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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HLI @ 11: The fight for genuine agrarian land reform continues

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For Immediate Release
Press Statement

November 9th, 2015

 

Reference:

 

Ian Jerome Conde, Deputy Secretary-General, Anakbayan New Jersey

Laura Emily E. Austria, Anakbayan New Jersey

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

 

HLI @ 11: The fight for genuine agrarian land reform continues

 

Today, November 16th, 2015, we mark the 11th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. Anakbayan New Jersey members in the past have integrated with the basic masses in HLI in the past. We acknowledge the ongoing plight of the farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, as they represent the frontlines for the fight for genuine agrarian land reform in the Philippines. 11 years later, the farm workers of HLI have not been granted access to their lands. As we continue to wage the National Democratic program, we continue the fight against the monopoly of the comprador big-bourgeoisie and landlord classes of the entire country.

As the U.S.-Aquino administration is channelling their energies towards APEC, it is clear that their priority is in appeasing and serving the interest of the landlord and comprador big-bourgeoisie instead of the interests of the toiling masses. As these world powers gather, the increase fascism in the countryside is ever-worsening. The U.S.-Aquino regime is accelerating the worsening crisis of the Philippines into a downward spiral as the economy is barely standing on its crutches as we continue to lay servitude to the foreign multinational corporations.  

Since the Cojuangco family’s acquisition of Hacienda Luisita, the call for genuine agrarian land reform has remained at the forefront of priorities of the BS Aquino administration. 11 years later there have been no attempts to respond to the call of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita. The culture of impunity has remained intact under the BS Aquino administration.  Sham Land Reform remains under the guise of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Under the U.S.-Arroyo regime, farmers’ wages were shrunk to P194.50, and farmers were only allowed to work one day a week. The workers of Hacienda Luisita filed a petition with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in order to have the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) Agreement abolished. Two months later, the petition bore at least 5,300 signatures before being filed by union officers at the DAR. After the union attempted to negotiate wages to at least P225 a day, the Luisita management discarded 327 farmers — including union officers.

11 years later, we remember the martyrs of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre. Bayan-USA states “The political repression faced eleven years ago is the same political repression activists and community organizers face today. Peasants, who make up more than 75% of the population in the Philippines, still demand genuine agrarian reform- a redistribution of the land. Many died defending their rights to the land at Hacienda Luisita and today they continue to fight against the bureaucracy of land distribution after the Supreme Court’s decision to award the farmers a certain percentage of the Cojuangco land.”  The culture of impunity is ever-prevalent in relation to the recent killings of Lumad leaders in Mindanao. Oplan Bayanihan, the current manifestation of US-Arroyo’s counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bantay Laya I & II keeps legal mass activists to be preyed upon the state reactionary forces.  

In 2013, the DAR set up a tambiolo raffle that would determine which farmlands would go to the former workers of Hacienda Luisita. This allocation only served to pit the workers against each other. Then, right before Christmas that same year, goons working for Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) fenced off and destroyed a 260-hectare area in Balete to forcibly remove farmers. Weeks later, the Luisita farm workers picketed at PNP’s Camp Macabulos in Tarlac City to demand the release of illegally arrested and detained farmers. On B.S. Aquino’s birthday in 2014, crops were destroyed, homes were burned, children were mistreated and detained, and supplies and animals were stolen.

Back in 2013, Land Transportation Office chief Virginia Torres resigned from her position. As a result, B.S. Aquino dubbed her “Aryendo Queen,” revealing her large role in the tambiolo scheme. Contrary to the belief that tambiolo ‘land reform’ would protect the farmers’ rights to own and till the land, the papers given to beneficiaries only functioned as collateral in the raging unlawful leaseback operations called aryendo.

On April 25th, 2014, as a response to her effigy being burned at the CAT sugar mill, Kris Aquino said, “Alam ko na pag sinusunog-sunog ka, humahaba ang buhay mo, kaya okay lang, carry.” Her family sold their shares to Martin Lorenzo shortly after Kris Aquino responded. After Lorenzo established CAT Resource and Asset Holdings, Inc., almost 700 CAT workers were forced to sign “voluntary retirement” papers. As a way to continue to cover up their exploitation of workers, Lorenzo and Fernando Cojuangco are planning to rid of more of CAT and LRC’s land assets.

