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By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples' Struggle
October 23, 2009

We of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS) welcome wholeheartedly the holding of the Eighth National Congress of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN). On this special occasion, we express our solidarity with the leadership and member-organizations of BAYAN and all the national sectoral and chapter delegates, including those from BAYAN-USA and BAYAN-CANADA and the BAYAN desks in Japan and Hong Kong.

We are proud of BAYAN as the strongest formation in the Philippine chapter of the ILPS. We salute BAYAN for being the most comprehensive and largest alliance of class, sectoral and issue-based forces that pursue the general line of struggle for genuine national independence and democracy against imperialism and local reaction.

It includes the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata, the women, the youth and various types of professionals and the advocates of human rights, social reforms, just peace, healthy environment and other causes. It has a comprehensive range of capabilities. It can rally the people to confront the most powerful adversaries, to surmount the social disasters as well as the natural disasters that these aggravate and to fight and work for a new and better Philippines.

We congratulate you for all your victories in building your strength and in serving the people. We join you in anticipating that the congress will succeed in assessing and evaluating the five-year work of BAYAN from 2004 to 2009 and will be able to set forth the political and organizational tasks of rebuilding and strengthening the regional and provincial formations, which have borne the main brunt of fascist attacks.

We share with you the hope that the congress will pave the way for a meaningful and bountiful celebration of the 25th anniversary of the founding of BAYAN as the main alliance of patriotic and progressive forces and as a powerful center of the national democratic movement in the Philippines.

We live today under the harsh conditions of the worst crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic ruling system since the end of World War II. The broad masses of the people are undergoing terrible suffering. At the same time, they are being driven to wage struggles against their oppressors and exploiters.

The crisis conditions are favorable for BAYAN to arouse, organize and mobilize the Filipino people to fight for their own national and democratic rights and interests against foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. We must seize every moment to expand and consolidate the organized forces for the national and social liberation of the people.

The global financial and economic crisis continues to worsen, contrary to the claims of recovery by the G-20. The imperialist states cling to the dogma of "free market" globalization and pour out public funds to bail out the big banks and the big firms in the military-industrial complex that in the first place made the crisis. Thus, the imperialists cannot solve the crisis but aggravate it and are generating new financial bubbles.

The crisis relentlessly attacks the working people. The monopolies extract superprofits by further cutting down wage incomes and engaging in mass layoffs. Thus, mass consumption and the market continue to contract. The imperialist powers always try to pass the burden of crisis to the underdeveloped countries. They use the crisis to further cheapen the exports of these countries, seize the natural resources, expand the market and field of investments for monopoly firms and impose a heavier debt burden on the people.

The imperialist powers headed by the US persist in their global war of terror against the people of the world. Together with puppet regimes, they use state terrorism to suppress the people and wage wars of aggression against countries assertive of their independence. They presume that they can overcome the crisis, their tendency to become protectionist and their struggle for a redivision of the world by escalating the oppression and exploitation of the people of the world

The oppressed peoples and nations are more determined than ever before to wage revolutionary struggles for national liberation and democracy and look forward to a socialist future. The working class in imperialist countries and elsewhere is pressed hard by the crisis to fight for immediate anti-imperialist and democratic goals and to perform its historic role of bringing about and building socialism.

Under the weight of the global financial and economic crisis, the crisis of the long-rotten semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system is accelerated and deepened. Philippine exports of raw materials and low value-added semi-manufactures have shrunk. Overseas contract workers are in less demand and remit less earnings to the country. Foreign credit has become scarce while the interest payments and amortization of the accumulated debt are unbearable. Even as the economy is depressed, the Arroyo regime keeps on increasing the people's tax burden and is using the tax revenues mainly for debt service, military expenditures and graft-ridden projects and programs.

Subservience to the US-dictated policy of "neoliberal globalization" has prevented national industrialization and land reform and has ruined agricultural production for domestic consumption. The export-oriented and import-dependent enterprises are either closing down or reducing production. The rate of unemployment has risen steeply. The income levels of the working people and middle class have gone down abruptly and yet the prices of basic commodities and services are soaring.

The broad masses of the people are in dire economic straits. Social unrest is widespread and rising in intensity. The revolutionary forces of the people are growing in strength and advancing. The socio-economic crisis is fueling the political crisis of the ruling system. The contradictions among the competing political factions of the ruling classes of big compradors and landlords are intensifying and becoming more bitter and violent as the ruling clique strains to monopolize the spoils of power and as the opposition is quick to expose corruption and other wrongdoings.

