Philippines: critique of Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman

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Philippines: critique of Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Philippines: critique of Filemon "Ka Popoy" Lagman. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

This text is an in-depth

This text is an in-depth "study", an elaboration of leftism in action. As such it can, for me, get a little bewildering. Not that there's anything up with the text itself, but to try and unravel the machinations, motivations and mixed up ideas selected from here, there and everywhere, of a well-intentioned but in the end destructive (at least for the proletariats' true cause) leftist, such as the individual investigated here, "Ka Popoy" Lagman, can only get...well bewildering, despite magnificent efforts to the contrary.

An example, talking about Lagman. " Thus wholly contrary to his political will, commitment and aim, in reality and essence he has turned out to be a better Sison, a better social democrat and consequently (we can not but assert in spite of our regards for his intellectual capacity, revolutionary zeal and passionate efforts for grasping the Marxist framework) his activities have only strengthened the forces of counterrevolution though he despised it wholeheartedly and sincerely
worked for the victory of revolution".

So...his revolutionary zeal and work for the revolution, his passion for Marxism, all worked ultimately for the benefit of the counter-revolution which HE DESPISED. I don't doubt this is true, but isn't it weird? How does someone get in such a mess? Is it because they haven't talked to the right people, read the right books, or reached the right conclusions? (And what do I mean by "right"?) Or is there some other more unsettling reason, like deep down, in their heart of hearts, they don't really want the proletarian revolution? It's like some sort of self hate, where each man kills the thing he loves and so on, where the passionate intellectually committed person achieves the opposite of what he claims and says he wants. But this may well be just psycho babble, or is it a type 3 leftism?(see my post elsewhere "towards a taxonomy of leftism" for types 1 and 2)

Whatever the facts, this is certainly a fascinating case study if that isn't to kill it with an academic lable. Was it written by the ICC in India or the Philippines, or is it a joint production?

Intention is not enough

The text was written by the Indian comrades in response to the discussion happening in the Philippines at that time.

Many elements in the leftist organizations not only Lagman who are truly sincere in their intention to overthrow capitalism. But sincerity of intention is not enough. Sometimes this sincerity has been used by the bourgeoisie to derail or divert their struggle away from what workers and poor really want: end exploitation and poverty.

As what Lenin once said, "without revolutionary theory there is no revolutionary movement". However, Lagman and his likes are also victims of dogmatism (though many of them like Lagman were not aware).

As what the text empahsised, these sincere elements (and theoreticians) within the leftist movement aggravate the problem of mystification of the counter-revolutionary current (masked as "marxism-leninism", trotksyism or maoism) within the working class movement.

Thanks for your reply

Thanks for your reply Internasyonalista. My experience of leftism is limited. You must be right when you say that some elements of leftism sincerely intend to overthrow capitalism, but lack revolutionary theory and understanding and are thus misled and confused as to how to do it. But aren't there also leftists who do not at all intend the overthrowing of capitalism, and who act in machiavellian and deceptive ways to undermine the activities of those who do? These leftists function against proletarian clarity. It might be said that they don't do this deliberately, and that once again they lack theoretical understanding of their own practice and its outcomes. But I think we can bend the stick too far, sometimes, in apologizing for leftist mistakes. Do you agree?

Sincere elements within the leftist organizations

There are sincere elements within the leftist organizations. As communist organizations or elements, we should engage in a fraternal debate with them to help them clarify what marxism and proletarian revolution really are.

In helping them to clarify, we should expose to them that their "own" leftist organization is no other than the left-wing of capital. And the ultimate clarification is not to reform these organizations but to left them and join the real communist organizations. Nevertheless, these sincere elements could initiate a debate within their leftist organization on crucial questions pertatining to internationalism and forms and content of struggle in the era of decadent capitalism.

Comrades in the Philippines who came from leftist organizations did initiate a debate in their former leftist organizations and as expected, the latter did not take the issue seriously and simply ignore them. Why? Because basically leftism is not keen nor understand the tradition of the marxist moveement for clarification: debate.

For leftism, if you are questioning their program, strategy and tactics, then you are an enemy of their "revolution".

The faction of Lagman is no different from the faction of Sison. "Marxism-Leninism" and maoism have the same "father": stalinism.

Lastly, in my opinion leftism is not a mistake but part of the over-all strategy of the bourgeoisie to derail and divert the struggle of the proletariat towards communism.  

Thank you internasyonalista

Thank you internasyonalista for your help in this matter, which I find all a little perplexing. Your points (1) that what leftist organizations mean by"revolution" is a Stalinist/Maoist/Marxist-Leninist kind of revolution - in short, no revolution at all! (2) that individual leftists should be treated separately as regards clarification from the irredeemable organizations to which they belong (3) that leftism is a deliberate bourgeois strategy and (4) that leftism isn't a mistake, are matters I'll try and take on board.

However, I never really thought leftism could be seen as a "mistake", except that I thought the article seemed a bit to be apologizing for Lagman on tbe grounds that he was "mistaken" because he had no theoretical underpinnings to rely on to help him see through his mistakes. I still think LEFTISM to be a disturbing matter though.

Not as disturbing of course as the shooting of striking workers in South Africa. Is it now a capital offense to want better wages? But the workers will doubtless get the blame, while the police....well they were only doing their job weren't they, protecting capitalism from those it exploits, and diverting the struggle in a somewhat decisive manner. Is this an indicator for the future?

I think any taxomony of

I think any taxomony of leftism would have to acknowledge the differences between various national contexts. In many countries, the leftist parties regularly contest elections, get hundreds of thousands if not millions of votes and are generally recognized as important national political players. In other countries, such as the USA, the leftist organizations are small, marginalized and not taken seriously by anyone of national political import (although the situation was somewhat different in previous periods). I think in the latter contexts, leftist organizations are much more likely to be made up of sincere people, genuinely concerned with the betterment of the human condition and who genuinley desire a revolution. In the former situation, it is probably more likely that the top personnel are self-serving political careerists. This of course does not mean that any leftiist organization is less objectively part of the state even if all of its members are genuinely sincere individuals.