ON PEACE NEGOTIATIONS

Marxist-Leninist Guiding Principles on Peace Process

Many revolutionary armed groups have entered peace processes and peace agreements with their own existing bourgeois government but the immediate questions in this regard will be the following:  First, is this peace process guided by Marxist-Leninist principles? Second, is such peace process a continuing class struggle wage by the working class? Third, who are the real beneficiaries of this (peace process) struggle? To clarify these (may be) very intriguing questions, we will tackle them one after the other.

To follow the most accepted procedure (the laying down of theoretical basis), we will tackle first the latest question mentioned above. As far as my limited readings of Lenin’s writing about Social Democracy, Lenin enumerated the following principles that will guide the peace program:

(1) A “peace program” must in the first place unmask the hypocrisy of the bourgeois phrases about peace. The duty of a Socialist is not to make peace with hypocritical democracy, but to unmask it. This is the first and fundamental thing according to Lenin. Unless we do that, we shall be willingly or unwillingly helping to deceive the masses;

(2) A “peace program” must explain that the imperialist powers and the local bourgeoisie cannot and will not grant a “democratic peace”. Genuine and lasting “peace” must be sought and fought for, not in the past, not in a reactionary utopia of a non-imperialist capitalism, nor in a league of equal nations under capitalism, but in the future, in the socialist revolution of the proletariat.

(3) A “peace program” must explain that not a single fundamental democratic demand can be achieved to any considerable   extent, or any degree of permanency, in the advanced imperialist states, except by revolutionary battles under the banner of socialism. Whoever promises the nations a “democratic” peace without at the same time preaching the socialist revolution, or while repudiating the struggle for it—the struggle which must be carried on now…is deceiving the proletariat.

(4) The program of a democratic (bourgeois) peace had an objective historical basis. Now there is no such basis, and all phrases about a democratic peace is a bourgeois lie, the objective purpose of which is to divert the workers from the revolutionary struggle for socialism! Then the Socialists, by their program of a democratic peace, supported a deep-going bourgeois-democratic movement of the masses.  Now, with their program of a democratic peace on the basis of bourgeois relations, the Socialists are helping the deception of the people by the bourgeoisie, whose aim is to divert the proletariat from the socialist revolution.

Philippine Society and the Class Character of its Peace Process

The Philippines has an uneven capitalist development under big foreign monopoly capital control. Developments of the world capitalist system have brought about an uneven capitalist development in the country.  The most advanced capitalist forms coexist with pre-capitalist and other earlier forms, with the latter subordinated to the former. Historical impingement of imperialist interests on the country and the continued domination of big foreign monopoly capitalists have subordinated the local economy to the interests of monopoly capitalists.  The extraction of foreign monopoly super-profits from the country and the subservience of the local ruling class to these foreign interests have resulted in the slow and highly maldeveloped state of capitalism in the country.

Developed but different from the particular conditions of a backward colonial and/or semi-colonial country; the Philippine society is a capitalist country.  Capitalism already dominates and permeates the whole social life of Philippine society.  Remnants of old relations of production, that include even some earlier  Asiatic forms among the Moro and Lumad peoples, are secondary and only serve to facilitate the basic interest of capital to extract profit. This process of maldevelopment is being worsened by the neo-imperialist onslaught of globalization promoted by the country’s bourgeois government policies.  Under the dictates of the World Bank and IMF structural adjustment program and its commitments in the GATT-WTO-APEC agreements, the government ensures the implementation of globalization through the Philippines 2000 government program.

In an antagonistic class society like the Philippines, the State is a political instrument, “a machine for maintaining the rule of one class over another.” The class dominating economically, i.e., possessing the means of production, acquires in the state a powerful instrument for the subjection of the oppressed and exploited. The State has a clearly defined class character. Being the principal component of the superstructure founded on the economic basis of society, the State takes every measure to strengthen and protect this basis. The State of any exploiting society (slave-owning society, feudal, or capitalist) is designed to protect the interests of the ruling class both within the country, in relations with other classes, and outside, in relations with other states. There are therefore two main trends or functions in the activities of a state: internal and external. The internal function is the main one and it determines all the foreign affairs of a state.

