Sunday, 30 April 2017

Low Wages, Contractalisation, High prices of goods and services, why not make some noise against those?

Low Wages, 
High prices of goods and services, 
why not make some noise against those?

Notes after Labour Day

“…Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life”

- Pope Francis
"Laudato Si"

In this spirit of International Workers Day, greeting the workers is a must; for with all their hardships and struggles, celebrating that day means an honour for these toilers as they have contributed in the country's development with all their lives.

However, reality goes something like forgetting their contributions, or worse, maligning them because they are asserting their struggles be it for decent housing, a just and living wage, affordable prices of goods and services, an efficient and just governance, and a lasting peace based from justice; such issues, in spite of trying to be separated by authorities and vested interests, will always be tied with various national issues all knowing that these labouring folks are themselves part of a country: as taxpayers, as voters, as residents who afforded to take the hardest tasks of building, forging, tilling for the country.

And in speaking of taxpayers, these laborers are the ones who paid various taxes such as withholding tax, value added tax, and other dues while seeing price increases especially in commodities and services. These workers did contribute alot in the fields of manufacturing and service sectors while farmers did alot in agricultural work; but these are greatly affected by issues like contractualisation and low wages. Overseas Filipino Workers suffered greatly in low wages, unfair working conditions, and prejudices in spite of remitting money so as to stay the economy afloat.

For the ruling class, that kind of order benefits them thinking that in unfairness means efficiency to gain profits, that life as unjust and one has to "work hard" to keep in their proper place. Such nonsense, in the view of the laborers, makes them further justifiably oppose a their view which is totally based on the principles on globalisation, neoliberalism, what more of capitalism; and because of the inconvenient truths these laboring masses had to endure for years, is so permeated by social and economic ideals that these people will not accept, and rightly so, that society they are currently enduring: of low wages, expensive cost of living, reluctance to reforms, and maintaining an order based from injustice.
In fact, as according to news, thousands of workers and other protesters, including at least 8,000 in Western Visayas, will join Labor Day rallies to press for higher wages, job security and an end to labor contractualisation. The rallies will be held in Metro Manila and other areas like the cities of Bacolod, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Tacloban and Davao while the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) will host 54 job and business fairs throughout the country that offer more than 200,000 jobs.

And perhaps, these realities that created mobilisations hath showed that "progress" brought about by an unjust order is but an illusion if not a mere set of numbers that fail to reach everyone's stomachs. Last year, wages in Metro Manila remained 481.00 Pesos in spite of the government talking or even suggesting that 1000.00 Pesos as a daily living wage in order to have a decent living especially for a family of five members.

And unions like the yellow "Trade Union Congress of the Philippines" (TUCP) proposed an emergency P500 monthly cash subsidy for workers whose daily pay rate is below the 2015 government standard of P393 needed daily by a Filipino family of five to survive. That proposal will apply to all workers outside Metro Manila, where the daily minimum wage is P491. TUCP also plans to petition the regional wage boards to approve pay increases, including P157 across-the-board for workers in Metro Manila.
On the other hand, the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), together with the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (CORUAGE), is seeking for a national daily minimum wage of P750 for workers in the private sector and a monthly pay of P16,000 for government employees to bring the “current poverty wages closer to living standards" such as the suggested wage from the government itself.

It is also according to the government that the employment rate is at 94% also meant that the remaining 6% percent are still unemployed. Quite questionable knowing that 70% of these employed workers are contractual, temporary, irregular all because of an unjust policy such as contractualisation all in spite of promises to put an end to the scheme. The fairs brought about by the Labour Department may suffice but not resolve the issue on unemployment as long as acronyms like "ENDO" (shortcut for "End of Contract") continues to be heard by many. 

There are various schemes that affected workers badly than for the better. Neoliberalists and globalisation aderents alike insist that contractualisation and low wages meant employment and efficiency in most multi-million profiting companies, but for third world country that needs immediate support for the laboring masses, how come unjust policies has to be tolerated even by a populist-led administration? Such nonsense has made the word "change" still as an illusion to prevent people from taking action, knowing that the latter are tired of an unjust order with those from high profited from it. Price increases, low wages, anomalies in social housing, and failure to create sound programs such as related to social services has made everyone resort to protest. Even the concerned cabinet officials acknowledge that fact that even afforded to make debates with the president and its neoliberal-oriented officials all due to those unjust socioeconomic policies.

