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(Message to the League of Filipino Students)
By Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples' Struggle
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Makabayan
September 11, 2009

It is always an honor and privilege for me to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the national officers, general membership and all chapters of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) on the occasion of its founding anniversary today.

As requested, I am glad to update you briefly on the crisis of imperialism in the economic, political, military and cultural fields, assess the impact of such crisis on the semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system in the Philippines and challenge the LFS and entire student youth to continue advancing the struggle for national democracy.

Crisis of Imperialism

The current crisis of imperialism is as grave as the Great Depression of the 1930s and is on the way to becoming worse in its scope, depth and duration. It is the result of an ever worsening crisis of overproduction and the constant drive of the monopoly bourgeoisie to extract superprofits and overaccumulate capital.

The economic and financial crisis is certain to deepen and worsen as the imperialist powers are driven to further exploit the working people and plunder the underdeveloped countries. Even as they continue to spout the slogan of “free market” globalization, the imperialist powers increasingly become protectionist and scramble for sources of cheap raw materials, captive markets, fields of investment and spheres of influence.

Political crisis and disorder are spreading and intensifying on a global scale. The imperialist powers headed by the US use the slogan of anti-terrorism in generating wars of aggression, state terrorism, fascism, chauvinism, racism, religious bigotry and other forms of barbarism. But the working class and the broad masses of the people are waging various forms of resistance against imperialism and reaction and for national liberation, democracy and socialism.

The US is the epicenter of the crisis of the world capitalist system and is overextended due to its plundering and aggressive character. It is in the process of losing its position as No. 1 imperialist power even as it remains the No. 1 enemy of the people of the world. The increase in the number of major capitalist powers due to the revisionist betrayal of socialism has led to what is termed as multipolarity, a euphemism for the intensifying inter-imperialist struggle for a redivision of the world.

The rise of new technology ought to improve socio-economic conditions, expand the range of freedom and promote the cultural achievements of the people. But in the imperialist system, the new technology has led to increasingly severe crises of overproduction, to the further stifling of freedom for the working people, to the cultural degradation and mass deception, to unprecedented destructiveness of imperialist wars and to the ruination of peoples and the environment.

Impact on the Philippine Ruling System

The semicolonial and semifeudal character of the Philippine ruling system has been deepened and aggravated by the US-instigated policy of “free market” globalization and by the series of economic and financial crises of the world capitalist system during the last three decades. The current crisis of imperialism is further deepening and aggravating the crisis of the domestic ruling system.

The Philippine economy is pre-industrial, agrarian and semifeudal in character. Under trade liberalization, it has lost sufficiency in rice and other types of food for domestic consumption because of dumping by other countries. It is dependent on the export of raw materials and re-export of low value-added semi-manufactures. Constant trade and budgetary deficits have resulted in heavy foreign and domestic borrowings every year. Under current crisis conditions, the economy suffers from diminished foreign demand for its exports and re-exports and from the tight global credit situation.

The Philippines is in a state of economic depression. Mass unemployment has become far worse than ever before. The low wages of workers are further being pressed down and so are the incomes of the middle social strata. Landlords are demanding higher rent from tenants. Prices of basic commodities are rising and so are the taxes and the service fees charged by the reactionary state. Social unrest is therefore building up and bursting out.

The Arroyo regime is hated by the people for its puppetry to imperialist interests, its unbridled corruption and its gross and systematic violation of human rights. It is extremely isolated and ripe for overthrow by the broad united front and the broad masses of the people. Fearful of losing power and facing demands for justice, it is exerting all efforts to weaken and suppress the broad legal opposition and the mass movement.

The struggle for power among the reactionary factions of the ruling classes of big compradors and landlords is more bitter and violent than ever before. But the anti-Arroyo reactionary factions have for the moment a preference for the electoral method of choosing which clique is next in line to serve the imperialists and the local exploiting classes, to get the lion's share of the spoils of office and suppress the resistance of the people. At any rate, the basic problems of the people persist and continues to strain the ability of the ruling system to contain them.

The Arroyo regime has been daydreaming that Oplan Bantay Laya, backed up by US military intervention under the so-called Visiting Forces Agreement, can destroy or reduce the revolutionary forces of the people to inconsequentiality. Instead, the revolutionary forces of the people have been growing in strength and advancing. The US imperialists and the Arroyo regime seem to forget that not even the Marcos fascist dictatorship and the presence of US military bases could destroy the still limited strength of the armed revolutionary movement.

Challenge to the Filipino Student Youth

Today the Filipino student youth suffer fast deteriorating living and study conditions. They face bleak prospects with regard to prompt and proper employment even if they were to finish their courses of study. They are constrained by conditions which victimize their parents and themselves, especially if they come from the ranks of the working people and lower and middle social strata. Within the present ruling system, education is considered a commodity that is available only to those who can pay for it.

The private schools are dominant in the market, particularly at the secondary, vocational, tertiary and graduate levels. The public high schools and the state colleges and universities are charging ever higher tuition fees because the reactionary state does not appropriate enough public funds for education but appropriates the most funds for the servicing of the public debt, financing graft-ridden supply contracts and boosting the military, police and intelligence services.

The Filipino student youth are victimized not only by the rising costs of living and study but also by the content of education or miseducation to which they are subjected. They are systematically diverted from consciousness that is patriotic, scientific and people-oriented. Those who control the educational system, the mass media and other institutions seek to alienate them from the people's demand for national independence, democracy, social justice, development and international solidarity and peace against imperialism and all reaction.

The League of Filipino Students and the entire Filipino student youth are more than ever challenged to arouse, organize and mobilize themselves and join the rest of the Filipino people in continuing the struggle for national liberation and democracy against foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. We urge you to exert all efforts at changing not only the US-directed Arroyo regime but the entire rotten ruling system.

Our struggle must break the chains of our economic, social, political and cultural captivity. We must uphold the national sovereignty of the Filipino people, empower the working people in a new type of democracy, develop the economy through national industrialization and land reform, promote a national, scientific and democratic type of culture and education and contribute to the building of a new and better world, free from imperialism and all reaction.###

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