(Note: The following is a slightly fictionalized discussion of opinions on the Million People March, taking into account differing experiences, personal biases, and bad jokes. People and statements have been liberally mixed together and taken apart, as memory and imagination are such a faulty recording device, so any similarity to actual personal, verbatim statements is purely coincidental. Take things here with a really huge, coarse grain of salt. Truth, after all, is indeed stranger than fiction, but you can’t blame fiction for trying to want to be like truth every now and then. Also, pics mine.)
– So, was it successful? At least, did any of us think it was successful?
– In what sense? Because there are two ways of measuring success here: in terms of attendance, or in terms of whether the people actually knew what they were doing? Because if you look at it strictly on attendance, then yes, there were a lot of people. Problem is, most of the people who were there didn’t seem to have an idea what to do there, or what the whole thing was all about. In fact, I’m willing to bet that a good number of the people there went there precisely because they didn’t know the issue, and they were expecting to be enlightened by going there—
– —which everyone learns, quickly enough, is usually not the case with these things. So in a larger sense, it didn’t work, so far as all these people came to Luneta, but nobody really did anything once they got there.
– I think a big issue here too is the fact that it became a ‘netizens’ versus ‘leftists’ thing. Notice that most of the militant groups distanced themselves from the stage near the grandstand, and did their own thing. Away from the ‘mainstream’ crowd, if you will.
– A Mean Girls-style “you-can’t-sit-with-us,” to put it bluntly.
– But I think that was partly the point: to have different groups all over the place, each group doing their own thing, then people can drop by any of the ‘stations’ and join in, or at least listen. Each one expressing their frustration at the system in their own way.
– Which also resulted in the whole thing being such a disorderly affair. No unified stand.
– I guess this also had a lot to do with the idea that this was not the work of any particular political group, that this was the stand of the citizenry as a whole. At least, it appeared emphasized enough in the call to action: the posts told people to wear white for non-partisanship.
– So, there’s a red-activist versus white-netizen sort of tension brewing in there?
– Not necessarily that adversarial, but there was some tension there.
– So in the end, it all just fell apart, and there’s nobody to blame for it. You can’t blame the whites for wanting to keep the whole thing from turning into a red affair, since it was indeed something that started with netizens, with no common affiliation, wanting to do something. But you can’t blame the reds for wanting to show the red-ness of the entire thing, as this is a blatantly political issue.
– Just because an issue is a political one, doesn’t mean everything concerning it necessarily has to be a red affair. The reds are kinda victimized here.
– Goes to show, I guess, how social class still prevails, even in mass actions such as this.
– What we need is something like the French Revolution, Les Miserables-style. One that starts from rich students genuinely sympathizing with affairs of government, like that time they were all moved by the death of General Lamarque.
– I can see it now: Fighting for my country! #selfie #barricade
– Also, these students need to look good in white polos, open until the third button. Also with hair that’s always slicked back and shiny.
– Remind me to bring pomade to the next mass demonstration.
– So some people are calling this the Philippines’ version of Arab Spring? Really now.
– More like Coachella, methinks.
– This is the biggest burgis picnic I’ve ever seen.
– Yeah, so many hipsters trying to be scene.
– I can see it now: Me being one with the people! #selfie #ootd #abolishpork
– The revolution will be Instagrammed.
– I think there’s a valuable lesson in showing people that going to a demonstration uninformed won’t do you much good, so that the next time something of this nature happens, there will be a better chance that the people who do attend will be better-prepared. At the very least, they will have read up on the subject before going, so that when some reporter or student looking for some material for a paper asks them why they’re there, they can give a decent answer.
– I was disappointed because I was one of those who went into this blind. I thought there would be enough talks and discussions for me to figure all this out. Because I am going to have to try to sell what I did here to my office-mates, to justify my being here, so that when ask me about what happened, nobody would be able to tell me afterwards that I just wasted a day in Luneta.
– Sell it? You don’t have to sell it; this is something that affects all of us. I mean, even buying a McDo cheeseburger has VAT involved, and we’re talking about stolen taxes here. I mean, because of this, your cheeseburger’s worth becomes a burger—
– —your order of large fries becomes regular—
– —your up-sized drink returns to regular—
– —your switch-to-iced-tea stays as Coke. Wait, you do still have to pay extra for that in some places, right?
– I think that, even though this demonstration seemed to fall apart right after lunch—cries of “Walang uwian!” notwithstanding—it’s playing its own role in the grand scheme of things.
– You’re saying that there’s a Step 2 to this?
– Yes. Actually, this is Step 1, only there’s a Step 0 to all of this. Think about it: when was the last time people got together online on this scale to promote or prevent something?
– The last national elections?
– Exactly. I mean, fine, the results were a lot less than expected—
– —Nancy still got her seat in the Senate despite all those memes—
– —and Dick didn’t get one despite #IpasoksiDick, that hashtag whose jokes wrote themselves even after elections were over.
– But look at it this way: the buzz over the national elections was something people lamented afterwards, saying that, in the end, the online community was all just talk and no action. Nothing happened because people were all fired up about it, but nobody was actually doing anything about it, nor was there anybody trying to get something concrete done. Compare that to what happened today: this time, there was a call to actually do something, never mind that it all fell apart when most of the crowd decided they were too hungry to march to Malacañang, and decided to go have a good lunch instead. I’m betting that people will be even more prepared the next time something like this comes around. And something will indeed come around, given the gravity of the issues this country is facing. Slowly but steadily, people are developing an awareness for these issues. It’s not happening overnight, but it is happening.
– To quote Mae Paner: “Mas mauuna pa ang sex change kaysa sa genuine change sa bayang ito!”
– At least more people are starting to pay more attention to these things now. It’s still a start.
– Best thing to do, I guess, is to be there when another mass demonstration is called for. Note that I said “when” and not “if,” because it’s bound to happen.
– Birthing pains for a revolution, I figure.