April 12, 2021
From The Anarchist Library
280 views


In March 2012, we had the chance to meet some anarchists from the
local infoshop and mindsetbreakerpress in manila, the capital of
philippines. We talked to them about their general situation and about
one campaign against gentrification and squatting in the national
park. We publish parts of interviews and background information.

Early history of anarchism in the philippines

(following some parts of the article “Anarchy in the R.P.” from the newspaper “gasera” #1)

The analysis below is a historical rereading of the
archipelago based on a nonhierarchial and nonstatist
lens. It is an attempt of the editors to see a shared
perspective in history.

There is evidence that anarchism was already present in
the Archipelago long ago. Primitive communities from
coastal to upland flourished and utilized an autonomous
and decentralised political system that facilitated
proliferation of highly diverse cultures and lifestyles.
Our ancestors did engage in local warfare and hostilities,
but not to dominate or establish central power to rule the
archipelago in
uniformity.
The spanish
forces were
defeated by
Lapu
Lapu, but his
victory proved to be
temporary. But spontaneouse and autonomous
resistance ensued; it plagued the 300 years of Spanish
occupation.

The incident on the 20th of february 1872 was one of the
earliest instances of direct actions in the archipelago.
Seven Spanish officers were killed in a mutiny in Cavite
Naval Shipyards.

some notes on US politics history

After the Spanish had been driven out of
the Philippines in 1898 by a combined
action of the United States and the
Filipinos, Spain agreed to “cede” (that is,
sell) the islands to the United States for
$20 million. But the Filipinos, who had
already proclaimed their own independent
republic, did not take kindly to being
treated like a plot of uninhabited real
estate. Accordingly, an American force
numbering at least 50,000 proceeded to
instill in the population a proper
appreciation of their status.

Thus did America’s longest lasting and
most conspicuous colony ever come
into being. […]

By early 1950, the United States had
provided the Philippines with over $200
million of military equipment and supplies,
a remarkable sum for that time, and was in
addition to the construction of various
military facilities.

The Philippines was to be a laboratory
experiment for this unconventional type of
combat. The methods and the terminology,
such as “searchanddestroy” and
“pacification”, were later to become
infamous in Vietnam.

[“Killing Hope U.S. Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II”, William
Blum, Zed Books London 2003].

The history of diliman commune

The barricade is not only really a
physical obstruction but a symbol of
protest. The physical barricade could
be and was easily destroyed by police
forces. The symbolic barricade is not
so easily destroyed as its physical
counterpart. It is a sign of dissent
and discontents.

The Diliman Commune is an uprising led
by students, faculty members and residents
of the University of the Philippines, Diliman
(UPD), together with transport workers, on
February 19, 1971, in protest of the three
centavo increase in oil prices during the
Marcos administration.

The historic protest action was led by the
UPD Student Council, the Samahang
Demokratiko ng Kabataan (Democratic
Association of the Youth, or SDK) and
various fraternities, student organizations,
faculty unions and community
organizations.

()

anarchism in philippines and
community building

Transnational connections are important
for anarchism. They have always been.
After all, a key notion of anarchism is its
opposition to the nation state. Solidarity
across borders and the desire to eventually
eradicate these borders are inherent in the
anarchist idea.

Anticolonial community building is
necessarily a multilateral affair. It cannot
be done by a single party alone. It has to
involve everyone. Of course it is of utter
importance for activists from the global
North to refrain from “leading” this
process and to listen very carefully to the
wants and intentions of their comrades.
However, they cannot passively wait for
others to singlehandedly make the
changes either.

Unjust economic and social relations
can only be turned into just economic and
social relations if everyone changes. It will
never be possible to turn everyone into
masters, and it is hardly desirable to turn
everyone into slaves the goal must be to
abolish both the master and the slave.

(“gasera” #1, article by gabriel kuhn)

interview with anarchists from the philippines

a3yo: Ok, lets start with the
interview. What kind of
projects and groups exist in
then philippines?

MB(1): As far as i know there
are two infoshops in the
philippines. befor there were
three but now only two. The
one social centre and infoshop
exists close to manila, island of
luzon and the other in davao,
mindanao is also run by an
anarchist.

