THE LABOR MOVEMENT
(Speech delivered in Pilipino before the 64th Anniversary Conference of
Union de Impresores de Filipinas on February 6, 1966; published in English
in Progressive Review No.9)
Labor and the Philippine Revolution
A REVIEW OF PHILIPPINE HISTORY will show that the Filipino proletariat
emerged before a determined national liberation movement could be formed.
The Katipunan was initially based among city workers and it was steered by
a leadership epitomized by Andres Bonifacio.
The revolutionary movement included the shipyard workers and warehousemen
whose considerable number signified the great impact of the opening of the
Suez Canal and the opening of the ports of Manila to foreign trade since
1815. Commerce and liberal ideas came to the country more easily and
stirred a trend towards bourgeois democracy and jarred the old colonial
and feudal order. Andres Bonifacio who embodied this new development in
Philippine society was both a bodeguero and a student of the French
The revolutionary movement also included the clandestine printers' union
inside the UST press which secretly printed some materials for the
Katipunan and brought out some types needed for the printing machine of
Kalayaan. The immediate involvement of the printers in the revolutionary
movement was again indicative of the progressive character of the
The first elements of the Filipino proletariat -- the shipyard workers,
warehousemen and printers -- were immediately in the forefront at the very
outset of the national liberation movement, only to be pushed aside by the
more articulate advocates of liberalism, the ilustrados. The Tejeros
Convention clarified the class leadership of old type of national
One might say, however, that earlier, through more than three centuries,
forced labor in encomiendas, in timbercutting, in shipbuilding, in church
and government house constructions, in mining and in building roads and
bridges spurred the continuous occurrence of localized revolts which were
the objective preparation for the Philippine revolution.
One can be more pointed and definite about the role of the Filipino worker
in the preparation of the Philippine revolution by citing the fact that
the Cavite Mutiny in 1972, besides being the occasion for the Gomburza
martyrdom. was in the first place a strike of the shipyard workers who
demanded better living and working conditions and who were violently
suppressed by the colonial authorities. Significantly these workers had
organized themselves into a mutual aid and benefit association as early as
But, even as we recognize the decisive role of the Filipino proletariat in
the preparation and initiation of the Philippine revolution and in making
the clear call for national liberation, let us also recognize the fact
that the Filipino proletariat was still in its germinal stage in 1896 and
that at that time it was more influenced by the liberal ideas of Europe
and of the ilustrados than imbued with the proletarian ideology of Marx
which was already quite a spectre frightening the ruling bourgeoisie of
Europe. In other words, the workers were more patriotic in a spontaneous
way than class conscious. The Katipunan, though steered by men from the
proletariat, was basically a patriotic movement embracing the masses in
the most general sense. Andres Bonifacio could only realize that the
Filipino ilustrados were reformistic and the masses were revolutionary and
that the Filipino rich tended to associate themselves with the colonial
authorities against whom the masses were already in
The importance of an ideology which is truly that of the proletariat and
which guides all the toiling people according to their own
national-democratic interests is starkly demonstrated by the ease with
which the ilustrados and landlords derailed the Katipunan from its
original course and weakened the entire revolutionary movement as soon as
they combined to form the leadership of the Aguinaldo government and
command the peasant masses. The liberal frame of mind which prevailed in
the higher councils of the movement led eventually to a series of
compromises like the Pact of Biak-na-Bato, and the naive agreement with
the clever representatives of U.S. imperialism in Hongkong and Singapore,
the proclamation of a republic under the "noble protection" of the United
States and capitulation to the US "pacification" campaign in which the
masses fighting for national freedom suffered and died in their hundreds
Guided by their self-seeking liberalism and their genteel tradition, the
representatives of the ilustrados -- such as the Buencaminos, Legardas,
Paternos, Pardo de Taveras and others -- sat back in their comfortable
chairs as the plundering hordes of MacArthur stamped their bloody feet on
the face of our nation. The most traitorous section of the ilustrados had
clapped their hands when the price of $20 million was settled in the
U.S.-Spanish Treaty of Paris in payment for the Philippines. With their
creole mentality, the renegades embraced the imperialists as fast as they
had first refused to heed the Cry of Pugad Lawin.
