October 1, 2011
Reference: Jackelyn Mariano, BAYAN USA Northeast Regional Coordinator,
Filipino-Americans in New York City
Join Occupy Wall Street, March for Jobs and Justice
NEW YORK, NY-- Approximately 20
Filipino-Americans under the banner of BAYAN USA joined yesterday's
massive march and rally from the Occupy Wall Street site in Manhattan's
financial district to the nearby headquarters of the New York Police
Department (NYPD). They converged at the packed occupation site, now in
its 3rd week, carrying bright yellow signs reading "Jobs and Justice! Food
and Freedom!" and "End Imperialist Wars of Aggression! Dismantle the US
BAYAN USA joined forces with the local citywide anti-budget cuts network
known as the Bail-Out the People Movement (BOPM), which helmed the march
and rally in response to the mass arrests and police brutality against the
otherwise peaceful and non-violent occupiers last Saturday. They were also
joined by the People's Justice Coalition for Community Control and Police
Accountability, a grassroots network of low-income immigrant and people of
color groups against police brutality. Instances of excessive violence and
pepper-spraying from the NYPD caught on videotape has since sparked a
massive outcry from the international community and drawn support for
Occupy Wall Street from high-profile personalities such as filmmaker
Michael Moore, actress Susan Sarandon, and academic Dr. Cornell West.
The messages carried by BAYAN USA, joined by the flags of GABRIELA USA and
the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS), projected issues of
US foreign policy in poor countries such as the Philippines, and sought to
relate the occupiers' initial message against corporate greed with the
international context of neoliberalism and war, and the situation of
forced migration to the US. It was also the first time since the beginning
of the occupation that an organized contingent of mainly immigrants and
people of color with clear anti-imperialist messages joined the protests.
"We are here as immigrants and children of immigrants," stated BAYAN USA
Chairperson Berna Ellorin, addressing a crowd thousands from a makeshift
stage in front of the police headquarters at the end of the march. "We are
in this country for the same reason you are occupying Wall Street--
because our governments could not provide us with jobs. Imperialism
destroyed our countries...What we are doing here today is not just for us,
it is for every person in this world fighting imperialism."
Due to the absence of a sound permit, the lack of a sound system did not
deter the demonstrators from practicing a so-called "peoples mic", a
practice in which the crowd repeats what the speaker says. With such a
sizable crowd yesterday, Ellorin had to wait as her words traveled some
4-5 times to reach everyone.
"We will continue to monitor and participate in this historic occupation,"
stated BAYAN USA Northeast Regional Coordinator Yves Nibungco. "As the
fastest growing immigrant community in the US from a home country
controlled economically and politically by US interests, Filipinos in the
US must also involve themselves in raising the level of class struggle in
As of the first quarter of 2011, the unemployment rate in the US jumped
considerably to 10.2%. Following the momentum of the historic public
employees labor strike in Wisconsin, which many compared to the so-called
"Arab Spring" revolutions prior, social discontent in response to the lack
of a viable jobs program and massive budget cuts in the country has risen.
Occupy Wall Street has spurred similar actions in other US cities. The
following day, BAYAN USA organizations participated in solidarity protests
along the West Coast. ###
the Occupation of New York City
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass
injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so
that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can
know that we are your allies.
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the
human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must
protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the
individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors;
that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but
corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the
Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is
determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations,
which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression
over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as
is our right, to let these facts be known.
They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite
not having the original mortgage.
They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to
give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based
on age, the color of one's skin, sex, gender identity and sexual
They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the
farming system through monopolization.
They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of
countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate
for better pay and safer working conditions.
They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt
on education, which is itself a human right.
They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as
leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with
none of the culpability or responsibility.
They have spent millions of dollars
on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards
to health insurance.
They have sold our privacy as a commodity.
They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the
They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering
lives in pursuit of profit.
They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their
policies have produced and continue to produce.
They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be
They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on
They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s
lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a
They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping,
and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their
control of the media.
They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when
presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians
They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive
government contracts. *
To the people of the world,
We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty
Square, urge you to assert your power.
Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a
process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible
To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of
direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the
resources at our disposal.
Join us and make your voices heard!
*These grievances are not all-inclusive.
Also here is the Working list of goals:
Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 September 2011 18.43 BST
The young people protesting in Wall
Street and beyond reject this vain economic order. They have come to
reclaim the future
Why are people occupying Wall Street? Why has the occupation – despite the
latest police crackdown – sent out sparks across America, within days,
inspiring hundreds of people to send pizzas, money, equipment and, now, to
start their own movements called OccupyChicago, OccupyFlorida, in
OccupyDenver or OccupyLA?
There are obvious reasons. We are watching the beginnings of the defiant
self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are
looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but
still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of
working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what
they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not
just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being
treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.
Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial
magnates who stole their future?
Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure.
The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose
energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for
everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole
But the ultimate failure here is of imagination. What we are witnessing
can also be seen as a demand to finally have a conversation we were all
supposed to have back in 2008. There was a moment, after the near-collapse
of the world's financial architecture, when anything seemed possible.
Everything we'd been told for the last decade turned out to be a lie.
Markets did not run themselves; creators of financial instruments were not
infallible geniuses; and debts did not really need to be repaid – in fact,
money itself was revealed to be a political instrument, trillions of
dollars of which could be whisked in or out of existence overnight if
governments or central banks required it. Even the Economist was running
headlines like "Capitalism: Was it a Good Idea?"
