Category: Columns

Why do you insist that the Left and only the Left should rethink its politics

It is common to hear some scholars complain about the Left’s lack of vigor and creativity. They follow this up with an unsolicited advice urging the Left to change its paradigms, replace its language, and overhaul its methods. These condescending but hopefully well-meaning suggestions have become formulaic and are often repeated by mainstream analysts and…

An Unofficial Guide to Understanding the Socio-Economic Proposals of Filipino Communists

The most important peace document submitted by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines contains seven parts and is 82 pages long. Here’s a summary of the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms or CASER: The preamble links the country’s economic backwardness to its colonial history. But it also highlights the potential to…

Back-to-basics grassroots organizing in the time of Duterte

*Summary of my contributed essay to the worskhop organized by the Third World Studies Center of the University of the Philippines-Diliman and the Conflict Research Group of the Ghent University. The workshop’s theme is “Politics and Power in the Philippines: Towards a Contemporary Research Agenda” Political forces vie for national dominance but it is in…

Fixation on ceasefire trumps peace talks gains

President Duterte’s four-day blustering last week – withdrawing the government’s unilateral ceasefire, “cancelling” the GRP-NDFP peace talks, ordering the re-arrest of 17 NDFP consultants released in August to join the peace negotiations, and tagging as “terrorists” the CPP-NPA and NDFP – has upended his previous stance (in the first six months of his term) of…

The problem is not excess but lack of activism

A week before the global celebration of Human Rights Day in 2016, various people’s organizations in the Philippines conducted a solidarity fasting campaign to press for the release of 400 political prisoners. In response, a government peace negotiator described the action as counterproductive and that it is putting undue pressure to President Rodrigo Duterte. Never…

2017: Overcoming challenges towards forging genuine national development

When Rodrigo Duterte became president in mid-2016, many were confident that he would bring about genuine change in the country. Included in these hopefuls are the science and technology community, positive that his administration would cease the passive path on tackling scientific development treaded on by previous presidents, and instead undergo a track that will…