SAT, 3/31: International Women’s Day Protest-Stop Wall St.’s War on Women

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FILIPINO WOMEN PROTEST WITH THOUSANDS IN OCCUPY WALL ST. MARCH ALONGSIDE UNIONS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST CAPITALISM AND THE PROTRACTED GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEPRESSION

News Release
October 8, 2011
References:
Irma Salvatierra Bajar, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment-NYC, email: fire.nyc@gmail.com
Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson, GABRIELA-USA, email: gabrielawomen@gmail.com

FILIPINO WOMEN PROTEST WITH THOUSANDS IN OCCUPY WALL ST. MARCH ALONGSIDE UNIONS AND COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST CAPITALISM AND THE PROTRACTED GLOBAL ECONOMIC DEPRESSION


NEW YORK, NY—On Wednesday, Filipino women of grassroots organization Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), under the banner of GABRIELA USA, a member organization of the newly formed International Women’s Alliance (IWA), joined a mass rally and march to Zucotti Park, the site of the 3-week-long Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City. The rally and march, organized by community organizations and labor unions, drew in thousands of participants and has been the largest demonstration since the launch of Occupy Wall Street. The rally commenced at Foley Square where more than fifteen public sector organizations and unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, United Auto Workers, and Transit Workers’ Union, gathered with other community and labor leaders to protest against income inequalities and poor public education in New York City.

FiRE marched with fellow BAYAN USA Northeast member organizations, Anakbayan New York, Anakbayan New Jersey, and the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, as well as with member organizations of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON). This Filipino contingent joined the “New York Communities Contingent” which included People’s Justice, Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, Picture the Homeless, and FIERCE. FiRE members chanted “The banks got bailed out. We got sold out,” carrying signs reading “No to Imperialist Globalization. End U.S. Economic Intervention.”

Malou Logan of GABRIELA Australia, which is also a member organization of the International Women’s Alliance, is visiting New York City and joined the march. Of the march she stated, “I joined the march in New York as an expression of my support, and to represent the voice of the Filipino women of GABRIELA Australia and MIGRANTE Australia. Wall Street is the financial capital of the world, the epitome of corporate greed that sucks all the profits labored by the immigrants and citizens of third world countries. We as immigrants in the U.S. and in Australia are forced to leave the Philippines to look for decent jobs for our families and the women workers bear the brunt of the financial crisis.”

Monica Moorehead, an organizer with the Women’s Fightback Network, and a steering committee member of the International Women’s Alliance says, “The Occupy Wall Street actions amount to a growing mass rebellion against the global capitalist economic crisis which has already devastated the lives of millions of people, especially women, and promises to destroy the future of the youth. This radicalization of youth must continue to open up political space for the workers, who are losing their jobs, their homes, their health care and their pensions, and the most oppressed, who face political repression in the form of police brutality, cutbacks in social services, and the prison industrial complex. The Occupy Wall Street actions must be wholeheartedly supported and continue to flourish throughout the globe until ‘Occupy the World’ becomes a reality, not just a slogan.  This dynamic movement inside the U.S. has been inspired by righteous occupations in Egypt, Tunisia, Greece, Spain and Wisconsin–many of them led by women.”

Irma Bajar, Chairperson of FiRE-GABRIELA USA, stated, “Women in the U.S. and all over the world have been fighting against capitalist exploitation, patriarchy, and multiple intersecting oppressions and discrimination. The enemy is this unfair capitalist system and imperialism. People across various immigrant communities and people of color have been standing in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. because people are fed up with the injustices and unfair systems.” Bajar continues, “As a Filipino American woman, I can connect the reasons why my mother had to leave the Philippines to the Occupy Wall Street struggle because of the economic conditions and joblessness there. Women are forced out of the country and legally trafficked by the Labor Export Policy that benefits imperialist countries like the United States and big corporations like Dole and Nestle.”

The International Women’s Assembly (IWA) successfully held its First General Assembly on July 5 and 6, 2011 in Quezon City, Philippines under the theme, “Advance the Global Anti-imperialist Women’s Movement! Strengthen the International Women’s Alliance!” FiRE-GABRIELA USA urges other anti-imperialist organizations to join us in fighting against capitalism and imperialism from the level of grassroots organizing expanding to global networks. Class consciousness becomes the basis for women to fight for economic equity, political rights, freedom of association, and to oppose colonial and imperialist wars.

FiRE endorses the United National Anti-war Committee’s Sat 4/9 Rally!

Filipinos demand
US Troops out of the Philippines
US out of the Middle East
An End to the Balikatan Exercises
To Scrap Oplan Bayanihan!
To End all Human Rights Violations now!

