Aquino regime: Defender of the Filipino bourgeoisie

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Dividing the ruling class in the Philippines between administration and opposition has been used by the Right and Left to deceive the toiling masses in bourgeois democracy and elections. But more and more people became aware that the class interests of the administration and opposition are the same: to oppress and exploit the workers and the poor.

The Aquino faction which was previously the opposition is now the administration. The nature of the Aquino regime is no different from the previous ones since the time of Manuel L. Quezon. It is devoted to defend the interests of the Filipino bourgeoisie. Its loyalty to American imperialism depends if it still gets more benefits from the latter compared to its rival powers interested to control the country.

The only difference with the Aquino regime is that it is facing a new and more serious crisis of global capitalism that begun to explode in 2007.  For the regime, the only temporary and short-term solution is to unite the entire people under the banner of sacrifice for the motherland using populist rhetoric and propaganda. However, the crisis itself drove the infightings and factionalism within the ruling class deeper while the discontentment of the working class is increasing. This is a major lingering problem for the ruling faction.

The “straight road” of the Aquino regime is only plain rhetoric and propaganda. Thanks to the Left and the Church, Benigno Aquino III won as president last May 2010.

The “straight road” is rapidly exposed as the same old path. Why old path anyway? Because the bourgeoisie’s solution to the current crisis are the same old ones. Same solutions in the past that cause today's crisis: state intervention and debts. The only new and right road is the workers' revolution to destroy capitalism.

The “straight road” of the Aquino regime

a. Factionalism within the ruling clique. Friends and allies of Aquino are pushing each other. Each has its own agenda and interests. They are competing and and out-manoeuvring each other. This is the reason why the failures of the Aquino government are quickly uncovered. No other than DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno confessed that there are five (5) major factions within the Aquino government.

This is not new. Past regimes suffered the same fate. But as one replaces another faction, bickering increases and becomes more violent. The decomposition of the decadent society since the 1980s makes the “one against all” and “every man for himself” totally dominant in every capitalist state and in society in general. No state in the world today, ruled by the Right or Left, is exempted from the effects of decomposition.

b. More borrowings and begging for foreign capital. The state is bankrupt. It is impossible for the Filipino bourgeoisie to have enough capital to compete in the already saturated world market. Philippine economy for more than 100 years has been pumped up by debts and capital from foreign investors. Nevertheless, Philippine state is in big trouble: its creditors (advanced capitalist countries) also suffered the effects of the severe crisis since 2007 and quite busy attacking their “own” proletariat to survive against the onslaught  of its own inner contradictions. Foreign capitals are also firmly hooked up to cheaper labor-power in order to surpass its close competitors like China and Vietnam.

The country's debt has already increase to P4.42 trillion. And in order to pay the interests, the government oblige to borrow (again!) from international institutions like the IMF-World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

This September President Benigno Aquino III visited America to beg $ 2.8 billion foreign capital and aid. He shamelessly touted of receiving alms of $ 434 million from Millennium Challenge Corporation.

State bankruptcy is the general tendency today in the capitalist world. Wage cuts, social services cuts like pension and education are common attacks launched by the states against the working population in order to cut its spending. This year, Pilippine Congress is determined to cut the budget of selected state colleges and universities[1]. Notwithstanding continuing attacks on workers wages through the intensification of contractualization and rising prices of commodities. As attacks against the working class in the advance capitalist countries intensifies, so as here in the Philippines.

c. Corruption. This is the central campaign propaganda of the Aquino regime. And with the help of the Left, the Church and media, Benigno Aquino III became “popular” and elected President.

But less than 100 days in Malacanang the Aquino government was exposed as an embodiment of corrupt bureaucrats at the top. Aquino's close lieutenants were pointed out as jueteng protector and have close links  with big companies, same as his hated predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Massive corruption is an inherent evil of a decadent system[2]. And this will get worse as the decadence of the system goes deeper as what is happening now.

d. Peace and order. Like the past regimes, the Aquino regime is powerless to maintain peace in a society in decay. Even the most elementary managing of hostage-taking, despite the vehement propaganda of the PNP that it is well-trained to manage such situation was ridiculed and condemn by the public in its handling last August hostage-taking of Disgruntled former Police senior inspector Rolando Mendoza. Mendoza's action was due to what he felt an injustice in handling his case in the Ombudsman.

Under severe crisis of the social system there is no real peace. Factions of the ruling class keep on fighting in all fields – electoral and armed confrontations – to fight for power and wealth. Their greedy appetite could only be satisfied by subjecting other factions and the masses in general to their rule.

Therefore, “peace talks” between warring factions mean preparing for war. Conflicts between bourgeois factions always lead to war in the era of imperialism. And in these wars, the toiling masses are their cannon-fodders.

e. Defending the interests of capital against the working class and poor. As crisis deepens the state intensifies its attacks on the living conditions of the toiling masses. Around the world today, from America to Europe, Africa to Asia, states attack their “own” workers in a desperate attempt to save the dying system.

In less than 100 days of its rule, the Aquino clique determinedly suppressed the resistance of the workers and farm-workers and renewed attacks against their living conditions.

Taking advantage of the demoralization of the farm-workers in Hacienda Luisita due to adventurism and sectarianism of the maoist union that led their struggle, the management and the State forced the defeated farm-workers to accept the exploitative stock distribution option (SDO) offered by the Hacienda Luisita management and supported by the State[3].

Afraid that the discontentment of the employees of the Philippine Airlines (PAL), the national flag carrier of the Philippine State could gain support from other companies and factories, the State through the Department Of Labor Emplyment (DOLE) immediately imposed the anti-strike Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) on the impending strike of the flight stewards, despite the fact that the the stewards union is just bluffing with its strike threat[4].

Whether the unions are serious or not in launching strike in major industries like PAL, the State facing a severe crisis cannot afford to tolerate even a bluff of a strike in major industries that could cripple the capitalist economy in deep crisis. Nevertheless, we should closely monitor the outcome of this struggle whether the PAL workers will follow the capitulationist tactics of their unions or will take the struggle in their own hands.

In the coming period, as the crisis of world capitalism plunges deeper into the abyss, the Filipino proletariat, like their brothers/sisters in advance capitalist countries would expect increasing attacks from the State in the name of “saving the nation” and for “national interests”.[5] And the class could also expect that the Left of capital, will intensify their activities to challenge the Aquino regime: that they are the genuine defender of the national interests and not the residing now in Malacanang.

The populism of Benigno Aquino III is rapidly waning. However, the Filipino workers are still demoralized and still not yet capable to the self-confidence to organized themselves independent from the control of the unions and the different factions of the Left. On the other hand, the current militancy and resistance of their brothers/sisters in Europe particularly Greece, Spain and France could inspire them.

Patrick, 10/28/2010


[1] No other than President Aquino himself proposed that the budget for the University of the Philippines be cut to PhpP5.5 billion for next year from PhpP6.9 billion this year because it can draw funds from tuition and other fees, and the UP-Ayala Technohub. The State is pushing for an increase in tuition fees to augment funds for education which the liberal bourgeoisie claims as a right under “humane” capitalism.

[2] Previous class-based societies had also experienced massive corruption within the State and violent infightings between factions of the exploiting classes in its decadent stage.

[3] This is not surprising since the family of the President is also the co-owner of Hacienda Luisita. Benigno Aquino III comes from one of the biggest landlord families in the Philippines.

[4] Immediately after DOLE slapped the AJ the union immediately accepts the decision and stopped the plan strike vote which might favor for a strike.

[5] DOLE just recently affirm the proposal of PAL management to retrench 2,600 ground crew regular employees to open the gate of outsourcing and contractualization in PAL.