Blog

ILPS extends its solidarity with the people of the US against the criminalization of immigrants and intensification of the US War of Terror

Office of the Chairperson

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

The International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) extends its firm solidarity with the people of the US, especially the millions of immigrants and their supporters who have taken to the streets in order to oppose the “Border Protection, Homeland Security, and Illegal Immigration Act, also known as HR4437. We salute and congratulate you for your resounding success in mobilizing yourselves and standing up for human rights against the criminalization of immigrants and the intensification of the US war of terror against the oppressed nationalities of the Americas and in other parts of the world.

The massive rallies that surged up in the last few weeks in various US cities, signals the waking of the sleeping giant that is the immigrant communities and oppressed nationalities within the belly of the imperialist beast. It is a just cause to defend and fight for the human dignity and democratic rights of twelve million immigrants and their supporters against imperialist oppression, racism and the looming monster of fascism. Such a just cause enjoys abundant support throughout the world.

House Resolution HR4437 or the Sensenbrener Act, named after US Congressperson F. James Sensenbrenner would have made routine immigration violations “aggravated felonies” and having routine contact with an undocumented person a felony. The measure would have criminalized whole immigrant communities, as well as individuals or organizations that provide basic social services to the millions of undocumented individuals residing and working in the US. Immigrant advocates, lawyers, priests, service providers and employers would be subject to heavy fines and prison time if they refused or otherwise failed to report their client to the authorities.

While these provisions would have been totally unworkable given the millions of people it would criminalize, it would have no doubt led to intensifying immigrant scapegoating, racial profiling, and providing the license or legal device for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to go after critics, political opponents, and advocates of immigrant and civil rights. Congressman Sensenbrener, the author of this bill which passed the House of Representative in December 2005, is the same person who in June 2005, shut down the House Judiciary meeting on the Patriot Act when his congressional colleagues began to raise tough questions about the curtailment of civil rights in the US and the Bush administration policy on the use of torture.

Besides the egregious attacks against immigrants, the bill also includes billions of dollars for the construction of a wall between the US and Mexico border and billions more just to study the feasibility of building a wall on the border of the US and Canada. These provisions surely were pushed by US corporate interests that stand to benefit through billions of dollars worth of government contracts. These proposed walls promise to further isolate Americans from the rest of the world, and will burden generations of American taxpayers. Surely, this boondoggle will misdirect public funds away from the basic services that the American working people need.

The unprecedented mobilizations of the immigrants and their supporters during the last few weeks have definitely jolted members of the House Judiciary Committee into putting out a version of the bill with a few of the most punitive sections left out. The bill is still replete with provisions that are obnoxiously punitive, biased and discriminatory. Moreover, the bill being considered by the Senate is still fatally packed with extreme provisions that would effectively bar millions of people from the chance to earn legalization, take away the right to a fair hearing, legalize the indefinite detention of non-citizens, and allow domestic military bases to be used for immigration detention.

Since the major mobilizations in Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix, and the million-person Gran Marcha in Los Angeles, there has been continuous mobilization of communities””from high school walk-outs to hunger strikes, and now the call for a 40 city national mobilization on April 10. These are promising signs for the further development of a sustained movement for democratic rights against imperialism, fascism and racism. While some are calling this the new civil rights movement, ILPS hopes that the rising consciousness, broad mobilization, and alliance building are revitalizers of a much-needed anti-imperialist movement in the heartland of the number one imperialist nation in the world.

This latest attack against immigrants in the US is an intensification of the US War of Terror on all oppressed nationalities. Your struggle is one with the struggle of people around the world against US imperialist aggression and outright disregard for human rights. We fully support you in refusing to be scapegoated and labeled as terrorists and criminals. The real terrorists in the world are the imperialists and their local reactionary accomplices that oppress and exploit the people and force an increasing number of them to emigrate, especially to the US, which has aggrandized itself with resource-grabbing and superprofits under the auspices of neoliberal globalization and the US permanent war of terror against the people of the world.

