Tag Archives: Neoliberalism

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!

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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.

AnakBayan-San Diego Marches in Solidarity to Demand Human Rights for All – Education, Legalization, Dignified Work

5 May

Press Statement
May 4, 2009
Reference: Ivan Penetrante: Chair, Maridel Andrada: Secretary General, AnakBayan-San Diego, email: anakbayansd@gmail.com
 
AnakBayan-San Diego Marches in Solidarity to Demand Human Rights for All – Education, Legalization, Dignified Work
 
San Diego—The San Diego chapter of AnakBayan or “Youth of the Nation,” a Filipino Youth and Student organization committed to movement for National democracy in the Philippines, marches with the May 1st Coalition of San Diego from City College to Chicano park, calling for an end to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, detentions and deportations; genuine immigration reform; and education for all.
 
Lead by a contingent of middle school youth, high school and college students, workers, documented and undocumented immigrants, the people comprised of over a dozen different organizations and affiliations commemorated International Workers’ Day by recognizing that all immigrants deserve rights as their rights are human rights.  The people united marched without fear on this one day whereas the other days many live in fear of being separated from family as a result of ICE raids, deportations and detentions while often surviving off menial jobs. 
 
Immigrants accept menial jobs overseas because in their homeland they are faced with the inability to support themselves and their families.  This is due in part to unequal political and economic relations under the system of neoliberal globalization.  Though rich in resources to sustain its people, the Philippines is one of the countries victimized by this unequal system, forcing people to flee the country.
 
More than 10 million Filipinos reside outside of the Philippines, sending home an average of $15-16 billion dollars in remittances, over half of which comes from the labor of more than four million Filipinos living in the United States.   One million remain undocumented, thus live in fear and do not experience the freedom and democracy that its politicians claim to practice. Most undocumented and exploited immigrants from all over the globe are forced to live in this American “nightmare” without looking back at the life of poverty and despair that they left behind.
 
On his 100th day in office, the masses challenged President Obama to live up to his rhetoric on the need to change the immigration system.  The inefficient backlog system in the U.S. that has Filipinos waiting as long as 10-15 years for approval of their petitions for migration via family sponsorship is one aspect that needs to be resolved in addition to the Gestapo-like raids by ICE, mass deportations and unlawful  detentions without due process.
 
As the world faces the current economic crisis, the struggles of oppressed migrant workers across the globe will intensify and shall not be overlooked as multinational corporations and big banks seek bailouts that should be dispersed among the people instead.  From this position, the only direction we should take is forward with the struggle for a just and humane immigration system free of exploitation and repression.
 
LEGALIZATION FOR ALL UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS!
END ICE RAIDS, DETENTIONS AND DEPORTATIONS!
SWIFT FAMILY RE-UNIFICATION NOW! SCRAP THE IMMIGRANT BACKLOG!
IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS!
BAIL OUT THE WORKERS, NOT THE BANKS!
 
AnakBayan-SD is a member organization of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or “New Patriotic Alliance” (BAYAN-USA), an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth.  As an international chapter of BAYAN-Philippines, it serves as an information bureau for the National Democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S.