CAVEAT: There are many among us Filipinos who have been so miseducated as anti-communists or are educated ignoramuses (for lack of a better word) who instantly or blindly equate Filipino nationalism as Communism.
I call them ignoramuses because they apparently do not know that nationalism is anathema to international communism (as nationalism is similarly anathema to economic globalism aka neocolonialism/neoimperialism --note that capitalists do trade with communists then and now but will bring down or sabotage nationalists, who neocolonialists or so-called globalists -whatever they want to call themselves -- are most afraid of).
However, I recognize the fact that it is easier to unite for communism since it has shown better organizational ability in forcing unity. But like any externally motivated unity, communism can easily collapse as demonstrated by the sudden fall of Russian/Soviet Communism and its satellite countries in Eastern Europe during the 1990s.
I recognize the possibility of nationalism with Communism (Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro or Mao Tse Tung), nationalism with Capitalism (Japan, South Korea,Western European countries,etc.) or nationalism with Socialism (Hugo Chavez) --but at the end of the day, in their cases all these "isms" are subordinated to nationalism.
Since the turn of the 20th century, America has acted out from ultra-nationalism with capitalism. A nation's nationalism that drives its economic and military might beyond its physical borders practices ultra-nationalism aka Imperialism of old (with its troops); or neo-imperialism/neocolonialism (without its troops but use natives as proxies).
[ NOTE: Let us define/understand here development most simply as improvement in human well-being, not just nice/modern roads and buildings, beautiful golf courses and resorts, etc. which are not accessible to all; but most important, do not help the daily existence of generations of the impoverished native majority. Development today means fulfilling the aspirations of most people for higher standards of living, longer and healthier lives; education for themselves and their children that leave them more in control of their lives.]
IMPEDIMENTS TO FILIPINO NATIONALISM
To think about our Filipino predicament is to be overwhelmed. The causes/roots and effects of existing socioeconomic and political problems in our homeland are so enormous that it is much easier to ignore and/or get away from them, i.e. emigration if possible. We all know that we individually already did, may be able or have the capacity to do so, but how about the multitude of fellow natives who can not? We as humans, especially we Filipinos, tend to act only if we ourselves are directly affected.
Here's an attempt to identify some of our Filipino characteristics, those cultural and other hurdles we Filipinos need to acknowledge and overcome to develop a strong feeling of Filipino nationalism, the lack of which is a strong detriment to attaining true Filipino nationhood, to work for the realization of economic and political democracies in the homeland.
Nationalism is a sine qua non for a people to develop a strong desire and resolve to correct the problems brought about by: governmental/technocratic decisions, military, business/elites and foreign influences; and to rein in the strong tides of absolute free trade (popularized after WW2 by Walt W. Rostow and "recommended" by the IMF and WB, etc. and their new vehicle for arm-twisting poor nations, i.e. the ostensibly, mutually agreed trading rules in the rich nations-controlled WTO) supposedly to help us economically catch-up .
Together with economic globalization came the ever-present and politely described cultural globalization (aka cultural imperialism that created our damaged culture) - -which has brought only alienation from ourselves as a people; poverty and misery or punishments to our fellow Filipinos in the Philippines --and for action towards the attainment of the common good.
I venture to say that foreigners --with local and transnational economic interests-- in our homeland study and learn more about us Filipinos (than we do ourselves) to further their maximized profitability-driven enterprises.
As an aside let me say that in the past, I have touched on the following ideas among friends a few of whom felt offended, and claimed that I was exposing our defects as Filipinos; that I should count my blessings, that it is being ungrateful to America/Americans and engaging in the blame game, etc. I have lost some of these friendships.
But in retrospect and in a way, these issues have identified for me my real friends who remained despite some disagreements on the same and other more mundane issues or pursuits. As we know, we do not need "fair-weather friends". Quality -not quantity- of friends matters. And life is short. Anyway ....
We can begin by saying that these internal and foreign impediments/hurdles to Filipino nationalism are complex, and each one seemingly reinforcing the others. These impediments may be mainly and roughly categorized as:
1. Tribal Mentality (euphemistically,Traditional Society)
2. Belief in Determinism and Immature Religion (Medieval Christianity)
3. Colonial Mentality and English as Medium of Instruction (Dislike for a National Language)
4. Lack of Social Consciousness (Selfish Individualism)
5. Existence of Private and Foreign Schools (Lack of and Inferior Public Schools)
6. Mis-education (Ignorance of History from the Viewpoint of Filipino Nationalist )
7. Educational System and Undeveloped/Lack of Critical Thinking (Educate only for jobs)
8. Absence of Common/External (Foreign) Enemy
1. Tribal Mentality.
It seems our deepest loyalty is limited mainly to our immediate and extended family. But this extended family is enlarged somehow through a network created by the "kumpare/kumadre system." Although this system was/is entered into for religious reasons during a child's baptism or confirmation, it is also much used by us native Filipinos for ulterior motives to get or gain socioeconomic and political influences (Fr. Vitaliano Gorospe, SJ has written about it in his 1960s pamphlet on the Filipino norm of Christian morality.)
