Statement on International Workers’ Day
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reference: Nicole Sudiacal, Anakbayan Canada Interim Chairperson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Anakbayan Canada, its chapters, and its affiliate organization, joyously and militantly celebrates International Workers’ Day. We join the working class in the Philippines and around the world as we continue to advance the struggle against exploitation and for a brighter, socialist future free from imperialism.
2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges. The demands of keeping economies running, families fed, and essential services functioning during the pandemic fell squarely on the shoulders of the working class. Now, more than a year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global capitalist crisis, exposed and exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus, continues to worsen.
Filipino workers in Canada, especially migrant workers and youth, are disproportionately overrepresented in sectors that are deemed “essential” from long-term care homes, to meat-packing plants, to grocery stores, to custodial work. Workers fear contracting the virus from unsafe working conditions yet they remain underpaid and overexploited by capitalist society. Despite contributing the most to essential services, the Filipino community is one of communities hardest hit by COVID-19 and continues to be underserved when it comes to vaccine provision.
In the Philippines, workers in the cities fight for regular jobs, living wages, workplace protections, health and safety provisions and social services. The peasants in the countryside struggle against feudal exploitation and land-grabbing. In their resistance, people’s rights activists–from unionists to land defenders to youth leaders–are red-tagged, harassed, arrested, and even killed. The intense militarized response of the Duterte government is due to the unwavering strength of the revolutionary worker-peasant struggle in resisting exploitation.
As young Filipinos working in the diaspora, we connect our issues here to the situation of the broad masses in our homeland and to our long, proud tradition of the struggle of the workers and peasants and other oppressed and exploited sectors. We unite with our kababayan to condemn the neoliberal policies and state terror of the Philippine government that have caused so much suffering for our compatriots.
There is a silver lining to the dark cloud that is the COVID-19 pandemic: by exposing the rotten nature of capitalism, workers around the world are awakening to the necessity of uniting against systemic and government-sanctioned oppression. Fascist governments using COVID-19 as a cover to enact more repressive crackdowns on dissent and legitimate critique are being met with the righteous militancy of the people. From the Philippines to Palestine to India to Nigeria and into the heart of the imperial core, workers are uniting with the masses to strike, to protest, and to mobilize against the reactionary forces of US imperialism and its allies.
Too often, we hear wishes to “return to normal” after the pandemic but the status quo of capitalist exploitation is not what we are striving for. We demand improvements of conditions and better wages. Disrupting the capitalist-imperialist machinery is necessary for the survival of workers who hold up the world as we know it. Where the parasitic exploitation of the ruling class ends, collective healing and prospering, and revolutionary struggle can begin.
Today on International Workers Day, in the 150th year since the Paris Commune , progressive youth and students in the Filipino diaspora join our fellow workers around the world to say “No!” to a return to pre-pandemic capitalist exploitation. The COVID-19 pandemic shows us the fatal weaknesses of capitalism and imperialism. The “normal” way of life dehumizes, devalues, and sows divisions among the working peoples. Instead, we call for unity around a brighter future shaped by the needs and voices of the working class, where EVERYONE has what they need to thrive.
History has shown that the only way to bring about revolutionary change is through collective struggle. Join Anakbayan Canada today so that, together, we can forge a better world for generations to come.
Sulong, kabataan! We have a world to win!