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Totalitarian and Authoritarian Discourses

A Global and Timeless Phenomenon?

Edited By Lutgard Lams, Geert Crauwels and Henrieta Anisoara Serban

This volume offers a comparative analysis of the functioning of totalitarian and authoritarian discourses and their aftermath. Whereas other studies often focus on communist/post-communist examples and hence particularize totalitarian discourse, this book starts from a more encompassing theoretical perspective, transcending the limitation of totalitarian discourse to its communist constituent.
The case studies presented in this volume thus provide a more differentiated analysis of discursive strategies in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes across the globe, including the former East Germany, former Yugoslavia, Romania, Lithuania, China, North Korea, the Philippines, Burma, Cuba and Tunisia. In addition to this geographical range, these studies also undertake new research into different eras, enabling comparison between past and present discourses. The findings are presented in three interconnected sections dealing with culture and education, media and official discourse, and power structures and politics. The extended scope of the case studies reveals the universal characteristics of totalitarian/authoritarian discourses over space and time.


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Part II Mass Communication and Official Discourse


Part II Mass Communication and Of ficial Discourse Jorge V. Tigno and Jean Encinas Franco The Language of Dictatorship in the Philippines: Marcos and Martial Law Introduction: The Rise of the Strongman and the Strongman’s Language In 1972, then-president Ferdinand Edralin Marcos declared martial law over the entire Philippine archipelago by virtue of the broad constitu- tional powers granted to him as the president of the republic.1 Over the next fourteen years, Marcos banned all forms of partisan (including even democratic political and electoral) activities and severely curtailed civil liberties. Marcos was both systematic and ruthless in dismantling the coun- try’s old-style political institutions. A unique feature of the martial law regime was the way it governed itself and its people. The word becomes the primary ‘symbol of authority’.2 This is a most apt description for the way Marcos ruled by presidential decrees – a power granted to him by the Constitution. Between 1972 and 1986 Marcos signed and issued an average of twelve presidential decrees every month. Throughout the martial law period Marcos promulgated a total of 2,034 presidential decrees (PDs), 1,525 letters of instruction (LOIs), and 1,093 executive orders (EOs) most 1 Article 7, Section 10, Paragraph 2 of the 1935 Constitution provides that the President can call upon the armed forces ‘to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, insur- rection, or rebellion … when the public safety requires it’, ‘suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof...

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