Monday, May 31, 2004
October 5, 2002
This is a message to all Filipino’s all over the world to oppose the wide-scale agression of the United States of America against the free-world. This is a call for solidarity to all Filipinos and other nationalities that have been or are still exploited by the United States and its institutions that are part of its neo-imperialist mechananisms. For so long the United States have deceived my countrymen with its so-called ‘American Dream’ and its neo-liberal brand of Democracy which was adapted by its local pupets during the Commonwealth Government era of my country. And the outwright support of the Macapagal-Arroyo Administration has stirred concern from various radical political formations in the Philippines to oppose the pupetry of the President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to GW Bushs’ call to arms against so-called global terrorism. Let us join the ranks of all the peace-loving who oppose the wide-scale call of the Bush Administration to declare war against almost (if not) all countires that are hostile to its foreign, military and economic policies and branding them as terrorists. It saddens me that my government is forgeting the injustices that the United States have done to our country and to other neighboring 3rd world nations. After seeing how the US Government used the 1st year comemoration of 911 has seized the opportunity to manipulate the trend of opinion and to rally more allies on its so-called war on terrorism, which poses the threat of a full-scale war in the Middle East has compelled me into writing this exposition as a voice of opposition and as a call for solidarity against all forms of wars of agression and retaliation. Don't get me wrong I do mourn and feel sorry for the victims of the 911 WTC incident. But the thing is that in a way the United States deserved it. They deserved it for the millions of people that died in their hands. Countless people have already lost their lives because of the imperialist interests of the US of A. The victims range from different walks of life, some fell victim to the economic sanctions that the United States and its other financial and economic institutions imposed on so-called members of the 'Axis of Evil'. Others are victims of the foreign economic and socio-political policies that it has imposed through the GATT-WTO, others are victims of its multinational and transnational corporations that plunder the natural resources and labor force of 3rd World Countries. And lastly others are victims of the United States countless wars of aggression towards people that dared to stand up to its tyranny. How many people did actually die due to the Agent Orange that they dumped on the water systems of Vietnam during the Vietnam War? How many of our early Filipino Patriots died during the Fil-Am War of the early 1900's? Did they ever thought about the waste of lives that they brought about in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the ending days of World War 2? Or did they ever felt guilty for those who died out of poverty due to the economic sanctions that they imposed on North Korea, Iraq, Cuba and Libya? How many indigenous cultures have been eliminated of the face of this planet because of the cultural imperialism of its common goods and commodities, that came in the guise of industrialization, assimilation into the market economy and forced migration. Aren't they also the ones who placed their so-called dictators into power? Who do you think gave Ferdinand Marco's the guts to declare Martial Law and suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus during the height of the Anti-Communist hysteria of the First Quarter Storm here in the Philippines? Didn't they used support Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War to topple the leader ship of Ayatollah? Why do you think is the reason that everytime the Peso-to-Dollar exchange rate rises It is because of our economy's dependence to the US Dollar. Weren’t Osama Bin Laden, his Al Queda and the Taliban once pawns of the United States during the Cold War against the Soviets? How many Palestinians have died or became refugees because of their support to the Zionist Fascism of Sharon in the Middle East? Have you read the news lately a number of Red Crescent volunteers died because of the miscalculations of their so-called ‘smart bombs’ and this incident wasn’t the first one a few weeks before that a number of Afghan civilians lost their live when a smart bomb accidentally bombarded a wedding banquet in Afghanistan. How many people exactly have died because of their race, political affinity, skin color, sexual orientation, and beliefs under the hands of Good Ol' Uncle Sam? How many Muslim’s have been victims of religious sectarianism that have been promoted by the United States right after the WTC bombings? To get to my point the United States act as if the blood of the victims of the World Trade Center bombings is not in their hands. They pretend to be fighting for Democracy, Liberalism and all other forms of moral self-righteousness at the expense of committing genocide daily. What’s even worse is when GW Bush drew the line between good and evil. Yes I do condemn terrorism in all its forms but I condemn acts of vengeance that are disguised as moral crusades for the greater good. To look at it at a revolutionary's perspective I would quote the words of a Filipino rebel leader that has always been a target of each puppet administration that have seated in the Philippines after the 1986 Edsa Revolt: "The terrorism of those responsible for the September 11 attacks is horribly unjust, but it is also unjust for the US government to engage in far larger acts of terrorism by using the...attacks as the pretext or license for misrepresenting as 'terrorists' the highly principled revolutionary forces and movements of national liberation, democracy and socialism." To conclude the issue of Global Justice is a sham under the pretext of the 911 incident, to support any act of war out of the pity that you felt for the victims of 911 is not justifiable and does not make you any different from the perpetrators of the WTC bombings. So let this be a call to arms to anyone and everyone that agrees with what is stated above regardless of their political affinity, race, class, sex, and religion to dare to stand up against the full scale war of agression that the United States will be launching against Iraq or any other nation for its imperialist intrests, it has been a known fact that the United States has the greatest reserve of arms in the whole world, and that its economy has always been based on the industry of creating nuclear, chemical, biological and any other form of weapons. It could be said that the real nature of the US declaration of war is the fact that a war would be a good jolt-up its withered economy that has been sinking due to the continuing crisis of global capitalism. FOr this I implore all peace loving citizens of this country or any country let us not be fooled by Uncle Sam's trechery as this band called the Jerks once put it let us no... "...Go not gently into the night. Rage against the dying of the light! Sing a song against this terrible sight.Rage until the lightning strikes!"
Friday, May 28, 2004
In the wake of the September 11 attack on the United States paranoia has been the prevalent temperament among the Bush Administration. By declaring a global war on terrorism the United States have put itself on a pedestal that denounces notions that do not go along with their interests. And with that pronouncement has lost a majority of the goodwill that it received in the rouse of the WTC bombing.
With the first leg of their global war on terror the USA unleashed its military might on the people of Afghanistan, under the pretext of liberating the Afghan people from the clutches of the Taliban who are also said to be harboring the Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda Terrorist network the United States along with other countries such as the United Kingdom sent troops to flush out the Muslim extremists from Afghanistan. Keeping in mind that the said attack is a rhetorical form of retaliation, the USA liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, and made the political climate of Afghanistan into a somewhat free-for-all condition, thus making the country and its people prone to other forms of exploitation that ranges from the Northern Alliance, which is basically a resistance movement made up of Afghan warlords who want to further their control of Afghanistan as well as from the remaining vestiges of the Taliban regime.
It has been a known fact the Taliban themselves were formed and trained by the United States Central Intelligence Agency as an organized opposition against the former Soviet Union, that once occupied Afghanistan. And upon the withdrawal of Soviet troops gained control over the Afghan people and installed a Fundamentalist Muslim state under their rule. Thus making them a friendly country for Muslim extremists that are against the evils of the Western World.
But if we look at the history of the United States we will not help but heed and understand why so many people hate the United States.
In the local context wasn’t the United States who bought our country from Spain, in the Treaty of Paris? And upon their occupation of our land under the guise of ‘benevolent assimilation’ have committed genocide of Filipino patriots that fought in the Revolution of 1896.
During World War Two weren’t they the ones who deserted us and a number of their troops upon the arrival of the Japanese Imperial Army, and then declared Manila as an open city, making our capital free for the Japanese Army to plunder? Well, sure they returned but a bulk of their victory against the Japanese could be attributed more on the collective victories of guerilla units all over our country.