Pooling money with Florencio Abad, B.S. Aquino was able to use the P237 billion to create the unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program. P50 million was given to each of the senator-judges to secure a guilty verdict in the Corona impeachment. The Department of Agrarian Reform also stated that the P451.7 million compensation to the Aquino-Cojuangco family came from DAP. P3.5 million from DAP was used to erect a small multi-purpose hall in Barangay Central, Hacienda Luisita by Aquino; this was a favor for an alleged broker of the aryendo, Barangay Captain Edgardo Aguas.

In August 2014, survivors and relatives of those who died at the Hacienda Luisita Massacre filed a motion to reopen the case. The motion was thrown out two months later. Instead of the Philippine government prosecuting military officials involved in the massacre, they gave the officials lovely promotions. The soldier who killed the president of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union, Ricardo Ramos, was acquitted.

Today, Hacienda Luisita is still in the hands of the Cojuangco family. Today, power is still in the hands of the few. Today, the farmers whose livelihoods are tied to the cultivation of Hacienda Luisita are still suffering. Today, we continue to remember and uplift those whose lives were brutally killed in order to retain an immoral socioeconomic hierarchy. As Anakbayan New Jersey, we remember the Hacienda Luisita Massacre and continue to advocate for a better and just Philippines through genuine agrarian reform.

Justice for the Victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre!

Redistribute Hacienda Luisita to the Farmers Now!

Stop Lumad Killings!

Genuine Agrarian Reform Now!

Defend Indigenous Rights to Ancestral Land!

#PHFightAPEC

Junk APEC and Imperialist Globalization!

 

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Stand for the Rights and Welfare of Undocumented Immigrants. Unite the Families in the Diaspora.

Statements 11112015.003

Press Statement

November 12, 2015

Reference:

Melissa Harris, Anakbayan New Jersey

(470) 309-2265anakbayannj@gmail.com

Stand for the Rights and Welfare of Undocumented Immigrants. Unite the Families in the Diaspora: Anakbayan NJ joins Saint Peter’s University vigil for un-documented immigrants

Filipino youth group, Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ), joins the vigil held at Saint Peter’s University by the Social Justice Club in vigil to demand “immigration reform and justice for undocumented/migrant people”. Members of ABNJ says many Filipino immigrants similar face harsh conditions here and abroad.

“We join the Saint Peter’s University community in solidarity of all migrants and refugees all over the world who are suffering under inhumane and repressive immigration policies. We demand justice and we stand for a world where families are not torn apart by the need to survive,” said Joelle Lingat, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey.

The vigil was called for in relation to the refugee crisis sweeping Europe and the ongoing struggles of undocumented immigrants here in the United States. According to the Organization of International Migration, around 700,000 refugees have arrived in Europe by sea. Most refugees are applying for asylum. Meanwhile, there are around 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and nearly two million have already been deported under President Obama’s tenure. Most of these immigrants are escaping poverty and wars in their home countries.

Similarly, the Philippines has seen 10 percent of its population migrate. Currently, close to 12 million Filipinos either live or work abroad. According to a New York Times article published last Nov.9, “No country exports more seafarers than the Philippines, which provides roughly a quarter of them globally. More than 400,000 Filipinos sought work last year as officers, deckhands, fishermen, cargo handlers and cruise workers.”

“This speaks to the state of employment in the Philippines. Filipinos are forced away from their families, away from their homeland in order to put a roof over their heads and to put food in their mouths. The fact that so many are left to choose a dangerous and uncertain path underscores the desperation for people to thrive economically, even at the most basic level,” says Melissa Harris, ABNJ member.

According to the young activists, these migration patterns are not coincidental, but rather a direct result of “Imperialism”. “There is no one else to blame for the horrible conditions faced by migrants and refugees around the world other than U.S. Imperialism. It is its wars of aggression waged in the middle east that destabilized the region and forced people to flee for their lives. It is its continued economic domination, in the form of various unequal trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the current Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement that continues to impoverish the Third World and creates conditions for forced migration,” says Lingat.