U.S. imperialism marched in to cheat our people of their freedom and to
massacre them for refusing to submit. But the proper blood money was
available, the proper liberal language was employed to veil the brutal
reality of imperialist conquest. U.S. imperialism made use of deceitful
slogans like "democracy", "Christianity", "benevolent assimilation" and
"tutelage for self-rule" as they dealt brutally with non-compromisers who
refused to take the oath of allegiance to the U.S. flag and who continued
to fight for Philippine independence.
Though we are highly critical of the inadequacy of the liberal frame of
mind and method of struggle which in the long run weakened the Philippine
revolution, we recognize the revolutionary government of Aguinaldo at the
height of its strength as objectively a bourgeois-democratic formation in
which the spontaneous masses, including the proletariat, found their
rights formally respected in the Malolos Constitution and in practice,
especially as it needed their strength to fight Spanish colonialism and
At the height of the Filipino-American War, the printers working in the
press of the revolutionary government and led by Hermenegildo Cruz, Felipe
Mendoza and Arturo Soriano struck to protest the supercilious behavior of
the foreman and to demand better working conditions. The revolutionary
leaders could have invoked the critical war situation as an excuse for
quelling the just demands of the workers but, because of the national and
democratic character of the revolution, the strikers found ready and warm
sympathy, particularly from General Antonio Luna, editor of La
Independencia, who declared: "We are actually for the honor, independence
and prosperity of the Filipino people. I see no reason why we should not
give the demand of the strikers if we really are for the improvement of
the Filipino workers. The first concern of the Filipino government is to
give protection and prosperity to the Filipinos."
We relate this incident not only to belabor the fact that workers
continued to be an organic part of the revolution but also to stress that
they were already beginning to be conscious of their class interests even
as they had entered into a bourgeois-democratic alliance. From that time
on, even through the harshest years of the U.S. imperialist regime, the
Filipino working class continuously developed in ideology, in politics and
Union Obrera Democratica
The return of Isabelo de los Reyes in 1901 from the prisons and barricades
of Barcelona invigorated to some extent the Filipino workers as a distinct
class. Isabelo de los Reyes smuggled in a broad range of socialist reading
materials to be read by workers and immediately made contact with
Hermenegildo Cruz and other leading organizers from the ranks of the
The workers recognized De los Reyes as a fearless Filipino patriot who
defied the Spanish colonial authorities and suffered incarceration several
times. They also saw in him a man who understood the international
brotherhood and experience of the proletariat and who was prepared to
provide leadership to the Filipino proletariat. In a way at that time, De
los Reyes comprehended the popular advance in the storming of the Bastille
and the proletarian advance in the Paris Commune.
On December 30, 1902, when for the first time Rizal's martyrdom was
commemorated, the leaders of various printers' unions and gremios met and
decided to integrate themselves under the name of Union de Impresores de
Filipinas (UIF). Participants in the meeting were Isabelo de los Reyes,
Hermegenildo Cruz, Arturo Soriano, Melanio de Jesus, Luis Santos, Juan
Geronimo, Timoteo Anzures, Nazario Pasicolan, Leopoldo Soriano and
Margarita Pasamola -- all leading pioneers in the Philippine trade union
movement. In this meeting, the Marxist slogan of the First International,
"the emancipation of the working class must be the task of the workers
themselves", was adopted by the men who formed the Union de Impresores de
Filipinas, the undisputed premier trade union which served as the base for
the first labor federation, the Union de Obrera Democratica (UOD).
The Union Obrera Democratica was established on January 2, 1902, in the
first labor congress ever to be held in Philippine History. The Congress
also approved the UOD Constitution which embodied the principles adopted
from the books Vida e Obras de Carlos Marx by Friedrich Engels and Los Dos
Compesinos by the Italian radical socialist, Malatesta. Isabelo de los
Reyes was elected president and Hermenegildo Cruz, vice president.
All the speakers in the Congress attacked U.S. imperialism and the
Catholic Church while secret agents listened and took notes. While
advancing the economic demands of the labor movement, the UOD expressed
its purpose to encourage the people's movement for independence. Alleging
that the trade unionists were "subversives" and "anarchists", Governor
General Taft himself directly ordered their blacklisting and surveillance.
Thus, U.S. imperialism proved alert to the patriotism and
class-consciousness of Filipino workers and prepared its instruments of
coercion and suppression.
