Divide, and Conquer

Leftist youth group Anakbayan assaulted the corporate headquarters of oil giant Petron last week throwing used diesel fuel at the building (how crude.) Also-leftist-but-of-a-different-age-bracket organization Bayan swept down on the offices of Pilipinas Shell today, vandalizing the place with red paint and rhetoric. With the price of pretty much everything going through the roof, more protest actions are expected in the next few days.

Government has little to worry about, though. We Filipinos have never been much into organizing. Consider all the little revolts and petty rebellions that we’ve had over the centuries and try to find one conflict where there was an organized network of Filipinos who had an actual strategy and not just random slogans and mission/vision statements.

The Philippine Revolution, you say? Which one? The Katipunan was made up of factions that acted independently of each other except during elections and such (and not even then, if Andres Bonifacio has anything to say about it.) And before that, all those guys from Tamblot to Diego Silang weren’t waging war according to some master plan, they were just guys who got pissed off and decided to go a little amok.

World War II, you say? After all, our guerillas couldn’t have driven off the Japanese without some sort of concerted effort, right? Which guerillas, though? Do you mean Marking’s Guerillas? The Hunters ROTC? The Hukbalahap?

There were so many of them that Ferdinand Marcos pretty much got away with inventing his own group and taking part in many heroic, if dubiously documented, gun battles. And, really, those guerillas who did exist were just as likely to shoot at each other rather than at the Imperial Japanese Army.

The Communist Party of the Philippines was split in the early ’90s, thirty or so years after itself breaking away from the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. There are pretty much so many Lefts now that it’s hard to know what the Right is doing.

What government should be worried about is the individual. All it takes is one person to say, “motherfuck it, this is too much,” and he doesn’t have to say it out loud, either. All it takes is someone angry enough to burn down a gas station or someone crazy enough to bring a bomb onboard the million-passengers-a-day MRT. All it takes, really, is for some small thing to go wrong, some little inconvenience that will set someone off enough to spread the fear and panic and despair that we’re all hiding.

We may not be good at organizing, but riots are easy.



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