Skip to content

Filipino-Americans Join May Day Rallies Demanding for Jobs and Legalization in the US

Reference: Bernadette Ellorin, Chairperson, BAYAN USA

Filipino-Americans Join May Day Rallies Demanding for Jobs and Legalization in the US

On May 1, 2011, Filipino-Americans across the United States, under the banner of BAYAN USA, join workers in the Philippines, the US and across the globe in commemorating International Workers Day, a day designated around the world to celebrating the ongoing militant class struggle of workers for living wages, job security, safe working conditions, and a guarantee to pensions and benefits. Recognizing the ongoing militant trade union movement at the forefront of the struggle for genuine national independence from US intervention in the Philippines, Filipinos in the US are also working to help raise the class struggle in the US with the class demands for jobs and legalization of all undocumented immigrants. Unfortunately, the significance of May Day for the working American majority is one that has consistently been suppressed by the US government and corporate elite it serves because of the potential threat it poses to their interests.

Now more than ever, in this time of worsening economic crisis, the unity between immigrants and workers struggling together in the US of vital importance. Workers in the US, both citizen and immigrant, play a decisive role of exposing the bankruptcy of the neoliberal economic agenda responsible for the worst economic crisis in history. The potential of the power of this unity has already been recently exemplified in the struggle of public sector workers in Wisconsin, whose fight united a broad front of supporters across the country and was partially inspired by people’s struggles against the impacts of neoliberalism and US puppetry in North Africa and the Middle East.

As the fastest-growing Asian immigrant community in the US, approximately four million Filipinos– at least one million of which are undocumented– suffer first hand from the effects of neoliberalism in the Philippines and also in the developed countries they migrate to, such as the US, to find work. As a semi-colony of the US, the Philippine economy is violently crippled and denationalized by neoliberalism, including the assistance of a US puppet government, to serve foreign interests. The extraction of cheap raw materials from the Philippines to imperialist countries such as the US and structural blocks imposed by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to the national industrialization of the Philippines cultivate a chronic national debt, deepens poverty and joblessness, creates a desperate army of cheap surplus labor for export, and sows a tragic culture of forced migration and broken families in the Philippines largely facilitated through the Philippine government’s exploitative Labor Export Policy (LEP).

At the same time, the continuing financialization of capital promoted by the world’s corporate oligarchs, banks, and firms encroachingly devastates the economies of imperialist countries, such as the US, where the gap between the ruling elite and the working majority is widening considerably. This is due to the funneling of trillions in public money towards war, military production and the unapologetic bail-out of banks and capital firms. Meanwhile, unemployment skyrockets as the same joblessness abroad that forces workers to migrate to the US in search of jobs displaces workers in  the heart of imperialism itself.

An emerging dominant trend in fascist, racist, right-wing politics aimed at sowing divisions amongst struggling peoples continues to sweep through the US with legislation such as Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070, Wisconsin’s union-busting Walker Bill, the Tea Party Movement, and the corporate media’s calculated censorship of people’s resistance in the country.

Furthermore, the so-called “broken immigration system” in need of “comprehensive immigration reform” is exposing itself as a calculated instrument of US imperialism to revive a slave army of low-wage to no-wage workers by keeping over 12 million undocumented workers in the US cheap, docile, desperate, fearful, and vulnerable. This serves to further facilitate the extraction of more superprofits for US bosses and corporations.

While the crisis of monopoly capitalism continues to prove itself a deathtrap, and the ruling financial oligarchy is occupied with only saving itself, it nonetheless provides the best conditions for the development and advancement of heroic working people’s resistance that have the potential to frustrate capitalism.The thoroughgoing awakening of a sleeping giant of workers in the US to the long-suppressed fightback spirit of May Day and the need for heightened class unity with immigrants is paving the only real recovery from economic crisis in the US, and that is to seek a pro-people alternative to its present anti-people economic system. But when linked in solidarity and in coordination with concrete international struggles for national and social liberations across the globe, such as the Philippine movement for genuine national independence and democracy, its potential to threaten and chip away piece by piece at the global enemy that is imperialism knows no bounds.