Program of the Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Philippines

The Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa-Philippines (RPM-P)—the Revolutionary Workers' Party-Philippines—is one of the organisations emerging from splits in the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines in 1993-4. It was based primarily on cadres in Visayas and Mindanao. The RPM-P held its first congress on May 1-10, 1998, approving a new party constitution and other documents. Reprinted here is an English translation of the RPM-P's program.

I. Basic features of Philippine society

Uneven capitalist development under foreign monopoly capital control

Developments in the world capitalist system have brought about an uneven capitalist development in this country. The most advanced capitalist forms coexist with pre-capitalist and other earlier forms, with the latter subordinated to the former.

Historical impingement of imperialist interests on the country and the continued domination of big foreign monopoly capitalists have subordinated the local economy to the interests of monopoly capitalists. The extraction of foreign monopoly super-profits from the country and the subservience of the local ruling class to these foreign interests have resulted in the slow and highly maldeveloped state of capitalism in the country.

Developed, but different from the particular conditions of a backward colonial and/or semi-colonial country, Philippine society is basically a capitalist country. Capitalism already dominates and permeates the whole social life of Philippine society. Remnants of old relations of production, which include even some earlier Asiatic forms among the Moro and Lumad peoples, are secondary and only serve to facilitate the basic interest of capital to extract profit.

This process of maldevelopment is being worsened by the neo-imperialist onslaught or globalisation promoted by the country's bourgeois government policies. Under the dictates of the World Bank and IMF structural adjustment program and its commitments in the GATT-WTO-APEC agreements, the government ensures the implementation of globalisation through the Philippines 2000 government program.

Globalisation is nothing but the specific feature of imperialism as it grapples with the present crisis of the world capitalist system. The crisis inevitably develops from the contradiction between the socialised production and capitalist ownership of the means of production. The continued accumulation and higher concentration of social wealth in the hands of a smaller number of big monopoly capitalists corresponds with the deterioration of the standard of living of millions of working masses brought about by the intensified exploitation of monopoly capital.

It seeks to solve this crisis of the system by breaking through the barriers of nation states of less developed countries protecting them from the harsh competition and exploitation of big foreign monopoly capital. This takes the form of trade liberalisation, privatisation of lucrative fields of investment in social services and financial deregulation.

1. Finance capital remains the biggest controlling interest of foreign monopoly capital and maintains powerful control over the country's economy. This control by big foreign finance capital interests is tightened further by the liberalised banking and capital flow that paved the way for the rapid increase of portfolio investments in the country. Foreign debt, which is a major source of public spending, also ties down the country to the dictates of the IMF-WB.

2. Intensified foreign competition, due to trade and investment liberalisation pushed by the local bourgeois government, is resulting in continuing bankruptcies of small local capital, which aggravates the problem of the absence of heavy industries and a limited manufacturing sector.

3. The latest technological advancements are more commercial and tourist-oriented, and there is the corresponding rise of the new bourgeois elite who act as adjuncts of big foreign monopoly capital in siphoning off surplus through the marketing of foreign consumer goods/services and financing.

4. Big foreign monopoly capitalist interests dominate the orientation of agricultural production through their control of the market of the country's main agricultural products, marketing of agricultural inputs for local farming which is heavily dependent on these products and the large-scale cash crops and agriculture-based raw material production with high productivity.

5. These interests also control most of the existing enterprises in the extractive industries through direct ownership or loans provided to the government. These are continuously contributing to capitalistic technological advancements in the rural areas and corresponding changes in land ownership patterns and the rapid disintegration of self-sufficient peasant economy of national minority peoples.

6. Capitalistic social transformation in agriculture has been mainly junker-led. Large tracts of agricultural land continue to be controlled by big landed families who gained from the penetration of monopoly capitalist interests into agriculture by going into the profitable endeavours of cash crops production and/or trading and other agri-business. This can be seen in the large-scale although technologically backward agricultural production of export crops of sugar and coconut, in other commercial vegetable production and in the monopolistic trading and marketing of rice grains and selling of agricultural inputs.

