Athens Meeting 19-20 June 2003, Contribution by Philippine
CP PKP 1930
by Pedro P. Baguisa
WORKING CLASS SOLIDARITY IS TIME'S DEMAND
After the Second World War, the United States pushed for
the governance of international trade through international
institutions - Untouched by the war, the United States was
an economic dynamo and a superpower with an atomic bomb in
its disposal. It was not accidental that the US tested its
atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even after some
months after the end of World War II. This hegemony
permitted the United States to insist that other countries
gradually replace protectionist policies with a free trade
Thus, for many countries of the Third World, globalization
was first imposed through the infamous structural
adjustment programs of the IMF-World Bank which placed them
in a regimen of liberalization, deregulation and
privatization to shift the burden of development financing
to the private sector. This is a strategy for economic
restructuring that conveniently attunes economies of poorer
countries to foreign trade and investments, to
globalization. Following the said WB-IMF policies many of
the Third world countries suffered trade deficits and fall
in a quicksand-like debt trap.
The process of ratification of the GATT was hastened with
the collapse of the Soviet Union and other socialist
countries in Eastern and Central Europe.
Beginning in 1995, the WTO remains essentially a
preferential trade system because the 120 or so states
involved only reduce tariffs and other barriers to an
agreed-on-level. However, these states do give one another
their best trade terms under the Most Favored Nation
The successful completion of the Uruguay Round, following
immediately behind the advances in the EU and NAFTA meant
that major trade states from different regions remain
dependent on one another. The mutual dependence and mutual
vulnerability of Japan and the United States epitomize this
situation. Japan counts on sales to American consumers,
and the United States needs Japanese loans to operate its
A. The Present Character And Trends Of The Globalization
Having laid down the necessary political climate: the
collapse of Soviet Union and other socialist countries in
Eastern and Central Europe, the ratification of GATT and
formation of WTO, formation of regional trade alliances,
the process of globalization of production and marketing
a) Essential Scientific And Technological Developments
Such great advances in technology are being used by the
transnational corporations to speed up the process of
Technological revolution facilitated the expansion not
simply of trade but in the export of foreign direct
investments. In 1996, TNCs controlled 67% of world trade,
intra-TNC trade account for 34.1% of total global trade and
accounted for 75% of total world investments.
The United States through its immense political, military
and technological might, achieved the most spectacular
accumulation of wealth and power ever seen in history.
Such situation was unsustainable. The great advances in
science and technology even triggered instead of preventing
the global economic crisis, another feature of
b) Cut-Throat Competition:
This cut-throat competition could clearly be seen in the
Philippines, where around 2000 companies closed down in the
year 2001. Banks and other financial institutions have
merged, if not totally closed down.
In the Philippines, initial tie-ups and joint-ventures
between giant transnational corporations and local
capitalists ultimately led to complete gobbling up of local
businesses by transnational corporations,.just like the
Wyeth-Suaco Corp. becoming Wyeth Corp., Beautifont was
absorbed by Avon, and others.
Recently, the German company "Wella" was bought by US
Procter and Gamble Company.
c) Worsening Global Economic Crisis
In July of 1997, the first major crisis of the globalized
neo-liberal world erupted when the Philippine peso, Thai
Baht, Malaysian ringgit, Indonesian rupiah and other Asian
currencies plummeted down. The plummeting currencies
rapidly deflated assets and undermined the health of banks
and financial institutions. Businesses were soon closing
down, unemployment rising, and prices of basic commodities
and services exploding. What began as a currency and
financial crisis has turned into an economic crisis.
In 1998 came the Russian crisis, while the the Brazilian
crisis broke out in 1999.
In mid-2000, the crisis began in the United States. The
trade deficit has grown, the GDP decreased, unemployment
rate have risen from year 2000 to August 2001.
