Thursday, January 30, 2014

Another year, another chapter...


In February 2013 OM took part in organizing a forum with Keith McHenry (co-founder of Food Not Bombs) along with other NGO’s and organizations here in Davao. This was part of the CGI-Net (Network for Common Ground Initiatives) collaboration project to reach local organizations, raise important issues, and initiate small actions dealing with various political and social concerns in a non-autoritarian horizontal approach. In this forum many issues were brought out including various individuals’ involvement and history in creative activism, community initiatives, and organizing local FNB. Keith McHenry discussed the issues of GMO in the US, corporate food monopoly, militarization and foreign policy, the history of FNB, and other actions including their current free school project in Mexico. 

In connection to this, we presented our local initiatives such as Bread Homes Sharing Garden, Kinaiyahan Unahon (KU) free skool, and Food Freedom, our anti-monsanto/GMO/MSG/Fluoride/Aspartame campaign. In many FNB feeding actions, OM and KU helped facilitate materials and space for the activity. Though the local FNB movement did not grow and thrive due to lack of consistency and volunteers, still it continues to exist today and some individuals involved in this program are still active in other projects. Since the early 2000, local FNB actions are happening every now and then and with that, many participants of the local DIY punk scene was also getting more politicized and inspired by various actions similar to FNB.

 For several occasions we had discussions, shows, and other educational method promoting FNB related causes. Also, in many popularization efforts concerning local organic movement, anti-aerial spraying/anti-pesticides movement, anti-capitalist monocropping agriculture, FNB was often organized by local punks as a means of support to the communities and NGO’s involved. We distribute food not only to homeless people but also to the people in the meetings, rallies, etc. Some of these groups/communities are IDIS, METSA, KNBL, KATAKUS, Ananda Marga, MASIPAG, and many more. Up to now, these groups are very much active and still working on various local projects.



OM collaborates with various schools as one of it’s tactics to raise awareness on food, health, and ecological issues. Another goal of this project is to help other community efforts on promoting organic and sustainable living and to contribute to the strength of local ties against the global economy and corporate democracy supporting GMO, pesticides, toxic pharmaceuticals, seed/food monopoly, and other destructive capitalist enterprises.

 Using posters and photos as medium, we exhibit different images of situation and people doing positive community works such as gardening, composting, group art and music session, free skool, etc. We also use images and quotes dealing with many important perspectives that contribute positively to the viewers. Through partnership with school officials we will be able to reach out many students and teachers for our campaigns. 

Teachers of BNHS

In this year, OM is planning to have more exhibits in 5 universities here in Davao, particularly in Women’s College, University of Mindanao, DMMA, USEP, and Ateneo de Davao University. The program will run for one month and in these days there will be occasional film screenings and discussions to help explain different subjects concerning the theme (sustainable social paradigm). With the theme, we mean concrete ecological and social solutions such as intentional communities, community gardening, free and clean energy, organic agriculture, and other important actions aiming towards a sustainable future. 



Early this October 2013, OM helped co-organized a tour for The Happening, a punk rock band from Japan together with local reggae bands. It was also a benefit show to raise funds for the OM Free Skool but unfortunately, there were very few crowds at the show. Atleast, we raised an amount close to the price of the sound system we rented for the event. Thanks to the organizers of the punk show in saless bar before that evening (with The happening, of course), it added an extra amount to our funds. We organized this show separately expecting that there will be more people, and also to keep being consistent to our plan with their vocalist, kaori. Months before this event happened, kaori agreed to do this show together with us to help one of our projects. Anyway, it was not successful but still the connection was very meaningful. Some factors that made it very meaningful are the moments we had for the friendship that was created and the thoughts and aspirations we shared together. 

