February 6, 2010
The Partido ng Manggagawa extends the long arm of workers solidarity to the Filipino Migrant Teachers Assembly in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As the independent working class party in the Philippines, we congratulate the valiant Filipino teachers who have waged the good fight to right what is wrong and defend the welfare of migrant workers in the US.
Now you stand on the threshold of taking the next big step in the fight for migrant rights and welfare. Forming a migrant teachers and workers organization is the necessary and logical level up in the continuing struggle. We wish you success in this initiative and endeavor.
Establishing an organization of Filipino migrant teachers and workers in the US consolidates the hard-fought and well-deserved gains and victories in the course of more than a year of struggle. It also prepares the courageous Filipino migrant teachers for the decisive battle to win the case against an oppressive illegal recruiter. And moreover it paves the road and points for way for the far bigger battle of gaining a voice and winning reforms for Filipino migrant workers in the US.
Forming an organization of Filipino migrant teachers and workers in the US comes at an opportune time. In the US, the Obama administration that came to power on a platform of hope and change is just a year old. In the Philippines, it is the eve of the national elections that will end the unpopular regime of Gloria Arroyo. A vibrant migrant organization in partnership with strong labor movements should challenge the promises of the present administration in the US and the coming regime in the Philippines.
As any migrant worker who has left the country in search not so much of greener pastures but simply of a better job, elections in the Philippines are more in the nature of an entertaining circus and noisy fiesta rather than springboards for real reform or even discussion of issues. Yet the crisis of the ruling system in the Philippines has opened up windows of opportunities however small, such as the party-list system, for determined labor advocates to gain voice and representation.
Also in the US, the economic recession is casting away illusions and opening up the eyes of the working people about the nature of capitalism, the excesses of globalization, the need for an alternative America and the possibility of a new world. Amidst the struggle for health care, immigration reform and pro-labor change, a revitalized American workers movement may be forged with the voice of migrant labor firmly embedded.
The prospects for expanding and consolidating a Filipino migrant teachers and workers organization are good. Under the new context, it will hopefully be immunized against the virus of disunity and fragmentation that has historically debilitated Filipino-American organizations. As long the principles of democratic processes and unity in action are practiced not just preached, as long as a long-term political vision for social change imbues the immediate fight for labor rights and welfare, then we believe the road less travelled by that you have taken as migrant workers will make all the difference.