Skip to main content

When old men call for revolution.

About three years ago the writer and Magsaysay laureate Frankie Sionil Jose (of Rosales novels fame) gave a speech at the UP College of Arts and Letters in which he called for revolution. Sionil-Jose's lecture has been published as an essay entitled " Revolution and the University of the Philippines" Today former UP prez and now Prof Emeritus Dodong Nemenzo (of academic research in the Pen with the Trillanes fame) called for the same thing in his UP centennial lecture.

There is something interesting when our greybeards (ooops that's a term used in England for eminent old men!) or grey balding heads (that's the better adjectival phrase!) call for revolution. No one in their sane minds would accuse the two men of being naive, hopelessly idealistic or lacking in wisdom. So we have to incline our ears.

Both Sionil- Jose and Nemenzo have the thesis that the revolution that will lop off the ruling corrupt elite together with the social system that breeds them is necessary if not inevitable. But while Sionil-Jose would like that someone from the universities will lead the Revolution, Nemenzo has pinned his hopes with Magdalo and the Trillanes. Sionil-Jose and Nemenzo however agree that the army may have to be in the vanguard of the change.

Let me comment on this. While Nemenzo says that Trillanes and company have become radicalized, I don't think that Trillanes and company will succeed however radicalized they have become. They are but a product of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) mistah culture. PMA cadets lack enough liberal education background that will enable them to weigh,consider and eventually create the ideology for revolution . They need that to consolidate the revolution. Sionil-Jose may be right. The revolutionaries should come from the universities.

Lenin came from Law School. Trotsky came from a German college. Stalin came from the Catholic Seminary! Nemenzo left seminary so he says.

The leaders of the Russian Revolution from Kerensky to Lenin were from the universities and had some form of citizen's military training. It was not the professional officer corps that made the armed component of the revolution succeed but citizen soldiers.

So I think Nemenzo has given up on the UP as the seedbed for revolutionaries. When I heard some of the questions of weblinked audiences from the various UP campuses nationwide, I have to agree. The questions lacked ideological punch and this really had Dodong irritated.

Dodong and Frankie agree that new technologies can be the tool that will make the revolution succeed.

Too bad I never had Dodong as a professor. I would have liked to debate with him on why Marxism is a flop since it never took Darwinian concepts seriously.

And speaking of flops, Marxism and it's variants like the ideology of the Man from Utrecht are truly flops according to Sionil-Jose. Our hope lies in having our own brand of ideology.

And the closest we have was none other than the ideology created by the Great Apo Ferdinand of Batac!

Reading about his New Society tracts, if the Steel Butterfly had been swatted early on (figuratively of course!) then this Ferdinandist revolution could have succeeded in reforming Philippine society.

The Ferdinandist revolution had an ideology. We couldn't say that of the Coryist one. The Sainted Cory had a revolutionary government but without a clear ideology. Nemenzo says that it just brought back the oligarchy. Nemenzo uses media as an example of how this oligarchy has sustained the corrupt system we have.

FYI, the Great Apo is the greatest alum of the University of the Philippines High School, the University of the Philippines College of Liberal Arts and the University of the Philippines College of Law.

The Saint Cory on the other hand never attended the UP.

Need I say more?

It's no use to ponder on "what ifs?" when Revolutions are the craze.

So the question is what kind of Revolution?

Sionil-Jose and Nemenzo leave that to us.


Popular posts from this blog

President Manuel Luis Quezon's Code of Ethics

Being a denizen of Kyusi, in honour of the man who gave my city its name and for being the most colourful prez the Philippines ever had, I have the pleasure to post Manuel L Quezon's Code of Ethics on his birthday. Let us profit from the wisdom of the Kastila.

1. Have Faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations.

2. Love your country for it is the home of your people, the seat of your affection and the source of your happiness and well-being. It's defense is your primary duty. Be ready to sacrifice and die for it if necessary.

3. Respect the Constitution which is the expression of your sovereign will. The government is your government. It has been established for your safety and welfare. Obey the laws and see that they are observed by all and that public officials comply with their duties.

4. Pay your taxes willingly and promptly. Citizenship implies not only rights but obligations.

5. Safeguard the purity of suffrage and abide by the decisions of the…

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."
Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"
Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

Kartilla of the Katipunan

In celebration of Andres Bonifacio Day on Nov 30, I am blogging my English translation of the Katipunan's Code of Ethics or Kartilla (Kartilya). Recruits to the revolutionary association had to learn these by heart. The code was first written by Emilio Jacinto. The Kartilya remains as relevant today as in 1896 .

My apologies for errors in translation. I know there are better translations than this one.

1) A life not spent for a holy and noble cause is like a tree without shade or a noxious weed.

2) Acts that stem from pride and selfishness do not come from a desire to help others..

3) True holiness comes from helping others, charity towards others and the measure of such is in each reasonable act or word.

4) Dark or white your skin may be, all men are equal though one may be greater in knowledge, material wealth, beauty these do not add to one’s humanity.

5) Those who are men of goodwill put honour before concern for self and those who do no good puts the self before honour.

6) For an ho…