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Remembering Milosz on Marx’s 200th

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rescued from my defunct blog ( 9/1/2004):

czesaw-miosz-prezentacja-1-638One Eastern European poet whose work I fancy a lot has just died. In his memory, I am posting an obituary which appeared in the New York Times. Milosz is also a great essayist and in my small library I have a copy of his most recent book, an anthology of his essays, where the running theme is that of the recovery of faith at a time when the great ideologies of his youth have all died :

 

 

Czeslaw Milosz, Poet and Nobelist Who Wrote of Modern Cruelties, Dies    

August 15, 2004 By RAYMOND H. ANDERSON

Czeslaw Milosz, the Polish émigré writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1980, in part for a powerful pre-mortem dissection of Communism, in part for tragic, ironic poetry that set a standard for the world, died Saturday at his home in Krakow, his assistant, Agnieszka Kosinska, told The Associated Press. He was 93

An artist of extraordinary intellectual energy, Mr. Milosz was also an essayist, literary translator and scholar of the first rank.

Many of his fellow poets were in awe of his skills. When another Nobel poet and exile from totalitarianism, the Russian Joseph Brodsky, presented Mr. Milosz with the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1978, he said, ”I have no hesitation whatsoever in stating that Czeslaw Milosz in one of the greatest poets of our time, perhaps the greatest.”

Mr. Milosz was often described as a poet of memory and a poet of witness.

Terrence Des Pres, writing in The Nation, said of him: ”In exile from a world which no longer exists, a witness to the Nazi devastation of Poland and the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, Milosz deals in his poetry with the central issues of our time: the impact of history upon moral being, the search for ways to survive spiritual ruin in a ruined world.”

In 1951, he was in Paris, on duty there as a Polish cultural attaché following elite assignments in the United States at the consulate in New York and the embassy in Washington. An urbane man fluent in Polish, Lithuanian, Russian, English and French, Mr. Milosz had established close associations with leading left-wing intellectuals in Paris.
These diplomatic contacts were important to the Warsaw authorities, but Mr. Milosz, a skeptic about Marxist rule, was tipped off that he faced arrest and trial in the Stalinist purges then under way if he returned to Poland. So he denounced the Moscow-dominated system that was tightening its grip on his homeland and took political asylum in France.

Formulating a New ‘New Faith’

In his youth, Mr. Milosz had been drawn to some of the idealized aspects of Marxism but he rejected dictatorship. In large measure, he defected, he explained later, because of damage he saw inflicted on spiritual values and intellect by Communist dogma, which he scorned as the ”New Faith.” For Mr. Milosz, faith was something else, as he made clear in a 1985 poem under that title:

Faith is in you whenever you look

At a dewdrop or a floating leaf

And know that they are because they have to be.

Even if you close your eyes and dream up things

The world will remain as it has always been

And the leaf will be carried by the waters of the river.

Mr. Milosz detested Socialist Realism, the Soviet-contrived literary doctrine that distorted truth into propaganda to promote the political and ideological goals of the Communist Party.

Two years after defecting, Czeslaw Milosz, (pronounced CHESS-wahf MEE-wosh) published ”The Captive Mind,” a searing analysis of Stalinist tactics and their numbing effect on intellectuals. ”The Captive Mind” was translated and published in many countries, becoming itself a historical document.

In it, Mr. Milosz wrote:

”The philosophy of history emanating from Moscow is not just an abstract theory; it is a material force that uses guns, tanks, planes and all the machines of war and oppression. All the crushing might of an armed state is hurled against any man who refuses to accept the New Faith.

”At the same time, Stalinism attacks him from within, saying his opposition is caused by his ‘class consciousness,’ just as psychoanalysts accuse their foes of wanting to preserve their complexes.”

”Still,” he added, prophetically, ”it is not hard to imagine the day when millions of obedient followers of the New Faith may suddenly turn against it.”

”The Captive Mind” was among a powerful group of books in the early 1950’s that condemned Communist ideology and foreshadowed the downfall of Communist power. A similar book was ”The New Class” by Milovan Djilas, the Yugoslav dissident, which deplored self-aggrandizement and moral rot in the Communist leadership.

After his defection, Mr. Milosz explained in a speech: ”I have rejected the New Faith because the practice of the lie is one of its principal commandments, and Socialist Realism is nothing more than a different name for a lie.”

In the same year ”The Captive Mind” appeared, Mr. Milosz also published ”The Seizure of Power,” a fictionalized scrutiny of the relationship between Communism and intellectuals.

