Wednesday, 30 August 2017

"Ramblings after watching a Law school-themed movie"

"Ramblings after watching a Law school-themed movie"

(or Notes after watching Kip Oebanda's "Barboys")

At first, this person is ought to say that the movie he watched yesterday is more than just a recollection of every lawyer, but of every professional. And thank "God" that in spite of having things to done at work there's a time to watch it before its too late.

At first glance, Barboys looks like your usual school/college-themed movie, for in every scene depicted, the movie, in spite of being made by an independent producer, is somehow like any other campus-themed movies both from the 80s and 90s: of "Burgis", "18 Going Steady", "Bagets", "When I Fall in Love", to "Mangarap Ka".  And within it also features a somewhat  redux of both Brockan and Gosiengfiaoesque twists with serious tones embedded in hints of a melodrama.

Paraphrasing Vic Teano's review, Barboys tells the story of three men, who usually meet for late night computer games and macho talks, end struggled to finish their degree in Law. It was meant to be four, only that one of them (played by Kean Cipriano) end failed, choosing to gave up and settled on modeling.

The remaining three seriously pursued their desire to become lawyers, and their desire to finish law school (and eventually becoming lawyers) was carried by different motivations: Toran (played by Rocco Nacino), known for describing himself as a "lion", was seen by his family members as their "hope"; while Christian (played by Enzo Pineda), known for his Bourgeois upbringings, wanted to study in the Philippines and to show his domineering Father that he's different from him in pursuing a path; and Erik (played by Carlo Aquino), who was a poor but deserving student supported by his parents in taking Law, also out of a better future like Toran.

As described by yours truly, every scene from the movie seemed to be Brockan or Gosiengfiaoesque as it features bourgeois lifestyles  peppered with proletarian hardships. In the case of Erik Matti, a film director, he described the film as "nostalgic and sentimental" as he reminded him of Maryo J. de los Reyes' "Bagets" and Jake Tordesillas's "High School Circa '65"; with scenes that somewhat supposed to be done in the past. And from those scenes there studying habits, joining in a fraternity, relationship struggles, financial matters, terror professors, and various forms of sacrifices hath been the issues that both hinders and strengthens the friendship of three (or four) men; and still end succeeded in their fields as lawyers (and a model).

And because of that, this person, like others concerned who afforded to watch that movie found it approvingly good and therefore suggesting everyone to watch it; better if to repeat it all over again, watching that movie and internalise, reflect, and rethink about the times, as these once students also felt how hard taking a desired course be it Law, Medicine, or Engineering, only to realise its worth. After all, according to its intro, it was based from a recollection of some once-law students who took, passed, flunked, and struggled to retake and pass just to become members of the bar.


For Karen Testibia (the assistant Producer) and Isagani Tan Jr. (The Barboy himse)

Monday, 28 August 2017

"When elevator music appeases us."

"When elevator music appeases us."

(notes after a feud between Vapourwave and Fashwave)

That kind of music has no lyrics, and only tunes or ad-libs sneering everyone through the ears. But the title invokes something enough to curious about.

Created from synthesisers, using various samples, it created a sound like any other heavily edited synth tunes, but the difference lies in its creators who actually used music to culture jam the present decadence the world has ever encountered; and be described as an undercooked, nap-inducing mid/down-tempo kind of synth/electronic music, with producers like Macintosh Plus and Saint Pepsi (now Skylar Spence) warping muzak, smooth jazz, and dated adult contemporary into airless, warbling soundscapes.

And these being played in most music sites such as Soundcloud or Youtube and shared in social media sites such as Facebook.

And according to its creators, Vapourwave was described as a "progressive-leaning genre" that seemed to satirize consumer culture. "I always assumed it was transparent through my work that I leaned left," according to Ramona Xavier, the woman behind Macintosh Plus.

Fashwave: soundtracking the Alt-Right

However, in spite of its anti-consumerist and even anti-system nature, the Left-wing oriented Vapourwave has its counterpart, this time carried over by the right who happened to be "taking" interest in the elevator music scene, that according to its creators and adherents:

"The National Socialists who lived in the time of Hitler were big fans of Richard Wagner," one wrote. "But in modern times, it is appropriate for us to turn to modern music."

Electronic Wagner indeed, although it even fails at that, lacking the controversial composer’s musicianship, bravado, and decades spent honing the craft he's well-known for. Also to think that kind of "modern electronic Wagner" carries the irony that the modern music being played may likely consider to be “African rhythms,” hence, frown to as “degenerate” in favour of military marches and to some extent, bands playing Punk, Oi, and Black Metal.

But the latter three, also the irony, are also influenced by "African rhythms" as well; with some of these musicians having anti-Nazi themes in it in case of Dead Kennedys.