While the major wave of anti-war organizing in US history focused mostly on Vietnam in the 60s, today’s wars take on a different shape in the international sphere.

With bombings of communities in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, uprisings have spread around the world. As the international community, we must show solidarity with the people of these nations, and ensure that they aren’t left in isolation as imperialist nations, like the US, take advantage of a transforming Middle East.

Covert wars of imperialist aggression take place in the Philippines, as well. The heightened militarization of communities is justified through the annual Balikatan Exercises, or the bombing of civilian Filipino communities in the guise of war games between the United States and the Philippine military forces. Also, under Oplan Bayanihan, the Philippines’ war on terrorism, the Balikatan exercises are used to harass, disappear, and murder teachers, activists, journalists, organizers, and other community members, including women, children, and the elderly.

For women, any time there is an increase in military presence there is also an increase in forced prostitution, trafficking, cases of violence and beatings, and rape, such as in the case of Lance Corporal Smith, when he raped a Filipina named Nicole. Sex-subsistent economies surrounding military bases become the more common practice, as opposed to creating viable industries and sustainable forms of employment which would not leave Filipina women as vulnerable to exploitation.

With increased military presence all over the world, wars of imperialist aggression urge the formation of a strong and united anti-war coalition. As GABRIELA USA and FiRE NYC, we’ve endorsed the United National Anti-war Coalition’s, or UNAC, Rally this Saturday, April 9th at Union Square in New York City. Along with 500 other local, national, and international organizations and groups we demand all

US Troops out of the Philippines
US out of the Middle East
An End to the Balikatan Exercises
To Scrap Oplan Bayanihan!
To End all Human Rights Violations now!

Hope to see you at Union Square , this Saturday, April 9th at 12noon!

On the Ousting of Mubarak in Egypt

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Reference: Irma Bajar, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, fire.nyc@gmail.com

On the Ousting of Mubarak in Egypt

February 12, 2011

Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment congratulates Egypt on their triumphant show of people power in the ousting of Hosni Mubarak.  The 18 days the Egyptian people assembled in Tahrir Square has created an inspiration we hope to embody in our work in the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines. We will continue to stand with the people of Egypt, and honor the 300 people martyred to remove Mubarak’s oppressive U.S.- backed regime.  However, as we celebrate this victory for Egypt and peoples movements world-wide, we must intensify our demands as the international community and further defend the Egyptian revolution.

We must remain vigilant of foreign intervention in Egypt, as it models the common narrative in any tacitly U.S. occupied nation.  With the U.S. scrambling to find new imperialist allies to appoint in the next puppet regime, the U.S. government also fears the inspiration felt by Americans evoked by the uprisings in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  As those living in the U.S., we must hold the Obama administration accountable to the ways it quells and overtakes the growing mass movement in Egypt.  We must continue to stand in solidarity with the Egyptian people to deter the U.S. government from creating new political parties to appoint its new puppet regime, allow Egyptians a genuinely democratic electoral process, demand the U.S. withdraw military presence in the region, and stop sending the $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid to Egypt.

As the international community, we must remain vigilant of efforts initiated by the U.S. which will undermine the true democratic basis of the Egyptian revolution.  While this is an amazing victory for the Egyptian people, we must also acknowledge the thousands of Palestinians stranded in Egypt until the siege in Gaza ends.  We must not allow the U.S. and Israel to continue to use the Egyptian people as pawns or using Egypt as a strategic point of interest to control Palestine.  We must also stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people until Palestine is free!

We call on the women of the world to support the continued struggle in Egypt, and ensure it is free of U.S. dictates and interventions.   Filipinas, alongside all exploited women of the world, demand that the U.S. withdraw military presence in Egypt, including all forms of military repression, and covert military wars on civilian communities.  Physical violence, sexual assault, rape, and trafficking are specific consequences gravely affecting women and children in times of increased military presence.

As Filipinas living in the United States, we demand an end to all forms of U.S.  backed wars of aggression, and support Egypt’s revolution for national liberation and genuine democracy.  The most militant expression of international solidarity rests upon our duty as allies to heighten the contradictions in our own communities, and expose the claws of  imperialism.  We must end U.S. wars of aggression all over the world, and hold the Obama administration responsible for using civilians as pawns to protect imperialist interests.

End all U.S. military aid for wars of aggression!

Down with U.S. Imperialism!

Long live the people of Egypt!

U.S. out of North Africa and the Middle East!

U.S. out of the Philippines!

Long live international solidarity!

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