Monday, July 21, 2014

An initial response to Akbayan’s defense of its coalition politics

An initial response to Akbayan’s defense of its coalition politics
By Sonny Melencio, Chairman of Partido Lakas ng Masa

Akbayan's article in today's Philippine Daily Inquirer (p. A14) stresses the importance and need for coalition politics. Leaving aside the rather patronizing tone, the article is also revealing in what it doesn't say.

Akbayan is in a ‘coalition government’ with the ruling party, so this is clearly no ordinary coalition. This is a coalition with the ruling class in power and therefore has grave consequences for the progressive movement, the masa, and the entire nation.

The political character of the government
The question was also posed right from the beginning: What is Akbayan coalescing around? What is the political platform of this so-called coalition government? If you are in a coalition government, you should be clear on what is the reform agenda of this government.

Many of us in the Left believe that this is a government still wedded to a neoliberal economic program. Many of us believe that the government represents the interests of the elite. Does Akbayan agree with this, or not?

Pointedly, how does Akbayan assess the political character of the government? The article does not address this.
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The article also defends Akbayan's decision to transform itself from a party of 'protest' to a party of 'governance'. Leaving aside the counter position of ''protest' and 'governance', any political party worth its salt should aim to be in power – to be the government. The critical question is: Do you win government to work within and limit yourself to the existing system, or do you win government so that you can fundamentally transform the existing system?

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) believes that we should win government in order to fundamentally change the system.

Governance and power
We also understand that being in government (‘governance’) and being in power are different things. Power also resides outside government, such as corporate power and the economic and military power of imperialist nations, which use their might to intervene in governments in order to protect their vested interests.

The woeful inability of Akbayan to contest and hold back the neoliberal economic agenda of the current government is testimony to this. Akbayan might have some positions in government, but to imagine that this is the same as winning government or being in power is to fool oneself and your supporters. To defend its line by arguing that it's trying to influence the direction of government is farcical. The fact is that Akbayan is unable to influence the direction of government to the extent that it claims it can. Akbayan’s record under the PNoy presidency demonstrates this. You merely end up becoming co-opted in the system.

If you are using your positions in government for your own political purposes, such as access to resources to build your base, that's a different matter. But please don't claim that the aims are to influence and change government policy, and so on and so forth.

Some international examples
And we too study international events and examples. We believe that in Bolivia and Venezuela today, we have socialist parties and forces who have actually won government and are using this power to implement anti-neoliberal policies and change the system. This also includes mass mobilizations on a massive scale and people’s power participation in government. Here 'protest' and 'governance' are combined in a unified strategy and are not mutually exclusive.

On the other hand, we also have the experience of the PT in Brazil and the ANC in South Africa, in governments implementing essentially pro-market neoliberal policies. Or the European and Australian Green Parties, aptly dubbed "neoliberals on bicycles".

The problem is the system
This is also linked to an assessment of the nature of the economic and political system. Akbayan believes, according to the article, that the system has 'limitations'. On the other hand, we believe that the system itself is the fundamental problem. Hence, it cannot be reformed, and the system needs to be replaced so that meaningful and far-reaching changes can be implemented.

These debates are as old as the hills, certainly as old as Karl Marx onwards.

As for electoral reform, we urge Akbayan to support and campaign for the anti-dynasty bills, the anti-DAP and anti-pork bills, the freedom of information bills, the genuine agrarian reform bills which are now key electoral reforms ignored by the president and the ruling party. Where does Akbayan stand on these key questions?

On compromises
There are compromises and compromises. There should be a framework to base these compromises. Compromises that benefit and advance only the interest of a select few, such as Akbayan’s people in Cabinet and in government, are by no means principled.  One of the main and guiding principle in opening up compromises should be whether it advances the interests and the struggles of the masses in general. Otherwise one ends up compromised and becomes opportunistic.

We don’t need inane lectures on compromises in coalition politics. Right now we need accountability from Akbayan on its role and activities in government, not just a superficial defense of its ‘tactics’. There has been no such accountability from this government, let alone the Akbayan leaders who are now in Cabinet and in leading positions in government.

Akbayan also asks us to keep hoping. In whom? The President and Akbayan? For what? For a miracle that the government will fundamentally change its course and genuinely address the dire needs of the masses?

A pragmatic plea
Despite the article’s claim that this is not a politics of pragmatism but based on idealism, to ask us to continue to hope under this desperate socio-economic situation, sounds a pragmatic plea to continue supporting Akbayan’s coalition with this government.

The masses are losing hope and large numbers have already lost hope with this government. What is Akbayan trying to say? That we should ask the masses not to lose hope in this government? We cannot do that, when we think they are correct to do so. This line of asking the masses to keep their hopes with this government will contribute to the derailing of the mass struggle.


In fact, our responsibility is not to ask them to hope harder, but to develop a genuine alternative to this government of elite rule and neoliberal economics. This is the big challenge that the Left faces today.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Itigil ang Pambobomba ng Israel sa Gaza!

Itigil ang Pambobomba ng Israel sa Gaza

Hulyo 15, 2014 - Nagrali ang iba't ibang grupo, tulad ng Anak Mindanao, Partido Lakas ng Masa  (PLM), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), at MASO (Manggagawang Sosyalista) Pilipinas, sa harapan ng tanggapan ng Embahada ng Israel na nasa Global City sa Taguig. Dito'y ipinanawagan nila na dapat nang matigil ang digmaan sa pagitan ng Israel at Palestino. Ang Israel ay may sopistikadong kagamitang pandigma habang imperyor naman ang armas ng mga Palestino.

Ipinrotesta nila ang pagkamatay ng maraming bata at kabataang Palestino na walang kalaban-laban sa mga sopistikadong armas ng Israel. At sinabi pa nilang dapat nang magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa Gitnang Silangan, at itigil na ang pandarahas ng mga Israeli sa mga Palestino.

Ulat at mga litrato ni Greg Bituin Jr.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Panawagan ng mga militante: "Aquino, Patalsikin!"

Panawagan ng mga militante: "Aquino, Patalsikin!"

Hulyo 14, 2014 - Kasabay ng nakatakdang talumpati ng Pangulong Noynoy Aquino sa telebisyon sa ika-6 ng gabi, nagrali naman ang mga kasapi ng Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), at Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralita ng Lungsod sa iba't ibang lugar, tulad ng Monumento, Mendiola, at Welcome Rotonda. Dito'y kanilang ipinanawagan ang pagpapatalsik kay Pangulong Aquino dahil sa patuloy nitong pagtatanggol Disbusement Acceleration Program (DAP) na idineklara nang unconstitutional ng Korte Suprema.

Naging tagapagsalita sa Welcome Rotonda si Ka Sonny Melencio, pangulo ng PLM at Edwin Guarin ng PLM-NCRR, at sa Mendiola naman ay sina Ka Leody de Guzman, pangulo ng BMP at Ka Anthony Barnedo, secretary general ng KPML-NCRR.

Nauna rito'y nagrali na umaga pa lang ang BMP at KPML sa harapan ng tanggapan ng Department of Budget and Management (DBM) at nagmartsa sila patungong Mendiola kung saan nila tinapos ang kanilang programa.

Ulat at mga litrato mula sa Welcome Rotonda ni Greg Bituin Jr.

Monday, July 7, 2014

PNoy, Abad: DAPat managot! Nagnakaw sa pondo ng bayan, DAPat kasuhan!

SIGAW NG PLM: P'NOY, ABAD: DAPAT MANAGOT! NAGNAKAW NG PONDO NG BAYAN, DAPAT KASUHAN!

Kasabay ng ika-122 anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag ng Katipunan, nagsagawa naman ng kilos-protesta ang Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) sa Welcome Rotonda upang tuligsain ang laganap na katiwalian sa pamahalaan, pangunahin na ang Malakanyang, Senado, Kongreso at ang iba't ibang ahensya ng gobyerno. 

Sa malaking streamer nila ay nakasulat: "PNoy, Abad: DAPat managot! Nagnakaw sa pondo ng bayan, DAPat kasuhan!" Para sa PLM, hindi lamang sina Napoles at Tandang BonJing (Enrile, BONg Revilla, at JINGgoy Estrada) ang dapat nakasuhan at nakakulong ngayon kundi lahat ng kawatan sa pamahalaan.

Nagsimula ang kilos-protesta bandang ikalima't kalahati ng hapon (5:30nh) at natapos ng ikapito ng gabi.

Ulat at mga litrato ni Greg Bituin Jr.

