Ed’s note: Mauro Gia Samonte was in his late-twenties when he enlisted into the national democratic movement began by Jose Maria Sison, eventually becoming full-fledged card-bearing member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The sudden declaration of martial law on September 22, 1972 sowed chaos with the CPP causing him to be separated from his party unit. He continued on as a self-styled labor organizer but at some point, ending in violent disagreement with Sison’s strategy of protracted peoples war.
Forced to surface from the underground, he turned to screenwriting, winning the 1977 best screenplay award in the Metro Manila Film Festival, and eventually becoming a movie director himself.
Edsa One ended his revolutionary involvement. Ironically, it created a doldrum in his writing career. This is why he did not hesitate to accept an offer by Manila Times to write a regular column, a few years back.
Today he still advocates for a revolution, this time with an ideology relevant to our history as a nation, one he describes as “a non-war, immediately practicable, self-help methods productive of envisioned people’s well-being.”
5.0 Komun: The Practice
5.1 Komun as the Basic Unit
(Last of a Series of Four)
The family is the basic unit of organization of the KOMUN.
For facility of administration and of delivery of services, cells composed of 100 families each are organized according to their contagiousness to one another. With this criterion, it becomes necessary that KOMUN cells are organized among neighbors. And since the KOMUN has been conceived to address mainly the daily living needs of marginalized families, KOMUN cells will necessarily be initially established in two main categories of neighborhood.
In the urban areas, among the informal settlers or what is popularly known as squatters; in the rural areas, the communities of poor farming families and those in the hinterlands. Only after these two main categories have sufficiently been attended to will KOMUN shift focus to the less impoverished sectors of society. At any rate, since these latter sectors normally are not wanting in their daily subsistence, the idea of KOMUN will not appeal to them in the initial phase of the KOMUN formation.
Only when they feel the pinch of the difficulties that arise in their economy as a consequence of the progress of the KOMUN will they, on their own, endeavor to seek membership in the KOMUN.
5.2 Organizing Komun
Initially, the concept of KOMUN was programmed to be implemented in select pilot areas mainly for the purpose of showcasing its practicability and effectiveness in ameliorating the lives of the poor. As to its growth, it had been expected to evolve in a course all its own.
However, due to the urgency of the solution needed to address the South China Sea crisis, on the one hand, and of the obtaining insurgencies in the country, mainly that of the CPP/NPA/NDF triad, on the other hand, a massive intervention becomes necessary to get the KOMUN idea working immediately and on a nationwide scale.
This kind of intervention can be made by three main sectors, namely:
1) Philippine socialist groups composed of scholars, intellectuals, businessmen, technocrats, and mass leaders for lending assistance in logistics, propaganda and manpower needs;
2) International aid grantors sympathetic to the socialist cause; and 3) the Armed Forces of the Philippines which alone has the men and machinery required to get the KOMUN ball rolling immediately all over the country.
5.3 Grand Rationale for Komun
Once the KOMUN is in place the country over, no amount of deceit, machination and brute pressure by the United States can succeed in goading the Philippine government to push the country warring against China.
For given the worst-case scenario that the Philippine government, by virtue of the continuing military agreements it has with the United States (EDCA, VFA, MDT), succumbs to the US pressure, who will implement government decision to this effect?
The KOMUN shall have become a baby to the Philippine military by then. No parent sacrifices a child on the altar of war.
At the same time, since the Sisonite insurgency has been thriving among the most marginalized sectors of Philippine society, whether in the cities or in the countryside, once the KOMUN begins addressing the daily subsistence of the masses, that’s when, after half a century of a stupid protracted people’s war, Sison had better taken his final rest.
5.4 The Komun Store
The KOMUN Store is not a store in the capitalistic sense of the word. Rather it is the storage house of the basic necessities of living which KOMUN members are programmed to have day after day.
Commodities in the KOMUN Store are not bought. They are appropriated to the members without the members having to buy them. Early on in the morning, these provisions are ready in packs, merely to be picked up by the members, completely at their disposal. No buying is needed but a system of accounting whereby obligations are scheduled for settlement at fixed dates.
So there is buying after all, except that payment is delayed?
Yes, as far as paying for what you get is concerned. But no, when you reckon that what you get, you get at zero profit – which is not buying in the capitalistic sense of the word.
