Turn the Economic Predicament into a Political Crisis!
Abandon the Unpopular Gloria! Abandon The Detested Capitalist System!
*Statement of the Union of Filipino Socialists (BISIG) on Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s 8th State of the Nation Address (SONA)
Today, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the make-believe president of a make-believe strong republic will deliver her 8th State of the Nation Address (SONA) as provided by a constitutional mandate to annually report the country’s current state of affairs.
However, instead of giving the people an accurate accounting of the country’s circumstances under her leadership, the public was treated to an orgy of untruths, fabricated achievements and hallucinating visions of grandeur. Using a combination of intimidating statistics, rent-seeking politics and dole-out measures, for the last eight years, Mrs. Arroyo together with her cabal of paid hacks and capitalist apologists tried to paint a rosy economic picture amid the backdrop of increasing hunger, poverty and a growing democratic deficit.
There is no reason this SONA will be different from the previous ones. Like her previous annual reports, this SONA will be a continuing distortion of the actual political and economic realities experienced by the people.
“The Dream is Over”
Nonetheless, the Arroyo regime’s penchant for lying may yet prove to be its much-awaited downfall. While the exposition of economic superficialities, of supposed GDP growth, of curbing the fiscal deficit and a strong currency may have temporarily satisfied the inquisitiveness of a doubting public, Mrs. Arroyo’s “final fantasy” and “bubble economy” burst in the face of an unrepentant global financial crisis.
With this, the seemingly slumbering masses numbed and calloused by failed popular uprisings-Edsa upsurges which were always hijacked by the elite, are slowly showing once more its previously proscribed anger to this inutile and illegitimate government. Furthermore, disenchantment to a way of life as prescribed by a social system that does not deliver on its promises of economic bliss and prosperity is sweeping society like an uncontrollable plague.
Truly, under the climate of a crippling economic crisis composed of unmitigated oil price hikes, food insecurity and unregulated energy charges, the Arroyo regime’s development paradigm is exposed for what it is truly is; fundamentally flawed, elite-driven and crisis-endemic.
And how did Malacanang react to this undeniable economic crisis? By manufacturing spectacles and scaffoldings of imaginary government support and increased subsidy. In short, resorting to populist but negligible measures which won’t make a dent in giving people ambulatory relief to the pains of the ongoing economic transgression.
Some may argue that there is nothing wrong with populism as it is defined as the practice of advocating the rights, virtues and/or perspectives of the common people. Surely, the left movement had its share of populism. We agree. However, it becomes erroneous when it becomes the definitive solution to complex soci0economic problems which necessarily entails comprehensive and structural resolutions. Much worse, populism becomes outrightly reactionary when it is practiced to defend a blatantly corrupt regime or system and to desensitize the public’s consciousness and mind-set to revolt or aspire for change.
This is precisely what the Arroyo regime has been doing since the crisis erupted.
While offering an assortment of dole-outs such as the 500-Peso lifeline support for poor electric consumers, tuition moratorium to state schools, cheap NFA rice and this recent, a rollback of oil prices, these same measures are being used to defend anti-people policies like RVAT by saying the dole-outs were made possible through this regressive form of taxation. Lately, ill-prescribed conditionalities such as oil deregulation were also being defended while preaching the “good news” of economic palliatives.
Accurately speaking, economic palliatives will only serve as impediments to the development of genuine solutions to the crisis. It will also drain our country of much-needed resources while promoting patronage politics among “rulers” and dependence on dole-outs among the “ruled.”
The Bankruptcy of Neo-liberalism: The Illegitimacy of Capitalist Hegemony
These days, it is becoming fashionable to blame every imaginable wrongdoing to the Arroyo regime. Although this government is culpable for many of our current socioeconomic ills and will surely pay for all its shortcomings and crimes to the people, we must not discount the fact that the current economic model as preached and promoted by this regime is equally to blame.
As fast as the Arroyo regime was stripped of its “superb economic management, capitalism and its latest stage, neo-liberalism are suffering from a dual crisis of legitimacy and viability. The current economic crisis is not only a product of Mrs. Arroyo’s pure economic misgovernance, more importantly; it is the result of the global crisis of contemporary capitalism.