Weren’t they also the ones who dropped the atomic bomb on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed thousands of Japanese civilians, and have caused the other remaining survivors and their descendents to suffer from cancer and other genetic alterations in their body?
In the wake of the Red Scare weren’t they the ones of declared wars of aggression against North Korea and Vietnam? And in turn condemning a number of their youth to their deaths for a war that was never worth fighting for. More so was the effect of the Agent Orange and the napalm bombs that they dumped on Vietnam, so that they could exterminate the North Vietnamese guerillas, as if they were mere insects.
Does any one of you still remember their attack on Panama, against Noriega? Can anybody still remember why such an attack was made? Nor weren’t they also the ones who backed Iraq in the Iran-Iraq War?
To look at it in a non-sectarian manner the Communists of the now collapsed Soviet Union or in the People’s Republic of China, or the Nazis or even the Islamic Fundamentalists also committed a score of human rights violations but none at the scale that could be compared to that of the United States have committed, against a number of countries all over the globe.
Moreover is their continued manipulation of the global economy along with their cohorts under the WTO and the other financial institutions that emerge under the guise of the IMF, WB and ADB have continuously caused economic collapse in the 3rd World.
With their slogan of globalization, and the notion of the ‘free market’ domestic economies that are dependent of backward modes of production such as farming, fishing and herding of livestock, have died and that countries with economies such as those mentioned above have, become stockrooms of corporate surplus and other decadent by products of capitalism such as electronics, fashion clothing, jewelry, accessories and fast food chains.
Not to mention their encouraging of the ‘morality of spectacle’ which blinds our minds with the patronage for designer clothing, over priced athletic shoes and the pollutive meat industry. The face of globalization has also razed rainforests into herding grounds for cattle gazers that fuel the demand of Mc Donalds and other fast food chains. And that the farmlands of 3rd World countries are systematically being converted to their sad fate of becoming factories or subdivisions. More so is the recent upsurge of urban sprawls within the cities.
And in the context of the 911 attack on Manhattan the Bush Administration along with reactionary bunch of republican dimwits, dare claim that America was innocent. But we could look at the issue in both ways, America as a nation controlled and manipulated by their so-called democratic aspirations was guilty, but the American civilians who have been blinded by the impression of freedom and liberal-democracy are innocent and that the terror attack on their land is indeed unjustified as it was also night right for the Japanese Imperial Army to launch a pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbor, during World War 2.
But to put the September 11, attack, as a pre-text for declaring a full-scale war, surely is not a war that is worth fighting for. Especially for a country that has a long track record of manipulating world events to fuel is financial mechanisms and encourages the fascist tendencies of countries that are bounded under the yoke of poverty, self-evidently has not the moral ascendancy to do so.
With the recent presentation of Collin Powel of their evidence of Iraq’s amassing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons at the United Nation’s Security Council meeting indicates the war mongering tendencies of the United States that it no longer recognizes International Law, nor do they have faith in the capabilities of the UN Inspection team to deem findings that are in a sense more conclusive and more un-biased than that of the United States and its monarchial puppet Great Britain.
It saddens me though that the Macapagal-Arroyo regime has been so blindly playing a puppet for G.W. Bush. It saddens me that despite the global anti-US sentiments that has been rising all over the world she chose to side with the United States and chose to blame the outbreak of a full-scale war in the Middle East on the hands of Saddam Hussien, without going into a consensus with here administration, who have been constantly lambasting her for her militarist attitude towards disenchantment that comes from the revolutionary Left and the secessionist Moros.
She speaks in front of the TV camera as if it is the national unanimity of the Filipino to give their support for the sham war that the United States is declaring Iraq, she even points out that it is the national interest of the government and that she even sites the Gulf War of 1991 as the rational response to America’s call to arms against Iraq.
With regards to President Arroyo’s pronouncement, does she not know that for her statement to become of national interests she must follow the Constitutional provisions which are provided by our rule of law, nor that her statement is a pathetic contortionist statement given to her by her Red, White and Blue Masters, it is evident that a majority of the Filipino are against war, and why shouldn’t they?
War after all means death, destruction and the promotion of the sentiment that men should give in to their savage tendency to kill anything what they perceive as their enemy without given a just cause. More so was that in one way or another our country will be affected if in case we a war breaks out in the Middle East, given the fact that more than a million of our countrymen are there working.
As for the Bush Administration and its war mongering tendency we dare say that their incisive paranoia against Islam, might lead to an eventual declaration of a Holy War against other religions mainly upon Christianity which comprises the majority of the world’s populace, given the fact that most Muslims who believe in Islam have the notion that they are assured of Allah’s piece of heaven if they die for their religion.
To resolve this we all cannot deny the fact that Iraq is not an idealistic and peace loving country. It is common knowledge that they invaded the country of Kuwait way back in 1991 and have committed deplorable crimes against humanity, we also cannot deny the fact that there is also that strong possibility might really be stocking up on weapons of mass destruction, like North h Korea but it is also common knowledge that the United States too has an arsenal that makes Iraq’s arms seem like toy guns.
And that the idea of Iraq’s non-conformity to a number of UN’s directives on their nuclear weapon’s program for the past 12 years, doesn’t put them in a pedestal. But the same argument could also be raised against the United States the mere fact that it does not recognize the actions taken by the UN, does not make them any better than Iraq.
But we should also focus our attention as why does the impending war must be resisted, it is for the fact also that more than a million Iraqi civilians have already died due to the economic sanctions that was implemented by the United States on them right after, the war on the Persian Gulf.
More so also is the United State’s biases towards the militarist response of the Israeli people to the disenfranchised Palestinian people, in the Gaza strip. And their all out support for the blatant attacks of the Israeli military against Palestinian civilians.
It is also worth considering as to why hasn’t there been much of a huge resistance within Iraq against the government of Saddam.
If justice means the removal of Saddam Hussein from power let us let that initiative come from the Iraqi people after all is not their nation and aren’t they the ones who’ll be directly affected if in case a war breaks out
As for the United States the war mongering paranoia of their government has caused their populace to live in fear and that it now encourages religious, ethnic and racial sectarianism within its people more so is that the people of America now realizes that the good old US of A is not the guardian of liberty that it claims to be. Shouldn’t they rather work upon the making their amends for their previous felony against their rivals and former rivals rather than rally support for a war that might mean the absolute annihilation of our planet’s denizens.
In conclusion is it not the absolute aspiration of all sentient inhabitants of this planet is peace and unity. So in response to this issue, let us chose not the attitude of fault finding which the United States is doing right now. Let us all chose neutrality, and peace as a solution for this predicament that faces this planet. More so we should also stretch our hands in solidarity with all movements that are against this war, and lastly resolve it within ourselves that we should pray that the growing hatred of the United States and Iraq against each other be met with a genuine resolving of their differences and a more sincere attitude towards implementing a lasting peace agreement between the Arab and Western world.
Although the war has started this does not mean that we should give up.
For the past few days, more than 27 thousand people from 119 countries have sent letters to their UN ambassadors asking them to support a "Uniting for Peace" resolution in the UN General Assembly to make clear the world's opposition to a devastating and illegal war in Iraq waged by the United States and a small group of allies.
