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Message of Solidarity to Participants of Camp-Out Against WTO and Imperialist Globalization

By Jose Maria Sison
General Consultant
International League of Peoples’ Struggle

September 9, 2003

I wish to convey militant greetings of solidarity to Anakpawis, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Pamalakaya, National Federation of Sugar Workers and Amihan (National Federation of Peasant Women) as their delegations and other people camp out at Rizal Park for two days against the World Trade Organization and imperialist globalization.

You are conscientiously fulfilling an important role in the global mass actions to denounce the WTO and call for its dissolution as the imperialist countries masquerade as exponents and factors of fair and free trade and they prepare for the Fifth Ministerial Meeting in Cancun, Mexico from September 10 to 14.

I agree with your theme which cries out for Land! Food! Jobs! Not imperialist plunder, get out of WTO! I am confident that the general discussions and specific workshops will broaden and deepen our understanding of how harmful is the WTO to the Filipino peoples and other people and will heighten our determination to fight it.

I hope that the camp-out will lead to a bigger mass protest action on September 13. It is appropriate for such an action to be held in front of the embassy of the US, the No. 1 imperialist power. This hyper power lords over the WTO and brings out the worst characteristics of monopoly capitalism in sharp contrast to the neoliberal rhetoric of "free market."

The Character and Objective of WTO

Since its establishment in 1995, after emerging from the series of negotiations on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the WTO has been used as an instrument of the US-led imperialist alliance to accelerate superprofit-taking and acquisition of assets, including patent rights over organisms, by the multinational corporations at the expense of the oppressed peoples and nations.

The IMF has been responsible for dictating economic and financial policies to the semi-colonies and dependent countries and ensuring the free flow of monopoly capital, and the World Bank for keeping the client states within the bounds of infrastructure building and favoring raw material production for export and for preventing them from investing in industrial development.

The lack of industrial development, the corrupt and parasitic character of the client states and the unequal trade have resulted in crushing foreign debt burdens. In the wake of this, the main objective of the WTO is not merely to keep going the old unequal trade between the imperialist and client states but to make the latter pay their debts by auctioning off assets and denationalising the economy under the "free market" slogans of privatisation, deregulation and liberalization of trade and investment.

The WTO has pushed such main GATT agreements as the Agreement on Agriculture, Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, General Agreement on Trade in Services, Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIM) and the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIP). It has done so to widen the conditions for the multinational firms and bank to acquire all kinds of assets at bargain prices and extract higher rates of profit under the guise of promoting free trade and combating protectionism.

The general outcome is further impoverishment, all-round underdevelopment and social degradation of the oppressed peoples and nations. The worsening unequal trade between the imperialist countries and the client-countries, the prevention of industrial development for the latter countries and the ever growing outflow of capital from them has resulted in unbearable burdens of debt and pressures to sell out national sovereignty and the national patrimony.

Devastation of the Philippine Economy

Like most countries of the world, which are agrarian and underdeveloped, the Philippines has been devastated by the crisis of overproduction and financial crisis affecting every primary product and semi-manufacture that it produces for the world capitalist market. The economic devastation has been accelerated by the state policy stress on "free market" globalization pursued by successive regimes subservient to US imperialism.

The Philippine economy is now laid prostrate by the eager-beaver servile entry into the WTO. There are no restraints on dumping of agricultural and industrial surpluses by imperialist and other countries. The puppet government has rushed to remove tarrifs, subsidies and other protective measures even faster than required by the WTO timetables . The global market for low value-added semi-manufacturing has been depressed due to oversupply. Local production is now prejudiced by imports. There is an actual breakdown of production, widespread bankruptcy and closure of enterprises. Unemployment is rapidly rising. Incomes have drastically fallen for the toiling masses and the middle social strata.

The Philippines has been systematically prevented from carrying out national industrialization and land reform. It is supposed to be an agrarian country and yet it is increasingly dependent on the importation of rice, corn, vegetables and meat products under the auspices of the WTO. Foreign investors have increased their ownership or financial control over most kinds of businesses, including water, power, transport and other public utilities, and have raised the fees for these services.

