Celebrate People’s Resistance on #ISD2018

Opinion & Analysis Nov 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm

The Canada chapter of Filipino youth group Anakbayan expresses its collective support of the global observance of militant student activism on International Students Day #ISD2018. We continue the struggle against the neoliberal attacks on public education, and fight for free and emancipatory education.

November 17th is commemorated as a significant day when students rose in dissent. In 1939, University of Prague was stormed after the bloody murder of 9 student leaders, thousands were sent to concentration camps set up by fascist Nazis, and Czech universities and colleges were closed.

2018 also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Paris riots, a spark that started a wildfire across the Western world. Youthful malaise is also felt in Mexico as the mystery of the Tlatelolco massacre still haunts people from across different sectors marching in silence half a century later.

Under the shadow of imperialism and fascism–the current local and global sociopolitical order–our task is to be as critical and vigilant. We live in times of wars and rumors of wars as a result of chaos amid economic turmoil. Financial crises are dragging on as wealth gap is ever increasing and ecological disturbing ever alarming.

This year, we see the effects of austerity measures in Greece, Kenya, Chile and Malaysia, where students suffer from debt overload. Student activism is also the driver of pro-people development for example, student-led protests in Bangladesh demanded for public road safety; in the US, student speeches on gun control are heard; in Spain, sexism in classroom is taken on seriously; and in Australia, skipped school on the government’s climate inaction.

Even with harsh repression, students stand up and fight back. Palestinian students defy daily challenges to exist in the face of a terror Israeli state; intense unrest in Senegal sprung out of universities on issue of student grants; in Latin America, students in Brazil, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua and Puerto Rico resist their own military’s growing role in crackdown of defenders of the oppressed masses. In Indonesia, young student organizer Anindya Joediono choose not to cower in fear in spite of sexual harassment by police and criminalization of her being vocal against injustices. In China, Marxist students are being taken away by authorities for advocating for labor rights in electronics factories.

In the home front, the already sorry state of Philippine education is even more depressing with the elimination of ‘panitikan’ or Filipino literature as a required course in college within the government’s K to 12 curriculum. The rationale based on the government’s judgment is the subject’s lack of economic advantage while putting Korean language as a priority in the high school system. Despite the passage of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, commercial and privatized education remains as official state policy.

Campuses–as sanctuaries where students’ right to organize, freedom of expression and freedom of association are upheld and promoted–are constantly attacked by the military establishment by simple presence of elements of the armed forces to red-baiting of school activities and legal youth groups to forced disappearances.

We are compelled to bond with the poor, less educated sectors in the struggle for genuine freedom, democracy and peace based on justice. Let us emulate the examples of students Myles Albasin, 21; Edzel Emocling, 23; and Rachel Galario, 20, who went to remote villages in different islands and dedicated their time to serve the people. But in doing so were framed up, detained and labelled as terrorists. We enjoin other youth and student movements in the call for their immediate, unconditional release from prison and dropping of trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against them. Albasin, together with the so-called Mabinay 6, languish in jail since February 2018, while the Nueva Ecija 4 including Emocling and Galario, are being held in custody since October 2018.

As long as oppression and exploitation persists, the organized mass movement has fertile ground for leading the people to unite and resist tyranny and dictatorship.

(Anakbayan Canada/PRESS RELEASE)