Archive for April 2010

LABOR DAY 2010 SOLIDARITY

April 30, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

01 May 2010

 Solidarity greetings to all toiling men and women of the Philippines and the world!

With glee and fulfillment I, as a fellow toiling man, express the highest appreciation for the power of labor and the fruits of all the toils of struggling workingmen & women across the millennia of human history. Truly, it is through our labor that our God-given creativity and wisdom find manifestations, galvanized as goods and services in the workplace. Nothing can ever refute such a universal fact or law about the potency of labor.

As a re-dedication to the working class movement across the planet, let me share this humble poem of mine.

REFLECTIONS ABOUT WORK

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

There can be

no savoring the foods

offered by Terra

without working hard for their generation;

no consumption of bounties

in torrential showers

without striving

for their production;

no recital of flowery

words about justice

without active contention

for their fruition;

no pleasant rest

of mind and body

without processing by

the sweatshops of labour;

no blissful state

of realized utopias

without rendering sufferings

from waylaid obstacles.

[Poem writ. 27 Sept, 1987, University of the Philippines, QC.]

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LIBERAL INQUISITIONISM: FASCIST TENDENCIES REVEALED

April 27, 2010

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good evening!

It is night time as I write this piece. The prominent cloudless black night outside my window is akin to reality being concealed by subterfuge or ‘illusions’ (to use Freud’s term), so it may prove worthy for us to reflect on what is being concealed by the resort of the Liberal Party to moralistic jingoism in its latest poll campaigns.

It would be fitting to begin with the behavior of the presidential  candidate Noynoy Aquino, who, just a couple of nights back, made a public declaration about the Ampatuan family’s support for the Noynoy presidency and his Liberal Party or LP. The Ampatuan family is being indicted for mass slaughter of political adversaries and media persons in Maguindanao province, besides that it had shown how it could cheat in the polls as support for a presidential candidate in 2004 (Gloria Arroyo).

That the LP is openly supported by a family with sociopathic, hostile, and/or antisocial members is indubitably confounding to the unsophisticated folks. However, to more knowledgeable observers, notably behavior analysts, it isn’t surprising for a sociopathic gang to converge in interest with Noynoy Aquino who, as per classified internal information now filtering out, suffers from psychological disorder conditions.

Gangster-type antisocial, hostile, sociopathy is the base of recruitment for fascist and racist movements. Hitler knew that formula well, so his ideologues hastened to recruit unreformed malefactors who would constitute the Nazi party’s mass membership and SS cadres.

Lenin himself revealed that the dividing line between liberalism and fascism is thin. Unfolding events proved him right in Europe, when the first fascist movement, led by Mussolini, seized power in Italy. To recall, the Italian fascists were rabidly moralistic in their campaigns, and bullied their way to power.

I wish Lenin were still alive, so I could argue with him that there really is no dividing line between liberalism and fascism, that the dividing line is merely an illusion. The philosophers Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze demonstrated, in the case of schizophrenics, that the dividing line between rationality and irrational (e.g. manic-depressive) behavior is non-existent, by using  ‘schizoanalysis’ as their theoretical rampart.

If we were to follow Deleuze & Guattari well, we would say that, in the case of Noynoy Aquino and the criminal Ampatuans, the dividing line between the sane and the mad has been effectively erased. I would further advance that Noynoy is just but an infinitesimal representation of a much larger reality, the members of the Liberal Party, who are concealing their own authoritarian personality traits behind a mantle of moralism (i.e. good governance cliché) discourse.

To be fair to the LP officialdom, it would be more fitting an exercise to let the party top brass at least be tested for ‘authoritarian personality’ tendencies. In behavioral science we call this the Adorno Scale, developed by the late Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer and tested on very large samples in Europe and the Americas.

The Adorno Scale is available anytime for testing, it uses a very innovative approach to testing that combines quantitative and qualitative methods, and we have the experts (psychology, sociology, psychiatry) who can team up to administer the test on Drilon, Noynoy, Abad, Roxas, Gascon, and other party stalwarts. It would be much fairer if the stalwarts of other parties undergo the same test.

In my preliminary analysis, the Liberal Party will have the highest scores on Adorno Scale, indicating the ‘authoritarian personality’ type among its leaders and cadres. The result is as predictable as the sun would shine tomorrow. In layman’s parlance, ‘authoritarian personality’ means fascistic personality.

