STATEMENT Just when we thought things could not get worse, Pesident Rodrigo Duterte signed today the “Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020,” a law that many legal pundits, human rights advocates, and no less than the United Nations Human Rights Council itself – gravely warned about. With the stroke of a pen, Duterte has unleashed a greater…
“The combination of backwards tradition, capitalist commodification, and class contradiction all help create a culture where women are not only sidelined but are crushed by a vice and deprived of their right to voice out, to quote Alexandra Kollontai. Rape culture and bourgeois society are inherently linked, because both enable a system where a patriarchy,…
The challenge for American activists and organizers is to now elevate these contradictions towards the primary question of class struggle; something that hasn’t been done since the Black Panther Party of the 1960s.
In their tens of millions, the workers, peasants and the lower middle class are hungry and angry at the Duterte regime and are eager to move against it. The professionals and entrepreneurs have been deprived of income and have fallen into debt and bankruptcy and are ready to join the toiling masses in concerted actions to protest and make demands. Even the big compradors and landlords who are not his close collaborators now consider him a plague worse than the COVID-19 virus.
The issue here goes beyond Rappler as other dominant and alternative news media organizations are also under attack. Ressa only becomes a convenient target because of her high profile. That’s what she has in common with ABS-CBN which is a leading network. The chilling effect becomes clear by targeting both of them.
While we all agree that the fight against terrorism is important and needs the participation and cooperation of everyone, we maintain that the proposed law is open to abuse by despotic governments to visit terror against critics and the people in general.
Amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, the U.S. government is brokering a $2 billion arms sale to Duterte’s repressive regime, fueling a human rights catastrophe.
As we have said, time and again, the fight for the ABS-CBN franchise renewal is a fight for free expression and a fight for all. But Parlade is instead red-tagging virtually everyone and anyone who supports the call for the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise.
The recent spate of red-tagging and brazen use of authority against media and the people’s growing dissent speak volumes of how the Duterte administration – and its emboldened security forces – are facing the COVID-19 pandemic not only with apparent incompetence, but also with its usual self-serving and despotic brand of governance.
That is why the work of defending human rights must never flag as this crisis develops. While our programming is naturally affected by necessary constraints on travel and physical meetings, human rights work is never done in isolation. It is rooted in personal connections based on mutual understanding, respect, and trust. We will continue to find ways to nurture the connections and solidarity this work requires.
It comes as no surprise that the current lockdown has become a de facto crackdown for some of those who dare speak up against the government.