Draft Essay Due on March 8 | February 28, 2007
I. The Global Resistance Against Capitalism
II. Reappearance of Anarchism in the West
III.The Crisis of Authoritarian Left in the Philippines
IV. Philippine Context of Anarchism
A. The Pre-colonial Barangay
B. Anti-authoritarian Initiatives
V. Philippine Anarchists in the Anti-globalization Movement
VI. End: The Future
TITLE: Situating the Philippine Anarchist Movement in the Geopolitics of Resistance
by Jong Pairez
The seemingly unperturbed rise of Global Capital, on the verge of its unimaginable peak, has caused enormous deterioration to our natural environment and social poverty tripled its gigantic scale, while at the same time the illusions of comfortable living echoes around the corners of the world ignoring the Capitalist tragedy like nothing is happening. But not everybody is wide asleep from this docile slumber.
In various corners of the world there are Others who are wide-awake dreaming of life amidst the consolations of death. Together, as they dream lucidly, these Others are doing all the possible means to break the colossal foundations of Capitalism that caused us death for a long time since the conception of Civilization came into existence.
This paper is my attempt to articulate myself as part of the Others who are working on our way to liberate ourselves. Though we are very diverse, our common experience of Capitalist exploitation unifies our desire of mutual aide and solidarity without having a need to turn the others into the same. (italics stolen from J. Neil C. Garcia’s Postcolonialism and Filipino Poetics)
GLOBAL RESISTANCE AGAINST CAPITALISM
Capitalism just like asthma has its inherent disease, it is called the crisis of Overproduction, which keeps coming back without a cure. This chronic disease of Capitalism, again just like asthma, has also its own relief medication but it’s a kind of dark and horrible temporary relief that is very different to common asthma. One of its glaring examples of relief medication is the historical World Wars (WW1 and WW2)- it temporarily pacified the Capitalist crisis of overproduction at the expense of million innocent lives.
Since then, on the process of recuperation, global market economy was established under the name of World Trade Organization (WTO) formerly known as International Trade Organization. Big businesses, national corporations and rich governments across the world gathered together to further their ambitions for more profit by introducing Free Trade. Obviously, under this Capitalist organization, they never aim to save the natural environment neither equally distributes the wealth to ease world hunger, however, it has only worsened the gap between rich and poor nations and restricted the borders against refugees and migrants. The capital is free to roam but the people are not.
Under this new world order, we have now the label Third World and First World to emphasize the global division between the rich and the poor. International Monetary Fund (IMF)- a loan shark, advanced this global division further during the same moment when free trade established itself after the war. Here the IMF leaves the Third World with huge debt after lending them monetary assistance with high interest rates. Helpless from the situation caused by debt, the Third World has no option but to let the IMF, in collaboration with their national government, dictate the local economy and allow measures in exploiting their reserve of natural resources. One of its examples is the terrible displacement of ethnic minorities in the Philippines due to intensive mineral mining by multi-national corporations under the powers of IMF. The Mining Act of 1995 instituted by the Philippine government robs off the ethnic minorities their ancestral domain, culture, identity and means of livelihood. This kind of ethnocide under the principles of Neocolonialism also happens the same way in other Third World nations most especially in Southern America.
The unlimited accumulation of natural resources ripped-off from the Third World by these insatiable First World multi-nationals has also included the liberalization of their local Labor.
By cheapening the cost of labor, a certain commodity-product will most likely win in the Market competition. In other words free trade has become a literal blood sport, pushing the poor nations to compete each other in the brutal arena of cheap labor market, but only the multi-nationals get the price. Whoever gets the cheapest labor wins and will have the monopoly of Capital at the expense of dead grinded bodies of poor working people.
“Ya Basta!” (Enough Already!), shouts the armed indigenous people in the deep jungles of Chiapas in Mexico- endangering the local Capitalists and its cohorts out of their regular businesses unexpectedly. The outcry of dissent echoed around the world after the successful insurrection they held in 1994 liberated six municipalities from the clutches of greedy local landlords. Since then, the indigenous outcry snowballed in various corners of the planet that gathered a diverse network of autonomous movements, activists, and women’s groups, unions and civil rights movements. The days of global dissent against Capitalism soon followed.
