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  • anarchism, history and movement in the philippines

    In March 2012, we had the chance to meet some anarchists from the local infoshop and mindsetbreaker­press in manila, the capital of philippines. We talked to them about their general situation and about one campaign against gentrification and squatting in the national park. We publish parts of interviews and background information.

    The history of diliman communesome notes on US politics history anarchism in philippines andcommunity building

    Early history of anarchism in the philippines (following some parts of the articel "Anarchy in the R.P."from the newspaper "gasera" #1) The analysis below is a historical re­reading of thearchipelago based on a non­hierarchial and non­statistlens. It is an attempt of the editors to see a sharedperspective in history. There is evidence that anarchism was already present inthe Archipelago long ago. Primitive communities fromcoastal to upland flourished and utilized an autonomousand decentralised political system that facilitatedproliferation of highly diverse cultures and life­styles.Our ancestors did engage in local warfare and hostilities,but not to dominate or establish central power to rule the

    archipelago inuniformity.The spanishforces weredefeated byLapu­Lapu, but hisvictory proved to betemporary. But spontaneouse and autonomousresistance ensued; it plagued the 300 years of Spanishoccupation.The incident on the 20th of february 1872 was one of theearliest instances of direct actions in the archipelago.Seven Spanish officers were killed in a mutiny in CaviteNaval Shipyards...

    After the Spanish had been driven out of the Philippines in 1898 by a combined action of the United States and the Filipinos, Spain agreed to "cede" (that is, sell) the islands to the United States for $20 million. But the Filipinos, who had already proclaimed their own independent republic, did not take kindly to being treated like a plot of uninhabited real estate. Accordingly, an American force numbering at least 50,000 proceeded to instill in the population a proper appreciation of their status.

    Thus did America's longest­lasting and most conspicuous colony ever come

    into being. [...] By early 1950, the United States had

    provided the Philippines with over $200 million of military equipment and supplies, a remarkable sum for that time, and was in addition to the construction of various military facilities.

    The Philippines was to be a laboratory experiment for this unconventional type of combat. The methods and the terminology, such as "search­and­destroy" and "pacification", were later to become infamous in Vietnam.

    ["Killing Hope ­ U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II", William Blum, Zed Books London 2003].


    "The barricade is not only really a physical obstruction but a symbol of protest. The physical barricade could be and was easily destroyed by police forces. The symbolic barricade is not so easily destroyed as its physical counterpart. It is a sign of dissent and discontents."

    The Diliman Commune is an uprising led by students, faculty members and residents of the University of the Philippines, Diliman (UPD), together with transport workers, on February 1­9, 1971, in protest of the three centavo increase in oil prices during the Marcos administration.

    The historic protest action was led by the UPD Student Council, the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (Democratic Association of the Youth, or SDK) and various fraternities, student organizations, faculty unions and community organizations.

    ( tle=Diliman_Commune)

    Transnational connections are importantfor anarchism. They have always been.After all, a key notion of anarchism is itsopposition to the nation state. Solidarityacross borders and the desire to eventuallyeradicate these borders are inherent in theanarchist idea.Anti­colonial community building isnecessarily a multilateral affair. It cannotbe done by a single party alone. It has toinvolve everyone. Of course it is of utterimportance for activists from the globalNorth to refrain from "leading" thisprocess and to listen very carefully to thewants and intentions of their comrades.However, they cannot passively wait forothers to single­handedly make thechanges either.Unjust economic and social relationscan only be turned into just economic andsocial relations if everyone changes. It willnever be possible to turn everyone intomasters, and it is hardly desirable to turneveryone into slaves ­ the goal must be toabolish both the master and the slave. ("gasera" #1, article by gabriel kuhn)

