Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

In praise of the community organizer

Sunday, June 20th, 2021

Published by Bulatlat There are several stereotypes of activists but the most uncommon figure is that of the community organizer. We are familiar with the image of activists raising banners with clenched fists. The grim and determined look of street protesters. The dignified posture of influencer dissenters made more visible on various social media platforms. […]

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Activism and life-work balance

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

Published by Bulatlat We are swamped with reminders about the need to slow down, refocus our priorities, and reflect on how we make good use of our time so that we live life to the fullest while improving our work productivity. We are told to aspire for a life-work balance to feel good about ourselves, […]

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Are we there yet, kasama?

Monday, July 6th, 2020

Published by Bulatlat Not today. But within our lifetime. Malacañang Palace is still in the hands of corrupt tyrants but organs of political power are being established in guerrilla zones across the country. Landlords and big business tycoons continue to hoard more wealth and influence but farmers and workers are not giving up the fight. […]

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Published by Bulatlat Yes, I studied Marxism at the university. But all things considered, I believe I spent more time learning about postmodernism and its numerous variations inside classrooms and libraries. I got introduced to the politics of the Left through the writings of anti-Left academics. No ‘mad Marxist’ indoctrinated me to become an activist. […]

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My first five years as a full-time activist

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Published by Bulatlat I joined the Center for Nationalist Studies in 1997, became an active member of STAND UP in 1998, and declared my commitment to be a full-time activist after graduation in 2000. I enrolled for a master’s degree but decided to discontinue pursuing this during the ‘Oust Estrada’ campaign. As a full-time activist, […]

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Published by Bulatlat It is easy to identify Filipino leftist groups and leaders by reading and watching the news but an ordinary citizen will find it more challenging to recognize rightists. Leftists are outrightly named and oftentimes insulted in news reports and commentaries in mainstream media. They are the ‘usual suspects’ in Philippine politics whose […]

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Published by Bulatlat Vow of poverty. Activists are encouraged to live simply, but unlike priests, they don’t have a vow of poverty. They don’t fetishize poverty; instead, they work with the poor to fight the structures that engender oppression in society. Indeed, activists renounce material riches and the glorification of wealth but it doesn’t mean they […]

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Are you biased against activists?

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Published by Bulatlat When you see a rally, you assume it is a hakot crowd. Maybe you think rallies are similar to the assemblies organized by trapos during campaign sorties. But only politicians pay people to attend events and their own self-serving rallies. Unfortunately, too, there are educated people who insist that urban poor rallyists get […]

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Written for Bulatlat ‘Resistance is Our Right, Solidarity is Our Duty’ was the call to action printed on t-shirts, tote bags, and flyers distributed during our speaking tour across the United States about the human rights situation in the Philippines. It meaningfully captured the political orientation guiding Filipino activists in the US: The legitimacy of […]

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On becoming a full-time activist

Friday, February 1st, 2019

Published by Bulatlat Beyond the instagrammable image of a fierce-looking activist with a clenched fist is someone rationalizing and constantly reaffirming his fidelity to radical politics. Activists are stereotyped as dogmatic simpletons who derive a perverse pleasure in organizing rallies. While it is true that public participation in a collective exercise is indeed a thrilling […]

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