Neocolonial Parties Let us investigate the political parties which have profited most from the status quo. Let us call them the licensed or the permitted political parties in our neocolonial society. The time for criticizing them has come and criticism must be made in order to raise the political consciousness of the people who are once more as agitated as during the days of the Katipunan, who are as ever prepared to receive progressive and revolutionary ideas, who know how well they can use their democratic rights to build their own political party and movement basically different from the NP, the LP and the PPP which are now prancing in the political hippodrome of the neocolonial circus.
1. The Nacionalista Party
Let us take the Nacionalista Party. It is the oldest conservative party in existence. It came into focus in 1907 by ostentatiously advocating “immediate, complete and absolute independence” in opposition to the outrightly pro-imperialist Federalist Party which advocated the annexation of the Philippines to the United States. Nevertheless, the Nacionalista Party was never able to regain the spirit and determination of the Katipunan and the Philippine Revolution because it had the basic fault of accepting the political framework established by foreign domination, of becoming in effect the beneficiary of a perpetuated state of aggression, of being dictated by the American slogan of “tutelage for self-government” which was a direct mockery of our revolutionary masses and their patriotic heritage, and of agreeing to the basic proposition that the Filipino leaders should beg for Philippine independence from the U.S. government instead of struggling for it as an assertion of self-determination. The Nacionalista Party was the first imperialist-tolerated party to mislead our people into believing that sovereignty, instead of being fought for by our own people, can be granted by the very alien forces which suppressed it.
In the most objective sense, the Nacionalista Party helped U.S. imperialism strengthen its economic, political, administrative, educational and military control of the Philippines for more than three crucial and continuous decades before the outbreak of the Japanese-American imperialist war in the Pacific. The compromising character of the Nacionalista Party can be seen in its 1935 platform which, despite the independence oratory of Quezon, advocated the revision of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, “so that preferential trade with America may be allowed to continue after independence and shall not be terminated until the expiration of such period as may be considered reasonably necessary to permit the Philippines to make proper readjustment of her economy.” This would be the same imperialist and comprador-landlord rationale in favor of the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment after the war.
When World War II was going on, U.S. control of the Commonwealth government in exile only became stronger. The imperialist terms of the Tydings-McDuffie Law pertaining to U.S. military bases and property rights were aggravated by executive arrangements in Washington.
In 1946, the Nacionalista Party splintered into three wings, left, middle and right. The left wing tried to carry the middle wing towards the Democratic Alliance, a party deriving its strength mainly from the organized peasantry and workers. The right wing became the Liberal Party. The Nacionalista Party opposed the threat of McNutt and the U.S. business community, led by the infamous American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, to postpone “independence” and likewise opposed the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment. After the electoral victory of the Liberal Party, however, the Nacionalista Party’s opposition to imperialism weakened and became half-hearted.
Even as the Liberal Party cheated in the elections of 1949, the vehement opposition of the Nacionalista Party to electoral fraud and terrorism was not directed at the foreign power which controlled the armed forces and made possible the use of official fraud and terrorism. Ironically, it soon occurred that the Nacionalista Party adopted Ramon Magsaysay as its presidential standard-bearer in 1952 despite the fact that he was the principal agent of U.S. imperialism in effecting the suppression of the writ of habeas corpus, in the massive attacks against civil liberties and in the preparation of conditions which threatened the incarceration of such Nacionalista leaders as Recto, Laurel and Rodriguez and others for alleged involvement in alleged “subversive” activities.
The transposition of Magsaysay proved the basic reactionary character of the Nacionalista Party, its susceptibility to the maneuvers of U.S. imperialism. In the short time that Magsaysay was president, U.S. imperialism succeeded in imposing upon the Filipino people the U.S.-RP Mutual Defense Pact and the Manila Pact (SEATO) which multiplied its privileges of intervening in Philippine affairs militarily and of involving the Philippine government in U.S. wars of intervention and aggression throughout Southeast Asia. It also succeeded in making a readjustment and revision of the Bell Trade Act which made possible some minor concessions to the Philippine government but which extended parity rights of U.S. citizens to all fields of business endeavor in the Philippines.
During the term of Garcia, when the stalwarts of what is now the Party for Philippine Progress suddenly found themselves out of place in the administration, the “Filipino First” policy was raised as a reflection of and response to the growth of national entrepreneurship under conditions of controls during the ‘fifties. But, under the charges of graft and corruption and the threat of a coup d’etat emanating from the Central Intelligence Agency and its Filipino agents who were exposed by General Pelagio Cruz, Garcia made several steps backward and gave in to U.S. pressures for decontrol as early as 1960.