Friday, June 13, 2014

6.12.14 Protesta laban sa pork at bulok na sistema, inilunsad

6.12.14 PROTESTA LABAN SA PORK AT BULOK NA SISTEMA, INILUNSAD

Araw daw ng kalayaan kaya itinaon ang pagkilos ng Koalisyong Protesta 6.12.14  sa araw na iyon (Hunyo 12, 2014) upang ipakita ang pagkadismaya ng taumbayan sa animo'y sarswelang nagaganap sa pamahalaan, lalo na sa isyu ng pork barrel. Nais nilang lumaya na ang bayan mula sa paghahari ng iilan, pandaraya ng mga trapo, at pandarambong ng mga kawatan sa pamahalaan sa kaban ng bayan. Araw daw ng kalayaan, ngunit sa katunayan, batay sa kasaysayan, ang Hunyo 12, 1898 ay deklarasyon ng kalayaan ng bansa mula sa mga Kastila ngunit pagpapailalim sa mga Amerikano, na makikita mismo sa Acta de Independencia - isang dokumento ng deklarasyon ng kalayaan. Kung pagpapailalim ito sa mga Amerikano, ito ba'y kalayaan? O mas angkop na tawagin itong Araw ng Kadayaan, dahil hindi naman talaga lumaya ang bansa, kundi lumaya lang sa EspaƱa para pasakop sa mga Kano? Ayon nga sa pamagat ng polyetong ipinamahagi roon ng Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP): "Walang Tunay na Kalayaan Kung Malayang Pinagsasamantalahan ng Iilan ang Nakararaming Mamamayan".

Maraming mga indibidwal at mga grupo ang nagsitungo sa Bonifacio Shrine sa Mehan Garden sa Maynila bilang pakikiisa sa panawagang "Jail All" - o ikulong lahat ng mga sangkot sa pork barrel scam, sila man ay oposisyon o maka-administrasyon. Sa likod ng Bonifacio Shrine ay naroon naman ang Kartilya ng Katipunan na nakaukit sa pader sa malalaking titik na sumisimbolo naman na dapat yakapin ng taumbayan ang Kartilyang ito ng kalinisan ng pagkatao. Naniniwala ang iba't ibang grupong ito na dapat ikulong lahat ng sangkot sa pork barrel scam dahil malaki ang kasalanan nila sa mamamayan lalo na sa pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan ng bilyon-bilyong piso para sa kanilang mga sarili.

Napakahaba ng martsa at sama-samang pagkilos ng grupong BMP, Sanlakas, Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng mga Maralita ng Lungsod (KPML), Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Alliance for Truth, Integrity and Nationalism (ATIN), Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA), Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Transportasyon (PMT), Piglas-Kabataan (PK), SUPER-Federation, Makabayan-Pilipinas, Koalisyon Pabahay ng Pilipinas (KPP), Ang Grupo ng Organisadong Mamamayan (AGOM), at Proletaryong Rebolusyonaryong Kilusan (PRK). Nakasama nila sa Bonifacio Shrine ang mga grupong Kilusang KontraPork, Workers Alliance Against Corruption (WAAC), NAGKAISA, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Water for All Refund Movement (WARM), APL-SENTRO, Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), at marami pang iba. Ang estimasyon ay mga nasa humigit-kumulang sa apatnalibo ang lumahok sa makasaysayang pagkilos na ito.

Kita sa kanilang mga plakard ang mga panawagang "Ibasura ang sistemang pork, wakasan ang paghahari ng trapo", "Itayo ang gobyerno ng masa", "Ikulong lahat", "Panagutin si PNoy", "Noynoy, inutil, tuta ng kapitalista", "Panagutin si Noynoy, parusahan ang lahat", "Elitistang rehimen, itakwil", "Manggagawa, magkaisa at lumaban", "Parusahan ang mga magnanakaw sa gobyerno", at "JAIL ALL!" Sa polyeto naman ng BMP ay mababasa ang panawagang "Imbestigahan, Litisin at Ikulong LAHAT ng Kawatan (hindi lang si Pogi, Sexy at Tanda)".

Nagsalita naman sa entablado sina Ricardo "Dick" Penson ng ATIN, Atty. Aaron Pedrosa ng Sanlakas, Ka Leody de Guzman ng BMP, at marami pang iba. Nagsiawit naman sina Eli Buendia, Jograd dela Torre, Erwin Puhawan, at iba pa.

Adhika ng mga grupong ito at ng mga naging tagapagsalita na sumapit ang totoong kalayaan ng bayan, kung saan hindi na umiiral ang "Kasaganahan sa Iilan, Kahirapan sa Mamamayan".

Ulat at mga litrato ni Greg Bituin Jr.