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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Defend the Defenders; Activism is Not a Crime: Stop the Political Vilification and Harassment of Human Rights & Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Defenders in Ifugao, Cordillera, Philippines

For Immediate Release

Press Statement

March 23, 2015

Reference: Joelle Eliza Lingat, Chairperson, Anakbayan New Jersey

201-675-8278, anakbayannj@gmail.com

Defend the Defenders; Activism is Not a Crime: Stop the Political Vilification and Harassment of Human Rights & Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Defenders in Ifugao, Cordillera, Philippines

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Anakbayan New Jersey condemns the increased political vilification and surveillance of members and leaders of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM), barangay officials, local organizations, and indigenous people’s rights advocates. As activists ourselves, we believe in the basic rights of individuals and organizations to freely express their political beliefs and to advance their peoples’ rights in the Philippines, the U.S., and across the world.

As of the last quarter of 2014, there has been an increase in the ostracization and red-baiting of local people’s organizations as communist fronts or members of the New Peoples Army (NPA). Not only are these accusations false, but they attempt to turn the public against these community advocates as “enemies of the State” or “terrorists.” This is a direct result of the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency policy, Oplan Bayanihan, which continues to uphold a culture of impunity and injustice.

History has shown that increased political vilification is a prelude to illegal arrests based on trumped up charges, enforced disappearance, and even extrajudicial killings. After the Philippine Army’s release of a “Target List,” William Bugatti, one of those listed, was extrajudicially killed on March 25, 2014. It is a grave injustice to demonize these individuals and organizations that have dedicated their lives to empowering the oppressed, poor, and most vulnerable to government neglect through social services and livelihood assistance.

Those targeted are: Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera, Montanosa Research and Development Center, Amianan Salakniban, Katinnulong Dagiti Umili iti Amianan, Tebtebba, Igorota Foundation, and more. Among the individuals are: Nestor Peralta, Claudine Panayo, Billy Karty, Ben Calingayan, Edwin Bumolyad, Nonoy Bangtiwen, Dick Tangid, Ricardo Mayumi, James Tayaban, and Brandon Lee.

The last person named on this list, Brandon Lee, is of particular relevance to us as a former member of the League of Filipino Students – San Francisco State University. He entered college as an everyday student and left as an activist in service of the people. Not even Filipinx, this Chinese American man found a place within our homeland in a way that very many Filipinx youth in the U.S. have never even engaged with. He has come a long way from his first exposure program to the Philippines as he has permanently moved to work as a defender of indigenous peoples’ rights with his wife and daughter.

However, this is not the story of a single person, or even a single region of the Philippines. It is of a culture of impunity that is plaguing the homeland our families have been ripped from. Political vilification and military repression extends from the northernmost tip of Luzon to the southernmost tip of Mindanao, and in most recent incidents, from Ifugao to Mamasapano. Our very own members of Anakbayan New Jersey have integrated with students whose schools have been bombed and farmers whose lands have been stolen.

There have been too many “final straws.”

It is our duty as Filipinx Americans of the diaspora to stand in solidarity with our Filipinxs back home in our demand of truth, accountability, and justice of the Philippines government and the especially the president, BS Aquino. We also call on the American taxpayers to demand that the US government cut all military aid to the Philippines. We demand an end to BS Aquino’s bloody counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bayanihan. We also demand that the Philippine government respect human rights and adhere to international humanitarian law. End the culture of impunity! Long live international solidarity!###

Honor in the Line of Fire: Why our protest against the Philippine president is justified

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“The line of fire is a place of honor.”

–Lean Alejandro, Youth Activist in the Philippines

In the spirit of the countless generations of progressive and militant activists that have dared to stand up to state repression in the Philippines, community organizers here in the United States chose to confront Philippine President BS Aquino during his (unwelcome) visit to both New York City and San Francisco. On September 23rd, three activists publicly criticized Aquino and his failures to the Filipino people during a forum held by Columbia University. A protest led by the organizations of which these activists are a part was held simultaneously outside the university hall. On September 24th, progressive organizations based in the Bay Area rallied outside of a Wells Fargo building that Aquino was in. Anakbayan Silicon Valley (ABSV) holds the utmost respect for the individuals and organizations that stood in the line of fire to oppose and expose the crimes of the Aquino administration, and we are honored to call these people our kasamas, our comrades.

The actions at Columbia University and the streets of San Francisco are not isolated events, nor are they the work of any one individual, as the mainstream media paints them to be. A history of oppression faced by the Filipino people has led to the the formation of organizations that represent all sectors of society, from workers to peasants, youth to educators, womyn to queer-identified, and everything in between. Those that confronted Aquino last week are members of such organizations here in the US, and they have been championing the rights and welfare of Filipinos both in the Philippines and in the US for years. ABSV has been organizing in the South Bay not only to protest the criminal negligence and state repression led by the Philippine government, but also to address the issues facing Filipino youth in our communities.