The International League of Peoples’ Struggle looks forward to your ever greater success in organizing and mobilizing more millions of people on April 10 and in subsequent actions to further condemn and isolate the crisis-ridden and increasingly repressive US imperialism, particularly under the aggressive and rapacious Bush regime. We call on the ILPS participating organizations in the US to join in the forthcoming mass actions, as they have done since last month. We also call on the ILPS participating organizations all over the world to make manifest their fervent solidarity with and militant support for all the oppressed nationalities in the US and the millions of immigrants who have risen up to oppose the ever hateful anti-people policies of the US monopoly bourgeoisie.

Filipinos in New York take a stand for immigrant rights; call for Filipinos to march on national day of action on April 10th

Reference: Henry Soliveres, Justice 4 Immigrants Filipino Coalition (J4I)
phone: 718-565-8862
email: justice4immigrants@yahoo.com

Queens, NY– The block-long Filipino commercial district of Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens was the site of over 150 loud and proud Filipino immigrants, allies, and others who participated in an outdoor demonstration and noise barrage for immigrant rights last Sunday, April 2nd.

“We Filipinos who are forced to migrate abroad to provide for our families back home, whose contributions are invaluable to the US economy and the American people, are standing with the millions of immigrants in the US who are coming out of the shadows to fight for our basic human and civil rights. We will not be cowed into further marginalization and sit quiet as legislative bills in the Senate spell-out various degrees of immigrant repression. We are mobilizing and asserting our rights even as the Arroyo government back home has openly announced it will do nothing to issue protection for us,” stated Henry Soliveres of the Justice 4 Immigrants Filipino Coalition.

The Justice 4 Immigrants Filipino Coalition (J4I) is comprised of concerned Filipino organizations and individuals in the New York and New Jersey areas who united as early as late December, when the controversial Sensenbrenner Bill (HR 4437) passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin, alarming many immigrant communities of a heightening anti-immigrant climate within US legislative circles.

Last Sunday’s rally, organized by J4I, was the largest New York gathering of Filipinos to denounce the passing of HR 4437 and to call for just and humane immigration reforms such as a path to legalization and an overhaul of the tedious visa backlog system that has kept so many immigrant families painfully apart. The US Senate portion of the immigration debate is currently happening in Washington DC, while immigrant-led protest actions are continuing to take place nationwide.

It is also part of the buildup for an even bigger national demonstration for immigrant rights scheduled for Monday, April 10, 3-7pm with a massive convergence in front of New York City Hall. J4I is actively calling on Filipinos to participate and organizing a Filipino contingent.

Publicized as a Pagtitipon para sa Legalisasyon (community gathering for legalization) by the organizers, the event started off as early as 9:30am with an indoor forum on immigration legislation and a status report on the Senate deliberations at the Perlas Ng Silangan Restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue.

By 11am, the congregation moved outdoors and marched from 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, passing the number of Filipino restaurants and businesses lined along the street such as Sally’s, Renee’s Kitchenette, Johnny Air Cargo, Krystal’s, Barrio Fiesta and other immigrant-owned storefronts. Filipino and non-Filipino patrons and staffers cheered visibly with support for the marchers, some even walking out to join the march. Vehicles driving by honked their horns also in support.

Colorful banderitas reading “Yes to legalization, No to Deportation” were hung along the awnings of various Filipino-owned storefronts, creating an atmosphere that was not only militant, but celebratory of immigrant diversity.

“It is beautiful to see our Filipino community invigorated by our own collective strength. This is a long battle for us against the wave of repressive bills in the US Congress right now. But even the debate in Capitol Hill is no match for the united voices of immigrants out on the streets. It is even more important now for Filipinos to unite and keep the pressure on our senators and other politicians who cannot ignore our demands,” stated Steve Raga of the Sandiwa National Filipino-American Youth Organization.

There are over 4 million Filipinos in the US, the third largest immigrant community in the US, with one of the largest undocumented populations. An average of 60,000 Filipinos migrate to the US each year. In 2005, overseas remittances to the Philippines from Filipinos in the US totaled to approximately $6 billion, a key factor in keeping an otherwise dilapidated and ravaged Philippine economy afloat.

