ORLANDO P. CARVAJAL firstname.lastname@example.org
In his first speech to Congress, US President Joe Biden answered the question “Can our democracy provide for the needs of all Americans” with a categorical “Yes.” US democracy is more than slightly off the rails these days. But it no doubt can get back on track to provide all its citizens with more than just their basic needs because it possesses the core ingredients of a representative democracy. Its two political parties represent countervailing socio-political philosophies and styles of governance. When Americans go to the polls, they vote for the governance style (Republican or Democrat) that they think would best provide for their basic needs and fulfill their American dream. The same question asked of our democracy will have to be answered with a resounding “No.” Philippine-style democracy has never provided for the basic needs of all its citizens, let alone for their dreams of a better life, because it simply cannot. It cannot because it has only one political party. The many parties we have are mere factions of one and the same party of the oligarchy that represent the interests of a privileged few. Their style of governance has, therefore, not been anything but biased, sociologically and not morally speaking, in favor of those interests. Their policies are designed to give their ilk the bigger slice of the country’s political and economic pies. How else explain that 30 million Filipinos are clinging precariously to the frayed edges of society? How explain that they are never brought any closer to the more developed center no matter which faction is in power? That tells me that for the interests of laborers and workers to be mainstreamed in government policies, a labor party has to be formed. On Labor Day, rallyists raise the same issues that no administration, past or present, has ever addressed. They will be addressed only if a Labor Party comes to power. But first it has to exist. The other solution to the worker-farmer sector’s continuing marginalization is a charismatic and truly patriotic strongman in the tradition of Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek or Lee Kuan Yew. However, this patriotic strongman/woman does not exist in the country today. Nor is he/ she visible in the horizon. It is highly improbable for our colonial culture to produce a selfless strongman/woman that would bring order to our politics and make our economy inclusive. In 2022 Filipinos will again decide which faction of the oligarchy will this time around plunder the nation and neglect its poor millions. This vicious cycle will not stop until the country manages to have the core ingredients of a representative democracy: political parties that represent the interests of different sectors of society.