Saturday, 23 June 2007

Left-Right Combination (Parang Boxing?)

I don't see how the left-right political spectrum applies to Philippine politics anymore. And I still read about a lot of people using the left-right spectrum to describe political conviction.
Using the left-right political spectrum, I think,benefits only the local communist movement as it evokes an image of thecommunist party standing for the people. Thus, they use the rhetoric of democracy and "power to the people" even when we all know what they mean is"power to the party". They are to the extreme left of the traditional left(by traditional left, i mean harking back to the French Parliament during the time of the French Revolution where it was supposedly derived from).
Makes sense? It doesn't to me.
In the United States and Europe, there are various opinions about what determines whether one sits on the left or on the right, but it is generally drawn along the following lines (Thanks to wikipedia):
  • Equal outcomes (left) versus consistent processes (right). It is basically a process-based reasoning vs end-result principles dichotomy. Pre-EDSA II, Erap and his group are rightists invoking the "rule of law" (consistent processes) vs the left, the civil society's insistence on People Power as a justified use of the people's sovereignty (equal outcome). Presently, GMA is a rightist, invoking the "rule of law" to suppress dissent and Erap aleftist, rousing the people to oust GMA. Conclusion: In the Philippinesetting, left-right politics is based on your location vis-a-vis the seat ofpower. You are a rightist if you, or someone you support, are in power andleft if you are "out left in the cold".
  • Redistribution of wealth and income (left), or acceptance of inequalities as a result of the free market (right). In this respect, everyone is a leftist based on what they say. Even the elites are leftist because they saythey believe in the redistribution of wealth as a prerequisite for national development, its just that they believe in giving the wealth of the other elites and not theirs. No one is a rightist. I haven't heard anyone stand upto say "let us accept the present poverty as this is a result of the freemarket. It's the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith at work."
  • Whether the government's policy on the economy should be interventionist(left) or laissez-faire (right). Push. Well, maybe confused. Basically, floating in the middle. Politicians have basically fudged the difference (some do not even know there is a difference). They can basically hover above the issue by saying the government should intervene when it needs to and not when it doesn't. That is probably why they sing and dance atpolitical gatherings during election periods, no question and answer portion.
  • Support for widened lifestyle choices (left), or support for traditional values (right). Conservative vs Liberal. Again, push. It depends on who the politician is facing. If they are facing church groups, extol traditional values. Kapag mga yuppie, siyempre liberal tayo repapits. Pag nagkaipitan, kung saan mas maraming botante, hanggang eleksyon lang naman eh.
  • Whether the state should prioritize equality (left) or liberty (right). Parehong positive. No choice, extol both.
  • Whether the government should promote secularism (left) or religious morality (right). Same as widened lifestyle vs traditional lifestyle.
  • Collectivism (left) versus individualism (right). Yung para sa tama. Pag na-elect na, collectivism yata pero yung pagkakaiintindi nila, para may collection. Colect and collect lang.
  • Support for internationalism (left), or national interest (right). Politiko: Again, yung para sa tama lang. Tamaan sana kayo ng kidlat.

I think all politicians have moved to the center, at least, based on what they claim to stand for. Or maybe they have become politically ambidextrous.Either way, only the Left is left standing. So, for the sake of clarity, why don't we just call them Communists?

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