Student activism

There is this study presented recently by Brenette Abrenica of the University of San Carlos political science department that concluded that student activism in Cebu is on a decline. That should be good news to defenders of the status quo and people wary of the causes espoused by activists but bad news to progressives, even revolutionaries.

My awakening, sort of, started in the campus. But that was in a different time, during the waning years of the Marcos dictatorship. The struggle for freedom was heightening, expanding and even the most clueless about the goings-on in society posed questions, analyzed. This dynamic was even more apparent in the academe in Cebu.

But even in the early ‘80s, student activists were but a minute percentage of the campus population. They became visible and were able to play leading roles in school affairs only because they were one with the sentiment and thinking of majority of the students at that time. That, plus their daring placed them at the forefront of the struggle.

In our school at that time, rundown facilities contrasted heavily with high tuition fees, but nobody led the fight for reforms because of the repressive nature of the school administrators. The situation prevailed until a group of activists numbering less than 50 students loosened the setup by openly articulating the demands of the majority.

That came to a head, if I remember it right, in 1983 when militant student groups campaigned for a boycott pushing for reforms in the campus. School officials, in an attempt to stifle dissent, had “goons” attempt to arrest the activists, a scene that pushed most of the students to rush out of their classrooms in sympathy. The boycott was on.

What happened after that was historic as far as Cebu’s student movement is concerned. A brother of a boycott leader was killed near the gate of the school. The struggle intensified and expanded and for the first time a rally participated in by students from different campuses gathered thousands. That was student activism at its best.

But there will always be ebbs and flows in student activism. Activists graduate, thus the need to continuously replenish the ranks, which is a formidable task. Still, for as long as exploitation and oppression exists, some student will be there to pick up the struggle. In that sense, student activism, to borrow a line from Neil Young, will never die.

–Candido O. Wenceslao (I wrote this for Sun.Star Cebu and this was published on February 2, 2007)


13 Responses to Student activism

  1. erick says:

    Student activism in the philippines is a vital tool for change in our country.MABUHAY ANG KILUSANG AKTIBISTA!!!!

  2. cebuano says:


    Yeah right


  3. Carloman says:

    … ng ina mo !

  4. Ruselo Riva Asentista says:

    I’m more inclined to believe that many of concepts in the present time DO NOT DIE. They only take another form. Student Activism in its traditional form = Those who are critical about public policies and DO something about it = is indeed about to evolve. I think that one of the primary reason for this is the lack of incentives. Being a student of Political Science from the University of San Carlos, I learned that interests (driven by incentives) is the life of a movement (somewhat realist). I speculate that not wanting to change personally and wanting society to change is the only base interest of traditional student activism – at least on some “base” level. However, many students finally wake up to the fact that reaching societal goals through traditional student activism is not very effective but very costly. Thus, students now are more open to compromise, to find the efficient method of reconciling the goals of the organization with the goals of an authority. This might be because of the new technology where students are more encouraged to work smarter and not just to work harder. Psychology books in these topics as well as public relations theories (in the form of application by people) tend to be responsible for this decline of traditional student activism.

    Decline in traditional student activism can become a rise of another form of student activism = one that no longer militates against society’s corruption through the methods of rallies and demonstrations but one that militates against self-sabotaging ideas of Filipino culture through the methods of good attitude and good continuous hopeful and teleological learning.

  5. dr tes says:

    During the early 90’s, I was part of the campus activism of the University of San Carlos and was even elected to the SSC during that time (Orven Enoveso @ Norman Nimer are few bloggers I know that was also active during those times). It was the period when being a NATDEM, SOCDEM, etc. where clearly differentiated then and where actively debated.

    It was also this time that 2 sides of a thinking society can be clearly discerned. One side is the remnant of the Marcos era ideologues (imperialismo!, fascista!) on the other hand, the torch bearers of the anti-Marcos struggle (anti-imperialismo, anti-fascista). One side is deem evil and other NOT. (????)

