPA is violently trying to overthrow but which many of us are trying to radically reform through peaceful means.


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