Thursday, July 27, 2006

Marxism, the Peasantry, and Agrarian Revolution in the Philippines (Daniel Boone Schirmer Memorial Lectures on Marxism in the Philippines)

Eduardo C. Tadem
Associate Professor
Asian Center
University of the Philippines-Diliman

Ma. Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista
Department of Sociology
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman

Francisco Lara Jr.
Executive Director
Volunteer Service Overseas

20 July 2006 (Thursday)
2:30-4:30 p.m.
Pulungang Claro M. Recto
Bulwagang Rizal (Faculty Center)
University of the Philippines-Diliman


This study is concerned primarily with the tradition of peasant resistance that is rooted in various Marxist analyses of revolutionary agrarian social movements. It looks at the questions that have informed Marxist studies on peasant revolutions and how writers from this school of inquiry have attempted to answer them. To see how Marxists have in practice related to peasant societies, the paper then examines an actual peasant community consisting of three villages in the provinces of Tarlac and Pampanga in Central Luzon, Philippines which have been the targets of organizing activities by armed Marxist guerrilla movements.

This paper argues that Marxist theories on peasant revolutions seem far removed from reality and that practitioners often find themselves pragmatically adjusting and revising the former to conform to the situation in the field. For peasant communities, on the other hand, the findings from the field show that different motivations (including personal considerations) in joining the armed struggle are at work and that participation in revolutionary struggles is only one of the options that individual peasants consider in responding to their abject conditions and improving their lives.

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