Revolution and the University of the Philippines
Revolution and the University of the Philippines
by F. Sionil Jose
by F. Sionil Jose
What is an old man like myself doing here, talking about revolution? What is an old man like myself doing here, talking about revolution?
Hindsight is the lowest form of wisdom. I can tell you what it was like when your campus was nothing but Hindsight is the lowest form of wisdom. I can tell you what it was like when your campus was nothing but cogon waste, when all those trees that line your streets were just saplings.
cogon waste, when all those trees that line your streets were just saplings.
I can tell you, also, why we were left behind by all our neighbors when in the fifties and the sixties we I can tell you, also, why we were left behind by all our neighbors when in the fifties and the sixties we were the richest, most progressive country in the region, when Seoul, Tokyo, were ravaged by war and were the richest, most progressive country in the region, when Seoul, Tokyo, were ravaged by war and Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta were mere kampongs, when Bangkok was a sleepy town criss-crossed by Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta were mere kampongs, when Bangkok was a sleepy town criss-crossed by canals. I never was in China till 1979, but I know in the forties that country was always threatened by canals. I never was in China till 1979, but I know in the forties that country was always threatened by famine. It had a population then of only half a billion. Now, with more than a billion people, famine is no famine. It had a population then of only half a billion. Now, with more than a billion people, famine is no longer a threat, although hunger still lurks in some of its distant regions.
longer a threat, although hunger still lurks in some of its distant regions.
Hunger has always been with some of us, too, but not as much as it is now when so many poor Filipinos Hunger has always been with some of us, too, but not as much as it is now when so many poor Filipinos eat only once a day. Altanghap, I wonder how many of you know what that word means.
eat only once a day. Altanghap, I wonder how many of you know what that word means.
So then, why are we poor? Why do our women flee to foreign cities to work as housemaids, as So then, why are we poor? Why do our women flee to foreign cities to work as housemaids, as prostitutes?
We are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings, this in spite of those massive religious rallies of We are poor because we have lost our ethical moorings, this in spite of those massive religious rallies of EI Shaddai, those neo-gothic churches of the Iglesia ni Kristo sprouting all over the country, in spite of the EI Shaddai, those neo-gothic churches of the Iglesia ni Kristo sprouting all over the country, in spite of the nearly 400 years of Catholic evangelization.
nearly 400 years of Catholic evangelization.
How can we build an ethical society? We must remember that so-called values are neutral--that so much How can we build an ethical society? We must remember that so-called values are neutral--that so much depends on how people use them. James Fallows' thesis on our "damaged culture" which many of us depends on how people use them. James Fallows' thesis on our "damaged culture" which many of us understand is neither permanent nor inherent.
understand is neither permanent nor inherent.
Ramon Magsaysay infused public life in the fifties with discipline and morality, Arsenio Lacson as mayor Ramon Magsaysay infused public life in the fifties with discipline and morality, Arsenio Lacson as mayor of Manila cleaned up City Hall. Even today, shining examples of honesty among our public officials exist, of Manila cleaned up City Hall. Even today, shining examples of honesty among our public officials exist, but they are few and far between and they are not institutionalized.
but they are few and far between and they are not institutionalized.
And it is precisely here where the
And it is precisely here where the university comes in with its courses in thuniversity comes in with its courses in th e humanities.e humanities.
Of all the arts, only literature teaches us ethics. Literature presents us with problems, complex equations Of all the arts, only literature teaches us ethics. Literature presents us with problems, complex equations that deal with the human spirit and how often the choice between right and wrong is made. In this
that deal with the human spirit and how often the choice between right and wrong is made. In this process, we are compelled to use our conscience, to validate the choice we make, and render the process, we are compelled to use our conscience, to validate the choice we make, and render the meaning, the pith of our existence.
meaning, the pith of our existence.
The university then is the real cathedral of a nation, and its humanities particularly its literature The university then is the real cathedral of a nation, and its humanities particularly its literature
department, the altar. But how many of our teachers know this crucial function of literature, how many department, the altar. But how many of our teachers know this crucial function of literature, how many teachers themselves possess this sense of worth, and mission?
teachers themselves possess this sense of worth, and mission?
