Youth and Students Unite to Fight Imperialism from New York to the Philippines
As students, workers and community members in solidarity with Palestine and all oppressed nations, New York City Students for Justice in Palestine stands in solidarity with the people of Kidapawan, after the massacre in which several farmers were killed, hundreds were injured and dozens remain missing.
During a devastating drought in the Cotabato region of Mindanao, over 5,000 farmers and indigenous Lumad marched on the Cotabato-Davao highway and formed a human barricade to demand relief in the form of 15,000 sacks of rice. Responding to this show of power by the people of Cotabato, the Philippine National Police (PNP) opened fire on the barricade, killing at least three people, injuring more than 100, and arresting more than 80 others. After the massacre, the protestors found sanctuary in the United Methodist Church compound, where the PNP continues to harass them under the pretext of “searching for firearms”. US imperialism, represented by the Government of the Philippines, will try to halt the growth of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines by any means available, as shown by the recent massacres in Hacienda Lusita and Kidapawan, disappearances and extrajudicial killings of indigenous activists from the Cordillera mountains to Mindanao, and the armed campaign against the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
NYC SJP recognizes the parallels between the reactionary government in the Philippines and the settler-colonial state of Israel. Like the Zionist state, the Aquino regime in the Philippines depends on U.S. imperialist aid to survive, receiving $79 million in U.S. military aid in 2015. AnakBayan NY notes, “This aid goes directly to the repression of the people’s just resistance against their oppressors as this recent incident in Cotabato shows. The shooting of unarmed protestors exposes the cowardice of the Malacañang government and their desperation to hold onto their power.” Similarly, Israel ranks as the number one recipient of U.S. military aid, receiving $3 billion in 2015, in addition to regularly receiving annual lump sums as much as $1.9 billion. Both the Government of the Philippines and the Israeli state operate as U.S. outposts in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, advancing the interests of U.S. hegemony at the expense of the Filipino, Palestinian, and oppressed nations all over the globe.
While the police and military in the Philippines prevent the people of Cotabato from accessing necessities like food, the Israeli state imposes a crippling siege on Gaza. The siege results in extreme food shortages, water sources in which 96% of the coastal aquifer is contaminated with chloride and nitrate, chronic unemployment and damaged and destroyed crucial infrastructure. This air, naval, and land siege is used to collectively punish the Palestinian people for their continuous resistance, in the various forms it takes, both armed and unarmed. However, the siege of Gaza is but one aspect of the national oppression Israel inflicts on the Palestinian people. The struggle for the liberation of Palestine is a struggle for the liberation of all of Palestine from the river to the sea, and must be led by Palestinians wherever they may be–in Gaza, the West Bank, ‘48 Palestine, the camps, and the wider diaspora. Similarly, the struggle for National Democracy and Socialism in the Philippines is a struggle not only against the Aquino regime, but a struggle for genuine democracy and liberation, against semi-feudalism, bureaucrat capitalism and U.S. imperialism.
Our role as progressive and revolutionary youth and students in the imperialist center is to weaken the Empire and incapacitate its reach, so that space is created for revolutionary movements to flourish in nations like the Philippines and Palestine, and they are able to self-determine their futures, free of imperialist and colonial domination. While the benefactors of Empire seem all-powerful, in reality they are weak and dependent on imperialism, illustrated by the Zionist’s need to dip into the U.S. ammunition stockpiles during the 2014 Israeli aggression on Gaza. Neither the puppet government in the Philippines, nor the settler state on Palestinian land have any chance of surviving without support from the imperialists. Logically then, our tasks must be to both organize in solidarity with Palestine through tools like BDS, as well as consciously and intentionally move forward the struggles rooted in national questions within the U.S. prison-house of nations.
We call on all Palestine solidarity organizations, and other progressive and revolutionary organizations to stand with the people of Cotabato not out of moralistic grandstanding, but out of revolutionary, internationalist necessity. As we have previously stated, “Advances of one anti-imperialist revolutionary struggle both objectively strain the resources of oppressor nation(s), and subjectively inspire anti-imperialist struggles around the world by proving these struggles are possible in practice. As SJPs organizing within the center of US imperialism, we are in a position to advance the anti-imperialist and anti-settler-colonial struggles here, and in particular the national liberation struggles of internal colonies within the borders of the US (the struggles for national self-determination of Blacks/New Afrikans, Chicanos, First Nations, etc.). By doing so, we will actively advance Palestinian liberation by undermining the ability of the US imperialist state to so extensively support Israel.”
We stand forever in solidarity with the struggle in the Philippines, and with our comrades in AnakBayan – USA. The crimes in Kidapawan and Gaza will not go unpunished.