Workers of the world: One class, one problem, one struggle!

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Statement of Internasyonalismo for the 2011 International Labor Day

Workers of the world, unite!
 
The ruling class was shocked to its core by the series of rallies by the workers and people of the Middle East and North Africa. After the uprising in Tunisia, the rallies spread like wildfire from Egypt to Libya. Massive protests then shook Gaza, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Syria and Saudi Arabia. As of the writing of this article, the relentless fires of the uprising have not been extinguished.
 
Yet it is not only in the Middle East and North Africa that has felt the aftershocks of the uprising. Numerous demonstrations were held in China. In Europe, during the later months of 2010, students of Britain and Italy, as well as the students in the Philippines and Puerto Rico, rallied against their states’ proposed education and benefits budget cut. Protests have happened in France, as well, due to the reduction of pension for workers. The very same events have transpired in Portugal, Spain and Greece. The American proletariat, not wanting to get left behind (most especially the workers of Wisconsin), have followed their brothers/sisters in Europe and have started rallies as well.
 
In short, both advance and backward countries were rocked by massive uprisings, the imperialist and “semi-colonial nations” due to severe poverty, unemployment and the government’s retraction of what the workers won in the past struggles.
 
The events of 2010 and 2011 in their wideness and magnitude are similar to or bigger than the first revolutionary wave in 1917-23 if we are talking about the number of countries involved.
 
The burden that the workers have is universal: Poverty, unemployment, low salary, oppressive regimes, and the like.
 
It is not only poor countries like the Philippines that experience this severe type of poverty and conquest. The workers and people of the Middle East where Filipino workers go to experience this[1], along with more developed countries like Britain, France, Italy and the United States of America.
 
The precision of the Communist Manifesto has again proven the statement: “Workers of the world, unite!” not only because the working class is the only revolutionary class in capitalist society,  but it is also because the problem is common among the proletariat in the whole world and there is only one reason for their suffering: Capitalism. The similarity of the condition of the workers around the world became much clearer, whatever the category of capitalism and state is oppressing and exploiting them: be it a dictatorship, democratic, “anti-imperialist”, “socialist” or “communist”[2].   
 
We should decide our Struggle!
 
Contrary to what we usually hear and read from the bourgeois media and “Leftist” propaganda, the uprisings all started as a spontaneous movement but the seeds self-organizations were seen in the basic level[3]. This is only proof that the oppressed has the capacity to organize themselves and decide for themselves independent from any organization of the bourgeoisie or union. In the middle and latter parts of the uprisings, the bourgeoisie were able to control the struggle[4]. Thanks to the indirect help of the Left and union[5], the ruling class succeeded in using the wrath of the masses for their personal interests.
 
This is more visible in the civil war currently happening in Libya. The movement that started as a genuine mass movement against the Gadaffi regime is now controlled by both factions of the ruling class. Both the “opposition”[6] (“turncoats”, executioners of the Gadaffi dictatorship, suddenly became “leaders” of the “democratic” uprising) and the Gadaffi dictatorship sacrifice the lives of hundred thousands of people for their savage interest for power. Thanks to the “humanitarian” war of the powerful western imperialists[7] in Libya, the Libyan people and workers from other countries (including OFWs) who have nothing to do with the war are suffering.
 
Democracy and Nationalism against the proletariat!
 
The illusion of democracy is strong in countries ruled by dictatorship or leaders and their families sitting in power for several decades. This happened in the Philippines, Libya and Tunisia[8]. There is no doubt that the decades of poverty and oppression they endured is the reason why the people of the Middle East and North Africa started to revolt. It was then aggravated by the brutality of the oppression and repression of the authoritarian and totalitarian regimes like that in Libya.
Thanks to the propaganda of the imperialist power and Left about democracy, the majority of the masses believe that their condition will get better if Ben Ali, Mubarak and Gadaffi will be stripped off of their power. This is also the belief of the Filipinos during 1986 “People Power” or what the Filipino bourgeoisie calls the “yellow revolution”.
 
Like what happened in the Philippines after Marcos’ fall in 1986, it was exposed quickly to the eyes of the masses in Tunisia and Egypt that the regime that took over after the “democratic revolution” is no different from the last one: oppressive and exploitative[9].  
 
It is also clear that the uprising in Tunisia has influence the revolts in many countries. But this should be traced from the outline of the international series of mass struggle that started in 2006-2007 in Greece, the massive rallies in France and the uprising of students in Britain in 2010. In other words, the current events in the Middle East and North Africa are a part of the international struggle against capitalism from the eruption of the worst crisis of this system in 2007.
 
