Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 2485

Words: 13514

Pages: 55

Category: World History

Date Submitted: 02/12/2011 05:56 AM

Report This Essay

RIZAL: In Search of a revolutionary national subject

Posted on October 6, 2008 by philcsc




2 Votes



On meeting for the first time after 5 years a former activist woman friend, I was surprisingly barraged with a pile of government propaganda about the official celebration of the Philippine Centennial. My friend also told me that life in the Philipines has immensely improved, and everyone is or has become prosperous.  In one of the Centennial brochures, we are urged to “relearn the values that won for us our freedom”; the practice of such virtues as “initiative, self-reliance, industry, courteousness, and the bayanihan spirit will help  achieve our vision of nationhood.”  Such virtues strike us as universal, not the unique property of any group.  What “the vision of nationhood” is, seems to be left to the imagination or, more precisely, it is left suspended in the miasma of cliches and exhausted rhetoric.

Despite the diaspora of 7 million OCWs (Overseas Contract Workers), “ang mga bagong bayani” as lauded by Corazon Aquino (chiefly domestics, entertainers, and low-skilled workers abroad)–the wisdom of the Centennial authorities tells us that “Filipinism is very much alive in each of us.”  Like the term “mana,” “Filipinism” is another floating signifier whose content can be filled by anyone.  Conversely it can be a springboard for discursive and ideological struggle. Now, so much talk about “values” and value reorientation should warn us that such moralizing, such indulgence in abstract metaphysical injunction, is a symptom that the State’s legitimacy is at stake.  It is either eroded or at best seriously attenuated.  The Centennial thus betokens a crisis of ruling-class hegemony.  It marks a rupture in the legitimacy of the rule of the comprador/bureaucratic elite. To sustain the dominance of this minority, the l896 revolution affords an occasion for repairing the rupture, for reinforcing...