THE CONTEMPORARY CONJUNCTURE: A REVOLUTIONARY IMPERATIVE
The Philippine Left’s history (and many of those who wrote on the subject agree) is a history of schism – a split among the split – a movement divided. From the 1968 PKP-CPP schism, the 1992 RA-RJ schism and to the multiple branching out to different organizations. While the PKP1930 has slowly faded into the backdrop, those who came from the National Democratic tradition of the CPP continued to be fragmented island-revolutionaries. This fragmentation and in-fighting of mostly left-wing cadres has left a confused and disoriented oppressed class, battered and beaten both by political opportunism and disenchantment. A general distrust among left-wing peers has also been fueled by a series of vanguardist/social-chauvinist approaches, ranging from abhorrent liquidations of former comrades under the banner of counter-counter-revolution to petty political maneuvers
within coalitions and united fronts. For thirty long years after the last great revolutionary situation of the 1986 EDSA bourgeois revolution, it is only in recent memory that we can see the shedding of personal grudges among these former comrades and have explored the prospect to again reunite. The allure of a common class enemy is a temptation too strong to resist even for the most dogmatic of organizations.
I will not elaborate on the blunders of the Duterte administration in this paper, as current literature is already saturated with differing, but seemingly united analysis – the Duterte administration is inept in maintaining, let alone uplifting, the standards of living of the Filipino oppressed classes. We, the oppressed classes, have nothing to expect in this administration. This chronic ineptness has worsened in to a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the far south Mindanao, a nationwide human rights crisis, food crisis and overall degradation of quality of life, and a looming fascist dictatorial tendency not only of Duterte himself, but of those who surround him. A populist government and administration with masterful use of spectacle to divert the attention of the oppressed classes from their empty stomachs. Anyone who have fought and lived through the Marcosian era will instinctively realize that the national political economic atmosphere is ripe for another revolutionary situation. However, the sights of most Philippine left-wing parties can be described as myopic at best, and reeks of petty-bourgeois opportunism.
The Objective Condition: A Revolutionary Situation
Any decent Marxist-Leninist knows by heart that for a successful overthrow of the bourgeois State through a violent revolution, there should be objective and subjective conditions to be met. The objective conditions, according to Lenin, can be equated to a revolutionary situation, viz: To the Marxist it is indisputable that a revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, it is not every revolutionary situation that leads to revolution. What, generally speaking, are the symptoms of a revolutionary situation? We shall certainly not be mistaken if we indicate the following three major symptoms: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action.
Without these objective changes, which are independent of the will, not only of individual groups and parties but even of individual classes, a revolution, as a general rule, is impossible. The totality of all these objective changes is called a revolutionary situation. Such a situation existed in 1905 in Russia, and in all revolutionary periods in the West; it also existed in Germany in the sixties of the last century, and in Russia in 1859-61 and 1879-80, although no revolution occurred in these instances. Why was that? It was because it is not every revolutionary situation that gives rise to a revolution; revolution arises only out of a situation in which the above-mentioned objective changes are accompanied by a subjective change, namely, the ability of the revolutionary class to take revolutionary mass action strong enough to break (or dislocate) the old government, which never, not even in a period of crisis, “falls”, if it is not toppled over.
Such are the Marxist views on revolution, views that have been developed many, many times, have been accepted as indisputable by all Marxists, and for us, Russians, were corroborated in a particularly striking fashion by the experience of 1905. What, then, did the Basle Manifesto assume in this respect in 1912, and what took place in 1914-15?
This was further elaborated, also by Lenin but this time in 1920, in this wise:
As long as it was (and inasmuch as it still is) a question of winning the proletariat’s vanguard over to the side of communism, priority went and still goes to propaganda work; even propaganda circles, with all their parochial limitations, are useful under these conditions, and produce good results. But when it is a question of practical action by the masses, of the disposition, if one may so put it, of vast armies, of the alignment of all the class forces in a given society for the final and decisive battle, then propagandist methods alone, the mere repetition of the truths of “pure” communism, are of no avail. In these circumstances, one must not count in thousands, like the propagandist belonging to a small group that has not yet given leadership to the masses; in these circumstances one must count in millions and tens of millions. In these circumstances, we must ask ourselves, not only whether we have convinced the vanguard of the revolutionary class, but also whether the historically effective forces of all classes—positively of all the classes in a given society, without exception—are arrayed in such a way that the decisive battle is at hand—in such a way that: (1) all the class forces hostile to us have become sufficiently entangled, are sufficiently at loggerheads with each other, have sufficiently weakened themselves in a struggle which is beyond their strength; (2) all the vacillating and unstable, intermediate elements—the petty bourgeoisie and the petty-bourgeois democrats, as distinct from the bourgeoisie—have sufficiently exposed themselves in the eyes of the people, have sufficiently disgraced themselves through their practical bankruptcy, and (3) among the proletariat, a mass sentiment favouring the most determined, bold and dedicated revolutionary action against the bourgeoisie has emerged and begun to grow vigorously. Then revolution is indeed ripe; then, indeed, if we have correctly gauged all the conditions indicated and summarised above, and if we have chosen the right moment, our victory is assured.