This is a rare opportunity and we were very thankful to our friends in manila (Mobile Anarchist School) who connected us to this band. They were very sincere, humble, intelligent, thoughtful and creative activist and that’s why they are very inspiring to us. The vocalist of the band named kaori and the drummer suguro were very active in their area, organizing and initiating different things to raise awareness about capitalism, nuclear energy and wastes, wars, poverty in japan, WTO, GMO and Monsanto, and other current issues that need urgent actions. They are involved in various political affinity groups who are doing significant actions against nuclear power corporations and corrupt Japanese government, especially in relation to the recent fukushima nuclear meltdown. We were very thankful because The Happening and the local bands were very eager to do this support gig for our free school project. The reason why OM free skool is currently not so active is because we still don’t have a projector. We can surely use other medium for discussions (which we do) but in most cases, projector is much more effective in presenting subjects or issues. It is also useful for film screenings and project presentations, which is the main approach of OM free skool. So for now, we do the free skool atleast once a week but only with two or sometimes five people since we can only use the normal monitor for film viewing. In these sessions, we mostly tackle subjects about organic gardening/farming, intentional communities, anarchism, art, philosophy, ecology, culture, and history through informal talks and exchange of perspectives. 



As what we are saying, OM supports other groups and causes as long as it is not conflicting to our values and beliefs as anti-authoritarians aspiring to establish an egalitarian community/society. We support other people in promoting issues that will help improve things or address urgent matters. Last November 2013, Empathy (local folk-punk project of the collective) played at two different shows for the benefit of typhoon Yolanda victims. 

Give Love, Save Lives (the organizers)

Some artists here in davao organized a solidarity event to help gather reliefs for the victims and they were very successful. The first show was in Saless bar organized by the local street artists, spearheaded by the group called We Ride Dynamite. It was an art exhibit and a rock show put up to sell artworks for the victims. The next week, another show was organized by the group called GIVE LOVE, SAVE LIVES (dallah, kevin, xiao, etc.) at the Alley Cat Tea House somewhere in Jacinto ext./V. Mapa street to gather more support for other victims. We donated zines and artworks to be sold for the victims, and we performed our songs for the audience. Supported by some local painters and writers, the show was successful, attended by mostly students who are also doing other efforts to aid with the cause. Typhoon Yolanda is the 2nd most destructive typhoon in Mindanao since typhoon Pablo that happened last December 2012. 



In January 13, 2014, testament of Turtle Island’s revolutionary hip hop group TTL and Sakura from the Beehive Collective arrived in Davao. They were touring for various campaigns concerning the indigenous people’s issues in Turtle Island and other parts of Mesoamerica. While touring and performing, they were telling stories of native resistance and solidarity against capitalist imperialism and neo-colonization by different wealthy institutions and individuals. In the story “Mesoamerica Resiste”, which is a 9-year intricate art project in the making, the Beehive collective clearly emphasized various community issues and history through almost every detail of the artwork. 

From the arrival of the conquistadors during the 13th or 14th century, to the present forms of destructive trades brought about by the same colonial structure such us mining, fracking, forest clearcutting, monocropping, dam, tar sands, coal, etc.., this presentation concretely demonstrate not only the negative impact of techno-industrial civilization and the horrors of its global capitalism but also the beauty and resilience of the native communities resisting these mega-projects. On the first day of their visit, we had presentations here at the OM infoshop about the “Mesoamerica Resiste” and other local projects and actions. 

Due to rain and poor weather condition of that day, there were only 15 participants because some of the intested individuals didn’t manage to come. Inspite of this, we successfully achieved our goals of that day. The next day, we went to KU infoshop for more discussions about the Beehive project. In the same enthusiastic manner, sakura beautifully presented MR to the participants. In the evening, TTL had a gig along with our few musician networks in Davao. 

During this show, sakura again presented the MR project while I also presented the Broken Pattern Press after her. There were more or less 30 participants, thanks to the local conscious rap scene! On the 3rd day, we did interview projects for KU podcast, more political disccusions, file exchange, and lots of personal talks while preparing for their departure to Manila in the next morning, January 16.

Thank you very much!