Livable Wages for All! Justice for the North Cotabato Farmers!

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For Immediate Release
April 3rd, 2016
Press Statement

Reference:

Laura Emily E. Austria, Vice-Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey, NAFCON NE Regional Representative
Daniel Santiago, Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Livable Wages for All! Justice for the North Cotabato Farmers!

On April 1st, 2016, farmers in North Cotabato stood up for their rights as they appealed for better working conditions and wages. Similarly in the United States, coalitions uniting together for a livable wage – $15/hour specifically – have organized and mobilized the working class because of their similar realities, manifesting in rallies such the 15 Now NJ April 3rd rally that many members of Anakbayan NJ have attended.

As of April 3rd, 3 people have died at the hands of the Philippine National Police while they tried to get rid of farmers and lumad that had been barricading the Cotabato-Davao highway in Kidapawan City. More than 116 people have been injured, and at least 18 have been hospitalized. In addition, there are still at least 88 people missing – including children that have incurred minor wounds and are stuck at the United Methodist Church compound in Kidapawan City.

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Bigas Hindi Bala! Rice Not Bullets! Hold Aquino Accountable!

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
April 3, 2016

Reference:

Ruthie Arroyo, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey
Ana Robelo, Deputy Secretary General, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Bigas Hindi Bala! Rice Not Bullets! Hold Aquino Accountable!

Anakbayan New Jersey vehemently condemns the violent and bloody dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). On April 1st, government troops opened fire on 6,000 unarmed farmers and Lumad who barricaded the Cotabato-Davao national highway to demand the release of 15,000 sacks of rice and immediate government assistance for the drought following El Niño. Pedro Arnado, chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Cotabato chapter, stated they barricaded the region because they wanted drought relief; the Cotabato region has been in drought conditions for the last seven months.

We stand with the farmers and the Lumad in asserting their right to protest and to expose the negligence of the Philippine government — specifically the failure of Governor of Cotabato Lala Mendoza who in the face of environmental disaster withheld relief and did not prepare or respond to meet the needs of her constituents. The protesting farmers were only asking for the government to fulfill its duties to help the people during a calamity.

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15 Now Rally in Jersey City: Why We Need a Livable Wage for All People

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
April 1st, 2016

Reference:
Laura Emily E. Austria, Vice-Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

15 Now Rally in Jersey City: Why We Need a Livable Wage for All People

Jersey City, NJ – Anakbayan NJ approves an executive order issued by Jersey City mayor, Steven Fulop, to raise the minimum wage of approximately 500 city workers to $15 an hour. In a November rally organized by labor groups in City Hall, Fulop said that “[i]t is important to make sure every single person in Jersey City has a living wage.” We agree with this as well, especially when considering the situation of youth and students here in the United States and the Philippines when it comes to the accessibility of relevant higher education and the inability to survive on an unlivable wage.

College tuition costs and the cost of living are rising sharply, yet the current minimum wage nationally does not reflect these costs at all. In New Jersey, the minimum wage only rises by a few cents each year whereas New Jersey College students are projected to leave school with around $23,000 in debt. Students are struggling to obtain a college degree because they cannot afford it — and often have to take out loans with exorbitant interest. They often work multiple jobs while attending classes, and this makes it even harder for students to graduate on time. The inability for youth and students to obtain a college degree means opportunities are cut drastically. In addition, if they are lucky enough to graduate relatively on time, college graduates are often stuck paying back their college loans for years. Students in the Philippines face the same struggles as students in the United States; because tuition costs are too exorbitant, they see no other choice but to take their own lives.

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Defending Migrants’ and Workers’ Rights on International Working Women’s Day

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
March 8th, 2016

Reference:
Laura Emily E. Austria, Vice-Chairperson, Women’s Committee, Anakbayan New Jersey
Bea Sabino, Women’s Committee, Anakbayan New Jersey
Mia Medrano, Women’s Committee, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Defending Migrants’ and Workers’ Rights on International Working Women’s Day

On March 8th, 2016, Anakbayan New Jersey observes International Working Women’s Day. Its roots go back to 1909 when the Socialist Party of America organized a march in Manhattan to observe a women’s garment strike that had taken place earlier. This particular strike called for better wages and working conditions and the right to vote. More than a century later, this day is especially important for us as young Filipino women in the U.S. advocating for the rights and welfare of Filipino women at home and abroad.

