Friday, November 28, 2008

N29M: Our movement for democratic struggle

Today, Fr. Robert Reyes, with members and supporters of the November 29 Movement (N29M), will be launching his book on Gen. Danilo Lim and Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ internationally-covered protest march from the Makati RTC to the Manila Peninsula against the Arroyo regime. It has been, thus far, the culmination of years of struggle by soldiers and civilians who continue to uphold decency and integrity, as well as, offer hope and vision for our country. While the incident ended peacefully despite the fascism displayed by Gloria’s PNP attack dogs, the debased character of her regime was further highlighted as media found itself cuffed and gagged until it fought back to thwart the intimidation.

The standing of the N29M leaders has continued to soar in reverse proportion to Gloria’s credibility in the eyes of the people. Despite the almost total media blackout on Trillanes, he continues to figure in the surveys, beating even some presidential wannabes who’ve been using their public posts to figure in the next elections. And while Gen. Lim has had a much lower profile, there are now many Gen. Lim t-shirts being voluntarily printed by supporters all over the country, which feature his battle cry: “Dissent without action is consent.”

Fr. Robert’s book, which includes short contributions from those who were detained in connection with the event (Gen. Lim, UP president Dodong Nemenzo, myself and others), will be launched at the Ninoy Aquino statue on Ayala Avenue at 10 a.m. today. A book signing will follow, along with a mass by Fr. Robert -- all in humble and sparse rituals, capped off by some delicious siopao and sago’t gulaman. A commemorative N29M march cum rally will be held the following day, starting off from the intersection of Timog and Edsa at the GMA 7 corner, and then proceeding to Camp Crame , where a mass will be held to signify the people’s solidarity with those still detained.

The commemoration is timely as the killing of the latest impeachment effort in Congress emphasizes the futility of working within the system so corrupted by Gloria et al. Investigations into the most horrendous corruption cases have been stonewalled or trashed, leaving Gloria and her band of crooks much bolder, seeing that they’ve gotten away with their crimes with impunity each time.

Past critics of the November 29 move of Sen. Trillanes’ group have now come around to appreciate the action; for truly, it was not the end but the beginning of a real struggle for democracy. It was a call to action, to civil disobedience, to reject the courts that have continued to run roughshod over the nation’s democratic foundations of law.

Of course, another action at this time would have even more chances of completing the process. With the way things are, waiting for elections in 2010 is not an option because there can be no legitimate elections under a regime determined to keep itself in power by thwarting the people’s sovereign will. In fact, removing the obstacle, Gloria, is only a prerequisite to conducting true, honest and credible elections. We still have others to deal with.

Whenever power usurpers impose their will, chaos ensues. Just look at Thailand where a repost of Edsa II is playing out for the nth time. There, neo-conservatives, comprising “loyalists” and urban “civil society,” sabotage democratically-elected governments that prioritize the common weal. In the current instance, their leader admits that demonstrations there cost $25,000 a day and are funded by bankers. In the King’s Palace, there are anti-Thaksin forces too led by retired, US-backed generals. Taken together, these are the same elements that staged a coup against the democratically-elected Thaksin by using their media dominance to raise spurious corruption charges. It is also their media mogul leader, Sondhi Limthongkul, who recently called for a largely-appointed parliament instead of an elected one. Now that chaos reigns as a result of their intransigence, their captive military is again calling for new elections to resolve the impasse. Oh, when will they ever stop?

The Philippines will certainly need an intervention from good men in our military, arm-in-arm with non-corrupt Church leaders and citizens, to remove the obstacles to honest elections. It’s a prerequisite upon which a government of, by and for the people can fulfill a program for the nation’s survival and prosperity into the 21st century. Our columns and TV shows have focused on this very platform of: geothermal energy, full utilization of the coconut -- our “tree of life,” nationalization of public utilities, national debt audit, and import substitution toward a self-reliant, self-sustaining economy.

Only an independent economy can give rise to a truly independent foreign policy, which should steer us clear of any participation in international warmongering and enable us to call for: a multi-polar world based on regional associations, a global financial system based on productivity, and the adoption of new technology drivers such as country-specific renewable energies.

Only in a world of independent nations will we ever not be compelled to resort to wars created by a few powerful, rival “big powers” and the war-for-profit factions behind them.

And because good men who have powerful and positive visions are needed in such an effort, the November 29 Movement revives its call for our nation’s good warriors to gather, to escalate the democratic struggle against the evil that has stolen our Republic.

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