Friday, October 27, 2006
1. Association of Political Science Majors (APSM) statement
2. Open letter of the USC Chairperson Paolo Alfonso
3. Prof. Alex Magno's Philippine Star column- "Fascists" (Dept. of Pol. Sci. UP Diliman)
4.Bad Eggs and Right Conduct by Dr. Giovanni Tapang (Department of Physics UP Diliman and Chairperson of AGHAM)
5. Justified Imprudence (unsigned statement)
6. What's in a Protest by Profs Gerry Lanuza and Sarah Raymundo (Department of Sociology, UP Diliman, members of CONTEND-UP)
7. The Limits of Academic Civilty-statment of the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP)
1. Statement of the UP Association of Political Science Majors
2.USC Chair responds to APSM statement
partikular, kundi ang malawakang panunupil sa hanay ng mga mamamayan, halos araw-araw nga ay may dumadagdag na bilang ng pinapaslang/ dinudukot ng mga tinuturong ahente ng AFP!
Militar sa kanayunan, palayasin!
Inutang na dugo ng pasistang rehimen, singilin, pagbayarin!
Iskolar ng Bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!
Tagapangulo, University Student Council
FIRST PERSON By Alex Magno
The Philippine Star 09/26/2006
The University of the Philippines has become a truly dangerous place – for those who are not communists.
In the afternoons, Maoist militants gather in the walkway between Palma Hall and the Faculty Center and indulge in repetitive sloganeering and blood-curdling chants, resembling a voodoo ritual. Ordinary students simply detour to the other side of the road to keep as far as possible from this intimidating gang.
They have nested at the Faculty Center, sheltered apparently by the administration of the College of Arts and Letters, possibly out of ideological affinity. Their propaganda is permanently on display.
Irreverence, I can understand. But not impunity.
Over the past few years, helped by their own mediocre leadership and a University administration that seemed unwilling to enforce discipline, this gang has become noticeably rowdier. They march in corridors, whenever they wish to, disrupting classes.
They are suffered in silence. No one, it seems, wants the trouble of putting them in their place. These radicals are, after all, capable of mounting the most venomous attacks against persons they disagree with. And when they attack, they always do so treacherously, never with honor.
The CPP maintains cells in the faculty of the UP. Consistent with the subculture of the Maoist movement, these cells are comfortable with underhanded tactics. They circulate poison letters, pass intrigue and conspire to form a parallel line of decision-making to achieve their political goals. And woe to those who cross them or stand staunchly against their group-think: they can make one’s life miserable.
These are bearers of fanatical intolerance. They seek to control every medium of discussion and close out views contrary to theirs. The Philippine Collegian, which the leftist obsessively try to control is now more boring than Stalin’s Pravda. They sometimes spill out of campus premises to snipe at points of view they disagree with, such as when they text this paper’s Inbox section to demand that this column be shut down.
Tuesday last week, they were whooping madly as someone on a megaphone announced that they had received a few hundred thousand from the pork barrel of Bayan Muna. I remember thinking that perhaps these guys do not realize that part of that precious fund comes from the VAT, which they opposed so virulently.
Then, last Friday, these radical hooligans crossed a line that puts a large cloud of doubt over the UP’s vaunted academic freedom: they physically attacked the Chief of Staff of the AFP who had come to dialogue with the students.
I thought it was brave of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr. to come to the UP to dialogue, given the sharply rising rudeness of the radicals. In between my classes, I made an effort to drop by his forum to show appreciation for his courage.
The forum was civil until the chairman of the UP Student Council began speaking. His impertinence and arrogance was matched only by his intellectual ineptitude. He jabbed with clichés and wove so much intrigue into whatever it was he was trying to say that made very little sense. But his fans club jeered and hooted from the gallery nevertheless.
Esperon gamely sparred and never lost his grace. A graduate of the Philippine Science High School and briefly a UP student before he entered the military academy, it seemed the general relished the joust – and scored points.
After the forum ended, Esperon walked to his vehicle, waving at the chanting radicals positioned outside the Faculty Center Conference Hall. I, along with two other faculty members, walked him to his car, as gracious hosts do.
Then the Maoists sprang their ambush. Led by the arrogant and incoherent chairman of the student council, they rained raw eggs on us. Esperon and his detail quietly withdrew to their vehicles and left. The UP police was nowhere in sight as this attack was in progress.
Quickly images ran through my mind as the assault was in progress: Hitler’s brown shirts killing Catholic professors in Berlin. Mao’s Red Guards throwing professors of classical thought off the ledges at Beijing University during the Cultural Revolution and burning them alive along with priceless antiquities from the museum and libraries of this great institution. Khmer Rouge cadres exterminating all intellectuals with a hammer blow to the back of the head.
One female militant standing beside me was shaking with rage and screaming invectives at the top of her voice. I remember thinking: here was a kid so thoroughly brainwashed she was ready to be a suicide bomber.
For indeed, this was an act of violence inflicted by the intolerant on the heart of academic freedom itself. I stood there for a few minutes, staring each Maoist in the face and then walked to my class, my clothes drenched with egg yolk. I was angry; but more than that, immensely saddened.
The Faculty Center Conference Hall is particularly dear to me. It was my personal cathedral to free speech.
During the dictatorship, we could articulate our dissident ideas in this hall. When news of that fateful mutiny February of 1986 spread, the UP community gathered here to debate our own course of action. During the great bases debate, the US ambassador came here to explain his government’s position and was treated with respect by an intensely anti-bases community.
