Cultural Work in the Philippine National Democratic Movement

by Julian Jaravata and Michael Tayag, ’13

From May 18 to May 20, activists from throughout the country travelled to Chicago to attend the 4th congress of BAYAN-USA, the 2nd congress of Gabriela-USA, and the founding congresses of Anakbayan-USA and the United States Chapter of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS)—all of which are progressive, anti-imperialist alliances of groups fighting for genuine social change in the Philippines and other countries around the world. Anakbayan-USA (the youth organization to which we belong), Gabriela-USA, and BAYAN-USA are national democratic alliances that work specifically to address the root causes of issues such as forced migration, corruption, and poverty in the Philippines. The movement working for national democracy in the Philippines offers an important example of how peoples subjected to colonialism and imperialism have risen up to reclaim the history, land, and culture that have been taken away from them. Furthermore, the establishment of a US chapter of ILPS highlights the need for international solidarity, especially as a weapon against imperialism. The congress included figures such as Fred Hampton, Jr. and Carlos Montes, who spoke out about the oppression engendered by imperialism. One May 20, the congress attendees mobilized against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the G8, a military alliance and the world’s eight most powerful economic powers, respectively. Those who attended the ILPS congress emphasized the importance of international solidarity, of uniting as the global 99% to wage a greater struggle against forces such as NATO and the G8, which have historically driven and continue to drive people down.

For this video project, we wanted to give a glimpse into the exciting weekend described above. We wanted to explore the role of cultural work within movements for social change, focusing on these congresses and mobilization as a case example. We interviewed various activists who attended the congresses and asked them questions about the global anti-imperialist and Philippine national democratic movements, and their thoughts on art and cultural work: What types of cultural work do they practice? What do they think is its role in these movements? Why is it important?

Watch our video here:


Anakbayan Silicon Valley (ABSV) is a comprehensive youth organization that seeks to unite all youth in the struggle for genuine social change and liberation of the Philippines. By educating, organizing, and mobilizing the youth in Silicon Valley, ABSV fights for the rights of Filipinos in America and advances the Philippine struggle for national democracy. For more information, please visit www.anakbayansv.com.

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