Anakbayan New Jersey Congratulates Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s 5th General Assembly, “With Feist and Fervor, Fight State Terrorism!”

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
October 8, 2015

Reference:

Laura Emily Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

We Congratulate the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance’s 5th General Assembly, “With Feist and Fervor, Fight State Terrorism!”

Anakbayan New Jersey sends warm and militant congratulations to Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) on their 5th General Assembly in Baguio City. On September 20, 2015, CHRA gathered 60 delegates for discussion and education on the human rights work that is currently needed in the region in the midst of the worsening attacks against indigenous peoples all over the country.

As an overseas chapter of Anakbayan Philippines, we uplift the work of human rights organizations in the Philippines and abroad. One particular example is the Justice for Freddie Ligiw campaign. CHRA was one of the first to report on the killing of Ligiw, a member of Anakbayan Abra. They reported that 29 year-old Ligiw was last seen at his home in Sitio Sukaw, Domenglay; Ligiw was supposed to see his father, Licuben, at the pacalso before heading off to the mining site in the community. His remains were found in a shallow grave with that of 49 other people. Without the reporting and support of CHRA, Freddie Ligiw’s story would have never been told.

People from the Cordillera region also attended July 2015’s International Peoples’ Tribunal in Washington, D.C. to testify about the conditions that have been created through the implementation of state repression by the Philippine government. Attorney Maria Catherine Salucon exemplifies the attacks that have been taking place in the Cordillera region. Salucon states that she had received “systematic harassments and threats” from the paramilitary. Later, she was tagged as a Red Lawyer and was placed on the Order of Battle, a hit list for the Philippine military.

In so many areas across the Philippines where indigenous people live, there are attacks and incidents of harassment by the Philippine government. We support Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and their efforts to fight state repression and state terrorism in the Cordillera region.

ACTIVISM IS NOT A CRIME! JUSTICE FOR FREDDIE LIGIW!

END IMPUNITY FROM THE CORDILLERAS TO NEW JERSEY!

FIGHT FOR NATIONAL DEMOCRACY IN THE PHILIPPINES!

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From Ayotzinapa to Mindanao End State Repression of Indigenous Schools! Anakbayan New Jersey Demands Justice for the 43 Students of Ayotzinapa One Year Later

PR Ayotzinapa

For Immediate Release
Press Statement

October 12, 2015

Reference:

Ana Robelo, Anakbayan New Jersey

Laura Emily Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

From Ayotzinapa to Mindanao End State Repression of Indigenous Schools! Anakbayan New Jersey Demands Justice for the 43 Students of Ayotzinapa One Year Later

As we pass the one year anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa on September 26, 2014, Anakbayan New Jersey joins the call for justice and stands with the struggle of the families of the disappeared students. We recognize that this is another manifestation of state repression facilitated by US imperialism.

At the International Tribunal of Conscience for the Movement of Peoples at NYU, our members were fortunate enough to hear the truthful accounts of what happened the night of the disappearances in the words of leading Mexican journalist Anabel Hernandez and her partner Steve Fisher. They continue their investigation despite eminent death threats to counter the government’s cover-up. The Mexican government’s story is filled with contradictions and lies further revealing its role in the violence against schools like Ayotzinapa’s Normalista school, it’s students, and the indigenous peoples of Mexico. We know that the Mexican military, federal police, and Guerrero police forces are responsible under orders of President Peña Nieto’s government and that they monitored and hunted the students because of their commitment to education in Mexico’s rural indigenous communities.

