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E. II.8.b. Challenging Estrada, 2001 (EDSA II)

The success of 1986 prompted a renewed, though much more contestable, expression of people power in January 2001. When President Estrada was impeached by the House of Representatives for major corruption and the Senate hearing narrowly failed to pursue the charges rigorously, tens of thousands took to the streets. drawing on the forces that overthrew Marcos. The demonstrations took place at Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) – the site of the major 1986 protests: hence the naming of 2001 ‘EDSA II’.

Estrada offered a new election (an offer turned down by his opponents), but then, in the absence of military support, rapidly resigned and was replaced by Gloria Arroyo. Estrada, a former film star, had however been elected on a programme of poverty reduction in a populist election, and retained substantial support. When Estrada was arrested, in April 2001 thousands demonstrated over several days, culminating in an estimated 300,000, demanding Estrada’s release and the resignation of Aroyo. This counter-demonstration of ‘people power’, which did not succeed, drew mainly on the urban poor.

Labrador, M.C., The Philippines in 2001: High drama, a new president and setting the stage for recovery, Asian Survey, Vol. 42, issue 1 (January/February), 2002, pp. 141-149

Lande, Carl H., The return of “people power” to the Philippines, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, issue April, 2001, pp. 88-102

Discusses the constitutional problems of Philippine democracy and the role of an elite above the law.

Liwag-Kotte, Emmalya, People Power in the Philippines: Civil Society between Protest and Participation, D + C: Development and Cooperation, issue 6 (Nov/Dec), 2001, pp. 21-22

Macpagal, Maria Elizabeth ; Galace, Jasmin Nario, Social psychology of People Power II in the Philippines, Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, Vol. 9, issue 3, 2003, pp. 219-233

Includes assessment of nonviolence.

Reid, Ben, The Philippine democratic uprising and the contradictions of neoliberalism: EDSA II, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 22, issue 5, 2001, pp. 777-793

Analysis of Estrada regime and the protests that led to his overthrow and replacement by Aroyo. The article is also a critique of western commentators who deplore the popular uprising, and an attack on a neoliberal conception of democracy. The author concludes that the 2001 rebellion was ultimately an elite controlled process, transferring power to a different faction of the elite, but also a model of popular mobilization and empowerment.

Tilly, Charles, Social Movements, 1768-2004, Boulder CO, Paradigm Publishers, 2004, pp. 204

Chapter 5, pp. 95-122, ‘Social Movements enter the Twenty-First Century’, takes as its starting point the January 2001 text message in Manila, ‘Go EDSA, Wear black’ and goes on to discuss the relationship between social movements and communications technology with further details on unrest in Manila.