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Capitalism: Profit Over Humanity (On the Recent Demolition in Agham Road)

Umiiyak si Nanay habang dine-demolish ang kanilang mga kabahayan sa may Agham Road, Sitio San Roque, Quezon City. Photo credits to Reuters/Erik de Castro

This is what happens under a system known as Capitalism that prioritizes and cherishes profit (of the few elites) over humanity.

Two days ago, the residents of an urban poor community in North Triangle faced demolition of their homes “to give way to the 11.3-meter road widening project along Agham Road in Quezon City.” However, “the residents believe that the demolition is meant to give way for the Quezon City Central Business District, a 256-hectare project” of the Ayalas. “…similar reason was given to former residents along EDSA but instead of road-widening, a high rise condominium is now being constructed.”

“No demolition order. No dialogues. Just pure brazen violence. And the police even nabbed the already harassed residents. This is impunity, this is injustice in its rawest and steeliest form,” said Terry Ridon, KABATAAN Partylist representative and a lawyer. – Read more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/01/27/north-triangle-residents-lose-homes-to-demolition-decry-overkill/#sthash.07yes4lm.dpuf


Everytime news articles about demolition of informal settlers are being posted online, I always see comments from netizens condemning the poor settlers saying, “they deserve it”, “they are poor because they are lazy”, “they are hindrances to our country’s development”, etc.

Sadly, we usually condemn the poor, criticize them, belittle them and demolish their homes that we tend to forget the fact that our food, our clothes, our gadgets, our school and office supplies are produced by them, by their calloused hands. These things that we enjoy are the fruits of their sufferings – being exploited, abused, underpaid, and harassed.

We are now very blinded by the developments that we enjoy that we do not see the plight of the majority of the people in our society. Remember: Development is made for Humanity, not Humanity for Development of the few.

Doon po sa amin,
Bayan ng San Roque
May nagkatuwaang
Apat na pulubi –

Nagsayaw ang pilay,
Nanood ang bulag,
Kumanta ang pipi,
Nakinig ang bingi.
– Philippine Folk Song

PS: Hindi lang si Vhong ang nangangailangan ng hustisya. HUSTISYA para sa mga urban poor ng Sitio San Roque! HUSTISYA para sa masang-api!

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Thesis and Capitalism

Kaning thesis ba, at the minimum, kay one sem unta ang gi-dedicate for this. One sem na walang ibang subjects kundi thesis lang talaga para maka-focus ang student. The current set-up we have now is due to the “fast-paced world” created by the global capitalist system, which in turn, produces less high-quality theses because students would just aim for compliance to cope up with such “fast pace”, graduate on time and get a job. Then, they tell the youth to value their education while the system, itself, is not designed to let the people value education for the fear that when majority of the people are educated and awakened, the system may be changed and the oppressive ruling class may be toppled down.

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Sinulog 2013: Socialism vs. Christianity?

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

The priest who celebrated the mass that I attended this morning started his homily by emphasizing the relevance of Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) as the whole province is celebrating Sinulog (Feast of Sto. Niño). He explained why God chose to become human and undergo childhood, so on and so forth, until he came to what has become the focal point of his entire homily. He began by saying that there are two conflicting ideologies in the society today. First, he pointed out Socialism and defined it as a socio-political system (that started in French Revolution) based on égalité (equality), fraternité (fraternity) and the other principle, liberté (liberty), that he admitted he forgot.

His first statements were affirmative as he said that there is no objection to Socialism’s equality. He went further by emphasizing that the concept of equality is derived, actually, from Christianity which came first than Socialism. However, he stressed that there is a problem with Socialism’s equality, i.e., a person will keep on asserting his/her rights without considering the rights of others because he/she is pre-occupied in making sure that he/she is equally treated. Socialism lacks the concept of social responsibility which, on the other hand, Christianity (the other ideology he referred to in his premise) upholds. Unlike Christianity, he said, Socialism does not include caring for and defending the weakest among men and women. Christianity promotes preferential option for the poor, he added. He, then, concluded that Socialism is a selfish kind.

