Posts tagged ‘alternative’

December 7, 2011

day 2 attempt to occupy

by Melissa

The second day and the police have upped their violent response.  I worked today with TIGRA but decided to head back down here to Mendiola after work with a friend.  We got off at Legarda Station and passed the Mendiola archway on our roundabout way to the campout spot in front of a church…    Arriving in a market, the street was bustling as it likely always is- but with a twist.  A few tents and many more young people, workers, activists lying down resting on protest slogans.  New banners in the painting stage, people grouped in tight circles talking or playing music.   Most people seem to be with their organizations, the first sign of Occupy the Philippine way.  Thirty minutes later there is short program comprised of pep talk from UP student leaders including one who was beaten by the police and still wears the bloody jeans to prove it.  There are a few solidarity messages from sectors in solidarity including local unions and indigenous people from the Cordillera region.  The dominant message tonight seems to be budget cuts to education although there is also a candlelight vigil going on for overseas Filipino workers on death row.

I had a few interesting conversations with folks here about how the Occupy movement in the US differs from the current campout.  One young student suggested that in the US people are still searching for an alternative-  that it is enough over there to start with a call of unity- to come together as the 99%.  Whereas here, there is already a crafted alternative to current conditions-  Bayan is already the movement of the 99%.  I asked a few people whether there were people here who were unaffiliated (with Bayan).  The easy answer is no.  “Maybe they would be intimidated.  But for sure they wouldn’t leave without an affiliation.”  Another young artist answered the question with a little anecdote about yesterday-  how at Plaza Miranda there were food vendors who were engaging for the first time, giving gifts of food, listening.  They support but they are not affiliated. They are still massa.

The more complex answers is not noticeably.  There were a couple of masked musicians, playing quietly outside the safety of the cordoned area, letting a few local kids play with their percussion instruments.

I have a few camera phone pictures I’d like to post- but for now, in this internet cafe with disabled USBs and gaming galore,  I have to be content to paint a mental picture.  I feel blessed to be part of this-  to be welcomed into this occupied space by friendly, curious faces.  There is much courage here.  At some other point I’d like to unpack the ways Occupy Philippines will be necessarily different from what’s happening in the First World.  Tonight, I want to trust that its all the same struggle.

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