An Anarchist and Autonomous Community-Based Resource Center in Muntinlupa City (Manila south), Philippines
Anarchist organisers made it again; the ANARKIYA FIESTA held in Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila on July 22 to 26. it attracted large number of students in the campus and aroused curiosity.
This long-week event is co-organized by various groups; logistics, technicalities and other activities involved from preparation to actual conduct of activities were arranged and coordinated by Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Institute of Social Sciences and Development, Mobile Anarchist School, Local Autonomous Network (LAN) and Tau Gamma Phi.
This event is part of Mobile Anarchist School’s program started in 2011 (in University of the Philippines, Merriam College, communities in Taguig, Muntinlupa, Makati, Pasig and Bulacan (Sapang-Palay and Baliwag) designed to popularize anarchist alternatives, ideas and experiences in Universities, communities and immediate network.
Local Autonomous Network (LAN), Mobile Anarchist School with assistance from Tau Gamma Phi brotherhood and sorority installed photo exhibit depicting anarchist experience and history in the archipelago. Images of anarchist activists and events in international were also displayed. LAN volunteers opened-up the week-long program with cultural performance. Acoustic jam and ethnic cultural presentations created positive atmosphere in the campus that encouraged students to interact with autonomous activists.
Informal discussions took place spontaneously; students approached autonomous activists to inquire about anarchism. Leftist groups such as authoritarian Marxists were also present and attempted to catch the attention of the organisers but they were neutralized easily by volunteers who are prepared to engage them ideologically.
Mixed reactions reflected through queries, comments and messages written in freedom wall installed during the first day. More students came and more discussions took place. Food not Bombs attracted more people and induced more curiosity among students.
Mutual-cooperation and sharing are present in almost every culture of the people around the world but these relationships are undermined by hierarchy and competition reinforced by the state and market institutions.
Food not Bombs volunteers conducted a demonstration of actual cooking and preparation of vegetarian food and share it with students and faculty. Since we are raised under the framework of competition and centralization of power and benefits, sharing is unusual and not ordinary. Many people got surprised with the concept of sharing food, students, faculty and autonomous activists enjoyed vegetarian meal while chatting and discussing relevant issues connected to the theme of event.
After the food sharing event, students and activists brought out their T-shirts to have it printed with Food not Bombs design. Earth music, chatting, discussions and exchanges of arguments reinforced the festive mood of the event.
Yoga session facilitated by Ananda Marga volunteers was attended by number of students. Brief yoga orientation was discussed prior to actual conducted. Students were receptive and they expressed interests to the possible follow-up activities.
Due to unavoidable circumstances, the facilitator failed to show-up and as a result the martial arts workshop was cancelled.
Film Screening is an effective method in initiating exchanges of ideas among students. “If the tree fall” and End Civilisation” were shown in audio-visual room (Accenture)of the University.
Brief discussions facilitated by volunteers initiated the discussions and encouraged students to share their opinion with regard to the films.
The biggest event was the fifth day; less than a hundred students attended the forum and listened to the discussions of anarchist and autonomous activists who are active in various field of interests.
Opening speech was delivered by the director of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Institute of Social Sciences and Development, Hilda Felipe San Gabriel. She set a very positive and receptive tone to the very first anarchist event in the University. She even welcomes the possibility of having follow-up activities/project in the near future.
An anarchist professor from Marinduque State University, Randy Nobleza presented a very concise definition of the topic with relevant examples and analogy. He’s opening discussion made the next topics more intelligible for the students and listeners.
Anarcha-Feminism was discussed by one of the volunteers of LAN (Melissa Gibson), she is connected to an NGO which the advocacy is related to OFW issues. She outlined the basic concepts and practices of anarcha-feminism. She also discussed historical and current event and its relation to current anti-patriarchal struggle.
Christian-anarchism topic was presented by a teacher, Asher Quimson. The already stunned students were even shocked that there is such thing as “Christian-Anarchism”. The speaker dealt with the basic ideas of Christian teachings and its semblance or relationship to anti-authoritarian ideology.
Jong Pairez discussed the close relationship of technology and anarchist resistance, he presented examples to reinforce the relevance of technology to autonomous struggle.
The next resource person discussed the anarchist analysis on ecological crises. Bas Umali presented the initiatives of various collectives affiliated to LAN. He expounded the discussion related to permaculture, solar as alternative source of energy and flood awareness. He also mentioned different tactics to encourage people’s participation.
The reactors Andrei Ortega of UP Diliman and Raniel Rayes of University of Sto. Thomas discussed their critical opinions on the theme discussed by the resource speakers; after which, the mic was opened to students who were eager to participate through questions, sharing of comments and opinions.
Apprehensions and critical thinking are encouraged in any anarchist organized venues, the organisers were pleased to hear varied opposing ideas and supportive comments from the audience. Generally, students and some faculty as well were very receptive to anarchists experiences, practices, alternatives and ideas.
Cultural performance followed next, LAN volunteers organized a festive program. They set up different traditional and ethnic percussion, string and wind instruments and performed a closing ritual through fire dancing. A pair of fire dancers (male and female) showed their dancing skills for about 15 minutes combined with short chanting and speeches.