*start of message* tried to stay silent all throughout september and sum all things that this accursed month of stressful hell broke loose come october. failed, obviously. terribly failed. i am sober and i prophesy strikes that hopefully would not end as only good starts of sparks that exist for a nanosecond then later cease to be. speaking of such, two strikes of matches after the cut
1) a draft abstract for the boni 150 conference of [contend] this coming thursday. paper tentatively titled "Bonifacio and General China: Power, Liberation and ‘Terrorism’ in Orchid"; and 2) "The Fight for Education: Global Upheavals as Rehearsals," the uncut version of "The Fight for Education as Dress Rehearsal" which was published way back 2011 in UP Forum. the latter a lengthy celebration, the former a brief sigh of critique. i share these things in anticipation of the aforesaid vision of strikes. *end of message*
In the comic book Orchid, written by Tom Morello and illustrated by Scott Hepburn, General China’s mask became an icon like Bonifacio’s image—that become powerful enough to bestow magical powers to whoever possesses it. The qualified and deserving (though not necessarily prepared) ‘saint’ to wear the mask is Orchid. This paper will attempt to investigate the struggle and development of the titular character from a 16-year old prostitute to the oppressed's hero / liberator and the oppressor's villain / terrorist through the use of a relic, in the same way as we may derive wisdom and power from the Supremo.
Functioning as keeper of General China's legacy / ideology, the mask becomes a symbol, just like Bonifacio; and trying it on and reading through it is dangerous, even deadly. Hailing from the millenarian movement tradition, the superstitious “shadow rebels” led by Orchid as the new General China went against the science and technology of the ruling class, ending in a utopia with no leaders, thus mirroring the hopes of the Occupy movements which have been criticized for lacking leadership and programme; and for having neither structure nor strategy to achieve whatever the change the 99% wanted—tendencies which manifest in Orchid.
The comic book was published during the peak of the Occupy protests, wherein another mask—the guy fawkes mask—became an icon of defiance. Set in a somewhat post-apocalyptic world “when the seas rose, genetics codes were smashed,” Orchid serves as a critique of the so-called “climate change” at first glance; but Morello, former guitarist of Rage Against the Machine, neither ended nor wallowed in environmental / eco-critical analysis, focused on what really caused environmental destruction: class conflict.
The Fight for Education: Global Upheavals as Rehearsals
In Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s novel Petals of Blood, Munira, the teacher in a ramshackle school in the likewise downtrodden, pastoral village of Ilmorog, realized that he “would have to face the drought as a challenge” and he “would not be able to teach under these conditions where theory seems a mockery of reality.” The “drought,” whether taken figuratively or literally, is a result of the adherence of the local bureaucrat puppets to their imperialist masters leading to state abandonment of the people by depriving them of education and other basic social services, to give way to neoliberal interests.
The Philippines and the rest of the world, however, began facing this drought with a raised fist, as we have seen as theatre, had we attended or witnessed rallies, or as films, had we observed massive protests through new (or even old) media. As observed in recent nationwide strikes last September, students, teachers, administrators and employees joined hands in mass demonstrations against budget cuts and for greater state subsidy. These mass protests exposed “the naked contradictions of capitalism” and showed “the continuing resistance of the people against a dying system,” according to the Director of the Student Housing and UP Sociology Professor Gerry Lanuza.
The global actions of young people tells us that “the global dominance of neoliberal thinking result to social spending cutbacks and other anti-people impacts” and “the protests are proof of the vital and growing opposition of peoples around the world, especially the youth, to neoliberal policies,” according to Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino. “Our fight for education” then, as UP Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo puts it, is “an anti-imperialist fight, a political fight that weaves into the worldwide demand for a system that will respond to human needs to replace the current one that is ruled by the logic of profit accumulation.”
Described by Raymundo as a system that “demands unnecessary suffering from the laboring people” and “allows for looters and murderers to lead nation-states,” global capitalism provokes revolt—as seen, not just in mass actions for free education, but in demonstrations with a broad range of demands such as the popular international Occupy protests.
