By ALDWIN QUITASOL
“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community… Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” – Cesar Chavez
In 1789, the people of France grew tired of the corrupt rule of King Louis XVI (23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793) where bankruptcy, no transparency in government expenditures, unjust high taxes among others was widespread. The people under the leadership of the emerging bourgeois class during that time waged a revolution for “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite”!
The bourgeois class owned main industries, ran commerce and gained great fortunes in the accumulation of capital that time were being suppressed by the ruling nobility led by the king. Though the growing bourgeois class was upstaging the French nobility, it still did not weild political power.
Because of the unpopularity of Louis XVI and the anger of the French people, the bourgeois led revolution succeeded ending the monarchy and replacing it with a capitalist driven liberal government. The peasants remained peasants still without land and struggling to make both ends meet as the bourgeois capitalists dictated the prices of their crops.
The ranks of workers growing with the expanding thrust for industrialization then working under dire conditions and the unfair labor relationship between the feudal slaves and their bourgeois masters continued to reign.
In 1986, people power succeeded in overthrowing the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos who was hated by the Filipino masses; the peasants and the workers, for his government’s anti-people policies and abuses. All sectors of the Filipino society poor or not wanted him out of the Malacañang Palace. The dictator, a reliable political leader loyal to the dictates of the US earned the hatred of his people.
The people formed human barricades stopped the forces of Marcos in their unarmed numbers and stormed Malacañang to get rid of the dictator who escaped thru a US armed force helicopter that took him, his family and close allies to Hawaii.
Seizing the opportunity, the military led by the generals and officials and the members of the elite who also wanted a big chunk of the nation’s wealth turned their back on their former master. Took the front stage of the growing popular uprising against Marcos, they knew that they will turn victors and they appeared before the spot lights to show the world that they led the people, the oppressed peasants and workers in toppling the dictator.
Time passed the poor Filipinos grew poorer as the oppressive system remained. Peasants and workers remain impoverished, unemployed and hungry; continuous rising of prices, corruption, political oppression and state terrorism haunted the Filipinos through the years. Nothing changed, only the president.
In 2000, the action star turned president Erap was accused to be a gambling lord and a padron of the Filipino jueteng. Filipinos were tired of his poor management of the government. The people’s movement called for his ouster and it grew popular. Filipinos all over the country shouted “Oust Erap”. In the first months of 2001, Erap left Malacañang and later was arrested. Again, the group of Filipino elites rushed to the EDSA shrine to declare that they were the next leaders selected by the people.
Only months passed, the next president who turned the worst into worst. The Filipinos suffered from this unwanted fascist ruler for nine years. Many people especially from the ranks of political activists, civilians opposed to her rule died. Many times that the people called for her resignation yet she remained earning her the moniker “kapit-tuko sa palasyo”. In 2004, she cheated the elections to remain in power.
Comes the 2010 elections. The people, especially the peasants and the workers expected something better from the yellow president who promised to lead the country through a “daang matuwid” and wang-wangless streets.
Over a year has passed and nothing changed. The continuous price hike, sinking economy, unemployment, hunger and many more, Extra-judicial killings, abductions, and other kinds of human rights violations continues to sow fear among the Filipinos.
Across the seas, on February 2011, Libyan people’s protests and armed resistance against the 42-year iron rule of Moammar Gaddafi breakks out.The uprising against Gaddafi is being led by the rebel Transitional National Council composed of lawyers, professionals among others. The movement is supported by the monarchists, defectors from the government and political opponents of Gaddafi. The armed fighting is backed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) They have bombarded Libya for months and most of the victims are civilians. The US is the leading member of NATO.
If Gaddafi will go down, will be removed then what will be next for the Libyan people? Will the lives of the people go better and the system be changed into better? Will the TNC which is being praised by the western powers especially the US do a better job?
Every change in the leadership, the main actor is the people. They have the power to install and uninstall presidents and rulers. But the few elite use deception and maneuver the leadership for the clamor of the people for the better. Looking at the scenarios of presidential ousters in the past, the people will learn from the lessons. Was the change of their president beneficial to the people or just an opportunity for the few elite?
What if change will be directed by the people grouped according to their historical role in social production and their relations with the systems of production? That change be designed in accordance to the real interests of the many people over the few elite, the interests of the peasants and the workers. # nordis.net