PLM 2nd Barangay Coordinators Assembly PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Saturday, 06 August 2016 20:05

August 6, 2016. Congrats to the Second Barangay Coordinators Assembly at OSHC Auditorium, Quezon City. Hosted by PLM. Participants from a number of barangays in Metro Manila, and parts of Bulacan and Southern Tagalog. PLM is gearing up for the October 31 barangay elections and consolidating its network.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 07 August 2016 07:54
 
PLM statement on President Duterte's Sona PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Tuesday, 26 July 2016 17:56

Genuine change is possible only through mass struggle

 

President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address failed to live up to the expectations of the masses, especially the workers who were waiting for clear pronouncements on eliminating job contractualization and providing more worker benefits.

 

Key pronouncement

 

The key pronouncement was President Duterte’s call for a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA-NDF and the start of peace negotiations with them. We welcome this initiative and add our voices for the release of all political prisoners as an imperative toward meaningful political negotiation.

 

While the arms will be stilled, the mass movement should be further energized and take the center stage during the talks. This is the assurance that the negotiations will continue on a course favorable to the masses.

 

The entire working class has a stake in the outcome of the talks. We call on all Left and progressive forces to support the substantive demands that will render justice to the dominated and oppressed classes in society and uplift the situation of the country in general.

 

We observe however that aside from the unilateral ceasefire and the issuance of an executive order on Freedom of Information, there is nothing more politically substantive in the Sona declaration. The Congress version of FOI, which will cover not only the executive but other branches of government, has yet to be done.

 

Minor steps

 

The Sona took much time to announce some systems of operation that the government should have done long ago to alleviate people’s sufferings when dealing with them. These include cutting down on government processing time for documentation, setting up a one-way stop house for all services, increasing train service, extending passport life, and the likes.

 

The killings continue

 

The Sona also affirms our worst fear that the government will continue with its War on Drugs operations that have turned several communities in the country into a killing field. While correctly acknowledging that human rights should uplift human dignity, the president turned this argument around by saying that it cannot be used as a shield to destroy the country.

 

The statement is unclear. But if the president means that the critique of killings is becoming an excuse to reject his government, the killings itself will lead to that. The human rights advocates are merely defending the poor from this retribution. Human rights advocacy needs no excuse for its existence.

 

The killings however have become the Achilles heel of this administration. It is not implausible to think that the anti-Duterte section of the elite under whom some of the most heinous violations of human rights have occurred --  such as in Maguindanao, Mamasapano and Kidapawan massacres -- will use this as an excuse to oust him from power.

 

It is to the interest of the present administration to use all its power to stop the killings of the poor victims of the drug trade (whether they are re pusher or user) and concentrate on the top coddlers and the big capitalist drug lords. Human rights that uplifts dignity also means that the president should focus on the poverty eradication measures to ensure the success of the war on drugs campaign.

 

Other highlights

 

Some of the highlights of anti-poverty alleviation have also been mentioned in the nearly two-hour speech of President Duterte, but these need more specific elaboration like the universal health insurance, the no-demolition without relocation policy, and the likes. Without clarification, these measures may be no different from those undertaken by previous administrations.

 

Fine-tuning for the elite

 

It means that the Sona has been deliberately fine-tuned to the ears of the ruling elite and their representatives who have flocked to the assembly. Save for some embellishments, the economic and political programs enunciated in the speech still conform to neoliberal paradigm and needs of elite politics.

 

President Duterte has raised the level of expectations of the masses during his presidential campaign. It is less than a month since he took his office. But the lesson seems to be clearer even now: we need to continue to be on the streets and to expand and strengthen the mass struggle as the proper venue and recourse for change in society today. #

 

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)

July 26, 2016

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 17:59
 
JULY 25, 2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 25 July 2016 18:48

July 25, 2016. First Sona (State of the Nation Address) of President Duterte. We had the usual rally, but we're allowed to come close to the Batasan. More information later.

