We, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine condemn the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, in the spirit of international solidarity with our comrades in the National Democratic Movement of the Philippines. It is clear that Martial Law will only exacerbate the suffering of Moro, Lumad, and Filipino workers and peasants and contribute to the already over-militarized presence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Mindanao. While Duterte claims the declaration is to stamp out the growth of groups like Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic State, the AFP have long been guilty of aerial bombings, extra-judicial killings of activists, burning of schools, and the abduction and murder of indigenous Lumad all around the Philippines, but especially in Mindanao.
In 2016, two of our members travelled to the Philippines in a solidarity exposure trip with AnakBayan NY, where they saw firsthand the effects of state repression and the general conditions of the Filipino people. Many activists and elders of the movement talked with NYC SJP about the legacy of the Marcos dictatorship, and how martial law attempted to suffocate the movement for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines. While Duterte threatens to extend martial law throughout the country, it is clear that it will only benefit the big bureaucrats and landlords, and pave the way for increased U.S. intervention into the country. Just a few days ago, the Trump regime spoke highly of Duterte’s campaign of extra-judicial killings and pledged to work closer with the Government of the Philippines to further U.S. strategic interests in East Asia.
Military law, curfews, extra-judicial killings, checkpoints and search-and-seizures are very familiar to the Palestinian people. The Palestinians have been under military occupation even before the Zionist state was established. Systematized settler-colonialism and apartheid conditions have shaped the experience of the Palestinians since 1948, and until now the West Bank remains under the longest military occupation in the world, Gaza remains under siege and blockade by land, air and sea, and the Palestinians within the Zionist state face draconian laws that determine their rights and relationship to the state on the basis of their indigeneity. While this system seems so strong, in reality it is a weak shell that has a finite lifespan, one whose whole existence relies on the continued support of U.S. imperialism. Like Palestine, the reactionaries in the Philippines also rely on the US to stay in power. We must ask ourselves, who is it that sells the government of the Philippines heavy weapons and tanks? Who is it that has military bases and special forces throughout the Philippines? Who’s counter-insurgency doctrines and programs (COIN) support the AFP’s war against the revolutionary movement of the Philippines, despite years of peace talks? This elucidates how the imperialist system chains both Palestine and Philippines together, in that their oppressors survive through the patronage of the empire, and thus the Palestinian and Filipino peoples liberation depends on the confrontation and defeat of that empire.
We call upon all progressive and anti imperialist organizations to voice their support to the people of the Philippines, and join the International League of People’s Struggle to build a broad, international alliance of oppressed peoples against imperialism.
Sign the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns petition to lift martial law: