Keynote Address to 11th National Congress of Kilusang Mayo Uno

Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
August 27, 2015

Colleagues and friends,

We in the International Coordinating Committee and entirety of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) express our most militant greetings and solidarity with the Kilusang Mayo Uno KMU) on the occasion of its 11th National Congress. As always, we are proud of the KMU as the center of genuine trade unionism in the Philippines and as one of the most important member-organizations of the ILPS in the international working class movement.

This is a time for you and us to celebrate your victories since your last congress. It is also a time for you to understand further the international and national context of your movement, sum up your experience and learn both positive and negative lessons; and put forward the tasks for raising the struggle to a new and higher level and achieve greater victories.

I am highly honored and deeply pleased that I am entrusted with the task of presenting the international and national situation and the consequent tasks of the working class and the KMU. I am guided by the theme that you have defined: Intensify the struggle against the neoliberal attacks on the workers and the people! Carry forward genuine, militant and patriotic unionism! Advance the national democratic struggle with a socialist perspective!

International Situation: Neoliberalism, Crisis, Wars and People’s Struggle

The neoliberal economic policy has been pushed by the US since 1979 and carried out in earnest in the US and abroad since the Reagan regime. It is based on the malicious the anti-working class lie that the cause of stagflation was wage inflation and big government spending for social services. It obscures the fact that in the capitalist system the extraction of high profits by reducing real wages while raising production causes the crisis of overproduction, which is variably called stagnation, recession and depression, according to the degree of severity of the crisis.

It also obscures the fact that high spending for bureaucratic corruption, military production, deployment of overseas bases and wars of aggression generates inflation. Furthermore, it obscures the fact that the attempts of the capitalist state to use finance capitalism, like printing money, expansion of credit and invention of so many kinds of financial products, appear at first to buoy up the economy, deliver more profits to the capitalists and raise the value of their assets. But ultimately, the financial bubbles burst and the real economy suffers in terms of production breakdown and massive unemployment.

On the basis of anti-worker and anti-social premises, the neoliberal policy accelerates and aggravates the process of extracting profits from the surplus capital created by labor. The monopoly bourgeioisie uses various methods to compel the workers to accept lower real wages. It adopts higher technology to reduce the work force. It uses mass unemployment in order to play off the unemployed against the employed. It increases the short-term contractuals, casuals, apprentices and the like to cut the number of workers with tenure. It uses the state to adopt policies and use coercive actions to violate the basic democratic rights and trade union rights of the workers.

It is a big lie for the monopoly capitalists to claim that economic and social matters are decided by the so-called free market. There is no free market under monopoly capitalism. The monopoly capitalists decide matters by using their economic power as well as their state power to undermine and suppress the working class and to provide more benefits to the capitalist corporations through investment and trade liberalization, privatization of public assets, deregulation of social and environmental restrictions and the denationalization of the less developed and underdeveloped economies.

The international bourgeoisie, from the monopolies based in the industrial capitalist countries to the big compradors in the underdeveloped countries, continue to cling to the neoliberal economic policy dictated by US imperialism and its allies in the G-7 and such multilateral agencies as the IMF, World Bank and the WTO. Thus, global capitalism continues to lurch from one crisis to ever worse ones. The world is still in the throes of the crisis and depression that burst out in 2008. We are now witnessing another worse crisis unfolding.

The unbridled printing of money and rapid expansion of credit, without the corresponding expansion of production and employment, have long burdened private households, corporations and governments with unpayable debts. Whenever there is monetary expansion, the money goes mainly to the financial markets and bureaucratic-military spending. But when austerity measures are adopted supposedly to rein in government spending and cut down the public deficit and public debt, social benefits and social services (especially for education, health, housing and so on) are cut down, government employment is reduced and production and employment in general are adversely affected.

An economic and financial crisis worse than 2008 is already being manifested by the bursting of bubbles in public debt as in Greece, the bond market in Japan and the stock markets in China and 22 other countries; to cite just a few symptoms. A big financial explosion is expected to burst either in China or the US or in both, and once more cause an unprecdented global economic crisis. Every capitalist state in the world today is sitting on a huge public debt bomb. China and the US are being anticipated to trigger the big explosion. China has abused public borrowing since 2008 by six times more than the US to keep on financing private and public construction and make up for the drastic fall in exports.

The integration of China and Russia in the capitalist world poses a problem to US imperialism and its erstwhile Cold War allies in economic, financial, political and military terms. The crisis of overproduction is intensifying economic and financial contradictions among the capitalist powers. China and Russia have formed the BRICS economic bloc, together with Brazil, India and South Africa; and the BRICS Development Bank to assert economic independence. China has also established the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to assume the lead role in constructing a new Silk Road interlinking China and Russia as well as all of Asia and Europe.

China and Russia continue to develop the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a collective security organization. This was formed in reaction to the US propensity to unleash wars of aggression in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and to expand NATO operations to the borders of Russia, to the Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East. Not satisfied with the quagmires into which it has already put itself in these regions, the US is making provocations against Russia by using their neofascist stooges in the Ukraine and is making the so-called strategic pivot to Asia to contain China and boost pro-US forces within it. It is now taking advantage of China’s claim over 90 per cent of South China Sea, thus grabbing the exclusive economic zones and extended continental shelves of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries, in order to entrench US military forces, principally in the Philippines.

The US and other imperialist countries have been able to override contradictions among themselves and as well as within their respective borders since the end of World War II by shifting the burden of crisis to the oppressed peoples and nations in the underdeveloped countries. But now with China and Russia being among the capitalist powers, economic competition and political rivalry among such powers are intensifying. Too many capitalist vultures are competing to feast on the blood of the working people, causing ever worsening economic and financial crisis and driving the the US and NATO war machines to become more aggressive in maintaining and expanding economic territory.
The economic and social conditions of the proletariat and people in the developed countries
have deteriorated from decade to decade since the adoption of the neoliberal economic policy. Many of them are already living practically under the same conditions as the working people in the third world countries. But even while they are in much-worsened conditions and mass movements arise among them against issues of oppression and exploitation, there is still the need to build genuine revolutionary parties of the proletariat that must set the effective general line of revolutionary struggle for socialism; arouse the masses of workers and the people; organize the progressive trade unions and other people’s organizations; and mobilize the people.

In the underdeveloped countries, some genuine revolutionary parties of the proletariat are leading the working class, the peasantry and the urban petty bourgeoisie along the general line of people’s democratic revolution against foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. They are the torch bearers of the anti-imperialist and democratic movement and the world proletarian revolution. They are the pathbreakers of revolutionary resistance in a world is beset by extreme oppression and exploitation, state terrorism and war of aggression; and about to break out in revolutionary resistance on an unprecedented scale.

Philippine Situation: Puppet Rulers, Deepening Underdevelopment, Crisis and Revolution

Since the 1980s, one puppet regime after another has accepted the neoliberal dictates of US imperialism. The first Aquino regime carried over from the Marcos fascist regime all the anti-labor decrees, pushed trade and investment liberalization, accepted all the odious foreign loans incurred by the Marcos regime and abused local public borrowing for the government budget.

Under the flag of neoliberalism, the Ramos regime proceeded to take a huge amount of commercial loans and portfolio investments, sped up the privatization of major public assets to cover the public deficit, removing nationality restrictions on mining, banking, wholesale and retail trade and other types of enterprises; and sponsored the private construction boom that collapsed in the Asian financial crisis of 1997.

The Estrada regime was bound by the neoliberal economic policy and was also restricted by the consequences of the 1997 crisis. Its idea of development was reviving the private fortunes of the Marcos cronies and promoting gambling with loans from the social insurance system.

The Arroyo regime was vociferous in following the neoliberal economic policy and
went so far as to badmouth the workers as “economic terrorists” for exercising their democratic trade union rights. It gained more financial leeway as the US shifted from the bursting of the high tech bubble to the making of the mortgage bubble.

It also promoted big comprador relations with China, semi-manufacturing semiconductors for the final Chinese reassembly platform, collaborating with Chinese public and private corporations in graft-ridden energy, transport and infrastructure projects; and opening up the Philippine economy to Chinese mining, plantations, real estate, supermarkets, finance and exploration of the mineral resources under the West Philippine Sea. When the mortgage meltdown occurred in 2008, the Philippine export of low-value-added semiconductors started to fall drastically. The Philippines was once more in a grave financial crisis.

As during previous regimes, there has been no real economic development through national industrialization and genuine land reform during the Aquino regime. The semifeudal economy remains consumption-led and dependent on imported manufactures and undervalued raw material exports and is overburdened by government and foreign trade deficits and by local and foreign debt. The export of women and men for work abroad, the business call centers and the private construction boom dependent on foreign debts and foreign supplies do not spell economic development.

But the Aquino regime claims a growth rate of 7% or thereabouts. This is nothing but the statistical growth of consumption, government spending and non-industrial investments. This kind of growth does not mean real lasting economic development. It has been sustained by an extraordinary amount of portfolio investments going to the stock market and other financial markets. It gives high profits to foreign companies and to big compradors that are billionaires and are outstanding in the Forbes list of magnates. It does not create the most needed manufacturing plants and does not generate jobs.

The country remains semifeudal and pre-industrial. The unemployment rate of 7%is a big lie. The government economists and statisticians invent employment figures by doing random surveys, asking people whether they had worked one hour the previous week or they had done chores in their household. They keep out of the reckoning the unemployed who have given up looking for work. The figure of 12 million overseas contract workers is a categorical measure of about 20 per cent of the work force that cannot be employed in the Philippines. The unemployment rate far exceeds the government figures of unemployed and underemployed combined.

The reactionary government keeps on throwing statistical lies at the working class and the public about the adequacy of wages for an average household to subsist. It always opposes demands for a minimum wage for an adequate and decent level of family subsistence. And it gives all the leeway for the capitalist employers to chop up their employees into a diminishing group of regulars and an ever increasing groups of short-term contractuals or temporaries, part-timers, casuals and apprentices.
All of these are in accordance with the neoliberal economic policy of using the state to squeeze the working class and to provide all means and opportunities for the capitalist employers to extract profits.

Why the large flow of portfolio investments to the Philippines during most years of the Aquino regime? It is connected with the US scheme of using the Aquino regime to either destroy or cripple the armed revolutionary movement of the Filipino people. The US strategy planners have calculated to realize its counterrevolutionary objective by crediting the regime with economic growth and good governance and efficient delivery of services, allowing the distribution of dole outs to communities within the people’s democratic government, prolonging the ceasefire agreement with the MILF though false promises of Bangsamoro autonomy and other benefits; and unleashing the military and police dogs of Oplan Bayanihan to attack the revolutionary forces and people.

The US-Aquino scheme is futile and self-defeating. There can be no economic development without genuine land reform and national industrialization. “Good” governance and efficient delivery of social services are impossible while bureaucratic and military corruption and the gross violations of human rights run rampant. The general line of people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war has enabled the revolutionary forces and people to build a strong people’s army in Mindanao and on a nationwide scale. If the enemy attack escalates against it in Eastern Mindanao, the NPA is capable of fighting there and encourages the NPA in other parts of Mindanao and in Luzon and the Visayas to fight against reduced strength of the enemy.

The US and the local reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords are mortally afraid of the armed revolutionary movement and even of the legal anti-imperialist and democratic forces. They are aware of their vulnerabilities amidst the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system. They violently oppose the people’s demands for full national independence, the democratic empowerment of the toiling masses, economic development through land reforn and national industrialization, social justice, a patriotic and progressive culture and the anti-imperialist and democratic solidarity of all peoples of the world.

One reactionary regime after another has refused to come to terms with the people’s demands and has failed to fully avail of peace negotiations as a way of addressing the roots of the armed conflict and laying the basis for a just and lasting peace. The further degeneration of the ruling system can be seen in the failure of the major political parties and presidential candidates to offer a comprehensive program of national independence and development the Filipino people and the patriotic and progressive forces. The contest seems to be about personal popularity rating, closeness to those who control and pre-program the automated electoral system, access to the largest campaign contributors and ability to manipulate the mass media.

Oppression and exploitation are escalating in the Philippines as the imperialist powers and the local exploiting classes keep on imposing the neoliberal liberal economic policy on the people. As one more economic and financial crisis is growing, even as the previous one is still wreaking havoc on the lives of the people, we must gear up for intensified resistance. We must cease to suffer and convert our suffering to an irresistible force to defeat our enemy and brings about a fundamentally new and better world of socialism.

Tasks of the Working Class and the Kilusang Mayo Uno!

We, the ILPS, urge you to intensify the struggle against the neoliberal economic policy and the purveyors of this policy. You must uphold, defend and advance basic democratic rights of the working class, especially the right to a true, militant and patriotic unionism. You must carry forward the national democratic struggle with a socialist perspective. In this regard, we must uphold the leadership of the working class.

You must fight the neoliberal attacks by the reactionary government and the big capitalists on your wages, jobs and rights. You must arouse the class consciousness and revolutionary spirit of the workers. You must organize them as genuine, militant and patriotic unions. You must mobilize them to advance the trade union movement and the strike movement fight for higher wages, protect their jobs and uphold their rights as well as to develop political strength for the achievement of immediate aims of the workin g class and the ultimate aim of socialism.

We, the ILPS, endorse and support your determination:

1. To wage a campaign for raising the wage on a national scale, on the scale of enterprises and other levels and for establishing a just minimum wage.

2. To wage a campaign against contractualization and for declaring this as a crime to be prohibited.

3. To arouse, organize and mobilize the contractual workers.

4. To study promptly the neoliberal attacks on the workers and the labor movement and the ways of combatting such attacks.

5. To engage in political education concerning the semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines, imperialism on a world scale and related matters.

6. Combat the economistic tendency and envigorate the participation of unions in arousing, orgamizing and mobilizing the workers.

7. Grasp the methods of secret and yet rapid organizing.

8. Organize the communities in the vicinity of the enterprises.

9. Unite with the workers inside and outside the country and the progressive organizations of various classes and sectors.

10. Keep in mind that the class struggle of the proletariat and the monopoly capitalists is long and arduous, with twists and turns and ups and down, but the ultimate outcome is the victory of the proletariat and socialism.

Long live Kilusang Mayo Uno!
Long live the working class!
Long live the Filipino people!###