Tag: TPPA

US OUT OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION! NO TO THE US “PIVOT” TO ASIA!

US OUT OF THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION! NO TO THE US “PIVOT” TO ASIA!

Statement of US-based Asian-Pacific Islanders and Supporters of Peace
BAYAN USA, Nodutdol, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

Contact: aspacnot4sale@gmail.com

April 21, 2014

We, Asian and Pacific Islanders and peace-loving people in the US, denounce the US government’s strategic plan to increase economic, political, and military intervention in the Asia-Pacific region, as part of the so-called “US Pivot to Asia”. The said pivot aims to expand and consolidate long-running US hegemony over the region, as well as quell peoples struggles for social and national liberation across the Asia-Pacific region that have historically frustrated the interests of US empire.

We call for protests in April 2014, when US President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and the Philippines to further consolidate key allies in the region in line with its strategic economic and geopolitical agenda.

We stand with the peoples of the Asia-Pacific region who for decades have been struggling for self-determination and for genuine sovereignty amidst decades of US-led neoliberal economic policies in the region.

Speaking to a gathering of Pacific Islander leaders in the Cook Islands earlier in 2012, State Secretary Hillary Clinton reaffirmed U.S. resolve to intensify its presence in the Asia and Pacific region – “This is a vast and dynamic region – a key driver of global economics and politics. That’s why I have said that the 21stcentury will be ‘America’s Pacific century.’” (August 31, 2012) This was echoed by Defense Secretary Panetta on his tour of the region the following week – “The United States recognizes that the Asia-Pacific region is becoming more important in our economic and diplomatic and security interests.”

U.S. determination to increase its projection of power in Asia is also reflected in the Defense Department’s 2012 Strategic Guidance, which outlines plans to distribute flexible, rotational troop deployments throughout the Asia and Pacific region to ensure U.S. naval control of trade routes from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. The White House, the Defense Department, and the State Department have all pledged to protect its capacity for power projection in Asia from any future budget cuts.

Why the supposed pivot to Asia? Asia is the U.S.’ largest source of imports and the second largest export market after North America. Desperate to revive its ailing economy, the U.S. is scrambling to ensure its hegemonic power in the region. It is also wary of the growing regional influence of China – the world’s second largest economy and the largest trading partner of most of its neighboring countries. As Asian countries move towards greater regional economic integration – through bilateral trade agreements and regional institutions such as ASEAN – the U.S. wants to make sure that it, not China, is at the helm.

What does an increased U.S. presence mean for the region? We have already experienced decades of U.S. military presence in Asia and the Pacific with wars through Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and the U.S. are currently still engaged in wars with the Middle East. Now, Pentagon chief Panetta has pledged to shift the majority of U.S. forces (60%) to the Asia and Pacific region, and commit new advanced weapons, including 11 aircraft carriers, fast attack submarines, new cruise missiles, Aegis radar-equipped destroyers, Littoral Combat Ship, and space and cyberspace warfare capabilities. The U.S. has revived bases from the Vietnam War period throughout the region, while negotiating for new ones. In 2012 alone, it conducted over 20 joint military exercises and war games in the region.

Such concentration of military presence renews dangerous war threats in an already volatile region. On the Korean peninsula, the Obama administration has stopped all engagement and dialogue with North Korea. Instead, it regularly conducts US-ROK joint war games with tens of thousands U.S. troops and hundreds of thousands of South Korean troops, simulating the invasion and occupation of North Korea. The United States government is pressuring the South Korean government to pay more to host U.S. troops in Korea and South Korean taxpayers, already burdened with growing job insecurity and stagnant wages, have to pay the price. And on Jeju Island, the construction of a naval base designed to house U.S. aegis destroyers has cut off local fisher folk from the sea and is destroying sacred volcanic rocks and pristine coral reefs.

In the Philippines, once the site of the largest US permanent bases outside the mainland, the US has maintained a military presence in the country despite the historic Filipino people’s movement that led to the 1991 Philippine Senate’s rejection of the US bases treaty renewal. The US government has been able to maintain rotational, virtually-permanent military presence through the Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, and the annual Balikatan Joint Military exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The US government has also used Supertyphoon Haiyan tragedy as a pretext for increasing US military presence in the Philippines through disaster militarism. On his trip to the Philippines in April, Obama hopes to seal a new security deal with the Aquino government that would in effect convert all Philippine military bases into de facto US military bases.

