On International Working Women’s Day and the Formation of a Women’s Committee in Anakbayan Toronto

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From our 2019 Celebrating People’s Resistance calendar

On International Working Women’s Day, Anakbayan Toronto vows to continue the fight for women’s rights and liberation, be it overseas or in the Philippines. In recognition of the heightening of the particular struggle of Filipino women in Canada and in the Philippines, we announce the formation of a Women’s Committee within our organization. We see this as a first step toward contributing to the vast legacy of militant women’s resistance.

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Recently, the macho-fascist president claimed that rape is part of the culture and is fated to happen to migrant workers, whom he referred to as “slaves”. And yet Duterte, like his predecessors, has failed to address Labour Export Policy. Duterte continues to ignore the gendered exploitation of LEP– the maltreatment, abuse, and sexual violence that many Filipina migrant workers experience.

This recent remark from Duterte is not the first time he expressed, perpetuated, and normalized violence against women. His anti-women behavior intensifies his Marcosian style of leadership as it serves as a justification for silencing female critics and dissenters. But his blatant display of sexism and misogyny is only fanning the flame of our militant resistance against any macho-fascist dictator.

Furthermore, Duterte’s goons in the PNP and AFP State forces have arrested women rights defenders who serve their communities neglected by the government. Among others, we highlight the case of Anakbayan Cebu leader Myles Albasin, a former journalism student who has been detained for more than a year with fellow activists.

Since the days of the Katipunan revolution against Spanish colonialism and even earlier, women have always been at the forefront of the struggle to overthrow imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, and feudalism. The worsening political situation in the Philippines under the US-Duterte fascist regime has only fuelled us to uphold this revolutionary tradition of ours. There can be no revolution without the militant resistance of women.

In the words of Maria Lorena Barros, “The new woman, the new Filipina is first and foremost a militant.”

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We in Anakbayan Toronto know that as long as the Philippines is not free, no Filipinos anywhere in the world are free. And while the Filipino people are not free, the Filipino women will continue to bear the brunt of the oppression.

If we are to correctly identify the problems that Filipino women face in the Philippines and overseas, we must first observe the objective conditions and their systemic, historical causes. When we do, we see clearly that our task is to unite women of all sectors and progressive social classes, and fight together against the domination of foreign imperialism and its domestic collaborator the macho-fascist bureaucrat capitalism, which in words and in deeds intensifies the oppression of all women.

We must unite women against the semi-colonial and semi-feudal production that plagues the majority of Filipinos. The labour of 75 million farmers is exploited by big landlords and foreign capitalists under feudal relations, and the labour of the peasant women doubly so. We struggle for genuine agrarian reform, recognizing that feudalism contains within its logic a subservience of women to men in every way.

We must unite women in our just struggle for National Democracy in the Philippines toward socialism, to build a society which in its fabric contains the necessary conditions for women’s liberation. We see no other way forward.

As youth and students in this movement for National Democracy, we recognize our role in organizing the most energetic and courageous fighters for our cause. With the formation of a Women’s Committee within our organization, we aim to develop the awareness of the Filipino masses to the root causes of women’s oppression, and more importantly to continue building leadership of Filipino women in the National Democratic movement. Again, we see no other way forward.

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Until the Philippines is free, women will always lead the struggle for liberation. For International Working Women’s Day, Anakbayan Toronto raises a call to action for all who are willing to fight for National Democracy and women’s liberation in the Philippines. Join us on Saturday March 9, 2019 at OISE in Toronto.

Abante, babae! Palaban militante! Advance women, fight militantly!