Not Another Yellow Solidarity of the Bourgeoisie

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Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa
Artist: Regine Velasquez
Director: Onat Diaz
Cast: Sharon Cuneta, Kris Aquino, Boy Abunda, Regine Velasquez, Ogie Alcasid, Bea Alonzo, Dingdong Dantes, Marian Rivera, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Mariel Rodriguez, Bianca Gonzales, Erik Santos, James Yap, Kerby Raymundo, Willie Miller, KC Canaleta, Cyrus Baguio, Enrico Villanueva, LA Tenorio, Larry Fonacier, Paulo Bugia et. al

It all seems so easy. No obstacles, no pain, no sadness, no struggle, not even a drop of sweat. Halaman lang ang sagabal. Whoever thought hope and change would be this effortless—and beautiful?

Noynoy’s latest campaign video, the music video “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa,” mobilizes a strong troupe of Kapamilya and Kapuso players, all clad in yellow, all bearing torches and candles, marching through the darkness to bring light, blazing and yellow, to the country. The splendor and magnificence of the spectacle, however, brings to mind the age-old aphorism, the standard precaution to consumers: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

The revolution, Mao Tse Tung said, is not a dinner party. “It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous.” Yet here we have a movement which is practically a dinner party—dinner na lang ang kulang. The crowd advances leisurely and gently; people light each others’ torches kindly and courteously; the stars’ march restrained and magnanimous, all smiles, no sweat, and as Marian Rivera would say, beautifool.

Look at the stars, Noynoy, look how they shine for you. And everything you promise to do. Yeah, they were all yellow.

Of course, there are the token “masa” representations—the farmer, fisherman, nuns and Muslim women—but the representations are just that, token, and all other instances of the ordinary (read: non-showbiz) people are either blurred in the background or are directly supporting the primary actions of the artistas. Even the title, “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa,” aside from its 1980s etymology, reflects a bourgeois individualist perspective. The phrase highlights the primacy of the self, a gesture of individual sympathy rather than the resolve of a collective tayo.

Nonetheless, there is clearly some kind of unity going on. But what is this unity based on? Save for the yellow outfits which provide an aesthetic (read: cosmetic) harmony, or perhaps the Aquinos’ broad (showbiz) influence which brought the artistas together, there is no apparent platform on which can be forged a broad unity.

Perhaps, no platform is needed. The video artfully shows us that personality and patronage politics will gloss over the real issues, that the torches will shed light onto actors’ beautiful faces but leave in the darkness real issues like agrarian reform and human rights. That even in the broad bourgeoisie solidarity, not everyone is on equal footing. Someone’s torch burns higher and brighter, someone stands higher than everyone else, someone will be at the center—or at least, someone can afford to, not just financially, but in terms of social capital as well.

The spectacle of Noynoy’s apparent uniting of the two traditionally un-uniteable network giants, ABS-CBN and GMA-7, is taken to be a preview of the broad unity Noynoy can achieve if ever he clinches the presidency. However, let us emphasize that conflict among the bourgeoisie (ie, the network wars) is different from conflict between social classes (ie, Hacienda Luisita). As EDSA 1 shows, the bourgeoisie can form tactical—and audiovisually spectacular—alliances to protect their class interests. But if we learned anything from EDSA 1 and the broad anti-Marcos anti-fascist struggle that led to it, it is that we must uphold the interests of and form solidarity with the broad majority, the workers and peasants, and not the landed elite.

In the video, there is a clear reference/homage to two prominent EDSA 1 icons, Noynoy’s parents Ninoy and Cory Aquino. In his campaign, Noynoy recycles EDSA 1’s most iconic quality (the color yellow) as well as its biggest failure: the sustaining of bourgeois supremacy. Beyond that, however, the fact still remains that after years of being a congressman and senator, Noynoy himself has not done anything politically notable, whether to go beyond his class background and courageously advance the interests of the majority like his parents did, or even to at least make amends for the injustices committed by his landed family.

Perhaps the showbiz solidarity of “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa” is not a preview of what Noynoy can do. Perhaps it is already a showcase, early in the campaign, of exactly how far politically another Aquino presidency can go. Perhaps the unity of bourgeois interests is the campaign line, the selling point and the presidential platform and mission, all rolled into one.

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  1. its hard to understand how noynoy can help the nation in crisis if he himself cannot resolve the issue of hacienda luisita.

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