Ang Bayan Editorial: Workers, March At The Head Of Anti-Imperialist Resistance

Ang Bayan

May 7, 2024

Over the past four decades, policies of liberalization, deregulation, and privatization have eroded the social, economic, and political rights of workers. In backward semi-colonial and semi-feudal countries such as the Philippines, plunder and oppression are rampant and extraction of surplus value from workers’ labor-power is unmitigated.

Filipino workers have been victims of an all-out neo-liberal onslaught since the late 1980s. The gap between wages and the cost of living of Filipino workers has grown wider and wider. Fascism has attacked trade unions, which are the only weapon of workers to fight for fair wages and to defend their rights.

Labor laws were amended to pave the way for neo-liberal attacks, from the regionalization of wages, to implementing “floor wages,” the “two-tier” wage systems, and other schemes that pull down wages. Different forms of flexible labor have pervaded, including labor contractualization, compressed work week, outsourcing, and other schemes, which have worsened the conditions of workers and eroded their rights.

The living standards of the working class are falling, especially in the face of the steep and unrelenting rise in the prices of food, fuel, and other necessities during the past two years under the Marcos regime. In terms of quantity and quality, workers and their families suffer lower standards of living, as seen in their children’s education, food and nutrition, health care, and access to public utilities and services. Filipino workers and their families are unemployed and deep in debt.

Marcos has turned a deaf ear to workers’ cries for wage increases, in line with his regime’s policy of cheap labor, which is a key component of his anti-national aim to attract foreign investors. Political repression has intensified against workers leaders and organizers, whom Marcos’ fascist henchmen have targeted for surveillance, raids, arrests, kidnappings and extrajudicial killings.

The Marcos regime is busy amending the 1987 constitution to make it more in line with the interests of foreign capitalists. This coincides with Marcos serving the geopolitical goals of US imperialism, and allowing the Philippines to be used for US war provocations against rival imperialist China. Thousands of American troops are now stationed in the Philippines.

In the face of the worsening forms of exploitation and the deterioration of the economic situation, the intensifying political repression and the complete subservience of the Marcos regime to US imperialism, the workers’ movement in the Philippines must stand more firmly at the forefront of the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation.

Filipino workers should make every effort to organize and build their unions or their political, cultural and other types of mass organizations in their factories and communities. The working masses must be aroused, organized and mobilized to fight for fair wages equivalent to a minimum of P1,200 per day, which is about the daily cost of living of a family of five.

The struggle for fair wages is an assertion of workers’ rights to decent housing, free or affordable health care and education, adequate food, clean water, electricity and other basic social and economic rights. These once-recognized rights are widely being trampled and denied in the era of neo-liberalism. It is time to reassert it and fight for them.

There is no other way to fight for fair wages and workers’ rights than through their militant action. They have the power to operate, slow down or stop production through various forms of collective action, including strikes.

The economic struggles of the workers must be firmly linked to the urgent social and political issues facing the entire nation. The strength of the working class is the main hope of the Filipino people in the struggle against Marcos’s “chacha” scheme and the growing threat to the country’s independence and security posed by US imperialist war-mongering.

Workers must raise their voices and advance the sharpest national-democratic analysis and demands. Their unions and associations must be imbued with a patriotic and democratic spirit, and with a militant and revolutionary determination to fight. They should stand at the forefront of the Filipino people’s march of resistance, and unite with the democratic and anti-imperialist struggles in different parts of the world.

Guided by Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, workers must study history to rediscover their power to change the world and end the exploitative system. Failures and setbacks do not change the basic fact that under the leadership of the working class, humanity has enjoyed unprecedented progress, equality, justice and freedom.

The worsening economic and political situation of workers, peasants and other democratic sectors in the Philippines is driving them to rise up and fight. To move forward, they must reject the empty promises of the US-Marcos regime, and the reformism of the yellow leaders and opportunists who make up the labor aristocracy that hinder them from forging their class consciousness.

The tyranny of the Marcos regime cannot stop the determined advance of the Filipino people on the path of national-democratic struggle, from collective resistance in the cities, to armed struggle in the countryside.

The Party is determined to lead the working class and Filipino people in advancing the revolutionary movement, guiding them in their anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles, and advancing the struggle for national democracy and socialism.

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