Anakbayan New Jersey says this is more reason for youth and students to advocate for immigrants’ rights. “As seen in the struggle of undocumented students, only through organized struggle can immigrants uphold their rights. We call on immigrant youth and students to educate, organize and mobilize the larger immigrant community to fight for their immediate rights and link this to the global struggle against US imperialism. Only then can we end the system of forced migration,” Lingat concluded.

Raise the Minimum Wage to $15! Fight for the Living Wage!

Statements 11112015.001

For Immediate Release
Press Statement

Reference:

Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

Ian Jerome Conde, Deputy Secretary-General, Anakbayan New Jersey

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

Raise the Minimum Wage to $15! Fight for the Living Wage!

Anakbayan New Jersey sends its deepest support for 15 Now NJ’s nationally coordinated Day of Action calling for the $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. On November 10, 2015 low-wage workers, unions, community groups, and allies gathered in Jersey City’s City Hall for a rally and the third resolution calling on the State Legislature to raise the minimum wage. After deliberation the resolution Jersey City Council successfully voted unanimously 8-0 in favor of the resolution to raise the Minimum Wage in NJ.

“A fight for 15 dollars minimum wage is not much to ask, when we have people living to recover from the economic depressions that keep hitting our economy even harder and harder,” said Ian Jerome Conde, Deputy Secretary-General of Anakbayan NJ, “While we seek a higher minimum wage, we must also push for the necessity of a living wage for the population. Filipinos are working multiple jobs in order to feed their family and save enough to remit back to the philippines. Increasing the minimum wage is a step in our local government prioritizing the needs of everyday people.”

The Fight for 15 has been waging for three years across the country since its launch in 2012. Multiple cities are proposing laws, and Seattle was even victorious. New York City’s Fast Food Wage Board also recommended a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. As one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. with one of the largest immigration populations in the state, the conditions are ripe for Jersey City workers to demand a $15 minimum wage.

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In New Jersey, the cost of living is higher than the wages earned. According to the Working Families, the average adult needs to make $19.67 per hour to sustain themselves, without consideration of their families. Further, an adult earning minimum wage must work 100 hours for a one bedroom apartment according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. With the shift to one-parent households and increased gentrification, a $15 minimum wage is necessary now more than ever.

As youth and students, we would all directly benefit from a $15 minimum wage and the right to unionize. With the increasing education crisis, tuition fees are becoming more expensive and students are getting further in debt. By taking up these struggle for the rights and welfare of low-wage workers, the youth advocate for their families and empower themselves.

We are worth more!
$15 now, living wage next!

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Anakbayan New Jersey, FIWOP: Filipino Immigrant Workers Alliance and 15 Now NJ posing with Council President Rolando Lavarro after City Council votes 8-0 on the resolution for $15 min wage in NJ.

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Typhoon Haiyan 2nd Anniversary: Relief, Rebuild, Remember – Mass, Vigil, & Discussion

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Good morning everyone!

On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ravaged the central Philippines, the most devastating typhoon to hit the country. Although it has been two years since the tragedy, the communities that have been most impacted by its force are still in need of support. We come together in commemoration and remembrance of those lost and in support of communities still rebuilding.

Please join the Campus Ministry and Asian American Student Union (AASU) of St. Peter’s University, St. Aedan’s Parish,  Anakbayan NJ, and Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network (KBKN) in prayer and reflection on the anniversary of Supertyphoon Haiyan.

Following the mass, led by Father Rocco Danzi, Director of Campus Ministry, and outdoor vigil will be reportback and discussion featuring recent KBKN missioners to disaster-stricken areas of the Philippines . All are welcome and donations will go to Typhoon Lando relief and rehabilitation efforts.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mass: 5 PM, St. Aedan’s Parish

800 Bergen Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07306

Vigil: 6 PM (after the Mass), Panepinto Plaza (in front of Mac Mahon Student Center of St. Peter’s University) 47 Glenwood Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07306

Discussion: 6:30 PM (after the Vigil), Mac Mahon Student Center Campus Ministry (first floor) 47 Glenwood Avenue Jersey City, NJ 07306

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Please feel free to share the information with the larger community! If you are unable attend, but still want to support, please feel free to donate to Typhoon Lando relief efforts via the National Alliance of Filipino Concerns by clicking here.

