Friday, August 12, 2005

About Us Filipinos and the Future in our Homeland

"What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler

“In the long-run every Government is the exact symbol of its People, with their WISDOM and UNWISDOM; we have to say, Like People like Government. “ - Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish Philosopher, Author

When a respondent sees my postings as plain sloganeering or infer that I advocate totalitarian or fascist dictatorships, it indicates and confirms to my mind how deeply entrenched the mis-education and lack of exposure in the social sciences our educated compatriots are, especially among some who had apparently attended and/or graduated from exclusive, upper middle class private and/or Catholic schools, which produce many "true believers" -to borrow Eric Hoffer's term- who are conditioned to react with outright fear and loathing any social analysis different from their religious or American-dominated worldviews.

It must be remembered that from the time of the Marcos dictatorship to the present administration, the government has been pressured by the IMF/WB to reduce, if not completely remove, the teaching of the social sciences or the humanities that these foreign institutions see as impediments to their complete control of the people's political consciousness and blind acceptance of "what is going on". Thus since the dictatorship, the Philippine government has implemented educational policy changes to play down the teaching of history in particular and to stress only course instructions "useful" to market demands. [see]


There are exceptions to products of such schooling but, in general, I still consider and find those educated only from Philippine State Universities and Colleges as exposed or somewhat attuned to the essentials and variety of the humanities and social sciences, e.g. history, political economics or philosophy of so-called Eastern and Western civilization. Graduates who have been exposed to different socioeconomic and political thoughts have a better appreciation of our historical past and current events. At the very least, these prior exposures prove useful to them in comprehending much of our historical past, which have surely led to the seemingly confusing present homeland predicament [and world affairs] and dire future; in addition to learning about their chosen, usually more technical and apolitical professions like accounting, engineering or medicine,etc. [See]

As one matures in age and experience (or years from school), the wide gaps between theory and practice, school textbooks and reality are hopefully better understood. Life and living is a reality check. Thus, with reference to social issues, an economic or political system which seems clear-cut in the school textbooks are, in the real world, not so; thus one has to be openly eclectic (as in most issues in life or work).

To those who seriously want to fully explore the socioeconomic and political topics and/or terminologies ("slogans" to a few), one can easily access and gain deeper understanding of them if one would seek their meaning - by searching the tertiary sources such as the encyclopedias, or better yet, by going directly to the inexhaustible firsthand or secondary sources or publications, e.g. by newspapers, government or institutional press releases, e.g. IMF/WB/WTO documents, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs), etc. whose websites are conveniently found through popular internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Lycos, etc. [ It is sad to note that only 1 million or so, among 86 million, Filipinos in the Philippines can afford and have access to the internet, and no one knows how many look for issues of national concern].

Thus, anyone wanting to understand some terminologies or phrases such as poverty reduction, economic well-being, economic democracy/independence, self-sufficiency, common good, social inequality, national interest, et al can easily be found. I wish and encourage all those interested to find time to read far and beyond since that would be enriching, though often not monetarily . By mentioning this approach, I do not intend to appear as being pedagogical.

Going back close to homeland concerns, at this point in history, western-type political democracy does not seem fit given the level of political maturity or understanding of the majority, and their lack of adequate economic foundation necessary to decent livelihood, which a democracy requires to become truly effective and useful for most members of society [it is difficult to talk about ideas to hungry stomachs]. At this point in time "guided democracy", "limited democracy" etc. as was practiced in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Taiwan especially during the early stages of their economic development seems more appropriate to the Philippines given the large economic inequality or gap between a handful of elite and the majority, etc. [See]

It is only when a large middle class [not just 8-10% of populace as estimated now] has been formed will a western-type political democracy with its institutions be fully appreciated, understood and made to truly serve the interests of the citizens [of a democratic society].

More specifically, in a country like our homeland, when all is said and done, political democracy is not very empowering for the average citizen. The individual Filipino citizen does not feel that he is a participant in nor influence running the country. In his past and present history, unpopular or dissenting individuals/groups, including journalists have been harassed or murdered without redress and justice. Then and especially now, the regular elections and the courts have, more often than not, become a circus and a sham. In times of peace, the citizen feels that he is empowered only by his political connections since the normal democratic institutions do not function effectively and efficiently for him; in times of crisis, he feels empowered only in a crowd, by his participation in a mass demonstration, an EDSA, or the "politics of the streets". Therefore such conception of western-type political democracy is a disappointment, to put it mildly.

Political parties have come to be recognized as a necessary part of a functioning political democracy. In our homeland's case, political parties have mainly paid lip service to democratic principles and/or mouthed nationalist pretensions; while the socioeconomic-political elites with the cooptation by the military and/or apathy of many in the middle class, who control these political parties, exploit, fool and look with scorn upon the poor and illiterate, i.e. ignorant mass whose interest they claim to represent. The political parties can only be effective as a vehicle of democratic education and practice, of fundamental changes designed to serve the basic needs of the majority, when their control is taken, peacefully (preferably) or violently, by a politicized, nationalistic citizenry from the relatively small elite group that then and now rules and controls.

Given the present conditions in the Philippines where peaceful change/reform is practically impossible and armed rebellion is still unpopular, untimely and suicidal, one of the main and immediate tasks of Filipinos in the Philippines today is to learn their history, by firstly politicizing the ignorant multitude to increase their national consciousness and nationalism: to know why the need and how to take control, to correctly identify potential, truly nationalist leaders who will work, fight with them for the economic [firstly] and political [secondly] well-being of present and future generations, preferably peacefully; but, armed with knowledge and understanding, not hesitating to do so forcefully, if required, that is, when every peaceful means have been exhausted.

A politicized and nationalistic citizenry will also be capable of monitoring and keeping a watchful and active eye on its leaders to ensure that the leaders truly represent and serve their common good while minimizing violence [we do not want a Pol Pot-like communist revolution]. The 1949 Chinese and 1954 Vietnamese Revolutions were both nationalistic and communist. In both cases, it now appears that they are giving way to accepting capitalism (theoretically opposite to communism and therefore anathema) to economic progress. But these nations' road to economic progress are strongly monitored and controlled, and gradually implemented by a nationalistic though communist cadre/party. I predict that they will evolve into a democratic and nationalistic society in the following decades. In our homeland, ideally, a nationalistic revolution is preferable, if there is such a realizable wish.

The bad news: if nationalist politicization were reached in our homeland, it may take a generation (30+) years from thereon to attain true political and economic independence. And it will probably a much harder and difficult road since the countries benefiting the current socioeconomic and political conditions i.e. mainly the USA, Japan, via their transnational corporations and their effective control of the IMF/WB/WTO will make it so; as happened in Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, etc in recent years. []

That is why a combination of strong nationalist leadership and nationalist populace is imperative to withstand expected embargoes and financial squeeze by these powerful countries and entities (note Cuba). We should realize though that with market globalization, the US and the developed world do not care about a country's political ideology including communism; as demonstrated by their current humongous business partnership and trade with communist China. What the US and transnational corporations (TNCs) are worried about and actively opposed to is a country whose leadership and citizens are united to assert themselves and defy them with a strong nationalism (note Mahathir of Malaysia). [see] []

The worst news: for our homeland is to stay the course as in the past and present, that is, continuing the present liberal economic policies via the still generally unperceived neo-colonial relationship with the US and other developed countries [the G7]; absolute adherence to WTO/IMF/WB, etc. that have been leading only to the complete destruction of nascent, indigenous agriculture and industrialization, with the resultant massive loss of jobs, destruction of natural resources and environment, and the continual and consequent sham and ineffective political democracy; which in the long-run will produce the feared widespread chaos and violent upheaval, initiated either by either the military or communist rebels. []

This feared probability will be hastened when opportunities for our OFWs greatly diminish as it will, given the increased competition from other poor countries because, for now, OFWs serve well as a pressure-relief valve for the social volcano of the Philippines. Unfortunately, I do not find truly and lasting good news in the next decade or two but, I hope I will be wrong.

"To oppose the policies of a government does not mean you are against the country or the people that the government supposedly represents. Such opposition should be called what it really is: democracy, or democratic dissent, or having a critical perspective about what your leaders are doing. Either we have the right to democratic dissent and criticism of these policies or we all lie down and let the leader, the Fuhrer, do what is best, while we follow uncritically, and obey whatever he commands. That's just what the Germans did with Hitler, and look where it got them." - Michael Parenti

"We shall be better and braver and less helpless if we think that we ought to enquire, than we should have been if we indulged in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and no use in seeking to know what we do not know..." – SOCRATES

“Nations whose NATIONALISM is destroyed are subject to ruin.” - Colonel Muhammar Qaddafi, 1942-, Libyan Political and Military Leader

"Upang maitindig natin ang bantayog ng ating lipunan, kailangang radikal nating baguhin hindi lamang ang ating mga institusyon kundi maging ang ating pag-iisip at pamumuhay. Kailangan ang rebolusyon, hindi lamang sa panlabas, kundi lalo na sa panloob!" --Apolinario Mabini, La Revolucion Filipina (1898)

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