When I directed the Third World Studies Center, we ran a long series of forums called "Academe Meets Government." Cabinet secretaries came to this hall to defend their record and explain their policies, often before a hostile audience. All of them were treated with respect, beyond all the disagreement. Reciprocity, after all, is the central thread of all civility.
That can never happen again at the UP unless the authorities respond as they must to last Friday’s incident. The fascist tactics of the Maoist hooligans have made not only dialogue with the outside world impossible, the very spirit of free thought and rational debate is seriously menaced.
I don’t think I can continue teaching in this atmosphere of communist terrorism. And if the UP administration does nothing, this university I love shall forever lose its claim to being a sanctuary of free speech and intellectual tolerance.
Bad eggs and right conduct
It is so easy to throw back barbs at the activists who threw eggs at
Esperon in the form of condemnation and outright indignation, as one's
sense of academic decorum is disturbed by the very vivid and graphic
However, the condemnation can dangerously morph into uncalled-for
anti-communist hysteria and McCarthyist red-baiting, as is being done by
Alex Magno and his friends in the seats of power in Malacanang. In his
intolerant column supposedly written in defense of free speech and
intellectual tolerance in the university, he equates the incident to
fascism and "communist terrorism". Unfortunately, this only parrots and
tows the military's dangerous –and fallacious-- reasoning that unarmed
activists are no different from their NPA targets.
Equally dangerous is the opinion that activists must have deserved being
targets as they behave "badly". This is not a case of fighting fire with
fire. The AFP has guns. Students have only eggs and words. Esperon and
his men have outrightly taken part in electoral fraud and have blatantly
tolerated the abduction, torture and killings of unarmed civilians.
Nothing can be more shameful than simply letting go of such iniquity.
The activist students certainly put that difference in power in a
graphic light with the pelting that happened.
This is the same General Esperon, mentioned a few times in the Hello
Garci tapes, which is the reason he is also called a Hello Garci
general. He is one among a few generals who helped in the cheating for
Gloria in the 2004 elections. You can verify that by studying the
contents of the Hello Garci tapes. There was a new book launched last
Monday at the UP College of Law called FRAUD which documents the
cheating in the 2004 elections.
This is the same General Esperon, who has made public in several
instances his total absence for respect for the peace process. Did he
not welcome with open arms "President" Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo' s
declaration of "all-out war" against the Left, and the accompanying
grant of an additional P1-billion budget for state forces to use in the
counter-"insurgency " campaign?
The "all-out-war" declared by Arroyo, by the way, is not specifically
against the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army,
and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) -- which as
organizations are engaged in armed struggle with the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines (GRP) even as it strives to talk peace with
its foe. It is against the Left -- a broad term which can be taken to
include legal cause-oriented organizations like the Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan (Bayan) and progressive party-list groups like Bayan Muna or
even progressive individuals that earned the ire of the leading clique
in power. There is no distinction between guerrillas and unarmed
This is the same General Esperon who continues to hide the Mayuga
report. Is he scared that the Mayuga report will expose his role in
Arroyo's massive cheating, and that he got his job not because of merit,
but because of patronage? Yet he is being fast tracked in promotion over
more senior staff in the AFP.
This is the General Esperon, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief
of staff who said at the Melo Commissin that the military and Palparan
are not the ones who committed the more than 750 extrajudicial killings
of activists and civilians. Instead he was saying that the Left
themselves are killing their members. He did not lift even a single
finger to touch Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. while the latter was
calling Karen and Sherlyn members of the NPA.
With that, he has dismissed the charge that the two UP lady students,
Karen Empeño and Sheylyn Calapan, (abducted by the military in Hagonoy,
Bulacan 2 months ago and still missing) and effectively saying that they
were really not abducted by the military. Some of those students who
attended that forum were friends of Karen and Sherylyn and you can very
well imagine how they felt about it. Yet, despite these, the students
have had decorum enough to throw only eggs.###
Giovanni A. Tapang, Ph.D. gtapang@nip. upd.edu.ph
National Institute of Physics http://www.nip. upd.edu.ph/ ipl
University of the Philippines Diliman
5. Justified Imprudence
They are such a polite lot, those worthy scholars of the people
under the Association of Political Science Majors or APSM. Angered by
militant students' egg- and muck-throwing of Gen. Hermogenes Esperon,
these idealistic (read: naive, naive!) studes came up with a statement
demanding that the UP student council and their grim-and-determined
fellows from Vinzons apologize to them and the public from the incident.
They specifically asked council chair Paolo Alfonso to publicly apologize "for his actions which were subsequently
misconstrued as the general behavior of the UP studentry by
What the heck are those UP political science professors teaching these
First, let us state the obvious: The egg- and muck-throwing happened
after the forum, after Esperon had left Claro M. Recto hall. If it
happened while Esperon was speaking in the forum, there would have
been much reason in APSM demanding apology from Alfonso, for
responsibility as an invited speaker. He is a guest, after
all. We are all familiar with the concept of Pinoy hospitality, and
the APSM kids are obviously not beyond practicing this cultural relic
of our feudal past.
Should we continue to open our doors to all people, even those
undesirable character, nevermind that known cheats and killers would
understandably not expect people to welcome them in their homes? Or in
this case, nevermind that considering the humongous flak the
is getting because of its horrible human rights record Esperon should
have expected such incidents wherever he goes in the country? Or
nevermind that government officials and public figures not nearly as
controversial as Esperon should expect cries -- or in this case, eggs
-- of indignation to be thrown their way wherever they go for sticking
to a much-hated and discredited regime as Arroyo's?