The more than five-year existence of the WTO, acting as
supergovernment has not solved the world crisis, and
instead put the lives of billions of people in extreme
poverty and oppression. 1/3 of labor-force in the world is
unemployed or underemployed. More than one billion people
are deprived even of basic needs.
d) Expansion of "networked enterprises"
Under imperialist globalization, competition among workers
is even being exacerbated by the manipulation of
transnational corporations through the use of global
networked enterprises - the breaking-up of production
processes and the quick transfer of investments among
countries to force different countries compete among each
others in offering more attractive parks by way of lower
wages, non-regularization of employment terms, "freedom"
from trade unionism, public expenditures for the
infrastructures needed by the transnational corporations,
Everywhere in the capitalist world today, permanent
employment is giving way to more diverse methods of
so-called "flexible" employment and earnings --- such as
"independent" homework and contract-out or piece-rate
arrangements. These actually translate to having more
workers offering cheaper labor, intensifying work,
economizing on working conditions, and being "insulated"
from trade unionism. This hiring of workers as "partners"
or "free agents" through these "independent" work
arrangements (particularly in the computer or information
technology industry), only facilitates the "right" of
employers to undertake the mass lay-off of such workers at
any time, and makes easier the transfer of their business
at anytime to where there are other workers offering their
services at more "competitive" (i.e., at even more
Despite attempts to conceal through global networked
enterprises, the basic contradiction in capitalism --- that
between the growing social nature of production and the
continued private appropriation of the wealth created ---
Fascist and Military Aggressiveness
Side by side with economic globalization, the international
monopoly capital, U. S. imperialism in particular, is its
military aggressions, with ever new weapons of mass
destruction. In their quest for world hegemony, the former
US Secretary of State, Madelaine Albright once said that :
"If we have to use force, it is because we are America! We
are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see
further into the future".
It is no wonder then, that US imperialism deployed 100,000
military troops in Asia-Pacific Region.
In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the U.
S. Administration has unleashed a global "war on terrorism"
which has already laid ruin to Afghanistan and killed
thousands of innocent civilians.
Thinly concealed beneath this so-called "war on terrorism"
is the drive by US imperialism to impose its unrivalled
military and economic hegemony over the countries and
peoples of the entire world, to corner international
markets for the benefit of its transnational corporations,
and to gain control over vital natural, energy and social
Undermining the Role of United Nations, UN Security Council
and the like, in particular by the one and only superpower,
the United States of America.
Imperialism's arrogant disregard for international law,
international institutions such as the United Nations, and
the cause of world peace and instead to use war as a means
of settling international disputes is reflected in the
illegal attack of US on Afghanistan.
The unilateral cancellation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile
(ABM) Treaty by the US also undermined the role of the UN.
This aggressive policy is directly responsible for
unleashing a new, dangerous round of the arms race.
Without the approval of the UN General Assembly and of the
UN Security Council, the United States and United Kingdom
attacked Iraq under the pretext of Iraq's having weapons of
mass destruction (WMD). Despite having not found the said
WMD by the UN Arms Inspectors, despite thundering worldwide
protest of peoples, including different religious sects,
the said inhuman invasion of Iraq was pursued by the US and
UK last March, 2003.
Lately, with the formation of the International Crime
Commission, the US is now busy pressuring different
countries, including the Philippines, to enter into
bilateral agreement to extend immunity for US military
troops from persecution to crimes committed by them.
B. The Philippine Experience:
Understanding from the context that the Philippines was
subjected by the USA as a direct colony at the beginning
till the middle of the 20th century and hitherto a
neo-colony, the Filipinos were miseducated, brainwashed and
branded as "little brown Americans."
A conclusion can be derived from the above, that almost all
the regimes in the Philippine government became puppets,
succumbing to the dictation of the foreign monopoly
capital, that of the US in particular.
Following the US declaration of the Philippine Independence
in 1946 were the signing of different treaties between the
two countries, namely: the Parity Rights, Bell Trade Act
and RP-US Mutual Defense Treaty during Manuel Roxas regime.
