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Walden Bello Questioned and Denounced in New York for Red-baiting Anti-imperialist Filipino Organizations

Based on the report of Berna of New York City, BAYAN-USA

This is a report on our experience during the recent Walden Bello visit to NYC this past Thursday, March 16, 2005 for a launch party /forum on his new book "Dilemmas of Domination: The Unmaking of the American Empire."

The book event was held at and sponsored by the Brecht Forum in Lower Manhattan. There were about 40 people in attendance. Aside from the 6 NYCHRP members and 2 Ugnayan members that attended, all the rest were non-Filipinos. Bello proceeded to talk lengthily about his book and about his charlatan proposition that the "civil society movement" of imperialist-funded NGOs is "destroying the empire". Then the floor was open for questions.

At that point BAYAN-USA quietly distributed leaflets to everyone in the audience. On one side of the leaflet was the BAYAN-USA statement on Bello, the other side was the 2nd open letter to the Stopwar.Ca Coalition from the organizations in Vancouver, Canada announcing their withdrawal. From our observation nearly all the people in the forum took the time to read both sides of the flyer (some even several times) while the forum was going on.

From that point on, there was continuous questioning of Bello from BAYAN-USA members. We demanded an explanation for his false and red-baiting claims about the so-called "hit-list" and "communist-fronts". But Bello arrogantly and rudely dismissed our questions.

Five NYCHRP members and Dave Pugh from NISPOP demanded for Bello to address our questions. But Bello repeatedly yelled and went into shouting matches with the audience. After about 40 minutes of on-and-off yelling with the BAYAN-USA members, all 6 NYCHRP members stood up and proceeded to chant "Shame on you!" all the way out the door.

Bello was overwhelmed, and was visibly agitated. In our assessment, his refusal to address the Philippine struggle exposed his sham opposition to neoliberal "globalization". He said, "I'm not here to talk about the Philippine struggle, I'm just here to talk about my book". He laid himself open to denunciation and protests of his own compatriots in the audience for his red-baiting.

To his embarassment, he could not answer specific questions about his funding sources and Akbayan's active collaboration with the AFP and PNP. He infuriated the Filipinos in the audience who shouted to his face that he is a pseudo-progressive" and a "US-paid charlatan". He was asked straight, "Mr. Bello, whom are you serving? You're serving the imperialists!"

We made clear our position to the rest of the audience that by claiming our organizations are "communist fronts"Bello is serving the interest of the US which has designated the CPP and other organizations as FTO's. Not one among the sudience took the side of Bello. All the time, most of the audience were smiling and nodding in support of our position. A significant number of them went to the forum precisely with the expectation that a confrontation would take place.

We had previously explained our position to the Brecht Forum personnel before the forum started. They said that they were not aware of the situation with Bello and that until then they communicated only through his publisher. They sought clarification on the problem about and we committed to holding a follow-up meeting with them.

Overall, we view our action as a success in meeting our objectives-to expose and oppose Bello's pseudo-progressive position on issues and his actual service to US imperialism by espousing reformist ideas and by red-baiting and attacking the genuine anti-imperialist organizations in the Philippines.

Berna

-- KAWAL ULANDAY CHAIRPERSON, BAYANusa

-- Rachel R. Redondiez Secretary General BAYANusa

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