Today, we connect International Working Women’s Day to the conditions of female OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) — especially that of Flor Contemplacion and Mary Jane Veloso — and the conditions that lead to the death of Jennifer Laude. Of the estimated 2.3 million OFWs who worked abroad from April 2013 to September 2013, 49.7% of those were women. 53.8%  of the 49.7% belong to the 25-34 age bracket. As recent as 2007, Migrante International, a migrant rights group, has been handling more than 1,000 cases of abuse against OFWs, according to 2007 statistics. Migrante’s Rights and Welfare Assistance Program has handled at least 50 cases of violence against women (VAW) from January 2015 to February 2015.

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Anakbayan NJ Advances the Movement for National Democracy in the Philippines, Upholds the Legacy of the First Quarter Storm

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
January 25, 2016

Reference:

Jonathan Zirkle, Educational Development Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey
Gian-Carlo Toriano Parel, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Anakbayan NJ Advances the Movement for National Democracy in the Philippines, Upholds the Legacy of the First Quarter Storm

Anakbayan New Jersey celebrates the 46th anniversary of the First Quarter Storm (FQS) alongside our work to continue that revolutionary tradition in fighting for national democracy in the Philippines! From January to March 1970, a protracted series of demonstrations against the oppressive U.S.-Marcos Dictatorship in the Philippines reached a breaking point, with about 100,000 Filipinos storming Malacañang palace as well as the U.S. embassy. While the FQS was foundational to the 1986 People Power movement that ousted Marcos and his cronies out of the country, Anakbayan NJ recognizes the ongoing—and worsening—corruption and tyranny since Marcos, and we are committed to advancing the struggle for national liberation and democracy in the Philippines.

The FQS was a period when youth and students practiced comprehensive work, aligning themselves with workers, peasants, women, church people, and even those who were at first neutral about the dictatorship. This movement demonstrated that students must move out of the classrooms and link up with the basic masses, and we in Anakbayan NJ are working toward strengthening this correct practice in our organizing.

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Stand up for Philippine Sovereignty: Junk EDCA! Say No to US Pivot to Asia!

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
January 23, 2016

Reference:

Christiaan Pfeifer, Anakbayan New Jersey
Gian-Carlo Toriano Parel, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Stand up for Philippine Sovereignty: Junk EDCA! Say No to US Pivot to Asia!

On January 16, 2016, the Philippine Supreme Court voted to uphold the legality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippine and United States governments. Anakbayan New Jersey condemns EDCA because it violates Philippine sovereignty and territorial integrity, serving the interests of United States imperial incursions and military violence. EDCA, signed hours before Obama’s 2014 visit to the Philippines, allows the United States to station military troops, weapons and war materials in bases throughout the country. We stand firm on the position that EDCA is unconstitutional and reverses the 1991 decision to remove American military bases from Philippine territory through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

This Supreme Court ruling allows  the continued presence of U.S. bases and military operations on Philippine soil. This ruling will lead to further violations of our human rights and degradation of our environment. We condemn the Aquino regime’s betrayal of our national interests by rushing to approve and implement the EDCA. We believe Aquino is sacrificing Philippine sovereignty in favor of U.S. interests to position the Philippines as a pawn in the Asia-Pacific Pivot and Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Facilities currently being constructed in Ulugan and Oyster Bays in the territorially disputed South China Sea endanger the sovereignty and self-determination of Filipino peoples by positioning the Philippines in the crossfire of surmounting tensions between U.S. and Chinese militaries.

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29 Years of Injustice for Mendiola Massacre Victims

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
January 22, 2016

Reference:

Joelle Eliza Lingat, Secretary General, Anakbayan New Jersey
Mia Khalil, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265,
anakbayannj@gmail.com

29 Years of Injustice for Mendiola Massacre Victims

Anakbayan New Jersey commemorates the 29th anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre, the violent dispersal of peasant farmers peacefully mobilizing for rights to equal land distribution and just wages on January 22, 1987. Although it has been almost three decades since the massacre, the people continue to not only call for justice for the victims but also to demand genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization – the only remedy to the root of the issues of semi-feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism within the countryside.   

On January 22nd after six days of peaceful protest, the Mendiola Massacre erupted as a result of  Corazon Cojuanco Aquino’s promise for land reform as she came to power. Emboldened by this promise, 20,000 farmers and their allies marched to the Mendiola Bridge calling for genuine free and equal distribution of the land only to be met with severe militarization and state violence killing 13 farmers and wounding 39 others. In 1988, the same year the Manila regional Trial Court dismissed the class suit of the families of the victims and survivors against the government and involved officials, the Aquino regime created the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).  But as Sonny Africa from IBON International details there has been a downward trend of land ownership before and during CARP. In 1971, the amount of farms fully owned by a family fell from 58% to 47.5% in 2002. Furthermore land area of these family farms has decreased from 62.9%  to 50.6% in the same period.

