The Political Dynamics of People’s Power Essay Sample

10 October 2017

It was people’s power. more than any other thing. which swept Marcos from his Malacanang throne and which installed in his topographic point Corazon Aquino as the new president of the Philippines. It would besides be people’s power which could forestall a Marcos rejoinder. even without Marcos himself. or an outgrowth of a new absolutism for that affair. But what precisely does the term people’s power mean?

People’s power would merely mention to the capacity of the people to chart societal fortunes that are harmonic with their ain aspirations. Consequently. this entails the realisation of the people themselves of their ain power to do history. People’s power is manifested either in self-generated or organized signifiers of action. For case. the majority of those who participated in the alleged “February Revolution were unorganised persons who responded to the state of affairs spontaneously.

It is argued here. nevertheless. that a more organized signifier of people’s power is needed in the more delicate and complicated undertaking of reconstructing a broken state and reconstituting an oppressive societal dispensation. At the same clip. people’s power will go on to be meaningful force in society merely if the multitudes would really represent themselves into self organized groups capable of voicing their ain demands in the centre phase of political relations. In this sense. the presence of independent mass organisation in the political system would non merely function to advance pro-people policies in authorities but would besides move as a offseting mechanism to the possible maltreatment and corruptness of the province power. The establishment of new political relations based on popular democracy would besides discourage the desires of the traditional politicians to swing the state back to the old political relations based on intra-elite competition which existed prior to soldierly jurisprudence.

The Basis of Elite Politicss

Elite democracy held sway in the Philippines during the post-colonial period up to the infliction of soldierly jurisprudence in 1972. It was characterized by the laterality of two major political parties. the Nationalista Party ( NP ) and the Liberal Party ( LP ) . whose members merely switched from one cantonment to the other. This had been made possible by the practical identity of the platform of authorities of both parties. The NP and LP were in fact merely two cabals of the same opinion category.

Elect political relations is founded along an luxuriant system of backing political relations feature porc barrel allotments and the spoils system. Patronage political relations among Filipinos is a map of a affinity system. On the other manus. this is due to the Filipino cultural value of organic hierarchy. In consequence. these statements tell us that elect political relations is here to remain because it is built-in among Filipinos.

The roots of elect backing political relations lie in the continuity of intense societal inequality and mass poorness. An destitute people could be easy tempted into interchanging their ballots for promises of wagess in the signifier of money and occupations from affluent politicians. It is non surprising. therefore for politicians to develop their sights on slum countries as marks for vote-buying flings during elections.

The prominence of political warlords in the Filipino political scene manifests a societal set-up where the concentration of wealth and power in the lands of the few could ease the committee of fraud and terrorist act during electoral exercisings. That’s why Filipino elections have ever been violent. In 1971. election-related killing reached the all clip high of 243. By early 1971. there were 80 political warlords around the state. With the infliction of soldierly jurisprudence. Marcos destroyed merely the political warlords counter to him. It would be a existent trial for the leading of Aquino if she could destruct the power base of Marcos’s political warlords every bit good as prevent the reemergence of old 1s and the visual aspect of new 1s.

Soldierly Law and the Politicss of Repression

Soldierly jurisprudence did non set an terminal to elite political relations. It simply narrowed down its look within the Marcos cabal of the elite. Alternatively of intra-elite competition. there was province corporatism. While interrupting the dorsums of all independent political establishments. Marcos sought to set up government-controlled or influenced one time under this bid.

With the closing of the Congress and the crackdown on political parties and the mass media. the traditional politicians were disenfranchised of their power bases. They were accordingly knocked out of the political ring during the early yearss of soldierly jurisprudence. The self-interest of these politicians could readily be seen when proclamations came in 1978 that elections for the Interim Batasang Pambansa ( National Assembly ) would be held and that a new party the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan ( New Society Movement ) would be formed by the Marcos authorities. Former NP and LP members excitedly rushed into the weaponries of Marcos. With the reversal of the political pendulum. these same people are now hotfooting to encompass Aquino.

Some steadfast resistance politicians. nevertheless refused to fall in the bandwagon but in the interim dreamt of the twenty-four hours when their old political parties would be revived. On the other manus. some extremely respected nationalist politicians of pre soldierly jurisprudence yearss like Lorenzo Tanada and Jose Diokno decided to project their batch with the anti-facist. anti-imperialist mass motion. therefore giving acceptance to the relevancy of force per unit area political relations at this specific historical motion.

