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Partido Lakas ng Masa
[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3306.]
Por Sonny Melencio
15/04/13 -- America XXI -- El legado del fallecido presidente Hugo Chávez ha sido poderoso para las organizaciones socialistas revolucionarias de todo el mundo. En Filipinas, la Revolución Bolivariana liderada por el comandante Chávez inspiró la construcción de un nuevo partido político, que forma parte de las lecciones y experiencias que renuevan y revitalizan el socialismo en el siglo XXI.
El Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM o Partido de las Masas Trabajadoras) fue construido (o, más precisamente, reconstruido por diversos partidos políticos y grupos de activistas en Filipinas) en 2009. El documento que describe la formación del Partido examinó la experiencia venezolana, la Revolución Bolivariana y las ideas del socialismo del siglo XXI y las hizo guía para la lucha revolucionaria.
By Sonny Melencio
April 15, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The legacy of Venezuela’s late president Hugo Chavez has been overwhelming for revolutionary socialist organisations all over the world. In the Philippines, the Bolivarian Revolution led by Commandante Chavez inspired us in building a new political party that partakes of lessons and experiences that renews and revitalises socialism in the 21st century.
The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM or Party of the Labouring Masses) was built (or, precisely, rebuilt by various political parties and activist groups in the Philippines) in 2009. The concept paper that outlined the formation of the party examined the Venezuelan experience, the Bolivarian Revolution and the ideas of Socialism in the 21st century and made them the guiding light in our conduct of revolutionary struggle.
Philippines socialists on the Korean crisis: 'Halt all war preparations! Stop US provocations and intervention!
US sailors aboard the aircraft carrier George Washington prepare to leave for joint military exercises at the port in Busan, South Korea, in 2010.
By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines
Direct political negotiations to defuse Korean crisis! Halt all war preparations!
Stop US provocations and intervention!
Philippines government act responsibly! Halt joint US military exercises! Protect overseas Filipino workers!
For a unified Korea without US and big power interference!
[Below are statements issued by socialist and progressive organisations in the Asia-Pacific region. More will be posted as they come to hand.]
* * *
Statement of the Socialist Alliance (Australia)
March 6, 2013 -- The Socialist Alliance in Australia expresses its deepest sympathies with the people and government of Venezuela on the death of Companero Hugo Chavez Frias on March 5. His passing is a huge loss for all peoples, across Latin America and the globe, struggling for a world free of inequality, exploitation and oppression.
It is testament to Hugo Chavez’s great leadership that, while mourning his death, we are also confident that the Bolivarian Revolution and the new movement for socialism of the 21st century that Chavez inspired will be continued by the mass of people, to whom he worked so hard to give power.
February 12, 2013 -- Radio Australia -- A Philippine socialist party has thrown its support behind the Australian workers blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant south-west of Melbourne.
Unemployed local tradespeople have been blockading the Werribee Water Treatment plant for the past week to protest against the employment of Filipino workers on special 457 visas [for guest workers].
Earlier this week, the Federal Court reserved decision on the Fair Work Building and Construction Inspectorate's bid to end the eight-day blockade.
On Monday, a group of 12 men, including Filipino workers, were helicoptered into the water treatment plant to avoid the blockade.
The chairperson of the Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Sonny Melencio, has told Radio Australia's Asia Pacific program he's concerned Filipino workers are being used to break picket lines.
Typhoon hits the Philippines, December 4, 2012.
By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines
A total ban on all logging and mining activities!
Implement massive reforestation and a sustainable development plan!
Climate justice now!
We demand full reparation from rich countries and their corporations!
December 11, 2012 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) extends full sympathy to the victims of Typhoon Pablo: to the families of those killed and missing, and to the millions suffering from the destruction of their homes and crops and those still waiting for relief. The PLM demands answers to serious questions raised by the government’s response to the catastrophe.
These include: why, despite the authorities warning of the impending disaster in advance, no concrete evacuation plans were in place; evasiveness about the death toll; delays in getting food and other supplies to survivors and diversion of resources to prevent small-scale looting by desperate survivors rather than providing food.
(Updated Nov. 22) Solidarity from the Asian left: 'Stop Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza and the killing of children and civilians!'
A protest in Parramatta, a suburb of Sydney, on November 15, 2012, called for an end to Israel's attacks on Gaza.
The Noynoy government must condemn Israel’s actions and support build-up of international pressure to stop Israeli aggression!
