In memory of the comrade and companion Manuel Sarmiento

Comrade Manuel Sarmiento, or also „Ka Manny“, how he was named by his friends and fellow campaigners, has died on the 11th of December 2020, at the age of 72. We are deeply shocked over the sudden death of this important political activist and persistant campaigner for the demands of the oppressed and exploited. Our sincer condolence we want to express to the comrades, the familiy and the close companions of Ka Manny from „Migrante Austria“. Despite the shocking sudden death we are glad, that Ka Manny could pass away peacefully and without pain.

Ka Manny has stood at the side of the workers, the oppressed and the exploited throughout his life. He was one of them and gave their cause a voice and an organization wherever he was. Ka Manny quickly became an important union leader in his home country, the Philippines, leading strikes, struggles and organizing of enormous proportions. His total dedication to the cause of the workers, his iron discipline with himself and his big heart for the needs and sufferings of the oppressed, earned Ka Manny so much reputation among the workers that he was elected as the chairman of a local union to the country chairman of the union of the food industry . “He was never late for meetings, and when he led them, everything went like a clockwork,” writes Ina Silverio, describing the union leader Ka Manny, and in her letter of condolence she also emphasizes his personal characteristics: “Simple life, tough struggle„. All his life he was firmly convinced that the exploitation of the Filipino workers and peoples, like all other workers and peoples in the world, is caused by the imperialist world system. This made Ka Manny an ardent internationalist who vigorously continued his political work despite his emigration to Austria.

In Austria he did not hesitate to take on great responsibility here too and he founded “Migrante Austria”, an organization for Filipino migrants in Austria. Ka Manny also played a key role in the founding of PINAS FIRST and thus created the necessary instruments for the defense and acquisition of the rights of Filipino migrants for the first time in many years. He always kept in close contact with activists and organizations from the Philippines and other parts of the world, who also came to Austria through him and shared their experiences in the trade union struggle and the defense of human rights with activists from Austria.

Many activists and journalists of the Antifascist Action – Infoblatt share the common work at events, demonstrations and discussion evenings with Ka Manny, where above all the tireless, persistent and nevertheless patient character of Ka Manny stood out and made a deep impression. Full of conviction that the workers and oppressed parts of the population can only defend themselves and struggle in an organized manner, Ka Manny was no conversation too difficult, no argument was worthless for him, but he knew how to deal patiently and in depth with every question and opinion masterfully using this approach to establish unity with the various parts of the masses. He was a role model not to isolate oneself from the masses, but on the contrary to connect deeply with them. But not only as a persistent activist, but also his extensive knowledge, which he knew how to convey in simple language, was a specialty of Ka Manny, which showed the personality that enriched the Austrian political movement for almost two decades.

Our companion and comrade Ka Manny was one of those authentic activists who “see thousands of opportunities everywhere to stand up for fair wages, work, rights and freedom for the working class, no matter where they are”. These are the words used to describe him by the KMU union, of which he was a board member for many years. We want to uphold his enormous legacy, his shining example as a person and fellow companion for a just, revolutionary cause, and through our work we want to help that it continues. His death is a very great loss, but it should encourage us to take the example he set as a model. „There should be more Manny Sarmientos – a shining example of a proletarian leader!“[1]

Ka Manny, your legacy will continue!

Long live the live and work of Manuel Sarmiento!

Long live international solidarity!

Down with exploitation and oppression: Down with imperialism!

Editorial staff of the Antifascist Action – Newspaper, December 15, 2020

[1] Obituary for Manuel Sarmiento by Ina Silverio

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