The Uniting for Peace resolution has stopped wars before, even after they've broken out. The United Nations should not accept being relegated to a strictly humanitarian role when it could still play a powerful role in stopping this conflict.
Because more than 30 million people have been out in the streets to say "No" to this war. More than half the Security Council, given a chance, would say "No" to this war, as would the overwhelming majority of the UN General Assembly. But the Security Council has failed us. It's time for the General Assembly of the United Nations, which more thoroughly represents the voice of this world's people, to rise up and demand that Iraq be disarmed peacefully, and that the slaughter of innocent Iraqis cease immediately.
It is with high hopes that I am urging you to promote the awareness to this resolution by spreading the word of such a resolution which is presently being pushed by the UN General Assembly.
In 1950, the United Nations agreed a way to address impasses at the Security Council. The "Uniting for Peace" resolution (resolution 377A) was designed to bring the entire General Assembly together to address a "threat to peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression" when the Security Council failed to reach agreement.
For this reason also I am writing to you as this war takes its course in Iraq to express my concern at the potential use of indiscriminate weapons that may not sufficiently distinguish between military and civilian targets and which will thus contravene customary international humanitarian law.
More so because I believe that by their very nature nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and anti-personnel landmines cannot be used in a manner which does not violate the principle of distinction between civilian and military target.
Although some high-ranking military officials would claim that some weapons such as cluster bombs are designed to be targeted at military objectives, the fact that five per cent and sometimes a much greater proportion fail to explode on impact means that unexploded bomblets are left behind on the ground. They can then be triggered by civilian victims, functioning in exactly the same way as anti-personnel mines, which have been banned by the 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty. I urge you to support a moratorium on the use of cluster bombs.
The Pentagon should attest their claim of the preciseness of long-range missiles that are inaccurate, such as long range Scuds, which has just recently killed a number of Iraqi civilians when they landed on a market place Basra. Nor should aerial bombing from altitudes of above 15,000 feet, since recent experience in Kosovo has shown that this does not allow for full adherence to international humanitarian law requiring parties to make every effort to distinguish civilians from military targets.
Moreover, given the continuing reports of health and environmental damage that may be caused by depleted uranium, further independent medical evidence should be published showing that uranium-tipped weapons are safe before use of these controversial weapons continues.
Opposition against such should be advocated because it promotes carnage and violates one of the basic rights of people, which is to live and more so to live a life of peace.
Mainly because the American and British invasion of Iraq is both illegal and immoral: illegal because the Iraqi government did not launch an offensive strike against America and Great Britain which doesn't give it ground as a defensive action moreover it is also a clear violation of resolution 1441 which was passed by the UN Security Council to address the issue of Iraq's, alleged harboring of weapons of mass destruction which is as claimed by the US and British government as their primary rationale for launching such an attack. And immoral because it purveys a self-righteous assertion that promotes violence against a particular race and religious tenet. The military action that we are witnessing right now is called aggression, which is a manifestation of their imperialist interests. Foremost for the rich oil reserves that Iraq has kept on hand.
Their moral claim of liberating Iraq from the clutches of Saddam and his tyranny is not worthy of the cause, because genuine liberation comes from the people who are subjected to tyranny not from some foreign self-proclaimed messiah of democracy.
Let the initiative for freedom from the dominion of Saddam come from the Iraqi people not from G.W. Bush, Tony Blair or whoever it is that claims to be the savior of the Iraqi people from the bondage of tyranny.
We cannot entrust the fate of the world from leaders whose perception of war are from that of a Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay motion picture.
Let not be the blood that has been shed and is being continuously being shed be in our apathetic hands as we sit idle in front of our television sets!
Unite for peace!
No blood for oil!
There is nothing new about the issue of campuses as the nesting ground for future terrorists.
Awareness, absolution of thought and the inalienable desire for national liberation, democracy and equality, has always been a cause of alarm within the ranks of the reactionaries especially those in the armed forces. Their misguided sense of preserving peace and order has been one of the many reasons why the campuses of certain state colleges and universities (SCUs) as well as certain private schools that encourage freedom of thought and expression within its college grounds are branded as high risk colleges that harbor future terrorists.
Their sense of order that is founded on the principle of blind obedience and enforced order has always made them think that they are morally upright because of their snappy disposition, glowing aesthetics, and manly built-up. As opposed to those campus radicals who wear secondhand patchy clothes, rubber sandals, worn-out sneakers, red shirts with printed insignias of Che Guevara, a hammer and sickle, a red star, the phrase serve the people or even the "A" logo that stands for anarchy, that seemed to fit well with their thin built-up and that bad haircuts that they sport.
Those people in the military have always been made to believe that order can only be maintained by means of force in the sense that violence catered as punishment is the only good reinforcement for imposing self-discipline. They have always believed that only the leaders have the right to think.
They are afraid of such campuses because it encourages its students to think, not in the academic sense but in the sense that the young has a social responsibility to aspire for excellence and for the upliftment of the exploited segments of society and the need for sustainable development in an environmental context.
For whose right do these so-called 'student terrorists' fight for anyway?
Is it not for their right for quality education?
It is a sad fact that the government allocates funds that are supposed to be given to education to the military. Preserving peace and order is a good cause, but not if its pretext is for making our country friendly for multinational and transnational corporations to plunder (MNCs & TNCs) our natural resources.
Besides what of those hundreds of thousands if Filipino out-of-school youth that are deprived of state-subsidized education, because of the higher-quota in the sense that the cut-off for entrance examination of SCUs are very much higher that only a very small portion of high-school graduates from underprivileged families are able to enter college. And the very reason for this is the implementation of budgetary constraints, for the reason that a huge sum of the budget that is supposed to be given to the SCUs are instead given to the armed forces so that they can implement their long-running modernization program.
Does this mean that our government is not interested in investing for our country's future?
We sure hope not.
It is also a sad fact that a majority of SCUs and other colleges and universities are aligning their curriculum to the standards of the so-called globalization. It saddens me that so many subjects in college nowadays are shelved to make way for more studying of the English language, more mathematics and more skills development subjects. It is indeed a cause of despair for a majority of educators within the academe who teaches such subjects as Filipino, Semantics, Humanities, Philosophy, Sociology and other subjects that delve with seemingly metaphysical areas of study.
At present our government and its branches of service within science and technology are encouraging most of our young ones to patronize courses in engineering, accountancy, nursing and other skill based education programs. In fact it persuades the youth to enroll in computer schools, vocational learning centers and business schools rather than to enroll in traditional colleges.
The idea behind it is the whole globalization concept where it is centered in free enterprise and liberal trade. But the bottom-line is that our government would rather have our college graduates to work as computer programmers, engineers, nurses in other countries rather than here. They are more interested in the foreign currency that they'll bring rather than improving our domestic economy.
Another thing that our government feels threatened by student activists is because of the fact that they fight for such low segments in the societal strata such as the workers, farmers, women, drivers, fisher folk, ethnic minorities, indigenous people and the urban poor.
And again we say why not?
Majority of the students studying in the SCUs and other schools listed as high-risk are children of blue-collar workingmen, who try to get by with minimum wage. Now tell us if it is wrong if we aspire for them to have higher wage, so that they can pay the bills buy food, and provide us money for our tuition fee money at the same time?
