Organizing work…

I’ve come a long way in the 1.5+ years that I’ve been an organizer with Anakbayan LA. Prior to joining, I was on the fence for a really long time (maybe two years?), so now I can’t help but laugh at that indecisive period because it’s almost impossible to envision my life without organizing.

However, since I just started a new job, my amount of free time has decreased due to a longer commute and longer work hours (I’m out the door at 7am and don’t get back home until 7pm), but I’d be lying if I said there’s not enough time in the day to complete my organizing tasks. I can still do the work, I just need to learn how to be more efficient with what little “free” time I do have. It can definitely be done though!

These next few weeks are going to be crazy busy though (more than normal), and I can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed right now. Luckily, some kasamas and I recently had an E.D. (Educational Discussion) about the qualities of a revolutionary, which I revisited tonight to keep myself grounded and have the right approach to what needs to be done.

Here are some bullet points on the article we studied:

  • A revolutionary is lively and enthusiastic. We must keep a positive mental attitude and eagerness in the work and be conscious that every step brings us closer to the bright future.

  • Don’t allow ourselves to lose spirit or be discouraged in the face of problems and difficulties. With militance and a fighting sprit, we must seize every moment and opportunity in the struggle.

  • Initiative is a mark of the revolutionary. Our initiative applies not only to our own responsibilities, but also to other areas where we see the need for immediate attention.

  • Always willing to take on tasks and responsibilities and accepts assignments with little concern for the hard work or sacrifices they entail. We shouldn’t be choosy with the work because we do not seek fame or comfort for ourselves.

Like I said in the beginning, I’ve come a long way as an organizer but I’m also aware of what shortcomings I have and what areas I need to improve on. It’s a never ending growth process, but I’m in it for the long haul and ready to step it up even more than what I’ve done in the past. Let’s keep marching forward…

anakbayanla:

Anakbayan-USA Message to the Founding Assembly of Anakbayan-Melbourne

July 13, 2012

On behalf of the National Executive Committee, National Council and general membership of Anakbayan-USA, we send our revolutionary greetings and congratulations to our kasamas in Melbourne for establishing the first chapter of Anakbayan in Australia!

We offer you our full support and we look forward to strengthening our ties across the Asia-Pacific, together with our mother organization in the Philippines.  Let us share and learn lessons from our experiences to consolidate and expand the comprehensive Filipino youth organizing in our respective countries.

As Filipinos overseas, it is clear that the cause of the forced migration of Filipinos abroad is the continuing semi-feudal, semi-colonial character of Philippine society that exports cheap Filipino labor.  It is for this reason that we must recognize ourselves as integral to our people’s struggle for national liberation and genuine people’s democracy.

Be bold and daring in arousing, organizing, and mobilizing the Filipino youth in Melbourne and across Australia, to build a strong nationwide Filipino youth movement.  It’s important to address your local community issues while linking them with the root problems in the Philippines that cause our migration—namely imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.  Through making these connections, we can bring overseas Filipino youth closer to the ongoing struggle for national democracy in the Philippines.

In addition, it is our duty as overseas Filipino youth to deepen solidarity links with other oppressed and exploited communities in order to strengthen the international anti-imperialist movement.  We must do our best to build alliances with non-Filipinos and their struggles to gain broad support for the Philippine national democratic movement, especially now as the protracted crisis of global monopoly capitalism imposes more misery on our people and the rest of the working masses of the world.

The struggle in Australia is even more crucial with the threat of the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a neoliberal policy larger in scope than its predecessor, the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This economic attack on the people is bolstered by US military aggression with the building of a new US military base in your country and the proposed joint military exercises of the Australian military with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

It is high time that we reconnect and uphold the revolutionary tradition of the Filipino youth.  Let us carry on the legacy of Kabataang Makabayan and draw inspiration from the words of its founding chairperson, Jose Maria Sison, “Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge.”

Mabuhay ang kabataang makabayan na nakikibaka!

Serve the people! Struggle for National Democracy!

Lumalakas, lumalawak, lumalaban, ANAKBAYAN!

 

I cannot tell a lie.

