Philippine pseudo republics (Part 1)-A A +A
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Today’s liberal democrats, who brag so much of transparent and accountable governance, are nothing but reactionaries, defenders of the status quo, who goodtime people in sweet talks, and cover up the real fuel to the intensification of class and social struggles in our society.
They must be exposed not for who they are, but for their reactionary viewpoint and standpoint translated into public roles and advocacies.
As a socio-historical context, the defeat of the feudalists or their reduction to a subordinate position by the bourgeoisie had signaled the progressive shift from autocracy in feudal times to republicanism in modern times. The absolute monarchy is finished, except as a symbolic or ceremonial vestige of the past or as a camouflaged revival by the most reactionary section of the bourgeoisie, as in the cases of Thailand,
Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, Nepal, Tibet, and most Asian nations, with some remnants in Western Europe.
In any definition of the modern republic either bourgeois-liberal or Marxist there are essential elements like the people are sovereign and enjoy national independence; they are the source of political authority and officials are merely their representatives and servants; an elected representative assembly rather than a single individual makes the laws according to the sovereign will of the people; and this popular will is determined through suffrage and other democratic means.
Both the bourgeois-liberal and the Marxist agree that armed revolution is the sovereign right of the people and is justified and necessary in order to establish, defend or reestablish the modern republic against tyranny and its armed counterrevolution. The modern republic could not have arisen without the people fighting battles against monarchies and colonial tyrannies. The Katipunan and its armed successors were like the Jacobins of the French revolution in taking the decisive step for an armed revolution against tyranny and for the liberal-democratic cause.
The bourgeois-liberal and the Marxist differ basically in class standpoint, in their order of appearance on the stage of world history and in their historic missions. But both affirm in common the democratic principle of people's sovereignty and the representative form of government. Both ideological and political trends are categorically and
uncompromisingly against autocracy, whether this is labeled "constitutional authoritarianism", "enlightened/benevolent despotism" or martial Marcos style, or what else.
In Philippine history, a Philippine republic has been proclaimed five times; namely, in 1897, 1899, 1943, 1946 and 1981. The first proclamation was done at Biak-na-Bato during the armed revolution against Spanish colonialism. The second was done at Malolos after the defeat of Spanish colonialism and on the eve of the revolutionary war against US imperialism. The third was done under the sponsorship of the Japanese
fascists. The fourth made by Marcos was also done under the sponsorship of a foreign power, the United States. And so, the proclamation of the so-called fourth republic in 1981 by Marcos was actually the fifth one.
In all instances of proclamation there is an avowal of adherence to both the principles of national sovereignty and people's sovereignty. Because of the background of the Philippines as a colony or its current circumstance as a semicolony, anyone who makes a proclamation of the Philippine republic is obliged to assert the aforesaid principles. A
genuine republic cannot be formed without the people being integrally sovereign and without them being free from colonial or imperialist domination. But it is one thing to make a proclamation and another thing to mean the existence of the republic.
Until 1972, the "third republic" or rather the second pseudo-republic seemed to create successfully the illusion of a representative form of government and a people enjoying basic democratic rights under a liberal-democratic but proimperialist constitution. The people were always limited to a range of choices determined by the ruling classes who controlled the government, the two major political parties, the mass media and so on.
It was Marcos coup and autocratic rule that destroyed the "third republic" was destroyed under the pretext of saving it. Marcos carried out a counterrevolutionary coup d'etat starting on September 21, 1972 on several flimsy fabricated grounds making it appear that the state was on the verge of collapse. In issuing Proclamation 1081, general orders and decrees to formalize his assumption of absolute powers and repression of
the people, Marcos overstretched and abused the commander-in-chief or martial law provision (section 10, paragraph 2 of Article VII) of the 1935 constitution to the point of violating the most fundamental principle, that of a republican state, in the same constitution. He substituted the retrogressive and counterrevolutionary principle of autocracy for the principle of republicanism. He practically declared, "L'etat c'est moi" (I am the state).
It is appropriate at this point to stress that all modern constitutionalism, whether bourgeois-liberal or socialist, condemns the principle of one-man legislation. To adopt this reactionary principle is to cast away all that has been learned from the historic struggles of the Filipino people for their own sovereignty and freedom against foreign and local tyranny.
This was part of clarifying the meaning of the republican state. The Marcos autocracy is not merely a violation of the republican tradition of the United States or the West but a vicious betrayal of a sacred legacy of the Philippine revolution which subsequent Philippine constitutions have not disregarded even if only as a glittering generality.
Even among the fascist regimes, the Marcos regime is unique for holding itself up as an undisguised autocracy for so long. Marcos would drag his feet towards holding sham elections and putting up a rubber-stamp parliament. Such is a measure of his greed and contempt for the sovereign people.
The proclamation of the Marcos "new republic" is diametrically opposed in character to that of the Philippine republic either in 1897 or 1899.
The first Philippine republic, including its prototype, was the fruit of the Philippine revolution against colonial domination and for national independence and democracy.
But the "fourth republic" is the bitter fruit of a fascist puppet counterrevolution.
The proclamation of the "fourth republic" is actually the third of its kind, after such puppet republics as those sponsored by Japan in 1943 and by the United States in 1946. It is also the second fascist republic after the pseudo-republic sponsored by the Japanese fascists in 1943.
Moreover, it is the first "republic" of a homegrown autocracy and fascist clique. In this respect, it is definitely new.
Post Marcos regimes, from Corazon Aquino, Fidel Valdez-Ramos, Estrada, GMA and now PNoy are all variations of Marcos so called “Fourth Republic” – elite, pseudo liberal, reactionary, anti-poor, anti-nationhood.
The great Vladimir Lenin, leader of the successful October socialist revolution and founder of the USSR, had taught us in his study of state and revolution that we must not be confused by the political form that a reactionary government claims to have. The point is to examine the concrete historical conditions and make class analysis in order to determine the real character of that government. A fascist dictatorship like that of Marcos is a bourgeois autocracy and an open rule of terror in the service of imperialist, bureaucrat capitalist and feudal interests in a semifeudal and semicolonial setting.
The despotism of Marcos however eventually proved to be its own undoing and be a blessing in disguise. The people resisted it and triumphed.
The struggle of the broadening front of progressive and patriotic classes, organizations and personages is steadily developing and is bound to result someday in a truly democratic republic.
From this standpoint, all well meaning students and teachers of modern republics, contemporary governments, either Marxist of liberal democrat must be conscious of these essentials in order to identify who our true enemies and friends are in the building of a democratic society.
A number of politicians in the NPC, UNA, LP, PDP-Laban, PMP, Lakas CMD, NP, including those in Bacolod City, are nothing but pseudo liberals, a poor version of American republicans and democrats, who are enmeshed in personality politics, personal enrichments, clan protection in feudal fiefdom tradition, mafianomics, and whose platform is practically empty and extremely vulgar rhetoric.
Time for all good men and women, the dungganons, to unite in framework, and make a real difference in governance that matters in people’s lives.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 29, 2012.