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Philippines

Philippines socialists on the phenomenal rise of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte

 

 

The phenomenal rise of Rodrigo Duterte (pictured), the mayor of the southern city of Davao who is now leading in the polls ahead of the May 9 Philippines presidential elections, has shaken up the country's political landscape. His outsider campaign, with talk of the need for a "Duterte revolution" against expected electoral fraud to prevent his election, has galvanized much of the existing discontent towards the political class.

 

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal have republished two pieces, one by Sonny Melencio from the Party of the Labouring Masses, and the other by left Senate candidate Walden Bello, looking at what the Duterte phenomenon means for the Philippines and the left.

 

Filipinas: 30 aniversario de la Revolución EDSA y la memoria histórica

 

[Original articles in English here.]

 

¿Qué conmemoraremos de la revolución de EDSA 1?

 

Por Sonny Melencio

 

25 de Febrero, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal traducido por Enrique García para Sin Permiso -- En una ocasión tuve la oportunidad de ser invitado por el Rembrandt Kapihan junto con un candidato a senador del KBL (Movimiento de la Nueva Sociedad) en las elecciones de mayo de 2016. El malhablado candidato del KBL se lanzó a fustigar a una audiencia imaginaria que había convertido a Ninoy Aquino (el asesinado padre del actual presidente Benigno Aquino, también conocido como PNoy) en un héroe de la primera "revolución EDSA". Esta extraña reacción al parecer quería ser una respuesta a mi afirmación de que íbamos a celebrar EDSA 1 el 25 de febrero con las concentraciones de protesta habituales.

 

El candidato del KBL arrojó una andanada de maldiciones contra el levantamiento popular que derrocó al dictador Ferdinand Marcos. Después de que Marcos abandonase el país en 1986, todo había ido cuesta abajo para Las Filipinas y su pueblo, según el candidato del KBL.

 

UPDATED: Sonny Melencio and Walden Bello on the 30th anniversary of the Edsa Uprising

 

Sonny Melencio (pictured) will be one of the keynote speakers at Socialism for the 21st century: Moving beyond capitalism, learning from global struggles being held in Sydney on May 13-15.

 

What is there to celebrate on the 30th anniversary of the Edsa Revolution?

By Sonny Melencio

 

February 25, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- I once had a chance to be a guest at the Rembrandt Kapihan together with a KBL (New Society Movement) senatorial candidate for the May 2016 election. The foul-mouthed KBL candidate went on a cursing spree to lambast an imaginary audience that had made Ninoy Aquino (the murdered father of current President Benigno Aquino, also known as PNoy) a hero of the first "Edsa Revolution". This seemed to be a response to my statement that we were going to celebrate Edsa 1 on February 25 with the usual protest rallies.

 

The KBL candidate spewed a barrage of crisp curses against the people’s uprising that brought down the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. After Marcos fled the country in 1986, everything went downhill for the country and the people, according to the KBL candidate.

 

Statement on West Philippine Sea/South China Sea territorial dispute: US butt out!

For more coverage of the Philippines, click HERE

By Partido Lakas ng Masa international desk

Philippines must open bilateral talks with China to ease tensions, now!

US butt out, stop intervening in the dispute!

May 28, 2015 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Laboring Masses), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Given the renewed sabre rattling and war cries between the US and China, over the West Philippine Sea and disputed territories, we call on the Philippine government to immediately open bilateral talks with China in order to ease tensions. While we condemn China's aggressive bullying tactics, we firmly believe that the government must take immediate steps towards a negotiated political settlement to this long-running dispute.

However, we also think that the government has to be sincere about pursuing a political settlement, in order to move towards a peaceful resolution of the conflicting claims. This means that the Philippine government disassociate itself from any actions that makes it a proxy for US interests, that is it must be committed to pursuing a truly independent policy in the region.

Filipinas: crisis política y el callejón sin salida de la izquierda

[English at http://links.org.au/node/4407]

Por Reihana Mohideen

10/05/2015 -- Sinpermiso -- Si bien la renuncia de Walden Bello como representante en el Congreso de Akbayan debe ser bienvenida, también ha puesto de manifiesto la crisis y el fracaso del movimiento de izquierda y progresista y su incapacidad para construir una alternativa viable al actual régimen de las élites. Además, ha puesto de manifiesto el fracaso de las políticas electorales pragmáticas de la izquierda filipina.

Una pregunta importante que se plantea es, ¿cómo puede la izquierda responder a la reciente crisis política y darle una salida progresista, a fin de que beneficie a la Masa (masas) y no a una de las facciones de la elite gobernante? Teniendo en cuenta que las principales facciones de la élite no son capaces de presentar una alternativa creíble, ello proporciona la izquierda una oportunidad única, para defender y ganar apoyo popular a una alternativa de izquierda al gobierno de las elites filipinas.

Philippines: Political crisis and the impasse of the Philippine left

Philippine police commandos unload body bags containing the remains of their comrades killed as a result of the "Mamasapano debacle".

For more coverage of the Philippine left, click HERE.

An important discussion is taking place in the Philippine left about its intervention in the 2016 elections, the revival of the mass movement and the coalition of a section of the progressive movement, the Akbayan party, with the governing Liberal Party.