For instance, a kilo of rice at the capitalistic store costs you anywhere between 50 to 55 pesos. At the KOMUN store, you get it for 35 pesos or less, depending on the obtaining wholesale price in the market. For a family that cooks 1 kilo of rice per meal, that’s a daily saving of at least 45 pesos. And that’s on rice alone. What about on other necessities such as fish, vegetable, meat, etc.?
Within considerations under the obtaining economy, the KOMUN method actually dispenses with the middleman, which a standard sari-sari store is. That’s how you get, for instance, rice at no profit at all.
But the KOMUN principle does not work within the structures of that obtaining economy which is capitalistic. KOMUN, in the long-range perspective, does away with profit through sheer self-help mechanism that enables it to produce what it needs.
That way it does away with the middleman through whom commodities are distributed from the producer to the consumer. It is this middleman principle inherent in capitalism that is the breeding ground for profit the burden of which is heaped entirely upon the shoulders of consumers. The richest man in the Philippines is not a producer but a middleman.
On the matter of rice, again for instance, initial moves for implementing KOMUN have already been undertaken by which the produce of rice farmers are shared with growers of soy beans, mongo and cassava, thereby already effecting a system of people producing what they need, not buying them. Already in the making is a similar arrangement by those rice farmers with fishermen in Zambales. This system of sharing by members of KOMUN of one another’s produce even now augurs success of the grand endeavor.
Certainly, that self-sustaining economy by the people remains long in the coming. But already KOMUN approximates that ideal by making sure that no member gets hungry today all for not having earned income the day before.
“Each according to his needs, each according to his capacity.”
It simply means every man is entitled to have food to eat. Having money to buy food is a capacity separate and independent of the need to eat.
5.5 Komun: The Future of the Philippines.
Mark that. KOMUN is the implementation today already of what is inevitable to come about. The trade war on which Trump embarked against China would appear as signaling the decline of capitalism right at its seeming heart which is America.
But China’s socialism as perceived by learned analysts is not exactly the way socialism is conceived in the Communist Manifesto. They say it is a calibrated kind of capitalism, but at any rate, for all the calibration, it still is capitalism, anathema to the self-help concept of KOMUN.
In this respect, it becomes an imperative to stress that though KOMUN is conceivably colored with an anti-American hue, it is for no other reason than that at the moment the United States is the perceived hub of world capitalism.
If in the heightening conflict between the United States and China, both over control of the South China Sea and dominance in world trade, there occurs between the two hegemons a change in the dominant position, the Filipinos must learn to adhere to the principle of being “Neither pro-US nor pro-China but pro Filipino.” Upholding this principle, KOMUN can lead the Filipino nation in disengaging from a war that is not their own.
6.0 The People’s Democratic Revolutionary Government
Recognizing the anti-people nature of bourgeois rule which the Philippine government is, KOMUN initiators have prepared themselves for the long, arduous evolutionary course people’s political power must take in seeking form and content through KOMUN’S built-in mechanisms.
Such course consists of a period of accumulating quantitative changes in the Philippine bourgeois set-up – like changes in its electoral demography, revenue collection, content of education, culture development and dissemination, domestic security, international relations, and the conduct of trade, among other social concerns. After that period, those quantitative changes abruptly take a qualitative leap such that the economic empowerment gained by the people in their great masses suddenly transforms into a political power genuinely their own.
The KOMUN strategy, however, has one pitfall. Its main imperative is the prevalence of peace and order in society. The more peaceful and orderly society is, the easier it is for KOMUN to achieve its strategic objective. Conversely, the more chaotic and disorderly society is, the less prospect for the KOMUN strategy to prosper.
It is to the best interest of KOMUN that all troubles affecting the Philippines’ internal security and stability are dealt with effectively and for good. It is clear, therefore, that the vision of KOMUN and the need of the Duterte government to prevail over the intensifying move of its enemies to oust him from office strike a symbiotic relationship in which one becomes the condition for the survival of the other.
It takes the transformation of the present bourgeois Philippine government into a revolutionary one in order for President Duterte to prevail over its present travails, prevent chaos and disorder, safeguard the rule of law, and set the correct atmosphere for bringing to fruition the vision of KOMUN of a truly just, happy and prosperous Filipino nation.
It takes the resolve of KOMUN to render itself a vital cog in the overall endeavor for the bourgeois Philippine government to transform into a revolutionary one.
This paper is by no means complete.
The People’s Revolutionary Government starts to effect the real change, from here. (ia/sovereignph.com)