The Idea That I Could Be Wrong

April 26, 2007 at 12:40 pm | Posted in Affiliations, Akbayan, Musings and Epiphanies | Leave a comment

While my work is decidedly political, I am not known outside my Akbayan circle as someone who wears his politics on his sleeve. And I know that I am not exactly high on the totem pole of dedicated activists from our ranks who breathes and lives his politics on a daily basis. My talents have been put to good use here, but I think there might be some more potential lurking in me that has remained untapped to now.

I have a gnawing feeling it’s more a psychological thing more than anything. I can dig myself up to whatever issue may come my way if I really wanted to, but why do keep withholding? Why can’t I be more vocal about my convictions like my contemporaries some of whom I am even responsible for recruiting into Akbayan?

It’s because I’ve been there before. I know what it’s like to be “all there”. I know what it was like to devote most of my waking hours in the service of the one great line. I know what it was like to put the political agenda in front of everything else. I spent a good portion of my college life convincing other people I was part of a grand movement that sought to stand up against the injustices of elitist control and hegemony.

When that fell apart, I was left questioning what I had done with my life and why. I felt I couldn’t handle politics and doubted my every belief. And the loss was irreparable, the nasty comments over my departure and the arrogance of my former bostsips was disheartening.

But then I got involved again, this time in NGO work and later on, with Akbayan. A part of me wanted to continue the involvement, and the willingness was still there, but there was still this unsettled question in me: could I really afford to live this kind of life again?

After almost ten years doing NGO work and partisan involvement with Akbayan for the past four years, I’ve realized I can still hack it.

The core beliefs are still there. I believe it is still possible to be selfless in a world where a lot of people choose to join the rat race of corporate careers. I still believe that we need more people doing work for those who have less in life. I still believe that my own personal struggles are symptomatic of the larger struggles that other disadvantaged sectorsgo through. I still believe in raising a howl against those in power and those who control the economy because I know I am being screwed, just like everybody else, by those who are using government and capitalism to protect their own interests.

I’m just not as vocal as other people, because I have this nagging doubt that I might not be able to hang on to this for as long as I’d like. The idea that I could be wrong, that my own doubts are not enough to convince others that what I do is what is right because it’s true, and because it is for others — keeps me silent a lot of times.

But I keep on doing this because unlike in the past when doubt was a sign of weakness and was an intolerable disease, this time I’m part of a movement where doubts are a welcome reality. Where discourses are healthy and encouraged, where I do not have to take a line just because my higher ups told me to. My doubt has found a home where it is not discouraged or frowned upon. I have my questions, my second-guessing over whether what I am doing is right or worth it, and where I am not judged because I’m a half-baked activist with a penchance for bourgeois pursuits.

As long as the bottomline remains the same, then I am happy. I may not be the most vocal cadre out here, but with Akbayan I have found a home. Had I known about this group way back then, I would have been here ever since instead of taking a detour which, while I do not regret because it awakened my consciousness, could have been avoided. Avoided, because had I not been there, then I would not have lost friends because they wouldn’t have been friends anyway.

And after all these years I can say — I’m not saying what they are fighting for isn’t right. It just wasn’t right for me. But Akbayan’s temperature is just right for me. I realize I really am a moderate at heart. Some of my comrades might frown at the “moderate” tag, but I think most will get the drift of what I mean when I say “moderate”. Let’s just say cadres aren’t being geared for the ultimate sacrifice.

Which is not to say life in Akbayan does not come without any sacrifices.  we’ve had members killed, harassed and intimidated by a variety of forces — from the military, administration fronts, private armies, landlord goons and of course, distinct from other progressive groups out there — we are also harassed and demonized by the NPA.

Knowing that I am on the side of the good guys makes it worth it.  I know that the kind of work we do has indeed made a difference for those who believe in struggling for social change, minus the revolutionary violence.  Against the pressure from all the antagonistic forces out there, we keep on.  And even with my own weaknesses, it’s good enough for me.


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