Remember that this were times it was non yet stylish to have on xanthous nor was it safe to place one’s ego with the cause of the resistance. It was an inquisitorial period when the sample averment of basic human rights could be interpreted as insurgent and could therefore gain one a holiday in prison or a trip to heaven. However. it was exactly this inhibitory political ambiance fostered by soldierly jurisprudence which impelled many cause-oriented persons to persist in their committedness to politicise and form the people into mass organisations that would function as channel’s of people’s power in the battle for justness and democracy during those dark yearss. If there is anything to be grateful about soldierly jurisprudence. it is the fact that it taught people to contend for their rights and to asseverate their involvements.

The Aquino Assassination and the Confetti Revolutionaries

The Political wake of the blackwash of former Senator Benigno Aquino. Jr. at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport on August 21. 1983 placed to a terrible trial the Marcos regime’s capacity to govern in the old manner. The audacious slaying of such a outstanding Marcos critic shocked the esthesias of many people who antecedently did non care about the violent death of workers in the lookout lines or the slaughter of provincials in the rural countries.

The urban Middle category climbed out of their cupboards and demonstrated their resistance to the inhibitory government by throwing xanthous confettis from the safety of their tall office edifices in Ayala. After five o’clock they would blow their distinctively cautiousnesss in-between category spirit in these Acts of the Apostless of protest. At the same clip. the gay Filipino ambiance which attended at the first confetti mass meetings after the Aquino blackwash would function as a fitting preliminary to the type of revolution that Filipinos would be doing during those four yearss of February in 1986.

The entry of the “yellow” protestors into the political field swelled the ranks of the anti-dictatorship mass motion which was up to so under the leading of the national democratic organisations. However. the potencies of these new political forces in successfully engaging an urban battle to force out Marcos was non appreciated by the national Democrats who were peripheralized at the eruption of the “February Revolution” .

The Elections which the Dictatorship Miscalculated

On November 3. 1985. President Ferdinand Marcos announced over American telecasting his desire for snap presidential elections on February 7. 1986. He stated that he was naming it in order to acquire a fresh authorization from the people. However. the existent drift for the catch polls was a combination of political scheme and American force per unit area. Marcos felt that an earlier local election. originally scheduled for May 1986. would split his KBL power base and thereby halter his ain presidential opportunities if the presidential polls are set for 1987. At the same clip. Marcos wanted to show to the United States authorities that he was still capable of keeping stableness in the state.

Of class. Marcos did non name the elections merely to stop up as the also-ran. The historical fact that a dictator ne’er allows himself to lose in his ain election became the get downing point of arguments among cause-oriented organisations as to the efficaciousness of take parting in the catch polls.

The large alliance of national democratic organisations Bagong Alyansang Makabayan ( BAYAN ) decided to boycott the polls although six of its national leaders. Including their president. Tanada. filed foliages of absences from the organisation to back up Cory Aquino. Harmonizing to BAYAN. as a affair of “principle” . engagement in the assumed election would merely legalize the absolutism. But for other progressive groups. the issue was non one of rule alone which was idealistic but one of “praxis” which combined theory and pattern. The rational merely had to travel down his tusk tower in order to happen out that the multitudes were for utilizing the elections to voice out their discontent. BANDILA ( Bansang Nagkakaisa sa Diwa at Layunin ) . a alliance of societal democratic and broad democratic organisations and the socialist group Independent Caucus carried the line of “critical participation” or “participation without illusions” . While they agreed that it may non take an election to get the better of the Marcos absolutism. they besides realized the significance of utilizing the election as a locale for fostering the political instruction and organisation of the people. After all. it is particularly during election clip that people are most receptive to political thoughts and treatments.

Popular Support for Cory

Corazon Aquino. widow of the late Sen. Benigno Aquino. Jr. became the united opposi-tion presidential campaigner through a run which showed a million people stick oning their signatures in a bill of exchange for her to run. The message was simple. Cory Aquino was the lone 4

campaigner acceptable to many political aggrupations. For case. Jovito Salonga. Eva Estrada Kalaw. Aquilino Pimentel. among others. all threatened to run for president if Salvador Laurel was chosen official resistance campaigner.