Statement by Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines)
Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network statement on the October 7, 2012, presidential elections
October 9, 2012 -- AVSN/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Three days after more than 3 million people took over the streets of Caracas in a huge show of support for Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez and his socialist platform, Chavez has won the October 7 Venezuelan elections with more than 55% of the vote, against right-wing opposition candidate Henrique Capriles’ 44%. A record 81% of the 19,119,809 registered voters in Venezuela participated in the election.
Statement by Sonny Melencio, chairperson, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses)
September 23, 2012 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- The petition for certification of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) as a national political party was approved by the Commission on Elections on September 19, 2012. With this approval, the fight for a national political party representing the marginalised sectors has escalated to new heights.
This is a confirmation of the PLM’s three and half years of existence and its expansion as a political party with a mass constituency and grassroots chapter-formations. PLM members belong to the basic sectors of the Filipino masses, which include workers, farmers, public transport drivers, vendors and the urban poor in the 12 administrative regions in the country. A majority of our members are women.
The PLM's growth and expansion is a validation of PLM’s unceasing struggle to dismantle the elite system of political and economic rule in the country, and replace it with full democracy under a government of the masa [masses].
This is an affirmation of the correctness of PLM’s advocacy for a socialist society to supplant the moribund and profit-oriented capitalist system today. PLM’s Plataporma ng Masa is also gaining support from the masses as a concrete and urgent platform for national survival and social justice.
August 30, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring masses), reflects on the politics of class and catastrophic climate change in the wake of the 2012 Manila floods. Interview by Peter Boyle.
Sonny Melencio (second from left) distributes flood relief supplies.
Peter Boyle interviews Sonny Melencio
"People’s solidarity is a latent component that exists even in the capitalist system. We have to nurture it and provide an environment for it to fully develop by changing the system."
August 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- While the Philippines government dithered and made excuses for its grossly inadequate response to the catastrophic floods -- which inundated 80% of the country's capital, Manila -- Sonny Melencio was leading a people's relief effort that brought the first food supplies in days to some of the poorest and most badly effected communities. Together with other activists from the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), Melencio went to a string of urban poor communities along the flood-breached Marikina River with supplies collected from ordinary folk, whose upsurge of solidarity was in sharp contrast to the official response.
PLM activist Sonny Melencio (right) distributes flood relief.
Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa
August 11, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- While organising relief activities for communities hard hit by the devastating floods, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) believes that a political campaign is urgently needed, targeting the inadequacy of government preparedness and response to the flood disasters.
The emerging pattern of extreme weather conditions is related to climate change and while the solution to the climate crisis, given its global parameters, cannot rely on countries such as the Philippines, those suffering the worst impact of the crisis are again, the poor in our countries. The biggest calamity is poverty and mass poverty is the most critical and underlying issue that must be addressed in order to protect and save peoples lives.
This means, among others, the provision of secure employment and a living wage, quality and affordable housing, health and education, electrification and water. While we believe that a program of poverty eradication is the only effective climate crisis mitigation and adaptation strategy, we also put forward the following urgent and necessary measures to mobilise the PLM base communities.
Release calamity funds
By Peter Boyle
August 9, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- "The situation is pretty grim", Reihana Mohideen told Green Left Weekly from the frontline of devastating floods that have submerged half of Manila over the last few days. "It's still raining hard and hard to get around."
"This is another painful reminder of the global climate change crisis and the pain is being felt most by the poor and most oppressed."
Mohideen was part of a team delivering basic supplies, collected at the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) national office, to urban poor and working-class comunities. These include canned goods, instant noodles, milk, coffee, sugar, biscuits, bread, basic medicines and towels. The PLM is one of a number of progressive people's organisations doing relief work with very limited resources.
Opposition to Philippines-Australia military deal; No to 'visiting forces' military pacts with US/Australia/NZ!
June 12, 2012 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Australian mining companies are already ravaging the traditional land of Indigenous peoples in the Philippines and now they are hoping to get ratified a military agreement that will allow Australian troops to enter the Philippines for "combined training, exercises, or other activities mutually approved by the Parties".
Protests broke out in Manila on June 6, 2012, as the Philippines Senate was deliberating on the ratification of the controversial "visiting forces" military pact with the Australian government, signed by the disgraced former president Gloria Arroyo in 2007. Anti-war groups in the Philippines are seeking Australian solidarity for their campaign to block the ratification. Green Left TV spoke to Reihana Mohideen, an anti-war and socialist activist in Manila.