On August 2, 1902, when the UOD waged the first general strike of the
Filipino labor movement to protest the adjustment to the inflationary
crisis, the U.S. colonial government moved to charge Isabelo de los Reyes
with sedition and rebellion and convicted him upon the false witness of a
striker who turned out to be a secret service man. The charges and
conviction were based on a Spanish conspiracy law. Soon after, Isabelo de
los Reyes who had withstood various vicissitudes in the Spanish era
succumbed to the anti-labor tactics of imperialism and resigned from the
UOD to concentrate on his religious activity in the Philippine Independent
UIF president and UOD vice-president Hermenegildo Cruz acted to have Dr.
Dominador Gomez replace De los Reyes in the leadership of the labor
movement. The UOD was renamed Union Obrera Democratica de Filipinas (UODF).
In his proclamation speech as UODF president, Gomez said:
Do not be like some of our countrymen who are wise and able but have no
courage to fight our masters and oppressors. They are timid and would like
always to retreat. The banner of Union Democratica de Filipinas is dynamic
nationalism against any form of imperialism, against oppression.
In spite of U.S. imperialist repression, the labor federation under Gomez
grew by leaps and bounds from 33 to 150 unions. Fearing the growth of
organized labor, the U.S. imperialists instructed the ever useful colonial
errand boys, Pedro Paterno and Dr. Trinidad Pardo de Tavera, to persuade
Gomez to resign as UODF president and accept a high government post. Gomez
was only enraged to hear the two promoters of compromise and told them
that he had already committed himself to the labor movement and to
On May 1, 1903, despite the refusal of the U.S. colonial government to
give UODF a permit to demonstrate, the federation staged a demonstration
of 100,000 workers to celebrate labor day for the first time in the
Philippines. The demonstration was held in front of Malaca¤ang and the
workers shouted: "Down with U.S. imperialism!"
As recorded by Hermenegildo Cruz, Dr. Gomez spoke before the
We were told that America is the mother of democracy, but the American
government in Malaca¤ang is afraid to talk with the people who want
democracy. The Americans said that they are for freedom, but why is it
that they want to curtail our freedom by displaying fixed bayonets?
The workers will not accept from the capitalists even a single centavo
without an exchange of its equivalent in honest labor. What we are against
is the practice of the capitalists of robbing the workers of the product
of their sweat by not giving them what is due them. The workers should
always bear in mind that they must achieve their emancipation themselves.
We will not win without a struggle. We need strength in our struggle. We
must always be united. In our struggle for better working and living
conditions, we must at the same time struggle for the liberation of the
Within the same month of May, 1903, the home of Dr. Gomez and the printing
press where the UODP organ was printed were simultaneously raided by
American and Filipino policemen in violation of the right to home and the
right of free press and free assembly. The UODF president, like his
immediate predecessor Isabelo de los Reyes, was charged with "sedition"
and "illegal association".
What U.S. Imperialism resented in the leadership of these two men was the
conjunction of the labor movement and a militant anti-imperialist movement
which, it was afraid, would pursue the Philippine revolution. The UODF was
accused of giving assistance to the persistent armed struggle of Macario
Sakay against the U.S. imperialists. Afterwards, the U.S. colonial regime
stirred the rumor that Dr. Gomez had betrayed Macario Sakay. Immediately
after the crackdown on the UODF which was intended to silence anti-
imperialist workers, the agenda of the American Federation of Labor tried
to take over the Philippine trade union movement and to propagate the
bourgeois-liberal concept that labor be separated from political activity
and that it be always in unity with capital. To pursue its imperialist and
anti-labor aims, the American Federation of Labor encouraged Lope K.
Santos to organize the Union del Trabajo de Filipinas (UTF) and to stress
the separation of labor and politics and the
unity of the working class and the capitalist class. The UTF, in contrast
with the UODF, enjoyed the full backing of Governor General Taft.
However, despite U.S. imperialist sponsorship, the UTF failed to deceive
the workers. The stalwarts of the premier labor organization, the Union de
Impresores de Filipinas, like Hermenegildo Cruz, Felipe Mendoza and Arturo
Soriano, exposed the attempt to mislead the Filipino workers. Their
experience in the struggle for national liberation and for workers' rights
and their exposure to Marxist ideas, chief of which is the proletariat
must win political power, had taught them how to withstand brutal
repression and deception even if done in the style of U.S. imperialism.