A big chunk of the total number of OFWs that are in the Middle East are working in factories, power plants, offices and as domestic helpers. It is easy to form solidarity among the OFWs and the people in the Middle East because what they are fighting for is the very reason why the OFWs went abroad and left their families in the Philippines: poverty, low salary, oppressive and corrupt government.
 
Although Filipino workers come first in experience against dictatorship and “democratic revolution”, the Middle East and North Africa has richer lessons. 
 
In Tunisia and Egypt, the working class is continuously struggling against the regime that took over. Although the influence of the bourgeois democracy is strong in the said region, the working class movement is continuously advancing in the streets. Unlike in the Philippines, where the Maoist Communist Party and opposition call for the support of the Aquino regime that took over in 1986.  Whatever differences the maoist CPP and the opposition[10] for supporting the Corazon Aquino regime, their viewpoint is similar: A popular leader through “democratic” uprising took over the Marcos dictatorship.
 
Anti-imperialism means anti-capitalism, anti-national bourgeoisie!
 
The uprising in the Middle-East stripped off the “anti-imperialist” line of the Left, along with the different factions of Left in the Philippines. Both anti-US and pro-US regimes are targeted by the protest movement. The “anti-imperialist” government of Iran is faced with the protest movement and strike since Ahmadinejad won the elections. The Ahmadinejad regime arrested and massacred the Iranians who wanted to unite to support the mass strike in neighboring countries. The “socialist” and “anti-imperialist” Gadaffi regime slaughtered its own people. This also happened in Gaza and West Bank controlled by the “anti-imperialist” Hamas and PLO. This is why the Left is silent about the crimes committed by their allied regime when they accused the protesters as “agents of imperialism”[11], while shouting “democratic revolution” in the movement to overthrow the regime in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain which are America’s allies.   
 
Filipino Workers, hold on tight to internationalism!
 
Although it is hard to guess the outcome of the current uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa because of the fluidity of the balance of forces while the struggle is intensifying, it serves as an inspiration for the Filipino workers[12]. They can also learn important lessons from the struggle. One of these lessons is there is no alliance or support for any faction of the ruling class, be it opposition or administration. Another is the capacity of the oppressed to organize themselves and decide on the direction of their fight without depending on unions or any organization from the Right and Left. But the most important lesson is the rejection of the bourgeois ideology of democracy and nationalism. These would only drag the struggle to defeat and restore the system that causes poverty and chaos in the world: capitalism.
 
The future of the proletariat does not depend on the bourgeois opposition, in the bourgeois parliament, in the bourgeois democracy, in the guerrilla war and the capitalist state, but in their own hands and in the assembly of workers and armed uprising to overthrow the state.
 
Solidarity of Filipino workers is necessary for the struggle of their brother/sister workers in the Middle East, North Africa, America and Europe. This is the spirit of internationalism, the true spirit of May Day, the international Labor Day.
The meaning of solidarity is to reject any faction of the ruling class fighting amongst themselves, especially in Libya where the civil war is currently happening. Solidarity is the participation of our brother/sister OFWs in the working class’ struggle for employment, salary and benefits that are being retracted by the capitalist class. OFWs should participate in the assembly of workers (if any) discussing about the direction of the struggle and its perspective.
 
In the Philippines, the expression of solidarity is to advance the struggle against the attacks of national capital. It can’t be attained by negotiation with greedy congressmen to pass the P125 wage increase as a law or remove the contractualization policy. More so, it can’t be won by going to the mountains for guerrilla warfare. It can be attained in the streets, in the mass demonstrations and strikes in many factories, up to the armed revolution of the class to overthrow the government.      
 The calls of the Left that the Philippine government makes OFWs come home and provide them jobs here are not based on reality. The Philippine state has no capacity to give enough jobs and wages to Filipino workers. National capitalism has no capacity to give a good future to the proletarian class. This is why it’s a government policy since the previous ones up to now, to send the poor workers to other countries because this is one of the sources of money for the parasite state. In short, the governments in repressed and poor countries like the Philippines are the recruiters themselves so workers can go abroad. Even if the Left is on top of the capitalist state in the Philippines, they don’t have the capacity to provide enough jobs and wages to Filipino workers in the country because international capitalism is under sever crisis, which has thoroughly integrated all national economies of the world.
 
The workers around the world have the same situation whether they’re working outside or inside their country because the worldwide system is bankrupt. The solution to the problem of the workers is not a “national revolution” but the worldwide revolution to overthrow capitalism.
 
