Congress of BAYAN USA speech by Prof Jose Maria Sison on international situation
Chairperson, ILPS International Coordinating Committee Beloved compatriots and friends,
We, the International Coordinating Committee and the entirety of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), convey militant greetings of anti-imperialist solidarity to ILPS member-organization BAYAN-USA, to its leadership, its member-organizations and all the delegates to its Third Congress.
We congratulate all of you for your accumulated and current political and organizational accomplishments in the service of the Filipino communities in the USA and the entire Filipino people who are struggling for national liberation and democracy against US imperialism and the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords in the Philippines.
We take this opportunity to express best wishes to the Filipino women who are participating in this congress and are all set to hold tomorrow the founding assembly of Gabriela-USA. This consolidation of women’s organizations is a further strengthening of the BAYAN-USA and the national democratic movement of Filipinos in the US.
My assignment is to present to you the international situation. Within the time allotted, I can give you some salient points. We can further discuss these in the open forum.
Global Financial and Economic Crisis
As the reality shows, the dogma of the “free market” is a big lie of monopoly capitalism. The US-instigated policy of “neoliberal globalization” has unravelled. It has not at all solved the problem of the chronic tendency of monopoly capitalism to stagnate and go into recurrent and ever worsening cycles of boom and bust. It has led to the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Even if called a recession by some, the current crisis has already reached the depth, duration and direction of a depression, far beyond the definition of a recession as a fall of the GDP in two consecutive quarters. The financial markets have drastically fallen and continue to plunge further despite the trillions of dollars already poured out as bailout for the giant investment and commercial banks and other financial institutions since 2007. The real economy has deteriorated rapidly as a consequence of the financial collapse.
The crisis of overproduction and that of capital overaccumulation in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie, especially the finance oligarchy, are wreaking havoc on the lives of the people. In the tens of millions, the people in the US who belong to the working class and middle class have lost their jobs due to plant closures and retrenchment; their homes due to the mortgage meltdown and mass layoffs; their pension funds and savings due to the series of bubbles and investment scams; and their social benefits which have in the first place been reduced and rendered inadequate over the decades.
The current grave crisis has been three decades in the making and cannot be solved in the short or medium term. It will run for a much longer period of time. It comes from the accumulation and extreme aggravation of the fundamental problems characteristic of monopoly capitalism in a series of worsening crises since the adoption of the policy of “neoliberal globalization”.
The US monopoly bourgeoisie has adopted this policy on the notion that the phenomenon of stagflation of the 1970s was due to rising wage levels and government social spending and not due to such problems as the inherent tendency of monopoly capitalism to overproduce and stagnate; the economic recovery of war-ravaged Europe and Japan; US market concessions to anti-communist allies; and the demand pull inflation generated by heavy spending on military production, overseas deployment of US military forces and wars of aggression in Korea and Indochina.
The US policymakers have negated the New Deal of Roosevelt, Keynesianism and even the Samuelson notion of mixing state intervention and free enterprise. They have upheld the notion that inflation is prevented and economic growth is promoted by pushing down wage levels, cutting back on government social spending and letting the monopoly bourgeoisie accumulate more capital and make bigger profits. The job of the federal authorities is supposedly to simply manipulate the interest rates and the money supply and leave the market to “self-regulation”.
The policy of “neoliberal globalization” involves trade and investment liberalization; privatization of public assets; deregulation of financial markets and lifting of social safeguards regarding the exploitation of the workers, women, children and the environment; and the denationalization of the underdeveloped economies. In any case of serious crisis, the job of federal authorities is supposedly to simply helicopter the money and to pour it on the problem. There is supposed to be no problem that cannot be solved by adjusting the interest rate and expanding the money supply and credit.
But ultimately there is a limit to debt financing . Beyond that limit is the grave financial crisis that has burst out in the US and spread to the rest of the world like a plague. The debts of the US government, the financial and nonfinancial corporations and the households have reached unsustainable or unrepayable levels and are causing the financial and economic system to implode.
The US national debt has become overly large and unsustainable because of the mounting interest payments for the US securities in the hands of foreign creditors; because of the ever growing trade deficits arising from the outsourcing of consumer manufactures in cheap labor countries and the scheme to press down wage levels within the US; and because of the budgetary deficits arising from the growth of the parasitic bureaucracy and military expenditures for weapons development and production, global deployment of US military forces and the wars of aggression in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The giant financial and nonfinancial corporations have connived in piling up US corporate debt to the most unbearable levels. They have been responsible for the financialization of the US economy and the overaccumulation of finance capital in the hands of a few. They engage in the unbridled creation of money, credit and derivatives, the wanton issuance of corporate bonds, the overvaluation of the assets of the monopoly bourgeoisie, the making of financial bubbles and manipulation of the stock and housing markets to rob the working class and middle class of their savings. In addition to being subjected to the massive replacement of regular jobs with part time jobs and the lowering of wage and income levels, the US households have been victimized by various forms of debt financing.
