Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May 1st Statement

May 1, 2007

Reference: Chito Quijano, Chair, BAYAN USA, email: chair @ bayanusa.org

Filipinos Unite With All Immigrant Workers vs.
Domestic War Inside World's #1 Labor-Hosting Beast
Statement of Solidarity of the US Chapter of BAYAN for the Great American Boycott II

Justice for all immigrants!

Today, May 1, 2007, the mass movement of immigrants and workers in the United States will rise up in unity against the intensified attacks and repressive state measures of the US government versus the ranks of the common working people, both foreign and US-born. The US Chapter of BAYAN, an umbrella coalition of multi-sectoral organizations fighting for social change in the Philippines and building resistance against US foreign policy will be amongst the ranks of those taking to the streets in major US cities for the continuation of the Great American Boycott for immigrant rights.

We also remember and salute Filipino migrant workers in the US such as domestic worker Fely Garcia and the courageous Sentosa nurses still struggling for justice amidst oppressive legislation and policy.

It's important to remember that the United States is the number one labor-hosting nation in the world. It imports mass droves of workers from developing nations to service the cheap labor needs of its monopoly capitalist economy. A huge percentage of these workers come from Latin America, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific global regions, whose countries suffer from the maldevelopment imposed by US-led neoliberal globalization and its agents, a form of war against the smaller economies of nations to stunt development and progress, and hence incapacitate countries to feed and sustain life for its own citizens.

The Philippines is among the top three labor sending countries in the world, with the most foreign-dependent economy in the world. Natural resources are plundered and internal work industries are not allowed to flourish. This drives the county's basic problems of landlessness, joblessness, and deepening poverty. Every day, at least 3000 Filipinos exit the Philippines to search for work abroad. In fact, migration is so ingrained in Philippine culture, the US-structured education system is molded to rear Filipino children dreaming of serving their country best by leaving it as trained and skilled professional workers versus serving their own countrymen. This is the hard reality for a majority of the world's workers driven by the global engine of poverty and the desire to survive it.

But the dream of greener pastures abroad can quickly shift to nightmares once immigrants land jobs in labor-hosting countries.

Here in the United States, the legislators and organs of government seek to create bills to manipulate the flow of immigration to create a large underclass of skilled workers that are cheap, docile, and enslaved. By restricting basic human rights against the economic desperation of migrant workers, they are assured they can revive slavery in practice the US without ever having to call it slavery.

Filipinos in the US are certainly not exempt from this oppression. Filipinos remain the 3rd largest immigrant group in the US, with over 60,000 entering the US workforce annually.

The historic Filipino migrant struggles lived by Carlos Bulosan and Philip Vera Cruz continue with the criminal neglect of Filipina domestic worker Fely Garcia, the mass trafficking of Filipino health workers by the Sentosa Recruitment Agency in New York, and the intensified raids and deportations of Filipino families under the auspices of Homeland Security. The inhumane raids and deportations of the Immigration & Customs Enforcement, or ICE, continue to tear Filipino parents apart from their children in the middle of the night, incarcerating Filipinos with other targetted communities as if they were convicted criminals and sometimes worse-- animals.

These outline the reasons why more and more Filipinos must join the current fight for immigrant rights.

Last year's passage of two such legislative bills in the Senate and House of Representatives illustrated how even after over 200 years of the United States existence as an independent nation-- according to the charters of white European settlers who migrated, wiped and destroyed the already thriving indigenous nations to whom the land originally belonged-- systemic racism, xenophobia, and slave-driven perspective of the country's elite still remains dominantly expressed in US immigration and labor laws that impact the country's workforce.

This is not the case for the US working class and the world's immigrant workers in the US. Among these ranks are the sharpest lines that can see through the maneuvers of the anti-immigrant, anti-worker state precisely because they continuously bear the heaviest brunt of state oppression. As the rich continue to thrive and the poor working class get poorer, the passage of the two bills triggered a high show of unity as millions took to the streets for the largest mobilizations in the history of the world's so-called "melting pot".

The defeat of HR 4437 and SB 2611 remind us all of the power of united peoples, and more importantly, united working peoples, to strike blows against this said oppressive system. As was the lessons learned from the Black Civil Rights Movement before us, movement on the streets is what will churn the vacillating positions of US legislators and bring about a true and genuine comprehensive immigration reform.

BAYAN Philippines, as represented by its US Chapter BAYAN USA, has always championed the leadership of the working class as the vanguard of such social movements for just and lasting social changes. Even the historic criminal neglect for Filipino migrants by the US lackey Philippine government and the daily killings of anti-war and anti-globalization advocates in the Philippines, now spearheaded by the heavily-isolated and unpopular Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime, cannot stop the growing movement in the Philippines and the movement of Filipino immigrants around the world for justice, democracy, and freedom from foreign domination.

We salute the US and foreign workers making history once again with the Great American Boycott II. Let us continue to unite all peoples against the US government's war against immigrants from its own backyard.