The government's Philippines 2000 program promotes the recent trend among junker capitalists for land conversion through setting up agro-industrial centres that encourage the entry of foreign investment. This favours their interest to get the highest returns from their land through real estate, tourist and industrial use of their large tracts of land.

The bias of the government towards big landowners notwithstanding, its land reform programs have also made possible the continuous control of large rice farms by big landowners.

7. A small number of small capitalist entrepreneur farmers have thrived in the production and trading of rice, fruit and vegetable crops for the local market and in contract growing for big foreign corporations of corn, bananas and pineapples. A few land reform beneficiaries were able to accumulate enough capital to sustain and expand their entrepreneurial interests by hiring labour, earning profit from local trading of agricultural produce and engaging in usury to poor farmers.

8. The erosion of the feudal self-sufficient economy has developed to the extent of the disappearance of small-scale self-sufficient peasant production as a viable means of subsistence. There are widespread and continuous bankruptcies of small-scale peasants.

Small tiller-producers could not cope with the cost of production necessary to ensure productivity, often becoming bankrupt victims of usurers/creditors. Even most land reform beneficiaries ultimately relinquish their rights over their land due to their incapacity to sustain production in the setting of highly commercialised crop production. This is further aggravated by government deregulation, which drastically reduced government support for migration facilities and cheap inputs and opened the local market to cheaper imported agriculture produce.

9. Although communal production for food self-sufficiency still exists among tribal and Moro peoples, this has been subordinated to the capitalist orientation of production for the market, which takes the form of the shifting of a bigger portion of their farming toward producing for cash or for the market.

Intensified capitalist exploitation and oppression of the Filipino working class and the proletarianisation of the peasantry

Uneven capitalist maldevelopment has made the problems of poverty, unemployment and inflation chronic in the country. Globalisation is further intensifying exploitation, worsening unemployment and pushing the pauperisation of millions of labouring masses. The worst situation is in the underdeveloped countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, such as the Philippines, and extends to the second world of Europe without sparing the masses of workers in the countries of the First World.

Millions of wage and low salary earners are at the mercy of capital with their labour-power being pegged to the lowest as the supply of labour continues to balloon from the continuing displacement of workers in agriculture and from business bankruptcies while opportunities for employment contract. The standard of living continues to worsen with the working masses wallowing in misery and poverty in contrast to the social wealth and technological progress developed by capitalist society.

1. The thrust of the government to develop the country's international competitiveness through labour-only contracting has meant loss of jobs, lower wages, absence of security of tenure, absence of social benefits and, as capitalists take advantage of this state policy, a rise in the underemployment rate (from 8.7% in 1995 to 10.9% in 1996).

2. Thousands of workers have been laid off, many without separation pay. Most of them were employed by the numerous manufacturing and commercial establishments that went bankrupt and/or were forced to reduce production by the impact of globalisation. (Statisticians have placed the number of laid-off workers in the first quarter of this year at 40,000, already way beyond 50% of the 65,000 laid off for the whole year of 1995.)

3. The majority of the employed are in the service sector, with low salaries and wages. Many of them do not have security of tenure and social benefits. They are in the transportation, food and hotel establishments, communication, health and education sectors.

4. The rapid disintegration of the peasantry has resulted in the proletarianisation of the majority of this class. The new class of landless rural poor who either cannot get land to cultivate (by ownership, tenancy or occupation) or whose small piece of land cannot produce enough for their needs, and cannot get any regular work as farm hands comprise the great majority of the rural population. Their means of surviving takes the form of combining off-farm and on-farm work whenever and wherever they can sell their labour power at a declining wage for more work.

Although there has been a continuous decrease in employment in agriculture, there has been no corresponding increase of employment in the other sectors, such as manufacturing and services. Instead, there is a noted increase in the number of families whose income comes from other areas outside of agriculture, fishing, services, manufacturing or industry.

Migration from the rural areas to the urban centres has been increasing for decades in the search by the pauperised tillers for odd jobs in the urban centres to survive. They continue to swell the number of the semi-proletarian urban poor.

