Partido Lakas ng Masa (The Philippines): Enough false climate solutions, it’s time for an ecosocialist alternative!

PLM protest climate

[Editor’s note: Aaron Pedrosa, from the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), will be speaking at Ecosocialism 2024, June 28–30, Boorloo/Perth, Australia. For more information on the conference visit ecosocialism.org.au.]

On June 5, Partido Lakas ng Masa (Party of the Labouring Masses, PLM) joined climate justice advocacy groups and other people’s organizations in mobilizing against the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s Asian Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) being held from June 3-7, to raise the alarm on the need for immediate action on the ongoing climate crisis, as well as putting public pressure for a more rapid, equitable, and just transition into renewable energy (RE) in the Philippines and Asia more broadly.

At first glance, the forum’s intentions seem progressive in its emphasis on increased financing for renewable energy projects in partner countries participating in the ACEF. However, this “green” forum remains stuck within the trappings of neoliberal private sector technocrats and fossil fuel industry magnates disguising themselves as “champions” of renewable energy.

PLM believes that the path towards a rapid, equitable, and just transition to renewable energy cannot be found in the false solutions promoted by domestic and foreign capitalists from the fossil fuels industry. Only people’s movements and the grassroots can hold the ACEF partner countries accountable to their purported mission statement.

Furthermore, as long as the current Philippine government remains in the hands of a dynastic and oligarchic elite ruling class, it will remain too deeply invested into neoliberal false solutions that are in reality mere “greenwashing” that undermine communities’ climate resilience by perpetuating prolonged reliance on dirty energy sources, such as coal and other fossil fuels.

PLM asserts that only a Gobyerno ng Masa composed of workers, farmers, youth, women, and other basic sectors at the forefront of combatting the worst effects of the climate crisis at the grassroots level is capable of exercising the political will necessary to pave the way towards a full transition to renewable energy.

For our ruling classes, the climate crisis is spoken of in future tense, as if it were a mere theoretical distant threat. But for the broad masses of the Filipino people, the climate crisis has long been a visceral reality for many years, through such frequent tragedies as the Typhoons Ondoy in 2009, Yolanda in 2013, Rolly in 2020, seasonal droughts during El Niño and the record-breaking heat waves just this summer. This reality will only intensify further as the years pass by, destroying communities, undermining our local agriculture, and risking the lives of millions of citizens living in the most vulnerable and far-flung areas of the nation.

The more than three centuries old capitalist system has wrought unparalleled destruction of the environment since its inception. Ever since the First Industrial Revolution in the 18th century; up to the period of colonial exploitation in the 19th and early 20th centuries; and finally the present stage of capitalist imperialism that began in the 20th century and continues on into the 21st century, the ruling classes that dominate the present political-economic order have polluted rivers, the air we breathe, melted glaciers, created deadly heatwaves and droughts, brought monstrous seasonal typhoons, decimated our wildlife, destroyed our communities, and have profoundly alienated humankind from the natural world itself in pursuit of endless profits and growth for growth’s sake.

PLM believes it is high time for progressives, anti-imperialists, and climate justice advocates to forward a vision of a more socially just and ecologically sound political-economic system. An ecosocialist alternative is the only possible answer for the Filipino toiling masses and the world’s working classes and oppressed peoples to combat the climate crisis and the moribund capitalist-imperialist system.