The words of Lenin still hold true as to contemporary Philippine society. The factions of the elite bourgeoisie are fighting over the spoils of the defunct State. The sidelined Liberal Party and its bourgeois faction’s prospects for a political comeback is bleak – and are actually ingrained and submerged in political survival and maintaining relevance. The suffering of the oppressed classes has undoubtedly become more acute than usual, brought about by the troika of higher commodity prices, stagnant starvation wages and precarious working conditions.
Philippine bourgeois democracy, owing to its Western mother, has suffered from a congenital defect – a democratic garb of imperialist interest. The incomplete, bastardized and vulgarized bourgeois democratic institutions that the American commonwealth consciously established (for easier control) through the country has made possible the emergence of populist fascist dictators such as Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose lackluster 1973 Constitution is the constant subject of Duterte’s wet dreams. Weak as they may be, the Philippine State lends a crown of legitimacy for the continued exploitation of the oppressed classes. Hence, it can be gainsaid that an elementary form of revolutionary situation permeates the Philippine context, merely heightened and contrasted by historical ebbs and flows – and it seems like Duterte has now allowed, yet again after 30 long years, the eventual flow of this revolutionary situation.
The Subjective Condition: The Strength of the Proletarian Vanguard
But what about the subjective conditions? In order to capture and act upon the flow of the revolutionary situation, there must exist a form of organization of the most revolutionary class – the proletarian class – to lead all the oppressed classes and its allies to that decisive battle and victory. The proletarian vanguard must be ready and able to seize political power at the opportune time, and actually take crucial steps in ushering and hastening the eventual forthcoming of this decisive battle – through the continuous, heightened and arduous exercise of the oppressed classes of their political rights, akin to the Bolsheviks instigating general strikes among the Soviets. Such is no easy task and easier said than done. The effectiveness of the political actions requires strength – and the oppressed classes’ only innate strength is in our superior numbers. It is therefore imperative for the proletarian vanguard to focus on preparing and amassing this strength by educating, organizing and mobilizing the bulk of the oppressed classes, especially during a time of revolutionary ebb or “peace time”.
Lenin and the Bolshevik’s experience has led them to conclude:
History as a whole, and the history of revolutions in particular, is always richer in content, more varied, more multiform, more lively and ingenious than is imagined by even the best parties, the most class-conscious vanguards of the most advanced classes. This can readily be understood, because even the finest of vanguards express the class-consciousness, will, passion and imagination of tens of thousands, whereas at moments of great upsurge and the exertion of all human capacities, revolutions are made by the class-consciousness, will, passion and imagination of tens of millions, spurred on by a most acute struggle of classes. Two very important practical conclusions follow from this: first, that in order to accomplish its task the revolutionary class must be able to master all forms or aspects of social activity without exception (completing after the capture of political power—sometimes at great risk and with very great danger—what it did not complete before the capture of power); second, that the revolutionary class must be prepared for the most rapid and brusque replacement of one form by another.
Where are our tens of thousands class-conscious vanguards; our tens of millions of passionate oppressed classes? Remember, that Lenin is speaking of 1917 Russia – 100 years ago when today’s Philippine population would dwarf that of Lenin’s Russia! Such level has not been achieved by any proletarian party since the birth of Marxist thought in the Philippines, which was spearheaded by Crisanto Evangelista and his party mates. We have seen an unprecedented rise and enthusiasm for revolutionary Marxism during the revolutionary flow of the Marcos Dictatorship, but was mostly funneled and expended by the un-Marxist fetish for class war by Joma Sison, which deserves another paper in its entirety.
