What if 'displacement' is subjectivized as a political option? Theoretical reflections on recent dynamics of the indigenous peoples' movement in southern Philippines
Myfel Paluga (University of the Philippines-Mindanao)
Andrea Malaya Ragragio (Leiden University)
Paper short abstract:
Case studies of internal displacement will show how the lumad creatively deal with this condition and transform it into acts of resistance. We will also reflect on the intersections of creating political options between the indigenous, radicalized peasant, and 21st-century occupy-style movements.
Paper long abstract:
This paper will present two ethnographic case studies of the 'displacement' experienced/expressed by Manobo indigenous peoples (or lumad) of Mindanao (southern Philippines), in the context of state and development aggression in the past three decades that have seen an intensification of mass evacuations (locally called bakwit) into metropolitan centers like Davao City. Interacting closely with non-indigenous, urban-based groups for both material and non-material support, they learn to maximize their lengthening stays in their 'places of refuge' in metropolitan centers by launching broad social education campaigns, such as the 'lakbayan' or 'people's political sojourns' to other major cities of the Philippines in order to popularize their causes. How do we view bakwit and lakbayan as a new mode of action in relation to the range of politico-cultural options historically demonstrated by Mindanao indigenous communities and radicalized peasants? How potent and sustainable is this mode of action? Is this phenomenon an indigenous movement equivalent to the early-21st-century surge of 'occupy movements'? The ethnographic cases will show how the lumad are creatively dealing with their perennially displaced situation by identifying with it and transforming it into acts of political resistance. As anthropologist-advocates, we will present reflexive insights on the importance of the intersections of struggles, visions and organizational forms that emerge from the 'indigenous movement' of southern Philippines.
De-exceptionalising displacement in times of crisis