It's All the Rage: Popular Uprisings and Philippine Democracy

By Gatmaytan, Dante B. | Washington International Law Journal, February 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

It's All the Rage: Popular Uprisings and Philippine Democracy


Gatmaytan, Dante B., Washington International Law Journal


I. INTRODUCTION

In February 1986, millions of Filipinos gathered at a major thoroughfare in Metro Manila to defy the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. After four days of protest they forced Marcos into exile as he relinquished his twenty-one-year hold on power. In February 2001, millions of Filipinos staged another four-day protest that shortened President Joseph Estrada's six-year term of office to a mere thirty-one months. A few months later, a third gathering attended by millions of Filipinos called for the resignation of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. After four days of protest, this demonstration ended with a violent clash with the police in front of the presidential palace.

This practice of removing Presidents by popular protest in the Philippines is known as "people power."1 It hovers over the political horizon as a reminder to incumbent public officials that election results in the Philippines are subject to a subsequent veto by the people and that public officials can be recalled through spontaneous popular uprisings.

People power is regarded as the epicenter of a democracy movement that spread outward from Manila, toppling authoritarian governments including the Suharto regime of Indonesia in 1998.2 This "democratic revolution" is credited with spawning other popular uprisings in South Korea, Pakistan, Burma and Eastern Europe,3 and supposedly "unleashed the pro-democracy tide that swept... the rest of the world."4

Over the years, however, people power has lost some of its luster. Hailed as a potential agent of Philippine democratization in 1986, it was by 2001 denounced as a disgrace to democracy. Once exalted, it is now criticized as "mob rule or anarchy or coup."5

The relative ease with which people now resort to people power and its impact on politics make it an important subject of inquiry for social scientists. Students of law should study its implications for many concepts including democratic constitutionalism, rule of law, and even regime change. Yet, the phenomenon seems scarcely noticed by academics in general and legal scholarship in particular.6

Instead, recent literature on people power has degenerated into a squabble over whether subsequent mass uprisings are genuine manifestations of the phenomenon. This unfortunate turn of events is the product of a tendency in the literature to compare all uprisings to the events surrounding the removal of Marcos. The 1986 version of people power is touted as a "democratic revolution" and has become the standard against which subsequent uprisings are measured. Those that do not meet this standard are disparaged as poor facsimiles or perversions of people power.

This Article attempts to resuscitate the discussion on people power by examining recent developments in Philippine politics. I suggest that we disassociate people power from democratic revolutions because Filipinos never attempted a fundamental change in political organization or government. It was directed against Marcos alone. The anti-authoritarian theme of Marcos' removal was incidental to popular outrage over his attempt to nullify the results of the 1986 elections, which were believed to favor his rival Corazon C. Aquino.

In place of the "democratic revolution" view, this Article develops two alternative accounts of people power in the Philippines. The first holds that people power is an expression of outrage against a particular public official, triggered by government action. The second holds that it is a withdrawal of allegiance from the official in favor of another. Neither of these views is burdened by the insistence that people power is or aspires to democratic revolution.

Reorienting the discourse along the lines of these alternatives should prevent sterile debates about whether popular uprisings merit the title "people power." This approach examines the nature of people power distinctly from attempts to explain the failure of democratic consolidation in post-Marcos Philippines. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

It's All the Rage: Popular Uprisings and Philippine Democracy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit OpenDyslexic.org.

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.