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Philippines

Video: Class and climate catastrophe in the Philippines

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.

Philippines: Lessons from Manila floods -- interview from the climate-change frontline

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.

Philippines flood disaster: A political response is urgently needed

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

Philippines: Climate change crisis hits world's poor hardest -- again

Floods in Marikina, Manila. Photo courtesy of Dave Llavanes Jr.

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.

Philippines: Progressive organisations express concern over ‘Southeast Asian Sea’ tensions

[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.

Discussions with the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist): Lessons for the Philippine left

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).

International Women’s Day 2012: Women march against US military expansion in the Philippines and the Pacific

Unity statement by women in the Philippines

March 8, 2012 -- On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2012, we, Filipino women declare in strongest terms possible, our opposition not only to increased presence but to US military presence per se on Philippines soil.

The United States is increasing its military presence in Asia-Pacific, in particular in the Philippines, and the Philippine government is showing no qualms in allowing this to happen.

A news account recently reported on the United States' plan to increase its military aid to “boost” Philippine defence; the promised aid will amount to US$144 million, reflecting an increase of more than $20 million on the previous amount. In another earlier news article, US ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas was quoted as saying his government had spent US$50 million for the upgrading of Philippine military facilities.

The Washington Post in January 2012 also reported that Philippine officials were in the United States to conduct initial talks with representatives of the Obama government "about expanding the American military presence in the island nation". More high-level and intense discussions will take place this March.

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.

Global revolt of 2011: Not the time to make peace with the system

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.

Philippines: A challenge to the left in the Aquino government

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III displays his first paycheque.

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

July 21, 2011 -- The election of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III brought with it increased mass expectations. The president’s campaign slogan of ridding the country of corruption and the wanton displays of greed and abuses of power was welcomed with cheers and hope by a population sick and tired of the graft-ridden regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA).

With the entry of the [parts of the] left into to government -- the ascent of the Akbayan party list as a coalition partner of the Noynoy government -- the expectations of some sections of the left were also heightened. Akbayan sees the strategy of working with the presidency as an alliance with a “reforming section” of the bourgeoisie, and through such an alliance it expected a number of reforms to be put in place.

What standards?

(Updated July 3) Malaysia: Socialists abused in custody; Philippine socialist detained; More arrests

Manila, July 1, 2011 – Members of Partido Lakas ng Masa held another picket in front of the Malaysian embassy today.  PLM protested the arrest and detention of 30 pro-democracy activisits in Malaysia, including Romy Castillo, deputy general-secretary of PLM, who was in Malaysia for an exchange visit program with the Parti Sosialis Malaysia.

By the Socialist Party of Malaysia

July 1 -- The PSM is alarmed that its detained members are undergoing torture and inhumane interrogation from special Bukit Aman officers who have been brought specifically to extract information as most of those detained have preferred to use their rights under the law to speak to the court and not to the police.

Reliable sources from the police and those detained have confirmed that the police seem to be not making any headway in their investigation and hence they have brought in the thugs from Bukit Aman as a last minute bid to extract information.

PSM calls for the immediate release of all detainees and, if the need be, we call for them to be bailed or to be charged immediately. We call upon the police to stop all harassment, torture and inhumane treatment immediately.

Philippines socialists call for negotiated settlement to Spratly Islands dispute

For more background to the Spratly Islands issue, see "China, Vietnam and the islands dispute: What is behind the rise of Chinese nationalism?"

* * *

June 10, 2011 -- The Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, Philippines) condemns any actions that increase military tensions in the region and contribute to a regional military conflict, by countries that lay claim to the Spratly Islands. We are opposed to any sabre-rattling and stand for a negotiated, political settlement of the disputed claims to the area. Therefore we deplore China’s strong-arm tactics and bullying, which undermines efforts towards a peaceful, political settlement, of the disputed claims.

The Spratly Islands, less than four-square kilometres of land area spread over 425,000 square kilometres of sea and usually submerged, probably have strategic importance fuelling the numerous territorial disputes. The area holds significant reserves of oil and natural gas: reportedly some 17.7 billion tons of oil and natural gas reserves, larger than the 13 billion tons held by Kuwait, thus making it the fourth largest reserve bed in the world. In an energy hungry world, these reserves intensify the disputed claims over the area.

May Day: Asia's socialists -- Intensify the struggle against poverty and neoliberalism

STOP PRESS: Socialist Party of Malaysia leaders, May Day marchers arrested

May 1, 2011 -- Malaysiakini -- PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan earlier tried to negotiate with the police near the Chow Kit monorail station before being taken away by police officers. Arutchelvan, one of the key members of the Labour Day organising committee, was supposed to have joined others in the march from Chow Kit to the Dataran Merdeka. In a a short press conference prior to his arrest, Arutchelvan told reporters that he considers the police obstruction to the peaceful march a "violation of basic rights". He also said that he had already informed the police prior to the march, and said such a notice is sufficient as opposed to a police permit.