To know ourselves, to make good and proper use of our consciences, we must know our own history. So To know ourselves, to make good and proper use of our consciences, we must know our own history. So few of us do, in fact, we nurture no sense of the past.
If our teachers know our history, if they soak it in their bones, then it follows that they also impart this very same marrow to their students.
If this is so, how come that when Bongbong Marcos visited Diliman some time ago, he was mobbed by students who wanted his autograph? How come that in La Salle, business students cited Marcos as the best President this country ever had?
Not too long ago, I spoke before freshmen at the Ateneo and was told that since so many practice bribery, it must be right, or how could anyone get things done if palms are not greased?
In this university are professors who served Marcos. Have they ever been asked what their role was?
We are poor because we are not moral. Can this immorality as evidenced by widespread corruption be quantified? Yes, about 23 billion pesos a year is lost according to NGO estimates.
We are poor because we have no sense of history, and therefore, no sense of nation. The nationalism that was preached to my generation by Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tañada was phony; how they could have convinced so many intellectuals is in itself the failure of those intellectuals to analyze that inward, socially meaningless nationalism.
Recto and Tañada opposed agrarian reform, the single most important political act that could have lifted this country then from poverty and released the peasantry from its centuries-old bondage.
We are poor because our elites from way back had no sense of nation--they collaborated with whoever ruled--the Spaniards, the Japanese, the Americans and in recent times, Marcos. Our elites imbibed the values of the colonizer.
And worst of all, these wealth y Filipinos did not modernize this countr y--they sent abroad their wealth distilled from the blood and sweat of our poor. The rich Chinese to China, to Taiwan, to Hong Kong, the rich mestizos to Europe, and the rich Indios like Marcos to Switzerland and the United States--moneys that could have developed this nation.
How do we end this shameless domestic colonialism? The ballot failed; the bullet then? How else but through the cleansing power of revolution. Make no mistake about it--revolution means the transfer of power from the decadent upper classes to the lower classes. Revolution is class war whose objective is justice and freedom.
Who will form the vanguard of change? Who else but the very people who will benefit from it.
Listen, when I was researching for my novel POON at the New York Public Library, I came across photographs of our soldiers of the 1896 revolution felled in their trenches by American guns. I looked closely and found that most of them were barefoot. They were peasants.
The peasant is the truest nationalist. He works the land with his hands, he knows instinctively what the term Motherland means. He loves this earth, even worships it. The Ilocano farmer calls it Apo Daga.
But never romanticize the poor. Once, a group of Ph.D.s lamented the futility of their efforts in organizing and motivating them. When the elections came that year, the poor sold their votes, or voted for Erap.
Understand why they are often lazy, contemptible, fawning, cheating and stealing. Imagine yourself not having a centavo in your pocket now, and you don't know if you will eat tonight. There is nothing
honorable about poverty--it is totally dehumanizing and degrading. But once the very poor are roused from their stupor, they become the bravest, the most steadfast. Remember those Watawat ng Lahi
followers felled by Constabulary guns on Taft Avenue in 1965? They believed that with their faith they were invincible.
It is with such faith and righteousness that our peasants rebelled in living memory, the Colorums in 1931, the Sakdals in 1935, and the Huks in 1949-53.
The Moro rebellion, the New People's Army--the cadres of both are from our very poor, just like it was in 1896. And now, here is the most tragic contradiction in our country. Our Armed Forces--its officers corps--many come from the lower classes, too; they got to their exalted positions through public examinations and entry to the Philippine Military Academy. Our Armed Forces enlisted men--most of them come from the very poor.
When the poor kill the poor, who profits?
The Ideology of the Revolution
Revolution starts in the mind and heart. It alters attitudes to enable us to think beyond ourselves, family and ethnicity to encompass the whole nation. If the communists win and I don't think they ever will, they will rule just as badly because they are Filipinos unable to go beyond barnacled habits of mind, hostage as they always are to friends and family and to towering egos. The same egos aborted the revolution in 1896, the EDSA revolution in 1986, and now, we see the same egos wrecking havoc on the Communist Party. We see these egos eroding our already rotten political system.
