International Greetings: Philippine Communist Party (PKP-1930)


Esteemed Comrades,

The PARTIDO KOMUNISTA NG PILIPINAS (PKP-1930, the Philippine Communist Party) is pleased to again express its fraternal solidarity with the CPUSA, and has the pleasure of sending warmest greetings to the 29th National Convention of the CPUSA which will be held in New York City on May 21-23, 2010.

“Special relations” have always tied the Philippines to the USA, since the US invasion and colonization of our country at the turn of the 20th century, which ushered almost half a century of direct colonial control, broken only by the 3-year interregnum of the Japanese military occupation. These “special relations” are continued up to now with the neocolonial control by transnational corporations, World-Bank-IMF dictation, and the constant presence of US military forces under the “Visiting Forces Agreement”, which altogether have turned the Philippines into the most US-influenced nation in the world.

US role is crucial in Philippine politics, including the building up and deposing of presidents, and not surprisingly, the political party which was supported by various conduits of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) became the dominant party as a result of the recent (May 10, 2010) national and local elections. As in the past, the recent elections were mere games for the elite, a populist facet of oligarchic rule. Similar to the other mainstream parties, the now-dominant Liberal Party also represents a mix of powerful “hacienda” (latifundia) and other business interests, political dynasties and even warlord clans.

During the recent electoral campaign (where over a hundred people died in clan wars, assassinations and even maoist ambuscades) our country’s professional politicians aped the Obama campaign slogan demanding change, without clarifying what they intend to change and how. Every candidate who can afford TV and radio airtime promised to lift the poor out of poverty, to add “beauty” to life, and to make everyone “happy”, without saying how they will do these.

Tragicomically, scions of political dynasties which built fortunes from illegal mining and logging (which have caused widespread disasters) projected themselves as environmentalists, and the most corrupt politicians projected themselves as graft busters. To some extent, the Philippine situation is a “sub-prime” copy of the US “model”.

The Philippines is a country where staggering unemployment, soaring costs of privatized utilities and rampant corruption compel many people to pin their hope on finding jobs in other countries, with the USA as the first choice. Never mind if doctors have to work as nurses, or nurses and teachers as caregivers and domestic helpers — the economic impetus overcomes personal and professional pride. Many others find imaginative ways to enter and stay on in the USA, even if only to fill informal work arrangements in the “invisible” or “underground” enterprises at the fringes of the US economy. These “undocumented” workers exist on minimal pay, without rights and protection, and in constant fear of tipsters out to get the bounty for every arrested illegal immigrant. Their only dream is to someday become permanent residents and even American citizens who, as Jose Marti once said, are “lucky” because they live inside the “belly of the whale”. The imperialist “whale” of course suffers periodic crises, with the present one being more staggering for its inhabitants. Thus those who migrate to escape injustice and the culture of violence, the abject poverty and the extortionist reign of political warlords in the Philippines, may find themselves confronted by racism and the war draft, poverty and the institutionalized extortion by the military-industrial complex and the banksters siphoning bail-out funds in the USA.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration estimated that there were around 2.8-million Filipinos in the USA as of the end of 2007, while the US State Department estimated that there were around 4-million Filipinos (legally or otherwise) in the USA during that same year. Filipinos are now the second largest Asian group in the USA, with the Pilipino language now being the fifth most spoken language in the USA. Filipinos in the USA account for around 40% of all overseas Filipinos. Money sent by overseas Filipino workers back to the Philippines is a major factor in our country’s economy, amounting to around P15.9-Billion in 2008 (with an estimated 20% of that amount coming from Filipinos in the USA). These remittances sustain their families and relatives in the Philippines, and enable them to amortize homelots and farms, to build retirement homes, to start small businesses, and even to finance political ambitions in the Philippines.

With the deepening capitalist crisis in the USA, and the continued unemployment or under-employment of many Filipinos who lost their jobs in the USA in the past 2 years, remittances to the Philippines are falling, with dire consequences for their dependents here. Many Filipinos are coming home from the USA with broken dreams after their houses were foreclosed and finding themselves in penury. Some opt to avail of early “retirement” here, and some come home to try to escape the debt-slavery of credit card companies. However, the “undocumented” have little options — they risk arrest at soup kitchens, and face the prospect of harsh prison terms upon arrest and before deportation back to the Philippines. The other option of gaining a future reprieve in the USA, by first serving as a mercenary for the US military or its private security contractors in Iraq or Afghanistan, is too gloomy for them to contemplate.

The theme of the 29th Convention of the CPUSA (“A Call for United Action to Create Jobs, End Foreclosures, Hunger, Poverty, Racism and War”) is therefore very relevant. It is a theme which will find resonance in the everyday living of all crisis-hit Filipino and Filipino-American workers in the USA today. We can only hope that Filipinos and Filipino-Americans in the USA would heed the call of the CPUSA and actively join the struggle for a crisis-free socialist USA.

We remember that during the Great Depression of the 1930s, many Filipino workers in the USA joined the CPUSA. Some of them even later joined the Lincoln Brigade in defense of Republican Spain, and others came back to the Philippines to become active in our Party, with some later becoming heroes and martyrs of our struggle against Japanese militarism and local reaction. Even earlier — during the time of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and of the Workers’ Party of America (the initial name of the CPUSA) — bonds of solidarity were forged between the working masses of the Philippines and of the USA, with US comrades consistently supporting the Filipino people’s struggle for national freedom and democracy, for an end to the oligarchic rule of US capital and their semi-feudal local partners in our country.

We continue to pay homage to the internationalist role of some members of your Party who, as staffers of the COMINTERN and of its international organizations, helped in the ideological development of our founding leaders. We particularly remember Comrades Alfred Wagenknecht, Harrison George, Eugene Dennis, Sam Darcy, and Sol and Isabelle Auerbach of the pre-WWII period. After the war, a product of your Party, Comrade William Pomeroy, stayed on to become a great Filipino-American Communist, and he is now part of the history of the struggles of our Party of the past six decades.

Today, as our two Parties are facing some similar challenges posed by the war-mongering and anti-working-class policies of imperialism, we hope that the bonds of solidarity between our two Parties would be further strengthened.

The PKP-1930 wishes every success to the 29th National Convention of the CPUSA, and to all the future activities of the CPUSA.

With fraternal greetings,

Antonio E. Paris
General Secretary
Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP-1930, the Philippine Communist Party)


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