There are actually similar situations where controversial VIPs grace
events -- the National Press Club's rigodon night, for one -- where
they know they will be humiliated. In the case of Esperon's visit to
UP, he should have expected to be humilitated, if only for the
abduction and continued detention of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and
Karen Empeño. I guess, having a thick face gets in the way of those
What those super-sensitive APSM kids must realize is that they are in
UP, the so-called hotbed of radicalism, of impertinence
imprudence. Bold fraternity men with placards to boot run around the
campus naked, for chrissakes! Almost every moral norm has been
violated in UP, particularly in Sunken Garden and Lagoon, and they
concerned about a simple egg-throwing! They should ask their fellow
students in the History department to tell them about the First
Quarter Storm of 1970, when militant kids their age stormed Batasan
during Marcos's state of the nation address and threw an effigy right
at the would-be dictator's feet, sparking a
quarter-long series of
huge protests and confrontations that would be cited as the finest
hour of the Philippine student movement. They should ask about the
so-called Diliman Commune in 1971, that, while not exactly the type of
commune American and European hippies had during the Sexual
Revolution, had its share of impetinence with students taking over the
campus, renaming Palma Hall as Sison Hall, etc., and playing over
tapes of B-move actress Dovie Beams having sex with Marcos.
It is way, way beyond any expectations of hospitality and politeness
to feel offended when Esperon gets "egged" after he steps out of the
But what is less obvious but nevertheless must be pointed out to
these kids -- and especially the administration officials so keen on
using APSM to attack the militants -- is that the armed conflict that
is raging all over the country can never be settled by mere talk. It
is the height of naivete to
claim that their forum was an "example of
the meeting of divergent sides". APSM supposedly prides itself
making space "where both ends of the political spectrum meet", but
there is no such space. I was once a writer for human rights group
Karapatan, and I heard so many, many times the stories of human rights
workers engaging the military in a dialogue, asking them to
investigate this or that case, or politely pleading to them to pull
out of areas where human rights violations occur. Very, very seldom do
dialogues bear fruit. Often these dialogues occur to the
detriment of the very ones engaged in dialogue -- the human rights
advocates, the families of the victims, who henceforth become targets
of the attacks they so passionately raised their voices against.
They only have to know the story of Eden Marcellana, human rights
worker, and Eddie Gumanoy, peasant leader. They, too, raised their
voices. They used words to expose the inequities that they witness.
to those she worked with, had an encyclopedic
knowledge of human rights cases, and was especially skillful
negotiations with the military whenever they go to fact finding
missions. She held countless dialogues with Jovito Palparan and his
murderous cabal, in Mindoro , in Quezon, in Batangas. Her fate is a
testament to how the military and the state settle arguments. They
can't argue with her, but they won the argument by pelting her body
The militant students only pelted Esperon with eggs and muck, instead
of grenades, which some of their youthful counterparts in Palestine or
Iran would probably choose. The kids are understandably angry.
question in my mind, though, is why are those other kids in the APSM
The liberal interpretation
This is the usual liberal mantra: dialogue please, but no riot! So while a liberal passionately attacks ideas she dislikes and vigorously defends her own stand, she recoils quickly from asserting the consequences of her viewpoint. So let's all work for the elimination of violence, but when this requires slightest violence, the liberal shirks. For instance, a liberal deep ecologist can retort: "How dare these green parties cause pain and suffering for those tomatoes!" to which the UP liberal animal rights advocate can rejoin: "How dare these Leftists cause pain and suffering to unhatched chicken eggs?" (which of course is questionable because the eggs are bad eggs) That's why he is often defeated by a staunch conservative who goes through the consequences of what he believes without hesitation. Since a liberal proposes non-violent, peaceful way of resolving conflict, he is bound to be peaceful even if he knows very well that her enemy is cruel. One must be reminded here of Herbert Marcuse's plea for intolerance:
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Ang Pagsulat ay Malikhaing Gawain
Ang imahinasyon ang pangunahing lahok sa pagsulat, lalo na ng panitikan.
Malikhain ang panitikan sa ganitong antas. Tunay na wala nang masasabi hinggil sa engrandeng kaalaman at realisasyon sa buhay. Ang tangi na lamang magagawa ay ilahad ito sa kakaibang paraan, na parang engrande pa rin pero hindi inihahayag na engrande nga ito. Patagong proyekto ng pagtatayo ng monumento. At ito ang extra-challenge sa manunulat. Paano itatago ang monumento habang ginagawa ito?
Madalas sabihin ng nakakatanda, “Gamitin mo ang iyong imahinasyon.” Tila ito ang alamat ng pinya, kaya naparusahan ang babaeng tamad na maging matinik na halaman at prutas, “Gamitin mo ang iyong mata, hindi ang iyong bibig.” Bawal mag-ingay ang babae. Madalas sabihin ng mga nakakatandang manunulat, “show don’t tell.” Kung gayon, ang imahen ng matimtimang babae ang kognitibong mapa ng pagiging malikhain sa pagsulat—tahimik hindi garapal, masunurin hindi nagbabalikwas, internal hindi palabas ang gawi.
