Workers and toiling masses, fill the streets on May One!
To Filipino workers and toiling people, workers in factories and warehouses, storekeepers, waiters and cashiers in hotels and restaurants, salesladies in malls, haulers in piers, gig workmiers, call center agents and delivery servicemen, linemen, meter readers, carpenters, masons, painters and plumbers in construction, and to the millions working for a living and jobless people searching for work and a source of livelihood:
On May One, together with workers and toiling people across the world, let us fill the streets and demonstrate our unity, courage and determination to fight for our class interests, and for the people’s aspiration for freedom and democracy. With thunderous steps and collective cries, let us shake the foundations of foreign imperialist rule, in collusion with the ruling exploiting classes of big bourgeois compradors and big landlords, and the reigning oppressive state.
Amid the aggravation of the global capitalist crisis, workers suffer worse forms of exploitation that squeeze more value from their labor power. Capitalist shortchange workers of their labor power. Millions upon millions of workers receive minimum wages that are not enough to cover their daily cost of living and those of their families.
Through “flexible” employment schemes, from “labor only contracting” to the “quota system,” “work from home” arrangements and others, there is a growing gap between the wages being received by workers and the surplus values they create which capitalists accrue as profits. Using threats of dismissal, capitalists extend working hours to accumulate more value without corresponding compensation. Using machines and technologies, workers are stretched to their physical limits to accelerate the production and distribution of commodities. The basic rights to an eight-hour work day and just minimum wages equivalent to their daily needs are systematically being dismantled and trampled upon.
In the past six years under the Duterte regime, workers suffered one of the sharpest falls in living conditions due to anti-worker policies of wage freeze and repression. Minimum wages in the National Capital Region have not been increased over the past two years despite rising prices of fuel, food and other basic needs. Workers were duped by promises to end contractualization. On the contrary, worse forms of flexible employment emerged especially since the pandemic.
Underscoring their gross situation, less than 1% of Filipino workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements, after three decades of relentless attacks against their unions and rights. Orchestrated by the NTF-Elcac, armed state agents have targeted the remaining unions. Behind the veil of “counterinsurgency,” unionists and labor leaders are being killed, charged with false criminal accusations, imprisoned or subjected to endless harassment to make them turn against the interests of workers, silence and make them work for the state. Duterte used his tyrannical powers to suppress workers and intensify labor exploitation.
Foreign big companies take advantage of low wages of workers in semicolonial and semifeudal countries such as the Philippines. More than a century of imperialist rule saw the local economy crippled by the plunder and rapacity of foreign capitalists, in connivance with local bourgeois compradors and landlords. They exploited and kept the backward state of agriculture and prevented industrialization and independent economic development. There are no national industries to manufacture the country’s needs and to generate employment. The Philippines was tied to the global capitalist system and made dependent on foreign debt and investments. This is set to worsen with the recent laws approved by Duterte that are geared towards all-out liberalization and providing incentives to foreign capitalists.
Filipino workers undergo extreme sufferings and intensified exploitation and oppression in the face of non-stop increases in prices, low wages and wage cuts, increasingly onerous taxes, and widespread unemployment. They have an intensifying desire to get organized, take action and fight for their rights and the welfare of the entire people.
Filipino workers: Never surrender to hunger, suffering and oppression! Rise up and fight!
Persevere in the life-and-death struggle to build or rebuild labor unions to bring together their power to fight for what is theirs. Decisively increase the number and size of unions to unite more and more workers. Resist and overcome threats, violence, bribery and all maneuvers by capitalists to undermine workers unity. Sharpen the weapons of struggle such as strikes, pickets and other forms of collective action.
Workers must strive to advance the struggle for higher wages in order that they can provide enough food and a decent life to their families.
Oppose the various schemes of flexibilization. Struggle to end the system of contractualization and fight for job regularization. Push for the recognition or restoration of workers’ right to paid 8-hour working day and put an end to the quota and piece-rate system in all its various forms.
The Filipino working class must show their unity this coming May One. Fill the streets and march from factories and communities and congregate in public squares to raise the collective voices of workers and people. Recall the important role played by the working class and the strike movement in the 1970s in shattering the fear that prevailed during martial law under the Marcos dictatorship.
Link the economic struggles of workers to the struggle against Duterte’s fascist, pro-imperialist and anti-worker tyranny, including the call to repudiate the Marcos-Duterte electoral tandem, and the major struggles after the elections.
On May One, a few days before the May 9 elections, workers must reinforce their determination to push without letup their struggle for wage increases, regularization and right to build unions, as well as their demand to make Duterte and his accomplices accountable and punished for crimes of fascist terrorism, and the struggle of the people for genuine freedom, democracy and justice.
Across the world, workers’ struggles and strikes are erupting in different countries in Europe, in Latin and North America, in Asia and Africa to fight intensifying exploitation and suffering amid the worsening global crisis of capitalism. Let us celebrate the victories of workers in different parts of the achieved through building their unions and mounting strikes.
The Communist Party must strive to widen and deepen its roots in factories and workers’ communities. Build, expand and increase the number of Party branches and recruit and train communist cadres in their numbers to serve as the masses’ pillars and leaders in their struggles. Rouse more and more workers to become Red fighters and join the revolutionary armed struggle. Untiringly raise the consciousness of workers to take the path of national democracy and socialism.