Our collective anger, and the actions that result, stem from centuries of colonial exploitation of the Filipino people, decades of rule by a Philippine state that has chosen profits over people, and generations of families torn apart by forced migration due to landlessness and joblessness in the Philippines. In the last four years of Aquino’s administration alone, we have seen this violence time and time again.

We have seen it in the more than 200 victims of extrajudicial killings and more than 600 victims of illegal arrest and detention.

We have seen it in the failed government response to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, both in the immediate aftermath and in the current conditions on the ground.

We have seen it in the money going into Aquino’s pockets as presidential pork barrel, money that could have been spent for the people.

We have seen it in the continued promotion of a labor export policy that treats people as remittance-generating commodities.

And we have seen it in the government’s blatant denial of national sovereignty for the Filipino people by re-opening US military bases, and by continuing to open the country to foreign industries that do not respect the human rights of the people.

Our demands for genuine change in the Philippines are rooted in this violence. We have an undeniable reason to yell. We have an undeniable reason to rise up. And we have an undeniable right to confront an individual who has played such a large part in countless crimes against the Filipino people. We cannot confine our calls for justice to a Q&A session. We will not wait in a queue. To do so would disrespect the gravity of the struggle faced by our kababayan and their clamor for a society that upholds and protects their rights. And it is the people to whom we should be showing our respect. Should President Aquino seek to be treated with respect, he must earn it first.

ABSV’s current campaign, Project FLAME (Filipinos Leading A Movement for Empowerment), seeks to provide an opportunity for youth to voice their struggles outside the confines of a classroom, as the brave activists in New York and San Francisco have done. Through a storytelling project within the campaign, we are organizing our community to speak out against the educational violence they face: lack of adequate college admissions guidance; the increasing costs of tuition, even in public schools; the student debt crisis; the inability of youth to find stable jobs to sustain themselves; and the ever increasing dropout rate of Filipino youth due to institutional obstacles. These issues are not isolated from those in the Philippines, with the US spending exponentially more on the military than on our education. This same military budget is going to increased military aid to and military presence in the Philippines, which again have led to countless human rights violations. Whether in the Philippines or in the US, Filipinos are suffering from a system that serves the interests of the minority rather than the majority.

Until the people’s demands are answered, we will continue to educate, organize, and protest, whether inside a university hall or out on the streets. We hope that more people will be emboldened by the actions of our fellow kasamas, if not to join us in protest, then at least to have conversations with us to understand why these protests are organized to begin with. The people’s struggle is not a mere shouting match, it is not a rude interruption. It is a place where the most marginalized and oppressed can speak freely. It is an honorable place to be.

JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF TYPHOON HAIYAN!
JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF STATE REPRESSION!
SHAME ON BS AQUINO!
CONTINUE THE PEOPLE’S STRUGGLE IN THE PHILIPPINES!

New Jersey Youth Activists Join National Day of Action to Demand Justice for Victims of Extrajudicial Killings, Call for an End to US Military Aid to the Philippines

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Jersey City, NJ- Filipino youth organization, Anakbayan New Jersey (AB-NJ), and community activists gathered at the Journal Square Memorial Fountain on Friday night as part of Anakbayan-USA’s National Day of Action to demand justice for small- scale miner and Sikadan-Anakbayan member, Freddie “Fermin” Ligiw, and his family.

The remains of Ligiw, his father, Licuben, and brother, Eddie, were found in a shallow grave close to their residence in Licuan-Baay, Abra, Philippines on March 7. The three were prominent community leaders who opposed large-scale mining operations in Abra, and were active members of grassroots organizations, Kakailan Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan (KASTAN), a provincial chapter of Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance, and Anakbayan.

Catalina Adorno, a close ally of AB-NJ and one of the founding members of Choforitos United, an immigrant youth activist group in Union City, NJ, commented in solidarity, “We are coming out in full support of upholding the human rights of everyone who are involved in advocating for social justice. No one should be killed anywhere for fighting for what they believe in.”

A fact-finding mission by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance on March 9 revealed that the 41st Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was conducting combat operations against the New Peoples’ Army several days before the Ligiws went missing.

Perpetrators of these atrocious operations persist with impunity as the Aquino administration continues to implement Oplan Bayanihan (Operation Plan Shoulder-to-Shoulder), a counterinsurgency program that has historically targeted activists, peoples’ lawyers, journalists and other grassroots leaders in an effort to quell the revolutionary movement in the Philippine countryside. Aquino has also consistently promoted and justified the planned expansion of US military access to the Philippines.

Amidst the US Military Pivot to the Asia-Pacific, the number of human rights violations against activists and community leaders in the Philippines is steadily rising. At the end of 2013, Philippine human rights alliance, Karapatan, documented 169 cases of extrajudicial killings since President Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino took office in 2010.

That number quickly increased during the first quarter of 2014 with the case of the Ligiw Family. On Saturday, the tragic murder of Romeo Capalla, member of Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA, Alliance of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and Arrests) and younger brother of Davao Archbishop Emeritus Antonio Capalla, became the 11th documented case of political killings this year.

