Presentation at the Forum on Global Trends and the Philippine Political System at the University of the Philippines Baguio, November 28, 2013
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of People’s Struggle
Good afternoon! I thank the Alliance of Concerned Students, ANAKBAYAN and League of Filipino Students for inviting me to this forum as the speaker. I am happy to join you in celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the great Andres Bonifacio and the 49th founding anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan.
I am tasked to present the global trends and the Philippine political system before I receive and answer the questions in this forum.
A. Global Trends
1. The crisis of global capitalism and global depression continue, especially because the imperialist powers stick to the neoliberal economic policy. This has accelerated the accumulation and concentration of capital in the hands of the few through the intensified exploitation of labor, the liberalization of investment, trade and finance, privatization of public assets, anti-social and anti-environment deregulation and denationalization of the underdeveloped economies.
2. Rising mass unemployment and prolonged economic stagnation are the result of the crisis of overproduction and bursting of financial bubbles. The economic and financial crisis is further aggravated by the so-called quantitative easing or wanton printing of money by the US to cover its public deficits. Industrial capitalist countries generally have adopted austerity measures in a vain attempt to reduce their public deficits and solve their debt problem. Thus, they pass the burden of crisis to the people and aggravate the crisis of the entire economy.
3. The imperialist powers step up war production and launch wars of aggression. They consider these as stimulus to economic growth, while they consider spending for social services as counterproductive. Maintaining military superiority through more advanced weaponry, the deployment of military forces and wars of aggression is aimed at protecting and promoting foreign investments.
4. The imperialist countries whip up reactionary currents like chauvinism, racism, religious bigotry, fascism and warmongering in their home grounds to deflect the people’s attention from the capitalist roots of the crisis. The monopoly bourgeoisie and its financial oligarchy conceal their responsibility for the crisis through their control of the mass media and the dominant political parties.
5. To override contradictions among themselves, the imperialist powers unite against the third world countries and peoples and shift the burden of crisis to them through intensified superexploitation, lopsided trade, currency imposition, international usury, intensified plunder and ruin of the environment. .
6. The third world peoples are resisting. Mass protests are occurring daily all over the world. Those who are waging armed struggles against foreign domination and the local exploiting classes have the best chances of achieving national amd social liberation. Some third world states assert national independence: DPRK, Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and Iran. They are resisting threats, provocations and blockades.
7. Despite their efforts to unite at the expense of the third world, the imperialist powers are hard pressed by the crisis. There is less space for mutual accommodation among the imperialist powers due to the addition of China and Russia. Thus, inter-imperialist contradictions are growing over economic, trade, financial, political, security, spying and environment issues.
8. The combination of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa ( BRICS) has arisen as an economic bloc. It contributes to the multipolarity of the global economy against the vain attempts of the US to maintain hegemony over all. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has also arisen as a countervailing force to the US and NATO, especially in Asia.
9. The US has created politico-military quagmires for itself in West Asia, North Africa, Central Asia and South Asia and has potential trouble spots elsewhere but is pivoting to East Asia in an apparent move to contain China. The US is showing off its military power to push the Chinese authorities to further privatize state-owned enterprises and to encourage the Chinese bureaucracy to drop their residual pretenses at socialism.
10. In connection with its pivot to East Asia, the US is further entrenching itself in the Philippines militarily and otherwise. In effect, the US has gotten back military bases under the guise of rotating ever larger military forces and accelerating the comings and goings of aircraft carriers and other vessels of war.
B. The Philippine Political System
1. The crisis of global capitalism certainly afflicts the Philippine economy. Exports (especially semiconductors) have been drastically reduced. Low–value added semimanufacturing and assembly plants have shut. Agricultural production has decreased. Over-dependence on call centers or business processing outsourcing (BPO) and labor exports & remittances of OCW can only aggravate the underdevelopment of the country. Unemployment is increasing rapidly. Prices of basic commodities and services are rising. Social services are decreasing and deteriorating.
The extraction of mineral ores is accelerated but these are being smuggled out . At the same time, luxury imports are being smuggled in. OCW remittances and BPO incomes are at risk. Budgetary and trade deficits are widening. The foreign and local debt burden is becoming heavier. OCW remittances from most countries are decreasing but appear to grow only because of nurse and caregiver remittances from North America.