By 1960, Mr. Milosz had tired of his life amid leftist intellectual squabbling in France. Years later he would speak with acerbity of those in Western Europe who continued to regard the Soviet Union as the hope of the future, particularly those ”French intellectuals who considered that only a man who was insane could abandon his position of a writer in a people’s democracy in order to choose the capitalistic, decadent West.” He accepted a professorship in the Slavic Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

He became an American citizen and lived in the Berkeley hills in a modest house with a stunning view of San Francisco Bay. He celebrated that vista in his poetry (”Views From San Francisco Bay” in 1972), but he also spoke of the alien remoteness of the California landscape.

Mr. Milosz, with his bushy eyebrows, herringbone tweed jacket, wry humor and brilliant lectures was soon a popular figure on campus, especially in his seminars and lectures on Dostoyevsky. He continued to write verse, translated literary masterpieces into Polish and compiled a large volume, ”History of Polish Literature,” published in 1969.

The hardships and dangers in Mr. Milosz’s life, first under Nazi military terror and then under Communist oppression, followed by long years as an émigré in the West, clearly marked his writing.

”In both an outward and inward sense he is an exile writer, a stranger for whom physical exile is really a reflection of a metaphysical — or even religious — spiritual exile applying to humanity in general,” the Nobel Committee observed in 1980. ”The world that Milosz depicts in his poetry, prose and essays is the world in which man lives after having been driven out of Paradise.”

A Multilingual Boyhood

Czeslaw Milosz was born June 30, 1911, to a Polish-speaking family in Szetejnie, Lithuania, which together with Poland, Latvia and Estonia was part of the Russian empire at the time. The complex, multiethnic Baltic region was inhabited by communities of Poles, Lithuanians, Jews, Russians and others, all speaking their separate languages and living their own cultures.

His family was not rich but it was distinguished and intellectual. He was only 3 when World War I broke out, and his father, a civil engineer, served in the czar’s army, while his family was kept on the run from advancing German armies.

From his childhood on, Mr. Milosz had a rich inner life, reading widely. He also had a challenging array of talents, interests and skills. As a schoolboy, he was fascinated by the scientific world of animals.

But in the end, he enrolled in law school at the University of Vilnius, graduating at the age of 23. He worked several years in radio, and sometimes remarked in interviews that he felt guilty for having abandoned science.

Mr. Milosz traced the distinctive imagery of his poetry to his boyhood experiences in the rural countryside of Lithuania; his childhood is evoked in an autobiographical novel published in the United States as ”The Issa Valley” (1981) and in ”Native Realm,” an autobiography. In one of his essays he wrote: ”If I were asked to say where my poetry comes from I would say that its roots are in my childhood in Christmas carols, in the liturgy of Marian and vesper offices, and in the Bible.”

The author Eva Hoffman, a native of Poland, said of him: ”He has never been a provincial artist. His writing may bear the marks of his particular Lithuanian-Polish past, but the material of his own life is filtered through a fully cultivated intelligence and probed to those depths at which individual experience becomes universal.”

He attended high school in the city of Vilnius, which by then had been transferred from Lithuania to Poland, and later restored to Lithuania, and published his first poem at the age of 15, He studied Latin for seven years in school, and in his Nobel acceptance speech credited that underlying linguistic discipline and classroom translations of poems with helping him to develop his mastery. He also learned Hebrew and Greek well enough to later translate the Bible into Polish.

Poetic Vision Born of War

At the age of 22, while attending law school, Mr. Milosz published his first experimental verse, ”Poem on Time Frozen.” Favorable reaction helped him win a state scholarship to study literature in Paris after he was awarded a law degree in 1934. A relative there, Oscar Milosz, who worked in the Lithuanian legation and wrote poetry in French, helped broaden his world outlook and shape his poetic style.

He returned to Vilnius after the publication of a second book of poems called ”Three Winters” but was fired from his job at a local Polish radio station for being too liberal. Mr. Milosz was working in Warsaw for Polish Radio when the Germans invaded Poland in September 1939.

During the Nazi occupation, he worked in the Warsaw University Library, wrote for the anti-Nazi underground, heard the screams and gunfire in 1943 as Germans killed or captured the remaining Jews in the walled Ghetto and witnessed the razing of nearly all Warsaw after the uprising in 1944.

One of his most moving poems, ”A Poor Christian Looks at the Ghetto” (1943), described the assault on the Jews:

Bees build around red liver,

Ants around black bone.