Several leaders of Akbayan have called for an end to this alliance, including Walden Bello, who recently resigned as Akbayan's leader in parliament, former chairperson of Akbayan Ric Reyes, who has now resigned from the party after its congress in April voted to continue as a coalition partner of the government, and SENTRO, the labour organisation aligned with Akbayan.

The following paper is a contribution to the discussion. Other papers and statements can be found at www.lakasngmasa.wordpress.com.

* * *

By Reihana Mohideen

Philippines: Successful Asian Socialism Conference; Bonifacio Day in Manila (video)

By Reihana Mohideen, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) international desk

December 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- A very successful Asian Socialism Conference was held in the Philippines, November 28-29, followed by a rally on November 30. Around 350 delegates participated in the conference, well exceeding our target of 250 leaders who had registered prior to the conference. A contingent of around 3000 rallied and marched on November 30 to mark Bonficacio National Hero's Day.The conference was organised by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM).

A strong feature of the conference was the participation of women leaders of the Philippine Socialist Feminist movement.The conference brought together the socialist feminists, revolutionary LGBT activists, with a strong contingent of socialist workers, intellectuals from the University of the Philippines, urban poor leaders and out-of-school youth, and students from high schools and campus.

Philippines socialists: 'We are squarely behind NUMSA and the principles it is fighting for'

November 12, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

To the comrades of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA),

The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses), a socialist political party in the Philippines, sends its strongest solidarity to the comrades and leaders of NUMSA who are now fighting for the renewal of militant trade unionism and socialism in South Africa.

NUMSA was recently expelled in the Congress of South African Trade Unions federation through the maneouverings of its central executive committee. The central executive committee of COSATU supports the neoliberal program of the African National Congress government, while NUMSA does not. NUMSA has consistently opposed the neoliberal policies of the ANC government and stood for an independent trade union federation.

From the NUMSA press statement itself, we gathered that the real reason for NUMSA’s expulsion has been its consistent rejection of the ANC governmental policies which harm the interests of the workers and the South African masses.

Climate crisis: 'There is no sustainable capitalism'

Typhoon Yolanda, November 2013.

Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) statement on the climate crisis

Climate action, not words!

Capitalism has no solutions!

For a socialist alternative!

September 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- President Benigno Aquino concluded his United Nations speech in New York on September 23 by posing the question: What more can we do? The question is rhetorical, even hypocritical, as the president very well knows what needs to be done: to address the demands of the mass movements, which he has heard, but not heeded. We have been campaigning for an end to coal-based power generation, for example. How has the president responded? By dramatically increasing coal-power generation. His actions are completely contrary to his statements.

Asia: ASEAN integration and its impact on labour

September 14, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of the Party of the Labouring Masses (PLM), to the assembly of the Union Presidents Against Contractualization, Century Park Hotel, Manila, September 10, 2014.

* * *

1. There are many regional agreements in Asia-Pacific that impact on regional economic integration and trade policies. One of these agreements centered on the integration of ASEAN economies in Southeast Asia composed of the ten countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Vietnam.

El "siglo de Asia" y la integración de la ASEAN: contradicciones y desafíos

Sonny Melencio.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3910.]

Por Sonny Melencio

22-06-2014 -- Sinpermiso -- Cuando viaje desde Manila hasta Australia, me compré en el aeropuerto un libro de bolsillo para leer en el avión. Fue la novela de Dan Brown titulada Infierno. Cuando la edición de tapa dura de este libro llegó a las librerías, en las Filipinas la gente se volvió loca con una pequeña parte de la novela que se refería a Manila como la "puerta del infierno".

Después de leer el libro, pensé que lo que la novela dice sobre Manila es verdad. Es la ciudad más densamente poblada de la tierra, con enormes atascos de tráfico, una contaminación sofocante, casas hechas de metal corrugado y cartones, comunidades que apestan y un horrible comercio sexual y tráfico de mujeres, jóvenes y niños.

Me acordé de la novela de Dan Brown hoy porque, a pesar del infierno que es actualmente Manila, nuestro gobierno habla de un paraíso que se construirá en las Filipinas durante este "siglo de Asia".

El siglo de Asia

The ‘Asian Century’ and ASEAN integration: contradictions and challenges (now with video)

Video from Green Left TV.

[The following talk was presented by Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa-Philippines (Party of the Labouring Masses), during the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, Australia on June 7, 2014.]

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- When I was travelling from Manila, coming here to Australia, I bought a copy of a pocketbook that I could read in the plane. It was Dan Brown’s novel entitled Inferno. Actually, when the hardbound copy of this book first hit the bookshops, the Philippines went crazy about a small part of the novel which referred to Manila as the “gate of hell”.

After reading the book, it occurred to me that what the novel said about Manila was true. It was the most densely populated city on Earth, with huge traffic jams, suffocating pollution, houses made of corrugated metal and cardboards, communities reeking of stench, and horrifying sex trade and trafficking of women, girls and children.

I was reminded of Dan Brown’s novel today because, despite the inferno that is Manila now, our government is talking about a paradise that will be built in the Philippines during this "Asian Century".

