Sunday, March 12, 2006

May demokrasya nga ba talaga sa Pinas?

March 11, 2006
Opinion (as of 2:35 AM)

'Anticommunist hysteria': Repression continues


The recent lifting of Presidential Proclamation 1017 recalls the lifting of Presidential Decree 1081 in 1981 when President Marcos declared "normalization." Here, the repression has continued without PP1017 under what appears now to be a police state, just as martial law was still in effect without 1081, with all the repressive presidential decrees never repealed by the Marcos government. In fact some of the PDs continued to be applied long after EDSA simply because some people "forgot" to repeal them.

These are just a few of the "aberrations" (alluded to in my last piece) in a nation "in transition"-in the interval between the dying of the old order and the birthing of the new in this benighted country.

The "anticommunist hysteria" (quoted from someone else's piece) whipped up by the state's coercive forces may have something to do with the repression endemic in what is supposed to be a democratic society.

Anticommunism used to be a right-wing ideology and became a "mainstream" ideology, not limited to the middle class, seeing its first wave abroad after the Russian revolution (1918 to the 1920s). At the end of World War II, with Churchill declaring that an "Iron Curtain" had fallen dividing Europe into East (Warsaw Pact) and West (called NATO later), the Cold War began in earnest�billed by the West as a struggle between "the Free World and communism."

This simplistic formulation saw its "morbid manifestations": the witch-hunts in Congress during the fifties, starring Senator McCarthy in the US and a former commodore and a congressman in this country, CIA-supported presidents, the US war in Vietnam "to save democracy," US-backed fascist regimes, the subversion of people's democracies, the blockade of Cuba and a host of other US interventions and uses of state terrorism around the world. The Soviets themselves were no slouches in invasions, counterinsurgency and human-rights abuses in a struggle that could have led to nuclear war.

The efforts of a Soviet leader to liberalize triggered a chain of events leading to the fall of failed socialist states symbolized by the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The end of the Cold War was thereby proclaimed in Europe, with the US emerging as the only world superpower (whose excesses have been documented by William Blum in his book Rogue State).

Hence, writers caught up with the Cold War ideology like to remind "left-leaning" readers that communism (as if it were a monolith) is dead and that theirs is a lost cause.

Yet, both ideological and repressive instruments of the state play the "Red bogey" game--which one broadsheet writer says still works. And so it does. Hence, not much hue and cry is heard from the middle class in denouncing the arrest of "leftist" party-list representatives who speak for the marginalized sectors of workers, peasants, urban poor, women and youth among others. All along, members of these party-list groups have been methodically harassed and assassinated ever since they began participating in the electoral process.

As one congressman said, 1017 is really a crackdown on the Left and by extension, their purported allies in the restive military in an alleged conspiracy. Now Army chiefs vow to liquidate the communist movement within four years. Here we go again, as an alternative press editorial noted. Not even Marcos in his 14-year tyrannical rule succeeded in defeating the CPP/NPA. It's now a cliche that theirs is "the longest running communist insurgency" in the world.

The lifting of 1017 has not stopped the state guardians from intimidating the media and the disaffected middle class who, because of the "anticommunist hysteria," may be susceptible to state propaganda about the "real enemy." But the "insurgency" as a whole against the present regime has become so widespread and unstoppable that any excess of repression would be, to use a term, counterproductive.

What is in order, and this is what has emerged from the aborted NDF-GRP peace talks, is for both sides to address the roots of insurgency. The Red-baiting, witch-hunts and brutal repression of the people's struggle are futile manifestations of anticommunist ideologues in a country where 80 percent of the people are poor and a tiny minority control the wealth and rule the nation. It is indeed the recipe for radical social change.

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