After the 1992 RA-RJ schism, most revolutionary organizing and education have been grossly underprioritized by all factions of the Philippine Left. Union mortality rate skyrocketed at unprecedented levels, leaving it at a sorry state of a total of 3% union coverage for the entire Filipino working-class population. Labor centers have been thoroughly neglected and have withered away in place of the State. Those who remain are either too weak to stage an effective general strike or political rally, or totally unwilling to let go of their opportunist habits. The strategic attack by the bourgeoisie against unions, largely through the voracious implementation of contractualization schemes and effects of globalization and neo-liberalization has been the bane of the once lively bastion of revolutionary proletarian praxis.
Revolutionary work within the military and civilian police force is also almost non-existent in this juncture. Such task cannot be done away, given the disparity in the level of military apparatuses and violent coercive strength of the military and police institution. The continuous politicization and quasi-Bonapartism of these coercive institutions presents an insurmountable blockade in any violent revolutionary seizure of political power by the proletarian vanguard in the near future.
The proletarian vanguard cannot do away with the seemingly plebeian task of educating, organizing and mobilizing the oppressed classes. It cannot rely on spontaneity, and hope that by media mileage and by distanced speeches in television it will arouse class consciousness. Sure, patches of revolutionary praxis can be seen every now and then – but the quantity is not enough to sustain through the enormous mortality rate of proletarian and mass organizations being grinded between the mills of neo-liberalization and State oppression. Much is to be done in this arena. Again, Lenin is instructive in dispelling the myth of proletarian spontaneity: Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology formulated by the working masses themselves in the process of their movement, the only choice is – either bourgeois or socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for mankind has not created a “third” ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn by class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or an above-class ideology). Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn aside from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology. There is much talk of spontaneity. But the spontaneous development of the working-class movement leads to its subordination to bourgeois ideology, to its development along the lines of the Credo programme; for the spontaneous working-class movement is trade-unionism, is Nur-Gewerkschaftlerei, and trade unionism means the ideological enslavement of the workers by the bourgeoisie. Hence, our task, the task of Social-Democracy, is to combat spontaneity, to divert the working-class movement from this spontaneous, trade-unionist striving to come under the wing of the bourgeoisie, and to bring it under the wing of revolutionary Social Democracy. The sentence employed by the authors of the Economist letter published in Iskra, No. 12, that the efforts of the most inspired ideologists fail to divert the working-class movement from the path that is determined by the interaction of the material elements and the material environment is therefore tantamount to renouncing socialism. If these authors were capable of fearlessly, consistently, and thoroughly considering what they say, as everyone who enters the arena of literary and public activity should be, there would be nothing left for them but to “fold their useless arms over their empty breasts” and surrender the field of action to the Struves and Prokopoviches, who are dragging the working-class movement “along the line of least resistance”, i.e., along the line of bourgeois trade-unionism, or to the Zubatovs, who are dragging it along the line of clerical and gendarme “ideology”. In the era where even trade unions are not spontaneous results of traditional common sense, the need for revolutionary praxis has never been of a more paramount importance.
Left and Right Opportunism: The Boundaries of Pragmatism
The deeply unharmonized and large disparity in the development of the subjective and objective conditions presents a peculiar situation for the Philippine proletarian vanguard. The organic excitement over the unfolding flow of revolutionary situation has been disappointingly met by an insignificant strength of the left-wing subjective forces.
Often times, left-wing parties hastily “jump the gun” and align themselves with bourgeois parties’ formulations of ousting the head of state towards a “peaceful” transition of power, in the tradition of “EDSA”. The frustration and disappointment of those coming from the ND tradition in failing to grab the opportunity during the Marcosian revolutionary situation of the late 80’s have been reflected in botched reproductions of the spirit of EDSA in the time of Erap, GMA, and now Duterte. The famous first few lines of Marx in the 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte that “history repeats itself first as a tragedy, second as a farce” is a truism present in contemporary Philippine society in the form of EDSA insurrectionism, and if we are going to lend it an Alighierian touch – third as divine comedy.
The current subjective conditions is dwarfed by even the failed attempt of the left in wrestling political power in EDSA III from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo – whom the left helped to install. That is barely ancient memory. What then prevents left-wing parties in having an objective assessment of the subjective conditions of the Philippine context? This collective cognitive dissonance, we are bold to say, the left-wing parties owe to both right opportunism and left opportunism.