This May Day, it is necessary for the militant workers and the searching elements of the Philippines to discuss and contemplate: Is there any alternative other than communist revolution or destruction of the world? Is democracy and nationalism still a way to socialism in the repressed countries like the Philippines? How will capitalism be overthrown and how will communism be built in the midst of crisis of decadent capitalism? These are the questions need not to be answered by “theoreticians” of the “movement” but the workers and the poor themselves.    
            
May 1, 2011


[1] In 2009, the recorded number of land-based OFWs is in the Middle East, whereas 10,383 of these OFWs are in Libya (POEA, 2009 Overseas Employment Statistics)
[2] In the Middle East both the “anti-imperialist” Iran and Libya and the “pro-imperialist” Egypt are shook by the massive protest of the workers and people because of the oppression and repression. The “communist” China and “socialist” regime of Spain and Greece faced the strike of workers. The dictator, Ben-Ali in Tunisia and the democratic Britain and America are both similar in the exploitation of their workers and people.
 
[3] In Tunisia and Egypt it is clearer that the workers are leading the protest movements and rallies to overthrow the government of Ben Ali and Mubarak. At first it wasn’t controlled by the union or any political organization of the bourgeoisie be it in the Right or Left. While in Egypt, the seeds of organizing sprouted from the people themselves from different communities to defend it from the thieves supported by Mubarak’s police. In the last part of the uprising in Egypt, in Tahrir, where hundred thousands of workers and people demonstrated for a few day, independent discussion, debate and coordination of the masses is visible. There is also a similar type of assembly of workers that formed from the struggle of workers in France in 2010 against the government attacks. Although minority joined the assembly, this is a seed to be further developed in the next fights of the working class.
[4] This happened because generally, the influence of the bourgeois ideology of democracy and nationalism that has been put into the minds of the ruling class among the masses is stronger.
[5] Despite of the radical language of “revolution” and “socialism”, it is always the tactic of the Left to form an alliance with the bourgeois opposition to take down the ruling faction. According to them, this tactic makes the mass movement “stronger”. This is contrary to the results shown in history: it is always the people being used by the ruling class in the end, the ones seated in power are still the oppressors and exploiters. Anywhere in the world, especially in the advanced countries, the role of the union and Left is to control the mass movement and turn its anger to reformism and parliamentarism.
[6] The “opposition” based in Al-Baida is led by Gadaffi’s old Minister of Justice, Mustafa Mohamed Abud Ajleil, while the other faction of the “opposition” based in Benghazi is led by Ghoga, a popular human rights lawyer. Although these two are rivals, their programs share something in common: Continue capitalism in Libya and the leaders are the executioners in the regime for 40 years. The NATO bet on the “opposition” based in Benghazi. This is recognized by France as the “new government” in Libya.
[7] The “humanitarian” war is only a peek of the real war happening in Libya: Imperialist war. Lead by Britain and France, with the secondary role of imperialist America is to bribe the “opposition” to overthrow the Gadaffi regime. While the imperialist China and Russia, with the Left (along with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the “Leninist” Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino (PMP) critically supports the Gadaffi government.
[8] In Tunisia, the dictator Ben Ali reigned for 30 years. In the Philippines, the dictator Marcos reigned for 16 years. In Libya, the dictator Gadaffi reigned for 40 years. This is also what happened in capitalist countries with strong remnants feudal political arrangements like Saudi Arabia. But the hypocrisy of the Left and the Maoists is obvious: cries of nepotism from the pro-USA leaders, but blind and dumb about the “socialist” or “anti-imperialist” countries like North Korea, Cuba and Libya.
[9] In Egypt, the “victory of the democratic revolution” made popular by the Left, we witness the declaration of the newly installed military regime to criminalize protest and rallies.
[10] For the maoist Communist Party in the Philippines, one major mistake is the policy to boycott the election. This means participation should be the tactic in the snap election in 1986, and to rectify their “mistake” they critically support the regime that took over. While the bourgeois opposition of Marcos fully supported the Aquino faction.
[11] It can’t be denied that some leaders of the opposition or the whole opposition itself has direct connection to the imperialists in the West, in the war in Libya. But the workers and people who joined the uprising against the oppressor and exploiter. Moreover, which of the weak countries around the world does not depend on imperialist power? All of them are dependent, be it America or its rival imperialist power like China, Iran or Venezuela in the present or the former imperialist USSR.
[12] The possible result of the struggle is to further advance it towards the downfall of the capitalist states and for the workers to overthrow the powerful politicians or one faction of the ruling class will completely prevail – opposition – and the masses will eventually be drowned In the illusion of democracy, election and parliamentarism or the regime that the masses wishes to take down will prevail after the bloodshed of an imperialist war. The role of the workers’ movement is very important in Europe to continue the struggle to overthrow all the factions of the ruling class.