Would the government still brand us as terrorists if we understood the true plight of our farmers and fisher folk who are constantly exploited by landlords and who are always subjected military speculation that they are communist insurgents? Is it wrong if we join our hands in solidarity with them when they resist forced dispersal because their farms are sold or leased by their landlords to be converted as factories of MNCs and TNCs; or to develop into subdivisions for the financially gifted who are tired of urban living?
Is it a crime if we know that the rice that our farmer's plant and the fish that our fishermen catch are sold to other countries, and that our country imports the very rice that we eat are bought from other countries? Then the government should might as well consider us as criminals for understanding that genuine food security is rested on the belief that the food we eat is produced and distributed by our own country.
Now don't get us wrong if those high ranking military officials really do care about women, then they should stop making sexist remarks about them during ROTC, perhaps its customary for such people to make grin jokes about women. More than enough of this has been exhibited in the ROTC. Second is that is it a sin if women aspire for equal rights with men, or if they seek justice from chauvinism, beating or seek defense from petty sexual bigotries that are prevalent in our country.
We consider it a sham to dismiss the legitimacy of transport groups' call for a rollback in the price of oil and gasoline, especially in the context that the cartel of petroleum companies that always conspire to hike up the price of their products to meet the so-called demands of the international market.
How indigenous and ecologically harmonious people and cultures are dispersed from their ancestral lands and from the face of this planet because of forced migration or assimilation into the market economy? Is it wrong if we have a vision of paradise that is not based if concrete roads, factories, shopping malls, high-technology and urban sprawl; if we want to breathe air free of carbon monoxide or drink water without any lead content or water that won't cause amoebiasis, or eat food that is not made of genetically modified organisms?
Tell us if we would be counted as anti-socials if we would side with the urban poor at times of demolitions?
How long has it been since the government embodied the highest aspirations of its populace? Has it lost its touch of reality concerning the understanding of the basic pre-requisites to the building of a just and strong nation?
Now tell us if our cries of action, reform and revolution are not justified by our cause. Would you rather patronize the fascist mechanisms of the state that harm its people whom they have sworn to protect?
Their continuous existence under the pretext of preserving national sovereignty is a sham because of the continuous intervention of the United States and other 1st World countries in our domestic politics.
So for these above mentioned reasons we ask this administration not to make a mockery of itself, by considering the youth of those specific SCUs and other colleges as up and coming terrorists.
If indeed our government is a government that is by the people and for the people why doesn't it act like one?
Thursday, May 27, 2004
However, I think this success comes at a price: passionate activists put so much time into specific projects that little thought is devoted to critiquing how the entrenched countercultural lifestyle actually meets - or doesn't meet-people's needs. This scene is, undoubtedly, a scene, and it is not particularly open or inviting to new people. The scene takes on mythological proportions, and people feel they have to live up to certain standards in order to participate. Everybody is different, but people censor and mold what they show to a scene in order to fit in. This perpetuates the myth of homogeneity, and turns off people who can't or don't feel like doing the work to fit in.
Many people don't want to take on the emotional trip of feeling like the odd one out. It is a struggle to attend events where you feel like you're the only person representing, where you are perceived as 'different' and either fetishized or considered dangerous, scary, complicated, and thus ignored. It hurts to feel like you have to put on an act, to go into the closet, in order to be comfortable in a group. A scene where people feel bad for not fitting in is little more than a mimicry of the mainstream, one subculture out of many. The folks closing people out of the scene are the same folks who are shut out of some aspect of mainstream culture. At some point, everybody puts on an act in order to fit in.
In reality, all kinds of people are doing all kinds of different things, whether they are underground or out about their actions. People are much more complex than this model of homogenous subcultures. People do take risks, make decisions and go places they're not 'supposed' to. Unless you talk to somebody and they choose to tell you, you can't always see that 'white' boy's Mexican dad, that 'straight' girl's lesbian parents, that able-bodied person's disability, that suburban punk's welfare childhood. Perhaps you have not 'seen' that person of color within 'the activist scene', even though they have been at every major protest for 20 years.
The energy and time required to (re)build organizations and physical infrastructure from the ground up means that this type of revolutionary actions comes most easily to certain people, who are able bodied, young, frequently white and from middle class backgrounds, and with few commitments other than this radical lifestyle. Many do-it-yourself activists do recognize the limited potential of a homogenous scene-but people seem to be forgetting that homogeneity is the very nature of a countercultural lifestyle!
Sharing a lifestyle, particularly one based on political convictions, is a way of finding support in the midst of a callous world. What is a lifestyle, but simply a set of actions folks take to meet their living needs; a radical, political lifestyle gives political purpose to fulfilling this particular set of actions. However, everybody has different needs. Placing too much importance on living a lifestyle as a political act means that folks are judged as 'less revolutionary' when they make decisions that aren't in line with the political rhetoric-- or simply that there is no room for them within the scene.
Overt judgments come down hard when people are open about making decisions not in line with prescribed do-it-yourself anarchist rhetoric. People are judged for the kind of healthcare they use, the kind of job they get, the projects they take on, where they choose to live. Few decisions are easy when you're trying to balance political connotations and personal needs. To me, it's important that people question the models they're given-whether within the mainstream or within the counterculture-and make decisions that truly reflect their needs, rather than struggling to fit their life into a box. Talking about motives behind a decision may lead to positive, even revolutionary personal change (for everybody involved), while dissing a decision will more likely piss somebody off and make them feel unwelcome.
Other folks struggle within the DIY scene, or are simply not there, because the entrenched DIY lifestyle doesn't meet their needs. People running the scene engines are too self-focused, too passionate about the current state of things, or to politically rigid to think about changing course. For example, flier-makers rarely think about noting whether an event is wheelchair accessible-and resource-poor DIY organizations end up holding events in inaccessible back rooms or fixer-upper houses, rather than prioritizing accessibility. In a culture where few own cars, many ride bikes, and parties often happen up rickety stairs or in the middle of an abandoned factory, people with different mobility situations going on have to put more effort into getting to a DIY event. If events are not accessible, some folks might not even want to go to them.
Even with lipservice supporting the working class, families, and immigrants, the culture is not set up to meet their needs. People are often surprised to hear that somebody is working long hours to support their family or because they don't have the financial cushion to take on major financial investments (transsexual surgery, overseas travel, equipment costs, etc.) while still "living for free".
Events are not always child-friendly in the traditional sense, and coordinating getting a sleeping child home on bike is difficult! With creativity, energy, and good humor, so many things are possible. But people have only so much energy to devote to 'creative struggles' like getting themselves or their kid to some far away place in a rickety bike cart.
People who do have options should carefully consider their actions. Folks have certain backgrounds, certain abilities, etc., that make some things come easily to them, in the counterculture and without. In other words, people have privileges that go hand in hand with the mainstream hierarchical social system. These privileges give options and choices-the option to be sexist, the option to shop at Walmart, the option to fit in and be 'cool'. Not exercising your option is only half the process of breaking down the institution. The pressure to fit in, the option to be sexist, is still there-you're just not participating. Privilege and social hierarchy will exist as long as the system that perpetuates them exists, and attacking the root of the privilege, the system, is necessary to eradicate the privilege.
Everyone fits into both mainstream and the DIY counterculture differently. People change, and lives include contradictions. There are no perfect anarkoids. When we are open to hearing about what other people are doing, we see that the 'scene' is actually a lot less homogenous than we perhaps thought, and we are more relaxed about hanging out with people who we thought were different than us. At this point the scene changes into a movement.
