By Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Kabataang Makabayan
September 11, 2002
I am happy to join you in celebrating the 25th founding anniversary of the League of Filipino Students (LFS). I congratulate all the past and current activists of the LFS for their brilliant record of struggles and successes in the pursuit of national liberation and democracy against foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism during the last 25 years.
The LFS was born at a time that the Marcos fascist dictatorship appeared so invincible and yet was beginning to flounder in a deep socioeconomic and political crisis. The broad masses of the people, including the students, recognized the urgency of building rapidly the legal forces of the national democratic movement to confront the fascist puppet regime.
Since then, the LFS has excelled as the training school of student activists and as the rallying point for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the student masses. It has supplied activists to various types of student organizations and has fought well for the rights and interests of the student masses within the context of the national democratic movement.
The most highly conscious and most militant activists of the LFS have joined or assisted organizations of patriotic and progressive classes and sectors other than the student sector. Thus, the LFS has developed strong links with other forces of the national democratic movement. Whenever there are gigantic mass actions of the people, such as the overthrow of Marcos or Estrada, the LFS is in the forefront with the toiling masses.
1. Crisis of imperialism
Modern imperialism or monopoly capitalism is the highest and final stage of capitalism. It is decadent and moribund. It is characterized by the ever recurrent crisis of overproduction, regimes of open terror and wars of aggression. It has provided the conditions for the rise of socialism and national liberation movements.
But the imperialists and their puppets assert that monopoly capitalism is eternal and that the people have no recourse but to accept national and class oppression and exploitation and give up revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy. They gloat over the temporary successes of imperialism gained through naked aggression, neocolonialism, the revisionist betrayal of socialism and the most barbaric forms of reaction.
They mock at the revolutionary forces and people and prate that they have no alternative but to accept and reform the decadent and moribund imperialist system and embellish it with the glossy phraseology of “free market” globalization.
But the entire world capitalist system is now in a state of deep depression. Since 2000, the US has conspicuously fallen into a deep economic crisis, characterized by prolonged steep decline of the stock market and industrial production. The three centers of global capitalism, like the US, Japan and Western Europe, are simultaneously reeling from the crisis of overproduction and financial collapses.
The lesser industrial capitalist countries and those few economies previously celebrated in the 1970s as newly-industrializing are in a worse condition. The countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the former revisionist-ruled countries that are dependent on the export of raw materials and a few basic manufactures or semimanufactures are in the worst condition.
All commodities in the world market, be it agricultural, mineral, basic industrial or electronic, have become overproduced relative to the shrunken global market, which has resulted from the shrunken income of the working people, the extraction of superprofits and the crushing debt burden of most countries of the world.
The crisis of overproduction has led to production cutbacks, bankruptcies and further mass unemployment. These have led to an epidemic of defaults in loan payments, the bursting of stock market bubbles and abrupt devaluation of currencies.
The US-instigated policy stress of “free market” globalization has accelerated the concentration of capital in the global centers of capitalism, chiefly the US. But the contraction of the world economy has recoiled upon them. The high-tech bubble in the US stock market has burst.
The myth of a “new economy” has been totally discredited. Europe and Japan are now tending to withdraw their investments from the US. The foreign funds that have sustained the US market and consumerism are dissipating. And yet deficits in both budget and trade are widening. And the Bush regime is bent on raiding social security funds.
The US is desperately trying to revive its own national economy and the global economy by resorting to what has been called military Keynesianism. It is increasing state military appropriations and spending huge amounts of public funds to step up military production. Thus, it is beating the drums of war hysteria against several countries and is poised to launch a new war of aggression against Iraq.
The crisis of the world capitalist system is so severe that it has caused all basic types of contradictions to surface. These include the contradictions between the imperialists and oppressed peoples, among the imperialists and between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
The oppressed peoples of the world are acutely suffering the burden of crisis that is being shifted to them by the imperialists. Amidst massive unemployment and the miserable conditions of the people, the imperialists take advantage of the cheap labor and raw materials and acquire assets at auction prices all over the world. Thus, the people’s discontent and resistance against imperialism are growing.
