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Radical alternative to Duterte

05:02 AM July 17, 2018

Richard Heydarian proposes in “Leni and the ‘third way’” (7/10/18) that Vice President Leni Robredo be remade into a third way alternative à la Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. The third way is aka “neoliberalism with a human face” or “austerity lite.” Thus, Robredo already is the third way.

She embodies a continuation of Edsa and the failures of elite democracy. In contrast, President Duterte has made a career out of lambasting Edsa from the right. An alternative to Mr. Duterte should come from a critique of “trapo” democracy from the left.

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Heydarian posits that a radical alternative has been eclipsed by the hegemony of neoliberalism. But Blair and Clinton’s swing to the right paved the way for the rise of extremism. Their abandonment of their traditional base made workers prey to the demagoguery of right populists.

Heydarian insists that socialism has been made passé by postmodernism. Yet socialists Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders belie this. Corbyn is poised to become the United Kingdom’s next prime minister, and Sanders would have beaten Donald Trump in the election.

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Despite predictions of the death of grand narratives, socialism is alive and kicking. The defeat of workers’ struggles heralded the birth of globalization, but capitalist greed is engendering resistance. The majority of millennials in the United States prefer socialism. An unknown New York socialist just trounced a high-ranking Democrat in the primaries. Elsewhere, radicals, not third way politicians, are the rivals to authoritarian leaders. A leftist just won Mexico’s election. In Europe, social democratic parties have collapsed and new radical parties are battling the extreme right for hegemony.

Mr. Duterte has harvested the discontent with Edsa democracy and is trying to channel it into support for dictatorship. But after two years of broken promises, Mr. Duterte’s ratings are down, especially among the urban masses who are reeling from “endo” and inflation. They are the constituency for a radical alternative to Mr. Duterte and the failed Edsa regimes.

RENE MAGTUBO, chair, Partido Manggagawa, manggagawa1@gmail.com

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TAGS: leni robredo, politics, Rodrigo Duterte
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