UPLB students start classes with protest vs pending USC chair proclamation, educ crisis

June 13, 2012


Class opening at the University of the Philippines Los Banos was welcomed with a rally today demanding for the immediate proclamation of University Student Council-UPLB (USC-UPLB) Chairperson-elect Ynik Ante and “challenging Iskolars ng Bayan to respond on ‘education crisis’ aggravated by continuous cutbacks on education budget.”

Some 300 UPLB students led by Kabataan Party-list Southern Tagalog began distributing their flyers on the annual breakfast treat to the university’s freshman students, followed by a program at the College of Arts and Sciences steps and a protest march from UPLB to Junction, Los Banos, Laguna.

Ante’s proclamation is still pending after the electoral board’s attempt to bar her from running in the campus election and from assuming her post due to late payment of tuition. The university’s chancellor, however, has already expressed his endorsement of Ante’s proclamation amid students’ continuing support on the latter.

“The prevention of Ante’s proclamation as the legal and legitimate USC-UPLB chair is a disrespect of both the integrity of the election process and the students’ decision,” said Ma. Cristina Madeja, chairperson of the party-alliance Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN), UP’s widest student alliance of 60 student organizations. Ante was SAKBAYAN’s standard bearer for the UPLB student council elections on February.

“The intervention on the students’ activity is part of the long history of campus repression in UPLB,” Madeja continued referring to the then Office of Student Affairs Director Vivian Gonzales, a reserved colonel, as the one behind the pending proclamation of Ante. “(Gonzales) is the culprit of various repressive policies, such as tambayan phaseout, suspension of organization’s officers, intervention on internal operations of student council and publications and non-proclamation of winners in student council elections,” she pointed out.

Ante stressed that ‘campus repression’ happens because there are UPLB constituents, like SAKBAYAN that are “conscious and brave enough to stand against policies that trample our right to a quality and accessible education.”

“We welcome the freshman students with the warmest salutation as the new iskolar ng bayan. Our mass action today aims to educate and inform them of their constitutionally-guaranteed right to education, democratic right to freely express their sentiments, freely assemble and freely organize,” Ante said.

The same students also protest various schemes of tuition hike, such as UP’s Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program that requires students to pay P1,500 per unit, amounting to a 50 percent tuition hike. They slam Mr. Benigno Aquino III’s budget cut on education and other social services that left UP with almost P13-billion budget deficit.

“Amidst Aquino government’s futility to prioritize education in the national budget allocation, we pledge a more serious campaign to lobby in congress and protest for higher state subsidy on education and other basic social services,” Ante said.

Madeja said that the protest today is the commencement of a series of activities that will culminate in their participation in the “people’s state of the nation address (SONA)” along with Aquino’s on July 23. #


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Full land reform in 2016 not possible – KASAMA TK

June 6, 2012

A press release from KASAMA TK’s Facebook.

Militant peasant federation Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) slams Palace declaration that a full land reform will be implemented as Aquino steps down in power in 2016 through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).

“That’s next to impossible!” according to Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Kasama-TK, adding that “the Aquino-Cojuangco family shows no clear signs of sincerity to distribute the Luisita estate among tenants and farm workers.”

The group expresses doubt on Budget Secretary Florencio Abad’s optimism on the eyed success of 24-year old land reform program and raises concern that landlessness might grow even worse because of the fast growing difference between the rate of land use conversion and re-concentration and with the current DAR administration’s rate of acquisition and distribution of “CARPable” land in the region.

“This pronouncement is a mere showoff to accommodate pseudo-farmer organization’s media mileage to further lure peasant masses into reformism and provide opportunity for the landlord government to pose as champion of democratic reforms by playing this all too predictable skit where farmers air grievance, Malacanang opens door, government promises, farmers go straight home, hence “problem” is solved without changing a bit in the current social order,” Pinpin illustrates.

Pinpin stressed further that “this statement clearly sends the message that landowners’ interest would remain unscathed under the Aquino Administration, an assurance that no land will be distributed until or even after 2016 as long as CARP remains the framework of reform and the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill is not passed into law.”

“But for the militant peasant organizations, it has been quite clear that we cannot count on CARPER but only on our collective strength to boldly initiate genuine land reform through organized occupation of disputed vast estates for the benefit of poor peasants and farm workers and this form of struggle is slowly becoming the main trend in rural communities as the peasant masses have completely rejected the moribund land reform program despite continuous harassment by private armies and state security forces,” according to Orly Marcellana, convenor of Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement.

“CARP has had 24 years and billions of funds to bring about real changes for the peasant masses. It distributed only about 10% of all CARPable land these past two years of its extension, now it dreams to distribute the remaining 90% in two years? Bogus CARP is the longest running land reform in the world and is bound to fail over and over again,” the group declares in a statement.

Hoping for land reform beyond 2014 is just too much for farmers fighting for this cause for the past 24 years and as much as we are sure of the possibility that CARPER won’t be able to deliver its promises, Aquino might also find it possible to see his term end earlier than expected,” Pinpin ended.#


Statement of the UP Student Regent: Respect the students’ choice for chairperson of the UPLB USC

By Diego Torres, Kartunista-Manunulat Kolektib

With full faith in the electorate of UP Los Banos, the Office of the Student Regent will recognize Ynik Ante the chairperson of their University Student Council. Ms Ante won the elections held 22-24 February 2012 by 36 votes.

The disqualification case against Ms Ante, who had unpaid tuition until the time of the election, should no longer be entertained by the College Electoral Board (CEB) of UP Los Banos for both technical and substantial grounds. Per records of the University Registrar, Ms Ante was enrolled last semester.

