I AM glad that militants are stepping up their protest actions against Chinese activities in islands and reefs in the West Philippines Sea that are rightly ours. That rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila last Saturday should not be a one-and-done initiative. If the Duterte administration is hesitant to put China to task for its activities, then the people should.
I understand the initial dilemma of the revolutionary left with regards to its dealing with China. The ideology of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is Leninism-Marxism-Maoism and its cadres have long been steeped in Chinese Marxist literature, especially Mao Zedong’s teachings. Activists in the past were so enamored with China six of them hijacked a plane to that country decades ago.
For the younger generation, I am referring to that incident in March 1971 when six student activists from the Mindanao State University hijacked a Philippine Airlines (PAL) plane that was bound from Cebu to Davao and then ordered the pilot to head for Beijing. The six—Glen Rosauro, Edgardo Tigulo, Domingo Baskiñas, Edgardo Mausisa, Daniel Lobitaña and Fructuoso Chua had wanted to learn from the Chinese the theory and science of revolution. They ended up experiencing Chinese efforts at socialist construction as a declared socialist country.
Fast forward more than four decades and we are seeing a China far different from what the great Mao Zedong had conceived. Marxists do not consider it as a socialist country but a capitalist one. Some of them even concede that China has become an imperialist power run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In this sense, it has become no different from the older imperialist power, the United States of America.
Filipino activists have long focused on US imperialism, convinced that the country is its neo-colony, thus the seemingly unchanging linkage of US imperialism with whoever is president of the country—US-Marcos dictatorship, US-Aquino (Cory) regime, US-Ramos regime, US-Estrada regime, US-Arroyo regime, US-Aquino (Noynoy) regime and finally, US-Duterte regime.
But while China may not have achieved a level of control over the Philippines’ socio-economic and political life like that of the US, it’s threat to Philippine sovereignty over our territories in the West Philippine Sea is more apparent to majority of Filipinos than whatever US imperialism is doing to the country. Thus the activists dilemma on how to treat China’s actions without supporting the cause of US imperialism here.
For them, US imperialism remains to be the main enemy. But they could not also downplay the Chinese’s own imperialist designs in the country, which the Duterte administration seems to be encouraging (the loans China is offering could give it a modicum of influence on our governance and economy).
The revolutionary left actually became an accomplice of the Duterte government in that regard when the peace talks were on, thus the seeming reluctance to attack China. With the tactical alliance with the Duterte government now out, we expect the activists to be more critical of Chinese “imperialism.”