First of three parts
(Note: Blogger friend Adam Ford of the UK has this blurb in his blog, Infantile Disorder: “The revolution will be tweeted.” I don’t know if applying the idea in practice has already been begun by anybody in the world, but what this article is all about is attempting to get it done, beginning now. For some reason, I have lost contact with Adam, but I have committed to writing this piece in my blog KAMAO.
Recently, a newly founded socialist organization, Manggagawang Socialista (MASO) invited me to its founding assembly last November 25 in which I was asked to speak on the current situation of the Duterte government–-a topic I wouldn’t have known from Adam. I realized I was being trapped, albeit unwittingly on MASO’s part, in a box in which I inevitably had to talk about something utterly unpleasant to Duterte’s ears.
I had long undergone a thorough soul-searching, if you may call it that, of my revolutionary experience so that by now I am quite reconciled to a concept of revolution quite apart from–in fact diametrically opposed to–what it was when I began in the program for a people’s democratic revolution, a program for the violent overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship, camouflaged by the call, “Overthrow US imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.”
So, instead of complying with MASO’s boxing of my speech, I chose to get out of the box and talked about the following topic. To minds so conditioned to the rigidly dogmatic Marxist-Leninist approach of violent armed smashing of the bourgeois state as a condition for establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat, my speech was a total shock. Nevertheless, MASO appreciated the novelty immediately apparent in the concepts I expounded and in a subsequent conference of its leaders, I was given one more opportunity to ventilate the details.
The leaders of the various organizations comprising MASO, particularly Rasti Delizo of Bukluran ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Josie Cortez of Katipunan ng mga Manggagawang Pilipino (KMP), Glecy Naquita of Socialista, together with MASO chair Lino Brin, reached the consensus–-which I feel is worth sharing to readers of this column–that the ideas I raised were practicable options for advancing the workers’ march toward the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its attendant social system, socialism.)
Part 1: Updating revolutionary concept
Accept the need for revolution.
Capitalism has gone to such an extent that the working class has been rendered no better than machines.
Workers are refueled from day to day just to sate capitalistic greed for profit.
Revolution is the necessary road to humanize a much-dehumanized working class.
We accept, too, as given that the working class needs to be liberated, i.e., from oppression and exploitation by capitalists. In fact, this is what the revolution is all about.
What we want to clarify is how that revolution is to be carried out?
Taking a lesson from all past revolutions, we see that there has been none in which the working class has been put in place as the new ruling class. Always, what took power as a result of a revolution was a new brand of elites, not necessarily qualitatively different from the old repressive and exploitative ones the revolution swept out of power.
Revolution is a dynamic doctrinaire. It must have evolved in methodology from the long epoch of open war to the current age of what we might call deodorized conflict.
When Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848 the culture of war of the Medieval times was continuing to carry over well into that century. And into the current millennium, war culture has become even more acute, albeit sophisticated, with the development of modern war technology.
Far from being a revolutionary method now, war has become the very instrument for maintaining the establishment.
War, in this sense, becomes reactionary.
War puts the workers in a losing position in its confrontation with capitalists. War prevents the full release of the powerful potential of the working class to push society to optimum development. War fetters the working class struggle for liberation.
War is not a revolutionary means.
How then can the working-class revolution be carried out if not by means of war?
But first, what is revolution?
Revolution is a radical rupture from the existing state of things.
When the production of commodities needed to be made en masse by machine instead of by hand, the industrial revolution took place.
On the political plane, revolution is the overthrow of an old rule by the new.
The French Revolution signaled the overthrow of the old monarchial system of rule by the new democratic rule of the bourgeoisie.
The Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 was for replacing of the old feudal Czarist regime in Russia by the socialist regime of Lenin.
In whatever context, revolution presupposes, aside from a just and valid cause, a means for successfully achieving that cause.
The invention of machines augured for the mass manufacture of commodities–a necessary social condition to meet the needs of a growing populace. As children of the industrial revolution, capitalists had as much a revolutionary character as the workers as far as rupturing from the feudal setup was concerned. It only so happened that the capitalist class, upon the overthrow of the old feudal rule, early on came in control of political power. Since then it used that power to maintain itself as ruler of society up to this day.
Now that war has become reactionary for the working class, revolution is a concept that itself needs revolutionizing.
For the working class today, revolution cannot be so violent and bloody. Revolution cannot be so chaotic and anarchical. Revolution cannot be so openly massive in terms of participating revolutionists. And revolution while inwardly no less defiant of the ruling class than before cannot be so outwardly belligerent.
A revolutionary must recognize that he has been steeped in capitalistic ideals, wants, desires and attitudes which guide his revolutionary practice. Recognizing thus, he proceeds to approach a number of serious problems, asking whether he has been doing right working out that revolution.
When he agitates, for instance, for holding high such ideals as freedom of speech and of the press, is he doing it for the workers? In a bourgeois democracy, speech and press freedoms are choice prerogatives only of capitalists.
So are other ideals like civil liberties, due process, human rights, etc.–-they all mainly serve capitalistic interests.
Making these ideals the cornerstones of revolution only fortifies the foundations of the capitalistic political order.
A thorough rupture from the conventional concept of revolution is the revolution of the times.
It is a revolution that calls on the workers to level off, not go on strike or mass protests, and much less engage in armed combat.
And yet for all its peace, quiet and exquisite forbearance, the revolution today seizes at the very genitals of capitalism and squeezes it into extinction.
End of Part 1. Part 2 appears tomorrow