By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
14 December 2011
On behalf of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), I wish to express warmest greetings of solidarity to the overseas Filipino workers, their families and advocates that constitute Migrante International as a global alliance and as a volunteer organization founded in 1996.
We address our message to the more than 90 member-organizations of Migrante International in more than 22 countries, to its local organizations in the Philippines and to the Home Office consisting of committed and competent volunteer network of former OFWs, their families and advocates from various walks of life.
We share your joy in celebrating 15 years of struggles and victories in the service of Filipino migrant workers and their families along a patriotic and democratic line. The Filipino migrant workers have excelled in organizing themselves to confront the problems in their plight and to fight resolutely and militantly for their rights and welfare. They have thus formed Migrante International and its chapters as their bulwarks.
The congress gives you the opportunity to reinvigorate your unity and militancy and to sum up and analyze your experience, identify your strengths and weakness and set forth the tasks for continuing and bringing the struggle to a new and higher level. We congratulate in advance all the recipients of Gawad Migrante for rendering outstanding service. We also happily look forward to your rally celebrating the International Migrants’ Day.
More than ever before Migrante International and its chapters are needed because migrant workers and their families are increasingly being squeezed by two pincers; namely, the crisis of the world capitalist system and the crisis of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system.
The neoliberal policy of pseudo-free market globalization has brought about a crisis of the world capitalist system that is as bad as the Great Depression and, in certain respects, far worse. Host economies of migrant workers are afflicted by stagnant or negative rates of growth, high rates of unemployment, rising prices of basic goods and services and reduced government spending for social services and benefits.
The US and other advanced capitalist countries have spent public money heavily to bail out the big banks and corporations that in the first place caused the economic and financial crisis and continue to give tax cuts and other benefits to corporations and the wealthy. Now faced by a crisis of public deficits and public debt, they are adopting austerity measures at the expense of the working people.
The worsening economic and social conditions in the host countries of migrant workers tend to further tighten and restrict the entry of migrant workers. They may not suddenly stop the entry of the migrant workers completely, because countries with aging populations and stagnant population growth rates, need immigrants and migrant workers to keep the economy going, but certainly those allowed entry are vulnerable to worse wage and living conditions and violations of their democratic rights.
The worsening economic and social conditions also lead to political conditions and legislation and law enforcement that are increasingly unfavorable to migrant workers. The monopoly bourgeoisie and financial oligarchy encourage right-wing parties and movements to grow. These in turn generate a political and social climate unfriendly to immigrants and migrant workers as they obfuscate and conceal the roots of the crisis in the internal laws of motion of capitalism by whipping up chauvinism, racial discrimination, religious bigotry and war hysteria.
In certain capitalist countries, the working class, youth and other people are launching mass protests against imperialism and finance monopoly capitalism. In the Middle East and North Africa, the people have been rising up to demand democracy against authoritarian governments and the imperialist powers are trying to redirect the course of events in their favor. At certain times in certain countries, evacuations of migrant workers have occurred.
It is necessary for Migrante International to become ever more vigilant and militant in defending the rights and welfare of the migrant workers and in developing solidarity relations with the workers and people of the host countries and with various enlightened forces and institutions.
You must demand that the payments that migrant workers make to the reactionary state must not be misused and malversed but used to help the migrant workers, especially when they suffer violations of contract and rights, maltreatment, injury or death, false accusations and trafficking and the effects of social disorder and wars. At the same time, you must avail of the aid and mutual support made possible by the anti-imperialist solidarity of workers and peoples.
It is ironical that while the crisis of global capitalism works against the rights and interests of the migrant workers in the host countries, its ruinous impact on the underdeveloped countries like the Philippines from which the migrant workers come puts more people out of work and thus increases unemployed people driven to seek employment abroad. The vicious circle continues in an even more vicious way, as both the crisis of global capitalism and the crisis of the Philippine ruling system worsen.
Concretely, the crisis of global capitalism has resulted in reduced orders for the kind of exports that the Philippines produces; i.e., raw materials and semi-manufactures, in soaring costs of imported fuel and consumer goods, in the bursting of the private construction boom, in decreased remittances by overseas contract workers and in higher costs of debt service and accessing new foreign loans.
The Philippine reactionary state has grievously continued and deepened the agrarian, semi-feudal and underdeveloped character character of the economy. It has failed to use the large foreign exchange earnings of the migrant workers in past decades to acquire capital goods for the national industrialization of the Philippines but has used such earnings to finance the luxury importations of the big compradors and landlords and the proliferation of shopping malls selling imported goods.
The growing ranks of the unemployed and underemployed in the Philippines are now caught between the hard rock of underdevelopment, economic depression and the ever worsening conditions of poverty in the Philippines and deep blue sea of worsening conditions of economic stagnation and rising unemployment abroad.
It is necessary for the Migrante International not only to look after the rights and interests of the migrant workers abroad and the families they leave behind in the Philippines but also to demand the assertion of national independence, empowerment of the working people and economic development through land reform and national industrialization so that Filipinos do not have to leave their families and their country at great social and psychological cost and face the rigors, difficulties and uncertainties abroad.
Given the choice and opportunity, Filipinos will always choose to stay in their own country to help in the development of a just and progressive economy and to stay with their own families and take care of their own children instead of serving as domestic helpers,care givers and nannies abroad. The reactionary puppet state and the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords are culpable for the sad plight of the migrant workers. It is necessary for the Migrante International to fight for national independence, democracy, industrial development , social justice and international solidarity for peace.###