The phrase is a Mao Tse Tung original. It was uttered by the Chinese leader during the cultural revolution in China in the mid-sixties when he sensed a strong current of challenge from what he perceived to be high-placed communist leaders inclined to bourgeois ideas – and evidently out to oust him. Closing down schools, Mao, with the help of his War Minister Lin Piao, organized the students in their awesome thousands into the Red Guards who began the Mao personality cult under the singular call for the purge of the “revisionists” in the Communist leadership of China in the pretext of: “Let a hundred flowers bloom: let a hundred schools of thought contend!”
In the spirit of the literary context of the quotation – not of its terribly bloody repercussions – I offered the following concept to a large alliance of workers advocating socialism and, necessarily, the establishment of the Marxist-Leninist concept of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
As I have stressed in the first article in this series, armed revolution has become a reactionary method for achieving the aim of the workers’ dictatorship. Proof is the nearly half-a-century-old CPP/NPA/NDF protracted people’s war that has achieved nothing but to protract on and on and on.
The KOMUN PROPOSAL, discussed below, should have been the third and culminating part of the three-part article that began Saturday the other week but for one setback: its Tagalog text. It was done so deliberately in order for it to be comfortably understood by workers. However, the English daily that Manila Times is, the Tagalog text would not do. So the Tagalog text had to be translated into English.
So now, here’s the translation.
A Proposal: KOMUN
I – Establish komun
KOMUN is abbreviation for the Pilipino word “komunidad”. It has been so abbreviated for easy recall and also for achieving popular impression that it is a distinct concept.
KOMUN has been conceived on the proposition that every member of the Community has a right to enjoy the necessities of life: livelihood, health, education and social security.
On this proposition, it is not a consideration, for instance, that you must have earned income the day before with which to buy your food today, which is the current social rule: if you had not earned a living yesterday, you rest in peace today.
Under KOMUN, all necessities of the members for the day are accounted for in advance and may be gotten by the members regardless of whether they have money to pay for those needs or not.
The rule is: feed everybody, let those with money pay. When those incapable will pay for the needs they avail of today, is a separate matter.
Under this setup, no one goes hungry in KOMUN. The same principle applies in the members’ availing of other daily necessities such as medicine, school needs of children, and payment for electric and water bills.
No member of KOMUN wants in the essential needs of living.
II – The komun store
The KOMUN STORE is the central supply outlet of the daily needs of the members..
Like ordinary capitalistic stores, items here are for sale. But the big difference is, in KOMUN commodities are not meant for generating profit. For instance, if the retail price of rice in capitalistic stores is P40 per kilo, which is factored in with a mark-up of P15 from its wholesale price of P25, in KOMUN STORE, rice is passed on to the members at that same wholesale price of P25.
No profit? No profit!
This is because strictly speaking, KOMUN STORE is not for generating selfish enrichment but outlet for pure service of the people.
In fact, KOMUN STORE is not really a retail store but rather, as stated above, a central outlet for the daily living needs of the members, and commodities here are not exactly merchandises for sale but rather what can be likened to rations fixed for distribution to specific members.
A family goes to the KOMUN STORE at each start of day and gets its assigned goods for the day. The process is meticulously recorded in order to ensure that no family gets more than what is allotted to it. Also by means of this recording process, it is ascertained that no non-members of KOMUN can get anything from the KOMUN STORE.
The question is, in that case wherein KOMUN STORE does make profit, how will it survive?
The minute the KOMUN STORE operation starts, there is no stopping its progress. Capitalistic stores won’t be able to compete with it due to the bare capital recoupment – no profit – nature of its operation. Buyers will flock to the KOMUN STORE, but because KOMUN STORE is exclusively for members only, these customers will be enticed to join KOMUN in order to avail of the Community’s benefits.
KOMUN STORE is the mechanism that will siphon the colossal crowd of buyers into the KOMUN MOVEMENT whose magnitude, at the end of the designed process, will, in the wink of an eye, qualitatively transform into political power.
Yes, procurement of commodities at the KOMUN STORE is without profit, but it is this very profitlessness of its operation that is the assurance of its growth.
One particularly strict requirement of KOMUN is its prohibition to its members to buy anything from capitalistic stores. Violators of this requirement will be dismissed from the community. Who would want to get out of a system wherein even if you don’t have money today, or even tomorrow, or day after day after tomorrow you are assured that you and your family will eat, you will have medicine for your sick child and the rest of your children will continue to go to school.
