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Shameless prostitution of academe: The Communist Party’s martial law course at UP

I GIVE up. The University of the Philippines (UP) has become a veritable Red base, the only real bastion that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has managed to set up in its 51 years of existence (except of course Jose Ma. Sison’s residence in Utrecht).

The communists will be setting up at UP what is practically an annex of its higher party school, disguised as a course on martial law.

It isn’t coincidental that this course will be offered next semester, as it isn’t just about history. The CPP’s main propaganda line has now become, as its September 19 statement put it: “The Duterte regime is a thinly disguised fascist state. The Philippines is under Duterte’s undeclared martial law.” If they hate martial law, they’ll hate Duterte, the communists are hoping.

Just when President Duterte is waging an all-out campaign to end the communist insurgency, and when the nation has clearly rejected the CPP’s ideology and political program, the UP will start a course, purportedly on Martial Law. In reality, it will be nothing but an introductory course on the communist political program, glorifying and romanticizing the New People’s Army (NPA) — paid for by the government the party wants to overthrow.

To understand this, we have to realize that the central mythology that justifies the CPP’s existence is its claim to have led the struggle against Marcos’ dictatorship.

The party has never been able to make the Marxist-Leninist project the legitimizing discourse for its existence. It has even practically abandoned its declared aim in the 1970s, mimicking Mao, to lead the peasants’ liberation from tenancy, the implementation through four decades by administrations since Marcos of a state-directed land reform. It has lost any claim to being the vanguard of the workers’ movement in the Philippines, after most trade unions have rejected its cadres as trouble-makers.

Communist Party’s main propaganda line now: Martial law = Duterte. PHOTO FROM CPP.PH

In short, without the narrative of an “evil” Martial Law, which it claims to have led in overthrowing and its propaganda line that Duterte is a soon-to-be Marcos dictator in disguise, the communist party loses it raison d’être. How often, if ever, have you heard the students it has brainwashed shout the 1970 and 1980s slogans “Land to the landless!” or “Onwards with the proletarian revolution!” Instead, the slogans have been “Fight Fascism,” “Resist Duterte martial law!”

Philippine Studies
The course the CPP’s cell (called the “Party Branch”) at the UP has designed and officially named “Philippine Studies 21: Wika, Panitikan, at Kultura sa Ilalim ng Batas Militar Pilipinas” makes the academe, with its sacred aim of being humanity’s main institution to establish what’s true and what is false, the communists’ propaganda prostitute.

Leftist activists, even those in the academe, have all the freedom to proselytize on the communist project in their classrooms or in various forums in the university. But to have a course whose aim, as its rationale says, is “to waken the youth on the evil of martial law”?

How the hell did scholars in the specialized field of Philippine literature — there is little of the claimed inter-disciplinary input in the Philippine Studies Department — have the academic expertise to have decided that the Martial Law period was “evil”?

The Martial Law era, as all phases of any country’s history, cannot be simplified as one where a Dark Lord ruled alone with an iron fist over nation, leading to its ruin. It had its positive and negative aspects, and very sadly our academics have defaulted on their role of undertaking academic research on this crucial period of our history.

Having the UP have a course on martial law, formulated by former or current CPP cadres, would be like, say, Harvard offering a course on Modern China designed by anti-China professors. Or one on the Cold War by ex-CIA officials.

Media, Malacañang spokesman Salvador Panelo and even Sen. Imee Marcos who didn’t see anything wrong with this “martial law course” should read its actual syllabus*, which shocked me as it is practically a CPP course designed by its education department.

This is obvious in the topics to be discussed there (translated from Filipino):

– “The meaning of Martial Law, Fascism and Dictatorship,” which equates Marcos’ martial law with the very distinct phenomenon of fascism, as had emerged in Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan — the analysis of the CPP and other communists in the world.

– “Martial Law as collaboration of foreign interests and the local ruling class,” which of course is simply the old CPP political line on the Philippine government as being one controlled by imperialists and the local “comprador bourgeoisie.’

– “Suppression of Human Rights,” which obviously will involve the narratives of communist cadres that they were jailed or tortured, not because they were in a conspiracy to violently topple democracy, but simply because they were “organizing the peasants or the urban poor.”

The course even in effect declares its Marxist world view when it says that one of its aims is for students to “value workers’ and peasants’ contribution to production grabbed by capitalists and feudal lords.”

Reading list
That the course is a communist party course would also be obvious in its reading list, most of which are books and articles — many bad literature and not historical objective accounts — by CPP leaders, former and present, as well as anti-Marcos personalities.

