APEC declaration: intensifying war vs. workers, peoples of the world

P1190298 (2)
The “23rd Declaration of APEC Leaders” is no less than a declaration of intensifying war against the workers and peoples of the world.

It professes loyalty to neoliberal “globalization” policies that favor big foreign capitalists, especially financial capitalists, to the detriment of workers and ordinary peoples. It reaffirms APEC’s commitment to the widely-discredited World Trade Organization and to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which subjects member-countries to neoliberal economic policies more forcefully.

It professes loyalty to the US’ “war on terror” and “Pivot to Asia,” which means greater US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and support for the US’ wars of aggression against governments and political forces that stand in the way of the US’ economic and geo-political interests. For the Philippines, it will mean more human-rights violations by the US-backed Philippine military.

APEC 2015 will worsen the effects of APEC 1996 on the economy of the Philippines. It will further weaken the country’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors, which are key to generating employment, in favor of the services sector. It will therefore result in greater joblessness and lower quality of jobs for Filipinos. Wages will continue to be depressed, contractual jobs will continue to be promoted, and trade-union rights will continue to be attacked and violated.

APEC 2015’s stated commitment to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises is worrisome for workers. In the past, MSMEs have been used by big capitalists as excuse to further press down wages, spread contractual employment, and stop unions from being formed. At the same time, the problems which MSMEs really confronted were ignored: high power and water rates, huge taxes and government kickbacks, wanton trade liberalization and smuggling, and poor infrastructure.

APEC 2015’s statements on disaster preparedness look good on paper, but are too little and too late when compared with the demands from people’s organizations and non-government organizations. No amount of declarations on disaster preparedness will save lives and rebuild communities if governments, like that of Aquino, are corrupt to the core and indifferent to the suffering of the people. This government has only used “disaster preparedness” to pocket international donations.

Needless to say, the sacrifices which the Filipino workers and people were asked to endure are not “temporary disruptions” but a foretaste of the bigger suffering that APEC will bring in the coming years and decades.

The future of the Filipino workers and people under APEC is bleak. We therefore call on workers and all Filipinos to intensify our struggle against neoliberal policies, all of which are anti-worker and anti-poor. Let us intensify our struggle for land, higher wages, job security and free exercise of trade-union rights. Let us intensify our struggle for national and social liberation. There can be no genuine development for a country that continues to be shackled to neocolonial rule.