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BAYAN USA Celebrates 100 Years of Women in the People’s Struggle

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News Statement
March 8, 2011

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA

BAYAN USA Celebrates 100 Years of Women in the People’s Struggle

On this centennial anniversary of International Women’s Day, BAYAN USA, an alliance of 14 Filipino organizations in the United States, salutes all the women on the frontlines of national and social liberation struggles working to frustrate and dismantle all forms of social oppression, especially US imperialism and its agents of reaction. Women are proving that not only do they hold up half the sky, they are taking up the duty of liberating it. As women risk their lives in these heroic and emancipatory struggles, they further expose the reality that the greatest violence unleashed upon women and children comes from and is institutionalized by imperialism itself.

Now more than ever, amidst the worst economic crisis in world history, women worldwide are providing the best examples of militancy, resistance, and self-determination in the face of structural repression and reactionary violence. From People Power in Egypt’s Tahrir Square to armed struggle in the Himalayas in Nepal to labor strikes in Guangzhou, China to the occupation of Madison, Wisconsin’s State Capitol Building, to women domestic workers organizing for recognition of domestic work as formal work, women are deeply engaged in advancing peoples struggles.

Like their sisters worldwide, Filipina women are engaged in all forms of people’s resistance against oppression. The militant Filipina women’s alliance, Gabriela Philippines, is continuously raising broad social awareness of violence against women. From violence unleashed by the Philippine state’s mercenary military apparatus to the domestic violence commonly inflicted by intimate partners in the form of rape, molestation, and sexual assault, Filipina women leaders and organizers are re-shaping traditional attitudes around gender, class, sex, marriage, divorce, family, healthcare and government. At present, the Gabriela Women’s Party is at the forefront of a growing movement for the passage of its Comprehensive Reproductive Health Bill as well as its Divorce Bill against a dominant, social current anchored by centuries of colonial rule of Spanish Catholicism and US imperialism.

Six years after the violent gang rape of Suzette “Nicole” Nicolas by 6 US marines stationed in Subic Bay, led by US Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, in addition to countless other cases in history of sexual terrorism against Filipina women and children by US military personnel, the US and Philippine governments continue to insist on US military presence in the country under the auspices of joint military training exercises. However, numerous eye-witness accounts reveal the US military engagement in combat operations which violate the Philippine constitution.

Recognizing the role of Filipinos in the US in Philippine movement for genuine national independence and democracy, BAYAN USA helped to found the US chapter of Gabriela Philippines. Launched in 2009, Gabriela USA has worked tirelessly to organize Filipina-American women to link their rights and welfare struggles and concerns to the larger context national liberation of their homeland. Gabriela Philippines and its US Chapter also continue to play a role in clarifying that genuine Filipino women’s emancipation can only be possible upon the Filipino people’s liberation from imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism.

On the centennial anniversary of International Women’s Day, BAYAN USA stands shoulder to shoulder with our sisters of Gabriela USA in advancing the iVOW to end Violence Against Women (VAW) Campaign. This on-going campaign led by Gabriela is an awareness and advocacy campaign to combat the seven forms of violence women around the world face: sex trafficking and prostitution; domestic violence; rape, incest, and sexual abuse; sexual harassment; violence as a result of political repression; sexual discrimination and exploitation; and limited access to reproductive health care.

As an overseas chapter of BAYAN Philippines, BAYAN USA recognizes the irrefutable role of women in all struggles for social emancipation. BAYAN USA also recognizes that the Filipino women’s movement is part of, not parallel to, the overall Filipino people’s movement for national liberation.

Long Live the Filipino Women’s Movement!
Long Live Working Women Engaged in People’s Struggle!
Resist Imperialism and All Forms of Reaction!
Strive for Women’s Liberation Through People’s Liberation!