With the disappearance of De los Reyes and Gomez from the trade union
movement by force of imperialist power, Hermenegildo Cruz found himself at
the helm, and he concentrated on transforming the craft (gremios) into
full- fledged industrial unions so that these would be the stronger basis
for a new labor federation. On May 1, 1913, he organized the Congreso
Obrero de Filipinas and was elected its president.
Congreso Obrero de Filipinas
The Congreso de Obrero de Filipinas (COF) continued to expose and condemn
the American Federation of Labor, its racial policies and its attempts to
subvert the Philippine trade union movement and subordinate it to the U.S.
colonial government. The COF vigorously advocated the independence of the
Philippines from U.S. imperialism.
In the era of imperialism, the COF was not free from splitters. In order
to pursue their pro-imperialist tendencies and their U.S. style of
political muckraking, Vicente Sotto, Ramon Diokno and Lope K. Santos
formed a faction and split away to form the Asemblea Obrera in 1917. In
order to pursue his program of company unionism, Joaquin Balmori also
split away in the same year and formed the Federacion del Trabajo de
Filipinas. Balmori advocated that labor unions should charge no membership
dues and should receive financial support from management. His federation
even made a resolution against strikes and so-called subversive ideas.
In the meantime, in the strongest single labor organization of the period,
the UIF, a reorganization was made on March 1, 1918, in which Crisanto
Evangelista was elected president. The period was marked by an atmosphere
of militance in the trade union movement as the October Revolution ushered
in the first proletarian state.
In the entire trade union movement, the emergence of the young Crisanto
Evangelista as leader marked a new era. Upon his assumption as UIF
president, he created a committee, composed of Hermenegildo Cruz, Pablo
Lucas and himself, to make a labor survey in the various printing
establishments and to draft a general petition to be presented
simultaneously to all managements. A campaign for a strike fund was
immediately launched in preparation for a general walkout if the petition
was rejected. The press capitalists were so impressed with the
determination and unity of their workers that they submitted to the
demands which included wage hikes ranging from 100 to 500%. As a result of
this successful campaign, the prestige and leadership of Crisanto
President Quezon, in an attempt to undermine the proven strength of the
UIF, appointed Evangelista as a member of the Philippine Independence
Mission to the United States in 1919. The mission though gave Evangelista
the chance to meet and evaluate the various American leaders and
organizations. He noted the reactionary and racial policies of the
American Federation of Labor led by Samuel Gompers. He also came across
more materials on scientific socialism and he was positively influenced by
the widespread enthusiasm of the workers to launch a Third International.
Maintaining a high political consciousness over its daily economic
struggle, the UIF, under the energetic leadership of Crisanto Evangelista,
struck for the cause of national freedom and integrity in 1920 against all
the American-owned and American-controlled newspapers which had suddenly
waged a press campaign to forestall the movement for national independence
and denigrate the Filipino people as incompetent for self-government and,
therefore, deserving of further U.S. imperialist "tutelage".
In 1922, Evangelista established the Partido Obrero (Workers' Party) the
precursor of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
On May 1, 1927, the COF elected Francisco Varona president and Crisanto
Evangelista, secretary. On this day, it decided to affiliate with the Red
International of Labor Unions. This was the culmination of Filipino labor
participation in the Canton conference of 1925, and in the conferences
where the Filipino representatives discussed with the representatives of
other national labor organizations (especially those from the East),
shared their experiences in economic and political struggle and arrived at
the conclusion that since they all faced Western Imperialism they needed
to band together in equality and in coordination against the common enemy.
in 1928, a more extensive contact of Filipino labor leaders with the
international labor movement occurred. The leaders of the COF, headed by
Crisanto Evangelista, attended conferences in Shanghai, Moscow and Berlin.
This development frightened the U.S. colonial government and it instructed
its agents to make trouble in the COF. U.S. imperialism was afraid that
the Filipino proletariat would derive greater strength by coordinating its
efforts with the international labor movement.
On May 1, 1929, the COF split into the yellow faction led by Ruperto
Cristobal and the red faction led by Crisanto Evangelista. The former
packed the meeting hall with his own men and the latter had no alternative
but to bolt. In this manner, the COF became inutile and a more militant
and more progressive labor federation, Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis arose
in June 1929. At the close of the third decade, Crisanto Evangelista
emerged as the most outstanding leader in the trade union movement,
extending his influence to Visayas and Mindanao by maintaining fraternal
relations with the Federacion Obrero de Filipinas of Jose Ma. Nava.