[For background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"]
United Voices of Concern (amidst the sounds of fury over the Southeast Asian Sea)
World Peace Bell, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City, Philippines
May 25, 2012 -- The contending states claiming territorial jurisdiction over sections of the "Southeast Asian Sea" [Spratly Islands] are only heightening regional tensions to a frightening degree. In particular, the contentious row between the Philippines and China is being amplified by certain quarters to a near-conflict level for seemingly nationalistic, but in fact chauvinistic reasons. And as the almost daily sounds of fury raise the stakes for the region’s masses of humanity, many more sober voices of concern must now come out to be heard and not be silenced by the sabre-rattling of a deluded few.
Asian left parties: 'Free Somyot and all political prisoners in Thailand! End the medieval lèse majeste law!'
April 26, 2012 -- We, the undersigned organisations, are deeply concerned about the continuous repression against social activists under lèse majesté law in Thailand, including Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, a labour activist who has been imprisoned without bail since April 30, 2011.
We are concerned about Somyot’s continuous imprisonment, his transfer to another prison and his bail request being denied numerous times.
Somyot is known for his tireless work in the workers’ movement and to establish democratic trade unionism in Thailand. In 2007, he became editor of the Voice of Taksin magazine (now called Red Power), a political publication opposed to the military coup. Somyot is the chair of the Union of Democratic Labour Alliance and the leader of 24th June democracy group, which was formed in the aftermath of the military coup in September 2006.
Solidarity with journalists in Sri Lanka, defend democratic rights! Protest abduction of socialists!
UPDATE: The two comrades of the Frontline Socialist Party, Premakumar Gunarathnam and Dimuthu Attygale, have both been released, on late April 9/early April 10. Gunarathnam has been deported to Australia (he is an Australian citizen). Without doubt it was the high level of international attention and the unprecedented solidarity across the political divide in Sri Lanka that secured their lives and liberty.
April 5, 2012 -- Democratic freedoms are increasingly under attack in Sri Lanka. In a climate of intense chauvinism, critics of the government and its increasingly authoritarian and repressive policies are more and more threatened. Even journalists who have already been forced into exile are targets of threats and smear campaigns. Government members have personally called for violence against media personnel that have raised criticism of the Sri Lankan government or that have drawn attention to violations of Human Rights in the country.
By Reihana Mohideen
[A contribution to Ang Masa (The Masses), a monthly magazine published by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), following the author’s recent visit to Nepal.]
March 20, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- While Nepal is very different from the Philippines in many key aspects of the country’s economy, society and politics, nevertheless the experience of the Maoist movement in that country holds valuable lessons for the Philippine left – both the Maoists and the non-Maoist revolutionary movements.
In Nepal we see the successful implementation of a people’s war strategy, followed by and combined with the development of an insurrectionary urban mass movement, which resulted in the overthrow of a feudal monarchy, the declaration of a federal democratic republic, the establishment of a constituent assembly and a successful intervention in elections in 2008 by the United Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (UCPN-M).
Philippines: No to an anti-China alliance! For an independent foreign policy and a non-aligned ASEAN
Will US forces return to the Subic Bay naval base?
By the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring masses) international department
No to US military presence in the Philippines!
Scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement!
China must stop the bullying!
For an independent foreign policy! For a non-aligned ASEAN!
February 1, 2012 -- The people are now being informed, through media reports, about the possibility of military agreements between the US and the Philippines that would increase the US troop presence in the country. There has also been a flurry of diplomatic activities in the recent period: visits by a US delegation to the Philippines headed by right-wing Republican John McCain, and Philippine government delegations are currently negotiating in the US. We are being assured by the DFA [department of foreign affairs], in what is really a red herring and an attempt to distract us with a false debate, that what is being discussed is a "rotation" of troops and not "bases", and so on. The "threat" of China is being used as the justification, especially in relation to the competing claims to the seas surrounding the pieces of rock named the Spratly Islands – the West Philippine Sea, also known as the South China Sea.
By the Partido Lakas ng Masa’s (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) international affairs department
[The following educational report is being discussed in PLM branches across the Philippines.]
January 5, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – In 2011 we experienced revolutionary upheavals and mass upsurges that have further deepened the crisis of global capitalism. The impact has been the deepening of the political crisis of the international capitalist system and the weakening of its ideological hold and legitimacy. The inequalities of the “American Dream”, for instance, are now almost household knowledge: that the top 1% get more than 20% of the national income. Perhaps the most telling figure is that one-tenth of the top 1% – around 400 families – earn as much as the bottom 120 million people.