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One Year of the Golden Fortune Workers Picket Line: End Contractualization of Workers! No to Noy Noy’s “Daang Matuwid”

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

December 15, 2015

References:
Ruthie Arroyo, Chair, Anakbayan New Jersey
Joelle Eliza Lingat, Secretary General, Anakbayan New Jersey
Gian-Carlo Toriano Parel, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

One Year of the Golden Fortune Workers Picket Line: End Contractualization of Workers! No to Noy Noy’s “Daang Matuwid”

Anakbayan New Jersey sends its warmest congratulations and solidarity to the Golden Fortune Workers who on this day, December 15th mark the one year anniversary of their picket protest in Binondo, Manila against Golden Fortune Techno Built Inc, a construction firm owned by businessman Dominador Yap. For the past year they have faced threats and hardship, but have never faltered because their will to attain justice is stronger than any challenges they are faced with. Victory is certain to be achieved when the strength of the workers leads the way!

On December 2014, the Golden Fortune management illegally terminated 98 workers in a scheme to quash then forming workers union, Samahan ng mga Manggagawa sa Golden Fortune Construction-National Federation of Workers Union-KMU. The majority of the terminated workers had been working for the firm for at least 4 years, while some had been with Golden Fortune since 1976.

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Anakbayan New Jersey Calls on Filipino Community to Demand Justice on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW)

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
November 25, 2015

Reference:
Laura Emily E. Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey Women’s Committee
Devyn Mañibo, Anakbayan New Jersey Women’s Committee
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Anakbayan New Jersey Calls on Filipino Community to Demand Justice on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW)

The United Nations General Assembly designated November 25th as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) in commemoration of the 1960 assassination of the three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic. The date also marks the start of the “16 Days of Activism” that precedes Human Rights Day on December 10th each year.

Today, on IDEVAW, we join our allies at Action 21, the Jersey City community, and the world at large to stand united for a just society for women, and for all oppressed peoples.

We, Filipino youth from Anakbayan New Jersey, mark this important day by highlighting the conditions that force about 6 million Filipinos to leave the country each day, most of whom are women, in search of economic security abroad. Filipina immigrants often face violence in the countries where they find work. Host governments often turn a blind eye while the Philippine government pursues its Labor Export Policy to maximize profit off of migrant workers’ remittances. These women often cite physical and psychological abuse, discrimination, sexual assault, and other forms of abuse and exploitation such as wage theft, limited access to food and shelter, and not allowed time off from work.

As of 2010, Jersey City’s total population is 7% Filipinos, putting the city at a total of over 18,000 Filipinos, and rising – the second highest number in the state. The Filipino community in Jersey City is comprised heavily of working class and migrant women who face multiple intersecting layers of oppression including, but certainly not limited lack of equal access to employment and living wages, workers rights, immigration and citizenship barriers, and gender-based violence at home and in the workplace. For these reasons, IDEVAW is relevant to the lives of Filipina migrant women who work tirelessly to survive in the name of providing for the needs of their families back home.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a woman is beaten every fifteen seconds. Jersey City in particular has faced increased violence as just last Thursday, November 19th, a woman faced an attempted attack by an ex-boyfriend with an ax, injuring two people at Newport Mall. As of November 21st, the crisis has escalated to five fatal shootings in twelve days. We are raising alarm for these regrettable developments in our neighborhoods.

Further, Jersey City women face multiple forms of violence through socioeconomic disenfranchisement, lack of access to jobs and education, and targeting of migrant workers. As a result of a lack of a living wage, increased student debt, and lack of social services, women in Jersey City experience violence in both explicit and insidious ways.

Violence against women does not solely connote the physicalities of abuse, but rather, accounts for all forms of violence, physical, psychological, and even political and economic. Violence occurs and is sustained through the injustices inherited and perpetuated by systems of patriarchy, upheld by imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. Violence against women is deep set, but can be uprooted.

Since the founding of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey in 2005, and the formal inception of Anakbayan NJ in 2012, Filipino women have played an integral role in serving the most oppressed people and pushing forward the national democratic movement with a socialist perspective. We must continue to strive in upholding the rights of poor and working class women here and across the globe.

