Various processes have swept over Southeast Asia in the last four decades, producing pressures not only in the economic but also in the political and social milieus. When these processes congealed, transnational social movements (TSMs), which earlier had not paid much attention to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), began to give it more serious attention. This paper examines two TSMs, Migrant Forum in Asia, which already engages in international processes while also focusing on ASEAN, and the Task Force on ASEAN Migrant Workers, which was formed to respond specifically to newly opened regional spaces. The paper looks at how the TSMs respond to the emerging political opportunity structure and explores the dynamics of “going regional” from different approaches and its potential and actual impacts on shaping policy in ASEAN.
Jenina Joy Chavez is the coordinator of the Industrial Policy Team of Action for Economic Reforms, Philippines.