PITTSBURGH, PA (Sept. 24) — Filipino-Americans from New York and New Jersey, under the banners of BAYAN USA and the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS), participated in last weekend’s “National March for Jobs”, the first to a week’s worth of protest actions addressing the upcoming G20 Summit in Pittsburgh.
They were joined by hundreds of trade unions, healthcare activists, and homeless and unemployed individuals from across the US who travelled to Pittsburgh to address the global financial ruin caused by the unequal trade and economic policies of the world’s richest countries, banks, and finance ministers– which the Group of 20 (G20) represents.
In addition, Filipinos also led a workshop on the global economic situation that gave way to the launching of an international campaign for jobs.
“We came here representing Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, because contrary to the claims of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, neither are immune to the devastating impact of the global economic crisis– particularly unemployment and other threats to our means of livelihood,” stated Gary Labao of BAYAN-ILPS.
The BAYAN-ILPS contingent also camped out with protesters at a make-shift tent city established on the property of the
Monumental Baptist Church, entitled “Bail-Out the Jobless, a Tent City dedicated to the Unemployed, the Homeless, the Hungry, and the Poor of the World”. Both march and tent city were dedicated to the memory of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who had initiated a national poor people’s campaign for jobs in the US right before his assassination in 1968.
In addition to the march, BAYAN-ILPS also led a public workshop discussion with workers from across the US on the impact of the global crisis in developing countries such as the Philippines.
“Under the framework of neoliberal globalization, workers around the world are all subject to lower wages, unemployment, poor working conditions, exploitation and abuse,” stated Berna Ellorin of BAYAN USA. “The basic demand for jobs and livelihood is a global demand, so our strategy to advance it must be international.”
Last Sunday’s rally and march took place in the historic Hill District, an urban poor neighborhood in Pittsburgh– ravaged by foreclosures, forced evictions, high unemployment, and homelessness– not to far from where the actual G20 Summit meeting will be taking place from September 24-25th.
Both the march, rally, and tent city were sponsored by the Bail-Out the People Movement, a national US network committed to economic justice for poor communities, established in response to the trillions in public funds allocated by the US government to bail-out big banks and corporations last year.