Tag Archives: Neocolonialism

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!

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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!

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.

SURFACE FILIPINO-AMERICAN ACTIVIST MELISSA ROXAS NOW

24 May

SURFACE FILIPINO-AMERICAN ACTIVIST MELISSA ROXAS NOW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 24, 2009

Reference: Kuusela Hilo, BAYAN-USA Vice Chair, 818-395-9207, vicechair@bayanusa.org

Rhonda Ramiro, BAYAN-USA Secretary General, 415-377-2599, secgen@bayanusa.org

 

SURFACE FILIPINO-AMERICAN ACTIVIST MELISSA ROXAS NOW

BAYAN-USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino American organizations and chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan Philippines), is calling on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Department of National Defense, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to immediately surface Melissa Roxas, an American citizen of Filipino descent who was abducted in the Philippines on May 19. BAYAN-USA also urgently calls on our representatives in the U.S. Congress to act quickly to ensure the safe return of Roxas.

Roxas is a well-known Filipino American activist, who served as the first Regional Coordinator of BAYAN-USA in Los Angeles and co-founded the cultural organization Habi Arts. Roxas is an active human rights advocate and was instrumental in organizing a BAYAN-USA contingent that participated in the International Solidarity Mission in 2005, an international fact finding mission that called attention to the escalating human rights violations in the Philippines. Roxas went to the Philippines in 2007 to pursue human rights work, where she became a full time volunteer health worker. She was abducted on May 19, 2009 at approximately 1:30 PM in Sitio Bagong Sikat, Barangay kapanikian, La Paz, Tarlac. She was with two other volunteers, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc.

Based on reports filed by the human rights group KARAPATAN and the La Paz police, Roxas and her companions were taken by at least 8 armed, hooded men riding two motorcycles and a Besta van without any license plate numbers. There has been no word on the whereabouts and condition of Roxas and her companions since the abduction. The circumstances of Roxas’ abduction typify the abductions and enforced disappearances of over 200 innocent civilians, allegedly last seen in the hands of suspected state security forces.

“We are deeply concerned about the abduction of Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc. We call for Melissa and her companions to be immediately surfaced unharmed,” said BAYAN-USA Secretary General Rhonda Ramiro. “We condemn the ongoing abductions and human rights violations that have been rampant under the Arroyo administration and victimized thousands of innocent people.”

The search for Roxas and her companions will be spearheaded by the human rights organization KARAPATAN, while BAYAN-USA, its member organizations, and allies will undertake an international campaign to exert pressure on the Arroyo government to surface Roxas. “We appeal to our elected officials, members of the Filipino American community, and all people in the U.S. who believe in human rights to take action to surface Melissa and her companions. Since we were founded in 2005, BAYAN-USA has campaigned ceaselessly for an end to the human rights violations in the Philippines, and we will not stop until we obtain justice for Melissa and all victims of human rights violations under Arroyo.”

# # #
surfacemelissa

Point(s) of departure in US/Filipino History

21 May

Point(s) of departure in U.S./Filipino History

 

(photo of Morro Bay California)

A couple of weeks ago I was discussing the idea of the history of Filipinos in the U.S. with two friends.  The two of them (pinoy and pinay) seem to disagree with me on the issue of the point of departure for Filipino historical study.  I ruffled some feathers by stating that the arrival of Spanish Galleon (that carried Luzones Indios) in Morro Bay, California in 1587 was not a good point of historical departure.  I argued that American Colonialism was a proper place of beginning a “Filipino American History”.  Needless to say, I didn’t come off very convincing to my colleagues.  I was accused of being negative, and for putting to much concentration on numbers, and to top it off, paraphrasing what one of them said:  “elevating Americans in Fil-Am history”, instead of focusing on Filipino efforts.  I was troubled by this uncritical acceptance of history.  As if Morro Bay landing was a “Filipino effort” (they were under Spanish servitude).

It seems various online sites and Fil-Am groups (as far as my experience with them goes) privilege this event.  I have no problem mentioning it as a historical event, but to foreground it as a significant event in Filipino American History lends itself to a poltics of recognition, a strategy under the logic of liberal multiculturalism.  Privileging this event (The rationale for having Filipino American History month in October is because of this event) becomes about integration and pluralism.  Implicit in the investment in the importance of this historical event is the lack of Filipino history/culture in existing U.S. curriculum.  What is missing is a mention of why there is a lack of Filipino history and culture in the first place.  The liberal multicultural logic is one that seeks to integrate and become apart of society without addressing issues of injustice.  The history framed in this way shows that belonging precedes justice. 

I am not disregarding this historical event, it should be studied.  But it needs a proper context and presentation.  If anything, the Morro Bay landing should be mobilized into understanding the World System of the late 1500s and the complexities of Spanish Colonialism.  The approach to this event is tame and watered down.  Filipino Americans become interpellated in elevating the Morro Bay landing to the status of a migration narrative.  Interpellation is the concept put forth by the marxist Louis Althusser.  The process of interpellation is the dominant ideology producing its subject(s) by ‘hailing’ them.  In the response to being hailed or called, subjects recognize themselves in the dominant ideology.  In short, in the context of the priviliging the Morro Bay landing, Filipinos identify themselves in the dominant ideology of the U.S. Hegemonic state.

Not only does the framing of Filipino/U.S. relations lend itself to the logic of liberal multiculturalism, but it obscures the centrality of American Colonialism in Filipino/U.S. relations.  Filipinos were not migrants but were colonized subjects.  As they say, “We are here, because you were there”. 

(President Mckinnley bathing a Filipino native, “Benevolent Assimilation”)

I find it incredible that to this day even in “progressive” circles under emphasize the genocide of the Filipino American War (1899-1902, dates vary), of course they are not to blame when the much of the history is relegated to a footnote in U.S. History textbooks.  The privliging of the Morro Bay landing pales in comparison to slaugther of 1.4 million Filipinos (numbers vary, numbers not inclusive of Moro death toll). 

(dead Filipinos in a trench)

The necessity of examining American Colonialism at the turn of the century will help us to better understand the Neocolonial present.  Instead of murdering Filipinos themselves, the U.S. government relies on the corrupt Gloria Arroyo regime (responsible for 1000 political killings/abductions since 2001), its compradors and landlords, to do its dirty work in keeping the Philippine semi-feudal and within the sphere of the U.S. hegemonic bloc, for reasons of neoliberal globalization and miltary dominance in Southeast Asia and beyond. 

Geniune critique is needed in Filipino history, I say enough of the self-serving identity politics in abstract “pride”.  The 1.4 million dead haunt us, the dying and disappeared today will haunt us in the future if Filipinos shy away from a historicizing and problematizing the political and economic policies by the U.S. and Philippine governments.  Filipinos have endured just under 500 years of colonialism.  The saying goes “300 years in the convent [Spanish Colonialism], 50 in Hollywood [American Colonialism]”.  That needs to be extended to the 50 years plus of Neocolonial control.  Another reality is possible, enough of the half-stepping.