I cannot tell a lie.

etmm:

anakbayanla:

Anakbayan LA Serve The People NewsletterIssue No. 2, February 2012

View hereDownload here



Find out more about the organization I’m a part of :)

etmm:

anakbayanla:

Anakbayan LA Serve The People Newsletter
Issue No. 2, February 2012

View here
Download here

Find out more about the organization I’m a part of :)

Post-Expo Reflections…

A few hours ago I finished my 3 day Exposure [expo] Program in the Southern Tagalog region of the Philippines. I’m still trying to process everything I’ve experienced, so my mind is all over the place right now.

I’ve seen how going on expo has affected my friends and always wondered if it would be the same way with me. In just a few short days of integrating with different communities and talking to the masses, I’ve never been more proud of the Filipino people as I am right now. Despite all the hardships they face, they maintain such a resilient spirit and never seem to complain about the petty things that we often complain about in our more comfortable 1st World living conditions. After I parted ways with my expo guide today and was riding back to my grandpa’s house in Rizal, I really had to compose myself from completely breaking down. The tears that did come out weren’t from a source of pity for the people and their living conditions or guilt from my own privilege, instead, it was because of how touched I was by their hospitality.

These are people with relatively nothing in material possessions, yet they welcomed me into their homes and accepted a complete stranger as one of their own. There’s a good chance that I’ll never see a lot of those faces again, but I truly feel like I’m a part of their family. I didn’t find out until much later that one of the families who took us in literally fed us all the food they had, but not once did they even hint at the fact. Due to recent heavy rains, the crops that they worked on were completely destroyed. They couldn’t even offer their services and get paid in nearby areas because those fields were completely flooded as well. In what is truly a day to day struggle, no work means no food. Despite all this, they still went out of their way to ensure that their guests were ok.

One of the recurring questions I asked at the end of every conversation was, “As a Fil-Am, what would you want me to tell people when I go back to the U.S.? What do you want them to know about the Philippines?” Even though a lot of them were from different areas and didn’t know each other, the overwhelming answer was “Tell them our story.” Whether it’s through blogging, through music or just in everyday conversation, I know deep in my heart that I can help give voice to the voiceless — the ones who aren’t able to reach a wide audience and let their stories be known. But I also know that talking about it won’t be enough and that my actions will go a much longer way.

I’d like to say that this was a life changing experience (which it does feel like right now), but I think that can only be assessed on a more long term basis. What will happen months from now after I’ve gone back to my comfortable life in the States? Will I get caught up in all the distractions? Or will I be more grounded and inspired to keep organizing and keep fighting for the people?

I only have two more nights left in the Philippines before I have to leave. I don’t know when I’ll be coming back here, but these three weeks here have been fun, humbling and memorable. There were a couple times throughout the trip where I did miss some of the little luxuries I have in the U.S. and couldn’t wait to get back, but now that my time is almost up I realize that I’m really not ready to leave yet. I don’t know any other way to describe than to say that I have a heavy heart right now (but not in a sad or depressing way).

I’ll definitely be writing a lot more about my experiences in the upcoming weeks…

I just came across this video. That’s us (The Committee) at 01:33. The little dude at 0:46 steals the show though!

October is Filipino-American History Month.

Growing up, older Filipinos would sometimes tell me about the contributions our people made to the Farmworkers/Labor Movement but I never believed them. As a product of the American school system, my indoctrination conditioned me to believe that the history books were 100% truthful. I figured that since I never read anything about the role of Filipinos in that movement, then my elders must’ve just been trying to hype up our culture and our people. Even when I got to college, it was the same thing in my U.S. History class (I never even learned about the contributions of Black and Brown people until I started taking different Ethnic Studies classes in my later years).

We might’ve been erased from the history books, but it doesn’t change our history.

In exactly two months…

…I’ll be in the Motherland for the very first time. Philippines, here I come.

anakbayanla:

Anakbayan Los Angeles joins our peers in the Philippines by participating in the Blog Action Day to support the Filipino youth and student fight for a greater education budget as well as to stop tuition fee increases and budget cuts to education and social services.

