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Letters to Jose Maria Sison




19 November 1996


Warmest greetings of solidarity to all the organizers and participants of the People’s Conference Against Imperialist Globalization!

I wish to express my admiration to you for holding this conference and for standing up against the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit, headed by the United States and Japan. By standing up for the rights and interests of the proletariat and peoples of the world, your conference is diametrically opposite to the APEC, the imperialist states and neocolonial client-states and the multinational firms and banks that use them.

Your conference is also radically different from the so-called parallel NGO conferences that are in fact under the shade of the APEC and whose main role is to deck themselves out as the alternative to the revolutionary movement for national liberation and democracy against imperialism and the local reactionaries.

I am confident that you will succeed in analyzing and criticizing the exploitative, destructive and deceptive character of imperialist "globalization" and inform the broad masses of the people so that they shall be further aroused, organized and mobilized to uphold and defend their rights and interests against imperialism and all reaction.

It is of crucial importance to stress the need for the revolutionary struggle of the people in the face of the destructive character of the imperialist states and their supermonopolies as they use high technology and the most rapacious forms of finance capital in order to extract superprofits and accumulate capital and in the process further exploit and oppress the proletariat and peoples of the world.

After the Keynesian decades of "development" which promoted infrastructure-building and the overproduction of raw materials in underdeveloped countries and also after the collapse of revisionist regimes based on state monopoly capitalism, the US and other centers of monopoly capitalism appear to face no formidable resistance to their intensification of monopoly capitalist exploitation under the signboard of neoliberalism. Your conference can be significant as an encouragement to revolutionary resistance.

We are still in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution. The uneven development of the world capitalist system has become more gross than ever before. Look at how monopoly capitalism is ravaging the third world and the former Soviet bloc countries. Look at the worsening social conditions in the industrial capitalist countries and the intensifying cutthroat competition among the monopoly capitalists and capitalist powers.

It is utterly deceptive of the imperialist states and their neocolonial client-states in the APEC to tout "free market economies", "free competition" and "free trade" in order to camouflage the reality and workings of monopoly capitalism and to impose on the oppressed peoples and nations worse conditions of neocolonial dependence and subservience to monopoly capitalism.

US monopoly capitalism has always used the liberal slogan of "free market place of goods and ideas" to confuse people. But in recycling this slogan today, it is bringing down drastically the level of economic development in more than 90 percent of the countries of the world. It is trying to break down all barriers to its export of surplus goods and surplus capital and gives no leeway to its neocolonial client-states to make any pretense at economic sovereignty.

Principles of economic and political development drawn from history are obfuscated by assertions that transnational corporations (TNCs) have rendered useless and helpless the states in general and the role of the state in the economy, even as the monopoly bourgeoisie continues to use the imperialist states as well as neocolonial client-states to aggrandize itself and to further exploit and oppress the people.

A semicolonial and semifeudal country like the Philippines cannot attain the status of a newly-industrialized country (NIC) under a regime that shuns national industrialization, that liberalizes the importation of surplus manufactured and agricultural goods from the imperialist countries, that seeks to attract foreign investments for export-oriented manufacturing and that squanders domestic resources and foreign funds on upper-class consumption.

As well articulated in the Anti-Imperialist World Peasant Summit, the Philippines will not only remain agrarian but will sink to a lower level -- that of a disjointed agrarian country, lacking in food self-reliance -- while there is no land reform, the agricultural surpluses of the imperialist countries flood in, the agro-chemicals, seeds and equipment are controlled by the MNCs and the land is further concentrated in the hands of the landlords and the corporations of all sorts.

The crisis of overproduction in the world capitalist system is driving the supermonopolies to accumulate constant capital and reduce variable capital to beat their competitors and raise their profits in their homegrounds. Thus, they cut down their domestic market through massive unemployment and cutbacks on social spending and unwittingly lower the national rates of productivity and profitability. Consequently, they seek to maximize their profits by exporting their surplus goods and surplus capital.

Capitalist competition within capitalist countries leads to larger monopolies and more intense competition among the capitalist countries. It is untrue as some theorists of imperialists globalization that monopolies have lost their national basing. There are indeed international combinations of monopoly firms and alliances of capitalist countries. But there is also the sharpening competition to redivide the world as the general crisis of capitalism worsens.

The United States is upsetting the balance of its relations with other imperialist countries by trying to take back previous accommodations granted to its favored allies during the Cold War. It wishes to solve its colossal debt and deficit problems by using its technological lead, reviving its manufacturing capacity and intensifying its export drive. It has been consolidating its national market and its regional market (like NAFTA) as well as penetrating the markets of its capitalist rivals. It is taking the initiative in APEC in order to keep Japan in tow, prevent it from taking its own initiative in the AFTA and EAEC and harmonize US-Japan partnership at the expense of other countries.

