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KEYNOTE ADDRESS
to the 9th National Congress
of Kilusang Mayo Uno


By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairman, International Network for Philippine Studies
Chairperson, International League of Peoples' Struggle
Abril 12-14, 2007

May I extend my warmest greetings of solidarity to the 9th National Congress of the May 1st Movement (Kilusang Mayo Uno or KMU), to the national leadership and membership of KMU, and to all delegations, leaders and representatives of member unions, federations and mass organizations of the urban poor and the transport sector, from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

This is a very important gathering which assesses the work of your central union during the last four years and plans for the next four years. You will also elect the new National Executive Committee and officials of the KMU.

Thus, you will be able to renew your resolve and strength to promote and advance genuine unionism and working class leadership in the struggle of the Filipino people for national freedom and democracy against the imperialists and the local reactionaries.

Your congress theme is correct: Dare to expand, arduously consolidate and further strengthen yourselves in the intensifying fight of the workers' and the people against the enemy, which is the US-Arroyo regime. To help you accomplish your purpose and your tasks well, I will try to shed light on the world and local situations.

The World Situation

At present, all the major contradictions in the world are intensifying, between the imperialists and the exploited and oppressed peoples, between the imperialists and several states asserting national independence, among the imperialists themselves, and between the big bourgeoisie and the working class. In the whole world, the working class and all the people are fighting imperialism and all reaction.

This is the truth, contrary to the lie bandied around by imperialists and their lackeys that the historic struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie has disappeared and that the victory of capitalism and the sham bourgeois-liberal democracy has become permanent in the wake of the betrayal of socialism by the revisionists and the full restoration of capitalism in countries where they have reigned.

The imperialists led by the US have launched an economic-social offensive on the basis of false premises. They have imposed the "neoliberal or free market globalization" policy to trample on the national and economic sovereignty of underdeveloped countries and unleash imperialist greed. This is in the name of the liberalization of monopoly capital and trade, privatization to place public assets in the hands of the imperialists, and deregulation for laying aside the rights, protection and benefits of the workers, women, and children and for destroying their environment.

Within a short time, the crisis of the world capitalist system has further intensified. In their greed, the imperialists themselves have narrowed and destroyed the market in the whole world through ruthless and unbridled exploitation and plunder of the earnings of the toiling masses, especially in the more numerous underdeveloped countries. The crisis of overproduction is due to the rapid accumulation of capital in the hands of a few and the diminution of the earnings of the people and the spread of unemployment.

The imperialists and their lackeys conjure the illusion that the economy of the world and that of different countries is still growing through finance capital expansion through the printing and circulation of currencies and through internal and external loans. But in the real economy, production is falling and unemployment is rising.

Based on ILO data, the number of unemployed has ballooned from 140 million in 1997 to 186 million or 6.2% of the world labor force in 2003. Nearly 1.3 billion people or more than one-third (1/3) of the labor force are unemployed or underemployed. This has been brought about by the market constriction for all types of basic industrial, agricultural and high-tech products.

The crisis of production leads to financial crisis. In the attempt of the US to solve its economic and financial crisis, it raises military production, launches wars of aggression and spawns state terrorism. The US also gives free rein to housing loans as well as loans for the consumption of mainly imported goods.

However, high-tech military production can create only a few jobs. And up to now, the US has failed in its plan to earn superprofits from complete control of Iraq's oil production in the face of the Iraqi people's fierce resistance. Furthermore, there is a limit to easy loans for consumption especially if the goods are imported.

US budget and trade deficits have ballooned rapidly. The total outstanding US public debt at present is US$ 8.89 trillion (see the US Treasury website http://www.treasurydirect.gov /NP/BPD Login?application=np as of April 5, 2007) and the annual debt service which amounts to almost half-a-trillion weighs heavily on the economy. At present, the US economy is sluggish and wobbly. The whole world economy is affected. As before. There is global depression especially in underdeveloped countries which have long been devastated by the overproduction of raw materials and semi-manufactures.

The soil is fertile worldwide for building revolutionary workers' parties and spreading further the revolutionary mass movements. In different countries, whether imperialist or not, there is an upsurge in workers' strikes and mass protests against suppression of rights, unemployment, the disintegration of social benefits, racism, discrimination and repression.