As we listened to the findings from Hernandez and Fisher’s journalism in conjunction with testimonials from human rights defenders who have witnessed massacres, abuse, kidnapping, and torture victims at the hands of Mexican authorities and Mexican migrants forced out of their homeland to survive we hear echoes of the Philippines. While Mexico is in the backyard of the U.S. imperialist superpower, the Philippines is under military occupation and heavily monitored even across oceans. With the same human rights and democracy rhetoric that the U.S.-Mexico Plan Merida uses to fight the war on drugs as Oplan Bayanihan uses to fight second front of the U.S. war on terror in Mindanao – in reality millions of U.S. tax dollars invest in militarizing and terrorizing the Mexican and Filipino people with impunity backed by their respective governments. Military and paramilitary groups can roam freely on rural indigenous land forcibly displacing, harassing, and killing. In the Acteal Massacre of 1997, 45 members of Las Abejas, a Mayan-Tzotzil Christian pacifist group, were murdered, for their public support of the EZLN Zapatista army while praying in a church by members of the PRI. Eighteen years later the then President, Ernesto Zedillo, is pardoned by the U.S. Supreme Court and holds the titles of research center director and professor at Yale University. This January Obama hosted current Mexican President Peña Nieto in the white house and congratulated him on “structural reforms” with the intention of fixing the “immigration problem” and ignoring the violence perpetuated by both governments through policies, like NAFTA and Plan Merida, causing migrants to leave Mexico and Central America. 43 years after the declaration of Martial law, the redtagging of activists and human rights defenders continues through Oplan Bayanihan under Aquino. Just four weeks ago three Lumad leaders Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, and Bello Sinzo were murdered in the Lumad school ALCADEV school in Han-ayan, Mindanao by the Philippine army, special forces, and a Lumad paramilitary group. As immigrant youth and youth from immigrant families doing work in the U.S. we know that real change must come with addressing the conditions in our home countries even as we fight imperialism from within belly of the beast. “As an undocumented Mexican-American, I was forced to leave my country and make the United States my new home…Like many say ‘no soy de aqui, ni soy de aya’, ‘I am not from here or from there’, but for me the pain of the 43 students is just as alive and just as frustrating as it is to the people in Mexico…” says Miriam Zamudio of New Jersey Youth for Immigrant Liberation. “As a student I feel the pain of my comrades, I feel a need to fight for justice not only in my country but in a suffering Latin America.”

The Mexican government has tried to frame Normalalista schools — a school to ready high school graduates for the teaching field. Usually two-year programs, normal schools can be traced back to the 16th century. Despite this long history, students of the Escuela Normal of Ayotzinapa are being tagged by the Mexican government as a place where radicals, revolutionaries, and communists study. A similar scenario can be seen in indigenous communities in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao. One case is that of the Manobo children in Talaingod. Attending the Salugpungan Ta ‘Tanu Ingkanugon (Unity to Defend our Ancestral Land) School is hard for these children because they are tagged by the Philippine government as schools of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. As a result, paramilitary often invade their lands and schools. These indigenous schools do not follow the curriculum followed by other schools in the cities — they are geared towards their agrarian lifestyle and their position as being vulnerable to the paramilitary. This is apparently reason for the Philippine government to attack the Manobo people and other indigenous groups; these people are deemed as communists, members of the NPA, or terrorists. Anakbayan NJ supports the Save our Schools campaign in the Philippines, which asserts that indigenous people should have the right to educate and empower their communities without fear of military attacks and harassment.

Stephanie Bello, a member of Mexican American Progress Movement, rebukes the way both the Mexican and Philippine governments have been framing schools residing in indigenous communities. “As students and youth searching for justice, democracy, and progress for our communities, we stand in solidarity with the Normalistas, the disappeared students, their parents and communities. It is time for Mexico to heal and progress, and it must do so with its youth front and center,” she stated. “We support the parents, families and comrades of the 43 disappeared students, their vision of a critical education that is accessible to the rural poor, and whatever means they propose for achieving justice and accountability. Indigenous people and rural schools (normalistas) are being attacked by government and militaries not only in Mexico but in other places of the world. In the Philippines 3 leaders at an alternative rural school were murdered by paramilitaries on August 18. This attack further emphasizes government’s’ efforts to limit critical and important education of indigenous people,” Bello asserts.