And in it makes the concerned thinks how people, especially laborers are already burdened with taxes, as well as irate over inefficiencies of the administration and its corrupt officials with all its sweetheart deals apologetics wanted to justify as such. With salaries frozen on depressed levels, and increased prices of goods and services, what more of policies that rather justifies repression towards laborers, then this is double or even triple whammy! After all, with all these situations also showed how third world countries like the Philippines has not redeemed from the clutches of neocolonialism and semifeudalism what more of bureaucrat capitalism; of oligarchs and corrupt bureaucrats who chose to make development "at a snail's pace" enough to keep much in their interests;
that somehow made a nation's patriotism closely leaning to the labouring masses equating national liberation with social justice; and as in the past wherein workers chanted "death to imperialism" and "increase in wages" as well as "social justice", will always be the same chant knowing that same old bullshits brought by a rotten, unjust social order desperately continues to dominate. It will always be an urgent need to tackle this matter, in which every ruling class tries not to deal, or even show it to those who truly concerned not for themselves, but for the country that is in need of immediate help.

That's all for now.

Day of Labour: Day of Struggle!

Day of Labour: Day of Struggle!

A message in commemoration of the International Workers Day

At first, this page sends solidarity greetings to the workers, peasants, and all the masses those exploited by their repressive orders around the world. This page also extend revolutionary greetings to all those in struggle, as well as to stand shoulder to shoulder in their resistance against war, repression, and injustice that affects every way of life under a present repressive order.

And in spite of recent advancements, this celebration is more than just remembering the struggles of the past, but to reaffirm that the struggle for a better world has to fight over. Notwithstanding the differences between the past and of present situations, events such as the Paris Commune, the 1917 October Revolution, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, even the 1896 Philippine revolution and other related struggles holds many valuable and fundamental lessons for the labouring masses, in its struggle to change society.

Speaking of those revolutions in the past, these actions are not driven by profound words, but by realities. Words like Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity is not enough compared to the realistic shouts of Peace, land, and Bread. The lessons of October continues as the present order remains mired in crisis economically, politically, and socially. The horrors of capitalism, neocolonialism, and semi-feudalism are to be seen every day in Asia, Africa and Latin America. And even in Europe, where capitalist-oriented austerity drives millions into deeper poverty and destitution, as can be seen by the continuing agony of the Greek people; and with events like BrExit shows, as well as signals the profound failure of the bosses’ "European Union".

Yet in spite of these truths, it continues to be denied if not misinterpreted with falsehoods thinking that these truths are detrimental to the interests elitists continue to keep about. In the Philippines, the recent occupation of abandoned housing sites by urban poor militants exposed the anomalies and mismanagement of housing projects, yet redescribed as anarchy and chaos by self-proclaimed "concerned groups"; while farmers, in spite of their approvals to take over contested farmlands like Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and Lapanday in Mindanao in the name of agrarian reform, continue to be harassed by the state and maligned by those whose views on agrarian reform be seen as too radical if not detrimental to the neoliberal form of development that is, tied to the interests of the few and not of the many. Worker-related issues like low wages and contractualisation continue to be fight against as they have long been united in their position that all forms of contractualization must end in contrast to the establishment's further institutionalization and legalization of contractual employment schemes through the Labor Department's "Order 168" which directly opposes workers’ position, as well as describing wage increases as detrimental to productivity according to several business groups like the "Chamber of Commerce and Industry"; so are other sectors affected by high prices of goods and services like tuition and other fees, and everyone who still felt the policies tied by imperialist interests like those from the United States, and the bloodthirsty exploits brought upon by its war dogs, creating victims on its path as in its past.

But in spite all of these truths, of these actually existing facts, the system continues to misinterpret the situation as chaotic, if not detrimental to their perception of their neoliberal-inspired progress, the way they think about wage increases, low prices of food and services, agrarian reform, industrialisation and efficient distribution of social services (health, education, housing) as against their views like "efficiency" and "productivity", which is actually profit-oriented, exploitative, repressive.

After all, as what Lenin said in his leaflet made in 1896:

"Comrades! Let us look carefully into the conditions of our life; let us observe that environment wherein we pass our days. What do we see? We work hard; we create unlimited wealth, gold and rich fabrics, brocade and velvet; we dig iron and coal from the bowels of the earth; we build machines, ships, castles, railways. All the wealth of the world is created by our hands, is obtained by our sweat and blood. And what reward do we receive for our hard labor? In justice we should live in fine houses, wear good clothing, and in any case not want for our daily bread. But we all know very well that our wages scarcely suffice for a bare existence. Our bosses lower the wage-rates, force us to work over-time, unjustly fine us. In a word, they oppress us in every way, and, in case of dissatisfaction on our part, they promptly discharge us. We time and time again discover that those to whom we turn for protection are friends and lackeys of our bosses. We, the workers are kept in ignorance, education is denied us, that we may not learn to struggle to improve our conditions. They hold us in bondage, discharge us on the slightest pretext, arrest and exile anyone offering resistance to oppression, forbid us to struggle. Ignorance and bondage — these are the means by which the capitalists and the Government, always at their service, keep us in subjection."

Sounds hardcore isn't it? But again, the lessons of the past revolts has still remain relevant no matter how modern the country is. In a so-called continuing past, the repression, disenfranchisement, exploitation, various sorts of injustices will create various forms of actions pointing against repressors and disenfranchisers. Numerous deaths due to struggle may happen from time to time, but more and more will come and take over the flag knowing that the struggle for a just world has ought to come, thinking that if progress is limited to economic progress as frequently babbled by neoliberalists and depicted as high rise skyscrapers, then it is meaningless; and that Progress should also affects the development of man and community, of life and its work, in order to bring the promised heaven in this wretched earth we all desire to make change.

Admittingly speaking, May 1, the International Workers Day, is more than a day to commemorate past struggles and honours, but a springtime of renewed hopes and struggles for a better world that has to come. 

And in it, everyone will admit that at first it is a difficult task. Sorry to say it but that difficult task requires togetherness, of blood, mind, and sinew in order to  In this may day, the day of the laborer, it is a duty to assert that desire not by work alone, both for development and against those who hinder. Be it the ones who stubbornly keep their interests, and those who are snobbish in those who purposely take actions in the name of social justice.

After all, when was the time making a societal change is not a difficult task? For sure everyone talks about "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity", but its nature has been diluted thanks to a system's hypocrisy to such profound ideals the way they treat "Mercy and Compassion" as a political rhetoric to impress potential voters. Let everyone notice that these words needs actions, that in its so-called ideals needs fulfillment as more and more people demand habitable homes, affordable food and clothes, just labor with real wages, and a just, lasting peace!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

"The desire to bring back the industrial sector"

"The desire to bring back the manufacturing sector"

(Or "Notes after Rafael Alunan Sr's message,
and the desire to revive national industry)

At first, this post may find its message "idealistic" especially in an era of modern gadgets and of service-oriented economy. But, in a still-developing society yet rich in natural resources, one of the most important and immediate concerns of the country is the need to revisit, revive, and reemphasise the manufacturing sector as one of the important foundations of the national industry.

For the fact that the country needs basic industries to utilise natural resources and relieve unemployment, the revival of the manufacturing sector also means to stabilise trade and practically to promote genuine domestic-based development in spite of its long overdue.

But in spite of criticisms, of disapprovals, of favouring unbridled free trade and exploitation of raw materials for exports, national industrialisation continues to be demanded by the concerned. Also to think that the country has enjoyed some of the benefits of most modern trade agreements, disregarding the manufacturing sector, what more of agriculture, is equal to an unjust domestic maldevelopment. The trade agreements everyone sees as "developmental" are the same agreements that is, exploitative than beneficial in its very nature, it is the same agreements that pushes people to unemployment due to low wages and system's failure to alleviate, while the countryside, in spite of being exploited for export, remains underdeveloped.
If these agreements means stability, is the actually existing maldevelopements in the country and others in the "third world" be redescribed as progress under 21st century trade-centred, multi/transnational finance-oriented capitalism?

Anyway, the drive to revive, rehabilitate, and seriously giving concern on both manufacturing and agricultural sectors of the society was and is more than a showcase of national pride in a way the first bars of steel has to be shown out in national television. It is a necessity to reemphasise production all to promote national development and also to recultivate honest labour as a national virtue. Efforts to create good quality import substitutes means meeting the demands of many to ensure their daily needs with affordable prices and to utilise responsibly the both the country's natural resources and labour power that is greatly needed to ensure the nation's well-being.

In a message made last November 4, 1942, Commissioner Rafael Alunan sr., representing agriculture and commerce during the Japanese occupation stated that:

"More and more, the production of essential commodities is being increased to replace finished products that had to be imported formerly. Among the goods now being turned out by factories to replace the old imports are cassava flour, corn flour, rice flour, in substitution for wheat flour; alcohol for motive power to replace gasoline; cleanser, toilet soap, canned goods, etc. 

The production of toilet soap has been expanded to an appreciable extent, and filter mats made of coir are being manufactured to be used by soap and lard factories in lieu of asbestos. Some 1,500 local factories operating in Manila and in nearby provinces are now engaged on the processing and manufacturing of goods for everyday use, such as flour, starch, soap, matches, preserved fish, chocolate, coffee, biscuits, and other foodstuffs, etc. This is an encouraging indication of the significant changes in the phases of Philippine industries."

The message seemed to be optimistic in spite of the wartime atmosphere wherein the emphasis was on stability and of survival; but, in seeing that kind of setting one would describe it as a chance to reemphasise domestic-based development through creating import substitutes and investing on domestic sciences.
It may sound strange to put a wartime message in this present-day setting, but reality goes something that way: the need to bring back, support, uplift, redevelop local industries to resolve unemployment, to utilise natural resources and domestic skill, and to create good quality products to ensure the needs of the people.

But that desire for domestic-based development is more than a set of papers and feelings, it requires action, the more assertions the more chances of changing existing policies to those that cater to the needs of many, especially the concerned sectors such as labor, peasant, and small scale businesses desiring for a sound economic policy that is, genuinely developmental, patriotic, scientific, and progressive.
And in it also means campaigns to stir production, rationalising industries, and improving the order of distribution; as well as to create more/maintain existing foundations to generate rural-and-urban based developments, of building cooperatives and protecting/improving small and medium scale businesses, all enough to accelerate the process of industrialisation that has to achieve.

And knowing that industrial revival is more than just a state responsibility, it is itself a social one especially if one desires a progressive country. It is the work of all whose concern for the country means a demand to break from present-day inequalities to a desire for a country capable to stand on its own feet leading to its path to its idealised progress and stability.
For as what Alunan said:

"On their shoulders rests the responsibility of complementing the work of the government in carrying out is industrial development program, and in building up a sound and stable economic foundation for the new Philippines."

Monday, 24 April 2017

"Culture and the New Philippines"

"Culture and the New Philippines"

By Bienvenido Maria S. Gonzalez
Former President, University of the Philippines

Issued at "Shin Seiki" (October 1942)


Appointed during the Commonwealth regime, Gonzalez was the youngest ever to be named president of the University of the Philippines (46 yrs old) and he was the very first alumnus to be so honored. In spite of initial opposition, and a course different from the others (an Agriculturist by profession), his term as president was characterized by his open attitude to students and faculty and the encouragement of the use of Tagalog as a national language.

He also encouraged the establishment of a UP College of Nursing. Along with Juan Nakpil, future National Artist, and UP Music Conservatory director Ramon Tapales, he conceived the UP Carillon in 1940.

However, upon the outbreak of World War II and the Japanese occupation, he resigned from his position rather than serve under the enemy. President Jose Laurel of the 2nd republic designated Antonio Sison as his successor.

After the war, Gonzalez eventually reinstated to his position as the University President. But that time, it has more to do with the difficulties of salvaging remains of the institution he cared and loved with. But he still persisted with his vision and succeeded in having the United States War Damage Commission pay P13 million for rehabilitation and construction; and it was also the same era when the University's main campus was moved to Diliman, which was proposed before the war and amidst opposition.

In this work shown below showed that the former UP President, despite his actual opposition to the occupation and its "sponsored republic", talks about the need of reforming the Filipino culture, citing Japan as its example. Here it goes:

Those who have had the opportunity of studying Philippine culture agree that we as a people, in a world characterised by cosmopolitanism, have attained a relatively high state of development along cultural lines. Our culture, however, which is a result of a happy union between native and foreign influences, suffers in one aspect.

Like all progressive peoples, we have deceived and profited by the adoption of cultural features from other countries, superimposing these to the substructure of preexisting native culture. However, we have, perhaps unavoidably, but undeniably to our detriment, neglected the study and understanding of the different types of culture of our neighbours of the far east. In this sense we, like the traveller who gazes with awe at the vistas presented by distant mountain ranges yet fails to see the grandeur of the scene in the valley just below him, have overlooked the rich culture that lies within our kin and in our own part of the globe. Our cultural development, therefore, has been one sided. Such a state of affairs is to be deplored when we consider that a people who claims to be genuinely cultured must open its eyes and face realities.

There are distinct advantages to be gained in the study of the development of other peoples. Such is the case particularly when the culture we are interested in is one that belongs to a people whose home is in the same section of the earth as ours and who spring from a similar racial stock because we are thus more likely to find features in it more adaptable to our needs and temperament. An illustration may serve to clarify my point: Fine Arts in the Philippines will profit greatly by a study of Japanese masterpieces, for in those works one may observe that a distinct beauty lies in Oriental senses which only require an adequate presentation in order to equal if not to surpass western models. The understanding of the culture of our neighbours is not only important- by the sheer indisputability of the existing fact of geographical propinquity- it is imperative.

Our present relations with Japan open an invaluable opportunity of studying a culture of which we have therefore had nothing more than a superficial acquaintance. As a people we have always prided ourselves in our ability to assimilate the best that extraneous influences have to offer- for our own uplift and advantage? It cannot be gain-said that Japanese culture has much to give us- if we would put the necessary effort to see what lies beneath the smooth, placid, attractive, and inviting surface. To do this would merely constitute the fulfillment of our duty as an enlightened nation to ourselves and to the world- for adaptation is necessary to growth and progress- and there were is no progress there not only follows stagnation, but eventual retrogression.

Conclusion (and its relevance in the 21st century)

It seemed to be obvious that those hard times be like every intellectual was trying to stimulate patriotic appeal especially in a times of chaos. But as for Gonzalez who was an anti-occupation and in his heart carrying the spirit of resistance, he may've not expressed throughout his anti-Japanese appeal, but instead channeling his innermost sentiment through appealing to the people about moral rejuvenation.

In citing Japan as an example of a "nation imbued with ideals/virtue", Gonzalez, like all others who looked at Japan's modernisation and at the same time rooted in its traditions, sought how the Japanese values much of its culture rather than giving it up altogether as it favours the unbridled consumerism of the west. The Philippines, during the prewar days tries to retain its inherent culture in spite of being barraged by its occupier's cultural policy with consumerism as its greatly emphasised.

And perhaps it continues to be relevant knowing that the present setting, whose culture remains to be occidentised and exploited by the social order meant to recultivate and cherish morals, fails to upheld in spite of numerous appeals for moral reformation.
And that moral reformation nowadays has to do with reviving Filipino consciousness amidst neoliberal/globalist trends, of both revisiting one's character and to remold. The fusion of both eastern and western ways seemed to be beneficial especially for a country such as the Philippines, but to disregard its roots, its heritage is tantamount to suicide, especially in an era wherein "to move on" is a catchy phrase.

Anyway, regardless of its controversial nature, the article at Shin Seiki reflects the sentiment of a patriot than of a typical collaborator. It appears to be pro-Japanese at first citing the idea of looking at the example of the far east, but his love for country is greatly emphasised and it has to be cultivated by each and everyone especially amidst the trial such as an enemy occupation.

The actual Japanese experience may had serve as an inspiration especially in regards to the issue of rethinking for one's self, but Gonzalez wanted something that was Filipino, given that its culture was and is, itself a melting-pot of both east and west and by moral reformation means reclaiming the Filipino identity, honor, and virtue. For on the first place, his patriotism, even during the prewar period, was marked by not just using the Filipino language as the language of learning, but also promoting Filipinisation in the sciences, arts, and culture. He recognises the Filipino's adaptability to other cultures, as well as the Filipino culture as a fusion of both oriental and occidental sensibilities, yet at the same time criticises it because of it's effects.

Friday, 14 April 2017

"And the word made flesh (and dwellth amongst us)"

"And the word made flesh (and dwellth amongst us)"

At first, one teacher said that about the time of Jesus Christ's death to a very specific point in history: and it was around 3:00 in the afternoon, Friday, April 3, A.D. 33.

For the love of the oppressed and of the poor, the son of god hath joined if not led all faithful and revolutionary martyrs who sacrificed their lives fighting for righteousness as well as on behalf of the poor who desired for justice.

It may sound too political, but given the nature of Christ's suffering to his crucifixion, his death means a lesson to those who be trying to subvert an unjust order all because of proclaiming the good news of salvation.

And that salvation is both of the body and of the soul, of remolding character and of emancipating the community from its disorder.

And because of his commitment to bring the message he was suffered and died not to save mankind from sin and the torments of hell, but also to show people ultimately that defending, serving, fighting, sacrificing on behalf of the poor and of dispossessed means embracing humiliation, pain, and death.

For on the first place, he was the same Christ who teaches the children, healed the sick, fed the hungry, console the desperate. But he was the same Christ who expelled the moneylenders and of the vendors in the temple whom he called as his father's house.

And thus with his actions, be it good in the eyes of his people and bad in the eyes of the order, made him face and accept suffering and death. Ironically, his death, the crucifixion itself was a sacrifice with himself taking place of the lamb. But that sacrifice was less religious in the eyes of the order but rather a punishment for taking the side of the poor, for interpreting the law as different from the Pharisees and of the scribes, what more of seeing his acts as subversive in nature.

Sounds political isn't it? After all, his message of salvation was and is a political act that speaks about what humanity needs: nourishing the body as well as the soul.
And in it perhaps, it is the duty of the faithful to support what is spiritual with material especially if that is to support that is right, just, and moral. It may sound ambitiously ideal but ever since people be told that "kingdom of God is in them", then why not fulfill it? Faith, Hope, and Charity also paved way to the aspirations of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity; strange but for sure everyone wanted a virtuous life both man and his society.
For like any other scripture, be it the law or the sayings of the prophets, the desire for a better world is more than just an aspiration nor a desire: but a call for its realisation.

Come to think of this: Christ died on the cross, for he imparted the desire that is more than the redemption of the body, but of the spirit; and as for the faithful, and seeing the inconvenient reality, then it is the duty of the faithful not just to redeem the soul, but of the body from repression.

And that body is more than just the flesh, but of the community that is, to be liberated and be given hope.

And Christ, the word made flesh, has continued to dwellth amongst us. The martyrs followed what Christ did: by spreading the message of salvation and living amongst the people.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

My country! My people! Why are you forsaken me?!?

My country! My people! Why are you forsaken me?!?

From "Manila Today"

This may be the words of most people nowadays. For as time goes by, and everyone has seen all the inconvenient realities of poverty, repression, and various forms of social injustices, coupled by recent news reports of extra judicial killings, corruption charge, and narcopolitics, isn't it relevant that this third world country whp yearned for hope is been forsaken for so long by a system that supposed to be uplifting?

