From Howard Zinn

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.


We arrive again at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and have lunch. We visit a new section. Inside looks like a church. The forum begins. These are notes that I have taken in a dimly lit auditorium, curious to what we would be talking about. It turned out that many speakers from the youth sector were preparing for the height of their youth/student campaign in December. This aimed to energize that campaign.

1. Apparently 6.4 billion people amount in the Philippines. So, we must allow the ND movement to strengthen in order to allocate at least half of the budget to education. This is a long term investment. SONA was a short term reactionary settlement to the advancement of the movement.

2. July 24’s GMA bailout of GMA is a victory for the bourgeoisie and those that dictate this republic.

The discussion is shifting to Cha-Cha. This is a parliamentary struggle towards governmental land and societal change. To call a constitutional convention, and to reform policies on corporations, actually dismisses the workers at places like HLI and their conditions. They carry the most potential for revolution from within.

Gemma speaks. Topics include: U.S. intervention, PPP, charter change, mining act of 1999 (Executive Order), Military Exercises, SONA, TPP

Issa speaks. Topic includes: neo-liberal education and deregulation of schools. What she means by this is the government having a “hands-off” approach to conducting the budgets for schools. What this leads to is higher privatization, and also the strengthening of the bureaucracies that run the university. In return, highly privatized schools makes it less affordable for those in Philippine society, because of the deregulation. Question: does deregulation mean lower taxes for the institution?

To us, this might have felt like just another ordinary day on campus (meeting more students). What most of us will not witness, is what will happen during the projection of this campaign in December, where an Occupy Mendiola will take place. I feel glad to have visited this auditorium. This is a tool that we can bring to our campuses here in America.

One does not need the highly prepared tech to attend an auditorium, but as long as one believes in the protracted struggle towards genuine change, he or she must feel naturally inclined to any discussion. The students casually walked in, strolling in and out, and though that in and of itself can be an assessment, the point was made that the methods for campaigning amongst youth is something we can all learn from.


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