Late payment of tuition should not be used to undermine the position of any student committed to be involved so fully in UP’s academic and extra-curricular offerings. Such circumstance is one many UP students have found themselves in, with UP tuition’s rise to almost five times the minimum wage.

No law or precedent will correctly stand to the position to consider the election as if Ms Ante’s name had not been present on the ballot. Nullifying votes already cast for her nullifies the vote entirely. Thus, the proposal of the CEB to declare the runner up as chairperson is baseless.

For guidance in future elections, the OSR stands that the mere pendency of a disqualification case against a candidate who had been allowed into a ballot does not justify the suspension of proclamation after winning in the election. To hold otherwise would unduly encourage the filing of baseless and malicious petitions for disqualification if only to effect the suspension of the proclamation of the winning candidate. In the end, this defeats the sovereign will of the electorate and unduly benefits undeserving third parties.

We call on the CEB of UP Los Banos – all college secretaries and student council chairpersons – to uphold the UP tradition of open-mindedness and democracy, and to proclaim Ms Ante as chairperson of the UPLB USC as soon as possible.

Hopefully, this serves as a fitting challenge to Ms Ante, the students’ choice, along with the duly-elected USC, to pay off lost time and to release the distress and disappointment, with magnified commitment to serve their constituency.

All the best, for a better UP.

KRISSY CONTI

Outgoing Student Regent

CLEVE ARGUELLES

Incoming Student Regent

1 June 2012


STOP MILITARIZATION, SAVE THE PEOPLE OF QUEZON!—Karapatan Southern Tagalog press statement

14 May 2012


The human rights group KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog, along with the victims’ families and other sectoral organizations in the region, condemn in the strongest possible terms the unprecedented deployment of military in the province of Quezon, which has resulted to escalating human rights violations in the area. To date, at least 8 battalions of the Philippine Army have been operating in the Southern part of Quezon alone.

Units deployed in the area include Philippine Army’s 85th, 76th, 74th, 59th Infantry Battalions, 1st Special Forces of the Philippine Army, 201st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, CAFGU and 416th Provincial Police Mobile Group. While past administrations have also employed militarization in their counterinsurgency programs, the recent deployment in South Quezon is but alarming considering the concentrated number of military relative to the area it operates.

Quezon, specifically South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula, can be considered as center of agricultural production where products such as coconut, corn, and grains abound. Minerals such as gold and petroleum also flourish in these areas. Development programs of both the government and private companies which include Bio-diesel in Gumaca, Mirant Powerplant Extension in Atimonan, and dam construction in Macalelon are also concentrated in South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula. Touted as ‘Hacienda belt’, Bondoc Peninsula, meanwhile, has thousands of farm lands owned by the families Murray, Soleta, Estrada-Quizon, Tan, Reyes and Matias.

With these potential coupled with the agricultural blissfulness of the province, and the growing resistance of the locals particularly of the farmers, it is no wonder why the government has deployed that much number of military and police to South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula.

A case of abduction in Macalelon town in March 27, 2011 was already reported to Karapatan. Unidentified armed men allegedly took farmer Felix Balaston to the 85th Infantry Battalion’s camp. He remains missing to date.

Just recently, last March 22, 2012, some drunk members of the 74th Infantry Battalion were reported to have manhandled some youth in San Andres town namely Rey Rodrigo (16 y/o), Reynaldo Delos Santos(18y/o) and Elmer Desuyo(21 y/o).

Other cases of threat, harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention perpetrated against local farmers are also being verified by KARAPATAN-ST.

Army forces are currently stationed in houses and barangay (village) centers. Detachments are mounted in about 50 barangays in the rural areas of South Quezon. Several local farmers’ groups in South Quezon consistent in their struggle for genuine land reform against big landlords and businesses are now targeted by the military in their operations.

We call on the Aquino administration to immediately pull out the military and police troops deployed in South Quezon. While the government proudly banners its counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan in the name of ‘peace and development’ and continues to echo its mantra for the ‘respect for human rights’, farmers, workers, and other members of the basic sectors fighting for their democratic rights experience the most inhumane treatment from state forces.

We decry the brutality and manhandling of the military and police forces to the people of Quezon. It is unacceptable how those who have sworn to protect the interests of and defend the people are now the ones causing terror and sowing fear to them. The militarization in Quezon is not an isolated case. Elsewhere in the country, suppression of democratic and civil rights is blatant and prevalent. During the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, there were about 180 reported cases of extra judicial killings (EJKs), 32 enforced disappearances, and other atrocities in the Southern Tagalog region alone. The human rights situation has even exacerbated when President Aquino assumed position, with 16 cases of EJKs and 3 disappeared in the region. Not to mention the continuing crackdown and filing of trumped up charges against political activists.

If President Aquino is serious in bringing justice and long-lasting peace in the country, then we challenge him to investigate the human rights cases and put an end to these human rights abuses by denouncing its Oplan Bayanihan. He can never silence the growing unrest of the people. As his regime continuously deny the people of their basic rights and liberty, the oppressed people are left with no other choice but to stand up and fight.

We rally all peace loving citizens to unite in condemning this injustice and abuse done to our fellow men. We also call on everyone to support the anti-militarization and anti-fascist campaign in the region.

This is just the start. We vow to continue the struggle until all forms of human rights violations is stopped and justice is served to all victims.

 

EXPOSE AND OPPOSE OPLAN BAYANIHAN!

JUSTICE TO ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

MILITARY TROOPS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, OUT NOW!


