(AP Picture/Aaron Favila)
Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has been elected the seventeenth president of the Philippines, 36 years after his father, the recognized dictator and plunderer Ferdinand Sr., was ousted in a peaceable revolution.
Marcos Jr. received the presidency with 31 million votes, trouncing his closest rival, Vice-President Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who acquired 15 million votes.
(AP Picture/Jess Tan Jr.)
Ferdinand Marcos Sr. established martial regulation within the Philippines from 1972 to 1981, a interval of brutal repression with greater than 11,000 documented human rights violations. Critics of Marcos have been imprisoned, tortured, raped and executed. His household and their cronies are thought to have plundered about $10 billion, they usually evaded authorized claims for the Marcos household’s ill-gotten riches in Philippine and international courts even after Marcos Sr.‘s loss of life in Hawaii in 1989.
Critics accuse the Marcos household of whitewashing their household’s crimes and martial regulation atrocities by social media platforms. In a story of denial, Marcos Jr. guarantees to revive the “Golden Age” of peace and prosperity that his father had begun, elevating questions on whether or not meaning a way forward for martial regulation.
Revisionist historical past
The revisionist “narrative of nostalgia” has three components, based on Filipino tutorial Victor Felipe Bautista:
The supposed wonderful previous beneath a benevolent President Marcos;
The autumn that interrupted the Marcos regime supposedly orchestrated by Corazon Aquino, the widow of Marcos’s political arch-rival, Benigno Aquino Jr., who was assassinated on the Manila airport tarmac upon his return to the Philippines in 1983;
The darkish current, when Marcos is claimed to be a “sufferer of black propaganda,” that means refined propaganda that doesn’t come from the supply it claims to return from.
The Marcos Jr. propaganda operations embody collective reminiscence consultants who use revisionist nostalgia as a software for steering public opinion.
Critics recommend huge and well-resourced efforts to vary and management the narrative by historic revisionism has been key to Marcos Jr.’s electoral victory. I complement this with a view that the Philippines’ colonial legacy equally influenced the outcomes of the latest presidential election.
Colonial class divides
In lots of post-colonial societies, colonial powers and their elite, modern-day counterparts preserve class divides. These divides permit them to regulate the lots as a gentle supply of extracted surplus and low-cost labour and, for native politicians, a conventional supply of votes.
Improvement within the Philippines has all the time been tied to colonial relations. Ties with the US remained sturdy even after formal independence in 1946, which is obvious in bilateral agreements permitting American corporations to personal and function public utilities and extract pure sources.
Submit-colonial relations with the U.S. and growth support helped generate the fortunes of a Filipino landed oligarchy, distributed infrastructure and agricultural loans and offered navy support in the course of the martial regulation years, setting the stage for the Marcos years because the Golden Age in Philippine historical past.
Coming back from their exile within the 2000s, members of the Marcos household have been elected to numerous political positions. Efforts to vary the anti-Marcos narrative and alter the political tradition within the Philippines by way of the brand new applied sciences of social media grew rampant.
Earlier than lengthy, pictures of bridges, roads and buildings constructed by Marcos Sr. started to flood social media to recommend the Philippines was on par with rising industrializing nations on the time of his administration.
“If my father was allowed to pursue his plans, I consider that we might be like Singapore now,” mentioned Marcos Jr. in 2011.
To younger voters born after the martial regulation period — the nation’s largest voter demographic — Singapore evokes pictures of globalized progress: glitzy designer malls, savvy digital know-how and western-style posh existence that promote capitalist consumption. Younger Filipino voters additionally appeared to thrill within the “cool” Marcos vibe of talking with American accents and tales of the privileges that include wealth.
The Marcos messaging — additionally rigorously curated in additional than 200 BuzzFeed-style posh, familial and cheerful YouTube movies — sought to quickly bridge the historically sharp social divides within the Philippines. This served to momentarily placate centuries-old internalized native racism, self-othering and a deep-seated sense of colonial, racial and sophistication inferiority amongst Filipinos in comparison with westerners and their native rich counterparts, such because the Marcos household.
For a deeply class-stratified and colonized society, the Marcos propaganda machine has enhanced aspirations for western markers of progress and modernity.
However these efforts haven’t simply been an try and whitewash the plunder of the Marcos household and the brutalities of martial regulation.
The propaganda additionally conjures up a imaginative and prescient of a neocolonial, modernized and consumption-driven future. In a nutshell, Marcos has escalated western aspirations and solidified the racialized and marginalized class identities that capitalism — an financial system organized round a minority class and its pursuit of revenue — relies upon.
Marcos Jr.’s references to a Golden Age within the Philippines invitations a nostalgic take a look at the previous. Nevertheless it additionally warns of a darker future.
Bernadette P. Resurrección doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or organisation that will profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.