It has begun: the tearing, the trampling on silks,

It has begun: the breaking of glass, wood, copper, nickel,

silver, foam

Of gypsum, iron sheets, violin strings, trumpets, leaves, balls,

crystals,

Poof! Phosphorescent fire from yellow walls

Engulfs animal and human hair.

Bees build around the honeycomb of lungs,

Ants build around white bone.

Torn is paper, rubber, linen, leather, flax,

Fiber, fabrics, cellulose, snakeskin, wire.

The roof and the wall collapse in flame and heat seizes the

foundations.

Now there is only the earth, sandy, trodden down,

With one leafless tree.

Slowly, boring a tunnel, a guardian mole makes his way,

With a small red lamp fastened to his forehead.

He touches buried bodies, counts them, pushes on,

He distinguishes human ashes by their luminous vapor,

The ashes of each man by a different part of the spectrum.

Bees build around a red trace.

Ants build around the place left by my body.

I am afraid, so afraid of the guardian mole.

He has swollen eyelids, like a Patriarch

Who has sat much in the light of candles

Reading the great book of the species.

What will I tell him, I, a Jew of the New Testament,

Waiting two thousand years for the second coming of Jesus?

My broken body will deliver me to his sight

And he will count me among the helpers of death:

The uncircumcised.

After the war, a collection of poems called ”Rescue,” which showed the influence of T.S. Eliot, established him among Poland’s pre-eminent writers. Although he was not a member of the Communist Party he was accepted into the diplomatic corps in 1946 and began the journey that ended with his defection in 1951 in Paris.

Mr. Milosz chose throughout his life to compose his poetry in the complex but rich Polish language, even after he mastered French and English. Poetry can be true, he said, only if created in one’s mother tongue.

As his work won increasing attention and respect, Mr. Milosz developed close ties to many leading world intellectuals, writers, and political and religious leaders, especially to Pope John Paul II, his countryman and leader of his faith.

When he consulted on his plan to break with Communism, it was with no less a figure than Albert Einstein, who advised him during a talk at Princeton University that he should go home to Poland, not defect to the West to join the sad fate of exiles.

‘A Poet Remembers’

Mr. Milosz also knew Lech Walesa, the electrician who led the anti-Communist Solidarity movement and went on to become president of Poland. Lines from a verse by Mr. Milosz were put on a memorial in Gdansk to honor Mr. Walesa’s fellow shipyard workers who were shot by the police in the early 1970’s:

”You who harmed a simple man, do not feel secure: for a poet remembers.”

When Communism was smashed in Poland, Mr. Milosz returned to what he called ”the country of my first immigration.” Arriving in Warsaw after an absence of three decades, he received a hero’s welcome. Mr. Milosz was regarded as one of the world’s literary immortals. When he chose, he walked and talked with the great men of his time, but he remained humble.

He also had a remarkable memory and could readily recall the names of his early teachers, companions and friends, and he remembered in vivid detail the first books he read, his adventures and mishaps. He demonstrated that acute memory in his 1968 book ”Native Realm, A Search for Self-Definition,” a compelling and mildly ironic account of his life, work and thoughts in the illuminating context of Baltic and family history.

Mr. Milosz enjoyed pleasures of the body as well as of the mind, as he acknowledged in his 1985 poem, ”A Confession,” translated by himself and Robert Hass:

My Lord, I loved strawberry jam

And the dark sweetness of a woman’s body.

Also, well-chilled vodka, herring in olive oil,

Scents, of cinnamon, of cloves.

So what kind of prophet am I? Why should the spirit

Have visited such a man? Many others

Were justly called, and trustworthy.

Who would have trusted me? For they saw

How I empty glasses, throw myself on food,

And glance greedily at the waitress’s neck.

Flawed and aware of it. Desiring greatness,

Able to recognize greatness wherever it is,

And yet not quite, only in part, clairvoyant,

I know what was left for smaller men like me:

A feast of brief hopes, a rally of the proud.

A tournament of hunchbacks, literature.

At times, Mr. Milosz fell into melancholy, but he firmly fended off any would-be therapists. His early poetry was in what was called the ”Catastrophist” school of the 1930’s, which foresaw the annihilation of the principal values of modern culture and a devastating war. His wartime ordeals tended in ways to bear out the forebodings.