The core belief that should guide us in redeeming our unhappy country is in our history, in our peasantry. It is not in textbooks, in foreign intellectual idols, in Marx. And what is this ideology which Bonifacio believed in? Which those barefoot soldiers killed by the Americans believed in? Pedro Calosa, the
peasant leader who led the Colorum uprising in Tayug, Pangasinan in 1931 said it is this: "God resides in every man. God created earth, water and air for all men. It is against God's laws for one family or one group to own them." God and country; translate this belief into your own words and there you have it in its simplest terms the creed with which the unfulfilled revolution of 1896 was based, and which should be the same creed that should forge unity among us.
Who will lead the revolution?
Certainly, not the masa, but one from the masa who understands them, who will not betray them, the way our leaders betrayed the masa. Estrada is the most shameful example of that leadership that betrayed.
The leaders of the revolution could be in this university, who have the education, but who are not
shackled by alien concepts, or the attitudes of superiority that destroy leadership. Such leaders, like Ho Chi Minh, must lead by sterling example, with integrity, courage, compassion and willingness to sacrifice, who know that when the revolution is won, it is time to change from conspirators to even better
administrators, remembering that they have become conservative, that they must now work even harder to produce better and cheaper products. And this massive work of modernization can be achieved in one generation. The Koreans, Taiwanese and the Japanese did it. It is not the Confucian ethic that enabled them to do this, they understood simply the logic of government which is service and that of commerce which is profit.
By what right do I have to urge revolution upon our people who will suffer it? What right do I have to urge the young to sacrifice, the poor to get even poorer, if they embrace the revolutionary creed?
I have no such right, nor will I call it such. I call it duty, duty, duty. Duty for all of us rooted in our soil, who believe that our destiny is freedom.
Not everyone can bear arms, or have the physical strength to stand up, to shout loudly about the injustices that prevail around us.
Those who cannot do these, who cannot be part of this radical movement, must not help those who enslave us. Do not give them legitimacy as so many gave legitimacy to Marcos. Recognize, identify our enemies and oppose them with all your means.
This will then test integrity, commitment.
Nobody need tell us the exorbitant cost of revolution, the lives that will be lost, senselessly even as when Pol Pot massacred thousands of his own countrymen in Cambodia. We who lived through the Japanese Occupation know what hunger, fear, and flight mean.
Joseph Conrad, Albert Camus and Jose Rizal--writers I admire deeply, all warned against revolution because it breeds tyrants, because it does not always bring change. But look around us, at the thousands of Filipinos who are debased and hungry, who are denied justice. Be shamed if you don't act. And as Salud Algabre, the Sakdal general said in 1935-- "No rebellion fails. Each is a step in the right direction."
Revolution need not even have to be bloody. How many lives were lost at EDSA I? Not even 20. So Cory goes around telling the world that she had restored democracy in the Philippines. Sure enough, we now have free elections, free speech, free assembly but these are the empty shells of democratic institutions because the real essence of democracy does not exist here. And that real essence is in the stomach--as when the taxi driver in Tokyo eats the same sashimi as the Japanese emperor, or the bus driver in Washington who can eat the same steak as President Bush in the White House. Contrast these with that jobless Cavite laborer whose two children died because he fed them with garbage. No, Cory Aquino's
EDSA revolution could not even have our garbage properly collected. Worse, nineteen farmer
demonstrators were killed near Malacanan because she refused to see them. True to her oligarchic class, she declared a revolutionary government without doing anything revolutionary; instead, she turned EDSA I into a restoration of the old oligarchy. So today, we are reaping the results of her negligence, ignorance and folly.
Yet, even capitalism can be very helpful. South Korea is a very good example of how capital was formed by corruption, and how a single-minded general lifted that nation from the ashes of the Korean War, into the thriving modem economy which Korea is today.
Remember the slogans of American capitalism--a chicken in every pot, a Ford in every garage. Money is like fertilizer--to do any good it must be spread around. Those robber barons at the turn of the 19th
century were rapacious, they exploited their workers, but they built industries, railroads, banks, the sinews of American capitalism. And the most important thing--they kept their money home to develop America. Unlike our rich Chinese, our rich meztizos and the likes of Marcos who sent their money abroad to keep us poor. They are the enemy.
It has been said again and again that we are, indeed, a young nation compared with other Asian countries whose august civilizations date back to two thousand years or more. Indeed, so are the Filipinos who shaped this nation--those who led the revolution against Spain--they were all young, like you are, in their twenties or early thirties. Rizal was 34 when he was martyred.