Due to the chronic crisis of overproduction of capitalism, for the last 25 years, capitalism was overrun by the massive expansion of the unproductive sectors of the capitalist economy resulting to the international liberalization of finance. This ushered in the golden age of what we know as neo-liberal globalization. So to speak, we are currently under the epoch of less and less production and more and more of fictitious capital governed by the unproductive forces. Real capitalism has just gone unreal.
The end result, for the last 25 years or so, the capitalist system ran under fictitious capital, capital that is not real because it is not based on profits made by the productive forces (workers) but the result of squeezing profit and extra value from existing profits without the benefit of producing new value. In due time it collapsed as established by the recent United States’ nightmarish subprime crisis which eventually turned into a global financial calamity which sooner or later exacerbated the already exploding oil and food crises. Truly, as Marx said: “the barrier to capital is capital itself.”
Patriotic Responsibility and the Class Role of the Revolutionary Agent
Funny as it may seem, this analysis is being shared by the Arroyo regime, at the same time, remaining loyal capitalist apologists. Her economic managers argue that it is unfair to blame the government for the multiple economic crises as the problem is an international phenomenon suffered by all nations. Yet, while this line of argument is convincing to the untrained and unsuspecting, it is escapist as it absolves itself of any responsibility and flimsy as it stands on clay.
It assumes that capitalist globalization is by itself a supra-state, the last government standing, the destroyer of nation-states. However, the truth of the matter, governments did not diminish under the “open regime” of globalization. In fact, they remained major players, enforcers and parties of the current capitalist model. WTO, IMF, World Bank, the G8 and many more capitalist instruments are all products of governments.
Thus, the local elites of developing nations using reactionary governments are the principal enforcers for the production and reproduction of capitalism.
For this reason, the role of Mrs. Arroyo in this unending economic nightmare is clear. Hence, the ouster of the bogus Arroyo government is an imperative. The economic crunch felt by many Filipinos must be transformed into a direct political crisis confronting the illegitimacy of the Arroyo regime.
However, the immediate ouster of this regime will not essentially guarantee fundamental and radical changes. A simple ouster will not fundamentally rock the foundations of capital. That’s why it must be stressed that the Oust Gloria struggle is a patriotic duty of all Filipino citizens sick and tired of this regime. Conversely, a patriotic duty not only calling for its ouster but more importantly, pushing for a new and democratic government of the true sovereign-the masses.
This is where the political accord of the patriotic duty of the broad and the class role of the revolutionary agent must be stressed. We call for the establishment of a Transitional Revolutionary Government (TRG) which will break the back of elite rule, widen and institutionalize democratize space and build the necessary impetus for an uncompromising political revolution-a socialist revolution of the working people-the revolutionary agent which can send capitalism to its graveyard with the solidarity and participation of the broad masses.
Dislodge the Old, Create the New: Build the Conditions for a Socialist Revolution
What we are witnessing perhaps is the slow demise of neo-liberalism and the continuing decomposition of global capitalism. More than ever, we maintain, no amount of self-rectification and creativeness will save capitalism from its inevitable total collapse. In the final analysis, the global capitalist crisis can only be best understood through socialist analysis. The same thing that it can only be fundamentally resolved through socialist solutions.
Therefore, let us turn the crisis into a revolutionary opportunity. Now is the best time that the contradictions of capitalism are best exposed to the masses; A time of crisis of capitalism in the recent history that can be easily understood by the masses-a crisis that threatens the very lives of the people from the worst effects of neo liberalism on the economy, gender, environment, culture and lives of every individual. Let us build the conditions to create the new society of the new people. Let us abandon the old, build the new and usurp the future.
Let’s start with the Arroyo regime. Let us finish the Arroyo regime.
End the Crisis! Oust Gloria!
Establish the Transitional Revolutionary Government!
For a Socialist Philippines! For a Socialist World!
July 28, 2008