An urgent call-A A +A
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
TO those who have dreamt and struggle for it, social change has been elusive all these years despite 14 years of Martial Law and the two people-powered revolutions. Yes, there may be “changing of the guards,” but the structures and systems that breed poverty, social injustice, corruption and oppression are still as formidable as ever.
“There is a battle out there and it is raging, it will soon shake your windows and rattle your walls,” says Bob Dylan’s song in the 60’s, “For the times, they are a-changing.”
Yes, change is happening so fast before you can make a sense out of it. Would there be an iota of thought in your mind a year ago that three senators would go to prison? But a major change is in the offing worldwide because without that change, the global system will collapse in less than one hundred years.
The dominant economic paradigm, rotten as it is, is falling down like the twin towers in New York as it was only successful in impoverishing the bulk of the world’s population while a few billionaires are having their heyday in massive rakings at the expense of the earth’s life-support systems. The truth is, only 1 per cent of the world’s population control the 99 per cent of the wealth while the 99 per cent of the people share the remaining 1 per cent. That is made possible by that rotten economic system called neo-liberal capitalism.
This is the bitter reality as pointed out by the International Cooperative Alliance in its document, the Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade (2011-2020). The new emerging economic model that is preferred by the people is cooperativism because its DNA is members-owned, value-based and sustainable. It is one to democratize wealth and power. It is the way to have inclusive growth. It is the path toward sustainability. Through cooperativism, money will be used not to make more money, but to enhance the well-being of the people and sustain ecological integrity through people’s participation.
In the Philippines, the 23,000 cooperatives with some 13 million members are now up to the call to launch a cooperative revolution. In their recent national convergence in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, they declared in one collective voice to debunk the rotten paradigm and in its place, promote social solidarity economy founded on the time-honored and universally accepted cooperative principles and values.
Through a cooperative revolution, the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed will be empowered to have access and control over their resources, mindful of the fact that the root cause of poverty in this country is the powerlessness of the people.
Through a cooperative revolution that centers on the development of human potentials, the marginalized sectors will be capacitated and drawn into the mainstream of development processes. Human resource development will be advanced knowing that a country that has not developed its human capital will always be penalized by slow growth.
Through a cooperative revolution, there will be shifts in paradigm where development will be Inclusive rather than exclusive where only 200 families are in absolute control of the economy through cartels and conglomerates.
Through cooperative revolution, people will be empowered to craft their own destiny and to liberate themselves from the quagmire of poverty. That is the genuine path toward social transformation as the new breed of freedom fighters looms to unfetter the country from the stranglehold of a circle of a few elite who does not only control the economy but rein the political powers as well.
Only then can genuine social change be had through peaceful and legal means.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 29, 2014.