With the launch of the Anakbayan New Jersey Women’s Committee, we renew our commitment to studying the concrete experiences of Filipina immigrants for the purpose of uplifting their stories, and actively participating in mass campaigns that respond to their immediate needs and concerns, while exposing the manifestations of an imperialist system that perpetuates hardship and exploitation.

We call on Filipino youth in the U.S. to join Anakbayan in educating, organizing, and mobilizing our community to fight for fair working conditions, support for victims of domestic violence, an end to human trafficking, the removal of US military bases and personnel in the Philippines and other developing countries. Let us advance the legacy of the Mirabal sisters and our own, Lorena Barros, who wholeheartedly took up the cause of national liberation and genuinely serving the people.

 

End violence against women!

Justice for Jennifer Laude! US out of the Philippines!

Justice for Mary Jane Veloso! End the Labor Export Policy!

Anakbayan New Jersey Commemorates International Students’ Day in Condemnation of the Global Neoliberal Offensive on Education and in Solidarity with University of Missouri Activists

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement
November 17th, 2015

Reference:

Daniel A. Santiago, Solidarity Officer, Anakbayan New Jersey
Laura Emily E. Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey
(470) 309-2265, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Anakbayan New Jersey Commemorates International Students’ Day in Condemnation of the Global Neoliberal Offensive on Education and in Solidarity with University of Missouri Activists

On International Students’ Day 2015,  Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ) condemns the neoliberal offensive on education plaguing students across the globe and in solidarity with the student activists responding to these heightened contradictions in the belly of the imperialist beast.  Neoliberal agendas have violated students’ right to education for  economic schemes in the name of profit. We call on our fellow student activists on campuses across the U.S. to rightfully identify and isolate the increased aggressions against marginalized students as an effect of systemic oppressions based in the global capitalist system.

Despite the “Education for All”  decade and the Dakar Framework of Action at the World Education Forum, international agencies such as the World Bank commandeered these initiatives and instead implemented neoliberal reforms on schools to better align the next generation with their economic agenda. Rather than breeding a culture of critical thought and resistance, curriculums are driven by the need to supply the skilled-labor, professional, and cultural demands of imperialism. As such, education has become a tool to produce a larger skilled labor force and rank-and-file professionals who deluded into believing they can attain the very class status that is built upon their own oppression.

On November 12th, hundreds of campuses across America held a Day of Action to demand tuition-free higher education, cancellation of all student debt, and $15 minimum wage for all campus workers. Most notably, in the University of Missouri, the student movement succeeded this past month in driving out their president after his failure to respond following a series of racist, anti-Semitic events and threats to Black students. Yet despite these victories, an anonymous Twitter user just sent death threats targeting Black students at Kean University this evening. Government tax dollars being siphoned to military spending overseas rather than education, increased privatization, and operation of schools as businesses results in warped academic priorities and exacerbated social inequalities. Academic institutions are not places of intellectual growth in service of the people, but rather a tool of capitalists to increase competitiveness and profitability.  As students from marginalized communities, we stand united with our fellow student activists, particularly those most targeted, our Black and brown brothers and sisters. The problems students face on U.S. campuses will continue to persist unless the roots of these issues are addressed.

From November 13-19, 2015 the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is holding the “APEC Voices of the Future” Summit as the key platform for the youth voice in conjunction with their annual meeting of worldwide economic leaders in Manila. We must constantly question what voices these power players are listening to. The victories of the parliamentary struggle will never genuinely address for the needs of the oppressed. While their theme claims, “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World,” the oppressed peoples steps outside the doors of their conference halls and across the globe have been clamoring for anti-imperialist resistance. From the 5th International Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) to the Lumad camp of Manilakbayan 2015 to the increased mobilizations despite state repression and violation of rights to assemble, the people have decisively taken a stand against neoliberal economic policies that fail to listen to the cries of the oppressed.

From the University of Missouri to the K-12 schools in the Philippines to increased tuition and lack of safety for students on New Jersey campuses, students must rise to defend our human right to education. ABNJ recognizes that the inaccessibility of higher education in the United States for marginalized peoples is rooted in neoliberal economic policies. While the reactionary state attempts to convince us that these are random, isolated acts of violence, we stand to fight against these events’ systemic ties to imperialism. ABNJ calls on all youth and students across the world to unite in an anti-imperialist front to dismantle the economic systems that violate our basic rights to education.

Solidarity with Mizzou!

Junk APEC and neoliberal globalization!

Solution to the crisis: genuine national liberation and democracy!

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