Marxism in the Philippines (TSE Tadem, LL Samson, editors) [2010]

Detta är en samling texter av berömda filippinska (akademiska) marxister, som ska försöka fastslå var marxismen står idag, och hur den hamnat där. Idén har något att göra med en serie seminarier som man höll för ett antal år sedan på samma tema.

Det finns en hel del sunt förnuft, fina formuleringar och tankeväckande infallsvinklar. Dessa har jag försökt plocka ut, ibland utan någon inbördes ordning – kanske bara för att en mening lät bra. Tyvärr är också en stor del av texterna verklighetsfrånvända (om än inte alls i lika stor grad som t.ex. Global Civil Society Movements in the Philippines, skräckexemplet). De handlar om akademiska hårklyverier, invecklade begreppsdefinitioner och generellt en spekulerande inställning till studier av samhället, snarare än en faktabaserad. Detta hör säkert till sakens natur – akademiska studier, bedrivna av forskare. Men när man akademiskt måste bevisa att det är fördelaktigt att ta tillvara arbetarnas perspektiv, då blir det bara löjligt. Precis som psykologin tenderar att bli läran om psykologerna, tenderar denna slags marxism att snarare beskriva  ”marxisterna” än samhället.

Ideologies of Art:

From the side of the formalists, there is always the persistent idea that social and political significations soil the purity of the work. This is parallel to the classical idea that one looks up to the statue, the work of art, on a pedestal, above human struggle and strife. […] One very common fault in art studies is the discussion of the historical and social background for the first part and the work of art in the second part, so that after the obligatory obeisance to what is called the ”historical background” is the discussion privileging the works of art which become the proper and central focus of art history.

Nationalism kontra nativism (provinsialism mittemellan?):

Nationalism dangerously slipped into nativism with the glorification of the precolonial past along with a prescientific and benighted frame of mind which kept the people apart from any progressive directions.

Religiösa grupper stöddes som buffert mot kommunismen; Cory Aquino framställdes som jungfru Maria.

This widespread promotion of prayer to Mama Mary and Our Lord has irreparable damaged our people’s grasp of political and economic realities. Due to long and consistent pressure from some quarters, holy statues and altars have become part of government institutions and offices, not to speak of commercial establishments and malls. First of all, this practise is unconstitutional at the base, given the principle of the separation of Church and State…

Bra ord: commodification (att omvandla något som historiskt och traditionellt inte har varit en produkt, till en produkt (exempelvis vatten, sjukvård, etc.))

Om ”civilsamhället”:

The emphasis on civil society is not only a U.S. government policy but it is also an international movement. In the Philippines, it gained ground during the term of Cory Aquino where many NGOs sprang like mushroom patches overnight… At the base, the ideological implication of the concept and policy of civil society is that, as formulated by the U.S., it seeks to create a paradigm shift from the labor-and-capital antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as the basic class contradiction to a tripartite relation between government, business, and NGOs brought together into a system of harmony and cooperation, favoring U.S. interests.

Globalisering:

We can neither dismiss the dangers that lurk in the idea of ”nation” nor ignore the need for larger arenas of political action demanded by the political economy of globalization. The Left must be engaged in building a national counterhegemony that is also at the same time, extra- or postnational. [Sovjetunionens försök.]

Hosbawm:

[…] the virtual disappearance of formal empires (”colonialism”) has snapped the main link between anti-imperalism and the slogan of national self-determination. However real the dependence of neo-colonialism, the struggle against it simply cannot be crystallized round the slogan of establishing independent political statehood, because most territories concerned already have it… In short, the relationship between nationalism and both capitalism and socialism (present or future) is profoundly changed.

CPP (filippinska kommunistpartiet) har genom historien varit den mest marxistiskt utvecklade rörelsen; dock har den varit frånvarande vid avgörande tider (EDSA I 1986, ”fördrivningen” av de amerikanska baserna, m.m.). Den har flera gånger ”missat tåget” och därför har den inte lyckats disseminera sina idéer i samhället. Detta beror delvis på att:

[…] the Marxist Left in the Philippines has not taken seriously its historical task of ”settling matters with its own bourgeoisie” because it has viewed the national state as little more than a puppet of imperialism and therefore unworthy of [i]political engagement.

Nationalism och i mindre grad rätten till autonomi diskuteras läsvärt;

The point is that there is no undiluted good to national sovereignty and it cannot be accepted, by Marxists above all, as an inviolable right. There was never anything self-evident about the principle of national sovereignty and today, it can clash directly with human rights.

Bönder och proletariatet (för övrigt en nästan perfekt beskrivning av Gudbjartur i Halldór Laxness’ ”Fria män”):

Capitalism, with ”its money economy and large-scale industry,” puts an end to the natural economy and thereby dooms the peasant mode of smallholder production (Engels). But rather than going over to the side of the proletariat, the peasantry stubbornly clings to the land and is distrustful of socialist calls for nationalization of the land, which appear to them as nothing more than outright expropriation of their small farms. As such they are often susceptible to the designs of the bourgeoisie with its call for protection and preservation of private property. [Att jämföras med maoismen som säger att bönderna är en revolutionär klass.]

[…]

The peasantry is to be under the leadership of the proletariat class which, in the struggle against capitalism, is alone a really revolutionary class (Marx and Engels). Once the peasantry realizes that their smallholding has been ”enslaved by capital” and is the principal cause of their ruin, they will gravitate to their ”natural ally and leader”, the urban proletariat (Marx).

[…]

Before the outbreak of the October insurrection in the cities, a peasant revolt broke out spontaneously in the Russian countryside and Lenin immediately called on his Bolshevik party to support the peasants’ struggle. When the 1917 insurrection broght the Bolsheviks into power, Lenin declared a ”Workers’ and Peasants’ Government of the Russian Republic,” cancelled all landlords’ titles and ordered the transfer of the land to the peasant committees without compensation.

[…]

After China, two other major peasant-based revolutionary movements that ended in victory were the Cuban revolution (1956-1958) and the Vietnamese revolution, which spanned four decades from the 1930s to 1975. As is well known, the peasant masses (the [i]campesinos in Cuba and the landless and tenant farmers in Vietnam) provided the main support for these two movements…

[…]

While the actual role that peasants have played in contemporary revolutionary movements have far exceeded the limitations placed on it by classical Marxist analysis, the latter’s view that the peasantry by themselves would be unable to overthrow the existing order has also seen its validation… [The Cuban and Vietnamese movements’] principal leaders grew up in urban areas and were of middle class origin with some even arising from the upper class. In other words, the peasant movements were, for all intents and purposes, basically led by nonpeasants.

Angeles city beskrivs som ett tidigare marxistiskt centrum för idéutbyte, seminarier, m.m. vilket är svårt att tro när man ser staden idag.

Splittringen i vänsterrörelserna nämns utan ingående förklaringar (kanske för att det skulle leda till handgemäng under seminariet…). Splittring utvecklades till konkurrens och ibland krig, på ett sluttande plan mot kriminalitet.

Marxism och kvinnorörelsen i PHP diskuteras. Huvudfrågan är: visst, klasskampen är överordnad – men i och med att marxism inte adresserar kvinnofrågan i sig, ska vi förlita oss på att den löser sig av sig själv i ett socialistiskt samhälle (och varför i så fall bevaras den stereotypa kvinnorollen i socialistiska rörelser – att de ska hämta kaffe, inte får ingå i ledningen, etc.)? Det är en legitim fråga, som av många avfärdas som sekundär och ointressant. Med det sagt, finns det i texten tendenser till apolitiskt trams à la fair-trade. Dessutom envisas författaren med att använda ordet ‘herstory’ för att markera mot det chauvinistiska ‘history’ vilket jag tycker sänker diskussionen under dagisnivå. Men det är en liten invändning, se nu på dessa stycken:

Yet even with the recognition by other political blocs that the reproductive sphere is just as important as the productive sphere in determining social conditions much is yet to be done. Class remains the most dominant discourse and women’s issues are still generally considered ”soft” issues.

[…]

For feminists, women in bourgeois families still partake in, and get oppressed by patriarchy within their own class. Violence against women and reproductive rights issues are not exclusive to working class women, or the violence and issues of reproduction – often controlled by patriarchal males – are not part of the Marxist socialist revolution…

[…]

History has shown that feminism alone will not change the world. But class struggle, as history has also shown, will not necessarily liberate women from the yokes of patriarchal oppression.

Och så den obligata (obstinata) skeptikern, som skadeglatt konstaterar att socialismen är ”devaluerad”:

Ironic interpellations of the glorious narrative such as these are a specialty, it seems, of those who remain ”Marxist,” even if nominally so. Class analysis applied to concrete situations is an acquired reflex that is not so easy to shake off, even after the devaluation of one’s preferred ideology. For those who still have that reflex, the revenge of civil society on the Marcos and Estrada regimes meant the reassertion of bourgeois hegemony at the expense of all other sociopolitical forces. Ideologues of the Edsa events are loath to highlight the class element, of course. Yet the evidence is clear: it was the withdrawal of allegiance of the armed forces from the incumbent regime, not civil society’s indignant multitudes, which constituted the crucial factor in the events of 1986 and again in 2000. [Edsa (Epifanio dos Santos avenue) uprising I mot Marcos-diktaturen ’86, Edsa II mot den nya regeringens korruption ’00.]

