I received this text a few days ago: “Gud pm, Ka Mentong, r u aware of d SYM goin on? TY.” The text came from an old-time Edsa III Kabansang Leth (or compatriot Leth, as we call each other in the movement). I really wasn’t familiar with what SYM stood for. It was the first time I encountered it.
When Leth texted again with “Sorry Yellow Movement,” it was then that I recognized the words that I have long been hearing the past few months from many former loyal Yellow stalwarts who have finally given up believing that the Yellow legacy holds any remaining promise of change and hope for its believers and the broad masses of the people.
I discussed this on the latest episode of our radio show and I said that I had been “Sorry Yellow” long, long before — ever since the last few years of the Cory Aquino administration.
The newcomers to this “Sorry Yellow” tribe are therefore more than welcome. They can in fact be a “boon” to the nation and a tremendous help in freeing the minds of the remaining wayward souls aboard the Yellow train. After nearly 25 years of domination in the Philippine scene, the Yellow era in our politics and governance has failed miserably — nay, criminally — to bring its promise of democracy, economic development, and prosperity.
Instead, what it has given is reinforced neo-colonial chains by the plutocrats who pull the strings on corrupted national and local, election, judicial, security, defense, and other officials in a sham, make-believe democracy that nurtures and entrenches an army of career sycophants all the way to the top, so long as they pay homage to the US Ambassador, sing paeans to “foreign investors,” and genuflect before “globalization” and “privatization.”
A historical perspective to the “color revolutions” is useful at this stage. I have said that the Philippines is the political-economic laboratory of American imperialism. The US has time and again shown that it exercises in-depth mind and political control over this country very successfully.
My first impression of RP being a testing ground for US imperialist programs came from a study of the Philippines’ transition from the “Filipino First Policy” under President Carlos P. Garcia to the “decontrol” period of Diosdado Macapagal — a process imposed by the earliest “structural adjustment” programs of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which included liberalization of foreign exchange and trade controls.
In the decades that followed, “structural adjustments” became a byword in IMF-Third World relations (which is now being imposed on European countries). Also, the “Yellow Revolution” was soon followed by the “Rose” and “ Orange ” revolutions in former Eastern Bloc countries similarly destabilized by the US.
In all, crucial ideas forming the ideology of a nation’s sovereign governance changed with these color revolutions. The downgrading of the state (with its government) and the rise of the corporatocracy by the transfer of public assets to private transnational and local conglomerates (through privatization) placed the real power shift to the plutocrats.
The downgrading of productive industries also resulted as the economy was “financialized,” with the ascendancy of “shareholder value” and “capital markets” that create the “virtual” economy of financial and stock market speculation by the likes of George Soros, Warren Buffet, and the infamous Ponzi man Bernie Madoff.
All these as local oligarchs feed their respective nations to these speculators via the “debt sentence” amid booming stock markets in bankrupt economies marked by “jobless growth.” The net effect: The killing of the real, physically productive economy, with GDP and GNP indicators replacing genuine “development” in such areas as health and education.
The “Sorry Yellow Movement” must rise above personality politics and the prevailing materialistic culture into a higher plane of thinking where a moral and spiritual vision for a better country and a better life for all Filipinos and all nations is upheld. But this must also be grounded on historical empiricism, i.e. knowledge from evidence-based experience, against the quasi-occultism of the Ghost of Edsa Shrine historiography and Yellow necromancy around the death masks of its idols.
What is the better model of development in real terms (i.e. long-term vs flash in the pan), the balanced political-economy of Singapore and Malaysia as well as China ’s social-market and market-socialist system, or the ultra-capitalist system exemplified by the US? After 25- and 50-year cycles, the consistent developmental economics of China et al. outperforms the boom and bust-driven US system.
The chromatic symbolism of the Philippines must return to the multi-colors of the flag that evolved from the Katipunan’s sun and black or red background to the multi-colors of the flag of the First Republic representing the true nation-state republic that Apolinario Mabini and the other founding heroes envisioned. The yellow of royalty, theocratic power, and privilege — not to mention, cowardice — must be thrown into the dustbin of history where it belongs. The Republic represents the people; and as it is a government of, for, and by the people, it should stay that way.
The “Sorry Yellow Movement” must begin to understand these before it becomes, as some have already declared, the even sorrier “Very Sorry Yellow Movement.” And while they say goodbye to their old ways, we from the genuine mainstream of the nation of Filipinos — patriots by natural law — say “hello” to welcome them back to the fold.