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FROM MIND TO MASSES

18 Apr

FROM MIND TO MASSES

All poems are broken poems, unless they are a kiss or a raised fist, For Something-Someone, A cause, So the slogan better be worth something, so poems can be worth something, But don’t worry I hear you and I love what you say, I love those words from the wise, to

Decolonize you mind,

But mind you that your mind isn’t separated from your body, and the bodies of others, Not separated from the material world,

Materialism,

not materialistic-don’t-get-it-twisted you missed it, When your mind didn’t see, the shadow of the

laborer,

In the products you buy, and the products that you walk by, Even this poem, underwritten by the labor time, The labor time that produces, the racial time, the gender time, the sexuality time, In the products you buy and the lifestyles that you buy into, from the consciousness that you craft, to the objects around you, laced with the voice of laborers, and the shadow of the wealthy few,

Only capital

is transnational,

we’re their tools, My identity and yours, supposedly free to float?  The multiple identities in you and me: a Body-moving-and-grooving-dancing-disOriently-disrupting-discourse?  Multiple identities free and in flux?

In that logic

we’re still fucked,

because the masters master that, multiple identities is fine by them, they love their glass ceilings and their multiculturalism, The fluid-self-diaspora-moving body doesn’t make you free

know the conditions of possibility,

So restart the engine or start where you’re at, because that rationale, ain’t happening now, When the echoes from overseas oversee who we are,

Echoes of the (neo)colonized,

Landless

and urban poor

that know the severing of ties and the severing of tongues, that know balikbayan box coffins, And the U.S. in us from hamleting and scorched-earth-tactics-water-board-trajectory-scorched our eyes and skin through time,

And now we come across when coming across oceans like conveyor-belted products, Readymade, Racialized-gendered-fetishized, Readymade-wealth-making-wealth becomes an upward gravity, Money hand-over-fist to the capitalist, trickle-down fist becoming a-downward strike, And your identity

manufactured

like this, has meaning, as it basks in the light, of an exploitive, working, day, But don’t fret-don’t fret, learn the contradictions emanating from the Basss…e, Fret, that structures your speech-expression-and-consciousness, Learn the contradictions, learn the many dimensions of you, and stay on that decolonizing mind-grind, Or better yet,

just decolonize,

From the mind,

to

matter,

Not an individual practice be called and call forth the masses, the decolonizing-mind-grind-in-service-of-

the-massline,

Unravel the stoppage in your speech to express yourself, so that we express ourselves, our grievances, our list of demands, So that this broken poem finds finality, so that a kiss, becomes upward gravity, so that this fist, becomes an upward gravity, And press it against your flaws and your privileges, bourgeois mind-traps of internalized-heteropatriarchy-and-white-supremacy,

Take inventory,

take aim,

remold,

And upsurge the insurgent heart and assert the brave mentality,

Learn, practice, learn, practice, learn, practice,

Rectify,

Internalize to the mind,

and

Seize the time

Seize the time

Seize the time!

As MLK day approaches: take inventory of snapshots

14 Jan

I am contemplating how some folks I have come across in various circles idealize MLK.  This isn’t a post about his methods.  This is about leadership and collective work.  I have met many progressive folks calling for a new MLK type of leader.

I do not think it is productive to remember our leaders this way.  In fact this cult of “the one” can be quite dangerous.  It is as if we put all our hopes and investments in the labor of another.  That axis of change twists upon one person.

What about you?  Where are you at?  What is your contribution?  I contend that most people that do idealize leaders of our past is because they probably see part of themselves in those leaders.  They see a snapshot of what they hope they can be or are capable of becoming.

I think the present and the future does not need a new King, Malcolm, Rizal, Bonifacio, Sakay, C. Chavez, Itliong, Vera Cruz, Silang, Barros, Huey, TWLF – you get the picture.  The present and the future needs you.  It needs these histories of our folk heroes and sheroes to move beyond mere historical artifacts – they cannot be mere pride pieces.

