Leadership and unity, as propounded by some political formations in campus, can never be conceived by mere grand statements and more so, claimed in the absence of praxis. For such calls must always be situated in conditions that manifestly surround us.
Indeed, more recently, we have emerged victorious in our fight against a vicious attempt by the administration and its cohorts in the person of false student leaders, that tried to rob us of our representation in university governance and tested the power of our concerted action. It is important to note that it was only STAND-UP which has been firm in its struggle for genuine student representation by defending the Office of the Student Regent, while other political groups have collaborated to further their own selfish interests and hunger for power in the guise of flawed calls for “democratization” and “student participation”.
It is in light of this that we challenge ALYANSA and KAISA to go beyond the confines of their deceptive and misguided advocacies through an honest assessment of their actions in the past years. True leaders, after all, are judged not by their seemingly noble yet hollow declarations in a desperate effort to gain public approval, but by their concrete efforts to unite with their people armed with the sharpest of principles and a clear course of action. As such, the formations must be exposed for the populist and vacillating groups that they truly are.
ALYANSA contends to “define leadership” by invoking a “shared purpose” and the “timeless ideals of integrity and service”. Yet, it is this same group and their allies serving in student councils who obstinately demanded that their own proposed changes to the Student Regent selection rules be subjected to the recently concluded referendum, without consideration for the equally significant positions of other student councils.
It is this same group which originally supported the tuition increase in UP, only to retract their position after belatedly realizing its dire effects on the majority of incoming students. It is this same group that has been gravely silent on major local issues, like dwindling state subsidy and the consequent lab fee increases, administration repression against UP professors Sarah Raymundo and Judy Taguiwalo, and widespread demolitions of UP communities.
Similarly, KAISA now asks us to “unite” and make a “difference”. It must be remembered, however, that they have also been active in campaigning for the failure of the Student Regent referendum without realizing the danger of losing the Office of the Student Regent with such position.
KAISA has long been evidently absent in most of the major student campaigns, and such failure to make a principled stance forebodes ill of the kind of change they now forward. Certainly, this is not the kind of “difference” we would like to be part of.
Ultimately, both ALYANSA and KAISA have undermined the power of our collective action, to the extent of dismissing the same as a mere illusion.
We are now called upon to realize that the democratic rights we now enjoy as students, the institutions and agencies we have been privileged with, were all borne of consolidated efforts to rise against tyrannical interventions, precisely what the 12 years of the history of STAND-UP unwaveringly represent.
Anakbayan united with student organizations in giving full support to STAND-UP in the coming student council elections. Once again, we will not let their deception vitiate the validity and potency of our collective action.
Strengthen our unity! Advance our struggle for greater victories!