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Press Statement
September 21, 2002
Patricio Ramirez
Partido ng Manggagawang Pilipino

State repression under democratic garb

The reactionary character of the Arroyo regime is more and more exposed amidst the worsening social crisis, the intensifying popular protests and the deepening factionalism within the ruling class. The Arroyo regime's reactionary bent is revealed not just by its implementation of the economic policy of globalization and its puppetry to the dictates of US imperialism but by its heightening repression of the popular movement.

Scratch off the veneer of the strong republic rhetoric and the core of state repression will be exposed. The ghost of martial law is acquiring real form under GMA's strong republic. Yet it is not taking the appearance of open fascist dictatorship but of state repression under democratic garb. The ruling class and its imperialist boss have learned their lessons well. Open fascist dictatorship does not quell but rather provoke mass resistance and popular struggles.

While maintaining the trappings of democracy, restrictions on civil liberties and political freedom are being imposed by the Arroyo regime. Under the cover of the so-called war against terror, counter-insurgency operations in the countryside are being redoubled, a crackdown on militant unions in the cities is being posed and a smear campaign by anti-communist groups on the mass movement is accelerating.

It is only a matter of time when the Malacanang-sponsored bill on anti-terror--patterned after the repressive Patriot Act in the US--will be heard on the halls of the reactionary Congress and put to a vote. In the various versions of the bill, terror is defined broadly to include the exercise of legitimate dissent. The anti-terror bill is draconian measure meant to suppress not so much terrorist groups but revolutionary movements.

Still the open mass movement and the underground revolutionary groups will not be cowed. The underground resistance to the Marcos dictatorship survived, grew and matured to popular revolt under the most severe repression. Fact is, the revolutionary movement weakened and finally split after the restoration of elite democracy due to its own weaknesses and mistakes.

But the new revolutionary movement with the working class at the head, guided by the proletarian party and steeped in the errors of the past, will defeat the Arroyo regime's imposition of a strong republic that is no other than state repression. We call on the militant workers to lead in the formation of a broad front to resist the strong republic and defend civil liberties. ###