LOS ANGELES: Delegates from Boston, New York, Chicago, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Riverside, Irvine, and San Diego approved the Constitution, By-Laws and 3-year program of action for the Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM). The gathering affirmed the indivisibility of nation and home, and the right of migrants and children of migrants to make history wherever they are.
AF3IRM will embark on campaigns to oppose imperialist wars, to insist on the right of migrants to settlement and integration and for the legal classification as a hate crime of the murder of mail-order brides. In addition, chapters will launch local campaigns that link thematically to national campaigns – for example, those close to military bases will campaign against military prostitution and trafficking.
The Congress affirmed as well the building of horizontal relations with women’s organizations within and outside the United States on a basis of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect in order to ensure that women’s historic vision will be realized globally.
The Congress affirmed the necessity to study the impact of the policy of circular migration on migrant women and their commensurate re-feudalization.
The October 2nd Conference that marked the public launch of AF3IRM echoed thematically the concerns of the Congress.
Keynote speaker Johanna Brenner said that since the demands of liberal feminism have become the “new common sense” in the United States, a transnational masculinist movement has arisen, using the state in order to roll back feminist gains.
British Columbia Philippine Women’s Centre Executive Director Charlene Sayo spoke about the impact of the Live-In Caregiver Program not only on migrants, but also on 2nd and 3rd generation Filipina-Canadians, who have to deal with the warped context of interactions with two generations of white male Canadians who had been raised by Filipina nannies.
Dr. Anna Guevarra of the University of Illinois at Chicago underscored the need to hold accountable both sending and receiving nations for the intolerable conditions of migrants, especially Filipina migrants who are seduced into servitude by such government programs as the “Supermaid” and “Workers of Worth” sales pitch.
Trafficking survivor Roma Amor recounted her travails in the Philippines as a battered wife with 3 children, which pushed her into becoming trafficked into the United States where she ended up receiving $26 pay for a month’s work. She left nearly the whole assembly in tears of sympathy with her and anger at her oppressors.
Ninotchka Rosca of the Mariposa Alliance summed-up the global policy of circular migration as simply placing people in a permanent state of impermanence, thereby totally marginalizing them from social and political interaction in both societies of sending and receiving countries. Indeed, “home” and “nation” for many migrants, according to Ms. Rosca, are reduced to digital images, or “pixels, “ while family interaction reduced to the cash nexus. Migrants who are in the pattern of circular migration are deprived of the right to historical signification by imperialism and those who connive with it.
Workshops were then held to define and articulate a plan of action against Imperialism, Marginalization, and Re-feudalization. Professor Evelina Galang conducted a writing exercise to enable women to document their experiences.
AF3IRM’s founding officers are Jollene Levid, National Chairperson; Amanda Martin, National Coordinator; Alcy Montas, National Organizing Director; Ley Ebrada, Finance Director.
At the solidarity night, Guerrilla Queenz, Traci Akemi Kato-kiriyama, BP and Odds, and The Fighting Cocks performed before the exhausted but appreciative Congress and Conference participants and allies.
For further inquiries or to join the AF3IRM listserve, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or access www.af3irm.org.
Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization
PO Box 403, Times Square Station
New York, NY 10036