Misunderestimating the Philippine Left

The analysis of the Left about the character of the Philippine political party system has not changed. The Left continues to assert that politics in the country is dominated by the traditional elite. Villar and Noynoy are both members of the ruling class. If the Left will endorse one of them, it should be based on the willingness of the candidate to promote a reform agenda. It was Villar who took the time to draft a document in response to the challenge of leftist groups to advance a people’s agenda in 2010. It was Villar who invited Ocampo and Maza to join his senatorial lineup as adopted candidates. Noynoy was never interested in seeking the support of the left. Maybe he wanted the Left to endorse him quietly, a la Salonga in 1992. Noynoy and the mafia in the Liberal Party do not recognize and respect the political strength of the Left.


Ambitious apostates (John Pilger’s term for ex-activists) are protesting the decision of Ocampo and Maza to endorse the Villar-Legarda tandem. They criticized this act as a betrayal of revolutionary principles. They did not notice the irony in their remarks. The people who turned their backs on the movement and those who had tirelessly attacked the Left are now concerned about the revolution.

Let us assume they are sincere in upholding the purity of the leftist movement. What revolutionary principles were violated by Ocampo and Maza? What revolutionary goal was abandoned?

The anti-Left gang is mad not because the Left endorsed a presidential candidate. They are mad because the Left has refused to endorse Noynoy Aquino.


The Left is ridiculed for behaving like a religious cult. It’s not a new accusation. It’s often raised by writers and academics every time they want to attack the politics of the Left. The intention is to mock the “fanatical attitude” of leftists. But this reasoning has lost the power to insult. Here is a relevant quote from Slavoj Zizek: “Instead of adopting such a defensive stance, allowing the enemy to define the terrain of the struggle, what one should do is to reverse the strategy by fully endorsing what one is accused of: yes, there is a direct lineage from Christianity to Marxism; yes, Christianity and Marxism should fight on the same side of the barricade against the onslaught of new spritualisms – the authentic Christian legacy is much too precious to be left to the fundamentalist freaks.”


According to French philosopher Alain Badiou, many liberal thinkers have this attitude toward the Left: “As a public spectacle the Revolution is admirable, while its militants are contemptible.” There are many writers and intellectuals in the Philippines who are sympathetic to leftist causes but unkind and unfair to leftist militants. There are academics who are masters of subtlety and sarcasm when attacking trapos but blunt, brutal and rude to leftist leaders. To borrow some words from the great economist Joseph Schumpeter, these anti-leftists “lack any organ for the perception of absurdity.” (Bulatlat.com)

This article was first posted in the author’s blog. Used with permission.

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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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