Monday, November 22, 2010

The Unity of Classes

Dr. Zeus Salazar, who once headed the CSSP and the UP-Diliman Department of History made an excellent historical analysis of Philippine history sometime in 2004. I was reviewing it when on page 39, in his diagram, something struck me. 

His prescription to the prevailing societal ills in this country is basically the coming together or unity of purpose by the masses and the elite. Such a coming together, in one mind, entails the elite embracing the prevailing indigenous idea of nation or "bansa". It is thru the synthesis of two conflicting classes that the answer to all our problems lie. 

His solution is basically anchored on the correct historical analysis of Philippine society--that despite years of modernity, majority of the Filipino masses are still under the traditional political concept of what a "bansa" or interpreted wildly by the elites, as a "nation" should be. Salazar said that the Philippine society is now under a state of extreme cultural divisiveness that the only way forward is for the elite to embrace the prevailing and dominant cultural norms being practised by the masses. How then will be actualize or operationalize that proposition?

Who will we use as an agency for change? Who will we use for the elites to come together with the masses?

Such a proposition requires an extreme answer since this will not come about as "naturally" and as peacefully as what many of us think. The elite classes are naturally traditionalists and there are several segments of this class who are staunch defenders and promoters of Western thinking, having been schooled in some of the finest universities in the West. 

The elite class has the power. They have the money. They control the levers of our society. They dominate the socio-political landscape with their influence and power.

They occupy the most sensitive posts in government. Most of them who are outside the governmental structure, influence it through their businesses. 

Obviously, in a unity of forces, the elites stand to lose a great deal more than the masses. In a democratic society, the equalization of opportunities for example, requires a great deal from the elites since they would be losing more than what they expect to "earn" from this synthesis. 

In a democratic society, workers obviously would enjoy their rights, farmers would have power over their resources and professionals would definitely be treated more equally than what they are experiencing right now.

The point really is for the elites not to feel personally threatened by this unity. Rather, they should feel that they would lose none of the powers or influence they have and instead, stand to gain more in a more democratic society.

The solution lies in injecting them with a strong sense of nationalism. I remember one of my friends who, in one meeting, told me that the solution lies not in awakening the masses but with transforming the members of the elite classes. We must use their language in order to transform them, and make them staunch nationalists. 

There must be a complete proletarization of the elite and bourgeois classes thru a cultural revolution. That cultural revolution should be anchored on the correct and traditional Filipino values which these elites lost because of their strong belief in Western philosophies. 

The elites' penchant for directing their gaze at the West, instead of looking inwardly, is the root cause of the problem. If change agents within that class would only try to transform the class into an inward looking socio-economic sector, then, half of the problem would actually be solved.

Of course, there must be a strong force to direct this unity of classes and it would only happen during a dramatic revolution. There must be an emotional, dramatic event that would lead to the unity of classes.

For example, as one of my friends, Fred Mison said, this unity shows itself only during natural or man-made calamities, such as Typhoon Ondoy. 

The goal, therefore, of change agents, is to institutionalize such unity through a cultural revolution. We must create the necessary conditions for this unity to happen. These conditions, which are culturally-based, must be the ideological anchor of the government. 

There will, however, come a time when such conflicts between classes escalate into a full-blown confrontation. If that time happens, government must be strong enough to resist some segments of the elite classes who want a reversion to the previous order of things. 

There lies the true answer for change---government must be made an instrumentality by the People towards true equalization. Government must be re-built along the lines of the dominant class, which is the Filipino People. If the government continues to side with Big Business, then, this government does not have the right to represent the basic masses. It does not act basically as an important functionary of the People, and therefore, deserve nothing more than an ouster.