imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news



CopWatch LA


A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network: africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Philippine Leftists launch election campaign to take on traditional politicians

by Tony Iltis Wednesday, Jan. 02, 2013 at 11:16 PM

At a one-day assembly of more than 500 delegates on November 28, the militant socialist Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM - Partido Lakas ng Masa) introduced its candidates for national elections scheduled for May 13 next year.

Philippine Leftists ...
1-partido-lakas-ng-masa-plm-workers-philippines-aktibista.jpg, image/jpeg, 449x381

The PLM, which now holds positions in several Barangay (neighbourhood) councils, is running 20 candidates for municipal councillor, vice-mayor, mayor and Congress. They include candidates in Negros and Iligan, in the Philippine archipelago’s south. Most candidates, however, are in Metro Manila or the semi-urban provinces surrounding the capital: Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna.

This area, home to more than a third of the country’s population, is where the party has its strongest base.

Along with the PLM candidates, the assembly was also addressed by Dick Penson, a businessperson running for the Senate.

A successful entrepreneur may seem an unlikely guest at an assembly of a radical left-wing party whose main base is in the urban poor. But as another guest speaker – Australian Socialist Alliance member and former Green Left Weekly Caracas correspondent Federico Fuentes – explained, a feature of neoliberal imperialism is that in many poor countries every aspect of the economy is monopolised by foreign multinationals.

Political power becomes concentrated in an ever-shrinking elite, marginalising national business in the process.

In the Philippines, this has reached the point of absurdity, with political power monopolised by 119 families, less than 0.0005% of the population. These dynasties use political office to enrich themselves, generally through legally suspect means such as awarding themselves land. As their wealth is dependent on holding office, they invest in getting family members elected.

Penson is running on the Krusada Kontra Dynasty (Anti-Dynasty Crusade) ticket, while the PLM is making tackling the political dynasties the focus of its campaign. There are plans for both to join on a “caravan against the dynasties” that will travel the country early next year.

PLM national chairperson Sonny Melencio, in his address to the assembly, explained the history of the dynasties. The most established can trace their power to their ancestors collaborating with the Spanish, who ruled the Philippines from the 1500s until 1898.

The Filipino revolution against the Spanish was crushed by the US who established their own rule. New collaborators came forward, creating new dynasties.

When Japan occupied the Philippines during World War II, most of this elite departed with the US occupation forces. This was an opportunity for others to collaborate with the Japanese and found their own dynasties.

The 119 families who rule the Philippines come from all these generations of collaborators. They also feature a few newer dynasties established through holding political office in the neocolonial independent republic established in 1946.

In a country with no social security and few opportunities for regular employment, one way the dynasties stay in office is through the distribution of meagre “gifts” to their electorates.

They also use more sinister means. Particularly in rural areas, political clans keep private armies. Elections in the Philippines can be violent affairs.

After the 1986 uprising that overthrew the US-backed Marcos dictatorship, some anti-dynasty measures were introduced. Article 2, Section 26 of the constitution states: “The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service, and prohibit political dynasties as defined by law.”

However, laws to make this constitutional provision reality are unlikely to come while legislators are themselves members of the dynasties.

Another measure is the reservation of 57 of the 287 seats in Congress to Party Lists representing marginalised constituencies. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is supposed to ensure that Party List candidates are from non-elite backgrounds.

This has not stopped the dynasties from establishing Party Lists with their family members as candidates. These are popularly known as “BoPals”, short for “bogus Party Lists”.

On October 25, the PLM Youth held an anti-BoPal protest at the Comelec offices, with street theatre featuring the “Trapo family” running various members for elected office, including the family dog. Trapo is a pejorative term for traditional politicians.

Fuentes’ presentation on the revolutions in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador generated much discussion, particularly as the working class in these countries is – like the Philippines – comprised mainly of people in the informal sector.

Before the Asian financial crisis in 1998, the PLM-aligned trade union federation, the BMP, was made up mainly of industrial workers. Since then, this sector has shrunk dramatically due to jobs being exported to Cambodia and China. The BMP’s work has increasingly been through its affiliates, KPML and PMT, organising the urban poor: motorcycle-taxi drivers, street vendors, contractualised call-centre workers, the underemployed and the unemployed.

