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Celebrate the International Day of Labor and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Marx

By Jose Maria Sison

Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson, International League of Peoples´ Struggle.

Fight Back New Service is circulating the following May 1 statement by Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson, International League of Peoples´ Struggle.

Warmest greetings of solidarity! The International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) stands with our member-organization, Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and the broad masses of workers and people celebrating the International Day of Labor and joining the mass protests this May 1.

This day closely precedes the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx on May 5. The ILPS recognizes that there is no more fitting tribute to Marx, the great thinker and founder of the theory and practice of proletarian revolution, than to adopt a theme from his great work, the Communist Manifesto: “Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

The strong internationalist theme is demanded by the major problems that confront and inflict grave suffering on the workers of the world, including those of the Philippines. These include unemployment and underemployment, job insecurity, low wages, repression of unions, and the lack of social services such as housing and public transportation.

They arise from the profit-taking nature of capitalism at the expense of the working class, especially under the current imperialist neoliberal policies. Indeed. workers of the world must unite to fight their class exploiters and oppressors.

In the Philippines, the blatant use of fascist policy and tactics against workers is a direct response to the successful, widespread working class movement fighting to uphold workers’ rights. We support your main calls for the junking of contractualization, for a national minimum wage, for better public services, and for a just and lasting peace in the context of the ongoing war between the reactionary government and the revolutionary forces of the people.

Indeed, with these clear goals, KMU has succeeded in building a historic alliance with other labor organizations in the country, as workers unite in the face of the Duterte regime’s neoliberal attacks on labor rights and welfare. KMU must maintain its independence and initiative while leading the fight against the tyrannical regime.

KMU has always been at the forefront of the campaigns of the labor sector in the Philippines, because of its capacity for sharp, thorough, and incisive analysis of workers’ issues in the national and international setting. KMU fulfills a crucial role in leading the struggles of Filipino workers, who have labored under the yoke of the semifeudal and semicolonial system.

Today, that struggle is intensifying against the anti-people, anti-worker regime of Duterte and his ruling clique of landlords, big compradors, and bureaucrat capitalists, including the still politically-active families of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the plunderer Gloria M. Arroyo.

This Labor Day, Filipino workers’ condemnation of the Duterte regime’s neoliberal economic policies aligns with the worldwide workers’ movement against imperialism. It has been a decade since the 2008 global financial crisis, yet workers still suffer from its lasting impact, and the crisis of overproduction and excessive publicdebt continues to worsen and deepen.

Capitalists have developed an arsenal of ways and means to keep maximizing profits at the expense of the laboring people. Around the world, exploitation persists, as evident in the pervasiveness of cheap labor, austerity measures, higher taxes for the poor; and tax cuts for the corporations and the rich, the privatization of public assets and services and inhumane working conditions.

Meanwhile, as workers and other oppressed people suffer from the unresolved economic downturn, giant corporations and governments of imperialists and imperialist allies survive through self-serving mechanisms such as state-funded bailouts, credits, and public funding; blatant graft and corruption; and one-sided public-private partnerships.

The nonstop accumulation of capital in the hands of the ruling class is flagrant in the Philippines and the whole world. In the National Capital Region, the current daily minimum wage is less than half of the estimated family living wage.

The gap is widened as the Duterte regime railroads laws designed to benefit the ruling classes while adding to the burdens of the poor, such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which increases taxes on basic goods and services and bring about rising prices for the toiliing masses, while lowering the import costs of luxury goods.

Duterte and his cronies maintain and aggravate the harsh social and economic conditions of the people primarily through state terrorism and active black propaganda campaign against social activists and other critics of his administration.

These strategies of the oppressive rulers are nothing new. As seen in the recent unwarranted attacks on Palestine and Syria, the US and its imperialist allies continue to wage outright wars of aggression in order to feed the greed of the military-industrial complex, while raising the public debt and destroying the lives in great numbers and the physical and social infrastructure of their “enemy” countries.

But even in a world beset by a sharp rise in state terrorist tactics, Duterte is unusually notorious. His multiple wars against his own people, from a drug war targeting the poor to a war against revolutionaries, have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths in only two years. His death toll is unprecedented even in comparison to Marcos. In the labor sector, 29 have been killed since Duterte came into power in 2016.

To suppress the legal political activities and clearly legitimate dissent against his ultr-reactionary policies and actions, Duterte has increased military expenditures and used the military, police and paramilitary for selfish criminal purposes. He repeatedly goads, rewards and supports the military, police and paramilitary to carry out mass killings and other atrocities.

The Duterte administration has also made frenzied efforts to generate and spread fake news, intended to mislead the masses and deflect public anger against his government. This is particularly obvious in Duterte’s pretense at being opposed to contractualization, as he signs executive orders riddled with loopholes instead of working with the labor sector to end contractualization once and for all. He has recently exposed himself totally as being for contractualization.

This year, the need for workers to organize and oppose imperialism on a local and global scale is stronger than ever. Some 170 years ago, Marx reminded proletarian revolutionaries: “You have a world to win.” Workers in the Philippines and around the world should unite in fighting oppression and exploitation.

We join the revolutionary struggle of all oppressed peoples to build a society characterized, not by inequality and mass suffering, but by freedom from imperialism and local reaction, by democracy, economic development, cultural progress and social justice for the people towards the goal of socialism.

Long live Kilusang Mayo Uno!

Long live the working class and the Filipino people!

Fight imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism!

Long live the great legacy of Marx!

Advance the world proletarian-socialist revolution!

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