The Ramos regime can never attain the status of a NIC by imitating the earlier examples of the so-called four tigers of East Asia, especially two of them, Taiwan and South Korea, which have developed relatively more comprehensive economies. The regime conveniently forgets that these carried out land reform, accumulated capital from export-oriented manufacturing to build some basic industries and, most important of all, enjoyed special accommodation in the US market and were allowed to protect state and domestic investors for the overriding purpose of front-lining in the the anticommunist crusade.

It must be pointed out that today these "tigers" and their imitators are now altogether suffering from a crisis of overproduction in their type of products and are now facing declining rates of productivity and profitability. Moreover, they are all under pressure to open their domestic markets to the unrestricted inflow of consumer products and speculative capital from the imperialist countries.

In fact, all the countries hooked to export-oriented manufacturing in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America and Central Europe are now confronted with increasing trade deficits and foreign debt. In the case of China, the misallocation of resources towards export-oriented manufacturing and import-dependent consumption of the new bourgeoisie has undermined the national industrial foundation previously established under socialism. Consequently, the US is requiring China to further liberalize its investment and trade policies in return for admission to the WTO.

The portfolio funds for the so-called emergent markets are meant more to finance budgetary and trade deficits, sustain luxury consumption among no more than the top ten percent of the population and enable the MNCs to finance their sale of consumption goods and the operation of labor-intensive sweatshop enterprises. These so-called emergent markets are no more than ten countries at every given time and are mostly within the ambit of APEC.

The imperialists and their neocolonial puppets are utterly reprehensible for propagating and enforcing the dogma that development is possible in underdeveloped or less developed countries only if they opt for "competitive" exports by keeping labor cheap and attracting foreign investments. The wage and living conditions of the workers are pressed down and a huge reserve army of labor is maintained. And yet 75 percent of the global flow of foreign direct investments is concentrated in the United States, Japan and the European Union and only 25 percent is in countries where superprofits can be drawn due to cheap labor and lower levels of economic development.

The APEC is one more device for imposing imperialist policies on the Philippines and the other neocolonial states. It tries to promote and accelerate trade and investment liberalization already gained bilaterally and through the multilateral agencies like the IMF, World Bank and WTO. The most interesting events in the APEC leaders’ summit are not the individual action plans of the neocolonial puppets, which are obsequious to both the US and Japan, but the expressions of these two countries about their competition and anti-people collusion and the US message to China on US preconditions to her entry into the WTO.

Under imperialist domination, the Philippines has no other way to go but deeper into semicolonial and semifeudal status, weighed down by foreign and local debt, foreign trade deficits, budgetary waste of the proceeds of privatization, and heavier taxation on the people to countervail the reduction and elimination of tariff barriers.

No matter how high or low are the GDP growth rate and gross international reserves, it is far more important to consider the nature of the economy, the exploitation done by the foreign monopolies and the local reactionaries, the rising foreign trade deficit and real budgetary deficit (minus the window-dressing), the growing foreign and local public debt and the mounting flow of resources to the coercive apparatuses of the state and to bureaucratic corruption.

The raw-material exports of the Philippines have long been pressed down in the world market since the ‘70s and the low value-added products of export-oriented manufacturing are already in jeopardy in the global crisis of overproduction. The export of live human beings, which is actually the biggest earner of foreign exchange, is also tending to fall because of the global recessive trend and the growing restrictions imposed by foreign governments against migrant labor.

The objective conditions for the new-democratic revolution through protracted people’s war are increasingly favorable in the Philippines. By intensifying the exploitation and oppression of the people of the Philippines and throughout the world, the US and other imperialists are generating the conditions for revolutionary resistance on an unprecedented global scale.

In analyzing, criticizing and condemning imperialist "globalization", your conference has the objective of helping to arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the people. It is not to offer recommendations to the states in APEC as to how they can improve the methods of imperialist exploitation and avert revolutionary resistance.

The main targets of your conference are the imperialist states and the neocolonial puppet states, which altogether serve monopoly capitalism. I presume that you condemn not only the anti-worker and anti-people agenda in the APEC leaders’ summit but also the human rights violations and extraordinary costs inflicted on the Filipino people in order to prepare and stage this summit.

But you can also take a look at and condemn the special agents of monopoly capitalism who organize so-called alternative conferences which are dependent on funding from imperialist agencies and which pretend to criticize APEC within the limits of reformism but whose main objective is to seize the initiative from the national democratic movement.

The US-instigated low intensity conflict in the Philippines involves not only the most conspicuous forms of brutal actions but also psychological warfare. This involves the use not only of military and police thugs in mufti, special operations teams of the reactionary armed forces and religious fanatical cults but also certain foreign-funded "NGOs" operated by covert agents of US and Philippines intelligence agencies, together with Trotskyites, racketeers, revisionists, pseudosocialists, bourgeois populists, pro-imperialist liberals and the jesuitical religio-sectarians.

I hope that your conference can draw up clearly the firm line of resistance against imperialist "globalization" and work out further cooperation through an international network of anti-imperialist forces. Of course, I also hope that the people’s caravan from Manila to Subic and the nationwide protest actions of the people will be successful.

I wish you all the success in struggle now and in the future. Thank you.

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