The phenomenon of the rise in the number and contribution of overseas workers as the country's number one dollar-earner has emerged due to the extreme problem of unemployment. Most of these migrant workers are laid-off workers, bankrupt farmers from the rural areas and even low-salaried professionals who manage to borrow or raise the amount necessary to pay for any available overseas employment. They are hired by capitalists of other countries chiefly because their labour power is much cheaper and, most of the time, without entitlement to social benefits.

II. The class struggle of the working class as the only basis for the revolutionary transformation of Philippine society

Only the conscious and organised action of the working class can change the exploitative and oppressive rule of foreign monopoly capital and adjunct local capitalists, including the junker capitalists, and bring about their liberation from the rule of capital.

This social revolution by the masses of the proletariat and semi-proletariat will seek to change capitalist ownership of the means of production and the orientation of production towards establishing a socialist society that will bring about genuine social progress and justice and give dignity to mankind.

III. Socialism is the alternative

The revolutionary struggle in the country will seek to establish socialised utilisation of all wealth created in society. Together with this, production will be geared towards the rational use of all natural and existing resources for the total welfare of the labouring masses and the well-being of future generations of mankind.

Given the condition that international monopoly capital has powerful control over and dictates to the local state and economy, the unified action of the working class worldwide both in the advanced and dominated countries, such as the Philippines, is absolutely necessary to ensure the victory of socialism.

The socialist revolution in this country will have to be a part of the world proletarian revolution towards socialism. The particular conditions and aims of struggle of other countries will be respected as the basis for the effective advance of the working class movement in each country. On this basis, the solidarity of all the masses of the working class in the whole world will be strengthened.

At the same time, this should avoid the experience of the anti-worker nature of bureaucratic states of the failed models of socialist countries. Workers' democracy will be promoted as the real basis for a socialist society to develop fully.

IV. The need to seize state power

The struggle against capitalism and the building of socialism can only succeed by overthrowing capitalist rule and dismantling the bourgeois state power as the principal instrument of the bourgeoisie in maintaining the capitalist order.

This political struggle of the proletariat must be led and organised by its vanguard detachment and political party. Armed with the revolutionary theory on advancing the class struggle of the working class, the vanguard detachment will define the direction and line of march of the working class movement against bourgeois rule and against all efforts to disarm, corrupt and waylay the working class movement.

V. The nature of the present situation and the most urgent political tasks and immediate aim in advancing the working class movement

The chief hindrance/problem for the advance of the working class movement lies in the contradiction between the maturity of the material conditions for a socialist revolution and the immaturity or unpreparedness of the proletarian class to undertake direct revolutionary action of seizing state power from the bourgeoisie.

Although capitalism breeds the seeds of the class struggle of the proletariat and revolutionary change for socialism, the bourgeoisie still maintain their strong rule in the country through the bourgeois republic based on a constitutional democracy. This bourgeois democratic government effectively institutes, promotes and defends the interests of the big foreign monopoly capitalists and the local bourgeoisie, including the junker landowners, while paying lip-service to the real democratic interests of the broad labouring masses.

The bourgeois government officials together with the bourgeoisie in the church hierarchy and the labour aristocrats (who compromise the interests of the organised workers in unions and cooperatives in exchange for favours from the capitalists) strongly influence the masses of the working class. They deceptively present themselves as their champions through the use of their resources and the semblance of democracy in the bourgeois electoral process. They offer false hopes of reforms and economic benefits that would improve the living conditions for the labouring masses.

At the same time, the working class movement and its level of organisation face problems and limitations that make the proletariat unprepared for direct, open, mass and revolutionary action for the immediate seizure of state power from the bourgeoisie and establishing socialism:

a. The struggles of the broad masses of workers remain at the level of day-to-day economic survival while the big bulk remain unorganised, only 8 to 12 per cent of the better paid and relatively more secure workers being organised in unions.

b. Particular limited technological advancements of Philippine capitalism have produced a mass of destitute unemployed and underemployed semi-proletarians in the urban and rural areas. At the same time, the number of the relatively advanced industrial proletariat who have generally a high sense of organisation and discipline is small. The big bulk of the working class therefore have a weak sense of organisation and are strongly driven by the individual desire to survive and are entangled in the "war of survival of the fittest" in the decaying capitalist system.

c. The leadership of the vanguard detachment of the working class has been beset by problems of disunity over ideological and practical questions of leading the working class movement. These have resulted in the disorganisation of the working class struggle and the absence of a strong unified party leadership over the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat.

