Activism


<<< *note: the below was originally delivered as a talk at THIS Human Rights Day event in Toronto >>>

*HRday2014-v3.002

photo by afelipe

2014 has been a hellava year.  We have seen our communities besieged by horrible new atrocities, the continuance of others, and the growth of public rage.  From the continuing occupation of Palestine, to the never-ending war on terror.  From the police impunity seen in the the murders of Michael Brown & Eric Garner, to the continuation of the two tiered justice system for our First Nations sisters and brothers.

Meanwhile in the Philippines climate change disasters, partner with militarization, the return of US bases, attacks on activists and the poor, and a worsening economy to increase the peoples suffering. And here in Canada (where the Philippines has been the number one source country for migrants since 2009) we’ve seen legal changes that seek to punish migrant workers for the sacrifices they are forced to make due to poverty

Against all this our peoples have been fighting back.  Through acts of anger and acts of organized resistance. (more…)

* I am currently back in the Philippines for the summer, this is my first of hopefully regular blog entries…

** translation notes: Kuya=Older Brother, Tito=Uncle, Lolo=Grand dad, Ate=older sister

 

My Philippines knows that America has never been our friend.  But the Philippines is also made up of many who see things another way.  Both coexist, and both are made up of the people that I still hold out hope for, that I still believe can stand on their own two feet, even if it means working up the nerve to take what it deserves.

So yeah.  Obama came by the other day.

The US presidential visit came and went on 28-29 April and most people were very welcoming of him and the new PH-US Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement to surrender more sovereignty over to kuya USA.  “America the good.”  The Philippines is one of the few countries left in the world that generally still believes this. (more…)

 [The above video is a NEW video that I just posted (3 June)]

This morning Saturday 1 June 2013, I and other from associated ILPS Canada organizations–including an Filipina indigenous woman–will be headed up to northern Ontario (four hours north of Thunder Bay) to work on a grassroots project led by the women of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen.

She and I will not only be there to help with the project, but also to build bridges between the struggles of the First Nations and the Philippines–especially between our indigenous peoples. (more…)

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Poster designed by Ysh Cabaña

*** The below was delivered as a spoken endorsement at the “Formal Launching of Electoral Campaign in Toronto: Migrante Partylist and Teddy Casiño” ***

I’ve been giving thought as to what to say tonight in support of Migrante Sectoral Partylist (#96 on your ballot) and Teddy Casiño of Bayan-Muna for Senator (#6).

I considered talking about how human rights violations are still rampant in the Philippines.  How over 1300 extrajudicial killings have taken place since the regime of Gloria Arroyo and have not slowed during the term of Mr ‘Matuid Na Daan’ Aquino.  Included here is the killing of Christina Jose just a couple weeks ago.  She was a human rights defender fighting for the rights of the survivors of Typhoon Pablo, survivors so neglected that they were forced to bravely take actions to claim the relief goods owed to them.

I considered talking about the fact that illegal detention, disappearances and torture are still rampant in our country.

I considered talking about how the fact that there is no national industrialization policy and mass poverty are combining with all the other factors to drive our people out. (more…)

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by alex felipe (alexfelipe.photographer@gmail.com)

The Connecticut mass shooting was a tragedy, it was the seventh this year alone. The media, mainstream and social, have been ablaze with justified outrage. Many fingers are being pointed in so many directions that for those seeking to understand why, they would equally be justified in being left in a daze.

The Western Left, in its decades long insecurity, has allowed the field to be dominated by voices placing blame on symptoms rather at the root cause.

The aftermath of Newtown has shown the need for a coherent and inclusive narrative from the Left. Instead, what we see are calls for small reforms to the system that has already failed us.

It’s time for the Left to step up. To again allow itself to think big. To again dare to put forward a grand narrative. (more…)

Image*The below was a talk I delivered on 9 Dec 2012 at an International Human Rights Day event in Toronto, Canada*

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Today we celebrate International Human Rights Day.  We believe that the resistance borne of the struggle for the rights of the people is truly something to celebrate.  That said it is also fair to ask ‘why?’

Well the truth is, we don’t celebrate Human Rights, we celebrate the rights of people.

As Wendy Brown writes in “Human Rights and the Politics of Fatalism:”

[H]uman rights are vague and unenforceable; their content is infinitely malleable; they are more symbolic than substantive… in their primordial individualism; they conflict with cultural integrity and are a form of liberal imperialism; they are a guise in which super-power global domination drapes itself; they are a guise in which the globalization of capital drapes itself; they entail secular idolatry of the human and are thus as much a religious creed as any other.

In contrast People’s Rights look at the rights of the people as a whole; the rights of communities over the benefit of the individual; the right to rebel.  (more…)

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poster by ysh cabaña

*This is the copy of a talk I gave at U of T on 23 Nov 2012 at an event held by the Philippine Press Club of Ontario…

Today is marked the “Day to End Impunity” by media organizations around the world.  This day was chosen because three years ago in the Philippines, the largest single massacre of journalists in the world took place when the politically powerful Ampatuan clan, attacked the convoy of the politically powerful Magudadatu clan resulting in 58 deaths, including 32 journalists.

We at BAYAN-Canada support this call: to end impunity, to end corruption, to end human rights violations.  But to reach this end, to truly achieve this, we need to examine why despite worldwide condemnation the climate of impunity persists.

Do human rights occur simply because of ‘evil’ people?  Because of cancerous corruption in need of a biopsy?

We don’t think so.  If this were the case this illness would not be so rampant and so global.  Changing faces cannot change the systemic roots of corruption. (more…)

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