Upcoming Events

International | Anti-Capitalism

no events match your query!

User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

forward

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link CPOI Statement: National Day of Action against water charges 21:22 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | guestposter

offsite link An appeal to (right-wing) authority? 11:15 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link The National Museum and while we?re at it remember those ?solutions? to the crash? 09:55 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link This Week At Irish Election Literature 05:04 Fri Oct 31, 2014 | irishelectionliterature

offsite link More unintended consequence after the referendum on Scotland and independence 22:35 Thu Oct 30, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link EXISTENTIALIST STOCK BUSINESS PHOTOS 12:03 Wed Oct 29, 2014

offsite link Irish Labour Movement 1889-1924: Lecture Six - Syndicalism in Ireland 09:02 Fri Oct 24, 2014

offsite link Global Finance, Money & Power: Lecture Seven - Bonds and Money Markets 08:26 Thu Oct 23, 2014

offsite link Irish Labour movement 1889-1924: Lecture Five - 1913 Lockout 09:47 Fri Oct 17, 2014

offsite link Global Finance, Money and Power: Lecture Six - Tax Havens 07:09 Thu Oct 16, 2014

Dublin Opinion >>

Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link Irish Air: Message from the CEO Fri Oct 31, 2014 15:19 | Kevin Higgins

offsite link Unrealistic Timelines: Water Charges and the Fiscal Deficit Tue Oct 28, 2014 15:14 | Michael Taft

offsite link That Day has Come Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:45 | Anne Irwin

offsite link The Changing Pattern of Foreign Investment in China Wed Oct 22, 2014 13:36 | John Ross

offsite link Welcome to the New Tax Avoidance Scheme, Same as the Old Tax Avoidance Scheme Mon Oct 20, 2014 16:26 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

NAMA Wine Lake

offsite link Farewell from NWL Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Happy 70th Birthday, Michael Sun May 19, 2013 14:00 | namawinelake

offsite link Of the Week? Sat May 18, 2013 00:02 | namawinelake

offsite link Noonan denies IBRC legal fees loan approval to Paddy McKillen was in breach of E... Fri May 17, 2013 14:23 | namawinelake

offsite link Gayle Killilea Dunne asks to be added as notice party in Sean Dunne?s bankruptcy Fri May 17, 2013 12:30 | namawinelake

NAMA Wine Lake >>

Akbayan: the Philippines' New Left at 16

category international | anti-capitalism | press release author Saturday February 01, 2014 07:27author by Akbayan (Citizens Action Party) Report this post to the editors

Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello's closing remarks at Akbayanís 16th Anniversary Event, Buffet International Cuisine, Quezon City, Jan 30, 2014

2014akbayancitizensactionparty.jpg

Weíre celebrating Akbayanís 16th birthday on Chinese New Year. For those of us here of a certain age, like Ka Sixto Carlos and Ka Dodong Nemenzo, today is also significant because it marks the 46th anniversary of the Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive was one of those events that led me to the Left. I was, in fact, so inspired by it that I ended up writing a political biography of Ho Chi Minh as a long introduction to his selected works. People who read the book thought I was Vietnamese and were quite surprised to find out Iím Filipino.

At any rate, the book led to a permanent invitation to visit Vietnam, all expenses paid by the Vietnamese government. I was just in Vietnam about two weeks ago where I got to meet a person that I, Tina Ebro, and many others consider one of our idols, Madame Nguyen Thi Binh, the lead negotiator of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam during the Paris Peace Negotiations. She was the one who famously insisted that the negotiating table be of a certain shape. I got to ask her why the Vietnamese were so insistent on the shape of the table, and the reason she gave was that it was important so they would not be outfoxed in the negotiations by the Americans. Well, assisted by the shape of the table, the Vietnamese successfully negotiated an end to the war from 1968 to 1973, and two years later, in 1975, they established the unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam. I will return to Madame Binh and the importance of insisting on the shape of the table later.

There were three events that surrounded the founding of Akbayan in 1998 and marked its future development.

The first was the crisis of the traditional left in the Philippines following the EDSA Revolution of 1986. This led to our concern with establishing a New Left.

The second was the collapse of the centralized socialist regimes in Eastern Europe.

The third was the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and 1998, which led to the discrediting of neoliberalism and was the prelude to the global crisis of capitalism that began in 2008 and which we are still experiencing.

These events led to our partyís being marked by a deep commitment to certain values.

First, as a party of the Left, we have been deeply committed to equality, and here I will insist on using not equity, which is a euphemism, but equality in the original French Revolution sense of the term.

Second, learning from the crisis of the old socialist regimes and parties, we are fundamentally committed to expanding and deepening democracy and human rights.

Third is our commitment to development, to sustainable development. As the current global crisis has shown, development cannot be left to market forces alone. One needs an activist state. But beyond that, one needs an active civil society that acts as a democratic check to both the state and the market.

The partyís achievements over the last sixteen years--and I will focus on legislative achievements--reflect our commitment to these three values.

There was, of course, the CARPER land reform extension bill, which Comrade Risa Hontiveros was the principal sponsor of. There was the Marcos Compensation Act that Comrade Etta Rosales introduced as early as 1998. We had the Cheaper Medicines Bill and the Reproductive Health Bill.

There was the Kasambahay Bill that recognized the rights of domestic workers. There was the Overseas Voting Act and Amendments to it.

These values guide our current concerns. We are, for instance, committed to scrapping the Electric Power Reform Act, or EPIRA, which has brought so much suffering to consumers. EPIRA, as you know, was the apogee, the high point, of neoliberalism in our country.

These principles guide Akbayan in its current coalition with President Aquino. We are in this coalition because we support the presidentís drive against corruption and good governance. At the same time, we have made it clear to the president and our coalition partners that fighting corruption is not enough, that good governance will not be sustained unless it is accompanied by structural reforms. Thus, we have been vocal in our criticism of the slow pace of the agrarian reform program. We have said that it is unacceptable that a few months before the June 30, 2014, deadline for the redistribution of lands under CARPER, some 700,000 hectaresóthe best lands in the country-- remain undistributed. As Congressman Barry Gutierrez will attest, extending the deadline to June 2016, as DAR Secretary has declared, is against the law.

We have maintained our independent, critical stance, not only on the need for structural reforms but on foreign policy issues. As you know, we support the presidentís strong defense of our rights to the West Philippine Sea. Indeed, it was Akbayan that sponsored the resolution renaming the South China Sea the West Philippine Sea. You may ask, what's in a name? Everything. You keep on calling it the South China Sea, and the Chinese will really think it's theirs. Discourse, Michel Foucault reminds us, is power. We disagree, however, with the president and Secretary del Rosarioís embrace of the United States to balance China. We have told them this stance is self-defeating because once you bring the United States in to balance China, youíve converted the whole thing into a superpower conflict that marginalizes resolution to the territorial disputes.

So now, as we deal at close quarters with the Americans, I think we need to derive inspiration from Madame Binh and Vietnamís insistence on having a negotiating table that would not allow the Americans to outfox them. We do not want the Philippines to become a frontline state in a conflict between the United States and China. We knows what happens to frontline states like Pakistan and Afghanistan, and we donít want that future for our country.

Let me end there. So in the name of the party, on its 16th anniversary, I thank you all for joining us today.

https://akbayan.org.ph

2014akbayannewleftphilippines.jpg

2014akbayanpartylist.jpg

2014akbayan16years.jpg

© 2001-2014 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy