Risa Hontiveros: How can one be a communist and a Catholic at the same time?

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Reading John Nery gush like a starstruck teenager about senatorial candidate Risa Hontiveros (Akbayan and the Liberal Party) in his recent Inquirer.net piece A Catholic vote for Risa, you could be forgiven for thinking Hontiveros is some sort of Filipino Mother Theresa. To Nery, Hontiveros is a “true child of Vatican II” and “most embodies Catholic social teaching”. Nery also cites how “A group that calls itself Catholics for Risa Hontiveros has circulated a statement online endorsing her as a Catholic candidate” noting that “[a] few of the signatories are his friends, some [he] know[s] only by reputation.” Of course, no endorsement of a candidate would be complete without a bit of pandering to certain politically-charged advocacies…

She was, of course, and controversially, among those who led the fight for the Reproductive Health Law; what many of her Catholic critics fail to see is that it was precisely her Catholic conscience, schooled in the gritty reality of Philippine society, that moved her to join the fight.

So let me ask Mr Nery and Risa’s prayerful followers this:

How does one go from being a communist (the true adherents of which are avowed atheists) to suddenly becoming a celebrated Catholic pinup?

The multiple layers of confounding inconsistencies surrounding the philosophical and ideological underpinnings of the candidacy of Risa Hontiveros are too hard to ignore.

Lest we forget Risa Hontiveros is chairperson of militant Leftist group Akbayan. There is scant literature on the history of the Akbayan partylist, but a GMA Network report categorically states that the roots of Akbayan along with its bitter (albeit similarly Left-leaning) rival Bayan Muna “can be traced to the division of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its allies in the 1990s. Akbayan was formed by those who refused to be associated with both factions.”

But did Akbayan renounce its communist roots? According to a report published on the World Socialist Web Site, no.

Akbayan was formed in the wake of the break-up of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the early 1990s. Every decision made by Akbayan over the past two decades has born the stamp of its origin. The nationalist, opportunist and class collaborationist politics of Akbayan are the continuation of the Stalinist politics of the CPP. What differences now exist between Akbayan and its Maoist rivals are born out of the contingencies of alliances formed with different sections of the bourgeoisie.

Interestingly, the “official” history of Akbayan as laid out in their “official” website Akbayan.org is mute on the topic of its commie roots…

After twenty years of dictatorship under the Marcos regime, formal democracy in the Philippines was restored in 1986 through a broad “people power” movement. This democracy, however, proved to favor only the political and economic elite of the country. The moving force behind the anti-dictatorship struggle–concerned citizens and progressive groups–has been relegated to the periphery of decision-making and policy implementation. In response, social movements, trade union groups, and political organizations have emerged to challenge state policies through lobbying and pressure politics.

Despite the dynamism of Philippine movements, formal institutions of democracy remained in the hands of the few and the wealthy. It was within this context that the idea of building an alternative, a citizens’ political party, first emerged. Social movement groups wanted to be part of the formal processes of government. Akbayan was thus conceived as an effort to institutionalize people power and thereby deepen Philippine democracy.

Consultations on the party-building project began in 1994. Throughout the country, pro-democracy groups were enjoined to help shape the party concept and strategy. Aspirations of various sectors–labor, peasants, youth, women, gay and lesbians, professionals, overseas Filipino workers, urban poor–were discussed and consolidated into a program of governance, while ad hoc structures were formed in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Four years later, in January 1998, Akbayan was formally established through its Founding National Congress. In May of the same year, the new party tested its strength by participating in the local and party-list elections and won seats in the House of Representatives, and several local government units.

Hmmmm… “conceived as an effort to institutionalize people power and thereby deepen Philippine democracy.” That, together with the euphemism that these “social movement groups” of which the founding members of what was to become AKbayan were presumably part of “wanted to be part of the formal processes of government” sounds consistent with a Third Party perspective provided by GlobalSecurity.org on what the agenda of commie movements suddenly made irrelevant by 1986 “people power” politics…

As a result of the world-wide known “People Power” revolution in the Philippines, the National Democratic Front (NDF) made a comprehensive analysis on the new situation in the Philippines. The new government was viewed as a fragile coalition of the right and bourgeoise liberals. However, the Aquino government has a broader power base than the Marcos regime. As such, it adopted a critical collaboration stance with the present government fielding some of its members to fill some some post in government. With this style they could penetrate the bureaucracy while waiting for the Aquino government to weaken so the NDF goal can be fulfilled.