The world, for many of our comrades in other countries, is in a state of constant war.  Ayotzinapa has shown us that in these wars there is no such thing as a non-combatant. The 43 Ayotzinapa students in question were ironically targeted because they were stealing buses in order to attend a demonstration commemorating the Tlatelolco Student Massacre of 1968. The Massacre had taken place on October 2nd — 10 days before the opening of the Summer Olympics in Mexico City. A culmination of political unrest in Mexico, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and the rest of the world came about through student movements, and this was exemplified by the Tlatelolco Student Massacre. Students numbering in the thousands gathered at the Three Cultures Square in the Tlatelolco housing complex so that they could know what the next steps of the movement were.  As students we look to the 43 with sorrow, because we see in them our own sorrows, our own struggles, and our own power.  In each of them was a capacity for friendship and love no different from our own, a yearning to do what is right in the face of authority, and an opportunity to know what is just. It is in them that we can come to terms with our own weaknesses, our biases and impotency. “As youth and students we often lack the power that older members of our community wield, and the insight that the most oppressed may offer,” Anakbayan NJ member Jonathan Zirkle remarks. “It is in our afterlife that our flaws disappear, and our legacy reaches farther than we ever could while bound by our flesh. We can no longer meet the 43,[…] shake their hands[,] or laugh with them[…] [However,] their power will fuel us until the revolution is won.” For this reason, ABNJ stands and supports the voices of all students being repressed by state governments as we commemorate the 1st Anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa.

AYOTZINAPA VIVE! LA LUCHA SIGUE!

DOWN WITH IMPUNITY! END STATE REPRESSION FROM AYOTZINAPA TO MINDANAO!

SAVE OUR SCHOOLS! STOP KILLING LUMAD!

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One Year Later: Justice for Jennifer Laude! US Troops Out of the Philippines

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For Immediate Release

Jonathan Zirkle, Deputy Educational Development Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

Bryan Chen, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265

One Year Later: Justice for Jennifer Laude! US Troops out of the Philippines!

Anakbayan NJ remembers Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman who was murdered by Scott Pemberton, a US Marine, on October 11th one year ago today.  Laude had met Pemberton at Ambyanz, a social club in Olangapo City, Philippines.  While the marine appeared to be friendly, Jennifer’s friend, Barbie, described him as noticeably inebriated during the initial meeting.  Soon after their introduction, they had left the club and checked into the nearby Celzone Lounge, a motel.  It was there that Pemberton has alleged, recently, that the two of them had a physical altercation after he had fondled Jennifer.  According to his statement, he shoved Jennifer after this, which initiated the conflict.  The fight ended with him strangling Laude until she was unconscious.  Dragging her to the bathroom, he claims that he splashed water from the toilet on Laude’s face and, receiving no response, left her slumped over the receptacle.

Although Pemberton was arrested and held at Camp Aguinaldo, he was never held in full custody by Philippine Authorities, being detained primarily by the US Navy.  In addition, the marine was provided several privileges not generally offered to defendants in Philippine court, a substantial plea deal was offered to the Laude family in his name, reporters were banned from the courtroom, and the court was allotted only  one year to complete proceedings.  These resources afforded to the defense are similar to those offered to several marines in People of the Philippines vs. Chad Carpentier, Dominic Duplantis, Keith Silkwood, and Daniel Smith.  In this case, several US Marines were accused of raping a Filipina, Suzette Nicolas, and were all acquitted while in custody of their own government.

These recurring themes and events are unfortunate reminders of persisting discrimination against trans people in Philippine society, and the misogyny in public outcry, with outspoken sections of the community calling both these cases complex “extortion rackets”.  They aliso show the incredible political clout that the US holds over the Philippine government because of treaties like the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allow visiting US service people substantial privileges in travel, lodging and legal matters. Indeed, the opportunity for accused US military personnel to be held by their own country’s military authorities during legal proceedings is explicitly outlined in Section 6 of Article 5 of the VFA.  It is these treaties that effectively make Filipinas like Jennifer Laude and Suzette Nicolas second-class citizens in their own countries.  The damage of these events are not limited to the Philippines either, as migrant Filipinos struggle with discrimination and oppression because of their country’s non-existent national sovereignty and global power.

As an organization dedicated to bringing about democracy in the Philippines that benefits Filipino people instead of foreign imperialist interests, Anakbayan New Jersey condemns the extraordinary acts of violence that military personnel have been acquitted for in our country.  The unique plight of gender non-conforming people of our communities and the world are in our interests as a comprehensive group that calls for the liberation of all people.