How then do we keep young without having to grow old only to see the fire in our minds and hearts die? How does the nation's leading university maintain its vitality, its youth against the ravages of
consumerism, of globalism?
How else but to keep the mind ever healthy, ever alive by empowering it with those ideas that nurture change and revolution itself, by ingesting the technological age so that we can use technology for realizing our ideals.
How else but to embrace the ideas that make us doubt technology, society, even revolution itself, but never, never about who we are, what we should do and hope to be.
We cannot be beholden to any other nation. Jose Maria Sison doomed his revolution when he turned to China for assistance; he ignored the "objective reality"--the latent anti-Chinese feeling among Filipinos, in fact among all Southeast Asians who fear a Chinese hegemony.
We must mould our own destiny, infusing it with the strength of a sovereign people. The Americans, the English, French, Russians, Cubans, Chinese, Vietnamese--all achieved their unique revolutions. We must have our very own, defined only by us.
How to build it, direct it, use it for the betterment of our lives, the flowering of liberty--I see all these as the major function of the university which, after all, shapes our leaders. I pray that UP will graduate the best doctors, the best engineers, the best teachers, the best bureaucrats. The revolution needs them all. But most of all, let this university of the people produce the ultimate modernizer, the heroic nationalist revolutionary--we need him most of all.
‘Responsibility is a shared burden’
Sociology Professor Randy David
I agree with our distinguished lecturer and National Artist, Francisco Sionil Jose, that mass poverty is the biggest problem of Philippine society today. The poverty of our people, he says, is the result of three factors: the loss of our “ethical moorings,” our lack of a “sense of nation,” and the betrayal by our leaders of the people’s interest. Let’s look at his argument more closely.
I have a little problem with the term “ethical moorings,” which I take to mean the same thing as the word “values.” To speak of “moorings” is to suggest that a people’s relat ion to the world must be fixed. Yet all values change, some faster than others, reflecting the changing circumstances in which human beings make their lives. Frankie would be hard-pressed to define what these basic ethical moorings that have been lost are, and to explain why he thinks we need them in these times. I am quite certain that for every ethical ideal he proposes, ten different others will come to mind. And there would be no objective way of deciding which ethical ideals are more important to Filipinos than others.
My own view is that values are in the final analysis a society’s defense and necessity, their ultimate objective being the preservation and growth of the community over time. Some values are worth
strengthening, while others need to be discarded – depending on whether they promote or threaten the survival of the nation in changing times.
I think that a nation’s core values must help its people not only to survive but also to grow and mature as a community. Two things come to mind when we talk of growth: first, the capacity to feed ourselves and take care of our people’s needs without having to rely on other nations; and second, the ability to govern ourselves and set our own goals as a nation. The first is self-reliance; the second is autonomy. They are interrelated: a dependent nation can never hope to be free.
Have our values as a people helped us to grow? Or is it the loss of our ancestors’ values that arrested our growth? If it is the latter, as Frankie suggests, I would be interested to know what these are that we have lost, and how their loss has made us poor.
“Sense of nation” is another one of those concepts that are difficult to pin down. I am more comfortable with notions like “national pride” or “national esteem” and the extent to which this is strengthened or eroded in the course of a nation’s history. I also believe that Filipino national pride has diminished greatly since the formation of the Filipino nation. Today this is most manifest in the continuous migration of demoralized and disenchanted Filipinos who feel betrayed and see no hope for themselves and their children in these shores. Not to look back, rejection, anger – these are reactions of émigrés who think they must peel off the history of their nation from their bodies before they can begin an entirely new life in their chosen country. This is a form of violence upon the self that often enough some Filipino immigrants also try to inflict on their children by erasing any trace of the Filipino in their hearts.
It is not the simple loss of sense of nation that I worry about, but rather the loss of pride in one’s nation. In the global age, it is no longer unusual to live and work abroad and remain a national of one’s country of birth. There is no need to apologize for leaving one’s country, just as there is no need to reject it in anger as a condition for one’s happiness as an immigrant.
