Reflections of the Philippine Left
Here is a text from one of the searching elements in the Philippines, a young college student. His text is his reflections on different variants of leftism he personally encountered, particularly maoism and anarchism.
As the world-wide proletarian struggles against capitalist attacks gain momentum, searching elements slowly emerged, studying marxism and leftism; reflecting them and taking position for the former against the latter.
Internasyonalismo, 22 July 2009
Being a searching Marxist element in the Philippines is a difficult and usually a very lonely thing to be. Whenever one's ideology is stated, there is usually the stigma to deal with. Normally a regular person would generalize a true Marxist/Communist to be an atheist, a rebel, an activist, a dead man walking or a bitter man who is jealous. This faulty outlook on Marxism has not only been pushed by the Government, but also from the numerous so-called "Leftist" groups in the Philippines. We all know and recognize the fact that these "Leftist" groups are just the left arm of the Capitalist's political apparatus, trying to distract the working class from their true goal, the destruction of World capitalism. They promote state-capitalism and usually some strange personality cults which lead to dogmatism. The first of these groups are either Maoist or Stalinist strains. The most rampant one in the Philippines though are the Maoists. The Maoists usually try to integrate themselves in almost anything they see as a potential way of recruiting people, such as Political Parties, Student Organizations, and Worker Unions.
Being quite an active person in my college, I have come across numerous supposed "Leftists" who adhere to the Maoist thought. Though in general, I would classify them as Maoists, they have different levels of thinking, which helps differentiate each of them. The first ones are the novices or new initiates. The novices I meet usually have just been approached by a Maoist organization and either think about joining or have joined already. They do not know much theoretically aside from what they've been told by the organization. They usually are the idealistic romantic types who imagine and tremble with excitement at the thought of a rally or revolution while shouting slogans of "Nationalism and Democracy!", "I support Social Democracy!" or "Serve the People!" They are the types who believe that by joining forces with the Maoists, they will be able to change the world in a bloodless way. These people though can be easily swayed most especially when faced with a knowledgeable person who would argue about their ‘ideology'.
The next types of Maoists that I have encountered are those who have been in numerous "educational discussions" and believe that they are on the way to being a full fledged revolutionary! (I put "educational discussion" in quotations for it is neither educational, considering during these "discussions" the higher-ups just try to indoctrinate the novices with as much Maoist babble as possible, and nor is it a discussion seeing as how most of the time the higher-ups are talking and would entertain correct questions.) They would try to use almost every new word and concept they've learned in the course of their learning and try to slip it in almost everything they would talk about. These people usually try to be as humble as they can claiming that they aren't Maoist, not due to the fact that they disagree with it, but because they have not reached the pinnacle of Maoist philosophy, therefore they try to say that they are not worthy of the moniker. Though they are heavily influenced by the whole Mao school of thought, they still have a chance of breaking free from the dogma and realizing their error.
The next phase would be when one is highly indoctrinated. People who fall into this category are heavily influenced and are supremely loyal to both the organization and the ideology. This is the stage where the dogmatism has an iron grip and logic has ceased to exist. People who are in this deep have begun to slowly turn the ideology into some sort of cult, while others will blindly agree to Maoism being the evolution of Marxism itself! With these claims, they end up reinforcing the façade of what Communism is and repeat the cycle by bringing in as much initiates as possible. "Mao is perfect" and other such illogical lines are usually dribbled out of their mouths both as a statement of loyalty and a statement of rebellion against the current form of oppression. These people though would usually try to straw man an argument and call it valid, which is why they are usually the hardest to persuade back to the true form of Communism.
Contrary to popular belief though, not everyone is content or agreeable with the Maoist current. Those who are either disillusioned or disgusted from the beginning with Maoism make the big mistake of still relating it to Communism. Thus the rise and birth of Anarchism. Though not well known, the Anarchist scene in the Philippines has grown quite a bit. Sadly this growth is not of the intellectual kind, but one of style. The child of Proudhon, Bakunin and Kropotkin has been brought down to a lumbering idiot. Anarchism has lately been intertwined with the whole Punk Rock and then has been adapted as some sort of angst-y and rebellious teenage lifestyle which constantly "goes against rules" and other such statements which shows the de-evolution of what it once was.
Anarchists of this persuasion are usually depicted (and sometimes seen) riding around in their skateboards in the middle of the road, getting off jeepneys without paying, eating left over food in malls, vandalizing property and other acts of disorder. These kinds of people try to embody the current term of Anarchism which is chaos and disorder. From what these new "Anarchists" say, they wish to destroy the government because it promotes rules, and that the rules are evil and then would just trail off when trying to explain why. What they lack in knowledge though, they try to make up in enthusiasm.
Not all is lost for the original Anarchist current though. Amidst all the idiots are some actual Anarchists who have actually read Bakunin. Much like their intellectual forefathers though, they still believe that the State is an evil apparatus used to suppress and oppress the masses. The ones that I have met though believe that all kinds of organized systems are doomed to failure and that it is a lot better suited for the Philippines, for it is an archipelago. Also like their intellectual fathers, they would still claim that it would be better if everyone was given their own piece of land so that they can do whatever they want with it. Then there is the whole "my own set of rules, which everyone should respect." The "true" Anarchists I have met though are usually of petty-bourgeoisie or actual bourgeoisie backgrounds. True Anarchism though ends up being too self-centered and too individualistic, looking out for ones self, and putting ones need over the others.
All in all, the Philippine "Left" is compromised mostly of uneducated or misled people and the rest are either taking up the reigns to push forward their own purposes or actually believe that they are doing the right thing. As wrong as they are, there is still a sliver of hope that they can realize that what they are promoting and doing is not only detrimental to the worker's movement in the Philippines, but to the worker's movement in the world. By supporting or allowing these vulgar or bastardized versions of the worker's movement to run rampart, not only will the Filipino workers be tricked, but other such organizations around the world would seek support and help rally behind their flag. The only way the worker's movement can move further is not by taking power or doing actions in their name, nor can it progress if we try to alienate ourselves from one another. As what Marx said "Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains!"
Allan Mendoza, 21 July 2009