Tag: Solidarity

Drop the Charges on Carlos Montes & Other US Anti-War Activists! Stop FBI & Grand Jury Repression!

Carlos Montes at rally following FBI / LA sheriff raid on his home. (via fightbacknews)

Press Statement – May 28, 2011
Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA
Email: chair@bayanusa.org

Drop the Charges on Carlos Montes & Other US Anti-War Activists! Stop FBI & Grand Jury Repression!

*sign the online petition to have the charges droppedinitiated by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression*

Filipino-Americans across the United States, under the banner of BAYAN USA, stand in solidarity with LA-based Chicano movement activist Carlos Montes, and dozens of other activists in the Minneapolis, Chicago, Grand Rapids and now Los Angeles areas who have been the recent targets of violent FBI raids in their homes and subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury. The trumped up charges against Montes include a violation of a firearm code while others in the Midwest have been charged with allegedly providing material support to US-listed terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Latin America. These subpoenaed activists are clearly being targeted by the state for their political beliefs at a time when social unrest grows over proliferating anti-people US policies and laws. We demand all these false charges by the US government be dropped and that the unconstitutional Grand Jury proceedings be canceled.

This resurrected US government campaign against progressives in the US hearkens back to the 1950’s McCarthyist witch hunts and the repressive campaigns that followed such as the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). These operations discarded constitutional rights and civil liberties in a violent effort to debilitate and paralyze target organizations such as the Black Panther Party (BPP) and other then-strong resistance movements within the US against wars of aggression, racism, and growing economic marginalization. The tactics being employed now follow suit with the Bush Doctrine of anti-terrorism, specifically fanning anti-terrorist hysteria by targeting US-based anti-war and international solidarity activists mobilizing support for national liberation organizations abroad against US intervention that have been listed as foreign terrorist organizations by the US State Department and in a effort to quell dissent and political activism in the US.

It will not work.

This recent spate of FBI raids and Grand Jury repression must be framed in the context of the worsening global economic crisis under US imperialism, the same crisis that spawned people’s upsurge in the Middle East, North Africa, and even Wisconsin. As the perpetrator of the crisis, monopoly capitalists via banks and large financial firms continue with their bail-out campaign of hoarding the world’s private and public wealth from the people worldwide, relying on governments in both industrialized and non-industrialized countries to suppress strong and emerging people’s resistance and international solidarity through escalating political repression. The targeting of legal activists such as Carlos Montes and many others lines up with the ongoing US-funded counter-insurgency operations in the Philippines and in other regions with strong national liberation movements. In the case of the Philippines, US-crafted counter-insurgency campaigns such as Oplan Bantay Laya under the former Arroyo administration and now Oplan Bayanihan under the current Aquino administration have directly resulted in over thousands unresolved assassinations, abductions, secret detentions, illegal arrests and torture of legal, aboveground, civilian activists. Like the subpoenaed activists in the US, these activists in the Philippines have been baselessly accused of being members of so-called front organizations for groups tagged as terrorists by the US such as the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA). An overwhelming majority of these targeted activists were and are associated with our mother alliance, BAYAN Philippines.

Furthermore, the US government’s terrorist list has been widely criticized for being arbitrary, unilateral, and unjust. Among those who, until recently, spent years on that US State Department’s list of foreign terrorists was 1993 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient and anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela. Another widely-respected figure in progressive circles worldwide tagged arbitrarily by the US as a terrorist for his politics is Professor Jose Maria Sison, international chairperson of the International League of Peoples Struggle, author, poet, and Filipino political refugee based in the Netherlands.

The insidious character of CIA and FBI operations throughout history and now currently is another level of imperialist warfare waged against the people, particularly people’s liberation struggles that threaten the interests of the world’s ruling elite and financial oligarchy. Like more overt US wars of aggression in the Middle East, the global spread of the US imperialism’s covert structure of reactionary violence in the form of CIA-crafted counter-insurgency operations, military bases and exercises, and even so-called “humanitarian” civic projects, is another expenditure footed by hardworking US tax-payers who must now contend with deadly budget cuts to healthcare, education, housing, and critical services as well as massive unemployment, union-busting, racism, and strong anti-immigrant hate legislation.

Carlos Montes and other targeted activists in the US represent all across the globe who stand for the cause of freedom, democracy, and justice. In addition, their courageous stand to not cooperate with the FBI and the Grand Jury proceedings remind us all that dissent and uprising are universal human rights and that people should never be targeted for their political beliefs. As an alliance of progressive Filipino organizations in the US actively educating and mobilizing our community against US intervention and structural reactionary violence in the Philippines, BAYAN USA recognizes that resistance is inevitably born, bred, and fueled by economic and political repression. The pain of hunger and thirst for freedom in the stomachs of the world’s impoverished by US imperialism overpowers any intimidating or suppressive force imposed by the reactionary state. As the reality of the economic crisis awakens class struggle in the United States, so does support and morale for righteous national liberation struggles abroad that have taken advantage of the conditions of the crisis to advance and reap peoples victories. Integral to this is advancing the movement for genuine democracy, human rights, and civil liberties in the world’s number one imperialist superpower.


BAYAN USA Stands in Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers, Supports Call for General Strike

News Statement
March 11, 2011

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

BAYAN USA Stands in Solidarity with Wisconsin Workers, Supports Call for General Strike

The unremitting campaign of the Wisconsin State legislature to illegally railroad the wildly unpopular budget bill proposed by Governor Scott Walker is being confronted head-on by a wave of people’s upsurge across the Midwestern United States led by workers. These are workers who are simply fed up and have lost their fear to fight for what belongs to them. Filipino-Americans across the United States, under the banner of BAYAN USA, salute this people’s upsurge, stand in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin, and support the growing call for a general strike right in the heart of world’s number one imperialist superpower.

The Wisconsin State Congress, and the corporate ruling elite they serve, are fools to think they could get away with such foul maneuvers as to ram both the State Senate and Assembly votes for the destructive bill by cutting out the budget portion in order to avoid the quorum requirement. In addition, these bandits in government convened for a vote without a 24-hour notice, as is required by law. This display of right-wing thuggery typifies a widening trend in state governments across the US to pass legislation aimed to strip people of their livelihood and dignity. Just as Arizona governor Jan Brewer pushed for anti-immigrant hate legislation emboldening armed racists and ensuring the deaths of migrants of color, Walker’s so-called budget repair bill unleashes wholesale attacks on unions, essentially stripping workers of their rights to organize and collectively bargain.

Much like the struggle of Filipino workers and peasants against the deadly impact of neoliberal globalization under a semi-feudal economy, the struggle against the Walker bill in Wisconsin is part of a larger global people’s resistance against the death trap that is monopoly capitalism, or imperialism. In this time of spiraling economic crisis, it is the direction of imperialism to aggressively campaign for its survival by hoarding public wealth, state subsidies, and intensifying its exploitation of workers for the extraction of superprofits. Inextricable to this campaign is the destruction of unions, or the collective power of workers to organize for their rights and welfare. The struggle against union-busting in Wisconsin is very much akin to the struggle of Filipino unions against the guns and goons of multinational corporations such as Nestle, Dole, Toyota, not to mention the likes of colluding landlord dynasties such as the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

It must also be noted that the Walker bill drive is bankrolled by none other than David and Charles Koch, better known as the Koch Brothers, the wealthiest industrialists in the US notorious for funding the likes of the extremist Tea Party. This allegiance to corporate oligarchy over public interest reeks of moral bankruptcy and thrives on human suffering. The workers fight in Wisconsin, and the growing united front across the country in support of it, is a glaring reminder that not even the US is exempt from straightforward, unapologetic class warfare. In these trying times for workers in imperialist countries, one of the most effective tools the people must use to stifle the capitalist bloodline of their governments is to paralyze production through a general strike.

The intensification of class struggle in the US via the workers struggle in Wisconsin must be supported by and linked to all other oppressed people’s resistance against imperialism and reaction worldwide. As an overseas alliance of Filipinos integral to the national liberation struggle of the Philippines, BAYAN USA links arms with all oppressed peoples in the US and calls for solidarity with Wisconsin workers through emulation of their example. On the heels of people power victories and continuing upsurge in the Middle East and North Africa, now more than ever these inspirational examples must lead to concrete and widespread peoples movements of which imperialism is no match. ###


BAYAN USA Statement of Solidarity with the Egyptian People’s Struggle

News Statement
January 31, 2011

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

Katie Joaquin of Anakbayan East Bay at the SF Rally in Solidarity with the Protests in Egypt and Tunisia, 1/29/11 (Photo by Sunshine Velasco)

Filipino-Americans Stand with the Egyptian People in Calling for Mubarak to Step Down

Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA are joining rallies across the United States in support of the Egyptian people’s courageous resistance and calling for an end to the US-backed dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. BAYAN USA is equally inspired by the national protest movements unfolding across North Africa and the Middle East, beginning with Tunisia, Yemen, Algeria, and now Egypt.

Despite mainstream media’s attempts to distort the protesters as Islamic extremists, the protests in Egypt clearly represent a broad, united front of various classes and sectors of Egyptian society that have grown sick and tired over deep, longstanding socio-economic problems including rising unemployment, food prices, widespread poverty, and government corruption. These are all exacerbated under the current global economic crisis coupled with over 30 years of Mubarak’s allegiance to US foreign policy–which stresses economic liberalization and privatization in the region– over the Egyptian people’s national interests.

The Filipino people are all too familiar with how the US hegemonic hand at the root of the Egyptian people’s misery is able to be sustained through puppet leaders such as Mubarak treating government as a private business rather than as a public service, otherwise known as bureaucrat capitalism. This was the case with the former US-backed dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, whose Iron Fist regime was no match for the popular people’s uprising known as People Power that ousted him from office in 1986. Unfortunately, this has also been the case with all the succeeding regimes in the Philippines.