A nation is the collective responsibilit y of all its citizens, not just of its leaders. While it is true that the leaders of a nation must bear a large share of the blame for its failure, responsibility is in the final analysis a shared burden. We must not stop reminding ourselves of this because it is usually easier to blame everybody else but ourselves for the problems of the nation. We blame the country for failing to provide its citizens a worthwhile future, but we seldom ask what we have done or are doing to make it a better country. A nation is not something that exists independently of its citizens. It is something its citizens gradually create across generations.
Having said this, I think there is little to gain -- except maybe rhetorical satisfaction -- from blaming the leaders of a country for the problems of its people. Needless to say, it is equally pointless to blame the victims. But we must bear in mind that leaders do not become leaders, or remain leaders, without the consent or sufferance of the people. The more important question therefore is: If the leaders have made a mess of the nation, why do they remain leaders? Why have the people not thrown them out? Why do we keep electing the “wrong” leaders?
The answers to these questions point to structural weaknesses and historical conditions that are glossed over when our attention is focused entirely on subjective causes like ethical foundations, sense of nation, and betrayal of leaders. These structural conditions constrain us in what we do or wish to do, even as they provide the opportunities for overcoming our problems. It is in this sense that Marx once said: “Men make history, but they do so under circumstances not chosen by them.” It behooves us to interpret the meaning of these circumstances, in ways that concretely allow us to eventually supersede them.
Thus, to Frankie’s argument, I will add: We are poor primarily because our economy has remained
stagnant. Our productive capacities have not grown in proportion to the increase in our population and the growing needs of our people. We have not maximized the use of the vital assets of our nation – the talent and industry of our people, the wealth of our soil, the richness of our waters, the beauty of the land, and so on. We are wasting these resources – our people above all. By failing to nurture and educate our young properly so they can become productive citizens, we now confront them as a burden.
We are poor because a backward-looking landed oligarchy managed to capture the postcolonial State, and placed it entirely in the service of their conservative interests.
We are poor because we have surrendered national planning to the vagaries of global capitalism, wrongly believing that if the State stepped aside to allow private entrepreneurship free rein, the immanent
rationality of the market would ultimately bring the economy into the circuit of development. The experiences of Japan, Singapore, and South Korea – economies we most admire – demonstrate the opposite of that. Late developing societies cannot afford to rely on the logic of capital alone because that means giving up control of the nation to the forces of global capital.
Where domestic capital is weak, the State has no choice but to strengthen it even if this means playing an aggressive economic role. This is what the Koreans, Singaporeans, Thais, and Malaysians did. This is what Marcos supposedly also had in mind.
Of course, this solution carries with it its own inherent dangers. The most important is the danger of such an experiment ending up in “crony capitalism,” where the wealth and power of the State are placed in the hands of favored entrepreneurs who then abscond with the money. The other danger is that when
political leaders are too close to business, they end up enriching and protecting the business of a few at the expense of the rest of the nation.
Frankie calls for a “nationalist” revolution, yet his analysis hardly problematizes foreign domination. When he says that the vanguard of the future revolution should be the masa, I believe what he has in mind is a democratic or anti-feudal revolution.
Interestingly, he also thinks the leadership of the revolution will be produced by the University of the Philippines, as if the UP were exempt from elitism. He seems to forget that a great number of our past political leaders who became servants of the oligarchy are also products of this university. I do not see very many children of the masa in the campuses of our university, since these children seldom get to finish high school. And even if there are, they usually join the ranks of the professionals who serve the elite after graduation, or go abroad to use their minds in the service of other nations.
I do believe that the UP’s principal mission is to breed leaders of the nation, hopefully, revolutionary leaders. But such leaders may not necessarily come literally from the ranks of the peasantry, the working class, or the urban poor. They may not themselves be the fighters in the streets or the cadres in the countryside. In fact, they may not even be the political leaders of the future. For me, it would be enough that they nurture an intense pride in their country, care enough for its future to want to spend the rest of their lives building it, have a passionate concern for the underprivileged and downtrodden in our society, and love learning enough to make it a lifelong obsession.
You cannot force a revolution. I think the moment of revolutionary rupture comes when it is least
expected. The kind of students we breed in this university must be such that no matter who the leaders of a given period may be, they will have no choice but to serve as the worthy pillars of a strong independent nation.