For the Filipino youth in the US and overseas, we offer this English translation of the fierce and militant speech by Anakbayan’s national Secretary General, Charisse Bañez, (aka ”Chaba”) made in front of the Mendiola march during the National Youth Walkout for Education on  July 19, 2011.

She explains in the clearest terms the unjust and oppressive state of the Philippine education system and outlines the alternative pro-people solution to the current system.

We recognize that, as youth and students in the US, we are facing the same cuts to our public education budgets nationwide.  This is an all-rounded and concerted attack by the monopoly capitalists worldwide to make higher education inaccessible to youth from working families and deny them their basic right to education.

It is important for us to carry our fight beyond the bounds of the universities and recognize that our struggle for education is ultimately interconnected and linked with the struggle of all working people who are also suffering under the exploitation and oppression of the current economic and social system.

Let us continue to unite our fellow youth and students nationwide to build a strong comprehensive movement that links the struggles of students with the struggles all working people for education, employment, social services, and immigration reform.  We call for an end to the misuse of our nation’s resources in waging imperialist wars as well as an end to the tax cuts for big corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

Let our generation take up its historical role as a powerful force for pushing our society towards genuine social change.  Let us remember and bring to life the words of Jose Maria Sison: “Only through militant struggle can the best in the youth emerge.” (Youth On The March)

FPAC Recap…

My first exposure to the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture (FPAC) was in 2005, and I’ve attended ever since. As an artist, this is always one of my favorite venues/events to perform at because it’s such a great community vibe. Back in our formative years, my hip hop group The Committee has been able to network with people that we’re still friends with to this day. But even when you take away the music element, I’ve still met some really cool people throughout the years. It’s a great feeling to walk through a sea of faces and bump into someone around every corner. I’m not saying it’s a popularity contest, but it’s more like, “Wow…I’m really a part of this Community. These are my folks.”

And speaking of folks, I have to give a shout out to all my peeps who rocked the stage this weekend: Shining Sons, Krystle Tugadi, and Rhythm Natives. On top of that, I finally got a chance to see Ruby Ibarra perform live. Damn, yo…that is one vicious MC!!! And of course, there was the Native Guns reunion. I’ll admit that my initial reaction wasn’t what I expected. I thought “ah…they always make the cameo appearances throughout each other’s sets, it’s nothing new.” But all of that went out the window once they started performing. It brought me back to ‘05 and ‘06 when I first got exposed to their music and showed me that you can be proud of being Filipino and still be dope behind the mic. It’s really hard to express how much of an influence they’ve had on my music, but Bambu probably said it best in his song Old Man Raps, “I’m a pioneer to all these Filipinos you hear / got a boost when the Native Guns’ music appeared.

Ultimately though, the highlight of this weekend was being able to perform with the original members of The Committee again. I think since our band parted ways a couple years ago, I’ve always kind of held on to the hope that maybe we can get a new band going but after these last few weeks of practicing with the original members and sticking with a DJ, I’m truly ready to move on. Not to be too big headed about it, but we can confidently say that we killed it on Saturday!! It was a huge difference between that and the Tuesday Night Cafe set we did earlier in the week. Thanks to video footage and the raw, honest feedback from our friends, we were able to work out a lot of the kinks and had a much stronger set by the time we took the stage on Saturday.

Aside from the personal feelings we had about our performance, we had a lot of friends/fans who’ve seen us from the very beginning and said that it was one of our best shows. That really meant a lot coming from them, especially when you consider that we haven’t performed together in such a long time. But what got me most excited was the crowd reaction after we made a certain announcement (I’ll post the video soon). I can’t even front, it made me feel all giddy inside. haha!! To quote one James Todd Smith, “Don’t call it a comeback, [we’ve] been here for years…”

Oh and one last thing, I really need to give an extra special shout out to the event organizers and volunteers!! They were always available to answer any questions we had leading up to the event and even accommodated a last minute schedule change for us because one member had some unexpected plans that came up. Even though the performance schedule was already distributed to the artists and pretty much set for both days, they still asked around and got us switched from Sunday to Saturday. Our set wouldn’t have been the same if we were missing a member, so THANK YOU FilAm Arts!!