As urban poor communities are often next to rivers and creeks and are flooded with increasing regularity, climate justice has become an important issue for the PLM.

The Philippines’ role in the globalised capitalist economy is predominantly as an exporter of labour. This has a devastating effect on society as families are torn apart. Filipino children are commonly brought up by grandparents. The abuse suffered by overseas Filipino workers, particularly female domestic workers, is infamous.

Apart from the issue of political dynasties, Penson has said that export of labour is the main issue on which he will campaign. He noted that from the glitzy buildings of Dubai to the mines of outback Australia and US hospitals, the world is kept running by Filipino labour while the Philippines stagnates.

PLM candidates include Uriel Jojo Borja, running for Congress in Iligan, Bong Sevilla, running for mayor of General Mariano Alvarez municipality, Cavite, where the PLM is running a full slate of eight councillor candidates, and Restituto Mendoza running for vice-mayor of San Pablo City.

Dominic Flores, running for councillor in Quezon City, is making history as an openly gay candidate. In Barangay Pansol, whose council he heads, he established a gender equality office and anti-discrimination ordinances. He has pledged to replicate this in the Quezon City municipal council if elected.

Tony Iltis, Manila

Tony Iltis as a member of the Australian Socialist Alliance who attended the PLM’s one-day assembly.

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Local News

Public art project aspires to save California N18 3:42PM

Songwriter, Author, Philanthropist P F Sloan Died On Nov 16 N17 4:48PM

A Plea For Support From Will B N15 4:23PM

10 Shocking Realities of the TPP N09 4:47PM

KPFK needs your VOTE ! or lose it. O31 4:51PM


KPFK is losing and reducing it's main programmers, so can Fresh ones emerge there instead? O26 5:58PM

Fall 2015 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert! O26 7:58AM

A master-plan is needed to support renter protections in Northern California, & elsewhere O25 9:48PM

KPFK Updating: a coup? or failure? or.... O25 5:04PM

Kapparot Chicken Slaughter Causes Outrage: Activists Demand Change O06 1:59PM

Update on WHAT IS HAPPENING AT KPFK and what can be done & elections O05 12:39AM

A Letter (sent) to L.A. Slut Walk O03 12:51PM

Protesters Enact Symbolic "Die In" to Unwelcome Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley S28 3:52PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

The Shortwave Report 11/27/15 Listen Globally! N26 3:56PM

An humble opinion N26 1:59PM

League of Angels Fire Raiders Generator N25 7:52PM

Activistas de los Derechos Humanos Unen Fuerzas en Honor al Derecho a la Democracia N25 3:13PM

VIDEO: What "Orwellian" Really Means N25 1:49PM

US Forces South Africa To Import Sick Birds N25 9:10AM

Presidential Candidates Criticize Pfizer Merger N25 8:19AM

Turkey's Downing of a Russian Fighter Jet Moves the Doomsday Clock Very Close to Midnight N25 5:46AM

Kim Kardashian Hollywood Online Hack N25 4:51AM

NATO is harboring the Islamic State N25 4:43AM

Paraphysique de l'Etat d'urgence N25 1:23AM

Casino Capitalism and Profit Maximization N25 1:18AM

Democracy Now, Military Times, Guardian Articles On Soldiers Refusing To Drop Drones etc N24 9:10AM

Warhammer 40000 Freeblade Hack Generator N24 8:23AM

First Amendment Under Covert Attack N23 6:27PM

Insanity of the police/fbi community N23 1:35PM

No to Racism and War! N23 6:02AM

Fifa 16 Coin Generator N23 3:24AM

(A-Radio) Northern Europe 1: Musta Pispala festival in Finland N23 12:36AM

Paranoïa ou la vérité d'une société N22 11:54PM

Wicked fbi and their mischievous police friends N22 11:22AM

Mobile Strike Hack Generator Gold and VIP N22 4:02AM

“None Dare Call It Conspiracy:” How U.S. Elites Made Islamist Militants the New Red Menace N21 5:05AM


Monsanto Patenting World's Seeds, Controlling World's Food, Causing Cancer, Killing Bees, N20 9:59AM

Indigenous Hispanic areas also Economic Rights US N20 8:14AM

Paraphysique de l'hybris pirocratie N19 11:44PM

Free Kicks Tips on FIFA 16 N19 11:20PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy