So-called “cause-oriented groups” (COGs) at present seem to have a monopoly over the label “nationalist” or “patriot”. They claim to be the only true nationalists simply by virtue of their willingness to invoke chaos on our streets and to express themselves in a form of Tagalog that makes generous use of six-syllable words that most ordinary Filipinos hardly ever come across; all in the name of the Filipino masses, so they claim.
A more sensible approach of course is to think of the Philippine Nation as one that needs to earn its people’s pride. And its people, in turn, need to recognise that they have to work at building a nation that they could be objectively proud of. We need to re-visit the true essence of nationalism — the desire to build a just, safe, and prosperous country that can earn the pride of its people.
To further entertain this line of thinking, of course, brings us further into the realm of Dreamland as far as the Philippines is concerned. Our brand of nationalism is nothing more than a relic of the colonial past; infested with counterproductive tenets like anti-Americanism, Tagalogism, and unfounded pride (among others). We shall demonstrate in the following discourse that COGs nurture this colonial relic to achieve just one objective.
First of all, they espouse unqualified pride in one’s country for the sake of nationalism — essentially placing the horse behind the cart — by positioning the concept of nationalism as an absolute given. “I am a Filipino, and therefore it is my duty to love and serve the Philippine Nation.” So they say. Only when we start thinking of national pride as something that is necessarily commensurate to national achievement shall we have less difficulty with grappling with what it means to be a nation.
Second, they aim to secure their legitimacy as guardian of the interests of the masses by speaking in “the language of the masses”; so they say. Their real aim, of course is to fully exploit the language issue being one of the most enduring polarising forces of Philippine society. Among all the divisive factors plaguing Philippine society, it is in the realm of language where this polarisation is the most clear and definitive. There is no “middle class” as far as language is concerned in the Philippines — only the English-proficient elite and the Tagalog-speaking makabayans.
Finally, and least subtle of all, there is anti-Americanism. The Philippines, at present, is once again in a situation where it has to decide whether or not to graciously accept assistance offered by the United States to develop solutions for its domestic problems. Let’s forget for one moment that many COGs perceive the US as a threat to the objectives of their true umbrella organisation — the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). What are the COGs telling us whenever they spill all over our streets in protest? Basically they all fall into just one key idea: that the Philippines is automatically disadvantaged in any relationship it enters into with the US. There are countless permutations to this favrourite assertion of our COGs and only this one idea behind all of it.
What exactly does this imply about the COGs’ perception of the Philippine Nation? Simple. That the Philippines will forever be a hopelessly incompetent buffoon when it comes to negotiating itself into a fair treaty with a foreign power like the US? Fair enough. But it also reflects an even deeper underlying objective — that they have no intentions whatsoever of ever finding legitimacy in any treaty entered into and any foreign policy adopted by the Philippine Government for the simple reason that their umbrella organisation’s sole objective is the complete and absolute overthrow of the government and the dissolution of the Constitution.
Therefore these COGs, the infrastructure over (or shall we say “under”) which the Communist Party operates, are mere pawns that further the CPP’s “people’s struggle” (again re-stating what was already said above): the necessarily violent and complete overthrow of the Philippine Government, the dissolution of the Constitution, and the installation of totalitarian rule to execute its extreme brand of socialism. Because the CPP is a perpetrator of many terrorist acts through its New People’s Army (NPA), they’ve also evolved into a highly-decentralised cellular structured organisation like most terrorist groups. These COGs are part of that organisation even if they deny it. The members of these individual orgs probably don’t know what’s going on outside their respective domains, characteristic of the way cellular-structured organisations work.
We should not be fooled by their token participation in legitimate political exercises and advocation of “human rights”. There are no human rights and no legitimate political exercise under Communist rule.
To add some perspective to some Leftist claims to the throne of ‘Nationalist’, here is some insight on the very founder of the idea of the worker as “victim”:
[Karl] Marx always preferred to associate with middle-class intellectuals like himself. When he and Engels created the Communist League, and again when they formed the International, Marx made sure that working-class socialists were eliminated from any positions of influence and sat on committees merely as statutory proles. His motive was partially intellectual snobbery, partly that men with actual experience of factory conditions tended to be anti-violence and in favour of modest, progressive improvements: they were knowledgeably sceptical about the apocalyptic revolution he claimed was not only necessary but inevitable. Some of Marx’s most venomous assaults were directed against men of this type.
Paul Johnson, in his book Intellectuals.
The only cure for the cancer of communism in the Philippines is, again, to re-visit the true essence of nationalism — the desire to build a just, safe, and prosperous country that can earn the pride of its people and be a productive member of an equally prosperous global community.
Let’s return the concept of nationalism to its rightful owners — the ordinary Filipino citizens who earn a productive living doing their job properly. No one Filipino — or organisation of Filipinos — has an exclusive claim to the titles nationalist or patriot or makabayan, whether he or she be a CEO of a multinational corporation or a rice farmer.