Struggles against imperialist aggression and intervention continue. Most outstanding is the struggle of the Iraqi people. The US has failed to fully appropriate Iraqi oil and make a big profit from it, in exchange for the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of the Iraqi people and scores of thousands of US casualties (dead and wounded). Having put itself in a quagmire in Iraq, US has unwittingly reduced its attention to and control of even the greater part of the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, Latin America and Africa.

All forms of struggle for national and social liberation are resolutely advancing. There are prospects for the further advance of people's war for national freedom and democracy in South Asia, especially in India. It is probable that it will also emerge in Indonesia. In China today, the spirit of following Comrade Mao's teachings, repudiating the traitors and restoring socialism by any necessary means is gaining ground.

The Philippine Situation

The semicolonial condition of Philippine society has further deteriorated and deepened under the Arroyo regime. The Arroyo regime collaborates with the US and other imperialists in violating the national independence of the Filipino people. It is totally subservient to the policy dictates of the imperialists. Its puppetry knows no bounds.

An increasing number of people of the world detest this regime for its extremely brutal and flagrant violations of human rights under its "all-out war" policy and in accordance with US President Bush's global war of terror. The intense exploitation and plunder of the Filipino people by the imperialists and the Arroyo clique under the "neoliberal globalization" policy has also been exposed to the whole world.

The Arroyo regime shamelessly denies the need for national industrialization and land reform. Hence, the semifeudal economy of the Philippines continues to worsen and to aggravate further. Rather than develop, the economy further retrogresses. It continues to depend on the production and export of raw materials and a few semi-manufactures. Due to the global overproduction of such products, the Philippines earns less even as it exports more.

Under the "neo-liberal globalization" policy, there is a surfeit of imported industrial and agricultural products. Our rice production has been destroyed and we have become the number one rice importer in Asia. Orders of multinational corporations even for the production of semi-manufactures for the consumption of imperialist nations have declined, having moved to China and India. The Philippines has become a mere subcontractor to subcontractors.

Due to unemployment or insufficient income in the Philippines, more than 3,000 workers, mostly women, go abroad each day to work there even if it means deprivation of rights and far lower salaries compared to those of the workers in the host nations. Already, nine million or 10% of the population are OFWs who remit about US$ 14-15 billion to the national economy. However, almost their entire earnings are used to cover family consumption expenses as well as loans payment. Ultimately, their hard-earned dollars are accumulated in the hands of big compradors.

The entire economy and reactionary government are bankrupt. Trade and government budget deficits are constantly increasing. To cover up the deficits, the Arroyo regime incurs increasing local and foreign debts. Its accumulated foreign debt as of June 2006 was US$ 60.5 billion while its local public debt was PhP 2.17 trillion as of February 2006.

The government is directly responsible for more than PhP 3.9 trillion or 67% of the PhP 6 trillion total debt. The regime imposes more and higher taxes despite economic bankruptcy and collapse just to make sure that debts are paid. It further impoverishes and makes life difficult for the Filipino people who are suffering from the high rate of unemployment and inadequate incomes.

Of all puppet presidents, Gloria M. Arroyo is the worst in incurring debts, plundering and being extravagant. Under the Arroyo regime, the debt service has ballooned from the usual US$ 3.9 billion or 7.7% of the GDP each year from 1981-2000 to US$ 9.6 billion or 11.8% of the GDP each year from 2001-2006. At the same time, the annual budget percentage allotted to social services like education, health, social security and employment has taken a plunge.

By its gargantuan borrowings, the regime conjures the illusion of a growing GDP and a prospering economy. In reality, the loan interests and amortizations grow bigger each year. They comprise the biggest government expenditure. The expenditures for the military, police, intelligence expenses other instruments of repression run second. On the other hand, allotments for education, health and other so-called social services are constantly decreased.

The accumulated number of those who are unemployed and underemployed is staggering. They constitute more than 45% of the labor force. The toiling masses who are employed earn very little. The minimum daily wage (PhP 350) is not even a half of PhP 766 (in NCR) which, the government itself says, is needed by an ordinary family to live decently.

More than 80% of the population live on US$ 2.00 only or even less. A majority earn far less than the minimum needed for food alone. Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the population go hungry. Millions of children suffer from malnutrition. The prices of goods and basic services (transportation, electricity, water, etc.) are constantly rising. As inflation soars, the demand for a PhP 125-increase in the minimum wage is left behind.

