Sunday, June 15, 2008
Revolutions pave the way for a radical shift in power or organizational structures within a relatively brief span of time. Three such revolutions happened in the Philippines, all of which are deemed popular by nature. These people power revolutions—the 1896 Revolution, and the EDSA 1 and 2 Revolutions—play a significant role in political exercises, that is, the abrupt change in the Philippine political institutions. In the turn-of-the-century revolution sponsored by the Katipunan movement, the political alteration was the colonial independence of the country from Spain. In the more recent revolutions, the political alteration was the overthrow of morally decadent presidents. In all revolutions, however, it became apparent that the abrupt change in political power structures gave way to an oligarchic rule, one in which the elites are swept up by the very people at the end of the socio-economic strata. The inequality preserving the interest of the elite shows that there is little of political maturity hereabouts. The patterns of elite domination are sustained even in contemporary times due to the efforts of democratization wherein an elite democracy rules the country today. If before, these caciques controlled only their respective local political fiefdoms, now they enjoyed national-level access and exposure. This is most apparent with the emergence of political dynasties throughout the country, with family members holding major political positions in their areas of responsibility. Thinking of their relative predecessors’ electoral posts as political inheritance, they deepen their consciousness as a ruling class. The consolidation of a national oligarchy in the government continues to create a perfect adaptation of the ambitions of the mestizo nouveau riche in the legislative and executive systems. Hence, there seems to be a permanent crisis in the Philippines wherein the political powerplay is manipulated in such a way that the bourgeoisie will further entrench themselves up the socio-economic-political ladder, to the detriment of the masses who largely compose the revolutions in an attempt to bring about large-scale progressive change in the socio-political landscape.
Arguments seeking to provide a solution to such a permanent crisis in the country include uprooting all the weak socio-political institutions and supplanting them with new ones as well as charter change. However, issues like addressing the problems of the very constituents of revolutions get obscured because the bourgeoisie, for one, may have a hand at influencing the abovementioned solutions and maneuvering such political upheavals, all to the upper class’ selfish advantage and at the expense of the lower class. Therefore, I believe that it must be accepted that conflicts are inherent in liberal politics because a threat of crisis will render caciques aware of their ever imminent deposition by the masses in a true democratic fashion. The tiring people power revolutions may have lost their magic over time and after their exploitation by the elites, but a threat of popular revolt will worry the rich that their socio-economic benefits under a turbulent regime have chances of being jeopardized, especially when the united masses successfully stage a popular revolt in which communism will scrap the face of oligarchic democracy.