Misunderestimating the Philippine Left

Kabataan Partylist

MANILA — There are “good” and “bad” leftists. “Good” leftists must belong to a partylist group. They demand the inclusion of civil society groups in government transactions. They participate in tripartite meetings, they attend UN conferences, they hate Joma Sison, and they endorse the candidacies of Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas.

The “bad Left” is always wrong. It is dogmatic if it refuses to participate in the elections but it is opportunistic if it joins the elections. It is arrogant if it shuns coalition politics but it betrays the revolution if it builds an alliance with mainstream parties. The Left is ridiculed if it fails to gather a big crowd during rallies; but it is also criticized (by armchair activists) if it succeeds in mobilizing its members and supporters in the streets.

A “bad leftist” is a dead leftist. Bad leftists are harassed, abducted, tortured and killed in this part of the world. They are demonized as destabilizers and terrorists. They are not recognized as legitimate political players who can use valid political practices in the electoral arena. Hence, they are mocked if they build coalitions or endorse the candidacies of mainstream politicians.

If the Left can do no right and if it cannot be allowed to succeed in parliamentary politics, its only option (and the only correct decision it can accomplish) is to surrender its political goals. Be irrelevant. Disappear. Build an NGO. This is the fantasy not just of the fascist state but also the wet dream of liberal “fundamentalist freaks.”


Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza are often described in the media as leftist politicians. This is not wrong. But the practice of naming people and animals for who or what they really are is not applied to centrists and rightists. May kilala ba kayong pulitikong nagpakilala o ipinakilala bilang maka-kanan? Villar is a businessman-politician. Noynoy is the politician son of Cory and the brother of Kris. Gibo is the politician nephew of Danding who studied in Harvard. It is easy to add the leftist tag to Ocampo and Maza but writers often omit to mention the proper political background of Villar, Noynoy and Gibo. Imagine the impact of this seemingly objective writing on how the public perceives progressive leaders like Ocampo and bourgeois politicians like Noynoy. Ocampo’s politics is immediately placed under debate because he is already identified as a leftist while Noynoy’s political leaning is overlooked because his family ties are given more attention. Ocampo’s motive as a public servant is already suspect because of his ideology while Noynoy is introduced as a sincere (and reluctant) politician who is not motivated by any ideology. Rejecting ideology, denying ideology are ideological acts.


Gibo speaks in behalf of Arroyo; Noynoy speaks in behalf of his family; Villar speaks in behalf of his party. We do not see each one of them as representing the whole political right and center. Meanwhile, the Left is treated as a monolithic political bloc. The actions of one section of the Left are attributed to all leftists in the country. Ocampo and Maza are leaders of popular partylist groups Bayan Muna and Gabriela. But academics and commentators want Ocampo and Maza to speak in behalf of ALL leftists — whether they are striking workers, arrested rallyists, student protesters, evicted farmers, exiled communists, and armed rebels.

A leftist is guilty of being a leftist. A leftist is held responsible for the sins committed by dead and living leftists. The weakness of one leftist is blamed on all leftists.

Meanwhile, we do not hear mainstream commentators and academics asking mainstream politicians to pay for the sins of the ruling class. There are no class dictatorships; only evil dictators, selfish leaders, and warlord dynasties. The sins of Quezon are blamed on Quezon alone. The sins of Marcos are the burden of the Marcoses alone. Arroyo’s transgressions are hers alone. We do not speak of the political center and right when discussing these abominations. The forces of domestic reaction have not yet apologized for plunging the country into darkness in the past century.

The liberal right-wingers are always reminding the public about the alleged excesses and blunders of the Left. They are obviously suffering from pathological narcissism. They refuse to remember and recognize the bloody record of their reactionary ancestors and conservative gurus.

FYI: Yes, the extreme Left has already apologized for its past mistakes.


Many writers have commented about the historic significance of the militant Left’s endorsement for Villar. Let’s view it the other way around. A mainstream politician like Villar is willing to be openly endorsed by the Left. A major candidate is not afraid to be identified with individuals who are accused by the military of supporting the rebel movement. A bourgeois party has two militant and anti-imperialist leftists in its senatorial ticket as adopted candidates.

