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What is Philippine Solidarity Week?

Philippine Solidarity Week is a week of activities beginning on February 4 to commemorate the Philippine-American War and to raise awareness and support for the continuing struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation. It is led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA or BAYAN-USA.

1899 political cartoon by Winsor McCay. Uncle Sam (representing the United States), gets entangled with rope around a tree labelled "Imperialism" while trying to subdue a bucking colt or mule labeled "Philippines" while a figure representing Spain walks off over the horizon carrying a bag labeled "$20,000,000".

Background

On Feb. 4 1899, the US government was met with armed resistance by the Filipino people when it tried to assume its role as the new colonizing power over the former Spanish colonies after the Spanish-American war. This prompted the US government to launch its first imperialist war of aggression in Asia, the Philippine-American War, in 1899. Presently, the US imperialist government still dominates the Philippines, maintaining economic, political, military, social, and cultural control over the country indirectly through a succession of US puppet regimes. The US government and military have also maximized their experiences during the Philippine-American War to develop war tactics, torture, killing, occupation, and counter-insurgency operations they have used in many other countries such as in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

US military presence remains widespread in the country despite the Philippine Senate’s eviction of the former strategic US military bases in Subic and Clark Bay in 1991. This has been unconstitutionally sustained by unequal joint-military agreements that keep the Philippines a virtually permanent, open port for the US troops in Asia. The continuing presence in the country has proven to be detrimental to the lives of Filipinos. This includes countless cases of rape, molestation, other forms of sexual terrorism, toxic waste pollution, disease, and even killings. Earlier this week marked the one year death anniversary of Gregan Cardeno, a 33 year-old from Zamboanga who was hired to work for as an interpreter for US soldiers, but whose mysterious death under questionable circumstances was hastily covered up as a suicide. Incidentally, Philippine Army Captain Javier Ignacio was also found dead over the course of his investigation into Cardeno’s case.

Though mainstream US academics and historians belittle the Philippine-American War as a so-called “insurrection” that supposedly ended in 1902, the truth is Filipinos have NEVER stopped fighting for genuine independence, including waging an armed resistance, from Washington’s control. Recognizing that many other countries around the world are also oppressed by the US government’s ceaseless quest for hegemony, Filipinos in the US, under the banner of BAYAN USA, call on February 4th as a day to remember the lessons of the Philippine-American War and to build solidarity against US imperialism in the US and across the world.

These lessons include the fact that despite granting the Philippines so-called “independence” in 1946, modern-day US imperialism continues to dominate the Philippines, and many other countries around the world, through its puppet regimes. The more important lesson is that Filipinos, and other oppressed peoples under these US puppet regimes, will continue fighting until genuine liberation is achieved.

In this period of worsening economic crisis, US imperialism and multinational corporations are overstretched and at a point of downward decay. As more G20 countries are forced to compete amongst themselves for economic survival, and the threat of war looms as a means to bail themselves out, movements for national and social liberation waged by the working and oppressed peoples around the world are advancing. We are seeing liberation struggles taking over Tunisia and Egypt through people’s upsurge to oust US-backed regimes. In the Philippines, the struggle for genuine national independence against US dictates, including one of the oldest armed revolutions, continues till this day. In the US, rising joblessness, wage theft, homelessness, tuition fees, health care costs, racism, xenophobia, police brutality and attacks on immigrants have set the stage for an increase protest actions and community organizing to build people power. More Americans are opposing the US wars and military operations as well as economic interventions in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

In this era of worsening imperialist crisis, the most urgent lesson is the need to build international solidarity of oppressed peoples against US hegemony and its local agents. In commemoration of the Philippine-American War, the 14 member organizations of BAYAN USA invite organizations in the US and around the world to launch solidarity actions and events for the Filipinos anti-imperialist struggle.

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