The trade deficit for the past two years is US$1.1billion. The budgetary deficit is widening. Foreign debt has jumped to US$54.4 billion while local public debt is a staggering P2.8 billion (N.B. This amount in pesos is not staggering even if for one year. It must be in trillions if it is the accumulated public debt. Please check). The income remittances of more than eight million Filipinos from overseas are of little avail relative to the colossal amounts of deficits and debt service. Thus, the US imperialists and their Filipino agents consider it timely to extract the most out of the country. They are feverishly campaigning for drastic changes in t he 1987 constitution in order to accord all kinds of foreign investment "national treatment" in violation of the national sovereignty and national patrimony.

Confronted by the mounting resistance of the people, the US imperialists and their Filipino agents are also seeking to remove from said constitution all restraints on state terrorism and to delete the provisions against foreign military bases, foreign troops and nuclear weapons on Philippine territory. In fact, under the pretext of a "war on terrorism", the US and its puppets in the Philippines are already engaged in the most ruthless campaigns of suppression against the Filipino people and revolutionary forces.

WTO and the World Capitalist Crisis

The US and other imperialist countries are drumbeating that they can push in Cancun a new round of talks on the so-called Singapore issues, which are a multilateral investment agreement, competition policy, government procurement and trade facilitation.

But contradictions over a wide range of issues are growing among the imperialist countries that control the WTO. Despite their lip service to "free trade", they have remained protectionist and have maintained overt and hidden subsidies to their monopoly firms and have favored them with tariff walls and non-trade barriers against imports. To reinforce their positions, such imperialist powers as the US and European Union go so far as to make alignments against each other among the members of the WTO on the issue of agriculture.

However, resentment is growing among the non-industrialized countries, the overwhelming majority of WTO members, over the fact that they have been taken advantage of and that the glowing promises of "free trade", "development", "high employment" and "expanding exports" have proven to be false. In growing numbers, they are demanding that the implementation and results of previous agreements must first be assessed and evaluated before new agreements can be negotiated. It has become too clear that the US and other imperialist powers have used the WTO to end commitments to preferential quotas of imports from client states in the period of the Cold War.

The ongoing crisis of overproduction and the crisis of finance capital are generating the worst of imperialism, such as protectionism, chauvinism, racism, fascism and war. The inter-imperialist contradictions are bound to intensify. Related to the recent war of aggression against Iraq and the current occupation, serious contradictions have come to the surface over the tendency of the US to monopolize the spoils and to lay aside previous contracts between Iraq and other countries, including France, Germany, Russia and China.

The proletariat and the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are intolerably victimized by the monopoly bourgeoisie and imperialist countries. They are steadily rising up against imperialist globalization and war. They have taken up the Battle of Seattle of 1999 as an indubitable signal for the advance of the people’s struggle against WTO and imperialist globalization. Since then, the crisis of the world capitalist system has become worse and mass struggles have burst out against imperialist globalization and war.

The Time Has Come

The time has come for us to demand the dissolution of the WTO, more resolutely and militantly than ever before. The imperialist powers themselves have serious contradictions over questions of trade and investment. The client countries have been rendered bankrupt and desperate and increasingly manifesting discontent. The broad masses of the people are outraged by the growing protectionism of the imperialist countries, the unequal terms of trade with them and the insatiable greed of the multinational corporations for the land and natural resources of underdeveloped countries.

I anticipate that in Cancun, Mexico the crisis-driven imperialists would be more at odds with each other, despite all their efforts to continue shifting the burden of crisis to the proletariat and oppressed peoples and nations. The client countries will be making their complaints and reformist demands. The imperialist-funded reformist NGOs will once more discredit themselves as they babble about improving the WTO and as their imperialist superiors openly flatter and coddle them.

I am confident that in Mexico and other countries the broad masses of the people will rise up to denounce the exploitative and plundering character of WTO policies and to demand the dismantling of the WTO. A new and higher level of people’s resistance can be achieved. The International League of Peoples’ Struggle and other anti-imperialist forces are striving to make further advances. Conditions and factors for demanding the dissolution of the WTO are more favorable now than when the Battle of Seattle scuttled the Third Ministerial Meeting in 1999.

This worldwide mass protests against the WTO come at a time when the rifts within the ruling classes in the Philippines have aggravated well beyond verbal abuse and the rival reactionary factions tend to become more violent than ever before in their struggle for power. There is an excellent opportunity to expose and condemn the collusion and collaboration of the local reactionaries, especially those in power, with US imperialism and other foreign powers through the WTO. It is clear that the broad masses of the people must wage all forms of struggle against the escalating level of exploitation and oppression. .###

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