Carvajal: What went wrong?

Break Point

We are all proud of our Edsa People Power Revolution. Yet, so far it has not brought us economic prosperity. It has not democratized the economy as demanded by the massive poverty afflicting millions of Filipinos.

A political revolution is usually initiated by an organized group of citizens with a view to taking control of state power. In the event of a win, they proceed to implement economic programs, which the ruling group they overthrew refused to consider.

Edsa essentially failed because it was a spontaneous revolt meant simply to take the opportunity that suddenly presented itself of ousting a hated dictator. So we ousted the dictator, but who took over state power after Edsa? Not the people who won it for them but the Cojuangco-Aquino-Ramos-Enrile-Honasan faction, the other faction of the oligarchy opposed to Marcos.

As it turned out, the new government was still pro-oligarchy and not pro-people. For all its good features (Bill of Rights, constitutional ban on political dynasty etc.), the 1987 Constitution continued to place government firmly in the hands of vested interest groups. Hence no law has been enacted to implement the ban on political dynasties and the bill of rights’ implementation leaves too much to be desired.

Some of us might wonder how Vietnam has overtaken us economically. The answer is simple. They planned, organized and won a revolution against their former colonizers. Because they were organized for a takeover, they installed a government that now runs Vietnam for the welfare of the majority of Vietnamese people and not of a few.

My point is not that we go violent and communist. My point is simply that we have to win our own war against vested interests that run this country for their exclusive benefit.

Myanmar, for instance, is not taking the violent communist route. They are organized into a National League for Democracy under Aung San Suu Kyi. Theirs is a “non-violent movement towards multi-party democracy.” Theirs would be a violent protest only if the Myanmar Military decides to violently suppress them.

But the Burmese people have the organization. If they win their revolt against the Military, they will be in a position to take over the government once more and run it for the good of the Burmese people and not for vested interest groups. When that happens, Myanmar will next pass us economically.

With elections coming, we are again choosing which faction of the oligarchy to support. When will we wise up and start to consider organizing our own non-violent Pro-democracy League as a third alternative to the oligarchy and the communists? Unlike Vietnam we have not installed a truly pro-democracy government. Unlike Myanmar, we are not even trying.


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