The Theatre Production
“All modern revolt,” as Robert Brustein’s The Theatre of Revolt quotes Albert Camus’s The Rebel, is “born of the spectacle of irrationality, confronted with unjust and incomprehensible condition.” Such is the case with a system that prioritizes profit over people, corporate greed over social services. Thus Munira’s realization of the necessity to go beyond the classroom setting paints a picture, not just of education crisis, but, more importantly, its roots in the global capitalist system espousing “oppressive acts” that, as Paulo Freire depicts in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, “prevent people from being human.” Acts depriving anyone of any constitutionally-guaranteed rights (such as that of education), are then oppressive—a violation of the “dehumanized” people struggling for “rehumanization,” as these acts later become reactionary, to suppress and to counter the people’s actions to struggle.
In Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal said that the objective is to change the passive spectators (the people) “into subjects, into actors, transformers of dramatic action.” Boal’s views is in line with Freire who criticized the “oppressor consciousness” that reduces everything to “objects of its domination,” and thus treats the oppressed as “things,” rather than empowering them as subjects, This advancement of people from the passive to the active is what Bertolt Brecht’s verfremdungseffekt (translated as “distancing” or “alienation” or “estrangement” or “defamilarization” effect) or V-effect is all about, as it subverts the idea of catharsis in theatre—where the spectators become mere objects by totally empathizing and identifying with the subjects, i.e. actors, to the point of losing themselves in emotional trance, which is often the case in both the subject and the object.
“A representation that alienates,” Brecht declares, “is one which allows us to recognize the subject, but at the same time makes it seem unfamiliar.” Such estrangement makes the critical observer conscious, instead of being drawn and drowned into the illusion of the narrative. In line with this is Freire’s claim that “education suffers from narration sickness,” manifested as teachers, deliberately or otherwise, preach absolute, static reality, thus the emphasis on memorization, rather than critical analysis. Such is also the case of the bourgeois theatre that, according to Brecht, “emphasize the timelessness of its objects.” In the classroom setting, Freire showed the object-subject dichotomy with the “banking definition of education” where the students (depositories) become “mere objects” while the teachers (depositors) become the “Subjects of the learning process.”
The banking definition, in today’s context, may be taken to another layer of interpretation by associating it with the neoliberal policies—encouraging deregulation, privatization and liberalization—imposed by the so-called 1% to the 99%, where the former, in Freire’s words, “halt by any method (including violence) any action” that “could awaken” the latter “to the need for unity.” Despite the oppressors’ reactionary tendencies, as portrayed in the Occupy protests, and other international struggles, not just for free education, but for liberation, the oppressed 99% are finding ways to organize themselves and to set the stage for the upcoming acts.
Casting Call: Role of the Youth
Though we may consider them as independent performances in their own respect, mass demonstrations are “rehearsals for revolution,” as John Berger’s The Nature of Mass Demonstrations asserts. These, however, are “not strategic or even tactical ones, but rehearsals of revolutionary awareness.” Prior a rehearsal that shall later culminate into the grand theatrical performance are open calls for auditions where roles are cast and/or tasks are assigned, in accordance with the in/capacity and preferences of those who responded to the call to act.
Likewise, affected sectors that respond to the call to forge unities to foster the struggle for free education are convened into an organization. According to Freire, concepts such as organization, unity and struggle are labelled dangerous by oppressors since “their realization is necessary to actions of liberation.” These “dangerous” concepts are employed in collective action. Mass actions asserting for greater state subsidy, in Raymundo’s words, help “build organizational cohesiveness.” She adds that protest actions create “a stronger sense of purpose and belonging,” while strengthening “an organization’s capacity for systematic organizing in the sense that mass protests are venues for people to facilitate other people’s enlightenment and a sense of being organized.”
However, in a conservative country such as ours, the youth are often dissuaded by various factors in assuming a daring role—whether in thespian or mass organizations—and among those factors are right inside our homes. In an open letter, Lanuza encouraged the parents to allow their children to be part of a national performance, i.e. the September 23 strike of the KILOS NA! multisectoral alliance against budget cuts: “They (students) cannot be a “genuine” iskolar ng bayan if they will not go through this “baptism of fire.” In social scientific parlance, these great protestivals are opportunities for political socialization. They are being initiated into the role that they will have to actively assume later on in their life: active citizens of Philippine society.”