The First Deregulation Program was implemented by the late
President Diosdado Macapagal, the father of President
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. During the Marcos regime, the
Automatic Appropriation Act (PD 1177) was approved, wherein
40 % of the national budget have to be allocated for debt
servicing. It was the Aquino government, who became the
implementor of "structural adjustment programs", which led
to crisis in Filipino industry.
The Ramos administration became a successful implementor of
the policies of trade liberalization, privatization and
deregulation, being imposed by the World Trade
Organization. It was during his administration that the
General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and
corresponding accompanying laws of it were ratified.
The Philippine Communist Party has already predicted even
at the very beginning of Mr. Joseph Estrada's becoming
president, through a landslide victory in the election,
that he could not maintain till the allowed term of office.
His ouster was even delayed with the ratification of the
Visiting Forces Agreement of the Philippines with the
United States of America. Our prediction was based on the
fact that he could not totally give in to the caprice of
foreign and local big businesses, while at the same time
promising the people to alleviate them from poverty. In
less than two (2) years for a six (6) year term, President
Estrada was illegally deposed not through impeachment, but
through collusion of the Makati Business Club, the Roman
Catholic Church, rightist elements in the Armed forces of
the Philippines, and the misguided ultra left, and with the
blessing from the United States. To give a semblance of
legality, the Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide
officiated Gloria Arroyo's oath-taking as president in
The present administration, President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo is the most favorite of U. S. President Bush, who
considers the Philippines as the `closest non-NATO ally.'
This is because President Arroyo is more than a puppet and
the most effective surrogate of foreign monopoly capital,
the United States in particular. Mrs. Arroyo, when she was
still a senator, was the principal sponsor of General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and other related laws,
favoring and protecting the interest of foreign capital.
Implementation and Impact of Globalization in the
To the extent of violating Article II, Section 19 of the
Constitution stating that: "The state shall promote an
independent and self-sufficient economy, effectively
controlled by the Filipinos," the present administration
shamelessly adhere to the greediness of the global big
businesses to the detriment of the Filipino people. As a
result of the cut-throat competition and religious
subscription of the government to the precriptions of the
WB-IMF-WTO on policies, such as import and trade
liberalization, privatization of government owned and
controlled corporations, and deregulation, the Philippines
is now suffering from severe crisis, manifested in the
Local and small national enterprises are placed under the
control (if not totally gobbled-up) by transnational
corporations. As said earlier, only in the year 2001,
around 2,000 local companies closed down. In the particular
case of the Philippine steel industry, take-over by
transnational corporations led to the closure of the
biggest steel plant.
The expansion of transnational corporations in pursuit of
superprofits is usually masked with demands for "structural
adjustment" and "privatization, in order to cripple or do
away with the state sector of the economy. In the
Philippines, government participation in banking, social
security systems, grains trading, power generation, water
supply, infrastructure construction and industrial
development have been particular targets of enroachment by
The administration engaged in minimizing, if not totally
eradicating import, investment, and foreign-exchange
controls, subsidies for goods aimed at the world market as
well as those destined for home markets; and similar
restrictions on trade and investment. These have resulted
in flooding of domestic markets with lower-priced imports,
thus providing domestic consumers with a wider range of
reasonably priced products.
Acute Socio-Economic Condition of the Working People:
According to the latest survey of the Bureau of Labor and
Employment as of January 2003, out of the total labor force
of 33.678 million: 30.119 million was employed and 3.559
was unemployed; and 4.849 million was underemployed.
To cope up with the current standard of living, a family
must earned P505 per day, but the highest minimum wage
being received is P280 per day in Metro Manila.
Of the total employed workers: 14.598 million are wage and
salary workers; 11.597 million are own-account workers; and
4.16 million are unpaid family workers.