But Fashwave adherents cling to the view that theirs is different from the dancey mood of "Electronic Dance Music" nor the anti-consumerist mockery of Vapourwave. Fashwave tends to be ambient, past-like, computer game-ish with all its synth unleashes its melodies. It tries to romanticise the 80s past such as a soundtrack to a vintage buddy cop movie- but instead of a white cop with a black henchman, both cops are white and "neither believes in the Holocaust".

Last August 2016, from a writeup titled “The Official Soundtrack of the Alt-Right,” Andrew Anglin, the founder of the Daily Stormer, described the genre as:

“the spirit of the childhoods of millennials” and “the sound of … our revolution.”,

And it also “fits perfectly with the ironic vibes of the movement”, also according to Anglin via BuzzFeed News.

Like its left-wing counterpart, Fashwave continues to be known amongst alt-right adherents, becoming its signature sound all in spite of its criticism by many as "trying to appropriate a post-apocalyptic mall/elevator music". That besides attracting the "right" as well as trying to appeal contemporary listeners, it frankly wants to infiltrate and remake popular culture the way its rival did in satirising present day consumerism.

The response from the Left

As the right hath appropriated vapour/synth wave to its own benefit, the left's response is rather: opposing. Last February 2016, a website called Rave News reported that leading vaporwave producers were gathering in Montreal for an emergency summit to discuss "creeping fascism" in the scene.
According to the article, it stated that Brooklyn’s DJ Karoda Night organized the event to help fight back against the creeping fascism that is slowly overtaking the Vaporwave scene:

“It’s getting a little ridiculous,” says Karoda. “Vaporwave has a good chance of becoming the future of techno, but not if we let fascists co-opt the genre.”

Besides Karoda, Ariel Honganswarth also expressed opposition on how right-wingers coopted the use of vapourwave for their cause:

“I want you to imagine pouring your heart in soul into creating something, like a painting or a statue...Now imagine if half the people who show up to appreciate your art have little red swastika bands on their arms and tiny Hitler moustaches on their face. That’s what’s happening to Vaporwave right now. It’s terrible. We don’t want fascists to listen to our music. Most of our tracks don’t even have lyrics, and the ones that do are aren’t singing the praises of National Socialism. There is no bloody reason for fascists to like Vaporwave over dubstep or psytrance or happy goddamn hardcore. But we’re the community that gets stuck with nazis. What the hell.”

Also according to the article that Hogansworth saidth that it’s impossible to stop people from listening to her music, but she’s going to work hard to ensure that Vapourwave doesn’t become associated with it’s less savoury fans:

“I’m going to be releasing an entire album of Antifa vaporware tracks. Nazis can fuck off.”

And because of that, a rivalry between the left and right has going on, ranging from music to art, the battle over the scene hath been discussed over social media be it on Facebook or in Reddit. One right wing commentator, Thomas Cirnowitz, justified the appropriation of vapourwave for their cause, as he said:

"The reason we like vaporwave so much, is because it sounds good. It's aesthetically pleasing, and meant to be objectively beautiful and does this using machines that are able to replicate any sound on the audio spectrum. If classical composers of ages past were alive today, most of them would probably end up making some sort of electronic music, because they used the best instruments that where available to them at the time, which for them involved violins and drums, in modern times we have computers. 

The National Socialists who lived in the time of Hitler were big fans of Richard Wagner, but in modern times, it is appropriate for us to turn to modern music. There are very few forms of modern music that do not promote hedonism and the degeneration of the civilized world, we have the major recording studios to thank for this. The only kind of music that a self respecting National Socialist can listen to with a clear conscience, is music that is made by independent musicians who are not signed to major record labels. Also, music that does not have any lyrics, is free or political pandering and cannot be objectionable on that front.

But anyways, if some of these artists are going to be such douchebags about it, I'll have no qualms about pirating their music and enjoying it anyway. I don't want to risk them getting any ad revenue from youtube.

The only way to get National Socialists to not like your music, is to stop making good music."

Indeed, but as what Karoda said:

“I don’t want to help enable their hatred. Music should be about bringing people together, not about establishing a 4th Reich under God Emperor Trump, lord of the Americas, or whatever the fuck it is that fascists are trying to do.”

Furthermore, Vice has described vaporwave as “chillwave for Marxists”, “post-elevator music”, and “corporate smooth jazz Windows 95 pop”, while Esquire said the genre was born of a “cynicism about capitalism”. Another outlet described it as “a dystopian critique of capitalism”, and a leading figure in vaporwave believes “it’s anticapitalist and antiglobalist”. A 2012 article by the musicologist Danny Harper went even further, suggesting a link with Marxism; “The name ‘vaporwave’ is reminiscent of a famous passage from Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto, ‘all that is solid melts into air’, referring to the constant change society is subjected to under bourgeois capitalism”. It is hard to tell if these are fair and accurate summations or simply the projections of a liberal milieu whose job is to find sociological meaning in the latest fad.

Strange isn't it? But true.


As expected, the tune war is going on between the left and right. Over a music that is heavily edited with distortions and samplings, it has been an interesting topic that even this person afforded to read its articles and listening to its samples. For the Left, it represented criticism against capitalism and its injustices; while on the Right, it represented its stand for racial purity and unleashed capitalism. But both entities have warped themselves (or in case of Anglin, their souls) to the tunes being played and to the presentations being shown: representing an alternative future cherished about.

Also come to think of this: that these electronic tunes are a continuation of earlier experiments in music, part of invoking a future different from theirs. Or in case of the Italian Futurists, glorified speed and efficiency as well as the violence of heavy industry and war. And artists like CYBERN∆ZI, in its email to THUMP, claimed that futurism as its predecessor, being ditched itself to Italian fascism.
However, that Futurism was also appreciated by the Russians. It had been one of the staples for Agitprop and Proletkult during the earlier years of the Soviet Union, and artists like Vladimir Mayakovsky attests to their craft.

For a writer (who is also a listener of both tunes and finds it "good), these are elevator tunes that invoked an appeal, and most of which are reappropriated and became different, turning dancable tunes into weapons of mass mobilisation against the current situation. It is indeed admitting that the tune quite interesting such as "CYBERN∆ZI"'s "Take Back out Future" creating a sense of ContemporAntiquity whilst traversing the streets of Ortigas. There are those who didn't think that most vapourwave tunes as intentionally political, but to some extent that the source material and imagery used attach certain (unintentional) political undertones to both art and music.

And whereas there are those who appropriated synthwave and vaporwave and stamped it with a swastika, there are also those continue using both Synth and vapourwave as a musical tool pointing against both capitalism and its injustices. The music of 帰宅します, Amado is one example for that.

But all in all, the music, with its sonically inoffensive, largely lyric-free instrumentals brought about by remixes and distortions, is trying to have mainstream appeal. By the way, here's a  vapourwave playlist from  帰宅します, Amado, enjoy!

Friday, 25 August 2017

Is Duterte accelerating the entire situation?

Is Duterte accelerating the entire situation?

Notes on the recent events surrounding the Duterte administration
(and how people deal with this matter)

It seems that the tough-taking, popularly-elected Filipino president invoked too much about the idea of an authoritarian rule, that ever since he entered Malacanang, he wanted to make his anti-drug campaign, no matter how bloody it goes, become nationwide in scale.

That based on reports, More than 7,000 people were killed in the “war on drugs” in the first six months after he took office; and according to interior police statistics, many of them innocent bystanders or children earning money as low-level drug runners.

That report prevailed over those of system-sponsored programs that rather benefited interests of the few. It is even intensified with the booting out of few but really concerned members of the cabinet like Gina Lopez for the Environment and Natural Resources, followed by Social Welfare and Developement Secretary Taguiwalo. Others, like Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, is awaiting either for confirmation or like his fellow colleague- be rejected and replaced either by Duterte's closest ally, or a retired general that makes the administration itself an "auto-coup".

Such settings makes one would think that alongside the killings, is the booting out of those who truly adhere yet aware of the situation, what more of having threats that surrounds the country as a whole- be it from Maute, China, or from the system itself.

And that matter is intensified by the recent event, such as an execution-style killing of a 17-year old boy who was falsely accused of being a drug-runner, that was turned out to be innocent one according to a CCTV camera video.
And like all others, quite controversial as any other incident under the present administration; also like any other incident, it had to be "planted" with an evidence "enough" to justify an act. But the CCTV camera tells otherwise that Kian was "executed" and "planted" with an evidence afterwards. Many commentators in social media question the incident that in turn question the entire drug war itself; however, fanatics rather continue accusing the dead simply for being a drug-runner, if not subjectively telling that "he was outside" and being outside meant subjected to the order of battle!

Strange to hear those reports, comments, and countercomments that turned social media into a venue for mudslinging, saber-rattling, even threat provoking. And to think that with those public “drug watch lists,” are rather prepared by local officials on the basis of hearsay, rumors, and even personal grudges. And all in spite of clamours for justice, the actually-existing reality that surrounds everyone be like seeing apologists urging people to "move on", "disregard", and leaving the matter to the authorities, or worse, bluntly telling that:

"Since he/she is of no use anymore, there is no gain if he/she lives and no loss if he dies"...

Or worse, justifying the entire killing spree, no matter there is a collateral damage, as necessary-a lesser evil.

These reactions somehow reflected the administration's less interest in dealing with the problems surrounding mistaken identities and innocents affected by every police operation. Subjectively, most victims are poor and hence susceptible to crime and hence, punishment; even Human Rights enforcers, paralegals alike are even threatened simply because of disturbing that brand of justice the administration trying to impose.

Strange but to a country that adheres to statements like "Rule of Law" and "Liberty and Justice for All" the fanatic rather banners it; and since they are fond of a Republic of Virtue that is to be watered with blood, they have voted a strongman, and glorify the entire killing spree out of that "virtue", as if willing to sacrifice almost half of the population than keeping the nation in a state of mess. They interpret every killing as if a "catharsis", justifying it by comparing that collateral damage and those of increasing crime rates.

If that's the case, is this the change they expressed about? Or a consolidation of the status quo starting with its enforcer with the title of "president of the republic"? They have booted out the concerned, threatened to flatten the mountains, killing those who stand on its way- of those wanting to take back the future from those exploiting it.

Anyways, that reality be like trying to be beyond good and evil as long as it is virtuous in the eyes of the system and its fanatics. They have sidelined the concerned ones from the cabinet, threatened the countryside with bombings, continuing unjust policies, what else? Is this the change the present administration afforded to proclaim?

Or will the people, in seeing these bullshits, is willing to take back their future against those who assume as such?

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Empowering the many or Retaining the few? the battle for domestic-based development in the age of globalisation-neoliberalism

Empowering the many or Retaining the few? 

The battle for domestic-based development 
in the age of globalisation-neoliberalism

"The existence of successful city-states such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai certainly suggests an answer to this question. Whatever we call them, these places are remarkable for their prosperity and their relative absence of politics. In fact, perhaps the only way to make them more stable and secure would be to transform them from effectively family-owned (Singapore and Dubai) or subsidiary (Hong Kong) corporations, to anonymous public ownership, thus eliminating the long-term risk that political violence might develop."

This statement made by Mencius Moldbug seemed to be a most fitting one instead of those that uses politics in order to advance an economic one. Driven by interests, a country whose system used political, economic, and cultural aspects in order to upheld the status quo- that in case of the Philippines, a system led by landlords and compradores are uphelding Semifeudal-Semicolonial rule by having it adjusted to capitalist interests via neoliberalism and globalisation.
Ridiculous isn't it that how cone terms like semifeudalism prevail in a country assuming to be newly industrialised and well-oiled for development? That semicolonialism be heard in a country that speaks thoroughly of its independence?

Perhaps this person, like others concerned, got "triggered" from the statement shunning the idea of self-reliance as one of the foundations of a building society. One example is from a statement brought about by a free trade advocate, as it said:

"Filipinos who stubbornly advocate for a strict National Industrialization model of economic development and job creation, and eschew, reject the notion of tapping into Foreign Direct Investors in order to jumpstart job creation and technology-transfer tend to be totally ignorant of the differences between tropical countries versus temperate countries.

This fundamental difference between these two types of countries explains why it is perfectly possible for Japan's Meiji Restoration to rely mostly on domestically-accumulated savings and domestic sources of investments as their primary engine for development while Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei -- the three richest near-equatorial tropical nations in the world -- relied heavily on Foreign Direct Investments."

Sounds legit at first to say that through industrialisation meant benefiting the oligarchs and hence, "repressive" while letting the economy be at the hands of foreign entities be like "progressive" and "beneficial"; but, at the same time assuming to toy the idea of industrialisation with this statement:

"The key prerequisites for National Industrialization to work are the predisposition of the local population to save and accumulate huge amounts of financial capital and an intense level of scientific and technological scholarship necessary for the country to build homegrown science and technology innovative capacity."

Because of that, one would ask that if industrialisation is necessary according to that statement, then why at the same time telling from that same statement that a domestic-based national development via industrialisation deemed unnecessary in favour of commerce and finance capital? Again, is it because of the oligarchs and parroted by the left? Or because that industrialisation is against the standards of multi/trans-nationals in this age of neoliberalism and globalisation? Such nonsense has made an impression that with industrialisation meant empowering the many as it taps both brain and brawn together- only to be opposed by the few whose interests be harmed because of that patriotically-driven clamour.

And obviously, that decades-old country learned by the west has that capacity to industrialise itself given that it has both material and labor power to tap over, as well as plans to enact (even in this present day setting that still requires the need for steel, petrochemicals, and other necessary needs for a growing nation). The long stalled program for the steel industry needs to be revived to utilise both raw material and labor power not just in pursuit of producing steel but also in supporting existing small and medium-scale industries. True that Japan embarked on a two-pronged approach: (1) That they would hire Western experts and consultants in the various disciplines where they found themselves to be lacking and (2) They would send thousands of their gifted students to study in the West to learn various disciplines in science, engineering and other fields, and got these students to apprentice in these fields in order to gain practical experience before returning to Japan and work along with its Western counterparts they hired in running and developing Japanese industrial enterprises.