* * *

Statement by the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Laboring Masses, Philippines)

Sobra na Kahirapan! Tama na ang Pagpapabaya ng Pamahalaan!

Enough of poverty! Enough of government inaction!

Philippines: Interview with Moro liberation movement leader

Ghazali Jaafar (left). Photo by Jolly Lais.

Ghazali Jaafar, vice-chairperson for political affairs of the central committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), interviewed by Tony Iltis in Barangay Simuay, Maguindanao province

Introduction by Tony Iltis

April 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- The Moro people of the Philippines’ southern Mindanao Islands have never considered themselves Filipinos. The Spanish colonisers never succeeded in subjugating the Moro sultanates. However, when Spain ceded the Philippines to the US in 1898, the Moro homeland, Bangsamoro, was included.

In the ensuing war, which lasted until 1913, 20,000 Moros — fighters and civilians — were killed. The US set about integrating Bangsamoro to the Philippines through land ownership laws that delegitimised the communal land tenure systems of the Muslim Moro tribes and the non-Muslim indigenous tribes (sometimes called Lumads).

Japan: Left appeals for solidarity with victims and evacuees of the earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

Evacuees sit through an earthquake at a temporary shelter at a stadium in Koriyama. Photo: Reuters.

Appeal for financial solidarity with the victims and evacuees of the northeastern Japan earthquake/tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster

By the Japan Revolutionary Communist League (JRCL) and the National Council of Internationalist Workers (NCIW)

March 17, 2011 -- On March 11, at 2:30 PM (JST), the tremendously powerful earthquake of magnitude 9 hit the vast area of eastern Japan, comprised of northeast and Kanto regions. The earthquake gave rise to the formidable tsunami, which devastated numerous cities and towns all along the Pacific coast from the northernmost prefecture of Aomori to the southern Chiba prefecture. At the time of March 17, the number of deaths and missing persons is already close to 20,000, and the number continues to increase.

Philippines socialists: `No to imperialist intervention in the Libya! Saudi, UAE troops out of Bahrain!'

Support Middle Eastern democracy struggles! End imperialist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan!

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

March 19, 2011 -- On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council passed a resolution authorising military intervention by the Western imperialist powers or their puppets in Libya. The justification for this is to prevent further loss of life in fighting between forces remaining loyal Muammar Gaddafi and forces supporting the uprising that began on February 15 against his 42-year-old rule, and to support the pro-democracy forces.

However, the imperialists’ claims to be in support of democracy, and concerned about loss of life, are contradicted by events in Bahrain, a key Western ally where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based. Here the US response to brutal attacks by the monarchist government against unarmed, non-violent pro-democracy protesters has been to call for restraint — by both sides.

Philippines: Veteran revolutionary reflects on stormy times and prospects for the left

Sonny Melencio.

Full Quarter Storms
By Sonny Melencio
2010, Transform Asia Inc.
Order from transform.asia1@gmail.com

Review by Tony Iltis

February 27, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Veteran Filipino socialist activist Sonny Melencio’s political autobiography, Full Quarter Storms, covers a lot of history. The book tells the story of the “First Quarter Storm”, the student uprising in 1970 (from which the book draws its title) and the driving of this powerful movement underground by the declaration of martial law by then-president Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.

The book gives a first-hand view of the mass popular struggles followed by the difficult and dangerous experience of operating underground — one step away from Marcos’ brutal thugs.

In fact, the book opens with the story of Melencio’s detention and torture by the military in 1977 — and his dramatic escape, a tale worthy of any Hollywood thriller.

Melencio describes the guerrilla war waged by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) against the Marcos regime through to the 1986 “people’s power” uprising that brought down the dictator — scenes anyone watching the current Arab revolts will find familiar.

Lessons from Asia: The real 'Egyptian Revolution' is yet to come

Army soldiers remove makeshift shelters and clear Tahrir Square in Cairo February 13, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Yannis Behrakis.

By George Katsiaficas

February 14, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Around the world, people are enthusiastically greeting the “Egyptian Revolution” — the astonishing victory won by the historic 18-day people’s power uprising. As events move more rapidly than anyone can anticipate, not only has Hosni Mubarak been deposed, his corrupt parliament has been dismissed and new elections are promised within six months. People’s ecstasy in the aftermath of these great victories belies the fact that Mubarak’s authoritarian system remains intact — nay, strengthened — by the ascension of Omar Suleiman and the military to supreme power in Cairo. While the world hails the Egyptian “revolution”, a more sober assessment of recent events would question the accuracy of that label, at least for now.

South Korea’s June Uprising

US imperialist aggression in the early 21st century

Washington has reactivated the US Navy’s 4th Fleet to ensure US power projection over the Caribbean, Central and South America.

[This talk was presented at the regional “socialism conference” was held in Manila from November 27 to 28, 2010. The conference was organised by the socialist Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses) and the socialist-feminist regional network Transform Asia.]

By Rasti Delizo

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