The dead giveaway that this is a CPP course is that in its reading list is not just its founder Jose Ma. Sison’s Philippine Society and Revolution (PSR), the seminal vision and program of the insurgents, but his four other polemical books — why, even his pathetic attempt at poetry!

Sison’s 1968 PSR is a plagiarism of a plagiarism — plagiarized form Indonesian communist leader D.N. Aidit’s 1957 Indonesian Society, Indonesian Revolution, which was plagiarized from Mao Zedong’s The Chinese Revolution and the Chinese Communist Party. How would such trash, how can Sison’s bad poetry enlighten UP students on what Marcos’ Martial Law was? But then, it introduces impressionable young people to the works of the CPP’s “The Leader” (as he refers to himself).

Many of the books and articles in this course are melodramatic, romanticized accounts of CPP/NPA leaders’ lives in this bloody revolutionary attempt, among them: Recca: From Diliman to the Cordillleras, former CPP leader, former Duterte official Judy Taguiwalo’s biography of a UP-student-turned-NPA-commander; Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years, co-authored by Nathan Quimpo, now a Dutch citizen but who had been one of the CPP’s top leaders in Mindanao; and Agaw Dilim, Agaw Liwanag, the autobiography of NPA commander Lualhati Abreu, one of the first of Sison’s recruits. I was told — although I couldn’t verify — that the main proponent of this martial law course is Luahati’s son, Gonzalo Abreu Campoamor 2nd.

The proponents’ arrogance — that they could have a CPP course right in the university — is demonstrated in the fact that included in its reading list are papers that would be of interest only to communist cadres, such as Kilusang Pambansang Demokratiko sa Wika by Monico Atienza, who had been the third-ranking CPP official before his arrest in1976; a pathetic attempt at reconciling revolution and theology by Edicio de la Torre, former National Democratic Front (NDF) leader and chairman of the communist Christians for National Liberation; and CPP internal documents “Panimulang Pagsisiyasat at Pagususuri ng uri ng Mindanao-Sulu” and “Maikling Kurso sa Rebolusyonaryong Peryodismo.”

The only work seemingly not in the list would be the CPP’s cconstitution and program. But then the instructors of this course, I bet, will have the students read it, as included in the list is the UP Library’s collection of CPP documents, catalogued as “Radical Papers.”

I can go on and on: the course reading list is practically the library of the party’s higher party school, the Revolutionary School of Marxism-Leninism. The reading list is a compilation of works by anti-Marcos writers and even communist cadres. Of course, to pretend it is an academic course, its includes “pro-Marcos” books as those of Ferdinand Marcos himself, easy targets for debunking in class.

That it is a CPP course is obvious in that excluded from the reading list are books that are anti-communist or narrate a more balanced account of martial law.

Excluded is Bobby Alegre’s 2001 National Book Award recipient To Suffer Thy Comrades, a brutally honest and meticulously researched account of the NPA’s horrific executions of their own people. Not included are the five books of journalist Cecil Arillo, among them The Marcos Legacy and A Country Imperiled. Other books not in their reading list are Mario Miclat’s fictionalized account of the party’s Plaza Miranda bombing and the bungling of a Chinese-supplied arms shipment; Gregg Jones’ Red Revolution, which gave details on that bombing; Richard Kessler’s Rebellion and Repression in the Philippines which provided hard data that showed that human rights violations during martial law were on the same level as during Cory Aquino’s regime; columnist Rod Kapunan’s Reflections on Martial Law: Saving the Republic; and Atrocities and Lies: The Untold Story of the Communist Party of the Philippines by four writers; or General Fortunato Abat’s “How We Nearly lost Mindanao (to the MNLF).”

How can the UP offer a course that would brainwash young people into joining the NPA to eventually die in some godforsaken jungle or rice field? Why aren’t the rest of its academics not protesting? It is time for them to take a stand against this organization that has taken the lives of at least 100,000 Filipinos in its half a century of existence.

*The syllabus can be accessed at https://www.scribd.com/document/425907079/Philippine-Studies-21-Wika-Panitikan-at-Kultura-sa-ilalim-ng-Batas-Militar-sa-Pilipinas#download




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This Post Has One Comment

  1. John Christian Canda

    Books written by both sides of the political fence during the Marcos era and beyond (even before the advent of social media), like “Malacañang to Makiki” by the late former Palace military aide Colonel Arturo Aruiza, Lewis E. Gleeck, Jnr.’s “President Marcos and the Philippine Political Culture” and “President Aquino: Sainthood Postponed”, “My Political Journey” by the late former Senator Eva Estrada de Kálaw, “Leaders: From Marcos to Arroyo” by former Assemblyman Homobono Adaza, “The Grand Collision” by Manuel Martínez, etc. should be read by avid and serious students of history for critical thinking.

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