The weakness of the Philippine government is exposed often because of tragedies such as Jennifer Laude’s murder.  The Filipino Government is run like a business, with crimes and insults often being overlooked for the benefit of very few.  This is why development is limited to small sections of the Philippines, such as Makati City and Metro Manila, and wealth is accrued only by small sections of the population, like the political dynasties of the Cojuangcos and Estradas.  The weakness of the state in the Philippines can only be remedied by more equal land distribution and agrarian reform, as well as national industrialization to allow for natural resources to be used by Filipinos instead of being sold to foreign corporations.

Anakbayan New Jersey calls upon Filipino and Fil-am youth to embrace their history of resistance and decry the awful crimes committed against Jennifer Laude.  We must work to put pressure both on the US government to cease imperialistic activities in the Philippines, as well as dismantle the puppet regimes working to oppress the masses in our homeland.  It is through this work that we can honor Jennifer’s memory, and work to build a world where trans people of color no longer must fear for their lives.

State Violence is State Violence Regardless of Who Is In the Uniform: Anakbayan New Jersey Stands with the Mexican Community of Passaic Against the Police Harassment of Filipino Cop

passiac.001

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

September 30, 2015

Reference:

Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

Brian Flores, Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

Daniel Santiago, Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

State Violence is State Violence Regardless of Who Is In the Uniform: Anakbayan New Jersey Stands with the Mexican Community of Passaic Against the Police Harassment of Filipino Cop

Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ) links arms with the Mexican community of Passaic, New Jersey in condemnation of state repression in the form of police harassment and demand the discharge of Sergeant Roy Bordamonte. On September 10th, Passaic resident Jazmin Vidal uploaded a video from October 2014 of Bordamonte harassing three young people sitting on a porch, threatening to issue them a ticket. In response to an uproar of community action, he has been reassigned to a desk job as investigation continues. ABNJ condemns Bordamonte’s behavior and echoes the calls of the Passaic Mexican community for justice.

Although Bordamonte is of Filipino descent, it is our duty as a community to hold him accountable for his actions. As marginalized communities displaced from our home countries to the U.S. in search of economic stability and political refuge, Mexicans and Filipinos have a long, shared history. From the Delano Manongs and Mexican migrant farm workers to present-day labor export policies, our communities have been exploited for the profit of the ruling class. Our countries have become the playgrounds of the U.S. state through the impacts of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The oppressive state intentionally pits us against one another for the biggest threat to their power is the unity of all oppressed peoples. Despite reprehensible individuals like Bordamonte, ABNJ firmly remains unwavering in our solidarity with our Mexican brothers and sisters. Although we may come from the same islands as Bordamonte, he has shamed our people and our collective struggles, for which he must be responsible.

As a progressive youth and student organization, the three youth that were harassed just as easily could have been three of us. With 12 million undocumented Filipinos and increasing inaccessibility to schooling, we the similar struggles, especially in the underfunded and under resourced cities of New Jersey. Migrant working-class youth of color across the U.S. are constantly targeted and we must wield our collective strength to finally end corrupt policing and destroy the militarized state. We must galvanize our Filipino communities in the U.S. to stand for accountability among our people because the perpetuation of this behavior is a threat to us all.

At the time of release, Bordamonte still remains the supervisor of the Quality of Life patrol unit. As united communities, we understand that our quality of life is not improved by increased policing, but rather with political power in the hands of the people. With heightened extrajudicial killings of our Black brothers and sisters; the anniversary of the disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43; and the paramilitary attacks on Lumad schools, we are united in struggle against a common enemy all across the world. U.S. imperialism impacts the families we have left behind and the families we have created here. Sitting on a porch, walking home with candy in our pockets, and trying to go to school are not crimes and we must organize for a changed tomorrow. While we gather for the community of Passaic, we also gather for the community of the oppressed all throughout the world in resisting state repression.

DOWN WITH IMPUNITY! FIGHT FOR LIBERATION!

END STATE REPRESSION FROM MEXICO TO THE PHILIPPINES TO NEW JERSEY!

LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

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Diario de México: Se manifiestan contra la discriminación