Fascism is on the rise again globally, and global fascism is not a remote phenomenon to ascend phoenix-like. Fascism often ascends at the tail end of an economic crisis—of a 60-year cycle called the Kondratieff Wave. In the early 19th century, Bonapartism emerged so suddenly as a scourge of Europe, while White racism (Ku Klux Klan) emerged before and after the American Civil War.

Fascism and Nazism occurred at the tail end of a K2 wave (Kondratieff wave’s downward end phase). The Weimar Republic (Germany was then the greatest industrial power) collapsed, hyper-inflation ate up the folks’ pockets, and lo and behold! Mussolini and Hitler arrived on the political terrain.

Moralistic inquisitionism, which employs good governance cliché to witch-hunt political adversaries today, is for me an indubitable sign of an underlying fascism, both individually (among leaders) and collectively in the Yellow Forces’ camp. It just takes a matter of provoking mass panic, e.g. poll failure, added to a Bogey Man, e.g. General Bangit declaring a coup, to ignite a hysteria that would find catharsis via social upheaval or equivalent.

With sociopaths and manic-depressives at the head of a party such as the LP, and with Noynoy and Mar Roxas winning the presidential and vice presidential posts, the country would surely be in trouble.

Mar Roxas was involved just some couples of years back in supporting Christian militias to counterveil against the Muslim rebels (MILF). He did made public statements about the matter, and he was among those legislators role-playing barriers to the signing of a peace concord between the GRP and MILF.

Christian militia members are terribly antisocial types, with so many who are borderline personalities (below average intelligence), who would become criminals if not trained to do productive work properly. The Tadtad, for instance, has a track record of genocidal massacres against simple Muslim folks, and they’re intact organizationally.

In case that a local fascist movement is bound to arise in this country, don’t ever search for them now among Erap’s forces or Villar and Red forces. Search for them inside the Yellows, particularly inside the LP leadership. Administer to them the Adorno Scale and see for yourself what I’m discoursing about.

Hardly have they won, and many LP candidates are already beginning to behave like medieval Inquisitors who would take down grafters very soon. Their faces look grim when they discourse, like the grim Nazi propagandists Goebbels and ideologues, or better still the Knights Templars and Teutonic Knights whose arrogance and hubris were so colossal and who were emulated by the Nazi leaders themselves.

Inside the LP think-tank/directorate are university professors, in like vein that university mentors formed the Nazi Party and molded Hitler & partisans into mad Nero-types. They are so low profile, the public wouldn’t even notice their presence. I do personally know some of them, know their levels of narcissism, egoism, arrogance, and authoritarianism, and they secretively are powerful inside the party.

When imbalanced personalities would lead a political party and flaunt inquisitionism so openly, we may be experiencing the ‘sign of the times’. Democracy may again take the back seat, as a new cycle of authoritarianism becomes ascendant. Such an authoritarianism, now gelling inside the Liberal camp, could converge with other fascisms toward a consolidated global fascism and the rise of a global Bonaparte.

[Philippines, 23 April 2010. See also: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com; UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com.]

PADERANGA, ECONOMISTS: NOYNOY’S INTELLECTUAL PROSTITUTES

April 25, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

University of the Philippines

Good day from Manila! Magandang hapon!

I just intercepted a note that has been circulating via the email circuits, which echoes the endorsement by certain economists of moralistic leadership standards and the presidency of Noynoy Aquino. Let me share some notes about those economists, which I hope will induce some reflections on the readers and would-be voters.

You see, I felt the itch to burst with guffaws at the economist endorsers, but had to restrain myself as I was surfing inside a commercial cyber-shop. The immediate scorn and ridicule I felt for the economists who endorsed Noynoy was their nauseating projection of (a) independence of mind and (b) moral purity.

I could say this matter-of-factly, that those economist endorsers, led by Prof. Paderanga of the UP Diliman’s School of Economics (UPSE), is a coterie of intellectual prostitutes who are so at home with receiving  fat consultancy & analysts’ pay in exchange for enriching the purses of corporate carpetbaggers. Their independence is paid independence; their moral purity, delusional hogwash.