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The Contradictions of the Duterte Regime PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Sunday, 24 July 2016 17:29

The Contradictions of the Duterte Regime

By Sonny Melencio

 

[Based on a talk delivered at All Leaders Meeting of BMP-Sanlakas-PLM at Claret Parish Church on July 13, 2016.]

 

1.  The Duterte government is right now the most popular government since the Cory administration. (It cannot be compared though to the euphoria that greeted Cory Aquino’s installation to power through Edsa 1 uprising, which is in a different historical context and circumstance.) According to the Pulse Asia survey, President Duterte enjoys 91% trust rating. This means 9 out 10 Filipinos trust him; and practically no one (0.2%) rejects him, as the remaining 8% are the undecided.

 

2. The Duterte win in the May 9 elections was a sound rejection of the Daang Matuwid propaganda of the PNoy administration. The popularity of this regime is clearly borne out by the rejection of the masses of the Yellow administrations from the mother (Cory) to the son (Noynoy). It is a widely held view that the previous administrations failed in providing for the needs of the people, hence the slogan ‘Change is Coming’ under the Duterte electoral campaign has become a clarion call for many.

 

3. But the class character of the Duterte regime remains the same as ever with other regimes that ruled the country for decades. It is still a government of the elite, a government that represents the ruling class as against the exploited and oppressed classes in Philippine society. This analysis is echoed by the Communist Party of the Philippines even if it opens relations with the Duterte government. The CPP sees Duterte as “the chief political representative of the ruling classes and head of the reactionary client-state” in the country today.

 

4. Others in the Left have already claimed Duterte’s regime as a neofascist one. There are strong indications for this, but this characterization does not yet fit the rule of Duterte. The regime continues to rule under an elite liberal/bourgeois democratic order set up by the ruling classes after the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Duterte’s strong-arm tactics (not to mention his authoritarian and gangster-type pronouncements) still has to traverse the rule and form of elite democracy under the so-called Edsa Republic (i.e., the regimes that come in succession after Edsa 1).

 

Class character of President Duterte

 

1. Let’s start with the class character of President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

 

2. Duterte did not come from a poor family. He’s a scion of the Duterte-Roa clan that has ruled Cebu and Davao for a long time. Duterte’s father was a former mayor of Danao, Cebu who became a governor of Davao after the family migrated to Mindanao. Duterte’s mother was from the political clan of Roas in Leyte. Duterte is also related to the political clans of the Duranos and Almendrases in Cebu.

 

3. But the local clans that Duterte represent can be seen as outsiders to the political clans that have ruled the country for decades, i.e., the oligarchy that monopolizes central power under what local clans called the Imperial Manila. So it is not surprising that these local clans have been leading a campaign to change the form of government from an overly-centralized set up to a federal state with almost equal powers to the national center. For the local clans, this is a demand to level the playing field for all the ruling classes, be they in Manila or in the province. As a provincial politician, Duterte has experienced decades of neglect and abuse by Imperial Manila.

 

4. Duterte’s circumstance and experience also differ from other trapos. He was a product of the First Quarter Storm and was involved with Kabataang Makabayan and other radical groups during his student days, with Jose Ma. Sison tutoring him on nationalist and radical politics. After Edsa 1, he became a provincial official (first an OIC and later mayor of Davao City), but he maintained his links and fostered a friendly relation with the CPP-NPA in his area.

 

5. This explains the ambivalent character of Duterte on national matters. He belongs to the ruling class, but he shares the views of nationalism and radical politics espoused by his peers and friends in the Left movement.

 

Contradictions of the Duterte regime

1. That’s just one of the contradictions of the President. But there are more that we have to take into account when we take stock of his entire government today.

 

2. The main forces in the Duterte Cabinet come from the political clans and supporters of the neoliberal economic regime, such as Secretary of Finance Sonny Dominguez; Secretary of Energy Alfonso Cusi; National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon; Secretary of Public Works & Highway, Mark Villar; and others. Many of them have served the governments of Fidel Ramos and Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo. Many are also in big mining businesses.