Rallyists were also keen on focusing on the criminal negligence of the Arroyo administration back in the Philippines, whose aggressive labor export policy pushes an average of 3000 Filipinos abroad daily to find work, yet has no sufficient program of protection for its overseas nationals when hit hard by racist and repressive laws abroad.

In a recent statement, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Gilberto Asuque mentioned “the best we can do is monitor developments in the US Senate…. Filipinos in the US who are in violation of US immigration laws should come home.”

“But what if these laws US legislators are issuing are blatantly anti-people and in violation of basic human rights, such as the US immigration system for the last few decades? It is shameful that the Arroyo administration, which cashes in immensely from the tens of billions of dollars in our remittances, will not stand up in defense for its own people abroad. There are at least eleven Latin American countries who sent foreign ministers to Washington DC to lobby for more just and humane immigration laws. It is wrong that the Philippines is not one of them,” stated Alan James Alda of the youth organization Anakbayan.

“That is the response of the Arroyo government, which is clearly not OUR government,” stated an unidentified Filipina domestic worker and rallyist in response to the DFA.

As members of the April 10th Network Steering Committee, the J4I Coalition and its member organization Philippine Forum are organizing a Filipino contigent that will meet at 1:30pm at the northeast corner of Broadway and Wall Street in Downtown Manhattan before joining the main rally. All are welcome to join.

Member organizations of J4I include Anakbayan, Critical Filipino/Filipina Studies Collective, Kinding Sindaw, Migrante International, Movement for a Free Philippines, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Philippine Forum, and Sandiwa National Fil-Am Youth. All Filipino organizations are welcome and encouraged to join. For more information, contact J4I care of Philippine Forum at 718-565-8862 or by emailing justice4immigrants@yahoo.com.

A picture gallery of the April 2nd NYC demonstration is available on www.migrante-ny.blogspot.com.

[LFS-SFSU] Mabuhay si Cris Hugo at ang Kilusang Kabataan

Reference:
Joshua Castro
Secretary General, League of Filipino Students (LFS)
San Francisco State University (SFSU)
lfssecgen@bayanusa.org

San Francisco, CA – The theme of League of Filipino Students candle light vigil for murdered youth leader Cris Hugo was Mabuhay, or long live. The event took place on Thursday, March 30 in Malcolm X Plaza at the SFSU campus. The solemn cloudy sky symbolized the grief of members, allies, and individuals who came out to celebrate Cris Hugo”s life and his dedication to the National Democratic movement.

The news of Cris’s murder outraged members of League of Filipino Students and other community members. Princess Bustos, Co-Mass Campaigns Officer expressed that, “We were not at all surprised by Cris’s murder. We know that the fascist US puppet regime of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is willing to take any action in order to maintain her power, even if it means taking the life of Cris or any other organizer working with the people for justice. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo repeatedly proves that her administration will pull any string to silence the ever growing dissent of the people against her iniquitous and vicious administration using the Armed of Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP),” Bustos added.

League of Filipino Students, in addition to the candle light vigil urged other community organizations, supporters, individuals, and members of the international community to sign an online petition demanding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo take responsibility for Cris’s murder and the rising rate of human rights violations occurring under her watch. More than thirty activists this year alone have been killed while at the same time the fraudulent Macapagal-Arroyo regime continues to blindly and shamelessly neglect the cry of the people for answers and justice.

Community allies spoke of the vigor of the youth and student resistance and our importance in creating change through arousing, mobilizing, and organizing. The night also included statements from babae, a Filipino women’s organization, BAYAN USA, (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan), an alliance of National Democratic organizations in the US, and AnakBayan Honolulu. Also present were other student organizations from San Francisco State University campus, like Asian Student Union (ASU), Pilipino American Collegiate Endeavor (PACE), General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS), and the Black Student Union (BSU), among others. The statements called for the ouster of the number one puppet of the USA, President Macapagal-Arroyo and for an end to the killings of youth and student activists.

The evening was also filled with poetry and music as members of League of Filipino Students demonstrated and articulated their indignation and grief over Cris’s murder. The poetry spoke of the Filipino people’s resistance and their struggle for liberation against imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, semi-feudalism, and semi-colonialism. League of Filipino Students kept the event focused on the countless human rights violations that the remorseless and ferocious President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime continues to commit against the Filipino people.

Bustos also mentioned that. “Cris Hugo’s death is a call for all youth and students to take action. The murder of a student activist symbolizes that the tyranny and brutality of the fake presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is escalating. We must continue to intensify our fight.” League of Filipino Students stands in solidarity with other progressive organizations calling for the ouster of the ruthless Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Regime. League of Filipino Students also extends their warmest and militant condolences to Cris Hugo’s family and friends. Cris will be missed and we vow to keep his memory alive.

MABUHAY SI CRIS!
LONG LIVE THE YOUTH AND STUDENT MOVEMENT!
END THE KILLINGS OF OUR YOUTH AND STUDENT ACTIVIST!!
JUSTICE FOR ALL HUMAN RIGHTS VICTIMS!
U.S. OUT OF THE PHILIPPINE!!
OUST THE NUMBER ONE U.S. PUPPET AND FASCIST PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO!

For more information please go to: www.lfs.kilusan.net
www.bulatlat.com
www.bayanusa.org Online petition: www.petitiononline.com/LFS415

League of Filipino Students- San Francisco State University is an anti-imperialist, pro-people, pro-national democracy organization serving the youth and student sector.

British parliamentarians sign up vs illegal arrest of Ka Bel, political repression of Philippine solons

From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran
Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006 Tel. # (+632) 426-9442
Email: crispinbeltran@gmail.com
URL: http://www.geocities.com/ap_news

There, too, is an ongoing signature drive in the British House of Commons, but it’s definitely not about Charter Change.

Instead, British parliamentarians are signing up in concern over the political harassment directed against fellow Philippine solons from the ‘Batasan 6’.

An Early Day Motion (EDMs) filed by the Lower House of the United Kingdom has been tabled by Members of Parliament (MPs) last March 22 and has drawn attention to the illegal arrest and detention of Anakpawis Congressman Crispin Beltran and the continuing harassment of opposition politicians in the Philippines and trade union leaders.

Members of Parliament use EDMs to draw attention and debtate to an issue and to canvass support for their views by inviting other Members to add their signatures in support of the motion. EDMs remain open for signature for the duration of the parliamentary session. The House of Commons consists of 646 MPs.

Neil Gerard MP of the Labour Party filed the EDM. Currently, 39 MPs have already signed up in support of the EDM. Three (3) signatures come from the from the Conservative Party, thirty-three (33) from the Labour Party, two (2) from the Liberal Democrats, and one from the Social Democratic and Labor Party.

“That this House notes with serious concern the detention of opposition politicians and trade union and community leaders during the recent State of Emergency declared by President Arroyo in the Philippines (Presidential Proclamation 1017)$B!D(B notes that many of those arrested remain in detention despite the lifting of the State of Emergency, and in particular Congress member Crispin Beltran, who is 73 years old and a long-time trade union leader and representative of workers and farmers in the Philippine Congress,” the EDM states.

The EDM also “notes with concern that five other members of the House of Representatives (Satur Ocampo, Teodor Casino, Joel Virador, Liza Maza and Rafael Mariano) are unable to leave the Congress building, which is surrounded by police under orders to arrest them, despite the fact that no judge has issued any arrest warrant”.

It also calls attention to the “the rising number of disappearances and killings of trade union and community leaders in the Philippines, and urges the Government to express to President Arroyo and the government of the Philippines its deep concern at the ongoing attacks on human rights in the Philippines, the continued detention of Congressman Crispin Beltran, and the current harassment of senior opposition politicians”.

The EDM was tabled in response to an appeal and action alert by UNISON International, a public sector union, on the political harassment of progressive parliamentarians.

(For the complete names of MPs who signed, please refer to the website: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=30358&SESSION=875 ).