Constructing and Controlling People’s Power from the Grass Roots: Philippine Social Movement Activism in a Historical Perspective

  • Dominique CaouetteEmail author


The Philippines represents a fascinating and singular case of collective action in Southeast Asia. Rooted in the long struggle against the Marcos dictatorship (1972–1986), the country has been recognized and renowned in the region for its citizen’s protest and organizations. In fact, a quick survey at the range of regional organizations reveals the significant presence of Filipino activists. At the same time, the Philippines is lagging behind regionally in terms of its development index and socioeconomic equity and in deepening its democratization. How can one understand such level of collective action and social movement organizing? What does this tell us in relation to broader political struggles for democracy, political participation, and left politics? This chapter addresses these questions arguing that one can understand and explain such extraordinary level of social organizing by examining the specific conditions under which a whole generation of activists came about, namely, the constitution of the large and multisectoral social movements led or influenced by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its umbrella organizations and the National Democratic Front (NDF). Over the years, the CPP-led revolutionary movement has demonstrated both a skillful understanding of political opportunities and political struggles combined with a highly instrumentalist approach to social mobilization.


Collective Action Social Movement Mass Movement Communist Party Central Committee 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de science politiqueUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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