Partido Lakas ng Masa (the Philippines): For a government of working women and the masa! For an anti-capitalist feminist and socialist alternative!

PLM government of masa

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

The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM, Party of the Labouring Masses) is a socialist and feminist political party. PLM believes that feminism must be anti-capitalist to achieve the emancipation of women and full non-binary gender equality for all. However, these objectives can only be achieved in a society that is socialist — the abolition of class exploitation and the eradication of all forms of oppression that plague the masa under this capitalist system due to gender, ethnicity, LGBTQI+ discrimination, and other forms of oppression.

There is an urgent need to put forward a socialist and feminist perspective today given the multiple crises of capitalism that plague society and pose existential threats on several fronts. Women, the working classes and other oppressed and exploited sectors suffer the most under the impact of capitalism’s crises. 

War and militarism

The global capitalist order, or imperialism, led by the United States in alliance with other Northern and Western powers, is hell-bent on holding onto power by waging war. But this is not a war of armies — this is a war against civilian populations.

Genocide — which is currently taking place in Palestine, led by Israel and the US — is a weapon of war, with the indiscriminate bombing of civilians, hospitals, food shops, and universities, and killing by starvation through blockading water and food from reaching the people of Gaza. Close to 35,000 people have been killed, over one-third of those children.

Women and girls are also a target. The UN Office of the High Commission on Human Rights reports of extrajudicial killing of Palestinian women and children in places where they sought refuge or while fleeing. Women and girls in detention have also been subjected to multiple forms of sexual violence and rape.

Ceasefire in Gaza now! End Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory! Dismantle the Zionist-Fascist apartheid state of Israel! For a democratic and secular state in Palestine with equal rights for Palestinians, Jews and all citizens!

The US — in its never-ending quest to remain the leading economic power to reap super-profits for US corporations and threatened by China’s rise as a global economic power — is making preparations for war against China, which will have devastating consequences for the people in our region.

Agreements such as AUKUS [Australia-United Kingdom-United States] are military alliances  aimed at war with China. The Marcos Jr regime has committed an initial set of nine Philippine bases for the unhampered use of US troops, material and weaponry to intensify US imperialism’s war plans in the region and across the world. Continuing the policies of previous elite regimes, the Marcos Jr regime is integrating this country’s national defence apparatus into the US war machine. We will be cannon fodder for US imperialism’s war machine.

This intensified war drive and militarism is a real and specific threat to women and children, who tend to be the most harmed, with a historically proven link between rape and sexual violence against women and girls, and war and militarism.

No to US bases! Junk EDCA, VFA, SOVFA and all military agreements with the US and its imperialist allies!

The economic crisis

The economic crisis-related price rises in goods and services have gender-based impacts. Statistics indicate rises in the price of groceries, transport and healthcare hit women the hardest and increase the multiple burdens of women, intensifying their reproductive labour in the household and other spheres.

A key reason for this is that women’s labour force participation in the Philippines is very low. At just 49%, the Philippines’ female labour force participation in 2019 was one of the lowest in the East Asia and Pacific region (the regional average rate is 59%). In contrast, 76% of Filipino men were in the labour force, creating a massive gender gap. This severely undermines the economic empowerment of women, without which there can be no independence or emancipation of women.

Furthermore, the bosses want us to pay for the crisis of their system to maintain and increase their profits. We must resist this. The struggle for a living wage, against contractualisation, as well as for universal healthcare, including reproductive rights and quality and free reproductive healthcare, free education, socialised housing, affordable electricity, and other public services to increase the social wage based on wealth redistribution by significantly increasing the taxes on the rich and the corporate taxes, are all essential to making the bosses pay for the crisis and improving the lives of women and reducing their reproductive burdens.

An immediate moratorium on price increases! A living wage! End to contractualisation! Wealth redistribution!

Charter Change (Cha-cha)

President Bongbong Marcos Jr (BBM) insists this is necessary to align the Philippine economy with the globalisation of capital. He says the country has been left behind in terms of development because of this. But for them, "development of the country" means nothing more than "development of profits" for the ruling classes in the country. This will result in the intensification of the exploitation of labour through contractualisation, weakening union rights and labour organisation, and cutbacks to key services such as healthcare and education, all of which result in a further transfer of wealth from the masa to the wealthy corporations and the elite.

Almost all representatives of the political dynasties want Cha-cha. Those who are opposed do so not because they “love the people”, but because their rival — the Marcos-Romualdez faction — is set to be at the helm, and the main beneficiary, of Cha-cha. Women have nothing to gain but everything to lose from a BBM and elite-controlled Cha-cha. Neither should we take the side of one or the other elite faction in their disputes about who controls the government and therefore the implementation of the Cha-cha, ultimately aimed at plundering the national wealth to fill their coffers.

We must fight for system change, not mere regime change from one faction of the elite to another. First and foremost, this means getting rid of the political dynasties and capitalist oligarchies and establishing a government of working women and the masa.

No to the Cha-cha of the elite! For a government of the working women and the masa!

Climate emergency

The impacts of the climate emergency are not gender-neutral. They hit women, the poor, and other vulnerable groups — children, the elderly, people with disability, remote communities, and others — the hardest.

There are many reports during and right after a disaster of increased sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, and even an increase in human trafficking of unaccompanied children.

The construction of the Kaliwa Dam continues, affecting the ancestral domains of some 5000 members of the Dumagat-Remontado Indigenous community, destroying the biodiversity and habitat of around 126 species in 300 hectares of the Sierra Madre, and endangering about 100,000 residents downstream with the risk of massive flooding.

The Philippines’ current energy mix favours fossil fuels, and the most heavily used energy source is coal. The struggle to stop the expansion of coal and other fossil fuels continues. Those who struggle to protect the environment and the plunder of their land face extreme violence and even death. The Philippines is now Asia's deadliest country for environmental activists. Many of these struggles are linked to mining. The campaign for justice for Gloria Kapitan, killed in the struggle to close coal in her community, continues.

This takes place in a context where human rights are routinely violated with impunity. Thousands of women had been red-tagged, vilified and attacked, along with unionists, indigenous activists, journalists, lawyers and others. To this day, not one state actor has been punished.

Justice for Gloria Kapitan! Repeal the Anti-Terror Law and Executive Order 70! Abolish NTF-ELCAC

Stop Kaliwa Dam! End coal, oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels and dirty energy! A just transition towards an ecosocialist alternative!


Feminism and the gender equality agenda have been co-opted by the system because it does not have a clear anti-capitalist stance. This includes justifying imperialist wars in the name of gender equality, such as the disastrous US-led invasion of Afghanistan, through to the criminalisation of Muslim women in the West for wearing the burqa, such as in France, Austria, Denmark and other West European countries, and the co-option of organisations and individuals into engaging primarily with the structures of the system, rather than the perspective of challenging and fundamentally changing the system.

As socialists and feminists, we must expose this co-optation and the elite women who are part of the ruling class who use feminism as a cover and pay lip service to it. Feminism today must be anti-capitalist and must put forward an anti-capitalist alternative — socialism — to achieve its goals of women’s emancipation and full non-binary gender equality.

While our ultimate goal and alternative system is socialism, as an interim measure towards this goal we put forward the need for a government of working women and the masa. Such a government will provide the basis for working women and the masa to improve their immediate socio-economic and cultural conditions, mobilise, organise, take control of the economy, and set up alternative structures of popular power, which will be the basis of a socialist society.

Long live the government of working women and the masa!

There is no women's emancipation without socialism! There is no socialism without women's emancipation!