Thursday, October 25, 2007

Final Defeat for EDSA Dos

Five weeks ago, i declared Final Victory for EDSA Dos. With the pardon of Erap by Gloria Arroyo, whatever victory we can claim for that revolution is gone. Commenter Mike over at Manolo's says it all:
"The pardon of Erap is the last straw. It makes a mockery of everything I fought for in 2001. It’s so clear and so glaring that we’ve been so thoroughly had. I’ve never been so sick to my stomach."
Ever since Hello Garci, it's been clear to me that the revolution has been betrayed. However, i suppose for many, this act drives home the point.

I guess now is also a time for the EDSA Tres crowd to reflect on whether this can be counted as a victory for their cause. Over at Ellen's blog, which i believe echoes the pulse of the Filipino majority, the prevailing sentiment so far is one of disgust at both Gloria and Erap. So it turns out that is one of the few times Gloria Arroyo has done something that has the effect of uniting the Country.


DJB Rizalist said...

But Edsa Dos was GMA's greatest victory, this is only Erap admitting it, well ahead of every body that still thinks it was a "revolution". Sheesh!

Jego said...

So guys like frequent MLQ3 commenter Rego are correct: Pare-pareho lang sila.

cvj said...

Hi DJB, as mlq3 has done, you have to distinguish between the aspirations of the people who went out to the streets during EDSA Dos and the conspiracy of Gloria Arroyo and her generals. In the same way, we also have to distinguish between the intentions of the leaders of EDSA Tres and the aspirations of the crowds (the unpaid portion) that assembled in May. Both events had a people's component and a leadership component. It is the latter that has betrayed the respective revolution of the former.

cvj said...

Hi Jego, i did not dispute the truth of that generalization, only its triteness. The problem is Rego (and like-minded individuals) were arguing to the wrong point. He was using this to justify a retreat from the public sphere with the aim of making government irrelevant which i believe is not possible. We cannot run away from the consequences of having an illegitimate government.

Jego said...

The better aspiration would be to make government serve the people, I agree.

Serve the people and get out their way. Dont obstruct their legitimate dreams.

torn said...

I think history will judge EDSA Dos more kindly than you have done. It was certainly a lot more impressive than EDSA Tres. I took part in a debate on the two events on Expectorants back in January and this is what I said then:

I went to both and they were as unalike as chalk and cheese. For a start, in the area covered —going north, the EDSA 2 crowd stretched right up EDSA toward Camp Aguinaldo and stayed like that for night after night, remember those amazing photos that featured the Pop Cola ad in the distance? The day I went to EDSA 3 (a Saturday) the crowd was very small and gathered under the flyover away from the sun. It was definitely hakot — I could see people handing out lunches from the vans, I asked someone who the lunches were from and he said from Binay, though I can’t be sure that was correct.

The claims that there were over 1 million people at EDSA 2 were clearly exaggerations, but I’ve seen a lot of football crowds and I would estimate that there were 150,000–200,000 there (over several nights as I have said). At EDSA 3, I think 2,000 (at the monument) would be generous, though admittedly I went only once.

The other difference was the enthusiasm: the EDSA 2 crowd was all fervor and excitement, the EDSA 3 crowd was weary and passive. I spoke to some people — yes, they believed in Erap and they thought he had been wrongly deposed, but I didn’t get the feeling that they were willing to sacrifice anything for his cause.

I was actually disappointed by EDSA 3 — I thought it might spark off a genuine working class revolt, but what I saw it was far from that.

I will say this for the Erap loyalistas though, the hard core are brave and determined. The day Erap left office, I got a cab to Mendiola. My cab driver dropped me near Malacañang and I wandered up a street toward the palace. I found myself in a small group (not more than 70) Erap supporters. We could hear the marchers coming from EDSA led by the Bayan Muna drum — BOOM, BOOM, BOOM — and before long we could see the banners. Although these were the same people I had been with the previous night at the monument, seeing them from the “other side” made them look very intimidating, yet my new friends among the loyalistas didn’t flinch. Good for them.

I still think EDSA 2 was great achievement — not on a level with 1986 perhaps, but very inspiring. Despite the mess that has followed, if I were a Filipino I would be very proud of what an unarmed and idealistic crowd managed to achieve six years ago.

cvj said...

Hi Torn, as far as People Power events go, i'm also proud of the people power component of EDSA 2. (The backroom conspiracy is another matter.) Maybe you're right that history would eventually render a favorable judgement. After all, the Terror and Napoleon's ascendancy were not enough to offset the mostly favorable view towards the French revolution.

However, i believe that EDSA Dos as a revolution has been defeated because it has experienced more than its share of betrayals. The worst of these to my mind, is not GMA's pardon of Erap, which to me is just a coup de grace. To me, the worst betrayal was by the participants themselves who chose expediency over the ideals of EDSA Dos when they choose not to hold Gloria accountable for electoral fraud because, in their view, she was the 'lesser evil'.