Vencer Crisostomo, the spokesperson of the alliance and national chairperson of youth group Anakbayan, said that various sectors advocating free education help each other within KILOS NA! The participation or roles are chosen “based on their respective strengths and weaknesses.” He illustrated by saying that “the youths, as the largest sector inside any school, provide the ‘muscle’ for any rally or protest action” and “‘push the envelope’ in terms of the daringness and militancy,” while the teachers and employees provide a “democratic space” for dialogue with university administrations and even government officials and “a wealth of experience” as among their ranks are many former youth activists.
Other roles the youth sector play, as Palatino enumerated, are: 1.) sharing budget information and other updates from the legislative department; 2) tacticizing on how to successfully mount (our) campaigns; and 3.) building alliances, conducting joint activities and actions. He said that the youth formed this unity with other sectors because “the neoliberal agenda as reflected in the budget is not limited to the education sector” and that Kabataan Partylist builds unities with “Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC), the national association of SUC presidents, to promote an awareness and education campaign about the relevance of state investments to higher education and in particular, the contribution of SUCs in fulfilling the national development agenda” in order to “have more persuasive power when dealing with DBM and Congress.” He added that Kabataan Partylist actively intervened all throughout the budget deliberations and “proposed the realignment of state expenditures from unproductive expenses (like cash transfers, bloated foreign debts, redundant intelligence funds) to social services, especially basic and higher education.”
As thespian organizations coordinate with different formations to help them stage a play, sectors build unities within and among themselves to campaign for democratic rights. With regard to the integration of the youth with other concerned sectors, Crisostomo said, “Government employees, migrants, women, and the urban poor provide us students with a wider perspective on the effects of the budget cuts.” Organized multisectoral protest actions coupled with congressional lobbying alone shows that coordinated campaigns for greater state subsidy encompass the concerns and reflect the interests of various affected sectors—such unity manifests as well in the international level.
Monologues and Dialogues
In contrast to the unity forged via dialogues, i.e. two-way inter-sectoral communication within the 99%, the negotiations with the 1% seems like a monologue—leaving the 99% no other option than taking it to the streets, among other means.
Going against the majority of YES votes to pass the the 2012 General Appropriations Act on third and final reading in the House of Representatives, Palatino voted NO and, in his privilege speech, said that the budget will “disempower the grassroots since it subscribes to a discredited development program.” He added, that the youth and other sectors “pushed for crucial amendments but it appears that the eclipse of reason still defines this so-called people’s budget” and “rallied to register the amendments they want to be reflected in this budget.” He slammed the House that “merely nods to the command of the Executive, instead of exercising its constitutional duty to genuinely advance the rights and welfare of the people” and said that “what is given is ‘loose change’ to barely meet what our basic social services truly need to properly function.”
The authorities turning a deaf ear, even to demands of representatives of marginalized sectors such as the youth, results to public outrage—the education sector then is left with no choice but to resort to the intensification of the parliament of the streets, as it appears that the supposed dialogue with fellow lawmakers turn out to be a monologue. With “the limitation of lobbying in convincing lawmakers with vested interests, rallies ‘persuade’ politicians” through “‘public pressure’ that shows (politicians) the extent of public opinion regarding the issue, and the potential loss of electoral support should they act/decide contrary to our interests.” (Crisostomo 2011) The public already expressed disapproval through various means including placards that read NO TO BUDGET CUTS TO SOCIAL SERVICES. According to Palatino, his NO vote to the 2012 budget is “a NO vote to government neglect of basic social services and the utter absence of substantial change.”
“To protest is to scream, NO! As John Holoway puts it, “Faced with the mutilation of human lives by capitalism, a scream of sadness, a scream of horror, a scream of anger, a scream of refusal: NO.” The people finally said, NO!” (Lanuza 2011) This NO was echoed by different peoples across the globe from different sectors in different forms of protest. Thus, as Lanuza puts it, an attack “in all fronts the assault of neoliberal monopoly capitalism within the educational field: in the everyday classroom setting, in the struggle for the welfare of the academic and nonacademic personnel, in the revision of curriculum, institution of new courses, and in other countless sites.”