Kapag nagsusulat, nagbibigay-ngalan sa karanasan: ang dapat mabatid ng mga Tagalog, ang pagiging babae ay pamumuhay sa panahon ng digma, kung ang
Ang kakatwa rito ay ang perspektiba ng manunulat, sa akto ng pagsulat, ay humahawi rin ng mapa sa paraan ng pagsulat at sa panitikan. Ibig sabihin, ang naisulat na
Malikhain ang pagsulat dahil ito ay lumilikha ng bagong paraan ng kognitibong pagmapa sa karanasang pinapaksa nito. Ang panlaping “ma” sa salitang-ugat na likha ay tumutukoy sa batayang katangian ng pagsulat—masalapi, maalam, matanong, at iba pa. Nililikhang intrinsikong katangian sa paglikha ang pagiging malikhain nito. Arkitekto ang manunulat kung gayon—nagtatayo ng struktura ng panitikan, struktura ng karanasan, at maging struktura ng karanasan sa panitikan. Ang unlaping “in” naman ay tumutukoy sa pagiging definitibo ng katangian ng pagiging aksyon bilang deskripsyon ng likha—ito ay hindi lamang nag-uutos (likhain), kundi nagsasaad ng pagkilos sa pang-uri (malikhain). Kung gayon, paratihang isinasaad ng katangiang “malikhain” na ang proseso ay parating dinamiko, fluido, at patuloy-tuloy sa pagdaloy. Hindi pala naikakahon ang pagiging malikhain.
Naikakahon ito dahil mayroong limitasyon. Ang mismong pagpili ng manunulat na maging manunulat at hindi tubero, tagapastol ng kalabaw o nagtitinda ng droga sa kanto—kahit malamang ay parating may katambal na paggawa sa kahalintulad o suplementaryong trabaho dahil sa pang-ekonomikong kalagayan ng manunulat—ay nagsasaad na ng orihinaryong limitasyong pang-ekonomiko ng manunulat. Hindi pera ang dahilan ng kanyang pagsulat gayong pera ang hinihimok na dagdag sa kanyang kultural na kapital. Kung magtagumpay ang pera, hindi na siya manunulat sa artisanong paraan kundi manunulat na siya sa ilalim ng poder ng kapital. Kung hindi naman, at sa maraming pagkakataon ito ang kalakaran, ang aspirasyong maging dakila ang paratihang nasa likod ng pag-akda at pagiging malikhain. Kung gayon, ang pagiging malikhain ay nakaangkla sa utopia ng pagiging dakila.
Sa bawat akdang naisulat at naitanghal bilang panitikan, dumaraan ang naisulat sa serye ng paglimi ng mga tradisyong makakapagtanghal na ito nga ay dakilang panitikan, at kung magkagayon, na ang manunulat nga ay dakilang pantas. Ang institusyonal na praktis tulad ng pampanitikang kontests, publikasyon, workshops, pagtatanghal, organisasyong pangmanunulat, pag-aaral at kritisismo, at iba pa ay bahagi ng pagtahip na maghihiwalay ng ipa sa bigas. Sasalain pa ito—tulad ng paghihiwalay ng mismong mga daliri sa nakasamang bato at palay sa bigas—ng mas mahabang tradisyong pinanggagalingan ng mga larangang pampanitikan. At ang kolektibong karanasan ng mga ito ang magtatanghal kung ganap nga bang dakila ang akda.
Kung gayon, ang pagiging malikhain ay ang kapasidad ng akda na hindi lamang maitanghal na dakila ng mga higanteng tradisyon sa panitikan kundi ang pananalig na rin sa mismong diwa ng tradisyon bilang hulmahan ng kagalingan. Bagamat ang tradisyon ay may tatanghaling paisa-isang panitikang rebelde, ang mga ito naman ay incorporatable na rebelde na nagbibigay-prestihiyo pa rin sa establisyimento ng tradisyon. Wala ring dinadakila ang tradisyon na xerox lamang nang mga naunang kagalingan. Ang panuntunan ay mayroong ibang garden variety na iniluluwal ang bawat pagsulat.
At ito ang kinahaharap ng manunulat. Paano magiging tunay na malikhain kung mayroon nang parametro nang paglikha, ng likhain at pagiging malikhain? Ano pa ang pwedeng magagawa para maging malikhain? Ang dilemma ko ay kapag may masasabi pa ako, nagawa na ito, at kung gayon, naging bahagi na ng tradisyon.
Kung gayon na naman, ang maaring pag-isipan ay ang tradisyon. Mayroon bang nasa labas nito? May posisyong ng pagsulat ba na nasa labas ng pagiging dakila at pagkita sa panulatan? Kung mayroon, pagbati dahil mayroon naman palang ibang landas na maaring tahakin patungo sa nais mapuntahan.