 

3. On the other hand, a good number of Left leaders have been appointed by the Duterte government in various cabinet or key positions, such as long-term labor leader Joel Maglunsod who’s now an undersecretary at the Department of Labor & Employment; peasant-leader Paeng Mariano who heads the Department of Agrarian Reform; activist professor Judy Taguiwalo who heads the Department of Social Welfare and Development; and woman-activist leader Liza Masa who heads the National Anti-Poverty Commission. We also have to mention nationalist economist Liling Briones who now heads the Department of Education and anti-mining advocate Gina Lopez who heads the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.

 

4. There’s a contradiction in maintaining and even extending the neoliberal policies of the government such as the PPP projects (public-private partnership), economic liberalization, deregulation, and the likes – while pronouncing a stand against contractualization, stopping the privatization of certain government hospitals, extending agrarian reform, criticizing the imperial powers of the United States and making anti-EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) pronouncements, and others. While similar duality exists in previous administrations, the Duterte regime advances a step forward by putting Left and progressive individuals in key positions (more than any other administration that we can remember) and by not blocking their initiatives so far (DENR Secretary Gina Lopez has ordered the closure of a number of mining companies; DAR head Paeng Mariano has started an aggressive land distribution campaign under his department; and so on).

 

5. However, one big bundle of contradictions with alarming implication is the War on Drugs launched by the Duterte government. This has led to a killing spree that targeted small-time drug pushers, users and petty drug lords. A few weeks after Duterte’s inauguration, the number of killings has reached more than 160 (it’s bordering on 400 at this time). The DDS (Davao Death Squad) tactics seems to cover the entire country today. What is chilling is that it’s the police force that’s been killing suspected drug traffickers in the communities (70% of killings according to ABS-CBN report).

 

6. At the other end of the spectrum is the public censure and exposure of PNP generals, local officials, and big-time drug lords (including foreigners) as drug coddlers and syndicate henchmen. This is the first time a Philippine president has pointed to top people in government and in the police force as heading the drug syndicates. However, while small-time pushers are wasted wantonly in the streets and in their homes during police operations, the big-time drug traffickers remain free.

 

7. Where will all these contradictory policies, pronouncements and actions of the Duterte government lead to? Pronouncements could be deceiving. To have an understanding on where these are leading, we need to know the main strategy being implemented by the Duterte government in all these issues.

Strategies of the Duterte government

 

1. Let us look at the War on Drugs campaign. What is the strategy of the Duterte government in this campaign?

 

2. What is being implemented is a ‘shock and awe’ strategy launched at the community level. This is meant to curtail the drug trade by cutting off its tentacles through executions of a vast number of drug pushers, users and traffickers in the community. But this strategy only exacerbates the problem even if it temporarily puts a stop to the community drug trade. One, the killings are aimed at the poor people and the poor neighborhood. Two, this has impelled a gangland-type of execution which has resulted in more killings, now perpetrated not only by the police but by drug syndicates and vigilante groups supporting the war rhetoric of the campaign. The drug spree in the community is now replaced by a killing spree that spares no one, as reports of occasional drug users and innocent victims being wasted in their homes are starting to come in.

 

3. There has been a clamor by many to shift the strategy towards going after the heads of the syndicates – the police forces, public officials and big-time drug lords in the country. This has not been successful at this stage.

 

4. However, this entire strategy of treating the drug trafficking problem as a police matter is bound to fail. This has been done in many countries and has produced very limited outcomes. And it is clear that the war on drugs cannot be implemented by a PNP which has become a key part of the problem. We need to thoroughly revamp the PNP and transform it from being a protector of the syndicate to a protector of the people. Or establish a community-based body that informs and mobilizes the people on the campaign against the drug menace.

 

5. But the war on drugs cannot be successful without initiating a war on poverty – i.e., a war that will eradicate poverty at its roots. Poverty underpins the proliferation of the drug trade especially at the community level. We are not only talking of hardened criminals in the drug trade, but families who have made small-time drug trafficking as a source of livelihood. In fact, small-time drug trafficking has replaced community jueteng game in most areas.

