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Sythesis Paper #2 Should We Give Up on People Power?

It has been 25 years after the People Power Revolution and most people celebrate it with a sense of achievement and pride, especially the masses. But some would reflect that the 'revolution' may had been the hope we are looking for to change present stystems but it failed to deliver the change we need. Randy David agrees in his article written 6 years ago that the two 'EDSAs' may had been an opportunity for us to address social ills which can be traced to the government's inaction. For one it had been remarkable for awakening the people's sense of citizenship and encouraging them to participate and speak out, however it can be considered unsuccessful for it did not delivered what the people demanded eradication of poverty and elimination of corruption. However he does not share the view of most of EDSA's participants that EDSA is a waste of time and another 'revolution' must not be even thought upon. David may seem to conclude that much of EDSA's participants may had high hopes too high to even make the movement sustainable. He argues that movements like this is a mean to achieve certain goals but not the project itself. In his anaysis he does not share views that the EDSA revolution is a failure by itself, rather the events that followed it. EDSA for its part may had given us the widest discretion to evaluate systems and change everything altogether for the 'national future' we aim to achieve. However as seen by the events that followed EDSA we could see somehow an expression of the popular concept 'gulong ng palad'; while the ruling elite before the revolution was toppled down, the new leaders that followed soon became timid and held hostage by a new set of elite who took the opportunity to establish their power. For David what made EDSA unsuccessful is that until now people still look for messianic figures that could make change happen for them. He argues that change only comes from political will that emanates not from the leaders but to the people itself. He also cites that the people who led EDSA was not visionaries for they did not thought of alternatives once the revolution was established. They bowed down to the familiar, hence we fell trap once again to the systems we aimed to topple. But as he concluded his essay, I do believe that we should not give up on people power altogether, in fact in times like these the people is more than needed to come together to push for the change they vision for. However, we should not fell trap once again to the allures of short-lived mass movements. Rallying for the sake for being 'in' will not bring anything significant. There is a certain danger when we discuss people power for one may argue who was the real ones who moved for change; the people by themselves or the elite who persuaded to do it for them. Proven by EDSA, the Islamic Revolution in Iran and even Libya during Gaddafi that we should be critical of people who may pretend to represent the people and their wills but may have vested interests that can even shackle us further.

In a way, I agree that a new kind of people power is needed, one that should start from the people themselves, in their communities, focused on the problems they dare to address without the influence of radical ideologies. But to have a movement such as this we should have a citizenry that is educated and aware of the issues they face, this is what seem lacking. Citizenship and Globalization Globalization has opened the world for all of us, with the allure and the promise of freedom in all aspects of life open economies, freedom to travel, contact with a diverse range of cultures and beliefs. We cannot deny that globalization will be an integral part of our lives; there is no turning back. How has citizenship been reconfigured in a globalized world, thinking that all limits and boundaries have been effectively blurred? Scholars believe that citizenship and globalization has an uneasy relationship with each other. Citizenship is derived from the existence of a community of people part of a nation-state, with laws and boundaries. On the other, globalization is a phenomenon with different dimensions, referring to integration and inter-connectedness across national boundaries. With the increase of goods, services, people and ideas, the relationship between the citizen and the nation became more complex. For sociologist Saskia Sassen, she does not see citizenship going back on its deeply nationalist forms. While citizenship has been always been associated with rights, these rights are now being rooted on an international, universal context that citizenship seems not longer tied to the concept of the nationstate. She argues that legal rights open to certain citizens are now being clamored by large groups of people, quoting international law or human rights vested in individuals rather than governments. She also pointed out certain micro-elements that contribute to the weakening of citizenship in a nationalist context. Dual nationality, human rights of the body, weakening of government sovereignity and growing legal rights all contributed to the 'growing distance between the citizen and the state'. There are two aspects of globalization that have implications to the concept of citizenship. (Gans, 2005). People move along national boundaries to work and live, questioning the concepts of national identity and belonging. Trans-national and multinational organizations started to exist which adds to the diffusion between the rights and priveleges associated with citizenship. It has also been argued that a new model of citizenship has emerged, especially in the United States and the UK, with more emphasis on responsbilities than rights coupled with less state intervention. (Peters, 2008) People are trained to be 'consumer-citzens' who must invest in themselves or else go into debt. There is also an increased participation of the 'third sector' or the volunteer organizations, with the emphasis of giving and voluntary work. Increasingly, with the rise of technology, state surveilance is on a rise and after 9/11, a shift from active political participation to passive political literacy; conversely, online communities also flourished which created new public spaces that transcend interests and even

