Sep 25, 2005


A World Text Organization rises (WTO2)

TORONTO, CANADA – It has been three days of learning, listening, contemplating here at Toronto which is a perfect meeting place because, as I have read in a site, the city’s name originates to an old word meaning “meeting place”.

Barring jetlag, we’ve met with an incredible bunch of people from the US, England, Canada, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Congo and Argentina, in a oftentimes funny, sometimes provoking and at most times very interesting story-telling.

The subject? What else but the killer ap for activists today: mobile phones and SMS.

The stories have been varied. But from what I have been able to gather, a singular theme emerges in the use of mobile phones and SMS. That is, using such tools to advance social causes, tools to strengthen organizations.

For example, in Congo, mobile phones are used to report human rights violations from far-away areas to an office in the city, enabling organizations to rapidly respond and rescue the victim/s. Only one or two mobile phones are now available to one single community of thousands.

Elsewhere in Africa, SMS has been used to obtain mass support for anti-poverty campaigns, with SMS being the de rigeur way for people to sign petitions, complete with integration to a fantastic website.

In the US and Canada, there have been efforts to mobilize young people towards registering for the polls. SMS was of course a tool, along with fun websites, handouts and postcards, stickers, and even undies.

We have also learned about Asterisk, this open-source thing, allowing people to maximize phone lines, route phone calls, make conference calls, and the like. This would certainly be a boon to Filipino organizations engaged in mass organizing and mobilizing efforts.

Of course, we had the opportunity to share our experience with Hello Garci and previous TXTPower campaigns.

There are tons of stuff arising or is set to arise following this meeting: a how-to handbook/workbook, a wiki everyone and anyone could visit and use for, hopefully, pro-people purposes, perhaps a curricula for techies and non-techies alike on how to max up on SMS and even a Toronto Declaration that encapsulizes how we envision using SMS as a tool for social activism, for social change across the world.

The meeting made us feel humbled and proud at the same time. Humbled by the string of new ideas and splendid experiences from other countries, made proud by the praises our people continue to reap for the use of SMS for consumer rights and for political causes.

I presume that everyone here looks forward to MobileActive Convergence Part 2, when we would be able to gather again, share more experiences and help advance peoples’ causes.

In Toronto, by the way, there’s a street called Yonge, which is said to be the world’s longest. Yonge may symbolize the long struggle ahead, but with people and their organizations militantly and creatively fighting for change, the seemingly arduous effort may be made lighter and easier to bear.

Sep 17, 2005


Gloria at the UN: A true puppet barks for master(s)

Malacañang was ecstatic in its pronouncements about Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's participation in the UN leaders' summit, marking the world body's 60th anniversary. Thy sycophants were mighty proud of their grand dame that, acording to first-hand reports from reputable media sources, they clapped lustily even before she opened her mouth in her speech before the Security Council. The sycophants had to be reminded by UN security forces to hush and not to clap. But they still did and did so repeatedly all throughout her speech. The rah-rah boys and girls of GMA even went to the extent of claiming that the Philippine resolution she read immediately got the assent of all the Security Council members, highlighting the "quick" and "unthinking" raising of hands by George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

Well, those are largely interpretations of Malacañang, the principal source of lies and principal snake pit of the Philippines.

It was no surprise that Gloria presided over the Security Council at this time because the Philippines currently holds the presidency of the said body. It was also no surprise that there was uninamous approval of the resolution because it already went through the bureaucratic mill of the UN, especially the prying eyes and hands of the US, the real power behind the UN and the Security Council. It was also no surprise that Gloria did not hide her obeisance, nay, puppetry to the US by priding before the whole world the "special relations" and "bilateral alliance" between the Philippines and the US. Never mind sovereignty, it was time for making "bola" at her master, Dubya.

Thousands of miles away from the UN headquarters, protests continue against Gloria and the world knows this fully well. The protests rage against the illegitimacy, corruption, puppetry and repressiveness of Gloria's presidency. Pickets were staged everywhere she went in New York, hounding her with shouts of "thief!", "liar!", "cheat!", and "murderer".

(If there were any, the celebrations were limited to singing paeans to Manny Pacquiao and the two other boxers who won their matches elsewhere in the States last weekend. They truly deserve all the kudos.)

Methinks Gloria's appearance at the UN could be her last hurrah considering the latest criminal act she did or authorized as President: approving of an onerous, anomalous and anti-Filipino lobby agreement with Venable LLC in order to obtain funding for efforts to amend the Constitution, the highest written law of the land. Its treason and its an impeachable offense, by the way.

However high and mighty she appears to be, or however stellar her company today, it would only be to Gloria's peril later because when she would finally be taken down, the people would do it in a big, fantastic way too. She will come crashing down from the presidency from up on high to her six foot-deep political graveyard.

Sep 6, 2005


Murder in the House

The battle for the removal of GMA shifts to the streets with the murder of the impeachment complaint in the House.

Fow what else could the people resort to except to assert their will as a people?

The events in the House were an eloquent admission on the part of our "honorables" that indeed their chamber is a most untrustworthy and worthless institution insofar as upholding the people's right to impeach a President.

I hope that the many alliances and coalitions would be able to inspire hundreds of thousands, if not millions, in succeeding rallies and demonstrations. From these many groups and their efforts, big and small, would arise the backbone and core of a People Power uprising.

I also hope my classmates and friends who mistakenly pin blame on the protests for the multifaceted and worsening situation. They should be able to realize that they need to get out of their comfort, open their eyes to record of "cheating, stealing and lying", join the masses and organized groups, and ultimately take part in ousting Arroyo. Hindi protesta laban kay Arroyo ang problema kundi si Arroyo mismo.

Sep 3, 2005


Let's text away against the cover-up in Congress

TXTPower today unleashed hundreds of emails calling on the public to text "undecided" congressmen and women and convince them to sign the impeachment complaint against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The TXTPower email contains a list of nearly 50 congressmen and women. Full text of the email is at the TXTPower website, of course.

Please take part in this effort. Get those thumbs thumpin and let's text for truth, justice and regime change.

For news about the impeachment, please go to Bantay Impeachment.

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