Friday, October 20, 2006
The Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy's (CONTEND-U.P.) PUBLIKASYONG IGLAP SERIES and Ibon Foundation invites you to the launching of
Academics Against Political Killings
Rolando B. Tolentino and Sarah Raymundo
on November 23, 2006
See attached file for the book cover
Books will be sold at a discounted price during the launch
Foreword: Judy Taguiwalo
Introduction: Counterpoint by Sarah Raymundo
I. Historicizing Terror
E. San Juan: Neocolonial State Terrorism and the Crisis of Comprador/Imperialist Hegemony
Elmer A. Ordoñez :The rites of Summer/Pall over the land
Ramon Guillermo:Panimulang Pananaliksik na Open Source kaugnay ng Diskurso ng OPLAN Bantay-Laya
Peter Chua:Bloodshed and the Coercive Communal Peace Negotiations:Some Hallmarks of the Macapal Arroyo Regime
II. Theorizing Terror and the Political
Rolando B. Tolentino: Spectacle ng Politikal na Pagpaslang at ng Tunay, STD (Short-Term Deficiency) ni GMA
JPaul Manzanilla:Terror Talks: The Public Secret
Danilo A. Arao:Tracing the Roots of Killings of Journalists
Rommel Rodriguez: Casus Belli
Jonathan Beller:21st Century Fascism, "Political" Killing and the Crisis of Representation
Arnold Alamon:.H.A.M! Bang! Thank You Ma’am: Winning Hearts and Minds and the People’s War
Luis Teodoro: Boomerang
Neferti Xina Tadiar:Death-By-Death
Gerardo Lanuza:Affirming the Universality of Human Rights in the State of Exception
Sarah Raymundo:Ang Etika ng Tunay Laban sa Diskursong Wakasan
Gary C. Devilles: The Violence of Grotesque and the Grotesquerie of Violence In Two Filipino Short Stories in English
Melania Lagahit Abad:Ang Mga Winawala, Nagwawala at Wawalain: Pagwiwika sa Sistematikong Pamamaslang Sa/Ng Rehimeng Arroyo
Choy Pangilinan: Karahasan, Pagpaslang, Kamatayan, Media at ang Ating Papel Tungo sa Bagong Naratibo ng Bansa
Afterword: Akademya at Pagpaslang ni Rolando B. Tolentino
Appendix Guide Questions and Discussion Outline for Teachers and Activist Educators by Arnold Alamon
From the back cover:
Gahum is a Cebuano word for power and hegemony in and through which Macapagal-Arroyo's "end game" may be read, analyzed and opposed as the word kontra (counter) designates. Macapagal-Arroyo's "end game" strategy against sectors and quarters that oppose her prolonged stay in power seeks to decisively defeat the "insurgents", especially the communists. But the spate of political killings of civilians and leaders of people's organizations has reached an alarming number of 744 since 2001, and this gives the term gahum its flavor as it is used in this book.
This volume focuses on the three major dimensions of the dialectical relationship between state repression and the people's movement. The state, in this context, creates a semblance of banality in the midst of its malevolent violence to which it subjects its critical citizens. Meanwhile, the people's movment, long engaged in counter-hegemonic praxiologies, strongly gains ground amidst the most barbaric and nervous conditions. Each chapter captures the ideas and sentiments of the authors into a thought-provoking and moving compilation that itself manifests the dialectics between the national democratic movement and the academe.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Sino ang hindi nabubuhay sa fantasya sa kasalukuyang panahon? Fantasya ng mga hubad at halos hubong babae at lalake sa panahon ng bikini at model searches. Fantasya ng maging next big star. Fantasya ni Darna na muli’t muling pinapapanood sa atin, ngayon naman sa telebisyon.
Matatawag rin fantasya ang malling at window shopping. Binibigyan tayo ng pasubali sa posibilidad sa mga pinakabagong damit, bag, sapatos, gadget—ang maaring makamit kung mayroon tayong sapat na salapi sa wallet. At tunay namang abot-tanaw lang ang pangarap na napapagitnaan ng salamin—ang kakulangan sa mamimili at ang tagapamatid-kulang na bagay.
Sa pagtindi ng krisis pang-ekonomiya at pangkabuhayan, sino ang ayaw maniwalang maililigtas tayo ni Darna, o kahit na sa kapangitan ng pabalat ay ginintuan pa rin ang puso ng Kampanerang Kuba? O sa pagtayo ng pinakabagong exklusibong mall sa Cubao—ang Gateway—sa pagitan ng dalawang mass rail transit lines ang siyang karugtong ng pangarap na maging
Sa isang banda, mahalaga ang fantasya dahil ito ang nagiging paraan ng negosiasyon sa paghihirap ng buhay. Sino ang hindi nangarap magkaroon ng superpowers para malampasan ang kawalan-katarungan sa sarili o para maisalba ang mahal sa buhay sa kumunoy ng paghihirap?
Sa kabilang banda, ang hindi produktibo sa fantasya ay ang pagiging kabahagi rin nito ng mismong mga institusyong pagbibigay-lagusan sa fantasya bilang solusyon sa problema. Binebentahan tayo, halimbawa, ng ABS-CBN ng pangarap na pwede tayong mag-artista o maging sikat na singer, pati boxingero, kapag nagpursigi tayo sa ating mga pangarap.
Sila na nagbebenta ng pangarap natin ay sila rin naman na nagpapangarap sa atin. Mayroon bang magkakaroon ng lehitimong interes na maging boxingero via reality search kung may oportunidad naman sa mga larangan ng palakasan?
Sa kadalasan pa nga, sa malawakang korapsyon sa bansa, ang mga institusyon din ang nagnanakaw ng pangarap ng sambayanan. Hindi nga ba’t sa pagkapangulo ni Erap ay dinambong niya ang mga pangarap ng bayan sa pagnanakaw ng yaman-pambansa? Ang mamamayan na nagpakat ng kanilang pangarap sa tagumpay ni Erap ay naiwang nakabinbin sa hangin hanggang sa may bagong panday o aparisyon ng birhen na kanilang makikita bilang katubusan ng kanilang kalagayan.
Kakatwa sa titulo ng isang pelikula, “Kung mangarap ka’t magising,” walang gumigising sa pangarap. Natatapos lamang ang pangarap para simulan ng bago. Ang ating pagtanghod sa pang-araw-araw ay pagsasalit-salit ng mga pangarap.
Nagigising lang naman talaga kapag hinaluan ng politikal ang pangarap. Sa isang banda, ang pagtukoy sa realidad kaysa sa fantasya ang katapusan ng pangarap. Paano ka mangangarap kung mulat ka? Sa kabilang banda, kapag nilagyan ng politikal ang fantasya, ito ay nagiging causa na nagkakaroon ng lugar sa “cause-oriented groups” o mga organisasyon may layon ng panlipunang transformasyon.