The regime knows nothing about addressing the poverty and needs of the toiling masses other than the use of violence to suppress them. Naked force is used by the military and police to suppress legal protests and strikes. Assassinations, abductions, torture and other forms of brutality against the leaders and activists among the toiling masses are increasingly perpetrated. The reactionary military and police launch campaigns of suppression in urban poor, peasant and national minority communities. The people's livelihood is destroyed and they are evicted from their homes so that the corporations and corrupt bureaucrats can grab their land.

The ever worsening oppression and exploitation of the toiling masses push them to fight further, using various forms of struggle for their national and democratic rights. Under these circumstances, more and more toiling masses decide to go to the countryside and join the people's army to advance the new democratic revolution under the leadership of the working class and through people's war.

The workers and peasants are the most oppressed in present-day society. They serve as the foundation of the revolutionary movement and the national united front. The urban petty-bourgeoisie may join them in a progressive alliance because the former is also an oppressed lot. The national front may be further broadened when the middle bourgeoisie is won over to join a patriotic alliance. The broadest alliance may be built when temporary and unstable allies from the ranks of the reactionaries join as well.

United front policy and tactics may be employed to mobilize the greatest number of organized forces and masses to weaken, isolate and defeat the worst reactionaries whom we consider our enemy, such as the Arroyo clique. The toiling masses, progressives and patriots must take advantage of the rifts among the reactionaries in society, inside the bureaucracy and within the military and police forces.

Up to now, the Arroyo regime has been able to prevent the ouster of the fake president through legal mass actions. But it fears that in the coming May elections the opposition will win enough congressional seats to impeach Gloria M. Arroyo as well as enough senators to convict her.

Thus, the regime will surely cheat and employ violence to prevent the victory of the opposition. The regime is also preparing to use the Anti-Terror Law which takes effect in July to suppress the revolutionary forces and the legal opposition. The conflict between the Filipino people and the enemy regime will intensify.

Tasks of the KMU

Kilusang Mayo Uno must seize every hour and every day to expand, consolidate and strengthen itself. This is necessary in the intensifying struggle of the working class and the Filipino people to defend their national and democratic rights, to defeat the Arroyo regime and advance the new democratic revolution.

Agitation-propaganda work or agitprop and information campaigns on issues for expansion purposes must be further improved. Social investigation through discussions in small meetings must be held around factories or in workers' and urban poor communities. These must result in big marches, protest rallies or widespread strikes whenever necessary. Marches, protest rallies and strikes are also methods for accelerated and widespread raising of consciousness.

To consolidate the unions, federations and other types of workers' organizations, the courses on genuine unionism, on the national and democratic movement of the Filipino people, and on the revolutionary movement of the working class must be undertaken. Through these, you can ensure that the level of education and political consciousness of the workers will be raised. You can also ensure the development of steadfast unionists imbued with the conscious discipline of the working class.

There's no sense engaging in agitprop and education unless these produce even more unions and federations with the KMU as its center, or further strenghten the current member unions and federations of the KMU. With the worsening socio-economic crisis, existing unions and workers without unions are heavily pressured, attacked and threatened by the reactionary government and the capitalists.

The prevailing situation must give rise to more conscientious organizational work and consolidation of those workers who are already organized. The basic organization of the workers is the local union or the companywide union. It is also necessary to build and maintain federations which are based on industry, territory industry or peculiar history. Cooperatives must also be formed as well as mechanisms to accommodate those who are laid off. Always ensure that funds are allotted for strikes, legal defense, education, training and other activities.

Launch campaigns for the internal consolidation of the unions and federations of the KMU through education and organizing work (expansion of each union's membership and increasing the number of unions) and for upholding the rights and interests of the working class, the Filipino people and the international proletariat and all the people in the world.

You can undertake effective mobilizations if you are well-grounded on diligent, thorough and solid organizing work among the masses. The masses will respond to and follow your calls and invitations to gatherings if your line is acceptable and the size of your organization and past mobilizations is respectable.

During mobilizations, you can build different forms of alliances and do expansion work among the workers, all the toiling masses, progressives and patriots and other forces that wish to fight the enemy Arroyo regime and its imperialist masters.

Long live the Kilusang Mayo Uno!
Long live the working class and the Filipino people!
Long live the working class of the world!

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