AFP, Stop Spreading Your Lies

15 May 2012


The Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office (AFPHRO), in a news article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer that came out last May 14, is boasting that the AFP has a clean human rights slate from January to April this year and all other human rights violations cases filed at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) from July 2010 are mere accusations.

The AFP should stop spreading its lies.

An estimated eight battalions of the Army, police and CAFGU are currently stationed in 22 towns in the southern part of Quezon. Such a concentration of forces in rural communities translates to an escalation of human rights violations.

In a press conference we have organized last Monday, farmers from Quezon shared stories of military abuse.

Among them was Christopher Prieto, a farmer from Mulanay, Quezon. Last May 9, at around 1:00 A.M., several armed men in combat boots came to his house accusing him of hiding a gun. When his wife asked the unwanted visitors who they were, they only answered “Why do you need to know who we are?”

Prieto said some of his neighbors were brought to a military camp last January, interrogated and accused of being New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. One was even beaten up.

In Catanuan, Quezon, military men disrupted 17-year-old Manilyn Caribot’s funeral, who died in a crossfire between the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and the NPA last April 29.

Her aunt, Genelyn Dichoso, was offered Php 150,000 by two army men (one introduced himself as a lieutenant from the 76th IBPA) for her to refrain from filing a case against the military. She declined.

On Caribot’s funeral last May 5, two 6×6 army trucks filled with soldiers in full battle gear stood waiting at the cemetery entrance.  The soldiers surrounded the grave where Manilyn was set to be buried. While all this was happening, soldiers reportedly ransacked Dichoso’s house, as well as five others,.and allegedly pointed their guns at children who were left at home.

Felix Balaston, a farmer from Macalelon, Quezon, was seen by witnesses being brought to the 85th IBPA camp on March 27, 2011. His wife, Mirasol, is still searching for him up to now.

Many other cases of threat, intimidation, harassment, manhandling have also been reported to Karapatan by local farmers.

Certainly, the AFP will dismiss these cases again as mere accusations.

Let us not forget that during the Arroyo administration, more than a thousand fell victim to extrajudicial killings and hundreds to enforced disappearance, yet no one was ever convicted. That does not mean that the victims were simply spreading accusations.

Human rights violations continue under the current Aquino administration’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” or “Oplan Bayanihan.” Like its predecessor Oplan Bantay Laya, Oplan Bayanihan is a counterinsurgency program devised to quell any form of dissent, armed or unarmed, by any means necessary. It blurs the distinction between what is legal and illegal. Ultimately, innocent civilians become prime victims.

There is a great need to defend human rights, especially when the violators will do anything in their power to mislead the public. There is a great need for all who know in their hearts the importance of human rights to unite and take a stand against injustice.

Stop human rights violations now.

Glendhyl Malabanan

Secretary General

Karapatan-Southern Tagalog

karapatan.st@gmail.com


BRINGING BACK THE STATE TO THE REVOLUTION

The Occupy Wall Street Movement gained an international attention and was replicated in capitalist centers all over 80 countries in the world. But is the 99% heading towards the correct direction? Where are we really going in the "occupy" movement?

March 13, 2012

By Salud Sakdal and Benedicto Algabre

This essay came from Jose Maria Sison’s A Note on the Occupy Movement

A spectre is haunting the neoliberal world order. The IMF-WB, the G7 leaders, the economists and their allies in the semi-colonial states have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise the Occupy Movement worldwide.  But it is the anarchistic tendency within the Occupy Movement that needs exorcising. This is not a shot at sectarianism. It is about going back to the painful split between the anarchists and the Marxists whose stakes back then are being repeated in the discourse and practice of the current Occupy Wall Street and similar movements. Today, more than ever, we need to sharpen the line separating the revolutionary road to social change and the pseudo-pro activism of the post-political activists who insist on challenging everything with the effect of leaving things exactly the way they are.

Since the 1800s, capitalism has been criticized because it worsened the exploitation of the working class and the peoples of the world. However, critics range from those who only want decent wage to those who want stateless society to those who want seizure of state power. During the same period, Anarchism and Marxism are two of the most clashing ideologies.

Currently, the anarchists and post-anarchists are very active in organizing campaigns against globalization and neoliberal capitalism. Self-identified “anarchists” have often taken centre stage at protests directed at state-like international institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Leonard Williams provides a profile of this new- generation anarchists who join the Occupy movement: “Today’s anarchists (particularly those profiled in mainstream media coverage of major protests) are primarily a group of young people noted more for their cultural apparatus and their penchant for direct action. Very few of them seem to refer to such theorists of anarchism as Bakunin, Proudhon, Goldman, or Rocker; even fewer perhaps have bothered to study their classic works.”[1]  But anarchism unites these diverse movements. As David Graeber, one of the gurus of the Occupy Movement avers, “Anarchism is the heart of the movement, its soul; the source of most of what’s new and hopeful about it.”[2]

But their basic tactic remains the same – the principle of direct action.  Anarchists understand direct action as a matter of taking social change into one’s own hands by intervening directly in a situation rather than appealing to an external agent (typically the government) for rectification. It is a do-it-yourself atomizing, Nike-like version of postmodern politics based on people power, with a lack of interest in operating through established political channels. By ignoring the power of the state, such politics miserably fails to address the brutality of the former, including its creation of new camps for homo sacer, and its gross violation of human rights worldwide. The said disposition may be dangerously true  for the Occupy Movement that does not advance beyond the slogan: “We are the 99 percent.” So what if we are the 99 percent? How do we seize power  from the 1%?