The imposition of full and immediate decontrol and U.S.-controlled “free enterprise,” executed through the puppetry of the United Opposition in 1962, has wrought havoc upon our national life. Our working class and peasantry have been suffering from the automatic decrease of their real income, and from the increase of unemployment, the skyrocketing of prices of all commodities and the subsidy for imported consumer goods which has undermined the financial stability of the government. Filipino entrepreneurships have been depressed by decontrol and by its concomitant of tight credit control, forced into bankruptcy and takeover by U.S. monopolies. As a result of decontrol the Philippine economy is being surrendered totally to big U.S. monopolies with their unlimited financial standing. Abusing the alienation of government from the national entrepreneurs, U.S. monopolies have subordinated government finances to their investment plans.
2. The Liberal Party
Let us take the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party started as the right wing of the Nacionalista Party in 1946. It was the reactionary wing and it did become the reactionary party given by U.S. imperialism the task of perpetuating the colonial privileges of U.S. monopoly interests even after July 4, 1946. It was the party which frustrated the Democratic Alliance with the coercive means made available to it by the U.S. military and money. It is the party responsible for the Parity Amendment, the Bell Trade Act, the Military Bases Agreement, the Military Assistance Pact and the Quirino-Foster Agreement.
Consistent with its tradition of unmitigated pro-imperialism, the Liberal Party—together with the Grand Alliance (whose leaders are now leading the PPP) fought against the “Filipino First” policy and advocated decontrol which has intensified the misery of the masses.
The aggravated condition of the nation is the joint responsibility of the Liberal Party and the Grand Alliance. Obscuring the fact that it was U.S. monopoly capitalism which manipulates them to oppose the aspirations of nationalist businessmen, these political parties endlessly harp on the issue of graft and corruption against the Nacionalista Party in the allocation of foreign exchange. After full decontrol in 1962, bureaucratic corruption merely changed places. Pure and technical smuggling and bribery in the disposition of government funds, approval of contracts and sale of government firms have become rampant.
What is supposed to be the chief achievement of the Liberal Party administration since 1962 is the adoption of decontrol and the reinforcement of a U.S.-controlled economy. As this party persists in this presumption, it must be rejected by the national-democratic movement. In conformity with the dictates of the U.S. State Department, the Macapagal administration has faithfully publicized a sham socioeconomic program, recommended by U.S. agents in the World Bank, which merely outlines what public works projects can be done by the government. Based on new tax measures and on stabilization funds and foreign investments from the United States, this program is meant to destroy the initiative and potency of the Filipino people in their economic life. This program has been nothing but a cover for further Americanization of the economy.
The original and actual intent of the Macapagal Land Reform Program was to deepen U.S. control of Philippine agriculture and agricultural credit. The amended Minimum Wage Law is also nothing but an insufficient readjustment to the harsh results of decontrol which has forced Filipino firms into bankruptcy and caused the layoffs of Filipino workers. The Filipino working class has lost more than it has gained during the Macapagal administration.
In foreign policy, the Macapagal administration has assiduously tied itself to the tactics of U.S. imperialism which are directed towards splitting the Afro-Asian anti-imperialist movement and preserving imperialism and neocolonialism. At the present stage, the Philippine government is allowing itself to be used as an instrument in the development of a so-called “moderate group”—composed of pro-U.S. governments—which is meant to counteract the will of the Afro-Asian peoples to force the retreat of colonialism, imperialism and neocolonialism.
3. The Party for Philippine Progress
Let us take the PPP. The Party for Philippine Progress is the most reactionary, anti-national and anti-democratic of the three parties running district and national candidates. Analysis of the vested class interests behind it, its development and its present platform and activities reveals to us its reactionary clerico-fascist and pro-imperialist nature. This must be stated clearly because this party intends to create semantical confusion and mystification as the basis of its political program.
The PPP calls itself a “left of center” party only to be anti-left, anti-national and anti-democratic. It calls itself a “rebel against tradition” and a “revolutionary” party only to be guided by the most traditional and reactionary forces in the country such as clericalism, militarism, imperialism and feudalism. It calls itself a “nationalist” party (with such glittering generalities as “faith in the Filipino,” “love for the Philippines,” and “hope in the Filipino”) only to obscure and evade the basic and concrete iniquities in Philippine-American neocolonial relations. It calls the Philippine government “neocolonialist” because it is supposedly “overcentralized” and “too strong,” deliberately not referring to the fact that it is actually weak as a national instrument because it is subordinated to the central powers and interests of U.S. imperialism, and it is in this sense that it is neocolonialist. The PPP would like to make it appear that Filipino bureaucrats on their own account are the neocolonialists, not the imperialist and feudal interests which control and organize them.
