Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Prospects for Socialism in the Philippines (A Public Forum)

March 17, 2010, 3;30pm-5:00pm
Third World Studies Center, Lower Ground Floor, Palma Hall, University of the Philippines-Diliman, Quezon City

About the Forum

The capitalist world stared at the abyss with the most recent global economic crisis. For those pushing for a different socioeconomic system, such a period in history is an apt moment to review prior alternatives and envision new realities. Socialism, in its various guises and permutations, proved to be one such worthy alternative—if only such moments in history are not obliterated by the immediate and the parochial. With the Philippines dodging the catastrophic consequences of the recent global economic downturn, the Filipino elite swaggered their way into their new obsession, the 2010 national elections, without taking any pause to consider the changing global socioeconomic order. The Filipino masses, as before, are left to fend for themselves, only to be given attention by the elite as source of votes that will ensconce them in their elective offices. Patronizing the masses during the elections is an art honed by the elite to perfection, yet this attention bestowed on the poor is as fleeting and miniscule as the dole outs for a hungry electorate. This public lecture, in part, would like to address how the Filipino elite and the masses—and the middle class teetering on becoming irrelevant—confront, elide, or put aside public deliberations on possible socioeconomic alternatives. The May 2010 elections might prove to be a challenging context wherein the viability of socialism in the Philippines can be viewed against. Certain questions relevant to the upcoming elections may help determine how socialism will fare as an alternative to capitalism in the Philippines: What helps sustain the perception that socialism is an alternative to anything when the Filipino nation is all up and giddy with the current national elections? Is there even a candidate running for office who identifies himself as a socialist? What are the accomplishments of avowed Leftists in Congress in terms of legislatively institutionalizing the advocacy of socialist principles? Has the recent prominence of environmentalism affected the prospects of socialism’s resurgence as a dominant radical political paradigm? Can Filipino socialists rehabilitate their calls for social justice from reorientation by religion-based social movements? If socialism in the Philippines should matter, can it go beyond the act of simply wishing that the Philippines has its own Hugo Chavez?




Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem
Third World Studies Center
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman


Francisco Nemenzo
Professor Emeritus
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman

Verna Dinah Q. Viajar
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science
College of Social Sciences and Philosophy
University of the Philippines-Diliman

The TWSC Public Forum Series:
En Masse: Social Forces and the 2010 Philippine National Elections
To look beyond personalities and petty platforms, to strip of spin the electoral process, to resist the candidates’ inchoate incantations of change, to make the public understand the different currents of social forces that surge and animate the body politic during this most crucial of democratic exercises, to make the public realize why these social forces matter: these are the objectives of the series of public forums that the Third World Studies Center (TWSC) will be organizing prior to and right after the 2010 Philippine national elections. Social forces, as defined in the Philippine context by Abinales and Amoroso in their bookState and Society in the Philippines, “are movements and voluntary associations with political agendas that contend with each other and the state. They try to achieve their goals through coalition or accommodation with or defeat of other groups or the state, are willing to move into the state, or may endeavor to take over the state.” With such definition, the religious formations should be prayed upon to confess why they have given their blessings to certain office seekers. There should be a call on the business community to account for the calculations they have made on which winnable candidate’s campaign coffer to fill. Civil society must be more candid than civil and reflect on their supposed moral projects to reshape the government. And the military must go beyond tired statements of neutrality even if some of its so-called renegades also rehash programmatic press releases tinged with messianic sentiments.

In organizing these forums, the TWSC hopes to provide a clear and scholarly discussion which will answer these questions: Will the social forces achieve their goals through the electoral process? How do these social forces view and value the election? How will they deal with the new administration that will take office in June 2010? The answers to these questions will inform the public of the terrain of contestations that they have to walk on and live by in the immediate years to come. Thus it is important to start asking these questions now and demand an answer not only from those that publicly avow that they will serve the people, but more importantly from the social forces that claim that they are the people and thus must be served.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:03 AM

    nice info dude i finished my report!!!