The moral outrage is in place and the political lines are already drawn (obviously they have been there already). Between a moral outrage and a political conviction, it seems that the former is taken along with a reasonably pragmatic tone, trusting the government to be able to do its job and at the same time condemn the ideologues for their meddling with the affairs of the farmers. Such perspective however is untenable and not simply coming from a privileged positions of enunciation, but of plain opportunism and reactionism, taking advantage of the situation to redeem the government (whatever the “liberal democratic state” stands for) from its position and defend the legitimacy of the status quo. This is our accusation to those who remain neutral, prepared to listen to all sides (not simply are they coming from their privileged positions of enunciation).
Hence, the issue: can we remain neutral at such a time or should we take the road of mesothes and find a compromise between the farmers and the state? Based on available reports, the Local Government Units of North Cotabato has offered a meagre 3kg of rice as assistance to drought stricken farmers; but what is not highlighted in this report is that they have to undergo a bureaucratic process to even be deemed “qualified” for assistance. The clarity of this systemic disenfranchisement is not so much that the farmers are going to starve; but a double tap to the farmers themselves, being subjected to the (long) qualification process, SYSTEMIC DISENFRANCHISEMENT PAR EXCELLANCE! Is neutrality or even a pragmatism even a choice here? Hence, one must take a religious leap of faith that to support the farmers entails that one is capable of believing solely their side and constructing from there the solutions herein. Along with a total support for the farmers is the affirmation that the state is incapable to work for the welfare of the workers, being ruled by an elite few.
Fascism is not simply a dictatorship of one man over the masses. One learns from the films of Costa-Gavras that fascism is equal to to the rule of a bureaucracy that the state is ruled by a few, working behind closed doors, dictating the destiny of the nation. Here, one immediately sees that our country is ruled by the feudal elite landowners and the bureaucratic elite (legitimized by the manipulation of the democratic process), forming the oligarchy, dictating the policies of the state and always ready to put the blame on those who resist (the activists and mass groups). The red tape involved in what can be considered the Philippine welfare system exists to make welfare a commodity akin to insurance policies rather than actually being welfare (earning from them of course) or setting the imperative to one’s submission to cheap (almost slave) labor in the guise of DSWD’s “Cash for work system.”
Systemic disenfranchisement contains not only of the incapability of being assisted but also of subjecting the poor to the bureaucratic order, forcing them to conform to the demands of the state that does not work for them. The farmers demand something simple that would only cost 30 million pesos (compare that the billions in subsidies given to private companies to run the PPP projects). What we see in this crisis is that the state is already incapable of serving the agendas of the poor, the workers, and the farmers, even systematically ensuring their poverty through the policies it makes for the sake of the elite few. It is now necessary to demand a democracy for the worker, the farmer, and the common people.
With a state that is obviously ruled by a fascist dictatorship of an elite bureaucracy that controls the nation’s finance, industry and economy, neutrality is a “silent” yes to the status quo, a faint affirmation of support to the few who rule the country and profit from its strife.