This tribal/narrow thinking is further applied and exhibited in our loyalty to our hometown, province or region; thus anyone from outside our circle is virtually ignored, treated with suspicion and mistrust, and easy prey to stereotyping.
We are prone to be offended more by negative comments to our hometown, province and region than those about our homeland. This tribal mentality may be explained by our geographical remoteness (coming from various islands), different dialects, historical animosities brought about by the divisive (divide-and-conquer) long-term influences made by our foreign masters, i.e. the Spaniards used us natives in one province to fight fellow Filipinos in another, or Americans doing same as shown by their planting Filipino Christians in Filipino Muslim lands or establishing the Philippine Constabulary), etc. This characteristic reminds us about Jose Rizal's sad but accurate depiction of ourselves in his Reflections of a Filipino.
2. Belief in Determinism and Immature Belief System/Religion (Medieval Catholicism).
The Spanish religious legacy of Roman Catholicism has inculcated in our minds throughout the generations that whatever happens is seen as the "will of God." Thus, we have developed a fatalistic attitude as expressed in statements such as "bahala na ang Diyos", "ginusto ng Diyos", "oras na", etc. This fatalistic attitude dominates our poor countrymen and even our so-called educated elite.
We are so afraid to question such long-held beliefs since we think that it is tantamount to committing sin. We need to outgrow these childish beliefs which are destructive to ourselves and society, have to learn and understand more deeply our inherited religion and thus develop a more mature Christianity. The aggregate and adverse impact of fatalism is for a populace to throw out their hands in despair, helplessness, inaction and to seek solace in wishful prayers which in effect only gives credence to the oft-quoted remark by Karl Marx that "religion is the opium of the people."
Furthermore, our immature religious beliefs led us to a conflicting and perverse duality, unrecognized inconsistency (hopefully at best); if recognized then hypocrisy (at worst) between professed Christianity but unChristian attitudes and behaviors, where authentic Christianity is unknown if not knowingly ignored. We have touched on this major impediment in a previous post on Filipino Christianity.
3. Colonial Mentality/English as Medium of Instruction/Dislike for a National Language
The almost 350-year Spanish rule did not militate against us in the formation of Filipino nationalism as much as the subsequent 50-year American colonization. The Spaniards for the most part kept the Filipino natives ignorant/uneducated and fearful of authority until our revolutionary forefathers fought them effectively and efficiently; actually almost completely defeated them until....
The Americans came in 1898 to fool and steal from our revolutionary forefathers their pursuit of true political independence. Thus the beginnings of the Philippine-American War (taught to us as "The Philippine Insurrection" --as Americans do now in Iraq: putting up a puppet government and calling all Iraqi resistance as an insurrection). The deceit of the Katipuneros and nationalists began with the mock Battle of Manila Bay.
Under the guise of preparing and teaching us in self-government, the American imposition of public education was designed for the Filipinos to be Americanized in their outlook; and this was greatly facilitated with the use of English as the only medium of instruction (all part of subtle but extremely effective cultural imperialism). During their 50-year rule, public education was given the greatest priority and was actually run as part of the US Department of the Army to ensure compliance.
Therefore, we Filipinos have about 150 different dialects/languages but more than exhibit a preference for the English language, probably neither appreciating nor knowing the fact that true nationhood/national unity requires a national language or official language as a prerequisite to its realization (even India has over 720 recognized dialects/languages but uses an official language: Hindi.
Thus years thereafter, America was able to leave peacefully since the educational system has guaranteed and continually produced "Little Brown Brothers" who, wittingly and unwittingly, thought; loyally worked and ruled for America. America did not need anymore of its occupation troops in the islands for enforcement!
In addition, the American-imposed "free trade" solely between the U.S.A. and the island-colonies during the colonial period. Its later post-WW2 continuation as conditionalities for the granting of so-called Philippine independence were obtained via the co-opted, "independent" native but subservient rulers; thus perpetuated American dominance in all significant business and industries; and embedded our taste for imported goods/culture.
As a result practically killing any nascent native industrialization, keeping us mainly as a source of supply for agricultural products and strategic minerals, and losing our sense of national history, unity and national identity. All these being the objectives of neocolonialism. This topic has been in previous postings such as why we did not industrialize (aka Dodds Report) and remained a traditional, agricultural country (American occupiers could have imposed agrarian/land reform which would have fundamentally changed our society as they did consequently in Japan. But our American masters chose not to).
