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Philippines

Philippines: `Let us now begin the Revolution for Change'

Opening talk by Sonny Melencio to the “Pagbabago! No More Trapos in 2010!” forum

June 1, 2009 -- On behalf of Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses), I would like to extend our thanks to our two guests here who will be speaking together with me in this forum.

One has already symbolised the struggle against the trapo [elite politicians], and I refer to Among Ed. Among Ed has in fact defeated not only the three Gs that have come to symbolise the ``guns, goons and gold'' wielded by the trapos. In Pampanga, Among Ed has beaten the five Gs – which includes two more Gs representing Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the gambling lords.

The other one symbolised the call for change, in fact the call for the ouster of the Arroyo regime, during the Manila Peninsula rebellion on November 29, 2007. He is not with us today, because he’s still in detention, but he is represented by his lawyer Attorney Trixie Cruz-Angeles, who’s going to give us the message from Brigadier General Danilo Lim. [See following article.]

May Day, 2009: `Advance the socialist alternative!', `Together we shall restore humanity'

May Day 2009 in Karachi, Pakistan. Photo by Farooq Tariq.

May 1, 2009 -- Below are a number of messages to mark International Workers' Day -- May Day -- from revolutionary organisations around the world. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal will post others as they become available. Please check back.

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Economic crisis: Skyrocketing unemployment in Asia hits women and young people hardest

Unemployed workers in China at a train station, waiting to return to their rural areas. 

By Reihana Mohideen

[Reihana Mohideen will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.]

February 23, 2009 -- Recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) reports on global and regional employment trends paint a stark picture of rapidly increasing unemployment in 2008; the situation is expected to worsen in 2009 with the prediction of massive job losses. The message is clear: workers and the poor are already paying heavily for the capitalist economic crisis. Especially hard hit are working-class and poor women and young people.

Philippines: 'We need system change', says military rebel

Major Jason Aquino (left) and Peter Boyle in Camp Aguinaldo detention centre.

By Peter Boyle

February 19, 2009 -- Major Jason Aquino is one of the 28 officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines charged with allegedly attempting a mutiny in February 2006. Aquino was detained on February 22 that year and held incommunicado in a windowless cell for five months.

I met Major Aquino and several other detained rebel officers in Camp Aguinaldo in early February 2009. They were all outspoken against the grossly corrupt government of Philippines President Gloria Arroyo, and their years of incarceration (as yet without being convicted of a single crime) have only deepened their politicisation. But Major Aquino -- who has studied the speeches and writings of Fidel Castro and read everything he can get his hands on about the revolution in Venezuela led by Hugo Chavez -- wanted to make it clear a that he was “not a reformist”.

Philippines: Urban poor strongly represented in new socialist party

 


`We are the bat people' -- Voices of resistance by the urban poor of Manila. Photos by Peter Boyle.

[Reihana Mohideen, a representative of the Power of the Masses Party (Partido Lakas ng Masa), will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets. For more information about the Partido Lakas ng Masa, click HERE.]

By Peter Boyle

New left party -- Power of the Masses Party -- formed in Philippines


Part 1: Interview with Sonny Melencio, chairperson of Partido Lakas ng Masa of the Philippines. Conducted by Peter Boyle for Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewalin Manila on February 1, 2009. (Parts 2 and 3 below).
 
[Reihana Mohideen, a representative of Partido Lakas ng Masa, will be a featured guest at the World at a Crossroads conference, to be held in Sydney, Australia, on April 10-12, 2009, organised by the Democratic Socialist Perspective, Resistance and Green Left Weekly. Visit http://www.worldATACrossroads.org for full agenda and to book your tickets.]

By Peter Boyle

World economic crisis: No room for band-aid solutions in the Third World

By Reihana Mohideen

December 29, 2008 -- According to recent Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) figures, another 40 million people have been pushed into poverty and hunger so far this year as a result of spiralling food prices, and the total number of people suffering hunger and malnutrition has reached 963 million worldwide.

While the prices of major cereals have fallen by more than 50per cent of their peak in 2008, they still remain high compared to previous years.[1] Nearly two-thirds of the world's hungry live in Asia (583 million in 2007). In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three people -- or 236 million (2007) -- are chronically hungry. Most of the increase in the number of hungry occurred in a single country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a result of widespread and persistent conflict. The FAO predicts that the impact of the economic crisis, on the heels of the food price crisis and oil price increases, could further exacerbate malnutrition and hunger levels.

Philippines: Militant workers demand `big-time rollback' of labour export policy

By Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party Philippines)

October 27, 2008 -- The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) called for a historic reversal of the strategy of labour export as the government-sponsored Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) opened its first day.

"A one-time, big-time rollback of the failed policy of labour export is just as urgent and necessary as the bloated prices of oil. It is time to think out of the box and shift to domestic full employment instead of promoting overseas employment", declared Renato Magtubo, PM chairperson at a big rally led by Solidarity Action of labour Against GFMD (SALAG).

PM opposes the GFMD since it alleges that the main problem it is trying to solve is how to profit from remittances not how to protect migrants. "It would have been funny if it were not tragic that the GFMD is steadfastly fascinated with the neoliberal agenda even though the bankruptcy of globalisation has been exposed by the financial meltdown and economic recession in the US and the world", Magtubo asserted.