Without the luxury of an intensive. media coverage afforded to Marcos. Aquino went on grassroots run sallies which brought her to the whole length of archipelago while her challenger campaigned on wireless and telecasting. Each clip she arrived in a topographic point. Mr. Aquino would be met by an avalanche of enthusiastic people intoning her name. The resistance run scenes would be evocative of adulating film fans shrilling as they see their favourite screen graven images. One might mention to this state of affairs in footings of a “fan club” outlook translated into political relations.

Obviously. the people identified the resistance non with UNIDO ( United Nationalist and Democratic Opposition ) . the political party under which Aquino so run for president. but with Cory. Indeed. Cory Aquino became the new symbol of the resistance replacing her hubby Ninoy who was the rallying symbol of the people after the tarmac incident. In the eyes of the people. Cory Aquino is the exact antonym of Marcos. She evokes earnestness because she is non a politician. We could even surmise that her politician hubby would hold non gotten such enormous response from the people.

In the yesteryear. ordinary people viewed political relations as dirty ; they perceived political relations as equivalent to pervert politicians. Hence. the clean image projected by Mrs. Aquino as a non-politician aroused hopes in people that she would non be the same corrupt functionary that Marcos was. It could be said therefore that the multitudes of people who supported Corazon Aquino were moved by both anti-Marcos and anti-politician sentiments.

How Marcos Politicized the Peoples

NAMFREL ( National Citizens Movement for Free Elections ) . accredited as the citizens arm of the Commission on Election ( COMELEC ) . proved to be a hurting in the cervix for Marcos. With the words “bantay ng bayan” ( peoples vigilance mans ) emblazoned on their white jerseies and jackets. the NAMFREL. voluntaries tenaciously watched over the electoral proceedings in the different polling topographic points. traveling to the extent of guarding the ballots with their ain lives. In the procedure which they subjected to all signifiers of torments and terrorist act.

This presentation of people’s watchfulness is different from the sort of engagement shown by the people in pre-martial jurisprudence elections. Previously. people saw their responsibility as done with the casting of their ballots. Under the autocratic government. nevertheless. the people realized that the desire for clean elections involved a political battle that is both extremist and unsafe. as it is go oning.

Playing important functions in countering the hegemony of authorities propaganda. intended to fix the heads of the people for Marcos triumph. would be the alternate mass media with bravely reported and broadcast the anomalousnesss perpetrated in the February polls. Even before the official Batasan tribunal of the elections came out. it was clear in the heads of the people that the existent victor in the election was Corazon Aquino.

With the monolithic exposure of cheating and straight-out terrorist act the official consequence of the election was no longer of effects. With the arrant failure of the electoral procedure. the political battle was now transferred to the terrain of mass force per unit area political relations.

The election hence produced two campaigners for the same station both claiming triumph. On the one manus. we had Marcos claiming a legal triumph because he had the support of the Batasan. On the other manus. we had Aquino claiming a popular triumph because she had the support of the people. As wining events would demo. people’s power would do the concluding dictum of who really won.

The Civil Disobedience Movement

Marcos thought that the popular outrage about the electoral consequence would decease a natural decease in the same mode that the post-Aquino blackwash protest run collapsed. He adopted a wait-and-see scheme in this respect. Once once more he was clearly on the defensive in footings of propaganda. He was merely waiting. nevertheless. for the proper chance to check down on his enemies.

On the other manus. the Marcos regime’s effort to confirm its ideological clasp upon the people received a important blow from an improbable beginning – the official Catholic Church which was good known for its conservative and “critical collaboration” stance vis-a-vis the Marcos government. The official Church hierarchy. though the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines ( CBCP ) . issued a strongly-worded statement on February 14. 1986 depicting the catch polls as “unparalleled in the duplicity of their conduct” . The 66 bishops emphasized that “the authorities that retains power through fraudulent agencies has no moral basis” . In a state where the overpowering bulk is Catholics. as the call of the bishops for a “non-violent battle for justice” . decidedly titled the balance of the ideological graduated table in favour of the resistance forces. With the approval of the bishops. the resistance braced itself for a long civil noncompliance run to coerce the Marcos government to esteem the will of the people.

