in the past week, i’ve been to two meetings for the august 26 rally. i was invited to these as an individual, with no organization or affiliation, who is but a blogger and writer, no matter that the latter happens in various publications.
i know few of the people in these meetings, and can hardly wrap my head around names. it seems irrelevant really, because the conversations are what’s important. these are conversations being had among people of different ideological leanings, of different groups and organizations, of different contexts. ultimately these are conversations being had among individuals who all think the pork barrel should be abolished.
at yesterday’s meeting it was clear that what PNoy did in that presscon was NOT an abolition, but a redefinition. PNoy heard the call, but he didn’t listen. we want the pork barrel abolished. we want accountability. everything that follows that is for the individuals to talk about in Luneta on Monday.
which is to say this: the August 26 Rally is on, it starts at 9:00AM. why should i see you there?because this is a rally that is not about one group or one individual, as it is about a multitude that stand against the pork barrel, and that demand that corrupt politicians be held accountable.
because this is a rally that will not have one stage, to be taken over by the next opportunist. this is a rally with no leader, no organizer, as there is a steering committee that includes peachy rallonza-bretaña who did put a date on the ito rapadas call for a million to march.
because while peachy, and starting yesterday, michelle and irene, are the ones being interviewed by the media to speak about august 26, they are point persons for the media more than anything else. they speak of that very basic reason for the gathering. anything beyond that is the discussion that talking about the pork barrel has generated, a discussion that we want to continue on Monday.
because when i say there is no leader, no organizer, i mean that the first set of rules were revised on that first meeting on Aug 21. then it was decided that the rally could be as democratic as possible, which is to say that this is a multicolor rally as it is one that will allow for flags and banners.
that is to say, wear what you want, come in any color, come as an individual or as a member of the group, bring a flag especially if you expect students from your school, or more people to gather around your stage.
because while there will be no one central stage, there will be as many stages / platforms, as there are groups. it is expected that groups will come with small sound systems, and will have their own set of speakers and performers for this day.
because while there is the perception that Leftist organizations will necessarily take over the August 26 Rally proceedings, i have faith in the promise to do it differently this time. i hope that instead of Bayan arriving as one contingent, that its smaller groups arrive separately and take different spots in the park. the better to keep from creating the impression, no matter how inadvertently, that they are taking over the proceedings.
because no one should shy away from this rally, no one should think it not worth going to, just because of whatever perception they have about the Left. they are after all the ones who have consistently and constantly fought against the pork barrel and corruption. they deserve to be there. the mere fact that Bayan is talking to the rest of us who are going to the rally, and listening to our apprehensions, is already a sign of unity.
because instead of refusing to go because there are groups or people there that we don’t like, the goal should be to actually go and make your voice count and make your presence felt. one doesn’t need a big stage or a huge sound system in this rally. all you need is a willingness to speak, a willingness to share in the outrage.
i hear that theater groups might go, and i wish they would bring monologues with them, or minus ones, or guitars, and that we might hear their voices in a rally against pork. i hope that our musicians come as citizens of nation, too, and be willing to sing on any of those small platforms set-up by the many groups. i hope that our street artists and visual artists might do art right there, if there is the space and materials for it.
because the promise that this rally makes is that there is no one organization that leads it, and no one person in charge of making rules. all decisions that have been released about the August 26 Rally on the official FB page and elsewhere, all decisions related to how things will be organized on Monday, have been done as democratically as possible with the concerned individuals’ and organizations’ (the ones you fear and otherwise) voices heard and taken into consideration. there has been no decision that not all parties have agreed on.
because the promise that this rally makes is that you and i can go, without an organizational banner or t-shirt defining us, and with only our own families and friends. we can even walk in by ourselves and sit with any group at all, and understand what they mean when they say scrap pork.
because what this rally hopes for is to gather as many people against the pork barrel as possible, and take the August 26 Rally as an opportunity to have fruitful discussions of diverse opinions about what to do now with the pork barrel, because it is NOT the scrapped PDAF.
what i personally wish for is better sense from the more active of our social media personalities, from our ex-politicos turned (pretend) private citizens, from the noisier of FB and twitter users. the individuals who have since taken on the cause of making sure that the August 26 Rally goes as smoothly as possible, are not a bunch of stupid naive people. questions of what to do when the yellow brigade comes, what to do if PNoy himself comes — which is to say we’d rather that HE didn’t go (exasperation mine) — are things we’ve discussed. questions about the possibility of one organization seemingly taking over activities have been addressed, and organizations (Bayan, Sanlakas among others) have promised to work towards making sure this does not happen. questions about a rally permit and security have been answered by Erap saying we don’t need a permit and the PNP coming in with less than a 1,000-man contingent. personally, i wish that the PNP will remain inconspicuous.
personally, i wish for this rally to show awesome numbers. i wish for the Pinoy netizen to prove that she can go beyond FB statuses and tweets, and actually make her voice matter out on the streets.
and for you who think it horrible if we don’t gather a million people, i tell you: don’t be so cynical, about the number and the August 26 Rally both. any number is proof that this is not just a noisy minority, not just the Left, not just civil society, not just the usual suspects who are wont to go out to the streets to demand that government hear them. this is about a citizenry, declaring their disgust and outrage on social media, and being enjoined to step out of their homes and unite with other people and organizations who are just as angry about the pork barrel’s continued existence, and the corruption it encourages.
the August 26 Rally is on. i expect to have a lot of fun, and to learn even more. you should, too.
see you at Luneta.