FELISILDA, YOBHEL ANGELA E. Essay 1
2019-02232 1327 words
Eng 13 TH3
The Roles of Language in Activism in the Philippine Setting
Huwag matakot. Makibaka!
Indeed, this phrase is a prevalent statement we can hear through chants and shouts or see painted red on a placard by group activists gathering to protest against the government. Usually, these acts are present when something questionable was done by the authoritative government which has spawned a problem or an issue that affects the people or some sectors in the society such as labor groups, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community, youth and students, senior citizens, etc.
This instance exhibits activism. Activism is defined as the action of using assertive campaigns and protests to create sociopolitical change. It is how sectors within society that partake and interrelate, the consequences and costs of these actions, and the specific procedures that persuade them in doing it. Because of these political activities, numerous societal transformations have happened in history, changing the essence of social and political involvement among the citizens (Norris 2009, as cited in Nolas et al.
2017). In the Philippine setting, there were events that involved activism to create social change. One example of this is the infamous People Power Revolution wherein people from different sectors protested against the dictatorial regime of Ferdinand Marcos. Elwood (1997, as cited by Schock 1999) mentioned that the People Power movement succeeded through the massive protest, and successfully prevented violence.
Furthermore, activism is an act that involves language wherein people communicate and interact with coequal goals. This can be either in the form of written or spoken language. In like manner, Svirsky (2010) stated that activism is not a secluded or hidden phenomenon. Therefore, it is extroverted which involves the generation of public events. This paper examines what are the integral parts of the language in honing activists to fight for their rights since language is within activism and protests. This paper presents that the roles of language in activism are to uplift the minds of the individuals by imparting knowledge and to unify people with coequal objectives.
Activists groups have plenty of programs that comprise language and communication. This includes activities such as teach-ins, symposiums, and seminars. As supported by the study of Stitzlein (2012), activism uses a set of multifaceted abilities and a profound level of emotive capability since it is an exercise and an undertaking. Specifically, activism entails the union of an extensive base of archival and circumstantial information, establishing services, organizing and public speaking abilities, requiring a character motivated towards compassionate responsibility, and the capability to participate efficiently to other individuals (Stitzlein, 2012). In fact, here in the Philippines, activist groups also practice such programs and events. In the journal of Garcia et al (1970), it is described that Kabataang Makabayan, a political group founded in 1964, has programs such as teach-ins, staged demonstrations, and seminars which intended at clarifying and recognizing to the citizens in the current condition of the Philippine politics and society. From these shreds of evidence, it can be interpreted that language can uplift the minds of the individuals through these activities which are associated with the language usage.
First, language can broaden and enlighten the mind of a person through imparting knowledge and education among individuals who participated in these kinds of movements. In activism, there is an exchange of words and ideas through such programs, thus, language is involved. As Sullivan (1998) depicted, language can transmit information to reduce uncertainty by increasing a persons knowledge in viewing the world corresponds to the way the world is. From this, it can be deduced that language is one of the mean to transfer knowledge therefore, it has the power to educate people.
Also, through motivation, it can uplift an individuals concept and ideology regarding political and societal issues. Jones (1989) described that in EDSA people power, many of the activists in the demonstrations and rallies were motivated to fight for democracy and change. Language has the capability to motivate and encourage. This connects to the idea that language affects how we envision the world around us since it is an ethical and moral matter (Kemmerer, 2006). Additionally, Sawyer and Stetsenko (2018) stated that language as a social practice is strongly linked to individual consciousness and awareness. Thus, as supported by these studies, the language in the context of activism has an impactful effect through motivation among the militant groups.
Another role of language in activism is that it unites the members of the groups. Language and perception upsurge in a dialectical construction to the main purpose of organizing, coordinating, sharing, and cooperating with others during dynamic relations (Sawyer & Stetsenko, 2018). In the Philippine setting, throughout centuries, Filipinos gather in creating and honing a true Philippine democracy. An example of these is the rally against the corruption of Joseph Estrada. Right after few days of massive rallies and speeches, there were an estimated three hundred thousand people marched and protested outside the presidential palace, where they battled a gory street fight with uniformed personnel (Abinales & Amoroso, 2005). From this situation, it can be depicted that language has a unifying part. Before Estrada was ousted from his term, thousands of people gathered to hear the speeches and rallies which involved the use of language, and eventually succeeded to terminate the presidency of Estrada.
Individuals unify through language by the use of lingua franca. The term lingua franca is defined as a contact or vehicular language established instinctively for it to link impediments of language through using basic grammar and a lexicon limited to the expression of only the concepts needed for the communication objectives of the participants (Brosh, 2015). Our country is consisted of 55 ethnic groups with 171 spoken dialects and languages over its 7,100 islands which comprises the archipelago of the Philippines (Bernardo, 2016). In line with this Bernardo (2006, as cited in Ozaki 2011), the Filipino constitution considered two official languages in the country: Filipino and English. Thus, these are both the lingua franca in the country. Meanwhile, the language of nationalism is Filipino according to Villacorta (1991), since it is the most effective vehicle that reaches the hearts, and minds of the masses.
Through lingua franca, militant groups unite for the usurpation of an authoritative government. This is because language is a symbol and instrument of national unity and integration that contributes to effective communication linking all citizens in different parts of the country (Villacorta, 1991). The number of attendees of the different infamous protests which have happened before and until now proves that language consolidates individuals in activism for their objectives and goals. Thus, language has a significant role in unification among the members of the groups.
Overall, these have implications on the activism that has happened in the past as well as in the current situation in the Philippines. Through imparting knowledge as well as unification by the effective use of language, activism continues to rise after every political and societal issue. The roles of language in activism proves the emergence of different political organizations such as Anakbayan, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, and Kabataan party lists in the current situation since they use language to communicate, interact, as well as motivate its members for them to be aware of events in the social, political, and economic situation in the Philippines. Also, through language, Filipinos unify to fight against the authoritative government. One example is the People Power Revolution. There was a large number of activists flocked in the highways of Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA), facing northbound towards the Boni Serrano Avenue-EDSA intersection to rally against the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos (Boudreau, 1999).
Language as a system of communication creates social change through the form of activism and protest. All in all, this paper evaluates how powerful language is in the context of activism. Throughout history, language has helped in promoting and voicing out freedom and democracy in the country.