  • interview with anarchists from the philippines a3yo: Ok, lets start with theinterview. What kind ofprojects and groups exist inthen philippines? MB(1): As far as i know thereare two infoshops in thephilippines. befor there werethree but now only two. Theone social centre and info­shopexists close to manila, island ofluzon and the other in davao,mindanao is also run by ananarchist.We have a project right nowcalled "mindsetbreaker" pressand distro. we produce andpublish anarchist material.The mobile anarchist school isstarting this summer in 2012for spreading information froman anarchist perspective in thelocal neighbourhood, commu­nity and presenting at univer­sities.Another project which is notyet formalised group, but weare trying to work on that, isthe copwatch. This is focussingon documenting police vio­lence, harrasment and abusionof people. Also it is aboutconfronting the public withthese issues and use differentactions and demon­strations torise awareness.Maybe Mindsetbreaker(2) canadd something MB(2): With our projectmindsetbreaker, we arefocussing on local informationand propaganda. It is veryimportant for us to adressalternatives to the people,because we are not so many.We have a journal called"gasera" and reproduce also amagazin called "eco­defence"from our comrades in minda­nao. We copy and distribute notonly local but also internationalto some people by mail.We want to encourage locals toclaim their rights and want toshow, how anarchism works inour local context and what itmeans to us here in the philip­pines. a3yo: When i talked to youearlier, you mentioned also an

    anarchist gathering in thephilippines recently and a localanarchist network in metro­manila. What about thesethings? MB(1): There is a informalnetwork called LAN, "localautonomous network" with notonly anarchist groups. Thisnetwork existed some yearsbefore, but people went out, sowe made a new one.We try to make commonactivities and organised a firstgathering in december of 2011and a series of this after. thetopic we discussed about wasthe political history of thephilippines and a friend, whowrote a local analysis presentedhis paper about archipelagicconfederation.The second gathering was indabao about food not bombs.The third was a workshop witha film about the strugglinganarchist communities inindonesia and japan, the fourthabout the rise of the postleft.

    The fifth will be held here inmanila in march 2012 aboutgender equality. All activities,meetings and discussions orga­nised by LAN are an attempt tostrengthen the network, tomake creative actions and todeepen analysis and to under­stand situation locally andinternationally.We hope that the LAN and itsdifferent groups will continueto work against the state andcorporate domination.

    a3yo: what wouldyou say are the mostimportant topics foryour daily work andwhy? you said all­ready police brutallyis one, what else isgoing on in yourlocal context? MB(1): We wantalso to destroy thetotalitarian left and theirideology. because they arereally influencal, the statistcommunist and socialists.We have tree enemies here, thecapitalism, the state and theautoritarian left. They arecommunists, the marxists andmaoists, who believe in theircommunist state and this isvery important for us to discussthese things and why tocriticize this movement.Not to impose against them butto give information what iswrong. They are doing thesame as the state.also the poverty is an important

    topic and equal distribution offood. we organise food notbombs and also free marketswith goods and everything thatis for people important, whocannot we organise free marketand food and everythingimportant for people whocannot afford. i would say thatis my main focus, i want towork on poverty, against policeand making some alternativesand confront capitalism, stateand the autoritarian left.

    a3yo: what about right wingmovements, you have maybealso fascists and fundamentalistand religious people, don't youhave a struggle against rightwing? MB(2): For me it is not really atopic but for some of us mightbe. maybe this kind of issueabout religious fascist is inother parts of philippines morepresent. for us, we focus moreon these three enemies, thecapitalism, the state and thecommunists. a3yo: can you shortly explain,why the communists arevery strong in thephilippines?

    MB(1): why they arestrong? because theauthoritarian left is influ­enced by the see china is near to thephilippins so most of theneighbouring countries likeus have a strong maoistcommunist and marxistmovement. because of that35 years ago, they came tothe philippines and since the70ies they try to destroy thecurrent state and enforce amaoist communist state likechina. they are very strong hereand they believe in the war,which is one of the strategies ofthe maoists to make a commu­nist state. a3yo: another question aboutyour project, the mindset­breaker, why did you start itand how does it work? MB(2): We started and focuson the neighbourhood and try