 

6. The war on poverty also connects with our campaign against neoliberalism, contractualization, land monopoly, environmental degradation and others. These are campaigns that find resonance in the government departments headed by progressives and Left leaders in the Duterte administration which we have better chances of engaging with in the pursuit of practical solutions.

 

Strategy on contractualization

 

1. Job contractualization that robs the working class of regular employment and basic benefits is a major issue that Duterte himself has vowed to eradicate during his rule. But what is the strategy of the Duterte government to do this?

 

2. A key part of this strategy involves putting genuine labor leaders at DOLE, like undersecretary Joel Maglunsod, who’s from the working class, a KMU leader, and therefore has the commitment and will to genuinely push for anti-contractualization policies using the resources and power of the labor agency.

 

3. However, the DOLE is not the agency that can get rid of contractualization in the industries. DOLE is infested by pro-capitalist dealers who have been operating under the premise that what is good for business is good for the workers.  Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod himself stated that there are only two pro-labor heads in the agency so far (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello is the other one, a presumed ally of KMU and other Left groups). The two are overwhelmed by pro-capitalist lawyers and dealers dominating the government agency.

 

4. The working class cannot also depend on laws, or on the legal and law-making institutions, to implement changes in the industrial front. The Philippine Senate and Congress and various instrumentalities of the government, including the Supreme Court, have been making laws and dispensing justice that only serve the interests of the capitalists, landlords and the elite in society. How can we account for the release of chief plunderer Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from hospital arrest, except to say that justice has been served as they say, although it’s the elite justice that has nothing to do with justice for the working class and the poor.

 

5. Therefore, the strategy against contractualization and other issues of the working class can only be based on the development of a strong working class movement that can deal blows against the perpetrators of these unjust system. The DOLE cannot do it but we need to bolster the efforts of the Left and progressive individuals at DOLE by mobilizing the workers in every industry.

 

6. It means that the main strategy that can advance and implement the changes that society needs cannot be based on the government or its corrupt, rotten and pro-elite agencies – it could only be outside the elite state. We need a strong working class movement that can push the government and its various agencies to implement the changes we need. And we need the unity of the working class and its various sectors and organizations to do this. This cannot be undertaken by any one group, however big and well-positioned in the government and in the political arena they think they are.

 

The future of the Duterte regime

 

1. We have characterized the Duterte regime before as a coalition of Right and Left forces in society, with the forces of the Right dominating the equation. It may be too soon to declare that Duterte himself will break the coalition in favor of the Right. At this stage, he seems to savor the situation where he can have the two forces, forever at loggerheads with each other, under his regime and supporting his various moves.

 

2. We do not have the illusion that the balance of forces between the Right and the Left in the Duterte government will be at par with each other (it’s going to break before it even reaches parity). The dominant forces today are still the Rightists, and the Left forces are bargaining with Duterte on a weak position, given that the mass struggle is still not on the upswing and working class unity is still a goal to be reached.

 

3. If we want to stamp out contractualization, it will need the mobilization of the workers through protest actions and strikes that will generate counter-reaction from the capitalists, including imposing lockouts and closures of workplaces. How the Duterte government responds to this situation may not be very clear now.

 

4.  In this regard, I find it instructive to be always reminded of Karl Marx’s maxim that “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, rather [or ultimately] it is their being [class existence] that determines their consciousness.” Meaning, while Duterte may have been imbued with radical consciousness during his youth, his status as the chief political representative of the ruling classes today will be the main determinant on his development as president in the days to come.

 

5. Class interest will be the most prevailing factor as against conscious will. This has happened before in a number of countries where liberal governments tried to set up Right-Left coalition in the initial stages of their rule (see “The Duterte Phenomenon” where I compared the Right-Left coalition with Peron’s tact in Argentina, www.masa.ph). This has also happened in the Philippines when former president Cory Aquino replaced all the progressives in her cabinet after a series of Rightist-led coup d’etat against her administration.