Today, the post-anarchists (who have updated their arguments via poststructuralist theories of Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari, and Hardt and Negri), are the true heirs of the Proudhonists who called themselves “anti-authoritarians” back then, i.e., repudiated every form of authority, every form of subordination, every form of power. The primitivism of Zerzan, certain ecological movements, ontological anarchy, anarcho-feminism, anarcho-syndicalism are some political ideologies that  resonate with post-anarchy. They romanticize the classic anti-authoritarian orientation in their political tactic. Such position is echoed in the declaration of Subcommandante Marcos, leader of the Zapatistas: “This intercontinental network of resistance is not an organising structure; it has no central head or decision maker; it has no central command or hierarchies. We are the network, all of us who resist.”[3]

In another occasion, Marcos declared: “Yes,  the  moment  has  come  to  say  to  everyone that we neither want, nor are we able, to occupy the  place  that  some  hope  we  will  occupy,  the place from which all opinions will come, all the answers, all the routes, all the truth. We are not going to do that.”[4]

Isn’t this what the Occupy Movement and anti-globalization movements are all about? As Naomi Klein points out, the movement has a “decentralized, non-hierarchical structure.” Instead of “forming a pyramid … with leaders up on top and followers down below,” it “mirrors the organic, decentralised, interlinked pathways of the internet… a network of hubs and spokes … [of] hundreds, possibly thousands of ‘affinity groups’…”[5]

WE ARE EVERYWHERE! This is the slogan of the 16 May (M16 ) 1998 Global Street Party  in thirty cities located in 5 continents coinciding with the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Birmingham , England, and the following week’s World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meetingin Geneva. The same slogan animates and unites these diverse political groups and movements.

For instance, John Holloway’s celebration of Zapatismo as an alternative to the assumed obsolescence of Leninist politics points to the “newness of Zapatismo [as a]  project of changing the world without taking power. ‘We want to change the world, but not by taking power, not to conquer the world, but to make it anew’.[6]

Photos of Marx (left), the father of the theory Marxism and Bakunin (right), one of the forerunners of Anarchism. Anarchism believes of an "authority-free" society. It denies the authority of state, god and any standing societal norm. It gained popularity among the working class then. However, it was consistently debunked by Marxism, which believes on seizing state power by the working class that will pave the way for its class dictatorship aimed at ending exploitation of man by man and establishing a classless society called communism. Later on, anarchism was discredited in the First Internationale, an international organization of working class, when Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto.

By rejecting the Marxist instrumentalist definition of the state, which defines it as an instrument of class rule, Holloway grossly forgets the structuralist version of Marxism that embeds the state in the wider economic and social web of cause and determinations.[7] Like Bakunin, Holloway misrepresents the Marxist standpoint on the seizure of state power.  Falsely generalizing from the failure of socialism and the bitter experience from Stalinism, Holloway wants to exorcise the so-called “state illusion” among Leftists that has captivated the minds of revolutionaries. By state illusion, Holloway “mean[s] the paradigm that has dominated left-wing thought for at least a century.” Allegedly, state illusion puts the state at the centre of the concept of radical change…” as understands revolution as the winning of state power and the transformation of society through the state.”[8]

Peter Marshall’s Demanding  the Impossible: A History of Anarchism neatly summarizes the split between Marxism and anarchism: “Anarchism differs from Marxism however in its scrupulousness about the means required to reach such a society — it rejects political parties and the parliamentary road to socialism as well as the establishment of any form of workers’ State. It stresses that means cannot be separated from ends, and that it is impossible to use an authoritarian strategy to achieve a libertarian goal.”[9]

The contemporary anarchists thus repudiate Vanguardism and Party discipline. But how would they gain ground? Or is the question misplaced since the autonomists do not want to seize power but only exercise it? John Holloway rants against the Marxist-Leninist view of state by arguing that “[t]he fervour of those who fight for a different society is taken up and pointed in a particular direction: towards the winning of state power. ‘If we can only conquer the state (whether by electoral or by military means), then we shall be able to change society. First, therefore, we must concentrate on the central goal – conquering state power.’ So then the young are inducted into what it means to conquer state power. They are trained either as soldiers or as bureaucrats, depending on how the conquest of state power is understood. ‘First build the army, first build the party, that is how to get rid of the power that oppresses us.’  Party-building (or army-building) comes to eclipse all else. What was initially negative (the rejection of capitalism) is converted into something positive (institution-building, power-building). The induction into the conquest of power inevitably becomes an induction into power itself learn to wield the categories of a social science which has been entirely shaped by its obsession with power. Differences within the organisation become struggles for power. Manipulation and manoeuvring for power become a way of life.[10]

For Holloway, “The struggle is lost from the beginning, long before the victorious party or army conquers state power and ‘betrays’ its promises. It is lost once power itself seeps into the struggle, once the logic of power becomes the logic of the revolutionary process, once the negative of refusal is converted into the positive of power-building. And usually those involved do not see it:  the initiates in power do not even see how far they have been drawn into the reasoning and habits of power. They do not see that if we revolt against capitalism, it is not because we want a different system of power, it is because we want a society in which power relations are dissolved.”

Everywhere in Holloway’s liberal rhetoric is Foucault’s anti-micro-fascist warning, which actually says  that fascism is everywhere and anywhere but in the state!  Casting suspicion on the Marxist instrumentalist theory of the state, Holloway further echoes Hardt and Negri’s attempt to argue that the Empire is everywhere and therefore the nation-states are no longer the locus of genuine struggle. Capitalism is now deterretorialized and the state is very unlikely to embody its pristine form. Todd May’s postanarchistic politics summarizes this “new” meaning of anarchism.  May’s recommendation is that we not look in those two places so as to blind ourselves about the ubiquity of power’s operation. If capitalism and the state were the sole culprits, then eliminating them would by itself open up a utopian society. But we ought to be leery of such simple solutions. One of the lessons of the struggles against racism, misogyny, prejudice against gays and lesbians, etc. is that power and oppression are not reducible to a single site or a single operation.

