An Anarchist and Autonomous Community-Based Resource Center in Muntinlupa City (Manila south), Philippines
On the morning of February 7, the bus where Tado boarded, fell off in cliff in Sitio Panggang, Barangay Talubin, Bontoc Mountain Province with 45 passengers. 14 passengers died and one of them was Tado including two foreign nationals. According to report, the Florida Trans Bus fell off into a 120-meter-deep ravine due to brake malfunction.
Arvin “Tado” Jimenez is definitely not an anarchist. His political background is authoritarian left; Tado was already part of Kabataang Makabayan (KM), an underground youth organization affiliated to National Democratic Front (NDF) during early 1990s. After the split of National Democrats, Tado took side with the group that later became part of Rejectionist Block (RJ). He became active to the political party under the influence of the late Felimon Lagman.
Tado is truly an artist, before he became a popular comedian and on camera TV artist, he was part of the militant cultural group called Panday Pira – a group that involved developing visual, musical, and theatrical artists. He was involved in multiple projects and activities of Panday Pira from propaganda to skills sharing. Though, he often arranged academic documents he was in the campus not as a student but as an artist and activist. Like Bong Pascasio (vocalist/songwriter/ of Grin Department; visual/tattoo and graffiti artist) and the punk Icon Ben of Not For Sale now a devotee of Hare Krishna, they were Panday Pira artists that participated in militant actions under authoritarian left influence.
ANARCHY —- A hundred years before Europeans coined the word anarchism; it is already practiced by myriad of indigenous communities in many places of the world. Our traditional social relations in fact are anarchistic, our ancestors practiced non-hierarchical and non-authoritarian politics; there was no state. The traditional network reinforced by kinship, trade, and blood compact served as the web of support and solidarity amongst indigenous and local communities. For 50 years, the traditional network protected localities against Spanish attempts to colonize the archipelago. If not through Muslim cordiality the Spaniards wont’ be able to exercise control to some areas of Luzon and Visayas for 333 years (In fact, it was a Muslim merchant who induced Saripada Humabon of Cebu to receive Magellan without harbor fee. It was the Sultan of Gilolo who sent two boats to ransom off Spanish Captives in Leyte and Samar during Villolobos expedition and the assistance provided by a talkative Bornean pilot the gave Legazpi a description of Moro trade within the archipelago).
It should be also noted that a shipyard strike in Cavite, in September 1872 was the first recorded labor strike in the archipelago, it was non-hierarchical, no leaders, and not operated by any political party.
Very few areas in Mindanao accepted the Spaniards. The large portion of Mindanao remained decentralized; unlike some Christianized areas in Luzon and Visayas where natives were performing servitude to the friars (priests) and Spanish governments; many communities in Mindanao maintained their life-ways, no external authority no centralized government except the system of network of coordination through the local Sultanate.
Hosts of local resistance against Spanish colonaism in different places of Luzon and Visayas controlled by Spain perennially occurred that eventually exhausted Spain. Katipunan effectively united huge number of people, though its influence reached some places in Bicol region, some parts of Visayas, and part of Luzon. It should not be treated as a revolution that represents the entire archipelago. Katipunan was a Tagalog-based resistance. It was not special and should be treated equal to resistance of Tamblot, Dagohoy, Bancao, Igorot, Diego Silang, Candon Republicand other uprisings that are much older than Katipunan.
After years of exile, Isabelo de los Reyes returned to the archipelago in 1901 with a collection of books that included works by Proudhon, Kropotkin, Darwin, Voltaire, and Marx. Together with other anti-imperialist activists they organized Union Obrera Democratica (UOD) — the first labor union in the archipelago. Its festive and colorful methods supported by thousands of workers and marginalized people threatened the American imperialists.
Many historical events could explain why anarchism became notorious and generally misunderstood as chaos, lawless, violent, disorder and other negative attributions.
Anarchist practices are diverse, multitude and has myriad of variations. But despite of its diversity, there are commonalities that overlap in these practices that the main goals are to foster including solidarity, decentralization, mutual-aid, non-coerciveness, non-patriarchal, direct action, and ecologically sound ways of living. These characteristics might not be all present to various practices and communities but one can observe that majority of which are present. I am please to recommend you the literature related to the Spanish Civil War, the Russian experience of Kronstadt sailors; and Ukrainian peasant anarchists (Makhno), and Argentinian direct take over by factory workers.More recently,popular movements include anti-nuclear actions in Japan, the Occupy movements, and the Turkish Spring. The Zapatista experiment is evolving in Mexico, startingway back in the late 1890s during EmilianoZapata campaign to implement “Plan de Ayala”, a program intended to reinforce autonomous practices of the Morellos. There are plenty of archeological and anthropological studies in the Philippine archipelago that could support that mutual aid, solidarity, decentralization, non-coerciveness and life-ways consistent to sustainable ecology are present to social relations of diverse culture of the communities in the archipelago.
Anarchist militant actions against neo-liberal projects like World Trade Organization (WTO), G-8, and others should be credited for making unfair trade negotiations uncomfortable and costly which contribute pressure that caused delays and non-agreements.
Like any other ideas and practices anarchism is not perfect but it is continuously evolving based on its actual practices but its commitment remained focus on making states and market institutions futile and irrelevant.
There are plenty of historical events that could explain why anarchism became unpopular and one of which is the serious effort of the corporations, states,and other centralized and authoritarian institutions to maintain anarchist initiatives under control.
Anarchism in the Philippines is taking-off, since late 1990s particularly after the event of the Battle in Seattle (WTO ministerial meeting); collectives and individuals started to surface carrying particular ideological stance distinct to authoritarian left. Since the year 2010 up to present various autonomous activists able to organized different venues and activities intended to popularize anarchist initiatives, experience and alternatives. Through collective and individual efforts, autonomous activists connects workshops, Food Not Bombs, Free Market, street protests, cultural and artistic events. Some are integrating sustainable technology like solar power generator system and permaculture, others are establishing community-based resource center (Infoshops). Some network organizing conferences in universities have been used as a method to promote alternative frameworks and life-styles. They were also in Leyte to provide free solar electricity generators to victims of typhoon Yolanda.
Tado as an artist is always open to new ideas and ready to discuss new concepts. His connection with the anarchist groups in the Philippines was so minimal, but certainly he has connection that he even participated some of anarchist campaigns and able to deliver significant results.
In 2009, he invited an anarchist resource speaker in BrewRATZ radio program. The trio (actor Ramon Bautista, VJ/TV host Angel “Erning” Rivero and Tado Jimenez guided the listeners for an easy way of understanding anarchist concepts through humorous ways. Questions and comments flooded the chat and email of the program. A one-hour discussionwas not enough to accommodate the many phone calls. As far as we know, this event was the first on air discussion of anarchism in the archipelago
In December 2012, Tado was invited by Mobile Anarchist School (MAS) to discuss flood issues and alternatives. MAS, through Onsite Infoshop in Muntinlupa City, is implementing a flood awareness program. Its main objective is to raise consciousness of the affected communities with regard to flooding and its relation to climate change and deforestation. Another objective is to influence the community to take part in formulating solutions for their own problems instead of relying solely on the government institutions that in experience are ill-equipped, corrupt, and ineffective.
Tado’s presence in the community drew attention; people came out of their houses first to simply see Tado in person but they eventually listen upon hearing his own testimony about his personal experience on floods. Tado’s home in Marikina was submerged to flood water during Ondoy torrential rains.
MAS and Tado were discussing possible collaboration but was not pursue because both are always busy sustaining their respective initiatives.
We would like to extend our condolence to the family of Arvin Jimenez; may Batahala our Ancestors guide your journey!