The direction of leading the struggle towards a national-democratic revolution of the PPW [protracted people's war]-type is dissipating the revolutionary energy of proletarian militants and revolutionaries.

d. Thus, the historical circumstance by which the present revolutionary forces were developed impose limitations that require the redirection of efforts in order to have an effective reach and lead the broad masses of the working class in the struggle against capitalist exploitation and oppression:

First, the bulk of the membership of the revolutionary mass organisations are composed of a few thousand rural semi-proletarians;

And second, the armed revolutionary contingents are not organic parts of the mass movement and are way ahead of the general level of working class struggle. Their effectiveness lies more in supporting the working class movement and taking selective punitive actions against its specific enemies.

e. Confusion and demoralisation within the socialist forces resulting from the failures of the eastern bureaucratic states and the unrelenting attacks by anti-socialist bourgeois forces have reinforced the position of anti-Leninist petty-bourgeois deviations that sow confusion and disunity within the Marxist-Leninist forces.

The peasant class is rapidly disintegrating and does not present a solid class due to the high level of penetration of capital and commodity production in agriculture. The material and class basis for a bourgeois-democratic revolution of a peasant type therefore does not exist.

The land reform promoted by the bourgeois government under the capitalist system reinforces bourgeois property relations that are small-scale and ineffective in the face of the dominance of foreign monopoly capitalist interests in agricultural production.

The interest in land, of the masses of the landless rural poor who comprise the rural proletariat and semi-proletariat, cannot but be bound up with the need to change capitalist appropriation of the other means of production and wealth that ensure land productivity.

However, the restiveness of the masses is building up in the face of the worsening poverty and deteriorating living conditions that intensified capitalist exploitation and oppression have brought about under the effects of globalisation. Spontaneous participation of the unorganised section of the masses in broad economic and political issues directed against the government is increasing.

The experience of the broad masses in fighting and toppling the Marcos fascist dictatorship has developed a level of vigilance that prods spontaneous popular sentiment and action against threats of fascist revival.

The historical struggle against the attempts of the colonialists and their local cohorts to subjugate the Moro and the minority nationality peoples in the interest of exploiting their natural and labour resources has been brought to the higher level of armed struggle for secession from the present bourgeois government. This is basically a revolutionary struggle of the Moro people to assert their economic and political rights as people against bourgeois rule and which has the support of other anti-imperialist Islamic countries.

The neo-imperialist onslaught through globalisation on the local economy has more than ever intensified capitalist exploitation and oppression of the masses of proletarians and semi-proletarians in the whole world. This is worsening the physical and moral degradation of the masses of workers as the gains of worldwide working class struggle for wages and benefits and the right to unionise are more boldly violated. It brings to a higher degree the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the working class in the whole world that would ultimately lead to the final confrontation and resolution of the contradiction of the last class society.

The immediate aim and the principal tasks of the party around which agitation, propaganda and organising should be directed

At present, when the conditions of a revolutionary situation do not yet exist, specifically when the proletariat has a low level of political consciousness and organisation, the anti-imperialist and democratic struggle must be advanced as the transitional program that characterises the specific approach towards the proletarian revolution. By this, the masses of the proletariat will gain political experience and be led towards the revolutionary position for the final seizure of state power from the bourgeoisie and establishing socialism.

This transitional program will serve to advance the following three categories of direction of action:

First, the democratic demands that would serve as means to effect a change in the power relations to the advantage of the working class towards the direction of setting up socialist democracy and serving the establishment of workers' power.