However, looking at his arguments, it seemed he was referring to Capitalism which is another social system that emphasizes individual rights. This social system, which became a global system at present, is the ultimate cause why there is a great gap between the rich and the poor, why only few own the lands and riches of the earth, why prices are high without regulation despite its promise of low prices due to competition, why people need to pay much for basic social services such as education and health, and why most people strive only for themselves, competing with one another for survival in this money-driven system.

But the priest forgot Socialism’s other principle that he mentioned which could have saved him from misinterpreting Socialism – fraternity. This principle is what makes Socialism different from other social system. In Capitalism, there is also liberty; it’s just that it is a blind liberty. It also asserts people’s rights but focuses much on individual rights. But with fraternity, Socialism does not limit every person to just asserting his/her individual rights, welfare and liberty but the rights, welfare and liberty of others, as well. With fraternity, Socialism inculcates in the mind of every person the concept of collective – that we are brothers and sisters who shall work together for progress, who shall protect one another and who shall look after the weakest among us as we aim for collective progress, liberty and equality. Unlike Capitalism where individualism and self-centeredness reigns brought by competition, in Socialism, there is unity. This principle is actually the same with what he said Socialism lacks.

In the middle of the priest’s homily, I thought of walking-out like what Carlos Celdran did but I did not have the courage. Also, why would I let a priest’s misleading homily ruin my purpose of attending the mass which was communing with Christ? If only that mass was like the synagogues around 2000 years ago where Jesus Christ would entertain questions and comments from His listeners, I would have raised all the points I wrote here and asked the priest and the church-goers in the end, “So, is Socialism really a selfish kind of social system? Is it really conflicting with Christianity on the matter of its basic principles?” Because for me, it is not. The priest, with all due respect, was just barking at the wrong tree.

First published at: http://www.facebook.com/notes/kristian-jacob-casas-abad-lora/sinulog-2013-socialism-vs-christianity/10151265476814794

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On Capitalism, Sex/Human Trafficking and Feminism

I sat in an Understanding Gender class today and it happened that (on their last day of class) they were to watch a 1-hour documentary on Sex Trafficking in Nepal. Though I am not officially enrolled in their class, I felt the obligation to share my insight:

For me, the highlight of the film was when a girl victim of Sex Trafficking said that “Money to them is everything“. The girl, herself, as a victim was able to point out the root of the problem — the GLOBAL CAPITALIST SYSTEM — because she did experienced it (the reason why there’s a need for us to immerse ourselves with the masses to deeply know and understand their plight).

There is this craving for money. For the oppressors, they crave for money because money gives them the power to get what they want. For the oppressed (e.g. sex slaves, prostitutes, etc), they crave for money in

order to survive. Even if the system offers them a wide range of jobs, most of these are not attainable by the oppressed because the structure of the system is designed by the elites to keep the oppressed at the low-level of social pyramid and divert them from attaining class consciousness in order to protect their (elites’) interests and status in the society.

Why is this so? Because the system demands wealth/money for both power and survival. In turn, it promotes individualism; though theoretically, it gives emphasis to the protection of individual rights but in reality, it makes the people care only about themselves, their rights to the extent of harming other people, directly or indirectly. This Global Capitalist System made us blind of the truth, justice, morality and being humane.

That is why the issues of women and children should not be isolated from other social issues because all of them are the downside effects of the capitalist system. From what I learned from this class last semester, the struggle for liberating women should be in concurrence with the struggle for liberating humanity. Liberating from what? Liberating ourselves from the chains of the unequal social structure, from the social norms dictated by the ruling class, etc.

Hence, the only way to stop these social problems is to change the system. If compared to a computer system, there’s a need to reformat the system because the virus has already spread and has caused great damage. Rescuing the victims of sex slave, human trafficking, abuse, etc is not enough. True, they were rescued but how about other people? Since the virus has spread, it may also affect others. These things will also happen to me, to you and to all other people. Just like weeds, the only way to get rid of the weeds is to uproot them; otherwise, they will continue to grow and spread.

It may sound idealistic but remember, the ancient slave-driven societies vanished only when the societal system was finally changed, when the societies were finally revolutionized. There is indeed a need to change the system, from a system that begot individualism to a system that really caters the needs of the people and encourages them to respect one another, care for and love one another and serve one another.