A critical study of American history will show that the Americans, despite their proclaimed Manifest Destiny, came not to help free the Filipinos from the Spaniards (the revolutionaries have the latter surrounded until the Americans joined in and fooled them to stay put until their shiploads of reinforcements arrived). The Americans came and engaged in the so-called Splendid Little War because during that moment in history, America saw that they need a fueling station for their growing navy, recognized the need to expand their sources of supply for raw materials, and new markets for their excess products.....
In Asia, especially the illimitable Chinese market (a few years later a show of force to forcefully open this market during the Boxer Rebellion) and saw the Philippines as the gateway for all (prior to this, Admiral Perry in 1853 forced the isolationist Japan to open up to America). Of course, we can not learn these historical truths in Philippine and American schools unless one goes beyond official school textbooks and government publications .
4. Lack of Social Consciousness/ Selfish Individualism
The tribal mentality has resulted in this Filipino character. It is also the product of a mixture of the historical, perennial and current abandonment by the centralized national government, the Filipino rich and powerful. The resultant deprivation has molded us and explains much of our characteristic behavior of just "looking out for ourselves," i.e. family and extended relatives at best. The aristocrats whose Spanish ancestors were granted lands taken from the native inhabitants tend to continue their disgust and lack of concern for the poor.
The recent others who gained wealth, through legal and/or illegal means, and have risen above pure subsistence level by merit or emigration similarly take care only of their circle of family, friends and relatives. Our emulation of the extreme individualism of the American Way reinforces our selfish individuality; given that Americanism highly stresses individualism in the sole "pursuit of happiness," e.g. individual effort, self-help, self-interest, ad nauseam. Thus, we Filipinos in terms of the pursuit of happiness through material success are unconsciously a "good fit" in America.
Numerous kababayans who emigrated to America easily co-opted to the American way of insatiable "conspicuous consumption." We were either previously deprived; or knowing nothing better to do or attend to, surround ourselves with material possessions since our consciousness and thinking never rose above "wants," and have practically equated "wants" with "needs." We seem not to know how to spend leisure time than to go shopping or perform some other material pursuits. Our "hierarchy of needs" get stunted at the material level.
We are amazed that the more fortunate and truly rich Filipinos do not become as generous to their fellow countrymen as some similarly successful Americans are (here's one quality I admire about "white" Americans, even the "average" American). The cliche "the rich only get richer or the poor want to only get rich" rings true. Forget the saying "it is more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven...." Oh well, who believes that crap.
5. Existence of Private/Foreign schools/Inferior Public Schools
The existence of the exclusively private and/or foreign schools is a powerful contributory and extreme detriment to Filipino nationalism. This existence creates a divisive effect to national unity and Philippine society. The exclusive, private schools, i.e. Catholic colleges and/or universities, etc., for the most part create an elitist or class-conscious group devoid of deep empathy for the impoverished public since the students are essentially insulated from the day-to-day realities of the truly poor. One can feel and see these attitudes and behaviors from a significant number of graduates from these schools/universities. Of course, there are exceptions.
The exclusively foreign schools, i.e. Chinese, American, Korean, etc. are similarly so, they see native/Malayan Filipinos as a different race (which is true of course), stereotyped as inferior and they as a different, superior people. Their students whose loyalty to the Philippines may be questionable or suspect at worst, and who knows what they teach their students? We can only hope that the aloofness and racial differences that we witness would disappear.
There is a dire and urgent need to improve own public schools but this is impossible given the priorities of the government officials, i.e. more money for the military and/or enriching themselves via government coffers rather than more funding for education. Our politicians and bureaucrats have instead led into the dumbing down of the native majority.
6. Miseducation and Ignorance of Filipino Nationalist History
One of the pernicious long-run effect of the American intervention, occupation and colonization of our homeland is the mis-education of generations of Filipinos then and now. This process of miseducation was mainly through the establishment of a free public educational system by the American occupiers.
This educational system (together with uncontrolled American imports and mass media (including advertisements) efficiently and effectively influenced generations of Filipinos to unquestioningly believe, love, adopt and follow America and anything American. We uncritically copy the American way of life, its materialist obsessions, its pop culture, teachings and economic models, its foreign policies, etc.The mis-education and resultant ignorance about Filipino nationalist history made us forget our forefathers and their quest for true nationhood, to attain the objectives of their hijacked, thus unfinished revolution.
We learned to ignore our ethnic minorities. Remember our honored "American Boy" General/Ambassador Carlos Romulo, labeling the "Negritos" as not Filipinos? We are truly Americanized -if not trying harder than an American!- without being truly Americans (how can we be, when we historically are seen as "niggers" too?). That is why other Asian neighbors, who have maintained their national identity, national pride and culture (I do not mean just their equivalents to our "tinikling" dance), do not respect us. What a shame. Or do we not care about that too?
7. Educational System/Critical Thinking
Overall, our existing educational system seems to have failed and continues to fail to develop critical thinking ability in us, especially as it applies to humanity, i.e. socioeconomic and political issues, which in the short and long run define and affect the lives of our people and future generations.
Aside from a few schools/university such as the University of the Philippines (UP), the graduates lack appreciation of what is described as "liberal education," that is, the humanities or social sciences. We seem to have countless bright minds who turn out to become successful engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. but ignorant, if not very ignorant, of critical analysis beyond their professional expertise; more specifically to societal analysis.
Furthermore, during the Marcos dictatorship --and continued under subsequent regimes-- the IMF/World Bank, using our humongous foreign debt as leverage, dictated how and where the Philippine educational system has to be directed, i.e. serve foreign investors/transnational interests. Thus, we see a lot of us quite naive, ignorant and distant about the predicament of the Filipinos in the Philippines. At best, we mouth or think based on what we have heard or seen in the popular media. Or at worst, who cares (the “since I am ok, I do not care if they're not ok” mentality) which we have encountered among many fellow Filipinos.
8. Absence of Common/Foreign Enemy
In the history of nation-states, almost each nation has gained national identity, unification and sovereignty through battles and wars against a foreign enemy. Our Filipino forefathers rose against the Spaniards, our 340-year foreign occupiers. However, their revolution was hijacked by the cunning Americans whom they also fought but failed to defeat. The Americans left us with their local substitutes: mis-educated (highly Americanized) fellow Filipinos, who knowingly or unknowingly, govern, think, teach and work for American interests.
Our fathers united against the Japanese invaders during WW2; and then post-war, their native, Americanized-politicians came back to remove from elected office the handful of nationalist fellow countrymen who were labeled and saw (thanks to our mis-education by the Americans) as only plain "communists"; never mind their years of suffering and struggles for more humane treatment by their absentee landlords and for the homeland.
Fast forward today, we are enjoined to see and label the Filipino NPA and Muslim rebels as "terrorists," forget the basis for Muslim struggle, thanks to the recent foreign policy dictates of America. We see our Philippine Constitution and sovereignty ignored and will be seeing more US troops, via the Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA)directly hunting not just the Abu Sayyafs but the MILFs/MNLFs and NPAs anywhere in our homeland soon, and same troops practically immune from local jurisdiction in case of locally committed crimes, i.e. our now practically forgotten Subic Rape Case (updated) --and many previous ones when the Subic and Clark Bases were operational. We do not have an identifiable foreign enemy because our enemy today is not foreigners garbed in uniform roaming our homeland.The physical absence of a foreign enemy makes common, nationalist causes difficult.
Our difficulties to the attainment of national unity, our past, present and future dangers/threats to nationhood and common good are brought about by our own people in business and government, i.e. government bureaucrats and technocrats who are serving foreign interests by continually proselytizing neocolonialism via the so-called economic and cultural globalization through the WTO: as characterized by the privatization of our state utility companies unrestricted importation that led to the demise of both our national agriculture/nascent industries and paucity of decent job opportunities, greater rise of mercantilism dominated by the Chinese then and now, land speculations, foreign-owned export industries and export of cheap labor/OFW (and its accompanying social costs ignored by all).
These foreign and local business partners, with their westernized allies/technocrats in academia and government agencies, essentially imply: Damn the native, Malay Filipino majority in the Philippines (did you hear them charge "we breed like rabbits"?). We have to maximize and repatriate profits, maximize our shareholders equity, to hell with Filipino nationalism -which to them is obsolete, a business constraint that need to be demolished and not necessary in these times of globalization via WTO. To the foreign investors/corporations (mainly American, local Chinese, Japanese, Koreans) and their local partners, the bottom-line is maximized profitability through perpetual dominance over the uninformed Filipino.
Inasmuch as THE ENEMY IS US for allowing such conditions, the task is much, much more difficult, but not insurmountable. And it may be too late for us in the present generation; but not for our children and their children. Let us think to understand, to decide, to act and to fight for the next generations of native, Malay Filipinos.
That is what Filipino nationalism is all about.
Or else the foreigners: Americans, Chinese, Japanese , Australians, Koreans will completely take over our homeland, our children's and their childrens' patrimony, which these foreigners through their local partners --in business, government and military-- have already began.
"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
The below link will show a short list of my past posts (out of 540 posts so far) which I consider as basic topics about us native (indio)/ Malay Filipinos. This link/listing, which may later expand, will always be presented at the bottom of each future post. Just point-and-click at each listed item to open and read.
PLEASE POINT & CLICK THIS LINK:http://www.thefilipinomind.
com/2013/08/primary- postsreadings-for-my-fellow. html