 

6. The future of the Duterte government will be based on the class character, or the dominant class character, of the regime. Even in this bleak scenario, the defense and liberation of the working class remain in the hands of the class – in their mobilization, their struggle and their unity aimed at capturing political power and establishing a socialist society.

 

7. As a footnote (though this needs to be developed soon as a separate topic of discussion), the Left also has to formulate its strategy and tactics with regards to the Duterte regime. Given the strategic nature of the regime that is no different from any state dominated by the ruling classes, but with the presence of a number of Left and progressives in key areas of government, what is the apt and relevant tactics to pursue?

 

8. Tactics take into account the level of consciousness of the working class masses – where they are at, and how the movement can develop their consciousness towards becoming a revolutionary force. Lenin always believed that Left-wing positioning is not enough. The working class masses must go through a political experience that will show them the truth that there is no other way but to seize political power through their own actions.

 

9. At this stage, it is better to make use of the openings to broadly mobilize the working class masses while raising their level of consciousness to that of an insurgent force in society. #

 

 

 

 

 
PLM Memo on the October 31 barangay elections (Tagalog version) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 08 August 2016 16:00

Memo Hinggil sa Barangay Elections

Para sa lahat ng chapters at yunit ng PLM

20 July 2016

==============================

 

Ikonsolida at palawakin ang ating baseng masa,

Aktibong lumahok sa October 31 barangay at SK elections!

 

1.  Ang Barangay at Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections ay magaganap sa October 31 (Lunes) maliban na lamang kung magkakaroon ng batas na ito’y ipagpapaliban muna.

 

2. Nagsimula na ang registration para sa mga bagong botante mula July 15 at matatapos sa July 30. Sa bagong batas, ang mga edad 15 hanggang 30 ay dapat magparehisto bilang kasapi ng Katipunan ng Kabataan (KK) para makaboto sa SK election. Pero ang kandidato sa SK ay mula edad 18 hanggang 24 lamang. Lahat naman ng edad 18 pataas ay boboto sa Barangay Council elections at pwedeng kumandidato sa barangay.

 

3. Nananawagan tayo na magkampanya na sa pagpaparehistro mula July 15 hanggang 30 para makapagtipon na tayo ng mga susuporta sa ating mga kandidato sa barangay at SK elections.

 

4. Maikli lang ang panahon para sa pagsusumite ng kandidatura (COC o Certificate of Candidacy) sa eleksyon. Tatlong araw lamang ito mula October 3 hanggang October 5 (unang Lunes hanggang Miyerkules ng Oktubre). Kaya mainam na makapaghanda na ang mga tatakbo nating kandidato sa barangay.

 

5. Maikli lamang din ang opisyal na kampanya para sa barangay. Siyam na araw mula October 21 hanggang 29. Gayunpaman, ngayon pa lang ay dapat may projection na ang mga tatakbo sa barangay.

 

Halaga ng barangay elections ngayon

 

1. Ang paglahok sa barangay elections ay nagbibigay sa atin ng pagkakataon na magpalawak ng ating baseng masa at botong masa at magtayo at magpalakas ng ating pwersa sa antas ng grassroots.

 

2. Ang lakas na ito ay mahalaga sa ating interbensyong elektoral sa pambansang antas. Hindi natin makakamit ang tagumpay sa elektoral na laban kung mananatiling nakakahon lamang tayo sa iilang barangay, iilang pagawaan, iilang komunidad, at iilang opisina. Kailangan ang ilang ulit na paglapad ng ating baseng masa (mula sa kasalukuyang ______) at paglawak ng mga barangay o komunidad na ating nabubuksan at nakikilusan.

 

3. Isipin na lamang na may 42,065 barangay sa buong bansa. Totoong marami dito ay kontrolado na ng mga trapo at ginagamit sa kanilang pakinabang. Subalit malaking bahagi nito ay may puwang pa para sa ating kampanya ng pagpapalawak sa pamamagitan ng interbensyon sa halalang barangay.

