Monday, October 22, 2012

Akbayan and its place in the political spectrum: If they are not "reds", then what is Akbayan?

Still hot was the heated fight between Akbayan and Anakbayan, two groups pushing for change in the country. Seriously, these two groups have been at it for years, yet, the "heckling" incident during the Akbayan presscon was just a sample of how these groups treat each other--one accusing the other of betraying the "cause". 

It could have been a "usual, ordinary" thing if Akbayan representative Walden Bello did not lose his cool and had stopped himself from calling Anakbayan "reds". Red-baiting is a tactic by a military mind and surely, the 70 year old Bello is an activist-intellectual. And I'm sure, Walden also suffered being tagged himself as a "red" before he became an Amerikana-wearing legislator.

Surprising though why Bello called his former colleagues, "reds". What is so bad with being "red"? 

Bello's remarks clearly show that his group, Akbayan, has definitely morphed into something "not red", since he considers being "red", a bad thing.

So, what do you then call members of Akbayan? 

A colleague described Akbayan as "queso de bola"---red in the exterior, yellow inside.

Seriously, what is the place of Akbayan in the political scheme of things? If we are to situate Akbayan in the political spectrum, where are they?

Politically speaking, they are now part of government, with their key senior leaders serving under the behest of a President running a bourgeois capitalist state. They are part of the Right in the political spectrum, although claiming to be "towards change".

So then, can we say that Akbayan is right now, the left of the Right? In terms of the spectrum, they are now "yellow, with a tinge of red" or "orange"? Wow.  

One of my friends described Akbayan as "social democrats"--a strand of the Left that considers parliamentary struggle as a necessary strategy towards change. Is Akbayan really, social democrats?

Several analysts describe social democracy as a political ideology which espouses for a parliamentary solution to the ills of society. Bernard of Columbia University distinguishes social democracy as a cross breed between Marxism and Liberalism. Meaning, social democracy is an attempt to be a Marxist while believing the fine tenets of liberalism. 

Lenin in his critique of social democracy by Bernstein, says that social democrats tried to sully Socialism with that of "bourgeois Liberalism". True Socialists, Lenin says, has a clear understanding of the anti-thesis of bourgeois liberalism with Socialism (from "What is to be done?").

Meaning, social democracy is a lukewarm acceptance of both Socialism and Liberalism and tries to create a "compromise"---which compromise, I should say, negates both Socialism and bourgeois liberalism.

As a Marxist and Socialism, you can be one and never the other. You cannot espouse structural change while recognizing the importance of changing society "from the center". 

A true Marxist recognizes the inevitability of structural change as a necessary answer and solution to the ills of capitalist society. There is no way a capitalist state can change into a "socialist" one without armed struggle. Those who tried the parliamentary road failed because there is simply no other way but the revolutionary path.  

That explains why Bello accused his fellow activists in the other side as "reds", simply because Akbayan considers itself not socialists, but "social democrats".

As Social democrats, Akbayan already abandoned the Marxist prescription of change which is structural change. Akbayan believes in change within the superstructure, a bourgeois liberal socialist concept.