In summary, senatorial candidates who trace their political roots to communism seem to have a talent for metamorphosis to suit the most current political landscape. Some remain true to these roots and present themselves for who they really are in their campaigns. Others simply sell out to the Establishment and jump into bed with the mainstream hands outstretched ready to embrace whatever sort of label and branding it will take to win. To be fair, with the enormous sums of money involved in political campaign, it will really be always all about winnability — even for ex-commies.

[Photo courtesy Yahoo! OMG!.]

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Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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65 Comments on "Risa Hontiveros: How can one be a communist and a Catholic at the same time?"

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Aegis-Judex
Guest

Ultimately, one cannot reconcile the two.

Communist governments have treated religion in general and Catholicism in particular as a subversive force (cf. Red China). One (nominally, at any rate) communist state has managed to successfully co-opt religion to its own ends.

The pontificate of Bl. John Paul the Great, on the other hand, saw the reunification of Germany, the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union; in other words, John Paul II saw the end of the Cold War.

Boy Kulasisi
Guest
magagalit sa iyo ang NDF at ang Communist Party of the Philippines for calling Risa a communist. In fact, if u r a real netizen makikita mo kung paano balahurain ng kabataan, Piston,anak Pawis, Gabriela, Buhay Muna, Kalikasan, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Akap Bata, na mga “CPP” friendly si Risa sa twitter at ilang facebook page. In fact, just this morning, Risa filed a case before the DOJ against NPA election atrocities. I think this piece is full of inconsistencies and false assumptions. Kumbaga, wala ng isip-isip. Makabanat lang. And one more thing, salamat sa pagsusulat regarding Risa, remember, black or… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

I can name Fr. Conrado Balweg back in the day. However, it would seem he left the priesthood. I also agree that reconciling being Catholic with a pro-RH candidate is very difficult.

Johnny Saint
Guest
A doctor friend of mine, a devout Catholic, expressed to me that the opposition he has towards the RH Bill stems from the leeway it allows in the use of abortifacients. Technically illegal under our constitution. The rest of the law he finds sound. The problem he feels lies with both sides’ all-or-nothing approach to the law’s language and implementation as well as the polarized advocacy for and against it. At any rate the RH Bill seems to be a moot point. It’s in limbo now. That suggests it was never taken seriously by Malacañang except as a chip to… Read more »
Libertas
Guest

risa hontiveros has shown she has little conviction and a desperation that makes her not only a red under the bed, but also in the bed if it helps her.

Senor Frog
Guest

Oh, PLEASE is this really necessary? This is unconscionable “…a red under the bed, but also in the bed if it helps her…” What is your problem? The woman seems to be a real champion of the people and what’s wrong with that? You sound like a DAMASO! Someone who want to do good for people is NOT NECESSARILY A COMMUNIST. GET REAL!

Libertas
Guest

i have a conscience and values which the likes of risa hontiveros could never aspire to or attain.

Senor Frog
Guest

Oh, PLEASE is this really necessary? This is unconscionable “…a red under the bed, but also in the bed if it helps her…” What is your problem? The woman seems to be a real champion of the people and what’s wrong with that? You sound like a DAMASO! Someone who want to do good for people is NOT NECESSARILY A COMMUNIST. And if one is a Communist, who cares? GET REAL!

Libertas
Guest

“What is wrong with being a communist”
According to kim jong un, nothing.

A communist is someone who wants to do good but only for themselves and on any hypocritical platform.

Champagne socialists and caviar communists simply prefer to steal other peoples money than work for it.

Risa hontiveros destroyed any pretence she may have had to principles or morals.

Dan the Man
Guest

the second paragraph is false.

a true communist, in the simplest terms possible, is a person interested in the common good of his/her people. Castro, in Cuba, might be the closest thing to the real thing available on the planet today. the late Chavez being another, but he is dead and doesn’t count for much right now.

The root word, commune or community, is easily understandable and defined:

‘an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, property, possesions, resources…’.

Did someone tell you that definition? or you just make it up yourself?

Libertas
Guest

millionaire castro is a true communist – and a disaster for cuba.
go there as i do and you can see the truth.

Dan The MAN
Guest

I’ll pass. No desire to go to Cuba. it can’t be much worse than Manila, Cebu, CDO…from what I’ve seen.

MidwayHaven
Guest

History has shown that one who exalts Communist ideals actually cares little for human rights and welfare.

