We need a new generation of innovative activists to fight pork barrel popularity using new approaches

The trouble with democracy is that it is premised on the assumption that people know what is good for them — a sad reality that people like current Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III owe their victory at the polls to. In a democracy, majority rules as they say. As far as fundamentalist democracy apologists are concerned, when the “people” have “spoken” what they speak of is ncecessarily the right way forward.

Consider then what to do next now that it’s been found, thanks to the wisdom of Pulse Asia’s recent “survey” findings, that 55 percent of Filipinos still prefer to have the pork barrel retained. This despite the same study showing that 90 percent of them are aware of the institutionalised thievery surrounding it. What this means for anti-pork activists is that they can no longer rely on traditional “people power”-style mass actions to get their messages across. It also means that it is likely that nebulous notions of “freedom of information” or “Internet freedom” will not have any significant bearing on what paths Filipinos will choose with regard to resolving the issue of pork barrel thievery.

Time to rethink: Costumed circus acts and religious undercurrents in Ph activism

Time to rethink: Costumed circus acts and religious undercurrents in Ph activism

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Freedom to be stupid will trump freedom to access information and freedom to use the Internet anytime. Indeed, these Pulse “surveys” say it all. There is enough information accessible to Filipinos to prove that their politicians are stealing them blind using the government’s pork barrel dole out system. They access that information freely and exchange and share it freely. Yet, the outcome of all that “access” and “sharing” remains categorically stupid. Filipinos still want their pork.

Just like the “surprise” victory of Grace Poe and Nancy Binay during this year’s Senate elections, the eventual outcome when all the noise raised by anti-pork activism dies down will be the persistence of pork barrel and its politics in Philippine society.

The popular argument will win — not the right one.

After all, democracy in the hands of Filipinos is like a blowtorch in the hands of a four-year-old. Filipinos have just about burnt their own house down playing with their toy.

Pork is here to stay. Politicians see pork “commissions” as the whole point of “public service”. Voters see pork as their ticket to easy money. The business community rely on the commerce stimulated by pork to prop up their five-year business plans. In short, Filipinos are stuck with pork because pork is at the centre of a win-win triangle linking public officials, business taipans, and Pinoy voters in a lucrative pyramid of social dysfunction.

The only way to break that triangle is to yank the pork out from within it. How do we do that? Well, saying “Please Mr Politician, could you find it in your little black heart to do the right thing?” certainly will not work. Millions of pesos at stake is worth the little black stain in their consciences. Asking voters to vote wisely has a poor track record of delivering results. And, yes, asking the business community to throw their resources behind a movement to “scrap pork” has proven futile as the Ayala rallyist a couple of weeks ago have discovered.

Where do we go from here then?

Parenting is not a popularity contest and parents who try to be “buddies” with their kids are pretty much setting them up for a life of chronic failure. So if activists want to pitch an unpopular but right solution to a country spoiled-rotten on a diet of democracy candy like the Philippines, they cannot use methods that require popular support — certainly rallies whose success is measured by crowd numbers can only go nowhere.

So we have to find a better approach to activism and put a stop to the same old costumed clowning around, idiotic poetry, emo appeals, religious diarrhoea, and social media triumphalist posturing that traditional “activist” leaders are so hung up on. In fact, perhaps it is high time a new generation of activist leaders whose minds are not imprisoned by 1970’s populist commie rhetoric and 1980’s and 1990’s “people power” telenovela melodrama to step up and replace the Old Guard.

Indeed, Philippine activism has for so long appealed to and even mirrored the renowned dukha loser mentality of Filipinos. We need activist leaders who apply ideas that appeal to real winners.

[Photo courtesy Reuters.]

11 Replies to “We need a new generation of innovative activists to fight pork barrel popularity using new approaches”

  1. pano ka maging credible, benedicto, e tinatarget mo lang na personality si aquino. how about the oldie but goodie macoy??? 🙂

    1. Credible? This is his blog. It contains his own opinions and analyses, free for you to either accept or reject. Stoopid ijet.

      Why macoy? That is over 2 decades ago, and if you look at the title of the article, it is about pork barrel which macoy removed, and the reason which other poloticos wanted him out. Stoopid ijet.

      1. Those old activists from the 70s 80s and 90s should face the wall and hosed with Machine Gun fire, time for the Generation X activists to replaced them…

    2. @Stoopid ijet
      Who is already in power?
      Why do you guys keep blaming the past administrations?
      Do you guys have any idea on what nonsense you guys are posting here?

  2. The present day set of rallies seems to be too tame compared to the massive rallies during the time before the EDSA February 1986 revolution. BS Aquino’s people know how to manipulate the present rallies. They infiltrate, divide and rule. This happened in Cebu where the rally was hijacked. I say bring back the tried and tested civil disobedience rallies of the past. Noise barrages, lightning rallies, etc. This thick skinned government will not budge until we show them what the power of the people can do. I read in one thread from our fellow blogger a call for tax revolt. Let us therefore pool our collective anger in massive peaceful rallies again. There has to be leadership and organization for this to be effective. Resign BS Aquino!!!

  3. During the reign of Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany. Hitler had a popularity rating of 98%. Same as of Saddam Hussein of Iraq. In fact, they were murdering people by the thousands.
    We have a False Asia Survey, owned by the relative of Aquino. The statistical survey may even show 99.9% popularity of Aquino. Inspite of his incompetence, irresponsibility and thievery.
    The Filipinos have the right to be outraged on their government. If these politician are just a bunch of thieves, with Pork Barrels always on their heads. Then, it is time to throw these rascals out.

    1. Naah.. You can’t throw those thieves out. The same flips who were on the streets rallying against PDAF were the same flips
      who voted those clowns last election and the same flips who will vote for them again next election. If ever the pinoys successfully overthrows the current admin – what’s/who’s next? Let me guess – recycled trapoliticians whos pass thieveries easily forgotten by the pinoys – same old faces, same old sh!t.

      1. ze ol’ ‘up the hill battle’ is what the people have. und its not getting any lesser the battle for the ‘people’.
        The mindless bunches of rocks that for their life do not seem to know when they are being laughed in the face, all while being plunged in the butt!

    2. Hitler was truly loved as a redeemer of the German state and people. His public denouncing of the treaty of Versailles struck a nationalistic chord with the German people.
      Hussein’s popularity was manufactured by the media and was not actually true as half the country hated his guts for killing the families of those who railed against him.
      Filipino’s have no such ‘redeemer’ as Hitler nor tyrant the likes of Hussein. Theirs is a leadership whose one and only concern is the ‘oligarchy’ and the maintenance and furtherance of that concern.
      Filipinne politics suffer no similarities with Hitler or Husseins regimes.

  4. IDK, but to assume anything is on the straight-up in the countries politics is not realistic. u kno, Smart-matic machines? Even the name implies a bad inside joke, at the expense of the people.

    I can hear it now: “They are soooo dumb they think those POS machines we sold them actually record election results, HA!”. “Yes, that’s a good one, calling them ‘SMART’ machines, HA AH HA! as in they do what we tell them to do, so they are ‘SMART’, LOL!”.

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