GABRIELA-USA Raises the Militant Women’s Voice On the National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines

Reference: Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson, GABRIELA-USA

GABRIELA-USA Raises the Militant Women’s Voice On the National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines

On October 28, 1983, over 10,000 women surged to Mendiola in the Philippines to protest the oppression, repression, hardship, and corruption of the Marcos dictatorship. Twenty-eight years have passed since women have shown the power of collective action in the overthrow of a dictatorship, but even with the dictator gone, oppression, repression, and the struggles of the people still remain under the implementation of neo-liberal economic policies that further plunges Filipino families into hardship. Today, on the National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines, member organizations of GABRIELA-USA: Babae-San Francisco, Samahan ng Kababaihan San Francisco (SAMAKA), Pinay sa Seattle, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) in New York and Sisters of GABRIELA Awaken (SiGAw) in Los Angeles stand together with Filipina women across the world to raise the militant women’s voice against the exploitative and repressive practices of the global imperialist system.

In the wake of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, the people of the United States are taking to the streets to demand an alternative to an unjust economic system that upholds imperialist and corporate interests over the lives and needs of everyday people. As the global economic crisis worsens, more and more people are rising up across the globe in response to unjust policies, and the clear unequal distribution of wealth. In the US, while big banks and corporations are bailed out, tens of thousands of people have no jobs, people’s homes are being foreclosed, and the budget for social services and basic needs continue to be cut. Promises made by President Barack Obama for immigration reform, work opportunities, and accessible health care remain unfulfilled, and the living conditions of the 99% of the population continue to deteriorate.

In Third World countries like the Philippines, unequal U.S. foreign policies and trade agreements, along with the plunder of natural resources by foreign corporations, continue to dislocate Filipinos and force them to leave the country and seek work elsewhere. To add insult to injury, the government, ruled by Benigno Cojuanco Aquino III, increase the suffering and exploitation of the people by conspiring and colluding with big foreign corporations. The cost of basic commodities continue to rise, nothing is being done to solve the unemployment problem, and evictions and demolitions occur more frequently than ever. Those who migrate out of the country in search of better conditions also often fall prey to predatory agencies, as with the experience of human trafficking survivors dubbed the Florida 15 who are currently fighting against wage theft and several other labor violations committed against them.

“People all over the world are experiencing the heightening contradictions of a global economic crisis brought upon by U.S. imperialism. The the momentum to unite with people across the world is only increasing, and it is again timely and necessary to gather the strength of women to take part in the growing people’s movement against exploitation, plunder, and hardship,” says Raquel Redondiez, Chairperson GABRIELA-USA. “We celebrate the courageous, fighting spirit of women in the Philippines and the U.S., marching with the rest of the world for justice.”

In honor of the National Women’s Day of Protest in the Philippines, GABRIELA-USA sponsors the following activities:

New York City, NY
On October 25th, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment hosted a Domestic Violence Training, attended by participants from New York, California, and Australia to craft a community response to violence against women, and connecting larger societal issues to its effects on women.

San Francisco, CA
On October 26th, members of Babae linked arms with several other organizations and individuals to show solidarity with the OccupySF encampment, to fight against San Francisco Police Department’s plans to raid the encampment. After hours of direct action well into 4:00 am, efforts were successful in preventing a raid.

Seattle, WA
Pinay sa Seattle will be celebrating its 5-year anniversary on Friday Oct. 28th with a membership dinner and will be conducting a Philippine-U.S. Migration workshop at the FASA (Filipino American Student Alliance) Conference on Saturday Oct. 29th.

Los Angeles, CA
On Friday, October 28, SiGAw will be launching the 1st session of a monthly discussion group called Pinay Stories, where women can dialogue about issues that they face.