Dante Pastrana dante_p9 at
Wed Jul 10 10:34:29 MDT 2002

To everyone:

Thanks for the comments, advices and suggestions. I will take them up.

>From Jim:
>You said that you were a candidate member in the C.P. of the Phillipines
>that there was more centralism in their democratic centralism than
>democratic and therefore you left. Well perhaps you were right. Perhaps you
>weren't well grounded in what democratic centralism is really about. I have
>no idea. I have some friends who are long-time veterans of the NPA and some
>got burned out seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, some left for
>ideological reasons and a couple are still at it as far as I know.

>From Dante:
I am glad you know a few NPA members. No one here doubts their courage and
the level of commitment.

I was a member of a leading organ in a territory. A political officer
representing a higher organ would meet us every week. He may lay out the
political situation or the national situation as defined by that higher
organ or its higher organ. He would layout political campaigns, set dates
for mass actions, and set targets for mass participants, recruits, no. of
leaflets distributed, etc. In turn, we would work out how these targets
would be meet, setting schedules for the group discussions, mass meetings
leading to the singular mass action. We would target who to solicit for
financing, who would be task with making of the placards, who would write
the leaflet, who would speak in the rally. After the mass action which
usually culminates the political campaign, we would assess with the
political officer its successes or failures. A week later, the political
officer would return with more plans and campaigns.

This was my experience of democratic centralism. Democratic since the lower
organs implemented the plans and provided assessments from the ground up.
Centralized since the higher organs provided political and theoritical
analysis and coordinate all the campaigns.

There are many explanations for the party's being outmanuevered and
marginalized by the elite during the 1986 snap elections held by the Marcos
dictatorship - lack of depth in our organizing among the urban workers,
overreliance in the peasantry, united front tactics with those same elite,
etc. For myself, one explanation lies in the months preceding the party's
decision to boycott the election. We, the members, were all trained and
highly politicized; we knew all about imperialism, feudalism and bureacratic
capitalism; we were always in the forefront of asserting democratic rights.
Yet when we turned to each other, we did not asked what we thought our
position should be - to participate, to boycott or whatever - instead we
asked "What is the decision of the higher organ?" In the end, we now know
only one man decided for the whole party and that's why we were defeated.

To Louis:
That's my hope - that discussion and debate here will help me too.

To bon moun:
Thanks for the list

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