The Arroyo regime has long unleashed state terrorism and perpetrated systematic and gross violations of human rights in a vain attempt to suppress the growing armed revolutionary movement and intimidate the broad range of legal opposition forces, including the reactionary ones and the progressive ones spearheaded by BAYAN. The regime has been emboldened to engage in the most despicable barbarities under Oplan Bantay Laya by the US-directed global war of terrorism and has allowed the permanent deployment of US military forces on Philippine territory under the Visiting Forces Agreement.

The campaigns of military and police suppression of the workers, peasants and national minorities and the abduction, torture and extra-judicial killing of social activists by the regime have served even more to incite the broad masses of the people to wage various forms of resistance and to isolate the regime internationally, thanks to the help of human rights organizations, overseas Filipino communities and solidarity organizations. The plan of the regime to defeat or reduce the revolutionary movement to inconsequentiality has utterly failed, as proven by the growing tactical offensives of the people's army nationwide.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has engaged in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for many years. But the GRP has paralyzed these negotiations for more than 95 percent of the time by trying to put aside the negotiations on social, economic and political reforms and to maneuver the NDFP towards capitulation and pacification within the framework of disarming and demobilizing the people's army and preserving the semicolonial and semifeudal system of oppression and exploitation.

The Arroyo ruling clique has given up the scheme to amend the 1987 constitution in order to adopt a parliamentary system and keep itself in power. While the 2010 elections are in sight, there are fears of the opposition that the ruling clique will cause a breakdown of the automated system of the elections, declare a failure of elections and run a caretaker government.

It is more likely that the Arroyo ruling clique will favor its own slate of candidates under the banner of Lakas-KAMPI and will put side bets on one more presidential and on lower-position candidates who belong to other parties in a scheme to get their support for the nonprosecution and condonation of Arroyo, her family and cronies for their crimes of plunder and human rights violations. The ruling clique is worried that the candidates of its own party would lose and is preparing to engage in massive fraud in the elections.

Until now, the presidential candidates or political parties of the reactionary classes present themselves as rivals in a personality-based popularity contest. Those on the opposition side merely claim to be for good governance against the regime's record of corruption, incompetence and repression. They have not put forward comprehensive political statements or political programs that present the basic political, socio-economic, cultural and ecological problems of the people and offer the basic reforms to be undertaken.

The patriotic and progressive forces of the people like BAYAN and its member-organizations can take the moral high ground and clarify what are the principles and policies that ought to be adopted and implemented in serving the people. Makabayan as the people's democratic coalition and the progressive party list groups are the forces that directly engage in the electoral struggle by fielding candidates, slating them and campaigning for them.

Even if not registered by the Comelec, Makabayan is an effective electoral alliance distinctive for having a clear program and a large active mass base. It is formidable in a political landscape in which there is a big but discredited ruling reactionary party and too many small reactionary opposition parties. It can play the highly significant role of selecting and endorsing the candidates that take up the national and democratic rights of the people and, at the same, encouraging and rallying the people to support and elect such candidates.

All the patriotic and progressive forces of the people must willfully and vigorously make the following demands in the course of the mass movement, including the electoral campaign: uphold national independence against the dominance and dictates of the imperialist powers headed by the US; realize democracy through the empowerment of the working people and respect for human rights; develop the economy through national industrialization and land reform; promote a national , scientific and mass culture; protect the environment from imperialist plunder and destruction; and pursue an independent foreign policy for world peace and development.

These demands must be elaborated and expressed in full against the concrete factors and conditions that are inimical to the rights and interests of the people. We must do away with the unequal treaties, agreements and arrangements in economic, political, military and cultural terms. We must end the system and processes that exclude and oppress the working people. We must put a stop to the plundering of our human and natural resources by the foreign monopolies, the big compradors and landlords. We must repudiate the ideas and patterns of behavior arising from imperialist and feudal culture. We must ban the imperialist and local reactionary ravagers of the environment. We must oppose the imperialist powers, their global plundering and aggressive wars.

BAYAN must do its best to take up the basic demands of the people and the burning issues of the day. Without any respite, it must arouse, organize and mobilize the broad masses of the people to fight for their national and democratic rights and interests. You and the people must overcome the violence and deception that the adversary unleashes to stop, derail or limit what you can accomplish towards a fundamental change of society. From the struggle itself, you and the people learn how to solve problems, hurdle the obstacles, gain strength and advance.

We of the ILPS wish your congress the utmost success. May it succeed in summing up your experience, identifying the strengths to enhance and the weaknesses and difficulties to overcome and setting forth the tasks that will bring you to a new and higher level of unity, all-round strength and militant service to the people. We look forward to further significant victories of BAYAN on time for its 25th founding anniversary and in all the years to come.###

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