Utopia ang dulot nito. Nagsasakripisyo ka dahil mayroon kang pangarap na maabot sa hinaharap na lampas pa sa sarili mong kabutihan. Ang utopia ay kolektibong pangarap. Kapag maramihan ang naniniwala at nakikipaglaban para sa paniniwala, ito ay utopia.
Si Narda, isang pilay at mahirap, nangarap na mapabuti ang kanyang sariling lagay. Pumasa siya sa isang pagsusulit ng enkantadang matanda na binigyan siya ng kapangyarihan. Ang agimat na bato, kapag isinubo at binigkas ang kataga, ang ordinaryong si Narda ay magiging extraordinaryong si Darna.
Pero kailangang isakripisyo ni Narda ang kanyang sariling interes. Kailangan niyang tulungan ang mga higit na nangangailangan, gamitin ang kanyang kapangyarihan para sa kabutihan. At sa dami ng natulungan ni Darna, nangarap tayong maging tulad niya—may kapangyarihan at may kapangyarihang makapanlimi sa kinakailangang gawin.
Pero hindi tulad ni Darna, hindi magical ang transformasyon ng sarili. Wala tayong boses o lakas para baguhin ang kalagayan ng sarili, lalo na ng nakararami. Tayo ay tulad ni Narda na may kapansanan at kabilang sa hanay ng mahihirap. Ano ang puwang ng pamamantasya?
Ang pamamantasya ay tulad ng aktibidad ng pamimintana. Patanaw-tanaw ka lang sa labas. Nakatanghod ang paningin sa kung ano-anong dumadaan. Wala ka naman talagang tinatanaw o nakikita kundi ang nais mong makita.
Ginagamit mo lang ang external na kapaligiran para tunghayan sa isang relaxadong pamamamaraan ang kalagayan ng internal na sarili. Nababawasan ang anxiedad ng internal, nakakawing sa haraya ng posibilidad kung saan pwede tayong lahat magkaagimat, sumigaw ng Darna, puksain ang katiwalian, makamit ang sosyalismo, maging Richie Rich, magkaroon ng syotang kasing ganda ni Paris Hilton o guwapo ni AJ Dee.
O di ba, kay ganda ng buhay? Siempre, dito lang yon sa maliit na bubble na kay daling pumutok sa bigat ng aktwal na kapaligiran: Payatas, korapsyon, presyo ng gasoline at pamasahe, pagbaba ng buhay sa ilalim ni GMA, at iba pa.
Hindi na maganda ang buhay. Ang buhay, para maging kapaki-pakinabang, kailangang pagsanibin ang paglangoy sa dalawang ilog—ang daloy ng fantasya ng nagbibigay posibilidad sa mga imposibleng bagay; at ang daloy ng realidad na aktwal na ginagawalan ng buhay.
Kaya si Narda at Darna ay pinag-uugnay ng matibay na katotohanan ng batong hindi madudurog pero lagusan para makalabas-pasok sa mundo ng fantasya at realidad.
Political Literary Criticism
One of the most enlightening points for political criticism has been articulated by Terry Eagleton in his conclusion of Literary Theory. Contrary to the dominant notion of literary criticism that elucidates on style and form and/or liberal humanist content, Eagleton argues that whatever kind of approach and theory in literary analysis is itself an equivocation of the politics in which such approach and theory developed and became integral to individuals and society’s own understanding of its way of seeing the world. Literary theory itself is political theory for it espouses a way of seeing the world, analyzing it and prescribing a prognosis to its imperfect state; thus, a way of perpetuating or changing the world. Literature, like artifacts of material life as we experienced it, becomes a prism to look at the very operation of sight and aura, cognition and, in a la Matrix realm, of misrecognition. Literary analysis becomes the veritable mode of expanding the understanding and misunderstanding of the experience of the world. Literary theory is mobilized to become the tool of analysis to reframe the worlding or way of experiencing of the text, literature and society.
While formalists in Philippine academe would object to the intrusion of political criticism in an object constituted as universal as art and literature, they negate the idea of themselves involved in a political act—the maintenance of purity of art and the humanities against the material conditions of massive social inequity and injustice. Literature and arts become the last beacons of hope, thus the paranoia to sustain this turf in all its para-militaristic glory. Epistemic violence becomes the exemplary act of teaching, as the Little Prince has enlightened us, “what is essential [as] invisible to the eye.” Departments of Literature participate in the generation of invisibility of the material condition, aestheticizing pain, suffering and massive poverty as beholden to the literary experience of the human conditions. Is it not the aesthetic of pain that nurtures the condition of fascism, generating a montage of militaristic beauty in the service of the state? These departments also participate in the generation of the visibility of the universal soul and humanity, giving form and content to the abstractions of the reactionary state.
How can one else characterize the Philippine state other than as reactionary or over-protective of its own inadequacies to either provide basic services to the majority of its people or to legitimize pain and suffering of the historically disenfranchised, delivered unto the silver platters of transnational businesses and their local elite cohorts? The Philippine state itself is primarily operationalized to make politics and politicking its cause for being. Borrowing from a comprador business motto, “In the service of the Filipino,” the state retransforms its role from provider of basic services to the masses to these services and the masses as beholden to state functions. Academe in general and literature departments in particular sanitize the state through the depoliticization of art and education. Neoliberal academics would even contend that education and art, like those of any commodity, should be supervised by market forces. How can Communications 1, Social Science 2 or Rizal, therefore, be political as the delaborized commodities, such as Diet Coke, 555 Tuna or Bid Mac? How can all these commodities be political as the systematic deaths of 28 members of the militant Bayan-Muna party list since 2001 or the numbing murders of 71 journalists since 1986?
