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TörnquistO - Democratic Empowerment and Democratisation of Politics

TörnquistO - Democratic Empowerment and Democratisation of Politics

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Democratic 'Empowerment' and Democratisation of Politics: Radical Popular Movements andthe May 1992 Philippine ElectionsAuthor(s): Olle TörnquistSource:
Third World Quarterly,
Vol. 14, No. 3, Democratisation in the Third World (1993), pp.485-515Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.Stable URL:
Accessed: 24/01/2010 22:48
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available athttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained athttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=taylorfrancis.Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.
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http://www.jstor.org
 
Third World Quarterly, Vol14,No3,1993
Democratic
'empowerment'
and
democratisation
f
politics:
radical
popular
movements
and
the
May
1992
Philippine
elections
OLLE TORNQUISTIntroductionWhyis itthat strugglesforfreedom,civilrights and democracy have becomeincreasingly importantinthe Third World and not least in the Far East?Recently, when Bangkok wasparalysed by huge protests against militarypredominance,most analysts maintainedthatpreviousdisturbances n theareawereusuallythe resultofpeasant-basedattemptsat realrevolutions. But lateron, they said,itwas rathercapitalismthatgained strength.Thesocieties were'modernised'.A newandincreasinglybroadmiddleclasssoonemerged.Andnow these middle classpeopleareinstead the ones whoprotest-but mainlyagainst the authoritariantate. Andusually "only"forfreedom, the rule of law,and democracy.This sweeping generalisationcan of coursebequestioned.To besure, manypeoplefromthelower classesalsoprotest.And it isnotexactly crystalclearwhat the new middle classactually encompasses.Butgenerally speaking,moreandmorepeoplewith some skill and educationin urbanareasobviouslyhavealittle bit more freedomofactionthan other dissatisfiedgroupsanddoplayavitalrole.Soa moreimportantproblem is, therefore,whether the new middleclasscan notonlyinitiatedemocratisationbut is alsocapableofcarryingitthrough-and,if it isnot,whetherotherdemocratic forcesareemerging.As ofnow,suchquestionsare noteasyto answer. Democratisation is aprocess that takestime. In thePhilippines,however,theperhapsmostastoundingbreakthroughor the ThirdWorld's new-middle-class-democraticprisingsactu-allytookplace alreadyinFebruary1986.Peaceful mass demonstrationsandprotests againstmassive electoralriggingincapacitatedhemilitaryandbroughtdown the Marcosregime.Thecommunistled nationaldemocratsand theirmainly peasantbased NewPeople's Army,whountilthen hadcontinuously gained strength, swiftlylost theinitiative. CorazonAquinobecame thenew president.Economicandpoliticalliberties were saluted.ThePhilippinesbecameinvoguein the internationalaid market.Now,morethansixyearslater,itisthusreasonablyfairtobegin by askinghowthestill widely esteemed newmiddle class democratisation sactuallydoing.Theanswer,however,is rathergloomy-solidfoundations arelacking.Consequently,hemajorpartofthisessaywillbeusedtodiscussthe much more485
 
OLLE TORNQUIST
exciting question of whether and how new radical popular movements couldinstead becomevital inanchoringdemocracy.Towards a critique of the new-middle-class democratisationAs late as on May111992, synchronisednational,provincialand local elections' wereactuallycarried out in thePhilippines-whileat the same time thoseinThailandwhodemanded democracy were justabout to becruelly repressed. Some75%ofthe over30millionregisteredvoters choseamong 88,000individual candidates, contestingmore than17,000 positions.2These electionseven ledto the firstreasonablydemocratic transfer ofpolitical powerat allpoliticallevels since the mid-1960s.3And the whole event wasunusuallypeaceful,at leastby Philippinestandards.FromJanuary12,whenthecampaignstarted,untilMay 24,some 104peoplewerekilled,105 wounded andafewkidnapped.)Atleast the national staffof thepreviouslyso abused Commissionon Electionsdid asurprisinglygood job.Andwhiletheprofessional coup-plot-terskepta lowprofile, journalistsfrom all over the world found little hot newstoreport, onlya merciless heat to avoid.However,the financial resources of the different candidates werejustasdecisiveas usual.Vote-buyingstill abounded and some electoralriggingoc-curred.Many analystseven claim thatthePhilippineshasmerelyreturnedotheillusive democracyunderthe semi-feudalpolitical bossism that precededMarcos and his stateofemergency.Thatis,to a situation when thepost-war guerrillashad been marginalisedinthe mountains,local landlords andbusinessmenmobilisedthe votesof all thosedependentupon them,and the localoligarchiesran theirown armies.Moreover,themayorswereusuallyrelatives. Andattheprovincialand nationallevels,variousclans cametogether,madecontact withthe AmericanEmbassy,and formedtemporaryalliancesaroundthe candidateswhomight beable to win-whereafter thepoliticianswho were successfulmadeuseofpublicmeans and resources topayback theirsponsorsand enrichthemselves.Someyears agoBenAndersonspokeof the revivalof'cacique democracy
4-
aconceptwhichin turnmaybe related to themainlyLatin Americanargument,that the recenttendencytowards more rule oflaw,civilliberties andpoliticaldemocratisationn the ThirdWorldisprimarilybecausetheprevious negativefeatures,such asdependencyandclientelism,havegrownworse andmadeauthoritarianism ntenable. This thenopensthewayfor horsetrading,institu-tionalarrangementsetweenoldand newdominatingpartiesand clientelistic orcorporatistforms of democraticgovernment.But the fundamentalrelations ofpowerandexploitationremainintact.5However, the Philippine situationsnot really that bad and unambiguousanymore.Appearancesaredeceptive.On closerexamination,theelections and theresults indicaterather hat oldstructuresrefalling apart-while new solid formshave not yet appeared.6Theinfluenceofthe old landlordshad already diminished with the growth ofMarcos' centralpowers.At the same timecapitalismexpandednurbanaswellas ruralareas. Tenants and workersmanagedtogain some freedom of action.486

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