Tuesday, September 17, 2013

CHIN PENG'S TRUE STORY ...

WHAT CHIN PENG's STORY CAN TEACH US MALAYSIANS:
(written a few years ago)

"What Chin Peng’s story can teach us"

We need to explore the story behind the armed struggle to understand the ideology behind the movement. We might denounce the atrocities of the communist insurgents/Malayan co-freedom fighters, but we must also recognise the intellectual value and power of the Marxist critique of socie...ty as a legitimate, systematic, liberating, humanising and praxical (the translation of theory to practice) body of knowledge that has evolved into an organic discipline itself.

By Azly Rahman

The story of the Malayan nationalist leader Chin Peng’s request to come home interests me academically. I hope he will one day be given the chance to speak in Malaysia’s universities, sharing his story on Malaysia’s struggle against imperialism.

After 50 years of Independence, we still cannot tell the difference between say, communism, Marxism, socialism or anarchism. We are well versed in the foundations of crypto-corporate-cybernetic-crony capitalism, of the inner workings of the capital markets, and on how to get cheap labour and squeeze profits out of modern-day indentured slaves from countries impoverished by the policies of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

We are good at talking about ‘global economics’ and the ‘glocalisation’ of Wall Street and Silicon Valley industries. What we think profitable at the global market we import into our local economies, and what we see profitable in our country, we force our farmers and labourers to produce for the global economies.

We then complain about the evils of globalisation without realising that the big capitalists amongst us are the new globalisers of our own labour. At a time when we are exploring the possibilities of becoming a ‘bio-technologised nation’ (whatever that means to the padi planter/farmer in Changlung, Kedah or Tambun Tulang in Perlis), we still have not explored the meaning of ideas we ‘fear’. We still equate communism only with armed struggle – just like some Western media conglomerate’s tendency of equating Islam with terrorism, and many other concept/word associations that are not accurate and dangerously misleading.

We need to explore the story behind the armed struggle to understand the ideology behind the movement. We might denounce the atrocities of the communist insurgents/Malayan co-freedom fighters, but we must also recognise the intellectual value and power of the Marxist critique of society as a legitimate, systematic, liberating, humanising and praxical (the translation of theory to practice) body of knowledge that has evolved into an organic discipline itself.

One must engage in a systematic study of Marxism in order to be well-equipped with the understanding of what ‘national development’ means. Without this knowledge, we will forever colonise ourselves by importing more and more members of international advisory panel of any national project we blindly embark upon.

We need to ask these questions:

Had the Communists won in Malaya, what kind of sharing of power would there have been?


How might the character of neo-colonialism have turned out had Malaysian political-economic arrangement been based on non-communalism?


Would there be conspicuously rich and and – at the other end of the spectrum – silenced under-class poor Malaysians?


Would there be a BN? – What would have been the fate of the monarchy? – What would have been the nature of the distribution of wealth in society and what might the ‘digital divide’ mean?


How might the reformasi movement learn from the theoretical foundations of Marxism, as a radical critique and restructuring tool of society?


What themes in Islam does Marxism share in the areas of social justice and the social control of greed?


How might ancient Chinese philosophy be a powerful and non-oppositional force to Marxism?


How might the concept of Marxist-metaphysicalism emerge from the synthesis of foundational tenets of the Western and Eastern societies? These and many more might help us explore the possibilities of emergent ideas and make our graduate/Masters/Ph.D students smarter and our politicians more learned.


Imagine the quality of dissertation topics we will have in the archives of our public universities? These topics should generate interest in looking at the possibilities of newer and better arrangement of base and superstructure of Malaysian society as we develop newer commanding heights, and as we continue to profess our status as an independent nation that is slowly suffocating in the haze of globalisation.

Marxism and other ‘isms’

I have a few suggestion to create an augmentation to this argument over Chin Peng’s return:

I suggest we have our undergraduate students read the variety of ‘isms’ and have them construct their own understanding of what this ‘nebulous of ideas’ means. We must give our students the message that these ‘truths’ must be explored and not be shied away from.

We cannot, in this context of the issue, ban books on radical political change anymore. We must even have courses on Marxism, socialism, capitalism and anarchism and encourage our teaching faculty to teach their favourite thinkers such as Karl Marx, Ibnu Sina, Al Farabi, Ali Shariati, Che Guevara, Socrates, Krishnamurthi, Radhakrishna, the French Existentialists, Einstein, Malcolm X, Plato, Habermas, Bourdieu, Foucault, Syed Hussein Al-Aattas, Sukarno, Raden Adjeng Kartini, Jose Rizal, Lee Kuan Yew, Gandhi, Kung Fu Tze, Lao Tzi, and Mao Ze Dong. One could even develop a course around the life and times of the American poet-musician Bob Dylan. Or teach about the struggles of the Malaysian radical thinkers of the Independence movement and create an educational, social, and political paradigm of change out of their ideas.

I believe, we will create better thinkers amongst our students and faculty. Campus authorities will not need to use scare tactics during student elections nor university lecturers need not be fired by vice-chancellors and by extension, the higher education ministry, who are bankrupt of intelligent arguments. We must let a hundred flowers bloom.

“The simplest questions are the most profound,” said Socrates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dream on. Liberation of the mind is impossible in a Muslim or an orthodox Christian society. If questioning and search for truth are forbidden in any area of thought, the neural network is short circuited. When we are looking at 100 billion operations with no entry blockages the machinery will be stalled. Perhaps you can try hooking up some subjects to MRI scanners and verify or debunk this claim

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