Kinesernas roll genom historien och rasismen mot dem diskuteras. De har kallats ‘Jews of the orient’ pga sin nära anknytning till handeln och ett relativt välstånd (och även idag ägs de största (och de är fanimig jävligt stora) köpgalleriorna av sex stenrika kineser):

Anti-semitism and anti-Sinicism converged in the essay ”The Jews of the Orient” (1914) by the Western-educated Vajiravudh of Siam (later King Rama VI, reigned 1916-1925). In the familiar language of exclusionary nationalism, Vajiravudh denounced Chinese ”allegiance to their race, taking advantage of all the benefits of foreign citizenship but giving no loyalty in return,” sense of ”racial superiority” and refusal of assimilation, ”acute… moneymaking instinct” and ”devotion to money,” and declared that the Chinese, ”no more Buddhist than are the Jews Christian,” are ”aliens by birth, by nature, by sympathy, by language, and finally by choice…”

Marx anklagas för antisemitiska åsikter på för mig tveksamma grunder:

In a move that has rendered Marx (himself Jewish) vulnerable to charges of anti-Semitism (Draper 1977), he takes as his object the ”everyday Jew” and deduces from it the ”profane basis” of ”practical” Judaism: ”practical need,” ”self-interest,” ”huckstering,” and ”money”…

Annat citat från Marx:

”[…]At least this was the case with the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, etc. […] They could live just as well in the interstices of the ancient world, as the Jews in Poland or in the Middle Ages. Rather, this world itself was the precondition for such trading peoples. That is why they fall apart every time they come into serious conflicts with the ancient communities”…

Citat från Abram Leon:

”[h]istorically, the success of racism means that capitalism has managed to channel the anticaptalist consciousness of the masses into a form that antedates capitalism”…

[…]

Although Chinese dominated the retail trade, opposition to their ”control” […] became a colony-wide issue only in the last fifty years of the Spanish rule. It was largely in reaction to this rising tide of anti-Sinicism, fanned by the Spanish to channel popular dissatisfaction away from Spanish rule onto a more pliable scapegoat… […] the Americans applied the Chinese Exclusion Act to the Philippines, restricting Chinese immigration to merchants and their immediate relatives. This served to drive the Chinese even more deeply into the mercantile niche (in 1930, Chinese controlled 90 percent of the retail trade) while creating the legal fiction that ”all” Chinese immigrants were merchants.
The merchant represents the point at which money appears and disappears in the presence of ordinary people. He mediates between the process of transforming money into commodities and vice versa… the merchant takes the place of the industrial capitalist in the public imagination as []the personification of capital with a consciousness and will.

Om kidnappningar – ett ökänt problem i PHP:

Like any industry, kidnapping is premised on the power of a commodity to command other commodities in exchange… Kidnapping transforms the body of the capitalist into a commodity, the value of which is based on the capitalists’s access to money, which, in turn, comprises the accumulation of unpaid surplus labor of the past that is appropriated by the capitalist in the present.

Jose Porfirio Mirandas idéer diskuteras i kontexten av ”befrielseteologi”:

Jesus and the prophets, according to Miranda, were all part of a tradition of anticultic polemic, and were staunchly opposed to religion as both the alienation of humans and the agent for their oppression. He writes
Perhaps the greatest disaster of history was the reabsorption of Christianity by the framework of religion. It is difficult to imagine a greater falsification of Christianity; and the masters of this world could not have invented a more effective stratagem for preventing the revolution of oppressed humanity.

[…]

The development of class consciousness, the ability to struggle together for the collective realization of our full humanity, s often tremendously hiindered by the stigmatizing and dividing power of relgious difference. Rather than the abolition of religion, the genuine solution to this dilemma is ecumenical dialogue and interreligious labor.

Om modern Marxism:

”Humanist” Marxism is in many ways a paltry [a: oviktig, b: föraktlig] Western response to ”revolutionary” Marxism… The idea of revolution led by the proletariat was an unfortunate mistake of Marx, who believed the proletarat was somehow the agent of social change. Sadly, this is not so, they argue, and the best that we can hope for is an intellectual dialectical critique of existing society and of the alienation of humans.

[…]

This Western ”humanist” Marxism is the disembodied product of elite Western intellectuals and has little or nothing to say to the majority of the world’s suffering and struggling poor. In the end, this ”Marxism” has so little conscience and is so tepid in its demands that it withers away to nothing but an almost unintelligible ivory-tower playing at words, replete with vacuous, trendy jargons, and insipid conclusions.

Liberation theology:

Many religious in the rural areas have espoused revolutionary change as they have daily witnessed the suffering of the poor peasants under militarization. Aside from their task of saying Mass, they are also the peasants’ only teachers and defenders against their oppressors. This condition resulted in a widening rift between the institutional Church and the Church for the Poor [sic] with its theology of struggle.

Mosala:

The insistence on the Bible as the Word of God must be seen for what it is: an ideological maneuver whereby ruling class interests evident in the Bible are converted into a faith that transcends social, political, racial, sexual and economic divisions. In this way the Bible becomes an ahistorical, interclassist document.

[…]

”The false notion of the Bible as nonideological… can cause political paralysis in the oppressed people who read it… it is fatal to mistake oppression for liberation and an oppressor for a liberator”…

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~ av bookplanet på januari 19, 2012.

Ett svar to “Marxism in the Philippines (TSE Tadem, LL Samson, editors) [2010]”

  1. […] som föregångaren Marxism in the PHP en hel del irrelevant akademiskt käbbel. Några […]

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