Now that the June 12 rallies are concluded, please let me take this time to clarify certain misconceptions and accusations about the Left when it comes to China and the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea. Some allegations are just patently absurd. Others may just be the result of deliberate disinformation by the Aquino regime. In any case, it is important that we make this clarification.
Here are some of the mistaken notions that we may have encountered lately.
- “Local Maoists” and other leftist groups are pro-China” – This is a familiar refrain but has no basis in fact. Anyone who understands Mao will know that Maoism stands diametrically opposed to what China is now. Filipino Maoists from as far back as the late 1970’s have already described Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping as a “capitalist roader” or one who has chosen the path of capitalism over socialism. The Chinese state and so-called “Communist Party” have long turned their backs on the Chinese working class. This analysis was vindicated during the early 90’s when it became ever clearer that China had turned capitalist. Fast forward today, the Left and the so-called local Maoists are in fact the ones that have identified China as a full-fledged imperialist power committing acts of aggression in the West Philippine Sea and violating the sovereignty of the Philippines.
- “Protesting against the US makes you pro-China”. This is another non sequitur. Why would protesting US intervention and demanding an independent foreign policy make one pro-China? It is the same fallacy that is used to describe foes of the Aquino regime. If you are anti-Aquino then you must be pro-Binay. If you are against the VFA then you are an “Abu Sayyaf lover”. It is simply twisted logic no different from the “you are either with us or against us” line. Is being pro-US the only expression of our opposition to China? What if we were to tell you that the US is not truly opposed to China and is in fact in cahoots with China on many economic issues? Will that make the pro-US groups unwittingly pro-China? Folks, the issue of the West PH Sea cannot be reduced to cheering on one imperialist power over the other. (Yes, I’m looking at you Ricky Carandang.) In fact, our national interest will be best served if we veer away from that narrow framework. It is our dependence on the US which has made us weak to begin with. It is the reason why we do not have the military means to stand up against China. By embracing the US and giving it unqualified support, we are in fact undermining our own ability to stand up against China.
- The Left has not done much vs China’s aggression- Not true. Progressive groups have held protest actions against China’s incursions, poaching and environmental destruction. This year, we held 4 protests already. Bayan is part of a broad nationalist alliance called P1NAS which is opposed to China’s incursions and US intervention. The biggest rally so far vs China’s aggression was led by P1NAS on June 12, with Bayan playing a significant role. More than a thousand joined, including former Senator Rene Saguisag, actress Bibeth Orteza, incumbent and former lawmakers, and ordinary folks. The rally was also supported by former Senators Leticia Shahani and Vic Ziga. And so for former Palace PR operator Ricky Carandang to label the June 12 anti-China protest as “fake”, well, that’s just too bad coming from a supposed former journalist like himself.
- “Bayaran kayo ng China!” – Well here’s another baseless allegation. Bayan has no relations whatsoever with the Chinese government and the erstwhile Chinese “Communist” Party. And after the Communist Party of the Philippines labeled Deng and company as modern revisionists, I would guess that the CPP doesn’t have any relations either. Looking at our history, you’ll be surprised to find out that the real “bayaran ng China” are those in the Philippine government. Have we forgotten the NBN-ZTE deal and the Northrail project? Have we forgotten the corruption that these projects entailed? Have we forgotten that China’s State Grid controls 40% of our transmission lines because government privatized Transco? How many Chinese black sand mining projects are operating in the provinces because of pay-offs to local politicians?
- Maoists support US pivot vs China – Well, this is a new one coming from pseudo-left grouplets already discredited here in the Philippines but still able to find a venue overseas. One Joseph Catalan makes the absurd and fantastic claim that Bayan, by protesting Chinese intervention, is actually siding with the United States. The claim falls flat on its face since Bayan has consistently opposed US intervention including one-sided agreements such as the VFA and EDCA. Bayan’s track record speaks for itself. Whether in the streets, in the courts, or in parliament, we have strongly opposed US intervention. We have exposed the desire of the US to exploit the dispute with China so that it can bring back US bases and increase the number of US troops in the Philippines. Catalan’s article suffers from the same logical fallacy as those who claim that protesting US intervention makes you pro-China. Catalan and his group should now be asked, when are you going to oppose China’s violations of our sovereignty? Or do you think it is a non-issue? And if you are so opposed to US war provocations against China, how come you have not come out strongly to oppose the VFA and the EDCA?
We are more than willing to share with friends and any interested party our stand on China, the US and the West Philippine Sea. Most materials are available online; in our websites and Facebook pages. These may help us better analyze the different views that are coming out regarding the issue. In the end, we hope that the current conditions, aside from providing an impetus for discussion, will also translate to concrete action. We need a united people to stand up against the intervention by the big imperialist powers. Other protest actions will happen soon and we hope that the movement for the defense of national sovereignty and territorial integrity will continue gain ground and expand. ###