The Communist Party of the Philippines
Pursuing the objective of creating a solid political instrument of the
working class, which he had earlier attempted in the Partido Obrero,
Crisanto Evangelista established the Communist Party of the Philippines
which would be imbued with Marxism-Leninism. Supported by the Katipunan ng
mga Anak Pawis and the Kalipunang Pambansang Mambubukid sa Pilipinas, the
chief organizations of the trade union movement and the peasant movement,
the Communist Party of the Philippines was founded on August 26, 1930 and
formally launched on November 7, 1930, thus bringing into an alliance the
working class and the peasantry.
The Communist Party of the Philippines immediately became the object of
concerted vilification and provocations by the ruling class and the U.S.
colonial government. It faced immediately the same reactionary forces of
imperialism and feudalism which thwarted the Philippine revolution at the
turn of the century and the first labor federation, the Union Obrera
Democratica, in 1902 and 1903.
On May 1, 1931, workers marching under the two o'clock sun were bombarded
with jets of water at Maypajo, Caloocan, upon the orders of the U.S.
colonial regime. Subsequently, the meeting of the workers to celebrate the
day was raided by American secret policemen and constabulary soldiers. The
jails of Manila were filled with industrial workers and peasants.
Twenty-eight communist leaders headed by Crisanto Evangelista, Juan Feleo,
Guillermo Capadocia and Mariano Balgos were singled out from hundreds of
arrested workers and were accused of sedition and illegal assembly. The
leaders were given considerably long prison terms, others were banished.
The Communist Party was outlawed, only a few months after its
establishment. Provincial governors and town presidents were instructed by
the U.S. colonial regime not to give any permit to the KAP and the KPMP
for any gathering.
It was only when the demand for the Popular Front grew stronger, as a
result of the Depression and worsened condition of the masses, that
President Quezon pardoned the imprisoned and banished labor leaders in
1936. The Roosevelt government, in an anti-fascist act of expediency,
acceded to the clamor for the release of the Community Party; Communist
Parties in all parts of the world had become the most reliable
At the same time, Quezon tried to establish labor "unity" under his
leadership and he tried establishing the National Federation of Labor with
government subsidy. His attempt failed and Evangelista succeeded in
upholding as a matter of principle and in practice the independence of the
working class movement from the Commonwealth government.
Come 1938, the Communist Party of the Philippines became numerically
stronger as it merged with the Socialist Party led by Pedro Abad Santos.
Through this merger, it made up for the years when it was outlawed and its
leaders were either in prison or banished. The Socialist Party, which had
become strong in the countryside, brought the peasantry in greater number
to the Communist Party of the Philippines. The latter party had continued
to enjoy the support of the proletariat even in its underground years, as
proven when it again emerged.
In 1939, Crisanto Evangelista made another consolidation in the trade
union movement and organized the Collective Labor Movement. This later
became an organic part of the anti- Japanese resistance movement.
At this point, we give recognition to the profound development of the
ideology, politics and organization of the working class under the
leadership of Crisanto Evangelista. With respect to ideology, the working
class started to grasp the universal theory of Marxism-Leninism. With
respect to politics, the Communist Party started to make the working class
a significant force in the struggle for national democracy. With respect
to organization, the Communist Party of the Philippines was established as
a definite working-class party.
A serious shortcoming of the leadership of the Communist Party of the
Philippines, before the contradiction between the Filipino people and
Japanese fascism became the principal contradiction, was the failure to
place the principal stress on the national and agrarian struggle against
U.S. imperialism and feudalism. The leadership was well-versed in the
contradiction between the proletariat and the capitalist class in general,
but it failed all the time to stress the fact that the main contradiction
within the Philippine society then was between U.S. imperialism and
feudalism on the one hand and the Filipino people, mainly the workers and
the peasant, on the other hand. While all the workers, Marxist or not,
demanded Philippine independence from U.S. imperialism, the matter of
national liberation was obscured by the slogans of class struggle between
the capitalist class and the working class.
The Communist Party of the Philippines was so immersed in legal and urban
struggles that it was unprepared to wage armed struggle against Japanese
fascism immediately. Crisanto Evangelista and other leaders of the Party
were apprehended in the city by the Japanese a month after enemy
occupation of Manila. Evangelista died a patriotic death in the hands of
the Japanese fascists.