The US has benefited the most from the interimperialist alliance against the peoples of the world. It has tightened its control over the sources of raw materials, markets, fields of investments and spheres of influence. Thus, the other imperialist powers increasingly resent the boundless greed and unilateralism of US imperialism. The ground is laid for the intensification of interimperialist contradictions.
Within the imperialist countries, the class struggle between the proletariat and the monopoly bourgeoisie is coming to the surface. The broad masses of the people are becoming disgusted with the game of musical chairs among the bourgeois parties and are increasingly resisting the attacks of the monopoly bourgeoisie in various fields of social activity.
2. Imperialist terrorism
In the entire history of mankind, modern imperialism has inflicted the worst of terrors, such as the daily violence of super exploitation, the ruinous crises of overproduction, fascism, wars of aggression and interimperialist wars.
US imperialism is the worst of terrorism experienced by the Filipino people. It caused the death of 1.4 million Filipinos from the start of the US war of aggression in 1899 to the end of the pacification campaigns in 1916. The victims are far more when we consider the daily violence of exploitation.
US imperialism has emerged as the biggest terrorist force in the world since 1945. It has dropped atomic bombs on civilian populations. It has carried out wars of aggression as in Korea, Indochina and elsewhere, killing many millions of people. It has sponsored regimes of open terror and instigated massacres, such as the horrendous one of more than one million people in Indonesia in 1965. It has created terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf and the like and is now using these as the excuse for carrying out wars of aggression and sponsoring repression under puppet regimes.
By becoming more and more aggressive against the oppressed peoples, the US is inciting them to wage revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy. Upon the spread of the national liberation movements, the proletariat and the rest of the people in the industrial capitalist countries can have wider opportunities to advance their own revolutionary movements.
The rapidly worsening economic crisis of the world capitalist system is today driving the imperialists, especially the US, to step up military spending and war production and to become more and more repressive and aggressive.
Since his assumption of office, Bush has adopted the policy of giving tax cuts to the US monopoly firms and boosting military production as a way of reviving the US economy. He is trying to imitate what Reagan did in most of the 1980s: use neoliberal language to accelerate privatisation of public resources and practice military Keynesianism as a way to produce and sell weapons under conditions of war hysteria.
Even prior to the September 11 attacks, the US was already pushing so-called anti-terrorist policies and laws to curtail the democratic rights of the American people and to lay the ground for stepping up military production and launching wars of aggression under the pretext of a global war on terrorism.
The September 11 attacks have provided the Bush regime with a convenient excuse for launching a war of aggression against Afghanistan in order to penetrate the innermost countries of Central Asia, tighten control over oil resources in the region and secure an oil supply route to the Indian Ocean via Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The US has used the so-called global war on terrorism in order to proclaim as its enemies those countries that do not side with the US, to invent an “axis of evil” and threaten Iraq, Korea and Iran, to prepare a renewed war of aggression against Iraq, to strengthen its hegemony over Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia and to engage in military intervention in such specific countries as the Philippines, Nepal, Palestine, Peru, Colombia, Turkey and Georgia.
The US is internationalising the repressive “anti-terrorism” laws by pressuring its allies to implement them against those whom the US has designated as terrorists. It has secured a UN Security Council resolution and executive agreements with the European Union to bind it and its member states in applying repressive measures on national liberation movements and other progressive forces. The US is pushing the European Union to categorize these as “terrorists” and criminalize them.
In this regard, the peace negotiations in Europe between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines(GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are now being prejudiced by the US decision to designate the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army as ‘terrorist’, to witchhunt and subject this writer to punitive measures and put under duress the NDFP, its panelists, consultants, staffers and supporters.
After creating small terrorist groups like Al Qaida and Abu Sayyaf, the US is using them as the excuse for carrying out terrorism of gigantic proportions. Now, the term terrorism is being used to cover and slander the revolutionary movements of the people fighting for national liberation and democracy and the countries assertive of their national independence.
3. The Macapagal puppet regime
The US policy stress on “free market” globalization has rapidly deepened and aggravated the crisis of the world capitalist system. This crisis is devastating the Philippine economy and is making the Macapagal puppet regime politically weak and isolated.
Macapagal should now be ashamed of her past record as a senator in sponsoring the bills that have given free rein to liberalization, privatisation and deregulation. The unlimited entry of imperialist firms in various lines of businesses previously reserved for Filipinos, the pressing down of the income levels of the working people, the bargaining away of state assets and dumping of the surplus goods of other countries have rendered the economy as well as the puppet regime exceedingly weak.
Philippine production of goods, either for domestic consumption or export, has been undermined by the veritably free and unlimited entry of foreign goods. At the same time, the imperialist countries are importing far less raw materials and semimanufactures from the Philippines. The export of workers has also slackened. More and more of their host countries are forcing them to return home.
The economic and social ruin of the Philippines is emboldening the US to tighten all-round control over the country, bring in thousands of US troops, build the infrastructure for these and prepare for the reestablishment of the US military bases.
In this regard, the US is using the global war on terrorism as mantle for further entrenching its hegemony in the Philippines and the whole of East Asia. Once more Macapagal follows foolishly the baton of the US and allows it to deploy more and more US troops on rotation in the Philippine and prepare the ground and climate for rebuilding the US military bases.
The US is very eager to take control over Mindanao because this has in abundance such natural resources as oil, gold and deuterium. Satellite reconnaissance has established and mapped the location of these important resources.
In complete subservience, the Macapagal regime has gone so far as to declare an all-out war policy against the revolutionary forces nd people in exchange for some measly amount of US military assistance. This policy means more massive campaigns of suppression and grosser human rights violations and heavier tax burden on the people.
The puppet regime is already wobbling from the gargantuan amounts of budgetary and trade deficits and the mounting debt burden. But it is throwing away precious limited resources by escalating military campaigns of suppression and spending heavily for military equipment.
The Macapagal regime has repeatedly made clear that it is not interested in pursuing formal peace negotiations with the NDFP but only in back channelling aimed at seeking the capitulation of the NDFP. It is now collaborating with the US in trying to intimidate the panelists, consultants, staffers and supporters of the NDFP panel in Europe.
Upon the request of the Macapagal regime, the US is using the Dutch government and other governments to threaten them with extradition, freezing of assets and various forms of harassment. The European governments are being made to go against the 1997 and 1999 resolutions of the European parliament endorsing and supporting the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.
The ongoing attempts of the US and the Macapagal regime to destroy the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations provide clear signals that they will inflict more brutal and more rapacious measures against the people. It is therefore necessary that the national democratic movement and the broad masses of the people brace themselves against the worst and prepare for more resolute and militant struggles.
4. Tasks of the LFS
The current crisis of the world capitalist system and the domestic big comprador-landlord ruling system results in severe hardship and suffering for the student masses and the entire people. But the same crisis conditions also provide the fertile ground for developing the forces of the national democratic movement.
I urge the LFS to continue its fine tradition of building a patriotic and progressive student movement and fighting for the democratic rights and interests of the student masses as well as those of the entire Filipino people.
You must strive to consolidate your ranks through studies, tasking of members and checking their work. Consolidation leads to immediate and long-term expansion. In fact it means you expand the number of the most conscious and most militant members. As part of consolidation, the current pool of members is also required to recruit new members.
Of course, expansion is distinguishable from consolidation. It can refer clearly to the recruitment of so many members who are still to receive education more serious than what they have learned from some amount of propagit through short speeches and leaflets in the mass campaigns.
When you have more cadres, you are in a better position to maintain the virtuous cycle and lively rhythm of consolidation and expansion. The cadres take the lead in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the student masses. When you can draw more members from the greater number of student masses that you mobilize, you can be sure of waging struggles more strongly and more successfully.
You ought to be happy, rather than disappointed, when the cadres in the student movement move over to other progressive organizations. You simply have to recruit more members and develop more cadres every day, every week and every month. You have to design a plan for recruitment and for the development of cadres.
There is no time limit for being an activist of the entire national-democratic movement. But there is a time limit for being an enrolled student. The present crop of LFS members must recruit more members than before and develop more cadres than before.
I expect that LFS will continue to deliver more cadres and activists to other sectors and to other types of organizations. Everyone’s commitment to the people’s struggle for national liberation and democracy should be for a lifetime.
Furthermore, I hope that upon the basic completion of the new-democratic revolution, we shall have a truly independent, democratic, just, prosperous and progressive Philippines and we shall be able to move forward on the road of socialist revolution