On the 115th anniversary of the declaration of the Filipino-American War, BAYAN-USA announced plans to conduct its own war against U.S. economic and military aggression and imperialist propaganda. BAYAN-USA’s opening salvo will take place on March 1, 2014 when the alliance conducts “U.S. Out! A Nationwide Teach-in Against the U.S. Military Pivot to the Asia Pacific and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.” The U.S. Out! Teach-In will be conducted simultaneously in cities across the U.S. and worldwide, providing critical analysis of the pivot and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) from the viewpoint of people’s movements resisting these tools of imperialist expansionism—a perspective conveniently ignored by mainstream media and pro-Big Military and -Big Business lawmakers.
“U.S. imperialism opened 2014 swinging the double-edged sword of the Asia Pacific pivot and the TPPA—what amounts to a two-pronged military and economic assault on the Philippines and the peoples of the Asia Pacific region,” said BAYAN-USA Chair Bernadette Ellorin. “The U.S. Out! Teach-in will arm our members, peace advocates and other allies with education that exposes the disingenuous aims of the U.S. More importantly, this will also jump-start grassroots action-planning to oppose both the pivot and TPPA from the local up to the national and international levels,” said Ellorin.
Dubbed “NAFTA on steroids,” the TPPA is a US-led multi-lateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which pushes the neoliberal agenda of trade liberalization and deregulation in the Asia Pacific region by opening every sector of the economy of involved countries to foreign investments; removing barriers and tariffs restricting trade (zero tariff by 2015); and granting foreign investors and corporations the right to sue governments if their investments are threatened by the latter’s policies. Unveiled in 2012 as the Department of Defense’s “new” strategy, the U.S. military pivot describes its plans to shift 60% of American military assets from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific, in a move to counter the influence of China as a rising power and secure U.S. interests in a region that accounts for 61% of U.S. exports worth over $775 billion. As a result, the U.S. and Philippines have been negotiating a Framework Agreement for Increased Rotational Presence and Enhanced Defense Cooperation.
In January, the Obama administration began pushing “fast track” for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, a move that would legalize the by-passing of Congress by granting the White House special powers to negotiate and sign trade agreements without Congressional oversight. It would block representatives from reviewing or making changes to treaty provisions, as well as relegate their participation to a mere “Yes or No” vote to ratify the entire agreement. At the same time, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) started promoting the rapid implementation of the Asia Pacific pivot. The HASC’s process includes conducting hearings, classified briefings and closed-door meetings regarding U.S. security interests in the Asia Pacific, relying almost exclusively on testimony from current and former military officials from the Pacific Command, ambassadors, and think tanks without input from the grassroots people themselves who will be most heavily impacted by the military pivot.
“These are obviously twin moves targeting a single objective: complete U.S. domination in the Asia Pacific region, at the cost of human rights, democracy, humane employment with livable wages, ecological sustainability, and sovereignty not only for the people of the Philippines and Asia Pacific, but also for poor, working people in the U.S.” stated Ellorin.
“Just as the Filipino people resisted the American takeover in 1899, today we are continuing to resist US imperialism and asserting the right of the Filipino people for a truly independent nation. We join the call of our compatriots in the Philippines to demand an end to expanded US military access in the Asia Pacific and decisive action by the Aquino government to uphold national sovereignty. We also join with all oppressed peoples in building the broadest international solidarity against the TPPA and the military pivot as instruments of U.S. hegemony. As long as US imperialism dominates the Philippines and other countries and peoples, Filipinos will continue their resistance launched in 1899,” stated Ellorin.
Details for the U.S. Out! Teach-In will be posted on www.bayanusa.org. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact BAYAN-USA regional representatives in Southern California, Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and the North East for information on local teach-in sites.