The Wheels of the Political Machines Go Round and Round

Welcome to the first installment of Anti-Oedipus! This will hopefully be a weekly column. I write this from a tiny apartment in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, mere days away from the May 2022 elections.

“Isko-isms”

Isko Moreno’s antics in the previous ten or so days can be interpreted in many ways. It is primarily a cry for help – because the elections won’t be so interesting for him if he didn’t bulk up his volunteer and voter count in the last week leading to the elections. Isko most prominent supporter is himself. And by a mere count of news items on the ‘growth’ of his electoral prowess, we can surmise that he may be something of a demigod as he claims that he has a growing “silent majority” backing his presidential run. If Isko’s words ring true, both Leni and BBM will have to watch out for this silent majority.

Then again, we’ve heard that before. Perhaps just another Isko-ism, if there ever was one.

Love in the time of onions

One can never forget the strange barrage of accusations from the two leading camps during the elections. Most accusations come from the online supporters of the late dictator’s son, Bongbong Marcos.

Some red and green camp supporters accuse Robredo supporters of faking the drone shots of many rallies across the country. I’ve seen accusations of using images of a field of onions and even a Fudgee bar to ‘fake’ drone images. Yet, we cannot forget the true power of symbols and images.

Shows of force are at the core of convincing entire families and communities to support a candidate. Therefore, no matter how grainy they may be due to low light conditions, those drone stills are election gold. But if you can’t match the opposing camp’s shows of force, you lie to people on Facebook and tell them that those are onions or commercial pastries. Things got so ridiculous that artist Tarantadong Kalbo eventually used the joke to make a nice video.

All this talk of food is making me hungry. Hungry for victory over the family of the late dictator, that is. True resistance is always rooted in radical and revolutionary love. Those who choose to fight for justice and a free nation must come from a place of deep love. If that’s not love you feel, baka kabag yan, ha?

No one is ready, ever.

I have been joking for weeks now that a portion of the universe’s fabric has folded or collapsed, resulting in us being thrown into the Philippine multiverse. With so many reversals and shifts taking place because of the elections, I fear that this multiverse effect would have direr effects on our citizens.

Political instability often triggers capital flight, unstable prices, and even shortages of essential commodities. Sri Lanka has just collapsed, and with the Philippines steadily following the footsteps of failed states and pariah states, where exactly are we headed this time? It took just six years for the Duterte administration to sink us further. Still, Filipinos are again exposed to so much risk in the post-global order without the necessary social welfare protections. When will we learn?

The most unfortunate part of all these events is that we are in a radically bad state when the Marcoses retake power. There mere mention of their family name as the ruling family (once again) can send economic shockwaves that will affect the most vulnerable sectors of Filipino society. Since capital flight always takes place, everyone will experience dire repercussions. But who will suffer the most?

Little red-tagging hood

It’s an understatement to say that we live in incredible times. The cycle of political dynasties does not cease, along with the state’s countless aggressions and abuses of power. Our small group of youth writers has experienced red-tagging and nothing short of active surveillance on Facebook.

We’ve tried to block most of the empty accounts (some with telling names like “Sui Generis” or “Gat Dula”), and yet, they continue to come, usually one by one, before a swarm descends upon one or more political posts. We will not be cowed into silence and subservience.

No amount of red-tagging will prevent writers from speaking truth to power. We are ready to fight disinformation and abuse, and impunity like we always have.

And with so many writers simply selling out to the establishment, someone must maintain pressure. So the various cases filed against the central figure of the NTF ELCAC are welcome news. We can only hope that these find merit in the different courts and bring those guilty to justice. Red-tagging costs lives. RIP Chad Booc of the New Bataan Five.

Anti-Oedipus is a weekly column by Marius Carlos, Jr. that unpacks political and cultural issues and concerns in the Philippines. Send happy/sad/violent feedback here.

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