Vaudeville of Protests
According to Crisostomo, among the creative forms of protests he has seen are “‘flash mobs’, or surprise synchronized dances in public places, graffiti murals on walls and roads, mass ‘planking’, or laying down face-first on highly visible or symbolic locations such as the middle of roads, street plays, and concerts.”
Planking is one of the most utilized spectacles. The September 23 planking at Mendiola was dubbed as the largest planking protest in the world. Other spectacles seen in the UP system with the street as the stage are: 1.) the budget CUTtoure fashion—UP Diliman community had their shirts cut (and designed by clothing technology students) before modelling; 2.) the pose to oppose budget cut campaign—UPLB constituents put slogans on their profile photos in social networking sites; 3.) the blackboard campaign—UP Visayas students write their calls on the blackboard, have their photos taken with the call, and have this photo posted online; 4.) the huni ni oble—UP Mindanao community hum the “UP Naming Mahal;” 5.) the human chain—UP baguio constituents link arms and shared solidarity messages; and 6.) the freeze mob—where participants “suddenly froze in the middle of a busy school lobby or corridor, arousing the curiosity of passersby,” thereby inviting the spectators to be actors themselves by joining protests. In the virtual stage of social networking sites, personal accounts of those involved in the struggle for free education changed their surnames to “opposes budget cuts.” Social media are also means serving as venues to disseminate publicity materials and information regarding upcoming activities for particular campaigns.
However, despite these ‘creative’ means, “rallies and other forms of protest actions,” according to Crisostomo, “comprise the main form of lobbying and campaigning for greater state subsidy to education.” Relating this to global phenomena, Lanuza said that mass protests embody the “people’s utopian longing for a society freed from the exploitative mantle of neoliberal capitalism that consigns 2.5 billion people or 40% of the world population to subhuman living by earning less than 2 dollars per day while 10% of the richest people controls 54% of the world capital.”
In the privilege speech The Right to Strike Palatino said, “Domestically and globally, budget cuts, price hikes, continuous rights violations and social strife continue to inspire countless young people to rely on the collective wisdom and power of the oppressed to build a better and more humane, progressive society.” He furthered, “Youths all over the world are up in arms. Youth and student riots in London, Chile, Spain, Madagascar, Columbia, Germany, Malaysia and elsewhere in the world are testament to how volatile the present global economic crisis is. Youths 17-25 years old are jobless, students are protesting.”
If all the world’s a stage and all men and women are merely players, going by Shakespeare, then consider the fight for education, being a global phenomenon, a theatrical performance of universities, colleges, and other concerned formations in the global scale—that is but an act within a larger theatrical performance, which is yet to be seen. Going by Alan Moore’s rendition in the comic book V for Vendetta, “All the world’s a stage and the rest is vaudeville.” Vaudeville, said to be derived from the expression voix de ville (voice of the city), are, in essence, variety shows—which may, for the purposes of this discussion, refer to the variety of forms of registering protest. But still, these theatricals are mere front acts before the main performance. Among the icons of worldwide dissent, not just against deprivation of education and basic social services, but against corporate greed, is the Guy Fawkes mask from the aforementioned comic book.
In an interview with The Guardian, Moore said that the mask—worn by thousands of demonstrators especially in Occupy protests, turning the “protests into performances,” is “very operatic; it creates a sense of romance and drama.” He added that protest marches can be “very demanding, very gruelling” and “quite dismal” but are “things that have to be done.” Moore struggled to find the last V word to use as a title for the comic book’s closing chapter, according to The Guardian. Having used “Victims, Vaudeville and Vengeance; the Villain, the Voice, the Vanishing; even Vicissitude and Verwirrung (the German word for confusion)” he settled for Vox Populi. “Voice of the people” Moore said, “And I think that if the mask stands for anything, in the current context, that is what it stands for. This is the people. That mysterious entity that is evoked so often – this is the people.” For the sake of making more people critical observers, if not actors themselves (spect-actors as Boal termed), rather than passive spectators, there is the need for V-effect in the Brechtian sense in every performance, which in this case, are protest actions for asserting the right to education.