To say that Communism in the Philippines would be “different” (as Pinoy Communists espouse) from previous incarnations are deluding themselves, especially in a country where the past is often forgotten or buried under revisionist history.

david
Guest

Maybe she is Mother Teresa. Read “The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice” by Christopher Hitchens.

thelongfallofprose
Guest

I’m so far out from the topic but I think there’s such a thing as Christian communism? Not sure though, it’s been ages since I’ve last read something about it.

Legati
Guest

> thelongfallofprose

There is, it is called The Doctrine of Liberation Theology.

Edmond Rostand
Guest

To date, there are 50 million Christians in mainland China from only 10 million in 2010. Brazil has only 40 million. In 2030 China will have 100 million Christians. The U.S. Christians are dwindling. No prayer in public places. So which is the godless ideology in reality?

OnesimusUnbound
Guest

Well, we have Christian Communist [1]

Well, I doubt if Risa subscribe to this variant of communism, after all she came from Marxist-Leninist trunk of communism.

Anyway, the point of the article is that she puts less focus on what she really believes just to win the election.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_communism

Libertas
Guest

Communist llama walks into his bedroom with a sheep under
his arm and says:
– Darling, this is the pig I have sex with when you have a headache.
His girlfriend chrisa is lying in bed and replies:
– I think you’ll find that’s a sheep, you idiot.
– I think you’ll find I wasn’t talking to you.

Johnny Saint
Guest

😀 😀 😀

Roy de Vesa
Guest

Read: Tolosa, B. (ed.) (2011) Socdem: Filipino Social Democracy in a Time of Turmoil and Transition, 1965-1995.(Pasig: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), pp. 85 and 90-91.

Risa’s origins are not from communism, but Filipino and Christian social democracy/democratic socialism.

Gerry
Guest

Why not? Christ was a communist. After u get over the initial perceived sleight and read some passages attributtable Christ (“Whatso ever you do to the least of my bretheren”…). True communism has maybe only existed twice, the Indians of the America’s before the white-man and Christ. Communism remains a very misunderstood ideology.

ChinoF
Member

Wrong. Christ was never a communist. He admonished helping the poor and needy. Not violence to forcefully take from the rich and give to the poor.

Mercy
Guest

Yes you are right chino.

Johnny Saint
Guest
“True communism has maybe only existed twice, the Indians of the America’s before the white-man and Christ. Communism remains a very misunderstood ideology.” This is a misrepresentation of what Karl Marx actually articulated in his theory of historical materialism. Marx’s theory postulates the evolution of society from a “primitive communism” through capitalism and socialism to the final stage which he termed stateless or “pure” communism. It is this final stage that Marx and Engels considered as the ideal that societies would eventually achieve and it is towards this goal that Marxists strive. According to Scott and Marshall in the “Dictionary… Read more »
MidwayHaven
Guest

I think the concept here is that what Communists believe is that everyone is inherently a Communist (with varying degrees). The problem of course is that in Marx’s view there is no such thing as individualism and identity.

Johnny Saint
Guest

MidwayHeaven,

There is a considerable variety of views among self-identified communists, including Maoism, Trotskyism, etc. and various currents of leftist ideology. However, the primary driving force for communism in world politics and as a socioeconomic structure during most of the 20th century are the Soviet and Maoist forms of Marxism-Leninism.

A lot of so-called “liberals” and “progressives” may flirt with leftist ideas but Marx and Engels were very clear with what they meant when they published the Communist Manifesto and their works on historical materialism. For them it IS all or nothing. No varying degrees.

MidwayHaven
Guest

That’s why Communism will never work. If those who claim to be Communists can’t even get their ideologies together to implement their unified Utopia, then they really won’t go anywhere.

Johnny Saint
Guest

But they will kill a lot of people trying to get there 🙁

Gerry
Guest

I am not talking about Karl Marx or Marism, OK? SO BUTT THE FUCK OUT and bark at someone else’s comment’s as I am fuckin sick of you. Communism, not MARXISM you fuckin douchbag!
YOU ARE THE ONE WHO MISUNDERSTANDS BUTT-WIPE! and yes, I called you BUTT-WIPE!!!

Johnny Saint
Guest

Do you even know what you just posted? Communism not Marxism? Go back and read the post. It explains in clear language what Marx thought about primitive communism in early American Indian societies. Are you saying Marx and Engels didn’t say those things? Or that they didn’t come up with the ideology of communism?

Gerry
Guest

OMG, Your logic is akin to me reciting the words to the Gettysburg address and attributting the speech’s origin to myself!Just because I said it, HOLY SHIT!!!!

Really, STOP, or hey, keep going. its actually an even bigger laugh to read some of the brainless shit you come out with. Seriously, that is the funniest shit yet comin outta that big-mouth of yours.YOU Sonny, should be a comedian.

