Ateneo PolSci Bloggers

Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

Between Enlightened Oligarchs and Oligarchies of the Enlightened

In Political Theory, Politics on October 17, 2009 at 2:24 pm

by Rene Raymond R. Rañeses, Jr.

Filipino voters will have to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea when they confront their ballots in the coming presidential elections on May 2010. It’s a tough choice, really. On the one hand is the maintenance of a century-old system of elite rule and domination, while on the other, the reproduction of the increasingly dominant global paradigm of transforming all aspects of political and social life into the model of the market. Both miss out the central problems of contemporary politics: the narrowing of avenues for democratic political engagement, the tendency to defuse political struggles and the insulation of political questions from public debates and deliberation. Unless these are addressed in a properly political manner, Philippine politics will see no significant changes in the next six years.

The first will simply reinforce patterns of state weakness and capture by dominant vested interests or endorse a statist discourse that nonetheless protects the transnational interests of dominant elites. The leading candidate, following results of recent opinion polls Benigno “Noy-Noy” Aquino III is avowedly a member of the country’s ruling class who is not exactly an avid supporter of progressive efforts to alter the class structure of Philippine society (i.e. comprehensive land reform). His political machinery – the Liberal Party – is as elitist and non-programmatic as other parties in the country and possesses no historical or institutional engagement with grassroots politics outside of the electoral cycle. Patronage and not ideology (despite being a problematic organizing principle for political life as well) remains its primary political strategy. And despite being called “inconsistent liberals” (and therefore perhaps, occasional socialists?) by a leading critical commentator, the party has not offered any clear strategies of developing an autonomous state apparatus that can withstand pressures from strong social forces.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ekonomiko Pa Rin Ang Tanong

In Culture, History, Philippine Issues, Youth on October 3, 2009 at 5:09 pm

(o kung bakit sa kabila ng aking pakikibahagi magiging walang-kwentang “footnote to history” lamang na naman ang mga mobilisasyon para sa nasalanta ng Bagyong Ondoy)

ni Hansley A. Juliano


Marahil may mga bagay na kailangan akong alalahanin sa pag-alis ni Ondoy at maaaring pagsaglit ni Pepeng. Hindi naman siguro masamang sabihin na naging kabahagi ako ng sanrekwang mag-aaral ng Pamantasan na lumubog sa baha, gumawa ng iilang patawang patama sa ibang lugar na binabaha, at nakaranas ng existential crisis sa kung bakit inabot din ang Katipunan ng ganitong kalaking sakuna. Gaya ng naikwento ko na, naramdaman ko ang pagdating ng bagyo noon pa lamang naglalakad ako patungong Alingal Hall, kung saan pinagtulungan ako ng hanging habagat at ng mga luha ni Tungkung Langit na bigyan ng baradong ilong pagkatapos. Alam na natin ang nangyari. Napanood na sa YouTube. Naipost na ang lahat ng retrato at na-tag na tayo ng mga kaibigan sa ganoon kalaking problema. Seryoso: wala na tayong masasabi pa. Walang pinagkaiba sa isang malupit, nakapanunugat at matalim na pagtatanghal ng isang trahedya. Dalawa lamang ang posibleng ating magawa kapag hinarap ka ng ganitong sakuna, at least sa pananaw ng iba: ang magitla’t umiyak nang mapait sa libu-libong namatay, o ang umiyak habang nagbabalot ng mga tulong, kundi ang makasama mismo sa pag-aabot ng tulong sa mga buhay pa nguni’t lubhang nasalanta. Dito lang sa pagkakataon ko ito siguro masasang-ayunan, bahagya lamang, si Ninoy Aquino nang noong Abril 6, 1975, sinabi niya sa kapwa niyang senador na si Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo:
If we want our people to follow, I propose, we must cease arguing and start acting, doing what a freeman must do to assert his rights and defend his freedoms. Actions, not words. Selfless examples, not ideas. The time for talking is past!

Pero, siyempre, hindi yun ganoon kadali.

Read the rest of this entry »