The post-election protest run by the resistance kicked off with the “Tagumpay nanogram Bayan” ( Victory of the People ) mass meeting at Luneta on February 18. 1986. the twenty-four hours after the Batasan announcement of the Marcos-Tolentino tandem. In this mass meeting. Cory Aquino outlined a protest plan having the boycott of well-known buddy corporations ( e. g. . Rustans. San Miguel Corporation. Security Bank. etc. ) . She besides asked the people to halt watching Channel 4 and to halt purchasing constitution newspapers. every bit good as to keep back payments of H2O and electric measures.

The principle behind the protest run. which threatened to intensify into a matured civil noncompliance motion. was the thought that a authorities that bad lost its legitimacy did non merit the obeisance and conformity of its people.

The schools became the of import centres of protest. It should be noted that categories were all of a sudden suspended by the Ministry of Education with still two hebdomads to travel prior to the election. The suspension virtually derailed the retention of mock elections and resistance sallies in the campuses. After all. bulk of all the electors were below the 25 twelvemonth old bracket. At the University of the Philippines and Ateneo University. alternate categories were held. The module and pupils at that place found it unnatural to go on keeping normal categories in an unnatural state of affairs. At De La Salle University. an “operation work stoppage” was undertaken to convert people within the fourth territory of Manila to back up Cory Aquino’s call for a work arrest on February 26. 1986. a twenty-four hours after Marcos’s expected startup into office.

The large labour brotherhoods together with other mass organisations had besides expressed their support for Cory’s program for civil noncompliance. In consequence. the scenario was set for a wide forepart to unseat the Marcos government from power through mass protest.

The American authorities. on the other manus. appeared to be uncomfortable with this type of political relations. It feared that such mass enterprises could develop into a deep anti-American sentiment which manifested its initial marks when US President Ronald Reagan stated that both the Marcos and Aquino cantonments were every bit responsible for perpetrating fraud and force in the February polis. and above all. that his chief concern is the safety of the American bases in the Philippines. Hence. up to the Eve of the February rebellion. particular US minister plenipotentiary Philip Habib was in Manila negociating for a authorities set-up where there would be power sharing between Marcos and Aquino. which the latter steadfastly refused.

The February Revolution

The desertions of the Enrile and Ramos cabals of the military the dark of February 22. 1986 signalled the start of the alleged “four yearss in February” which toppled the Marcos government. It besides brought into the unfastened the deep divisions in the military particularly those bing between the regular officers who come from the Filipino Military Academy and the integree officers.

The dramatic support thrown by the people to the military Rebels were largely members of the RAM ( Reform AFP Movement ) served as the fulcrum by which the indecisive generals resolved to back up the Rebel soldiers. On the other manus. the inability of Marcos to command the rebellion during its early hours well weakened his options as the yearss passed. With so many civilians environing the two camps- Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo- where the reformer soldiers were holed in. it was obvious that a direct military confrontation could merely be done at the cost of the lives of so many people. Such a calamity would ask for international repugnance against Marcos’s government and could possibly shut all issue doors for him one time he decides to go forth the state.

In the interim. the political competition was fought more in the mass media instead than in existent military combat. If anything could be said of the February rebellion. it is the fact that the political battle was fought mostly on the degree of propaganda instead than of military might. Ratio Veritas played a critical function as the organizing arm of the popular rebellion. It should be noted that the mass base of the Camp Crame originating were unorganised people who sought instructions through the wireless.

The short continuance of the rebellion was characteristic of its urban scene. Having been fought in the centre of power itself changes in the configuration of forces occurred really resolutely. Control of critical media installations. for case. brush the tide in favour of the rebellion. The coup d’etat of the authorities telecasting. Channel 4. cut off Marcos’s contact and influence with the people from inside his Malacanang fort.

Many people believe that the mass motion which hoisted Corazon Aquino to power composed a minority of the Filipino population. This is true but merely from a narrow empiricistic point of position. Surely. this is the specificity of the urban rebellion: you strike from the metropoliss to the state sides.