Japan's experience somehow became an example for China and Korea in pursuit of development, especially with the latter sending its students to the Soviet Union for assistance; but at the same time it had utilised its domestic intellect in supporting the programs, in whatever ventures as deemed necessary to advance development. And also to facilitate rural development, Land Reform and rural industrialisation has been one of its top priorities in which peasants given arable land and at the same time urging to join cooperatives to improve, intensify production alongside the private sector (national bourgeoisie).
And as for Investments, both local and foreign are allowed as long as it conforms to the national interest, for these will “provide the country with the least costly access to needed technology, products, and markets,” as well as to support existing and future projects that steers development.

Sounds usual as any other country whose openness (and to some extent, dependency) to outside investment meant development (and total pragmatism), but, few countries treat that matter as provisional and as part of a transition to an economy that emphasises state, cooperative, and private enterprises as its active and participating foundations, an alternative to a semifeudal-semicolonial dominance on national affairs.

Singapore's transformation required pragmatism, and in order to keep the country going, it has to become a freeport zone, even almost just to churn development through direct foreign investments, but at same time has to be regulated, at some time, intervened by the state; hence, is Singapore be described a libertarian paradise when in fact it isn't? They do even have a sovereign wealth fund that served as source of investment, a responsible bureaucracy that made its government owned and controlled corporations respectable; so is Singapore a small government entity as well? The Singaporean experience lies in a businesslike view shared both by Ruffles and Lee Kwan Yew, and that example required tolerance and intervention, of dirigism than pragmatism in order to keep the country churning, far from what others think of as a nightwatchman state whose intent is to have an atmosphere of order whilst keeping itself off from economic affairs.
So is in China during Deng Xiaoping's, it may appeared as China's version of the New Economic Policy of Lenin's, and it required currying outside investment and building export economic zones; but that policy China did was meant to be provisional if not temporary and be replaced by another policy that can becoming "neomaoist" in character. Remember: The leftist fad in "communist China" waned subsequently, but with widespread dissatisfaction with rising inequality, official corruption and declining social mores, as well as nationalist sentiment through the decade elicited a new nostalgia for the Mao era among a younger generation of intellectuals and the public starting with an enhanced appreciation of Mao as a ‘great patriot and national hero’ who had liberated China from backwardness and imperialism; and in it may also meant appreciating the policies that involves emphasis on agrarianism and of production (using Dazhai and Daqing for an example). Mao’s revolutionary vision and leadership were favourably reassessed by academics, and in the popular imagination, Mao’s incorruptible and non-nepotistic image posed a stark contrast to the self-serving bureaucrats of the reform era.

These experiences, as observed by this person, expressed how deregulation, privatisation, and its eventual opening to outside investments with rights to take over sovereign assets, in spite of its supposed intent, also created mistakes especially in developing and underdeveloped countries. With Globalisation intensifies repression with all these policies, the developing and underdeveloped countries felt repression, maldevelopment, with enforced dependency to the whims of the first world. These countries are meant to be developed especially those whose resources are sufficient for self-reliance, and if to call it socialistic for being economically independent, so what's wrong with that?
In societies wherein political/economic/cultural power is controlled by a family or under a subsidiary of a bigger entity, everything tends to be consolidated. Pragmatism served as a temporary measure, a strategy prior to making a bigger course that, hopefully speaking, turns out to be better than the other measure- that in case of the Soviet experience, the provisional "New Economic Policy" (NEP) during the Lenin administration has to be replaced by Stalin's First Five Year Plans the way it replaced the "idealistic" War Communism by the NEP.

Anyway, to paraphrase Moldbug's, countries that rather geared towards total development is through transforming them from an effectively family-owned (or an anarchy of families rather) with its subsidiaries to the community with an actively participative public; sounds ideal but unlike those who chose to upheld the status quo due to some practicalities, then why to take pursuit of an ideal, or rather say an impossible cause? In the end these are the effects brought upon by a third world reality.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Digital Transformation: From an observer's view

Digital Transformation: From an observer's view

"What was done?
Why was it done?
How was it done?
What was found?
What is the significance of the findings?"

Change has been inevitable in this era of digitalisation. As people living in an increasingly complex world, technology and information flow continues to expand and grow, bringing about fundamental and rapid changes to the society.

And that kind of change, as it was in the past, affects jobs, affects roles, as every organisation, in pursuit of competitiveness and security, has to adapt "something new": for adaptability has becoming paramount and in it includes rethinking or updating the entire structure all because of digital transformation. There person-to-person contacts be replaced with indirect contacts, that individual, group, or even institutional behaviour affects when technology has becoming a permanent fixture.

Yes, technology can be good, that information that emanates from it is becoming widely accessible, but, is it trustworthy? To use Alvin Toffler's FutureShock, it argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, or rather say a "revolution" from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society" that is, brought about by the recent trends such as that digital transformation and its sudden flow of information. And that kind of change hath overwhelmed people as any other wonder: that the people who hath felt the wonders of IPhone are the descendants of those who sought the wonders of Ford Model T, Boeing 747, to those of Chicken Nuggets and Juice concentrate dissolved in water.

This note deals about on how this so-called digital transformation has affected humanity and its well-being. That besides affecting tasks at work, of administering, of shifting values and decision making, will it also affect humanity's active process of becoming aware of and making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life?

For sure everyone knows that Wellness as more than just "being free from illness" but also dynamic process of change and growth affecting physical, mental, and social well-being. But with the digitalisation of man and its society, will it affect its own wellness? Remember: the mechanisation, electricisation, and digitalisation of societies has improved man's yearning for comfort, seeing anything that requires strenuous effort be end "in an instant" like what this person said earlier.

However, that same automation will also make man alienated from himself. If they wanted to bring progress and development in all sectors, then why need to alienate man from creating? Creating is something more than just making a product or a service, but a purpose enough to bridge material and spiritual wealth to create a healthy living whole. Or frankly speaking, everyone desires for development wherein full employment is given, wages as well received, living standards raised, and social justice carefully enacted- but not by machine alone, but also by the one who has feeling, desire, power, will to impose that "ideal".

In case of health, the rapid use of technology has extended lives but there are illnesses that are also caused by that same use of technology: that in case of the BPO sector, it has been a major subject regarding health and workplace conditions according to a case study. There it identified health problems like:
a) muscular pains due to workstation setups and monitor levels,
b) diseases brought about by unhealthy lifestyles,
c) psychosocial disorders owing to a stressful work environment.

Worse, besides layoffs, they are threatened with replacing man with artificial intelligence. Capitalism has utilised that setting as profit oriented, that by replacing man with machinery without consideration for the former, then, that 'development' has nothing to do with uplifting man nor reviving nature.

Sorry if this person afforded to criticise the idea knowing that he recognises the wonders of science and technology, of its pursuit to uplift humanity and frankly speaking, to create an "effortless lifestyle" through research and development; but, as what Ted Kaczynski said:

"scientific research is a surrogate activity for scientists, and that for this reason science marches on blindly, without regard to the real welfare of the human race or to any other standard, obedient only to the psychological needs of the scientists, and of the government officials, and corporation executives who provide the funds for research..."

Such realities be like the one who truly benefit are the multinationals, not the countries; of profiteers, not the laborers; the companies, not the communities. Let it be called as the "fourth industrial revolution", but it can be a reaction in itself as capitalists, and not the people, who initiated it in the first place. True that in digital transformation means improved security, continuous flow of goods and information, creating an empowered populace; but in an actually-existing capitalist setting wherein everything is profit oriented, then sorry to say but having an aspiration realised be like a consolidation of interests, supports the indefinite intensification of capitalism itself, possibly in order to bring about a technological singularity.

And in it no wonder why Mohandas Gandhi said:

""What I object to, is the craze for machinery, not machinery as such. The craze is for what they call labour-saving machinery. Men go on 'saving labour', till thousands are without work and thrown on the open streets to die of starvation."

As an observer, the idea of transforming societies via technology means creating a setting wherein efficiency, justice, and development been seriously taken through. People from all walks of life hath enjoyed it ever since technology has unleashed man's bests.
So is its worsts. Also admittingly speaking, there are those who still have less grasp of that digital transformation amidst the increasing digitalisation of the society, what more of its relevance: is it relevant to every matter society regularly encounters? Does it have a social, financial, environmental, even cultural impact especially in developing and underdeveloped countries? Does it invoke the ideals and aspirations? Promotes both bests of the individual and of the community?

Sorry to ask these questions or thoughts that creeps every concerned's mind and conscience, but as technology intensifies further (and thus making people empowered), and at the same time seeing Capitalism desperately clinging to its post, then that transformation may lead to a path: either to an atmosphere wherein justice and development has been well-served, or a well-hidden barbarism that intensifies actually-existing repression.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Dutertism: revolutionary or counterreactionary?

Dutertism: is it revolutionary or counterreactionary?

Notes after Rodrigo Duterte's authoritarian-populist actions
if not an imitation of past authoritarian despots in a modern
yet still third world setting

Initially known for his arsenic statements and bloodied trails, Rodrigo Duterte has been the darling of the common Filipino. With his iron-fisted stance towards crime and some populist reforms, it seems that the president has been trying to do "carrot and stick" tactics enough to "restore order" and to create an example not just in his country but also in the Asian region.
This year every country have done him both homage and criticism, seeing him as an examplar of the Alternative Right and a scourge for the desperate Liberals.

However, amidst this popularity, this person and others concerned sought his sudden and dramatic rise as similar to Mussolini, with all his sentiments and promises, only to found out that the Duterte everyone adored and criticised is nonetheless similar to Engelbert Dollfuss, or even Antonio Salazar, or any other caudillo whose authoritarian-like conservatism is well hidden underneath in the sheet called populism.

Sorry for the comparisons between the Asiatic and of the pre-and-wartime leaders from Europe, but Filipinos are closely tied to the west when it comes to socio-economic and foreign policies to the extent that there is no other difference like any other banana republics the west afforded to coddle; but like most of the pre-and-wartime leaders people afforded to admire and praise, most of Duterte's speeches and actions are extraordinarily unsophisticated behind its frankness. He does listen to both left-wingers like Taguiwalo or Mariano although mostly heeds the appeals and suggestions of Dominguez, Lorenzana, Ano, and other personages from past administrations; he does support programs meant first to consolidate his rule behind the words "change" and "inclusiveness"; but, When he speaks himself, he is tense, awkward, overworked, sincere. There is no pomp or cant in him.

But then, his supporters are still thinking that he is a perfect person to rule besides the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. As an observer, the president's brand of populism is rooted in the idea of a iron-fisted peace and order, that his arsenic statement and bloodied conclusions against his enemies are justified as if a catharsis; but, in regards to his economic and even its social policies, it seems that Duterte is doing a rehash of past policies, of course with different names and themes enough to differentiate with those of past administrations; intensified by the ruralism of its supporters.

And according to the Ruben Garcia's "Filipino Nationalism under Dutertismo", it stated that:

"Ruralism is an idea formed by a nostalgia. City life, especially in Metro Manila where everything seems to be out of joint, creates a nostalgia for the good old times where food is a matter of going to the local market or asking people what they have to share. Ruralism is a nostalgia in response to the perceived decadence of urban life."

Like Portugal's Salazar, various infrastructures been building ranging from roads to bridges and flyovers, that raw material exports continue in exchange for processed imports from abroad, what more that conservatism is its ruling social policy with all its Christian-based orientations. Like Korea's Park, remittances from the Filipino diaspora remains one of the important pillars to stay afloat the struggling economy. And like Lee Kwan Yew, tries to be pragmatic when it comes to foreign and economic policies, and at times intervenes markets and accommodates outside capital.

But, like his predecessors, Duterte rather still-toyed the idea of industrialisation knowing that these self-sustaining kind of economic reforms advocated by some elements which were successfully implemented under similar circumstances in developing countries, were rejected out of fear that industrialisation would destabilize the country "thanks to those so-called oligarchs", if not having lost potential in regards to manufacturing in general. Conservatives, both Filipino and Foreign, agreed to that kind of view that the country has to depend on imports, outside capital (both investments and remittances), and limiting the manufacturing sector into semiprocessed goods, as well as tourism is if "really where the Philippines can out do many" given that Filipinos are naturally hospitable if not actually having disdain in a full-blown industrialisation, describing it as "passe"in favour of remittances from the diaspora, raw and semi-processed exports, and direct foreign investment.

A revolutionary dream or a counterreactionary reality?

Reasonable indeed how Duterte can be compared to these late foreign rulers besides of his own predecessors given their economic polices of the past has been doing so in today's Philippines, both to create an atmosphere of development and to curry further both domestic and foreign captial; but, back to the main topic, Duterte, being an Asiatic counterpart to the ones from the West and a non-western examplar for the Alternative Right, is more of a living remnant of a past: a caudillo who tries to consolidate his rule both by carrot and stick, who tries to appear himself progressive, a moderniser of sorts yet actually acts like any other conservative with some followers trying to insist the regime's beneficence, or . Like Mussolini who was a once socialist, Duterte self-proclaimingly described as a socialist and as a left-winger who promised numerous "revolutionary changes"; while at the same time like Engelbert Dollfuss, as he is surrounded by neoliberal and conservative, militarist elements similar to Mises, Schuschnigg, and Stahremberg; And these are in a form of personages like Dominguez, Tugade, Esperon, Ano, and Lorenzana.
But the difference between Duterte and other authoritarians is this: he afforded to deal with the left both in a positive and in a negative manner. He did appointed left-wing cabinet secretaries who end sidelined by the Commission on Appointments, much more that he himself through some of his statements and actions expressed in a negative light towards the left, ranging from cuss words against his former professor and communist party founder Jose Maria Sison, to those of scrapping the peace process in favour of "flattening the hills"- zones controlled by the communists.

Awkward isn't it? In seeing a Filipino president acting in a manner of a caudillo, a cacique, a feudal lord whose fanatics be like paying homage so badly. He would have eschewed democracy like the late Thailand's Thanarat, or stressing order like Greece's Ionnides, but, being a strongman emphasises much of retaining order while at the same time creating an atmosphere wherein "change", "reform", or even "restructuring" as gradually undergoing. It may appear socially oriented, but, it turns out to be driven by upholding the status quo and economic in its very orientation.
And in speaking of that late Austrian dictator, Dollfuss’s authoritarian policies were in his view only a quick fix to safeguard Austria’s independence—unsuitable in the long run, especially if the general political mentality did not change” (Hülsmann 2007: 683–684). And if correct, then that Libertarian Mises saw that Authoritaian Dollfuss and his form of fascism in much the same way as Mussolini’s in spite of its obvious conservatism as different from Mussolini''s assuming radicalism: as an “emergency makeshift.” It was also the same Mises who contended that the violence and authoritarianism of fascism had been provoked by the equally violent and brutal nature of revolutionary socialism:

“The deeds of the Fascists and of other parties corresponding to them were emotional reflex actions evoked by indignation at the deeds of the Bolsheviks and Communists. As soon as the first flush of anger had passed, their policy took a more moderate course and will probably become even more so with the passage of time” (Mises 1978: 49).

And frankly speaking, Duterte's clique, mostly coming from past regimes, did shared that kind of thought brought about by Mises, that through a system-sponsored catharsis pointing against the anti-order has to be enacted no matter how bloodied it is, as if it leads to order and stability, and "can become moderate" as that order restores its stability. That the recent killing of drug-dealing personages, statements like "flattening the rebel-infested hills with aerial bombings", and its martial rule over Mindanao are examples of that flush of anger in which his followers agreed upon to it as if "this brings order no matter what how bloody it would be." If that's the case then that kind of justice that doesn't require due processes is but a "justicia de gatillo", whose power rather comes from the barrel of the gun.
And the motive behind that "justicia de gatillo" is not just to create an atmosphere of stability, justice, and peace according to its apologists and unrepentant supporters, nor even create numerous radical changes the way its red counterparts took guns and assert numerous, revolutionary changes; but rather an atmosphere of fear and silence, enough to create conditions for a compradore-landlord sided kind of "development", whose supporters sees it in a positive sight as if it is revolution itself-a revolution using that kind of "rule of law" that maintained rather that status quo!

Again, according to Garcia:

"Today, the nostalgia for the Martial law years reverberates in the outbursts of nationalisms that decry the decadence of contemporary cosmopolitan life. Disobedience to authority, rebelliousness, apathy, consumerism and so on are highlighted as repulsive values of the urban life. To counteract this, nationalism(s) revolve around the mystification of the past of rural Filipinos who cooperated with their leaders for the betterment of society, regardless of political color. In this case, market society offers a level playing ground upon which traditional values must inform the relations between people while at the same maintaining a highly permissive workplace. Hence, one can complain about work and at the same time obey with commitment. The organic unity of society is sustained by perceivable enemies: drug addicts, drug pushers, rebellious students, decadent bourgeois thinking and so on are seen as external bodies that disturb the harmonious flow of the organic body, the removal of which guarantees the continued healthy lifestyle.

Let it be called as a "rule of law" and a "restoration of order" no matter how repressive it is, but given the reality of what the regime goes on, that the downtrodden continues to be maligned and accused just because some are using drugs, or denied of homes and  arable lands, of being submissive to various interests both domestic and abroad, then sorry to say, but it intensifies conflicts, if not thinking that kind of law isn't law at all but creating a scenario wherein behind that illusion of order and progress lies discontent.

Or to paraphrase Allen Severino's: 

"That this Caesar, the murderer of the Republic of oligarchs, is but a paper tiger in the end whose rule is dependent on a laughable excuse of discipline and societal reinvigoration that like his persona, will collapse like a house of cards once this illusion of aura fades away with his dissolution."

Remember: it was during Dollfuss when a civil war against the social democrats began, followed by a putsch led by the Austrian Nazis that led to his demise (and replaced by a weak Schuschnigg followed by an Anschluss with Hitler's Germany); it was also during Salazar when dissidents like Humberto Salgado and Bishop Antonio Ferreira Gomes spoke against the prime minister because of his unjust social policies (in spite of Salazar's social catholicism); or even Korea's Park, who, in spite of his "achievements", end killed by the bullets of the KCIA.
These personages whom Duterte and his supporters maybe have looked upon for an inspiration for a pseudo-corporatist setup utilising authoritarianism with a populist appeal (besides Marcos); if not a person who has the guts to be above the law "in order to uphold the law" (sounds Führerprinzip) yet, with the realities such as prevailing narcopolitics and its bloodied responses, attempts to quash dissent by carrot and stick, and capitulation to interests whilst parroting patriotic sentiments, hath made its own brand of nationalism same as his predecessors: shallow and meant to appease tourists if not children.

And not wonder why there are still rebels continue to fight in order to make numerous revolutionary change happen. Change is truly coming, but from the people themselves and not from a single person and its clique who at first sworn to protect the status quo.