On January 30th, the Government of the Philippines filed charges against multiple youth organizers, including the national chairperson and secretary general of Anakbayan Vencer Crisostomo and Einstein Recedes. Also issued subpeonas over allegations of the violation of Public Assembly Act of 1985 were Representative Carlos Zarate and Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, and Nato Reyes of BAYAN. Additionally, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Peace Consultant Raffy Baylosis was arrested yesterday on trumped up charges, in direct violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law mutually agreed upon by the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
In 2016, Nerdeen K. and Dan C. of New York City Students for Justice in Palestine travelled to the Philippines with Anakbayan-NY to integrate in the struggle for National Democracy in the Philippines and bring back lessons from that struggle back home, where we can apply them to our work against Zionism in the belly of the beast. Shortly after returning from the Philippines in 2016, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine formally joined the international anti-imperialist alliance the International League of People’s Struggle. We have written in the past of the lessons learned from the trip, and we write this statement in everlasting solidarity and defense of the progressive organizations being repressed through this series of attacks by the Government of the Philippines.
While we were there, we built directly and received guidance about our work in New York and in the U.S. more broadly from both comrades Einstein and Nato in different points in time. Einstein taught us the value of assessing our work so that we might understand our failures in order to prepare for the next step, and gave guidance in how to investigate the concrete conditions of the people we are trying to organize. Nato sat with us to explain the conditions of the Philippines and the dimensions of the work that BAYAN participates in, and even helped walk us through plans of action for neighborhoods and universities that NYC SJP was in the process of organizing. For this support and guidance in the internationalist spirit, we are eternally grateful to Nato, Einstein, Anakbayan NY, and the whole of the National Democratic movement, both in the Philippines and here in the U.S..
At the same time as these activists are being repressed by the U.S.-backed Duterte dictatorship in the Philippines, Ahed Tamimi and hundreds of other Palestinian youth continue to resist in the face of Israeli incarceration, despite lengthy prison sentences and trumped up charges brought against them. The torture, sexual violence, solidary confinement and harassment of incarcerated Palestinian youth by Israeli jailers is very well documented. Like Ahed and her comrades, no level of repression can stop the love for their people that the National Democratic activists have which serves as the motive force for their political work. The Israelis are fundamentally incapable of understanding that the reason for the rebellion of Ahed is love, love for Palestine and love for her people.
We call on all SJP chapters and Palestine solidarity organizations to mobilize in defense of the targeted activists, and learn from and continue to build meaningful solidarity between the Palestinian and Filipino struggles.
As Mike, an Anakbayan leader in New York said at the rally to Free Ahed Tamimi in Penn Station two days ago said, “Ahed may be a little girl, but her footsteps are gigantic. There would be no greater honor for me, from the Philippines, to be arrested fighting for my brothers and sisters in Palestine. We need to remember, that they are united, from Palestine to here in the United States, from Netanyahu, to Donald Trump are united. So we, as the oppressed peoples of the world, must also be united. Whenever you hear Israel’s name, remember Ahed taught us it is right to rebel! It is right to rebel, Israel go to hell!”