Those same economists have made no qualms in implementing the dictated policies of the IMF-World Bank that widened social inequalities and led to ballooned the poverty levels in the past, to note: (a) liberalization, (b) privatization, (c) deregulation, (d) tax reforms, (e) reduced budget for social services, (f) wage freeze (both private & public employees), (g) devaluation of the peso, and (g) increased prices of utilities.

Save for the NGO carpetbaggers (e.g. Men Sta. Ana & company who make money via fat funds flowing to their moderate Left NGOs), the Paderanga-led endorsers naturally sit in corporate boards as ‘independent directors’ (I feel like vomiting!). Well, since the energy & other sectors were deregulated, big biz players such as Mirant et al, came in and, believe it or not, appointed one to three of the so-called ‘independent directors’ –who now appear in the pro-Noynoy list of endorsers—to the corporate board of the former.

In the case of Sta. Ana & company (including social workers from the ‘soc-dems’ or non-Marxist social democrats), the carpetbag venues are those NGO coalitions where fat “juices” from debt swaps have been funneled in the past. There was the Peace Bonds racket, to recall, which initially amounted to a billion 1st tranche, guaranteed by the Finance Department, hence making many involved experts blissfully happy from the 1990s to the present.

If you think Gov. Salceda is truly (a) independent-thinking and (b) morally pure, better review the facts. Salceda is implementing couples of Big Projects in his Albay backyard, thanks to his close affiliation with the incumbent president, worth P10 Billion more or less. He is a MASTER OF KABUSUGAN, as laymen would put it, and his greed has been moving up in exponential fashion. Besides, he was a most fatly paid marketing economist for the corporate world before he joined the GMA regime.

Inside the academe, the likes of Paderanga, Taguiwalo, and other professors, have hardly been known for doing research projects as a ‘labor of love’ thing. Being well connected to corporate and ODA paymasters, their researches and publications are deeply tainted with the vested interests of their financiers. [ODA= Official Development Assistance]

Having established their niches in their big-paying clientele—Big Business, Big Foundations, Big Banks, Big NGO networks, Global Development Agencies—it is but natural that those same morally puritanical economists put their foot forward in the Noynoy Team (they used their connections to leverage their getting into the team) and practically dictated the TOR (terms of reference). They were to join the Purissima faction of experts who were then with GMA, but who bolted away as early as 2005 yet.

Coming from different factions of experts, I could just surmise the great difficulty in getting them to draft the agenda of Noynoy Aquino who was catapulted to a presidential timber by sheer historical accidence. Surely enough, words reached my ears that the factions couldn’t see each other eye-to-eye, a truistic situation that bogged down the drafting of the agenda in late Sept to October of 2009.

The Paderanga faction was assigned the broad economic & development agenda, Taguiwalo faction the fiscal agenda, Purissima faction the budget agenda, Sta Ana & ‘progressive’ faction the social agenda, and so on. Pressed by time constraints to churn out an agenda, the highly paid Noynoy consultants did miraculously produce one that was the accompanying document submitted to the COMELEC attached to the certification registration of Noynoy Aquino.

Upon reviewing the Noynoy agenda of governance that was published in the major dailies, I was so aghast at the rather sub-standard quality of the content. It was a mere hodge-podge of motherhood statements, spiced up by cut & paste items lifted directly from the Philippine Constitution. Honestly, that draft agenda can be prepared by mere undergraduate students in the University of the Philippines, given a 1-day workshop time frame, while it took the economists two (2) months to accomplish it!

In contrast to those prostituted intellectuals and Masters of Kabusugan, we academics and think-tank consultants who support the likes of Villar (others support Gordon, Bro. Eddie,…) have openly endorsed our choice candidate on the basis of our advocacies. This expert is not being paid for my analytical writings, interviews, and forum talks supportive of the nationalists (Villar, NP…). And there are just too many of us nationalist and grassroots-working intellectuals who are contributing our share of the campaign through pro bono service.

To share an anecdote: A co-partner of mine in the consulting & academic world, Dr. Cesar Mercado (he heads an international think-tank, was former UN official, and is globally known), was offered by a graduate student of the UP SOLAIR a participation in the drafting of the Noynoy agenda. Dr. Mercado outrightly declined the offer, and he need not bother to call me up for the fat-paying consulting work in the Noynoy camp. He simply replied that he was busy.

