For Immediate Release | May 23, 2017 | Reference: Jessica Antonio, BAYAN-USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
BAYAN USA, Anakbayan-USA and GABRIELA USA condemn the declaration of martial law by the Duterte administration in Mindanao and call for it to be immediately revoked to ensure the protection of civilian communities from greater militarization and violence.
“The increased militarization and bombings in Marawi City must stop! Martial law will never lead to peace in Mindanao. It will only aggravate the roots of the armed conflict in the region and place thousands of innocent civilians in danger of violent attack,” states Bernadette Ellorin, BAYAN-USA Chairperson.
“With more military operations, women and children will be even more vulnerable to rape, harassment and other sexual abuse,” says Irma Shauf-Bajar, GABRIELA USA Chairperson.
We call on President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue diplomatic and peaceful means to address not only the attacks by the Maute group in Marawi, but also the roots of the armed conflict in Mindanao. This includes implementing urgent social and economic reforms outlined in the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms. Discussion of these reforms is part of the ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which include respecting the Moro people’s right to self-determination and respect for ancestral domain.
“The declaration of martial law throughout the island of Mindanao denies the historic right of the Moro people to self-determination, and it puts those who continue to legitimately fight for their right to land and self-determination, including the Moro people and the Lumad, at increased risk of state repression,” states Adrian Bonifacio, Anakbayan-USA Chair.
The social unrest and armed conflict in the Bangasamoro region of Mindanao must be placed within the proper socio-economic and historical context. Lanao del Sur, the province where the Maute group operates, has the highest poverty rate in the Philippines, yet remains one of the most resource-rich in the country, a prime attraction for foreign corporations for lucrative investments and large-scale extractive operations.
A February 2006 leaked cable from Wikileaks revealed the Liguasan Marsh in the Cotabato Basin, spanning 288,000 hectares, and stronghold of several armed Moro groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, holds the largest deposits of oil and natural gas in the Philippines and in the region, worth hundred of billions in U.S. dollars.
“The armed conflict in the Bangsamoro territory of Mindanao is essentially rooted in the Moro people’s legitimate struggle for self-determination, including aspirations for genuine sustainable development that would allow for the Moro people’s livelihood off of their own land. It would also mean freedom from over a century of U.S. counterinsurgency (COIN) operations that continue until this day, designed to keep the natural resources of the region under foreign control,” Ellorin continued.
“But the U.S.-backed mainstream media and die-hard militarists in the Duterte administration, such as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, opportunistically distort the narrative into one of so-called Islamic extremism, so-called terrorism, and drumbeat a pretext for greater militarization, especially U.S. military intervention, just as the U.S.-backed Arroyo administration did in 2002. The media’s aggressive highlighting of the involvement of US-CIA trained and armed groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda speaks directly to US warmongering,” Ellorin asserted.
In addition, BAYAN-USA, Anakbayan-USA and GABRIELA USA also call for greater vigilance against increasing U.S. intervention in the region, as the Trump administration recently increased the U.S. defense budget by $59 billion, resulting in $639 billion for US-led war and militarization abroad, and especially in Asia. “The Trump administration’s increase in military spending goes hand in hand with a proposed $9.2 billion cut in the national budget for public education, alongside cuts to other social services. We condemn the diversion of funds that should be spent on the people toward war and militarization in the Philippines and around the world,” continued Bonifacio. Mindanao remains the region in the Philippines with the largest deployments of Philippine military and largest concentration of U.S. military personnel.
GENUINE & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, NOT MARTIAL LAW, IN MINDANAO!
NO TO US WARMONGERING IN THE PHILIPPINES!
SOLIDARITY WITH THE MORO PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE FOR SELF-DETERMINATION!
ADVANCE THE GRP-NDFP PEACE TALKS TOWARDS A JUST AND LASTING PEACE!
For Immediate Release | May 19, 2017
Reference: Adrian Bonifacio, Chairperson, email@example.com
In the viral Atlantic article, “My Family’s Slave,” author Alex Tizon tells his account of Eudocia Tomas Pulido, who was to Tizon’s family both “Lola” and slave. Behind the heart-wrenching story-telling is a reality we must face: the oppressive class structures and culture that brought forth Eudocia’s enslavement and trafficking, and the need to change them in order to address the root of modern day slavery within the FIlipino community.