Second, the partial and immediate demands that will address the well-being and better conditions of the masses of the proletariat to safeguard their physical and moral conditions while at the same time raising their level of class consciousness and organisation.

And the third category of action will be directed against the foundations of capitalist property, power and privilege.

Around the task of advancing the transitional program, the party must strive to achieve success in the following:

1. To organise the broader masses of proletarians and semi-proletarians in the rural and urban areas of the country and migrant workers, and develop more class-conscious proletarian elements as socialist professionals and militants capable of leading the broadest masses. This must be directed towards leading the struggles of the class to improve their well-being against capitalist exploitation and oppression and in conducting socialist education among the labouring masses.

2. To use the bourgeois constitutional and electoral processes and legislative bodies to educate and organise the labouring masses on the need to stand for and assert their real economic and political interests, as against those promoted by the bourgeois government and labour aristocrats, and to weaken bourgeois rule. At the same lime, this should serve to train and educate the working class on governance.

3. To consolidate the armed revolutionary contingents developed from the past anti-dictatorship revolutionary endeavours by maximising their strength in supporting the general effort to advance the working class movement and defend it from specific and direct attacks against the interests of workers and revolutionary forces.

4. To advance and lead the youth and student revolutionary movement as a motive force necessary for the rapid dissemination of socialist and revolutionary propaganda and strong mass support for working class struggles.

5. To strive to lead and advance the social movements for women's liberation, protection of ecology and environment and protection of children's rights as complementary struggles integral to advancing the working class movement.

6. To strengthen proletarian leadership and consolidate the revolutionary gains in the struggle of the Moro and other minority nationalities for national self-determination.

7. To disseminate the lessons from the failures of Stalinism and the bureaucratic states and the dogmatisation and vulgarisation of the Maoist experience of people's war.

8. To strengthen the RPM in Marxist-Leninist traditions and new lessons of the worldwide working class movement and against the anarchistic petty-bourgeois influence and internal deviation of discarding Leninist principles of building the party as the advanced detachment of the working class.

9. To develop solidarity with the working class movement in other countries towards the direction of advancing the revolutionary struggle of the working class in the whole world for socialism.

VI. The aim of the party to support allies of the working class movement in the struggle against neo-imperialism and its local cohorts and the struggle that must be waged against those who attempt to waylay the direction of the working class struggle

A. The secessionist armed struggle of the Moro people from the present bourgeois government should be fully supported as a progressive movement towards the social transformation of society towards more socialistic relations in the economic, political and social system of the Moro peoples.

B. The small per cent of rural petty bourgeoisie who emerged from the ranks of the disintegrated peasantry can be won over in the struggle against big foreign monopoly capital, the junker capitalists and the bourgeois state on the basis of the threat of their proletarianisation and their common interests with the working class on the effects of intensified exploitation and oppression by global capital.

C. Struggles must be launched against the pernicious influence of reformism promoted by the bourgeois constitutional democracy together with the bourgeoisified section of labour.

VII. Practical conduct and specific demands

The anti-imperialist and democratic struggle will be advanced by forwarding the three categories of direction of the democratic, partial/immediate and direct demands of the transitional program against the foundations of capitalist property, power and privilege.

Towards this end, the following specific struggles and demands will be put forward for action by the working class movement:

1. Struggle for the right to a decent living and to have job security and just compensation in the face of intensified attack by global capital on the working class

a. Demand to safeguard workers against the abuse of individual businesses/capitalists of using the Labour-Only Contracting law to lay off and violate rights to form unions, security of tenure and social benefits.

Bankruptcy declarations must be duly scrutinised by a tripartite body of representatives of the workers, government and the business entity.

b. Demand an employment and social security scheme for the unemployed in the rural and urban areas and the workers recently laid off due to bankruptcies from the impact of deregulation and trade liberalisation, in the industrial, manufacturing, commercial, services and agricultural sectors.