III – Basic unit of membership
The family is the basic unit of membership in KOMUN/.
Just as all members of a family are collectively covered by the benefits given by KOMUN, so are they also covered by its rules and regulations, like the prohibition on buying from capitalistic stores. The same thing goes for the implementation of the decisions of KOMUN. Families in their entireties will be made sure to implement the decisions of KOMUN.
It is always the case that economic power begets political power.
KOMUN first achieves economic power. Once this is done, political power will follow.
IV – Where to establish, size, quantity and structure of komuns
KOMUN will initially be put up in choice barangays in Metro Manila and Rizal. Priority areas are impoverished neighborhoods.
For easy administration, memberships in each KOMUN will be limited to 100 families.
The KOMUNS so established will fall under a single administrative body formed according to guidelines drawn up and agreed upon by the Komite sa Pagtatatag ng KOMUN (KPK)
The establishment of initial KOMUNS may start at a modest target number of 10. The objective at the establishment stage is to build showcase KOMUNS as a way of concretizing their workability as instruments for ameliorating the poverty of the masses. Depending on the experience of the first 10 KOMUNS, eventual other KOMUNS may be established in additional areas in accordance with objective conditions. An ideal strategy is to establish 100 KOMUNS in strategic locations around the country. With this number, seeds shall have been planted to make the KOMUN MOVEMENT a full-scale, sustainable and unstoppable phenomenon across the nation.
But whatever the case may be, the KOMUN MOVEMENT will make sure its success is achieved in the NCR-Rizal. As is always the case, what is true in the NCR is true the country over.
V -Initial funding
In concept, KOMUN is a self-help undertaking by the impoverished masses to overcome their never-ending poverty. Precisely because they exist from scratch, poor masses just seem to have no ability to fund the establishment of KOMUN.
But what cannot be denied is, no matter how poor, every family buys its needs for living day after day, if only for a day. Either they earn the money with which to buy their necessities, borrow, beg for alms, or just ask friends and relatives for the needed money with which to buy things. But whatever the case is, they buy their daily necessities. In the KOMUN concept, this daily routine of the family is not altered, except – the buying of necessities is done not from capitalistic stores but from KOMUN Store
It is estimated that a minimum of P200 is needed to sustain the daily livelihood of a member family of KOMUN. Therefore, the KOMUN store must daily contain necessary livelihood items for its members worth no less than P20,000, or P600,000.00 monthly. If there is one or two dedicated servants of the proletariat with golden hearts to bankroll that amount, they have the poor’s eternal gratitude. But that’s a punch to the moon. No one else but the proletariat will save themselves. What only needs to be done is a painstaking effort to educate the poor on the need to shift what already is an ongoing use of the economic power inherent in their buying power from continuously feeding the greed for profit by capitalists by patronizing capitalistic stores to patronizing the KOMUN stores. No need to elaborate here how that shift of economic patronage will result in the development of the proletariat’s own political power. Just buy at the KOMUN store, the political power of the working class will surely follow.
VI – Proposal
This proposal is respectfully offered to the Manggagawang Socialista (MASO)-Pilipinas. It is not the intention of this proposal to supplant whatever political agenda the organization has already in place or will have in place. It only intends to clear up additional trails by which to compliment already existing political paths toward establishing political power for the working class.
MAURO GIA SAMONTE
In its planning session two weeks ago, the MASO Secretariat took up the above proposal and it was decided to adopt it in its current agenda, subject to ratification by the memberships of the various organizations comprising MASO, such as the Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Katipunan ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (KMP), and Workers Advocates for Socialist Transformation Organiation (WASTO), the home group of MASO Chairman Lino Brin.
A few days after the MASO Secretariat session, the KMP Council of Leaders held its regular council meeting in its headquarters in General Trias Cavite presided by its Chairperson Josie Cortez. The Council unanimously resolved to adopt the KOMUN concept, with local leaders already pledging material contributions to the undertaking, like rice from its chapter in Leyte of which crop they have a surplus and a mushroom-growing project from its Cavite Chapter.
At this writing, leaders of MASO have begun scheduling meetings for dissemination of the KOMUN concept to masses of their memberships. Other groups who may want to follow suit can make use of the elaborations above as starting points. For these groups, closer integration into the KOMUN movement can follow.
It really is just a matter of planting the seed. With a little watering, it will grow.