By IVAN LABAYNE
While November saw the traditional All Saints’ Day, relatives of two Filipino celebrities news-worthily killed and Pacquiao scoring yet another unsettling decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, not a lot of people are aware that the month is tagged as Anti-Imperialism month.
Of course, it is not surprising that this won’t get into the news. The mainstream discourse is rife with the usual showbiz noise, Clinton’s visit and touted agreements made with the Philippine government and whether its Pacquiao-Marquez or Pacquaio-Mayweather on May 2012. There is no place for the word “imperialism” in the mainstream, especially if it is preceded by “anti.” The common opinion is that “imperialism” sounds large and heavy a term that the people shouting this in the streets should think hard on whether they are being understood, much less noticed by the people around them. That is a sound brickbat and it is well-acknowledged. It is somewhat amusing that despite the prevalence of the idea encapsulated in the term, people are still not well-aware of it, much more, understand its full ramifications.
“Imperialism.” Who cares at this lonely word, cursed by hardcore leftists, laughed at by intellectuals, ignored by those who are, or chose to be left behind. The trick can sometimes be located at word deceptions. People say we are living in a global village, that globalization is the new flavor of the times. People say that this globalization is manifested by the greater cooperation among nations and regions of the world today, liberalization of trade which helps in boosting the economy especially of the less developed countries. There is the internet seemingly making our lives easier – from communicating with people from across the globe, purchasing things, watching films, finding every bit of information and simple how-to-dos. The increasing rates of migration and overseas employment are also cited as the proofs of this global trend.
On the surface, it could be easy to say that if these are the manifestations of globalization (of cloaked imperialism), then what is negative about it? What should make us frown upon the delights of internet, of merry Facebooking, or of an easier chance to see another country whether for plain vacation or getting a job there, or of the supposed cooperation among nations?
The answer is a word as sad, if not sadder than “imperialism” – business. Actually, I thought of using the term “capital” instead but that felt too hardcore for me, too adamant, and more dismissable. This globalization and all its supposed delights are all out here for the sake of business, of profit, of capital. And if you feel like we are heading towards capitalism, you are partially correct, although I intend to go further than that.
Globalization, or imperialism beautified in words, is capitalism not just in one country but in several other countries where the center of power gravitates towards only the few imperialists, globalization-trumpeting countries. What is in the internet except mostly Western things – western products, western ideas, western consciousness. Facebook, Youtube, Yahoo, they teem with advertisements, all silently asking us to buy and just buy, ogle at fancy things we would like to have ourselves.
What are in the OFW phenomenon but the exportation of cheap labor. Asian workers can be employed more or less at half the price of employing a worker from that same country. While Filipino workers are salivating at say, P30,000 monthly earnings abroad, they are not aware that the value of this amount in the currency of the country is way below the amount normally earned by people from that country.
We are always caught off-guard in deceptive beauties on the surface. And we talk of greater cooperation which mostly come in the face of foreign aids given from one country to the other, we should be careful before perceiving this gesture right away as mere benevolence. Definitely, behind every billion of foreign aid is a hidden condition that will work at the greater benefit of the richer country. As if, “ahem, you have to be more lax in supervising our businesses in your country,” or, “Go hasten the enacting of that law which will allow our military troops to enter your territory.”
Globalization is so deceptive because it is being packaged as the temper of the times whose manifestations we all find indulging. Thanks to globalization, we have Nike and Chanel and Dolce and Gabbana in the Philippines. Thanks to globalization, owning a top quality, laptop-made-abroad becomes easier to achieve. Thanks to globalization, news from Libya or Congo becomes easier for us to know. Thanks to globalization, we have Lady Gaga or Maroon 5 visiting the country for concerts and Noynoy Aquino flying overseas to establish economic partnerships with other, richer countries.
For all we know, these surface beauties only divert our attention from the more crucial negative effects that these things bring. Now is the time reconsidering things and looking beyond the surface before we subscribe and pay homage to them. Perhaps next time, we can refuse to easily accept or indulge at a Starbucks coffee or a Selena Gomez song, without much thought on what are their impact on the way we act or think, the same way as we easily dismiss those grim-looking people on the streets shouting without mercy, “Imperyalismo, ibagsak!” # nordis.net