Mr. Milosz was a man of quiet manner but strong opinions and he expressed them, sometimes to the distress of his admirers. For example, in a PEN congress talk he reminded his fellow writers, ”Innumerable millions of human beings were killed in this century in the name of utopia — either progressive or reactionary, and always there were writers who provided convincing justifications for massacre.”

Reacting to the atrocities in the struggle between Christians and Muslims in Bosnia in the 1990’s, Mr. Milosz blamed intellectuals more than politicians and generals.

”These people who had liberated themselves from Marxist doctrine very quickly became nationalists,” he said in 1996. ”And we see what happens now in Yugoslavia. In my opinion, intellectuals are responsible for the horrors in Bosnia, for they initiated the new nationalist tendencies there.”

Mr. Milosz was married twice. His first wife, Janina Dluska, shared his ordeals in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation and went into exile with him. She died in 1986. They had two sons, Anthony and John Peter, who survive him. In 1992, Mr. Milosz married Carol Thigpen, a historian. Ms. Thigpen died in 2003, The Associated Press said.

After Mr. Milosz was awarded the Nobel, many of his books were translated into English and published in the United States. Ecco Press gathered a half-century of his work in ”The Collected Poems 1931-1987.” In it is a 1986 poem called ”And Yet the Books,” which contained these lines:

I imagine the earth when I am no more:

Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,

Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.

Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,

Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

Spiritual Voice in a Ruined World

These selections are from ”Czeslaw Milosz: The Collected Poems, 1931-1987,” The Ecco Press, New York. 1988.

ENCOUNTER

We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.

A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.

One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,

Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going

The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.

I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder. Vilnius, 1936

Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Lillian Vallee

A SONG ON THE END OF THE WORLD

On the day the world ends

A bee circles a clover,

A fisherman mends a glimmering net.

Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing,

And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.

On the day the world ends

Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,

Vegetable peddlers shout in the street

And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,

The voice of a violin lasts in the air

And leads into a starry night.

And those who expected lightning and thunder

Are disappointed.

And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps

Do not believe it is happening now.

As long as the sun and moon are above,

As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,

As long as rosy infants are born

No one believes it is happening now.

Only a white-haired old man, would be a prophet

Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,

Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:

There will be no other end of the world,

There will be no other end of the world. Warsaw, 1944

Translated by Anthony Milosz

A SKULL

Before Mary Magdalene, albescent in the dusk,

A skull. The candle flickers. Which of her lovers

Is this dried-up bone, she does not try to guess.

She remains like that, for an age or two

In meditation, while sand in the hourglass

Has fallen asleep — because once she saw,

And felt on her shoulder the touch of His hand,

Then, at daybreak, when she exclaimed: ”Rabboni!”

I gather dreams of the skull for I am it,

Impetuous, enamored, suffering in the gardens

Under a dark window, uncertain whether it’s mine

And for no one else, the secret of her pleasure.

Raptures, solemn oaths. She does not quite remember.

And only that moment persists, unrevoked,

When she was almost on the other side.

Berkeley, 1985, Translated by Czeslaw Milosz and Robert Hass

 

 

 

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Written by Romel

May 4, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Gensan

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Rescued from my defunct blog (12/13/2004):

I was in high school when my city of birth became known to the outside world as “Boomtown Gen San.” The mayor, an academic before she entered politics, (and the first and only woman to head the city named after Paulino Santos, a former governor of Lanao  and former chief of the constabulary in the days of the American commonwealth government ), combined a vision for the future and deft public relations to usher the city into an unparalleled economic boom. Rosalita Nuñez placed General Santos City  on the map, thanks in no small part as well to an outpouring of economic aid to the Philippines  following the ouster of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, what with the city identified as one of the emergent corridors of progress in Mindanao.

Aid money built what may well be Mindanao’s best – and still under used – airport, and expanded the city’s Makar wharf. The era would be known as the golden years that produced multi-millionaires out of small businessmen who struck it rich with the expansion of the Tuna export business.

Indeed, it  was a quick transformation from what then was a hot bed of the communist insurgency – Bula district for many years was the “laboratory” of the New People’s (NPA) Army Sparrow unit– to a boomtown riding high on the optimism that a bright future was now, oh so suddenly, within reach. On March 18, 1988, by grand cosmic design, the city fell under the direct path of a much-awaited solar eclipse that drew attention from around the world to the emergent economic center in Mindanao  The rooftop of the newly-built City Hall became a beehive of scientific activity, as well as tourist revelry.

