Saturday, May 30, 2009

For the Politics of the Real

I share a tenuous link to Randy David. He went to the same university as my favorite teacher who was a visiting scholar in UP for two years. Manchester University has a tradition of progressive thinking, perhaps owing to its history as one of the first industrial cities in Britain.

In his column today he makes two points I wholeheartedly agree with, one about the authenticity of our 'electoral' democracy and the other about the spectacle of our politics today.
It is my belief that, as it stands today, institutional politics—especially its regular electoral expression—has become nothing more than a way of further assimilating our people into a diseased social system. It offers no paths to social transformation. It deadens all instincts for balanced growth. It offers entertainment and diversion, instead of debate and the contest of visions. It forecloses options, rather than open new spaces for invention.

The British writer Simon Critchley thinks of politics as “the creation of such a space around a demand and then articulating it in relation to the state.” The demand, whatever it may be, acquires an unstoppable force to the extent that it can be woven into an ethical narrative. There has to be “a moment of sacralization in the constitution of any polity,” says Critchley. From the perspective of the political subject, I believe that. Using this simple concept of politics, let me point to remaining pockets where, I think, real politics may still be found in our society today.
And what do you know? One such pocket of 'real' politics is still the politics of land.

And while everyone is all agog over the merger of frog parties, I share Nathan Quimpo's view:

Post-Marcos parties, in particular, have proven to be not much more than convenient vehicles of patronage that can be set up, merged with others, split, resurrected, regurgitated, reconstituted, renamed, repackaged, recycled, or flushed down the toilet anytime. After over a century of playing and dominating the electoral game, members of the elite have so mastered its many tricks that they have turned it...into a game of 'perpetual musical charis in which different bourgeois factions jostle for the right to mismanage the country and plunder its wealth.'

I await the day when elections cease being solely the province of 'who' (and the dynamics of the hows and whys among them) but also the province of debate over ideas, real problems and possible solutions.

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