Beyond the Ballot, Organize and Unite Our Communities!

Nov 9, 2016

Reference: Terry Valen, NAFCON President, president@nafconusa.org

 

Beyond the Ballot, Organize and Unite Our Communities!

NAFCON on the 2016 US Elections

 

Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.  Using hate speech, he has fashioned himself as an unorthodox presidential candidate, who despite lack of political experience would bring something new to the White House. His election reflects the American people’s yearning for a shift from the status quo, including rising prices, fewer jobs, lack of affordable housing, and debilitating student debt. While many Americans believe there was no choice but to participate in “choosing between the lesser of two evils,” the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) fervently asserts that it is not Trump, Clinton, or any individual president who can herald genuine change of the economic and political crisis facing the US, but the people united in action.  NAFCON calls on Filipinos in the US to continue organizing our community and building stronger solidarity with all peoples toward a movement for genuine change both in the United States and around the world.

We saw an unprecedented number of deportations under the outgoing Obama administration.  With the failed grand promise of comprehensive immigration reform, Obama’s development into “Deporter-in-Chief” shows that defending the rights and welfare of immigrants cannot rest on one individual.  Trump’s election to office gives no indication that the attacks on immigrants will subside.  Trump has slandered immigrants, including Filipinos in the US as uncontrollable “animals” who must be kept out. Clinton and Trump offered no real solutions to the $19 trillion US debt and the worsening economic stagnation since the 2008 financial crash that continues to devastate the US middle- and working-classes.

Similarly, NAFCON predicts that Trump will continue to protect and defend American economic interests in the Philippines, which the US has long viewed as an abundant source of exploitable natural resources and cheap labor.  For instance, multinational mining corporations persist in displacing indigenous communities and destroying the environment in order to exploit Philippine minerals.  Further, aid agreements such as Obama’s Partnership for Growth (PFG) Initiative unduly influences Philippine legislation to soften trade requirements by weakening protections for Filipino businesses and workers.  The US and its trading partners have even aggressively pushed the Philippines to lift Constitutional limitations on foreign investment in domestic industries so that the Philippines can join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

During his campaign, Trump unfoundedly labeled Muslim countries and the Philippines as “terrorist nations,” and NAFCON expects that Trump will continue the long history of US instigation and complicity in wars around the world.  For example, the US has maintained military influence in the Philippines, in line with the “Asia Pacific Pivot” authored by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and implemented by the Obama administration.  Unequal military agreements between the US and the Philippines like the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) help ensure ongoing US military presence and impunity in the Philippines.  To prevent further US military-related fiascos like the Mamasapano carnage, the murder of Jennifer Laude, and the destruction of the Tubbataha Reef, we must stand staunchly against US military, economic, and political intervention in the Philippines and other countries.

Being presented with only two top presidential candidates whose funding, media coverage and Wall Street support dwarfed that of any other candidates, demonstrates just how undemocratic the US electoral system is. The ultimate decision brought Americans to choose between Clinton, a staunch advocate and player in expanding US militarism and aggressive wars globally, and Trump, an inimitable billionaire who scapegoats and demeans immigrants, workers, women, and racial, ethnic and religious groups.

NAFCON vows to advance its campaigns for workers’ and immigrant rights, for environmental justice, and for Philippine national sovereignty. Let us link arms in solidarity with each other to intensify our campaigns to stop deportations, protect human trafficking survivors, end police brutality and impunity, demand rightful wages for workers, and uphold indigenous peoples’ self-determination. Only we the people united in action can create the just, equitable society we need!

 

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