That was how desperate the Noynoy Team was for a draft agenda, for Noynoy just didn’t possess the competence to draft one. In contrast, the other presidential candidates (Villar, Bro. Eddie, Nicki Perlas, Gordon…) already possessed analytical and practical frames that they developed throughout their careers, and so the role of consultants if ever was merely to critique, edit, incorporate methodology of implementation, and polish. The latter candidates don’t need to hire a huge coterie of experts like Noynoy and Erap did, but utilize merely 2-3 consults at the most.

Not being personally known to Villar, the likes of me and hundreds of experts (adaceme & think-tanks) have been expressing opinions based on our long-standing policy frameworks, advocacies, and ‘best practices’. We need not come together to release a public manifesto in the broadsheets, which will require at least P1.5 million for five half-paged pronouncements in five (5) dailies. We don’t have the funds to do so! So we campaign in the micro-niches, based on the personal resources within our means.

Lastly, hardly had Noynoy began campaigning, and those prostituted minds were already clawing on each other like competing crabs, as per reports reaching my attention. They will likewise claw on each other in grabbing juicy government sub-sectors and agency posts in case Noynoy wins, and will be stabbing each other to get the boss’ attention if ever they sit in power.

Let me toss the capsule query: are such intellectuals indeed independent-minded and morally pure? Are they worth leading the institutions of state for the sake of ‘walang korupsyon’ and/or good governance? Will a president Noynoy be on top of them, or will they be on top of puppet Noynoy?

[20 September 2010. Prof. Argonza is a political economist, sociologist, university professor, development consultant, self-development guru. See: UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com, IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogger.com, BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com%5D

LUISITA’S OWNERS MASSACRED UNIONISTS AFTER NEAR-RESOLVED DEADLOCK

April 22, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

University of the Philippines

This development consultant and social scientist, who shortly served the GMA regime as a director at the Office of External Affairs or OEA, wishes to inform the public of a plain truth regarding the massacre of unionists by the owners-managers of the Hacienda Luisita.

That massacre was hardly warranted, as a back-channel negotiation was going on before the gory day, with Luisita unionists agreeing to withdraw their mass action and return to work. No less than palace demigods called for the backdoor negotiations, which was already in progress before the bloody event took place on November 16, 2004.

I was among the core officers who assisted Sec. Edgardo Pamintuan  organize the newly established OEA in 2004 right after PGMA took her oath (we comprised of assistant secretaries, directors, consultants). The OEA was assigned membership in the political, communications, and intelligence clusters of cabinet, to recall some basic facts.

The OEA had hardly warmed up as a ‘freshman agency’, when a directive came from the Office of the Presidency or OP, for our agency to help resolve the Luisita deadlock. My boss, Sec. Pamintuan or EdPam, had proved his talent at back-channel negotiations, being one such negotiator between the GRP and National Democratic Front, and so the application of the same ‘best practice’ to the Luisita deadlock proved all too facile for the noblesse negotiator.

Most urgently, Sec. Pamintuan instructed his executive team to contact the leadership of the federation to which the local Luisita union belonged, the Kilusang Mayo Uno or KMU. The OEA’s main task was to serve as bridgehead and clearinghouse between the various constituency groups and the OP, a task that it immediately began doing upon its very inception circa 2nd quarter of 2004. Inviting the KMU to a consultative talk was routine task for the OEA, KMU being a long established constituency group representing the labor sector.

We OEA officials felt so glad that the KMU arrived pronto right in our office at the Bahay Ugnayan – Malacañang Palace. Practically the top brass of the federation came. We gave them a warm reception, and our exchanges were very cordial.

After the issues were clarified and the messages exchanged, the federation committed to consult with the local union. The maximum expectation was for the union to withdraw its forces and end the protest, with the quid pro quo that the 300+ union officials and members who were retrenched will be allowed to RTW (return to work). [Note: Luisita’s wage was a pathetic P9.50 per day which the union vehemently protested.]

Amid the intensifying crisis, action was swift as the federation and (local) union did clarify and resolve issues during rush consultations. Finally, to our merriment, the news came to our office that the local union was already decided on withdrawing its forces/dismantling the barricade, and was ready to sit down with Luisita management to communicate their modified demands including RTW.

