Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Dec. 26, 1996 issue of Workers World newspaper
San Francisco - The people's movement in the Philippines was the subject of a well-attended public meeting held here Dec. 15.
"The Philippines has dropped out of the U.S. media. We haven't heard much since the rise of Cory Aquino and 'People's Power'," said Robyn Rodriguez, an activist with the League of Filipino Students. The reality is, however, that the struggles there are, if anything, heating up.
Rodriguez, Rachel R. Redondiez and John Peter Daly were featured speakers at the event, sponsored by the International Action Center and the National People's Campaign. Their talks exposed what has been hidden by the corporate media here in the United States.
The three were part of a U.S. delegation that traveled to the Philippines in November. Redondiez is an organizer with Hotel Employees Local 2 as well as a League of Filipino Students activist. Daly, a Workers World Party member who just ran for Congress in Los Angeles on the Peace and Freedom ticket, is an activist with the International Action Center.
While in the Philippines the three attended the Anti- Imperialist World Peasant Summit, held in Manila to oppose the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the capitalist class's global grab for profits.
More than 200 activists from people's organizations around the globe attended the event. They also joined marches, rallies and a caravan despite government harassment, military checkpoints, and in some cases deportation.
Rodriguez described the parallels between the governments of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and current President Fidel Ramos. She also dispelled the myth that Corazon Aquino, the first president after Marcos was ousted, was different in substance.
And she explained why Washington needs repressive governments abroad.
"What's important to remember about militaristic regimes like the [Marcos] regime, even the Cory Aquino regime and currently the Ramos regime is that this is not in fact an anomaly, but what's normal in the global capitalist order. This is what's required for capitalist expansion," Rodriguez said.
"One of the provisions of APEC is to open up the whole Cordillera region [the mountains of central Luzon] for foreign ownership. Ramos is offering them water rights, timber rights--meaning they can plunder this environment, the indigenous home of small mining communities."
Redondiez gave other examples of the devastating affects APEC has had at almost every level of Filipino society and how imperialism's attempts to expand are feeding a growing national-liberation movement.
Daly explained the history of U.S. domination of the Philippines--and the responsibility that places on the progressive and working-class movement in the United States.
"Whoever I met with," he said, "the one question that was on the minds of Filipino people, what they looked to most in the fight against foreign and U.S. domination--was the solidarity and potential for solidarity from the workers' and people's movements here in the United States.
"Their hope is [that] the growing consciousness resulting from the conditions in the U.S.--from downsizing, layoffs, elimination of people's rights, attacks on affirmative action, immigrants' rights, labor and all sectors of society--will bring about the basis for links of struggles in the U.S. with the struggles worldwide."
Gloria La Riva, Workers World Party's 1996 vice-presidential candidate, saluted the New Peoples Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
La Riva noted that when Corazon Aquino ran for president against Marcos in 1986, moderates in the Filipino movement put great pressure on the NPA and CPP to give up the armed struggle. They refused, and continued to fight.
La Riva said: "It was the NPA and CPP that understood that power remained very much in the hands of the U.S. ruling class and their puppet Filipino rulers. It is because of their continuance of the struggle in the Philippines that there is a strong movement to salute today."
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