Working-class unity for 2022 | Inquirer Opinion

Working-class unity for 2022

/ 05:03 AM September 24, 2021

As the Philippines enters the eve of its 2022 national electoral cycle, expect the poor masses of Filipino workers to once more be manipulated by traditional politicians. The “trapos” will take advantage of the disempowered working masses to uphold elite capitalist interests. Via the unjust electoral setup, trapos regularly pursue policies that only promote the privileged economic and political agendas of the bourgeois ruling-class circles. Moreover, the reactionary Philippine state routinely acts to protect this inequitable arrangement—to the detriment of the working people as a class.

Therefore, the Filipino working-class movement must politically intervene in next year’s elections to attain greater social justice for the common people. As the country’s primary socioeconomic force, the working class has the power to influence Philippine society through a set of progressive policy demands. Through this course of action, the urgent needs and essential welfare of the social majority—the oppressed and exploited working masses—will be magnified within the arena of electoral struggle. By doing so, the workers can directly challenge the perennial trapo candidates protecting their anti-poor and elite interests.

The broad Philippine workers’ movement should once again unite its organized ranks and mass base to resolutely press forward an enduring proletarian class task—to deepen general democratic rights and freedoms—for real social progress in the country. Certainly, the workers will need to combine and coordinate their proven mode of mass movement struggles with electoral tactics. Simultaneously, the Filipino proletariat should further develop and intensify the larger fight for genuine systemic change beyond the parameters of the electoral process itself.

A cherished desire of the toiling masses—for a common unity among various workers’ organizations—was accomplished by the workers’ movement during the 2019 electoral period. At the time, key leaders representing the leading currents within the Philippine labor movement initiated a project to build a platform-driven electoral coalition to support and elect five working-class leaders to the Senate. Although they were unsuccessful in their joint electoral endeavor, their experience together enabled them to develop subsequent cooperative efforts and collaborative struggles, which should help them do far more toward May 2022.


With global dynamics gravely impacting the world, including the Philippines, the international working-class forces are now militantly resisting and fighting to change the capitalist world system. And as humanity enters a new historical phase of anti-capitalist struggles worldwide, Leody de Guzman, the chair of the revolutionary socialist political center of the Filipino working class Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, aptly describes the unfolding situation facing the poor Filipino masses today as an “unholy trinity of crises”—health pandemic, economic crisis, and political turmoil. He affirms that the workers’ movement must urgently transform the desperate national situation in their favor.

De Guzman—one of the five worker-leaders in the 2019 Senate race representing the Labor Win Coalition—is calling for heightened working-class unity for 2022. Ka Leody believes that a principled united front comprising broad sections of the labor movement and its working-class allies should actively engage in the parliamentary arena through a mass struggle-based political-electoral offensive. On this basis, he has reached out to the Nagkaisa Labor Coalition, Kilusang Mayo Uno, and the Pagkakaisa ng Uring Manggagawa to reforge the labor coalition at this time.

At a recent meeting of the central leaders of these principal labor formations, they readily agreed to reactivate the Labor Win Coalition to escalate the fight for a united working-class agenda. Likewise, the coalition will struggle for a progressive platform that will firmly expose and oppose the lingering capitalist practice of labor contractualization, which severely exploits and undermines the Philippine workforce. Filipino workers are set to wage an electoral battle to enhance their collective democratic rights and freedoms versus destructive trapo rule.


Rasti Delizo is an international affairs analyst and an activist in the socialist movement.

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TAGS: 2022 elections, Filipinos

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