Popular Democracy and the Politics of Transition

  • Alexander R. Magno


The initial success of the Marcos dictatorship relied on the State apparatus as a means to subordinate all contradictory ruling class factions and to bring economic development and social order through authoritarianism. State domination became a necessity and by concentrating social resources within its structure it was able to project hegemony of the power bloc in governance. But the inability to provide even the most basic needs of the people and reproduce state dominance, magnified by the consolidation and expansion of anti-dictatorship forces, allowed a rapidly maturing regime crisis possibly resulting to the February uprising. Although successful, the major components of the authoritarian state apparatus remained intact which were inherited along with the problems which presents contradictions for the transition state. Nevertheless, the withdrawal from the dictatorship produced democratic spaces and favorable conditions for progressive forces to consolidate which allows enough room for experimentation with alternative political form at the community level and outside the formal spheres. Popular democracy as a political programme gained currency. Focusing on the essential element which is popular empowerment, the new agenda calls for devolution of power to localities. Partly realizable, this now stands as a vision contraposed against the present dispensation and represents a strategic option.


popular democracy; EDSA Revolution; Marcos dictatorship; regime crisis; authoritarian state structures; transitional government