Carvajal: Between a rock and a hard place


You would like to join in on the conversation a group is having about your situation in life. But the group makes it very plain the conversation is for members only and membership is off limits to the likes of you. Yet, the conversation is about you. It is critical that you find a way to take part in it.

This is the dilemma Filipinos face. A wealthy enclave controls the socio-economic conversation of the country. The rest of the population is not wealthy enough to be allowed any part in it. They must only bow to the group’s self-serving decisions.

The result is a situation of homelessness, joblessness, hunger, ill health and ignorance, in short, mass poverty for the rest of Filipinos. Popular discontent is treated with a massive dose of palliatives. The situation prevails as ordinary folks have yet to find a peaceful way of joining the conversation that determines the trajectory of their lives.

At this time in our nation’s life, the communist party is the only other group that is interested not so much in joining the conversation as in having complete control of it. But communists drive a hard bargain by using armed revolution to gain total control of the country’s narrative. In no less deceptive fashion that the ruling elite does it, they also make false assurances of freedom and equality when they very well know that if they win the revolution, the Philippines will merely go from extreme right authoritarianism to extreme left totalitarianism. Neither guarantees equality and freedom.

That wedges Filipinos between a rock and a hard place. They have to break out of there if they want both the freedom and equality to progress. They have to form a third force, one that aims for true democracy and uses avowedly non-violent means to attain it.

Four obstacles stand in the way of the formation of this group. One is red-tagging. To cow people into conformity, all opposition is tagged as communistic. Two, the communist party compounds the problem by infiltrating groups and forming front groups, thus giving government the excuse to pounce on all protest groups with impunity. Three, people are hard to arouse into action conditioned as they are to prefer the palliatives the enclave dispenses liberally. But perhaps the most difficult obstacle of all is the reluctance of leaders of peace-loving groups to make a united stand against an unjust system. Perhaps because leaders’ egos cannot part with their own pet nuances on the socio-cultural revolution that needs to happen, nobody seems to want to unite around just the common goal of popular participation in government through something as unsophisticated as a genuine people’s party.

This writer contends that until such a third force is formed and the voice of the majority is heard, Filipinos will either remain stuck between a rock and a hard place or fall from the frying pan to the fire. In either case, their situation can only get worse but never better.


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