We have a project right now
called “mindsetbreaker” press
and distro. we produce and
publish anarchist material.
The mobile anarchist school is
starting this summer in 2012
for spreading information from
an anarchist perspective in the
local neighbourhood, commu
nity and presenting at univer
sities.

Another project which is not
yet formalised group, but we
are trying to work on that, is
the copwatch. This is focussing
on documenting police vio
lence, harrasment and abusion
of people. Also it is about
confronting the public with
these issues and use different
actions and demonstrations to
rise awareness.
Maybe Mindsetbreaker(2) can
add something

MB(2): With our project
mindsetbreaker, we are
focussing on local information
and propaganda. It is very
important for us to adress
alternatives to the people,
because we are not so many.
We have a journal called
“gasera” and reproduce also a
magazin called “ecodefence”
from our comrades in minda
nao. We copy and distribute not
only local but also international
to some people by mail.
We want to encourage locals to
claim their rights and want to
show, how anarchism works in
our local context and what it
means to us here in the philip
pines.

a3yo: When i talked to you
earlier, you mentioned also an
anarchist gathering in the
philippines recently and a local
anarchist network in metro
manila. What about these
things?

MB(1): There is a informal
network called LAN, “local
autonomous network” with not
only anarchist groups. This
network existed some years
before, but people went out, so
we made a new one.

We try to make common
activities and organised a first
gathering in december of 2011
and a series of this after. the
topic we discussed about was
the political history of the
philippines and a friend, who
wrote a local analysis presented
his paper about archipelagic
confederation.

The second gathering was in
dabao about food not bombs.
The third was a workshop with
a film about the struggling
anarchist communities in
indonesia and japan, the fourth
about the rise of the postleft.

The fifth will be held here in
manila in march 2012 about
gender equality. All activities,
meetings and discussions orga
nised by LAN are an attempt to
strengthen the network, to
make creative actions and to
deepen analysis and to under
stand situation locally and
internationally.

We hope that the LAN and its
different groups will continue
to work against the state and
corporate domination.

a3yo: what would
you say are the most
important topics for
your daily work and
why? you said all
ready police brutally
is one, what else is
going on in your
local context?

MB(1): We want
also to destroy the
totalitarian left and their
ideology. because they are
really influencal, the statist
communist and socialists.
We have tree enemies here, the
capitalism, the state and the
autoritarian left. They are
communists, the marxists and
maoists, who believe in their
communist state and this is
very important for us to discuss
these things and why to
criticize this movement.
Not to impose against them but
to give information what is
wrong. They are doing the
same as the state.
also the poverty is an important
topic and equal distribution of
food. we organise food not
bombs and also free markets
with goods and everything that
is for people important, who
cannot we organise free market
and food and everything
important for people who
cannot afford. i would say that
is my main focus, i want to
work on poverty, against police
and making some alternatives
and confront capitalism, state
and the autoritarian left.

a3yo: what about right wing
movements, you have maybe
also fascists and fundamentalist
and religious people, don’t you
have a struggle against right
wing?

MB(2): For me it is not really a
topic but for some of us might
be. maybe this kind of issue
about religious fascist is in
other parts of philippines more
present. for us, we focus more
on these three enemies, the
capitalism, the state and the
communists.

a3yo: can you shortly explain,
why the communists are
very strong in the
philippines?

MB(1): why they are
strong? because the
authoritarian left is influ
enced by the maoists.
you see china is near to the
philippins so most of the
neighbouring countries like
us have a strong maoist
communist and marxist
movement. because of that
35 years ago, they came to
the philippines and since the
70ies they try to destroy the
current state and enforce a
maoist communist state like
china. they are very strong here
and they believe in the war,
which is one of the strategies of
the maoists to make a communist state.

a3yo: another question about
your project, the mindset
breaker, why did you start it
and how does it work?