During the war, the CPP failed to make use of the Popular Front and the
anti-fascist struggle as an occasion for building up anti-imperialism that
would last the duration of the war and be capable of meeting the return of
U.S. imperialism. Had the people been prepared to fight the return of U.S.
imperialism, the slogan of "democratic peace" would not have been raised
to allow the U.S. imperialists to crush the forces of national democracy,
which broadly included not only the Communist Party of the Philippines and
the HUKBALAHAP but even such a party as the Democratic Alliance.
Congress of Labor Organizations
In 1945, therefore, the Committee of Labor Organizations practically
started from scratch and from the ruins of war. It emerged from the ranks
of the newly installed workers and came under the leadership of Mariano
Balgos, Amado V. Hernandez and Manuel Joven -- to mention only a few. The
committee within a short time became the Congress of Labor Organizations,
embracing all genuine labor organizations.
As the leading and most comprehensive organization of the workers, the
Congress of Labor Organizations became a massive force for national
democracy. It became an effective instrument of the working class in
seeking economic welfare and also in fighting for the true independence of
the Filipino people. Led by ardent patriots, the CLO found itself in the
city fighting vigorously against the measures the U.S. government and the
monopoly-capitalist class behind it wanted to impose upon the Filipino
people in order to perpetuate colonial control and influence over our
Against the basic principle of self-determination, the U.S. government
arrogated unto itself the power to "grant" sovereignty and independence to
the Filipino people in an act of the U.S. Congress. In the U.S.-R.P.
Treaty of General Relations of July 4, 1946, which made the "grant" of
independence, it is stated that the U.S. government would retain control
over military bases strategically placed all over the archipelago.
Against this background of imperialist chicanery and a treaty which
retained the basic coercive instruments of U.S. imperialism in the
Philippines, the Congress of Labor Organizations girded itself for other
measures that were still to be rammed down our throats. It opposed the
Bell Trade Act, which would extend the conditions of "free trade" and
grant to U.S. citizens the right to exploit our natural resources and
operate public utilities, necessitating the Parity Amendment of the
U.S. imperialism prostituted democratic processes by expelling through its
puppets the duly-elected members of Congress belonging to the Democratic
Alliance and to the anti-imperialist wing of the Nacionalista Party, who
were determined to block the passage of the Bell Trade Act and the
ratification of the Parity Amendment in 1948. Despite the broad character
of the Democratic Alliance, the reactionaries tried to pin it down as a
Not satisfied with expelling the duly-elected members of Congress who
opposed its anti-Filipino designs, U.S. imperialism also engaged in
sinister actions which did physical harm to members of the Democratic
Alliance and the mass organizations supporting it. The Congress of Labor
Organizations became the object of imperialist-guided attacks in all
forms, in propaganda and actual murder. Its Secretary General, Manuel
Joven, became the victim of kidnapping and assassination.
In 1951, in the course of the white terror campaign against persons and
groups suspected of having association with the Communist Party of the
Philippines, the national headquarters of the Congress of Labor
Organizations was raided and its leaders and members were arrested en
masse. The Congress of Labor Organizations was forced out of legal
existence at the prompting of U.S. imperialism. This abuse of democracy
was made in the name of democracy by the CIA- directed Ramon Magsaysay.
As borne out thirteen years later by a Supreme Court decision on Amado
Hernandez et al, on May 30, 1964, acquitting Hernandez and other leaders
of the CLO and "upholding" the right of expression and free assembly, the
action of Magsaysay was indeed an attack against democracy, particularly
those rights piously invoked by the Supreme Court, and also a dastardly
attack against the national democratic movement in which the CLO had
excelled by fighting for our most basic national interests.
After every major imperialist crackdown on the Filipino labor movement,
attempts are made by reactionary agents to take over the field. Since
1951, various attempts have been made to take over where the CLO left off.
