• ‘Contractualization is addiction far worse than drug abuse. Will Duterte kill capitalists?’

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    MAURO GIA SAMONTE

    MAURO GIA SAMONTE

    The quote is from the Secretariat of Socialista, a mass organization which, as it is self-explanatory in its name, advocates socialist aims.

    A statement from the group admits it in fact: “Socialista is an internationalist and democratic-socialist organization that adheres to the orthodox Marxist conception of scientific socialism as the only recourse to end the sickening exploitation and poverty – dialectically created by capitalism – around the world today. Socialista believes that socialism is a social theory that proposes that natural resources, public services, and the tools of production for basic social needs should serve the rights and welfare of humanity – not the interests of privileged few – through the control of organizations and entities representing the interest of the majority of people on the said social requirements. Therefore, Socialista strongly affirms the basic principles of socialism: human dignity/existence, social equity, social justice, and democratic governance in the society.”

    Socialista is one of several labor organizations comprising the National Confederation of Labor (NCL), headed by Ernie Arellano, which include Associated Trade Union (ATU), Katipunan ng Samahang ng mga Manggagawa (KASAMA), Katipunan ng Makabayang Manggagawa (KMM). Legal Advocates for Workers Interests (LAWIN), National Federation of Labor (NFL), National Union of Builders and Construction Workers (NUBCW), and United Filipino Service Workers (UFSW).

    While Socialista would not come forward as speaking in behalf of the entire NCL, it nonetheless reflects the socialist binding element among the NCL membership. And on the issue of support for Durerte, Socialista secretariat spokesperson, Glecy Naquita, echoes Ernie Arellano’s position of “critical support,” clarifying the term in an elaborate manner.

    “We are not condoning extrajudicial killings. Rather we are placing the issue in a bigger, clearer perspective. Is President Duterte guilty of those killings? Did he order those killings himself? We are not sure about that. So we are not in a position to blame it all on him.”

    I remind Ms. Naquita that Duterte has come out into the open owning up to the killings.

    “Okay, take it at that. But granting he did order those killings, our question is, why limit them to the slaughter of drug addicts when there is this greater problem of addiction which he should address?”

    What’s worse than drug addiction? The question was just on my mind but the vociferous lady had a ready retort.

    “Contractualization,” Ms. Naquita snaps.

    Contractualization is the popular term for the labor-only-contracting scheme that has become the order of the day for hiring workers by Philippine capitalists. By this scheme, labor hiring agencies contract the services of workers, which services are then subcontracted to entrepreneurs who, being the actual employers, are the ones exploiting wage labor, but who, being not the contracting party with workers, are free of all such burdens and responsibilities as are provided for by laws.

    Examples of benefits instantly denied workers under contractualization are sick leaves, vacation leaves, maternity leaves, paternity leaves, etc.

    Under the Labor Code, an employee who has continuously worked for six months automatically becomes a regular employee and as such is entitled to all legal employee’s benefits such as SSS coverage and leaves with pay. Under contractualization, employees never reach this six-month continuous employment status because of endo. Endo stands for “end of contract.” By this method, employees’ contracts of employment are terminated before the end of the six-month period, to be resumed even just a day after the termination date for another six-month period of employment to begin, over and over again.

    No matter that the cycle reaches all the way to kingdom come, employees never attain permanent employment status — never get the benefits that are due them under the law.

    The most damaging effect of contractualization is its absolute denial of workers’ right to strike whether against the actual exploiter of their wage labor, the capitalists, or the actual hirer of their services, the labor-only-contracting agency. The very simple expedience of the endo does this in one fell swoop. Employees never gain the status of regular employees – which is a requirement by law for employees to form a union and by that invoke their right to strike.

    Contractualization has thus become a most potent shield by capitalists against the great – and only – weapon that can be wielded by workers against oppression and exploitation: the strike. Will capitalists relinquish that shield?

    “If we don’t come out zeroing in on the extrajudicial killings undertaken by Duterte of drug addicts, it is because we intend to put him on the crucible for testing his real color. Contractualization is addiction far worse than drug abuse. Will Duterte kill capitalists?”

