KASAMA Vol. 15 No. 3 / July-August-September 2001 / Solidarity Philippines Australia Network

Bayanihan International Solidarity Conference 2001
Philippine Civil Society and International Solidarity Partners:
Strengthening Local & Global Advocacy Initiatives
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 24-26 August 2001

We have loved, laughed, worked together for decades in solidarity with and as part of the struggles of the peoples of the Philippines. We celebrate this history. At this conference we have relived this history through its songs and dances, through intense discussions, through renewed personal and political ties. We renew our commitment to this history.

We carry this history forward into the present and the future, as we continue working on various initiatives in the continuing struggles of the peoples of the Philippines, even as we now find ourselves with divergent political perspectives. We celebrate our diversity as a strong base for a culture of democracy.

We are more than 300 individuals representing a multitude of countries, issues, organizations, and sectors. Many of us have worked together in many similar solidarity gatherings and projects in the Philippines, in Europe, in North America and Australia. Our common history has also brought changes in our perspectives on solidarity work. We do not want to rebuild authoritarian structures and perspectives which limited our solidarity work in the past nor repeat the old perspective which limited 'solidarity' to 'support work' - to one way relations between groups and peoples. We believe our solidarity work should encompass relations between communities of Filipinos all over the world, between Filipinos and peoples in countries where Filipinos live, all mutually supporting each others' struggles, and the struggles against racism of other migrants and refugees.

We are not one but many solidarity movements encompassing different sectors, concerns and issues. We have gathered together to share experiences, build new networks, strengthen old ones, renew our commitment to support each others' work, to identify cross cutting issues that we can address together. We believe in the 'globalization' of peoples struggles across the South-South, North-North, North-South divide.

Our common struggle against globalization is the basis for continuing solidarity work together. We oppose corporate globalization imposed by governments in advanced capitalist countries through interventionist financial, political and often military blackmail. We oppose the kind of globalization which sacrifices bio and cultural diversity, and divides people into "winners" and "losers", which turns women, indigenous peoples, small farmers, fisherfolks, workers and others into commodities in both the North and South.

Many of us already work on the issues of overseas Filipino workers - the exploitative working conditions, poor pay, illegalization and other problems. Overseas Filipinos are on the threshold of achieving integration into the Philippine political process. We recognize the critical role of Overseas Filipinos as actors and participants and as a major source of ideas, skills and reservoir of support. Towards this end, we will intensify our campaign for overseas Filipino voting until it is passed into law, and campaign for substantive transformation of Philippine policy on labor migration.

As diverse as we, our issues, concerns and sectors are, we commit ourselves to a common task - that of shaping a radical democratic political alternative for the Philippines and other countries where we live. If democracy is majority rule, then the empowerment of the basic sectors we work with cannot but be the anchor of the alternative political system we are shaping through our struggles. Political democracy cannot be sustained without economic democracy, without asset reform and the construction of programs of social policy.

We carry many of the gains from our past struggles into this task. We have helped to shape the ideas, organizations, networks of the human rights, women, labor, farmers, fisherfolk, urban poor, environmental and other movements and political parties which will form the building blocks of radical democracy. Some of us come from social movements, the women, environment and other movements and have brought in the experiences and contributions of these movements into the solidarity movement. Many of us come from the socialist movement and its many manifestations. While we take responsibility for some of its errors and failures, we will carry the best of that tradition into the future we are even now shaping. We believe another world is possible.

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