‘Nagsimula na ang rebolusyon’ (a transcription)
Professor Emeritus Bienvenido Lumbera
Nang matanggap ko ang kay Frankie na abstract, ang una kong reaksyon ay bakit sa kanyang pagsasabi na ang kanyang papaksain ay ang University of the Philippines and the Revolution, tila nakalimutan niya na nagsimula na ang rebolusyon na kanyang hinahanap, na sa mga huling taon ng Dekada ‘70 ay lumitaw ang isang kilusan na ang layunin ay agawin ang kapangyarihan mula sa kamay ng mga naghaharing uri upang mabigyan ang mga Pilipino ng tunay na kalayaan at ng demokrasya. Para bang ang hinihingi niya ay for UP to reinvent the revolution dahil sa kanya ang rebolusyon ay tinawag niyang nationalist, at sa kanyang pagpapaliwanag kanina, binanggit niya ang pangalan ni Bonifacio at kanyang sinabi na tila pagkakamali ni Jose Maria Sison na siya ay tumanaw sa Tsina upang humango ng ideolohiya na magiging tuntungan ng rebolusyon na kanyang nilalayon.
Ngayon, kung ating babalikan ang kasaysayan ng UP at ang relasyon nito sa rebolusyon, makikita natin na ‘yung tinatawag na First Quarter Storm ay isang panimulang hakbang ng mga kabataang nasa
pag-agaw ng kapangyarihan mula sa kamay ng naghaharing uri, na sa pananalita ni Frankie ay ang elite ng Pilipinas. Sa hanay ng mga estudyante na naging bahagi ng FQS, totoo na mayroong mga lider na bumaliktad at ito ay isang bagay na hindi kataka-taka, dahil sa kasaysayan ng anumang
rebolusyonaryong kilusan, habang tumatakbo ang panahon at kilusan, mayroong mga lider na tunay na bumabaliktad, pero ating pakasusuriin ang mga taong naging bahagi ng FQS. Marami sa kanila ang nagpatuloy at hanggang ngayon ay nasa kilusang pambansang demokrasya, na ang kanilang
pinanghahawakang mga prinsipyo ay mga prinsipyo na kanilang natutunan sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas bukod pa sa kanilang pag-aaral ng iba pang kaisipan mula sa ibang bansa.
So, hirap kong tanggapin na may bagong rebolusyon na dapat harapin ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas. At ito ay tinatawag niyang nationalist revolution.
Ang isa pang okasyon na ipinamalas ng UP ang kanyang rebolus yonaryong orientasyon ay ang Diliman Commune. Totoo na ang Diliman Commune ay naging tampulan ng maraming puna ng mga intelektwal, ng mga lider ng bansa, dahil sa mga kalabisan o pagmamalabis na nangyari noong panahon ng Diliman Commune. Pero iyon ay isang matatawag nating necessary step, necessary preparation for stepping up a revolutionary movement.
Matatandaan din natin na noong panahon ng martial law, isang panahon na ang media ay kontrolado ng estado, sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas lamang nanatiling buhay ang tinatawag nating freedom of the press, dahil sa pamamagitan ng Collegian at Diliman Review ay napaabot sa mga tao ang mga kaisipan na hindi pinapayagang malathala sa mga medyang kontrolado ng gobyerno.
Ang tatlong bagay na ito ay pagpapatunay na ma yroon nang rebolusyon na nasimulan at nilahukan ang Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at hindi na kailangan na umibento tayong muli ng isa pang rebolusyon upang maganap ang pagbabagong hinahangad ng mga Pilipino. Sa pananalita ni Frankie —na medyo hindi kapani-paniwala para sa akin—‘yung kanyang pagsasabi na hindi siya naniniwala na kailanman ay magtatagumpay ang isang rebolusyong pinamumunuan ng mga komunista, dahil aniya, ang mga komunista ay katulad din ng mga liderato natin na may ego at paghahangad na itampok ang sarili sa halip na ang pag-ukulan ng pansin ay ang kalagayan ng masa.