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
> So what do you want to know? To start with Life Is Trying is in a very devious way a completely uncomplicated group. They were at their time just a bunch of single-minded punk rock-loving dudes who just so happen to have the endowment to write singular thoughts and ideas that are translated into seductive songs of love, hate, longing, anarchy, mortality, revolution and belongings all of which basically germinated of the very heart of suburbia which is conveniently located at 35-B Malingap St. or M35B as they would like to put it. All information above surely gives you somewhat of an idea as to who exactly are these devious uncomplicated punk rock group once were, certainly it would apparently give you the impression that they are one of the most secretive band to have come around in recent times, yet at times they could be the most surprising.
> What is this all about? This is a history of substance, apparent success and of moving on with our lives; a biography ghosted by the group themselves, the very best of irrational rock music, a question of identity, confessions cut with dry wit, a deflecting adventure in thought and space, a question of style, a parting of ways; the end and the beginning; a celebration of alienated consciousness; a sincere sellout; a voyage into the present; a full stop; a semi-colon; a question mark. Part punk. Part emo. Part indie. Part rock. And part whatnot. It’s the start to stop start; from QHS to PUP, from teenage innocence to young glory up to their apparent discharged college life anxieties, and to the eventual parting of ways caused by the sudden realization of Chuck Baclagon that his band mates no longer share the same passion and dedication that he once shared with them; from movement to movement; from the formulating and the shifting of priorities; from fate to wasted fortune; from Jaded to The Sane Side of Insanity to M35B to Life Is Trying and to the obscure nothingness of their wasted existence; from Jarme Mondragon to Mark De Guzman; from Christopher Villarante to Cedric Buenviaje to Reginald Unigo to then again Cedric Buenviaje; from Laixander Naguit’s guitar journey from Jim Croce’s broken chords to Billie Joe Armstrong’s distorted palm-muted power chords. It’s the putting together in a perfect new order the light and heavy public and private lazy and intense calm and frenzied concealing and the revealing of the hit and miss songs of Life Is Trying.
> What was the question? Here’s one answer. The anti-social ranting of Holden Caufield the infamous protagonist of J.D. Sallinger’s The Catcher In The Rye; Punk rock, emo, indie, ska, hardcore, straight edge, crust, rhythm times and technological agility and new wave music and computer mistakes and dynamic sensations and noise filled suspension and beside themselves and many meanderings and shy purpose and lyrical caress and remote vision and great crossing and clashing and trembling and splintering of the mind and a battered acoustic guitar and the sound of feelings and melodies falling from the sky or blasted to your ear by a resounding distorted electric guitar and shadowy beauty and grave ecstasy and inexhaustible restlessness and looking for life and stoned perfectionism and imprisoned perceptions and a low key engagement with a world of perplexities and uncertainties in which one can hope at best to achieve the small satisfactions a kind of innocence that surrounds the enigma and what was the question?
> Who are Life Is Trying? We may never know.
> Where are Life Is Trying? They’re at home I presume. Or they are flying across the ocean. Or they’re right in the middle of a jamming session inside a cork-filled box called a studio infamously owned by the notoriously grumpy grouch that has become an institution of Philippine rock music commonly known to your average twenty-something rocker as ‘Mang Jun Alberto’, which is basically their home from home, their flight from flight; the only place where for a brief 60 minutes in their life they take the center stage; step into the spotlight to indulge themselves and their guitars into a spiritual experience that cannot be expressed into words; an hour of feedbacks, static hissing and rapid drum rolls. Or they’re still waiting for their drummer to show up for their gig that’s scheduled two hours from now. Though there are some certain hints that I could give you to point to you where they are right now: One is teary eyed with his tears dripping on his bony hands as he types his thoughts on a battered keyboard comforted only by the fact that he has given himself to God's lordship and has finally found a partner whom he can share his life wholeheartedly with. Another is spending his time studying some boring stuff about engineering and the likes. There is also one who’s presently happy at home with his two kids and his pregnant wife. Another is contentedly reading the Good Book memorizing every passage with the conviction displayed only be the Filipino television evangelist that we have come to either love or hate. And another is presently head over heels with the fulfillment of his dream to be actually involved in the making of a comic book. But wherever they are right now, they are in their own special way telling right from wrong, and indulging in slight extravaganzas.
> Where do they come from? 1) The late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and a pinch of the year 2000 and beyond or so they say. 2) The North; the north of everywhere including the North. 3) Greenday, The Cure, MxPx, Blink 182, NoFX, Rancid, The Offspring, Saves The Day, The Ramones, The Clash, Pennywise and Dashboard Confessional; Anarchy and tackiness, machines and glitter, apathy and sympathy, war and peace, ordinariness and extraordinariness. 4) The Sane Side of Insanity. The badly drawn prototype that would become one of the (sort of…) longest incarnations that is centered on the intellectual and musical collaboration between Laixander Naguit and Chuck Baclagon, and the apparent drum playing of Jarme Mondragon who still doesn’t know how to play drums at that time which was also hallmarked by the irrevocable departure of their friend Christopher Villarante as a member of the musical ensemble and as a friend of the band. 5) M35B. The most devastating imaginative rock group between Greenday and The Cure. There are some saying that all of the curiously naïve, deeply biased and fundamentally instinctive music made up of Life Is Trying, their puzzling centerlessness and their edgy incompleteness, the question mark that surrounds their motives, reputation, presence, absence, it all comes from trying to escape their very self-righteous notion that they have the in their feeble minds that they are an underground super group that never was. 6) The tortured frustrations of Chuck Baclagon to prove himself as someone who isn’t a loser to the mediocre world, which utterly fell into oblivion with the realization that Laixander Naguit and Cedric Buenviaje never really shared the same love and dedication that he had for the band and to his vision of sharing his tortured rhymes to the unsuspecting public who would rather listen to cheap senseless rage manufactured by hordes of dreadlocked, Addidas wearing, hip-hop infusing, rap-influenced, metal-zone guitar effect dependent corporate rock bands who retail their ‘packaged rebellion’ on MTV Rockd’.
> So what’s the point of all of this? Nothing. Other than the fact that this is a very biased description of Life Is Trying as a working unit and as a set of friends who suddenly lost the innocence in the music that they make, mainly because of the fact that they’re no longer geeky high school kids who can’t even find the courage to talk to girls and to face a crowd without saying “I” and “we”. This is the frustration of Chuck Baclagon materialized into words, to give himself poetic justice of the emotional turmoil that he felt when his band fell apart with the shifting of interests and priorities and the constant assaillance of the Freedom Bar concert organizers, backed up with the realization that there were really people who would take the time and effort to really go there, pay for the ticket and order a drink or two to watch them play their music and sing their hearts out, and that for the first time in their long lived existence as a band they would finally get paid for doing it. But sad to say his other comrades would rather go out of their way to pick up lousy discs of mp3s containing downloaded punk rock songs at nine o’ clock in the evening. And how it all doesn’t matter anymore because as Greenday once put it: “nothing good can last.”
Monday, May 24, 2004
Time > 7:05 AM
Date > 9/25/00
Place >Quezon City
The radioactive glare of the television screen illuminated the dark living room that I am sitting on right now. In front of me is the fat ugly face of President Estrada justifying his all out military attack on the Abu Sayyaf as a step in fulfilling the country’s goal towards a globalized national economy.