Right opportunism, in a sense that the sidelined bourgeois parties have been pragmatic enough to co-opt left-wing parties, the same way as left opportunism means left-wing parties have also been pragmatic enough to align themselves with sidelined bourgeois parties. The marriage of these two pragmatist views have produced a unique kind of opportunism present in the Philippine context – opposition opportunism, a post-Marcosian disease. The sheer tailism and adventurism of left-wing parties cannot be highlighted further in this disease of opposition opportunism, as we have seen in the Akbayan experience, being trapped by the liberal bourgeois ideology called social democracy. As Lenin wrote in his pamphlet Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, “The fight against imperialism is a sham and humbug unless it is inseparably bound up with the fight against opportunism.”.
But does that mean left-wing parties should not exercise a level of pragmatism? When does pragmatism cross the boundary of opportunism? Surely, as the proletarian vanguard must veer away from opportunism, must it equally shun purism, dogmatism and left-wing communism. The Russian
Bolshevik experience as encapsulated by Lenin provides a useful guide to pragmatism, guided by a dialectical materialist approach to material conditions, which must be laid down with Philippine characteristics. The temptation of opportunism and dogmatism would only lure the obscure man – and obscure parties.
The boundaries and utility of the communist-pragmatic approach to revolution is illustrated in his book Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, and his view on reactionary trade unions, viz:
We are waging a struggle against the “labour aristocracy” in the name of the masses of the workers and in order to win them over to our side; we are waging the struggle against the opportunist and social-chauvinist leaders in order to win the working class over to our side. It would be absurd to forget this most elementary and most self-evident truth. Yet it is this very absurdity that the German “Left” Communists perpetrate when, because of the reactionary and counter-revolutionary character of the trade union top leadership, they jump to the conclusion that . . . we must withdraw from the trade unions, refuse to work in them, and create new and artificial forms of labour organisation! This is so unpardonable a blunder that it is tantamount to the greatest service Communists could render the bourgeoisie. Like all the opportunist, social-chauvinist, and Kautskyite trade union leaders, our Mensheviks are nothing but “agents of the bourgeoisie in the working-class movement” (as we have always said the Mensheviks are), or “labour lieutenants of the capitalist class”, to use the splendid and profoundly true expression of the followers of Daniel De Leon in America. To refuse to work in the reactionary trade unions means leaving the insufficiently developed or backward masses of workers under the influence of the reactionary leaders, the agents of the bourgeoisie, the labour aristocrats, or “workers who have become completely bourgeois” (cf. Engels’s letter to Marx in 1858 about the British workers)
This ridiculous “theory” that Communists should not work in reactionary trade unions reveals with the utmost clarity the frivolous attitude of the “Left” Communists towards the question of influencing the “masses”, and their misuse of clamour about the “masses”. If you want to help the “masses” and win the sympathy and support of the “masses”, you should not fear difficulties, or pinpricks, chicanery, insults and persecution from the “leaders” (who, being opportunists and social-chauvinists, are in most cases directly or indirectly connected with the bourgeoisie and the police), but must absolutely work wherever the masses are to be found. You must be capable of any sacrifice, of overcoming the greatest obstacles, in order to carry on agitation and propaganda systematically, perseveringly, persistently and patiently in those institutions, societies and associations—even the most reactionary—in which proletarian or semi-proletarian masses are to be found. The trade unions and the workers’ co-operatives (the latter sometimes, at least) are the very organisations in which the masses are to be found. According to figures quoted in the Swedish paper Folkets Dagblad Politiken of March 10, 1920, the trade union membership in Great Britain increased from 5,500,000 at the end of 1917 to 6,600,000 at the end of 1918, an increase of 19 per cent.
Towards the close of 1919, the membership was estimated at 7,500,000. I have not got the corresponding figures for France and Germany to hand, but absolutely incontestable and generally known facts testify to a rapid rise in the trade union membership in these countries too.
And regarding bourgeois parliaments:
Even if only a fairly large minority of the industrial workers, and not “millions” and “legions”, follow the lead of the Catholic clergy—and a similar minority of rural workers follow the landowners and kulaks (Grossbauern)—it undoubtedly signifies that parliamentarianism in Germany has not yet politically outlived itself, that participation in parliamentary elections and in the struggle on the parliamentary rostrum is obligatory on the party of the revolutionary proletariat specifically for the purpose of educating the backward strata of its own class, and for the purpose of awakening and enlightening the undeveloped, downtrodden and ignorant rural masses. Whilst you lack the strength to do away with bourgeois parliaments and every other type of reactionary institution, you must work within them because it is there that you will still find workers who are duped by the priests and stultified by the conditions of rural life; otherwise you risk turning into nothing but windbags. The conclusion which follows from this is absolutely incontrovertible: it has been proved that, far from causing harm to the revolutionary proletariat, participation in a bourgeois-democratic parliament, even a few weeks before the victory of a Soviet republic and even after such a victory, actually helps that proletariat to prove to the backward masses why such parliaments deserve to be done away with; it facilitates their successful dissolution, and helps to make bourgeois parliamentarianism “politically obsolete”. To ignore this experience, while at the same time claiming affiliation to the Communist International, which must work out its tactics internationally (not as narrow or exclusively national tactics, but as international tactics), means committing a gross error and actually abandoning internationalism in deed, while recognising it in word.
