Class solidarity: Powerful weapon against capitalist attacks
As the different factions of the ruling class in the Philippines both from Right and Left are very busy in their intra-factional squabbles through the issue of maintaining or amending the capitalist Constitution to tune it to defend national capitalism amidst the continuing descent of world capitalism in crisis, a minority part of the Filipino working class did not fall into this trap but instead assert their struggle in their own class terrain.
Workers of Paul Yu Lampshade export factory inside the Mactan Cebu export processing zone have shown the way for solidarity to resist capitalist attacks. Last May 8 they launched a wildcat work stoppage to force the management to have a dialogue with them regarding the many violations of labor standards and most of all, on the intolerable reduction of their wages through three days work rotation per week. Through their assemblies, the workers of Paul Yu decided to confront their capitalist boss. Last June 15, they once again launched a wildcat work stoppage to show solidarity against the suspension of their seven (7) colleagues because of their militant protest last month. They decided not to return to work until the management revoke the suspension of their colleagues.
Sense of solidarity is developing not only among the Paul Yu workers both regular and contractual. Some workers in different companies inside the export zone showed solidarity and pledge to launch solidarity actions in support of Paul Yu workers and at the same time unite with the latter's demands as their own since capitalist attacks are widespread not only in Paul Yu but almost all companies of the Export Zone. Paul Yu has more than 1,000 workforce while the entire Export Zone in Mactan Cebu has tens of thousands of workers.
For decades now, workers in the Philippines export zones have been prevented by the state and the capitalist class, like in other peripheral countries, to launch any unified and militant protests inside their Export Zones in order not to frighten investors and to convince them to invest than in their rival countries. The last time Export Zone workers launch widespread strikes was in the early 80s, in Bataan Export Processing Zone.
Lately, there are also workers' resistance in Triumph International and Goldilocks companies in Metro Manila.
This tendency of searching for solidarity is not particular with the Paul Yu workers or in the Philippines. This is now the increasing tendency of the workers around the world in their resistance against capitalism's attacks on their living conditions since 2003. The clarion call of “an attack to one is an attack to all, the struggle of one is the struggle of all” is once again finding an echo with an increasing number of workers, not only in the Philippines but around the globe – South Korea, Britain, France, Greece, Bangladesh, Egypt, etc.
The tendency of the workers to see the importance and power of their assemblies as organs of struggles is also beginning to develop. Although still influenced with bourgeois mystifications, this tendency echoes the world-wide tendency of the international proletariat for self-organization and putting the decision-making of their struggles in their own hands. The lessons of international struggles – solidarity and extension of struggles – to defend their class interests against capitalism's onslaught are increasingly realized by many Filipino workers like their brothers/sisters in Europe.
We do not know what will be the outcome of these struggles of the workers in Mactan Cebu Export Processing Zone. It will depend on the development of their solidarity, extension of struggles and defiance of capitalist laws that prevent and divide them to unify and resist. Nevertheless, as revolutionaries, we salute the development of their consciousness through their own struggles as part of the development of the consciousness of the world proletariat.
However, this development of solidarity could be derailed and diverted by bourgeois mystifications and the efforts of the different factions of the Filipino ruling class of the Right and Left of capital to dragoon the workers in the bourgeois terrain like the issue of Charter Change, Constituent Assembly, bourgeois elections next year or unionism. The main role of the revolutionaries within the workers movement in the Philippines is to be an active factor in resisting these bourgeois mystifications and convince their own class to continue the fight along the proletarian terrain.
To develop the immediate or economic struggles of the workers to political struggle is to relate these to the question of the state and its institutions like the parliament – the central defender of decaying capitalist system – not by having an illusion that the state could defend the workers but by smashing it. This is the political struggle of the working class on their own class terrain for socialism.