As The Bamboos Sway: Philippine Star Wars, Episode II: The Last NPA


All throughout, watching the movie Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, I could not help but relate metaphors to the Philippine unfinished resistance started by Andres Bonifacio and his Katipuneros in 1896 against foreign First Order dominations.

From the opening scenes of the movie towards the end, the Jedi Resistance fighters were on the run, being attacked, forces annihilated. Yes, like Bonifacio, though he had the revolutionary fervor, failed to pursue his revolution because he did not recognize the vacillation and opportunism of Emilio Aguinaldo who ordered him killed.

Yes, the resistance against the US invaders who paraded themselves as saviors of the Filipinos against Spain was not completed because Aguinaldo did not have the revolutionary spirit and wisdom to run the resistance. Aguinaldo was captured, eventually drawn to the dark side of the force, embraced the US imperialists to become the first among the local landlord class lackeys as conduits of the US imperialists in exploiting the Filipino masses.

Yes, continuing revolutionaries with the likes of Macario Sakay, during the US-Philippine war in the early decade of the 1900s, failed because, though they had the fervor, they lacked the guidance to pursue a prolonged protracted war. Yes, even the 1930s founded Philippine socialist and communist parties failed because they were not able to apply the proletarian revolutionary theories to the concrete conditions of Philippine society. In effect the Hukbong Laban sa Hapon (Hukbalahap or Huks) who were effective in fighting the Japanese during WWII did not anticipate and fight the return of the US imperialists who, again, paraded themselves as saviors of the Filipinos, this time against Japan.

All these past resistance episodes in Philippine history prevail to many as lessons that resistance is futile, and Filipinos will forever be at the mercy of the dark side.

However, at the part of the movie where Yoda’s spirit tells Luke to help Rey before she is also lost to the dark side, Luke feels incompetent to continue with the resistance. Luke considers himself a failure. Yoda admonishes him with the telling words, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”

Yes, “The greatest teacher, failure is.”

The revitalized Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), that celebrates its 49th founding anniversary this December 28, 2017, took Yoda’s admonishment to heart. The CPP reviewed the weaknesses and strengths of the past movements, identify and rectified the errors of the old Lavaite CPP, and rebuilt the Party. Learning also from the resistance movements of China, Vietnam, Cuba, and other revolutions; and applying the proletarian theories on the concrete conditions of the Philippines, the CPP, despite the atrocities of Marcos martial law and continuing state repression to the present regime of the President Rodrigo Duterte, the CPP, with its armed New People’s Army (NPA) forges on with the Philippine resistance.

Towards the end of the movie where most of the resistance fighters have sacrificed their lives turning into heroes; and the movement was left with about a dozen or so fighters, Rey asks Princess Leia how will the resistance go on. Princess Leia remarks that they have everything that they need to rebuild. The camera then pans across the screen showing the remaining fighters as odd humans, other galaxy beings, and droids that the princess refers to as hopes of the continuing resistance forces.

This is like the remnants of the Huks, with members of the revitalized CPP, transformed to become the core of the NPA – miniscule they may have been with scanty guns – now running its protracted war towards its 49th Anniversary on March 29, 2018.

If we go back to Bonifacio’s spark, the Filipino resistance would be entering its 122th year of struggle against foreign dark forces. Despite propaganda against the movement, demonizing fighters through the years as ladrones (rogues), bandits, communists, and now terrorists; annihilating some units of its forces, imprisoning them, salvaging even just suspects, or shooting them without due process, the resistance forged on and has grown to its present strength.

Trained Jedi like in the ideology of the struggle, the present sons and daughters of the Katipuneros have grown to such a force that they now dot the entire archipelago from what they were back at the Cry of Balintawak in August 23, 1896. They now are fully armed with strong guns, could be in full regalia, and march in battalion formations.

The present NPA is now three generations deep and there are no indications of its growth being stopped. The Filipinos that are being buried deeper into the quagmire of poverty have grown to embrace and support the NPA, even sending their best sons and daughters to continue with the resistance.

Thus, President Duterte’s and his generals’ current projection of annihilating the NPAs by the end of 2018, might find themselves to be the ones overwhelmed by “The Force”.

Moreover, assuming that Duterte succeeds to decimate the current NPA force, like in the movie, a child sweeping, raises his broom like a saber and will rise as a resistance fighter due to oppression. As Luke Skywalker says, “I am not the last Jedi,” there is no last NPA or Katipunero. Any junk peddler or beggar kid sold by her parents due to poverty is a potential Rey or a ray of the resistance.

By the way, the general of the Resistance, Princess Leia, is already dead as Carrie Fisher in real life. Yet, in the movie, she was the leader, guide and inspiration. For in the resistance, as Luke said, “Nobody is ever truly gone.” #


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