Jenabi Pareja of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) was critical of US involvement in HRVs overseas. “We aim to shed awareness on the murder of a fellow kasama (comrade), but also of our firm position to end all U.S. military aid to the Philippines,” said Pareja.

Since 2002, the US has sent a total of $500M in military aid to the Philippines. In addition, Secretary of State John Kerry pledged another $40M for 2014 after visiting the Southeast Asian country post-Super Typhoon Haiyan in December 2013. The US and Philippine governments are also entering the seventh round of talks, intending to close a deal on the “Agreement on Enhanced Defense Cooperation” by next month.

Filipino activists in the U.S. expressed serious concern regarding this issue, considering its relationship to HRVs in the Philippines. Pareja added, “U.S. tax dollars and military positioning under the pretext of mutual defense and humanitarian support, are being used by elements of the AFP to carry out brutal attacks on people fighting for change in their communities back home. These funds should instead be channelled towards social services such as education, healthcare and welfare benefits for the working people of the U.S.”

In a Twitter exchange with Anakbayan NY and NJ on Saturday, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC stated an ongoing investigation of the Ligiw case is being conducted. The Embassy also gave assurance that the “state will go after those behind these political killings”.

“We [Anakbayan chapters overseas] are deeply disturbed and outraged by this brutal attack to a kasama. We will not stop until justice is served- for Freddie, for Jonas, for Sherlyn, for Rachelle, and all victims of political killings back home,” said Nina Macapinlac, member of AB-NJ.

AB-NJ committed to raising awareness on the issue of HRVs in the Philippines, and sustaining the call for justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Nina Macapinlac, member of AB-NJ, concluded,”We demand an immediate and thorough investigation of the murder of the Ligiw family, and an end to U.S. military aid to the Philippines. We are urging concerned citizens of New Jersey to contact Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee for the 113th Congress, to demand cutting all US military funding to the Philippines.”###

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References:

  1. Anakbayan Cordillera Statement on the Killing of Fermin Ligiw

  2. KARAPATAN, Alliance for Human Rights in the Philippines

  3. US Aid and Human Rights Violations in the Philippines

  4. PH Offers US Use of Bases

  5. Younger Brother of Bishop Capalla Murdered in IloIlo Province

Justice for GIS Filipino Workers: A Report back from the fact finding mission in Louisiana

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To rsvp, click here

Last February, delegates from various organizations around New York and New Jersey went to Louisiana as part of a national fact-finding mission to shed light on the horrific situation of Filipino migrant workers at the Grand Isle Shipyard. 

This is part of the nation-wide campaign to seek justice for the Grand Isle Shipyard Filipino workers. Hear their stories and learn how you can help support our brave workers. 

When: April 19 | 6:30pm-9pm 
Where: CUNY Hunter | Room 619HW

*if you’re not a Hunter or CUNY student, please bring an ID. 

For more information about the campaign visit:
http://j4gisfilipinoworkers.wordpress.com/

Organizers: 
– Pilipinos of Hunter (POH)
– Anakbayan (New York & New Jersey Chapter)
– Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – North East Region (BAYAN-USA)
– National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

Co-sponsors:
– Philippine Union of La Guardia Student Organization (PULSO)
– Coalition for the Revitalization of Asian American Studies at Hunter (CRAASH)
– Asian American Studies Program at Hunter College (AASP)

– if your organization wants to co-sponsor this event, please email us Yves Nibungco at yvesnibungco@gmail.com or at anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com

Take a Photo. Take a Stand.

Take a photo. Take a stand. 


On August 30, the International Day of the Disappeared, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) will bring attention to the thousands of Filipinos who are victims of enforced disappearances in the Philippines. The International Day of the Disappeared on August 30 is a day created to draw attention to the fate of individuals imprisoned at places and under poor conditions unknown to their relatives and/or legal representatives, or victims of enforced di

sappearances. Imprisonment under secret or uncertain circumstances is a grave violation of some conceptions of human rights as well as, in the case of an armed conflict, of International Humanitarian Law.Under the current President of the Philippines, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, there have been 11 cases of Enforced Disappearances in the Philippines.Since the Arroyo Regime (2001-2010), 205 are still missing. The families seek justice, the Philippine government must be pressured to SURFACE THE DISAPPEARED and END IMPUNITY NOW!We demand that these victims are surfaced and their perpetrators are brought to justice.

Join to take a photo and stand in solidarity with the thousands of families still looking for their loved ones. Your photo will be viewable at www.nychrp.info

This event is endorsed by BAYAN USA, Anakbayan-NJ, Anakbayan-NY, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, Action 21 and ILPS US NE.

To rsvp click here
For more info on the human rights situation in the Philippines check out KARAPATAN (an alliance of human rights organizations in the Philippines) here
For articles on victims of enforced disappearances in the Philippines click here