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MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY TO BAYAN-CANADA
UPON ITS FOUNDING IN TORONTO


By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
September 21, 2008

On behalf of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), I wish to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the overseas Filipinos in Canada, their various organizations and their delegations on the occasion of launching BAYAN-Canada. We congratulate you for the successful preparations and wish you further success today and thereafter.

The formation of Bayan-Canada is highly significant. It represents a new and higher level of development of the mass movement among the overseas Filipinos for upholding, defending and advancing their rights and interests in Canada, for supporting the Filipino people's struggle for national liberation and democracy in the Philippines and for promoting the solidarity and cooperation of the Filipino people with the host people and other migrant communities in Canada.

The day that you have chosen for the launch is also meaningful. It reminds us of the US-supported Marcos fascist dictatorship that the Filipino people eventually overthrew through mass uprising. It underscores the need for the people to continue the mass struggles in order to end the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system, which has given rise to the Marcos fascist regime and the succeeding oppressive and exploitative regimes, has kept the Philippines underdeveloped and impoverished and has continued to compel an increasing number of Filipinos to seek employment abroad.

It is also meaningful that today you launch BAYAN-Canada in view of the latest disastrous consequences of the deceptive US-imposed policy of "free market" globalization and the US global war of terror. We are confronted today with a severe economic crisis right in the heartlands of imperialism and throughout the world, the rise of chauvinism, racism and religious bigotry against the working people and the migrants, the escalation of repression and fascism and the propensity of the imperialist powers to engage in military intervention and aggression under the guise of preempting and combating terrorism.

You can expect monopoly capitalism and rightwing forces in Canada to tighten the system of oppression and exploitation against the Filipino and other migrant communities in Canada. You can also expect that the Filipino people back home will be subjected to far worse forms of oppression and exploitation. The current economic and financial crisis will grow worse from year to year. Seeing the people's discontent and anticipating protests and resistance, the imperialist and reactionary forces are geared to use the state as a system of organized violence to intimidate and attack the people.

It is therefore necessary for BAYAN-Canada and its component organizations to intensify their efforts to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipinos in Canada and thus to assert, defend and promote their rights and interests. BAYAN-Canada should serve as an alliance and coordinating center. It should undertake information and education drives that unify and harmonize the consciousness of the component organizations and the masses. It should bring about organizational synergy and amplify the strength of each and all of the component organizations. It should be able to mobilize the various mass organizations and the spontaneous masses in various types of campaigns.

BAYAN-Canada can become strong only on the basis of the strength of its component mass organizations and the solidarity and cooperative relations it can build with the host people and the various migrant communities in Canada. To strength themselves, these mass organizations must ground themselves on a common program provided by BAYAN-Canada and at the same on distinct programs corresponding to their respective character and scope. There must be mass organizations of the basic sectors: the workers, the youth, women, teachers, health workers and other professions. There can also be mass organizations that are function-based, like cultural groups. There can also be issue-based organizations, like those on human rights. The existing component organizations should expand, new organizations should be formed wherever possible and other organizations can be attracted to take the national democratic line and join the fold of BAYAN-Canada.

Relying on the strength of its component organizations and its rising trustworthiness and prestige, BAYAN-Canada should be able to build strong solidarity and cooperative relations with trade unions and other mass organizations of the host people and mobilize an increasing number of people on important issues. It should attract the participation of institutions, mass organizations and people outside of its formal structure. It can develop further alliances, formal or informal, on any particular or set of issues.

There are issues and struggles that involve and affect you as you reside, work or study in Canada. It goes without saying that you must arouse, organize and mobilize your own Filipino ranks, including Filipino Canadians who assert their Filipino identity. But you must also necessarily unite with and cooperate with the host people and migrants of various nationalities. You can be in the same trade unions or school organizations. You can also develop organizations and institutions of Filipino-Canadian solidarity.

You must keep on maintaining, strengthening and refreshing your links with the motherland. You have your relatives, friends and comrades there to communicate with and sometimes visit. BAYAN-Canada and each of its component organizations have their counterparts there. As the crisis of the world capitalist system and that of the Philippine ruling system worsen, the Filipino people will suffer worse forms of oppression and exploitation and need your support in their struggle for national liberation and democracy. You must keep on developing the militant solidarity and mutual support of the Canadian people of various nationalities and the Filipino people.

I hope that in the course of your discussions and drawing up basic documents and resolutions today you can take stock of your current strength and prospects of development and define your tasks regarding the strengthening of BAYAN-Canada and its component organizations, developing your bonds of solidarity with the rest of the people in Canada, cooperating with your Philippine counterparts and supporting the struggle of the Filipino people.

I am confident that BAYAN-Canada will succeed and will gain significant victories in the years ahead. I look forward to its major contributions to the International League of Peoples' Struggle along the anti-imperialist and democratic line. Thank you.###

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