Carvajal: Peace and freedom

·3 min read

A friend and former co-worker at the now defunct Cebu Archdiocesan Social Action Center (Casac) shared with me Jose Maria Sison’s “Comment On The SONA of Marcos Jr.” At first I thought of not reading it, certain it would contain the usual Marxist-Communist jargon Mr. Sison has been dishing out for the last 50 or so years.

I read it anyway and sure enough it contained what I thought it would. But I must say I agree with Mr. Sison’s Marxist analysis of Philippine society. Like it or not, it is still a valid way of getting to the roots of our perennial social problems.

But not to their solution. I disagree that a protracted armed struggle is what it takes to bring about equality among classes. To paraphrase the late F. Sionil Jose, Marx was right in his social analysis but the communists are wrong to prescribe an armed revolution.

Indeed, the Philippines has been kept feudal and colonial by the political dynasties that inherited power from our colonial masters. By jerry-rigging our electoral system this ruling elite get exclusive grip on the political power by which they maintain a system that gives them the bigger slice of the economic pie but leaves the Filipino masses to scramble for pieces of the smaller slice.

This has to change or mass poverty will persist no matter which political dynasty is in power. And I agree that to effect change the Filipino masses must acquire political power. But I disagree that a protracted people’s war is the sole means of acquiring that power.

One cannot fight fire with fire. Filipinos should have the freedom to reform society in a peaceful way. This makes red-tagging by government a violation of this democratic principle. It could cause violence on reform-minded citizens and thus deprive them of the freedom to be peaceful change agents.

But this also puts the Communist Party of the Phillippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and legal fronts in violation of the same democratic principle. Armed revolutions might have toppled autocrats in the past, but human consciousness must progress towards solving problems not by violence but in peace and freedom.

You can call me naïve but I personally believe we can more peacefully morph into a post-modern free and prosperous society if communists abandon violence and instead help form a genuine workers party that can eventually capture political power to use to reform our elite democracy and pro-rich economy in a peaceful and free manner.

(The violence of the CPP-NPA is actually a hindrance to peaceful reform because it gives authorities the justification to tag all pro-poor reformers as communists and target them for imprisonment, torture and death.)

Peace and freedom cannot, must not, be bought with guns and bullets. The suffering Filipino masses must liberate themselves from poverty by organizing a functional workers party that would muster political power and effect social change in a legal or extra-legal but free and peaceful way.