Resist the threat of martial law in campuses
The Duterte fascist regime has evil plans. Rodrigo Duterte and his minions wish to impose tyrannical rule on universities because of their deep resentment against students and teachers openly opposing the fascist regime.
Over the past weeks, Bato dela Rosa, Duterte’s loyal attack dog, has been using his senate position to bark at youth activists and teachers. Dela Rosa mounted rubbish shows to clamp down on youth and teachers organizations. The AFP resorted to fear-mongering when it claimed school shootings might not be prevented if they are barred from entering campuses.
Fascist agents insist on revoking the 1982 Soto-Enrile agreement. This agreement is one of the important legacy of the students in their fight against the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship to uphold democracy and make campus academic freedom flourish. Stemming from it is the 1989 University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense agreement which sets similar prohibitions against entry into campus of AFP and PNP personnel.
The ultimate aim of dela Rosa and officers of the AFP and PNP is to remove all hindrances against beefing-up campus presence of police and soldiers who they claim also have the “right” to “indoctrinate” the students. In hundreds of schools, the AFP and PNP are already conducting indoctrination campaigns in the form of “youth leadership fora,” “information drives,” “trainings,” or “immunization” against the “communist disease” and fight “communist infiltration” in schools.
They label activist organizations as “fronts” of the Communist Party. The AFP and PNP teach that all criticism against the ruling regime and system is a result of “communist agitation.” Their fascist ideology insists on obscuring the reality of oppression and exploitation and absence of national freedom which are the root of the people’s armed and unarmed resistance.
The AFP now wants universities to be put under military rule and serve as platform for propagating its fascist ideology. At the most basic, the presence of armed state agents is incongruent with university academic freedom. It is a purveyor of threat and intimidation against students, teachers, scientists and researchers. Intellectual thinking cannot flourish if the academe is under the armed threat of the state. Duterte aspires to bring back the time of Marcos when the academe served as the official broadcaster of the “new society” line. He wants these to be guarded by his armed agents and be ruled over by mercenary intellectuals.
Fascism goes against the liberal tradition of academic freedom. To fascists, there should be no room for thoughts or views that do not mirror or uphold the dogma or doctrine of the ruling regime. Expressing or supporting the patriotic or democratic interests of the people or criticizing the current system and administration is equated with subversion or supporting armed revolution.
If the AFP and PNP will be allowed to freely enter campuses, surveillance and restrictions against students and teachers will be heightened by the Duterte regime’s fascist agents. Their presence will intimidate the youth from joining organizations, assembling or speaking up against Duterte. This will result in the suppression of students’ and teachers’ democratic rights. In other words, it will ultimately redound to imposing martial law on campuses.
All these measures by the AFP and PNP are being carried out in line with the counterinsurgency doctrine now dominating the Duterte regime’s policies. It is the implementation of the “whole of nation approach” which has no other aim but to put the whole nation under military control. The military now wants to control even ideological, cultural, economic and service agencies and make these serve counterinsurgency aims to the detriment of the interests and needs of the people. Those who refuse to support the AFP are under pain of being accused of “sympathizing with the communists.” Beyond “national defense” and “peace and order,” the AFP and PNP are now intervening in all other aspects of civil society.
Everyone must clearly understand that the threat of campus martial law is tightly bound with martial law in Mindanao and undeclared martial law in Negros, Samar, Bicol and the entire country. This is being pushed by the fascists behind widespread military abuses and violations of human rights, repression of opposition forces, suppression of strikes, suppression of peasant struggles and other forms of repression. This is also in line with the proposal to bring back the Anti-Subversion Law (which criminalizes membership in the Party) and amend the Human Security Act to make it a sharper weapon for the suppression of democratic expression and action.
The Duterte regime aims to silence the students and teachers who are among the most active in expressing criticism and opposition to fascism. The Duterte regime wants to silence and beat down activists to do away with hindrances in imposing more oppressive policies such as additional taxes, pork barrel, and foreign loans, Duterte’s national treachery and kowtowing to China and the US, the “charter change” scheme and other anti-people measures.
However, Duterte, the AFP and the PNP are bound to fail in their attempt to suppress academic freedom and impose martial law in campuses. This plan has been met with stiff resistance and widespread protests of students and teachers in big universities over the past days. If Duterte pushes with this plan, it will surely be met by students and teachers with bigger and wider opposition, academic discourse and debate, and protests on streets across the country.
Above all, these acts of suppression will fail to stop the students and teachers from supporting and joining the armed struggle. Because of Duterte’s fascist suppression, even more are being roused to support or become members of the New People’s Army which truly represents the patriotic and democratic interests of the people.