Sunday, February 6, 2011

On ISA's 250 Likes and Facebook "Activism"

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Just a quick note on the alternative form of activism that Interdependent Student-Centered Activism (ISA), a political party from the UP College of Mass Communication, promotes. From Jon Lindley Agustin's "CMC campaign opens with issue debate" on
The bets for Communication Research and Film representatives debated on the issue of STAND-UP candidates ‘liking’ a Facebook page on budget cut, a form of ‘alternative activism’, which is an advocacy not in-line with the party.

According to Communication Research representative bet Carla Cucueco, ISA’s alternative advocacy called “I oppose the Budget Cut” on Facebook was even joined by candidates from STAND-UP who were not inclined to support it.

Isabel Quesada, STAND-UP’s Film representative candidate, argued, “Ano ang laban ng 200+ na estudyante na nag-‘like’ sa 3,500 na students na sumali sa protesta? Walang alternative activism, sakop pa rin ito ng militant activism.”

However, Marji Manlunas, ISA’s Treasurer candidate said 250 students have ‘liked’ the page within a week of its creation. She added that they believe in alternative activism because it is for everyone.

STAND-UP’s Communication research candidate Sheryll Abrillo said her party does not condemn alternative activism but students must not settle on this form.

Over the years, STAND-UP’s advocacies have been based on militant activism, a form different from alternative activism which does not necessarily incorporate rallies and protests.

Now what has the Egyptians recently taught us? As our colleague in militant activism Ms. Aryanna Canacan said on January 29:
There's no internet or any telecommunication services now in Cairo. They've shut it down because social media has been a key tool in gathering the protesters. Reminds me of Cyberactivism. New technology shouldn't really tie us down to our chairs and make us armchair activists. Rather it should be used to gather and mobilize more people.

Was ISA’s Treasurer candidate kidding in a debate or did she boast of 250 Facebook likes? The "achievement" of their Facebook page is nothing compared to the results of the online campaigns we in the militant left do on a regular basis on platforms not limited to Facebook. Let me give you two recent examples: the #education4all campaign before the student strike of last year and the #PHstudentstrike campaign which was done in coordination with International Student Movement's #globalEdu. These are even just the short-term projects. Observe the online presence of progressive groups like Kabataan Partylist, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Agham Youth, National Union of Students of the Philippines and more.

We in STAND UP do not condemn using different media to involve the students and other people in significant issues that we face, as pointed out by Ms. Sheryll Abrillo. (Oh, do we love the Internet!) But it is very clear that our brand of activism is the effective one. It is through collective action in the form of militant activism that we achieve concrete results. State Universities and Colleges did not get their additional P146 million through ISA's Facebook page or through Alyansa's distribution of letters that they consider lobbying. And do I need to tell our dear readers that Erap was not removed from office because of an ouster campaign in Friendster. And in the case of Marcos, come on!

Midya ng Bayan, magsuri! Vote wisely on February 17!

UPDATE! Related Post: Let's Make It Work


  1. Hi! Alam niyo bang may nagreply sa entry na ito. Pakibasa lamang:

    Yan ang response niya sa entry niyo. Sana sagutin niyo rin siya.

    Mababaw at malabnaw ang kanyang argumento.

  2. i was present during this debate.

    I believe that ISA's type of activism is one that encourages everyone to join, without actually going in the streets. Although this is a slow process and will still have to have an effective strategy to be used in order to gain the compliance of the people. But still, in time, this will catch the attention of people.

    There are students who wouldn't dare join rallies anymore because these seem cheap, or unnecessary, or disturbing.
    I believe that ISA does not want to abuse the power of collective militant activism. Once it is abused, there might come a time when no one will listen to these rallies and only few will join the rallyists. But then, militant activism is a quicker way to catch the attention of the people and the media.

    However, I'm not saying that any one of them has a greater weight than the other. These are both important and helpful. But these should be used at the proper situation and time. ISA's activism may be for mild issues only, and during the first few weeks of an issue. When it cannot be solved via alternative activism, that's when militant activism sets in.

  3. But STAND-UP provided the initiative and it is obvious that majority of them was because STAND-UP mobilized them.