In Prague, September 2000, black-clad protestors armed with cobblestones torn from its historic streets, seized the city that led to the successful disruption of the supposed meeting between International Monetary Fund/World Bank (IMF/WB) and the representatives of few rich governments. The previous year, World Economic Forum (WEF) attended by the same rich governments failed to proceed its meeting in Melbourne after hundreds of thousand demonstrators started to flood the streets- blocking the whole city.
But, among the series of anti-capitalist actions in the present, one of its unforgettable moments was the unpredicted dissent that happened right in the center of the belly of the beast- Battle in Seattle of 1999 as it was called. The uprising is known for its success in shutting down the World Trade Organization Ministerial meeting over the days of endless revolutionary riots, non-violent resistance and hair-raising direct actions.
What made Battle in Seattle possible was the formation of Peoples Global Action (PGA) in February 1998 that gathered a diverse network of social movements worldwide. Since then, the slogan: Let Our Resistance be Transnational As Capital, became its powerful Mantra.
According to the history of PGA, the initial inspiration for its formation came from the global meeting called in 1996 by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). Using the technology of e-mail the global meeting was made possible. It was participated by various grassroots radical movements from over 40 countries and was held in the deep jungles of Chiapas and is known as Encuentro, the purpose of the gathering is “to discuss common tactics, problems and solutions” against the onslaught of neoliberalism and Capitalist globalization. But what really propelled the success behind this gathering was the result of an indigenous insurrection the previous years back that inspired radical groups from other continents of the World.
On New Years Eve of 1994, while the mindless politicians were happily celebrating the coming of year, armed indigenous guerillas went down from the mountains of Chiapas in Mexico and seized their respective local municipalities. Right before the break of dawn the indigenous war of resistance against the Mexican Government was officially declared to the surprise of the Mexican Federal Army who were then out of their barracks partying.
The declaration of war was an indignant condemnation of the indigenous against the legalization of North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Mexico that took in effect shortly before the end of the year. Wearing black ski masks and faded military fatigues holding stolen high-powered rifles, the indigenous rebellion was instantly recognized by the Mexican people. As they stand courageously occupying the Municipal hall and the Plaza, along its name, Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (EZLN), their notability also resonated around the corners of the world saying, “the voice that armed itself to be heard, the face that hides itself to be seen, the name that hides itself to be named…behind our black masks, behind our armed voice, behind our unnamable name, behind us who you see, behind us we are you.”
The powerful words of the Zapatistas suddenly became the embodiment of global dissent against Capital, which is faceless, nameless and borderless. This image of dissent also reflected on EZLN’s Second Declaration of La Realidad during the Encuentro, making it clear among the participants of the gathering that “it has no central command or hierarchies” but rather a network of all who resist against Capital.
DECLINE AND REAPPEARANCE OF ANARCHISM IN THE WEST
A faceless, nameless and borderless resistance, mutual solidarity and non-hierarchy are very much reminiscent to classical Anarchist practices in the past. But this time, the similar practice is being revived back in the East (Third World)- outside its place of origin where it was first propagated as a force against Capitalism. Then quickly it started to revitalize again among radicals in the West (First World) after been inspired by non-authoritarian groups from the Third World, namely, Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, EZLN, Kuna of Ecuador, Argentinian Teachers Union, and KRRS in India, etc.
The propagation of theory and revolutionary practice of Anarchism is first conceived in Europe shortly after the horrible side effects of Industrial Revolution came to realize in everyday life of common people. Since then, along with Marx and Marxism they both became the furious enemy of Capitalism during its early stages until to this age of Information Technology. However, there are major differences between Marxism and Anarchism in terms of practices and views. In David Graeber’s description of its differences, according to him, Anarchism is Marxism’s poorer cousin because the former lacks affinity with the academe comparing to the latter (Marx has a Phd. while Anarchist ideologues are social drop-outs and/or organic intellectuals). That is why in most cases Anarchism is disregarded as a nuance in political struggles for it lacks grandiose and coherent theoretical doctrines in guiding the principles for the emancipation of the working class.
