Communism is not the issue

FROM FAR AND NEAR - Ruben Almendras - The Freeman

Labor Day was not always celebrated on May 1. In 1955 Pope Pius moved it to this date to distinguish it from the date set by the Russian Communist Party which was promoting a class struggle between labor and capitalist, between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The hammer and sickle in the Communist logo projected this ideology. While workers celebrate Labor Day with protests and demands from capitalists/employers, communism and the communist party is now full of capitalists, entrepreneurs, and employers.

In the last 70 years, Russia and China have evolved into a mixed capitalist and communist governments and countries. After the economic disaster of Mao Tse Tung’s “Great Leap Forward”, which led to China’s disastrous economic decline with food shortages, Deng Xiaoping pivoted to a free enterprise economy, with government/politics in the hands of the communist party. This is the strategy that propelled China’s double digit economic growth in the last 30 years. Xi Jin Ping inherited a booming economy which he is using for hegemonic expansion.

Russia, experiencing a stagnating economy that precipitated the fall of the Berlin Wall and broke up the USSR, realized also the need for a free enterprise economy and adopted it accordingly. Their economic shift was slower than China, so their oligarchs were able to corner and control large portions of the economy limiting economic growth. If not for the oil production and exports, Russia would be in a recession with the ongoing Ukraine war. Western alliance companies like the car manufacturers, Starbucks, MacDonalds, and luxury goods retailers have left Russia since the invasion. Russia is now importing war materials and equipment from Iran, North Korea, and China.

The Russia and China experiences in the last 70 years have limited and redefined the communist ideology to make it respond to economic and technological advances and realities. Entrepreneurship and scientific advances/discoveries prosper only on free/libertarian atmosphere. Autocracy stifles creativity and imagination which are vital ingredients to grow the economy. The new communist party mantra is: Leave the government and politics to the party and we will allow economic freedom. This, however, is a difficult balancing act, as the party apparatchiks are always tempted to better controls and/or bigger shares. This is the reason government graft and corruption is rampant in Russia, China, and Vietnam, as is also in some democratic countries.

The rivalry/conflict and maybe war in this 21st century is not between Communism and Democracy, it is between Autocracy and Democracy. Governments and politicians are aware of this development so even in countries with autocratic governments, there are always semblances of elections. The more autocratic the government, the more they will manipulate the elections to stay in power. Good and continuing economic growth and better income distribution will prolong autocratic regimes, but a stifled and informed middle class will eventually push for change peacefully or radically.

The current geo-political alignment shows this reality. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Hungary, Afghanistan, and other autocratic governments are on one side. The democratic countries, the US, Great Britain, France, Japan, Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, and some Eastern European countries are on the other side. Then, there are some 50 other countries which are partly democratic but will not take sides for trade and economic reasons.

This blurring of the communist ideology is the new political reality. The workers/activists protesting are no longer communists, so no need to red tag them as communist by the NTF-ELCAC. China or the Chinese Communist Party is not bullying the Philippines for communism, but for the minerals and other resources in the West Philippine Sea.

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