We were almost at the point of euphoria over the success of the back-channel talk, when the horrifying flash news reached our office that the Philippine National Police stepped in and resorted to brutal and brazen slaying of unarmed unionists and supporters. It was an utterly unnecessary move, in as much as the local union was already in the process of withdrawing its protesting forces and prepared to sit down with the owners & management of the hacienda.

As per reports brought to our office then, the Luisita management, with the complicity of top DOLE officials, called upon the Philippine National Police to disperse the protesting farm workers & supporters. It was clearly an arrogant display of brute force and one-sided communications, with no compunction shown at all during that dreadful moment of firing automatic rifles on unarmed unionists.

Not only human rights were violated on that black day, there was also a clear violation of good governance in a number of ways: (a) authoritarian management that is inappropriate to the current context; (b) distrust of the organized sector of farm workers and their disabling from participation in renovating human resource systems in the hacienda; and, (c) hubris and brazen display of excessive force in resolving a deadlock that was in a near-resolution situation.

We need not even bother to find out whether certain officers of the law are under the payola of the Luisita paymasters. Or, that certain labor inspectors and officials are likewise in the payroll of the same paymasters. Such a system of corruption has been in place for nigh decades, and has never been rooted out.

It is truly bothersome for a co-owner of the Luisita, Noynoy Aquino, to mouth good governance as a banner motto in his campaign for the presidency. The facts about Luisita affairs hardly substantiate Aquino’s claim of “hindi ako magnanakaw.” Cojuanco family’s Luisita is replete with narratives of corruption and blood spilt to sustain operations, rendering moot and delusional any claim by its owners to puritanical moralism.

Good governance is not just about “hindi magnanakaw.” It is a coherent concept that is operationalized as: (a) efficient management; (b) enabling civil society-state dialogue; (c) participative management, observing a partnering modality between labor & management and not a subordinated treatment of labor by managers-owners; (d) low to nil graft/transparency; and, (e) political will in pursuing visions, mission, objectives, and related ends.

Noynoy Aquino represents the cacique class and is a product of an oligarchic lineage and milieu. He reduced ‘good governance’ to a parochial propaganda cliché, a term that he may have little understanding about based on the practice of corporate governance in Luisita.

The last thing that ought to happen in this country is to keep on recycling oligarchic rule, an evil system that is perpetuated by non-thinking voters who are as gullible as those overseas workers sweet-talked by illegal recruiters. It is now time to put an end to this sordid evil, for prolonging it further will bring us down to a Dark Age which happens at the tail end of any oligarchic regime (e.g. classical Greece was destroyed by the Athenian oligarchs’ lust for wars against Persia).

I just hope that, in case Aquino will win the polls, and the greedy grafters and ‘kamag-anak incorporated’ around him will grab juicy state posts in wild abandon, plundering at will like there was no end to  colossal loots, I won’t end up echoing “I told you so.” Honestly, I would, and will sonorously burst with guffaws.

[Philippines, 19 April 2010. Prof. Argonza is an international consultant, academic, and Fellow of the prestigious Asia-wide Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration or EROPA. He is also a long-time grassroots worker, serving marginal sectors for over three decades. See also: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com.]

JESUIT FASCISM SAVES FACE OF PLAGIARIZING CHAIRMAN PANGILINAN

April 18, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza
University of the Philippines

Good day, fellows!

Just a couple of days back, the chairman of the Ateneo De Manila University’s Board of Trustees, Manny Pangilinan, resigned from the chairmanship. The reason: he delivered a speech in his beloved alma mater in which he was found out later to have plagiarized parts of his read speech from the lecture notes of globally famous personalities.

Accepting responsibility for his action, Pangilinan resigned from the chairmanship post. The Jesuit directors/executives of the school refused to accept the resignation, for one reason or another.

Knowing the fascistic inclination of the Jesuits, their Order being an institutional oligarchy in the Philippines, I wasn’t surprised at all that the descendants of the Jesuit assassins would save the face for their equally oligarchic alumnus. It doesn’t matter if the university will be a laughing stock in the academic community for its reputation as churning a ‘cut & paste’ constituency.

I still recall well that in the early 1970s, the Jesuits expelled faculty members for their overt radicalism. Amid the noble behavior of those faculty members, they were ordered to resign en masse!