Take inventory of those snapshots of your heroes and sheroes inside of you.  Birth new thoughts.  Give it speech.  Then to action.  More importantly I think you’ll find that you will be able to share these snapshots, these principles, inside of others.

We don’t need a new MLK.  Indeed the present and future is better served with committed people who recognize, express, and act upon the traces left in us by our heroes and sheroes.  Take stock of their failures (our heroes and sheroes got em) and their victories.  I think we commemorate their work/histories better by re-materializing it in our own lives.   Do all of that collectively.

Happy MLK Weekend

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT WE ARE (Remix-Response 2010)

9 Sep

“If you want to know what we are WE ARE REVOLUTION!” – Carlos Bulosan

And we still are kasama…

If you want to know what we are,

We are People Power beyond yellow shirts and U.S. sponsored dictators

and popular presidents,

the energy of beautiful short victories and the persistence in the day-to-day.

If you want to know what we are,

know the crack of tinikiling sticks, the footed dialogue with the floor,

trembling the spirits to an intentional sound that exits stage left

and reaches a new language from a bullhorn,

We are

the dreamers, dancers, lovers, artists exhausting their individuality,

B-boys becoming men, the storm of ones and twos, melodies yearning to be reawakened.

If you want to know what we are,

We are the hurt demanding release,

we are chest heaving, identity crisis bearing, and tippy toed against a vertigo fall,

running through an educational system

teaching us little

at high cost.

We are still students, sardined in your classrooms,

We carry the hazy memory, the subtext of your American History books,

The subtext that yells and screams on the way to your standardized tests.

You know us, the walking-breathing-flesh-archives of an unwanted history that incriminates you

with more blood,

the spirit that haunts your water board torture.

We are the shaky science that is enraged and tired-eyed.

If you want to know what we are,

We are hands domesticated, but not still.

We are the workers praised as modern day heroes,

but in the same breath

are the murdered, the disappeared, the illegally arrested when we labor to serve the people.

Only heroes in your eyes when we pay for the debt-foolishness,

when our work sustains your cycle.

Remember, the sister, taken, and, tortured,

her spirit is not broken

is not silenced.

She remains that deathless counterpart

untamed

and determined.

We are the voice that never died,

that is not pacified by the distance of the pacific.

We are surviving, but surviving isn’t enough.

We are Revolution, abducted into a fantasy world and sometimes abducted.

our voice co-opted, words of Hope and Change contested on auction blocks, on the presidential line.

We are the invisible blood stain on your tax dollar

We, speak, a, missing, silence,

And if so we will connect these silences

arm in arm,

language over language,

So that this silence never seems still, So that this silence never seems quiet, but waiting,

Waiting and calculating the time.

We are

Revolution,

Surface you 21st century Gabriela Silangs

Surface you young Bonifacios

Unravel that which is contained in your risen fist,

Unravel that

which is contained

in your risen fist,

a testament

dissident

song incomplete,

a song

incomplete

whose next note

shall be played by the person next to you,

and the next, next, next, next…

FREE THE MORONG 43!

25 Feb

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reference:  Kuusela Hilo, Vice Chair of BAYAN-USA
vc@bayanusa.org, (818) 395-9207

Los Angeles, California–Concerned leaders and human rights advocates representing various communities in Los Angeles sent a delegation to speak with California U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s office. They met with Senator Boxer’s office to deliver petitions signed by over 500 people and organizations to demand the immediate release of the 43 health workers who have been illegally arrested, detained, and tortured by the Philippine military since February 6, 2010.  Representatives of the delegation urged Senator Boxer to continue her commitment to human rights by supporting the demand for the immediate and unconditional release of the 43 and to stop human rights violations in the Philippines.

The delegation included community leaders Reverend David Farley and Reverend Sandra Richards of the United Methodist Church; Melissa Roxas, a survivor of abduction and torture in the Philippines; Chito Quijano of California Nurses’ Association and the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS); Kuusela Hilo of BAYAN-USA and the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA); representatives from the organizations AnakBayan Los Angeles; Habi Arts; Sisters of GABRIELA, Awaken!; International Action Center; Confederation of Iranians; and other concerned individuals.

ILPS representative Quijano stated, “We request Senator Barbara Boxer to support the release of the 43. As long as the 43 health workers are languishing in a ‘Guantanamo-like prison’ and the Philippine military continues violating human rights, no U.S. tax dollars should be given to the Philippine government.”

In 2008, following a hearing in the United States Senate on the human rights situation in the Philippines, convened by Sen. Boxer, the US Congress voted to withhold $2 million of 2009 military aid until the Philippine government complied with certain human rights conditions.  However, the Philippine government has not made any significant efforts to improve the human rights situation in their country. The Ampatuan Massacre in November 2009, which saw the slaying of 58 people, along with the illegal arrest and abuse of the 43 health workers at the hands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines only demonstrate the worsening human rights conditions in the country.

Rev. Richards, Rev. Farley, and Hilo took part in the United Methodist Church California Pacific Pastoral and Solidarity visit to the Philippines last week.  They also participated in a delegation that visited the 43 health workers illegally detained in the military Camp Capinpin. Rev. Richards shared her firsthand accounts with Senator Boxer’s office, including the conversations with the families of the 43 detained health workers and the forum with Commission on Human Rights Chair Leila de Lima.  Rev. Richards concluded, “Regardless of whether one believes that the 43 health workers are innocent of the charges, it is a fact beyond doubt that their civil and human rights have been violated. They were forced to sit handcuffed and blindfolded for 36 straight hours, were not told with what they were being charged, were not allowed to lie down or sleep, and were fed and toileted by strangers. This kind of torture is illegal in the Philippines. The military has shown extreme disregard for human rights and the law of the country they are meant to protect.”

Rev. Richards elaborated, “The global United Methodist Church has determined that two of its four goals are: global health and ministry with the poor. The 43 health workers were living out this call. It’s troubling that the Philippine government has criminalized the work on behalf of these goals. If these selfless acts of mercy are allowed to be categorized as criminal, then who can be safe?”

Rev. Richards highlighted, “The United States is widely seen as a partner in the Philippine Military, and is a funder. If the U.S. Government does not step in to free these health workers, the United States Government will have become a party to religious persecution of the Christians in the Philippines.”

On February 15, 2010, after the petitioning for writ of habeas corpus and mounting public pressure, the Philippine military presented the 43 health workers to the Court of Appeals.  The testimony from one of the victims, Dr. Alex Montes, shows proof of psychological torture, physical abuse and other inhumane and degrading treatment of the detainees.  The deadline for the court to make a decision on the writ of habeas corpus is Wednesday, February 24, 2010.

“All the 43 health workers did was to serve the poor and the most vulnerable in society and they filled a great need that the Philippine government was not able to provide,” stated Roxas. “I know what it feels like to be detained and tortured.  No human being should have to go through that.  The situation is critical.  Every day that the 43 health workers are not released, it is one more day they have to endure of pain, fear, and torture. We demand the immediate release of the 43 health workers.  We need to help stop human rights violations in the Philippines.”

An on-going petition http://www.petitiononline.com/Free43/petition.html has been launched online.  All supporters of human rights are invited to join the international effort to Free the 43. More information can be found at http://www.freethehealthworkers.blogspot.com

###

Filipino American Youth Oppose Arroyo and Charter Change

10 Jul

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 9, 2009

References: Ivan Penetrante, Chairperson, Anakbayan San Diego, igpene@gmail.com Yves Nibungco, Deputy Secretary General, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, yvesnibungco@gmail.com, Beverly Tang, Anakbayan Los Angeles, bev@anakbayanla.org, Sincere Born, Chairperson, Anakbayan Seattle, sincere9@gmail.com

Filipino American Youth Oppose Arroyo and Charter Change

Filipino Youth of BAYAN USA (League of Filipino Students-San Francisco State University and the US chapters of Anakbayan from East Bay (EB), San Diego (SD), Seattle, Los Angeles (LA) and Anakbayan York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) declare our full opposition to the Arroyo regime and its cronies’ push towards Charter Change (Cha-Cha).