The 'Asian Century"

Sonny Melencio: Asia needs ALBA-style regionalism not US 'pivot' and 'ASEAN integration'

Peter Boyle interviews Sonny Melencio

May 22, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Sonny Melencio is chairperson of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses). At its recent national convention, the PLM launched a discussion about Bayanihan Socialism, which drawing on lessons from the Latin American experience links the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions, as a means to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Melencio is also involved in a new coalition against the established "political dynasties" in the Philippines, called Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism (ATIN).

Melencio will be one of several international guest speakers at the Socialist Alliance 10th national conference in Sydney, June 7-9, where he will be part of the one-day public seminar on People's Power In the “Asian Century” . You can find out more about the conference, and how to register, HERE.

Philippines: 'Forward, bayanihang sosyalismo!' Popularising a socialism 'with local colour'

The above video presents a summary of the activities of the Partido lakas ng Masa in 2012-2013.

Introduction by Reihana Mohideen

January 24, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following is the English-language translation of a document on bayanihan socialism that was presented at the convention of the Philippines socialist party Partido lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) in December.2013.

It is an attempt to project more strongly the socialist character of PLM and at the same time to popularise the ideas of socialism to a mass audience in the Philippines. Lessons were drawn from the Latin American experience, of linking the egalitarian principles of socialism with national and Indigenous historical experiences and traditions. It also flows from the understanding that it's no longer enough to struggle around specific issues, but that there is an urgent need to put forward an alternative vision or possibility, that is socialism, in a way that the masses can understand.

Another important question raised in the paper is the restructuring of the working class, towards contractualisation and the growth of the informal economy and the urban poor, which is an important area for ongoing discussion and assessment. 

Poland: UN climate talks go nowhere -- yet again

By Chris Williams

November 22, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism -- “The smell of inaction” is how Dipti Bhatnagar, Friends of the Earth Mozambique’s international program director for climate justice and energy, summed up the atmosphere inside the giant Narodowy Stadium after the first week of the latest round of international climate negotiations, Conference of the Parties, otherwise known as COP 19, taking place November 11-22, 2013, in Warsaw.

Given that this is the 19th consecutive year of annual negotiations and with a meaningful global treaty more distant now than it was almost two decades ago, Bhatnagar’s olfactory deduction seems likely to be highly accurate.

As the pervasive smell of inaction seeped like a suffocating gas throughout the inside of the conference, outside, the choking effects of coal smoke waft from all corners of a country that obtains 90 per cent of its electricity from coal and whose government has pledged to keep it that way until 2060.

¡Justicia Climática Ya! ¡Salvar vidas, redistribuir alimentos, detener el saqueo económico y la destrucción del medio ambiente!

Por Partido Lakas ng Masas (Partido de las Masas Trabajadoras, PLM)

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3587]

11/11/2013 -- Partido Lakas ng Masa -- Los filipinos han sufrido el efecto devastador del que haya sido posiblemente el mayor tifón que haya azotado el país. El número de muertos aumenta rápidamente. Hay una enorme devastación.

Muchos están tratando de ponerse en contacto con sus familiares, amigos y compañeros , pero los sistemas de comunicación no funcionan en las zonas más afectadas. ¿Cómo debemos , como activistas y socialistas, hacer frente a la crisis?

(Updated Nov. 11) Philippines' Typhoon Haiyan crisis: For climate justice now! Fight, don’t be afraid! Makibaka! Huwag Matakot!

Typhoon Haiyan bears down on the Philippines.

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM)

[We're turning the PLM office into a relief goods' collection office for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, especially for Leyte and Samar victims, where we have some families, comrades and friends to assist for possible distribution. We'll also link up to appropriate relief organisations to send what we can collect. Transport lines have been opened. Please bring relief goods (water, medicines, rice, canned goods and other items) to PLM Office: 13 Rigor St., Bgy. Masagana, Project 4, Quezon City. Tel. 439-5811. Look for Ka Nelia, Van, Lara.

Philippines: The killing of workers' leaders is a blow to combating corruption! The government must be held accountable!

Assassinated transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin.

By Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), Philippines

August 12, 2013 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) joins the campaign to protest against the recent spate of killings of labour leaders, the most recent case being the assassination of transport workers’ leader Antonio “Dodong” Petalcorin on July 2. Petalcorin joins the ranks of assassinated workers’ leaders this year, such as Emilio Rivera and Carlos Cirilo, who were also members of national labour centre, the Alliance of Progressive Labor in the Philippines.

While the PLM demands that the Benigno Aquino government put a stop to the assassinations and speedily bring the murderers to justice, we are also outraged at the seeming lack of determination of this administration to do so.

Furthermore, we are extremely concerned that this lack of determination emanates from a government which includes Akbayan as a coalition partner. While Akbayan congress representatives have called on the president to act on the cases of the assassinated labour leaders, some of whom are also members of Akbayan, what of the Akbayan leaders and their supposed allies in government and in cabinet? They all seem unable to bring the murderers to justice!

Revolución Bolivariana inspira a militantes en Filipinas

[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.

Bolivarian Revolution inspires Philippines revolutionaries

PLM members.

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.

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