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

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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

Anakbayan New Jersey Condemns Martial Law and Its Legacy

ABNJ CONDEMNS MARTIAL LAW AND ITS LEGACY

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

September 23, 2015

Reference:

Gian Parel, Anakbayan New Jersey

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

It has now been forty-three years since Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law to breed and reign terror on the Philippines for more than eight years. Martial law is lauded as a time of progress in Philippine history, but what is too often forgotten—or outright silenced and erased—are the victims of human rights and their realities of political imprisonment, disappearances, torture, and even execution during this time. We, the youth and students of Anakbayan New Jersey (ABNJ), condemn martial law and uplift those who have struggled against it, in the past as well as today.

On September 21, 1972, Marcos declared martial law under Proclamation No. 1081 under claims of “lawless violence” and “armed insurrection and rebellion” by suspected communists, thereby seizing absolute power as dictator until the declaration was lifted on January 17, 1981. Peace and order were fiction during this time, and in fact the opposite was happening: there were over 70,000 individuals arrested; 34,000 tortured; 3,240 salvaged or executed; and 1,000 disappeared under Marcos’s fascist state, according to Amnesty International.

Another red scare has been bred by the current president, Benigno Aquino III, and the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan terrorizing Lumad (indigenous) communities in Mindanao. It should be no surprise that the United States has supported martial law and Oplan Bayanihan.

As dictator, Marcos also abused his power to accept billions of dollars in aid from the United States and the U.S.-backed World Bank and International Monetary Fund. In October 1983, however, the Philippine government announced that it was unable to pay back its foreign debt of $24 billion.1 Filipinos are still paying off this debt, including those abroad whose remittances are worth USD 184 million, 10% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product (GDP).2

Marcos was also praised for increasing the economic growth during martial law: from 1965 to 1971 the average growth rate was 4.9%, while it leaped to a 5.7% average from 1972 to 1981.3 In 1983 and 1984 after the Marcos regime defaulted on its debt, GDP actually fell to a devastating negative 7.3%. One of the effects of this economic decline was a sharp widening of the gap between the poorest and richest. The poor got poorer, while the rich got even richer. This economic gap lives on to today.

Martial law set a legitimized a pattern of impunity that is still the order of the day as Lumads are killed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and paramilitary groups. Funny, however, that the current Aquino regime recently echoed the popular call of “never again” to martial law, patting themselves on the back.

In continuing the fight against impunity in the Philippines, ABNJ screened Dekada ‘70 last week and participated in an action to commemorate the survivors of martial law on September 21st. “Unfortunately, there are many people, including children of the Filipino diaspora, that are unaware of the human rights violations that have taken place and of Martial Law itself,” reflects ABNJ member Laura Emily Endaya Austria. “The screening of Dekada ‘70 is one of many ways we can make the conversation and history of Martial Law salient in society’s minds as we strive to prevent Martial Law from taking place again.”

The September 21st martial law action called for all people to stand up for Lumads and to stop the killings in Mindanao. Among other speakers, ABNJ member Jonathan Zirkle stated, “Our people risk death every day of their lives whilst they live beneath the heel of bureaucrat capitalists.”

We call on everyone to sign the Unity Statement to condemn escalating human rights violations. Condemn Oplan Bayanihan and the killings of lumads in Mindanao as legacies of martial law. We as ABNJ acknowledge the long-lasting impacts of martial law under Marcos’s dictatorship and call for all people to stand up for human rights in the Philippines.

NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!

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Notes

  1. Boyce, James K. 1993. The Philippines: The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
  2. World Bank estimates based on IMF balance of payments data.
  3. World Bank national accounts data and OECD National Accounts data files.