Malaya PDX is a Portland grassroots chapter of Malaya Movement, a national organization working in solidarity with labor movements for sovereignty and democracy in the Philippines. The Portland chapter is focused on education and outreach to mobilize for liberation of the Philippines and movement among Filipinos living in diaspora in the United States and around the world. Their program offerings include classes, film screenings, and food events.
I got involved with this group through my personal search for a culture-based community in Oregon. Meeting folks in this group and other Filipino organizations like the Filipino Bayanihan Center has been a balm to my homesick heart. Since moving to Oregon from the California Bay Area 14 years ago, I’ve become part of so many wonderful communities and lifelong friendships, and have still missed a connection to my Filipino family. Getting involved with these community organizations has been an important part of my personal self-discovery as I take on artistic and educational projects to explore self, place, and identity.
While seeking out Filipino food options was my first instinct when looking for community in my area, the opportunity to learn about the Philippines and its social and political history was an incredible chance to understand my own family’s history in context. Malaya PDX has been an invaluable resource for this discovery.
The Malaya Movement is a broad movement of individuals, organizations, and various formations united under our objectives to defend human rights, democracy, and sovereignty in the Philippines which is expressed through the following points of unity:
1. Democracy: We stand for democracy that is founded on full participation of the broad majority of the Filipino people. We uphold the necessity of institutions in a democratic society such as media, institutions of faith and education to exist without repressive interference from the government, military, or other civil bodies. We denounce the practice of political dynasties and the use of wealth to gain unfair advantage.
2. Human Rights: We stand for people’s rights which includes civil and political rights, socio-cultural rights and the right to self-determination. We denounce and work to end extrajudicial killings, a culture of impunity, and all forms of human rights violations.
3. Sovereignty: We stand for a genuine national sovereignty and assert that the waters, lands, and resources of the Philippine nation should be enjoyed and principally employed in the service of the Filipino people. We denounce unequal military and economic agreements that extract resources or take advantage of our lands and waters to the detriment of the Filipino people.Text provided by Malaya PDX
In Spring and Summer 2023, I participated in a lecture series based on the writings of Jose Maria Sison in Philippine Society and Revolution. This text makes up the basis for the historical and philosophical understanding of the cultural context in the Philippines since Spanish colonization in the 16th century. It should be noted that since PSR was first written in the 1970’s, anthropological academia has shifted away from what had then been accepted theories of settlement in the Philippine archipelago. The history of pre-Spanish conquest is fascinating and woefully incomplete, as Spanish rule spanned nearly 400 years and was effective in effacing much of the oral and lived histories of the people living in the archipelago. That being said, the political history of the Philippines since the end of the 19th century is a well-documented political context for the current lived experience of Filipino people living in the Philippines and, like my family, living around the world.
I participated in these lectures with Malaya PDX by creating visual notes of the series. Check out those notes below. Learn more about Malaya PDX by visiting their instagram account at Instagram.com/malaya.portland/
- The Spanish Period (in the Philippines), Britannica
- Herrera, Dana. The Philippines: An Overview of the Colonial Era. Association for Asian Studies Online Archives (2015)
- Kueh, Joshua. Negotiating Empire, Part I: From Magellan to the Founding of Manila, 16th-18th Centuries. Library of Congress Blogs (2021)
- Kueh, Joshua. Negotiating Empire, Part II: Translation in the Philippines under Spanish Rule, 16th-19th centuries. Library of Congress Blogs (2021)
- Philippine Society and Revolution, Wikipedia