What on earth is a globalized economy?
From what I’ve read in the papers, and what I’ve seen in the T.V. it is the bulwark of making some sort of a one world economy and government by the means of using international economic, political, and humanitarian organizations to manipulate the globes’ macro-economy, political structure and society a contraption that will inevitably eliminate one’s individuality. . As seen on the Seattle riots at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) general assembly it is unambiguously opposed to by political activists that follow the Marx, Engles and Leninists socialist ideals because of its capitalistic control of the populace; as well as the anarchists, punks and nihilists, for its ambitious and arrogant attempt to manipulate the free will of man.
If Karl Marx were alive today he would certainly be alarmed by this disturbing trend in the planets’ socio-political economic structure. It would be very possible that he would band with anarchists like: Bakunin, Kropotkin, Proudhon and all their followers to oppose this impending consumerist invasion.
Meanwhile, as globalization continues to be one of the main slogans in international politics, but it only manifested itself in economic matters, and its impact in political developments was hardly visible to the naked eye. There was only limited collaboration between nations even with regard to confronting dangers menacing all of them, such as ecological disaster, organized crime, and international drug trade. Terrorist operations continued in many parts of the world. A peaceful settlement was found in Chechnya, and in Ireland negotiations were under way, not for the first time, between the Irish Republican Army and the Protestant loyalists of Northern Europe, with Spain, was relatively free of terrorism, but elsewhere, especially in North Africa and the Middle East, there was a new upsurge. Attacks elsewhere, from Peru and Columbia to Sri Lanka and Kashmir to Mindanao and East Timor, revealed that this was not a specific Muslim problem but that ethnic and religious antagonisms were likely to express themselves in guerilla warfare and terrorism rather than full-scale military operations, which had become too costly and too risky even for large and powerful nations.
It could be probable that we are just waiting for ‘apocalypse’ to come.
Now as I wait for ‘the end of the world’ I could not help but feel fear at the thought of the seemingly impending annihilation of all life in this planet.
Want to know why?
…During the time that I was reading the gathered materials for this research I had read of nothing but: alliances of Western 1st World Countries, the rise of Communism, the Cold War, the United Nations, the Euro-dollar and the Internet, not to mention the fact that all these chaos are also prophesied in the Bible, but that’s a on a different context.
Now I somehow see myself as a futurist, like Karl Marx.
People say that Karl saw the future.
A splendid vision of sunlit egalitarian Karl Marx was probably the greatest visionary futurist of the 19th century.
But Karl got it all wrong.
The Soviet Union was a 20th century futurist society. If the streets, bridges, and railroads could be engineered, then economy, society and the human soul should all be engineerable –it only makes sense. Bring on centralized state planning, the magnificent ultramodern vision of Leninist scientific socialism. Free the economy from the bizarre whims of top-hatted Rockefellers and Bill Gates and the senseless petty greed of the bourgeoisie. Bring the full grandeur of the scientific method to bear. Analyze, reduce find the basic principles. Identify the trends. Anticipate the future demands. Channel the productivity of the best in the service of the rest. Put the full might and wealth of the State behind promising futuristic technologies like aviation, rocketry, electrification and nuclear power. The result?
Judge for yourself.
The Cold War.
The Space race.
The Nuclear Arms Race.
The Vietnam and Korean Wars.
Karl Marx dream of utopia was a complete failure as opposed to Vannevar Bush.
He was a classic American futurist.
He was an electrical engineer, not a politician, but he told politicians what to do and they believed him.
Bush ran the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II, turning 6,000 head-scratching Yankee academics into the world’s first organized coherent military-industrial complex. He pushed the Manhattan Project. He founded the National Science Foundation and provided not only its intellectual underpinnings but also its political rationale. Bush even foresaw the personal computer-or, rather, the “memex,” the personal hypertext databank.
Vannevar Bush probably had more influence on the growth of 20th century science and engineering than any other single human being.
Come 1995, and Vannevar Bush is profoundly out of intellectual fashion. The enormous big-science Rocket State superstructure that grew from his vision is under unprecedented political and economic attack.
…If Bush showed up in Estrada’s Congress, he’d be despised as a goofy liberal highbrow. The country’s State Universities and Colleges (SCUs) were the nation’s premiere futurist outfits. Their services were deregulated and subjected to commercialization like OPEC produced oil.
Estrada’s Congress deliberately closes its eyes to the future, you can get it won’t have a lot of time and energy for anybody else’s visions
Like for example Mister President himself, he thought of globalization, so he declared war on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf. Very off tangent if you ask me.
So now what do we got?
The stock market collapses; dollar exchange is soaring at the rate of one dollar for forty-six pesos; withdrawal of foreign investors; continuous demonstrations of leftist radicals, feminist movements and labor groups.
That’s a pretty good, first step towards globalization.
Ever notice how the terrifying bogey of the Arms Race has simply vanished from the cultural radar?
It skunk off with the same embarrassed reticence as its big shiny futuristic cousin, the Space Race
The biggest political idea on the planet today is the vision that people want to live for and die for, the vision they truly believe in their heart of hearts, is reactionary Islam.
The trend today is apocalypse now.
The End of History -
A code term for the across-the-board annihilation of progressive social visions-is at hand. (Still remember the Y2K Bug?)
We flatter ourselves when we think we’re putting an end to history.
The end of the world and the death of the future are always popular across the spectrum. James Watt left power, but lo! There was no Rapture. Just our national forests looking a tad more dusty, battered and acidic.
If we can’t control the future-
If we can’t make it do what we want
-What is there left to say or do about it? We’re all hip to nonlinearity –anyone with two brain cells knows that the future is unpredictable, even in principle. Science fiction writers still like to jabber about it, and they are more reckless than a lot of other basement prophets because they have so very little to lose.
But why say anything?
The crystal ball’s as cracked and clouded as the ozone layer.
Who are we kidding?
Why bother to gaze into the future?
In 50 years the world changes completely –but everyone who could notice and comment is shell shocked or dead.
These things aren’t a joke. Here’s why: >those who don’t know the past will repeat it. > A vision of absolute power is absolutely corrupting of vision. > Of the facts seem to fail you, try historical analogy. What the heck, at least it’s vivid. > Practically anything beats depending on Scripture. > Demographics really count. All the people who are going to run the world in 20 years are alive right now. > The future is always overplayed in five years. This is known as hype.
This is known as “history.”
If the topsoil goes, it all goes.
The classic Mayan civilization (now long extinct) had a superbly pampered class of brilliant astrological futurists.
When in doubt, wear more feathers, eat more peyote, and pierce your tongue.
Listen to Limp Bizkit, dance to Britney dress up like Marilyn Manson.
If the future were really predictable we’d all hung ourselves right after killing our children.
APOCALYPSE ALWAYS SELLS.
It sells like lipstick. Because it flatters our vanity.
When H.G. Wells, was dying, he somberly predicted the imminent collapse of all human civilization.
Real futurism means staring directly into your own grave and accepting the slow but thorough obliteration of everyone and everything you know and love.
Does this sound like fun?
It can be.
Just don’t expect it to move a lot of product.