It seemed the time had come to rethink everything: the very nature of
markets, money, debt; to ask what an "economy" is actually for. This
lasted perhaps two weeks. Then, in one of the most colossal failures of
nerve in history, we all collectively clapped our hands over our ears and
tried to put things back as close as possible to the way they'd been
Perhaps, it's not surprising. It's
becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the
world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of
capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of
capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are
irrelevant. As a result, we're all sitting around dumbfounded as the whole
apparatus falls apart.
What we've learned now is that the economic crisis of the 1970s never
really went away. It was fobbed off by cheap credit at home and massive
plunder abroad – the latter, in the name of the "third world debt crisis".
But the global south fought back. The "alter-globalisation movement", was
in the end, successful: the IMF has been driven out of East Asia and Latin
America, just as it is now being driven from the Middle East. As a result,
the debt crisis has come home to Europe and North America, replete with
the exact same approach: declare a financial crisis, appoint supposedly
neutral technocrats to manage it, and then engage in an orgy of plunder in
the name of "austerity".
The form of resistance that has emerged looks remarkably similar to the
old global justice movement, too: we see the rejection of old-fashioned
party politics, the same embrace of radical diversity, the same emphasis
on inventing new forms of democracy from below. What's different is
largely the target: where in 2000, it was directed at the power of
unprecedented new planetary bureaucracies (the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Nafta),
institutions with no democratic accountability, which existed only to
serve the interests of transnational capital; now, it is at the entire
political classes of countries like Greece, Spain and, now, the US – for
exactly the same reason. This is why protesters are often hesitant even to
issue formal demands, since that might imply recognising the legitimacy of
the politicians against whom they are ranged.
When the history is finally written, though, it's likely all of this
tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the
opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the
American Empire. Thirty years of relentless prioritising of propaganda
over substance, and snuffing out anything that might look like a political
basis for opposition, might make the prospects for the young protesters
look bleak; and it's clear that the rich are determined to seize as large
a share of the spoils as remain, tossing a whole generation of young
people to the wolves in order to do so. But history is not on their side.
We might do well to consider the collapse of the European colonial
empires. It certainly did not lead to the rich successfully grabbing all
the cookies, but to the creation of the modern welfare state. We don't
know precisely what will come out of this round. But if the occupiers
finally manage to break the 30-year stranglehold that has been placed on
the human imagination, as in those first weeks after September 2008,
everything will once again be on the table – and the occupiers of Wall
Street and other cities around the US will have done us the greatest
favour anyone possibly can.
Posted at 02:45 PM ET, 09/26/2011
Why ‘Occupy Wall
By James Downie
The Washington Post
You may have heard about the Occupy Wall Street protests, now entering
their 10th day in New York. Several hundred activists have taken over
Zuccotti Park near Wall Street since Sept. 17, and this past Saturday they
were joined by over a thousand more. The NYPD, displaying their famously
light touch, has arrested dozens of activists, including members of the
protest’s media team, and even maced innocent protesters. (The
occupation’s Twitter hashtag, #occupywallstreet, and its livestream have
plenty more details.) Despite this pressure, the protesters have vowed to
stay in the park for the foreseeable future.
Then again, you can’t walk around New York without bumping into some
demonstration, so does this protest deserve attention? It’s easy to say
that these are just (mostly) college kids with nothing better to do; or to
make fun of their demands, which range from ending wealth inequality to
ending war; or to use more extreme protesters to dismiss the rest. And
it’s easy to believe that the protesters’ cause will be forgotten as soon
as the demonstration ends. It’s easy to react this way, because that’s how
many protest “movements” have panned out in the past. But this movement is
different because of the bleak situation facing the country, especially
Demonstrations are stronger when protesters are denouncing a target that
directly affects them. In 1971, President Nixon’s decision to end student
deferments sparked a new wave of antiwar protests on campuses around the
country. Many believe the lack of a draft severely weakened protests
against the Iraq war. In 1932, the Bonus Army was able to gather thousands
of veterans to Washington because their cause was not someone else’s
poverty but their own.
Similarly, these demonstrators are protesting not only for a cause but for
themselves. Just as many young people in the ’60s and ’70s feared becoming
cannon fodder in Southeast Asia, so, too, do many today fear for their
futures. The figures are astounding. Three years after Wall Street crashed
the economy, youth unemployment stands at 18 percent, double the national
rate, while youth employment is at its lowest level since the end of World
War II. And because the graduate who spends a year unemployed will still
make 23 percent less than a similar classmate a decade later, the young
unemployed will feel these effects for years. The average college graduate
now carries over $27,000 in debt at graduation; not surprisingly, then,
more than 85 percent of the Class of 2011 moved back into their parents’
homes, the highest number on record. Not to mention, when this long
recession is finally over, the young get to face reduced Social Security,
Medicare and other benefits, largely (though not entirely, of course)
because their parents and grandparents decided to let their descendants
pay for their tax cuts, their wars and their bailouts.
In short, as Republican candidates have demanded, the youth have skin in
So this isn’t genocide or Palestine or globalization or another
geographically or politically distant cause that rarely has staying power
beyond a committed activist core. The Wall Street protests are at least in
part fueled by the knowledge that, for the first time in almost a century,
“you never had it so good” no longer applies to the next generation. The
victims of this collapse are not on the other side of the world; they’re
the protesters themselves, their friends and classmates, sons and
daughters. That’s a personal connection to, and motivation for, their
cause that cannot grow artificially.
Will this specific protest, then, last “until our demands are met”?
Perhaps, perhaps not. But as long as the sluggish economy continues to hit
Americans — and especially young Americans — hard, expect more and bigger
demonstrations like “Occupy Wall Street” — unfocused, sometimes excessive,
but fundamentally justifiable.