Monday, November 29, 2010

The nation and the SYM

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.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Truth, the first casualty of war

"The first casualty of war — Truth.”

At any point in history, wars are being waged on a daily basis on one level or another. This week in the Philippine and world stage, several exchanges of fire and eruptions of abnormally high intensity conflict have been reported by both the local and international media and, as expected, have led to tremendous distortion and disinformation.

As the North and South Korea conflict literally exploded just days ago, most of Western and Philippine media pinned the blame perfunctorily on “Stalinist” and “provocative” North Korea, when the fact is, South Korea fired the first artillery shot.

As an Associated Press (AP) report noted: “The skirmish began when Pyongyang warned the South to halt military drills in the area, according to South Korean officials. When Seoul refused and began firing artillery into disputed waters, albeit away from the North Korean shore, the North retaliated by bombarding the small island of Yeonpyeong, which houses South Korean military installations...”

North Korea has been accused as “provocative” and “aggressive,” as well as an “agitator” in this exchange of artillery fire. But the AP report objectively revealed that it was South Korea’s military forces that made the provocation.

This bolsters the conviction of some analysts that it is one of the US’ attempts to start a much needed war in this region to revive its economy, in line with US military-political think tank RAND Corp.’s proposal of two years now.

It is important for the Filipino nation to be informed of the facts underlying this build-up of tension in the Korean peninsula. Our countrymen shouldn’t be victimized by war-mongering Western propaganda which seeks to draw the Philippines into “their” wars. By setting the record straight, we are reminding the Filipino people that there is never any positive payback for being sucked into conflicts or wars designed for other countries’ interests.

The lesson from the WWll for the Philippines is there for all to recall: Manila became the second most devastated city in the world when General MacArthur decided to use it as a center stage for his own glorification.

The American and Western economies are now in shambles, so their ruling classes desperately need to create wars (while profiteering at the same time) to distract attention from their domestic crises and their own culpability for these.

In the Philippines, the wars of the social classes continue: The ruling class, represented by the Yellow political regime and its variations (including the Liberal, Lakas, Kampi and Nacionalista parties, the Aquinorroyo leftists and civil society, such as Etta Rosales, Karina David, et al., plus the oligarchs, ad nauseum) is constantly pitted against the people.

This week, Pag-IBIG, HUDCC, NHA and other government home financing borrowers are rising up to oppose their eviction from homes which they have been amortizing for over a decade but have had difficulty keeping up with due to loss of employment, shrinking purchasing power (with the lion’s share gobbled up by power and water overcharging), and the oppressive financial policies of financing agencies raring to turn these homes over to foreign mortgage buyers such as Deutsche Bank. And this is something that mainstream media won’t be carrying in their news.

Rising political alternatives to the dominant Yellow regimes continue to be suppressed, as with the unjust detention of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV who embodies the hopes of millions of Filipinos. The Aquino III administration may be going through the motions of responding to the cries for justice and the early release of Trillanes, but its moves in sync with like-minded Yellow elements are making a joke of this. Make no mistake: Joker Arroyo is Yellow to the core and he opposes the amnesty for our patriotic and idealistic soldiers who stood against the Gloria Arroyo regime only to mask his own complicity in one of the darkest periods of Philippines history and an era of untold suffering for the Filipino masses.

As Joker tries to put up more legal obstacles in this Palace show, suspended lawyer Alan Paguia says: Amnesty is an unconditional, political act; it does not require any admission of guilt, and requires no apology (and certainly not to Gloria as the Joker demands).

Joker Arroyo is, among other things, a legislative enforcer of the ruling class. He gave away Meralco without any compensation to what the public paid for when the state expanded its franchise coverage by four times, and allowed the electricity consumers’ payments to pay for what the Lopezes owed the government for getting it.

It is even said that when those blessings were being bestowed, Joker’s most beloved was working as a lawyer for the other party, constantly whispering into the ears of one who would decades later utter the empty phrase, “Kung Bad Ka, Lagot Ka.”

Joker complains about Trillanes’ “mutiny” against a clearly corrupt regime, but wasn’t his Edsa I made possible by the mutiny of a segment of the military against Marcos for a shallower reason — the rivalry between Generals Ver and Ramos? The truth is indeed the first casualty of war, and more so in an information war.