Yet as Eagleton contends, “the history of modern literary theory is part of the political and ideological history of our epoch.” The sterilization of the political in academe represents the cleansing of the state of both its inadequacies in alleviating the suffering of the masses and its excessive production of violence to overcompensate for these inadequacies and to protect its real economic stakeholders. On the one hand, as Eagleton has quoted of Barthes, “Literature is [simply] what gets taught,” on the other hand, it is also the censuring of divergent modes of experientiation that is fetishicized in literature that does get taught and the literary theory of choice in the teaching of literature. In a nation where the status quo wears its badge off its sleeves—to be Liberal Party, Lakas, Christian Democrats or Partido ng Masa is synonymous to be neo-Aristotlean, Chicago, formalist, humanist and so on—fascism and corruption are produced with so much non-apology as the citizenry’s own path of living. The Philippine literary tradition, as well as Philippine society and nation-state themselves, are products of branding the status quo as continuous reification of fascist ideology for popular support.
For how can literature be unique to the discourse of the state when literature becomes the very apparatus of maintaining forms of state benevolence—from the heralding of the National Artist to the extraction of reading list for literature courses for secondary and tertiary levels of education, to the manner in which these texts are to be taught, to the selection of the guest speaker in the awards’ ceremonies of the premier literary contest. There is very little doubt that even the perceived contraction of funding and the discipline itself of the humanities merely serves as a flawed logic to the perils of neoliberal education that places a greater emphasis not so much on the sciences as to the shift in the educational thrust that will serve the niche market of the nation’s placement in the global and sexual division of labor. Although as part of the ideological state apparatus, literature also forms parcel to a public sphere that is able to interrogate the state, much to what the bourgeois civil society purports to do, but does so without the transformation of the critical mass. Liberal humanist education, after all, might be able to cohere a critical mass of the intellectual kind, but will not be able to be held solely responsible for the transformation of masses of people to better their lives.
Eagleton would even extend the argument by stating that liberal humanist education is the best effort of the state to articulate its own flawed logic. What literature, literary theory and analysis of the dominant liberal humanist type attempt to formulate is the formulation of the state’s aplogia, “the best ideology of the ‘human’ that present bourgeois society can muster.” As the University of the Philippines, a state university, for example, has pioneered neoliberal education in the country through its postmodern pluralism in its Revitalized General Education Program and the abandonment of state subsidy in the financing of higher education in its proposed modernization of the University charter, the progressive politics is at once negated in favor of a pragmatic politics embellished in critical academic jargon. How can one claim neoliberalism as the culprit when the experience of academic transnationals magnify neoliberalism as accounting for both the borderless flow of goods, people and capital and the further depreciation of the historically disenfranchised? What has become of the trace of progressive rhetorics, articulated, for example, by a bureaucrat president in Marxist clothing, is the usurpation of progressive idealism for the pragmatics of neoliberalism. Spoken by a bureaucrat, progress signifies development politics as a way of bettering the community members’ lives. Spoken by a Marxist bureaucrat, it signifies the twisted logic of positivism made more reactionary—what can and cannot be done as validated by the economics of higher education financing. What has become of the academe is to provide academically attuned arguments to the rhetoric of the nation-state. It is not surprising, for example, to find out how the state university has continued to supply various administrations of high-level bureaucrats and apologists. The intellectuals serve as the state’s crown of thorns for its mismanagement of desires of people and institutions. But then again, how can the state mismanage something that is ingrained in its continuity? To think of ideological state apparatuses, like education, media and the arts, is to amplify how these, in the grand schema of things and events, serve the primordial interest of no other entity other than the state. If at all, the state may be forecasted to have withered away, albeit slowly and violently, but it does so with the continuous reconstitution of multinational capital and
The educational institution has been engineered to serve the para-military emphasis of the state. Academe’s production of critics and specialists form part of the vigilante groups, para-military civil organizations that uphold state interests. Departments of literature produce these graduates and postgraduates in forms of literacy campaigns to be able to read and write in “certain ways.” As Eagleton has noted, “Nobody is especially concerned about what you say, with what extreme, moderate, radical or conservative positions you adopt, provided that they are compatible with, and can be articulate within, a specific form of discourse.” On the one hand, academic Marxists or feminists, for example, find equal footing with the formalists in higher education, even as, from their contending points of views, they are mightier bearers of individual and social transformation. On the other hand, the radicality of Marxists or feminists is only perceived to be real within the academic setting. How then to actually transform society is beyond the confines of the academe and higher learning. It is this edge that distinguishes liberal humanist education from a national, scientific and mass-oriented education.
Literary theory, like all artifacts of material social existence, “is really no more than a branch of social ideologies” or an extension of belief systems of contending and dialoging groups, sectors and their interests. If this is true, then the motivation of the critic is to expound on already foregrounded ideologies. The interest of the critic in not only introducing but dwelling on the political—doubly in using the national democratic framework—in literary analysis is to lay bare the vested interest of the critic. Partisan criticism, after all, is the imperative drive of all criticism, be it in politics or in literature. It is along this logos that the critic’s work is to be criticized and metastasized to another text. The journey of carrying a text to another stream flow is invariably a long tedious one. Duke Bagulaya’s critique of the development of Waray poetry is connected to the ways Gelacio Guillermo and Edel Garcellano have a priori articulated the terrain of nationalist democratic literatures. Bagulaya even conjures connections along Bievenido Lumbera’s theorizing of national literature as these earlier studies have in turn negotiated their own place in the critical literary space production. It is in dialog with “fusion criticism” of the Maoist and western marxist variety, and of the related positionality of Amado Guerrero’s Philippine Society and Revoltuion. In academic practice, the parochiality of self referentiality is intertwined in another’s self reflexive literary mode as contending and dialoging positionality in the guerrilla warfare of literary criticism.
