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Message of Solidarity to the Founders of BAYAN-USA
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairman, International Network for Philippine Studies
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
January 15, 2005

May I express warmest greetings of solidarity to all the Filipino organizations that have convened to found BAYAN-USA. I congratulate you for the success of your preparations for this historic occasion. You have assumed a role of great importance and consequence. Through BAYAN-USA, you are determined to arouse, organize and mobilize the millions of overseas Filipinos in the USA. These comprise the largest concentration of our compatriots in a foreign country.

The foundation of BAYAN-USA is long overdue. You respond to the long-running need for a patriotic alliance as a broad and comprehensive framework for uniting the various organizations of Filipino compatriots in the United States. BAYAN-USA has the high potential of becoming the most formidable Filipino formation because it can avail of the line, strength, cooperation and prestige of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) in the Philippines. It is fine that you are determined to overcome obstacles due to objective circumstances as well as to certain notions, habits and tendencies among our compatriots.

It is admirable that you resolve to build BAYAN-USA in the home ground of the imperialist power that tortured and killed 1.5 million Filipinos from the beginning of the Filipino-American War in 1899 to the end of the pacification campaigns in 1913. Since that time, whether or not the people engage in armed resistance, the US imperialists have subjected the Filipino people to the violence of daily exploitation and do not hesitate to unleash such bloody reigns of terror as that of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

You are in the territory of the sole superpower that knows no bounds for its greed and state terrorism. Under the slogan of “free market” globalization, it is inflicting on the working people of the world the rapacity of monopoly capitalism. It is stepping up war production, whipping up war hysteria, racism, religious bigotry and repression and unleashing wars of aggression and military intervention under the doctrine of preemptive war in order to expand economic territory and political hegemony.

It is also admirable that you wish to break out of the old pattern of progressive Filipino mass organizations being active only in a few US cities and having difficulties in forming a USA-wide formation and having difficulties even only within the confines of the same cities. I presume that you have identified the errors and shortcomings involved in previous efforts to build a USA-wide national organization of our compatriots.

I observe your good sense of architecture in trying to build BAYAN-USA even as you give full play to the ground work of Filipino organizations in particular cities and communities and various fields of work, professions and sectoral concerns. You have shown your resolve to bring these organizations together and combat various deleterious centrifugal tendencies.

You can build unity among our compatriots in the most meaningful and useful way by promoting love for the motherland, acting in concert with and supporting the Filipino people in the struggle for genuine national independence, democracy, development, social justice and peace against the US imperialists and the local exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords.

Even as you are thousands of miles away from the motherland, you have all the means for being in close touch with our people. You can stay well-informed through your BAYAN connections, your relatives and friends. You can visit them from time to time in order to refresh your links until you decide to retire there or return for other reasons. You are in a position to contribute to the struggle of the Filipino people in so many ways. You have various capacities and resources above the level of the vast majority of our people who need your help.

It is heartening to know that an increasing number of youth of Filipino descent igo to the Philippines for varying periods in order to trace their roots, know better the history and current circumstances of the country of their parents and ancestors and find out what they can do to help the people in their struggle for a better life. They learn to cherish the our national heritage and to share the aspirations of the people. They also help their parents to refresh their links with the motherland.

There is a disadvantage in being in the belly of the beast. But being there offers you the advantage of being able to perform certain tasks better than the people back home can. You can build direct and close relations of solidarity and cooperation with the American people of various national origins, especially those of color, and of various progressive affiliations and persuasions in the struggle against US imperialism. With the support of the American people, you can spread the truth and take action against the US imperialist domination of the Philippines.

Just as you learn from BAYAN in the Philippines the patriotic and progressive line that you apply on your concrete conditions in the US and on the issues that arise in this foreign land, you must also learn from the same source of general guidance the line and methods for building various types of organizations among our compatriots. In building BAYAN-USA, you must learn first from our compatriots their concrete conditions in the US.. Thus, you can start and proceed together to have a common level of information and common language and avoid talking above their heads. In building BAYAN-USA as an alliance, you must constantly raise the level of your common understanding to make clear the need for building new organizations and attracting priorly existing ones. .

I appreciate your eagerness to organize BAYAN-USA in far more cities and communities than now. The crucial point in successful organizing is to be able to trust others to organize themselves after a basic level of common understanding is reached about the common cause and about the tasks and methods of organizing. After all, those who are given trust make reports and recommendations and they welcome check-ups and follow-ups.

Let me mention some types of organizations that you can build or attract to become participating organizations of BAYAN-USA. There are class or sectoral organizations for workers, youth, women, professionals of various types (academics, cultural workers, health personnel, lawyers, engineers, etc.), senior citizens and so on. There are organizations that are devoted to certain issues or concerns like just peace against imperialist oppression and war, human rights, racial and ethnic equality, gender equality, environment and so on.

You can promote a type of organization like Kaisa ng Bayan, which has the utmost flexibility of recruiting Filipino individuals on the basis of patriotic love of motherland and consciousness of belonging to BAYAN. With plain fellowship and friendly persuasion, some BAYAN-USA leaders and activists, can also attract a number of “natural” types of Filipino organizations, based on belonging to the same community in the US or to the same regional, provincial or municipal origin in the Philippines, to join BAYAN-USA.

We respect and value highly all previous work of Filipino mass organizations belonging to the national democratic movement. Without it, it would be even more difficult or even impossible to found BAYAN-USA. But I believe that more successes will be achieved in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Filipino compatriots, as a consequence of the founding of BAYAN-USA. Such successes will become more needed, as the struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the Filipino exploiting classes will intensify and will need Further support from overseas Filipinos and foreign friends, especially in the United States.

I hope that my remarks can somehow be of help to you. At any rate, I am confident that you will win greater successes after this founding. You have the opportunity now to sum up your experience in preparing for this day, to assess and evaluate your current strength and set forth the tasks for further strengthening BAYAN-USA and intensifying the struggle for the rights and interests of the Filipino people in the Philippines, US and elsewhere. I wish you all the best. ###




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