Thousands of tourists and scientists and media persons from all over flocked to Gen San. Then President Corazon Aquino was on the yacht Ang Pangulo when an eerie darkness enveloped the city – the “center line” of the eclipse – for three minutes and 22 seconds.

One American journalist who had earlier protested her “bad luck” of having been sent to the Philippines to cover the event was said to have remarked, “this is the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.” It was for the life of me – then a second year high school student at the Notre Dame Dadiangas College High School Department in Lagao – an unforgettable experience.

In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, the earth stood still. A darkness cloaked everything in its cold mantle. Then the cocks crowed. And after what seemed like an eternity, the city of 250,000 residents broke into an applause for the Divine gift of wonder. I recall how as a freshman at the University of the in Diliman in 1990, I would, when asked about my roots, say with pride that “I am from Gen San,” and receive knowing nods from my interlocutors.

Last night, I was enjoying the annual Christmas concert of the Diliman Campus Bible Church choir at the Engineering Theater inside the UP Campus when I got word that a bomb had ripped through the city’s public market late in the afternoon, killing at least 15 people and wounding 60 others. As I sat there listening to the choir sing masterfully of that “Thrill of Hope” – the prophet Isaiah’s Prince of Peace – amid the turmoil of the present, I uttered a prayer for the loved ones I had left behind in the city of my birth that has become a different boomtown gripped by a deadly eclipse.

Written by Romel

May 4, 2018 at 6:52 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Baguio

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Rescued from my defunct blog (12/1/2004): 


Baguio
, a memory: a short interlude, three workless days of a long weekend.

The usual visits to the usual places — since we had with us some first-time visitors to the city — but this time there is the Mall to reckon with, with an architecture arguably well executed , although  the idea of putting up yet another shopping center in a mountain city already crowded with the undesirable excesses of urbanization just couldn’t be a well-conceived idea.  An open Mall it is, indeed.  And to the bargain book-addict that I am, features a most welcome well-stocked Booksale shop. Filipinos are seemingly forever enamored with Malls.

Ah, this Baguio of polluted air, too much traffic, bulldozed over and tree-less hills now dotted with houses of all sizes and shapes, too many tourists; yet it somehow retains its quaint charm, and the cool hugs of mountain air in the early mornings and in the evenings.

My first trip to the city nearly a decade ago was a rush through the eye of what is yet the worst typhoon ever to hit the Philippines in recent years, a calamity whose name I have since forgotten, but which I remember still with a quick stab in the heart, because it was a trip made in pursuit of a love that wasn’t meant to be.  I remember coming down from that heady trip back into a metropolis terribly beaten up by a super typhoon, with a heart full of self-doubt about the wisdom behind the mad rush to the mountain city. Yet it was a trip that would be followed by another and another and another, and another,  until it would grow tired of its own promise, (because in the end, the promise would prove false).Walking down Session Road in the short interlude, thoughts of the Baguio lass who had once owned my heart flooded my mind: she may well be married now, but what if I drop by her family’s residence on Honeymoon Road? It was a what if I could smile about now, somehow, after the long passage of time. I decided against the wisdom of the idea.

The Baguio of those days will be a bitter-sweet memory, as the song goes, those days that, in many ways, certainly changed my life, changed me. Oh, there was a new place to explore, my officemate’s old ancestral house near Wright Park, which he had billed as haunted. True enough, the first night of our short stay everyone trooped to the place, a compound with a ten-room house perched on the shoulder of a low hill, accessible only through a steep driveway left in sheer disrepair; I joined the throng but at the last minute, just as the group was going down the dark steps of a trail to the compound garden, decided to go for Session Road instead, one the excuse that I needed cash from my bank’s  ATM.  One of our drivers and an office messenger went with me;

On the way out, my companions claimed to have seen the ghost of white lady standing by our car. The driver claimed to have earlier seen the woman by the gate as he drove on the way up. He had thought she was the compound’s caretaker.  The messenger, who was at the back seat, had pulled the hood of his jacket, nervously telling me and  the driver not to look back and to drive straight past  the opened gate. I thought nothing of it but looked ahead, my thoughts flying somewhere else – to that place where memories of  her remain.  I didn’t notice anything peculiar,nor did I sense anything spooky about that place, except that I didn’t like the idea of ghost-hunting. Meanwhile, the rest of the pack we had left behind came out of the hunt disappointed that they didn’t meet any ghost at all. They had to content themselves with listening later to my companions’ tale of having been haunted by the lady dressed in a haze of white.

