Recalling the "New Society" and its long term contradictions
Yesterday, I've been in a rally in commemoration of Martial Rule in the Philippines. The event, as expected was full of grievance and indignation as the protesters, both old and young reaffirm their stand against repressions laid by the state-especially the atrocities made during Martial Rule in 1972 to the present conditions that, as others may expect, a rehash of our pasts.
Obviously, this writer consider Martial Rule as developmentally oppressive in character, due to the bipolar feature of the state perhaps, that most people sought its streets, bridges, highways, markets and other facades being built, at the same time the growing dissent as well as oppression being made during that time-that to others may call it as "national discipline" to create a "new society."
But, was there really change happened, despite having disciplined people, peace and order, good infrastructure and the like? The infamous "Smokey Mountain" and the Squatters in Tondo became one of the top "hotspots" by photographers same goes as Kapitbahayan housing project in Dagat-Dagatan, that made Navotas and other areas prone to floods after draining a natural flood control and reservoir (that makes Dagat-Dagatan really Dagat Dagatan.) Or Children getting dismayed after Voltes V and Daimos being banned due to Violence or rather say its subversive messages as what Voltes V showed off. The antiquated feudal system under the landlords, despite the Land Reform Code and other related statutes even further catered much to foreigners as Dole, Del Monte, BF Goodrich and others controlled properties for Bananas, Pineapple and Rubber ready for export, further intensifying reliance to imports all for cash crop economy with limited approach to industries focusing on assembly line and handicrafts. Do we have TV and Washing Machines? Yes, but the spare parts come from Japan as we see while our shoes, made in the USA are having soles made in Marikina and in Bataan. All of these are products of Martial Law and earlier ones making the Philippines contented in Foreign goods while Exporting what supposedly ought to consume with. Too bad to see a kid eating "rejected" Bananas from Dole being sold in the market don't they?
And this writer even thinks that despite the contributions laid by Marcos and his decades-long rule, these are mostly catering for foreign investment rather than for the benefit of everyone. Naming names after this and that, of Imelda Madera and the Great Profile, of describing the first family as a Royal Family and the like, are features of a state trying to get modernized yet its features remained antiquated and feudal. For sure big names in the high society are using foreign entities to enrich themselves being "Oligarchs" using Marcos's very own parlance; that made Communists and other radicals grow further despite denials made by the government regarding topics such as torture-even to the extent of Marcos calling Amnesty International as Communist.
Once, this writer even found ridicule especially regarding Marcos's acknowledgement of imperialism as benefactor and modernizer of societies, Isn't it absurd for a patriot to give thanks to Imperialism as he said (via his book, Today's Revolution: Democracy):
"The Nationalism of the Third World is new in that it departs radically from the Western or the old, Nationalism. The impact of Western Nationalism on Asia, Africa, and Latin America was Imperialism; the impact of the new Nationalism on the West is Decolonization. The old Nationalism colonized and exploited other people in order to develop its own societies. That is why Marxist hopes for a World Proletarian Revolution were grossly disappointed: The condition of the working classes of the Metropolitan Cities vastly improved because of the benefits of Imperialism."
Well, Imperialism may have paved way to full scale modernization of things, but its impact are rather negative than positive that people, rather than things hath judged it-that they experienced having 400.000 artillery shells being bombarded resulting to 8.000 to 10.000 deaths just to impose foreign-style peace and order in a Third World country. And despite the so-called development that improved around us, did it really improve us enough? Metropolitan Cities are rather improved not entirely because of Imperialism alone, but because of utilization of things around it-that Singapore became improved due to its policies involving development and utilization of assets especially those once being used by the British Navy as its naval base. People would rather create its own modern identity further by using its own intellect and brawn (despite using modern-day equipment and ideas) rather than relying on things entirely foreign, In Thailand, the late Prime Minister and Dictator Sarit Thanarat felt that democracy had failed in Thailand and intended to rule according to "Thai ideologies", rather than imported Western political theories, and choosing as his model the supposedly benevolent despots of his country's past. Marcos did so as he himself being proud of calling his land Maharlika and himself as if a living embodiment of Malakas as well as other mythological and historical personalities; yet how come despite creating a new Filipino also recognize an entity that was, and is an exploiter? Well, Marcos and other leaders rather putting people in contentment laid upon by influx of foreign goods and be called as "improvement" and "development." Yes, his words justify acceptance that the Philippines as a neo-colonial entity out of Spain and America. For sure to a common man, would think that "are there any improvements made by Colonialism here in the Philippines aside from buildings and technology? How come there are people that are still poor despite working well? Did the increase in the prices of commodities, having peso pegged on the dollar, and dependent of foreign goods and capital improved our lives because of Colonialism?"
Well, in an assessment of things and events happened during the New Society, it was entirely consist of contradictions kept on growing. That despite the infrastructure and development, dependence on things foreign remained still-to the extent of nearly having no Philippine-made steel as we get contented in imports from Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China; that despite having disciplined people, the rotten stench of a repressive, corrupt feudal-colonial past still creates monsters-that until today people tries its very own best enough to resist.
After all, as what Marcos said:
"Democracy is today's Revolution,"
And the people itself will make it advance and radicalize further to another phase that is for our time.