By TONYO CRUZ
It is already 2019 but the Philippine government under Rodrigo Duterte still continues the archaic policy of red-baiting and red-tagging Filipinos perceived to be left-leaning or allegedly influenced/controlled by the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Since the time Bayan Muna topped the 2001 partylist elections and the subsequent victories of Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan, successive regimes have accused them of funnelling pork barrel or other state funds to the New People’s Army.
The same charges have also been hurled against Judy Taguiwalo, the progressive professor who served as a most incorruptible DSWD secretary.
But from 2001 up to the present, the entire machinery of state has failed to prove the charges. Disqualification cases against Makabayan partylist organizations and representatives — alleging links to the CPP and insinuating corruption — have not prospered. They have nothing against the activist lawmakers.
Has any lawmaker from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, ACT Teachers, or Kabataan ever been convicted for corruption or rebellion? No. The charges have all failed.
The left and Duterte — The Duterte regime, certain elements of the opposition, and rival leftist groups have since formed an informal alliance to gang up on Makabayan, Bayan, and the CPP-NPA-NDF.
The Duterte regime is furious at the CPP-NPA-NDF for not bending the knee to the President’s demand for capitulation and surrender. If there’s anything meaningful Filipinos gained from the peace talks between the NDF and the Duterte regime, it is that the negotiations exposed the sham of its claims to be for radical, pro-people change.
Some members of the opposition meanwhile assail the CPP-NPA-NDF for attempting to talk peace with the Duterte regime. What they don’t want everyone to remember was that they refused to talk peace with the Communists when they were in power.
Still, other malicious elements say the appointment of Taguiwalo, Rafael Mariano, and Liza Maza was proof that Reds “enabled” Duterte. But weren’t these popular appointees booted out of the cabinet for pursuing progressive programs and for possessing independent minds? And if mere appointment is qualification to be an “enabler,” then what do we make of the appointment of Vice President Robredo as HUDCC secretary? Is she also guilty of “enabling” Duterte? Or is this tag only for leftists?
Lest we forget, the Makabayan Bloc lawmakers willingly faced ouster from committee chairmanships as they defied Duterte’s order to pass the bill restoring the death penalty, among other maverick positions that they are known for.
We have to credit the Left for engaging with Duterte from 2016 to 2017. It showed the movement’s flexibility and pragmatism. Faced with a new regime, it welcomed a new opportunity to hold peace negotiations as an arena to win reforms, and it grabbed the chance to show to the public that it could produce cabinet-level leaders. Nobody can accuse the Left of being hardline or dogmatic.
The Left pivoted away from Duterte he opted to ally himself more tightly with the police, military, the oligarchs, traditional politicians especially the Marcoses and foreign interests.
The charge that leftists have opposed all presidents is actually a badge of honor for activists. It means that they have not been corrupted or bought, even as they enter government through Congress or the Cabinet.
It is likewise not the fault of the Left that the President has chosen to be pro-death, pro-misogyny, pro-China, pro-oligarchy, pro-Marcos. Those are the President’s own choices. He picked those choices over socio-economic reforms, and political and constitutional reforms that the NDF presented to Duterte’s peace negotiators, and over the many legitimate demands of various sectors, organizations, and movements, be they leftist or not.
That the Left is immune to the allure of political superheroes is perhaps what unites the DDS and Yellow fanatics against activists. The activists enter into alliances based on principle and program, and not on popularity or perceived God-like powers of the traditional politician in question. The DDS is angry that activists seek to oust Duterte. The Yellows cannot forgive the activists for seeking to oust his predecessor. Both cannot accept the fact that activists can think for themselves and could not be controlled.
The traditional politicians wish to reduce the meaning of democracy to a choice on which faction of the elite would rule the country every three or six years.
The Left’s program is straightforward making democracy meaningful and beneficial to the majority of Filipinos: authentic national freedom; genuine agrarian reform; national industrialization; progressive education, arts and culture; independent foreign policy; full emancipation of women and equality for LGBTs.; a comprehensive social policy; full respect for human rights; and a genuine democratic people’s government.
There’s nothing socialistic about this program. It is totally democratic. It is an article of faith of the Philippine Left that full democracy is needed in order to achieve socialism. Democracy now, socialism next.
Truly Filipino — In the 1950s, Congress formed a Committee on Un-Filipino Activities that engaged in redbaiting and red-tagging. The hysteria reached the University of the Philippines, aiming to keep UP a conservative bulwark and to marginalize and demonize thinkers who defied the boring worship of the status quo.
A young UP professor then led students in disrupting and exposing the hysteria, and went on to inspire a movement that named imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism as the social cancers, and resistance and revolution as the antidotes. This movement has developed, evolved, and grown in political sophistication and influence from over 50 years now, as it exposed, fought, and outlasted six regimes.
Reds care for our country, just like most ordinary Filipinos. They are Filipinos too who should be free to engage in politics, without fear or favor.