Yes, for as everyone reads about the news or rather say see the headlines amd afforded to share its post or comment in it, they would say that the country they supposed to love and to cherish is itself forsaken all because of the inconvenient realities that hinders a nation from its supposed path.

And like Jesus Christ who was suffered and died fom the cross, these people, the long suffering average Juan, Maria, and Jose who has endured all the poverty, pain, and negligence, asks everyone especially those who swore to give concern: my country, my people, why are you forsaken me?!?

From Tudla pproductions
The message may sound aloud and even strikes through everyone's heart, but obviously, most people who afforded to listen on that christ-like message does not care about it if not treating with scorn. Some would even assuming to be moralist telling that they are disobeying the law, and others be like entirely apathetic as they "move on" as if nothing happened with all their lives. The society that supposedly as Christ-like, assuming to be as righteous as the others has gone hedonistic with a smattering of knowing for law, but less of understanding right and of justice.

Worse, they afforded to be assuming as Christian as most Christians with all the pomp with its rituals, of fame-based "charity" or anything just to appear as holy as they babble something moralistic and assuming they are just and imbued with faith, but, where were they on the times people yearn not just help but for justice? Again, their ears are shut if not afforded to listen and be replied with scorn.

In a situation such as these inconvenient realities, it is the duty of the concerned to bring the gospel of struggle to each and everyone, to open eyes and minds and join in a quest for taking back justice and bring hope in a forsaken country riddled with bullets and various forms of hopelessness. Why to remain apathetic in these kinds of truths while assuming to be as Christ-like as the others especially this lent? Perhaps a message from Bishop Socrates Villegas sounds relevant nowadays:

 "Fasting is good, but without malasakit (concern) for others, it is nothing. Prayer is good, but without remembering others and laying aside personal comfort, it is just an ego trip. Helping the poor and giving alms are good, but if you do it for show or to get a “feel good” reward later, it is just a noisy bell."

So is Gerardo Lanuza, as he said:

"Because we misunderstood Jesus as a mere spiritual leader who promised salvation in the next life, we have killed Christianity. As Nietzsche says: "the word 'Christianity' is already a misunderstanding - in reality there has only been one Christian - and he died on the cross. The evangel died on the cross."

The evangel is about loving the world, not escaping it into a spiritual world."

Yes. Loving the world, loving by helping people struggling against the tide; loving the world by going beyond the parameters to realise hopes; loving the world by putting an end to an eternal infamy.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Bringing back National pride with Class consciousness

Bringing back National pride with Class consciousness

Every nation has its own identity, and every identity must have been imbues with a unique feature that classified as its own. And that feature is National pride.

However, that pride comes from a profound sense of National consciousness, that likely to have conquered and survived in a hostile environment set upon to us by nature and fate. And though this, it survived the wave of time, though progressive means and through the acceptance of what the person is, to uplift and to reach what is supposed to. Unlike those whom accept-only to become extinct or in the verge of destruction.
National pride, in this person's view does not mean superiority as what other people used to think of but rather as consciousness as a part of a nation, a recognition since that one has uphold its tradition, faith, and honour to the land; and thus, to serve the aspirations of the people, both local or from its foreign brethren.

However, in a country wherein repression and disenfranchisement has been rampant for generations from both foreign masters and its domestic stooges, of maldevelopment and social injustice towards the labouring class, comes consciousness that is, proletarian. Proletarian in a sense that the country's majority are those coming from the ill-paid laborers, the unjustly-shared peasantry, the debt-stricken lower petitbourgeoisie, these masses, repressed by a semifeudal-semicolonial order has yearned to resolve internal as well as external class struggle, being one of the proletarian "third world" nations surrounded by the developed nations of the first world.

Sounds radical isn't it? Perhaps in this person's observation, in a reality wherein semifeudal-semicolonial repression has made National consciousness includes class consciousness, as means to liberate both as a nation and from its class.

For sure one would think “why a nation have achieve independence and yet the system remains as it is in its colonial past?” some may attained progression and perhaps even further, but third world nations be like much repressive as in its colonial days, with its once colonial masters be like indirectly ruling over. Domestic despots may have intensified further internal repression and injustice as in the past, enough to justify the need for national liberation even more.
And from these unsung masses, along with their leaders whom used to get killed for their beliefs, gave inspiration to the coming generations on why they wanted “freedom”. And contrary to an established view, that Freedom doesn’t mean “freedom as a nation” but also “freedom” from its class as they build a just society, through national consciousness, merit, and of hope towards one another.

And in it Filipinos can be classified as an example of this. After centuries of subjection by its coloniser and its domestic stooge, of their efforts to degrade and enslave the inhabitants, Filipinos, especially those of the oppressed masses in both urban and rural areas tried and failed but their heart of being a “free” man and its identity as a “Filipino” prevail (for before "Filipino" was meant to be the Spanish Insulare as well as a privileged principalia loyal to the Spanish crown), and so its class consciousness as a working class, be it a laborer or a farmer. Also to think that in spite of hardships given, their deaths or banishments, still their identity and their hope remain as they continue fighting, knowing that their desire for a just society has to realise.

And even today it continues to carry over. Knowing that in spite of being independent, or what the others called as “sham” independence, the remnants of the old system prevailed, and so are the classes. Being a semi-feudal, semi-colonial country always carries a large strain of this rotten system in which weakens the nation and makes further vulnerable to foreign and domestic oppression.
The struggle to destroy the old order remained still as in the past, for as the oppressed, imbued with hope and faith as a part of the nation, as makers of history wanted to destroy every piece in order to set a new society under them, as what Karl Marx said a “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” must have take place of the old. Also to think that a third world nation nearly lost its identity because of that rotten system prevailing, with all its occidentosis becoming the culture itself, then it is the duty of the aware to revive national consciousness that is, based from the aspirations of the people than those of the ruling order. After all, of what is independence if the ones who rule still clings to its colonial master? It makes independence "sham" than true.

For sure one would notice that National pride seemed to be but a façade, a cosmetic in a face a puppet state. Through meaningless slogans to the "fashionalistic" sentiments that carried little or no patriotism, I really think that Nationalism as of now becomes worth nothing-especially to nations wherein opened much to free trade and lessening its patriotic, working class appeal to accumulate more foreign aid and support-in other words, sacrificing its own dignity for a few bucks.

Imagine, everyone has encountered the mercenary traditions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the curtailment of civil rights and freedom of thought especially amongst activists and other progressive leaning persons who advocate genuine national pride and class consciousness, of several scandals wherein corrupts the country and of life itself, and even the "rise" of false "patriots" who are in fact mere puppets of a foreign oppressor, who utilizes a "washed-out" patriotism and blaming the genuine patriots who supported a dignified state and a progressive community of peoples imbued with patriotic sentiment and of class consciousness as members of the working class.

Noticing about these facts, it seems that "a need for genuine national pride through working class patriotism" is encouraged as a means to counter the growing effects of wholesale westernization, of globalization also encouraged by vested western interests, as well as of bourgeois-chauvinist "nationalism" that is limited to buying goods and watching boxing matches and of the like, including those of its own contemporary culture which in fact emulates too much from the west. Sorry for the words but to see such occidentosis would say that is there any patriotism left? The so-called "Pinoy pride" of the present is a mere aesthetic as everyone has their minds embedded with those of the west and its materialistic illusions.
But in spite of all the façade of "pride", the laboring class has still demands peace, land, bread, and justice knowing that the country known for that "pride" is still backward thanks to an unjust order that makes a nation "proletarian" as any third world nation.
People somehow may ought to understand the fact in order to break off ties from it, it needs modern-day Bonifacios not Aguinaldos, of needing De Los Reyeses, of Evangelistas not those of collaborationists a la Paterno, Roxas, and others including those who bannered buying Filipino goods yet kissing the shoes of the imperialist.

Patriots of the working class type, true to its idea that they wanted a real, dignified homeland within the international community of peoples, also wanted to realize what the late Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's statement:

"In the past we had no fatherland, nor could we had one. But now that we have overthrown capitalism and power is in our hand, in the hands of the people, we have a fatherland, and we will uphold its independence. Do you want our socialist fatherland to be beaten and to lose its independence? If you don't want this, you must put an end to its backwardness in the shortest time and develop a genuine Bolshevik tempo in building up its socialist economy. There is no other way... "

And in it somehow it is true for as workers of every nations, living in a nation in fact a nation of profiteers wanted genuine national pride, but this time imbued with class consciousness to counter, destroy the age-old chauvinist "nationalistic" appeal of the profiteers and of the like, as well as to build a real homeland wherein it genuinely uphold its independence whilst cooperating with all nations in building a community of peoples: just, peaceful, prosperous.
Due to the fact that nationalism, in a proletarian sense, is more national than those from the ruling class, of the present system itself, since they (the proletariat) have showed its real contribution to the country; however they remained poor since their fruits of hard work are destined to those whom are greed in nature.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Seeing culture ruined as demolished old edifices

Seeing culture ruined as demolished old edifices

All thanks to exploiters guised as architecture and art appreciators
and an apathetic government that tolerates numerous demolitions

At first, this person is ought to say that being politically cultural makes one strange, and in making writeups covering both political and cultural matters, he sees the reality on how politics and culture are interconnected (or is it interdependent? Anyway, whatever.), especially those that affect people's lives, heritage, identity.

