THIS is not the first time that PH left was left behind in the protest movement.
The open National Democratic movement, bannered by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) alienated from the anti-dictatorship movement in 1986 when it called for boycott in the snap election.
It said then that it found no value in the electoral exercise which would eventually lead to the fall of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. Its stand was the snap election does not promise meaningful change.
Later on, the movement made a self-criticized as it admitted the mistake it made by boycotting to the Feb. 7, 1986 snap elections.
In fact, the self-criticism was included in the document known as the Reaffirm Our Basic Principles, Rectify Errors, which became the basis of the National Democratic left’s rebuilding after the dictatorship. The boycott isolated the ND movement from the masses who participated in the anti-dictatorship mass actions.
“The 1986 boycott was major tactical error… During the short electoral campaign period, it separated and isolated the advanced section of the masses from the other section of the masses from the other sections that took the anti-fascist, anti-Marcos fine,” said the Reaffirm Our Basic Principles, Rectify Errors.
Despite its imperfections and bitter schism that divided the Philippine left to the RA for those who heeded the call for reaffirmation and rectification; and RJ or the rejectionist, the national democratic movement has survived and sustained its struggle. Its role as the champion of the masses from exploitation and oppression remains undisputed.
Karapatan has become the default sanctuary of victims of human rights violations. Gabriela has become the default defender of women victims of violence. Bayan or the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is expected to give the sharpest analysis and critique to anti-people policies. Tuition hikes and inaccessible education is a sure target of groups like the League of Filipino Students and now, the Kabataan. Agrarian justice is championed by the Kilusang ng Mambubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). The most progressive labor union remains the Kilusang Mayo Uno, so on and forth.
Fast forward to the present, the mainstream Philippine left is seen cavorting with a president who like the deposed dictator has the blood of the victims of human rights violations in his hands. They share support to this administration with the heirs of the violent dictator. The heirs waiting on the wings to return to Malacanang.
If any consolation, the mainstream left is now rethinking, albeit late, its support to the present occupant of Malacanang. But not because of mounting human rights violations, but for unrequited love. After the administration party Congress’ Commission on Appointments rejected the cabinet appointment of the DAR secretary Paeng Mariano former head of the KMP and congressman of the partyl-list group Anakpawis. Earlier, the CA rejected their comrade Judy Taguiwalo as secretary of the DSWD.
Whatever happened to the sharp anti-fascist line of the national democrats? Whatever happened to their sharp analysis?
P.S. Many friends and former comrades in the Left had asked why I have become very critical to the movement. They asked, am I now an enemy? Of course not. I am liberal in my criticism, knowing full well that the movement is mature enough and has not lost the value of criticism, the other side of self-criticism.