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GASC Numbers and Politics

The GASC 2010 of UP has just been concluded — and am told that it was a great success, yet again. Here’s a KISS (keep it simple, stupid) moment for you who are blissfully unaware but succinctly interested (or bored) enough to know what GASC is: the General Assembly of Student Councils is the get-together of all student councils from the different campuses to facilitate the mechanism formulation and the process itself for the selection of the Student Regent — our representative to the highest policy-making body of the university.

 

Remember these? Circa 2008, the factions manifested into overt campaigns during the CRSRS Referendum days. The schism is very much alive to date.

Every year, the GASC is a war between two factions — one that is for revision in the selection, and one that is for the maintenance. The revisionist camp, for the past 5 years a noisy minority, has always accused the reaffirmist majority as, well, noisy and fascist and conservative and pro-status quo. Exactly because the process has been reaffirmed in the past 5 years and, well, likewise revision has remained a pipe dream for them in the past 5 years.

 

Let us not dwell on the particular arguments pushed by each camp. This is just to observe what is actually manifested in reality — what is felt by us in the grassroots.

 

There was a point in time when the revisionist camp actually succeeded to muster the majority numbers to push for amendments in the selection process. That was in 2005. In 2006, the overwhelming majority was immediately regained by the reaffirmist camp. And the numbers have remained relatively the same until the present.

 

Now we get to my point: the revisionist camp accuses the reaffirmist camp of railroading the GASC through numbers, despite the revisionist camp’s alleged quality of argument. But quality and quantity never was an “either-or” thing, success is based on the wonderful marriage of both. Quantity depends on the quality of reason, as quality of reason is concretized by the quantity of support it gets.

 

2005 GASC got the quantity — GASC 2006 disproved their quality. Could you accuse the same when, come 2010, the proportion remains? Yeah, I thought as much.

 

Photo by Jigs Tenorio. Correct Political Line translates into Numbers -- and the activists of UP Manila has proven this with an almost 100% increase in walkout numbers just this year alone.

 

Perhaps the reaffirmist camp is THAT good in baseless indoctrination? It could be possible. However, it does not enjoy the hegemony and resources that baseless doctrines have nowadays, such as the political influence of the Catholic Church. Or the Empire US’ weapons of mass globalization , for that matter.

 

Or maybe — just maybe, the reaffirmist camp is a good marriage of quality arguments and consolidated numbers. It has remained formulaic in its basic principle that education is a right, and should never be for sale, so maybe — just maybe, there must be something to it. All these years, we heard and felt the reaffirmist camp campaigning on a diverse number of issues, like Atlas bearing the world on their shoulders. All these years, we only heard the revisionist camp during the selection and elections. There must be something to it.

 

The same story is abound once you traverse other sectors: just compare the numbers of our sticky and sweaty Software Freedom Day celebration to the glossy, upper-crust ones held by companies and the like.

 

Image by SFD Organizing Team. The main celebration of Software Freedom Day is a similar story: 700 participants. 2,350 in the entire celebration week. Not for fame or fortune, but for freedom.

 

Not to brag, but it’s all a matter of striking a chord with and genuinely advancing the masses’ interests. Genuinely, if I may stress so. Our celebration of free software, in the same way GASC is a celebration of student rights and welfare, is made successful not by creative persuasion alone.

 

It is successful thanks to the beautiful dynamic we know as democracy (not the crap the elite is trying to sell us, anyway). And apparently, democracy can exist beyond the ideal world. We just have to fight for it.

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