PLM on Akbayan's Defense of its Coalition Politics PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 21 July 2014 21:30

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


Akbayan's article in the Sunday's Philippine Daily Inquirer (July 20, 2014, 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.

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 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.

In contrast, we also have the experience of the PT in Brazil and the ANC in South Africa, which are governments implementing pro-market neoliberal policies. These are traditionally considered to be progressive and Left parties which were able to win government.

The problem is the system
Our differences with Akbayan are 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'. We, on the other hand, believe that the system itself is the fundamental problem. The system cannot be reformed. It needs to be replaced in order to implement meaningful and far-reaching changes.

These debates are as old as the hills -- as old as the debates from the time of Karl Marx and onwards. Whether the capitalist state can merely be reformed, or whether it must be replaced with a fundamentally different type of state which represents the interest of the masses, was the historical dividing line between what came to be known as the social democrats and the revolutionary socialist currents in the international workers movement. Akbayan’s positions on this question have been ambiguous. The Inquirer article, however, further clarifies the PDSP-type social democratic leanings or character of Akbayan today.

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 the Disbursement Acceleration Program

Akbayan has openly supported President Aquino’s use of the DAP. The problem with DAP is that it is a scheme that reinforces political patronage, expands the “presidential pork” and tramples on the legislative’s prerogative to apportion the national budget. While we campaign for people’s right to participate in national budgeting and in law making, the DAP itself was a huge setback to the democratic principle, however limited, of the right of elected representatives’ to determine and allocate public funds.


So it is unconscionable for Akbayan not only to refuse to demand accountability from the President, but to even taunt and ridicule all those who support calls for the President’s impeachment.


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 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

The article claims that this is not the politics of pragmatism but politics based on idealism. To ask us to continue to hope under these increasingly desperate socio-economic conditions, however, seems like a pragmatic plea to continue supporting Akbayan’s coalition with this government.


The masses are losing hope and large numbers have already lost hope in this government. So is Akbayan trying to say that we should ask the masses not to lose hope in this government? We cannot do that when we believe the masses have the right to think that this government is a hopeless one. This line of asking them to keep up their hopes in this government, will end up derailing the mass struggle, with disastrous consequences for the masses.


In fact, our responsibility is not to ask them to hope for a miracle, 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.


Partido Lakas ng Masa

July 20, 2014


Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:49
Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 13:55
PLM Statement on the Gaza Genocide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 14 July 2014 12:33
Stop Israeli Bombing of Gaza-Palestine!
No to Israel's Terrorism, Collective Punishment and Genocide!

In the past week, Israeli military forces have escalated their offensive on the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes have increasingly targeted houses, civilian-populated areas and civilian facilities in the Gaza strip. Israeli warplanes have destroyed a number of houses while their residents were inside, without any prior warnings, killing and wounding many Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli government has cynically exploited the killing of three Israeli youth and used this to whip up a racist hysteria against Palestinians and the Hamas government in Gaza. It has done this without producing any evidence about who was responsible for those killings.

A campaign of indiscriminate violence against Palestinians has been incited and one Palestinian boy has been tortured and burnt to death. Now even more indiscriminate retribution has been inflicted on the civilian residents of Gaza.

Israeli occupation forces have also targeted the campuses of Birzeit University near Ramallah and the Arab American University in Jenin, resulting in the detention and arrest of students and staff and greatly infringing the Palestinian right to education.

Israel's actions are designed to terrorize and impose a collective punishment on the Palestinian people in a blatant violation of international humanitarian law.

The Partido Lakas ng Masa:

-- Strongly condemns Israel's latest attack on Gaza, Palestine and demands that it stop its attacks on Gaza and respect international law including the UN resolution 242 which demands Israel withdraw from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories which Israel has illegally occupied since 1967.

-- Calls on the Philippine government to immediately withdraw its ambassador from Israel, cut diplomatic ties and end any military and defence ties with Israel.

-- Supports calls for the intensification of the economic boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against Israel.

We call for a rally on  Tuesday, July 15, 8am, assemble at Petron Buendia cor Makati Avenue, then march to Israeli Embassy.
JULY 7 Founding Anniversary of Katipunan & Anti-Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) Rally PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 07 July 2014 20:58


PNoy, Abad and all involved in DAP scam must answer to the people

Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) deplores the high-level corruption that continues to

mark the Aquino government from top down. Corruption stalks the corridors of

Malacañang, the Senate, the Lower House and various government agencies.

It is clear now that the tentacles of corruption has reached the level of the higher-ups

from President Aquino himself to DBM Secretary Florencio Abad, another member of

the Cabinet. We are talking about DAP which involves the illegal disbursement of

money amounting to hundreds of billions of pesos. Compared to the 10-billion-pesos

PDAF scam, the DAP scam is staggering.


We hold the Aquino administration responsible for the unconstitutional disbursement

of people’s money. We hold PNoy culpable for conspiring with Abad and other

members of his administration to realign people’s money in order to bribe Senate and

Congress to do his biddings. On this regard, PLM is ready to support the calls from

various sectors for the impeachment, resignation or ouster of President Aquino from



We urgently demand that Abad and all those who are involved in the illegal operation

of DAP be sacked and put behind bars. We also demand the immediate prosecution

of all senators reported by media to have used the DAP funds to launder their

kickbacks from Napoles’ fake NGOs. Three of them are already in jail; the remaining

two, Senators Bongbong Marcos and Tito Sotto, should be hauled in court while

government prepares the case against all the others.


All those involved must be removed from their posts. Administrative and criminal

sanctions should follow so that these culprits are jailed and made to answer to

any wrongdoing. We also asked the government not to spare in the prosecution all

the President’s allies and even PNoy himself who are equally liable for misuse of the

national treasury.


The government must also account for all the DAP funds that had been

unconstitutionally allocated. Moreover, these funds must be duly audited and

returned to the public coffers. While corruption is running rampant in the Aquino

administration, President Aquino has not done anything to address the basic needs

of the Filipino people. Rising prices of essential food items such as rice, garlic,

vegetables, fruits, and livestock, and the unabated oil price and power rate increases

have made the lives of the Filipino masses more intolerable.


Hunger is rising, unemployment has remained at double digit figures, the

agrarian reform program has failed miserably and no agricultural development that

provides food sufficiency and spurs growth in the countryside has been

undertaken. What has become of our country under the continued rule of elite families

such as the Aquinos?


The PLM calls on our people to end this systemic ill or suffer all the more under this system.


On this day, 122 years ago, on July 7 1892, Andres Bonifacio and his comrades founded the


Katipunan which spearheaded the 1896 Revolution. We mark Katipunan’s anniversary today



noting that the sacrifices made by our revolutionary patriots have been wasted by successive


regimes of elite clans and dynasties that continue to impoverish the economic and political life


of our nation. We call on a new generation of Katipuneros to end elite rule today, and liberate


our people from the clutches of another corrupt and useless government. #

Last Updated on Friday, 11 July 2014 17:18
JULY 7 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Partido Lakas ng Masa   
Monday, 07 July 2014 20:58
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A new party is born. A party for our times.

A party of Change! A party of Socialism!

“Pare-pareho lamang silang trapo!
Mangungurakot na naman yan!
Bobolahin na naman nila tayo!”

Sounds really familiar. We have heard this expression from people of all walks of life time and again. An automatic response, when one is asked about a certain politician or politicians in general.

For decades, generations of politicians from the same clan and some new ones have been deceiving the masses. Every election for them has been an opportunity to make more promises. And after every election, all these remain just that – promises.



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