 

4. Magkaugpong din ang pagkakasa ng pakikibakang masa at interbensyong elektoral sa barangay. Pinakamainam na mailagay natin bilang mga opisyal ng barangay ang ating mga lider para mas lalong magkaroon ng otoridad ang kanilang pamumuno sa mga pakikibakang masa at mapanday sila sa pamamaraan ng lokal at komunal na pamamahala.

 

5. Maliwanag na sa maraming kasama ang halaga ng ating paglahok sa barangay elections. Ang kailangang tukuyin at pinuhin ay ang masalimuot na mga taktika ng pagpapanalo ng ating mga kandidato sa barangay elections.

 

Paghahanda at ilang taktika

 

1. Ngayon pa lamang, maglista na ng tatakbong mga kapitan ng barangay, kagawad, at mga opisyal ng SK. Magpatakbo tayo ng ating mga lider manggagawa, kababaihan at kabataan. Dahil halos nagsisimula pa lang tayo sa interbensyon sa mga barangay, buksan ang listahan sa mga alyadong nagpaplanong tumakbo sa halalan.

 

2. Unahin nating ikonsolida o lagyan ng organisador ang mga barangay na nasa erya ng ating nanalong mga lokal na kandidato noong May 9 elections. Meron tayong isang alkalde at ilang konsehal sa Samar; mga konsehal sa Cebu at Cavite; at iba pang lugar. Meron din tayong nanalong mga alyado, gaya ng vice-mayor sa Marikina, na kailangan nating kumbinsihin na magkonsolida pa ng boto sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha ng liderato sa mga barangay.

 

3. Isa pang hanay ang mga lugar na malaki ang boto ng ating mga kandidato noong Mayo 9, kahit na hindi sila nagwagi sa halalan. Maaaring tumakbo ang ilan sa kanila sa barangay, o kaya’y magplano na buksan pa ang network ng kanilang mga barangay para sa susunod nilang elektoral na laban.

 

4. Itransporma ang may 300,000 na nakuha nating boto sa ating dalawang partylist (Sanlakas at Ating Guro) bilang baseng masa. Pag-aralan kung saan nakatipon ang mga botong ito at magtalaga tayo ng mga organisador na tututok sa may malalaking bilang nito sa antas-barangay.

 

5. Kailangan natin ng malapad na makinarya ng mga organisador na tututok sa halalang barangay. Kung wala nito, hindi tayo makakaasa na mapanghawakan ang mga oportunidad sa pagpapalawak at pagpapalakas ng ating pwersa. Kailangan nating lutasin ang maraming problemang kaugnay ng pagbubuo ng makinarya ng mga organisador – mula sa usapin ng pagbubuo ng mga kadre (consol at education work) tungo sa paglikom ng pondong pangsubsidyo sa kanila.

 

6. Itransporma ang kasalukuyang network ng barangay coordinators (may 300 barangay lahat ito) bilang PLM barangay organizing team (BOT). Ang BOT ang magpaplano at mamamahala sa paglahok natin sa barangay at SK elections sa kanilang mga lugar. Maaring magsimula ang BOT sa tatlong katao bawat barangay at palakihin ito habang lumalapit ang kampanya sa eleksyon.

 

7.. Sa antas rehiyon, pangungunahan ng mga nakatayong REC ang pagpaplano sa paglahok sa barangay at SK elections.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 08 August 2016 16:03
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A new party is born. A party for our times.

A party of Change! A party of Socialism!


“Pare-pareho lamang silang trapo!
Mangungurakot na naman yan!
Bobolahin na naman nila tayo!”


Sounds really familiar. We have heard this expression from people of all walks of life time and again. An automatic response, when one is asked about a certain politician or politicians in general.

For decades, generations of politicians from the same clan and some new ones have been deceiving the masses. Every election for them has been an opportunity to make more promises. And after every election, all these remain just that – promises.

Read more...

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