The American Jesuits put up their Institute of Social Order and the
Federation of Free Workers. The U.S. imperialists - through their labor
attaches and the AFL-CLO representatives - have directly extended
subsidies to all sorts of puppet organizations and organizers. The
International Labor Organization has also been used to subvert and
redirect the labor movement in the Philippines, ideologically, politically
and organizationally. The Philippine Trade Union Council was put up under
the direction of U.S. agents in the International Labor Organization. The
Asian Labor Education Center was also put up and assured by American
foundations of continuous subsidy in order to subvert the thinking of the
Filipino working class. The line of the counter-revolutionaries, as
before, is to make the working class bend backwards to suit U.S.
imperialism and to prevent it from developing a revolutionary
Together with the agents of imperialism and clericalism, labor racketeers
have flourished on the seeming carcass of a labor movement. But a
class-conscious and anti-imperialist proletariat, with clear socialist
perspective, will surely rise up.
The CLO was busted to stop it from rallying the workers under the banner
of national democracy and to leave the field wide open for all sorts of
misleaders. U.S. imperialism was the leading enemy force behind the
suppression of the CLO as it was previously in the case of the Philippine
Revolution of 1896, the UOD, the COF and the CPP.
But the Filipino workers will prevail in the long run as they have always
risen from the most trying crises imposed by their class enemy, U.S.
monopoly capitalism. They know well now that their class enemy is U.S.
monopoly capitalism, which squeezes the surplus value created by Filipino
labor in the most exploitative way by bringing out of our country
super-profits from its investments and in this way depresses internal
economic growth. They also know well now that it is U.S. imperialism,
through its military instruments, agents and bases right here within our
national territory, which provides the puppet state with its coercive
power. They now see through the subtlety of U.S. power and influence in
all organs of the ruling class, whether bureaucratic, political, cultural,
economic or police and military.
The progressive labor leaders of today are again developing the labor
movement as an instrument of national democracy. As they realize that
other patriotic classes, groups and elements are involved in the
anti-imperialist struggle, they are learning in practice how to move with
them and how to mass themselves against the chief enemy, U.S. monopoly
capitalism or imperialism.
That the labor movement has consistently advanced despite the difficulties
already described is best proven by the establishment of the Lapiang
Manggagawa (Worker's Party) in 1963. It was established with the biggest
number of labor following at that time. However, at the present moment, it
is seriously faced with the danger of disintegration from which it has
evidently suffered through four years of existence, apparently, because of
the deleterious impact of bourgeois politics which wracks the leadership
every election time and because of the right-wing opportunism of certain
elements and also because of narrow inter-federation amor propio. But in
the most objective manner of criticism, let me state that a party like the
Lapiang Manggagawa, which tries to assume the role of leadership, will be
strong only if it fulfills certain conditions in the fields of ideology,
politics and organization.
In the ideological field, a working class party must have a truly
proletarian world outlook, must be able to comprehend strategic principles
and must maintain a socialist perspective and orientation. It must set up
an educational program which promotes among the workers a proletarian
outlook, a scientific viewpoint of history, an analysis of capitalist
economy and imperialism, and socialism and a new democratic line. It must
maintain workers' schools at all levels. It must hold conferences on
problems affecting the working class. It must set up a newspaper to serve
as an ideological vehicle. Above all, it must through actual mass
struggle, raise the revolutionary consciousness of the people.
In the field of political activity, a workers' party must be able to daily
carry out concrete militant struggle for national democracy. It must build
itself up not only among the workers but also among the peasants. it must
arouse and mobilize the peasant masses for agrarian revolution, the key to
the victory of the national democratic revolution. It must respond
promptly to the daily shifting demands of the anti-imperialist and the
anti-feudal struggle, independently and in cooperation with all other
anti-imperialist and anti- feudal forces and organizations. It should be
alert to valuable alliances and also be alert on such alliances. It must
have the firm and single objective of developing and acquiring political
power for the masses.
In the field of organization, a workers' party must be guided by the
principle of democratic centralism. It must require individual membership
from masses of all patriotic classes willing to assume the proletarian
viewpoint. It must draw the greatest number of members and put up the
greatest number of branches among the workers and peasants. It must build
up itself on a nationwide scale to achieve the capability of withstanding
the well-oiled bourgeois parties of the ruling class. It must arrive at
organizational plans and must be able to fulfill them within the given
period of time with all given party assets and resources clear beforehand.
Organizations at all levels, from the branch upwards, must be maintained
on a daily basis and not on a seasonal basis during election years as it
is in the NP and LP.
In our view of the trade union movement and its connection with the
national democratic movement, we have concluded with the tasks of building
up a proletarian party. Without a proletarian party to provide leadership,
the struggle for national democracy cannot be won.