According to a veteran activist, the Left was ready to endorse Salonga in 1992 but the grand old man of Philippine politics requested the Left not to publicize its endorsement. Was Salonga afraid that an endorsement from the Left would alienate his voters? Maybe he was not impressed with the organized strength of the Left.

Fast forward to 2009. Villar and other presidentiables have many good reasons to seek the support of the Left. The electoral victories of the Left in 2001, 2004 and 2007 signified many things: The Left has a loyal following among the electorate; its progressive agenda is appreciated and supported by a core constituency; the red-baiting tactic of the state has lost its efficacy. An astute politician cannot afford to ignore the solid base of the Left.

Villar’s brave decision to openly embrace a platform-based unity with the Left has smashed the taboo in Philippine politics. From now on, the participation of the Left will be expected in future electoral contests for top political posts.

But why Villar? Why not Noynoy?

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13 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. NAT DEM, SOC DEM & even POP DEM..please be reminded that we are all aiming for SOCIALISM.. it just so happened that we have different views with regards to our SOCIAL SITUATION; thus creating different means of struggle; hardcore radicals prefer not to engaged in elections, other radicals joined the mainstream politicians in the field, moderate lefts are known for parliamentary struggle..
    i dont think there is a point to stir.. we are all in one direction.. IT is so important that we are united as BROAD LEFT while we are in the stage of NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC REV..AFTER NDR..then matira ang tunay at purong tagapagtanggol ng IDEOLOHIYANG KALIWA

  2. i admire your arguments re:MAZA & OCAMPO alliance with MAnny villar;there is nothing bad about such a tactical alliance; BUT,isnt so strange that THE BASIC PRINCIPLE of a leftist is to protect the oppress & we are all out declaring our war against the enemy of the People; LANDGRABBERS, TYRANTS, CORRUPTS & HYPOCRITES RULING ELITES; bu what about VILLAR’s landgrabbing of THE ANCESTRAL lands of the AETAS in bulacan..ALL of these are not allegations..there are ongoing cases against him for that.. the AETAS has all the neccessary documents to get what is due to them.. check it over the REGISTER OF DEEDS if villar papers are legal and binding..

    in anyway my point is the basic thing that a LEFT whether a moderate or radical must know its principles & will never go against it at all cost

  3. Does this mean that the “left” now endorses Villar? What about his alleged scandals? I’d be voting for Legarda, Maza, and Ocampo; meanwhile, I am almost tempted not to vote anyone for president 🙁

  4. Ka Raymund's essay is very precise and correct. Hontiveros "good left"posturing confuses the people of what the left fights for. Ginagamit niya ang pulang bandila, lengguwaheng makakaliwa, maka-masang pagpapakilos pero sa ubod ng kanyang paninindigan ay isa siyang oportunistang burges na naglalaway na sila naman ang umupo sa kapangyarihan.

  5. dapat palaganapin ang artikulong ito.
    ang pag-atake sa “bad left” ay isang pagkampi (hayag o di hayag)sa bulok na sistemang ginigiba ng “bad left.”

  6. maganda at malinaw ang pagkakalatag ng argumento at komento ni mong…

    malaon nang alam na ang bumubuo ng partido Liberal ay mga anti-komunista na walang magawa kundi manira, dagdag pa ang grupo ni Liza Hontiveros na nagpoposturang kaliwa subalit labnaw naman ang paninindigan at pampalito lang ang inilalakong mga programa.

    samantala, sa lahat ng mga kakandidato sa pagka-pangulo ay si villar lang ang nagbigay puwang sa mga binansagang "bad left" at sumasang-ayon sa mga programang bitbit nito…..

  7. agree. proud that im on the side of “bad” philippine left.

  8. maganda ang essay na ito ni mong…

  9. ok si jamby pero hindi tactical…

  10. Why not a Madrigal presidency? She has more programs than that of Villar?

  11. There seems to be no problem with the left in developed countries such as France, Spain or Israel. Those countries shift from one political orientation to another but there is continuity in the basic development such as military, environment protection, economic development and other basic functions. Where did we get this kind of orientation?

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