What Bagulaya interjects is a national democratic renarrativization of the historicity of development of minority poetry, from folk to media driven to movement driven. Like other critics of the pasyon or awit who have renarrativized the context in which it might have been used for nationalist agenda from below, Bagulaya lays bare the social and historical contexts in which the national democratic agenda and poetry have become integral in articulating alternative and parallel visions of the bayan and bansa. This is the placement of Bagulaya’s edge in the schema of competing texts, disciplines and ideologies, allowed in the confines, of among others, the acacia-laden trees, of the state university. Like all literary, humanities and social science analyses, or for that matter, even mathematical and scientific paradigm shifts, Bagulaya’s study articulates a political ideology in ways in which all ideologies are vested upon—“always a way of describing other people’s interests other than one’s own.” Like all social ideologies, the use of utopia is a vital impediment to political analysis whether it be notions of beauty and aesthetics or form and poetics. Like all analyses, Bagulaya articulates a political agenda—a framework of speaking about national democratic ideology and utopia.
When Eagleton published his conclusion in 1983, he estimated that there were over 60,000 nuclear warheads, and the approximate cost of these weapons is $500 billion dollars a year, of which, just five percent of the amount is capable of lifting the
If literature and the humanities have set forth the human spirit free, then why has the material body still experienced excess want and lack? Some 450,000 women still die unnecessarily from childbirth every year, 97 percent of which are from former colonies. There are 35 million unemployed in the developed world and some billions in the developing world. Why does the emphasis in military spending that sustains global hegemony remain so much in place than ever before? How has the humanities reproduced the para-military bent of imperialist globalization? Compared to the $800 billion on arms spending, only $50 billion is needed to support debt repayment of the neocolonial world. Clean water could be offered for $300 million. Some 11.65 million children in the developing world could be saved if these children had the same access as those in the developed world. L3.3 (
However, the gap between the world’s poorest 20 percent and the richest 20 percent has more than doubled since 1960. And overcapacity in the industries are as high as 30 percent. Are we better off today with our gadgets in easy reach and academic prestige in pedestals? Suburbanized, as Eagleton claims of liberal humanist ideology, critics in neoliberalism excel in producing the cruelest of studies devoid of the historicity of the material condition. Statisticized, mathematicized, scientificized and humanitastized, the human is devoid of actual pain and suffering as he or she is vilified as both victim and abuser or abjected as a massified entity. Scholarship becomes a testament to both human life in general abstracted ways and its barbarism in its depoliticized mode.
What happens is the production of a quasi-stable identity, devoid of politics, and if at all, the political and political struggle. Eagleton suggests that this, in itself, the distancing of the object of study to its relational field of politics of power relations is cogent to the imperialist project, the imposition of “alien ways of experiencing.” I remember my experience as a panelist in a masteral defense on the topic, oil industry in the country. The thesis had to undergo a long journey to being defended because of a double time-lag bind. The scholar had been off from the program for some years now. But more than a time lapse, there was also a perceived paradigm lag. The scholar was calling for the nationalization of the oil industry at a time when this industry has already been liberalized in the country. The thesis had to be passed on from an economics adviser who espoused neoliberalism as a newer frame to a Philippine Studies adviser whose background in the humanities somehow makes him a more liberal coach. Defended as a Philippine Studies scholarship, the thesis passed and was even conferred with a best masteral thesis award in the humanities.
Given the metanarrative of globalization, any analyses that purports to be a primarily a project of nationalization, nationalism and nationalist agenda would prove detrimental to the student’s cause. Philippine Studies acts as a kind of enclave to the normativizing modality of neoliberal and global researches. But these too provide a limited view of the area concerned. What is actually being undertaken is a project of depoliticization in surrounding the research itself—downgraded when failing to use the rhetoric of globalization as the overarching paradigm to dwell on the necessity of the national to be internationally competitive or upgraded for providing a beacon of utopian capitalism or socialism at a time of great deluge. Thus, the award for best thesis becomes the interjection to the real status of the scholarship, deemed otherwise as impalpable at this globalizing age.
But the political contends as politics always contend. As bearers of political ideologies, criticism asserts not just a vision of a social ideology but also a material practice leading to the vision. To historicize is to politicize, and in our nation’s context, to politicize is to organize. This is the adage of the political in criticism, its intended mobilizing factor to swing people to opinion, consciousness, action and organization. Then literature does not simply become allegorical of the material, a symptom of the historical and social. It then becomes the receptacle of the material in historical and social transformation.
 Terry Eagleton, “Conclusion,” Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983) in http://webs.wofford.edu/hitchmoughsa/Terry.html.
 Quoted in “Letter of Concern of Foreign Church and Development Workers in the
 Eagleton, ibid.
 Quoted in “Facts at a Glance,” CDI Nuclear Issues, http://www.cdi.org/nuclear/facts-at-a-glance-pr.cfm.
 “Too many people—Too much poverty?” http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/books/globalwarning/7.htm.
 “World Bank Updates Global Poverty Report,” http://usembassy-australia.state.gov/hyper/WF990602/epf304.htm.
 Poverty Incidence
1997 11.0 11.4 8.6
1998 19.9 12.9 19.2
 “Technology: Friend or Foe?” http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/books/globalwarning/5.htm
 This is an idea I borrow from Professor Sarah Raymundo on Judy Taguiwalo’s improvement of Fredric Jameson’s idea on the need to historicize via her involvement in political causes.