End of Star Wars and Philippine Revolution
After 42 years of protracted saga, Palpatine’s evil empire in the final Star Wars episode finally fell, never to awaken, rise, and to strike back again. From the original eponymous film, later subtitled Episode IV – A New Hope, the Jedi resistance fighters of the entire galaxy, in the hope to liberate themselves, were on the run, being attacked, forces annihilated, only to regroup again and again against the domineering evil empire – until finally, in episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker, the evil forces of Palpatine were completely annihilated, with him banished to oblivion.
This brings me to relate as I was watching The Rise of Skywalker as I related when watching The Last Jedi – episodes IX and VIII respectively, and The Rogue – to metaphors in the Philippine unfinished resistance started by Andres Bonifacio and his Katipuneros in 1896 against foreign First Order dominations; and continued by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its New People’s Army from Dec. 26, 1968 and continuing.
Yes, Bonifacio won against the Spanish tyrants only to fail due to vacillations and opportunism within the Katipunan. Even those who decided to carry on his fire like Macario Sakay failed during the Filipino-American war because, though, he had the fervor, he lacked the guidance to pursue a prolonged protracted war. In the 1930s, the Philippine Socialist and the old Communist Parties failed because they were not able to apply the proletarian revolutionary theories to the concrete conditions of Philippine society. As such although the Hukbong Laban sa Hapon, the armed might of the old Lava Communist Party, although they were effective against the Japanese invaders, they did not recognize that the American ‘liberators’ in fact came back to rule back their Philippine colony.
Yes, the Katipuneros failed like the past pocket revolts of Diego Silang and the others against Spain. Yes, the Katipuneros failed like those who tried to carry on their fire like Macario Sakay against the American colonialists. These led to beliefs that any resistance against mightily armed forces is destined to be a failure and, thus, futile – that the Filipinos will forever be at the mercy of the dark side. The failed struggle of the Filipinos against foreign evil forces since Lapu-Lapu (although he killed Magellan) would encompass five centuries now.
However, in The Last Jedi episode, Master Yoda admonishes Luke Skywalker, who has given up the struggle and considers himself a failure, with the telling words: “The greatest teacher, failure is.”
Yes, Chairman, if you will, Yoda, the master jedi, declared that “The greatest teacher, failure is.”
The revitalized Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), that celebrated its 51st founding anniversary last December 26, 2019, took Yoda’s admonishment to heart. The CPP reviewed the weaknesses and strengths of the past movements, identified 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 to continue the Philippine resistance.
The display of heart of the CPP to fight despite the lack initially of more powerful arms and being outnumbered is emphasized in the movie, The Rogue. During the meeting of the council of leaders of the rebel forces. The lady council leader, recognizing that their number had been depleted, says “Our rebellion is all that remains to push back the empire.”
One council leader then responds “If the empire has this kind of power, what chance do we have?”
Jyn, the heroin, retorts, “We have hope. Rebellion is built on hope.”
As I have said in my previous articles on the saga, the council conversation in Rogue, with Jyn’s retort, permeates in circles of those questioning how rebellions all over the world will win against the powerful forces with superior arms of imperial countries. This kind of conversations was raised on how the Cubans and the Vietnamese could win against the regimes backed by the United States when they were starting their revolutions. Starting with a committed few with the heart to fight, the Cubans and the Vietnamese won over their enemies who had the bombs and the larger number of troops. The conversation is ongoing in the Philippines, India, Turkey, African countries, and other third world countries waging protracted struggles against imperialist empires. This conversation is even going on with progressive citizens within the heart of America and other imperial countries. These movements were ignited by a core of committed individuals who only had hope that a just struggle is justified and will prevail.
That the Star Wars series is a metaphor of past and ongoing revolutionary struggles could be based on the outlooks of its creator George Lucas. The Hollowverse describes him as having “spoken about the dangers of large vested interests and criticized America for allowing big business to influence legislation. He has explained his views, saying: ‘I grew up in the ’60s. I grew up in San Francisco. And so, I’m informed in a certain kind of way about, you know, believing in democracy and believing in America. And I’m a very ardent patriot. But I’m also a very ardent believer in democracy, not capitalist democracy. And I do not believe that the rich should be able to buy the government. And that’s just the way I feel.’”
Hollowverse adds: “And if you think about it, Star Wars was all about the little guy prevailing over the big behemoth that was the Empire. Who would’ve guessed at the spiritual and political messages in a sci-fi space movie?”
Michael O’Connor also wrote that the original Star Wars “was really about the Vietnam War.’” In an audio commentary for Jedi, “Lucas revealed that the Viet Cong inspired the Ewoks’ creation for their ability to defeat technological superiority with inferior weaponry; it was a reminder that hearts, not weapons, win wars… Intelligence triumphs over brute strength.”
Thus, even if the Jedi resistance fighters had been reduced in number in the Last Jedi 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 – they have the hope and the intelligence and remaining fighters as odd humans, other galaxy beings, and droids – 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 51st Anniversary on March 29, 2020. From 60 members that had only nine strong arms, the NPA now dot the archipelago and could march with full regalia 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.
And, of course, in the course of the struggle, resistance fighters die. Their spirits, however, live. This is depicted when Rey, in the final episode, was down and sapped with strength and gains energy from all the Jedis who’ve previously lived and died somehow live within their still-living representatives. Rey seeks to establish a connection with deceased jedis repeating the phrase “Be with me.” She subsequently hears the encouraging Jedi voices of some who’ve gone before her from within her psyche.
Also, the general of the Resistance in the last episodes, 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.”
All said, if the 42 years protracted saga of Star Wars, as an art form, is a reflection of life, it could be true that that the CPP, carrying on the fight for the Filipinos from Lapu-Lapu to Bonifacio in the protracted war till the evil empire is obliterated no matter how much longer it will take. The ground swell of the struggle is there. Many more Filipinos are being drawn to the resistance because of growing poverty and oppressiveness of the Philippine political, economic, and social situation.
As in the final episode of Star Wars, with the willingness of a core to lead, all of the exploited will just pop up in the sky to deal the final blow on the evil empire.
The Force will be with them.
By the way, the face of President Rodrigo Duterte is just a little bit better looking than the cadaverous face of the evil Palpatine; and his fingers are well manicured compared to Palpatine’s leper-like infected ones.