At the same clip. it should be pointed out that people responded so enthusiastically to the military rebellion because they see it as merely a continuance of the civil noncompliance motion to out Marcos from power. From the context of political kineticss. it was a continuance of the political procedure where people’s power was expressed in support of Cory Aquino all over the state. get downing from the electoral run which proceeded to the civil noncompliance run and culminated in a mass rebellion which drove Marcos into expatriate.

An Ode to People’s Power

Many people are still at a loss as to whether the “four yearss in February” could truly be called a “revolution” . It is a revolution alright but merely in footings of turn overing our political civilization from one of passiveness to one of active engagement. It is a revolution in footings of people recognizing their ain corporate power to do history. It is a revolution in footings in people desiring to actively take part in the defining of their ain hereafter alternatively of intrusting it in the custodies of a few politicians. In short. it is a political revolution but one that remains unfinished because the political constructions of absolutism have non been wholly transformed. At the same clip. the concrete political construction of a truly popular democracy has yet to be to the full delivered from the uterus of the old political order.

On the other manus. the “February Revolution” is surely non a revolution in footings of passing the oppressive constructions of Philippine society. It is non a societal revolution so to talk. It does non forestall the people. nevertheless. from transforming it into one. People’s power. after all. did non stop with the issue of the Marcos government from the Philippine political scene.

President Aquino herself recognized this fact. In the “Misa nanogram Bayan” ( Mass of the People ) held at lucena on March 2. 1986. she urged the people to put up people’s organisations at the grassroots and community degrees to transform people’s power into lasting constructions that would safeguard the additions of the people revolution.

An organized people is decidedly a more effectual agent of societal alteration than a mass of persons fumbling for way. The consolidation of people into mass organisations and self-management establishments would travel a long manner in easing the procedure of popular engagement in every facet of our society.


“The unexpressed end of the People Power Revolution was non a mere alteration of governments. but instead a systemic alteration. a existent societal transmutation. ” Therefore did the late Ambassador Narciso G. Reyes describe the impact of EDSA I in an article he wrote in the Filipino Daily Inquirer on November 2. 1986. He continues: “ This will imply non merely a alteration of leaders but besides – and more of import – a alteration of bosom on the portion of the new leading. In this sense. the People Power Revolution was a preliminary. instead than a complete fulfilment. The existent Revolution is yet to be. ”

Peoples power. after all. is non an empty construct but a dynamic one fraught with ideals. It is. in fact. bolstered by the ideals of a democratic and constitutionalist system like the Philippines.

Peoples power should non be viewed outright as an onslaught or a serious challenge upon a constitutionalist government. Alternatively. it should be viewed as a mechanism to make full the spreads of a system adhering to constitutionalism and the regulation of jurisprudence. I think we have been highly fortunate to hold stumbled upon people power as a tool for deciding hard political crises at a clip when armed rebellions have become progressively dearly-won for states in the modem universe. While other societies remain trapped in dysfunctional political constructions and processes that impede their growing. we have been more audacious in our pursuit for solutions. swearing merely in the basic good will of our people. In all right. the constructs of people power should non be regarded as opposing thoughts. After all. they all walk for the benefit of the people: by heightening democracy and advancing justness.


1. Lande. C. “Brief History of Political Parties” . Jose Abueva and Raul de Guzman ( explosive detection systems. ) . Foundations and Dynamics of Filipino Government and Politics. ( Manila: Bookmark. 1969 ) pp. 151-157. 2. Government. Jr. . F. “The Philippines After 1986 Revolution” . Electoral Politics. ( 2010 ) pp. 6-7. 3. Weir. Fraser. /University of Alberta ( 2009 ) . A Centennial History of Philippine Independence. Retrieved from the World Wide Web last 18 December 2009: hypertext transfer protocol: //www. ualberta. ca/~vmitchel/ 4. Transparency International. ( 2004 ) . Global Corruption Report. February 2010 hypertext transfer protocol: //www. transparence. org/publications/gcr/gcr_2004. 5. Wurfel. David. ( 1977 ) . Soldierly Law in the Philippines: The Methods of Regime Survival. In Pacific Affairs. Vol. 50. No. 1 ( Spring. 1977 ) . pp. 5-30 6. US Library of Congress. From Aquino’s Assassination to People’s Power. hypertext transfer protocol: //countrystudies. us/philippines/29. htm

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