In judging EDSA Dos, i think this double-standard by its participants would be given much weight.

AdB said...

Re: "... and Napoleon's ascendancy and Napoleon's ascendancy were not enough to offset the mostly favorable view towards the French revolution. "

I can't begin to imagine why Napoleon's ascendancy should octo offset "the mostly favourable view towards the French revolution..."

AdB said...

Viewing the revolution aside, Napoleon's ascendancy contributed greatly as wintessed today in the political lives of many of the countries in Europe -- his achievement on that score is witnessed by one of his most useful legacies: the NAPOLEON CODE which is the basis of law in many countries in Western Europe today.

Few past leaders could boast of such an enduring legacy.

AdB said...

If ever, one of the positives of the revolution, although there were many negatives too, it's the number of good men it produced and I count Napoleon as one of them.

Btw, my family and I personally don't join in the street festivities marking the fall of Bastille on 14 July -- the street festivities mark an entirely different event or events, that of the beheadings of the monarchy, which to me, while it behooves us all to tag the beheadings as a historical calendar event, I don't actually believe that there should be a need to rejoice.

torn said...

cvj – I think apathy and EDSA-fatigue had something to do with the lack of a response to GMA’s shenanigans, but the rules of the game were also very different for her. The Vice President is not only her ally, but a complete nonentity that no protester in his right mind would waste his time and energy putting into the Palace. And if the protests were to demand the ouster of both, in fact of the entire Arroyo executive apparatus, the Philippines would have been sailing into very choppy extra-constitutional waters, which may well have ended up with the status quo ante, the swaggering Estradas and Ejercitos back in Malacanang.

For me, Gloria v Erap is already history and the Philippines has to look forward. The next presidential election will be critical (so long as charter change is averted). I think that is best place now for idealists (and this increasing cynical country needs as many of them as it can get) to put your energies.

cvj said...

Anna, the negative perception towards Napoleon is due to his wars of conquests. Even if we grant that he was doing it, not out of imperial ambition, but rather, to spread the ideals of the French Revolution, the conflict still left 2.5 Million dead. I accept though that the Napoleonic code is a positive legacy. (BTW, what happened to your website?)

Torn, maybe, but i believe (but of course cannot prove) that if it was FPJ that was involved in Hello Garci, the EDSA Dos crowd would have gone back to the streets. I agree that Erap v Arroyo is receding into history and in this regard, the pardon has helped a lot.

Anonymous said...


agree that there were positives and negatives re Napoleon but we must be careful about judging Napoleon and instead dig deep into the whys and the wherefores of his wars and conquests.

Napoléon didn't simply, out of the blue, decide to go to war because he loved going to war or that he thouught that war was the only thing to do -- obviously conquest was primordial or key to his empire's survival but we must not forget that ONE of the MAIN reasons he went to war was very much because he was PROVOKED into war by a partnership BETWEEN those in France who couldn't stand him politically and socially AND those in England who were frightened by him and quite often, who despised his origin.

Am with you that inevitably the war left millions of dead but not all the wars that Napoléon engaged in were provoked by him, in other words he was not responsible for the total body count siongle handedly. (Too long to cite here but one day when you come around again hopefully, I can point out which war was a pure war of conquest and which war was a war of provocation... including his battles)

I've read many books about Napoléon in English written by Anglo-Saxon authors and in French by French or European authors. There's inevitably a slant here and there depending on who's writing but what I can say is that there were many anecdotes and historical points that I've read in French authored books (easily verifiable in the National archives which I used to do before whenever I found something that intrigued me) that you don't find in the Anglo-Saxon authored accounts (somehow this is true for some written works on other French leaders too).

I find that reading in French have afforded me great opportunity and given me two perspectives, Anglo-American and French perspectives.

(I would have liked to speak German fluently for the same reason, read directly in German...)


PS: my blog is still on

cvj said...

Anna, i take your points and i'm probably out of my depth in evaluating Napoleon. Unfortunately the French accounts haven't made that much headway in the English-reading world hence the perception.

Thanks for the pointer to your blog. I've corrected my link originally pointed to 'manila-bay-watch'.

Anonymous said...

If we speak of body count, the French Revolution represented the same pure abomination of the body count in the Napoléonic wars.

Hence, if we follow the same line of thought, the French Revolution should not enjoy a favourable view at all either.

(Frankly, up until 20 years ago, that was my thought but have learned as I became older and read more to nuance my views of the French Revolution.)


Anonymous said...

Heh! I thought would be more simple because even I had difficulty accessing it from kiddies computers, heh with the dash there and dash here.


cvj said...

I see. I think some readers are still accessing the old blog. I saw 'Viking' asking you the same question over at DJB's.