Sa palagay ko, mahirap nating tuunan na mayroon na kaagad na parameters na ang isang revolutionary movement ay kinakailangang obserbahan. Ang tunay na rebolusyonaryo ay laging handang baguhin ang pagkilos, baguhin ang mga panukala, upang umangkop sa kalagayan at mapagtagumpayan ang lahat ng balakid sa rebolusyon. Kaya ‘yung inherent prejudice ni Frankie sa kilusan na pinamumunuan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas ay hindi dapat maging pananaw ng lahat ng mga taong naghahangad ng
pagbabago sa Pilipinas.
Several months ago, mayroon akong ginawang pag-aaral sa isang nobela ni Frankie, ‘yung nobela niyang Ermita. Ang Ermita ay isang nobela tungkol sa isang babaeng naging puta dahil gusto niyang maghiganti sa mga elite na nagtulak sa kanya upang mapabilang sa mga mahirap, ‘yung pamilya ng driver noong mayamang pamilya. Doon sa nobelang iyon, isang pagkakataon, minor plot point pero mayroong isang kabataang babae, anak ng isang dating puta, ang pangalan ay Lily, na bigla na lamang nawala. At ‘yung nanay ng kabataan ay nag -usisa, nagtanong sa maraming tao, pagkatapos ay inireport doon sa pangunahing tauhan na si Ermita, na nawawala ang kanyang anak. Ngayon, alam na noong si Ermita na ang anak ng babaeng ito ay namundok at sumali sa NPA. Ang sabi ng pangunahing tauhan ni Frankie, si Ermita, doon sa nanay, “Alam mo, dapat mong ipagmalaki ang iyong anak kasi ang ginawa niya ay isang bagay na dapat ay ginawa ko rin noong ako ay bata- bata pa.” So, wari, sa tingin ko, nandoon sa likod ng consciousness ni Frankie na mayroong magagawa ang isang rebolusyon na
sinapian ni Lily. Ang nobela ay naganap noong martial law —ang lahat ng mga aksyon ay nangyari noong martial law—at ang kabataang ito ay nagsimula bilang aktibista, inililihim sa kanyang magulang ang kanyang pagiging aktibista hanggang magsuspetsa ang nanay na marahil ang kanyang anak ay nagpuputa na rin. Kaya nabahala masyado ang nanay at inireport doon kay Ermita. At si Ermita ang nagsiyasat kung ano ang talagang nangyari sa bata. Natuklasan nga niya na naging aktibista ang bata. Nag-usap sila, sinabi ng bata na siya ay natutong magsinungaling sa kanyang ina dahil alam niya na di
siya mauunawaan ng kanyang nanay sa kanyang pagpapasya na sumali sa mga demonstrasyon at mga rally. Ngayon, nang mamundok si Lily, doon nga sinabi ni Ermita na ‘yon ay dapat ginawa na rin niya. Kaya tila sa tingin ko mayroon ding pagkilala sa nobela ni Frankie na mayroong maibubungang mabuti itong pagsali ni Lily sa kilusang rebolusyonaryo.
Ngayon, sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, bagama’t binanggit ko ang tatlong pangyayari na nagpapakita ng kaugnayan ng UP at ng rebolusyon, makikita natin na pagkaraan ng Edsa, nagkaroon ng paghupa ng revolutionary fervor sa hanay ng mga estudyante at ‘di lamang ng mga estudyante kundi pati sa hanay ng mga guro. Ang pinakahuling manipestasyon nito, at palagay ko isang bagay ito na dapat ungkatin dahil may kinalaman ito sa nationalist revolution: Nang magkaroon ng muling pagsisiyasat sa general
education curriculum, ang isang kapansin-pansin ay ang pagtatanggal ng mga kurso na siyang pinaka-votive power ng nationalism sa ating Unibersidad, at ito ay ang pag-aaral ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas at ang pag-uukol ng pansin sa mga usapin na may kaugnayan sa kalagayan ng Pilipinas. ‘Yung RGEP sa tingin ko ay isang manipestasyon—hindi siya mismo ang dahilan ng paghupa ng fervor kundi
manipestasyon na nagkaroon na ng pagbabago sa hanay ng mga namumuno sa Unibersidad tungkol sa mga pangangailangan ng isang tunay na makabayang edukasyon. Kaya binanggit ko ito ay sa
kadahilanang kung ang hinihingi natin sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas ay isang nationalist revolution, sa kasalukuyang takbo ng mga patakaran sa ating Unibersidad, tila hindi na mangyayari iyon. Inaasahan natin na magkakaroon ng muling pagsusuri sa kalagayan ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at sa mga darating na araw ay maibabalik ang pagkilala sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas bilang isang susing aralin sa
Unibersidad upang mapatingkad ang nasyonalismo sa ating bansa.
