By Jun Ledesma

The battle of 'isms' and Red-tagging

October 30, 2020, 2:03 pm

WHAT’S the big fuss over communism and being a communist? Communism had been decriminalized a long time ago. The problem here is that Jose Ma. Sison refused to dismantle the New People’s Army and that is the root cause why Red tagging becomes a controversy. If the government has Bureau of Internal Revenue that collect taxes, the NPA is both the tax collection arm of Joma and his armed militia rolled into one.

The agenda why Communism was decriminalized was basically to invite those who find communism and its ideology better than Socialism, Capitalism, and other isms. The arena was to be the parliament not on the battlefield.

Let’s have a quick look at the two isms.

In theory, the objective of socialism and communism is to create a society where everybody is equal. There is no social classification like a,b,c, d, and e which we are familiar with especially in survey statistics. When Khmer Rouge overthrow the government to establish a communist regime, it did not only slaughter over 2-million people but leveled the city to remove all vestiges of a capitalist society. . There are shades of differences however. Cuba is a good exhibit of a socialist country. I love it when Fidel Castro roars, “no quieren ni libertad sin pan, ni pan sin libertad (I do not believe in liberty without food, or food without liberty)". Indeed, liberty is vibrant in Cuba where people don’t go hungry while in other communist or authoritarian regimes basic liberties are denied.

By description and tagging there is really no difference between being a “communist” or being “Red”. Red is merely symbolism. So what’s the big issue there? It is not actionable in court. It is another story if one is tagged as an NPA for that means you bear arms to overthrow the government. In short a terrorist.

Abhorrence to the term “communist” led to the semantics “legal front”. The leftists' political parties whose members adhere to the tenets of communism are in this category. Comes regular elections, we are made to choose a party list and not a few of these legal fronts participate. Which is good. On a personal note, I always vote for “Gabriela” because of their women’s advocacy. I always believed that the best market place to peddle one’s ideology is via parliamentary deliberation or to submit oneself to the election.

Communists are all over the globe. They are in the Americas, Europe, Asia. Outside of Russia and China communist parliamentarians are most active in Europe and this could be the reason why Joma is at home in his Utrecht, Netherlands. You might wonder why he loves it there rather than China. My take is that first, this NPA chieftain is a Leninist, second, there is no love between Chinese and Russian commies. This is also his fetish for screaming red colors which we see among their street parliamentarians.

In this digital age, capitalism, communism, and socialism continue to evolve. Sadly Joma and his commandos and comrades are stuck in a banal plot to take over the helms of power by way of armed struggle to overthrow the government. The NPAs even paint their faces red so there you are. The current brouhaha over red-tagging is actually superfluous. A commie is red because it is. It is neither a threat nor meant to scare. A communist or Red is not a terrorist but an NPA is. The US of A and the European countries had long tagged the Sison’s Communist Party of the Philippines and its New Peoples Army as a terrorist organization. However, it is a sublime irony, that the Netherlands cuddles Jose Ma. Sison, the CPP/NPA founder, and supremo.

The legal fronts, including the party lists, become suspects only because of their stealthy activities. Like, why and what are they doing with minor children of indigenous people in Davao del Norte herding them without parental consent then teach them how to dismantle and assemble guns, sing different anthem instilling hatred against the government, and training them to shoot.

Gen. Antonio Parlade is unnecessarily verbose that when he said he warned Liza Soberano against participating in the activities of Gabriela, he was promptly accused of Red-tagging her. The fronts had ganged up on him others evoking McCarthyism, a fear rumor-mongering warning of Russia’s eventual successful inroads in establishing communism in the US. They omitted the fact that in the years to come America woke up to realize that it is nightmarish for Russia to do that as a communist America might actually rule Russia.

So what will this sudden furor over Red-tagging mean to us? At its face value is pure and simple propaganda versus propaganda with some political undertones as the 2022 regular elections is drawing near. As to its ideological values, I do not know where and how the CPP/NPA will succeed. Joma and his ilk had been peddling the idea for decades and oftentimes through “hard sell “ means aided by its armed militia, the NPA. With the evolution of communism and the emergence of new regimes in Russia and in China, Joma’s dogma had become irrelevant. From among the peasants in China and the workers in Russia are the new rich. In Russia, the Romanovs and their palaces and the Bolsheviks have been relegated to history and spices of tourism fare. In China, following its free-market economy, the world marvels over the number of billionaires that many of them have become; a phenomenon that stuns the west and made them angry with envy to the point that they have to put barriers to their trade with China. In the meantime, with the exception of Joma, his foot soldiers are still in the wilderness.

But give it to General Antonio Parlade, Jr. and Usec Lorraine Badoy. Not a few members of the NPA combatants have returned to the folds of the law and lived a life of normalcy.


About the Columnist

Image of Jun Ledesma

Mr. Jun Ledesma is a community journalist who writes from Davao City and comments from the perspective of a Mindanaoan.