But is this really true? Peter Kennedy argues that “finance capital, as the most developed form of capital, has, during the course of the 20th century and thereafter, been able to secure state forms that are best able to provide the necessary political economy of control over use value, social need and the management of money within specific historical circumstances.” Moreover, in a thoughtful critique of postanarchism, Ben Franks rightly points out that “under the pretext of fighting ‘terrorism’, anti-capitalists and radical environmentalists have been subjected to greater state and private sector surveillance, and stronger legislative control.” In this milieu, “many of the cultural assumptions that underlie many postanarchist theories have been undermined. As Newman acknowledges, rather than dissolving, the state has, instead, switched to a more oppressive paradigm, with greater centralized control, executive power and concentrated authority in the hands of military and police.” So, how can one change the world without confronting state’s power backed up by finance capital? Is the Deleuzian preference for flight the solution? Franks concludes his critique: “In the face of this authoritarian turn, the favoured tactic of postanarchists, seeking flight rather than contestation, seems inadequate, as exodus is not always possible or desirable.”

The anarchists and Zapatistas want some partying without the Party. Holloway could not distinguish between power as repressive and power as enabling. Like a true anarchist, he equates all forms of power with repression. In effect, he claims that it is more effective to reject power than seize state power and convert it to an instrument of the proletariat.  Holloway is unconvincing and cannot stand before Gene Ray’s  critique:

The problem in the real world is that capitalist power-over is enforced by the state’s repressive forces – ultimately by state terror. In the given global order, no anti-capitalist project, no emergent socialism, no non-instru-mental form of collective life will be allowed to exist for more than an instant, let alone develop into a serious threat. If it cannot defend itself from state violence, it will be wiped out, full stop.[11]

And the Zapatistas are not an exception. For “their existence is tolerated only in so far as they do not become a revolutionary.” Gene Ray argues against such wishful thinking:

“These being the constraints of reality, within which any revolutionary process must make its way, there is no avoiding the logic of power and instrumentality. Revolutionary movements and struggles are bound to organise the strategic counter-power required to defend them-selves from the capitalist state. If they do not, whatever pathways beyond capitalism they manage to open will soon be terminal. The capitalist state cannot be bypassed. State terror has to be neutralised, and this means, necessarily, strategic and instrumental struggle and an adequate and effective counter-power. Unhappily, results matter.

What is at stake today with regard to the debate between anarchists and Marxists is the necessity to seize state power. Any attempt at a radical transformation of society depends on this. Without this imperative, any Occupy Movement is bound to fail. Yet the anarchists refuse to recognize this. We can only cite Bakunin’s call to smash the State right away, thereby bypassing the dictatorship of the proletariat, and its post-political and postmodern version embodied in ludic concepts like Negri’s empire and multitude, Deleuze’s becoming and Foucault’s microphysics of power. We do not need to go back to the Paris Commune in order to demonstrate the futility of such slogans.

Paris Commune of 1871 was the successful seizure of political power by the Parisian working class. Many social thinkers then were not confident of the working class' ability to seize political power and use it to establish a more democratic society - that is, Socialism. The Paris Commune disproved this skepticism. However, the Commune only lasted for 72 days and Marx later advised the Working class that they must crush the state machinery and build its dictatorship if it wants to venture on establishing Socialism.

For now, it is sufficient to cite the poignant admission of a sympathizer of such a political strategy. The members of  the Tute Bianche of Italy were violently dispersed during the anti-G8 protests in Genoa, in July 2001. On Friday 20 July 2001, the Tute  Bianche’s  direct  action  was  attacked  by  large  concentrations  of  police  and stopped from reaching the Red Zone (the heavily fortified area of the old city where the G8 was meeting). No one could better describe the bankruptcy of such anarchist-inspired movement than Alex Callinicos:

All the special training and the body armour of the Tute Bianche could not match the armed power of the Italian state. Thousands of demonstrators, including sections of the  revolutionary left, who had joined the Tute Bianche’s march found themselves reduced to passive onlookers at the battle.[12]

Against the anarchists, Proudhonists, “autonomists” or anti-authoritarians’ anti-statist slogan, we should reaffirm the correctness of Marxist-Leninist position that workers should not “renounce the use of arms, of organized violence, that is, the state, which is to serve to “crush the resistance of the bourgeoisie.”[13]

But what are these post-anarchists proposing? Holloway is honest enough: “Do we now know how to make the revolution? No, we do not; and only a charlatan would claim that we do.” Such admission couched in the postmodern virtue of “false” humility in the face of the terror of totalization is dangerous to a revolutionary situation and to movements seeking social change.

