Since the 1960’s when the left movement in the Philippines started, the term “imperialist” point to the United States alone. This pertains to the American’s extension of political, economic and cultural influence over smaller undeveloped countries that depend on US financial aids and protection. The US was seen as an economic and political superpower, and it was blamed for the many issues and problems the Philippines has suffered, because imperialism kept the country in neo-feudal state with the Philippine government as a loyal ally bootlicking the United States.
Uncle Sam has been figured as a great collaborator coercing other nations. With its military might it kept a grand alliance with great nations that polarized political power. Historically, it was able to show its powers over dicators, pacifist and other colonizers. Doing so, expanded its territorial influence, dividing the world economically to be conquered anew. All these, the United States did as guaranteed by its constitution and its great love for freedom and democracy, as a great advocate of sovereignity for all nations. To others, these are a grand scheme to keep capitalism at the helm.
Liberalism is married to capitalism. The latter is understood on the other end as the evil that chains many other nations in the shuckles of poverty. The many and the worst problems of the world can be theoretically traced as well to be rooted in the curse of capitalism. Because capitalism exploits on liberalism, while the alternative to capitalism will take away some accustomed liberties in the society, contemporary politics see no point in the alternative. At the extreme, even the minute problem in the Philippines is immediately linked to US Imperialism.
Down to US Imperalism. That was the call before, and even until now, in lighting rallies that hit the streets from time to time. The Philippines is young republic. It has to learn and work interdependently with other great nations. Diplomatic ties, treaties, agreements are signed bilaterally and multilaterally to ensure the country’s economic and political stability. It happens often though, that in many of the agreements the Philippines got into, that country ends in win-lose situation. Who then should be blamed for this: colonial mentality, incompetence in argumentation, political consciousness, capitalism, hegemony, imperialism?
Recently, the Philippines is at a tension with China, and it is not only China, but also Japan and other countries in the southeast Asia. China has been building garrison, testing political waters to extend its territorial boundaries, heightening tension over disputed waters and claims. Since, China opened its doors to capitalism in the 1990’s, economic power has shifted and it has invaded the world with its cheap products, killing many other local businesses.
Think of any product, and sure there is a China made counterpart of that, available in the local market. Big brands from the US, UK, Canada, Japan and the countries of Europe have counterfeit versions from China. Is this not a form of economic imperalism? Even the local brands in the Philippines have China-made versions, sold in a much lower price, but come in cheaper quality. Overprice and quality, the China-made products are an auspicious find for those in a tight budget. Countries shifted production in China, which gave it an opportunity for growth. After conquering the world economy China is going beyond the market.
The Chinese people are Filipinos’ cultural brethren. The ties built by the earlier Chinese tradesmen in the archipelago, from since prehistory, brought the Filipino Chinese Mestizo. These Chinoys residing in the country have adapted to the Philippine culture and they have been considered as part of the multcultural make-up of the country’s population. Most of them are wealthy businessmen, and the tycoons the country has. Economically, Chinese businessmen own many of the industries in the country, and Filipinos have learned to live with that.
Imperialism is a construct of political and economic powerplay. It is now more difficult to distinguish who the imperialist is when the eyes just look at one. Who is the imperialist now? Who’s allowing the imperalist to take its strides?