Limitation of workers' rights: Filipino workers are
confronted with the problems of downsizing and
contractualization. These problems put the workers out of
job and the "labor-only-contracting" policy of the
government outcast the workers on the right to unions and
right to collectively bargain with the private
entrepreneurs. In areas declared as industrial export
processing zones, joining a union or forming a union is not
Emergence and growth of "networked enterprises": The
transnational corporations have found another means of
getting huge profit through the "networked enterprises,"
wherein they are not obliged to pay minimum wage and give
other kinds of benefits to the workers. With the
"networked enterprises," the TNCs are no longer troubled
with unionism, with collective bargaining agreement, and
other demands of workers. With the "networked
enterprises," the international capital is trying to dilute
class contradiction by calling workers as the informal
While the Philippines remains mainly as an agricultural
country, it became a major agricultural importer of
products being produced sufficiently by its farmers like
rice, corn, sugar, fruits, fish, and the like. Already
suffering from high interest rate extended by usurers and
high cost of production inputs, they are viciously victims
of syndicated traders forcing them to sell their products
at very low prices, and worse, many of these small farmers
mortgaged or sold their land to the few rural rich. The
indiscriminate widespread of illegal conversion is now
terribly affecting the farmers. The government remains
deaf and blind to such agonizing conditions of the farmers.
Unequivocal Support of Pres.GMA to Pres. Bush's
Militaristic and Fascist Rule
As said earlier, President Arroyo is an effective surrogate
and acts more than a poodle in following the caprice of
international capital and of President Bush in particular
in pursuing a militaristic and fascist rule, characterize
by the following:
It was learned later, that a year before the so-called
"People Power II", the then Vice-President Arroyo had
conducted series of meetings with retired generals and
other military officials in active duty, to stage a coup
d'etat against President Estrada.
Brutal dispersal of the "People Power III," demanding for
the reinstatement of illegally deposed Pres. Estrada: -
During the bloody dispersal, US Ambassador to Manila,
Francis Ricciardone issued a statement, supporting Gloria
Right after the bloody dispersal, she declared a "state of
rebellion" in Metro Manila. There were reports, that the
People Power III was infiltrated to create chaotic
atmosphere during the rally, which was used as pretext for
the bloody dispersal and the later declaration of the state
From the very day of Sept. 11 "terrorist attack" in New
York and Washington, President Bush has waged a campaign to
make other nations look at the world like he does, by
saying "If you're not with us, then you must be with the
terrorists." Thus, when President Bush announced to launch
war against Afghanistan, President Gloria Arroyo expressed
willingness to allow US military forces free access to the
Philippines. That decision of Pres. Arroyo was a violation
of the nuclear-weapon free and foreign-base-free principles
of our constitution, thereby a blatant derogation of our
national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
With the inclusion of the Philippines among the 40 or more
countries considered by Pres. Bush as "axis of evils",
Pres. Arroyo immediately allowed US troops to be deployed
in volatile areas in Mindanao under the cover of military
The inclusion of the country to "axis of evils" according
to Pres. Bush is because of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf
Group, whom he said have been seen in Afghanistan fighting
with the Taliban against the Soviet Union. To explain the
Abu Sayyaf leaders' presence in Afghanistan, one would have
to turn to the CIA rather than the Taliban.
The interest of US in sending its troops to the Pilippines,
in particular in Mindanao, should be seen from the fact
that they have big businesses in Mindanao, presence of big
oil deposits in Mindanao, and Mindanao is strategically of
great importance to US in attacking other countries.
Thus, allowing US troops for the so-called "on the job
training," President Arroyo exposed the nation to the
dangers of escalating the conflict and to the consequences
of privileging a military approach to the complex problem
of Muslim Mindanao.
Even before the US-UK war against Iraq, Pres. GMA again
offered the Philippines as launching pad, and already
deported an Iraqi Consul for alleged interference in the
GMA made her state visit to USA and welcomed by Pres. G. W.
Bush like a "Hollywood Star". Promises of economic and
military packages , like the previous Philippine presidents
received when they made state visit to Washington. US
President Bush proclaimed the Philippines as a "non-NATO
ally and a sweet and sour parting words: "Madam President,
Women and politicians are entitled to change their mind,"
inducing her to run for 2004 presidential election in the
On that visit, DFA Secretary, Blas Ople silently signed a
"bilateral" agreement granting US servicemen immunity from
suit on crimes thay might commit in the Philippines. Such
immunity being demanded by the US on worries grounded by
the "1998 Rome Statute" which created the International
Criminal Court, a body that will try war crimes, genocides
and crimes against humanity.