The use of underpaid and overworked katulong, utusan, and kasambahay–the kind of servitude Eudocia was forced to perform–is common practice among many Filipino families. It is an unjust practice that stems from a violent history of colonization and exploitation of the Filipino people. In the Philippines, thousands of Filipinos are brought to the cities, suburbs, and wealthy households in the countryside as domestic help. These domestic helpers are very often young women who must face exploitative conditions. No matter their destination, they are undoubtedly a product of the massive landlessness and joblessness brought about by feudalism in the Philippines.
Feudalism is primarily an agriculture-based economic system where most farmers or peasants don’t own land and are forced to work for a landlord who profits off excessive land rent rates, exorbitant loan interest rates, and very low crop prices, among others. Over decades, this setup has become dominant across the Philippines. In effect, it has left 9 out of 10 farmers landless today and has forced peasants and families to sell their labor to landlords, in urban areas, and abroad.
Equally important to this economic system is the backward haciendero, or feudal, culture needed to maintain it. Oppressive religious practices combined with the lack of access to quality education produces a culture in which people internalize unquestioning obedience and utang na loob (debt of gratitude). It produces a society where exploitation is downplayed as a temporary state worth bearing to prevent any collective resistance and thoroughgoing change. In a feudal society, bahala na (come what may) becomes a guiding principle, just as Eudocia was forced to internalize.
Domestic feudalism also plays a role in the forced migration of millions of Filipinos every year. Along with imperialist interests from countries like the U.S., feudalism helps to maintain an economic structure in the Philippines that is export-oriented and import-dependent. On one hand, agricultural products like sugar and coconuts produced on feudal haciendas (with one of the largest haciendas in the Philippines located in the same province Eudocia hails from), as well as other natural resources like minerals, are exported to other countries. On the other hand, finished consumer goods–like electronics, clothes, and cars–are largely imported and sold to the Philippines at high rates rather than made domestically. This is due to unequal trade agreements with imperialist countries that seek to dump excess products on foreign markets to earn profit. In essence, Filipino peasant farmers who work long days to produce goods that feed and supply the rest of the world face the harsh contradiction of being unable to provide for their own families.
The result? Lack of domestic industry and widespread landlessness–conditions that have pushed Filipinos into poverty, and subsequently out of the country to find work. Facilitated by Philippine laws and institutions, and dictated by foreign demands, Philippine migration has supplied the world with at least 12 million Filipinos, four million of whom are in the U.S., with one of those families being the Tizons. Beyond the reality that Filipinos are forced to migrate abroad due to lack of economic opportunity at home, many are actually trafficked and forced to work in different countries. Indeed, Eudocia is one of hundreds of Filipinos who are trafficked into the U.S. every year as teachers, bakery workers, shipyard workers, and more.
Tizon’s confession opened the eyes of many to an unjust social practice occurring in the Philippines and abroad. It is a practice stemming from feudalism, imperialism, and a government in place that facilitates this exploitation and oppression of its people. This does not exonerate the Tizon family’s abuse and exploitation of Eudocia. But in seeking justice for Eudocia, we should seek justice as well for the millions of Filipinos pushed into poverty and out of the country by feudal landlessness, joblessness, and the lack of opportunities. We invite those seeking to channel their justified rage, sadness, and desire to act to meet with or join a local chapter of Anakbayan-USA or other BAYAN USA organizations near you. Only through collective action and organizing can we ensure that no other person must live their life as someone else’s servant.
We, the undersigned youth and students, unite to resist neo-fascism and the repression under a Trump presidency. The global crisis of capitalism has paved the way for the rise of right-wing politicians in many countries. In the U.S., Trump’s rhetoric against failed neoliberal policies has gained significant popularity by attacking immigrants, women, Muslims, and the LGBTQ community among others, who are being used as scapegoats in this crisis that was generated by the greed of the wealthiest 1%.
On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump took oath as the new face of U.S. imperialism, a force that has politically, economically, culturally, and militarily attacked countries all over the world in the last century. Already, his fraudulent rhetoric to ‘make America great again’ is being exposed as he has appointed brazen agents of neoliberalism into his cabinet. These millionaires and billionaires can be expected to use their key government positions to enrich the wealth of the largest corporations and the ruling elite while undermining people’s rights and destroying the environment. Anti-LGBTQ extremist Mike Pence will be Vice President. Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin will be Secretary of Treasury. Climate change denier and Big Oil ally Scott Pruitt will lead the Environmental Protection Agency to remove governmental regulations on pollution. Supporter of mass torture and the drug war John Kelly will lead the Department of Homeland Security. Charter school crusader and billionaire Betsy DeVos will lead the Department of Education. Youth and students in particular will face stronger attacks on public education as DeVos pushes for school choice and charter schools. This privatization of our education will consequently lower both the quality and availability of education.