Among those affected professors who quickly left Ateneo at that time was Bienvenido Lumbera, who later brought enormous honor for his country for winning the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Literature. A retired professor at the University of the Philippines’ (Diliman) Department of Filipino, Prof. Lumbera is also a holder of the very prestigious National Artist award.

I wonder what the likes of Ka Bien (as we fellow advocates fondly call him) have for the Ateneo/Jesuits at this moment. If they’re exhibiting the last laugh today, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

The world is simply fed up with the fascistic behavior of oligarchs, bureaucrats, politicians, bishops, and those who carry their weight around like overmasters. Exceedingly intoxicated with power, the fascists like those smug & arrogant Jesuits are getting to be squeezed in tinier spaces year by year, scorned and alienated for their dangerous sociopathy.

What else can we describe the 60+ professors of Ateneo who signed a manifesto condemning the Jesuitical leniency on the plagiarizing Pangilinan? These are over five (5) dozens of rational minds inside the oligarchic Jesuit school, and it pays to heed their calls that re-echo those of their own colleagues who were expelled in the early 1970s.

Whether the turn of events is a ‘history repeating itself’ remains to be seen. What is sure for now is that the expulsion of the professors in the early 70s was a tragedy, while the second occasion of professorial protest could be a comedy of sorts.

At least the protest noise is a benign heraldry that the university mentors are not some complacent Herds who couldn’t boldly speak about the travesties and injustices committed within their campus. And I am supportive of their protestations and demands, for I clearly recognize the wisdom and justness of their cause.

But Jesuit arrogance, both individual and fraternal, is subcultural and it flows right into the sinews and veins of the fascistic Father (Jesuits). If indeed the protesting mentors of the ADMU will want to de-link from the pugnacious subculture so mentioned, they should better resign en masse.

Otherwise, without a near-ferment caused by the plagiarism fiasco, the protestation will simply be a zarzuela (stage play) concluding anti-climactically. The fat-paying professors will end up as subject of guffaws whose cowardice redounds to kowtowing to their Jesuit paymasters.

In the end, the public will perceive the ADMU as (a) cut & paste university with (b) a cut & paste studentry, (c) cut & paste faculty, and (d) cut & paste Jesuit owner-managers. So there goes the comedy of errors, as history repeats itself.

“In the name of the Father (Jesuit Order), the Son (alumni/constituency), and of the Holy Ghost (clerico-fascism). Amen.”

[Philippines, 14 April 2010. The author is a sociologist, economist, and development consultant……………………………………………………………………………… See: IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com,
UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com,
BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com.%5D

LIBERALISM: MORE POVERTY & CORRUPTION

April 16, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

University of the Philippines

 

Good afternoon, fellows!

The Liberal Party in the Philippines has been bandying lately the good governance agenda. Philosophically bankrupt, the dogmatists of the party could at best parrot the verbiage of university academics who, in reductionist fashion, associated the development problems of the country to bad governance.

Poverty had alarmingly risen from 25% in 2001 to 32% today, as per government statistics. This came at a time when the economy doubled, GDP-wise, and the country had been dubbed as an ‘emerging market’. Can poverty be factored solely to bad governance, as liberal quacks now claim?

Whether the so-called ‘think-tank’ of the Liberal Party or LP possesses the comprehensive grasp of the country’s problems is doubtful. A ‘think-tank’ that is theoretically bankrupt could at best be a coterie of mediocre dudes whose sense of originality in problem-solving engagements is nil.

There surely were episodes in our economic history when poverty expanded. We can concretely site the following periods: 1983-1996, when poverty incidence rose from 35% in ’83 (Marcos era) to 49% in ’89 (Cory Aquino era) to a 60% peak in ’95 (Ramos Era); and, after a period of radical drop, moved up again in 2001 through 2009, from 25% (‘01)to 28% (’04) to 32% (‘09).

The 32% poverty incidence may not even be accurate. As Prof. Cielito Habito (Ateneo University) sited in his newspaper column, the figure could be a high 35%. My own intuitive assessment is that the figure could be much higher at around 45%.

Those high-poverty episodes were actually periods when the country was under the IMF programs’ tutelage. They were times when liberal policy reforms were radically implemented in the country, to note: liberalization, privatization, deregulation, tax reforms, reduced budgets for social services, currency devaluation, wage freeze, and increased utility prices.