But despite of it all, in the early 19th century, working-class organizations and revolutionary elements were popularly inspired by Anarchism throughout the Western hemisphere. This resulted to its historical heyday that started from Paris Commune of 1871 until the Spanish Revolution in 1936. During this period of time, it is believed to be the most vibrant moment of classical anarchist movements that would later on inspire other radicals in the East (read: Japanese Anarchism) and Southern countries. In this period also, Anarchism developed itself into various strands of practices and principles, namely, anarcho-syndicalism, insurrectionism, anarchist communism, cooperativism and platformism, etc. None of it is named after great thinkers and/or aiming towards centralized organization.
On the other hand, at the beginning of 20th century, Marxism was already gaining popular ground on mainstream politics. Its theory of seizing state power (read: Communist Party) captured the imagination of middle-class Idealists and soon to be authoritarians in the guise of the working class under the slogan “Dictatorship of the Proletariat”.
In the turn of events, right during before and after World War One (WW1), Marxist revolutionaries or commonly known as Leftists, succeeded in practicing their theoretical doctrines that has led to the existence of Communist Regimes by overthrowing former Governments (read: Bolshevism, Stalinism and Maoism) or simply reforming Capitalism rather than overthrowing governments (read: Social Democracy). Meanwhile, anarchist’s views, as an alternative revolutionary force, became more and more less appealing during this period of communist recuperation but it never ceased to exist, despite the fact that most anarchists, both in Capitalist Regimes and Communist Regimes, were annihilated and incarcerated. This is also the period, according to David Graeber, the most violent in human history because the Powers-that-be were entirely preoccupied in maintaining killing machines for waging wars or preparing for them, which he also stressed that most Marxists are very good at it as well.
Only during after the Cold War and war between industrialized nations, “anarchism reappeared just where it had been at the end of 19th century, as an international movement at the very center of the revolutionary left.”
The revitalization of anarchism as a revolutionary force, who refuse itself to be named, against Capitalism in this present period of time can also be understood through the effectiveness of new technological communication advancement, which is considered to be a very important aspect of Globalization. Capitalist industrialists coined this aspect as Information Technology or commonly known as Internet. It’s supposed purpose is to seek effective advancement for Free Trade (Capitalist globalization) and its pretext to push-button-satellite-operated warfare.
Surprisingly, there is a clear detournement  of usage towards such technology; it suddenly became an effective tool for networking the internationalist anti-capitalist resistance. Hence, it made communications easy for networking rebels around the world and keep them in contact. In fact, the successful means of communication for People’s Global Action (PGA) as an international network, before the Canadian Postal Workers Union as PGA’s communications hub, they heavily relied on Internet technology. But, what is interesting about this technology is its capacity, as a new media communications tool, that goes along with horizontal politics of internationalist anti-capitalist resistance. This infrastructure gave the possibility of melting down the imaginary barrier that divides the Third World apart from the First World- at least in the virtual reality.
THE CRISIS OF AUTHORITARIAN LEFT IN THE PHILIPPINES
To be continued….
1. Discuss horizontal politics and informal structural organizing of global anti-capitalist resistance.
2. Put it in contrast with the nature of left politics in the Philippines.
3. What went wrong during and after the split? What happened next?
4. Sectarian groups versus Affinity groups.
The term Others is referred to as Minorities i.e. illegal/legal migrants, refugees, ethnics, womyn, unemployed, autonomous activists and movements, etc.
Proposal Based on an EZLN email invitation entitled “Encuentro” that called for an international gathering. It is also believed to be the general objectives of the gathering.
“…the moment Cold War ended, and War between industrialized powers once again seemed unthinkable, anarchism reappeared just where it had at the end of the nineteenth century, as an international movement at the very center of the revolutionary left.” David Graeber, “THE NEW ANARCHISTS” New Left Review 13, January-February 2002
“Ikinukumpara ito ng mga propagandista ng kapitalismo noong maibento ang "steam engine" na nagbunsod ng "industrial revolution". Tinatawag nila ang kasalukuyang panahon bilang isang "communication revolution" na radikal na bumabago sa takbo ng produksyon.” Popoy Lagman, “Ang Aming Paninindigan Laban sa APEC at Globalisasyon” Anti-Globalization Primer 1996
In detournement, an artist reuses elements of well-known media to create a new work with a different message, often one opposed to the original. The term "detournement", borrowed from the French, originated with the Situationist International; a similar term more familiar to English speakers would be "turnabout", although this term is not used in academia and the arts world.