Thursday, October 12, 2006

Militant National Democratic Culture in the USC

The University Student Council has always been influenced by the national democratic movement in all aspects, including the administrative culture in which it operates. One reason why the Weberian characteristic of strict subordination is very difficult to implement in the USC is due to the strong notion of collective and democratic leadership in the student council. The Chairperson cannot simply decide on pivotal student and national issues by himself without first consulting the General Assembly, the Executive Committee or even the general student body. In the USC, as in all organizations of the national democratic movement, such is how decision-making works, unlike in many corporations and bureaucracies where policy decisions are limited to select individuals and groups. On the other hand, the concept of democratic centralism is very much part of the administrative workings of the USC, especially when deciding on very critical issues such as tuition fee and budget cut campaigns. The use of democratic centralism is one of the most effective means by which unities and plans are implemented efficiently because it assumes that all members shall be acting accordingly as planned, deliberated and debated by all members. Moreover, the propensity for compartmentalizing projects and issues as primary or secondary in priority is also very much attributable to the militant culture of the national democratic movement. While even the rational theory of bureaucracy would have this in their system, the prioritization of the USC is based more on whether or not the priority shall affect the greatest number students at a given time, more than procedural or resource constraints. Also, the concept of united front, while generally used in mass struggles and campaigns, is also effective in the administrative work of the USC. Classically, this concept assumes that other classes in society, including the national bourgeoisie, can be allied with against the most despotic political leader at a given time. While antagonisms do exist between the national bourgeoisie and other oppressed classes and sectors, it is not a bar from creating an alliance between each other against whom the greatest antagonism exists across all classes. Despite this lofty description, the USC has managed to apply this when dealing with the UP Manila administration. While the USC acknowledges that the UP Manila administration can never be allied with in terms of opposition to tuition increases and lab increases, it recognizes that such condition is not a bar from reaching out to the administration and get small concessions, especially on much needed student council equipment. As a result of this, the USC was able to procure a brand-new computer and laser printer, notwithstanding a new grant for the publication of a newsletter and web domain.[1] Over-all, the influence of the national democratic culture as briefly discussed has been very helpful in the continuing operations of the student council.

[1] USC 2006-2007

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