The lengthy quoting of Lenin, of course, does not call for a mechanical and almost faithful adherence to his text, but rather, to borrow from Kierkegaard, to understand the Lenin in-becoming – which does not merely mean reenacting “good old revolutionary lines” nor to adjust the old programs to “new conditions”, but precisely by reinventing the revolutionary process of adhering to the dialectical materialist process by constructing a new revolutionary project befitting the current world conditions of imperialist domination and international slumping of the politico-ideological base of Marxist communism.
Therefore, the primary task of the proletarian vanguard is to develop Marxist-Leninist theory, and then concretize this Marxist-Leninist theory into Marxist-Leninist ideology in the Philippine context. which workers will be able to grasp through communist propaganda and agitation. The development of Marxist-Leninist theory occurs outside the spontaneous, ideological movement of the workers and the masses, and most definitely outside the unholy united front movement with bourgeois elements. The sooner the Philippine proletarian vanguard realizes this, the sooner it can start to build its own revolutionary project with Philippine characteristics.
The Independent Communist Line
How then can we build this revolutionary project with Philippine characteristics? To do so, we must go back to the roots of Marxist communist idea and his critique of the capitalist mode of production taken in conjunction with Leninist agitation, propaganda and party building – staying true to the “Marxist-Leninist” tradition.
The Philippine left-wing parties’ political line have stagnated and degenerated into, and actually merging into, bourgeois-liberal lines – mirroring the prognosis of tailism. Political slogans such as the now-passé “oust” formulation7, anti-contractualization slogans8, tax reform slogans, anti-federalism slogans and our attempt to demonizing inflation as the singular cause of rising prices has failed to “touch-base” to the masses. The government-centric approach to left sloganism has detached it further and further to the interest of the masses. Corollary, the populist Duterte regime’s genius is in fact in realizing the basic woes of the oppressed classes converting it into populist slogans with populist solutions, and actually building a movement and governmental platform with anti-criminality, anti-corruption and the anti-drug rhetoric as its pillars, coupled with the cultural fetish of strong-man charismatic delivery. Putang ina nyong lahat papatayin ko kayo is the rhetorical answer against the oligarchic system of oppression which awakened its slumbering in the subconscious of the proletariat and oppressed classes.
Equally faulty, if not more callous, is the “just and lasting peace” slogan of the national democratic forces, which is only equally met by a callous reception of the masses – “how can there be peace if there is no war”, said the street vendor in Katipunan. Without elaborating on the intricacies and actually formulating slogans and agitational pieces to expose the inner societal fabric of class war in society, the common man will be left confused as to the reason why a just and lasting peace is the call of the so-called representative of the oppressed classes.
To explain by way of analogy, Lenin and the Bolsheviks, in their quest to arouse class-consciousness in the then most backward Russian society, has simplified their revolutionary theory in three class-war loaded words: Peace, Bread, Land. The slogan succinctly articulated the grievances of the Russian peasantry, armed forces and proletariat. The Decree of Peace is not exactly because of the class-war formulation of the CPP, but to pander to the Russian military’s exhaustion from the on-going World War I. The Decree of Bread is the representation of the proletariat’s exploitation leading to the absurdity of food scarcity amidst the growing wealth of the Russian bourgeoisie. The Decree of Land is an affirmation of the feudal remnants of Russian Tsarism present in the Russian countryside. But make no mistake, the Bolsheviks have realized that 1917 Russia is dominated by the capitalist mode of production, even though the proletariat consists of a numerical minority during that time. The Bolsheviks’ precision in determining the dominant mode of production in the uneven and combined development of Russian society, and its recognition of its feudal remnants, is a dialectical-materialist feat reflective of their deep grasp of Marxist philosophy.