The US wants to get immunity on war crime related charges.
US is pressuring small countries to enter into bilateral
In the Philippines today, the rights of the workers
written in the Omnibus Labor Code is being treated as
history of the past. Labor related cases are being tried
mostly in regular courts, CBA's will be prolonged to 6
years instead of 3 years period before it lapses, strikes
as instrument of the workers for their demands, agency
hiring and labor-only contracting aside from
contractualization of labor are rampant. This dilution of
workers rights in the constitution obviously giving a lot
of opportunities to the capitalists in cahoots with the
corrupt police and government officials to bust the union.
The Movement Against War and Globalization and the
As the crisis worsens, working people's consciousness
inevitably grows. They are becoming more and more involved
in protest actions to defend their legitimate rights, e.g.
right to unionize, right to CBA, right to strike, etc. But
the capitalist (local and foreign) are also becoming
barbaric in response to workers demands.
Just last week of May, the tent of the striking workers of
YERCO Packaging Products was burned by unidentified men and
a worker was injured caused by fire. On June 5, 2003,
striking workers of Ferrotech Steel Corp. were attacked by
armed men around 3:00 am. The company hired goons and
suspected policemen in civilian clothings, who
indiscriminately fired their guns at the strikers leaving 6
people with gun-shot wounds.
At the beginning of 2003, anti-war mobilization, initiated
by various groups became frequent. The left and religious
groups actively condemned the U. S. imperialist war of
aggression against Iraq. Imperialism equated to fascism
and invasion once more becomes comprehensible among the
PCP's initiatives lead to opening up friendly cooperation
with other major left groups in the country. Modus vivendi
with two major breakaway parties from the Maoist ultra left
is developing. On May 1, 2003, a unified celebration of
Labor Day was successfully conducted. Talks between
PKP-1930 and the two parties (on mass and party level) are
Comrades, indication of possible unity among progressive
and democratic forces have already surfaced.
The solidarity of workers of all countries is a necessity
arising out of the fact that capitalist domination is
international. The workers' struggle for emancipation in
all countries can only be successful if the workers fight
jointly against international capital.
The forging of international working class solidarity is
even more imperative today in view of the rise to power in
the USA of the Bush Administration which represents the
most reactionary and war-mongering segment of US
We deplore in strongest possible term, US imperialist ever
increasing provocation against Cuba, its threat using South
Korea and Japan against North Korea and its hostile
attitude against Iran, Syria, Libya and to countries listed
as "axis of evils by Pres. Bush.
To attract unity and maintain adherence at both national
and international levels, the working class movement should
in the first place be able to constantly express and
symbolize the basic interests of workers, and to relate
these interests with progressive economic and political
The present growth of militarism, the arms build-up, the
growing resort to military interventions, and the renewed
threat of a nuclear catastrophe --- all posed by the rise
to power in the USA of a reckless and extremely reactionary
administration --- is significantly changing the objective
conditions for working class activities. There is an
urgent need for wider political actions by the working
class, nationally and internationally, not only to struggle
for its class interests, but to struggle for the paramount
interest of safeguarding the very existence of humanity.
The struggle for socialism --- the system based on working
class rule that would end wars and national antagonism, and
would safeguard world peace --- is therefore an even more
urgent imperative for the international class today.
In our view, the international communist and workers'
movement must shoulder a special responsibility to act
against the growing danger of war, racism, and oppression.
We are confident that the vast majority of parties and
movements and the millions upon millions of Communists and
revolutionaries they represent share the view that united
international action has now become an urgent imperative.
This is the time when strengthening the unity of the
working class, forging deeper cooperation of all the
democratic and peace forces and promoting international
solidarity, is a must.