Pardon my French (I don’t mean fries), but tangna talaga yan si Bush. I hope he chokes on a smart guided pretzel. Make no mistake about it, Junior is responsible for this simultaneous rape of Iraq, the United Nations, and centuries of carefully nurtured international law. He is the one who pieced together the cabal of ‘chicken hawks’ in the Pentagon and the White House who planned this war. It is precisely Junior’s addled Texas brain which has reduced our world to the intellectual confines and the morals of a street fight.
I’ve worked at removing hate from my arsenal of emotions. I will make an exception for Junior. I hate him and this war of his. I hate it because all the things I can wish for to lessen the arrogance of Junior’s foregone ‘victory’ have victims. I can wish for more American casualties so more lovers, siblings and parents can learn to hate Junior too. I can wish for more determined resistance from Saddam’s forces but I don’t like Saddam so I can’t root for him. I can root for Iraqi soldiers and civilians who are fighting the Americans simply because they do not like being invaded. I can wish for more oil wells to be torched so Junior’s oil industry friends don’t benefit too easily from this war for oil plunder. But we will be victims of an increase in oil prices too. I hate this war because it makes me feel so powerless, so trapped.
Make no mistake about it. This is not a war about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ or Saddam’s human rights violations, or building democracy in Iraq. It is, pure and simple, about American bully rights. It is Junior’s America sending a clear message to the world: ‘We have the military power to attack anyone, anytime, any place that we choose. If, for whatever reason we find an individual, a government, or a whole country a threat, we will attack them. We do not recognize limits to our power from the United Nations, from any other international organization, agreement or treaty.’
Saddam’s Iraq has the singular misfortune of being a ‘target of convenience’ for Junior and his cabal of war freaks. It is a small, militarily weak country, with no strong nearby ally. It has been bleeding economically and militarily for more than a decade, since the Gulf War in 1991. The US and the UK have been bombing the so-called no fly zone in the North of Iraq during all that time. The US has openly helped anti-Saddam Iraqis. Iraq was picked because it is militarily and politically vulnerable. Junior’s rationale for war, the military threat of Saddam, is pure unadulterated bullshit. Iraq is being attacked not because it is strong, but because it is weak. We are all supposed to be in ‘awe’ of American military power. But Americans cannot be ‘shocked’ by casualties so Iraq was picked because it does not have much capacity to kill American boys.
One week after the start of the war, the Americans are beginning to realize that the Iraqi’s are not so easily shocked. The Americans and their British lapdogs have been surprised by the extent of Iraqi resistance. They are avoiding cities and the dangers of urban warfare where their air superiority and armor will be less effective. They rushed to Baghdad only to stop to reassess whether war freak Rumsfeld’s new military doctrine might just be wrong. The problem is not whether Junior’s smart bombs have ‘degraded’ Saddam’s modern military capability. The problem is that there appear to be enough Iraqis willing to fight the Americans firing only handguns atop jeeps and pickups.
Gains and Costs
In the end the Americans will ‘win’. What is unclear is at what cost. The longer the war lasts, the more American casualties, the greater the political cost to Junior. The new American military technology, the ‘smart’ bombs and missiles and the Rumsfeld ‘doctrine’ of using massive bombing and quick movement are all geared towards lessening American casualties. The American ruling class is all too aware of the damage caused by the 50,000 American dead of Vietnam. The longer Iraqi resistance lasts the more American casualties. Junior may still end up having to rehire the Filipino consultants who secured his victory in Florida in next year’s election.
It is also unclear exactly what Junior will ‘win’. The Americans are so arrogant they have not bothered to hide their colonial goals: postwar Iraq will be run by an American general, only much later by Iraqis. They have explicitly said they will control Iraq’s oil. Even before the war is over, the Americans have already claimed the US$8 billion of Iraqi oil money controlled by the UN. Iraq has the second largest oil reserves after Saudi Arabia. With Iraqi, Saudi, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates oil under American control the US can not only make billions, they can use oil as a strategic weapon against Europe and China.
If Junior cannot ‘shock and awe’ Iraq, it cannot do this to countries it cannot rain bombs on. The anti-Saddam Iraqi opposition has declared their opposition to an American colonial government in their country. The Arab League and even close American allies such as Saudi Arabia will be emboldened to oppose the Americans the longer it takes for them to subdue Saddam. Most of the members of the United Nations including the major powers who blocked Junior in the Security Council are also opposed to American plans for Iraq. Even Junior’s lapdog Blair is already questioning American plans to rule Iraq as a colony.
What is at stake here is a lot more than Junior’s political future. He can go back to Texas and pick cotton for all I care. What makes the American war in Iraq pivotal is that Junior and his cabal of war freaks are challenging the whole post WWII superstructure of organizations, treaties and other agreements. The international order in the past 60 years was anchored on bipolarity, on MAD (mutually assured destruction) between the US and the USSR. For the US, the United Nations and other multilateral arenas provided political venues for isolating the USSR and the other socialist countries. Bush Senior was president too close to the USSR collapse to use it fully or even to realize what his “New World Order” really meant. Clinton was preoccupied with the US economy and other private ah…interests.
To insure unchallenged US military domination of all regions of the world, the reportc advocates a much larger military presence in addition to the roughly 130 nations in which U.S. troops are already deployed. "The United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia," the document warns, "as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of U.S. troops." More specifically, the report argues that the US needs permanent military bases in the Middle East, in Southeast Europe, in Latin America and in Southeast Asia, where no such bases now exist.
This is where the Philippines comes in. Junior and his cabal believe that China is the main potential strategic threat to US hegemony. In the aftermath of the Afghanistan war, US military bases have been established in former Soviet states bordering the Chinese Northwest. The US already has temporary access arrangements (VFA and ACSA) with the Philippines, but it clearly wants to reestablish more permanent basing arrangements. None of the other Southeast Asian countries will allow US military bases.
The Philippine military wants to give the US what it wants. Balikatan and the attempt at securing a combat role for the US in Sulu are precursors of US plans. Pres.Arroyo allowed ‘doves’ in her cabinet to stop Sec.Reyes’ plans for the Americans in Sulu. She has also stopped Reyes’ plans for all out war against the MILF. But Pres.Arroyo’s ‘moral and political support’ for US aggression in Iraq keeps the door open for American ambitions in the Philippines. The peace movement has its work cut out for it. It is a difficult, high stakes challenge.
Saturday, May 22, 2004
It was another one of those mornings when I realized that I was born in the wrong century.
The chattering of fully engaged jackhammers shattered the pre-dawn serenity, as a literal armada of construction workers marched their way down our old community park to make way for a new neighborhood commercial center. As the sound of the last ancient trees in our city were being reduced off to their certain fates, as toothpicks or furniture reverberated between my ears, it suddenly became clear that this was the punishment for the sin and debauchery of being apart from the norms. Damn…ethics, or the lack of thereof, can be so cruel.
I slid out from under my cozy blanket into the morning air. Not a good day to be me. A full blown, Catholic guilt styled hangover from the liberation of Carlo Rossi a full day of drudgery from my Economics professor's voice telling me that I might flunk, her subject for disagreeing to her personal perspective on globalization, and now this, the synchronized dance of the bolo's chopping down on their senseless fiscally unstable mission to destroy their last native vegetation-based ecosystem on this town didn't send a fellow reeling with optimism. What a shitty day.
You were born in the wrong century. You and everything you believe in are 150 years out of date.