“The street demonstrator’s performance,” Brecht said pertaining to an eyewitness telling other people how a traffic accident took place, “is essentially repetitive. The event has taken place; what you are seeing now is a repeat. If the scene in the theatre follows the street scene in this respect, then the theatre will stop pretending not to be theatre, just as the street-corner demonstration admits it is a demonstration (and does not pretend to be an actual event).” Speeches in rallies, the aforementioned creative forms of protest, and other demonstrations that we may qualify as performances, then, are also mere repetitions—recollections of the oppression communicated with other people. Mass demonstrations are perhaps repeated as preparations for the grand performance. “Rehearsals of revolutionary awareness” indeed, as Berger postulates, where “the delay between the rehearsals and the real performance may be very long” and “their quality – the intensity of rehearsed awareness – may, on different occasions, vary considerably.” As Brecht further asserts, the street demonstrators (i.e. actors and protesters as far as theatre and rallies are concerned, respectively) are not fascinated with creation or invocation of pure emotions as his or her interests rather lie on social intervention—and a collective intervention of the oppressed 99% escalates as we speak.
Upheavals as rehearsals
People’s consciousness of how governments’ crosscutting measures on social services prove to be “a consequence of the crisis of global capitalism” is a “significant theoretical point that once grasped and acted upon creates a strong sense of international solidarity.” The slogan “we are the 99%,” according to Raymundo, articulates “society’s polarization on account of a moribund economic system” that only benefits 1%, i.e. the ruling minority, thus the global phenomena of international protests remind us the class struggle’s societal role as engine of history. (Raymundo 2011)
“The oppressed,” Freire said, “must see examples of the vulnerability of the oppressor so that a contrary conviction can begin to grow within them,” thus the significance of being witnesses to successful spectacles, such as massive rallies or creative protest actions or—even so-called “tactical offensives,” had participants or actors been resolved that armed revolutions are necessary. Brecht reminded, however, that performances should not completely drown the spectators into a cathartic, emotional trance. As Boal suggests, “Brecht wants the theatrical spectacle to be the beginning of action: the equilibrium should be sought by transforming society.”
Being a repeated performance, if not a mere rehearsal to the grand performance, a demonstration must indeed estrange through the V-effect by maintaining enough distance of the public spectacle to reality as a means of giving room to critical observation. Like theatrical plays, mass demonstrations are, as Berger described, “a created event which arbitrarily separates itself from ordinary life. Its value is the result of its artificiality, for therein lies its prophetic, rehearsing possibilities.”
“We have equated politics with what is possible, not with what is impossible,” said Lanuza. “In the post-modern age when a lot of people and intellectuals no longer believe in universality, of shared common humanity and utopian aspiration, the successful protest actions of various sectors of Philippine society” for some people “is an enigma.” But for Lanuza, it is never an enigma because capitalism itself “breeds its own grave-diggers.” He added that people, becoming “dystopians,” imagine the possibility of ending the world “through a gigantic meteorite hitting the earth or a big tsunami covering the entire planet or even people dying from the effects of global warming,” but not the possibility of ending neoliberal global capitalism through collective resistance. In a speech at the Occupy protests, Slavoj Zizek said that almost everything is possible in technology and in sexuality as one “can travel to the moon” or “can become immortal by biogenetics” or “you can have sex with animals,” but in society and economy, if one wants “to raise taxes by little bit for the rich” wants “more money for health care,” it is impossible. He said, “There’s something wrong in the world, where you are promised to be immortal but cannot spend a little bit more for healthcare.”
