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Message of Solidarity to KMU and ISA on Their 25th and 21st Anniversaries

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle
May 1, 2005

On behalf of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) as well as on my personal behalf as a proletarian militant, I wish to convey warmest greetings of solidarity and congratulations to the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU, May First Movement) and the International Solidarity Affair (ISA) on the occasion of their respective 25th and 21st anniversaries of their establishment on this sacred day of the international working class.

I agree fully with the theme to commemorate the KMU anniversary: "Celebrate 25 years of victorious struggle for genuine, militant and patriotic unionism! Further expand and strengthen our ranks and be continuously at the forefront of the struggle for national liberation, democracy and socialism!"

I also agree fully with the theme of the ISA anniversary celebration: "Intensify international workers' solidarity against imperialist globalization, plunder and war of aggression. Advance the resolute and militant struggle against attacks on jobs, wages and democratic rights."

Celebrate the Victories

In 1980, in the midst of the struggle of the Filipino proletariat and people against the US-directed Marcos fascist dictatorship, 30,000 workers assembled at the Araneta coliseum and established KMU. The proletariat stood up to defend their rights under the capable and courageous leadership of the KMU founders. At the same time, a broad united front policy was adopted to frustrate the attempts of the regime to prevent the historic event.

Since then, KMU has overcome tremendous odds and has achieved great victories to become the strongest and most militant labor center in the Philippines in the last 25 years. These victories have been achieved through hard work and various forms of sacrifice, including martyrdom, hunger, torture, loss of limb and imprisonment. In this regard, we must honor our martyrs and heroes to evoke and reflect the best character of the working class.

I am proud to have been a close comrade-in-arms of the founder and first chairman of KMU Felixberto Olalia from the 1960s, when we worked together in the Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers' Party) and the Socialist Party. We belong to the tradition of proletarian cadres and activists, such as Crisanto Evangelista and Amado V, Hernandez, who fight for a genuinely patriotic and yet internationalist working class movement.

We aim for the fulfillment of the immediate demands of the working class for jobs, better real wages and democratic rights. We face up to the ever worsening conditions of exploitation and oppression. At the same time, we continuously raise the level of our revolutionary consciousness and struggle and aim for the realization of the long-term objective and historic mission of the working class to build socialism.

So-called neoliberal globalization has ruined the Philippine economy by preventing national industrialization and genuine land reform and imposing liberalization, privatization and deregulation in favor of imperialist capital. Instead of heeding the protests and demands of the people for employment and decent income, the US imperialists and the local puppets are escalating state terrorism and US military intervention under the pretext of a "war on terror."

Through neocolonialism and so-called neoliberalism, the US and other imperialist powers have taken advantage of the backward semicolonial and semifeudal conditions of the Philippines. The Filipino people must fight self-reliantly to obtain national and social liberation and thereby contribute to the worldwide struggle of the people for liberation from imperialism and all reaction. The people in various countries help each other directly and indirectly by fighting imperialism as the common enemy.

The KMU acted correctly in initiating, convening and hosting the International Solidarity Affair in 1984, even before the overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship. It succeeded not only in preserving itself from the deadly blows of the enemy in the early 1980s but also in overcoming them at the level of the local unions and higher by conjoining with the powerful broad mass movement that arose as a result of the people's outrage over the assassination of Benigno Aquino.

By 1984 the mass movement had paralyzed the Marcos fascist regime and to a great extent rendered it impotent. Thus it could not stop the KMU from inviting delegations of major labor organizations from various countries and holding the first International Solidarity Affair. The ISA brought into play the international workers' support for the raging struggle of the Filipino people to topple the Marcos ruling clique.

Since then, it has served as a major venue for the democratic exchange of experiences and views regarding the rights and interests of workers, for raising the level of understanding on global and national issues and for arriving at resolutions on issues. ISA has also fostered practical cooperation among the labor organizations on the scale of the whole world, global regions or particular countries.

The ISA has taken up the most important issues arising from imperialist domination in the social, economic, political and cultural fields and affecting the workers and the oppressed peoples and nations of the world. It has confronted the policies and actions of the US and other imperialist powers of intensifying the exploitation of the proletariat and people under the auspices of the IMF, World Bank and GATT/WTO and under the slogan of "free market" globalization and of unleashing repression and wars of aggression in order to suppress resistance to imperialist plunder.

The ILPS has considered the ISA as a highly significant annual activity of international workers' solidarity. Thus in 2003 during the term of ILPS chairperson Crispin "Ka Bel" Beltran the ILPS cooperated with KMU in organizing the 19th ISA, which formed the ILPS Commission on Concern No. 5: "Promotion of trade union and other democratic rights of the working class, improvement of wage and living conditions against all forms of intensifying exploitation of labor and the destruction of the working class organizations in their pursuit of the historic mission of fighting for social liberation."

