Imperialism, national liberation and socialism
Published May 26, 2006 6:23 PM
WW photo: Liz Green
Following are excerpts from an official BAYAN-USA statement presented by
Berna Ellorin at the May 13-14 “Preparing for the Rebirth of the Global
Struggle for Socialism” conference.
I am a representative
of Bayan, the national alliance of people’s organizations in the
Philippines that serves as the political center for the national democratic
movement for genuine freedom and sovereignty with a socialist perspective.
Within the Bayan alliance, I am also a member of Migrante International, the
largest alliance of overseas Filipino organizations that strug gles for the
rights and welfare of our overseas Filipino compatriots while fully integrated
in the overall Philippine national democratic movement against imperialism,
feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
In over three decades of the
Philippine government’s relentless pursuit of the Labor Export Program, we
now have over 8 million Filipinos toiling in 182 counties throughout the world.
This is now equivalent to 10 percent of our entire population. Of these 8
million, approximately 4 million live and work in the United States.
average of 60,000 Filipinos enter the U.S. every year, composing the third
largest immigrant community in the U.S. after Mexicans and Chinese. Over 60
percent of migrant Filipinos are women. Most take up work as domestic workers,
nannies, care givers, service workers, entertainers, nurses, teachers. Many
women are trafficked in the sex trade, or migrate as mail-order brides.
2005, out of a total of 11 billion U.S. dollars in total remittances back to the
Philippine economy, $6 billion was generated from Filipinos in the U.S. The
Philippines remains not only amongst the top three labor-sending countries in
the world, but the most remittance-dependent economy in the world.
imperialist globalization, under the implementation of the International
Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, and the puppetry
of virtually all Philippine presidents in history, imposed and facilitated
“structural adjustment” on the economies of our so-called
In the Philippines, this has resulted in
the development of the “export-oriented, import-dependent” economy,
wherein the nation’s export of cheap but vast raw materials to
industrialized nations for processing is coupled with dependence on highly
expensive, processed imported goods.
rather than the misleading term “underdevelopment” results in
chronic economic crisis characterized by chronic deficit, which leads to endless
debt. While the billions raked in by the sweat of Overseas Filipino Workers
—OFWs—keep the crippled Philippine economy afloat in the absence of
industry, nearly 95 percent of remittance intake goes toward debt servicing to
pay off the Philip pine government’s international loans.
semi-feudal and semi-colonial conditions in the Philippines have kept the
country’s basic mode of production—agriculture—backward to the
extent that cultivating land for today’s farmers still bears striking
resemblance to the cultivation of land in the 15th century under classical
Hence it is this chronic semi-colonial and semi-feudal
condition that has resulted in an average of 3,000 Filipinos leaving the
Philippines every day, just to look for work—the phenomenon of forced, not
The displacement of peoples from labor-sending
neocolonies to fulfill the cheap labor demands of capitalist and imper ialist
nations such as the U.S. is principally an imperialist act of aggression and the
height of class oppression within the borders of a monopoly capitalist country.
As progressives and class-conscious people, we integrate with what has
proven itself to be the truly and deeply mass issue for a large portion of the
democratic sectors in the U.S. But we must also recognize that the current
momentum of the immigrant rights movement, which is not at all a new movement,
against the current capitalist-serving U.S. immigration system, must not end
with the struggle for immigration reforms.
The democratic sectors of the
American people, particularly the most oppressed recipients of imperialist class
oppression within the working class non-immigrant communities, must struggle
alongside their new immigrant sisters and brothers.
“contain” the struggle for immigrant rights within the immigrant
community alone would be a mistake, and frankly, would serve the interest of the
capitalist state that takes delight in and laughs at divisions sown amongst the
ranks of the oppressed masses.
As the overwhelming majority of new
immigrants in this country are low-wage to no-wage workers, solidarity within
the immigrant, Black, and White working class positions us all for genuine
advances in the class struggle in this country.
Whether you are an
immigrant from Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe or elsewhere, I know the
conditions that drove your exodus to the U.S. under the current world
imperialist crisis are similar.
I would like to salute the framework under
which this conference was conceived: preparing the world for the rebirth of the
global struggle for socialism.
For the Philippine movement, the struggle
for national democracy with a socialist perspective was born over 30 years
We have always believed, even as overseas Filipinos, that our biggest
contribution to the world struggle against imperialism is to win our national
liberation struggle. At the same time, we build the highest unities with other
peoples’ movements through bilateral and multilateral relationships,
seeking the most advanced elements against U.S. imperialism.
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