The Internal function of an exploiting State is to suppress the working people, to subordinate them to the small group of oppressions. This reflects the class nature of the state and is expressed in its internal policy, the struggle against the oppressed classes. Economically compulsion alone, which the exploiters can apply owing to their monopoly over the means of production, is not enough to win this struggle. They need a special political machine of coercion, the exploiting State.

The first exploiting State was the slave-owing State. It was succeeded by the feudal State, which in turn was superseded by the capitalist State. In spite of certain differences, all the three had one task in common: to keep the people in check and to crush any attempt of the working people to emancipate themselves from exploitation.

The slave-owning state used armed force to put down-the slaves who rose against their masters. The feudal state forcibly bound the peasants to the landlord’s state and cruelty punished those who refused to toil for the landlord. The numerous peasant uprisings ended in blood baths.

The capitalist State like the Philippines, although it likes to parade in democratic garb, is also a machine for the subjection of the working people. Its real purpose is to protect private capitalist property, maintain wage-slavery and crush the revolutionary movement of the proletariat. The State (superstructure) is brought into being by the basis and is inseparably bound up with it. The superstructure depends on the basis. Let us take, for example, the basis of primitive society. The absence of private property and classes and consequently of class contradiction, was the reason why the superstructure of primitive society had neither state, political and legal ideas, nor the corresponding institutions. The birth of private property, and classes, i.e., the appearance of the basis of slave-owning society, brought into being a superstructure of a different kind. Ideas were conceived which justified the rule of the slave-owner over the slave and also institution (the state and others) protecting this rule.

The basis of an antagonistic class society has its contradictions. By expressing the different relationships of people to the means of production, it reflects the anti-thesis of class interests, the antagonism between the oppressed and the oppressors. The economic basis of modern capitalism, for example, is marked above all by antagonism between the bourgeois society must not be confined only to the relationship between these two main antagonistic classes. In addition to the bourgeoisie and the proletariat capitalist society has other classes and social groups-the working peasants, artisans and the petty bourgeoisie in both town and country, whose interests class with those of the monopoly bourgeoisie.

Since it is a reflection of the contradictions in the basis, the superstructure of an antagonistic class society also contains contradictions. It includes thee ideas and institutions of different classes and social groups, but the ideas and instruments of the class that dominates economically prevail. The class, which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. Under capitalism the bourgeoisie dominates economically go that bourgeois ideas and instruments prevail and are used by the bourgeoisie to fight the working class and the performance its own rule.

In capitalist society, the bourgeoisie, however, is opposed by the working class which forms its own ideas and sets up its own institutions. Gradually the proletarians begin to understand the essence of capitalism and become aware of the need to abolish it.  They set up their own organizations to fight the bourgeoisie –a political party, trade unions, co-operatives, and so on. In the course of the revolutionary struggle the working class masters’ Marxist theory creates its own political, legal and aesthetic views. The determinative role of the basis in relation to the superstructure is manifested not only in the basis giving rise to the superstructure, but also in that the essential changes in the economic system necessarily lead to changes in the superstructure. The changes in the superstructure are especially deep when one economic basis supersedes another as a result of social revolution. In the course of revolution the political rule of the old class is replace by the rule of the new class. New state machinery is created in place of the old one. Social consciousness: the old ideology is ousted by the new corresponding to the new basis. “The old superstructure falls apart”, Lenin wrote…a new one created by the independent action of the most diverse social forces.”

The Class Character of the Peace Process of the Government

As we have already discussed how social classes affect socio-political institutions of the society, the peace process of every bourgeois government reflects this class character in favor of the ruling class and the Philippine government is no exception.

