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After populism: Winning the war

for bourgeois democracy in the


Philippines

REPORTER: DAVID GACUSANA II


Populism has dominated Philippine politics for the long
decade since Joseph Erap E. Estrada became
Philippine president in 1998, but in a broader since his
poll victory as vice in 1992 and even his election as
senator in 1987. But by 2009, the political agenda had
changed. The candidacy of Benigno Noynoy Aquino III
on the coat tails of the outpouring of grief that followed
his mother, Corazon C. Aquinos death in August of that
year, has been called a political game changer.
The decline of populist appeals to the poor and
the return of bourgeois-led reformism in the
Philippines may not seem surprising, given the
forces marshaled against populism. Estrada was
deposed and jailed on corruption while his friend
Fernando Poe Jr. was cheated in the 2004
election, dying shortly thereafter, probably literally
of a broken heart. But structural conditions for
populism-both economic and political remain ripe
in the bourgeois Philippine Polity. Income
Inequality is still high and non class cleavages
are weak, making class based, populist appeals
potentially power
Yet former president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has
done the dirty work of the bourgeoisie in defeating
populism. Through a strategy of neo-traditionalism, she
has tethered populism through patronage and
militarization (guns, goons and gold) . she has,
however reaped no upper class praise for this
success. On the contrary, the widespread corruption
that inevitably results from such a strategy unintendedly
set the stage for the revival of reformism. It is
speculated that there are cycles in Filipino politics
based on three forms of elite politics- populism,
clientelism and reformism, renewed populism may be
consequence of the probable failure of reform
Glossary of Terms
Populism is a political style of action that
mobilizes a large alienated element of a
population against a government which is seen
as controlled by an out-of-touch closed elite that
acts on behalf of its own interests. Other
definition is a member of a political party
claiming to represent the common people.
Bourgeoisie in Marxist contexts the capitalist
class who own most of societys wealth and
means of production
Clientilism a political or social system based on
the relation of client to patron with the client
giving political or financial support to a patron in
exchange for some special privilege or benefit
Reformism is the belief that gradual changes
through and within existing institution can
ultimately change a societys fundamental
economic and political structures
Neo-traditionalism, in politics the deliberate
revival and revamping of old cultures, practices
and institutions for use in politics
Conclusion
The political and economic system of our
country is controlled by the elites. During the
election it was a battle between elites.
Popularity to the voters are of great advantage
to the celebrities, actors-politician because they
could easily recall their names. In 2004
Presidential Election it paved way to the return
of the elites in the centerfold; GMA grabbed the
political power by means of using money
politics whereby she used the resources of the
government to attain her ultimate goal to get
another term of office as president.
During her 9 years stay in power there was no
changed in our country, hence the wide gap
between the rich and the poor is still rampant,
graft and corruption, lack of political will and
unsatisfied Filipinos are demanding for a
changed. When Noynoy filed his candidacy for
president they look at him as the reformer and
supported his candidacy and later became the
next president of the Republic. The trends in
politics is often times changing from clientelism
to populism to elitists democracy to reformists in
short there is political cycle that exist base on the
choice or preference of the voters.