Not only did we witness the expansion of poverty during the same episodes, we also saw the rise of corruption. Weak regulatory frameworks at a time of rising total budgets redound to liberalizing graft as well, resulting to larger largesse for bureaucrats & legislators (returns from pork barrel allocations).

Let’s take the case of trade liberalization. As soon as tariff reforms were implemented in full during the Ramos Era, a whopping P300 Billion+ worth of import duties were wiped out, thus reducing revenues so drastically. With nil safety nets in implementation, the tariff reform saw millions of affected small planters, fishers, craftsmen, and farm workers experience large-scale income drops, thus instantly leading to larger poverty incidence.

As commitments to tariff reforms are now binding upon our state, based on signed treaties (ASEAN, WTO), regulatory frameworks for executing projects remain weak. This bad situation ensures the perpetuation of the take of bureaucrats on projects, from the past 10% ‘s.o.p.’ circa 1980s, to the gargantuan 40% today and higher rate tomorrow. E.g. a road project worth P1 Billion will be priced/budgeted at P1.4 Billion, with P400 Million allowance for the grafters (they call it ‘for the boys’).

Note that during the periods of extensive liberal reforms, Hacienda Luisita escaped agrarian reform’s surgical operations. Of course, the regulatory and executory frameworks of the agrarian reform law were so weak, so much that President Aquino’s family estate was accorded special treatment that it enjoys till these days.

Ipso facto, liberal reforms practically destroyed the already weak regulatory frame that we Filipinos have struggled so hard to build since the time of the 1st presidency yet (Aguinaldo, 1898-1900). Curbing poverty and graft, which indeed go together, requires draconian tactics of state interventionism or dirigism, not liberalism.

It is all too easy a kindergarten stuff to forecast that under a liberal regime, poverty will swell to higher incidence (beyond 40%). As budgets and projects increase, so will graft move up, probably eating as much as 60% of total appropriations at certain junctures.

The ‘walang korupsyon’ (no corruption) flaunted by the liberal quacks is nothing but empty propaganda. Bereft of creative approaches to diminishing corruption, the ‘walang korupsyon’ line merely re-echoes an age-old line of traditional politicians or trapos desperate to gain electoral victories by duping a gullible electorate.

‘Walang korupsyon’ isn’t even liberal nor populist a line, but hyper-conservative. Conservatism serves the interests of Big Business, Big Landlords, Big Church (biggest landlord in the Philippines), and foreign capital.

We are therefore not surprised that the leaders and groups representing Big Business, Big Landlords, Big Church (Jesuits, Opus Dei, bishops), and foreign capital have openly supported Noynoy Aquino & the Liberal Party.

The LP of the Philippines now appears more as a copycat of the fascistic Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Don’t ever be surprised that both parties are good friends within the Liberal International league.

A liberal regime will most likely be saddled with enormous graft and poverty problems that, within a couple of years of its incumbency, patriotic soldiers and populist groups would alternately shake it down to rubbles. A veteran of civil society campaigns myself, I would most likely be marching the streets again to oppose moralist pretenders who are in fact greedy crocodiles.  

Liberalism doesn’t represent the interest of the nation and people, and should be rejected in the coming polls and the next ones to come.

[Philippines, 13 April 2010. Prof. Erle Argonza is an economist, sociologist, and international consultant. He’s a member of the very prestigious Eastern Regional Organization for Public Administration or EROPA. See: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com; https://unladtau.wordpress.com, http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com.]

TITANS, AVATAR: RECENT ENLIGHTENING FILMS

April 12, 2010

Prof. Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Magandang hapon! Good afternoon!

I just watched the recent showing of the new version of Clash of the Titans. The movie was as mind-boggling and enchanting as another film shown some couples of months back: Avatar. It is indubitably worth my watch.

Let me share some notes about both films, with the beginning words that they are among those few movies that are truly enlightening. By enlightening, I mean they transport us almost instantly to the realm of the transcendent, there to immerse a bit with our Higher Mind and the environs of the higher dimensions.

Needless to say, the film enables us to engage in deeper reflections about the meanings of the archetypal symbols shown before us. Our Higher Mind knows, for instance, that Zeus signifies the creative or ideational element in life, a meaning that our lower mind could only feebly comprehend.

