Category: ILPS

BAYAN-USA Slams Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s Tax Day Gift for the Asia Pacific: $425 Million American Taxpayer Dollars for Militarization and War

War-Tax Resisters and Peace Activists Award BAYAN-USA with Grant to Fight U.S. Military Expansion in the Philippines

Traveling through what he dubbed the “single most consequential region” for America’s future, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter ominously spent the days prior to “Tax Day” this year in countries in the Asia Pacific including the Philippines, where he gloated over plans to vastly expand U.S. military presence in the Philippines and spend $425 million over five years on a maritime security initiative in the region. Carter praised the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the U.S. and Philippines, which opened the door for American plans to station U.S. military personnel, aircraft, ships, and potentially long-range missiles in the Philippines. He also announced plans to open up even more Philippine bases to be used for U.S. facilities in the future—beyond the five locations already announced in March in a midnight deal forged with outgoing Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino.

“How fitting that Carter chose Tax Day to flaunt U.S. imperialism’s grandiose plans to spend American taxpayer money on military expansion in the region,” said BAYAN-USA Chairperson Bernadette Ellorin. “Tax Day is a bitter reminder that a struggling U.S. worker pays 54 cents of every dollar in taxes for U.S. military spending, leaving little for education, healthcare, employment with livable wages, and safety net programs. For Filipino Americans, the pill is even tougher to swallow, knowing that a portion of those taxes funds increased human rights violations, environmental destruction, and trampling of the sovereignty of our homeland by the U.S. military.”

Carter used the specter of China to justify increased U.S. militarization in the region, stating that Americans “have helped provide the necessary security and stability for this … region to thrive with our strong defense engagements here. The United States has long provided the necessary reassurance, an attractive and appealing reassurance, and worked to keep the peace here in the Asia Pacific.” Ellorin countered: “Carter should stop pretending that U.S. involvement in the region leads to peace when the exact opposite is true. The firing of U.S. long-range missiles, patrols of American naval vessels in disputed territory, and joint military exercises between the U.S. and Philippines and neighboring South Korea have only aggravated tensions with China, heightening concerns that the Philippines will just get caught in the middle of power plays between the two giants. The Philippines needs to stand up for itself against the incursions of all foreign aggressors, be they the U.S., China, Japan or others. Since Aquino failed dismally to uphold Philippine interests, the next President must make Philippine sovereignty a priority by terminating the EDCA, industrializing the country, and developing our own capacity for defense.”

Carter’s trip also coincided with the 32nd “Balikatan” joint military exercises between the U.S. and the Philippines, which were provocatively conducted in some of the contested areas of the West Philippine Sea. Carter announced that the U.S. would leave some of its Balikatan participants in the Philippines on a rotational basis to “improve command and control with the Filipino Armed Forces.” Ellorin refuted: “The Americans come to the Philippines, play their war games, and leave U.S. military personnel, bases, and ships here like a bad hangover. Carter fails to mention that the U.S. has been providing advisors and the blueprint for counterinsurgency programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for years, during which time the AFP has had a notorious human rights record. Depositing more U.S. military personnel and arms in the Philippines will not resolve the fact that the AFP is implicated in hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings, torture, and violent displacement of innocent people over the past six years under President Aquino.”

Also on Tax Day, in a show of solidarity with the Filipino people, conscientious war tax resisters in Northern California awarded BAYAN-USA with a grant to support the alliance’s work to oppose increasing U.S. militarization in the Philippines. “BAYAN-USA is grateful for the courageous action to support us taken by conscientious war tax resisters, who are individuals who choose to take all or part of the amount they would otherwise pay to the federal government in income taxes, and instead re-direct that money toward making peace,” said Ellorin. “We hope to forge solidarity with even more people in the U.S. by together building the movement against a common enemy: U.S. imperialism.”

FILIPINO AMERICANS PARTICIPATE IN WEEK OF ACTIONS AGAINST US-LED TPPA

Press Release

July 9, 2012

Reference:  Theresa Jaranilla, BAYAN-USA Southern California Regional Coordinator,
sc@bayanusa.org

FILIPINO AMERICANS PARTICIPATE IN WEEK OF ACTIONS AGAINST US-LED TPPA
On July 2-10, leaders of the Pacific Rim hold 13th round of negotiations for the secret US-led free trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

“Obama’s push for the TPPA is a sign of desperation of the 1%, they are scared of the working people, they are scared of our solidarity!” proclaimed Ivan Penetrante, chairperson of Anakbayan San Diego, on the first day of the 13th Round of TPPA talks.  “While the TPPA and the oncoming military pivot are geopolitical moves of the US to contain its rival China, the US ultimately needs to exploit the Asia-Pacific region for cheap labor and raw materials to survive the economic crisis.”

On behalf of BAYAN USA,  Anakbayan San Diego joined the July 2 rally and press conference organized by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council at the Bayfront Hilton Hotel on while the secret negotiations took place inside.  The event was the first of week-long actions that member organizations of BAYAN-USA took part to expose and oppose the TPPA.

A People’s Conference:  A Better World is Possible
The rally also kicked-off a series of roundtable discussions and panels about the effects on the TPPA on the rights of workers, women, intellectual property, food sovereignty and the environment.  On July 5, BAYAN USA joined panelists from the San Diego Maquiladores Worker’s Solidarity Network, the International League of People’s Struggle, and indigenous people’s organizations for a panel on Geopolitics and Empire followed by a discussion on Indigenous People’s Rights.

Country co-coordinator of the International League of People’s Struggle-US (ILPS-US) Kuusela Hilo highlighted the need to stand in solidarity against neoliberal policies such as the TPPA. “Neoliberalism is the tomb that is putting workers, indigenous people, and people around the world in the grave,” said Hilo.  On the indigenous people’s panel, Southern California Coordinator for BAYAN-USA, Theresa Jaranilla, emphasized that “the effects of the TPPA would be distressing for indigenous communities in the Philippines who already experience wide-spread displacement, environmental destruction, increased militarization,  and gross human rights violations as a result of large-scale mining by foreign mining companies.”

A Call to Stop TPPA
On Saturday, July 7, 2012, member organizations of BAYAN USA joined allies and friends donning aprons and banging on pots and pans as they marched through the streets of downtown San Diego to the Bayfront Hilton Hotel calling to stop the TPPA.  Allies, including members of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), marched with the BAYAN USA contingent.  Speakers from around the US condemned the TPPA, stating lessons we should have learned from NAFTA which led to massive migration of US industries for countries with less regulation and cheaper labor.

Speaking on behalf of BAYAN USA, Ivan Penetrante denounced the TPPA and stressed the need for solidarity. Connecting the Obama administration’s public announcement to shift the US military to the Asia-Pacific region and the need to protect its economic interests, Penetrante highlighted the covert counter-insurgency tactics, including politically-motivated killings and abductions under the watch of the US-backed Philippine president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.  “The Philippines is key to the TPPA and the US military pivot to the Pacific.  The US already has the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and are looking to re-open bases in the Philippines.  Moreover, the US also funds, arms, and creates strategy for the human rights violating Philippine military.  The US will need to enforce the TPPA with military might because the people will fight against it.  People stood up against NAFTA, and they are standing up against the TPPA,” said Penetrante.

BAYAN USA continues to call on greater international solidarity between the American people and people of Asia-Pacific region against all forms of US intervention, including economic intervention through the TPPA.

BAYANUSA is an alliance of 18 progressive Filipino organizations in the U.S. representing youth, students, women, workers, artists, and human rights advocates. As the oldest and largest overseas chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-Philippines), BAYANUSAserves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a  center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

Feb 13th NYC: Jose Maria Sison Book Launching, “Portrait of a Freedom Fighter”

Portrait of a Freedom Fighter
A Book Launching of the Selected Writings of Jose Maria Sison Vols. 1-4

Monday, February 13, 7-9pm
Bluestockings Bookstore

172 Allen Street (between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, New York 10002
Trains: F/M to 2nd Avenue or J/M/Z to Essex/Delancey Sts.

In the era of Occupy Wall Street, continuing US war and militarization overseas, and the worst global economic crisis in history, the work and writings of Dr. Jose Maria Sison on socialism, imperialist globalization, and peoples movements for national and social liberation prove to stand the test of time in their relevancy, including the 40+ year demonization campaign of US imperialism against him. Despite his listing as a so-called foreign terrorist by the US State Department, Dr. Sison is a well-respected poet, author, lecturer, former political prisoner, anti-imperialist activist, revolutionary and remains actively involved in peoples struggles against US foreign policy and for democracy. He is currently the international chairperson of the International League of Peoples Struggles (ILPS), a global formation of more than 350 organizations from 40 countries promoting, supporting and developing the anti-imperialist struggles of the peoples of the world. Dr. Sison has been living in political exile in the Netherlands for more than 25 years.

The Selected Writings of Jose Maria Sison, Volumes 1-4 is a comprehensive compilation of Sison’s writings on socialism, imperialism, war and plunder, peace, terrorism, and peoples resistance spanning over 40 years, a period of time in which Sison served as fiery young leader in the Philippine revolution.

Sponsored by ILPS NYC Local Organizing Committee and BAYAN USA

ILPS member organizations in the New York City area include Al-Awda NY, Anakbayan New York/New Jersey, Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), Frente Unidos de Inmigrantes Ecuatorianos (FUIE), International Action Center, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), NY May 1st Coalition, and Philippine Forum.

US Anti-War Activists, Peace Advocates Gather in Manila for Historic International Conference Amidst Looming US Military Presence in Region

News Release
Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA
email: chair@bayanusa.org

US Anti-War Activists, Peace Advocates Gather in Manila for Historic International Conference Amidst Looming US Military Presence in Region

Over 60 US-based anti-war activists composed one of the largest country delegations to the fourth international assembly of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), held last July 7-9 in San Mateo, Rizal. They were joined by over 430 delegates from East and West Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and Latin America in the largest assembly of ILPS since its founding in 2001. The assembly also marked the 10th anniversary of the global alliance of over 350 grassroots organizations and movements from over 40 countries worldwide.

Delegates from the BAYAN USA, the largest progressive Filipino-American alliance in the US, People Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER) and Chinese Progressive Association (CPA) in San Francisco, the International Action Center, the New York May 1st Coalition, and the Black Agenda Report were in attendance and participated in the various plenary and workshop sessions of the assembly that tackled issues such as US military aggression, US foreign military bases and operations, US-funded counter-insurgency operations, as well as worldwide struggles of workers, migrants, farmers, women, youth, and indigenous peoples in the face of neoliberal policies and continuing foreign economic intervention.

In addition to opposing ongoing US military aggression in in West Asia and North Africa, the assembly also united strongly in support several national movements asserting sovereignty against US domination and intervention, namely US-Israeli occupied Palestine, the Philippines, as well as progressive governments in Latin America such as that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Mexican singer-songwriter and migrant rights organizer Rosa Marta Zarate-Macias described the large gathering as “encountering a family I have chosen to be a part of. I came all the way from Mexico to the Philippines, only to find out that the struggles of people here in Asia and in Africa are the same as in Latin America. This gathering opened my eyes to our common struggle and our common adversary– the few wealthy families in our countries that serve the interest of the corporations and enslave the rest of the people.”

Kuusela Hilo, Vice-Chairperson of BAYAN USA and newly-elected member to the International Coordinating Committee (ICC), the lead body of the ILPS, stated, “The worsening global economic crisis continues to drive the intensification of the profit-driven US military-industrial complex, at the human cost of the peoples of the world, including the American people. The growing unrest in the US over deadly budget cuts on education, health care, as well as rising unemployment and joblessness must link with similar struggles abroad in order to effectively shake the current system and facilitate change. The ILPS can certainly be maximized as a global coordinating body to realize this.”

Hilo joins newly-elected ILPS Vice-Chairperson of External Affairs Bill Doares of the International Action Center and newly-elected ILPS Auditor Lyn Meza of Chelsea Uniting Against the War in Massachusetts in the ICC.

Key international campaigns adopted during the international assembly were also taken up by several US delegates, including a global campaign to dismantle the US foreign military bases and operations in over 700 posts worldwide.

In addition, San Francisco-based hip-hop performers Power Struggle, Seattle hip-hop MC Rogue Pinay, and acoustic acts Taospuso joined performers from Palestine, the Philippines, and Taiwan in a crowd-pleasing solidarity night and even performed throughout the assembly itself.

Delegates from the United States also committed to building a US country chapter of ILPS by next year. A country chapter in Canada was recently launched earlier this year, joining the roster of ILPS country chapters in Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, and Indonesia.

Earlier in the week, US missile ships dropped anchor in the South China Sea to engage the Philippine Navy in joint military exercises under the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty. The unpopular presence of the US military in close proximity to the Spratly Islands has moved international groups to protest the exercises as a maneuver to take advantage of the territorial dispute to provoke US-directed military aggression against rival superpower China and in the region.