that it is social media that has kicked off this call to rally on August 26 is not a surprise. that it has taken on a life of its own, should be a great thing: it forces us to catch up, it teaches us how we might take control, and when to cede control, too. it forces us to imagine what this will all look like in real life, beyond the internet and facebook, and out on the streets.
it tells us that we need a plan.
and no, it is not a plan that in the process must disenfranchise and exclude people from joining this rally. it need not be a set of rules and regulations that people must follow if they want to be part of this gathering.
it can — and should be — a plan that is about engaging with the widest spectrum possible of people, across all political colors and religious beliefs, across gender and sexuality, across social classes. the goal is to prove that a critical mass exists outside of Facebook. the task is to deepen the discussion about the pork barrel, to widen the reach of this call for its abolition.
i mean, let it be possible that the masa of Luneta and Manila will feel free to sit with us and ask questions about the pork barrel. let’s make this rally an opportunity to educate others, let’s use it as an opportunity to have discussions not just among ourselves, but with a bigger group of people, who are beyond Facebook, and who have as much at stake in the success of this cause.
so what about, instead of no organizational banners and wear white only, instead of insisting on a hashtag or two for trending, instead of discouraging the ones who are already so ready to go out there on August 26, let’s go for a vision that is about being big enough to handle the diversity, in political colors and opinions. because the point is that we are united in this one goal. that goal is not just about scrapping the pork barrel and calling for an investigation at this point. it is also about making sure that we are educating ourselves better about this, it is about making sure that we are educating others.
so. how about a rally like this?
WHO: Everyone’s invited! Individuals, organizations, schools and universities! Come as you are! Come in the color that you choose!
Let St. Scho and Ateneo come in blue, let La Salle come in green, let UP come in maroon, let UST come in yellow. This will allow for teachers and parents to keep track of the younger ones, this will allow us to acknowledge right away who are one with us in this fight against pork. Let people come in the colors they want, in the colors that represent them. I cannot wait for Ang Ladlad to come in the colors of the rainbow.
Government needs to see that while we are from different political colors, we are united in taking a stand against the pork barrel.
HOW DO WE SHOW UNITY? Let’s call on everyone to come to Luneta with white banners that call for the pork barrel’s abolition and that demand a swift investigation of our congressmen and senators as per the COA report.
Banners are allowed, but let’s re-create our organizational or school banners into anti-pork barrel banners. Let’s make all banners white.
HOW ELSE MIGHT THESE BANNERS STAND FOR UNITY? Let’s come up with slogans that are not about being taxpayers, because that would be alien to the masses who only pay taxes via the value added tax in products. Let’s make it a slogan that is easy to remember, that already speaks of the issue at hand, but which will also encourage others to ask the question: what is this rally about?
Pilipinas Against Pork!
People Power VS. Pork Barrel!
WHAT ARE WE DOING IN LUNETA? Instead of talking about this rally like it will be a picnic, let’s talk about what we might do to come up with better discussions about the pork barrel. I agree that this should not be an opportunity for politicians-on-our-side to grandstand.
Here’s what we can do: instead of one central stage, let’s have at least four areas with various activities to be taken care of by organizations / schools / individuals that are willing to take charge, and who are already on our side about this issue.
Say, one area or stage (if there is a budget for that), takes care of a street painting session. This can have a wall, a people’s wall, that artists can paint on while someone’s singing songs about the pork barrel and government corruption. Another area can engage the crowd in a teach-in or educational discussion about the pork barrel. What is it about? What is wrong with it? How has it become an excuse for corrupt practices?
There need not be a central sound system, as there just needs to be smaller sound systems for each of these four areas. People who come can choose where they might go, depending on what it is that appeals to them. The point is that no matter where they go, no matter who they decide to listen to or talk to, it will be clear that this rally is organized around the same discussion about the pork barrel, and is united in its stand for the pork barrel’s abolition.
one more thing: the ones who are pushing for this event on Facebook are under the impression that no one is in control of this rally, and that those rules that are posted on the event’s official page are rules that can be broken. these people are under the illusion that since this happened on social media, it cannot be traced to the first person who posted about a million to march, and that there is no “power-that-be” that is taking charge.
i say this: even more reason to have a plan. one that need not be about someone taking control, as it should be about including as many people as possible — from the juan on the street to the yuppie engaging in discussion on FB, from the socialite who will come in costume and with her yaya to her yaya and driver mismo — in this rally.
the worst rally is one that isn’t organized and has no clear set of goals other than gathering people. the saddest rally is one that can only happen on facebook because it is not grounded in the reality that making a rally matter? it’s no picnic.