What the hell does this mean? Was this the lingering ghost of high school guidance counselors trying to tell me to abandon my pre-industrial anarchist beliefs and grow up? Was this just the passing panic of every fanatic who suddenly realizes that they might just maybe, be wrong? A wise philosopher Wittgenstein (or was it Hank Williams?) once noted that one's subconscious was always in tune with the truth in our minds or our hearts. He had better be wrong on this one.
You were born in the wrong century…It is strangely ironic, bizarre even that while the rest of the world is doped up on the possibilities of the "information age," the global free market, and accompanying consumer oriented, macro-megapolies, most of the more dedicated anarchists folks on the punk, skate, hippie, gothic and rave subcultures have turned to the other direction. While the rest of society revels the fact that they can e-mail people in Germany, that the new Star Wars has better special effects and the economy is doing so well as to promise them a computer with better memory to power a complete Counterstrike Compendium, or perhaps a new cell-phone, a large number of us in the fringe have become enthralled with the idea of living apart from the blessings of capitalism and focus on the communal life of the early 18th century. While the rest of the world is thinking bigger, we are thinking smaller.
So, perhaps this isn't so odd. All of our subcultural niches were founded on the disbelief and denial of existing societal standards, actualizing this through an often-fanatical opposition to everything and anything proposed by the MAN. Perhaps it is our natural, liberty spiked punk response to the 'global community' and the plans of transnational enterprise, as Robert Hoyt (a famous Earth First musician) put it, "slam on the brakes and make a U turn from the brink."
But I think there is something more to this neo-back to the land, punk-farmer thing than mere nonconformity and opposition. For one thing, we are not the only fringes that are making the move away from global servitude and towards simple, yet self-sufficient living. Christian Fundamentalists, Black, Latino, Muslims Indigenous Peoples and Native nationalists, the intellectual Right and Left, and just about every rural people on earth are likewise attempting to reclaim whatever liberty and autonomy they have left through lifestyle transitions back to basics. Here in the Philippines it is visible with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's (MILF) instigation. On other countries people are literally fighting and dying to retain their autonomy in this age of expedited economic exploitation and cultural imperialism. From the Zapatistas in Mexico to the Native Polynesians in the South Pacific to the indigenous fisherman on the coastal periphery of Norway, to the militias of the Western United States, out battles and strategies are the same. As funny as we are in our little secondhand patchy clothes/bad haircuts/guitar playin', skateboardin' subculture, we are truly part of something much larger.
Secondly, if you take a look at the folks that are making these moves away from the suicidal servitude of urban life, it isn't your run of the mill street punk with a 40oz glued to their lips and a needle stuck in their arms. From my point of view, today's punks seem to be more experienced (it ain't so much a matter of age as what they've done and seen) folks that have been punks and activists for a long time have come to the conclusion that to live free, we must have unrestrained personal access to the means of survival: to land. There isn't an adolescent sense of smash everything nihilism or a naïve posi-core "the world will change if we can unite the punks and skins" element. There aren't even typical jaded parasites one would associate with drop out culture in any form.
Today's punks are environmentalists with a good sense of what has to be done.
They are like authentic Filipino leftists that migrate to the provinces to wage their battle against the capitalist swine system on the frontline. This is punk truism at its finest, an anarcho-individualst statement similar to that of Che Guevara. Rural migration to launch an 'anarchist primitive communal' region.
Aside from rural migration there is also that statement of diminishing the greedy, corporate ideals promoted by globalization by utilizing the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT).
Waging battle against those two local industry-killing menaces has had its share of minor victories. The Battle of Seattle is one good example.
I guess you're probably asking why I am littering this piece of paper with all this self-righteous anarcho-punk shit?
For starters I am opposed to capitalism.
I strongly reject a socio-economic system that is fundamentally based on private ownership as its primary means of production and exchange. I think that a system that is driven by an exploitive logic that sees human beings as capital, as well as ecosystems, natural resources and culture simply as commodity is absolute garbage. I refuse an idea, which implies that the world is only valuable in terms of profit, competition and efficiency.
Did you know that the capitalist system has destroyed more than 80 per cent of our natural ecosystems and is preparing more annihilation for its commitment to development. It has commited genocides to thousands of indigenous, ecologically harmonious tribal cultures, ranging assimilation to the market economy to physical forms such as involuntary displacement, and mass murder. It created the fundamental need for fossil fuels, powering cars that kill humans and animals, and road construction that levels rainforests and promotes urban sprawl. It gave birth to the pollutive meat industry, which commits everyday the slaughter and suffering of numerous animals for food. Moreover it tears down rainforests to level more ground for cattle gazing. Now it claims to solve humanity's hunger (which they made in the first place).
In the Philippines alone, only 18.3 per cent of the archepelago are covered with forests in 1999, off the 70 per cent in 1900. Only less than 4 per cent are the remaining virgin areas. These ecosystems did not disappear into thin air, but of various, but of thin air, but of various human methods of resource extraction namely: logging, minning, factory farming and land conversion for human housing industry and tourism.
I want to live in an environment that is free from the overabundance of carbon monoxide. A world where people do not plunder their natural resources for profit. I strongly believe that it is substantial to establish a society in a clean environment where pollution, high radiation levels and extinction of species do not exist. I believe that a clean environment would intensely be beneficial for development.
I think that there is an existing class struggle between the vast majority of society (the working class) and the tiny minority that currently rule. Thus a direct action should then be taken to balance the scales.
I actively oppose all manifestations of prejudice within all circles of society. I contest racism, sexism, (religious) sectarianism, and homophobia. It is vital that respect should be put into practice towards the diversity of people that walk among us.
Furthermore, I reject the ideology of 'neo-liberalism', whereby corporations and investors are exempted from all political and social measures that interfere with their so-called "success:"
Moreover I am anti-imperialist, I am opposed to patriarchy and I denounce all forms of exploitation and oppression. I assert a worldview based on the respect of our differences and the autonomy of groups, individuals and peoples.
What I'm saying here is to hear out and appreciate the alternative lifestyles of the so-called 'lowlifes' of society. Support the do-it-yourself (DIY) ethics of the different deviant subcultures. And promote a more cleaner and environmentally anodyne standard of living by patronizing non-corporate forms of consumer products.
Support the campaign for a change in the government's Memorandum of Agenda in the context of the Muslim problem and military operations, which had become too costly and too risky for our country's budget (Food not Bombs!), or by boycotting products of the bizarre whims made up of top-hatted Rockefellers and Bill Gates and their senseless petty greed that is very much bourgeoisie in nature.
If you are fond of veggies then why not try being a vegetarian and prevent the senseless deaths of innocent swine, cattle and other mammals that are to be served as 'Cold-Cuts' to the Cancer promoting business of fast food chains.
There are also more uncomplicated ways to help out in preserving the environment like: turning of the lights and other electrical appliances when they're not being used; by recycling paper, bottles and tin cans; or by applying a more specified procedure of garbage segregation; we can also help by halting our use of hairsprays and aerosols that emit Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) that harm our Ozone layer; or by simply being kind to your pets is enough to prevent the destruction of our planet.
So I guess the rudimentary concept that I'm trying to imply here is that we must refuse the greedy, capitalist system if we want to save our planet.
Meanwhile, as globalization continues to be one of the main slogans in international politics, its has only manifested itself in economic matters, and its impact in political and humanitarian developments are still hardly visible to the naked eye.
Isn't it time now to consider our alternatives?