Lenin’s scathing remarks against anarchists’ claim to Paris commune applies very well to Holloway: “Anarchism has failed to give anything even approximating a true solution of the concrete political problems, viz., must the old state machine be smashed?  and what should be put in its place?[14]

The anarchist fear of dictatorship should not distract us away from the true meaning of dictatorship.  Dictatorship is about proletarian democracy. As Engels pointed out apropos the Paris Commune:

Of late the Social-Democratic philistine [now, the post-anarchists] has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words: dictatorship of the proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the dictatorship of the proletariat.”[15]

How about the fear of taking state power? The good anarchists should be reminded of Engels’ ridicule of the “classical” autonomists: “Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries.”[16]

The Paris Commune’s lesson so well-elaborated by Lenin should be plugged to the loopholes of anarchistc tendencies today: “The second error was the unnecessary magnanimity of the proletariat: instead of annihilating its enemies, it endeavoured to exercise moral influence over them…” Engels also made a very similar remark apropos the lesson of Paris Commune:

Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough? Therefore, either one of two things: either the anti-authoritarians don’t know what they are talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. In either case they serve the reaction.”[17]

Zizek’s defense of Leninist vanguradism is worthy of consideration for those who want revolution without revolution:

Indeed, the sermons which … the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries preach express their true nature:  ‘The revolution has gone too far. What you are saying now we have been saying all the time, permit us to say it again.’  But we say in reply : ‘Permit us to put you before a firing squad for saying that. Either you refrain from expressing your views, or, if you insist on expressing your political views publicly in the present circumstances, when our position is far more difficult than it was when the white guards were directly attacking us, then you will have only yourselves to blame if we treat you as the worst and most pernicious white guard elements.’[18]

But during the pre-revolutionary period, building and preparing for a revolutionary movement means recognizing the uneven development of the consciousness of the workers and masses. As Lenin argued, “To forget the distinction between the vanguard and the whole of the masses gravitating towards it, to forget the vanguard’s constant duty of raising ever-wider sections to its own advanced level, means simply to deceive oneself, to shut one’s eyes to the immensity of our tasks, and to narrow down these tasks.”[19]

The Party therefore concentrates and promotes a certain direction for the mass movement. It provides discipline for the mass actions. As Chris Harman argued,

“Many people are suspicious of self-proclaimed vanguard organisations. But the reality is some workers have a clearer idea of what capitalism is and the need to fight it than others. They are the people who stand up against racism or sexism, see the need for solidarity with any group fighting back, and want to fight to win. In these ways they are ahead of other workers in political consciousness and need to organise together to win others to fight against the system effectively.”[20]

In the struggle against global capitalism, we cannot rely on the Negri and Hardt’s fuzzy multitude or the anarchists’ impulsive direct action. As Harman points out:

“the class struggle is a form of warfare, even if for long periods it is a low intensity war. Both sides use strategy and tactics to try and gain a winning position. This is certainly true of the ruling class. At business association meetings, in exclusive clubs, at meetings of the G8 or European summits, in the columns of newspapers and magazines, such as the  Financial Times and the Economist, members of the ruling class discuss how to create the conditions for profitability to rise, and how to beat back the inevitable resistance.”

Hence, “A revolutionary organisation rooted in the class struggle has to develop strategies and tactics to counter such manoeuvres.” This is the key to genuine revolution. The multitude or “screaming” against the system are not even shortcut solutions but supplementary elements to the global capitalist order.  And as such, they cannot be more than perverts who challenge the system only to strengthen it with their own misguided slogans of post-anarchism, and who are convinced by their own circle of anarchist friends that Leninist vanguardism and politics can only lead to Stalinism.

Lessons from the Occupy PH

Why anarchism?  The global financial crisis has opened up a new space for anarchism on the political spectrum especially the cyberanarchists. It is a radical response to the failure of the Left to provide a counter-movement to global capitalism. If, as Fredric Jameson sharply claims, “postmodernism is the logic of late capitalism”, then anarchism is the political movement in the post-political condition. It obeys the post-political logic of neoliberal capitalism: de-centered, rhizomic, and de-territorialized. It focuses more on direct action rather than building a concrete  revolutionary program and organizing continuously the workers and other progressive allies.

Now, if indeed history is the best teacher, then the greatest lesson that we have learned from the Occupy Mendiola  is this: ‘You can ignore the State. But the State will not ignore you.’ This is a harrowing lesson learned from witnessing activist youth being dispersed violently as if to pulverized an nascent yet organized counterforce to the U.S.-Aquino regime. If the State unleashes such magnitude of excessive violence against a small yet organized group, then it can only up its level of violence if confronted with a bigger counter-hegemonic force.

The same lesson had been learned earlier quite brutally by the Tute Bianche and other protesters in Genoa. A sympathizer admitted later:

The picture shows a man hit by police forces during an anti-capitalist rally in Wall Street. This suggests that the non-violent protest guiding the Occupy Movement cannot deny the reality of the political power through the organized and monopoly of force of the financial oligarchs. The photo illustrates the futility of present-day anarchism to guide the international wave of anti-neoliberal globalization movement.

Everyone, even those who for a thousand legitimate reasons refuse to militarize their actions or to counter the policemen’s clubs with bats, and tear gas grenades with Molotov cocktails, must understand that the path of individual and collective autonomy will at some point inevitably collide with the reality of state power and its violence, with some times tragic results. In turn, we can no longer bar the “violent ones” from following their own tactics and expressing their points of view, but they must perfect, improve and better measure the import of their actions to better safeguard everyone’s life and liberty.[21]

Gene Ray provides a good Marxist riposte to this anarchistic fiasco:

The Marxist tradition is at least crystal clear regarding the ultimate functions of the capitalist state.  So long as ruling class hegemony can be maintained through consent and cultural leadership, then force and violence can be held in reserve.  But as soon as this hegemony is threatened by a real disarticulation, then even in liberal democracies “the gloves come off.”  At that point, the strategic problem for radical politics is how to respond to repressive state reaction.  Given that the nation-states of the capitalist world system have and will continue collectively to oppose, by all means, pressures from below for radical social change, how can a counter-power be organized to defend societies reaching collectively for transformation?[22]

When the police was about to unleash its full measure of violence directed towards the students, a chanting was heard: “We are ready to fight on equal grounds. “ This chanting already refutes the laborious elaborations in the writings of Deleuze, Foucault, Negri, Hollaway and Graeber. But it is to be noted that so-called public intellectuals in one way or another have participated and even inspired new forms of activism. Unfortunately, they have learned the wrong lesson, notwithstanding their commitment to the idea that “another world is possible.”

