Sunday, December 06, 2015

Dutertismo? Simounismo? Revolution?



It is a good thing than in 2015 Anvil republished Dr Mila C Guerrero's 1977 doctoral thesis on "Luzon at War, Contradictions in Philippine Society, 1898-1902. Here we read her thesis that the Philippine Revolution of 1896 is now seen as a revolution that resulted in social levelling for social change but rather for regime change in the state and church e.g. replacing the Spanish leadership with the Filipino and on the religious side, replacing the friar with the Indio clergy.. And the Katipunan revolution never had a program of addressing social inequity but had one on legal inequity whilst preserving the privileges of the propertied class (who were to collaborate with the Americans later). The Katipunan was inspired by liberalism current in Spain then. This Rizal knew had its political limits and perhaps is the reason why he did not advocate revolution then. But Rizal in the El Filibusterismo knew that the romantic anarchism of Simoun may be a portent of what is needed and so he had to romantically kill Simoun in an author's Deus ex Machina and only to be absolved by an Indio priest.

This liberal idea of the Revolution would form the basis for justifying American "tutelage" leading to a semi-sovereign Commonwealth and eventual recognition of independence in 1946. As long as the elite's privileges were preserved, it can continue to rally for the liberal ideas of Independence and Revolution (sans massive redistribution of course!)  in 21st century platforms like FaceBookk and they continue to do so until this very moment. EDSA I and II can be considered true heirs of the liberal nature of the compromised Revolution. Perhaps until now. The Marcos bogey has emerged but that doesn't make the liberal knees shake. After all a big block of Chiz protects them! And Marcos Jr knows that to suppress the elite is futile. If Marcos Jr wins Malacanang by taking the veep route, the elite knows that a modus vivendi will protect them.

Now that is no longer sure.

What is now making the liberals tremble is the emergence of tough talking Mindanao citizen and Mayor of Davao, Rodrigo Duterte whose latest pronouncements literally shreds elite liberal democratic pretensions (e.g.Duterte threatening to close Congress permanently)  while advocating the federalist idea resonant with the non Manila urban classes.  In doing so Duterte threatens the elite in Manila and those in the regions whose powers, wealth and privileges are tied to Manila. We easily can see this since fear is magnified on social media. And if Herr Doctor Goebbles were alive today, he would have noticed this.

And one thing, Duterte comes from Mindanao a great resource rich island known by almost all who come from the regions as marginalized as best and colonized at worst by Imperial Manila. This accusation has basis since even from the start of the Filipino Republic the idea was government from Manila and all go to Manila.  Unless Manila's power is redistributed, Manila will always be an internal colonial power.

Duterte has not yet crystallized his ideology but we can be sure it is populist and now has a socialistic tinge by advocating some forms of redistribution. There is a hint of pragmatism yet. He is not closed to a diplomatic solution to our problems with China.  But my good friend an ex political detainee Randy Malayao doesn't think this Dutertismo can develop in some sort of Chavismo like ideology. Malayao is right since PH unlike Venezuela doesn't have the kind of resources that an imperialist like the US requires.  But I do not foreclose the possibility for these are early days in the presidential race.  But how Duterte will do it assuming it is really at the core of his ideology for the presidency, is something worth watching.

Rizal ever the prescient one knew that the anarchistic (now read as socialistic) route cannot be avoided if important reforms are not made. As early as 1899, the PH peasants were already advocating redistribution and there was agrarian unrest which the Aguinaldo government suppressed. Thus there was the  Katipunan of the propertied and the "other Katipunan".  Mabini eventually came to a realization that "rationalization" of the Revolution is unavoidable for the republic to survive. This would have entailed redistribution as initiated 'from above". While this was quite radical given the situation in 1899, it was still well within liberalist agenda. It is possible that if Antonio Luna had succeeded in deposing Aguinaldo, this partly socialistic agenda may have been realized since Luna already had those ideas for reform.  Such reforms never happened in substance then whether it was in Quezon's Commonwealth, the post 1946 republics. Marcos' martial law and the EDSA 1986 "democratic" restoration.

And so such expectation of the masses of the Filipino nation never was realized. Resistance came in the guise of religious messianism and this has translated to the secular side. If the PH elite on social media claims that Duterte is a sort of messiah, then they should read the history of the "other side of the 1896 revolution" and they will know the reason why.

Is it time to recover the nationalist ideology that animated the masses of the 1896 Revolution and not the one the elite constructed and survived US colonization? I have to caution that this is not the Maoist one (which the masses have decisively rejected) of Jose Maria Sison.

And so Nick Joaquin who asked "Whose Revolution" are we inspired by? Perhaps it might be interesting to follow Duterte's quest for the presidency.



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