Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004

About

@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Politics is about man’s infinite search for the most effective way of organizing societies. It mirrors the imperfections of man and thus it remains an unfinished project, an incomplete thesis. But it stands for a greater ideal. Through politics, man can conquer nature and become the god master of the world. The political man is the beast with a purpose, the animal with spirit, the subject who becomes a militant agent of History.

If politics is infinite, it means that there are always new ways of doing politics. A successful political formula has to be continually tested, challenged, and reformulated – if it must remain relevant. New politics is actually a misnomer since politics proper is about the invention of truths, the unveiling of the Idea, the birthing of the new.

Unfortunately, politics today is reduced into electoral politics. It has become synonymous with the stench of parliamentary politics despite the brave efforts to link it with the idea of democracy. Worse, political practice is no longer about rupturing with the old since it merely advocates the repetition of past events, the pathetic romanticization of conservative values.

Modern political practice has been codified already. There exists an unofficial (and unspoken) rule book which identifies the politically-correct or formulaic way of doing things. The professional, the amateurish, and the lumpen are united in enforcing this code. It is the code of the lazy and satisfied, the guardians of the eternal present, and those who refuse to think the new.

The political situation is dangerous for those who offer original thoughts. They are condemned for deviating from tradition. Dismissed for ignoring mainstream ethics. Ridiculed for experimenting with bold ideas, practices, and utopian dreams.

Innovation is welcomed as long as it conforms with the rules established by the great powers in society. Change is encouraged but it must not disrupt the core of the system. Radical agenda is tolerated if it’s advocated through polite and civilized means. Everyone is free to be eccentric and unique but follow the rules and behave, or else!

Achieving inner peace is the only acceptable and most endorsed form of revolutionary act. Collectivism, in theory and practice, is demonized as standard examples of bad politics.

What is to be done? There are textbook definitions of responsible citizenship. But beyond good citizenship is the duty to restore the original disruptive power of politics. Defiance of the rules that perpetuate the illusory appearance of the status quo. The willingness, the stubbornness to create new rules and new ways of doing things. The openness to ‘abnormal’ and taboo perspectives and practices.

The readiness to march with friends and especially strangers in the road less travelled. To risk everything, to make the supreme sacrifice in order to reach the destination. The journey towards the unknown guided only by the egalitarian promise of new politics. Man as political animal is a dreamer. Dream the dream.

Related articles:

Politics in the time of Unli
Hourglass politics
Radicalism, reformism
Impossible reformism

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