Photo by Keith Magcaling
Text by Agatha Gregorio
Political parties argued on issue-based activism, as Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA UP) and Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP) both acknowledged it to be a means towards a grand end, while UP Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (UP ALYANSA) asserted the need for specificity in mobilization in a forum, Thursday.
Acknowledging the ideological differences among political parties, UP Political Society Vice President for Education, Research and Training Vienne Delmonte said that the forum’s purpose was also to “discover intersections” on the kind of activism they believed should be espoused.
She addressed the upcoming student council elections on April 27, saying, “We think that what the debates during election season lack are discussions on the core ideological beliefs of the parties, and that is what this forum wanted to address. We believe that the insights from this forum will be very helpful to the students in forming a critical vote.”
The political parties’ went on to discuss individual views on the definition of activism, ‘clicktivism’, and parliamentary struggle as a form of struggle were steadily discussed. Further disparity in viewpoints arose on the legitimacy of ‘clicktivism’ in mobilization.
“If you say it is only grand end, without knowing the particularities of what you are fighting for, it will definitely make it hard for you to achieve your goals. When you say activism, you have to know the issue first.” UP ALYANSA Vice Chairperson for Education and Research Roi Pablo said, defending issue-based activism.
UP KAISA and STAND-UP representatives responded in disagreement, pointing out the problem in issue-specific mobilizing.
KAISA UP representative Jei Edora III said, “Iyan ‘yung manifestation mo ng pagkakaiba at nung systemic exploitation eh. You need to organize the struggle, in order to get it. Akala natin in issues that affect only us, doon lang tayo kikilos, kaya tayo magiging issue-based.”
Online and off-ground
Pertaining to ‘clicktivism’, all parties recognized the merits in its practice.
However, Edora claimed it to be an illegitimate form of activism.
“Hindi namin nirerecognize ‘yung ‘clicktivism’ bilang form of activism. It’s really a way to organize and arouse. But do you really see turnouts? Or are the turnouts really progressive? Are they mobilized towards the end goal?” He said.
STAND UP chairperson Almira Abril responded with the similar sentiment of how activism must go beyond screens, encouraging on-ground mobilization.
“Pero hindi sapat, na lilimitahin natin ang ating sarili na sa isang click, kaya nating baguhin ‘yung ating buong lipunan. It takes ‘yung actual nating paglahok sa iba’t ibang mga mobilisasyon,” she said.
All parties agreed on the equality of university-specific and national issues in prompting activism.
“The students are the next participants of this economy. They are the next victims. We need to fight for the sectoral struggle outside cohesively, in order for us to arouse here,” Edora III said.
Parliamentary struggle was acknowledged as a form of activism by the parties, but also recognized as a limited effort in forwarding concerns.
“Mayroon naman talaga tayo naaachieve diyan sa parliamentary struggle. Pero the question is, hindi enough na masapatan tayo sa mga ‘piecemeal’ na mga games na binibigay ng isang estado na tool sa lalong pagpapahirap at lalong pagpapabulok ng sistema ng lipunan na mayroon tayo sa kasalukuyan,” said Abril.