Government funds allotted for discretionary spending that promotes corruption and extravagant spending of public officials should be scrapped and channelled to fund social security and basic services of health, free education and housing.

c. Demand the institution of strict rules and a punishment system against corrupt public servants in government labour agencies that violate the laws and compromise workers/employees' interests in favour of businessman/employer violators.

d. Demand a minimum wage that is based on the daily cost of living as the only way of ensuring decent living conditions of workers in the face of continuous inflation and currency fluctuations.

Rampant violations of the mandated minimum wage must be eliminated by the institution of laws, strict monitoring schemes and a punishment system.

e. Demand progressive tax exemptions for wage and low-salary earners wherein the withholding and income tax will only be applicable on earnings higher than the daily cost of living.

f. Protection from health hazards of work, especially in industries that pose health hazards to workers/employees, must be ensured through the institution of strict rules on implementation and compliance, with corresponding punishments for violators of safety standards.

2. Demand and work for the economic and political rights of migrant workers especially in their countries of work to ensure the protection of their rights and welfare.

3. Struggle for the institution, broadening and defence of democratic and human rights of the workers, landless rural poor, urban poor, youth and students

a. Demand and work for the right of urban and rural wage and low-salary earners and the unemployed to form unions and associations together with their right to expression and assembly, which must be duly instituted, respected and defended.

This political right must be fully developed as the means to wield the strength of the workers and other labouring masses in fighting against the violations and abuse of capitalists who take advantage of their poverty and powerlessness to extract the maximum profit at the expense of their well-being.

Efforts of employer junker and other capitalists to harass, buy off and subvert these rights of the labouring masses must be fought against and duly punished. Persons of authority and public officials who use their positions and allow themselves to become instruments of these violations must be exposed, made accountable and recalled.

b. Demand and work for the equal pay and maternity rights of women workers and protection against sexual discrimination, harassment and other violence against women.

Specific laws, a monitoring system and provisions for punishment of violations should be defined and implemented.

c. Demand and work for the protection of children against child labour and the violence against and exploitation of children.

d. Struggle and work for more academic freedom and education that is readily available and affordable for the urban and landless rural poor.

e. Struggle and work for the protection of the democratic rights of the students to assembly, expression and belief.

4. Struggle for a more progressive and democratic structure in agriculture

a. Struggle and work for the expropriation of backward sugar plantations, remaining large tracts of rice land and other backward large-scale crop plantations such as coconut, in favour of agricultural unions, associations and cooperatives. This should serve to provide employment and improve the living conditions of thousands of displaced agricultural workers, landless rural poor and the rest of the unemployed in these production areas.

Taxes, levies and social amelioration funds taken from the income in these crop lines should be turned over to these unions, associations and cooperatives for the transformation of these lands into more productive undertakings.

b. Struggle and work for the rationalisation of agriculture, including the fishing industry, to promote less expensive, environment-friendly and sustainable production primarily geared for food security and for ensuring cheap grains and other food supplies for the broad masses of the working class.

Land conversions that only serve to intensify unemployment and worsen poverty and lack of food should be resisted.

c. Demand for employment security, disturbance pay and decent housing for the displaced agricultural workers and landless rural poor where agricultural land has been converted for industrial/commercial use.

d. Monopolistic and dictatorial structures of merchant traders/cartels that worsen inflation by dictating prices and manipulating food supplies must be dismantled.

Cooperatives and/or alternative trading and marketing structures should be set up by the workers and landless rural poor in the rural areas as support structures in the struggle against usurers, exorbitant prices and the lack of food supply.

5. Support and work for the Moro and other minority nationality rights to self-determination against big bourgeois national and class oppression.

6. Work for equal and just relations with other countries and international solidarity with their workers and oppressed masses.

a. Write off foreign debts incurred during the Marcos dictatorship and those which have not been of public use.

b. Abrogate all unequal agreements between this country and other governments/international bodies.

c. Condemn and work against superpower aggression and violation of the right of nations to self-determination.

d. Unite with the workers' movement in other countries and work for joint endeavours in waging struggles against neo-imperialism.

e. Support other just struggles of oppressed peoples and nations against the scourge of the world capitalist system that would serve to hasten the downfall of bourgeois rule and the advance of socialism.