Perhaps, they did see the ghost, but I didn’t. I believe in the realm of the supernatural, but I go by the theology of a spiritual realm peopled by deceiving spirits of Lucifer’s great fall from Heaven. Which should make the ide of ghost-hunting a lot more scary.

Our last night in the city we held a bonfire at the garden of the same supposedly haunted compound: it was a hassle-free affair, no ghosts, nothing, but we sure enjoyed the experience of crowding around  the fire to roasted sticks of hotdogs and marshmallows. It’s indeed quite an experience, the fragrant smell of pine wood burning in the late night, the heat warding off the embrace of the cold mountain air, the juicy taste of hotdogs and marshmallows, the happy shouts and murmurs of people brought into a huddle by the expediency of the moment.

At the end of the short interlude, we left a city that,  a few days later, would erupt with reports of a deadly contagion named Meningococcemia.

Written by Romel

May 4, 2018 at 6:36 am

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The True Politician according to Max Weber

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Interlacements

Here is H.H. Bruun, in his book Science, Values and Politics in Max Weber’s Methodology (1972) writing of how a true politician would conduct himself according to Weber:

…[T]he precondition which Weber establishes for action in conformity with the ethic of politics is the fundamental willingness to let oneself be guided in certain cases by the value axioms of other spheres than the political one. Only those who can have “Beruf zur Politik” who do not only have this “Beruf”, who in particular situations are able and willing to submit to other value systems.

This precondition again implies that the political ethic as defined by Weber does not only demand knowledge of the laws and regularities of the political sphere; in other words, the “true” politician must not only be aware of the teleological system
surrounding his political goal, but also of the axiological (value or ethical system) one.

But…

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Written by Romel

March 8, 2017 at 3:41 pm

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Republic’s Interregnum: Legal Lacunae in the State of Exception

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Interlacements

Going over Republic v. Sandiganbayan’s ponencia by J. Carpio in class last night, I was struck by the abnormal situation it had to cope with and the way in which the Court dealt with it. For one, we have to realize that the 1987 Charter is a constitution that expressly carves out a state of exception for a series of acts committed by the revolutionary government — through Jovito Salonga no less! –in the constitutional interregnum.

The interregnum was our Schmittian moment in a deeply paradoxical way: we ousted the martial law regime but resorted to some of its tactics to make sure the political gains already won will not be lost again. Indeed, in the 1987 Charter, we have a constitution that expressly sanctions unconstitutional acts committed in the space of the interregnum s when there was no operative constitution!

Section 26, Article XVIII,  states:

SECTION 26. The authority…

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Written by Romel

March 3, 2017 at 5:36 am

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Kazimierz Brandys Redux, No. 1

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Between a thinking believing and a believing thinking…

Interlacements

0327-06-brandys-kazimierz-1982I’ve taken recently to re-reading the journals of the late Polish dissident writer Kazimierz Brandys (A Warsaw Diary, 1978-1981). 

An entry from October 1978, p. 11-12:

The contemporary world does not belong to the Age of Reason; it is convulsed by a desire for faith. As a layman living outside the church, my epoch ages me. I feel an anachronism in it, sometimes alien, superfluous. Especially since I usually felt distaste for the type of person and the kind of life that express themselves through religion. I was a student when I halted in front of the steps of a rather old temple, asking myself, Should I turn back or enter? I entered. For me socialism was not a confession of dogmatic faith; I went in because it was battling against a barbaric church that was hostile to me — fascism. Socialism’s nineteenth-century past had earned my…

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Written by Romel

February 5, 2017 at 6:26 pm

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Aquinas on Tyrants and Tyrannicide

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Interlacements

periander_vat2Aquinas’ De regno ad regem Cypiri (Address to the King of Cyprus, circa 13th C.) : interesting to read this short work written by Thomas Aquinas, especially the section on tyrants and tyrannicide, which I find to be a fertile source for contemporary political thought and discussion. A special note to make is that for Aquinas, a monarchy is the best political arrangement, hence the discussion is centered on the king.

Aquinas is reluctant to endorse private ventures to kill a tyrant; at the most, he appears to allow an uprising led by public authority as a last resort (I suppose, to give it a cloak of legality). Calvin follows this line, as do the Dutch Calvinists (for example, getting William of Orange to lead against Spanish tyranny), but I am not sure if Calvin et al acknowledge Aquinas as their source for their position.

Too, one thinks of…

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Written by Romel

November 28, 2016 at 7:36 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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