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Filipinos echo 'Occupy Wall Street' movement

October 17, 2011 11:50am

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement protesting economic inequality and the power of United States financial institutions has spread from New York City to other parts of the world, including the Philippines.

Meetups have been held in over 1,300 cities worldwide, as reflected on the online hub "Occupy Together."

Filipinos supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement are also utilizing the Internet, organizing their activities on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

In the Philippines, the movement's supporters' first action was held on October 14, when protesters marched in Makati City from the Ninoy Aquino monument on Ayala Avenue to the American Chamber of Commerce.

However, according to the Occupy Philippines Facebook page, organizers ended the program early due to "certain problems."

On the other hand, a meetup on October 15 in front of the U.S. Embassy in Manila was more successful than the one held the previous day.

Members of Kilusang Mayo Uno, Anakpawis, Bayan, and Gabriela held a solidarity action for Occupy Wall Street, bearing slogans that said:"fight national oppression and racism," "promote academic freedom," "end capitalism," "no to U.S. war and plunder," "resist imperialist landgrabbing," "no to exploitation of workers," "land to the tillers," and "no to Charter Change."

On the other hand, an Occupy Rizal Park Together page scheduled a solidarity action also on October 15, but some protesters who made the trip to Luneta left when they couldn't find the others.

"It's really a problem when there are SO MANY occupy PH pages," observed Facebook user Anton Dulce.

October 15 was set as a global day of action, with simultaneous events in over 650 cities.

Another meetup is set for next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the concrete grounds of the Rizal Monument.

Talks on food sovereignty, resource-based economy, mining and the environment and situating the Occupy Wall Street and the European anti-banks demonstrations in the Philippines will be held.

The next action in Manila is scheduled for October 19-21 at Mendiola, with two other protests in Bicol and Mindanao.

Occupy Legazpi is set to hold protests from October 17-19, while Occupy Cagayan de Oro on October 21.

Smaller demonstrations in Asia

While the protest in New York is said to have grown to at least 5,000 people since its encampment began on September 17, Asian demonstrations have been much smaller.

A report from Reuters says protests in Japan and across Southeast Asia were limited to the hundreds, with Singapore's turnout almost zero.

In the Philippines, there are separate Philippine pages supporting the movement, with Occupy Philippines having the most number of likes (768 likes).

The other pages are: Occupy Makati (9 likes), Occupy Quezon City (5 likes), Occupy University of the Philippines (10 likes), and Occupy Manila (10 likes).

In its statement of support for "Occupy Wall Street," the national democratic youth group Anakbayan Philippines noted that the movement that spread from the US across the world holds significance to the Filipino people.

Anakbayan calls the movement "the clearest symbol yet of the failure of globalization and capitalism to provide a decent existence to billions of people all over the world."

"The protests rocking the very heart of capitalism have removed any justifications to remain apathetic and accept the social status quo," said the group in its statement published on October 14.

Debt crisis forum

Meanwhile, Anakbayan Philippines together with Anakbayan USA. and the League of Filipino Students will hold a Debt Crisis forum on October 18.

A teleconference with protesters in Wall Street will be conducted during the forum.

On the other hand, the labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno also expressed support for the movement, calling on the protestors to "go beyond spontaneous protests and build a genuine progressive movement right there in the so-called 'belly of the beast.'"

"We call on the workers and peoples of the US and the world to seize the opportunities being presented by the crisis and aggressively expand and consolidate our ranks as we struggle for a world beyond imperialism and its attendant exploitation and plunder, repression and wars of aggression," says KMU in its statement.

Fil-Ams under the banner of BAYAN-USA have expressed support for the movement in New York City as well as its global chapters.

"At a minimum, OWS (Occupy Wall Street) raises the basic question of fairness and equality, and the fact that there are no such principles under the current state of the US economic system," the group said.

"At a maximum, OWS has the potential to qualitatively raise the level of class consciousness in the US that can contribute to the shaping of a broad anti-imperialist united front in the belly of the world’s number one imperialist superpower," the group's statement said.

The Philippine Airlines Employes Association also expressed its support for the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

"More than 1000 PALEA members and supporters have occupied this part of the airport area since September 28 and today we proclaim it to be part of Occupy Wall Street movement. Similar to Occupy Wall Street which has fought eviction by the New York City government and police, we will not surrender this occupation despite continuing threats of demolition," PALEA President Gerry Rivera said in a statement. - VVP, GMA News
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