With Trump’s appointments we can only expect joblessness, discrimination and bigotry, attacks on civil and political rights, and wars abroad to continue and escalate. Moreover, with this new regime, anti-people neoliberal policies will continue to worsen and push communities into further crisis.
Trump also plans to increase military spending by $100 to $300 billion at the expense of funding for basic social services. This prioritization of the military over education, health care, and more will only exacerbate the current economic and social crisis by plunging the U.S. into further debt and increasing the burden and suffering of the people. They will also further intensify wars of aggression and intervention around the world.
We, youth and students across the U.S., will not wait for another four years for genuine, pro-people change. We resolve to fight with the broader community against the conditions that created Trump, his authoritarian and neo-fascist style of governance, and the oppressive state that our communities face today. We will fight for:
(to sign-on to the unity statement click here)
For Immediate Release
November 9, 2016
Contact: Adrian Bonifacio, Chairperson, Anakbayan-USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anakbayan-USA, a national democratic mass organization of Filipino youth and students, sympathizes with the many young people who, despite their fervent desire for change on this election day, have woken up this morning to Donald Trump as President of the United States of America. “We share their rage, and urge our communities to use this moment to unite rather than divide amidst the unraveling system of U.S. imperialism,” declared Adrian Bonifacio, Chairperson of Anakbayan-USA. “We call on all those angered to go beyond social media and individual sentiments and join us in classrooms, community spaces, and streets to mobilize the masses and hone the people’s frustrations into collective action.”
Donald Trump’s administration has already begun laying the preliminary groundwork for his first 100 days of presidency. Of particular relevance to the Filipino community is his promise to reverse President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which currently has prevented the deportation of more than 728,000 young people. Moreover, Trump has expressed desire to deport as many as two million undocumented immigrants with criminal records. Trump has also stated that he will dismantle the U.S. Department of Education, despite the unlikelihood that it will actually be shut down. In particular, Trump threatened to close the Office for Civil Rights, which oversees Title IX, an integral statute in the national conversation on sexual assault on college campuses. Further, his bigoted statements have sparked hate crimes in universities, especially through anonymous anti-Islamic, anti-Black, and anti-migrant chalkings. While holding Trump accountable, we must also recognize that the root cause of these anti-people policies is not this one, singular man, but rather the U.S. imperialist system that paved the way for his election.
In these times of grief and anger, the people must look to our revolutionary history, which shows that ultimately the power to create genuine change comes from the collective action of the people. Anakbayan-USA calls on Filipino youth and students to unite against Trump’s anti-people program and join a local chapter of Anakbayan-USA or organize within existing organizations. We must utilize this moment to open our eyes and the eyes of our community to expose the underlying chronic crisis of capitalism that periodically feigns semblances of democracy through its electoral process. Every four years, the nation claims to give voice to the people, but it is only through people’s resistance that their demands will truly be heard. We must direct our anger towards organizing around the daily struggles of our communities as we build political power emanating from the grassroots. While the people of the U.S. have suffered a devastating blow this election, we must continue to struggle against U.S. imperialism and the fascist state now more than ever. It is in the midst of struggle and contradiction that the people’s movement grows and real progress is achieved! Makibaka! Huwag matakot! Dare to struggle! Do not be afraid!
Alton Stering, India Beaty, Philandro Castile, Kisha Arrone, Delrawn Small, Jessica Williams, Alva Braziel, Goddess Diamond
Countless people, countless names, one message:
Black Lives Matter! Black Resistance Matters! Black Power Matters!
“Makibaka! Huwag Matakot!” — means “Dare to struggle! Do not be afraid!” in Pilipino.
The national democratic Filipino youth and students in the United States offer our proactive pledge to deny all fear through our voices, spirits, and bodies in solidarity with the Black community.
Despite the ways this nation’s capitalist system aims to pit Black and Brown communities against one another we align with the Black struggle for self-determination as people weho are also engaged in a struggle for self-determination in our home country.
We will never know the danger of being a Black person in the belly of the imperialist beast. The Filipino community must reject anti-Blackness, a vestige of U.S. colonial culture.
We uplift Black communities, Black leaders, Black rage, Black mourning, Black love, Black laughter, and Black movement building.
We commit ourselves to continue marching side by side, strengthening our organizations to fight for Black jobs, housing, education and liberation.
In these times of terror, the state wants us to cower in reforms but a revolution is brewing in the United States just as a revolution has been raging in the Philippines for the past 47 years.
Just as Priate David Fagen defected from the U.S. Army and joined the Philippine revolutionary forces during the Philippine American War, we resist white supremacy, which is rooted in imperialism, and commit ourselves to Black liberation.
Our histories, our struggles, and our victories are intertwined.
The imperialist macine that kills and deprives the Black community is the same monster that murders people in our motherland, all in the name of self-interest and profit.
We must combat police brutality and state repression and turn our grief and anger to action. We must fight for Black and Brown lives in the U.S. and across the globe.
Anakbayan-USA calls on the Filipino community to raise our fists with our Black brothers, sisters, and siblings!
The people united will never be defeated!
Ang tao, ang bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!
Black Lives Matter! Black Power Matters! Black Resistance Matters!
Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!
#BlackLivesMatter #Filipinos4BlackLives #Filipinos4BlackResistance
Anakbayan East Bay
Anakbayan Inland Empire
Anakbayan Long Beach
Anakbayan Los Angeles
Anakbayan New Jersey
Anakbayan New York
AnakBayan San Diego
Anakbayan Silicon Valley
League of Filipino Students – SFSU
Music: “Cops” by Power Struggle
Produced by Digital Martyrs
(Beatrock Music, 2016)
A special episode of Loud & Clear with Brian Becker spends the full hour dealing with the dramatic new developments in the Philippines, including a discussion with Communist Party founder Jose Maria Sison, where the new government of Rodrigo Duterte and the New People’s Army are making moves to put an end to the country’s civil war.
The new President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has said it is his dream to end of the nearly fifty year armed conflict in the country. Last week, he declared a unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army, but withdrew it just days later. Still, the Communist Party has said that it expects to declare a truce along with the government on August 20th, the same day that peace negotiations are due to begin in Oslo.
Brian is joined by Jose Maria Sison, who is the senior political adviser to the National Democratic Front, which is the organization that will begin peace talks with the Duterte government on August 20. Brian also speaks with Bernadette Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN-USA, and Rhonda Ramiro, vice-chair of BAYAN-USA in addition to Anakbayan-USA chairperson Adrian Bonifacio and Nap Pempeña, Vice-Chairperson of Anakbayan-USA.
Visit the Loud & Clear site here.
“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., Report to SCLC Staff, May 1967.
Seattle, WA — On January 16, 2016, Anakbayan-USA convened 150 delegates from across the U.S. for its Second National Congress at Southside Commons in the Columbia City neighborhood of southeast Seattle.
Anakbayan-USA’s Second National Congress gathered under the theme: “Upsurge! Unite the Youth to Fight for Our Liberation!” The theme recognizes Anakbayan-USA’s landmark accomplishments in the past three years–including doubling its membership and the establishment of four new chapters–while also emphasizing the need to continue growing and strengthening as an organization. Chapters are called on to grow their membership more quickly than ever before, especially among working class and immigrant communities, by waging campaigns that address the urgent needs and interests of the most oppressed of the Filipino community in the U.S. All members are tasked to make strong connections between local issues to the struggle for national and social liberation in the Philippines.
“Now is the time to take our organizing to a new level,” said Adrian Bonifacio, newly-elected National Chairperson of Anakbayan-USA. “As oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people worsen, we must fight back even harder by integrating with our communities, learning their problems, and waging campaigns with them to address the root issues of their struggles.”
The congress brought together Anakbayan-USA’s eleven chapters and affiliates from Seattle, East Bay (Oakland), Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Inland Empire, San Diego, Long Beach, Chicago, New York, and New Jersey, including affiliate organization, League of Filipino Students-San Francisco State University. The voting delegates approved the next three-year General Program of Action, garnered lessons from the National Executive Committee reports, approved on three resolutions, and elected a new National Executive Committee. Those elected were Adrian Bonifacio of Anakbayan Silicon Valley as Chairperson, Napoleon Pampeña of Anakbayan Los Angeles as Vice Chairperson, Joelle Eliza Lingat of Anakbayan New Jersey as Secretary General, Lyle Prijoles of LFS-SFSU as Education Officer, Nikki Caintic of Anakbayan Seattle as Finance Officer, and Lorena Buni of Anakbayan Chicago as Solidarity Officer.