The global financial crisis: implications for Asia

By Reihana Mohideen

The Wall Street crisis seems light years away from the side streets of Manila’s urban poor slums. For the labouring masses in the Philippines the capitalist system has been in crisis for some time now, unable to deliver life’s basic necessities: jobs and a living wage; affordable quality healthcare and education; and food security.

According to official National Statistics Office data poverty levels have increased between 2003 and 2006, and 2008 is expected to be the worst year since the 1998 Asian economic crisis. Between April 2007 and April 2008 the labour force grew by only 81,000, while the number of unemployed rose by 249,000, i.e. triple the increase in the labour force. In 2008 the number of employed persons fell by 168,000 and there was no employment generation in April of this year. Jobs were being lost at a time when prices and inflation were skyrocketing.

Philippines: Towards a memorandum for self-determination for the Moro people

By Herbert Docena

Force has kept the Moro people within the Philippines. Against their will, beginning in the early twentieth century, the Moros, who were already living in their own states in the south, were incorporated into what became the nation-state of the Philippines by US colonisers and their Filipino partners from the north. [i]

Ousting Arroyo: chronicle of the July and February days in Manila

By Sonny Melencio
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has so far survived two attempts to oust her from office. The first attempt constituted the so-called “opposition salvo” in July 2005. It was followed by the aborted “military uprising” in February.

The first attempt was staged by bourgeois opposition groups composed of rival electoral parties, top officials and teams who left Arroyo’s executive cabinet, the Makati Business Club (a prominent capitalist group) and former president Corazon Aquino. The second attempt was staged by rebel groups within the armed forces, composed mainly of junior officers and soldiers of the elite army force.

Both attempts were joined by so-called civil society groups, mainly the organised forces belonging to various militant formations. Chief among these are the forces that grouped together around Laban ng Masa,1 a newly formed coalition of the left that has persistently called for the establishment of a transitional revolutionary government as the alternative to the Arroyo regime. The transitional government (or trg as it is popularly called) is a coalition government that brings together in a transition council all the representatives of the major forces responsible for Arroyo’s ouster. The trg is also a reforming government that will carry out in its 1000 days of rule a program of economic relief and political reforms aimed at reversing the tide of neo-liberal economic onslaught and dismantling the reign of elite politics in the country.

The Philippine left's alliance with the military

By Sonny Melencio

On February 24, 2006, a Friday, the Philippine media reported an aborted coup d’etat allegedly launched by rebel military forces against the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It was supposed to be headed by young officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) led by a former senator and colonel, Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan. He is said to command a group of junior officers and soldiers that has formed an alliance with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army. A few days later, the government announced a bounty of five million pesos for the arrest of Honasan, who had gone into hiding since that Friday. The government also released a list of more than fifty alleged co-conspirators in the coup attempt, although the prize money was reserved for Honasan, who topped the list.

The uninterrupted revolution in the Philippines

By Reihana Mohideen

Reihana Mohideen was, at the time of writing, a member of the Executive Council of the SPP and of the Links Editorial Board.

Estrada's decline and the Philippines' left

By Sonny Melencio

Former movie actor Joseph Estrada was elected president of the Philippines in a landslide vote in June 1998. This electoral mandate, however, paled in comparison with the people’s mandate that brought Corazon Aquino to power in 1986. The latter was a product, not of an election, but of the people’s power uprising known as EDSA.

This comparison is significant in that Estrada’s landslide represents a lowered expectation of the masses in the government that they voted into office. The people’s euphoria during the initial period of the Aquino administration was subsequently damped by the regime’s incapacity to alleviate the destitution of the people during its six-year existence. The succeeding administration of Fidel Ramos was a continuation of this suffering.

Critique of the politico-military strategy

By Sonny Melencio and Reihana Mohideen

A number of party formations in the Philippines, such as the PMP (Workers Party of the Philippines), RPM (Revolutionary Workers Party), PMLP (Party of Marxists-Leninists in the Philippines), adopt the politico-military ("pol-mil") strategy as a reaction to the protracted people's war strategy of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). It is defined as a combination of political and military struggles, with the military struggle playing a secondary or subordinate role to the political struggle.

The Moro question

By Sonny Melencio

As Marxists, we support the right to self-determination of oppressed nations. This right applies to the democratic demand of the oppressed nation to determine its political relationship to the oppressor nation, which includes its right to secede and form a separate state.

It is in this sense that we uphold the right of the Moro people to self-determination.

Militarism underpins globalisation

By Francisco Pascual

Francisco Pascual is the executive director of the Resource Center for People's Development, Manila, and a member of the International Coordinating Committee and coordinator of the International Secretariat, International South Group Network. This paper was presented at the Asian Workshop on "Women and Globalisation", November 22-24, 2001, in Manila.

PMP-Merger Blazes Trail for Revolutionary Movement in Philippines

by Ramani De Silva

Ramani De Silva is a member of the Central Committee of the Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino.

CONTENTS

In a historic step forward for the Philippine left, more than a hundred delegates from three revolutionary parties held a unity congress in August 2002 and formed a unified party, after more than a week of congress debates and deliberations.

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