The valuable lesson the Filipino people have learned from ousting two US puppet presidents through popular upsurge is that a change in leadership does not eradicate bureaucrat capitalism, domestic feudalism, nor foreign dictates. This must come from continuous struggle for structural change by way of a revolutionary mass movement.

Darah Macaraeg of League of Filipino Students-SFSU speaks at the SF Rally in Solidarity with the Protests in Egypt and Tunisia, 1/29/11 (Photo by Sunshine Velasco)

We are endlessly inspired by the Egyptian people’s fighting spirit and self-determination, and we demand the US government to withdraw all forms of support for Hosni Mubarak, who is now heavily-isolated. This especially includes all forms of US economic and military aid to Egypt. Considered one of the closes allies to the US government in the Middle East, Mubarak’s Egypt has enjoyed being the second largest beneficiary of US military aid in the world, receiving $1.3 billion in US tax dollars annually. We also call on the US government to respect and recognize Egyptian sovereignty by not interfering with Egyptian domestic affairs.

Lastly, we call on the people in the US to show their solidarity with the Egyptian people’s struggle by holding the Obama government and US ruling elite accountable for the burdensome economic crisis they have passed on to our backs, in forms such as skyrocketing unemployment and homelessness, critical cuts to education and health care, overbearing privatization of the social services, the prison industrial complex, and the rising costs of consumer goods. We call on the people in the US to strengthen and expand our unity against the US war machine waging costly imperialist wars of aggression abroad in the bogus name of democracy and freedom. This is amongst our best acts of solidarity for the Egyptian people and all other oppressed peoples of the world.


BAYAN-USA condemns Israeli massacre

Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary General, BAYAN-USA

BAYAN-USA Vehemently Condemns Massacre by Israeli Armed Forces of Volunteers Delivering Humanitarian Aid for Gaza
Filipino Alliance Joins Protest Actions Nationwide in Solidarity with Palestine

The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN-USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations in the US, vehemently condemns the barbaric killings of at least 19 humanitarian aid workers aboard the Freedom Flotilla which sought to bring much needed humanitarian aid to Gaza. The six ships had more than 700 civilians from more than 40 nations on board, including Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, European legislators, American citizens and diplomats including former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck.

BAYAN-USA joined emergency rallies in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City in response to Israel’s brutal assault on civilians. “We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims aboard the Flotilla who were murdered by the US-backed Israeli military,” stated Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson of BAYAN USA. “The attack on these volunteers further exposes Zionist-Israel’s complete disregard for the human rights of the people of Gaza and the people that stand in solidarity with Palestine,” elaborated Ellorin.

The Israeli government extended its violent aggression to international waters after it blocked and boarded the six aid ships and opened fire on the passengers. There is absolutely no justification for using force on any civilian conducting humanitarian relief missions.

“Let us also not forget that those aboard the flotilla were intent on delivering urgent humanitarian aid to thousands of devastated Palestinian families in Gaza,” Ellorin continued. “Reminding us that those who will ultimately suffer from the Israeli government’s unconscionable actions are those being starved by the Israeli government’s blockade– the suffering people of Israeli-occupied Gaza.”

The establishment of Israel and its systemic massacre and forced displacement of the Palestinian people is one of the greatest offensives of the US government in the Middle East that duly serves the interests of US imperialism to control the region economically and politically. Since the mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 and Palestine’s subsequent occupation by Israeli settlers, the US-backed Israeli government has violated the rights of the Palestinian people in their ancestral land. In recent years, the Zionist-Israeli state’s crimes against humanity include the inhumane economic blockade on Gaza and the unjustified 2008 bombings and massacre of more than 1000 Palestinians in Gaza, which have gone unpunished.

“The weak response of ‘regret’ from the White House further exposes the political and economic agenda of the US to allow the Zionist-Israeli state to get away with murder, even in international waters,” said Ellorin. “President Obama has a responsibility to serve the interests of the American people and ensure the safety of the American volunteers on the boats, including the American flagged-ship, the last ship of the Flotilla that is still en route to Gaza.”

Israel has been the largest recipient of direct economic and military aid from the US government since World War II. The hard-earned tax dollars of the people of the US are fueling these continuing attacks of the US surrogate government of Israel against the Palestinian people. At the same time, the global economic crisis is hitting the people of the US hard with massive job lay-offs, foreclosures, evictions, and budget cuts to health care and education.

BAYAN-USA calls on President Barack Obama and the US government to stop providing economic, political and military aid to the Israeli government. BAYAN-USA calls for an end to the occupation of Palestine by Israel and demands an immediate end to the inhumane blockade on Gaza.


Photos courtesy of BAYAN-USA, Kuusela Hilo, Mike Luat, and Christina Tam at protests in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.