Academics are likely to be accused of theoreticism. But in the case of these intellectuals, it seems that their practical engagement is undermined by their subjectivist commitment to their theoretical orientation rather than to the revolution, which dialectically relates theory and practice. Sophisticated and state-of–the-art development in theory must not be automatically equated with innovative radicalism. For theory can only be tested consistently in history.

Philippine Society and Revolution

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At this juncture, we could not think of any other theory of an ongoing revolution that has been tested in guiding the Philippine mass movement other than the classic Philippine Society and Revolution by Amado Guerrero. Published in 1971 at the height of the anti-imperialist, anti-fascist movement against the Marcos dictatorship, it is a book that was embraced by almost every worker, farmer, student, church person who joined the people’s protracted war for national liberation. If there is a worthy successor to the Communist Manifesto in terms of continued relevance and unparalleled sharpness, it is arguably this book and all that it stands for.

That the Occupy Mendiola did not mobilize a sizable number of people as in the case of the Occupy Movement in imperialist nations proves the continuing relevance and correctness of the PSR.

First, a recognition of the uneven development of capitalism across the globe is in order to explain the conduct of the subjective force as well as the objective conditions of the revolution. Second, any Occupy Movement cannot be dissociated from the analysis of the logic of imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism. Today, more than ever, PSR’s analysis of dispossession by accumulation as a result of a rapacious rivalry between and among imperialist nations holds true.

This is why the much-vaunted and popular slogan that says “We belong to the 99%” which, at first glance appears to be valid actually displaces the class struggle with a force that simply wants to include the 99% into the 1%. This is an additive politics that mimics the multicultural call for inclusion without changing the system that creates the 99% percent against the 1%.

Meanwhile, a massive people’s uprising characterized the two People Power 1986 and in 2001. Discounting the role of the military and organized religion, the Occupy Mendiola did not spark a spontaneous mass movement. And this is due to the class character of Philippine society as a whole. Those who were mobilized outside of the organized basic sectors during the two People Power uprisings came mostly from the highly educated, urban-based and mobile class. Their engagement was sparked by the values of accountability, transparency and good governance that, to this day, have not materialized. Those values cannot take root in a nation that has no industrial base and with a backward agrarian mode of production.  This is compounded by an educational system that is geared towards producing cheap labor while consigning those that it has excluded to extreme poverty and illiteracy.

The Occupy PH rightfully begins with a critique of the 2012 national budget branding it as anti-development, anti-poor and pro-imperialist. The slogan “Sawang-Sawa na sa Sistema” is a recognition that the national budget is not only a product of disastrous policymaking but rather a symptom of a moribund global capitalist system with neoliberalism as a project  that attempts “to restore and consolidate capitalist class power  (Harvey, 2011:10).“

The Occupy PH culminated on December 10, 2011, International Human Rights Day. The presence of all sectors, especially those from urban poor communities, the homeless, the informal sector,migrant labor organizations, student and professionals proves that the broad alliance of progressive sectors for national liberation can be forged to expose and oppose the contradictions of neoliberal order. This proves the fundamental assertion of the national democratic struggle that is calling for a conscious class solidarity and the setting up of organizations among people located in dispersed and individualized conditions of employment and unemployment.

We, therefore, end with the call for renewed and vigorous efforts to achieve national liberation through all means possible. The organizing of the urban poor and the most advanced sector of the working class should go hand in hand with constructing organs of political power among peasants, landless rural poor and the indigenous peoples.  History has shown us that the other road to revolution, either through revisionism or anarchism –in whatever form- has been ineffectual in dismantling the global reach of monopoly capitalism. We stand today in a specific historical juncture when monopoly capitalism has reached its worst putrescent stage. It has devastated the environment, created immense human suffering, and initiated wars of aggression. It is high time we bring to the streets, factories, schools, and other public places the forbidden but indispensable slogans of the national democratic movement:

Imperyalismo, Ibagsak!

Burukrata Kapitalismo Ibagsak!

Pyudalismo, Ibagsak!

Let the bourgeois compradors and their reactionary allies tremble at the power of these words, and at the national democratic movement that struggles to eliminate the fetters that prevent the painful birth of a new social order from the womb of the semi-feudal, semi-colonial Philippine society.

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[1] Leonard Williams, “Anarchism Revived,” New Political Science, Volume 29, Number 3, September 2007, p. 298.

[2] David Graeber, “The New Anarchists,” New Left Review 13, January-February 2002

[3] Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, Tomorrow Begins Today: Invitation to an Insurrection, available athttp://artactivism.gn.apc.org/allpdfs/034-Tomorrow%20Begins%20Today.pdf (retrieved 3 January 2012).

[4]  Staughton Lynd & Andrej Grubacic,  Wobblies   &   Zapatistas: Conversations on  Anarchism, Marxism and Radical History. New York: PM Press, 2008,  p. 8.

[5] Naomi Klein, “Reclaiming The Commons,” New Left Review 9, May-June 2001.

[6] John Holloway,  “Zapatismo and the Social Sciences,” Capital and Class No. 78, p. 156.