You did get the answer to the question correct, but I am not impressed, it was an ez one. There may be some hope for you. BUT probably not!

Johnny Saint
Guest

Communists will be the first to admit that pure or stateless communism has NEVER been implemented.

Johnny Saint
Guest
“Christ was a communist.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Just look at the ideas of Marxism and Communism. In simple terms, Marxism is a philosophy and communism is the ideal state achieved when Marxism is lived out. A Marxist is a person who embraces the philosophy of Karl Marx; a Communist is a person who applies Marx’s ideas to the government and the economy. More formally, Communism is a purely materialistic, political ideology that seeks to establish a future without social class or formalized state structure, and with social organization based upon common ownership of the means of… Read more »
Gerry
Guest

yeah, OK!!!! according to Johnny Saint who has the be all , end all say in the matter.NOT!!!! Get a clue on this one on ur own there, Sonny as I won’t be explaining anything to you again.

Gerry
Guest

I do have one question for the guy who thinks he knows things: JOHN-boy, can you tell us the EXACT mechanism involved on WALL ST. right now that has destroyed ‘free-market’ economics as it pertains to price discovery?????

Lets see what ya got there smart-ass!(it is not too tough a question and I will not be impressed if you actually know the answer).

Johnny Saint
Guest

I assume you’re hinting at electronic high frequency trading. It’s the only significant new practice that has been criticized for creating excessive volatility in the market as well as interfering with normal price discovery mechanisms. I understand several European countries want to ban it as it is projected to cause new risks in the financial system.

This is really off tangent. I thought you insist on sticking to the topic of the discussion. Need help with your homework I suppose? Needn’t be so dramatic when you ask your questions.

Gerry
Guest

still tellin people what to do, huh? Yeah, I’ll get right on it….u jack-ass!

as far as stickin to the topic, why not learn to have some fun , if not with me, with someone else? Kork, I’d hate to be you!. stick and move, bob and weave!
shit, shove a cand…..I don’t care!

Johnny Saint
Guest

Apparently you do care. You’re always bothered by anything you perceive as a negative comment about you.

For someone who has no time to answer, you certainly have a lot to say about how much you don’t care.

Commiecs
Guest
“Risa Hontiveros: How can one be a communist and a Catholic at the same time?” You can’t. Risa Hontiveros is just pretending to be from the ‘Moderate Left’. In fact,there is no such thing as the Moderate Left in today’s Philippine society. Akbayan is as yellow as Noynoy’s Liberal Party and his pee-pee underwear. That’s why the true Left (Makabayan, Bayan Muna, Anakbayan, Kabataan, etc.) are pissed off at how Hontiveros and Akbayan style themselves as being part of the left when in fact, they’re just lap dogs of Noynoy. It needn’t be mentioned how many from Akbayan hold positions… Read more »
MidwayHaven
Guest

For starters, Hontiveros and her Akbayan pals are Social Democrats (sort of like the Center Left of many European political parties).

Although I’m a bit confused by your words: by “bloody revolution,” you mean something similar to Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”?

Commiecs
Guest
I find it funny that on Labor Day, Risa Hontiveros and Akbayan carried around banners proclaiming their party to be the ‘Democratic Left Party.” That’s the first time I saw a supposedly left party labeling themselves to be as such in a rally. Shouldn’t it be the government and media’s role to label them so? Sobrang pinipilit nilang Kaliwa daw sila, it’s pathetic. There are many intellectual individuals here at GRP and that’s one of the reasons why I frequently visit this site. However, many of them don’t differentiate those who are truly Left from the Pretenders. Granted, the Left… Read more »
MidwayHaven
Guest

Will there be room in the future Philippine Cultural Revolution for me to have property rights?

Commiecs
Guest

‘Will there be room in the future Philippine Cultural Revolution for me to have property rights?’

It’s hard to say. Could be. But if it happened in China, why can’t it happen in the Philippines?

Anyway, there won’t be a Philippine Cultural Revolution because, 1. Filipinos are too dumb to engage in a real revolution and 2. Filipinos are too scared to ‘take up the gun.’