If socialism is not victorious, peace between the capitalist States will be only a truce, an interlude, a time of preparation for a fresh slaughter of the peoples. Peace and bread are the basic demands of the workers and the exploited. The war has made these demands extremely urgent. The war has brought hunger to the most civilised countries, to those most culturally developed. On the other hand, the war, as a tremendous historical process, has accelerated social development to an unheard-of degree. Capitalism had developed into imperialism, i.e., into monopoly capitalism, and under the influence of the war it has become state monopoly capitalism. We have now reached the stage of world economy that is the immediate stepping stone to socialism.
Instead of attacking the Tsar by openly declaring its ouster prematurely, the Bolsheviks primarily attacked the cultural and economic hegemony of the ruling strata by articulating their most basic demands and awakening to the subconscious of the oppressed classes who their real enemy is – the Tsar for the military, the capitalists for the proletariat, and the landlords for the peasants. A masterful use of agitation and propaganda tactics. The Philippine proletarian vanguard must strive to unearth the dialectical-materialist truisms in the subconscious of the oppressed classes. But no single person, not even a reincarnation of Lenin, can correctly grasp this difficult philosophical process within the deeply complicated 21st century society. A proletarian vanguard party is imperative.
The Revolutionary Proletarian Vanguard Party
Much of the reference in this paper speaks of the proletarian vanguard. But this is the only time that the author will compound it as to the revolutionary proletarian vanguard party. Maybe it is sophomoric, but the author has not considered the existence of a revolutionary proletarian vanguard party in the Philippine context. Some are revolutionary but are not led by a proletarian vanguard, while some are proletarian vanguard but shun the revolutionary science of the violent overthrow of the State as advocated by Lenin. A revolutionary proletarian vanguard party is not only responsible for advancing the science of Marx, Engels, Lenin and other Marxists, but also in distilling this advance theory and communicate to its base – the oppressed classes. This dialectical-materialist process can best be illustrated by revolutionary praxis – the study of society through immersing in its cogs, enriching theory with experience and data gathering, and back to society in the form of a distillation of theory to organizing and arousing class-consciousness. Revolutionary praxis is a never-ending volley between theory and practice – a concrete representation of the dialectical-materialist spiral. Such is the revolutionary work of the proletarian vanguard party.
But what about current left-wing parties in the Philippines? As previously painfully stated, most mainstream left-wing parties are engrossed with top-level alliances with bourgeois parties and personalities, failing altogether to carry out revolutionary work of advancing theory and organizing the oppressed classes. We rely on forging unholy alliances, manufactured strengths and media exposure10 and leaving the plebian work of organizing, agitation and propaganda to opportunist elements. Those who strive to organize, educate and agitate in the base level of society are equally insignificant to the whole revolutionary project by failing to be guided by the most advance theory by a proletarian vanguard party. As a result, all tedious work done in organizing is hastily converted to lend manufactured strength to popular mass actions, protests and rallies. A vicious cycle of decomposing revolutionary work.
The proletarian vanguard party must painfully and carefully raise its organic strength. Slowly and meticulously building a class-conscious proletarian “army”, augmented by political leadership over all of the spectrum of oppressed classes. The organic formations of proletarians – the trade unions – must be expanded, if only to lift a larger portion of the proletarians out of the quicksand of starvation wages and conditions – for them to be
better susceptible to undertake Marxist education and achieve class-consciousness. Attention must be given to the large bulk of semi-proletarians and precariat workers – who cannot be legally organized into trade unions. The backward countryside must be organized into economic collective organizations and collectively raise the standards of living in the countryside – again, to be better susceptible for Marxist education and achieving class-consciousness. The revolutionary proletarian vanguard party must realize that an empty stomach is oblivious to theory – hence, all revolutionary work must be imbued with a basic egalitarian thought of uplifting the living conditions of all the oppressed classes.
The proletarian vanguard – the most advance elements of the proletarians – are scattered throughout the Philippine society. There is no deficit of Marxist intellectuals in the academe, the traditional left-wing parties, and organic intellectuals in the proletarian and even in the petit-bourgeois class. The Russian experience and context midwifed Iskra – a medium for Marxists in exchanging theory. Of course it would be textual dogmatism to start a printing press of Iskra proportions in this digital age of social media and the internet. Whatever form it may be, there is an imperative need to collectivize Marxist theory through a medium of communication within and among the proletarian vanguard. Only by this way, in my opinion, and with the vigilant use of all of those illustrated above, can a truly Filipino revolutionary proletarian vanguard party emerge out of the ashes of contemporary oppositionist opportunism. Let former schisms reunite and glue together scattered forces of the revolution. The task ahead is gargantuan, the prospects are bleak at best. Let this be the first step.
September 8, 2018.