collectivities such as nation-states. With this connection between rights and citizenship, people see the times as an opportunity for the creation and defense of these rights (UNRISD, 1996). Globalization, as the participants of an UNsponsored conference argues, is not just a project of some governments nor trans-national entities, rather, it is a world-wide struggle to define and protect basic elements of human dignity. However, Falk argues that the promotion of citizenship as a movement is something global yet done locally, undermining instead of enhancing the conditions required for sustaining citizenship. With the lack of solidarity among citizens, activities do little to strengthen national institutions. Is There Hope for Philippine Society? Whenever I would ask my friends their thoughts on Philippine society they would still look with positivity and say to me that there's still hope. To be honest, I have my doubts; and whenever I tell them about it they would say that giving up would not change things for the better. As I write this final part of the paper I would reflect that we are not that miserable after all, contradicting to what our media constantly feeds us. After all most of the people in my circle still has clothes to wear, food to eat, a place to stay and gadgets to play. They study at the private universities and almost all has a parent who is filthy rich or is working abroad. To state this fact however would not efface the fact that Philippine society is still a work in progress. We talk of farmers who cannot own the land generations of them tilled, the urban poor robbed of opportunities, increase of crime, endless corruption and injustice. It would be really tempting to just give up and get out of this mess but still nothing would change if we leave. I would think the problem is not corruption as what some 'thinning' guy and his team argues, nor the economic climate, nor the education system or whatnot. They are effects of the problem, not the problem by itself. It would be depressing to note how us Filipinos lost the Filipino within us it's not just shouting I'm Proud to be Pinoy! on every Pacquiao fight but how we deal with ourselves, with others and to the nation as a whole. Maybe someone would point to the 'bayanihan' spirit constantly written in our Social Science textbooks as a positive Filipino trait, or to our resilience on every disaster as proof that citizenship is inate into us. But these came into being out of necessity, at times when all of us are on the same level. In normal circumstances, we do not see the citizenship in every Filipino. Mere recitation of the national anthem and pledge has been a boring routine that something worth of pride, heroes forgotten, so as our values. But being Filipino is not just speaking Filipino not acting 'Filipino' as some ultra-nationalists would argue. In a globalized world it does not make sense where we talk of a new Filipino middle class founded out of immigration and call centers. Being Filipino for me is having the genuine concern for the

fellowmen, having the responsbility for our actions, taking into consideration that we are not living in there islands all by our own. Maybe this is the reason why my hope for the Filipino seem to wane, since even in my present generation I could still see this way of thinking. In a way I could see their understanding of being Filipino as some sort of a fashion statement. The sudden flood of 'nationalist' shirts and the constant bombardment of Filipino 'achievers' on media sustains this image of Filipino citizenship among the majority. Too bad however that as what a foreigner residing here observes, this misplaced nationalism, coupled with emotional inmaturity, has even made us slide into anarchy. I could not blame them; after all we lack the environment to sustain citizenship way beyond the fads and the Manny Pacquiao fights. We live in a country where issues effectively numbed us that we are more concerned with our private lives that participate in changing structures. As one of my high school clasmates constantly tell me, if we could not even change our character, why should we even bother changing the nation? The nation after all could be just there to siphon our well-earned money. Conscience tells me however that we should not act this way. I should even give respect to some friends of mine from Malaysia and Singapore where they may be enjoying economic prosperity but still they are keen to change their governments which, parallel to us, has incubated abuse and injustice. To change Philippine society could require tons of manna from heaven, very difficult but it would not be impossible. It maybe just that we could not just set our priorities straight. We exist as a nation but we do not exist as a collective, divided among class, race, language, gender and ideology. Coupled with corruption and social inequality, imagine our society as a sheet of paper passed on a paper shredder. If we do not start acting now, civil war could come knocking at our door at the worse. I still remember my History professor and his concept of 'Buhay, Ginhawa, Dangal' and how can it unite us as a nation once and for all. He has good points, and talking of citizenship we could intertwine these three to foster responsbility and accountability among all of us. We should unite for our right to live with decency and dignity and the responsbility to enjoy this life alongside others. After all we have all the resources we need to start progress. Senator Kiko Pangilinan would enumerate certain reasons why is there still hope for us abundant resources, talented and creative youth, our resilience on the disasters and events that we face. Maybe the missing key would be genuine concern for others not just that we are a 'Christian' nation but because we are human beings. For now I would argue that the road for change is still a long way ahead, and I do not think it is straight and cemented. There is a danger of the extremes losing hope and giving up, and on the other hand being too positive and celebratory on things. Reality is there waiting to be faced, ponder and solved. References Is Citizenship Being Diluted by Globalization? UCLA International Institute. Web. September 23, 2011.

There is No More Hope for the Philippines? Definitely Filipino. 30 April 2011. Web. David, Randolf. "Should We Give Up on People Power?" Philippine Daily Inquirer. 23 January 2005. Web. Gans, Judith. Citizenship in the Context of Globalization. Immigration Policy Working Papers. United States: The University of Arizona, 2005. Print. Pangilinan, Kiko. 10 Reasosn Why There is Genuine Hope for the Philippines. Kiko Pangilinan Facebook Fanpage. 16 March 2009. Web. Peters, Michael. "Citizenship in the Age of Globalization." Global E: A Global Studies Journal. Web. September 23, 2011. Porteous, Bruce. Is There any Hope for the Philippines? Rense.Com 7 February 2010. Web. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Globalization and Citizenship: Report of the UNRISD International Conference. Geneva: UNRISD, 1996. Print.