‘The University and how it teaches about power’
Philosophy Professor Zosimo Lee
Instead of talking about the university and revolution, I would rather share some questions and tentative answers on the concept of power. Power I think is something that the university has, and power is also something that the university can nurture, bestow and acknowledge, or thwart and challenge. I think it will serve to reflect on how we understand the phenomenon of power. ‘Power’ is basically the ability to do something, and the doing here includes the activity of thinking. It sounds better in Filipino actually, ‘kapangyarihan’, merong nangyayari, o merong kakayahan para merong mangyari, o kaya nagdudulot ng pangyayari o patungo sa pangyayari.
We exercise power in the university in the way we guide our students, acknowledge their achievements, recognize our colleagues, and distribute rewards or sanctions to everyone within the institution. We also generate power when we build arguments, write original and creative works, construct new perspectives and discover new insights and processes. The power of the superior argument comes from our belief that, first, there are criteria for superior arguments, and second, that we can recognize and bow to those better insights. Should we not be able to recognize the criteria nor be able to recognize the better
insights, I think we enervate ourselves and become weak.
We also generate power when we are better able to see what is to be done that addresses fundamental questions we raise. There is an architectonic to our mind and we ourselves create the ramparts upon which we are able to see the horizon. The ability to see the whole, and pinpoint where there might be weaknesses or failures, problems or impending disasters, as well as achievements and strong points, is a source of power, even leadership. We hope that through the academic discipline that we practice, we are able to imbue ourselves with this capacity to view the horizon and the whole, and anchor that vision on stable and strong ramparts. That power is something that can energize and guide, inspire and motivate, create and fulfill.
I think we seek a certain completeness, depth and breadth to what we conceive of. Even in the creation of small interventions, somehow it becomes more satisfying when we can locate the detail within a larger
picture. The rhythm and cadence of our speech and thought, seems to derive from a wider sense of the architectonic we aim to build. The superior insight derives from this more complete sense, that then helps locate the other activities within a meaningful whole. So the exercise of power must arise from this
Finally power can also be oppressive or domineering, when it does not seek common ground, or attempts to build secure argument, but rather is an exercise of prerogative that is not defensible on rational
grounds, when it becomes self-serving or self-interested. In contrast, power can be nurturing when it explains or bases itself on reasons that can be accessible to all, and even transformative when it seeks to replace weak or limited thinking, with more robust or rigorous argumentation. When it seeks to transform the inchoate incomplete insight into more robust ideas. Such that when the logic or the way of thinking is improved based on criteria that the individual recognizes and legislates for herself, the individual can rise up to an equality of power because she is able to argue on the best possible grounds.
A university that is able to d o these is a source of power f or the nation, and it can also instr uct the nation as to how that power is generated and used.
‘The University of the Philippines and the Nationalist
A Public Lecture by F. Sionil Jose
National Artist for Literature, Ramon Magsaysay Awardee and prolific novelist F. Sionil Jose delivered a public lecture on the role of the University in a Philippine revolution, at UP Diliman upon the invitation of the President Francisco Nemenzo, a long-time friend and reader of Jose.
The lecture was part of a series of public lectures by national artists and other distinguished figures known as the ‘President’s Hour.’ Previous guests include ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde, filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya, and National Artist for Dance Leonor Orosa Goquingco.
According to Jose: “We ar e poor because we have lost our ethical moorings, because we have no sense of nation, because our leaders betrayed our people. How do we achieve justice and prosperity —how else but to mount a nationalist revolution? The masa will be the vanguard of the revolution, its creed and
leadership from the masa itself. The University will produce the best professionals, the revolution needs them all, but most important, the university will produce the revolutionary leaders.”
A distinguished panel of academics responded to Jose’s lecture , composed of Sociology Professor Randy David, Professor Emeritus Bienvenido Lumbera, and Philosophy Professor Zosimo Lee.