Through social movements, according to Lanuza, the people realize that they do not need to concede with this “rootless logic of capitalist commodification” that subjects “all social life” to the market’s “abstract requirements” and that “neoliberalism, as parasitic upon the illusion of our own powerlessness and its own global irresistibility, has precluded any utopian imagination beyond the omnipotence of the market,” thus protest movements are “necessarily utopian.” Quoting Ernest Bloch, Lanuza said that utopianism was not “something like nonsense or absolute fancy; rather it is not yet in the sense of a possibility; that it could be there if we could only do something for it.” Such is the “power of protest and social movements” that “electrify society and raise the consciousness of the people” to win their rights through unity.
Lanuza added that people who protest and denounce capitalist violence are called “dreamers” and quoted Zizek: “The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is tuning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself.” But the people, Lanuza concluded, are “once again awakening from their deep slumber” as “neoliberal restructuring of education is a nightmare.” Palatino added that “students are worried over the creeping invasion of corporate interests in schools,” which “addressed the market needs and foreign economies instead of the actual needs of the local economy and the communities they are supposedly serving” and suggested “to counter this neoliberal attack” by forming a “broad unity of various people’s organizations and force the government to fulfill its mandate of providing adequate funds for social services.”
Our free education campaign, according to Crisostomo, is similar with those of other countries’ in respect to the analysis of ‘commercialization’ of education. Concerned sectors “recognize that the budget cuts are not simply some policy error by the government, but rather a trend to make education less accessible, and in general, make it serve corporate needs.” He furthered that the “scope and magnitude” protests for free education worldwide are inspiring. “For example, while we have managed campus strikes of a maximum of four days, the ‘student strike’ in Chile encompasses hundreds of universities and high schools, and has been going on for several months now. The U.K protests, meanwhile, have hundreds of thousands in participants. Just recently, they have been holding their campus walkouts simultaneously with workers’ rallies. And in the U.S, ‘Occupy’ protesters are now gathering in campuses after being repeatedly dispersed by the police.”
Using Freire’s terms, the oppressors condemn “the violence of a strike by workers,” and “call upon the state in the same breath to use violence in putting down a strike.” This violence may be in the form of an actual dispersal, or perhaps an agitation of a riot, but such may also be in the form of verbal ridicule, like the Malacanang’s snide remarks that “students shall focus on their studies” and the President’s comparison of the anti-imperialist youth group League of Filipino Students to a dictatorship. Palatino, in his speech The Right to Strike, sad that unlike some assemblies ending up as riots in other countries, we have our youth activists, with their sense of the discipline and organization, to thank for as they took a stand that anarchy is not the solution to the education crisis. “Mass demonstrations should be distinguished from riots or revolutionary uprisings although, under certain (now rare) circumstances, they may develop into either of the latter.” (Berger 1968)
Comparing a riot and a revolutionary uprising, Berger said the aim of the former is immediate—
“seizing of food, the release of prisoners, the destruction of property”, while that of the latter is “long-term comprehensive”—culminating “in the taking over of State power,” but that of a demonstration is rather “symbolic”—demonstrating “a force that is scarcely used.” As the mass reproduction and utilization of Guy Fawkes masks mentioned earlier is a rendition, if not mere repetition, of an act that has not actually happened in reality other than that of fictional dystopia of V for Vendetta, a mass demonstration, in Berger’s terms, is an enactment of the capturing of a city—something symbolical, not actual and this symbolism is “for the benefit of the participants,” who become “positively aware of how they belong to a social class.”
Brecht’s concept of “epic theatre” insists on a sort of metatheatre that shall make the spectator aware that the play is indeed just a play, as subversion of ordinary theatre’s “engendering of illusion.” Applying this concept to mass demonstrations, it is a practice, for instance, in snake rallies (ones that symbolically capture both the streets and the buildings as the protesting contingent marches around the large area of a particular institutions, e.g. universities) to shout chants that “breaks the fourth wall” to address the audience directly and encourage them to join the ranks of the rehearsing actors and be involved in the collective action of the education movement. “Protest movements also belie the fetishized neoliberal political myth that individuals, not collective movements, are the heroes that can change the world. Today more than ever we have to realize that what we are fighting against is a system, not just aggregation of individualized greed.” (Lanuza 2011)
Curtain Call to an Impending Doom
“Protests,” Lanuza said, “are proving to be very effective in wringing decisive concessions from the neoliberal state.” According to Berger, “Theoretically demonstrations are meant to reveal the strength of popular opinion or feeling: theoretically they are an appeal to the democratic conscience of the State. But this presupposes a conscience which is very unlikely to exist.” A rally is indeed an amateur theatrical play thus a rehearsal, since, had the state been “open to democratic influence, the demonstration will hardly be necessary,” otherwise, “it is unlikely to be influenced by an empty show of force containing no real threat” unless the rally in consideration is “in support of an already established alternative State authority,” then “may be immediately effective.” (Berger 1968)
Since mass demonstrations, as Berger said, appeal “to the democratic conscience of the State” that is “very unlikely to exist” and “provoke violence upon itself” its “historical role” then is merely to “show the injustice, cruelty, irrationality of the existing State authority.” Rallies “express political ambitions before the political means necessary to realise them have been created” and “predict the realisation of their own ambitions and thus may contribute to that realisation, but they cannot themselves achieve them,” which leads Berger to conclude that “the question which revolutionaries must decide in any given historical situation is whether or not further symbolic rehearsals are necessary. The next stage is training in tactics and strategy for the performance itself.”
With the mass demonstrations as manifestations of the “symptoms of the deepening crisis of global monopoly capitalism,” Lanuza suggests intensification of the struggle by “exposing the inefficiency of the market and the way the “invisible hand” that is supposed to guide the market has been from the beginning the hands of the wealthy and powerful.” Comparing the struggle for education in other countries and in the Philippines, Crisostomo said that the calls of some countries are “essentially calls for reform in the education system. They are calls, or pleas, to the government. They have no answers to the question ‘What Happens Next?’ when the government rejects their calls,” while that of the “Philippine education movement clearly views the problems of the education sector as closely linked with the problems of Philippine society in general. Thus, we always strive to raise the level of discourse in campuses from that of budget cuts to social change.” The education crises then and the global economic crises are interweaved, thus discourse as regards what needs to be done after rehearsals of revolutionary awareness, i.e. mass demonstrations, as posed by Berger, requires praxis. Praxis can only be achieved through theory and practice, or, in Freire’s terms, reflection and action, Mass demonstrations fall under the latter, while the former lies in further critical analyses of society through theorizing and problematizing through discourse, which in turn, has to be later tested through practice, and be analyzed again through theories and so on.
Thus, rallies and the campaigns that propelled them need to be tested against theories and vice versa. In relation to this dialectical relationship, Lanuza added that through these mass upheavals, we are witnessing the resurgence of “dead” ideologies thus it is high time to seek the guidance of “old masters” and “lost causes,” despite the notion that scholarly analyses on the global crisis (such as Harvey’s, Callinicos’s, Meiksins’s, Wood’s, and Arrighi’s), which are inspired by Lenin’s theory of imperialism, are considered outmoded. These critical analyses, according to Lanuza, are as valid as before. Quoting Jean Paul Sartre, he said, “Far from being exhausted Marxism is still very young, almost in its infancy; it has scarcely begun to develop. It remains, therefore, the philosophy of our time. We cannot go beyond it because we have not gone beyond the circumstances which engendered it. Our thoughts, whatever they may be, can be formed only upon this humus; they must be contained within the framework which it furnishes for them or be lost in the void or retrogress.”
Lanuza challenged “those who say that these words are belied by the historical failure of massive utopian uprisings,” and, quoting the aforementioned French philosopher, said that “there is no need to readapt a living philosophy to the course of the world; it adapts itself by means of thousands of new efforts, thousands of particular pursuits, for the philosophy is one with the movement of society.” As far as the education movement, with the basic sectors, and international struggles for liberation that comprise the 99% are concerned, with this concern manifested through these intensified rehearsals to perfect the upcoming performance, it appears that the theatrical production is about to end simultaneously with the doom of the 1%. A dreamt classless society is yet to be seen. This, however, remains to be fully realized and only history can absolve whether another production is being orchestrated, and which productions endure and perform until the curtain call.