MB(2): We started and focus
on the neighbourhood and try
to encourage more selforganisation. also we
work with artists and give people access to
the infoshop. we rise donations for getting
sustainable and be in good contact to locals.
one example is the food not bombs group in
makati (a city which is part of metromanila)
as they started their activities after a young
boy had been killed on the street by police
while he was taking things from the rubbish.
Because of this shocking situation they
concentrate now on the topic of police
brutality and mindsetbreaker is there to help
them to network. It is not only about
anarchism but more open. we try to reflect
on how to build networks. Other initiatives
like students, artists and musicians and some
cultural and environmentalists keep contact
to us and it is a very good development for
us as a struggling collective. They can not
only be in touch with theoretical concepts,
but experience how anarchism works in daily
life. I want also to be clear that you have to
live anarchism and no system can do that for
us. It is about how we organise and how our
practice looks like, a very political but also
personal thing. for starting alternatives we
get really involved in discussions and
organising workshops and events but we aim
later on for a space we can decide on and on
sustainable economy and we are critical
about the environment, too. This is
connected to our issue to rise awareness. Not
much people in the philippines are thinking
seriouse how to adress the daily oppression
by sexism, racism and homophobia. Also
disability and ageism is not very much
reflected, but all these things are important to
us. Other issues are the poverty and the
ecological destruction. we confront this
things. did i get your question? that is our
work and why we are here. to organise and to
inspire and motivate other people and help
them participate and selforganise.

a3yo: you told me something about a project
called mobile school, can you say something
more about that?

MB(2): the mobile anarchist school project is
how we call it, we just started it. it is an
attempt to give awareness to the people. we
will make workshops in universities that we
have contact and also in the local anarchist
network in general in the philippines and in
the communnities in taguig where our food
not bombs makati is organising free markets.
we have good contacts there in squatters
communities and made friends there.

a3yo: taguig, is this close to manila?

MB(2): yes, taguig city is part of manila,
maybe one hour from the centre. The people
there squat for living and they are very poor,
collecting things from the rubbish to sell.

Food not bombs and local anarchist network
is in good contact with squatters there and
organising. Recently, since some months we
started regular cooking there and we made
art workshop for the kids there with our
friends who are artists. We also organised
free market and asked friends around to
collect used material and clothes for the ones
who need it. We give it to our friends, the
squatters. The squatters are very happy about
our actions and then they want us to come
allways. That is one of our ideas for the
infotour we start in august or september at
the universities and communities in taguig
and sokak, which is also a part of manila
close by, where we have contacts to people
and where our documentary team is based,
which is part of our project. So that’s the
thing.

From august to december we make the
infotour and we prepare four papers for that
about the local situation on anarchist basis.
We think that this, as noncompromising
anarchists, who do not want any mediation
of any parties and personals, very important
to publish our own material. we will publish
some about history, radical economy, radical
ecology and one about gender. This is the
project for now until july.

a3yo: ok, you said something about this
squatting communities, for european it might
be interesting, are there lot’s of squatters
communities here in philippines, is it very
common to squat or is this community you
have contact to very special and single?

MB(2): Yes i think squatters is very
common, but the squatters are all doing it
because of the housing. And all of this
spaces are squatted because the people get
deprived from their home because of the
state or companies have plans to remove
their houses and then they squat. Especially
in manila and the cities.
Or they come from the
rural areas because they
have been deprived there
and move to the city to
find a better life and
these are the main
reasons for people to
squat. Maybe related to
the squatters in europe, i
heard there are lot of
them very politicized
and making there own
houses and social centres
and that. Not here, the
people just take what
they need for their
housing and for the
accomodation of their
children and family. The
political consciouse level
is not that strong. But when we went to
squatters communities and help them and
make friends with them they are also
surprised and want to know about social
issues and they also think that we are also a
kind of charity programm. And then we said
to them, we are not, we are anarchist and we
just came to show solidarity, like that. So
that’s the squatters here in the philippines.
And a lot of people are homeless, not only
squatters but in general a lot of people.

a3yo: so my last question is about general
view on society. Where is your perspective,
where are the next steps to change society?
For the next years or something?

MB(2): About the society. From my personal
perspective our main struggle is to connect
with society and inform and reach out. To
reach out about the critical thinking. That’s
our first thing and how society and
management of capital, colonisation and
process of the problem was going. I cannot
really say how we can manage to change
society, it is just a matter how to get in
contact to other people. And how we can
inspire them and confront them with our
ideas. There is no clear utopia or this is good
and this is very good. I think at this time, we
as anarchists have internal discussion how to
do changes and practically speaking we
make this mobile school to make propaganda
and maybe to make next year kind of
alternative structure like making a farm,
living in the forest or a cooperative but it is
really a hard struggle for us, we do not have
much. And all our capacities, we have to
inform people and all our activities we make
the daily stuff and further on it is still a
question. I just think positive.

a3yo: Yes, ok. Thank you very much.


