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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