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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Not Maximizing Consumer Goods But Maximizing Values

Kim’s Dream  Orlan Ravanera

We don’t want Capitalism! We want an Egalitarian World!”

Who would believe that what the student-activists during the First Quarter Storm in the 70’s were shouting, “Ibagsak ang Imperyalismo” would now be trumpeted by the people in the United States. Indeed, the Modern-Day American Imperialism which controls more than one half of the world’s resources with nuclear armaments that can kill humanity 40 times over has created so much abject poverty in the world and gross social inequalities.  Its Neo-Liberal development paradigm through corporate globalization has sacrificed the environment and the people to the altar of greed and profit, bringing to the fore the truism that nuclear war and environmental catastrophe have become real threats to the survival of the homo sapiens. 

It is so amazing and surprising to know that some 7,762 people in 122 U.S. cities have been arrested since 2011 while engaging in people-powered movement-related activities, the major response to thirty years of class war that began in New York and spread to thousands of locations world-wide. Dr. Noam Chomsky who is considered as the number one intellectual in the world, an environmentalist and social activist, pointed-out that one of the movement’s greatest successes was to put the inequalities of everyday life on the national agenda. He stressed that “inequalities in USA have risen to historically unprecedented heights. That about two-thirds of the US population became aware that there are very strong conflicts between the rich and the poor. That millions of ordinary Americans suffer with poverty while the “free marketsystem adds to their misery.” It is a big agenda that the movement has identified, nothing less than a complete renewal  of U.S. society and the U.S. role in the world. Across the nation, ordinary people continue to organize and build on the movement’s momentum, waging non-violent, increasingly creative actions in hundreds of cities. The protesters are increasing in number all over the world despite the arrest, the tear-gas, imprisonment and all kinds of harassment. They are building tents even reaching as far as the U.S. Congress and White House.  They have been shouting, “WE WANT A PEACEFUL WORLD; WE WANT EGALITARIAN WORLD; WE DON’T WANT WAR; WE DON’T WANT STATE CAPAITALISM AS SUCH IS SELF-DESTRUCTIVE, WE WANT A DECENT SOCIETY; WE OPPOSE AMERICAN IMPERIALISM; WE OPPOSE THE SUPER-RICH BEING THE ARCHITECT OF GOVERNMENT POLICIES; WE OPPOSE THE RULE OF ONE PERCENT REGIME CONTROLLING THE GOVERNMENT.” 

It is indeed unbelievable that what were being shouted before in the streets during the First Quarter Storm, the days of student activism, is now reverberating in the United States and throughout the world. ‘IBAGSAK ANG IMPERYALISMO, FEUDALISMO AT BUREAUCRATA CAPITALISMO.” Many of them have already passed-away, either imprisoned (as now happening in the USA) or worse, killed.  If only they were alive today, it will dawn upon them the truism that, “SA KADILIMAN NG GABI, MAY NAGLALAMAY SA PAGDATING NG BAGONG UMAGA.”

If I may recall, one of them was no less than the former Chairman of the Human Rights Commission, the late Sec. Chito Gascon who was a human right advocate, a student leader being the President of the Student Council of the University of the Philippines and who became a delegate to the 1987 Constitutional Convention.  He was a very good friend, staying in our home every time he would visit Cagayan de Oro. I also remember a good friend, the late Mr. Roberto Rosales, oozing with love for the poor and the oppressed Indigenous Peoples.  And of course, the “Father of Cooperatives,” the late Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel who I would always met every time we staged human barricades in the nineties in front of Manresa, visiting thousands of us as early as 3 o’clock in the morning when we were staging human barricades against logging.  I would ask him, “Mr. Senator, why are you here?” SABI NIYA, GUSTO KO TINGNAN KONG BUHAY PA KAYO.” Then he would smile.  He was a prisoner during Martial Law and had a strong compassion for social transformation as he authored in the 1987 Constitution the reason for being of the cooperatives which is: “The State shall promote the viability of cooperatives as instruments of social justice, equity and economic development.” He knew then how capitalism is causing so much abject poverty, social injustices and inequities and the only countervailing force is cooperativism.

Well, that is already part of the wonderful history that our country has trailblazed and is now reverberating throughout the world.  The regime of the one percent must now end as the modern-day American Imperialism has already put humanity in the precipice of its sixth extinction. Indeed, there are two kinds of intellectuals in the world now.  Those who use their knowledge and skills to liberate the poor and the oppressed and in  doing so, are being isolated, ridiculed, imprisoned and even killed. Thus, many of the intellectuals now are using their talents to earn more, to have high positions, exemplifying a life devoted to instant pursuit of wealth, fame and power.  SAYAWAN KA LANG NG ISANG GWAPONG KANDITATO, PANALO NA PAGKA SENADOR. Ipaglaban mo ang  karapatan ng mga mahihirap at ipagtanggol ang mga inaapi,  ang paghinto sa mga illegal logging at mining upang mahinto ang pagkasira ng kalikasan at labanan ang pag-aagaw ng lupa ng mga katutubo,  PAG GINAWA MO YAN, MAGTAGO KA NA! In our country more than 100 have been killed since 2016 for fighting for what is right, what is true and what is just, until now no one has been arrested.  Well, I will not be surprised.  Look what happened in Butong, Quezon.  Th more than 1,000 families of the Manobo Pulangiyon Tribe are still living in extreme poverty as their 1.111 hectare-ancestral domain has been land-grabbed by a powerful corporation, living under shattered tents for six long years now along the highway. After successfully getting  certification that they own the land, they attempted to enter a vacant 4-ha.-area on April 19,2022 shouting, MAAWA PO KAYO, GUTOM NA PO KAMI LALO NA ANG AMING MGA ANAK,  they were like rats rained with bullets. Based on the investigation of the Amnesty International, powerful businessmen, in cohort with the power-that-be in advancing  corporate globalization has transformed Mindanao into massive plantations for profit at the expense of the people and the environment. According to the Study of Oxfam,  high veneration to the profit-motive has already captured the mindset of all governments, all institutions, all universities and even of religious groups.  So much denigration of spirituality as what is happening now in Xavier University, selling the campus and Manresa to a powerful Cebu Land-masters, Inc. sacrificing its cultural heritage and even desecrating the  burial ground of the Jesuit pioneers. How dare you CLI brandishing your billions to destroy the mini forest of Manresa that would put in extinction 40 species of birds.  Isn’t that contrary to the declaration of His Holiness Pope Francis “to hear the cry of the earth?” Like the brave Americans, we will not allow you to do that even if we go to prison! PERA LANG PO YAN. ANG MAHALAGA ANO ANG NASA PUSO NINYO.  NA CONQUER NA BA NG EGO? Well, based on the declaration of Dr. Chomsky, the MASTERS OF MANKIND now are the multi-national corporations who are also the architects of government policies. These so-called architects are saying that “war is the health of the State,” as these corporations are earning so much out of wars and conflicts. 

As what is happening now in the United States, change is now in the offing as State Capitalism is now in the brink of collapsing.  What is now imperative is to effect social transformation, to change humanity’s mindset and way of living.  Thus, let us spread the truism that unless we debunk our way of living that is centered on maximizing capacity to buy or maximizing consumer goods and shift to maximizing our values for a better life for humanity, the EGO based on unbridled materialism and consumerism will spell the end of mankind.  What is now reverberating not only in the USA but all over the world is the strong message that: WHAT WE SHOULD NOW BE WORKING FOR IS A DIFFERENT WAY OF LIVING, WHICH IS NOT BASED ON MAXIMIZING CONSUMER GOODS, BUT ON MAXIMIZING VALUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT FOR LIFE.


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