They are bound to loans for housing, cars, student tuition and consumption in general through the credit card. The worst scam ever inflicted systematically on the majority of US households is in connection with the housing bubble. They were inveigled to go into mortgage contracts at teaser rates and then into high consumption upon the temporary rise of housing values from 2002 to 2005. This scam has been far more devastating to US households than the high tech bubble of 1995 to 2000 when 40 per cent of them bought into the stock market. At the moment, the US households have savings close to zero and the pension funds in 401-K have been ravaged.
Depending on practically the same bureaucrats who are agents of Wall Street, the Bush regime and the current Obama regime have moved on the same track of bailing out first of all the giant banks with public money supposedly to deal with the bad loans and thaw out the credit freeze. The banks have used the money only to pump their assets but have not resumed lending in any big way mainly because the producer firms of any size are not borrowing to produce more in a situation of glut relative to dwindled demand. The Big 3 in car production have received public money as bailout. But they have proceeded anyway to lay off workers and reduce production after requiring the unions to accept lower wages and less benefits.
The Obama regime has hyped as bailout for the working class trifling amounts in relation to the actual needs and in comparison to the trillions of dollars already delivered to the big banks and other financial institutions since 2007. Such bailout is sham because it comes too late and too little and is actually for the benefit of the private corporations. There are no adequate and effective relief measures for the millions of people who have lost their jobs, homes, savings and social benefits.
There is actually no program of job creation despite much touting about projects in infrastructure, green energy, expanded health care and other social services to be undertaken within the budgetary frame of various departments of government, supposedly to stimulate demand and production. The limited funds for the projects are slated to be funnelled to and filtered by the profit-making and labor cost-cutting private corporations. There is yet nothing like the emergency jobs program of the Work Projects Administration of the 1930s which, by the way, could not really overcome the Great Depression.
The persistent neoliberal bias of the US monopoly bourgeoisie, especially the financial oligarchy and the Democratic and Republican duopoly, prevents economic recovery in the US within a few years’ time. There is no comprehensive plan to revive production and re-employ the millions of workers who have been laid off. As the US economy slides further into the Greater Depression, the world capitalist system follows. Nevertheless, there would be further adverse consequences for other countries were the US to revive its manufacturing capacity for export and cut down its imports from China, Japan, Europe and others in order to overcome its huge trade deficit and foreign debt.
Sharpening of Major Contradictions in the World
Within the US, the monopoly bourgeoisie has successfully carried out a fierce class struggle to exploit and oppress the working class, together with the rest of the people. It has babbled about being against state intervention in the economy. But in fact it has used the state to impose the policy of “neoliberal globalization” on the economy and society and to press down wage levels and cut back on social spending. It has used legislation, court decisions and the law-enforcement agencies to attack the trade union and democratic rights of the working class. It has also used the mass media, schools and other persuasive means to discredit, undermine and weaken the working class movement. It has exploited and oppressed the working class in bringing about the current grave financial and economic crisis. Now, it is raising the level of exploitation and oppression as it invokes the crisis to take more and more public money and blocks the public sector from adopting and implementing a comprehensive economic plan to revive production and generate stable jobs.
The contradiction between the US monopoly bourgeoisie and the working class is sharpening as the crisis deepens and worsens. Subjected to rapidly rising levels of unemployment, homelessness and various forms of social deprivation, the working class is impelled to fight back, assert its democratic rights, reject the inhuman system of capitalism and aim for socialism.
Social discontent is already sweeping the US. It is bound to burst out in the form of concerted mass actions to demand jobs and real solutions to the crisis and to protest the outpouring of public money for the bailout of the monopoly banks and firms and for continuing the US wars of aggression and various forms of military intervention. The monopoly bourgeoisie is bound to repress the mass movement and to try deceiving the people about the roots of the crisis with the slogans of chauvinism, racism, anti-terrorism and warmongering. But this time conditions are favorable not only for advancing the progressive mass movement but also for building the party that aims for socialism.
In the other imperialist countries, engulfed by the crisis that has spread from its US epicenter, the contradiction between the monopoly bourgeoisie and the working class has sharpened even more dramatically than in the US. The ruling parties and coalitions that have closely followed the US-instigated policy of “neoliberal globalization” are now the target of widespread mass actions, including nationwide workers’ strikes and protest actions by the people in general. The rising sentiment of the people has turned favorable to parties that denounce monopoly capitalism and call for socialism. Karl Marx is gaining popularity.
The US is thoroughly discredited as the instigator of a failed global economic policy, as an extremely overborrowing country, as a purveyor of financial toxins and as an imperialist superpower that is militarily arrogant and aggressive but running short of financial resources. The IMF has also become ineffective as a US tool because it is practically bankrupt and has to beg for funds from several sources other than the US. The conspicuous financial and economic weakening of the US hegemon has emboldened other imperialist powers like Russia, France and Germany, to openly criticize its longstanding dominance and to demand multilateral relations on an equal footing in matters of the economy, finance, trade and security.