The film industry is part of the culture industry, and as our noblesse thinkers of the day have shared to us—note Foucault, Habermas, Adorno, Marcuse, Said, for instance—the same industry has been instrumental as social control mechanism. Movies are not meant to enlighten, but rather intended to entertain and keep us glued within the world that is owned and controlled by few oligarchic families.

Hollywood films, being the prototype industry block, are particularly aimed at gaining profits for the film makers. They are so commercialized that they suffer content-wise. Horror movies are particularly fear-inducing and fragmentary of the psyche, intensify paranoia, and instantly add grey dense energies to our chakras or energy centers.

Enlightening films are indeed few, such as Avatar and Clash of the Titans or simply Titans. Not only do they entertain and educate, they also elevate. That effect makes them altogether contributory to the grand project of human evolutionary ascent.

For a social reformer, Avatar and Titans depict the epochal desire of marginal classes and sectors to demolish asymmetry in relationships and liberate the same groups from oppression.

The planetary natives in Avatar could be viewed as today’s indigenous peoples whose struggle against oppression by mainstream, urban, industrial populations was justly depicted in the film. The same natives could also mean 3rd World peoples who have been struggling against imperialism, colonialism, and fascistic domination by industrial powers.

The Titans could be viewed as oligarchic overlords, both landlords and capitalists, who have been subordinating middle and lower classes into their power enclaves. Mankind’s clash with the Titans symbolizes the epical drama of the age-old struggle of mankind against these overlords who are in power economically, culturally, and politically till these days.

To a mystic, the Titans film depicts the birthing of the universes—father universe first, son universes next, human universes last—and the breeding of humans by the creator beings (Titans). The Fall of Man, symbolized by the clash of men against gods, is likewise depicted.

Titans also subtly depicts the birthing of many worlds—collectively signified by ‘humans’—across the universe. Some worlds evolved faster (i.e. symbolized by Perseus, Io, and Andromeda evolved ahead) than others (e.g. Earthlings/Terrans, Maldekians) that lagged behind, while within a world some humans evolved faster than others.

Zeus (root word: Dyaus Pitar or sky fathers) signifies the creative element.  Hades signifies the Anti-Universe that incidentally physicists are beginning to discover. Any community that immerses in the creative element (Zeus) will live prosperity and harmony, while a community that immerses in Anti-Universe (Hades) will be transmogrified to demonic monstrosity (Karkens that signifies  Draconians or reptilian humanoids of Draco).

Perseus signifies the liberating warrior force of Plaeades civilization, while Pegasus signifies the hyper-space technology then evolving. Io signifies the priests of the interplanetary Order of Melchizedek, whose counsels are as precious as God’s words. Warriors and Priests work in synergy, as signified by the mutual esteem and love between Perseus and Io.

Princess Andromeda signifies the Andromeda galaxy civilization, which could have been invaded by Draco in antiquity—symbolized by Andromeda being sacrificed before the Karkens. Plaeadians were actually bred by the Andromedans, so Perseus’ saving of Andromeda is a sublime expression of filial love and debt of gratitude of the Plaeadians to their parent race (Andromedans).

Medusa signifies a high knowledge related to life science that could neutralize or thwart a superior yet gross force of humanoid Reptilians. The death of Hades in Perseus’ hands signifies the neutralization of the Anti-Universe at a particular juncture in antiquity, thus saving many human worlds (planets) from infection and transmogrification into demonic monstrosities.

The death of Hades is also prophetic in that it signifies a future state where the influence of the Anti-Universe on Earth and the Milky Way sector where we belong, will finally be ended. This happens as the universe ascends by a dimension higher comes 2012 A.D.

From a social reformer’s view, Hades’ death signifies the end of oligarchism and oppression of men by fellow men. This view converges with the mystical view, in that planetary ascension will in fact put an end to ancient systems based on polarity principle and Anti-Universe influence, thus ending oligarchism and the money economy.

So, Fellows on Earth, you can choose to perceive the enlightening films through the prism of whatever perspective or paradigm you’d want to view them. I’m gladdened at least that you watched these films, found time for reflections and enchantment.

[Philippines, 10 April 2010. See also: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com, https://unladtau.wordpress.com, http://erleargonza.blogspot.com.]