*Larita Kutsarita - n. see THE AUTHOR
*Spoonfuls - n. articles/dispatches/scribbles by Larita Kutsarita
(Background photo by Aiess Alonso)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It Ain't Over, Baby (because this, too, was too long to be a status update, Ms. Tin Borja).

Dear Iskolar ng Bayan,

One fine red day in a waiting shed under the noon sun, I let sixty Ikot jeepneys pass me by. And not for nostalgic reasons. Photographic reasons, maybe.

While ALYANSA talked about their principled fight all the time, as in, all the time, they were also busy releasing pamphlets on "print-screened" Facebook posts that were not flattering of their party and its primary standard bearer, including those of a fake account that they claimed belonged to a STAND-UP supporter, placing candidates' stickers on UP workers' backs without their knowledge (this was in Palma Hall when I offered to take off a blue sticker from a janitor's back, and Manong replied in surprise, "Huh? Sinong naglagay nyan?"), and posting tarpaulins of their Fact Check statement on Ikot jeepneys on the day of the elections, past the campaign period (yes, the reason I spent noon in a waiting shed one fine red day was to take a photo of this as proof of late electioneering).

The reason I am posting this just now is that I have never been one for bashing the other political parties blatantly during elections if only to get the people's votes. I prefer focusing on the issues, how STAND-UP always rises to the occasion, how the alliance has always fought for a democratic, scientific, and mass-oriented education, and how it has never failed to join the other sectors in the Philippine society (and even in other countries) as they face issues concerning them directly as well. What sets the militant activists apart from these "multi-perspective" and liberal so-called "activists" is that we have NEVER made the University of the Philippines our only "playground," or placed UP students on such a pedestal that we have not thought about the mass demolitions in our neighboring communities, or the Hacienda Luisita farmers and farmworkers who would literally boil leather and make leather soup because P9.50 simply cannot buy a decent meal. While those clad in blue and yellow were busy shaking hands with the masses convincing them that they are the best choices for this and that, militant activists were joining the residents in a recently fire-stricken North Triangle community in their continuing fight against forced demolition imposed by the Ayala-initiated Quezon City Central Business District (QCCBD) project. While those clad in blue and yellow were busy selling themselves as deliverers of "SEX," more college-centric activities (because, apparently, they "love their college more" than everything else outside it), Gem Garcia was busy trying to "convince them why it is more important to serve the people." 

I feel that now is the time to say all this, for it to be clear that I have not posted this Spoonful as a "Vote STAND-UP Straight!" sort of statement. I have written this as an overall statement of disgust at how lightly these inactive, liberal, and elitist "student representatives" have taken the word, "Activism"; how insultingly they have acquired such a word as their own while some of my friends have only a peso in their pockets because they have chosen to be fulltime organizers without any source of income and have taken refuge in the struggle of the masses in communities on and off campus, while I first met Tania and Ian--who could have been my friends, too--already in their caskets, because they chose to die for Freedom and for Love of country and its oppressed many. I could not help but feel this sadness when I would speak into a microphone inviting students to walk out of their classes because it is only through militant and collective action that genuine change has been achieved even as world history has proven. Some nodded their heads, while others just sat in front of me, their Facebook accounts visible on their laptop screens, their sanctuaries during their free time. Militant activists impose their ideology on others, they would say. Darling, not really, not when you're online while we prepare for the long march to EDSA. Even so, you have never been able to escape from such an ideology. ACTIVISM is a commitment, and has never been mere "online presence" sensed in liked fan pages or "seemingly progressive" status updates. ACTIVISM is NOT welcoming all kinds of perspectives, because activism transgresses, and intends to crush the status quo because the current status quo is not and will never be enough basis for us to say that we are, indeed, free. ACTIVISM is sacrifice, even if it means putting the masses' interests before those of oneself (i.e. a nifty grade in a major class, a college diploma, a secure job, etc.). ACTIVISM is a life, and it must not, in any way, be so belittled. Mind you, it is never superior, and yet, real activism is never lacking in real "activity," that of theory in practice.         

We had put great trust in the student masses and their being critical. And that very night, hours after I let sixty Ikot jeepneys pass me by, all the sacrifices in those past weeks paid off: the student masses also put their trust in us. That gives us all the more reason to believe that the fight is not yet over, all the more reason to be better, to hold on to our principles as the genuine voice of the Iskolar ng Bayan even more tightly and strongly than ever before.

A dear friend is right: the class struggle does not end in elections, Ms. Oha Oha. Goodbye, now, and good luck on your next UP LAE take. I did not pass, either. But preaching about the importance of academic excellence over militant activism did not and certainly will not make things any better for me, or for the common student whose rights are violated and killed, and whose university is being transformed into halls of business opportunities. And to ALYANSA and KAISA, see you next elections (for never in my years as a UP student have I seen you any time else).

I hope, in time, when we are logged out of our internet accounts, every Iskolar ng Bayan realizes what "para sa bayan" truly means.

Yours always and forever,
Someone who struggles to be a true militant activist every day of her life

photo taken by Roselyn Correa

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