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Pure Maoism Doesn’t Exist in the Philippines * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

Pure Maoism Doesn’t Exist in the Philippines

QUESTION EVERYTHING By Mong Palatino Like the sun that sustains life on this planet, it is Maoism that inspired the rise and spread of the National Democratic movement in the Philippines. That political slogans such as ‘Serve the People’ and ‘Learn from the Masses’ are still openly advocated by Filipino progressives today reflect the enduring legacy of Maoist teachings in the country. When anti-Left groups disparage the Natdem for being pro-China, they are perhaps alluding to the continuing fidelity of activists to Maoist doctrines. But China’s ruling party is no…

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10 things to know about the peace talks between the communists and the government of the Philippines * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

10 things to know about the peace talks between the communists and the government of the Philippines

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com 1. A civil war has been raging in the countryside since 1969. Landlessness, feudal exploitation, state brutality against the poor and marginalized – these are some of the issues that led to the formation of the New People’s Army. An armed force of the poor, by the poor, and for the poor which succeeded in establishing nationwide presence during the anti-dictatorship struggle. Today, the government makes contradictory claims about the NPA being a spent force already while continuing to be the country’s top security threat….

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There’s more to life than single issue activism * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

There’s more to life than single issue activism

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com In the hierarchy of political evils, single issue activism does not figure, and rightfully so. There’s less barbarism in the world because of the heroic work of individuals who never gave up fighting for their chosen advocacy in life. But we cannot deny the rise of a particular brand of activism that reduces politics into a struggle for a single issue. Some people equate political work with lobbying for a micro reform in the bureaucracy. This is supposed to be the inclusive, democratic, and practical…

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How radicalism can change you or why activism is the ultimate life hack * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

How radicalism can change you or why activism is the ultimate life hack

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com Excuse the dramatic appeal of the headline but I feel it’s necessary to emphasize the life-changing impact of the decision to become an activist. It’s also to quickly refute what activism is not: a deviant behavior that requires a corrective action, a dangerous addiction, a temporary lapse in judgment, a rebellious tendency among the young, and a political racketeering scheme. One doesn’t become an activist by joining rallies in the same way a Catholic cannot demand deliverance by going to mass every Sunday. If activism…

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Here’s how to tell if your friend is misinformed about activism * Latest Posts Commentary Question Everything 

Here’s how to tell if your friend is misinformed about activism

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com Respect for diverse beliefs is one of the prescriptions of political correctness so therefore your decision to become an activist should no longer provoke scandalous reactions. But the menacing tentacles of Red Scare and Philippine-style McCarthyism continue to wield considerable influence in our social institutions. The result is that your activism is publicly tolerated and despised at the same time. You have the right to dissent but your dissenting is deemed pathetic. Sometimes this is reflected in the social ties you cultivate. You have dear…

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Want to travel but got no cash? Keep calm and think about Kant * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

Want to travel but got no cash? Keep calm and think about Kant

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com Philosopher Immanuel Kant, one of the greatest minds in history, taught geography yet his knowledge of the physical world was probably based only on intuition and printed materials since he didn’t travel outside his hometown. This piece of information may be trivial but useful for those who want to debunk the corporate-sponsored reminder that travel is a requisite to broaden the perspective of an individual. We can assert, via the story of Kant, that acquiring truth and knowledge is still possible even if we remain…

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How to deal with a millennial moderate Leftist * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

How to deal with a millennial moderate Leftist

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com There is a regular gathering of anti-Marcos activists which briefly unites various shades of the Left. This was impossible to organize in the mid-1990s during the ‘great split’ within the Philippine Left, but today it happens several times a year. Perhaps the passing of time inspired these fierce ideological rivals to set aside their political differences so that they can meet their former friends and comrades in the struggle against the dictatorship. That they can socialize and reminisce together is a reminder that they once…

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The old and the young in the Philippine revolution * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

The old and the young in the Philippine revolution

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com News about the 47th anniversary of the Communist Party highlighted the group’s statement about the growing strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mindanao on one hand and Malacanang’s dismissal of the claim on the other. This is newsworthy but not really new. Supporters and critics of the armed Left can take their time debating the real numbers of the NPA. What is more interesting in the CPP statement is the discussion of age dynamics in the revolutionary movement. It is public knowledge but…

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The books I read in 2015 * Latest Posts Columns Question Everything 

The books I read in 2015

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino Bulatlat.com 1. In Defence of Politics, Bernard Crick. I disagree with the author’s conservative views and his rejection of communist societies as totalitarian regimes but his treatise on politics, elections, and behavior of political actors allowed me to better understand the worldview of mainstream politicians. 2. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold. A sad novel about a murdered teen and how her family and friends coped with the tragedy. I have no plan of seeing the film version of the book because I want to retain my…

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Politics and internet in the age of self-representation * Latest Posts Columns Commentary Question Everything 

Politics and internet in the age of self-representation

QUESTION EVERYTHING Mong Palatino The selfie is both derided and hailed as a popular form of self-expression; but politically-speaking, what does it really signify? The ‘butterfly effect’ reminds us that a flap of a butterfly’s wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world. Applied to the taking of selfies, perhaps it is like the flutter of a butterfly’s wings: every selfie generates a disturbance somewhere else. The selfie effect is political which can be deadlier than a hurricane or tornado. Each selfie reflects and reinforces the…

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