[7] Paul Wetherly, Marxism and the State: An Analytical Approach. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

[8] Ana C. Dinerstein, “A call for Emancipatory Reflection: Introduction to the Forum: On John Holloway’s  Change the World Without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today,”  Convened By Ana C. Dinerstein, Capital and Class, No. 85.  See also John Holloway and Sol Picciotto, “Capital, Crisis And The State,” Capital and Class,

[9] Peter Marshall, Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism.  London: Fontana Press,2008.

[10]John Holloway, Change the World without Taking Power: The Meaning of Revolution Today. London: Pluto Press, 2002,  Pp. 10-11.

[11] Gene Ray, “Antinomies of Autonomism: On Art, Instrumentality and Radical Struggle Third Text, Vol. 23, Issue 5, September, 2009, 537–546.

[12] Yet before Genoa, the Tute Bianche, echoing Holloway’s fetishistictic Romanization of Zapatista declared triumphantly: “At  last  Zapatism  gets  rid  of  the  20th  century–this is  an  irreversible  and unnegotiable break from the imagery of the European left wing. It gets beyond every classic opposition of 20th century political tradition: reformism versus revolution, vanguard versus movement, intellectuals versus workers, seizure of power versus exodus, violence versus non-violence.”  Alex Callinicos,  “Toni Negri in Perspective,” International Socialism Journal, No. 92, Autumn 2001.

[13] V. I. Lenin, The State And Revolution: The Marxist Teaching on the State and the Tasks of the Proletariat in the Revolution. Peking: Foreign Languages Press, 1970, p. 71.

[14] V. I. Lenin, The State And Revolution, p. 125.

[15] 1891 Introduction by Frederick Engels On the 20th Anniversary of the Paris Commune, Karl Marx, Civil War in France. Available athttp://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/postscript.htm.

[16] Quoted by Lenin, p. 74.

[17] P. 37.

[18] Slavoj Zizek, On Belief. London: Routledge, 2001, p. 113. Zizek was quoting Lenin’s Speech in opening the 11th Congress of the R.C.P.(B.)  held in Moscow on March 27-April 2, 1922.

[19] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (The Crisis In Our Party), available athttp://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1904/onestep/i.htm(retrieved 2 January, 2012)

[20] Chris Harman, Revolution in the 21st Century. London: Bookmarks Publications, 2007, p. 78.

[21] Claudio Albertani, “Paint It Black: Black Blocs, Tute Bianche and Zapatistas in the Anti-globalization Movement,” New Political Science, Volume 24, Number 4,2002, p. 595.

[22] Gene Ray, ‘The Central Fire’: History and the Predicament of Critique,” available athttp://transform.eipcp.net/correspondence/1210933646#redir (retrieved 3 January 2012).

photos from http://www.google.com


A NOTE ON THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT

Is the Occupy Movement indeed devoid of political leaning? How is the Central Intelligence Agency involve with the movement's backbone?

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
12 April 2012

The initiators of the Occupy Wall Street Movement have proclaimed themselves as anarchists since the beginning. They espouse the direct action of small groups to ignite the masses, the so-called leaderless movement and the supposed revolution that does not aim to replace the incumbent oppressive state with a new democratic or socialist state.

They draw inspiration currently from the writings of Prof. Gene Sharp of the Albert Einstein Institute. He is the author of From Dictatorship to Democracy, which is being used by anarchists as a kind of manual for non-violent resistance. The book conceives of dictatorship as merely the authoritarianism of an individual or a ruling clique and ignores the bourgeois state as a class dictatorship.

The most notorious purveyors of the notions of Gene Sharp are trainees of the Serbia-based Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS), a consulting and training firm funded by the U.S. New Endowment for Democracy. It was set up in 2003 by OTPOR (Resistance), a CIA-funded Serbian organization which opposed Slovodan Milosevic and helped cause his downfall consequent to the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999. The OTPOR logo with a white fist on a black circle as background is conspicuous in group actions of the Occupy movement.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle has endorsed the Occupy Wall Street Movement and its subsequent spread to many U.S. cities insofar as they use the political tactic of occupying public places for indefinite periods and denouncing the imperialist system and its policies. The ILPS is appreciative of the Occupy Movement for having occupied the park in Wall Street to denounce the finance oligarchy and the imperialist system. It has flexibly initiated or joined in several cities mass actions acclaimed as part of the Occupy Movement.

But the ILPS has never endorsed the comprehensive anarchist ideas, outlook and method of struggle of the initiators of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Up to a certain point, the actions of the anarchists can be positively imaginative and can help to arouse the people to rebel but cannot be sustained until the overthrow of the bourgeois state. The anarchists are ultimately reactionary because they allow the bourgeois state to remain intact, notwithstanding the anti-statist and individualist or anarchist propositions.

The researchers of the ILPS and Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research have closely studied the shady character and activities of the Occupy initiators and their exaggerated claims of having masterminded the so-called color revolutions of Eastern Europe in the recent past and the so-called Arab spring. Of course, the U.S. avails of special agents like those in CANVAS but it relies in the first place on its main line operatives and collaborators.

Bringing Back the State to the Revolution by Salud Sakdal and Benedicto Algabre critiques the Occupy Movement at the historical, philosophical and political planes comprehensively and profoundly. It takes up the question of state as a real unavoidable factor on both sides of revolution and counterrevolution. The article is excellent in dealing with its main point that the revolutionary process must overthrow the bourgeois state and install the new democratic or socialist state, notwithstanding the anti-Stalinist scare kicked up by the anarchists and Trotskyites.

It is gratifying that the article gives high appreciation for Amado Guerrero’s Philippine Society and Revolution and generously compares it with the Communist Manifesto with regard to the essence and requirements of the revolution led by the proletariat.###