    I thought that was a novel notion, treating contractualization as another — in fact far worse — form of addiction. And if it were, indeed, then Duterte must embark on a binge of killing capitalists, too, exactly in the same manner he liquidates drug addicts.

    Just seems fair? Perhaps on the plane of pure parity. Killing capitalists as well must meet with just as much mass apathy as the killing of drug addicts. But here’s where the logic crumbles.

    Parity has its imperatives. If killing drug addicts gets Duterte a 64 percent net trust rating (according to SWS, never mind condemnation by US, EU and the UN), killing capitalists will instantly bring him down. In a setup where capitalists exercise tight control of the State, what will that state protect but capitalism? We notice that while the number of ordinary folk victims of extrajudicial killings grows day by day, not a single drug lord named in Duterte’s list of drug addicts and drug pushers has been gunned down to this day.

    The truth is, illegal drugs trade is a lucrative business. During the Opium War in China, revenues from the narco trade were substantial source of funds for Great Britain’s imperialist adventures in China.

    If you hit capitalists now – for what are drug lords but capitalists! — you kill the goose that lays the golden egg. It’s just not done. That’s why you don’t kill the Lims, the Wongs, the Five Generals, the Top Guy to whom ends the upward trajectory of Duterte’s illegal drugs trade matrix.

    And that’s why you just can’t kill Leila de Lima for all the damning evidences you may have against her.

    To begin with, the Philippine state is not just the President. It is also the Congress and the Judiciary. Even the military which theoretically falls under the authority of the President, who, again theoretically, is its Commander-in-Chief, cannot be said as the President’s private preserve. Top officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had gone public with their avowal of loyalty to the Filipino people and to the Philippine Constitution alone. Short of saying, “Watch out, Digong.”

    Finally this brings forward the actual context of the Socialista attitude toward Duterte. There is no argument that Duterte has expressed inclination toward socialism, toward China and Russia, veering away from US, which Ernie particularly cites as credible.

    But Socialista must concede that its stated socialist perspective is to be generalized inevitably in the strategic sense as the establishment of a socialist state in the Philippines. The aims of socialism, as its statement implies, can only be had through a radical change in the relations of production, i.e., from capitalist ownership of the means of production to workers ownership of those means. And according to the principles of, quoting the statement, “orthodox Marxist conception of scientific socialism,” such radical change can only be achieved through the crushing of the bourgeois state by which thereby to establish the workers’ state, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

    As the Communist Manifesto puts it: “Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one.”

    The utter decline of the Jose Maria Sison-promoted Protracted People’s War is magnificent testimony to the abortion of the socialist offspring in the Philippines, what with the socialist pretender midwives now content with just rubbing elbows with the Duterte administration. With CPP/NDF/NPA instrumentalities having been granted concessions by Duterte (Tuguiwalo at the DSWD, Bello at the DOLE and Maza at the NAPC, to name some), the current “peace talks” in Oslo, Norway must be a done deal already for all intents and purposes.

    Socialista does not appear inclined to following in the footsteps of Sison. As expressed by Ms. Naquita, the organization must get to the bottom of the Duterte posturing as a socialist. “Critical support” is its means of doing it.

    One thing is sure even now. All instrumentalities of government are instruments of class oppression of workers by capitalists.

    So take this caution from, again, the Communist Manifesto: “The proletariat cannot just lay hold of the bourgeois state and use it for its own purpose.”

    By Marxist orthodoxy which Socialista adheres to, the State is an instrument of class oppression. The first act of Duterte in making good his pretention at being a socialist by killing capitalists must be his last act as a capitalist: he will have to go.

    As gangland has no place for double cross, so must he who rides a tiger end up in the tiger’s mouth.

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    2 Comments

    1. For the workers to own the means of production, they have to buy the majority shares of the entity into whose ownership of such means of production is nominated. But to do that, they need to be and will eventually have to become capitalists. They can not just wrest ownership or control of the means of production. Either they buy the shares or put up their own means of production but either way, they surely will be ending up as capitalist.