    Student activism then was considered a breed apart from the other students, they were the idealist, the adventurers and the brave who will stand up for their rights even under the threat of expulsion. Or shall I say it was a different student lifestyle.Such was the dictates of the time.

    But all things have a way of mellowing down and dying out, or again shall I say, things now are equilibrated. Most students doesn’t give a hoot about tuition fee increase, especially in the expensive universities. Their parents are paying it anyway. They are not seeing the whole picture, and they are becoming a member of the ME FIRST Society.

    But come to think of it, the stalwarts of the student movement at that time has stepped the Great Crossover, Totol Batuhan, has allied himself with Sonny Osmena. The law students then, are now lawyers who represented big Multi-nationals or are now with the local government (Noel Archival, etc,) and some, no, most of them are now in the USA, home of the imperialist.

    The active activism of the students, end upon their graduation of the university. And then, they learned that they have to earned their bread and learned how to eat it too. Then, they realized that there was no such thing as free lunch. Pfffftt! idealism.

  6. nebo says:

    The school administrations may have reason to be afraid of student activism. After all, the university has had a tumultuous history, thanks to its questionable policies, which the students have opposed.

  7. Christine G. says:

    Mmm…if by student activism you envision a matching demonstration along the corridors or pavements of the university, then perhaps I would be very much relieved my self of its decline. But I agree with RR, not only because we were once crops in the same field, but because student activism could be a case to case basis. It’s perhaps a matter of perception. Perhaps, it would be sort of nice if you try to delineate strands of thought. There is a difference between each individual’s view of student activism and the collective view of the concept. furthermore, i would like to add that a student could be active in his/her academic life without necessary employing radical methods. It’s just a matter of thinking, really.

  8. Renato Pacifico says:

    I’m OK with student activism!

    Problem is these student activists base their perception of the world from misinformations, speculation and mentally retarded coin-operated-pekeng-peryodistas.

    Let’s take for example the ZTE-GMA connection. We could have gotten GMA but our foreign-educated-ivy-league Senate clowns bungled the whole invistigation. Rookie cops in America wouldn’t even divulge the identity of crime victim, weapons of crime, how the victim died SO AS NOT TO COMPROMISE THE INVISTIGATION!

    Our Senate clowns are just pagarparing the knowns that it simply telegraphing to the presidency what and how they are going to defend themselves.

    I’m against mob rule. I’m in favor of rule-of-law. Let us assume that the pagarparing coin-operated pekeng-peryodistas allegation that the Senators were bought and threatened (that’s what they impress on my stupid brain) aside from being dumb and stupid, therefore, when GMA goes we will still be saddled by foreign-educated-ivy-league dumb stupid senate clowns to be readily bought.

    But if we apply the rule-of-law we’d hit the bungling idiot Senate clowns and GMA.

    So there you are Christine. I’m in favor of student activism but do they have that informed decision? I cannot even know if the pekeng-peryodikos are really fact-checking their speculative, gossipy, initriguing news reports.

    Self-censorship is also malady of these proud and arrogant pekeng-peryodistas. Does any pekeng-peryodiko readers knew that Herr Ratzinger covered-up his training officiating priests fucking priests in Vatican in the butthole?

    Honest Herr Ratzinger only admitted to it when Honest Herr Ratzinger was exposed by Brian Ross. And whatever happened to butt-fucking Vatican priests? Ha!ha!ha!ha! HE WAS JUST TRANSFERRED!!! What ever happened to buttfucked priests who complained??? THEY QUIT!!!! or MUST BE FIRED!!!! Or Just shut-up or get ex-communicated!!!

    Does anyone find that in our pekeng-peryodiko???? NO!!!!

  9. Ysinyaut says:

    uBfbga comment6 ,

  10. freesince09 says:

    In short, wala nang tibak sa mga unibersidad

  11. aivann says:

    every man should have something he died for!
    And our death could be a great contribution to the struggle of the masses who tried to fight for their right to land they till, justice and freedom! What we need now are not actors who dream but dreamers who act!

  12. al says:

    mabuhay ang malayang aktibismo

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