The desire for a "true new society"
Sweet roses of the revolution
Your fragrance is in the land
You smell blood and ashes
You bloomed out of tears
You inspired Bonifacio's unfinished song
Now the youth hums to finish it
Youths have fallen in the night
'Cause your petals thirst for their blood in the morning
The rich are laughing in their penthouses
The poor are dying in their huts
The cold night bubbles with pop songs
The poor baby's cry is filtered in the air
The innocent cries behind prison bars
While the rich desecrate the laws of the land
The politicians bark: reformation
The youth cries: Revolution!
- Fedrico Pastibe Pobre
The fundamental historical change that has been idealised and promised through the ages has been likely deemed rhetorical if not a series of half-hearted, or even half-baked series of reforms and programs, much more likely a politics of personality than what they called as politics of principle.
Since the colonial era to present day, from the Barangays to the present governmental structure, from the Cabezas de Barangay and Gobernadorcillos to the town mayors and presidents of the "republic", same old personalistic orientations continue to thrive, although trying to temper with those of principle. However, the difference lies in its sense, its view: for the former tends to be collectivistic in character, yet eventually becoming individualistic as the established order tries to disintegrate collective power as it deemphasise in favour of unbridled individualism with emphasis on "just personal initiative". Good to hear about the emphasis, but it has becoming am alibi for the system to disregard its duties especially in dispensing justice, amidst promises catering to the common man. The system was democratic in form according to its fundamental laws and other related decrees, yet autocratic in its essence with all its interests emphasised.
And though wielded by a majority according to what people think of from elections to those of "people power", its political power remains wielded in the hands of the few, hence, likely to have popular aspirations be half-hearted especially those of a moral imperative to transform society in order to eradicate poverty, redistribute wealth, and genuinely achieve social justice. Worse, these few shrugging off the fundamental problem in favour of a just character revisiting with phrases like "man is the problem not the society", that personal ignorance is the issue and not the actually existing socioeconomic crisis that brought people into poverty such as those from Negros region decades ago with Landlords like Hortensia Starke asserting such belief in pursuit of opposing Agrarian Reform and its related provisions.
But regardless of what the few insisted as just, what everybody sees is that these few aggravates an age old problem hidden beneath state of the art entirety the society has offered. Age old in a sense that everybody saw farms depending on centuries-old agriculture and fisheries, worse, threatened by corporate farming and fishing thanks to landlords having titles, stocks, even positions in both civil and corporate affairs. And in that case for an example, justice has been diluted, negated, overturned in favour of interests with apologists asserting their so-called inherent rights that includes undermining the common good. Such assertions provoked protests that led to bloodshed in case of Escalante, Mendiola, Lupao, amd Hacienda Luisita wherein Land and Justice as its call, of what those aspirations if power remains under those of the "privileged" few as it was in the past?
Sometimes, it seems that the late Ninoy Aquino, via his Asiaweek article, was right to say that the Philippines is a frustrated individualistic society while its neighbours really cling to its communitarian traditions, or as what he says, command societies with roots on filial piety and strong leaders. The Philippines is supposed to be communitarian one given from its pre-Hispanic past and centuries-old traditions from the provinces. And in it, leaders like Marcos and his successors did tried to create a semblance of communitarian spirit, that the country of his was as similar to Franco's "Una, Grande, y Libre" with Marcos's own "One nation, One spirit"; that Ramos tried with his "Moral Recovery" and Noynoy Aquino with his "Righteous Path", but despite all the slogans, rhetoric, and state-spomsored frustrations, the prevailing colonial mindset that has tolerated for decades and the intentional miseducation by the system itself has really cultivated in the minds of the majority that somehow reduced that communitarian spirit to those shown to tourists while favouring a frustrated individualistic one benefiting the rich. Therefore, of what are those frustrations to bring back time old descriptions of the Filipino society if at the same time cultivating those of the repressive west?
|From a poster made by Cornelis Koekkoek|
Well, what people simply wanted is a governance, as well as a society that really fosters, cultivates a collective political culture: a communitarian oriented rather than populist, social rather than individualist, and national instead of depending on the dictates of other countries and its domestic stooges. It may deem idealistic due to its description and it requires seeking truth from facts and remolding for a true character, but to think that having a corrupt society really made its victims demanding such profound aspirations to have a free, social, then why not? Even the bureaucrats concerned desired and provide important remarks that no democracy can be authentic if it is the captive of the system, particularly of the oligarchs and international finance capital, whose interests are at cross purposes with those of the majority. That democracy has to deal with the aspirations of the people, therefore must evolve, develop, and refine into suitable to its clamour, of today's "national purpose."
After all, in a developing country, the state, via its "actually existing responsible" government, should be really acting, managing the historical process alongside the people. The revolution what people demanded is not just peace, land, and bread alone, but also to mitigate, if not eliminate poverty, social injustice, ignorance, and other socio-economic problems and at the same time the need to transform underdeveloped or developing communities into self sufficient, adequate communities whose material and spiritual wealth are woven to create a healthy living whole. That ideal future simply demands popular participation, especially when it comes to decisions that affects the lives of millions, of those who desire for land reform and full employment, of agricultural self sufficiency and self reliance in industry, of safeguarding national freedom and adhere to social justice. Of what is Lenin's decree on land, of Castro's agrarian reform if it is not approved by the people? Of what were the efforts of industrialising Korea and China if not the goal of asserting independence?
Those who trying to protect their interest tends to oppose it, worse, they have no alternatives to offer besides preserving the backward order of things in the guise of "individual initiative" and nothing else.
That somehow intensifies the situation, no wonder the social volcano continues to have its magma boil, that the revolt of the poor remains unfinished.