Monday, February 19, 2007

On Randy David's column: Student Activism

Professor Randy David's latest piece in the Philippine Daily Inquirer looks at the murders of leftist student activists in the Philippines and the apparent lack of response or even at the least indignation among students. Whereas if these killings had happened in the late 1960s or early 1980s, Prof David says that this would have incited a nationwide student revolt.

Having come into adulthood in the mid 1980s I can give some observations why there is very little militant response. My generation came to adulthood at the time when Marxist-Leninism had obviously become discredited. At the end of the Cold War we saw in quick succession the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Then in 1989 the Tiananmen student revolt's was crushed by the Chinese army that was supposed to ensure the nation's liberation. Two images come into mind, the lone man who stopped the tank and the socialist-realist "Goddess of Democracy"sculpture

What Professor David fails to realize is that Marxism has failed because it has failed to evolve with a globalising society and that important thing that each human being extremely values. And this value is what John Paul II brought upon the world stage in 1979. A prominent Cold War historian has finally given credit to John Paul for destroying Communism. The destruction of Communism really began when he first kissed the tarmac in Poland. What is so unfortunate is that no radical ideology has replaced Marxism. Not even John Paul's vision could replace it. To the end, John Paul warned about the evils of capitalism. It could be that the antiglobalisation movement may have replaced Marxism and ahve taken after John Paul, but without a spiritual dimension its major actions are seen by the public only during world trade summits.

David notes that the present student generation "it is often swamped by religious visions of personal salvation". But that has always been the case. Perhaps now it is swamped by visions of earning dollars in some other country. Just like any thing that rests on faith, it is only an illusion.

My generation largely believes that the 1986 People Power revolt is a betrayal. We could have implemented real reforms in society that may have truly been an alternative. The products of this revolt are the ones who now stifle dissent.

The struggle may have to shift to other fronts and new ideologies must be created. For this it is a good idea to look at the blogosphere.

Randy David may take comfort in the fact that even here in the USA, where soldiers are dying in Iraq in a war with a morally questonable basis, there is widespread opposition. However students still want their iPods while living in anxiety about terrorist threats everywhere,

If this were 1968, students would have stormed the US Capitol.

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