Held in one of the most ethnically and income diverse areas in the nation, the congress opened with a flag ceremony that featured all eleven chapter organizations of Anakbayan-USA. The program included a keynote message by Wilma Austria Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon, international situationer by Jose Maria Sison, message from Vencer Cristosomo, and solidarity statement by Rasmea Odeh. The weekend closed with a mobilization against gentrification of the Central District in solidarity with the Seattle Black Book Club.
The keynote speech was delivered through a reading of a handwritten letter by the Tiamzons, political prisoners and peace talk consultants. “Anakbayan must graduate beyond small groups into bigger circles. Anakbayan must link with kababayan; it must merge its national democratic activities with the everyday activities of the masses,” said the Tiamzons.
An international situationer was delivered by Jose Maria Sison, the exiled Filipino revolutionary and founding chairperson of the seminal Filipino youth organization, Kabataang Makabayan. “It is a matter of justice to themselves that the American people and various nationalities rise up against imperialist oppressors and exploiters. Anakbayan USA must be linked up with the rest of the American people in fighting against the rise of state terrorism, white supremacist racism, religious bigotry and other reactionary currents that multiply the harshness of economic exploitation, unemployment and poverty. Anakbayan USA must also stand in solidarity with the Filipino people in the motherland and do whatever is possible and necessary to support their struggle,” said Sison.
A live message was given via Skype by Vencer Crisostomo, Chairperson of Anakbayan Philippines in which he called on the rapid growth of Anakbayan-USA’s membership and influence. “The challenge for us is to make history. The neoliberal agenda is for us to express ourselves and protest…but not make change. But that time is over. A new world is coming, comrades.” said Cristosomo.
A solidarity message was delivered through a pre-recorded video by Rasmea Odeh. Odeh is a Palestinian community leader in Chicago who was a political prisoner, tortured by the Israeli government in 1969. She spoke of her case and the persecution she is going through, she also spoke of the struggle of the Palestinian people in the hands of the US backed Zionist Israeli Government, especially the struggle of the Palestinian youth, as she added, “My people stand up to these challenges while resisting colonialism, occupation and imperialism every single day! They do it because they know that they have the support of Filipinos, like you and other people of consciousness across the world. All of us have dedicated our lives to the same hopes and dreams. As you know, justice is not a gift or a handout we wait for someone to give us. Justice is a human right that needs to be fought for and won. For all of you who have strong will and determination, we will achieve change and freedom. We need to develop stronger solidarity relations between us and other communities who believe in our objectives here in the US and beyond. Together we can realize true nationalization and democracy!”
The delegates concluded the 2nd National Congress with a group oath-taking and singing of progressive Filipino songs. That night, Anakbayan-USA hosted a cultural night, “Strength of the Youth: A Kultural Solidarity Night” featuring Kounter Balance, Prometheus Brown, Rogue Pinay, Art of Verse and Shining Sons. Regional performances centered on the Stop Lumad Killing campaign, Education is a Human Right campaign, and experiences of comprehensive organizing across the U.S. Local chapters donated 20% of proceeds to the Save Our Schools Network.
That following Monday, on January 18, 2016, Anakbayan-USA marched in the radical legacy of Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. by convening with the 300 demonstrators that split from the main parade that was permitted by the city. Affinity groups alongside Black liberation organizations rallied in front of Uncle Ike’s Recreational Marijuana Shop to condemn gentrification, another name for colonialism of oppressed peoples within the U.S. In the tradition of the Buffalo soldiers that defected to the Philippine revolutionary movement, Filipino youth must embolden themselves in the MLK Jr.’s spirit of internationalism mobilize with the Black community and to strengthen our own movement as the most effective form of solidarity with liberation movements worldwide.
UPSURGE! UNITE THE YOUTH TO FIGHT FOR OUR LIBERATION!
IMPERYALISMO, PYUDALISMO, BURUKRATA-KAPITALISMO, IBAGSAK! (Down with Imperialism, Feudalism and Bureaucrat-Capitalism!)
SERVE THE PEOPLE! STRUGGLE FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY!
Watch the recap video:
Anakbayan is a comprehensive National Democratic mass organization of Filipino youth that aims to arouse, organize, and mobilize youth for national democracy with a socialist perspective.