Saturday, August 06, 2005

Shall we dance?

(Following is an exchange between ZORROS and myself at PCIJ on Jul. 30, 2005 about the political correctness of debating the merits of federalism while the war of attrition on GMA impeachment is being waged)

ZORROS: As much as I would like to, i am not going to comment anything regarding con-ass or cha-cha, to do so would be like being “fished-in” by GMA's media diversionary tactics.

ABE: I guess this is a tactical move that many concerned Pinoys are considering to adopt. In some ways, this may be similar to the position now being taken by many people power practitioners not to march in the streets at this stage there being no clarity as to: 1) who will replace GMA if she is ousted (the immediate goal), and 2) what to do next (the vision), given the potency of the system in place to subsist.

You will recall that when People Power II has swept GMA into power, there was at least the sense of anticipation that something would turn out quite right. Now we know that GMA blew her chances.

Today, instead of anticipation and expectation, there is this sense of dread and equivocation from day one (except possibly those who have already plans “for themselves”). But for those who like to see a more meaningful Philippine society, the difficult dilemma lingers: Is it better to preserve against the worse or take the risk to change for the better.

The dread, the inaction and the cynicism appear to preponderate not so much as the answer to the question is unknowable at this point as GMA’s breach of the expectation is so callous and her sense of accountability for it so flippant that someone like you is surely at a loss whether “betrayal of public trust” in the constitutional sense is even sufficient to describe the conduct of the President. Well, so much has been said and blogged about GMA’s “lapse in judgment” here and in other forums and I’m not going to belabor it any further for the purpose of this reply.

Anyway, I have always thought that true federalism complements high-powered democracy and that the latter is the anti-thesis of oligarchy or of its other guises. That you have changed your position somewhat after my post on federalism above is to me an indication of your perception of the salutary nature of federalism. This goes to show that dangling federalism not only to the “hooting few” in the Batasan but in effect to the larger community outside of it is as clever as a Machiavellian ploy of wagging the banner of the promised land of New Society. Marcos’ Bagong Lipunan was however an illusion. Federalism as an end is not.

So, specifically, you seem to have this subset of a dilemma for now: Shall I be apathetic to a beneficient end which is federalism, to avoid being ambushed or “fished-in” by GMA’s diversionary tactics?

Once more, I would like to think of your situation in terms of the tentativeness of people power practitioners to run the parliament of the streets at this juncture. In one of my posts here (A season to be jolly), I have justified this behavior by postulating that people power is a real power and very extant (the energies expended in PCIJ is one veritable proof) but what we are witnessing is in fact the more positive dimension of the power, the “communicative” rather than the “hooting” aspect of it, that people power practitioners are wising up, or thinking through matters critically instead of acting precipitately, and that they are also beginning to realize that maybe they should be making fundamental political decisions by themselves when called for instead of entrusting that function to an agency or political personalities who could turn out to be just another cheating and stealing leader or perhaps worse.

But, now, if they do not take overt action, would they lose the war of attrition?

I guess what I’m trying to point out is that the power can be “held off” (yes, CONCERNED CITIZEN, “no cha cha for the moment,” that’s fine too), and that stand is possibly in the concept of civil disobedience or election boycott, as a counter-tactic against the erring regime as well as a strategic scheme versus any pseudo-movements vying for power. However, please remember that the larger issue is not GMA (because she too will pass away soon, not later) but how to attain the higher end of high-powered democracy through federalism for instance, among other means.

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