Junk the Anti-Women Candidates, Advance the Women’s Liberation Movement

Cesar Renerio
March 8, 2013

We celebrate today the 102nd year of the International Women’s Day. The National Democratic Front – North Central Mindanao joins today’s celebration in the entire archipelago and in the whole world. The women’s continuing struggle for liberation from exploitation and oppression the world over is an inspiration for us in persevering with the revolutionary course.

Women’s contribution in every phase of social development is indelibly etched in the history of humanity. They played an active role in the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the establishment of the Paris Commune, the Russian October Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, in Katipunan and in many other endeavours to revolutionize society. Any movement for social change would be impossible to achieve without the direct participation of women, who make up half of our population.

Since the late 60’s until now, the revolutionary women’s struggle bannered by the Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (MAKIBAKA) has played a significant role in the gradual attainment of changes in the rural political landscape and equality. Chapters of MAKIBAKA have been established in many barrios in the region, where they actively participate in administering the revolutionary government and fulfil the special role of proliferating revolutionary culture as their children’s first mentors. They are the women revolutionaries who selflessly offer their prime years in advancing armed struggle and genuine land reform as Party cadres and members, Red commanders and fighters of the New People’s Army. They are the activists of the revolutionary mass organizations in the countryside and in the cities, who daringly pursue their class and gender struggle along the path of the national-democratic revolution with a socialist perspective. We salute them.

In North Central Mindanao, women endure different forms of feudal, semifeudal and capitalist exploitation and oppression. Aside from the basic problems of society, they also bear gender discrimination under a patriarchal system dominated by men. They are treated as commodities and are relegated to domestic slavery. They are deprived of equal opportunities in social production and in active participation in political and community activities. They frequently fall victim to physical and psychological abuse, as expressed concretely by the ever-increasing number of cases and violence against women by the day.

In the countryside, women peasants and agricultural workers suffer from widespread landlessness, poor wages, child labor, inhumane working conditions, illiteracy, inaccessibility of social services and human rights violations. Primarily culpable for the infernal suffering of the women in the countryside are the landlords and the foreign mining and agribusiness corporations such as Del Monte, Dole and Sumifru. They monopolize large tracts of land, dispossessing the people of the countryside of their means of livelihood and condemning them to wallow in poverty and backwardness. They are also primarily responsible for the serious environmental devastation and the wanton plunder of natural resources, resulting to great calamities where most of the victims are women, the elderly and children.

In the cities, women also live a hard life in factories, offices, schools and other workplaces. Many young women work in malls, super stores, hotels and restaurants. In the Del Monte cannery and other plants and factories, they are subjected to capitalist exploitation by squeezing surplus value from their labor, bleeding them dry. Many of them are contractual workers, who can only become regular in exchange of sexual favours to their bosses or supervisors. They suffer from low wages, insufficient or utterly lacking benefits, inhumane working conditions and the deprivation of their rights to form unions and strike. Driven by poverty, many of them gambled with destiny to seek better employment overseas while others are forced to resort to prostitution, illegal drug trade and other antisocial activities for survival.

Under the reactionary US-Aquino regime, the women could never hope to be emancipated from the social fetters. Because it is uninterested in land reform and national industrialization, it further mires the women deeper into the morass of hopelessness and misfortune by encouraging tourism. Instead of helping the women liberate themselves, it instills a culture of mendacity and perpetual dependence through the 4ps dole-out program.

The coming bourgeois election is yet another opportunity to deceive the voting public. It is an affront to the people’s democratic right through its usual round of rampant vote-buying, cheating and terrorism. Traditional politicians will exhaust all efforts to win the support of women and the public. We must be vigilant in identifying candidates who advance the issues of women and the people and thus deserve to be elected in office. We must, on the other hand, expose and junk anti-people and anti-women candidates. Ironically enough, Rufus Rodriguez is one candidate representing multinational corporations that manufacture infant formulas. He authored a house bill which, if approved, orders mothers to limit their breastfeeding to six months after childbirth, or else they will get penalized for violation. His brother, Maxi Rodriguez of ABAMIN partylist is a congressman who does not represent any marginalized sector. In fact their family has perpetrated the marginalization of peasants farming the public land in El Salvador, Misamis Oriental adjacent to their family’s cattle ranch. For these politicos, cows are more important than poor peasants.

History teaches us that women can only attain genuine liberation in socialism. We are in the stage of intensifying guerrilla warfare to complete the requirements in advancing the people’s war to the strategic stalemate then move onward to final victory. Indeed this struggle will take many years more, but we are confident that the road we are taking is the right track towards genuine social change.

Thus today, let our call to all women reverberate in the entire region to further expand and consolidate the revolutionary ranks and further invigorate open and underground, legal and illegal mass movements. We must multiply several folds existing MAKIBAKA chapters as we call on young MAKIBAKA members to join the New People’s Army. By their direct participation in the armed struggle, they carry out the task of advancing the struggle for women’s liberation along with the struggle of the Filipino people for national liberation and democracy.

Long live the revolutionary struggle for women’s liberation!