Since then, ILPS Commision No.5 has recruited workers' organizations for its own purposes and for the ILPS. It should be able to attract even more workers' organizations to become participating organizations of the ILPS and ISA. We should continue studying and working to expand and increase participation in the yearly ISA so that the general assembly of the ILPS every three years will have more workers' organizations as participants.

Grow Stronger Amidst the Crisis

It is necessary to strengthen the international solidarity of the working class in the face of the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system. The policy mix of neoliberalism, military Keynesianism and neoconservatism being pursued by the sole superpower will continue to aggravate the economic, financial and political crisis. All major contradictions in the world capitalist system will sharpen and become more explosive. The objective conditions for waging revolution and for the resurgence of the antiimperialist and socialist movements will improve on a global scale.

Neoliberalism means continuing, in the name of the "free market", to attack the jobs, wages and rights of all working people, to cut back on social spending, to tax the poor and exempt the rich, to deliver more capital to the monopoly bourgeoisie and to concentrate and centralize capital in a few imperialist countries headed by the US. However, the US is failing to be the "engine of growth" in the world capitalist system and is being weighed down by its huge trade deficit and foreign debt.

Military Keynesianism means using state resources for stepping up war production and engaging in military intervention and wars of aggression, supposedly in order to stimulate the stagnant US and global economy. Neoconservatism means imposing Pax Americana on the whole world in the 21st century by using the high-tech US military superiority to conduct preemptive strikes against any challenge or obstacle to US imperialist hegemony. However, the US has become overextended and is sunk in a quagmire in Iraq.

The main contradiction between the imperialist powers and the oppressed peoples and nations will result in greater armed movements for national liberation and social revolution. The US and other imperialist powers will further pressure, subvert and attack countries that assert national independence. They continue to engage in bullying, embargoes, intervention and aggression. All these incite the people to wage resistance.

But the worsening crisis will drive the imperialist powers further into competition and rivalry among themselves and seek to redivide the world. The economic and financial crisis will drive of the sole superpower to monopolize the loot. The monopoly bourgeoisie will increasingly exploit and repress the proletariat and people in imperialist countries and provoke them to fight back.

In the wake of the worsening crisis of the world capitalist system, the domestic ruling system of big compradors and landlords in the Philippine will further worsen. The Philippine economy is a mere adjunct of the imperialist economies. It has its own internal weaknesses due to its feudal and semifeudal backwardness. These have made it extremely vulnerable to the crisis of the world capitalist system.

Right now, the Philippines is reeling from a severe economic and financial crisis. Even its production of staple food is undermined by the rising costs of imported inputs and by the dumping of similar products from abroad. The prices of its raw-material exports and low value-added semi-manufactured reexports are depressed in the world market. The trade deficits are always widening and the mounting foreign debt is crushing the economy. Eighty one per cent of the revenues of the reactionary government now goes to debt service.

The Filipino working class and the rest of the people are now confronted with a puppet regime that knows only how to aggravate their intolerable suffering. While they suffer from high rate of unemployment and depressed incomes, they are subjected to the soaring prices of basic commodities and fuel, higher charges for deteriorating social services, a 20 per cent increase of the value-added tax, a high fee for an electronic ID for surveillance and control purposes and so many other exploitative and oppressive impositions.

In reaction to the rising social discontent and mass protests, the regime is becoming more and more brutal and contemptuous of human rights. It considers the trade union movement as "terrorism". And in the name of "anti-terrorism" and "national security", it drives the military, police and paramilitary forces to mow down workers on the picket line as in Hacienda Luisita and assassinate scores of leaders and sympathizers of the working people. The US slogan of "war on terror" has emboldened the puppet regime to suppress the people and to actually invite more and more US interventionist troops and the return of the US military bases.

It is necessary for the KMU to be ever more resolute in expanding and strengthening its ranks and to be ever more vigilant and militant against the escalating oppression and exploitation unleashed by the US and the puppet regime. The broad masses of the people are outraged by the puppetry, corruption, cruelty and other crimes being committed against them by the regime. They are therefore desirous of removing the Arroyo puppet regime from power.

It is possible for a broad united front of organized forces to oust Arroyo from power. The organized patriotic and progressive forces play a decisive role in the broad united front but they must make sure that the principle of civilian supremacy is upheld even as disgruntled military and police officers can play a role and that the principle of democracy must be upheld with the patriotic and progressive forces well represented in the transitional council of leadership.

In conclusion, let me express my confidence that Kilusang Mayo Uno will prevail over the tremendous odds posed by the crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system and become ever stronger as the labor center in the Philippines through the self-reliant and arduous work and struggle of its local unions, major independent unions, federations and regional alliances.

I am also confident that the International Solidarity Affair will play a more significant and effective role in promoting the unity of the workers of the world for national liberation, democracy, socialism and world peace against imperialism and reaction and will gain more participating organizations through the efforts of KMU and its partner organizations in various countries.

I extend to all of you the best wishes of the International League of Peoples' Struggle. May you win ever greater victories! ###

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