2. The Aquino regime boasts of having the fastest growing economy in the whole world. But what is really the content of the GDP of 250 billion USD. It is a lie to claim a miracle economy when there is no industrialization going on. The GDP is a bubble created mainly by hot money (portfolio investments) in the carry trade and wanton government borrowing and spending for nonproductive purposes. The hot money from abroad flows mainly into the stock market and at best finances a growing overcapacity and bubble in private construction.
A real estate bubble is now being replicated in the Philippines. Even families of OCWs with short term contracts have been teased into buying condos on mortgage. The bubble can burst any time soon due to the rise of interest rates in the imperialist countries, a bust in the China bubble or a sharp fall of OCWs due to wars or social disorder abroad.
3. The underdeveloped, agrarian and semi-feudal character of the economy, dominated by the imperialists, big compradors, landlords and bureaucrat capitalists, has been aggravated and deepened in he absence of genuine land reform and national industrialization.
4. As a consequence, the Philippine political system remains ever more the instrument of the US and the local exploiting classes of big comprador and landlords through the bureaucrat capitalists who themselves are members of the exploiting classes or come from the urban petty bourgeoisie and know no better than to improve their economic and social standing. The ruling system has been weakened by the privatization of its earning assets, the ever worsening crisis and by unbridled bureaucratic corruption.
5. The bureaucrat capitalists amass private wealth in the form of capital and land by using their government offices for the purpose. They are divided into factions that take the form of political parties and coalitions and compete for power and the spoils of power. There was the duopoly of the Nacionalista amd Liberal parties before the Marcos monopoly through the KBL. Now, there is a multiplicity of parties dedicated to bureaucrat capitalism. In any case, the parties use the elections for peaceful rotation in the occupation of offices and for creating the illusion that the people have the freedom of choice. The latest feature of the reactionary elections is the adoption of the automated electoral system and its manipulation by a cabal of foreigners and big compradors.
6. The elections are used to formalize the exclusion of the genuine representatives of the toiling masses of workers and peasants (more than 90 per cent of the people) who are earlier excluded by surveillance and vilification by the security services and bourgeois mass media and by the high financial costs of running an electoral campaign. As a result of a Supreme Court decision, the big comprador-landlord dynasties and parties will block any progressive urban petty bourgeois to win a congressional seat through the party list system.
7. The bureaucrat capitalists amass wealth by favoring their campaign financiers, relatives and cronies with economic privileges, by adopting policies and rules for the purpose and by cutting into business contracts and government appropriations (especially with the use of the pork barrel system). Currently, the Filipino people are outraged by the corruption involved in the manipulation of pork barrel funds like those under PDAP and DAP and in the disappearance of calamity funds, so badly needed now by millions of disaster-stricken people in the Visayas.
8. The Philippine political system has been so designed that government officials are rewarded through the corrupt practices of bureaucrat capitalism for preserving and promoting the dominance for foreign monopoly capitalism and the exploiting classes and for betraying national sovereignty, auctioning off the national patrimony and for making constitutional amendments and laws that favor the foreign monopoly investors and the local exploiters.
9. Aquino was previously touted as the icon of good governance and economic growth. This kind of BS is in connection with the US scheme of combining psywar, intelligence and brutal military operations under Oplan Bayanihan to destroy the revolutionary movement. Thus, he was unwilling to have serious peace negotiations with the NDFP on basic social, economic and political problems and, if only to insult the NDFP, practically demanded the scrapping of all previous agreements and the surrender and pacification of the revolutionary forces and people under the guise of an indefinite ceasefire.
10. The Aquino regime is depending on US military intervention for the perpetuation of the oppressive, exploitative and corrupt ruling system. Thus, it welcomes every move of the US to entrench its military forces and expand US economic, political and cultural dominance in the Philippines. It is betraying and violating the national sovereignty of the people, selling out the national patrimony and letting the US use the Philippines as a base of aggression in East Asia and as a base of rapid deployment on a wider scale.###