Carry on the Legacy of Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama, and Ho Chi Minh May 19, 2015
Anakbayan-USA honors and celebrates the birth anniversaries of Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama, and Ho Chi Minh, three staunch anti-imperialists who embodied the spirit of international solidarity. Just as Yuri and Ho stood in solidarity with oppressed African Americans in their time, we stand with the people of Baltimore, Ferguson, and people across the US who are rising up in protest against the brutal extrajudicial killings of our Black brothers and sisters. We call upon all Filipino American youth to heed Yuri Kochiyama’s life-long call to “build bridges, not walls.” We are in solidarity with all oppressed peoples and communities fighting for self-determination against economic attacks and state terrorism under US imperialism, our common enemy.
At the same time, we stand with the call of Asians across the US who also cry justice for slain African-American Akai Gurley and demand that Chinese-American NYPD officer Peter Liang be held fully accountable for his death. We will not allow white supremacy to drive a wedge between Black and Asian communities and pit us against each other in the media in order to maintain the status quo. All police officers, no matter what their race, must be held accountable for the killings they commit.
The lives of Malcolm, Yuri, and Ho continue to serve as examples for youth of color facing white supremacy and state violence today. It is justified to rebel against an oppressive system that does not serve the needs and interests of the people, to defend oneself as Malcolm stated, “by any means necessary.” After living as a worker in the US from 1912-1918 and integrating with the progressive Black community in Harlem, Ho Chi Minh later returned to Vietnam to lead the national liberation struggle against French colonialism. Yuri Kochiyama also worked with the progressive Black community in Harlem fifty years later during the 1960’s and joined Malcolm X’s organization. She also supported various national liberation struggles throughout her life, including today’s ongoing revolution in the Philippines. The extrajudicial killing of Malcolm X in 1965 by government assets was executed at a time when his politics began to evolve towards an internationalist perspective due to his travels among the oppressed people of the world.
We urge today’s youth to learn from their examples and realize the interconnectedness between the struggles of poor and working class people across the world. Only by immersing ourselves in working class communities can we concretely understand how people from the US to the Philippines and countries across the globe are all suffering under US imperialism and neoliberal policies. We must carry on and push forward the organizing work started by Malcolm, Yuri, and Ho in order to bring about a more just and humane future.
State terrorism and fascist police violence against African-Americans in the US are a constant thread throughout this country’s existence. The police principally function to serve and protect the property and business interests of the ruling class by quelling the resistance of the working class masses. This rang true in the 1960’s during the time of Malcolm X and was recently demonstrated in Baltimore as well as in other uprisings such as Los Angeles in 1992.
The US was founded by racist slave owners and the wealth of this nation’s ruling class was accumulated through the massive inhumane exploitation of working people and people of color. The first police forces in the US were Slave Patrols created to protect the property of slave owners from rebellion by interrogating and persecuting African-Americans without any justification or due process. This unjust practice continues today as police are increasingly being exposed for their unjust and widespread treatment of African-Americans as automatic criminal suspects and threats to the oppressive status quo.
In tandem with the denial of basic resources and underfunding of social services such as education and youth development programs, the police consistently attack African-American and other communities of color as a means to continue capitalist profit-making through the prison-industrial complex. We demand an end to this malicious scheme and call for systemic changes for the people to gain political power to determine the future of their communities.
Anakbayan-USA raises our fists across the nation to remember and learn from Malcolm, Yuri and Ho as revolutionary examples of offering one’s life in complete service of the people. In the same spirit, we salute the community organizers and people of Baltimore who are proactively seizing the situation as a way to build collective strength in their community and work towards meaningful social change. We are in solidarity with the people of Baltimore who are in the struggle for their livelihood; calling for liveable jobs to rise from poverty, to end the school-to-prison pipeline, to seize self-determination, and demanding their right to live.
(English below) Mình nhớ rất rõ trong một buổi chiều khi mình còn nhỏ, lúc đó gần Tết và cả đại gia đình mình ngồi trong một khu vườn ở xa trung tâm thành phố. Mặt trời lặn từ từ, từ từ, rồi tất cả chú, dì, anh, em, bố, mẹ thậm chí ông bà mình luôn, mọi người đứng lên và bắt đầu nhảy, trừ mình. Lúc đó mình nhớ, ai nhảy cũng xấu lắm, hahaha, nhưng mình cứ ngồi đó, trên cái bậc thềm rồi coi cả gia đình mình tận hưởng cái vui vẻ đó với nhau. Lúc đó mình nghĩ trong đầu là, tất cả, tất cả những điều tuyệt diệu nhất trong đời, hay thậm chí trong phim ảnh luôn, thì cũng chỉ đẹp được tới như vậy thôi. Và mình nghĩ đó là cách mọi thứ bắt đầu, cách mình bắt đầu nhảy, vì nó là thứ gần nhất và dễ nhất gợi mình nhớ về hạnh phúc.
– I remember it vividly one afternoon in Tet holiday when I was a little boy. My whole family gathered in this small garden, away from the city and the sun started setting. And one by one, all of my uncles, aunts, cousins, my mom, my dad and even my grand parents, all of them, except for me, stood up, to dance. It was nothing fancy hahaha, but I remember I was sitting there on the porch watching them and thinking, man, among all of these spectacular things in life, or even in movies, nothing could compare to this moment, this one afternoon, this garden. And I think that was how it all started, how I got into dancing, because it’s the closest and easiest way that could remind me of happiness.
It’s been no local photography outing for more than a month due to severe smoke haze caused by forest fires in the region. Luckily we had a short holiday planned over a long weekend, and went back to Ho Chi Minh City (less than 2 hours flight from Singapore). We just left Singapore a day before Pollutant Standard Index hit 340 (hazardous level!), highest in the last few years.
This photo was shot from Saigon Skydeck, 49th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower. Ho Chi Minh City doesn’t really have things I want to shoot, but is still our favourite, thanks to yummy local noodle soups!