Among the imperialist powers, the trend of multipolarization is visibly growing. Contradictions are in fact sharpening and generating a struggle for a redivision of the world. Several other imperialist powers resent the propensity of the US to engage in overborrowing, to have a stranglehold over sources of fossil fuel and other strategic materials, markets and fields of investments and to monopolize the spoils of so-called free trade and wars of aggression.
To try solving the financial and economic crisis in their respective countries, the imperialist powers are inclined to pursue the strategy of using temporary jobs and relief measures to stimulate demand, absorb the existing inventory of goods and ultimately to revive and expand national production that generates stable jobs. The trend is thus set for the intensification of inter-imperialist economic competition and political rivalry. It is too difficult or even impossible for the US to wrest back its unquestioned economic and political dominance as either in the period of 1945 to 1975 or the more recent period of “neoliberal globalization”.
Hearing the slogan of Buy America in connection with the US plan to overcome the current crisis, Europe and Japan as well as China, the biggest supplier of cheap consumer manufactures to the US, are worried about the drastic reduction of US imports and have expressed fears about the danger of protectionism. China the top “newly-emergent market” has been hit hard by the bankruptcy and closure of the export-oriented sweatshops and private construction projects. Social unrest there is growing due to the deteriorating economic situation and rampant bureaucratic corruption.
Aside from the drastic fall in demand for its exports, China has expressed its worry about the US in further bloating the bubble in US treasury bonds and ultimately devaluing the US currency and the US treasury bonds in order to promote US exports and cut down the US foreign debt. At the same time, China has reduced its imports faster than its exports have fallen, thus still showing a trade surplus. On the other hand, the US is worried about China’s economic and diplomatic activities that veer away from the US policy in East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and Africa. In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines is very much involved in or affected by the policies and activities of the US, China, Japan, North and South Korea, ASEAN and Australia.
The peoples and nations oppressed by foreign monopoly capitalism and the local reactionaries in the underdeveloped and retrogressive countries of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe suffer most from the economic and social devastation wrought by the current financial and economic crisis. The overwhelming majority of them are dependent on raw material exports. Only a few of them export some consumer semi-manufactures and some basic industrial products.
The demand for all these exports have abruptly fallen. At the same time, the unprecedented global credit crunch makes it difficult for the underdeveloped countries to cover their chronic accounts deficits, import necessities and service their accumulated foreign debt. The imperialist countries are repatriating or barring migrant workers and thus reducing the remittances of such workers to their underdeveloped countries.
The economies of the underdeveloped countries are far more depressed than ever before.
The rate of unemployment is rapidly rising. Incomes of the toiling masses of workers and peasants and the middle social strata are falling. The prices of basic commodities are rising. Social services are deteriorating or dwindling for the working people. The imperialists and the local exploiting classes have become ever more oppressive and exploitative.
In most of the underdeveloped countries, the local rulers have become even more servile to the imperialists and exceeded previous levels of corruption and brutality, as in the case of the US-directed Arroyo regime. In certain countries, however, the patriotic and progressive forces and the broad masses of the people motivate and enable the governments to stand for national independence and general welfare against imperialism and the worst reactionaries.
The broad masses of the people suffer from the terrible crisis and the escalating levels of oppression and exploitation. They are waging various forms of struggle for national liberation and democracy against the imperialists and the local exploiting classes. Protest mass actions demanding national and social liberation are sweeping entire countries and continents. The people are waging the fiercest forms of resistance against aggression and occupation, as in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Armed national liberation movements are growing in strength and advancing in an ever increasing number of countries. The Maoist parties are exemplary in leading people’s wars and winning victories.
US imperialism is already anticipating the upsurge of people’s resistance on a global scale. Speaking before the US Senate select committee on intelligence last month, the director of national intelligence retired Adm. Dennis Blair warned that the deepening economic crisis posed the greatest danger to the stability and security of the world capitalist system and that it could trigger a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s. Wall Street has brought about the crisis that is pushing state terrorism and imperialist war as well as inciting the people of the world to wage revolution.
Conclusion: The Filipino People’s Struggle in Global Context
I hope that my brief presentation can help you comprehend not only the international situation as such but also the struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and democracy in the context of the international situation. The Filipino people in their homeland as well as the Filipino communities in the US and other foreign countries are severely affected by the current financial and economic crisis. We in the ICC of the ILPS call on BAYAN USA to intensify its efforts in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Filipinos in the US in order to uphold, defend and promote their rights and interests and to support the struggle of the people in the motherland for national liberation and democracy.
We urge you to contribute to the common struggle of the people of the world against imperialism and reaction and advance international solidarity, mutual support and cooperation in fighting for a new and better world of greater freedom, democracy, social justice, all-round development and peace.
Mabuhay ang BAYAN-USA! Isulong ang pakikibaka para sa pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya! Ibagsak ang imperialismong US at rehimeng Arroyo! Mabuhay ang lahat ng kababayan sa US! Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!
NOW! Also available at Housemans Bookshop - London telephone orders contact the shop by phone (020 7837 4473), or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marxism against Market Socialism available at Housemans from 10th April at 7 pounds per copy telephone orders or contact the shop by phone (020 7837 4473), or e-mail email@example.com