The PPP calls for a supposed “decentralization” in order to distribute the graces of democracy but only to strengthen the provincial powers of landlords and their politicians and to negate all possibilities for any national industrial planning from a republican center. It calls for “people’s capitalism” only to rob the workers of their meager savings and to have the mass of small shareholders manipulated by a few high financiers, chiefly foreign.
The PPP can trace its beginnings from the frailes and guardia civil. Its spiritual origins and historical antecedents are manifested by its obvious schemes of disciplining voters and organizations to vote along anti-republican, colonial and sectarian lines and of developing fascist connections with the military establishment. While the PPP has the presumption of achieving these schemes, imperialist and comprador-landlord interests consider it a safety check on the two other conservative parties and a weapon of last resort in anticipation of the revolutionary advance of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
As a distinct political group, the PPP started to train itself in the Chesterton Evidence Guild before World War II. With their dramatics, the members of this guild—mostly the children of the elite—praised Franco and Mussolini and advocated their ideas. The guild was obviously inspired by Father Coughlin who, in New York, was agitating for fascism.
After the war, the members of this guild assisted in the return of U.S. imperialism and many of them were used to penetrate political and civic organizations, especially those with national-democratic tendencies. After the army raids against progressive workers’ and peasants’ organizations in 1950-52, they started their maneuvers to inveigle the peasantry and working class with their own kinds of organization and with their imperialist-inspired concept of rural community development. In 1952, as the Magsaysay-for-President-Movement boys, their political identity with those intelligence and psy-war officers responsible for the widescale suppression of democracy became more evident. It was during the time of Magsaysay that they brewed the anti-libertarian Anti-Subversion Law in order to curtail the freedom of patriotic dissent. It is the opinion of the most competent lawyers today that this is a bill of attainder and a clear attack against the right of expression and assembly.
In 1957, after the sudden death of Magsaysay, the Progressive Party of the Philippines was established. In 1959, it called itself the Grand Alliance to embrace disgruntled elements from the LP who were also close to the American Jesuits. In the elections of 1957 and 1959, the PPP failed but succeeded in holding back to some extent the faster development of the anti-imperialist movement. They were always around to make red-baiting attacks against anti-imperialists. In 1961, it coalesced with the Liberal Party into the United Opposition. The United Opposition was united by the pro-imperialist objective of eliminating the “Filipino First” policy, and of returning a policy of “free enterprise” totally controlled by the U.S. business monopolies and united by the fantastic amounts of U.S. dollars contributed by large U.S. business firms to the electoral campaign fund.
In 1962, the PPP was able to infiltrate most successfully all important branches and agencies of the government. In Congress, the PPP stalwarts, Manglapus and Manahan, and their associates stood out in proposing those bills, like the Macapagal Foreign Investments Bill, which would serve the interest of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines.
Disgusted with the inability of Macapagal to get the majority of the Philippine Senate in the 1963 elections and afraid of being implicated in the Stonehill and smuggling syndicates, to which many of their PPP colleagues could be implicated, as Macapagal did implicate Pelaez, Senators Manglapus and Manahan left the Liberal Party in 1964 and prepared the resuscitation of the PPP. So long as the three political parties, the NP, the LP and the PPP, are controlled and financed from above by the comprador-landlord class and its imperialist master, none of them can ever be expected to be truly for the development of national democracy in the Philippines. But, again, let us say that we should strive for a national united front of all patriotic and progressive forces and elements in our society, and let us open the door of national unity to those groups and elements that are truly for national freedom and democracy at any time. Let us develop a new type of political party and, at the same time, a broad alliance of political forces against U.S. imperialism and feudalism. The U.S. imperialists are once more trying to consolidate their forces and agents in this country in preparation against democratic mass actions that are now developing in defense of our national patrimony, our dignity and independence. U.S. imperialism is more worried than ever as it is now fast losing its power and influence in areas surrounding the Philippines. We are now in a period as historically momentous as the decade of the forties or the years when Spanish colonialism overconcentrated itself in the Philippines only to find itself overexposed to our people who were quick to realize that they must win collective freedom. In conclusion, let us cry: let us have national freedom; let us have class freedom; let us have individual freedom in the service of the class freedom of the workers and peasants! #