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Fifth Marx@200 lecture centers on political economy and ‘bayanihan socialism’

On 12 July 2018, the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) Program on Alternative Development, in partnership with the Socialist Circle, organized the fifth installment of the Marx Bicentennial Lecture Series held at the UP CIDS Conference Hall.
For this installment, Prof. Amado M. Mendoza, Jr., Ph.D., Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman, and Cesar “Ka Sonny” Melencio, Chair of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), delivered lectures on political economy and ‘bayanihan socialism,’ respectively. Prof. Eduardo C. Tadem, Ph.D., Convenor of the Program on Alternative Development and retired Professor of Asian Studies, welcomed the participants, while Asst. Prof. Venarica B. Papa of the College of Social Work and Community Development (CSWCD) served as the moderator of the lecture.

Prof. Mendoza presented a paper entitled “Capitalist Restoration in the Soviet Union: Revisiting an Erroneous Thesis.” He argued that the thesis posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that the Soviet Union’s political economy is capitalist (restored) may not be entirely correct. To discuss his arguments, he used Marxist theories to highlight the differences between a socialist and a capitalist economy and then used these points to counter the CCP—and to some extent, the CPP—on the thesis regarding the restoration of the capitalist political economy in the Soviet Union.

Mr. Sonny Melencio then delivered his presentation entitled “Forward, Bayanihan Socialism.” In his presentation, Mr. Melencio has argued for the local adaptation of socialism based on the cultural norms of localities. He pointed out that in the Philippines, the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ is very much alive even before the Philippines was colonized by foreign powers. And by juxtaposing ‘bayanihan’ to the idea of socialism, ‘Bayanihan Socialism’ aims to make socialism more palatable to Philippine society.

After the presentation of the speakers, an open forum was held where the members of the audience were able to ask questions and share their insights about the topics presented. To formally conclude the lecture, Asst. Prof. Papa gave a summary of the discussion.

The Marx Bicentennial Lecture Series is a year-long event that aims to commemorate the enduring global influence, impact, and relevance of the works of the well-known German philosopher Karl Marx on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth.