Thursday, 5 December 2013

Enough of becoming Crisostomo and Isagani! Reality demands a hundred Mandos, Simouns to lead over a thousand Eliases, Taleses and Salomes!

Enough of becoming Crisostomo and Isagani!
Reality demands a hundred Mandos, Simouns 
to lead over a thousand Eliases, Taleses and Salomes!

(Or how student activists chose to use education 
as a weapon against the system than a cogwheel for the exploiters)

"If we who are called upon to do something, if we, in whom our people place their modest hopes, spend our time in these things, precisely when youthful years should be utilized in something noble and lofty – for youth is noble and generous – I fear that we are not struggling for a vain illusion and instead of being worthy of liberty, we would only be worthy for slavery."

- (Letter to Marcelo H. del Pilar, Brussels, May 28, 1890)

This writeup somehow reflects the views of most activists, passionate in their studies amd at the same time in their actions pointing against the system whose actions that according to theirs as inimical in their supposed promises of freedom and justice. 

Most of them had been in college, formerly grade conscious individuals focusing entirely on books and examinations, recitations and all sorts of academic related issues giving them passing scores if not becoming possible candidates for scholarships with stipends to be given; and yet as time gies by, and continuously sought the sickening realities and inconvenient truths, all within and outside the campus these students, also mainly those of working class backgrounds had enough consciousness, and the willingness to break the cycle of contentment, choosing the path inimical to the established idea they had at first contented to.
In fact, most of them even chose to stop studying and go full time organizing, including those of workers, peasants and townsfolk; but at the same time there are others whom still pusuing their ambitions yet committed into the cause, balancing militant activism and academics, making themselves afford to finish school and raise their left firsts on high all in defiance of an established order that brought bullshit to the less fortunate majority.

Yes, and these less fortunate majority, including themsleves, students, who had to endure having less wages, job mismatches, rising costs of products and services yet having their peso's purchasing power not enough to ensure their needs; and Idealism based on what most books taught, so are the lectures and examinations within the four corners of the classroom, isn't enough to resolve the terrible crisis that continue to creep all despite massive propaganda campaigns of the state such as growing economy based on rising GNP and GDP rates.
Growing economy? Then how come brain and brawn drain continues then as well as the rising costs of commodities? Anyways, those sickening realities and inconvenient truths people had sought and found had opened up their consciousness to another course, of choosing to break the cycle of contentment and hence turning their education into an arm of liberation as possible, liberation in a sense that it is both national and social.

Just like Crisostomo Ibarra (of Noli me Tangere) whose idealism and his yearning to educate the oppressed natives had himself become Simoun (of El Filibusterimo) with the use of militancy in order to advance the interests of the opprssed, knowing that educating isn't enough to advance their interests; so was Basilio who, once favoring the idea what Crisostomo Ibarra advocated, and still fresh in his memory the terrible conditions such as his mother's and brother's death, as well as the retreatism of Señor Pasta (his professor) and most of the apathetic generation of his, followed what had Simoun started.

After all, right was the former advocator of equal rights knowing its impossibility (thanks to the slanderers and oppressors of his race) and instead favoring national and social independence, as he said:

What will you be in the future? A people without character, a nation without liberty. You are asking to be Hispanized and you do not blanch with shame when it is denied you!

Those words somehow made Basilio acknowledge the impossibility, even though he still tried to pusue and insist the attainment of justice the way Crisostomo Ibarra of Noli me Tangere did. Yes, and for sure people who had afford to read would also dare to oppose this writeup in using characters from Rizal's work, that most favor the idealistic Crisostomo Ibarra, as well as Basilio, Isagani and the use of peaceful means in reforming his dilapidated society marred by corruption and frailocracy, than the Realistic yet Passionate Simoun with his nitroglycerine in his quest for liberation; but also come to think that how come most idealistic people who wanted to follow the path of Crisostomo Ibarra had end up like Señor Pasta, Quiroga, Doña Victorina and Hermana Penchang? Such people, deemed intellectuals and afford to gain wealth and prestige, to the extent of using Christian rhetoric, had gave up their aspirations, their so-called idealism in favor of their personal desires no matter they are   "educated" in prestigious schools of the past; that education, being an equalizer, may had resolve illiteracy, that an average Filipino may know how to spell and count, but does not mean it resolve the ills of the dispossessed and instead be submitted into the wishes of the market, that they are contented in short term desires of the flesh not just getting merely numb into the dictates of corrupt personages such as those of the present, like the lowly Tandang Basio Macunat who had to get contented in his carabao and hard labor, obeying rules of corrupt men as if those of god than advance as a Filipino no matter he as a native.

However, sad to say to those people on high whom trying to make people contented into short term desires and negate long term ones: not all People does not content on bread, gadgets nor illusions peddled! Knowing that they may've been educated and trained in the ways of the present, but again as present day nonsense continue to repress people, both brain and brawn, all reduced into peons of the present social order with markets as its focal point; therefore these people who chose not to get contented had the will to oppose, to the extent of turning everything they got into a weapon that exposes and opposes those who had bled people and communities dry and silent. Or let's just say one has to become more than a passionate nitroglycerine-carrying Simoun or a romantic idealist such as Basilio, but rather, a Mando Plaridel of Hernandez's "Ibong Mandaragit" who used education and mass strikes against the ruling class, with the former taken also as a weapon of struggle rather than reform just like Basilio and Isagani.

That somehow made activism and the use of direct action differ from the so-called "Idealists", self proclaimed with all its ideals ready made from books, and yet failed to understand reality and instead emphasising illusions, daydreams and describing it to others as "real." Isagani's idealism and fear of authority had become melancholia that had failed Simoun's and the peasant's quest by throwing the lamp what the jewelryman said "full of tears that can bring them freedom", and that tears filled in that lamp meant a bomb of his revolution! 

And all, after commemorating Andres Bonifacio's birth anniversary and this time anticipating Jose Rizal's anniversary of his demise, it is pretty much obvious for this writer to say that people, with all their ideas should be dealt with reality and not with mere fantasies such as those peddled by the profiteers of today; that everyone should get out of their rooms and their barren book-filled mindsets; as well as to see, judge, act alongside the masses. 
And these problems continue to creep, again all despite the government-sponsored propaganda of rising GNP and GDP rates. rising? Rising problems and failures, rather than opportunities and successes as evidenced by job mismatches for the graduates, rising costs of fees to be paid that resulted to dropouts from most students, of workers calling for accross the board wage increase and farmers for their land to till, these serious issues are far from the fantasies a modern Filipno tries to complain, such as hi-tech gadgets and other illusions peddled by today's exploiters.

Right was Dr. Edberto Malvar Villegas, economist and grandson of Katipunero Miguel Malvar, in regards to the neoliberal, market-pegged, consumerist education system, that all despite creating "Idealists" rather aggravates old tensions in the society, as he said:

"Neoliberalism as befitting its usefulness for the bourgeoisie has been given a development meaning in the line with the economic growrh of societies to the advantage of the capitalist nations, for instance, the theory in politics of Theda Skocpol and Peter evans of Harvard, of strong and weak states had been hyped-up by Capitalist-funded institutions and spread in Universities in order to orient states, particularly in the third world, including the Philippines, to the economic programs of the Trans National Companies (TNCs) to open wider their markets. (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's "Strong Republic" ws inspired by this theory.) Evans, for instance, lauds the so-called tigers of Asia, like South Korea and Japan, with their export-driven economies as examples of strong states.

Evans calls these states as "Developmental states" with their embedded autonomy or their capacity of mixing two contradictory features which is a western bureaucratic insulation with intense immersion in the surrounding social structure. (Evans, 1989: 561-587) It is to be noted that the theory if strong and weak states, sometimes referred to as the relative autonony of the state is just a revival of the "Idealist theory of the state" of the Liberal Georg Hegel of the 19th century. Hegel viewed the state as independent from civil society and thus could play an arbiter role in reconciling conflicting interests of different classes in society. Hegel takes the state as an abstract moral entity which must lead to a society to the realization of the "Absolute Reason". It thus could function as a savior of defective societies, if it only truly assumes its designated moral responsibility.

With the aggressive excursus of private corporations in the 1990s into the educational system, curricula of schools have been gradually patterened to the globalization programs of the monopoly capitalists. More and more schools the world over have given greater emphasis to the needs of capitalist buisness, emphasising vocational courses, recruiting grounds for rank and file workers in factories, in lower and middles schools and promoting research in universities for the profit goals of companies, e.g., research for high-breed plant varieties, which use fertilizers of capitalist firms, and situation studies to prove that an export-led economy is best for national development."

Development indeed. Development that end failed to meet the demands of the people. 

And since most people who had stucked in their delusions are indeed self-proclaiming to be idealistic just to carry on the task of becoming future professionals, then how come most had becoming cogwheels being exploited by the system? The statement made by Villegas also includes how that education of today, despite described modern by today's "idealistic" individuals had tolerated the creation of call centers instead of supporting major economic plans such as industrialization and agrarian reform? 
And since there is greater emphasis for vocational courses, how come it served for export than to be utilized for domestic based national development? Even research such as those of sciences, academically speaking it had been praised by those from the academe, but how come it doesn't been encouraged and developed by those who are praising? 
Again, the aggressiveness of the system in having virtually open markets had negated what students, youth, people had wanted; worse, opposing them, calling their ideas as "Passé" such as those of National Industrialization, and tolerating the profiteers in increasing costs of educating them. 

And knowing that the system had tolerated repression and treating people's aspirations as those of Potemkin villages and mere rhetoric, then it is justifiable to see real people coming out of those who looked at the inconvenient truths hiding beneath the sheet of illusions the system had peddled, again their education has to become a weapon for the people than a cogwheel of the system, just like Mando Plaridel and Simoun, that both of them had espoused education for all, but not primarily to pressure the rotten system for reforms most care to think of, but to dismantle it knowing how repressive than beneficial the system had done to its subjects.

Yes, and as long as centuries old crisis and repression continues to aggravate the sufferings of the people, then its the time that people should give up mere idealism that espouses the market centric stupidity had been prevailed for generations, and at the same time should look into the reality and hence destroy the stupidity that aggravates the past and present repression towards themselves and their communities; that theories came from books should be taken into practise based on realities.