• The Dems’ Sen. Bernie Sanders and our student suicides

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    FOR the first time in |post-1960s American history, a national figure campaigning to be elected president of the United States is calling for a political and economic revolution. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont calls himself a Democratic Socialist. He has pitted himself against the Democratic Party Liberals and the party establishment favorite Hillary Clinton.

    And he has trounced Hillary in the important Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary in which the Democrats chose who of the two they want to be their party’s candidate against the Republican Party candidate for president.

    When the campaign began Hillary Clinton was thought to be the sure winner of the Democratic Party nomination. But now it looks like Bernie Sanders has a chance. And if he does become the Democratic Party candidate it seems that he also has a chance to get elected by the majority of the American voters.

    Both conservative and liberal opinion writers in the US had at first written that if the Democratic Party made Bernie Sanders its candidate for president, the party would lose and be destroyed–because the American people would reject an admitted socialist and anti-rich political leader. They are no longer writing those thoughts these days. For polls show that Senator Sanders is the favorite of the young Americans.

    Why has this happened? Because the United States’ middle class–made up of ordinary people working for companies, factories and retail outlets are getting poorer.

    Because young people who have finished college have to work for wages that are not enough for them to live lives of their own without having to continue living in their parents’ homes as dependents.

    Because the cost of getting a college education has become so high–even in state-owned county community colleges–that many families, just as in the Philippines, cannot afford to enroll their sons and daughters.

    Meanwhile, these millions of hard-up families know, even without Bernie Sanders reminding them in his speeches, that less than 1 percent of the population own much more than 1/2 of all the wealth and property in America. He promises to work to undo this evil and unjust situation if he is elected president.

    And would also make college education free for all Americans.

    This and many other populist programs he would fund by increasing the taxes being paid by the rich. He would also make it impossible for both foreign and US companies to move their profits to the Bahamas and the other tax havens.

    Why is socialism no longer an ugly word
    Why has Bernie Sanders’ socialism and the welfare state all of sudden cease to be the ugly words they were when the Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan was the great American leader?

    First, because of the ugly reality that American capitalism has refused to heed the warnings that Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope (now Pope Emeritus) Benedict XVI and our current Holy Father Pope Francis gave the lords of Wall Street and the bosses of American business and industry.

    Saint John Paul II made seven visits to the US, Benedict XVI one, and Pope Francis was in the USA last September. All three warned against unbridled capitalism, proposed the Church’s prescription for social justice. Pope Francis pointedly reminded Americans of the falseness of the “trickle-down effect” theory.

    Second, young Americans don’t know about the “evil empire” that was the Soviet Union and the violent face of the Communist Party that won China and established the People’s Republic and drove the Kuomintang Party and its Republic of China to Taiwan. To them, China is just a repressively ruled country better and richer than North Korea.

    To most Americans today, socialism is the benign system of the Scandinavian countries.

    Sen Bernie Sanders’ program of free college education for all must be music to the ears of the League of Filipino Students, the Kabataan Partylist, and other youth groups.

    Here is the message issued by the Metro Manila branch of the Kabataan Party List on Thursday Feb. 11:

    Slave education culprit behind 5th suicide under Aquino – Kabataan
    Reference: Romina Astudillo, Kabataan Partylist Second Nominee (0920-128-0006)

    “Kabataan Partylist slammed the new spate of suicides under the Aquino administration due to the high cost of education in the country.

    “ ‘Busabos ang kalagayan ng kabataang Pilipino sa ilalim ng bulok na edukasyon sa bansa. Suicides are becoming parallel with the high cost of education in the country due to its deregulated status that the Aquino administration vehemently imposes,’ said Kabataan Partylist Second Nominee Romina Astudillo.
    “Yesterday (February 11), Jessebel Lagatic, a 4th year student from Central Bicol State University of Agriculture took his life because his scholarship was removed. His death happened a month before the third death anniversary of University of the Philippines-Manila Behavioral Sciences freshman Kristel Tejada.

    “State abandonment created such slave education where Filipino youths are hanging by a thread to enter school due to skyrocketing tuition and other school fees with a nil possibility of finishing college. It is a system that shackles the youth to deregulation under the great deception of ‘globalization.’ It is a system that aims to produce docile youths who will be slaves to profit-reeking corporations from cheap labor and rampant contractualization,’ said Astudillo.

    “ ‘We mourn with the Lagatic family for the unnecessary death of their son who chose to be an agriculture student instead of taking up a course that is ‘needed by the market’. He could’ve been a potential agriculturist of the people who will stand for genuine land reform that is gravely needed by our country,” she added.

    “In the coming months, the country will remember the deaths of Rosanna Sanfuego, a respiratory therapy student from Cagayan State University, and Nilna Habibun, a student from Zamboanga Sibugay, who also took their lives due to the high cost of education.

    Black Valentines
    “Kabataan Partylist said that they are expecting some 400 higher education institutions (HEIs) to increase their tuition and other schools fees for the next school year.

    “Under the Aquino administration, HEIs have been given liberty to hike fees without batting an eyelash despite stern student and parent opposition, said Astudillo.

    “Manifesting resistance to the deregulated education, students use #AyokoMagmahal in social media parallel to their protests inside and outside their campuses.

    “Iskolars ng bayan from Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology staged a black Valentines Day protest calling to rebuild their school gymnasium which has been demolished almost three years ago, the refund of the illegally collected P1,000 Development Fee from the students and the accountability of the school and Aquino administration over their plight.

    “Earlier, students from Ateneo de Naga University (5% increase in tuition) and Ateneo de Davao University (5% increase in tuition, 5% increase in miscellaneous fees) staged series of protests to oppose the tuition and other schools fees increase in their respective campuses.

    “Students from the Pamantasang Lungsod ng Pasig oppose the tuition increase for non-Pasig residents from P250 per unit to P300-350 per unit while imposing exorbitant fees on student documents. This was met with serious repression by the school administration as three student leaders were suspended due to protesting for their right to education including their student council president. Also, Pasig police were deployed to disperse protesting students.

    “Iskolars ng Bayan from Bulacan State University gained victory after their school administration unilaterally imposed repressive policies that barred students with hair color and non-leather black shoes from entering the campus and the distribution of flyers and statements of school organizations. Their protest became viral both online and in the streets which is why the administration retracted their said policies.

    “The Filipino youths will answer this slave education with utter resistance. We hold Aquino responsible for all the deaths that has ensued. Our struggle for free education at all levels continue as we push for a new type of politics that is 360 degrees different from the Daang Matuwid.”

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