Mindsetbreaker Press

Mindsetbreaker Blog (Old):

Mindsetbreaker Blog (New):

About anarchism on the philippines:

Towards an archipelagic reconfiguration of social space

In a brief online article by Filipino anarchist writer, Bas Umali (2006, p. 5), a startling proposition is made; one calling for
the dismantling of the Philippine nationstate and the implementation of an ‘archipelagic Confederation’ in its place.
Umali’s (2006) vision is presented as a stateless, anarchist alternative to the state socialist goal of ‘National Democracy’
as proposed by José Maria Sison, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and principal theorist of the
NDM. An archipelagic confederation would, in Umali’s (2006, p. 18) words, be ‘a structure that connects and interlinks
politically and economically every community in the archipelago’, without the need for a centralised state. It would consist of networks of autonomous villages (barangays), together comprising regional assemblies in which translocal coordination could take place. These regional assemblies, in turn, would constitute an archipelagowide assembly. Importantly,
this vision balances local autonomy with regional solidarity and coordination. The local is not disregarded or deemed
subservient to the national, as is the case with the nationstate. The goal is one of constructing heterogeneous affinities
between autonomous localities, not one of enforcing homogenous conformity to a higher centralised authority.

from “gasera” #1, Umali, B. (2006, April 26). “Archipelagic Confederation: Advancing Genuine Citizens’ Politics through Free Assemblies

the case of the vendors in national park, manila

a3yo: We talked about a project
related to housing and vendors.

Maybe you can say in a few
sentences what it is about and
how the situation looks like?

mindsetbreaker: We have an
ongoing campaign against
eviction. We support them
since some weeks, because a
friend of ours asked for help,
her family are vendors and
involved. Approximately 30 of
them will loose their livelyhood
if this eviction happens.

The local autonomous network
decided to support and give
solidarity to these people
against eviction. The eviction
was proposed by the national
park development agency, it is
a governmental agency, related
to department of tourism. This
agency wants the vedors to be
out of the national park to give
priority to the big businessmen
to make their business.

So the national park
development agency gave a
permission to the big business
and we support the vendors,
who have a small livelihood.
But it is still their struggle, so
they decide how far they can
go and how the resistance
looks like.

We as local autonomous
network support them through
our presence at the place.
At the moment, the place has
allready a wall, constructed by
the national park development
agency to not directly evict but to make problems to the
vendors. Because with the wall
in front they cannot sell
anything. The vendors are still
inside the place but it is hard
now because there is a wall.
They cannot sell anything and
we think the management are
killing them slowly. They do not directly evict them, but
they make a wall and cut the
electricity and water. This
tactic is slowly killing the
livelyhood of the people. We
decided to still be on the
vendors side to support them
with their struggle so that’s it.

a3yo: We are going to meet
them so we can talk about this
later personally.

a3yo: We are here in the park
now to learn about the vendors
struggle. What is the conflict
about?

vendor: Right now the director
of the national park
development want to force us
to leave this place for his own interest.

And this interest is to
commercialize this public place.
And this is against the law.

a3yo: When did they started
this? I see they put a fence
here, things like this?

vendor: I think it is for three
weeks, almost three weeks.
And they cut our electricity and
our water so that we do not have any chance to live.

a3yo: And did they tell you
anything, why they are doing
this?

vendor: Their reason is to
change this area, for the
gentrification of the park. They
want to force us to go to
another location to work as
vendors.

a3yo: Ok, so they did not tell
you anything, they just came
and put a fence?

vendor: They informed us, i
think a couple of days before
that we have to evacuate this
area. After that, without giving
a permission to them, they just
put the fence.

a3yo: Hmm, and what is your
plan right now, what are you
doing against them?

vendor: Right now our plan is
to make a trial against them, a
court battle perhaps, but with
ground battle, you know what i
mean? Ground battle, we have
to go to lawyer, give our
reasons and so on. Why we are
against their plan to evacuate
this area.

a3yo: Ok, i wish you all the
best with that. Thank you.
D: Thank you, too.


Feel free to print, use, translate …
a3yo distro and news (, )
produced in may 2012




Source: Theanarchistlibrary.org