EDITORIAL: The death of an outdated ideology
Experience has it that in every country’s insurgency problem, there are always two main protagonists: the government, and the rebel groups. Both operate and are governed by national and local structures. The Philippine case is no different.
On the rebel side, there is the top leadership, in this case, the NDF; in the middle are the front organizations, and on the ground are the armed groups of the NPA. The objective of the top leadership is power, at the middle is convenient sharing of that power, while the objective of the armed group at the ground level is secured employment in the country’s armed forces.
On the government side, the national leadership is the executive and legislative branches which are charged with making policy decisions. At the local levels the municipal and barangay units who are just implementing national policies and programs. The objectives of the top leadership are political power, and at the local level peace and development for their areas and constituents.
History is filled with rebellion in many countries. Some have succeeded and resulted in social, economic, and political change. But many have failed, the death of the highest ideologue signalled the death of the rebel movement, or of its absorption into the national or global mainstream. In Sri Lanka, when Prabhacharn, the head of the LTTE rebel group perished the government decided to do an all-out offensive which signalled the end of the most ferocious rebel movement in South Asia. In Nepal when their most fierce rebel leader Prachanda was tempted to join the political mainstream the communist movement ended. Mao’s communist rebellion ended with the founding of modern China and the purging of the communist party. In the Philippines, the death of MILF’s Hashim Salamat and the integration of Nur Misuar’s MNLF into the government hastened the peace and development process in Mindanao and the creation of the ARMM. Ho Chi Minh’s nationalist Vietcong war ended with a triumphant north-south unification of Vietnam over the Americans.
Joma Sison is dead, and the CPP-NPA-NDF movement will have a different story. The chance of being decimated by the internal party struggle for power and money is imminent, given the science of Philippine politics. The 50 years of subversion of the CPP-NPA-NDF is ending and the objective of the movement will remain hidden by the outdated and borrowed ideology of Sison. Sison might have died frustrated, but lucky. Frustrated because he did not see his dream fulfilled, instead being decimated by a community-based development strategy - but lucky because he lived not on the battlefield with his followers but in the distant land of milk and honey, propped up by financial gains from the death of his blinded and deplorable men in the ground.
The death of Jose Maria Sison must strengthen the mission of the NTF-ELCAC. The fate of the middle and ground forces of the CPP-NPA will have no other option but to join the society and live in peace, harmony, progress, and the rule of law with the rest of us Filipinos.