The US government is also exploiting and intervening in regional territorial disputes in the South China Sea as well as in Northeast Asia, fanning strong anti-China sentiment to establish a pretext for greater military presence and deploy more warships.

To carve out its sphere of influence and ensure that economic integration in the region is modeled after its own rules and neoliberal framework, the U.S. is aggressively pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Billed “NAFTA on steroids” by some, the TPPA is the largest trade agreement in history and so far involves the United States, Malaysia, Peru, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei; Canada and Mexico have begun consultations to join the negotiations.

As with NAFTA, the TPPA will privatize public resources (including water) and social services; relax trade restrictions in favor of corporations; create mass unemployment, lower wages, and leave people with no choice but to migrate in search of work; and eliminate regulations that protect the environment and public health in order to protect corporate profits. Although the TPPA is called a “free trade” agreement, what it really does is secure rights for private corporations of developed nations; weaken the sovereignty of underdeveloped countries in the Asia-Pacific; and perpetuate neo-colonial relationships between developed and underdeveloped countries. The TPPA also violates basic principles of democracy; its negotiations are kept secret from the public and the full content of the agreement will not be made public until four years after the TPPA is completed and implemented.

The TPPA guarantees profits for corporate giants like Monsanto and Cargill but not job security or a living for U.S. workers. Continuing war threats abroad guarantee profits for Pentagon contractors but not increased security for the U.S. public. While the White House and the Pentagon are concerned about its “official” pivot to Asia, a growing number of people at home find themselves spending more of their income toward paying off debt, cut off from healthcare access, losing unemployment benefits, and/or facing unaffordable tuition hikes.

As supporters of peace in the U.S., we oppose U.S. war threats in Asia and the Pacific and the TPPA, and demand a reorientation of U.S. national priorities to place human needs and the environment above corporate profits. We are unified in our concern for the livelihoods and security of our sisters and brothers in Asia and the Pacific and envision a world that values local industries and small farmers; guarantees labor rights and food sovereignty; ensures access to social services for all; and prohibits corporate plunder of our environment. We resolve to fight the U.S. pivot to Asia and the Pacific in all its forms – including war games and intensifying war threats, the TPPA and corporate-driven trade agreements, and new weapons of mass destruction that cost U.S. tax payers resources that can otherwise be invested in education and healthcare.

US Out the Asia-Pacific Region!

Resist the TPPA! Asia-Pacific Not for Sale!

Long Live International Solidarity!

U.S. Out! A Teach-in Call/Webinar on the U.S. Military Pivot to the Asia Pacific and the Trans Pacific Partnership

Thank you to all 300+ people from six countries and 23 US states who participated in the teach-in! A recording of the webinar portion of the event can be accessed here: http://www.anymeeting.com/BAYANUSA/EF53DD828247. Please forward the link to others who may be interested in the issues of the military pivot and the TPPA.

Saturday, March 1, 2014
3-6 PM Pacific | 5-8 PM Central | 6-9 PM Eastern

Featured speakers:
Renato Reyes Jr., BAYAN Philippines
Hyun Lee, Nodutdol
Masao Suzuki, Freedom Road Socialist Organization
dåko’ta alcantara-camacho,Our Islands Are Sacred & ARKiology

 A live, real-time webinar with international speakers providing critical analysis of the Pivot and the TPPA from the viewpoint of people’s movements resisting the expansion of U.S. militarization and imperialism. Presentations followed by Q&A, brainstorming and planning for local, grassroots actions to oppose the military pivot and the TPPA, as well as ways to support organizing happening in countries in the Asia Pacific region.

To participate:
Online via webinar: Register at http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EA52D680884E3E. Participants must register to receive an individual-specific log-in link and password.
In-person: view webinar and participate in discussions at local teach-in sites hosted by BAYAN-USA. Locations:
o Long Beach (Southern California)

Long Beach Coalition Office
920 Atlantic Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90813

New York
Ya-Ya Network
224 West 29th Street
14th floor
New York, NY
closest train: 1 to 28th St or C/E to 23rd St.

o Portland
Buckley Center
205 at University of Portland
5000 N Williamette Blvd
Portland, OR 97203

o Stanford, Palo Alto
Pilipino Youth Leadership Conference
Room 220 @ Old Union Stanford
520 Lasuen Mall
Stanford, CA 94305

o San Francisco
SEIU Local 1021
350 Rhode Island St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

o Seattle
WAPI Community Services
3722 S Hudson St.
Seattle, WA 98118

Sponsored by BAYAN-USA, 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), BAYAN-USA serves 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.

