In Carmen Pedrosa’s article An Open Society’s Pitfalls in the Philippine Star on June 26, 2011, she said that there are certain individuals worried about Communists infiltrating the government in fact Party List Bayan Muna is the front of CPP-NPA-NDF but even as BM members projected themselves as reformists they voted against proposed reforms from ordinary citizens. What to make of this?
I suppose firstly that those who elected Bayan Muna members would say that the article was written to discredit the Party. Secondly, there is a saying about there being really a fire when you see smoke going up.
Was it Sun Tzu who said one should always be on the look out for the enemy’s vulnerabilities? I came to learn this lesson supervising a community based research project several years ago. The study was intended to be used by a mining company in its community development planning.
It was protocol to hold preparatory and orientation meetings with community stakeholders in order to iron out whatever issues stakeholders have concerning the study. In our case, it was that and to train the local pool of researchers – out of school youth, LGU officers, COMREL officers – as well in the methodology. Attendance from our end was complete i.e. the research team, senior officers of the funding organizations including the heads of offices if not their deputies. We wanted to show that we meant well in conducting the study. We coordinated with the village authorities as to the time and place of the meetings, who in turn disseminated the information to the community.
A few days before the set meeting, intel from within the mining company told us that the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) had made rounds in the villages providing residents with a different set of information about the meetings. It took us a month of intensive orientations before the research finally took off. By then we were a couple of months behind schedule.
Even at the start, the odds were against the CPA because we had the expressed support of the Local Government Units i.e. barangays and municipalities and no less than the Mayors attended. Also, negotiators from the mining company were constantly talking with representatives from the CPA. It also helped that my team and I are locals and so could engage residents within the frame of their ethnic values. We were able to convince them of the objectives of the study and that the mining company was committed to their continuing welfare.
From that and similar run-ins, I have formed some realizations about the stand of Communists in this country:
(1) they decry as a rule resource exploitation by outsiders, but in reality take the middle ground because like any one rebel group they could not, had not successfully driven away the exploiters who they say are the corporations and multinationals. They compensate by extorting from these businesses. The businesses on the other hand have either decided to leave or paid up under the justification of risk taking.
(2) they’ve embedded themselves long in the villages to the point where their presence has been accepted by the community, but still they were unsuccessful in rousing the people to take collective action against exploiters. This is failure in community organizing standards.
I think this is because despite their ideal, they’ve grown to be a bit more realistic and practical i.e. one doesn’t strangle the duck which lays the golden egg. Mining in this case. Despite opposition, facts show the activity benefits the community in the form of jobs which translates to security for families. LGUs also benefit, directly as from the share received and development activities which otherwise they’re not able to fund. Plus, officials get to have their names permanently etched in commemoration plaques. Essentially, the mining company has become a significant presence in their lives, an integral member of the community.
(3) they’ve essentially lost the fight long ago and I believe it’s just mulish pride that’s motivating the group now. How many years have they been rebelling against the country’s democratic government supposedly to offer the people an alternative model? For their supporters unfortunately the group failed to provide compelling evidence that Communism is better than Democracy. The poor are still exploited and their voices largely unheard even when they are supposedly represented under the BM Party. Worst of all, their leaders particularly are already willing participants in the capitalist system.
Communism supports the establishment of a world in which people always act with others’ welfare in mind but if this is not so hence the controls in place to direct people to adopt this behavior. However history shows Communism has come to mean tyranny. Sadly for Marx and Engles, the practice of communism has fallen far from the values the founders envisioned it to espouse: Equality and justice for the masses.