On social movements-A A +A
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
SOCIAL movements of whatever forms and orientation have always been a part of our society and nation in transition. They are agents of change.
They arise when our society is in the period of great conflicts and changes in the economic, political and social relations in our society. In short, they are both the cause and effects of changes in economic and political relations in our society.
In contemporary societies, their emergence are founded on the issues of the people, their problems and anxieties , hopes and aspirations, grossly unanswered by the ruling powers and social institutions.
In recent decades, social movements have achieved sophistication in their strategies and tactics as they rooted deeper among grassroots, and so much that their successes in getting issues done have inspired those always at the losing end of social conflicts, and thus won over thousands of adherents to support these movements.
Powerful anti-war social movements in North America, Europe and even in Southeast Asia in the 60s and 70s practically caused the American government to reversed and halt its bloody and genocidal war of aggression in Vietnam.
In the Philippines, the social movements in the 30s to 70s took the form of anti-colonialism, anti-fascism, anti-imperialism and anti US puppet leaders; these movements have caused the formation of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing the New People's Army. These movements likewise snowballed into the powerful first quarter storm that challenged the Marcos regime, and forced it to impose a brutal fascist dictatorial regime. The same social movement had led to Edsa uprising in the 80s that ousted the hated Marcos regime.
In response to apparent meaninglessness of life amid worsening conflicts, and pacify the growing anti-imperialist and anti-fascist hatred among the people, Christian cursillo social movement emerged, swept the country, pacified the Christians, and veered them away from social conflicts, seeking peace and harmony in themselves.
At the opposite end of these pacifist, soul-centered, repent-oriented Christian social movement, was the more millenarian yet militant social movement of the Sakdalistas, and similar others, who believed they were given special powers by God to fight for their land reform demands.
Today, social movements have become convenient conduits for people with unresolved grievances and unrealized goals. They have also become expression of people's search for meaning and transformation.
The picture of social movements in the Philippines of course cannot be completed without looking at the rise of distinct movements of Christians and religious fanatics seeking in varying degrees, forms and intensity - for answers to their temporal problems, for God's Kingdom plan for His people, and the link between these issues.
No one can ignore the examples and social contributions of the grassroots religious-political movement of Sakdalistas, the Jesuit-inspired Federation of Federation of free Workers and Free Farmers fighting for land reform and establishment of Kibbutz movement, the Aglipayans, the Cursillo movement, the powerful Christian Catholic's grassroots movement of Basic Christian Communities.
In the post Edsa, we witnessed the phenomenal growth of Iglesia ni Christo (INC), born-again Christian movements, the Catholic renewal and evangelical movements, among them, the Opus Dei, El Shaddai, Couples for Christ, Jesus is Lord movement.
These movements played distinct and valuable roles in getting people's interests and demands heeded by government and the social institutions. They have also contributed to shaping our nation's culture and psyche.
Their worldviews, organizational dynamics, people development, leader-cadres formation, grassroots organizing and the "fanaticism" developed among their ranks, are facts that cannot, need not and should not be ignored by anyone who wish not only to understand them, but also to learn the "art and science of grassroots social movement."
More than anything else is to learn the possibilities and opportunities for the convergence of these movements towards pushing for a common national goal of transformation and development.
These movements have so much to tell us.
Therefore, all serious students of Philippine social movements must study them all.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 09, 2012.