Majority of my countrymen will forever be enveloped in economic mediocrity and political partisanship unless something drastic happens like a…(*insert future scenario here*)

Hyden Toro
Guest
Politicians are like the animals that change their colors to blend with their environment. The late Lenin of Russia and Mao Tse Tung of China, called their communist government :”Democratic”. Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany also called his government: “Socialist”. If you read the Christian Bible’s ,” Acts of the Apostles”. You’ll find that the first Christian were living like the communists. They shared each other’s basic neccessities. Aquino is a Haciendero. Yet, he identifies himself with the poor. A man who never knew how to be a poor person. Erap Estrada, the Jueteng King; has been successful in identifying… Read more »
Gerry
Guest

YOU ARE CORRECT SIR!!! Christ lived like a communist.as did the American Indians of the middle ages up till the time the Europeans decided to rob and kill them all.

Please point that out to the guy who calls himself “Saint”, he is in need of an education and I do not have the time.

Johnny Saint
Guest
The comment says “Christian(s) were living like the communists.” Never disputed that, Gerry. I stated that earlier societies SHARED FEATURES of the socio-political ideology Marx and Engels formulated called Communism. Marx and Engels themselves pointed this fact out in their writings. You are the one lying and insisting that I did. And now you are lying about what you originally said. The operative word here is “LIKE.” VERY DIFFERENT from YOUR ORIGINAL STATEMENT that says “Christ was a communist” and “True communism has maybe only existed twice, the Indians of the America’s before the white-man and Christ,” a notion that… Read more »
Gerry
Guest
Mr. Saint, this one time, just for you, I will direct you to a few of the places where what I stated about the conspiracy to which I refferred can be found. “The Father of Reaganomics” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts…google his name. Reagans right hand Man, if you care to tell him he is ‘fantasizing’, he will just feel sorry for you. Another place you might look is RTTV.RU, the op-ed pages would be a good place to start. The current installment of “The Keiser Report” , episode 438. boombustblog.com by Reginald Miller, and a host of other places that… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
And yet again you are bringing up another issue quite different from your original post. Stick to one thing at a time please. The comment I made was to point out that your statement about communism was erroneous as articulated by the original creators of the ideology, Marx and Engels. Now you go back to your world banking conspiracy as conceived by a Hollywood talk show host whose overriding objective is to boost the price of silver for his business by compromising the existing financial system. Incidentally, if you aren’t in the business of “enlightening” people, WHY post comments at… Read more »
Gerry
Guest
No, not even close. Keiser is not where the facts come from. Be a good place to get up to speed as you are oh-so uninformed. You conveniently leave out what Dr. Roberts has stated, HUH? Calling me a paranoid liar who fantasizes is what I do not like about your arrogant ass. Especially after I sourced what I stated, you have some nerve buddy. Call me arrogant? Look dip-shit,you know not-much and I look at where it comes from, a dip-shit idiot who knows nothing soooo. If you can’t have a conversation w/out insulting me, YOU should be banned.… Read more »
Hyden Toro
Guest

The invention of money, as “coin”, made people hoard riches. So, it was the begining of too much Greed…One person can hoard billions of coins or paper money. While other people have none. In our country; the owning of too much land; which they cannot till. Produced these Hacienderos, like the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos, and othewr political leaders. Politrical family dynaties are greed , itself…

Johnny Saint
Guest

And for the record, “Saint” is my real name.

Libertas
Guest

risa hontiveros
brings new meaning to the term
‘communists in the funhouse’

Josemaria
Guest

Perhaps Risa subscribes to a Moderate Form of Liberation Theology.

BenK
Editor

I think it’s pretty clear by now that she doesn’t actually subscribe to anything.

Richard heydarian
Guest

She is a social democrat, and as someone who adheres to certain fundamental principles of social democracy — reconciling basic political rights and civil liberties with tolerance, social equity, and poverty-alleviation — towards establishing a middle-class, productive, and truly democratic society (i.e., Germany, Sweden, and Nordic nations, NOT STALINIST-MAOIST states), I do not see any problem between social (and class) consciousness, on one hand, and piety, on the other. Akbayan is not a monolithic movements, and clearly within there are many strands of thinking.

ChinoF
Member

“Gerry”… welcome back, Fishball/Senddonggirl/Eduardo/Vincenzo Arellano. 😉

ChinoF
Member

Oh, I just saw the ban hammer went on him too. haha

Riza
Guest

You guys make it seem like Atheist are bad people. Just because we Atheist don’t believe in your god doesn’t mean we’re all bad. In your bible, your god said that he’s the only one who can judge people yet you ignore your god and do bad things. You Christians are so hypocrite.

Dante
Guest

I agree 100%! I am a catholic and most of them are the first to commit sin. Sometimes, I am beginning to wonder if God is real. I have been a good person but He never answers my prayers.

Rick
Guest
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