Endorsers (partial list): Civilian-Soldier Alliance, Flush the TPP, International League of Peoples’ Struggle, Iraq Veterans Against War, Katarungan Center for Peace Justice and Human Rights in the Philippines, National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee, Occupy Long Beach, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Portland State University Kaibigan, popularresistance.org, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, SOA Watch, TradeJustice New York Metro, United National Anti-War Coalition, University of Portland FASA, Women for Genuine Security

If your organization would like to endorse this event, please email vc@bayanusa.org.

http://www.peoplepowermedia.net/portfolio-post/will-the-us-militarys-asia-pivot-escalate-human-rights-violations/

Filipino-Americans to Obama– “No to America’s Pacific Century!”

PRESS STATEMENT
October 7, 2012

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin
Chairperson, BAYAN USA
Email:chair@bayanusa.org

As the US military occupation of Afghanistan enters into its 11th year, Filipino-Americans across the US, under the banner of BAYAN USA, condemn the past 4 years of the Obama administration for continuing what is essentially the same international war campaign as its much-hated predecessor. As 4 years of the Obama administration continues its total war for oil policy in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia under the disguise of so-called “humanitarian missions” in conjunction with the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Obama administration has launched another war and militarization campaign towards the Asia-Pacific region, aiming for what US State Secretary Hillary Clinton has called a “America’s Pacific Century” one year ago this month.

War and Neoliberalism: 2-sides of the Same Coin

This campaign has both military and economic components. On one hand, the US pushes to shift its military might towards the region, including increasing its military basing facilities under the largest and most expensive of its global commands– the US Pacific Command (PACOM). In countries critical to this geopolitical strategy, such as the Philippines, increasing US military presence translates to greater human rights abuses committed by the Philippine military through US-funded counter-insurgency operations. There have also been documented US drone exercises in the Philippines, from which civilian deaths have been reported.

On the other hand, US military warfare works in tandem with its economic warfare through neoliberalism. Underneath the US military pivot to the region is its even more aggressive campaign to outline a US-dominated trade zone in the region through the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The massive scope of the TPPA sets it larger and more destructive to the sovereign integrity of the affected countries than that of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), launched under Clinton in 1994. The NAFTA experience sparked massive peoples awareness and resistance to the destructive character of the US neoliberal offensive, which sowed unspeakable poverty at the root of forced migration while destroying local industries, jobs, the environment, and allowed for patterns of gross human rights abuses.

Control of the Asian Market

The Obama administration frames its pivot to the region as an effort to isolate the threat of China, its main super-rival, even as the US maintains trade relations with China. What dictates the Obama administration’s military and economic moves in the region is its loyalty to the interests of US monopoly capitalism, or imperialism, which is faced with a worsening protracted global economic crisis created by its own neoliberal economic policy. Key to US imperialism’s survival of its own crisis– after wasting billions in its failed war campaign in the Middle East– is domination over Asia’s trade and commercial market, which accounts for over $1 trillion worth of the US export industry. The US ruling elite also sees the region as a source of cheap labor as it is home to 60% of the global workforce.

2-Party System vs Peoples Struggle

US imperialism maintains it control over the US government through its 2 major political parties. The past 4 years of the Obama administration have proven this through its continuation of Bush’s US foreign policy dependent on total war of aggression abroad, as well as a domestic policy dependent on war at home in the form of crippling budget cuts on the public sector in favor of privatization, expanding military and prison industrial complexes, and a wave of fascist legislation against the poor, immigrants, people of color, and the US constitution.

But the global economic crisis caused by imperialism has also borne greater peoples struggle and resistance all over the world. In the Philippines and all over Asia, anti-imperialist struggle heightens through national liberation struggles waged primarily through armed resistance. The same holds true in Afghanistan, Pakistan and across the Middle East/North Africa region where US and NATO forces continue its wars of aggression.

In this era of global economic crisis, US imperialism’s greatest threat is growing international resistance and solidarity. In this respect, Americans burdened by the effects of the same crisis here in the US must unite and raise the level of class struggle against monopoly capitalism’s 1% and forge solidarity with the broader global 99% abroad against the same enemy.

US OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES & ASIA-PACIFIC REGION!
US OUT OF AFGHANISTAN & THE MIDDLE EAST/NORTH AFRICA REGION!
STOP THE US DRONE STRIKES!
STOP THE TPPA! STOP THE US NEOLIBERAL OFFENSIVE!
DOWN WITH US IMPERIALISM!
LONG LIVE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY!

BAYAN-USA 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), BAYAN-USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of thePhilippines and as a center for educating, organizing, and mobilizing anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

BAYAN USA Stands in Solidarity with OWS, Chicago Teachers Strike, & All Efforts to Build People Power!

NEWS STATEMENT
September 17, 2012

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin
Chairperson, BAYAN USA
Email: chair@bayanusa.org

On the 1st anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA salute and stand in solidarity with all groups in the United States who are organizing against increasing economic inequality and mobilizing in the streets. This includes the inspiring example set forth by the courageous Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) which recently voted to continue on with their historic strike against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s aggressive neoliberal offensive to privatize the city’s public education system, despite the latter’s threats and attempts to thwart their actions.

At a time when the 2-party electoral system in the US is spending gross amounts of money on political mudslinging and celebrity-glitzed conventions, the worsening global economic crisis brought about by the financial oligarchy– also known as the 1%, whose interest both parties represent in government–is driving working people in the US into greater desperation to survive. Despite the superficial economic growth championed by the Obama administration, the real US economy suffers from an ever-increasing federal defense budget, deepening jobs depression, growing public debt crisis, and wide-scale economic deregulation and privatization of the public sector. More and more Americans are left with no choice but to organize and resist increasing neoliberal offensives within the US that are akin to the neoliberal offensives launched by the US government abroad.

TPPA–Washington’s Secret Neoliberal Offensive

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)–the new free-trade agreement being pushed by the Obama administration since 2008–is one of the most egregious examples of how the current administration is renewing US neoliberalism on a grander scale than of the advent of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) back in the 1994. The 14th round of secret negotiations over the drafting of the TPPA, which just recently concluded in Leesburg, Virginia this past weekend, was met with protest rallies organized by multi-sectoral groups, including labor unions, who would be negatively impacted upon the agreement’s implementation. Dubbed “NAFTA on Steroids” by policy analysts, one only need to look at the destructive impact of NAFTA on job industries, labor conditions, rural communities, food and agriculture, the environment, and in social relations within the signatories of the agreement, including within the US, to have a glimpse of what’s in store for the Asia-Pacific region with the TPPA.

US economic intervention and consolidation over the Asia-Pacific region cannot exist without political and military intervention. As such, the Obama administration continues to implement it’s so-called military rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, beefing up its war economy tied to a super-profitable US military industrial complex, all the while sowing an anti-China scare propaganda campaign to justify its military posturing in the region. With a constant threat of war and economic intervention, this pivot to the Asia-Pacific will wreak havoc in the lives of the people in that region. On the other hand, it also spells a bleak future for working people in the U.S. who will be met with increasing unemployment, layoffs, and limited access to basic social services and civil rights.

2012 US Elections: What Matters is Most is People Power

During this US election period, what matters most is not who to vote for in the November 2012 elections, but rather what is the future of organized peoples resistance against neoliberalism at home and abroad, and sustaining a movement for economic equality in the US? Will the union strikes in Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street, and the Chicago teachers strike be relegated into isolated spurts of class outrage of the 99% versus the 1%, or will they continue on and coalesce into a broader peoples movement for change, with an alternative vision and platform of concrete reforms to demand from traditional politicians in Washington?

There remains numerous examples in world history of how organized people power, built from the parliament of the streets, have challenged the reactionary and anti-people character of state governments, at times bringing traditional politicians to their knees. More recent examples include the Arab Spring, the continuing workers strikes and anti-austerity actions across Europe, as well as others. BAYAN USA believe the worsening economic crisis worldwide and its growing impact on the American people presents the best framework for continuous organizing in the US and the prospects for building a people power movement, especially when organizing against economic inequality in the US is linked in solidarity with counterpart peoples struggles against neoliberalism in developing countries.

BAYAN-USA 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), BAYAN-USA 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. For more information, visit www.bayanusa.org

###