Isabelo de los Reyes charged with sedition and rebellion, and convicted
“On August 2, 1902, when the UOD waged the first general strike of the Filipino labor movement to protest the rejection of their demand for a general wage increase as an 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 antilabor tactics of imperialism and resigned from the UOD to concentrate on his religious activity in the Philippine Independent Church.”
THE LABOR MOVEMENT
By Jose Maria Sison
(Speech delivered in Pilipino before the 64th Anniversary Conference of the 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 the 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 revolution.
The revolutionary movement also included the clandestine printers‟ union inside the USTpress which secretly printed some materials for the Katipunan and brought out some types 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 struggle.
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 the old type of national democratic revolution.
One might say, however, that earlier, through more than three centuries, forced labor in encomiendas, in timber- cutting, 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 of 1872, 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 1861. 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 revolt.
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 U.S. “pacification” campaign in which the masses fighting for national freedom suffered and died in their hundreds of thousands.
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 $2O 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 spoils were in government offices and in commerce, and 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 selfrule” 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. The spontaneous masses, including the proletariat, found their rights formally respected in the Malolos Constitution and in practice. The government needed their strength to fight Spanish colonialism and U.S. imperialism.
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 among them, 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 show that they were 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 in organization.
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 working class.
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, 1901, 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, Hermenegildo 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 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 Campesinos 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 rejection of their demand for a general wage increase as an 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 antilabor tactics of imperialism and resigned from the UOD to concentrate on his religious activity in the Philippine Independent Church.
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 leapsand 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 militant nationalism.
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 Malacan~ang and the workers shouted: “Down with U.S. imperialism!”
As recorded by Hermenegildo Cruz, Dr. Gomez spoke before the demonstrators:
We were told that America is the mother of democracy, but the American government in Malacan~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 motherland.
Within the same month of May, 1903, the home of Dr. Gomez and the printing press where the UODF 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 antiimperialist workers, the agents 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 antilabor 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 that 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 unions (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 proimperialist 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 militancy 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 a 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 percent. As a result of this successful campaign, the prestige and leadership of Crisanto Evangelista rose.
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 labor 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 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 Katipunang Pambansang Mambubukid sa Pilipinas, the chief organizations of the trade union movement and the peasant movement respectively, 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 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 antifascist act of expediency, acceded to the clamor for the release of the Communist Party leaders; communist parties in all parts of the world had become the most reliable antifascist fighters.
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 peasants, 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 antifascist 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.
The Japanese Occupation put the trade union movement into disarray as industrial and commercial activity became irregular and fell under the control of the aggressor.
Congress of Labor Organizations
In 1945, therefore, the Committee of Labor Organizations practically started from scratch after the ruin 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, Felixberto Olalia, Pedro Castro and Cipriano Cid—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 national life.
Against the basic principle of self-determination, the U.S. government arrogated into itself the power to “grant” sovereignty and independence to the Filipino people in an act of the U.S. Congress. In the U.S.-RP 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 Philippine Constitution.
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 antiimperialist 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 subversive organization.
Not satisfied with expelling the duly-elected members of Congress who opposed its antiFilipino 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 a 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 counterrevolutionaries, as before, is to make the working class bend backwards to suit U.S. imperialism and to prevent it from developing a revolutionary consciousness.
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 a 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 superprofits 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 (Workers‟ 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 interfederation 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 antifeudal struggle, independently and in cooperation with all other anti-imperialist and antifeudal forces and organizations. It should be alert to valuable alliances and keep on the alert after such alliances have been formed. 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 upward, 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 review 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.