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo knows the people will hold her accountable for her crimes when her term is up in 2010.  Already standing neck deep in a track record of out-of-control rates of poverty, absence of social services, an ever-increasing list of human rights violations, and endless cases of corruption, Arroyo seeks to avoid prosecution and extend the reach of her power through Charter Change.  Under Cha-Cha, Arroyo can impose Martial law and extend her stay in office indefinitely by changing the government to a parliamentary system, thus avoiding potential prosecution.  “A dictatorship of Arroyo, whether under the guise of a parliamentary system or through declaration of martial rule, would certainly mean the death of our already ailing democracy and of our people’s dignity,” says Yves Nibungco of Anakbayan New York/New Jersey.

Charter Change will constitutionally allow the US and other foreign military forces unrestricted stay and operations in the Philippines. Already playing a puppet to US militarism, Arroyo continues to bow down to foreign business interest as well. Charter Change places Philippine national sovereignty at further economic risk.  Under Cha-cha existing economic provisions can be eliminated, enabling foreigners 100 percent ownership of lands and other property.  Foreign exploitation and plundering of natural resources will increase, causing more displacements of people and landlessness in the countryside.

Though an ocean apart, the Filipino youth of BAYAN USA understand our people should fight the Arroyo regime and her cronies in order for there to be a true democracy in the Philippines that addresses the needs of its people.  Charter Change is a slap in the face to the Filipino people and the provisions gained in the 1987 Constitution. That is why we support Kabataan Kontra Cha-Cha (a broad alliance of youth groups and student councils in the Philippines) and their call for student walkouts on July 10, 2009. We vow to do whatever it takes to prevent Arroyo from installing emergency rule and rigging next year’s elections. We are proud to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Philippines for a better tomorrow!

BAYAN USA Youth calls upon Filipinos in the US to take a stand against Charter Change!

Deep Foundation – Children of the Sun Remix f/ Hydroponikz Nomi Koba Kiwi & Encite. (Filipino Pride)

9 Jun

Hello there, I haven’t posted anything in a minute.  Been busy.  So while I’m “Activising” (the homie Chaz’s word for me), check out this video by Deep Foundation a NY/NJ group, damn I’m feeling this. 

Here in California, we’re high off Kiwi, Bam, and Pro Brown of Blue Scholars.  There are other Filipino emcee acts out there, this being one from the East Coast.  Check out my friend Mark V’s blog article on Deep Foundation, and his interview with group member Cee Jay.

enjoy…

The Awakening of Melissa R.

27 May

Blog author foreword:

The good news is that Melissa Roxas, the recent abducted Filipina American activist, has sinced surfaced and is with her family members in Manila.  Little is known on the status on her physical condition.  Roxas was abducted along with two fellow activists Juanito Carebeo and John Edward Handoc.  Though Carebeo has surfaced, Handoc is still missing.

The following is an undated email message written by Melissa Roxas published by the excellent online news magazine bulatlat

THE AWAKENING OF MELISSA R.

PUBLISHED ON May 26, 2009 AT 7:41 AM

Roxas, the Filipino-American activist who was abducted along with two others on May 19, purportedly wrote this undated email message. Bulatlat.com is reposting it because it provides a glimpse into her character and might help explain why an American like her would be spending time in the remote villages of the Philippines, trying to help the poor.

