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Combating Colonialism: The Filipino Women's Emancipatory Role for Genuine Freedom and Democracy

Wed, July 11, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Room, 8A 33


The paper mainly discusses GABRIELA’s (National Alliance of Filipino Women) current ideological, organizational, dynamics in relation to the history of economic and political material conditions that set forth its formal establishment in 1984. The organization and its continuous role of fighting for national sovereignty and women’s liberation have been duly recognized worldwide by various movements of resistance. The institutionalization of GABRIELA was also bolstered through it being a part of the primary revolutionary organizations of the reestablished 1968 Philippine Left. It is one of the mass organizations forged under the theoretical foundations of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM).

The paper holistically historicizes the rampant oppression of the Philippines under the Spanish colonial and feudal period from the 16th-19th century; the period of the old democratic revolution from 1896 to 1902; the interregnum of Japanese occupation from 1942-1945; the US colonial rule up to 1946, and the current period of semi-colonial and semi-feudal rule which first took place in 1946. These historical discussions served as a springboard of dialectical analysis upon deconstructing the organizational status quo of GABRIELA.

With the theoretical foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, GABRIELA distinctly represents its specific proletarian class-biased political thought. The paper demonstrates how GABRIELA as a women’s movement organization, translates theory into practice by vigorously campaigning international, national economic and political issues such as women’s rights, gender discrimination, violence against women, women’s health and reproductive rights. Being simultaneously a non-profit organization and a social movement, GABRIELA treats such undercurrents both as a challenge and an opportunity. The paper shows how GABRIELA’s objective to arouse, organize, and mobilize women becomes the inherent mechanism for intersectionality as it aligns itself with various allies of resistance from different parts of the globe.

The paper presents how GABRIELA formulated strategies and resolved contradictions with issues such as poverty, corruption, militarization, prostitution, and even environmental issues. In concerning drastic periods of economic turmoil, underemployment, insufficient housing and the hampering of democratic rights that GABRIELA has historically acted upon to rally the broad masses of the people.

Consequently, in the aim of strengthening the ideological, political, and organizational disposition of the movement; studying GABRIELA’s ideological, organizational and political distinction sets how they have and repudiated the “defective” ideological foundation of the Philippine Left’s political rejectionists.