The framework of the bourgeoisie government vis-à-vis the implementation of Peace Process is to transform revolutionary-affected barangays into “peace and development” areas. The bourgeois idea of peace means “stability and security” of the existing ruling class. It is the preservation of class antagonism and class exploitation. In particular, the State shall uproot the political-military structure of revolutionary groups in the conflict-affected barangays and to deceive the masses of their piece-meal development projects. The reactionary government is only after of uprooting/dismantling the political-military structures of the revolutionary groups in the ground through a combination of psychological, political, and military tactics. This so-called “Peace Process” under a class society like ours is always motivated and designed under the ambit of counter-insurgency framework such as encouraging the revolutionary armed groups to transform into an open political parties, to demobilize, disarmed and reintegrate (DDR), to deceive the masses of the phrase “peace and development”. This peace processes undertaken by bourgeois states are funded by international capitalists through World Bank, UNDP, etc. and the over-all overseer of this peace processes is no other than the government controlled agencies. These government agencies are conscious of their mission and will do all their best to uproot and dismantle the politico-military structure of the armed revolutionary armed groups thru Left hand (ceasefire, piece-meal development projects, bribery, etc) and Right hand (intelligence gathering, civilian-military operations, combat operations, etc) approaches (http://www.pia.gov.ph/?m=12&sec=reader&rp=1&fi=p031124.htm&no=6&date=11/24/2003)

With all good promises stipulated in the peace agreements, ultimately, the reactionary government will never implement the confidence-building aspects of what has been agreed upon and thiso-called “peace and development” remains to be a mere propaganda. The immediate aim of the reactionary government is ceasefire (cessation of hostilities while doing their secret operations in the communities) and their ultimate direction is to dismantle the politico-military structures of any armed groups.

Let us be reminded and be conscious of what Lenin said about peace program:

(1) It must in the first place unmask the hypocrisy of the bourgeois phrases about peace. The duty of a Socialist is not to make peace with hypocritical democracy, but to unmask it. This is the first and fundamental thing according to Lenin. Unless we do that, we shall be willingly or unwillingly helping to deceive the masses;

(2) It must explain that the imperialist powers and the local bourgeoisie cannot and will not grant a “democratic peace”. Genuine and lasting “peace” must be sought and fought for, not in the past, not in a reactionary utopia of a non-imperialist capitalism, nor in a league of equal nations under capitalism, but in the future, in the socialist revolution of the proletariat.

(3) It must explain that not a single fundamental democratic demand can be achieved to any considerable   extent, or any degree of permanency, in the advanced imperialist states, except by revolutionary battles under the banner of socialism. Whoever promises the nations a “democratic” peace without at the same time preaching the socialist revolution, or while repudiating the struggle for it—the struggle which must be carried on now…is deceiving the proletariat.

(4) The program of a democratic (bourgeois) peace had an objective historical basis. Now there is no such basis, and all phrases about a democratic peace is a bourgeois lie, the objective purpose of which is to divert the workers from the revolutionary struggle for socialism! Then the Socialists, by their program of a democratic peace, supported a deep-going bourgeois-democratic movement of the masses. Now, with the reactionary program of a democratic peace on the basis of bourgeois relations, the Socialists are helping the deception of the people by the bourgeoisie, whose aim is to divert the proletariat from the socialist revolution.

Any move to engage in peace process must be short-term. It is designed to gain respite, consolidation of forces and expansion to prepare for socialist revolution against the bourgeois state. The longer the engagement on peace process, the disastrous it will become to the revolutionary armed groups and in the long run, the reactionary government will be able to unearth all data information (areas, movements, tactics, structures, memberships & leadership, etc). Under the climate of long ceasefire, the revolutionary armed groups will have tendencies to be liberal in their security and troop movements and passive towards confronting reactionary troops and if not rectified, the revolutionary armed groups will die on its natural death.

The following is the blue-print of Government Framework in Peace Process Under KALAHI Para sa Kalayaan Program

Background and Rationale

The KALAHI PARA SA KALAYAAN PROGRAM emanates from the following mandates:

  • Executive Order No. 3, which calls for a comprehensive and community-based peace process
  • Agenda No. 9, i.e. a just end to the peace process by 2010
  • National Peace Plan to achieve Agenda No. 9, as incorporated in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan, which calls for, among others, the rehabilitation and development of conflict-affected areas
  • Presidential directive to identify showcase barangays for peace and development

GRP Guiding Principles and Policies:

  1. Human security
  2. Consistency of the peace agenda with core national interests, namely national harmony, sovereignty and territorial integrity, economic well-being, welfare of the Filipinos, and preservation of national values
  3. Primacy of the peace process
  4. Respect of and compliance with the international humanitarian law

GRP Objective:

Ø  To transform communist insurgency-affected barangays into peace and development areas.

In particular:

  1. To uproot the political-military structure of rebel groups in the conflict-affected barangays
  2. To empower these barangays, as showcase areas, in building and sustaining peace and development

TARGET

  • RPM-P/RPA-ABB areas for development
  • RPMM areas
  • CPLA areas
  • CPP-NPA areas

GRP CRITERIA/CONSIDERATIONS IN SELECTION OF BARANAGAY

  • Accessibility
  • Clustering of barangays
  • Doability of a project in the cluster
  • Socio-political environment conducive for development

GRP Basic Implementing Strategy

GRP Convergence and human security-based approach to be adopted as follows:

I- Role of the AFP (Right hand Approach):

  1. Clear the target barangays of the armed elements of the rebel groups during the conflict management phase
  2. Hold and support consolidation of the area
  3. Support development, with the Engineering Brigade undertaking the construction of all basic infrastructures in the target barangays, particularly:
  • access road
  • school building
  • water supply system
  • electricity
  1. Peacekeeping operations, as deemed necessary

II-Role of the Civilian Agencies (Left-hand approach):

GRP Original direction: Provision of livelihood and other social development services in the context of:

  • Conflict prevention and management, including peace constituency building and confidence building
  • Peacekeeping, through peace dialogues and for a, with the local peace partners as facilitators
  • Peace-building

Target Barangays:

  1. SOTized and to be SOTized barangays
  2. Covered by Peace Agreements (for the 150 brgys.)

Implementing Mechanism

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) shall serve as the overall oversight agency, in close coordination with DND-AFP and the National Security Council (NSC) Adviser, working in convergence with the National Security and Anti-Poverty Cabinet clusters.

At the regional and local levels, the Program shall be managed and implemented through the Regional KALAHI Convergence Groups in close coordination with the local government unit.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS GOVERNMENT APPROACH IN RESOLVING THE ROOT CAUSES OF ARMED CONFLICT?

The terms like CLEAR, HOLD, SUPPORT and CONSOLIDATE (Gradual Constriction Strategy) strategy originated from former US Pres. Ronald Reagan’s doctrine on Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) which was applied in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Chile, Africa, Angola, South Africa, Western Europe, Northern Ireland, Southeast Asia and Philippines in the US war to promote capitalism as against communism. This strategy was formally adopted in the Philippines by former Pres. Marcos and later evolved into a Total War policy of the Cory administration.  Subsequent administrations also continue to implement such strategy despite its human rights violation history. Why Philippine government adopted the US Low Intensity Conflict doctrine? The use of Philippine Armed Forces as US surrogate forces was confirmed as early as April 1987, when the late Congressman Carmelo Barbero, then chairman of the Committee on National Defense in our House of Representatives said: “In the final analysis, JUSMAG (Joint United States Military Advisory Group) controls our armed forces. If the organization of our Armed Forces is determined by foreigners the political decisions based on our military capabilities are, in effect, determined by foreigners. It’s the Americans who control our Armed Forces and their JUSMAG may be expected to predict decisions on what is best for their country {William Pomeroy, The Philippines: A Case History of neocolonialism in Remaking Asia, p.165}. The JUSMAG formulated the charge of rebellion complexed with arson, robbery and kidnapping which previously did not exist in Philippine laws or statutes.

The military’s counter-insurgency program in 1986 and 1987 was called Oplan Mamamayan, which superceded Oplan Katatagan of the Marcos martial law era. It is interesting to note, however, that Oplan Mamamayan was drafted during the last days of martial law, but its implementation was suspended in favor of the February 1986 snap presidential elections. No essential difference lies between Oplan Katatagan and Oplan Mamamayan. Oplan Mamamayan has three phases. In the CLEARING operations phase, the military would try to clear all revolutionary forces from targettted areas- which could mean a total war against the revolutionary groups on the ground. The second phase would consist of HOLD operations, whose aim would be to reassert government authority in the area and establish a firm security framework through the organization of CAFGU, religious fanatics [i.e., Pulahan], vigilante groups, ALSA MASA and CVOs. The third stage would be CONSOLIDATION through the agencies of the government. The final phase involved the RESETTLEMENT OF PEOPLE who left the combat areas. This final phase is done through hamletting and force evacuation of civilian populace. This strategy is being implemented by the Special Operation Teams (SOT) {The Politics of Counter-insurgency in the Philippines: Military and political Options, Gareth Porter, 1987, p.86}.

The SOT is light, mobile, composite team composed of elements drawn from the army, Air Force, Navy, Constabulary, and local police. Each SOT is broken down into three teams: the psychological Operations Team, the stay-Behind Team, and security Team.

SOT operations can be classified into four phases: The first phase focuses on immersion and intelligence gathering. The second phase deals with massive psychological operations including anti-communist lectures, distribution of anti-communist pamphlets, comics, and other materials in the vernacular and even film showing. The third phase is called neutralization. The SOTs most of the time disguises themselves as rebels to sow terror to civilian populace in order to malign the revolutionary groups. Development projects are implemented in a piece meal basis. It was not for the purpose of improving people’s life but as a tactic to pacify and neutralize people’s cry for change {Total War, Ma. Socorro Diokno}.

Claiming this government right hand approach to be an act of self-defense against a particular segment of society, the military and government nevertheless continue to besiege the civilian population it is supposed to defend. To implement this government right hand approach, the military establishment utilizes such offensive military measures as zoning, saturation drives, hamletting, food blockades, strafing, bombings and massacres against civilian non-combatants. These extensive military operations against civilian population have resulted in mass evacuations of refugees fleeing their militarized zones into towns and cities, especially in far-flung barangays.

This subtle approach to discredit all such organization and render them ineffective would include black propaganda, media manipulation, communist-labeling, harassment, and threats, psychological warfare operations, the creation of counter-cause-oriented organizations, the infiltration of activities, especially mass mobilizations, of cause-oriented organizations and fielding of agents provocateurs to disrupt all peaceful activities, the manipulation of religious beliefs and political biases, the manipulation of church leaders, government officials, and even leaders of existing cause oriented organizations. The end result would be the polarization of Filipino society.

History continue to prove that using this government right hand approach to uproot the political-military structures of the revolutionary movement will only cause massive human rights violations among civilian populace and will further intensify armed conflict rather than bridging peace and national reconciliation. In short, this government counter-insurgency strategy is a failure in itself.

Why it is a failure?

Based on a series of public consultations conducted in 71 out of the 76 provinces in the Philippines by the National Unification Commission (NUC), now named as Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), five major causes identified by the people why there are armed conflicts:

  1. Massive Poverty and Economic Inequality
  2. Injustice and Abuse of Power
  3. Poor Governance
  4. Control by a Few of Political Power
  5. Exploitation of Cultural Communities and Lack of recognition of their Ancestral Domain

Insurgency problem is the disease caused by government’s failure to address the five root causes of armed conflict.

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