It may sound strange given its idealistic nature of connecting politics and the arts if not insisting that politics and culture has to be treated as separate entities; but, to think that the motive in making something as "for the people" or "for the country" with all its "nation building aspect", then why to deprive that art or any cultural act of its political significance? 
Perhaps it boils down  to the ages-old debate between art for the people vs. Art for art's sake. Of art as a political tool to enlighten vs. Art as a commercial product meant to sell. Such debates makes one notice what is the standard in which every art has to be observed: Is it its meaning? Its appeal to the people? Its saleability? Its profitability?
Ideally they would say all of it are standards that has to be observed, but reality shows that the debate continues if not trying to be mellowed by the current setting such as the present system taking advantage of art for their interests- of depoliticising art in order for marketability to take its place in spite of its political appeal as the picture of Ernesto Guevara in a T-shirt.

But still, that depoliticisation and marketisation of lives, communities, and cultures requires politics. In a reality wherein the market replaced the civic space, and government officials disregard order in favour of unbridled capitalism to take over community life, the process of depolitisation and marketisation involves state approval, all in the pretense of "economic" or even "cultural development" as the billboards hanging on walls and rooftops.

And one classical example is the typical building of a shopping mall that shaped the lives of those within the community. There it replaced the park, it even replaced the public market, almost even the church and the school as the shopping mall provided them the "needs" ranging from clothes to gadgets. See nothing strange though but as time goes by it turns out madly as more malls replacing what makes a community having its identity, again all thanks to a system that caters to interests, and frankly speaking, having a politicised and empowered populace means hindrance to their conception of development; hence, it has to destroy heritage ranging from equating keeping heritage to spending to those of describing old houses to ugliness so as to favour the consumerist kind of future.

Therefore, it is deemed "culturally political" if not "politically cultural". The demolishing a cultural edifice is a political act, so is building a mall in to take place of that antiquated edifice that has been fallen through the wrecking ball. Old communities has to be replaced with new ones with the blessing of the state, whose systemisation of sorts, whose perspective is commercialism has affected districts whose history is as embedded in its timeless edifices and well crafted structures.

And now in seeing demolished edifices like the old Philippine National bank at Escolta, and still facing demolition threats in case of PhilBanking and Veterans Bank buildings in Bonifacio Drive, this person sees that all after seeing Santa Ana Park or San Lazaro Hippodrome reduced into mere memories, will they demolish more out of commercial interests in the guise of "consumer taste" while ironically seeing the other setting up art fairs brought about by commercialists? Ayala is known for their "heritage" yet they demolish Santa Ana Park; Henry Sy's "Shoe Mart" has its own "Kultura Filipino" yet it had demolished decades-old San Lazaro Hippodrome for his mall. The irony is this: these people even yearn to imitate London or Paris whose heritage remains as rooted for years, while  in this goddamn Metro Manila and the Philippines has care little to nothing about its surrounding, unless it is worth profitable as any other expensively-priced project.

But in spite of all these ruins and threats over old yet culturally sound edifices, there are still concerned architects and other heritage experts still expressed condemnation such as after the demolition of the iconic Philippine National Bank (PNB) building on Escolta street, dismissing Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada’s claim that it had to be torn down for being structurally "unsound";
Worse, to see those who "afforded to appreciate art" are the ones who use art as means to deflect from the truth such as poverty, the same entity who miseducate the common man with illusions, of canned "culture" devoid of substance, of value. When was the time they truly encourage artistry? No wonder Alcazaren stated that there will be new developments, as in commcercialised developments meant to replace a remarkable building; and in it might compromise the functional capacity of Manila’s Binondo district:

“The city, which owns the building and the lot, will probably sell it to the highest bidder; most probably a condo developer...This company would then maximize the opportunity by building a tower much taller than the PNB.”

Furthermore, Alcazaren said: “This will add yet another skyscraper in a district already unable to support such a high density [of tall buildings] because of inadequate transport, power, drainage, and sewage-treatment infrastructure,”.

But all in all, it's about commercialism versus culture, of profit versus heritage. Ironically, even capitalists themselves afforded to have a "joyride" on the idea of heritage only to distort it. Remember the Pre-War Admiral Apartments that end demolished and created an architectural kitsch in place of it? Remember the attempts to demolish El Hogar Filipino and creating an alibi such as building a tower to take place of it using the same feature? Or the Ayalas who, again afforded to claim themselves as preservers of heritage hath demolished an Art Deco like Sta. Ana Park in order for their Circuit Makati to take place?

It's easier to say "move on" after all these nonsense, be it it will always be culturally political knowing that with these truths why should it be deprived of its political value? Perhaps as sense of history and heritage has been replaced with whining and ceaseless wandering, the nuch obviously laid bullshits like having a country replacing the agora with the shopping centre makes one say that the current state of things, in spite of parroting various messages people easily to believe, seriously believes in nothing except interests, worse, not even in itself.