I want to share a story that particularly moved me about 14-year-old Adel. Adel was ten years old when her parents, were abducted and murdered by Philippine military soldiers. Her father, Expedito Albarillo was an active coordinator of Bayan Muna (a progressive political party list) in the town of San Teodoro, Mindoro Oriental. Her mother, Manuela, was an active member of Gabriela (a progressive women’s organization) in the same town. Adel told the story of how her mother hid her so the military would not know she was in the house. She heard her mother tell the military soldier to wait until she can get changed but the soldier told her not to bother because she would be killed. She peeked from where she was hidden and saw a soldier hit her father on the leg with a gun because he refused to come with them. Adel said she watched the military drag her parents outside the house and to the nearby hills. She said she felt very afraid, terrified. Later she heard successive gunshots from the direction where her parents were brought and she went outside to go find other family members in the town. They sent a team to look for her parents and when they later found them, she said they were shocked to find the bodies in the state they were in. Her father’s left eye was gouged out with a knife and gunshot wounds were found on his armpit and side. Her mother’s neck was shattered due to a gunshot below her left eye and she had other gunshot wounds in her armpit.

After the incident Adel had to go through therapy because of the trauma. She is only one of the many children that lost their parents due to military aggression. Eden Marcellana, then secretary general of Karapatan became her second mother, as Eden was to many families who became victims of human rights violations. But because Eden was outspokenly critical of the string of human rights violations cases committed against hapless peasants, Mangyan families and leaders and members of progressive groups in Mindoro, she too became a victim of kidnapping and murder. Adel and other children lost their second mother and the area lost another dedicated human rights worker.

We visited the sites where some of the victim’s bodies were found and also saw photographs of the scene. All the delegates professed their determination to tell the whole world about what they saw because these crimes against humanity have to stop. Adel and her older brother continue the work that their parents had begun and continue to condemn the militarization of countrysides and expose the crimes of the military and Arroyo administration. Even after having lost her parents, and her friends to these heinous crimes, Adel continues to work for change in the country, continues to defend the working poor, peasants, and those who the government have let down. All of the delegates, including myself, drew so much inspiration from this 14 year old girl and we asked ourselves, for us who do not live under direct repression, what can we do? And all vowed to remain dedicated to telling these stories and put pressure on our own governments to stop support of the Arroyo regime.

Unfortunately, this story is only one of many from the island of Mindoro and throughout the Philippines. Even the ISM team from Mindoro experienced different forms of harassment from local police and military as we traveled through the area. We experienced harassment at checkpoints and were followed—we got a taste of what locals must go through everyday. Many testimonies were heard by the other four teams who visited Hacienda Luisita, Central Luzon, Samar Island in Eastern Visayas, and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao.

Throughout this trip I cried many times and was deeply affected by such injustice. Also outraged that here in America, our taxpayer dollars are going to support repressive regimes like Arroyo’s. The U.S. provides financial support and training for Philippine troops. I am outraged that instead of using our hard earned tax dollars on helping the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, it goes abroad to fund wars of aggression in Iraq and the Philippines.

After this experience I began to really understand why people say that Philippines is in a current state of undeclared martial law. The Arroyo administration and the military act under a culture of impunity – immune from any punishment and immune from the rule of law that they say they are defending. Like the Marcos years (Philippine dictator until 1986), people’s civil rights are compromised and any opposition to the government is crushed – except that Arroyo is using the pretext of the “war on terror” to suppress legitimate dissent. Like what happened in Hacienda Luisita, where striking sugarcane workers and peasants were asking for better wages and benefits, were massacred by the military and local police. What justice is there for the victims? Until now they are still fighting for those benefits and until now there has been no punishment for the military and police.

Thank you for listening. At this point, I feel my responsibility is to tell as many people as possible about what I’ve seen, and as a writer write as much as I can about what I’ve seen. And most importantly take action.

I remain profoundly changed by this experienced and hope that even with these poor poets words, I can help spread awareness about these issues and tell the stories that were entrusted to me, that literally was paid for by the victims with sweat and blood.

Thank you fellow poets. Please keep in touch. I miss you all.

Much love,
Melissa R.